Best of Q2: Corey’s List

nine circles

I was incredibly impressed with the onslaught of new metal that came our in the first quarter of the year. Headlined by the likes of Thulcandra, Enslaved, and Leviathan, to name a very small few, it seemed like a tough quarter to stack up against. But, then came Q2. Since April, we’ve been blessed with quality release after quality release from all stretches of the metal universe. Let’s look a little closer at it:

You all know me as one completely enshrouded in black metal, and make no mistake, there is plenty of that here. But at the same time, I don’t think I’ve ever conceived a “best of” list quite as diverse as this one. Q2 has brought us doom, thrash, blackgaze and so much more. Maybe you could say the last three months have opened my eyes a bit to what else is out there. You could say that. But you’d be wrong. It just happens that I’ve recognized more quality in the other sides of metal than I have previously. Either way, you don’t care what I have to say at this point, so here’s my list:

Top Three from Q2

1. Vattnet Viskar – Settler

This is, without a doubt,  the best album of the last three months, but also one of the best you will hear all year. Bringing back some more traditional black metal influences, Vattnet Viskar find a way to push their sound in new directions while staying true to their origins. They show plenty of growth in this heavy, encapsulating listen from start to finish.

2. Ghost Bath – Moonlover

I almost didn’t include this, given that we were all misled into thinking this was a project emerging from China. No matter, it gets a slot here. Ghost Bath fuses shoegaze with black metal in an incredibly unique way, heavily focused on the emotional side of individual notes and shrieking vocals. Yet, as emotionally jarring as this sound is, it also very enchanting.

3. Valborg – Romantik

This is a bit of surprise in the top 3. When Romantik came out, I was easily captivated by the haunting doom quality to Valborg’s sound. I wasn’t exactly sure how the sound would hold up, however. Yet, several weeks later, I still find myself spinning this album multiple times per week. It’s haunting, it’s surrounding, and it’s absolutely beautiful.

Six Honorable Mentions from Q2

Tau Cross – Tau Cross

“Tau Cross effortlessly blends influences to create something uniquely original, yet familiar—familiarity stemming from Tau Cross’ undeniable roots in American rock and roll.”

Pale Chalice – Negate the Infinite and Miraculous

“When all is said and done, Pale Chalice leaves us with 40-plus minutes of black metal that is organic enough to prove their devotion to their genre while simultaneously offering enough stylistic deviation to keep fans of all forms entranced.”

Paradise Lost – The Plague Within

“…The entire album should be cranked, as its distinct crunch and darkness is best delivered through sheer volume.”

Tribulation – The Children of the Night

“It’s not only the experimentation and the promise of where black metal and death metal can go, it’s the actual album itself. The Children of the Night doesn’t merely offer a critique on the state of music today; it actually offers, and presents, a solution to that stagnant state.”

Vanum – Realm of Sacrifice

“This is an incredible display that finds the intersection of darkness, atmosphere, and melody…and delivers it effortlessly.”

False – Untitled

“False is a band—and Untitled an album—that will let you draw your own conclusions and parallels. It forces you to consume thoughtfully: to sit, spend time, and contemplate what you’re hearing on your own plane.”

Well, that’ll wrap up three more months of metal for 2015. Enjoy everything about that list. That’s not a polite request.

“Ein Bier… bitte.”
-Corey

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