1. My Favourite Albums of 2013 Part 2

    Here is the second part of my favourite albums of 2013 in no particular order:

    Alice in Chains – The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here

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    Great album from a classic band. If you already like AIC you should like this one.

    Tesseract – Altered State

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    I know a lot of people are head over heels for this one, but I kind of find it boring. The vocals are fantastic, the band is good. The music has evolved a bit, but not enough to keep me that impressed.

    Dillinger Escape Plan – One of us is the Killer

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    I’ve listened to this one enough to know that I’m missing something others are enjoying. I’ve heard a lot of people singing high praises for it, but for me it doesn’t top Miss Machine.

    Ghost – Infestissumam

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    This is another one I’ve listened to a lot. I regret not having seen them tour to support this album. Less heavy than the last one, but better overall.

    Anciients – Heart of Oak

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    There is very little Canadian content on my year end list, unfortunately, but these guys deserve to be here. There is almost a sort of retro vibe on this album, but it feels new. Great live act too.

    Soilwork – The Living Infinite

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    It was about 10 years ago that I heard Natural Born Chaos. When I heard it I liked it from track one. Over the course of the releases that followed my interest in the band began to crumble… and then they released the Living Infinite. Most albums that clock in over 50 minutes are pushing it too long, this one is an hour and 24 minutes and never over stays its welcome. It’s pretty crazy that at this point in their career they are releasing one of their finest albums.

    Jolly – The Audio Guide to Happiness pt. 2

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    I liked pt. 1 enough, but this is a step in the right direction. This is good album through and through. Jolly is a unique band that is starting to make a name for themselves and deservedly so.

    Disperse – Living Mirrors

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    This would probably fall in line prety well for people who like Periphery or Tesseract. Not terribly original, but I like the vocals and it does have rededeming qualities

    Bolus – Triangulate

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    Slightly reminiscent of Porcupine Tree, this is a decent progressive crossover album, if not terribly exciting. There’s some good stuff here, but it’s not amazing.

    Dear Hunter – Migrant

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    Dear Hunter have changed quite a bit since I first heard them, but I’m digging this part of their evolution. There are some pretty tasty jams on here.

    King Crow – In Crescendo

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    In Crescendo is a progressive hard rock album I’ve enjoyed, but have neglected recently. It’s definitely worth listening to though.

    Toxic Smile - 7

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    I’ve just recently discovered this band and I’m impressed. There are definitely some talented players in this band. It’s progressive metal that doesn’t steal from Dream Theater, which is nice.

    Darkane- Sinister Supremacy

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    Honestly, I kind of forgot about this album. But If you like Darkane, you should like this. Fast paced, thrashy melodic death metal.

    Long Distance Calling – The Flood Inside

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    The music that Long Distance Calling cretes is kind of atmospheric metal. This album is predominantly instrumental with vocals on certain songs. The more I listen to it the more I like it.

    Reign of Kindo – Play With Fire

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    Reign of Kindo is so cool.  I love the mix of Jazz and pop with really great musicians. A nice follow up to This is What Happens.

    <code> - Augur Nox

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    I wouldn’t say this is bizarre, but it’s considered Avant-Garde. I’m not sure how to classify it at all, but it’s got a lot going on and is one of those “repeated listens required” type albums. Listen for yourself, that’s my best advice.

    Caligula’s Horse – The Tide, The Thief and River’s End

    I’ve only listened through this album twice, I like what I’ve heard but it hasn’t blown my mind. I’m hoping that after hearing it a few more timer I make my mind up about how I really feel.
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    Aeon Zen - Self Portrait

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    This is another late discovery for me. I would describe this is sci-fi metal. It’s got a spacey futuristic feel to it, I realize that might not completely make sense to everyone, but it’s an apt description to me.

  2. Monday, December 16, 2013
  3. My Favourite Albums of 2013 Part 1

    Vangough – Between the Madness

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    The more I listen to this the more I like it. I remember listening to these guys a few albums back and not really caring for them, but it sounds like they’ve taken a few steps forward. Cool modern prog metal.

    You can stream the full album here

    Mutoid Man – Helium Head

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    This album is over pretty fast. It’s drenched in distortion and a sort of metal rock and roll vibe with a sense of urgency. Having come out at the end of November this is a late entry, but really good.



    Nami – The Eternal Light of the Unconscious Mind

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    This is one of those “needs repeated listens to appreciate” albums. It’s really good. I haven’t repeated my listens enough though. It’s slower paced for the most part with spacey type mellow parts interspersed.

    Sky Architect – A Billion Years of Solitude

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    There are a lot of albums I like but haven’t listened to enough, this is another one. It’s a really good prog rock album that I know I’ll be listening to often.

    Katatonia – Viva Emptiness and Dethroned and Uncrowned

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    Neither of these albums are really new releases per se, but they are both terrific and have new elements. Viva Emptiness celebrates its 10 year anniversary with a re-release featuring a remix of the album with updated keyboard sounds (and possible new backup vocals?). Dethroned and Uncrowned is mellowed version of Dead End Kings, with the songs reworked. Where the songs failed on Dead End Kings, I think they excel here. Both are fantastic.

    Circles – Infinitas

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    This is a cool groove oriented metal album with great vocals. It hasn’t quite lived up to my expectations based on how much I enjoyed their EP’s, but it’s certainly worth listening to.

    Dead Letter Circus – The Catalyst Fire

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    This is a decent enough album from an Australian band. It has fairly high pitched vocals with pretty cool backing music, not a life changer but certainly enjoyable.

    Protest the Hero - Volition

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    This album features Chris Adler (Lamb of God) on drums. I thought it would be a weird fit, but it works. I like the album, but I would say it’s just good, not great.

    Ihsahn - Das Seelenbrechen

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    The highs are high on this one and the lows are low. I love it for the most part. I love that Ihsahn is in no way going stale, he keeps experimenting (this being his most experimental so far) and he keeps producing great material. Amazing album, but there are a couple parts I’m not completely sold on.

    Anaal Nathrakh – Vanitas

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    I feel like I need to shower after listening to this album. It’s dirty and it’s fucking heavy, really fucking heave. I guess this might be considered black metal, either way I really enjoy it despite the craziness.

    Pearl Jam – Lightning Bolt

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    After hearing the first single from this album I was pretty optimistic about this album. I was disappointed. This is probably one of the biggest let downs of the year for me.

    Secrets of the Sky – To Sail Black Waters

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    This one is pretty heavy and dark with a lot of slower and mellower passages, but still mostly death metal. Good album, although not good enough that it’s been in very regular rotation for me.

    Fates Warning – Darkness in a Different Light

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    Another let down. This album is by no means bad, but from a band that seems to have been absent for a while I was hoping for something more substantial. Like I said, not bad, but not nearly as good as Disconnected or Pleasant Shade of Grey.

    The Gabriel Construct – Interior City

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    This one is pretty weird. But it has Travis Orbin on drums and that is awesome. He’s got to be the most underrated drummer going these days. Pretty sure this is a concept album. It is beyond definition.

    Felix Martin – The Scenic Album

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    The most interesting thing about this album is that Felix plays a 14 string guitar. It’s pretty wild. Also, Marco Minnemann plays drums. He’s pretty wild. Luckily, the music is really fun to listen to and has a high level of musicianship. If you like technical instrumental music you should like this.

    Von Hertzen Broters – Nine Lives

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    One of the more straight forward rock albums I’ve listened to this year. Von Hertzen Brothers are great It’d be nice to see their popularity in North America grow a bit.

    Janelle Monae – The Electric Lady

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    This one is on a lot of year end lists and it’s the poppiest album on mine. I like the album, but much prefer her previous album.

    Their /They’re/There/ - S/T

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    This is just an EP but it’s really cool. It’s more rock than metal but I can’t really define it.

    Moon Tooth – Freaks EP

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    I love this EP, it’s one of the best things I’ve heard in a long time, not just this year. If this was a full album it would be in my top ten. I really wish there were more tunes. I could party to this one all night. It’s grungy and fast paced and a hell of a lot of fun.

    Wintergatan S/T

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    I find a lot of these songs sound like the should be on a soundtrack, they bring Jon Brion to my mind. They play instrumental music that I have a difficult time describing. Check it out for yourself.

    Last Chance to Reason – Level 3

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    While this is a terrific album it doesn’t quite live up to Level 2 for me. I think the problem is that my expectations were too high. There’s some exceptionally tight playing here and Mike Lessard continues to convince me he’s one of the best modern metal vocalists going.

    Extol S/T

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    This is a terrific melodic death metal album with some truly catch and awesome choruses. I really enjoyed this one.

    Wormed – Exodromos

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    Another interesting death metal album. These guys are weird and I like it.

    Karnivool - Asymmetry

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    I don’t think I’m alone in saying this one was a letdown. Karnivool are great but it feels like there is some wasted time on this one.

    ASG – Win Us Over

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    Cool party metal/rock. I don’t love it, but I like it.

    Persephone – Spiritual Migration

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    Musically this album is dynamite. Generally I like some clean vocals sprinkled in with some heavy stuff, but I actually feel like the melodic vocals are holding this album back.

  4. Friday, December 13, 2013
  5. My Top 10 Favourite Albums of 2013

    1. Vulture Industries – The Tower

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    I wasn’t keen on this band at first but the album has grown on me a lot. This turned out to be my favourite. Everytime I hear it I like it more. I can’t think of one band Vulture Industries reminds me of. This is a terrific album.

    2. Leprous – Coal

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    Leprous scaled back the complexity music on this one a little bit and it really paid off. The vocals are so good. The music is there to serve the songwriting, not the musicians’ egos. This is easily one of the best albums this year.

    3. And So I Watch You From Afar – All Hail Bright Futures

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    I snapped up a vinyl copy of this album and have listened to it a lot this year. I don’t listen to a hell of a lot of instrumental music, but this is very interesting, never boring. The music is complex and upbeat. Although, for an instrumental band there are a lot of vocals.

    4. The Ocean – Pelagial

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    The Ocean have been getting better and better. This album is amazing. If you like Tool and Isis this should give you your fill. Every tune rocks and leaves you wanting more.

    5. Intronaut – Habitual Levitations

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    This is a band that’s evolved and left some fans of their earlier work behind. I think that’s too bad for them. This album rocks so hard. The jazzy bass lines, aggressive drumming, crazy rhythms, it’s just too awesome not to love.

    6. Cyclamen – Ashura

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    It’s too bad more people don’t know who Cyclamen are. They are really a fantastic technical metal band with a lot of heart. This album isn’t a huge departure from their last album, but the polish the sound a bit more.

    7. Haken – The Mountain

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    Haken are fucking great. They are the best progressive metal band going right now. All three of their albums are great. Dream Theater has been a letdown for me consistently and these guys have stepped into their place as the best prog metal band on the menu.

    8. Gorguts – Colored Sands

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    Best death metal album of the year and it’s by a Canadian band. It’s dark, creepy, original and not just guys playing as fast as they can. Might be suited for fans of Gojira.

    9. Tété – Nu-La-bas

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    I really like this album. It is unlike a lot of the stuff on this list. I’ve heard Tete called the French Jeff Buckley. I don’t really hear that, but he is a great vocalist with some wicked tunes.

    10. New Keepers of the Water Tower – Cosmic Child

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    I haven’t seen this album mentioned anywhere. It’s a shame, these guys have a wicked unique style. The songs develop really well and are all awesome. It’s almost like Opeth meets Mastodon with all clean vocals.

    I’ll post the rest of my favourite albums, in no particular order, as soon as I can.

  6. Thursday, December 12, 2013
  7. My Favorite Non-English Bands pt. 6 

    I probably won’t do this as an ordered list, I will just pick bands as they come to mind, so there will be no particular order to this list.

    Alcest - France

    The music from Alcest is a combination of Shoegaze and Black Metal. There is a very melancholy feel to their music, but it’s pretty beautiful too. Although I speak a little French I have done little in the way of actually exploring the lyrical content.

  8. Wednesday, July 3, 2013