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A - Z


A spew of personal opinionsand recommendations

Ceremony - Zoo
Baroness - Yellow & Green
Converge - All We Love We Leave Behind
Gaza - No Absolutes In Human Suffering
Annal Narthrakh - Vanitas
Code Orange Kids -Life Is Love//Return To Dust
Narrows - Painted
Rise & Fall - Faith
The Secret - Agnus Dei
Birds In Row - You, Me & The Violence
Black Breath - Sentenced To Life
Neurosis - Honor Found In Decay
Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
The Chariot - One Wing
Deftones - Koi No Yokan
Not the most colourful array of records, but don’t let that fool you.Click ‘Read more’ for some brief write ups & a list of honourable mentions.
[[MORE]]

REVIEWS

Ceremony - ZooThe biggest change in sound on my list, if not the whole year. This record seems to be a love it or hate it deal from the looks of things. Personally, I love it as I’m partial to the odd bit of post punk and I feel it really reflects the band’s musical influences and personal tastes. I’ll admit this fully- this was my most anticipated album of the year and I definitely have not been disappointed. However, as far as recommendations go, this is Marmite. You’ll either love it or hate it.
Baroness - Yellow & GreenI read a review of this just before NPR put the whole record up for streaming- the gist was ‘This is their best work yet. Thought Blue Record was good? This is even better. But there’s something really confusing about it’ Essentially I was also left confused and potentially worried (particularly as I was a bigger fan of their earlier, beefier stuff) and I felt exactly the same after the first listen. This is definitely one that will grow on you, and I feel you have to be in the right frame of mind to absorb it properly. That aside, it’s a fantastic double epic that takes Baroness not only on a natural transition from Blue Record, but to a whole new plane of existence. Not for the faint hearted, this double record will make you feel like you’ve been on a musical hike.
Converge - All We Love We Leave BehindERMAHGERD CERNEVERGE! Awesome, downright fantastic, corker of a record, BUT hit my exact level of expectation. Not that I’m saying it’s not good or to shit on anyone else’s opinions, but the sheer amount of ‘OMG, this is their best record yet!’ and similar statements seem to have over-hyped it for me. OTHER THAN THAT, it’s a really top-notch record that brings out the typical-contemporary and well loved Converge sound, but also opens the door to something a bit different. It brings elements of all their previous records into something most certainly new. Really liking the direction Jake’s vocals are heading in and the fair share of serious riffage going on.
Gaza - No Absolutes In Human SufferingUNF. Basically. I thought ‘He Is Never Coming Back’ was brilliant, but these guys have surpassed themselves on this one. To the point I don’t actually know what to say about it other than ‘HOLY SHIT, THIS IS GOOD, GO AND BUY IT’ It’s just a raw, driving force of good heavy noise, yet almost dreamlike in it’s progression. Then it just melts your face off. This record will punch you in the face, kick you in the gut, grab you by the nuts, and you’ll still want to put it on again and again.
Anaal Narthrakh - VanitasI’m fairly new to the Nathrakh, but once I’ve got over how much of a ripper this record is I’ll be making a more positive effort to spare some time to more of their previous stuff. From the outset this is a monumental record. It’s well rounded, and feels truly satisfying to listen to every time. I’d be intrigued to see how they convey the sheer amount of power in these songs live, but I guess that’s not really the question here. For a black metal/industrial band they’ve got a set of really quite catchy songs here, on several occasions I’ve found myself humming ‘Forging Towards The Sunset’ both at home and in public. Definitely recommend you go out, spend some money on this, and thoroughly enjoy it.
Code Orange Kids - Love Is Love//Return To DustRaw, crashing waves of exactly what the hardcore music scene needs right now. Everything sounds filthy, and I like it. From the moment I heard it I liked it. These guys have really come on in leaps and bounds since their EP and split releases, and even they were pretty ground breaking. I know this is only their first full length, but I’m really looking forward to hearing where they take things from here. With a couple of very calming tracks, Converge/Ruiner-esque vibes in places and Reba’s screams, there really is a multi-layered texture to the music. I realise that doesn’t make much sense, but it’s my best description of it. GET ON THIS BAND NOW IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY, OR YOU WILL REGRET IT. 
Narrows - PaintedA weird kind of ‘forgetter’ of a record, but it’s insanely good! It’s a definite improvement and progression from New Distances, just proving that this band are going to get even better over time. I think this record is pretty underrated, and bar the initial hype before it’s release I’ve seen little mention of it since then. It may be one that takes a few listens to get into in some cases, but I think you really need to get on this band if you haven’t already, and this album is a damn good stating point. Punchy, lively, makes for a perfect driving soundtrack and really evokes the urge to mosh… anywhere. 
Rise And Fall - FaithBeefy outset continues into thick, muddy, riff-laden territory that screams Rise & Fall. Fits in perfectly with their previous records yet expresses some definite progression. Again, another one that seemed to fade into the ether after it’s initial release, but one people will probably be kicking themselves over for moving on from too quickly. If this doesn’t make you want to put on their entire back catalogue for the whole day, I don’t know what will. Also has some great artwork from Jacob Bannon… and I must admit I fell for all the element variations… oops.
The Secret - Agnus DeiIf you look up the word ‘powerful’ in the dictionary, it should have ‘The Secret’ as one of it’s references. That’s probably the best word I can use to describe this record, and The Secret in general. It’s fast, dark, heavy, thrashy music for listening to whilst head-banging. Yep, definitely a head-banging record. If you missed out on Solve Et Coagula, Agnus Dei is just as easy to fall head over heels for. More of a continuation from than a development, but get on this quick, Southern Lord really don’t put out dud records.
Birds In Row - You Me & The ViolenceInitially I didn’t greet this record with the same amount of hype as everyone else appeared to. It didn’t excite me much at all and failed to live up to their earlier EP work. Then it suddenly kind of hit me. I’m still fully digesting it, but it’s got some serious kick to it with really lively, energetic overtones and great vocals. Maybe best described as ‘more of the same’ but if you haven’t checked out these guys yet then do so, sharpish.
Black Breath - Sentenced To LifeThe characteristic hardcore riffs and vocals of Heavy Breathing are less frequent on this record in favour of a more metal/crust tilt, but all-in-all it sounds much more like something you’d expect from Southern Lord. Not to say that it’s any kind of ‘standard’ at all though. They still maintain a hardcore rush and vibe, perhaps more in a Trap Them vein than Cruel Hand. Definite progression from Heavy Breathing, but could be considered a little less adventurous. If you like crust being crust & hardcore being hardcore, then start with this record before trying out the former.
Neurosis - Honor Found In DecayStandard Neurosis. Don’t misconstrue that as ‘it’s no good’, because there is nothing standard about Neurosis. All the songs have good continuity, despite a couple taking a while to get up to speed. Certain parts of my favourite tracks sound somewhat familiar, whether they’re similar to something else I’ve heard or they’re so comfortably set within Neurosis’ sound I’m not sure. BASICALLY, if you like Neurosis, you’ll like this. If you’ve never heard Neurosis before, I’d recommend you start here. Or with Times Of Grace.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!I’ve always been hesitant to listen to GSY!BE until recently, but this struck a chord with me on first listen. It’s got a solid pace and plenty of different segments to keep you interested and tuned in. It flows nicely from song to song and embraces varying styles and influences along the way. I’m particularly keen on the ‘traditional middle-eastern’ section about 9mins into ‘Mladic’. Perhaps more comfortable to listen to digitally rather than on record, but the hands-on experience is all part of the enjoyment. Overall it’s a wonderfully, compelling listen I highly recommend for anyone new or already familiar with Godspeed.
The Chariot - One WingOUCH. This hits like a speeding train into a bricked up tunnel. I rather like that. In fact, I really like that. And it keeps going like some kind of uncontrollable juggernaut   until ‘Speak’ which is like a butterfly emerging from it’s chrysalis amidst a shit-storm. To put it simply and probably too poetically. Basically this is really lively and Josh’s vocals hark back to my late-teen love of Norma Jean and Johnny Truant, which is just super *Insert look of nostalgic bliss here*
Deftones - Koi No YokanThese guys seem to have a solid sound that is quintessentially Deftones, and Deftones alone. This album doesn’t break that mould, but it does weave their softer/lighter side into many of the songs but not forgetting that classic beefiness. Starting with the punch of ‘Swerve City’, ‘Romantic Dreams’ and ‘Leathers’ the rest of the record takes a medium level of oomph with select chunky accents, but every song has a solid impact. This is one of those records that you really pay attention to all the way through, even if you’re busy doing something else at the time. Perhaps not an essential purchase of the year, particularly if you own most of Deftones discography already, but definitely make the effort to check it out and grab a copy if you feel so inclined. I’m just waiting for some news on a vinyl release of this and I’ll be all over it like a wet flannel.

Honourable mentions go to

Torche  - Harmonoslaught (Amnesian Records)This is just immense. Return to the post-Harmonicraft skull crushing sludgy metal. If Harmonicraft left you feeling confused, get on this, you wont regret it!Notable Tracks: Harmonoslaught
Loma Prieta - I.V (Deathwish Inc)Shouty, fast & energetic. Packs a punch in a step up in heaviness from Touche Amore and in a similar vein to Birds In Row kind of way. Notable Tracks: Fly By Night, Trilogy 6 “Forgetting”
Old Man Gloom - NO (Hydra Head Records)Good, very good, but it’s just not Christmas (for me). Bought a copy of it the other day though, must admit it’s sitting with me very differently on vinyl… in a good way.Notable Tracks: To Carry The Flame, Rats
Torch Runner - Committed To The Ground (To Live A Lie Records)Picked up on a whim because the artwork was nice and All Ages Records had it marked up as ‘FFO: Trap Them & Cursed’, which is right.Notable Tracks: 
Torche - Harmonicraft (Volcom Entertainment)VERY different to all their previous releases. Much more on the ‘poppy’ side of things, but a nice break from the usual. Harmonicraft is also one of the best album tracks of the year for me! Notable tracks: Harmonicraft, Snakes Are Charmed, Kicking & Sky Trials
Hang The Bastard - ’s/t’ EP (Thirty Days Of Night Records)Again, a ‘forgetter’, but every time it does hit the turntable it blows my mind. Makes you want to listen to nothing but Black Sabbath and head bang for the rest of the day.Notable tracks: Interplanetary Portals, Lesser Gods & The Year Is One.
Whips/Chains - ‘Master/Slave’ (Deathwish Inc)Not played this one as much as I probably should have. Solid, but maybe a little samey throughout.Notable Tracks: Secular Front 
Pariso - ‘Everything Is Nothing After’ (Tangled Talk Records)Solid British release. Again, not listened to enough, but packs some punch and mixes things up a bit.Notable Tracks:
Amenra - ‘Mass V’ (Neurot Recordings)I’m reasonably new to these guys, so I can’t draw any comparisons here, but it sounds damn good.Notable Tracks:
Swans - ‘The Seer’ (Young God Records)Unfortunately I only really enjoy about 3 1/2 tracks on this record which has prevented me from being able to fully appreciate it. But the ones I do like, I REALLY like. Try it out.Notable tracks: Lunacy, Avatar, The Seer Returns & Mother Of The World.

A spew of personal opinions
and recommendations

  1. Ceremony - Zoo
  2. Baroness - Yellow & Green
  3. Converge - All We Love We Leave Behind
  4. Gaza - No Absolutes In Human Suffering
  5. Annal Narthrakh - Vanitas
  6. Code Orange Kids -Life Is Love//Return To Dust
  7. Narrows - Painted
  8. Rise & Fall - Faith
  9. The Secret - Agnus Dei
  10. Birds In Row - You, Me & The Violence
  11. Black Breath - Sentenced To Life
  12. Neurosis - Honor Found In Decay
  13. Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
  14. The Chariot - One Wing
  15. Deftones - Koi No Yokan

Not the most colourful array of records, but don’t let that fool you.
Click ‘Read more’ for some brief write ups & a list of honourable mentions.

REVIEWS

  1. Ceremony - Zoo

    The biggest change in sound on my list, if not the whole year. This record seems to be a love it or hate it deal from the looks of things. Personally, I love it as I’m partial to the odd bit of post punk and I feel it really reflects the band’s musical influences and personal tastes. I’ll admit this fully- this was my most anticipated album of the year and I definitely have not been disappointed. However, as far as recommendations go, this is Marmite. You’ll either love it or hate it.


  2. Baroness - Yellow & Green

    I read a review of this just before NPR put the whole record up for streaming- the gist was ‘This is their best work yet. Thought Blue Record was good? This is even better. But there’s something really confusing about it’ Essentially I was also left confused and potentially worried (particularly as I was a bigger fan of their earlier, beefier stuff) and I felt exactly the same after the first listen. This is definitely one that will grow on you, and I feel you have to be in the right frame of mind to absorb it properly. That aside, it’s a fantastic double epic that takes Baroness not only on a natural transition from Blue Record, but to a whole new plane of existence. Not for the faint hearted, this double record will make you feel like you’ve been on a musical hike.


  3. Converge - All We Love We Leave Behind

    ERMAHGERD CERNEVERGE! Awesome, downright fantastic, corker of a record, BUT hit my exact level of expectation. Not that I’m saying it’s not good or to shit on anyone else’s opinions, but the sheer amount of ‘OMG, this is their best record yet!’ and similar statements seem to have over-hyped it for me. OTHER THAN THAT, it’s a really top-notch record that brings out the typical-contemporary and well loved Converge sound, but also opens the door to something a bit different. It brings elements of all their previous records into something most certainly new. Really liking the direction Jake’s vocals are heading in and the fair share of serious riffage going on.


  4. Gaza - No Absolutes In Human Suffering

    UNF. Basically. I thought ‘He Is Never Coming Back’ was brilliant, but these guys have surpassed themselves on this one. To the point I don’t actually know what to say about it other than ‘HOLY SHIT, THIS IS GOOD, GO AND BUY IT’ It’s just a raw, driving force of good heavy noise, yet almost dreamlike in it’s progression. Then it just melts your face off. This record will punch you in the face, kick you in the gut, grab you by the nuts, and you’ll still want to put it on again and again.


  5. Anaal Narthrakh - Vanitas

    I’m fairly new to the Nathrakh, but once I’ve got over how much of a ripper this record is I’ll be making a more positive effort to spare some time to more of their previous stuff. From the outset this is a monumental record. It’s well rounded, and feels truly satisfying to listen to every time. I’d be intrigued to see how they convey the sheer amount of power in these songs live, but I guess that’s not really the question here. For a black metal/industrial band they’ve got a set of really quite catchy songs here, on several occasions I’ve found myself humming ‘Forging Towards The Sunset’ both at home and in public. Definitely recommend you go out, spend some money on this, and thoroughly enjoy it.


  6. Code Orange Kids - Love Is Love//Return To Dust

    Raw, crashing waves of exactly what the hardcore music scene needs right now. Everything sounds filthy, and I like it. From the moment I heard it I liked it. These guys have really come on in leaps and bounds since their EP and split releases, and even they were pretty ground breaking. I know this is only their first full length, but I’m really looking forward to hearing where they take things from here. With a couple of very calming tracks, Converge/Ruiner-esque vibes in places and Reba’s screams, there really is a multi-layered texture to the music. I realise that doesn’t make much sense, but it’s my best description of it. GET ON THIS BAND NOW IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY, OR YOU WILL REGRET IT.


  7. Narrows - Painted

    A weird kind of ‘forgetter’ of a record, but it’s insanely good! It’s a definite improvement and progression from New Distances, just proving that this band are going to get even better over time. I think this record is pretty underrated, and bar the initial hype before it’s release I’ve seen little mention of it since then. It may be one that takes a few listens to get into in some cases, but I think you really need to get on this band if you haven’t already, and this album is a damn good stating point. Punchy, lively, makes for a perfect driving soundtrack and really evokes the urge to mosh… anywhere.


  8. Rise And Fall - Faith

    Beefy outset continues into thick, muddy, riff-laden territory that screams Rise & Fall. Fits in perfectly with their previous records yet expresses some definite progression. Again, another one that seemed to fade into the ether after it’s initial release, but one people will probably be kicking themselves over for moving on from too quickly. If this doesn’t make you want to put on their entire back catalogue for the whole day, I don’t know what will. Also has some great artwork from Jacob Bannon… and I must admit I fell for all the element variations… oops.


  9. The Secret - Agnus Dei

    If you look up the word ‘powerful’ in the dictionary, it should have ‘The Secret’ as one of it’s references. That’s probably the best word I can use to describe this record, and The Secret in general. It’s fast, dark, heavy, thrashy music for listening to whilst head-banging. Yep, definitely a head-banging record. If you missed out on Solve Et Coagula, Agnus Dei is just as easy to fall head over heels for. More of a continuation from than a development, but get on this quick, Southern Lord really don’t put out dud records.


  10. Birds In Row - You Me & The Violence

    Initially I didn’t greet this record with the same amount of hype as everyone else appeared to. It didn’t excite me much at all and failed to live up to their earlier EP work. Then it suddenly kind of hit me. I’m still fully digesting it, but it’s got some serious kick to it with really lively, energetic overtones and great vocals. Maybe best described as ‘more of the same’ but if you haven’t checked out these guys yet then do so, sharpish.


  11. Black Breath - Sentenced To Life

    The characteristic hardcore riffs and vocals of Heavy Breathing are less frequent on this record in favour of a more metal/crust tilt, but all-in-all it sounds much more like something you’d expect from Southern Lord. Not to say that it’s any kind of ‘standard’ at all though. They still maintain a hardcore rush and vibe, perhaps more in a Trap Them vein than Cruel Hand. Definite progression from Heavy Breathing, but could be considered a little less adventurous. If you like crust being crust & hardcore being hardcore, then start with this record before trying out the former.


  12. Neurosis - Honor Found In Decay

    Standard Neurosis. Don’t misconstrue that as ‘it’s no good’, because there is nothing standard about Neurosis. All the songs have good continuity, despite a couple taking a while to get up to speed. Certain parts of my favourite tracks sound somewhat familiar, whether they’re similar to something else I’ve heard or they’re so comfortably set within Neurosis’ sound I’m not sure. BASICALLY, if you like Neurosis, you’ll like this. If you’ve never heard Neurosis before, I’d recommend you start here. Or with Times Of Grace.


  13. Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!

    I’ve always been hesitant to listen to GSY!BE until recently, but this struck a chord with me on first listen. It’s got a solid pace and plenty of different segments to keep you interested and tuned in. It flows nicely from song to song and embraces varying styles and influences along the way. I’m particularly keen on the ‘traditional middle-eastern’ section about 9mins into ‘Mladic’. Perhaps more comfortable to listen to digitally rather than on record, but the hands-on experience is all part of the enjoyment. Overall it’s a wonderfully, compelling listen I highly recommend for anyone new or already familiar with Godspeed.


  14. The Chariot - One Wing

    OUCH. This hits like a speeding train into a bricked up tunnel. I rather like that. In fact, I really like that. And it keeps going like some kind of uncontrollable juggernaut   until ‘Speak’ which is like a butterfly emerging from it’s chrysalis amidst a shit-storm. To put it simply and probably too poetically. Basically this is really lively and Josh’s vocals hark back to my late-teen love of Norma Jean and Johnny Truant, which is just super *Insert look of nostalgic bliss here*


  15. Deftones - Koi No Yokan

    These guys seem to have a solid sound that is quintessentially Deftones, and Deftones alone. This album doesn’t break that mould, but it does weave their softer/lighter side into many of the songs but not forgetting that classic beefiness. Starting with the punch of ‘Swerve City’, ‘Romantic Dreams’ and ‘Leathers’ the rest of the record takes a medium level of oomph with select chunky accents, but every song has a solid impact. This is one of those records that you really pay attention to all the way through, even if you’re busy doing something else at the time. Perhaps not an essential purchase of the year, particularly if you own most of Deftones discography already, but definitely make the effort to check it out and grab a copy if you feel so inclined. I’m just waiting for some news on a vinyl release of this and I’ll be all over it like a wet flannel.

Honourable mentions go to

  • Torche  - Harmonoslaught (Amnesian Records)
    This is just immense. Return to the post-Harmonicraft skull crushing sludgy metal. If Harmonicraft left you feeling confused, get on this, you wont regret it!
    Notable Tracks: Harmonoslaught

  • Loma Prieta - I.V (Deathwish Inc)
    Shouty, fast & energetic. Packs a punch in a step up in heaviness from Touche Amore and in a similar vein to Birds In Row kind of way.
    Notable Tracks: Fly By Night, Trilogy 6 “Forgetting”
  • Old Man Gloom - NO (Hydra Head Records)
    Good, very good, but it’s just not Christmas (for me). Bought a copy of it the other day though, must admit it’s sitting with me very differently on vinyl… in a good way.
    Notable Tracks: To Carry The Flame, Rats

  • Torch Runner - Committed To The Ground (To Live A Lie Records)
    Picked up on a whim because the artwork was nice and All Ages Records had it marked up as ‘FFO: Trap Them & Cursed’, which is right.
    Notable Tracks:
  • Torche - Harmonicraft (Volcom Entertainment)
    VERY different to all their previous releases. Much more on the ‘poppy’ side of things, but a nice break from the usual. Harmonicraft is also one of the best album tracks of the year for me!
    Notable tracks:
    Harmonicraft, Snakes Are Charmed, Kicking & Sky Trials

  • Hang The Bastard - ’s/t’ EP (Thirty Days Of Night Records)
    Again, a ‘forgetter’, but every time it does hit the turntable it blows my mind. Makes you want to listen to nothing but Black Sabbath and head bang for the rest of the day.
    Notable tracks: Interplanetary Portals, Lesser Gods & The Year Is One.

  • Whips/Chains - ‘Master/Slave’ (Deathwish Inc)
    Not played this one as much as I probably should have. Solid, but maybe a little samey throughout.
    Notable Tracks: Secular Front
     
  • Pariso - ‘Everything Is Nothing After’ (Tangled Talk Records)
    Solid British release. Again, not listened to enough, but packs some punch and mixes things up a bit.
    Notable Tracks:
  • Amenra - ‘Mass V’ (Neurot Recordings)
    I’m reasonably new to these guys, so I can’t draw any comparisons here, but it sounds damn good.
    Notable Tracks:

  • Swans - ‘The Seer’ (Young God Records)
    Unfortunately I only really enjoy about 3 1/2 tracks on this record which has prevented me from being able to fully appreciate it. But the ones I do like, I REALLY like. Try it out.
    Notable tracks: Lunacy, Avatar, The Seer Returns & Mother Of The World.
  1. oohdreii reblogged this from petite-zentropiste
  2. airhead92 reblogged this from top-five-records and added:
    This is a fantastic list.
  3. apocalyptan reblogged this from convergecult and added:
    love everything on here i’ve listened to (Converge, Birds in Row, Neurosis [alright just liked that didn’t love it but i...
  4. agarinaandhernotes reblogged this from top-five-records
  5. mrbeast1988 reblogged this from convergecult
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  7. alvaleon reblogged this from top-five-records
  8. cpoetter reblogged this from top-five-records and added:
    Wer seine Musik laut und böse mag, kann sich ja mal mit dieser Liste beschäftigen. Ich habe acht Alben dieser Liste in...
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  12. xnoogzx reblogged this from convergecult and added:
    Might check out a few on this list
  13. theanima reblogged this from convergecult