Analyzing the evolutive process of an artist of a band tends to be a journey full of debacles and details that are indeed interesting. Taking into consideration the personal issues that every artist deals with while writing an album is a very impactful and important aspect of how the final product comes out and one thing is for certain, COVID-19 and all that we lived through 2020 will be a heavy influence in all the albums that we listen to this year. Soen’s Imperial (Silver Lining Music) is no exception. An album as captivating as their last effort Lotus (Silver Lining Music), the Swedish band is expanding what could already be considered their signature sound: strong, beautiful, and catchy ballads that mix heavy sections here and there. Maybe, as mentioned, it is because of all the different situations that everyone went through last year that made the band go through a route that is perceived as sentimental but, more than anything, it feels real.
Let’s think of 2021 as the year that will reveal the ultimate artistic expression of all creators out there and, personally I am very excited with what the year promises pertaining to music releases especially in Metal. The year starts with the right foot with this release by Portugal’s Stoner Metal band Miss Lava and their fourth effort Doom Machine (Small Stone). This album explores how psychedelic and experimental sounds mix so well with Stoner Rock/Metal, with passages that go straight from heavy riffs into spacious soundscapes that will transport you somewhere else in the cosmos.
Instead of reminding everyone of the horrible year we’ve had by sharing this list of my top 20 albums of 2020 with all of you, I want to think that I am sharing new music that can keep being an outlet to rely on when times are tough. We’re in a moment in time where we’re all vulnerable and music keeps being one of the best tools to help our mental health. The following albums are the ones that helped me go through the year and I hope you find something that you can add to your playlist and enjoy it as much as I do. Within each album, there is the country, genre, and their Bandcamp links (for those that have Bandcamp) in case you want to directly support them in these troubled times.
This year has been as chaotic as anyone has ever seen. And for chaotic times we need good, solid, tight riffs, and Junior Bruce provides them on their album Pray For Death (Sludgelord Records). The Florida quintet brings an album with absolute bangers for fans of Stoner/Sludge Metal. Having a clash of different styles, Pray for Death is an album that reflects the collective anger society has against whatever anyone they choose to be mad about, still combining a certain melancholy that grows some of the most interesting aspects of Junior Bruce.
I want to open this review by saying that the talent and obvious skills of all the musicians involved in this record is undeniable, these are musicians that have been proving over and over again why they are recognized as some of the top artists in their genre and why they have the following they have. Having said that, this solo album by John Petrucci (Dream Theater) was not for me. And though we can argue that this kind of album is for a specific sector in the Progressive Metal realm, I truly cannot digest music that is made to show off the skills that “x” or “y” musician has in their instrument and that is my perception of Terminal Velocity (Sound Mind Music/The Orchard).
Consistency is the best word that can be used to describe a band like The Ocean. After releasing the critically acclaimed album Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic (Metal Blade Records/Pelagic Records) in 2018, the Germans come back with can possibly be a solid candidate for album of the year in Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic | Cenozoic (Metal Blade Records/Pelagic Records). And it’s just that this band keeps raising the musical and creative bars that are out there. They are not afraid to crush any musical barriers and do love to delve into unknown territories and as a result, they always come out on the winning end of it.
If there was a way to tell how an album would sound just by knowing who the musicians that are playing in it are, it wouldn’t be possible to do so with Mcstine & Minnemann‘s self-titled, debut album (McStine & Minnemann). The duo consists of multi-instrumentalist Marco Minnemann (The Aristocrats) and Randy McStine (Lo-Fi Resistance). In all honesty, I had never heard of Mcstine or Lo-Fi Resistance, but I am familiar with Minnemann’s work, particularly of his work with Steven Wilson. If you’re wondering why it could not be possible to guess how this album is going to sound based on the knowledge that these two musicians are working together, well the reason is that Minnemann really is a very versatile musician that can play a lot of genres that do not necessarily fall in the realm of Metal. Continue reading
Have you ever heard a debut album from a band and wondered how they will, if possible, top their material in a follow-up record? Lesser Glow provides us an excellent example of consistency and development in their sophomore record Nullity (Pelagic Records), full of heavy, melodic, and huge wall of sounds that will keep you wanting more. The band, originated in Boston, Massachusetts, brings a different perspective to the Doom Metal world, adding the different influences of other sub-genres of Metal like Hardcore, Post-Hardcore, Post Rock, and more. Coming up from their amazing debut Ruined (Pelagic Records) Lesser Glow keeps bringing a fresh and new perspective in a genre that arguably has a lot of bands sounding the same. Continue reading
If you clicked the link to read this review is because somehow you have heard about King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, or because the name was too odd for you to pass on discovering what the hell Is a band called liked that being covered in a Metal magazine, well let me first tell you that this band with the weird name released the critically acclaimed Thrash Metal album Infest the Rats’ Nest (Flightless Records) in 2019 which added a new genre in their vast catalog of albums that include a wide range of genres that go from psychedelic to garage, to progressive rock, among others. On the other hand, if you have heard King Gizz, you know exactly what I’m talking about and you probably agree with me that this band is one of the most creative musical acts in the world at this moment.Continue reading
As we are stuck at home wondering what to do with all this unprecedented free time, I believe that we should invest our time to catch up with all the releases that have come out this year. Actually, I have to get into that myself, there are a lot of releases that I have missed so far this year and Azusa’sLoop of Yesterdays(Solid State Records)was one of them. I’m glad I listened to this album though, it has a very interesting balance between really heavy Melodic Death Metal riffs and progressive/experimental segments that present big ambient soundscapes.