It’s That Time Again
It’s less than two weeks until the end of the year, so that means it is time to start telling you our favorite (and least favorite) things from this year. As in past years, before we get our top albums, we have some other short lists to share, such as Best EP, Most Improved, Worst Albums, and more! Included in the “more” section is out Best Artwork featuring guest input form Mike Clancey, and this year, we actually are including the art for you to see! Imagine that…
(Click them to make them bigger)
Grave – Out Of Respect For The Dead
Immortal Bird – Empress/Abscess
Byzantine – To Release Is To Resolve
Neck Of The Woods – Neck Of The Woods
Chaos Divine – Colliding Skies
Cattle Decapitation – The Anthropocene Extinction
The Black Dahlia Murder – Abysmal
For the EP debate, I don’t really make a distinction between albums and EPs in my listening and rankings. If 23 minutes of music made by Mono & The Ocean stands out, then it gets ranked alongside 92 minutes of Iron Maiden music in my list. For what defines an EP, I think it’s really just a band and/or label decision on the price of the music. How much does the music cost? If it is 7 dollars or less on Amazon, it’s an EP. If it is 8 dollars or more, it is not an EP. The length of the music doesn’t really make a difference as to whether something is an EP. It all has to do with the price.
Best album artwork: I’m going with 2 weirdly disturbing images in Leprous and Horrendous. While I can’t necessarily say those are the “best” artwork, they are both images that stood out to me and made me take notice, even if I can’t say they give me a warm happy feeling inside when looking at the artwork.
Most disappointing: many nominees here but Psycroptic would have to be the pick for me. I loved their previous album, and this year’s self-titled album just doesn’t do anything for me. Trivium might be a runner up, even though other people have been hating on them for years. Tesseract would be another.
Worst album: I have to go with Torche. I can’t even listen to that last song on their album because it just drones on the same basic riff over and over again.
Since you asked about EPs you missed that you should listen to, I’ll reiterate Transcendental by Mono & The Ocean. On the one hand, it does seem like something released by The Ocean to hold fans over until a full length can be released. But on the other hand, it’s still good.
Since we are on the topic of stuff you missed in 2015, the other album I’ll point out is The Congregation by Leprous. It’s not heavy, so I’m not sure if Brian will like it, but the emotional, catchy progressive music on here is something that I suspect at least Nick would enjoy. I’m not going to troll you by saying you should listen to Blind Guardian because Nick would hate it nor would I recommend Iron Maiden because I know that Brian just doesn’t care about new music from them. And then there’s Ghost, for which your minds about them were made up by listening to their only bad album.
Have I ever in my life purchased an album based on artwork? I can’t think of anything. The only thing that is similar is that I can say that the artwork on Iron Maiden albums was certainly part of the appeal to me when I was young.
Most improved has to be Lamb of God for me as well. I was even on the fence if I was going to buy their latest album. It wasn’t until all the positive reviews came out that I bought it.
Finally, I realize this is a metal podcast, but you should throw in a quick review of the new Star Wars movie at some point. I’ll give you an opinion of mine about The Force Awakens. I feel like the creators of The Force Awakens started by asking the question: what did people dislike in any previous Star Wars movies? The answer would include Jar Jar, ewoks, 8 year old kid actors, whiny teenage actors, cartoonish CGI, midichlorians, political squabbling and philosophizing. Then the creators of The Force Awakens said: let’s make sure we don’t put any of that stuff into the new movie that people disliked in previous movies. In my opinion, that line of reasoning didn’t make for a great movie, but at least it ensured that it isn’t a bad movie.
Thanks for pointing out Leprous! I was just re-reading your Top 20 list and decided I needed to check them out. Also, surprisingly, I’m going to be listening to The Ghost today. All my critical listening is over for the year, so I’m going to be going back and checking out some of the other stuff I overlooked – either intentionally or unintentionally.
If you want to just “try” Leprous to see what they are all about, I’d recommend at least just checking out the three songs I mentioned earlier (“The Price”, “The Flood”, and “Down”). Those three songs really stood out to me and are worth your time.
And I’d be very interested to know what you think about the latest Ghost album.