Metalmance’s Top 20 Albums of the Decade

20 of the best albums from 2010-2019.

Album of the Year lists aren’t enough this year. 2019 heralds the end of one of the best decades of metal. Emerging genres have really come to the fore in the past ten years (blackgaze anyone?) whereas we’re all surprised at how metalcore has survived and evolved. With technology advancing, the decade has also seen different consumer habits as well as advances in music technology as a whole. But that’s enough faff and chat. Without further ado, behold my Top 20 Albums of the Decade!


 

20. ORPHANED LANDAll Is One. Release date: 24 June 2013.

I’ve always enjoyed oriental music but hearing it in a metal context was a phenomenal concept to me. When I finally checked out Israel’s ORPHANED LAND I fell in love immediately. To me, they’re still the best ‘oriental metal’ band out there. They mix traditional instruments, metal elements and heartfelt messages so seamlessly it’s hard not to fall under their spell. All Is One is a superb example of the epic anthems they create to help reunite people of all faiths, race and genders. Tracks such as the title track, Freedom and Children emphasise their mission, all the while keeping tracks catchy and heavy. A must-listen for all.


 

19. SLEEPING WITH SIRENSFeel. Release date: 4 June 2013.

Now before you close this post and avoid my blog forever, hear me out here. Every track on SLEEPING WITH SIREN’s Feel is absolute gold. There’s a song for every occasion and emotion and it beckoned the start of their retreat from poisonous emo-pop-punk to the boring rock music they create today. With Feel they get it just right. Personally for me, this album dropped at a huge transitional period of my life so tracks such as Free Now, Congratulations and Satellites became anthems of this time. It’s not only teenagers who relate to Kellin Quinn and co. and their lyrics are more honest and relatable than many of their peers (FALLING IN REVERSE I’m looking at you).


 

18. TESSERACTOne. Release date: 22 March 2011.

I just had to include something by TESSERACT in this list. It was a tough choice between One and Polaris, but I chose One in the end as it was unlike anything I had heard in the metal world. Yeah there was PERIPHERY as well but for me, TESSERACT had a little something extra…mainly the vocal expertise of Daniel Tompkins. The first track I heard was The Impossible – Concealing Fate Part. 3 and I will never forget its melodies, djent and overwhelming atmosphere. In a way One signifies the innocence of the beginning of the djent genre before it became oversaturated by awful bands and copycats. Today it’s evolved into a whole new progressive metal beast but it’s good to look back on One and see how far metal has come.


 

17. AVASTMother Culture. Release date: 26 October 2018.

This decade saw the rise of blackgaze as a genre and it is one of the best things to have ever happened for metal. Mixing black metal and shoegaze to create highly emotive extreme metal is a dream come true. Only a handful of bands are getting the formula right and Norway’s AVAST is one of those bands. Last year’s debut album Mother Culture is a superb example of the heavier end of the genre. Tracks such as the title track and The Birth Of Man show some of the best that AVAST have to offer, but their instrumental tracks also trigger a strong emotional response. Powerful, climatic and devastating, Mother Culture is an important album.


 

16. MOTIONLESS IN WHITEReincarnate. Release date: 15 September 2014.

reincarnate

Metalcore is alive and well and MOTIONLESS IN WHITE have helped the survival of the gothic strain of it. Reincarnate saw the band at their most industrial, experimental and arguably…their catchiest. The guest features on this album are spot on, with the likes of Dani Filth, Maria Brink and Tim Skold making Reincarnate a goth’s wet dream. There is absolutely no filler on this album like a lot of their others, with tracks Break The Cycle and Wasp being some of the best keyboard-led metalcore for years. Now if only MOTIONLESS IN WHITE took the blueprint for The Final Dictvm for the latest albums…


 

15. TIMES OF GRACEHymn of a Broken Man. Release date: 18 January 2011.

I am one of those fans who think the new Jesse Leach-era KILLSWICTH ENGAGE has never surpassed what Leach and Adam D achieved with Hymn of a Broken Man. Yes, TIMES OF GRACE was always meant to be a more melodic and honest project, and remember Howard Jones was still in KILLSWITCH ENGAGE at this point, but Hymn of a Broken Man is one of the most beautiful albums created this decade and few have surpassed its melodic prowess. Live in Love, Where The Spirit Leads Me and Willing are some of the most stirring metal tracks this decade has seen. It’s just a shame the duo decided to lead the album with one of the weaker tracks, Strength in Numbers. Let’s hope they release a new album next year.


 

14. 65DAYSOFSTATICWe Were Exploding Anyway. Release date: 26 April 2010.

65dos

We Were Exploding Anyway was everything I wanted from 65DAYSOFSTATIC. The Sheffield post-rockers have always pushed the boundaries of the genre and have created the most phenomenal sounds. With this album, the band were their most ‘dancey’ and it even saw the inclusion of vocals on Come to Me, but they were very cleverly sliced and used as samples. Mountainhead, Crash Tactics and Piano Fights are some of the most genius songs 65DOS have written and the album as a whole is a delight from start to finish.


 

13. BLEEDING THROUGHThe Great Fire. Release date: 31 January 2012.

The Great Fire

Before the Orange County crew split up in 2014 (and reformed in 2018) the metalcore darlings dropped one of their finest albums to date, The Great Fire. This glorious slab of brutality incorporates every genre that BLEEDING THROUGH can execute so well, metalcore, hardcore, punk, black metal, melodic death metal…tracks like Goodbye To Death and Everything You Love Is Gone are perfect examples of their melting pot of styles. No metalcore band have achieved this again.


 

12. ABORTEDRetrogore. Release date: 22 April 2016.

retrogore

I must admit I was a bit late to the ABORTED fandom, but once I finally got there I was besotted. Retrogore was my first exposure to the Belgian death metallers and it’s still my favourite. Everything just seems to gel on this record and the blackened elements which play a big part on 2018’s Terrorvision come to the fore on this record. Termination Redux and Divine Impediment are brutal gems, dark death metal at its best. The band aren’t showing any signs of slowing down, constantly evolving to remain one of the most terrifying bands out there.


 

11. NORDIC GIANTSA Séance of Dark Delusions. Release date: 20 April 2015.

nordic giants

NORDIC GIANTS are always best to experience live, but 2015’s masterpiece A Séance of Dark Delusions brilliantly captures the intense material this post-rock duo create. The guest vocalists on this album are all outstanding with standout tracks being Dissolve (with SATURDAY SUN), Rapture (with Beth Cannon) and the superb Futures Dark (with Nadine Wild-Palmer). Each tracks tells its own story and every track with vocals could easily be a radio hit, making NORDIC GIANTS your favourite secret.


 

10. EIGHTEEN VISIONSXVIII. Release date: 2 June 2017.

XVIII

C’mon you knew EIGHTEEN VISIONS were going to make an appearance. This was the comeback of the decade for me. In true 18V fashion, their comeback album XVIII sounded unlike anything they have recorded before. The throwback references to earlier material (film samples, insects buzzing and the objects in the artwork) create a nostalgic record which still bludgeons you with modern, crunchy metal. Songs such as Oath and Live Again are the perfect tributes to the band’s roots and their late bassist Mick Morris (RIP). This is definitely an album for the loyal fans, but any lover of heavy, crushing metal will equally enjoy this album.


 

9. SOILWORKThe Ride Majestic. Release date: 28 August 2015.

soilwork

The kings of melodic death metal, SOILWORK seem to get better with age. The Ride Majestic is a sublime album by the modern version of SOILWORK. This is an absolute belter from start to finish. Some old school fans look down on it for not being Natural Born Chaos 2.0, but this album is the full package. The vocals, lyrics, instrumentation, flow of the album are outstanding. When their peers are crashing and burning, SOILWORK have evolved and grown to be the melodic death metal darlings they are today. The title track, Death In General and the stirring finale Father and Son, Watching the World Go Down are some of my favourite songs of the decade. The fact that the band are still going strong is a blessing.


 

8. BLACK CROWN INITIATE Selves We Cannot Forgive. Release date: 22 July 2016.

blackcrowninitiateselves

Selves We Cannot Forgive was my first ever Album of the Year when I started this blog back in 2016. It has stood the test of time and cemented itself as one of my favourite progressive death metal records of all time. There has been a surge of progressive death metal bands in the past few years and BLACK CROWN INITIATE remain one of the best. This album exhibits the best aspects of the genre, with tracks such as Belie The Machine and For Red Cloud providing the brutality, and the title track and Again providing the soaring melodies. This album has it all.


 

7. DYSCARNATEAnd So It Came To Pass. Release date: 27 February 2012.

and so it came to pass

DYSCARNATE’s last album With All Their Might topped my AOTY list back in 2017, but I couldn’t have two of their albums in my top 20 of the decade so I’ve opted for their phenomenal second album And So It Came To Pass. If you’re still unfamiliar with this death metal trio (yes, they’re a trio and still heavier than most bands) then you are seriously missing a trick here. A band haven’t been this brutally groovy since…well…forever. And So It Came To Pass is a tremendous example of this, with The Promethean, In The Face of Armageddon and A Drone In The Hive bringing the hardest bangers of the album. Fingers crossed there will be a new album in the new year!


 

6. DREAMSHADEThe Gift of Life. Release date: 25 January 2013. 

gift of life

DREAMSHADE are always such a treat. These Swiss metalcore lovelies are still relatively unknown yet every album is an absolute blinder. 2013’s album The Gift of Life saw the band hit their stride. Photographs, Your Voice and Consumed Future are some of the best metalcore tracks you haven’t heard yet. Not only do DREAMSHADE write catchy songs but somehow their riffs are hella catchy too. A super slick and polished beast, DREAMSHADE are currently working on a new album and it promises to be another stellar effort.


 

5. DISTORTED HARMONYChain Reaction. Release date: 9 July 2014.

chain reaction

Discovering DISTORTED HARMONY was one of the best things I did in the past few years. Their progressive metal is fuelled by melodies and heart. Their second album Chain Reaction has just the right amount of technicality and melody to make it a beautifully balanced record. The charm and passion oozes out of this record with tracks such as Every Time She Smiles, Hollow and Natural Selection being some of the most stirring. With the ever-growing prog metal scene it takes something special to standout from the rest of the pack these days, these guys have got it.


 

4. MAYBESHEWILLI Was Here For A Moment, Then I Was Gone. Release date: 30 May 2011. 

maybeshewill

So this is my third and final post-rock album in this list. I Was Here For A Moment, Then I Was Gone is my favourite of them all, for a number of reasons. The main one being, the album triggers the biggest emotional response of any album without vocals. It demonstrates the sheer, emotional power that rock instruments have. The melodies and climaxes are sublime, there’s no other post-rock albums quite like this one. Another reason why this ranks so highly is because MAYBESHEWILL were one of the pioneers of British post-rock and they are very sorely missed by fans. Just listen to the song Accolades, Critical Distance and Red Paper Lanterns and you’ll see what I mean.


 

3. EARTHSIDEA Dream In Static. Release date: 23 October 2015.

earthside

There are few bands who make a huge impact with their debut album like EARTHSIDE have. This is modern prog rock at its finest. But the thing that EARTHSIDE has that sets them apart from the rest is their expert musicianship. Each member is an incredibly talented musician and this talent can be heard in the ambition of their tracks. They execute their brilliance without any pretentious fluff and they scored some of the best vocalists in the business to elevate their tracks to new levels (see: Crater, the title track and Mob Mentality). With a new album being recorded as we speak, we can expect big things from the rising proggers.


 

2. MØLJord. Release date: 13 April 2018.

mol

It’s probably no surprise MØL have ranked so highly on this list, considering they were my Album of the Year last year. It’s been warming to see Jord resonating with other people so strongly. Songs such as Storm, Bruma and Penumbra are some of the most striking blackgaze tracks of the past decade. Their shoegaze riffs, black metal vocals and chilling melodies add up to a spectacular album. I’ve already written so many words about this album but I never run out of praise to say about it. Emotion and soul drip from every note and syllable screamed. A phenomenal album by one of the most promising acts around.


 

1 . ANAAL NATHRAKHVanitas. Release date: 23 October 2012.

vanitas

Behold, my album of the decade! ANAAL NATHRAKH have always been one of the best extreme metal acts from Britain, but 2012’s Vanitas shows the band at their most ambitious and polished. These songs are huge! I honestly don’t know where to start with this album. A lot of their albums prior (and after) have a few standout tracks and the rest are forgettable. Vanitas has banger after banger, with every track being its own individual beast you’ll remember for a long time to come. Yes, Forging Towards The Sunset and To Spite The Face are incredible, but can we just talk about album finale A Metaphor For The Dead? With one of the most climatic choruses the band have ever written, along with some of the most devastating riffs, it has gone down in history as my favourite album closer of all time. A strong statement I know but once you hear it for yourself, you may agree! Every great album needs a powerful closer and Vanitas concludes in such a roaring fashion, you feel compelled to start over again. After seven years no album has topped this for me.

Metalmance’s Top Releases of 2018: 40 to 31

The first instalment of Metalmance’s Top 40 Releases of the 2018.

Welcome to my first instalment of my Top Releases of the 2018. I decided to not only have albums in the list, but EPs too, purely because of the wealth of fantastic ones released in the past 12 months. I will post 10 albums at a time, so without further ado enjoy my Top 40 to 31 albums of the year!

40

VEXESAncient Geometry

Released back in February, it feels like a long time since VEXES released their debut album Ancient Geometry yet it hasn’t lost any of its punch. The album has a shimmering nostalgic, progressive rock tinge, with a large helping of DEFTONES-esque melodies and ambiance. Featuring past members from a variety of established bands, VEXES bring all their skills and expertise together in this impressive record. Do not sleep on this album. My full review is linked below.

Vexes – Ancient Geometry

39

PSYCROPTICAs The Kingdom Drowns

Still a relatively new album as it was only released last month, As The Kingdom Drowns is the seventh album by Austrailian tech mertallers PSYCROPTIC and it’s making enormous waves in the tech death scene. It’s been a cracking year for tech death with the likes of BEYOND CREATION, INFERI and OSBCURA releasing albums, but for me, this effort by PSYCROPTIC surpasses those others as it’s the one I feel compelled to return to again. The instrumentation is absolutely stellar on this album, proving PSYCROPTIC are only getting better with each release. Cracking stuff.

38

WALK IN COMABlur The Line of Fiction and Hate

Here is the first of the EPs I have included in this year’s list. Southend’s WALK IN COMA are establishing themselves as one of Essex’s most promising metal acts with their EP, Blur The Line of Fiction and Hate. The band produce strong, in-your-face metal with good hooks and enough riffs to keep a PANTERA fan happy, but it is the second track Through Your Eyes which proves to be something very special indeed.

Walk In Coma – Blur The Line Of Fiction And Fate 

37

ORPHANED LANDUnsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs

Way back in January, Israeli progressive metallers ORPHANED LAND released the stunning Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs, and we need this album more than ever. The band have always flawlessly tied oriental elements in with their metal foundations and it always creates a spectacular result. Much like most of their back catalogue, ORPHANED LAND stresses the importance of equality, acceptance and love. The topics and themes feel a lot more urgent on this release, copying the state of current affairs in the world today. If you want an album where you feel you can unite with humanity, this would be it.

Orphaned Land – Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs 

36

TESSERACTSonder

When I reviewed Sonder, the fourth album by British prog metallers TESSERACT, back in April, I said it’s nowhere near the band’s best album but it could potentially worm its way into album of the year lists. Unfortunately the album didn’t stick with me throughout the remainder of the year, hence its low placing in my album list. Sonder has lots of good songs but it doesn’t maintain momentum or interest for me, compared to albums released by their contemporaries this year which have ranked higher. It’s still a strong album but I’m not convinced it will stand the test of time in the long run.

Tesseract – Sonder

35

WOLF KINGLoyal To The Soil

WOLF KING sound like what I always wanted TRAP THEM to become. They boast filthy, blackened hardcore along with strenuous screams that make their debut album Loyal to the Soil absolutely disgusting – in a good way! WOLF KING sound like the aural equivalent of a full day down the mines; dark, suffocating, dirty and forever plunging into the depths. An incredibly underrated debut release this year, I’m hoping Loyal to the Soil will eventually be celebrated as one of the finest slabs of blackened hardcore to date.

34

JESUS PIECEOnly Self

Speaking of filthy hardcore (oo-er!) Only Self is another breathtaking debut released this year…breathtaking in the winded kinda way. JESUS PIECE are rapidly emerging in the hardcore scene thanks to their CODE ORANGE-esque riffs and their 90s-inspired beats. This year has seen a lot of hype for JESUS PIECE’s contemporaries VEIN, but personally I think the former have the edge. The brutality, the ferocity and downright filth is both crushing and considerably impressive for a debut release. Expect big things. You can read more on what I have to say about Only Self in the link to the Roundup below.

Roundup – August 2018

33

MECHROMORPHSelf-titled EP

I couldn’t write my top 40 releases of the year list without including a quality band from my hometown. Slam metal band MECHROMORPH are the best metal band to burst out of Clacton since…well…ever. The band are proving their worth in the scene, having played shows all over the country and lighting a fire under other local bands. Their self-titled EP features old school sounds along with contemporary slam elements in the same vein as VULVODYNIA, INGESTED etc. Once the band have established their sound there is no reason they couldn’t also prove to be an unstoppable force.

Mechromorph – Self-titled EP

32

BLEEDING THROUGHLove Will Kill All

I always thought any new BLEEDING THROUGH album would be in my Top 10 albums of the year, so I’m surprised with myself for placing the band’s comeback album fairly low in the rankings. The metalcore darlings ended their career on a high with 2012’s The Great Fire and frontman Brandan Schieppati released a brilliant solo album as THE IRON SON in the meantime, but unfortunately Love Will Kill All didn’t quite live up to expectations compared to their peers ATREYU and THE AGONY SCENE who released better quality albums this year. Don’t get me wrong, this is still a solid album, and last track Life is positively stunning. Check out my BLEEDING THROUGH retrospective I wrote earlier in the year for my low-down on each of their albums.

METALMANCE RETROSPECTIVE: Bleeding Through

31

VALIS ABLAZEBoundless

This mesmerising debut album by Bristolians VALIS ABLAZE is the album I’ve moved around the most whilst compiling this Top 40 list. Boundless is an awesome progression from the band’s EP Insularity, but it’s an album I’ve struggled to return to throughout the year which is why I haven’t placed it higher. There are several particularly stunning tracks on here such as Lumen, Afterlight and Frequency which prove VALIS ABLAZE are one of the leading lights of British progressive metal. Choosing Paradox as their lead single might not have been the wisest choice as it doesn’t show the band at their most original, but bloody hell the potential is there for greater things.

Valis Ablaze – Boundless

Tesseract – Sonder

Label: Kscope. Release date: 20 April 2018.

One of the most hotly anticipated albums of the year is almost upon us, and if you’re a big TESSERACT fan like me, you might also be wondering how on earth they could top 2015’s Polaris. It always seems effortless for TESSERACT to evolve with each album and fourth album Sonder is no different. TESSERACT have now fully established themselves as progressive metal greats and this reflects in their sound and songwriting. An incredibly mature and focused approach is used for this album. With many rip-off TESSERACT bands on the scene, the group now need to avoid becoming a parody of themselves. Luckily they manage this.

I must admit, after hearing Smile when the band previewed it last year, I wasn’t enamoured at all. I had the same reaction during the first spin of Sonder, however I am a firm believer this often signals an album which grows over time. It is the effort of the digesting of the record after a few listens which rewards you with a superb album that just ‘clicks’.

Sonder kicks off with Luminary. Most fans might expect a twinkly intro, but this opener immediately packs a punch. Have they got your attention? Yes. During the melodic verse, there are some CALIGULA’S HORSE vibes but THAT chorus blows any soft vocals out of the water. An excellent start with some token TESSERACT motifs here and there, you’re on tenterhooks for more. Thankfully for us, more is what we get with next track King which is a right ol’ jewel in the crown. Hopefully you will have already heard this blistering single, but hearing it in context with the rest of the album creates an incredible, new experience. With this single, TESSERACT declare this is us, this is our sound, watch us evolve. TESSERACT are well past using screams to be heavy, but the screams on King do take it to the next level. The song is probably longer than it needs to be, but it is an outstanding track.

TESSERACT has always been one for atmospheric and broody songs but next track, Orbital is quite unlike anything the band have done before. A short song, but the instrumentation sounds colossal, yet really subtle. It is one to expand the imagination and I think it is truly beautiful and moving. It has to be heard to be believed. It merges into the next gem of the album, Juno. It is quite an upbeat, djent ditty making it one of the more memorable songs on Sonder. The lyrics tie in nicely with the name of the album; ‘sonder’ is a term coined by writer John Koenig to express the indescribable emotion we experience when we realise each of us are simultaneously living vivid and complex lives. It is this disconnection that Sonder hints at – the thought that something greater is happening within.

Beneath My Skin harks back to the glory days of One, with the build up of tension before the sweet release of a bit of djent. Old school fans will probably swarm to this track, but it does follow the more thoughtful and melodic approach the band are now known for. Mirror Image follows TESSERACT’s newer formula of straight-up melodic metal. Using less djent and incorporating more keys, it’s grown into one of my favourite songs on Sonder. After first listen, I completely overlooked it, but it has a charm about it which has enchanted me.

As mentioned earlier, when I first heard Smile last year I wasn’t blown away at all. However, hearing it on Sonder has made me appreciate it a lot more. A great deal happens in this song and once again Dan Tompkins pushes himself to be on of progressive metal’s best vocalists. With a couple of strong songs at the beginning of Sonder, the album also needed two strong closers to anchor it. Smile provides one and the finale, The Arrow provides the other. Normally TESSERACT like to have a lengthy conclusion to proceedings but The Arrow is really short in comparison at two and a half minutes. It was important not to drag Sonder out and luckily this final track keeps it short and sweet with a killer melody and twinkly instrumentation. Eight songs might not seem enough but I do genuinely think TESSERACT made the right decision here. Sonder is a terrifically solid body of work. I don’t think it will progress to being my favourite TESSERACT album, but album of the year..? Well, it wouldn’t be impossible.

Earthside – A Dream In Static Video

A quick chat with Earthside’s Jamie van Dyck about their spellbinding new video.

Back in 2015 New Haven’s EARTHSIDE released their stunning debut album A Dream In Static and 2016 saw the band tour Europe and North America, sharing stages with the likes of LEPROUS, VOYAGER and VOLA. They have now kicked off 2017 with a spellbinding music video for the breath-taking track featuring none other than TESSERACT’s Daniel Tompkins. An emotionally compelling song such as this needs a strong visual accompaniment to do the song justice. Luckily, with the amazing filmmaking talent of Silent Flight Productions, EARTHSIDE have created such a video which is set to attract new fans for this ridiculously talented band. Guitarist Jamie van Dyck kindly let Metalmance pick his brains about the new video. You can read the interview after you give yourself a new year treat by watching A Dream In Static below!

 

 

Firstly, I just want to congratulate you on how visually powerful the video is. An emotionally strong song like A Dream In Static deserved an equally compelling video and you guys have achieved this. A Dream In Static has always seemed to be a fan favourite, has a video accompaniment for the song always been in mind?

Jamie: Thank you! Yes, we’ve always wanted to do a video for this song. Since the album’s release, we’d been lamenting not having had the proper opportunity to give this song its time in the spotlight, and we’re thrilled that we can now give A Dream In Static its due.

I’m sure it will be well received! My interpretation of the video is how unobtained dreams can haunt to affect the present, how personal battles show both the light and dark of the human psyche. Is the video concept along these lines?

Jamie: I think music videos are inherently somewhat of an abstract art form, given the lack of dialogue and how the plot cut-ins are interspersed with band performance shots. You’re thematically on with what we’re hoping to evoke. A lot of our A Dream In Static album deals with the internal struggle of having these lofty seemingly unattainable dreams and then a self-doubt that sets in. Our character confronts the manifestation of her self that is a shell of herself, a fear of what she may become. But when you let that fear consume you, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Speaking of music videos being an abstract art form, your previous video for Mob Mentality was very theatrical. There is a strong cinematic feel to your music, is composing for film something EARTHSIDE would like to venture into?

Jamie: Absolutely. We aren’t music journalists, but when pressed to editorialize ourselves, we describe our music as Cinematic. Composing for film/TV and for video games poses a unique challenge where the music serves to heighten the medium its accompanying. As a composer, I often find creative constraints to be inspiring rather than limiting, so I would really enjoy that opportunity assuming that I was collaborating with a filmmaker/game designer whose aesthetic and way of communicating meshed well with mine, and I think my bandmates would feel similarly. We feel that our debut album paints many emotions and aspects of the human experience, a breadth that I think is necessary to accompany something as dynamic as a full-length feature film.

Have you collaborated with Silent Flight Productions before? Or do you try and work with new people each time?

Jamie: This is our first time working with Silent Flight. Erez is a 21-year old rising film maker who’s made several prominent videos in our genre. He reached out to us many months ago about wanting to do a video, and over time, this opportunity evolved and came together to involve him as our collaborator. Over the next few years, he’ll be primarily shifting his focus to a feature film so I don’t know how available he’ll be to take on more music video projects. But perhaps one day he will be our foray into film scoring!

Thanks for your insight Jamie! Last question, what would you like EARTHSIDE to achieve in 2017?

Jamie: With this video as a jumping-off point to 2017, we hope that our music will reach more people and continue to move those who have already found us. We also want to cultivate more of our individual interests within music, with Frank doing more producing, me offering rock/metal theory tutorials and composition lessons over Skype, Ben more actively pursuing drumming as far as session work and Skype lessons, and Ryan streaming online more with his gaming.

As a collective, a successful 2017 will mean foremost finding that creative space and gaining that momentum where we’re on a hot streak where ideas are flowing and the excitement about the music that we’re making together is palpable. Those group creative rolls come and go so we just have to get at it, let ourselves have the time to find that groove, and then ride those waves as far as each one will take us. For me as a musician, the mystery of having no idea what we will compose and just having faith that it will pour out of us is at once exhilarating and anxiety-inducing, and I love it more than anything.

Happy 2017!

——–

If you want to read more what Metalmance had to say about the album A Dream In Static, then you can follow the link below.

Weekly Roundup #10 feat. EARTHSIDE

But if you’re more interested in learning about the story behind the actual song, then you can watch the video below when EARTHSIDE discusses A Dream In Static.

 

 

Voices From The Fuselage – Odyssey: The Destroyer of Worlds

White Star Records. Release date: 28.10.2016

Re-released on White Star Records, this album originally dropped back in June 2015, but it still sounds as fresh and as current as ever. You’re probably already familiar with the voice of Ashe O’Hara as he was the vocalist for TESSERACT during their second album, Altered State. Now reunited with VOICES FROM THE FUSELAGE, the singer sounds comfortable and at ease in the music he can make his own, along with the other members; guitarists Mitch Ramsay and Josh Galloway, bassist Dale Gorham and drummer Scott Lockhart.

Opening track Ortus sets the scene for the band’s melodic progressive metal. There is a strong cinematic feel with the blissful melody shimmering along with O’Hara’s voice, which can only be described as stunning. The crisp and clean production sets every element to shine and it all seamlessly works together to project the talent and confidence of a band still in the early stages of their career.

Piano infused Meteorites demonstrates the band’s ability to compose a diverse corker of a song. This is soon followed by Anew, which is a strong, all-round solid tune. The keys and guitars kick it almost into ballad territory with heartfelt lyrics and soaring melodies. Epicinium has a laidback ISSUES vibe. A bit of a thumper of a pop-tinged tune, this song explores what possible melodic directions the band could move in, but it also breaks the album up nicely.

Devil’s Advocate gets a bit heavier, definitely more of a straight up metal feel here which shifts into an incredible post-rock dimension. It’s hard to predict what this track will do next, which is pretty much how the whole reocrd flows. The potential of this band can be heard simmering away throughout this album. It will be an incredible moment when VOICES FROM THE FUSELAGE hit their stride, so let’s hope it won’t be too long a wait for their next album.

 

Weekly Roundup #4

More metal and alternative goodness for you

Wow, four weeks is like a month right? So a month of metal madness to celebrate then! Feats your eyes (and ears) on the bands featured below!

Band to watch: ANIMALS AS LEADERS. Last week the band unveiled new track The Brain Dance from their forthcoming album The Madness of Many. If you haven’t heard of this band already (where have you been mate?!) then expect to hear more from this impeccably talented trio. Their instrumental material shimmers with  variety of metal styles and jazz elements, and if this song is anything to go by then their new album could have less djent which may be a sign the band are comfortable progressing into their own distinct sound. The Brain Dance then, does what it says on the tin. Its intricate melodies and delicate guitar notes create a sonic soundscape so delicious it makes your brain all tingly while it comprehends how humans can create such beautiful music. If you like your prog music on the guitar-y side of things i.e. PLINI and INTERVALS, then make sure you delve into ANIMALS AS LEADERS.

Video to watch: CANDIRIA.

Normally if a band’s music video is filmed in a recording studio you might feel a little disappointed. But not this time. CANDIRIA’s play through for While They Were Sleeping, directed by Steve Perlmutter and filmed in Spaceman Sound studios,  premiered last week and shows a new take on the humble play through video. A visually interesting video, it is made up of a variety of shots from different angles and sides of each member of the band playing through the song. Because the shots keep changing, the audience’s interest is held. The brutality of the song isn’t lost at all, in fact the viewer can appreciate it more as all the small details are captured on camera, especially during the progressive interlude. But don’t let me ruin the video for you. Go on, have a watch below.

Still in the stereo: BLACK CROWN INITATE. Released back in July, Selves We Cannot Forgive by BLACK CROWN INITIATE is still demolishing the stereo with its breath-taking progressive death metal. This, being the band’s second album released through eOne Music, is such a varied beast with  each track harnessing its own surprising little nugget. Opener For Red Cloud blasts the album into your consciousness with its gloriously heavy composition of pummelling riffs and devastating growls, but there are small rays of sunshine through the clean vocals which propel the songs even further into awesomeness. The calmer moments of the album such as the title track demonstrate the band’s more progressive side, but other parts of the album have a lot of European influences from OPETH to GOJIRA, it is sometimes hard to believe BLACK  CROWN INITIATE hail from Pennsylvania! You’ve just missed them play in the UK supporting BORN OF OSIRIS and VEIL OF MAYA, but let’s hope they’ll play our shores again soon.

Band to rediscover: MY AWESOME COMPILATION. A song which never fails to lift me out of a bad mood is Put Up A Fight which was released way back in 2005 by MY AWESOME COMPILATION. This ridiculously optimistic song could thaw even the coldest of hearts. The band from Leicester are currently still on hiatus (BOO!) but leave two albums and two EPs (and a split single with FALL OUT BOY go figure) for our listening pleasure(hurrah!). The happy band is something we miss in these uncertain times, every now and then you just want someone to say to you “All these small chances will one day add up to everything” and somehow, everything will seem OK. MY AWESOME COMPILAION we need you! Come back!

Band yet to listen to: NORDIC GIANTS. After a successful tour with TESSERACT earlier this year, NORDIC GIANTS have been attracting more attention and fans, but they might not be what you think they’d be…

 

Weekly Roundup #3

3 is the magic number

Band to watch: LEPROUS. They’re about to embark on an extensive North American tour but it’s most likely you haven’t heard of these Norwegian fellows. Four albums into their career and they’re finally gaining momentum and praise around the world. Deliciously on the melodic end of the metal spectrum, LEPROUS’ beautiful melodies are made the more spine tingling thanks to the incredible vocal talent of Einar Solberg. You might have heard his voice recently as guest vocalist on IHSAHN’s track Celestial Violence on this year’s Arktis. In fact, LEPROUS used to be the backing band for IHSAHN. The haunting Nordic sound is ever present in LEPROUS’ songs, but their influences range from MASSIVE ATTACK to GOJIRA. The heavier side of metal unexpectedly is unleashed now and then in their compositions which further emotionally charges the music. Most recent album The Congregation boasts elements from a variety of genres, everything from prog to djent and jazz. There’s no denying LEPROUS add their own twist to proceedings and really push themselves to the front of the melodic metal pack. You can catch them on tour in the UK with prog contemporaries TESSERACT and DEVIN TOWNSEND next March. Expect to hear more about these guys in the coming months!

https://www.facebook.com/leprousband/?fref=ts

Video to watch: SKYHARBOR. Last year SKYHARBOR released the track Out of Time which show cased new vocalist Eric Emery, proving he is more than capable of filling the shoes left behind by Daniel Tompkins (now back in TESSERACT). Now with new video Chemical Hands released last week, SKYHARBOR are prepared to take over the world with their new line-up and their own strain of progressive metal. The song itself is a stellar piece of melodic, proggy, technical goodness, fully demonstrating Eric’s vocal capabilities. The video accompaniment itself can only be described as a glorious sci-fi vision akin to films The Matrix and the Riddick trilogy. The stunning visuals compliment the heart wrenching melodies to create an all encompassing sensory experience. Director Michael Di Lonardo sets out a barren, futuristic landscape occupied by machines, with the band appearing like a transmission from outer space. SKYHARBOR, we read you loud and clear, we’ll see you in the UK next week!

Most anticipated release: WINTERFYLLETH. New album The Dark Hereafter will be released this Friday!

https://www.facebook.com/Winterfylleth/?fref=ts

Still in the stereo: WALLS OF JERICHO. When you think of female fronted bands you probably think of your pop punk types or your metal ARCH ENEMY like bands. But Candice Kucsulain, along with the rest of the band WALLS OF HERICHO, delivers such straight up, no nonsense hardcore punk, it’s mind boggling this hardcore troupe from Detroit do not receive more credit and recognition. Easily just as relevant and ferocious as contemporaries HATEBREED and SICK OF IT ALL, it is refreshing to hear a band so passionate and aggressive minus all the poser bullshit the scene can be now guilty of at times. So when WALLS OF JERICHO released No One Can Save You From Yourself back in March this year, it was gratefully received by fans as it had been roughly 8 years since last album The American Dream came out. It was well the worth the wait with the band sounding angrier than ever but also aiming to reunite people across not only their fan base, but across the scene, especially through tracks such as Relentless and The Anthem. It is a solid piece of honest work by a band who obviously still have a lot to say. They announced a UK/EU tour this week, so let’s hope they stick around for a little while longer at least.

https://www.facebook.com/WallsofJericho/?fref=ts

Band to rediscover: BYZANTINE. I must admit, I thought BYZANTINE were long gone, dead and buried in the metal graveyard, but lo and behold, they are now signed to Metal Blade Records with a self-titled album available in stores and a new record underway! 2005’s album …And They Shall Take Up Serpents rippled a few waves in the underground metal scene, then they seemed to vanish. To be fair, they can be pretty hard to Google, but now it shouldn’t be hard to find them and fall under their spell once again. Their progressive thrash metal, reminiscent of bands such as TESTAMENT, LAMB OF GOD and PANTERA, also incorporates instrumental sections, tribal drumming and killer solos bordering on progressive jazz. Now the band are back and stronger than ever, it is time to punish our ears once again!

https://www.facebook.com/Byzantinewv/?fref=ts

Band yet to listen to: PORT NOIR. I keep hearing about this band and their ability to mix up all sorts of genres to create their own brand of gorgeous metal. Next on my list to check out.

 

Vola – Inmazes

A review of album by the promising Danes

Starting with MESHUGGAH-esque riffage, opener The Same War soon dissolves into a blisteringly melodic chorus. This sets the scene the remainder of the album Inmazes. The young band from Copenhagen have already fine tuned their sound which incorporates chugging guitars giving way to soaring vocals and catchy keyboard hooks. Asger Mygind’s soothing voice brings a pop element to the sound as if VOLA are one big djent disco and fans across all genres are invited.

Latest single Stray the Skies is definitely a standout track with its  dominating keyboard riff and a chorus so catchy it will remain in your head for days. It is refreshing to hear a band with keys strong in the mix and it adds to VOLA’s unique sound which sets them apart from the rest. No two songs sound the same on Inmazes with the band’s own melodic metal style tying the album together.

Emily provides a calm interlude halfway through the album but is delivered with as much heart and soul as the rest of the album you can’t help but be swept up by the dreamy sonic landscape. A Stare Without Eyes begins like old-school TESSERACT but it soon evolves into its own progressive beast, a bit like newer OPETH.

Closing track Inmazes opens with an unsettling combination of a disjointed riff and eerie keys, then explodes into such a heart wrenching conclusion of a song it leaves you feel like your among the stars. If you could choose the soundtrack for your daydreams, choose VOLA.

Weekly Roundup #1

Proggy, black metal and pop rock madness

Welcome to the first Metalmance Weekly Roundup! What else is there to do on a Tuesday evening? Back in the day I used to live for Tuesday nights as that was when Mike Davies on Radio 1 used to do his Lock Up punk rock show, remember that?

So this is where I’ll be summing up what bands I’ve been listening to this week and what new bands I think you should check out. So, without further ado…

Band to watch: VOLA. These lovely Danes mash up all sorts of genres to create music which sounds as refreshing as it is unique. Elements of djent and prog all settle nicely under soaring keyboard hooks and catchy lyrics. Look out for a review later in the week of the reissue of their album In Mazes which will be released this Friday. You can catch VOLA supporting KATATONIA in the UK next month! The band also released their new music video this week for song Stray the Skies it is made up of more than two thousand hand drawn frames which makes a truly amazing visual experience for such a brilliant song. Trust me, once you’ve listened to it you’ll have the song in your head for days. You can see the video and read more about the band via the link below.

https://www.facebook.com/volaband/?fref=ts

Video to watch: CARACH ANGREN. These Dutch horror metal masters dropped their new video yesterday for their track When Crows Tick on Windows and you really shouldn’t watch it alone at night. Visually it looks like the film Sinister, only with a better soundtrack. The attention to detail here and quality of the visual production stops CARACH ANGREN feeling like a second rate GHOST.  If you’re feeling brave you can watch the video via the link below.

Most anticipated release: TESSERACT. This Friday TESSERACT will reissue their third album Polaris as a new entity titled Errai. With Polaris, the band really stepped up the game and removed themselves even further from their former djent label into a more progressive style. It will be interesting to see what new treats Errai will offer fans. They will support DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT in the UK next March.

Still in the stereo: BILLY TALENT. Billy Talent’s fifth album, Afraid of Heights was released last month and it just gets better and better with each listen. The hooks and catchy lyrics hark back to their early days but there also is a new confidence to their sound. The title track proves to be a moving track and reminds you that you almost forgot just how poetic and honest their material is. You can see them on tour in the UK in October.

https://www.facebook.com/billytalent/?fref=ts

Band to rediscover: HIMSA. It’s been eight years since this Seattle metalcore crew disbanded yet their material hasn’t aged at all. Managing to avoid all the whiny vocals the genre was associated with, HIMSA proved to be a brutal beast, capturing the energy and aggression  of hardcore and metal and combining it to create their own metal sound. Their music videos were a treat too, with the tennis parody of Unleash Carnage to the puppet production of Big Timber. This was a band which could have fun and poke fun at themselves which is what the ‘scene’ really needs these days. If you listen to one album by them, then let that be Summon In Thunder (2007). Produced by the master himself, Devin Townsend, this album which proved to be their last was also their most brutal and varied.

Band yet to listen to: INQUISITION. I’ve heard a lot about this riffy black metal band, but yet to fully indulge myself in their stuff. New album dropped last month.

Any good bands to check out? Get in touch!