Saturday, December 31, 2011

Best albums of 2011

01 Mastodon - The Hunter
While adopting a blissful, scattershot thematic approach, the group - bassist/vocalist Troy Sanders, guitarist/vocalist Brent Hinds, guitarist Bill Kelliher and drummer/vocalist Brann Dailor - have sharpened their instrumental attack, one which still manages to straddle the line between hardcore, blitzing metal and progressive rock but now does so, in many cases, within the confines of three minute-songs. Three minutes? Wow, that's pop-tune length! How can any band switch things up so dramatically in such time? Mastodon can, and they do so effortlessly, seamlessly... They play it as it lays, and it's not a sacrifice, it's where the day takes them.

02 Touché Amoré - Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me
In "Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me", Touche Amore's creative formula is driven by emotional affect, not contemporary studio effects. In the purest form possible, raw shouted vocals and clean manic guitars fight for volume over roomy bass and percussion. Creating a sound that is shockingly simple as it is emotionally engaging. The serene and fragile opening notes of "Tilde" serve as the album's introductory serenade before Touche Amore pound and jangle into the hook-laden song. And seconds later, when vocalist/lyricist Jeremy Bolm screams "...I'm parting the sea between brightness and me...", a tone of desperation sets in that resonates throughout the duration of the album. His straight forward cries convincingly tell his own personal story.

03 So Hideous, My Love... - To Clasp A Fallen Wish with Broken Fingers
Lurking beneath the surface of metal underground, NYC's own, So Hideous, My Love... has created a devastating musical hybrid of heart racing proportions: Fusing post rock leanings (Envy, Mono, GSYBE!) & adventurous black metal (Wolves in the Throne Room, Celeste, Heaven in Her Arms) with classical beauty (Arvo Part, Beethoven), the band along with contemporaries, San Francisco's Deafheaven & London's Fen have laid claim to the appropriately termed buzz moniker 'post-black metal' with their newest offering, To Clasp a Fallen Wish with Broken Fingers. Born out of home recordings in the winter of 2008 by composer/guitarists Brandon Cruz & Jack Marshall, So Hideous, My Love... self-released their debut EP I Balance a Daydream on an Edge of a Knife in the Spring of 2010 to an outpouring of love from the heavy music community. To Clasp a Fallen Wish... serves as a companion piece to the band's first release and showcases the bands further maturation of engaging daydreams & paralyzing musical nightmares.

04 La Dispute - Wildlife
La Dispute's "Wildlife," the follow-up to their 2008 LP "Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair," is a nearly 60-minute musical examination of the twentysomething search for purpose; an exploration of the struggles that confront, damage, and redefine us inevitably in life through 14 tracks of new material. Set up as a collection of unpublished "short stories" complete with the author's notes and sectioned thematically by four monologues, "Wildlife" discusses the difficulties inherent in growing up by interweaving the author's own ambiguous loss and struggle for meaning alongside the stories it compelled him to document.

 05 Pianos Become The Teeth - The Lack Longafter
Pianos’ new full-length, The Lack Long After, savagely forges ahead. As raw and messy as a picked scab, the album lacks in nothing: There are concussive confessionals (“I’ll Be Damned”) and apocalyptic atmosphere pieces (“I’ll Get By”). Yes, there’s a shit-ton of screaming—but frontman Kyle Durfey brings another level of nuance and expressiveness to his scarred-tonsil vocals and contorted poetry. Even hints of Envy-esque post-rock seep into the skeletal “Liquid Courage” and the brittle, bitterly ironic “Such Confidence.” Durfey and crew have plenty to be confident about, though. The Lack Long After isn’t just Pianos’ crowning achievement to date—it’s at the vanguard of post-hardcore’s much-needed renaissance. 

06 The James Cleaver Quintet - 2011 That was Then, This is Now
As the title suggests, The James Cleaver Quintet have a past. It’s not one that anyone would have noticed, though, as it involved the band almost falling apart before it’d recorded a note. In that respect, their back story isn’t important, but what it prompted is: this album. Bringing together the soulful punk rock of The Bronx, the kinetic spark of defunct cult heroes The Blood Brothers and the trend-bucking post-everything hardcore of Refused, they’re an outfit whose lifeblood seems to be pumping at an accelerated rate. Their desire to get on, get up and try new things would buckle a lesser band’s veins.

07 Retox - Ugly Animals
Sonically, the band’s crude and primitive aspects make sense in this day and age. The band is a reaction to the world that the members and their comrades have lived in: shitty childhoods, bureaucratic frustration, and the overall justification of continuous war. That sensibility coupled with a modern artistic delivery, the music is educated as well as furious, and most importantly, blurring genre lines of punk, hardcore, thrash, metal and whatever else seems fitting to the critics. RETOX features members of some grand dick sucking accomplishments, acts such as The Locust, Head Wound City, Holy Molar, All Leather, Some Girls, Swing Kids, Le Butcherettes, Cattle Decapitation, Struggle, The Festival of Dead Deer, and The Crimson Curse.

08 An Isle Ate Her - Phrenia
Well, this is the first full-length album from them, the most chaotic album of this year so far. 12 tracks and clocking about 28 minutes. There's no pause from track 1 to 3, until track 4 and 5 they give you a little room to breath with some jazzy riff and a kind of ambient stuff. This band is sick dude, if you never heard of them and like mathcore with kind of technical stuff, you should check them out. All in all this album is so fucking awsome and worth to listen!! For fans of Inside the Beehive, Jane Hoe, The Great Redneck Hope.

09 Ruptures - Adormidera
Ten items, twenty minutes of pure emotion and shock seizure beginning in the depths of the soul to move to each of our bones. Voices crying with more desperation than anger, screeching guitars trying to exorcise demons tangible, real, rhythms that disrupt the senses and invite dances fractured and urgent. Four young Californians for whom the sun and the beaches of his hometown does not mean too much. Think of names like The Blood Brothers, La Dispute, Amber Inn Hoover or more intense and are not wrong direction. Post-Hardcore can call, they can call Emo Screamo and even if they want but that ultimately does not tell us much.

10 Dionaea - Still
Dionaea is an experimental three-piece from eastern PA. Their sound is somewhat of a mutt of tech-grind acts like The Number Twelve Looks Like You and The Sawtooth Grin, or imagine that Psyopus meet with Daughters and playing a kind of post rock. It's pretty awesome band, and too good to describe it with words, you better check out and get listen to it!! With two members from Aphotic Discord and the guitarist from New Jersey metal outfit The Priory of Sion.

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