Probably the easiest choice I’ve had to make all year next to
maintaining my at least one masturbation session a day. The tech Gods
return after a long absence having not skipped a step; this record is
majestic, catchy, complex, layered, heavy, spacious, euphoric, dark and
foremost musically spotless.
2: Anathema: Weather systems
Still not sure whether this surpasses “We’re Here…” yet, but I’ve
listened to it so much since its release for my feel-good fix and that
connection with humankind I know is somewhere down there, near my
3: Evoken: Atra mors
A doom masterpiece, for long wintery nights absolutely ideal. The
blend of crushing and euphoric, dark and despairing is impeccable on
this record, I think they have actually surpassed themselves and the
entire doom sub-genre to rank alongside masterpieces “The Maniacal Vail”
and “the Divinity of Oceans”.
4: Terrordrome: This day of sacrilege
A band that was trademark brutal tech death has transformed over the
course of three years to become an infectious brutal tech death band.
The chops on this disc are heavy, head-spinning technical and of course
catchy yet uncompromisingly so. Plus one of my favourite drum
performances of the year and pretty killer artwork make this a band to
develop an interest in now before hopefully their seminal third album
5: Malignancy: Eugenics
A playful, brutal death metal band. Catchy, bouncy rhythms, an
unusual style to riffing, technical music, versatile(ish) vocals, and a
drum performance to match Jamie St Merat of Ulcerate or Danny Walker of
(to the least of my knowledge) Murder Construct, entertaining concept,
this grew on me very, very quickly. Whether it was worth the wait, I
can’t say, both albums are remarkable and “Eugenics” sees the band
maturing, toning it down but bringing the fun back into brutal music. Or
rather making brutal music fun.
Major disappointment of 2011:
Neurosis: Honour found in decay
My joint favourite band of all time, I think; “Given to the Rising”
disappointed but having listened to it recently I’m flabbergasted as to
why. Maybe this record will follow in the same footsteps. For now, I
feel it’s too weak, not deep enough musically nor lyrically. Some great
Neurosis moments, a solid album, but for an outfit that has consistently
written music of such thought-provoking and emotional intensity, I
can’t help but feel short-changed.