Metalmance Top 20 Albums of 2017

Our hottest albums of 2017…beware…there’s a turkey in there…

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No. 20  THE ROYAL – Seven

The Royal

Metalmance have mentioned THE ROYAL a lot this year, and once again they feature in one of our posts. This time they kick off our Top 20 albums of the year list! In a scene which is becoming overwhelmingly full with bland groups and so-so tech, these Dutchman are slowly but surely gaining a reputation for themselves as a talented and promising metal act. Seven sees THE ROYAL gain confidence and the nurturing of a signature sound. Once the band finally have a firm footing in the metal world, who knows how high they could climb?

“A seriously blinding effort, Seven will hopefully propel THE ROYAL to the forefront of the burgeoning scene.”

The Royal – Seven

 

No. 19  EMPLOYED TO SERVE – The Warmth of a Dying Sun

Employed to Serve

One of 2017’s breakthrough bands, Britain’s own EMPLOYED TO SERVE rightly deserve all the attention they’ve been receiving this year. Their sophomore release The Warmth of a Dying Sun is proof they are worthy of your time. With a gloriously sludgy, nu-metal-ish, heavy hardcore energy, they throw together old and new influences into a melting pot of riffy joy. If new kids CODE ORANGE and OATHBREAKER were bred with old daddies WILL HAVEN and BOTCH, then you will more than likely achieve the perfection of EMPLOYED TO SERVE. These are the new masters of British forward-thinking metal.

 

No. 18  NORDIC GIANTS – Amplify Human Vibration

Nordic Giants

Since Metalmance first discovered the intriguing and mysterious NORDIC GIANTS last year, we’ve been utterly in love. You can’t treat Amplify Human Vibration as a continuation of A Séance of Dark Delusions however, no, no, it is a much deeper and a more thought-provoking affair than that. Predominantly using spoken word samples to accompany the duo’s stunning soundscapes, Amplify Human Vibration is about re-awakening the human spirit, to realise our true potential as a power together on this planet. The songs do summon some kind of deep inner-awareness, a feat which not all of NORDIC GIANTS’ peers and contemporaries would be able to accomplish.

“Their last album released in 2015 A Séance of Dark Delusions is a truly spellbinding record, with each listen exposing something missed before.”

Weekly Roundup #9

 

No. 17  VIPASSI – Sunyata

Vipassi

This instrumental effort from the progressive metal supergroup VIPASSI unfortunately seems to have slipped under the carpet a bit this year. Hopefully this could mean Sunyata could become a sleeper hit in the prog metal world. A sprawling mass of complex rhythms, heavenly bass and stunning soundscapes, VIPPASSI have created a blackened beast of complexity. All tracks seem to merge into one, allowing the listener to be transported to a progressive paradise. More please.

“With only seven tracks, Sunyata feels a bit like a tease, a bit like a punishing starter before a main course. Go on, indulge.”

Weekly Roundup #18

 

No. 16  CODE ORANGE – Forever

Code Orange

This year has certainly been the year of CODE ORANGE. At the end of 2016 they were threatening the world with something special, then in January they dropped Forever, and the rest is history. Dark, disturbing, modern and unpredictable – their energy is infectious. Their arrogant swagger in the scene make them an unstoppable and untouchable force. In our Weekly Roundup #8, Metalmance said they were a band to watch. We weren’t wrong. Will you join forces with them? Or be part of the wreckage they’ll leave behind?

“If the band are able to maintain this rawness then the future of hardcore is bright, the future is CODE ORANGE.”

Weekly Roundup #8

 

No. 15  LEPROUS – Malina

Leprous

Back in 2016, Metalmance hailed the Norwegian progsters as a band to watch, and rolling off the back of 2015’s The Congregation and this year’s Malina, the band have been growing from strength to strength. Malina sees the band stretching the term ‘progressive metal’, with their stupidly catchy and melodic songs, the band seem to be veering towards a lighter approach. They have always been good songwriters but with Malina, LEPROUS finally seem to have hit the nail on the head. One of our qualms with The Congregation was the songs didn’t know really when to get going or where to end, but Malina is far more of an enjoyable and rewarding listen.

“There’s no denying LEPROUS add their own twist to proceedings and really push themselves to the front of the melodic metal pack.”

Weekly Roundup #3

 

No. 14  NORTHLANE – Mesmer

Northlane

Remember earlier in the year when NORTHLANE shouted ‘SURPRISE!!!’ and dropped Mesmer with no warning? Well it certainly paid off as it got people talking. And for good reason! Mesmer is easily the most focused and accomplished work by NORTHLANE to date. Savage, yet emotionally heavy, the feels the listener experiences during the Mesmer sonic experience is plenty. Each member has improved as a serious musician and the sound created is a mature one, with oodles of depth. Heart-felt songs which still drop hard, NORTHLANE seemed to have mastered the knack of combining emotion and heaviness.

 

No. 13  ENTHEOS – Dark Future

Entheos

A bit more of a progressive affair than previous album The Infinite Nothing, ENTHEOS are definitely gaining momentum as their own entity rather than some sort of supergroup (with ex members of ANIMALS AS LEADERS and THE FACELESS). Vocalist Chaney Crabb once again proves she is a force to reckon with because of her impressive performance and aggression. Hopefully in 2018 Chaney will gain more recognition as one of extreme metal’s finest vocalists. Dark Future isn’t an album you can absorb and process in one listen, its complex design and dynamics each come into their own individually after numerous listens. This is one album we will still be exploring into the new year.

 

No. 12  IGORRR – Savage Sinusoid

Igorrr

You either love this intriguing French group, or they leave you thinking what on earth??? Metalmance is the former and we witnessed them live at Tech Fest and were very glad to find this eclectic troupe were just as weird and as intense live as they are on record. One of the amazing aspects of the band and the album is the ‘samples’, each individual part is played and recorded which gives Savage Sinusoid an impressive depth. Full of heavy, yet charming tracks, the classical vocals sit surprisingly well among the more, er, primal screaming. And if we ran an award for best album opener of the year, we’d sure as hell choose Viande.

 

No. 11  GHOST IRIS – Blind World

Ghost Iris

As soon as these techy Danes released their catchy single Save Yourself back in February, Metalmance have been hooked. They released Blind World a week later and it is still on heavy rotation even now in December. A more focused effort than their previous releases, they seem to have their fingers well on the pulse of European tech metal. The album boasts tracks which are upbeat, heavy, melodic, yet deceivingly complex. GHOST IRIS really seem to have finally found their sound, and it’s a winning formula. Each song is a standout track, making Blind World an album you can happily listen to all the way through and return to again and again. Trust us, you won’t get bored.

“An album which keeps you on your toes yet constantly brings the fun, Blind World is sure to launch GHOST IRIS into the tech metal stratosphere.”

Weekly Roundup #19

 

No. 10  MUTATION – Dark Black

Mutation

In a time of super slick production and programming overload, it’s refreshing to hear something with a bit more of a raw approach (oo-er!) in the form of MUTATION’s Dark Black. With an organic and nostalgic feel, Dark Black has been one of 2017’s surprises. A thoroughly enjoyable and chaotic listen, you can read more about the band and the making of the album (which also features the one and only, DEVIN TOWNSEND) in our recent interview with Scott Lee Andrews from MUTATION.

“Both of us wanted to one-up each other in terms of how far/fucked up to go, and neither of us said ‘That’s too far’.” – Scott Lee Andrews

Q&A with Mutation

 

No. 9  CALIGULA’S HORSE – In Contact

Caligula's Horse

You may remember we featured CALIGULA’S HORSE in our Prog Down Under feature last year (which reminds us, we never did finish a second part) and 2017 saw these Aussie chaps release the breath-taking In Contact. From the stunning opener Dream the Dead to the sax-fuelled epic Graves, this is without a doubt CALIGULA’S HORSE finest work to date. Heavier than anticipated, In Contact also charms with the delicate compositions and expertly executed flourishes. Jim Grey once again impresses with his distinct voice and lyrical magic. Expect big things in 2018.

“No two songs sound the same, with CALIGULA’S HORSE mixing up the styles; a hint of folk here, a little indie there, but it’s all wrapped up in their own brand of infectious melodic prog.”

Prog Down Under Part 1

 

No. 8  ALLUVIAL – The Deep Longing for Annihilation

Alluvial

At the very beginning of 2017, we were spoilt immediately with the release of The Deep Longing for Annihilation, the instrumental masterpiece by metal greats, Keith Merrow and Wes Hauch. If you remember BLACK CROWN INITIATE were our album of the year last year, then you can understand why we were thrilled to begin our year with ALLUVIAL. Dark and brooding, the album hones both Merrow and Hauch’s signature styles, so much so they raised the bar so high for other instrumental albums this year.

“Imagine BLACK CROWN INITIATE, DECAPITATED and GOJIRA all rolled into one. This album is proof progressive metal does not necessarily need vocals to make it heavier.”

Weekly Roundup #14

 

No. 7  LOATHE – The Cold Sun

Loathe

One of the darker albums featured on our list this year – The Cold Sun has the same atmosphere as its namesake. A deep, stunning, yet unpredictable slab of British tech metal, this album is proof of why you should be paying attention to LOATHE. Astonishingly heavy, yet fiendishly melodic in places, they throw all sorts of extreme elements into the pot; the blackened influences, the instrumentals and the electronic/orchestral parts all pay off massively. Each listen unveils new layers you were unaware of before, and that demonstrates a maturity and love for the craft which will hopefully keep them ahead of the pack.

 

No. 6  EMMURE – Look At Yourself

Emmure

Look At Yourself indeed. Who would have known you would become an EMMURE fan in 2017? Metalmance in all honesty never really gave EMMURE the time of day, but after the announcement that members of GLASS CLOUD and TONY DANZA TAPDANCE EXTRAVAGANZA were joining the ranks, curiosity got the better of us and we’re very glad it did! Look At Yourself is the aural equivalent of ejecting bile and defecating over your enemies. The album is one of the heaviest featured on our list this year. If we gave an award for heaviest track of the year, then Natural Born Killer would win hands down.

 

No. 5  WITHOUT WAVES – Lunar

Without Waves

Earlier in the year, Metalmance labelled WITHOUT WAVES as a band to watch and once their album Lunar was released, we stood by our decision. Listening back to it now, the diversity and variety of genres the band squeeze into their song writing is still mind-blowing; progressive metal, grunge elements, some post-rock tinkles, lots of nostalgic sounds in the same vein as CAVE IN and Say Hello To Sunshine-era FINCH. Yet, somehow WITHOUT WAVES stamp all over these styles with their own sound. How these chaps haven’t blown up in the scene yet is one of 2017’s greatest musical mysteries.

“Anthony Cwan’s vocals really come to light here, his mesmerising voice runs the risk of being contemporary metal’s most alluring warble.”

Weekly Roundup #17

 

No. 4  DEATH FROM ABOVE – Outrage! Is Now

Death From Above

Metalmance are so, so happy DEATH FROM ABOVE are back on top form as we were massive fans of 2004’s You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine, but Outrage! Is Now has completely surpassed all expectations. The Canadian duo deliciously create bass and drum fuelled rock, yet the music they produce is heavy in its own way. Addictive, with a punk energy, Outrage! boasts an impressive array of irresistible riffs, beats and croons. DEATH FROM ABOVE have always had a mainstream sound, sounding a bit like JACK WHITE and MUSE here and there, but with Outrage! the band sound like they are confident in themselves and finally ready to take over the world.

 

No. 3  THE RASMUS – Dark Matters

The Rasmus

You’re probably disgusted by our choice for the no. 3 spot, but bear with us. We all have that one band who were our gateway into rock and metal, it just so happens our feathery friends THE RASMUS were ours. Dark Matters manages to achieve a similar atmosphere to 2004’s Dead Letters, and we can’t help but feel all warm and fuzzy and nostalgic. It’s a much poppier affair than their more recent releases, but we would be lying to ourselves if we didn’t admit it’s one of our favourites this year. Still full of catchy choruses and a healthy dollop of European cheese, we almost feel compelled to dig out our old wristbands, beanies and crow feathers, but we’re respectable adults now so we’ve managed to refrain…ahem…

 

No. 2  EIGHTEEN VISIONS – XVIII

XVIII

The biggest surprise of the year was the news that our metalcore heroes EIGHTEEN VISIONS had reformed AND were releasing a new album after ten years apart. We thought our 2017 couldn’t get any better than that…until we heard the actual album that is. It was everything old school EIGHTEEN VISIONS fans could ever dream of. Harking back to their glory days, XVIII is an incredible gift to the metal community and tribute to the late Mick Morris who played bass in their heyday. They’ve borrowed elements from their most popular albums; Until The Ink Runs Out, Vanity and Obsession, and have created a fresh new sound with subtle nostalgia. We hope they’re back for good.

“…there’s no doubt about it, EIGHTEEN VISIONS are back and ready to rejuvenate the metalcore scene again. Welcome back chaps.”

Eighteen Visions – XVIII

 

No. 1  DYSCARNATE – With All Their Might

Dyscarnate

We threatened back in August that With All Their Might could end up being our album of the year – and it bloody well is! No other album this year has been better in our eyes. An absolute corker of a beast, DYSCARNATE are a stupidly talented trio who know how to the bring the groove and the brutality. We don’t think we’ve heard any riffs this year which top what can be heard on With All Their Might. This album has WINNER stamped all over it and we seriously cannot wait to hear the songs live. Congratulations DYSCARNATE!

“If With All Their Might doesn’t cement DYSCARNATE as Britain’s heavyweight heroes then we might just have to crack our skulls in disgust. With their no-nonsense attitude, DYSCARNATE will have you gagging to join their ranks.”

Dyscarnate – With All Their Might

Eighteen Visions – XVIII

Label: Rise Records. Release Date: 2 June 2017.

XVIII might just take the crown for most unexpected 2017 release. Last year Metalmance raved about EIGHTEEN VISIONS’ back catalogue in Weekly Roundup #6, and stated it would be very unlikely there would be a reunion in the near future. Well, 10 years on from their breakup, EIGHTEEN VISIONS sneakily reformed and recorded a new album with the help of ANAAL NATHRAKH’s Mick Kenney (who also produces ex-EIGHTEEN VISIONS and BLEEDING THROUGH member Brandan Schieppatti’s solo project THE IRON SON.) and it’s fair to say it’s a return to their roots. Everything, from their logo to shots of bees and mannequins in their promotional materials, all hark back to their first major release Until The Ink Runs Out in 2000. XVIII feels like a homage to their past selves and their late bassist Mick Morris, as it meanders through familiar territory (i.e the use of film samples which has not been practised since Vanity in 2002), but in true EIGHTEEN VISIONS fashion, it sounds nothing like anything they have written before. Each album shifts massively from style to style and this new release is no different.

Blasting in with Crucified, EIGHTEEN VISIONS are shaking off any false impressions from their last self-titled album, an album which saw the band being branded as sell-outs. This storming intro, with its ferocious drumming and blackened riffs, immediately makes the point that EIGHTEEN VISIONS are heavier than ever and are back to show the scene how it’s done. The lyrics themselves could be interpreted in many ways; “Still crucified. I’ve never been consumed. Never conformed like you.” Could this be the band’s response to comments about their last album? How they’ve always done what the hell they’ve wanted despite what fans and the scene say?

The Disease, The Decline, and Wasted Time is quite a groovy fair, with James Hart’s distinct screams tearing through the track. The chorus is not too dissimilar to something you would hear on their self-titled, infectiously catchy yet backed up with heavy accompaniment. They always had killer breakdowns (Tower of Snakes anyone?) but the breakdown in this track is something else. Guitarist Keith Barney has seriously concocted a batch of tasty riffs for this album and has plunged the band into another level of heaviness. This formula continues for the third track Underneath The Gun, with the vocal melody in the middle eight and the end sounding reminiscent of the self-titled track off Vanity. Heavy. There’s that word again, heavy…

A tribute to Mick Morris comes in the form of the intense track Live Again. An unapologetically heavy single, it features more top notch riffs but also some of the album’s most carefully considered lyrics; “Stay inside me. We’ll never forget the days. We made the most of our memories.” The song descends into a powerful rock chorus but never strays far from the brutal foundations of the composition. A fitting, and heartfelt tribute to Morris’ legacy indeed.

Hart’s rock vocals raise their head again in Laid to Waste in the Shit of Man but erupt back into their raw state for the punishing Oath. Many have interpreted this song to be the band’s loyalty to the straight edge, but it could represent many things. A likely interpretation is staying true to music and family, it follows the same attitude as You Don’t Have to be Blood to be Family-era THROWDOWN. The gritty instrumentation is a mish-mash of all their previous albums, it sounds like Until the Ink Runs Out, Vanity and Obsession all rolled into one. Ladies and gentlemen, this is EIGHTEEN VISIONS.

Spit and Picture Perfect are further examples of filthy tunes with oodles of groove and distortion. If their self-titled album was geared towards an 80’s vibe then XVIII definitely veers towards a 90’s ALICE IN CHAINS edge in places. Fake Leather Jacket could easily fit on 2004’s Obsession, with its groovy riff reminiscent to Crushed and its crushing chorus. The lyrics are also quite curious; “Said youʼd make me famous. The year of the “v.” But youʼre just so epic full of shit.” Could this be directed to Epic Records who let them down with promoting their self-titled? This track is full suggestive comments but once again in true 18V fashion it could be interpreted in many different ways.

Each EIGHTEEN VISIONS’ album has an absolutely spellbinding track and XVIII is no different. A solid album and one which has exceeded all expectations, this record needed a statement finale. With For This I Sacrifice they have achieved this, a track dripping with passion and feeling, it is one of the heaviest love songs you’ll hear all year. It also demonstrates just how far Hart’s vocals have come since the introduction of cleans on Vanity. A spine tingling ending for one of their best albums to date, there’s no doubt about it, EIGHTEEN VISIONS are back and ready to rejuvenate the metalcore scene again. Welcome back chaps.

 

Weekly Roundup #17

Progressive, hardcore and hard rock galore.

Band to watch: WITHOUT WAVES. On March 17th, this experimental group from Chicago will be releasing their album Lunar through Prosthetic Records, and judging by the two tracks unleashed already, this is one release not to be missed! Sewing Together the Limbs shows the heavier, more progressive side of the band in the same vein as TEXTURES. With chaotic verses and a LAMB OF GOD style groove, it is a treat of a taster for the new album. The clean vocals almost have a grunge feel to them before they relapse to crazy screams. WITHOUT WAVES seek to incorporate a variety of music genres from extreme metal to jazz fusion and by the sounds of it, everything in between. New track Never Know Quite Why is the opposite of Sewing Together The Limbs, a more chilled out vibe but still well thought out. Anthony Cwan’s vocals really come to light here, his mesmerising voice runs the risk of being contemporary metal’s most alluring warble. If these two tracks reflect the diversity of the album then WITHOUT WAVES may be something special.

 

Video to watch: PALM READER. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing PALM READER live, then you’ll what a gloriously intense live band they are. With new video for Always Darkest, the band are displayed in all of their energetic punk glory. Tonight they embark on a UK headline tour and this video is a good indication of what potential punters could expect. The use of strobes in the video also adds to the visual chaos, something which should be reflected in their real life performance to great effect. It’s rare to find a music video which matches the intensity of a band’s live show but somehow PALM READER have achieved this. Make sure you catch them on tour now to see for yourself.

 

In the stereo: EIGHTEEN VISIONS. Last night the metalcore and hardcore world was sent into a frenzy by a simple picture uploaded on Instagram by a certain EIGHTEEN VISIONS. You might remember Metalmance included them in our sixth weekly roundup as ‘band to rediscover’. You might also remember we said that the band were most unlikely to reform, in the near future at least. Well, we were wrong. But so joyously wrong. The band are teasing fans with a new release in the works and it’s safe to say 18V fans are very, very excited. By the looks of things at moment it seems to be James Hart, Keith Barney and Trevor Friedrich in tow at the moment, but it’s safe to say we’ll be keeping a very close eye on what the band will get up to. To celebrate their reunion we’ve been rocking their back catalogue today; from Until The Ink Runs Out to their self-titled. Every release was different to the last, making this new album a complete mystery. Will they sound hardcore like their Vanity era? Or will they be hard rock like their self-titled? Or a new direction altogether? We shall wait and see.

Weekly Roundup #6

 

Band to rediscover: THROWDOWN. With the news of the EIGHTEEN VISIONS reunion, we can’t help but look back on the other Orange County bands of the same ilk. One notable band is THROWDOWN, although the band haven’t split up they have been incredibly quiet for a few years. THROWDOWN and EIGHTEEN VISIONS always seemed to be swapping members in the past (Vocalist Dave Peters used to play guitar for EIGHTEEN VISIONS and Keith Barney used to front THROWDOWN but then played guitar for 18V) but the former were always on the more hardcore side of things. Both bands were straight edge but THROWDOWN perhaps more openly with the lyrical content of some of their songs (i.e The Edge is Strong from the 2001 album You Don’t Have to be Blood to be Family) and further on their career they went down the PANTERA route with big riffs but they never lost their hardcore intensity, something which fans were grateful for. Fourth album Vendetta, released in 2005 is arguably the band’s breakthrough album. It saw them shift from primarily hardcore to a more metal stance, with lead single Burn demonstrating THROWDOWN’s ability to mix heavy yet catchy riffs with a raw attitude.

Weekly Roundup #6

Melodic, metal and prog all in one blog.

Band to watch: DISTORTED HARMONY. Recently wowing crowds at this year’s ProgPower Europe, this melodic prog band from Tel Aviv already have two mesmerising albums under their belts. 2014’s album Chain Reaction is a delicious melodic package of progressive metal goodness. Their songs shimmer with spine-tingling piano as well as chord progressions which will make your heart soar. Thought provoking lyrics as well as emotional themes are the orders of the day with opener Every Time She Smiles being a firm fan favourite. Its tone and melody seem strangely nostalgic with flashbacks to bands you might have listened to a decade ago e.g. FINCH and STATISTICS but the remainder of the album takes many twists and turns it is hard to predict where the band will venture next. The single, Natural Selection storms in with a spectacularly fast proggy intro, a bit like a quicker THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT with politically charged lyrical content, but what always astounds listeners is the sheer talent of all the band members especially keyboardist Yoav Efron who also writes the majority of the songs. Vocalist Misha Soukhinin has an impressive range and such a smooth timbre to his voice you will fall under DISTORTED HARMONY’s spell in a second. Closer, Methylene Blue can only be described as the soundtrack to when you’re waking up from a dream. You may have to pinch yourself to confirm DISTORTED HARMONY are real, but trust me, they are worth the pinch.

 

Video to watch: ISSUES. This week, this American heavy pop band released quite a powerful video for their track Blue Wall. Aimed at protesting against police brutality it has become quite a talking point amongst fans. At the beginning of their video the band state the song is about “taking responsibility and making peace”. They are setting out to “tear down the blue wall which silences the good cops and empowers the bad”. They want to encourage listeners to reform their relationship with the American police. The video features ferocious live footage of the band and a running narrative of the theme, but what is so good about this release is the fact the accompanying song is the band’s heaviest on their second album Headspace. The rap and screams blasts their point across, yet also keeps older fans pleased as it is a return to a style similar to their self-titled album. ISSUES are still proving to be an exciting band that is sure to hit the mainstream soon with their catchy as hell songs, but Blue Wall shows the band still have a lot to say. Make sure you hear them loud and clear.

 

Still in the stereo: CANE HILL. This aggressive troupe from New Orleans, LA released their debut album Smile back in July and it’s safe to say it completely blew nu metal fans away. It still packs a brutal punch, devouring your favourite American aggressive bands and excreting them out into their own brand of ear-bashing, ferocious metal. Their sound harks back to the glory days of the best bands of the nu metal i.e. KORN and the straight up metal days similar to early SLIPKNOT but all with a confident swagger and less focus on an aesthetic. The sheer brutality of their songs dusts off the somewhat stale genre, making it relevant once again in the current resurgence, threatening to blow nu metal veterans i.e. (HED)PE and AMERICAN HEAD CHARGE completely out of the water. CANE HILL also have a modern metal sound, a bit like MOTIONLESS IN WHITE at times, but without the foundation and eyeliner. Instead they bring no nonsense, balls-to-the-wall metal and if live reviews are anything to go by then their forthcoming UK tour with BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE in December will be one hell of a belter. So catch up with Smile and educate yo’selves with ear-assaulting tracks such as St Veronica, provocative tunes (see, Cream Pie) and darker ballads i.e. You’re So Wonderful.

 

Band to rediscover: EIGHTEEN VISIONS. This month 12 years ago, this straight edge metal band from Orange County, CA released Obsession, an album many would argue would trigger the beginning of the end for the band. This view might have been due to the album being their first to be released on a major album, but personally I thought Obsession was their most solid and coherent album yet. Creating a follow-up to their metal-tinged hardcore opus Vanity was never going to be an easy feat (that album is still highly regarded in the underground community) but Obsession was one highly polished, melodic metal beast it was difficult not to fall in love with it. Vocalist James Hart used more clean singing on the album (see closer, Said and Done) but when things got heavy, boy, did they get heavy! The breakdown in Tower of Snakes was the hottest of 2004 but it was Waiting for the Heavens which fully demonstrated the band’s maturity and ability to pen such sensitive yet hard-hitting songs. This album took the band all over the world touring with bands from LAMB OF GOD to BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE. Their energetic live shows was stuff of legend and the live scene has been missing their ‘fashioncore’, bass lickin’ ways ever since. Unfortunately the band broke up after their infamous self titled album which divided opinion more than Moses parted the sea. The album was radio friendly rock which was a far cry from their brutal early albums (check out Until The Ink Runs Out) but it was still a solid release and did not deserve such a brutal backlash. But fans and the metal community can still find comfort in their back catalogue, but it is unlikely the band will reunite in the near future at least.

 

Band yet to listen to: KAUAN. This Ukrainian post-rock band with folk and doom elements have been the first band confirmed to play ProgPower Europe 2017. A more intense listen is needed!