Back in January, I introduced you all to a small handful of projects I was anticipating for the year ahead, setting the expectation that I would probably be disappointed as always. Well, now that December is fully upon us, it’s time to go back and review how I reacted to each of those releases. I made sure to avoid reviewing any of these albums (which wasn’t hard… I don’t write as much these days) just to prevent any spoilers. I guess I should remind you of my 2017 introductory post before moving ahead. All caught up? Great. Now… let’s see how it all went and decide whether or not I was disappointed.
Wintersun… A Forest Seasons (and whatever else it is they are doing these days)
Can you be disappointed by something if you ignored it entirely? That’s the question we’ll ask ourselves with this first project. Yes, Wintersun did eventually drop their shiny new album, The Forest Seasons, after an unnecessarily successful crowdfunding campaign. I meant to listen to this thing. I really did. But I guess I’m even more apathetic to Wintersun than I originally realized. Will I ever listen to it? Maybe. I’m not even sure anymore. But, I guess, for the sake of being thematically consistent…
Was I disappointed by Wintersun? By default, no. In fact, by avoiding time and emotional investment in them altogether, I find my Wintersun-less 2017 rather satisfying.
And we still have no idea when Time II is coming. Because Wintersun.
Tau Cross – A Pillar Of Fire
This is a bit of a tricky one. When you look at A Pillar Of Fire as an isolated, individual collection of songs, it is very enjoyable. But when you weigh it against their previous self-titled effort, it’s not the same. The material obviously isn’t as fresh and some moments feel a bit unneeded. It’s of a similar length to the preceding album, but feels longer. Not ideal. All that said, I have chosen to view this album with the mentality of the former perspective. So, I personally enjoy it and still listen to it regularly. It has tremendous bite, a wide range of tempos and weights, and introduces enough lyrical substance to leave an impact in a few different ways. It was always going to be a tall order following up that debut, and this didn’t quite reach that level. But this was still a solid release and if you simplify things further, Tau Cross is still awesome.
Was I disappointed by Tau Cross? Nah, not really. A step backward? Sure, I could understand that argument. Still killer? Hell yes. Besides, how many sequels are better than their predecessors anyway?
Oh, The Ocean, why must you tease me so? I was so amped for a new album to finally come my way in 2017. It had been so long since Pelagial both opened up and then destroyed my mind. And while you gave us something this year, it certainly wasn’t enough to satisfy what I was hoping for. But there is some news that will help end the year on a more optimistic note; looks like we may have albums coming in each of the next two years. Will that make up for leaving me out to dry this year? Yeah, probably.
So, was I disappointed by The Ocean? You betcha. But you know what else? I’m almost definitely maybe possibly 100% certain that all will be forgiven in the next year. Either way, we’ll be going through this entire process with The Ocean again come January.
Der Weg einer Freiheit – Finisterre
The German black metallers can do no wrong. As incredible as 2015’s Stellar was, Finisterre was equally as impressive, if not more so, with just enough of a difference to it to feel fresh. Just the right amount of weight, melody, and technicality make Der Weg einer Freiheit one of the market standards in modern black metal. The latest effort is mesmerizing atmospheric brilliance and absolutely lived up to my lofty expectations.
Did Der Weg einer Freiheit disappoint me? Hell no, and there will be more on Finisterre before the year comes to a full close.
Me And That Man – Songs Of Love And Death
Out of everything, this was the only project I was more or less blind to. A ‘stripped down’ project from Nergal? Intriguing if nothing else. I picked this album up, I listened to it, I enjoyed it, and that was pretty much it. There’s no doubt that this is yet another example of the Behemoth frontman’s ability to craft an album, regardless of genre. But I almost wanted a little more something out of this. Perhaps a little darker in lyrical content and some more variable song structures would not have sucked. But overall it was a solid listen and a nice change of pace.
Was I disappointed by Me And That Man? Nah, I don’t think so. I’m glad Nergal went for a project like this, and now I’m glad it’s done. At least for now. Because, as we’ve seen regularly, new Behemoth is lurking on the horizon. Thus, we rejoice.
And The Great Nine Circles Recap of 2017 is in full force. It’s always fun going back and reviewing things you were excited about at the start of the year, but it’s more fun covering our favorites from the year… too bad you need to wait a little bit longer for that. I think you’ll survive.
“Ein Bier… bitte.”