Friday, December 21, 2012

Final Exam 2012: Show No Mercy's Top 40 Metal Albums

Brandon Stosuy, who's in charge of Pitchfork's Show No Mercy metal column, recently made known his top 40 metal albums of the year.  Be sure to head over to the site to check out Stosuy's explanations for his top 25 as well as sample tracks from those records.  Go here for the detailed list.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Final Exam 2012: Le professeur de musique's Top Metal/Near-Metal Albums

And now it's time to reveal my top metal and near-metal albums of the year.  For the past few years, my music diet has consisted almost exclusively of releases from the metal world, and this year wasn't much different.  Although I didn't hear every metal record that came out this year, there were certain ones that ended up on heavy rotation.  And from these came my top twenty.

My number one pick came out of nowhere and blows me away every time I hear it.  This band's been flying under most people's radar, but it's about time these guys get the recognition they deserve.

So without further ado, here's my top metal/near-metal list.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Final Exam 2012: Le professeur de musique's Top Non-Metal Albums of the Year

Coming up with a list of my top 10 non-metal albums was a fairly easy exercise.  Coming up with a top 20, however, would have been much more difficult.  I didn't listen to a ton of non-metal records, mostly because there weren't that many that grabbed my attention and warranted repeated listens.  But the ones that did catch my ears are worth noting and are thus listed below.

Admittedly, I did not hear every record that came out this past year (nor do I wish to).  My number one pick is an album that got better and better each time I heard it early on.  And it's been a go-to record for much of the year.  The other releases from my top 10 are formidable and also merit your time if you're not already down.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Final Exam 2012: Le professeur de musique's Honorable Mentions

Later in the week, I'll be posting my top 10 non-metal albums and my top 20 metal/near-metal albums of the year.

In the meantime, here are 5 records that didn't quite make the cut for my metal/near-metal list.  Each of these releases is very solid and worth checking out if you haven't already done so.

There will be no honorable mentions for the non-metal list.

Le professeur de musique's Metal/Near-Metal Honorable Mentions
1.  Dawnbringer - Into the Lair of the Sun God
2.  Deserted Fear - My Empire
3.  Posthum - Lights Out
4.  Sylosis - Monolith
5.  Testament - Dark Roots of Earth

Monday, December 17, 2012

Final Exam 2012: The Year's Disappointments

Later this week, we'll take a look at the year's best albums, but let's focus on the year's disappointments first.  Here are five of mine:

1.  Band of Horses' Mirage Rock.  I saw Band of Horses open up a show for Iron and Wine in the summer of 2005.  This was before BOH even had a record out.  Despite the horribly talkative crowd, I enjoyed both sets.  Since then, I've thoroughly enjoyed BOH's first two records, but Mirage Rock is the point where I must think of this band as a thing of the past.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Final Exam 2012: MetalSucks' Top Metal Albums

The staff at MetalSucks have each posted their top 15 albums of the year, and you can check them all out if you go here.  You can also find out what various metal musicians have chosen as their favorite records of the year.  So when you get some time, browse the 20+ posts here - they're all conveniently listed on the same page.

Final Exam 2012: Stereogum's Top Metal Albums

Props to Stereogum for giving the metal world some coverage on a somewhat regular basis.  Although the site tends to overdo things with so much rap and hip hop (at least for my taste), it's nice to see that they've put out a list of the top 40 metal albums of the year.

The list is below, but head over here to read their interesting introduction, to hear samples from each album, and to find out why Converge, Baroness, Swans, and Torche are not on the list.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Extra Credit: Kowloon Walled City

San Francisco's Kowloon Walled City plays a sludgy, noisy kind of post-metal.  At times, the band brings to mind Fugazi's slower moments.

Kowloon Walled City recently released Container Ships, a collection of 7 songs that lasts about 35 minutes.  If you like opening track "The Pressure Keeps Me Alive" (and you should), then you'll also dig the others.

Container Ships is available at bandcamp for the "name your price" option, so you can download the record for free or pay what you can to support the band.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Reading Assignment: "The Atheist" by J.R. Hayes

Pig Destroyer's latest album Book Burner is definitely worth checking out, especially if you're into extreme metal.  With the deluxe version of the CD, LP, or digital version, you also get a copy of vocalist J.R. Hayes' debut short story "The Atheist."  If, however, you don't have a deluxe version, you can still read the short story thanks to J.R. Hayes and the folks at Cvlt Nation.

Without giving too much away, the story takes place in a future where Christianity becomes the official religion of the United States.  As might be expected, the protagonist is a non-conformist.  "The Atheist" is an interesting read, and my only complaint is that the ending comes out of nowhere and could have been further developed.  Nevertheless, it's a quick and enjoyable read regardless of how you may feel about religion.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Extra Credit: Arsis

The folks at Scion A/V have done it again.  We've already received free EPs from Revocation, Witch Mountain, and Corrosion of Conformity, and now we're offered a new EP from Arsis titled Lepers Caress

The six-song EP starts with the instrumental "Haunted, Fragile, and Frozen" and then blasts into "Six Coffins Wide."  From this point forward, you'll be hit with a good dose of technical and melodic death metal.  The aforementioned second track and "Carve My Cross" are early favorites.

Lepers Caress is available as a free download here as long as you're willing to give up your email address.  You can also stream the EP here if you want to give it a listen before downloading it.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Class of 2012: Neurosis - Honor Found In Decay

It's been quite a year for bands already in their second or even third decade.  Bands like Saint Vitus, Converge, and Testament released records earlier this year that prove the relevance of their new music.  And now we can add Neurosis to that list.

Honor Found In Decay is Neurosis' tenth album, released five years after 2007's Given to the Rising.  It features 7 songs in just over an hour's time and definitely requires several listens to fully digest.

"We All Rage in Gold" starts the album off in fine fashion.  If you like this song, then you should enjoy what's about to come.  For the first minute of next track "At the Well," you may wonder if DC Berman of the Silver Jews is singing (he's not).  On this standout second song, you'll hear noticeably strong drumming (the same applies to "All is Found...In Time") and what sounds like bagpipes from 4:20-4:55.  But what takes this track to the next level occurs from 7:00 to the end - it's my favorite part of the record.