Fall has got me all like “whoa, better start working on that best of list.” Yup, I’ve started the process this year in September. It’s mostly so I can get a good grasp on things before the fall dumps a shit ton of possible “best of” contenders right in my face. So far the list has been filled with albums I always new were going to be my favorites of the year, but now I’m starting to revisit the ones I have fond memories of our rocked my world sometime this year. It’s one of my favorite annual traditions.

Speaking of new stuff, this weak was sort of… meh.

NEW STUFF (click the titles, c’mon now)

Opeth – Sorceress
Metal Opeth is always going to be better then prog Opeth. That’s just how it is. Not that they haven’t had success melding the two but they’ve tipped the scale to the prog side, heavily on their past couple releases. This one is no different. Super prog noodling, sitars, pianos, all the prog hallmarks show up on this. I know they want to experiment and be creative but they seem to even be becoming a parody of themselves. I dunno, I don’t like to write bad reviews but this one isn’t doing much for me.

Allegaeon – Proponent for Sentience
Here I go again with my proclamation that I don’t like super technical death metal… but Allegaeon are cool. That will be the phrase I eat shit on all year. From down the road in Fort Collins, Colorado, Allegaeon are back with another tech heavy death metal release and to be honest, I’ve liked each of their releases less and less as they go on. I’ve not hated any but they just get less and less replay value. This new one, however, is swings back to the more enjoyable side as the band, still technical, shows more craft in writing catchy, hooky, riffs and songs, and brought back that super infectious Spanish styled acoustic guitar and even some power metal like moments with clean singing. Plus, the bands focus and love of all things science is something worth praising and I’ve got to give them props for the song “All Hail Science” for cramming in lyrics about the scientific method and bringing up Democritus, Descartes, Carl Sagan, and Bill Nye in a fucking brutal death metal song.

It does, however, go on for far to long. A trap of the tech death album. This one clocks in at one hour and eleven minutes, making much of it filler. Still, better than the last and a fun listen.

PS. If we’re talking Colorado tech death, Vale of Pnath are sort of beating Allegaeon at their own game.

Trap Them – Crown Feral
People are crazy about this band. I’m more of a casual fan but this new one is pretty fucking good. If you’re in to Trap Them you know what to expect: grind/crust explosions that are both fierce and catchy. This one they’ve amped up the fuzzy guitars giving it a Swedish death metal flavor as well as added some slower, break down type of riffs. Solid album all around.

Charred Walls of the Damned – Creatures Watching Over the Dead
This is the only project of Tim Ripper Owens that I could ever get into. I also think it’s the best use of him. He’s not trying to fill the shoes of any other singer and he’s backed by some seasoned metal players. It’s not about him, but the band as a whole, and the band plays some catchy as fuck, rough around the edges, straight forward heavy power metal. I think this band gets better with each release and might have struck a perfect balance on this one. The album is barely 30 minutes long, with short, to the fucking point songs, and that’s just enough time for a band like this.

Insomnium – Winter’s Gate
I’ve always felt that Insomnium and Omnium Gatherum were essentially the same band, both banking on that ethereal, melancholic, melodic death metal style so much that I’ve often wondered why they don’t just meld bands in to one giant melo-death band or have a battle royal and see which band is left standing. Well, Insomnium pulled ahead in that race and have released an album that I think separates them from Omnium. All the Insomnium traits are still present but they’ve gotten a little more doom-y. A little more progressive, and a little more catchy, if that’s possible. The album is also a Crimson, being one long track ofSwedish melodic death metal. Is it a game changer? No, but it is a damn good Insomnium album and it’s nice to see such a longstanding band do something a bit different.


In the Woods… Pure
Nox Formulae – The Hidden Paths to Black Ecstasy
Carach Angren – Lammendam
Borknagar – Winter Thrice
Blood Incantation – Starspawn
Death Fortress – Deathless March of the Unyielding
Woman is the Earth – Torch of Our Final Night
Rotting Christ – Theogonia
Sanctuary – Refuge Denied
Oranssi Pazuzu – Varahtelija
Chthe’ilist – Le Dernier Crepuscule
Sacrilegium – Anima Lucifera
Forteresse – Themes pour la rebellion
Dornenreich – In Lift geritzt
Old Graves – Sumas
Mare Cognitum – Luminiferous Aether
Farsot – iiii
Sojourner – Empires of Ash
Howls of Ebb – Cursus Impasse: The Pendlomic Vows

Until next time, make mine metal…