There have been some bold claims coming out of the Disturbed camp with regards to seventh album Evolution (Reprise Records); and for one of Rock and Metal’s biggest, most successful and most stable acts to be making noises about a release setting them up for the next phase of their career, this must mean the feeling in the camp must be that this album is “the one” – the definitive release. From the redesigning of the logo, the stripping away of the Heavy Metal demon that has fronted most of their stock, to the slick and calculated pre-release campaign, there is a weight of evidence that Disturbed have gone away and found their new selves. Continue reading →
“The Ride Majestic continues the slow and subtle evolution of the Soilwork sound; sounding fuller, richer and shinier than all that have gone before. In a career of great albums, the aptly named The Ride Majestic is truly outstanding.”
“While the main focus is still here in the now frontier, by opening the floodgates, Parkway have allowed themselves to write a batch of great metal songs that reference classic rock, traditional metal, 90’s groove metal and metalcore while still sounding resolutely and proudly Parkway.”
18. Dragged Into Sunlight / Gnaw Their Tongues – ‘N.V.’ (Prosthetic)
“A genuinely effective whole, the Noise elements are relatively subtly played, often used to accentuate and highlight the Metal rather than entomb them. Whether judged as a collaboration between two artists with similar aesthetic goals or as an album in its own right, N.V. is an unrestrained success”
17. Bring Me The Horizon – ‘That’s The Spirit’ (RCA/Columbia)
“That’s The Spirit is Horizon maturing into a fine young adult, confident, strong and secure in themselves and the knowledge that they are now master craftsmen. Successfully combining every good aspect of alternative rock and metal of the last fifteen years, That’s The Spirit is Bring Me The Horizon’s ‘Black Album’ moment.”
Exemplary progressive stoner metal, with meticulous dynamics and depth, breadth, power, restraint, and mountainous music that builds to an almighty epic of a crescendo
15. Between The Buried And Me – ‘Coma Ecliptic’ (Metal Blade)
Ghost Cult Album of the Month –October “The record that they were always promising to make but you weren’t sure was possible, on Coma Ecliptic, Between the Buried and Me have exceeded all expectations and delivered not only the album of their careers but one of the most monumental ambitious rock concept pieces this side of Operation Mindcrime.”
14. Gloryhammer – ‘Space 1992: Rise Of The Chaos Wizards’ (Napalm)
“Gloryhammer are ridiculously entertaining. If you somehow manage to listen to new album Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards without grinning like an idiot all the way through it, then quite simply, you’re getting Metal wrong.”
13. A Forest Of Stars – ‘Beware The Sword You Cannot See’ (Lupus Lounge/Prophecy)
“Enthralling storytelling and atmosphere, as well as explorations into psychedelic territory and pastoral folk amid the crushing black metal dynamics; fourth effort Beware the Sword You Cannot See is an unabashed masterpiece.”
“Clear, soulful tones elevate the songs above the rest of their stoner/doom brethren and vocal lines will lodge in your head for days after. An excellent comeback album from a band that has been away for far too long. Let’s hope they decide to keep this motor running for a little longer this time around.”
“There are no throw away songs on this album, and every track rewards repeated listens. Crooked Doors is the sound of pressure cooking sand into glass and then into diamonds, all with an alchemy fuelled by magic and loss.”
If life is a journey, Bring Me The Horizon are living one helluva good one. From hated deathcore upstarts, bottled and attacked when playing support shows, to the slick, progressive metalcore of their breakthrough album Sempiternal (RCA/Epitaph), their career has been one of continuous upwards movement, both creatively but also commercially, a trend that is perpetuated by their excellent fifth album That’s The Spirit (RCA/Columbia).
While BMTH are no longer a “metal” band (while they haven’t been for a while, they’ve truly stepped outside those bounds now) their continued exploration of a poppier, slicker sound unreservedly suits them. Leaving behind the trappings of scenes metalcore and deathcore, That’s The Spirit takes the band into unchartered territories of song-writing and production to create an excellent modern rock album.
Starting the album with the subdued build of ‘Doomed’, the tone is set for something special as the reflective piece resets expectations, all subtle electronica and disseminated guitars. Partner in crime ‘Happy Song’ picks things up, utilizing a child vocal hook much like Faith No More’s ‘Be Aggressive’ before a lurching, thick riff courtesy of Lee Malia, who really shines as a diverse and clever player across the spectrum of the album, backs up the songs eponymous hook.
Smartly, …Horizon have continued their evolution, replacing the frenetic punkcore style of There Is A Hell… (Visible Noise), via Sempiternal, with a more controlled, dynamic and poppier approach; an approach that has led to a thousand-fold improvement in their song-writing. Whatever you do, don’t confuse replacing aggression with control as a sign of weakness – there is a powerful energy throughout.
They always had an x-factor, now they have refinement and intelligence and know how to channel that spark into top quality songs. Tracks like ‘Avalanche’ are enhanced by the full integration of keyboard player Jordan Fish adding strings, synth motifs and subtle electronica to back up a beast that swirls from down to upbeat, and another strong chorus, led by the excellent Oli Sykes.
Only the sedate ‘Follow You’ shows a slight dip in quality and there are highlights throughout; no less than ‘Throne’ with its poppy synth intro and Linkin Park trappings, a truly uplifting pop metal anthem. ‘True Friends’ and ‘Blasphemy’ BMTH show they’ve lost none of their cynicism, but more than that, they demonstrate the progression of Sykes from screamer to genuine lead singer, with powerful throaty moments leading to sweeping choruses, and he combines the two on the rockier catchy ‘What You Need’, a track fuelled by a juddering stadium-filling death rock bass line. ‘Drown’, initially released a year ago to prepare the way for the new BMTH sound, is an expertly crafted modern alternative rock song. Final track ‘Oh No’ closes the circle, a reflective yet upbeat poppy piece, reminiscent of the best moments of 30 Seconds To Mars, with Woah-ohs and dance synths closing things off with a smile.
Kudos must also go to Fish and Sykes for a stunning production job, with all the touches and trappings of the best pop productions balled up into huge rock sound. Influences may have switched from Norma Jean and At The Gates, but by moving beyond their contemporaries in quality, style and songwriting, BMTH now stand in class of one; truly at the top of the mountain.
If Suicide Season (Visible Noise/Epitaph) was their rebirth, There Is A Hell… the teenage ruttings of a band truly finding themselves and Sempiternal their coming of age album, That’s The Spirit is Horizon maturing into a fine young adult, confident, strong and secure in themselves and the knowledge that they are now master craftsmen.
Successfully combining every good aspect of alternative rock and metal of the last fifteen years, That’s The Spirit is Bring Me The Horizon’s “Black Album” moment.