The tension mounts… On with the body count!
40. Beartooth – Below (Red Bull) Making it four bangers in a row, Beartooth continue to deliver anthems while peppering their rampant punked-up Metalcore with more Hard Rock flourishes to devastating effect. Caleb Shomo and his compadres are on fire on Below.
39. Leprous – Aphelion (InsideOut Music) “Ten tracks that vary a lot from the traditional heavy passages that the band has always showcased but keeps expanding onto other genres like glimpses of Trip Hop and more popular genres. The overall talent of the band is undeniable”. GC Review
38. Spelljammer – Abyssal Trip (Riding Easy Records) “An equally catchy, beautiful, heavy, and dark album that brings a scenario that can be only compared as being a collection of Black Sabbath’s darkest, twisted tracks but heavier and more melodic.” GC Review
37. Quicksand – Distant Populations (Epitaph Records) Veteran, ney, legendary post-hardcore heroes maintain form with their second comeback album, an album which delivers a lot in a short run time and confirms the adage that class is permanent.
36. Dream Theater – A View From The Top Of The World (InsideOut Music) “The fifteenth studio album from prog legends Dream Theater finds the Bostonian act with nothing left to prove but still in the form of their lives. At a mighty seventy minutes in length yet featuring a mere seven tracks, A View From the Top of The World explores and probes new ideas while reinventing the past.” GC Review
35. Lorna Shore – …And I Return To Nothingness (Century Media Records) “on … Nothingness they are doubling down on their spooky sound. What you definitely want to check out is the title track as guitarists Andrew O’Connor and Adam De Micco put in a hell of a shift.” GC Review
34. 1914 – Where Fear Meets Weapon (Napalm Records) “It’s almost arbitrary to weigh 1914’s albums when they’ve maintained such a powerful track record, but Where Fear And Weapons Meet may be their strongest iteration so far. A broader platform works greatly in the band’s favor” GC Review
33. Harikari For The Sky – Maere (AOP) Emotive, reflective and building from a whisper to howling, pummelling driving riffs, there’s something for most on HFTS’ fifth album, with the duo maintaining more heft than most post-Black outfits.
32. Employed To Serve – Conquering (Spinefarm Records) “No longer too hardcore for the metal kids, or too metal for the hardcore kids, The Conquering hits that sweet spot that Brainwashed, There Is A Hell… and Ire once found…, and that helped catapult their protagonists to the forefront and across the bridge to the promised land, though perhaps with a bit more vitriol in its spit.” GC Review
31. Portal – Avow (Profound Lore Records) “Barely even describable as songs, the illogically structured, screeching dissonant terrors of Avow almost defy description. ‘Catafalque’ is a repeated crescendo of molten chromatic bludgeoning while ‘Eye’, and ‘Offune’ are churning quagmires of jellified, tentacled malevolence.” GC Review
30. Full of Hell – Garden of Burning Apparitions (Relapse Records) I think we all know what we’re getting from US grind experts by now: disgustingly aggressive short bursts of dirty discordant rage-fuelled aural violence of the highest order. Again. And long may it continue
29. Boss Keloid – Family The Shining Thrush (Ripple Music) “With their fifth album, Family The Smiling Thrush, the Wigan (UK) prog / stoner / psych rock troupe hit the sweet spot of evolution from a predecessor without abandoning the elements that made it such a sterling release.” GC Review
28. Converge & Chelsea Wolfe – Bloodmoon: I (Epitaph Records) “Turbulent but serene, abrasive but polished, Bloodmoon: I never ceases to enthral and amaze. An harmonious cacophony of beautiful melody and jagged rhythms, ideas crash into each other one moment and complement each other unhurriedly the next.” GC Review
27. Gatecreeper – An Unexpected Reality (Closed Casket Activities) “A response to short-term playlist culture, and released with no build-up, just “here you fucking go”… An Unexpected Reality is a success. Seven tracks of grinding power-violence, averaging around a minute each in length, and one epic expansive doomier beast of an eleven-minute closer… an unexpected delight.” GC Review
26. Monolord –Your Time To Shine (Relapse Records) “Five albums into a career as one of the top bands in the modern Stoner Doom scene, Monolord offers their most mellow, tripped-out effort to date with Your Time To Shine. While there’s still plenty of dank fuzziness to go around, it feels almost like a backdrop at times as the cleaner guitar textures are given near equal priority and the vocals are at their most prominent.” GC Review
25. The Killers – Pressure Machine (Island Records) “There is an initial sense of shock as you expect some rousing, anthemic pop, but give it time and the record’s charms wash over you. This is not a record with immediacy, it is one you slowly soak in and discover its intricacies. It is a mature and moving piece of work, telling 11 tales of a small American town in an honest and genuine way.” Thomas Thrower, Ghost Cult writer via LMF
24. Emma Ruth Rundle – Engine of Hell (Sargent House) “Engine Of Hell feels like a very personal expression, but the emotional honesty and fragile presentation seems to tap into something universal. This is a record that can bring a tear to the eye and a smile to the face at the same time; that can make you feel emotions that are strange, cathartic and instantly understandable. It’s a very human album.” GC Review
23. Exodus – Persona Non Grata (Nuclear Blast Records) “Exodus’s eleventh studio album has been more than worth the wait. A raw and unapologetically belligerent lunatic parade of dive-bombing solos, crunching riffs and razor sharp hooks, inhuman drumming and deranged vocals, Persona Non Grata delivers on its promise in every way imaginable.” GC Review
22. Møl – Diorama (Nuclear Blast Records) “One thing became crystal clear very quickly after listening to MØL’s most recent effort, Diorama: this band can do it all. They’ve devised eight elegant tracks to prove just that, frankly leaving fans wanting more; these Danes dabble in Progressive Rock, Black Metal, Melodic Death Metal and even a snippet of Pop Punk.” GC Review
21. Deafheaven – Infinite Granite (Sargent House) “Deafheaven has scored another winning outing in their so far undefeated discography. Worth noting here is that Deafheaven is very much still in the business of producing some lean music that never loses its drive. ‘Shellstar’ gets off the line and sets the tone for what’s to come with a deft combination of shoegaze and alternative sounds that recall the 1990s but never comes across as dated.” GC Review
Part 3 (20-1) will follow shortly…