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Somehow, in a year where I listened to a new album to me every day for all 365 days in it, I missed some really good albums. These few should have been on my top 30 albums of the year—had I heard them before I finalized the list. Then, for fun, instead of making a top five worst list or anything like that, I am going to add one album I regret not missing along with these that I regret missing.
"You Won't Get What You Want" by Daughters
I am confused, what am I listening to? Honestly, my first thoughts when hearing the first few tracks on this album the first time. This album is very frantic, even very unsettling at times keeping the listener on edge. It has been a long while since I listened to an album that evoked this much emotion in me as the listener. By this, I don’t mean it is some heartstring pulling emo album that made me sad (I am out of that phase okay mom)! By that, I mean there were moments it made me very irritable, frantic or just generally on edge. Discordant moments of this do better than most horror rides did as a kid or anything Hollywood has put out in the last five years; to truly leave me unsettled and some points a little scared! On repeated listens this was dulled a bit, my first blind listen I clearly had no clue what I was walking into, also kind of glad I did it in the light of day in a good headspace. Art at its finest, but don’t say I didn’t warn you of what this can do to your head if you choose to experience this from front to back!
Check it if you dare!
'Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed' by Hooded Menace
Unholy mother of doom! How have I not only missed this album, but this band in general!? Labeled doom metal, which I guess you could say is true, but they dance around with most of its sub-genres! Heavy moments of death/doom and funeral doom mixed in with some sludgy passes, along with amazing sounding production. I am kicking myself for not having this album jamming in my ears all year. Very riff-heavy songs throughout its runtime with very long song structures (ranging from six to 10 minutes), yet never seem to feel bored or just pressing a passage to make the song longer!
Check it out!
'...And As We Have Seen the Storm, We Have Embraced the Eye' by Chapel Of Disease
This album was a standout, not only in its music, but its influences that came through on the album. For the most part, it is an old school death metal album with some hint of black metal, but it feels like this death metal album was written in part by a band from the 60s or 70s. Long almost jamming passes fill the run time of this album, mixed with some oddly unique vocals and tons of guitar flare! To call it death n' roll would be a mistake as while the rock vibe is there it has more of a melodic death metal feel, but it is not really full on there either. It is just too bright and happy to really be called death metal though. Overall, a very fun and engaging listen that keeps ears guessing even through the usual six-plus minute song times!
Check it out here!
'Esoteric Malacology' by Slugdge
I really was meaning to check out this album, but it just seemed to slip through the cracks on me. Then I noticed it was on a ton of end of the year lists, I knew I had to give it a listen in full, I am super glad I did! All the atmosphere of sludge metal mixed with some techy, yet melodic riffing and every kind of vocal type you can think of within the metal spectrum. These songs tend to go a bit all over the place, but the ones who wrote the songs really seemed to know what they were doing to make it all work. Somehow it all does really work together, within some sort of running concept above all, these guys have some creative chops flowing on all cylinders. Everything about this album is enjoyable in one way or another, even down to the song titles which are nods to popular metal songs and bands which I think is pretty great!
Check it out here!
Then, there is the bad one... 'Kult 45' by Otep
While doing the 365 new albums in 365 days I kept a list for tracking purposes, with little notes by them. Upon recent reflection I noticed by this album, there was a little note and I quote (actually the worst thing I have ever heard... audio facepalm). As I try not to focus on the negative when it comes to music, thus me not doing a top five or 10 worst albums list. But for a reaction like that on my list, I thought I would see why I said that as I remember loving The Ascensions and really dug Sevas Tra heck even liked some of Smash the Control Machine till they fell off my radar. Upon listening I could tell that this was possibly the furthest from Sevas Tra and The Ascensions this band could go. When looking into what changed in this band the first thing I could see that had changed was after Smash the Control Machine they had parted ways with their founding bass player Evil Jay, who had a huge contribution to my favorite song by them in “Ghostflowers.” All I had heard about this band in the last few years had been about controversial news headlines and not anything really music related. I assumed amongst all of this to keep up on tours and such the music must be solid right?
Lyric-wise the album is very politically charged and the vocalist makes themselves very clear on where the band stands. But there are musical and lyrical moments that made me cringe more than the edgiest of Facebook cringe-lord posts. Music wise it is decent run of the mill Nu metal instrumental, but it kind of feels like all the lyrics had been written before or somehow in parallel to them without either party hearing their product. Don’t get me wrong the subject matter has to do with things that should be brought up or remembered, but the overall delivery of it all didn’t do the subject matter justice. I feel like this band in a way I feel like when I hear new five finger death punch stuff, in that nostalgic I loved these guys first few albums when I was young kind of way. Knowing they can release good heart filled music, then hearing what they become makes me a bit disappointed, to each their own, but it feels a bit phoned in. The vocalist definitely has something to say, but everything else feels just kind of like meh. As a direct comparison to the first album from daughters, that album made me uncomfortable through its atmosphere truly invoking emotions with its presentation. This album just made me cringe and a bit angry with myself that I didn’t have a clause in the 365 album challenge that stated if it was truly a torture to get through I could stop.
2018 was a year of ups and downs with music! Is there any I have missed beyond this? What were some of your favorite albums of the year or what album of the year made you lose a bit of faith in music?