1: Blut Aus Nord - 777 - Sect(s)

2011-12-15 04:16:11 by johan

777 - Sect(s) I feel slightly uncomfortable including this album, it's the first of three of a trilogy, part two has already been released (part 3 is due out in 2012), and it seems pretty clear that all three are meant to be a single album, so reviewing just one third seems unfair. However they are released as separate albums and as such I decided they were fair game. As with all Blut Aus Nord albums there are aspects to love and hate here, there are times I think it gets a bit too soft, but for every part that you might not like they come back in spades with their very special brand of black metal that blows most other bands away. As truly amazing as this album is I think once part three gets released and we get to experience the full trilogy, that's when this will really come to shine as perhaps one of the greatest albums in a long time.


Blut Aus Nord

2: Peste Noire - L'Ordure ā l'état Pur

2011-12-14 06:06:16 by johan

L'Ordure ā l'état Pur Most people who know me know that my taste in music is narrow; to quote an old friend who in fit of frustration once uttered "you don't even like metal, you only like a tiny sliver of metal..." As this sliver is generally located at the far reaches of black metal, I'm expecting a certain amount of disdain for not only including this album in my top ten, but for placing it as highly as I do. The first thing that needs to be said is that this is by no means a black metal album, there are black metal parts to it, but this must undoubtedly be placed in some other genre, the cliché and overused epitaph "avant-garde" is probably as good as any. So why is it on my list? Well in a year that offered few truly great albums this is if not great without a doubt the most interesting and challenging. The albums swings wildly from black metal, to circus metal, to french folk, to post rock. I don't think it's an overstatement to say many people will hate this album, but I can't quit it. The few annoying parts are made up for by the insane parts that keep this album interesting, time will tell how well it holds up, but there's barely been a day I've not listened to at least part of this album since it was released in May, which should prove a certain staying power.


Peste Noire

3: Belphegor - Blood Magick Necromance

2011-12-13 05:05:40 by johan

Blood Magick Necromance Belphegor was a band that I had given up hope on, after 2003's stunning Lucifer Incestus came a string of disappointing albums featuring a combination of subpar song writing and an often flat and uninspiring production. So when I read that they'd released a new album this year I was ready to dismiss it. Mark my surprise when I started listening to Blood Magick Necromance, this was back in Lucifer Incestus territory again, well written and catchy songs together with a sharp and punchy production. It always comforting when a band manages to redeem themselves like this, it means there is some hope after all for those bands that have released great albums only to subsequently never be able to live up to it.



4: Anaal Nathrakh - Passion

2011-12-12 05:46:02 by johan

Passion Anaal Nathrakh don't operate in a very wide spectrum, they swings between grindy black metal and grindy black metal with cleanish vocals. This album sees a slight swing back to the latter, close to Hell Is Empty, and All the Devils Are Here, luckily they don't go as far as they did last time, and there is enough parts filthy black metal to keep this interesting.


Anaal Nathrakh

5: Kampfar - Mare

2011-12-10 07:57:33 by johan

Mare My last Kampfar album was 2006's Kvass, the first thing one notices on Mare is that the production got notched up. Things sounds warm and a bit beefier than previous experiences. The second thing is that instead of few longer songs in general we're treated to more shorter ones. This works out pretty well as at least a few of the songs on Kvass where quite forgettable, "Ravenheart" being the obvious exception as the standout hit on Kvass. Back to Mare, a very strong album, the title track really takes it away as stand out track this time with a good and heavy mid tempo flow.Do yourself a favor and pick this album up.



6: Lifelover - Sjukdom

2011-12-09 05:11:10 by johan

Sjukdom Sjukdom is perhaps Lifelover's most uneven album, there are times when it's absolutely brilliant and then there are parts that are less so, with fourteen tracks this is hardly surprising. Now as Lifelover has gone to it's grave we'll never know where future albums would have taken them, but there are sufficient great parts here that I'd like to believe that we'd have gotten another album as amazing and filler free as Erotik. R.I.P. Lifelover.



7: Mournful Congregation - Book of Kings

2011-12-08 05:45:10 by johan

Book of Kings Funeral doom is a genre I get into and then forget about every few years, as such I had never run into Mournful Congregation until this years Book of Kings. Now that I've been exposed though I will have to hunt down all previous releases because this is some of the best funeral doom I've heard since Esoteric's first two albums or Tyranny's Tides of Awakening. If you even remotely like doom you need to get this album, at four songs clocking in around 80 minutes (and the last song alone going on for 33) this is just how I like my doom, slow, somber and without end.


Mournful Congregation

8: Shining - VII: Född Förlorare

2011-12-07 05:27:10 by johan

Född Förlorare Things are not always as they appear, last time I had Shining on my best of list they made number five, this year they're number eight. As such one would assume that this years album is inferior to the last, one could hardly be more wrong. VII: Född Förlorare is a huge improvement over 2009's VI: Klagopsalmer, while I liked the previous one quite a lot, it was just always a bit off, with VII: Född Förlorare it somehow feels a bit more like Shining again. That said it's not Shining of old, and I do wish they'd just dirty it up a bit and get back to some of the complete misery of the earlier albums.



9: Deivos - Demiurage of the Void

2011-12-06 04:50:46 by johan

Demiurge of the Void It's hard to say that Deivos brings much new to the world of death metal, much of this you'll undoubtedly have heard before. That said it is well played and tends to hold your interest. It also avoids the trap that many modern technical death metal bands fall into where they release an album played on 17 string guitars, 19 string bases at a blistering pace, but can't hold your interest to save it's life. It's a nice well rounded album which features decently well composed songs, my only advice for their next album is more cowbell.



10: Barghest - Barghest

2011-12-05 05:26:48 by johan

Barghest Barghest was an album I picked up for no other reason than the cover. I had never heard them before but the minimalistic simplicity of the cover appealed to me and it turns out so does the music. For the music is just as bare-bones and simple as the cover, nothing fancy or complicated, just simple old and dirty black metal, and as far as that goes Barghest does it very well.



The 2011 list

2011-12-03 12:48:33 by johan

Once again listmania season is upon us, and I will over the next two weeks be posting my top ten albums for 2011. Looking back I feel that 2011 has been a weak year for the music I enjoy, that said, ten albums have been picked. While most choices will surprise none, I think there might be a few here that could be considered black swans.