WKNC Pick of the Week, February 11, 2011 by Jonathan Newman, WKNC deejay
Musically, this album is more akin to the bands earlier works Where The Shadows Lie and Sword’s Song with the driving guitars and blast beats. They blend the male and female vocals seamlessly over the keyboards and guitars, giving the songs a more earthy, yet powerful tone.
The male vocals have improved dramatically. The vocalist has seemed to have found the perfect line between growling and singing to add a voice that blends both a uruk-hai and a man. The female’s vocals sound like the elves Arwen and Galadriel combined, forming a light sound that compliments the male’s harsh vocals. Together with the lyrics, the music creates a powerful effect that sucks you in, leaving you wanting more.
While all the songs on the album are special in their own right, there are a few songs that one should take notice of, with the first of these songs being “Bow and Helm.”
The song immediately kicks in with dual guitars and a pounding drum beat before filling your ears with the horns of Gondor. The male vocalist speaks softly to us about the land of bow and helm, before the voice of the orc breaks in screaming over galloping guitars about the rise of the dragon. Then it slows down, letting the elf and man sing quietly, before quickly returning to the orc attack of guitars and drums.
“Kärmessurma” is one of the more unique songs on the album, utilizing both male and orc vocals over a driving guitar. Yet what makes it special is the whole song is sung in elvish, making us feel as if we are watching a shouting match between a man and orc, before the female comes in and calms everything down.
The second-to-last song on the album is worth noting. “Doombound” is the last song to use vocals, and it uses them to such an extent that when mixed with the keyboards and guitars, you truly feel the pain that Túrin felt in his last moments. With a catchy hook and painful roars, the song plows on, dragging you down, before lifting you back up with a piano interlude filled with the serene voice of the elf, giving you peace despite the fact that you are doom-bound.
by Noobhammer on Mar.23, 2009, under Chainsaw
It is a GREAT time to be a metal head. There are so many new albums coming out this year, as well as concerts touring the US.
Out of all the years I have been a metal head, the 08-09 year has been one of the best. I have seen Symphony X playing with Into Eternity and Epica. I have watched Iced Earth play with Into Eternity. I have seen Suffocation. I have seen the almighty Carcass play with Suffocation, Aborted, and 1349. I have seen the black metallers Watain. I will be seeing Soilwork with Darkane and Swallow The Sun. Soon I will see Kreator with Exodus, as well as Dragonforce with Cynic. I have never seen so many great concerts coming through. I didn’t get a chance to go see At The Gates with Darkest Hour, but they toured as well.
The only thing better than concerts this year was albums. There were so many great albums released in 08-09.
Alestorm-Captain Morgan’s Revenge
Ghenghis Tron-Board Up The House
Death Angel-Killing Season
Zimmer’s Hole-When You Were Shouting At The Devil…
The Sword-Gods of the Earth
Arsis-We Are The Nightmare
Belphegor-Bondage Goat Zombie
Dominici-O3:A Trilogy, Part 3
Kalmah-For The Revolution
Warrel Dane-Praises To The War Machine
Deicide-Til Death Do Us Part
Testament-The Damnation of Formation
Cryptopsy-The Unspoken King
Sabaton-The Art of War
Norma Jean-The Anti Mother
The Human Abstract-Midheaven
Into Eternity-The Incurable Tragedy
Iced Earth-The Crucible of Man
Amon Amarth-Twilight of the Thunder God
Swallow The Sun-Plague of Butterflies
Battlelore-The Last Alliance
Jeff Loomis-Zero Order Phase
Bloodbath-The Fathomless Mastery
Darkthrone-Dark Thrones and Black Flags
Cradle of Filth-Godspeed on the Devil’s Thunder
The Faceless-Planetary Duality
Cynic-Traced in Air
And that is all 2008. 2009 looks to be as good, if not even better.
Grave Digger-Ballads of a Hangman
Iron Fire-To The Grave
Kreator-Hordes of Chaos
Saxon-Into The Labyrinth
Cattle Decapitation-The Harvest Floor
Rumpelstiltskin Grinder-Living for Death, Destroying the Rest
Napalm Death-Time Waits For No Slave
Vision Divine-9 Degrees West of the Moon
Cannibal Corpse-Evisceration Plague
Luna Mortis-The Absence
Hammerfall-No Sacrifice, No Victory
Buried Inside-Spoils of Failure
My Dying Bride-For Lies I Sire
Mastodon-Crack The Skye
Wolves In The Throneroom-Black Cascade
It’s a good time to love metal my friends.
Keep The Horns Rising Brothers and Sisters
Greetings metal community, the Noobhammer here with my top ten albums which smashed the gates with a hammer full of steel.
10. Trenches-The Tide Will Swallow Us Whole
This album was a complete shocker for me. Yet from the instant I popped in the cd, I knew I had something special. This cd combines the heaviness of Isis with the melody and intensity of Haste The Day. This cd mixes these two elements perfectly into an album that doesn’t disappoint and will continually surprise you and have you listening to it again.
9. Arsis-We Are The Nightmare
This album blew me away with its sheer technicality and intensity. Arsis have always been one of those bands that just shock you with their skills on their respective instruments. This cd is no exception. With a step above United In Regret production wise, Arsis shows us what they can do when they flex their muscles and release that Virginian Death Metal machine.
8. Battlelore-The Last Alliance
Can you go wrong with Lord of the Rings? The answer is no, no you cannot. Battlelore has proven this by releasing their 5th full length album based off the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. They seem to gain their stride back with this release after releasing the much softer Evernight album previous to this one.
7. The Sword-Gods of the Earth
The Sword have quickly become one of the best stoner bands to ever come out. This cd is no exception. Their best work to date showcases what The Sword do best: Black Sabbathesque riffs that hook you and lyrics that just make no sense but will have you singing along nevertheless. That is what makes this album so great, their simplicity.
6. Sabaton-The Art of War
Sabaton has made a name for themselves as a power metal band that sings about wars. This album though is a album about the art of war. It has Sun Tzu’s teachings throughout it as we hear about Rommel’s Tank Division, the deaths in the trenches during WWI. This cd is just epic with its material and depth. It also has some very catchy songs that will have you banging your head.
5. Into Eternity-The Incurable Tragedy
The opening lines of this album, “The story is over”, paint the bleak outlook this album has with its concept about a patient who has cancer. This emotionally driven cd is some of the best work Into Eternity has done to date. Stu’s voice really shines on this album as well as Tim’s guitar playing. The mature growth that this band has shown over their last few albums is amazing and makes me impatient for the next album.
4. Avantasia-The Scarecrow
Tobias Sammet’s brainchild guest musician band is one of the best things to hit the metal world with it’s rock opera story and guest singers. I kept coming back to this album alot over the year due to it’s catchy songwriting and “can’t help but make you smile” lyrics. Michael Kiske, Alice Kooper, Jorn Lande, and kai Hansen all appear on this album making it a true masterpiece and hit album.
Pyramaze rose from ashes with the great Matt Barlow on vocals bringing out Pyramaze’s true potential and showing us what we all missed when Matt Barlow left the metal world. This cd just wakes you up and smacks you in the face with powerful lyrics and music. This is truly the year of the phoenix for most bands as they rose from the ashes into the spotlight of greatness.
2. Iced Earth-The Crucible of Man:Something Wicked Part 2
This was almost my album of the year just for its sheer genius and beauty that is contained within its walls. This album showed us what Iced Earth truly is, that no matter how many members they go through they can always release a great album. This album though brought back the prodigal son, Matt Barlow back to the folds of Iced Earth. His voice just fits so natural with John Schaffer’s guitars. This showed us the true power of Iced Earth and left us wanting more.
THIS IS IT!!! MY ALBUM OF THE YEAR!!! IT IS……
1. Cynic-Traced In Air
This is it. The big enchilada. Did you really not see this coming? I mean come on I even said that it was the year of the phoenix for most bands, and Cynic is truly a phoenix. They died in ’93 with Focus and were recently reborn with Traced In Air. They have truly made a masterpiece that many will be talking about for the next fifteen years. This album can be listened to so many times, and yet you wish that there was more. That’s how good it is. It wants you to have more and just shows what a truly masterful beauty this album is that many bands could only dream of attaining. These guys deserve the album of the year for writing a true masterpiece that goes along with A Piece of Time.