Tag Archives: Best of 2011

003 Best of 2011

End of Level Boss Eklectric

Episode 003 Best of 2011  is Chris’ year-end list as submitted to Exclaim! Magazine.

I love compiling annual lists because (1) it chronicles my own self-discovery of new metal, and (2) it turns on Spence to new bands so that we can share a true hive mentality for at least one episode! This year, my list seems to be even broader than before, mixing relatively disparate subgenres into one big, Jean de Crèvecœur-esque melting pot, to borrow one of my fave S. statements. It runs the gamut of death, doom, stoner, grind, goth, prog, and tech metal, and the countdown is…

#10: “A Thousand Martyrs” from Vallenfyre’s A Fragile King (Century Media). Paradise Lost guitarist Gregor Mackintosh steps up to the mic for the first time for a godly death/doom album with beaucoup PL guitar flourishes.

Junius

#9: “All Shall Float” from JuniusReports from the Threshold of Death (Prosthetic). Finally getting the exposure they deserve, Junius are prêt-à-porter for metal fans weaned on The Fixx. Would be a top play on Robert Smith’s iPod if there were any justice in the universe.

#8: “Eyes” from  Alaric’s Alaric (20 Buck Spin). A throwback death-rock band made of members of Bay Area grind/crust outfits? Hell yeah! Alaric answers the burning question of why modern metalheads should indeed worship Killing Joke.

#7: “Midnight Serenade” from Arch/MatheosSympathetic Resonance (Metal Blade). Fates Warning guitarist Jim Matheos reunites with original Fates vocalist John Arch for 54 minutes of pure prog-metal bliss. Loved Dream Theater back when “Hold Me Under” was on the radio? This is for you.

#6: “G.U.T.” from Believer’s Transhuman (Metal Blade). You may remember this Pennsylvania tech/death-metal band from their salad days on Roadrunner in the early ’90s. They’re back with suntans, two decades of musical maturity, and poised to teach you whippersnappers a lesson in brutality, tech-style. All this and day jobs, too.

#5: “In Death’s Path” from Deadfall’s New Light (Self-released). Deadfall are proponents of the relatively new djent subgenre, onomatopoeia for the start-stop guitar sound popularized by Meshuggah. Expert instrumental tech-metal that makes us wonder why they’re not signed to a label yet.

#4: “Of This Flesh (Novus Deus)” from Nader Sadek’s In the Flesh(Season of Mist). A conceptual artist-turned-musician, this Egyptian-born guitarist plays guttural death metal with Steve Tucker (Morbid Angel) on vocals and Flo Mounier (Cryptopsy) on drums. The best death metal album of the year, hands down.

This is the actual packaging of Graf Orlock’s Doombox EP. It contains a CD and a 10″. Take it out of the sleeve and insert tabs. You will amaze your friends!

#3: “There There” from Thou’s The Archer & the Owle (Robotic Empire). This unconventional Baton Rouge doom outfit combines death, black, sludge, and ambient metal into a heady brew of awesome. Irrefutably the most phenomenal doom band in the good ol’ U.S. of A.

#2: “1993; A Week Before Graduation” from Graf Orlock’s Doombox (Vitriol). Film school dropouts Graf Orlock—Gorlock to the converted—wed movie samples to punk/grind blasts, with all lyrics cribbed from movie scripts. The Doombox packaging is a full-sized pop-up ’80s boom box. Like Killwhitneydead covering Napalm Death…utterly titanic.

And the #1 song of the year: “Thee Absurd” from End of Level BossEklectric (Exile on Mainstream). Wrongfully lumped in the stoner genre, End of Level Boss are so much more. Their bad-ass band name veils rippling, EBow-ed chords and rock melody with enough hooks to land a school of trophy sport fish. Undeniably the years’ most creative metal album!

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