Tuesday, January 11, 2011

5 Albums That I Wish Came to Me in the Middle of 2010

Every year I get a few albums that blow my mind and make me wish I heard them when they came out. Here are 5 albums that may have been on my top ten of 2010 if I got them in June instead of December.

Winterfylleth - The Mercian Sphere
Maybe it's just as well that I only found this at the very end of the year, as snow blankets everything around me and the winds make my apartment sway. Winterfylleth, a four-piece from Manchester, England, play black metal but eschew everything that other British black metal bands have become [in]famous for. No gothic keyboards, no dinner theatre Satanism, no fancy get-ups. Instead, they fall in line with other folk-influenced bands like Wolves in the Throneroom and Drudkh, while having the occasional yodeling Enslaved moment. Definitely an album that I plan on spending a lot of time with while my city thaws itself out.

Laethora - The Light In Which We All Burn
Featuring Niklas Sundin of the mighty Dark Tranquility, it's baffling to me how I didn't discover this band sooner. The DT connection is misleading, however, as Laethora's mission statement is "grime, filth and uproar," with only traces of Gothenberg's signature melodicism. It's not pretty, but it is epic, and considering the talent behind it, Laethora is already my favourite obscure band to name drop.

Grave Desecrator - Insult
After seeing the words "Brazilian" and "death metal" together, I jumped all over this, and was not disappointed. Insult is the best kind of retro album: one that actually sounds like it was written and recorded in 1986. Imagine a band who'd fit on the flip side of Sepultura's epic (and under-rated) debut Morbid Visions; throw in a little of Scream Bloody Gore-era Death, and you've got Grave Desecrator. Their moniker is a total misfire though; even in this time of instant nostalgia, I can't think of a single band who dug up the past with more care and reverence than these dudes. This is the blasting death metal album I spent all year waiting for.

Tryptikon - Eparistera Daimones
Now that I'm no longer buying metal magazines, I really have no clue what's going on outside my own little hesher orbit. Oh, how foolish I felt when I discovered that the Tryptikon that I dismissed as more hipster poseurdom was actually Tom "OG" Warrior's follow-up to the mesmerizingly heavy Monotheist album. I was completely clueless that the Celtic Frost mainman had a new band, and this album (and the US tour to support it) completely passed me by. It only came to my attention when it was on every metal "best of the year list". Some catching up is definitely in order, but my first impression is how much of an impression Sepultura must have left on Tom Warrior; there is a definite similarity between their mid-90's classics and Eparistera Daimones in terms guitar tone and style that makes Tryptikon more than just old-timers rehashing their glory days. Speaking of which...

Sodom - In War and Pieces
Sodom are a band who I somehow only manage to check out every other album; partially because they're so damn prolific that I really can't keep up, and partially because their albums all sort of sound the same. But In War and Pieces is a perfect end to a pretty good decade for Sodom, and Deutschthrash in general. Maybe it's the deluge of new thrash bands, but something has lit a fire under Onkel Tom and friends, as they haven't sounded this good since 1999's Code Red. Another few months with it, and IWAP may join Persecution Mania as my go-to Sodom record.