[Music] Metal Thread

Following PatrThom's suggestion in Kags' End of year wrap-up, this is the Halforums Metal thread.

I've been a metalhead since the 1990s, starting with Scorpions and the original Rhapsody line-up. Since then, I've mostly been into power metal (Gamma Ray, Blind Guardian, HammerFall, etc.) and traditional heavy metal (old and new, with Judas Priest, Saxon and Satan sharing space with Visigoth, Twisted Tower Dire and Traveler, for example). Also a little bit of melodic death metal, with Amon Amarth and Amorphis being favourites.

What about you? What are you listening to? What are you curious about?
 
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My cousin would listen to Quiet Riot and Judas Priest for “inspiration” while doing weights (he used to play offensive lineman), but I never really considered people like Scorpions as Metal, just “Hard Rock.” “Metal” was a label I saved more for groups like Megadeth, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, etc., none of which I really listened to back in the day.

I didn’t really start paying attention to Metal until I started getting into mashups (especially these two featuring Metallica) and after playing through most of the first half of the game Brütal Legend. That put some songs in my head and introduced me to more symphonic bands like Dimmu Borgir, but what it really did was to get me listening to lyrics. That’s when I started hearing how much protest, how much story was contained within a lot of the songs. I used to think Metal was just yell, yell, guitar riff, eat a small live animal, and then scream some more. But once I actually started paying attention, I realized that there’s actually a lot of complexity and meaning in there, and it’s not always the hazy MetalBroFest I thought it was going to be. Ozzy and “Crazy Train,” or Lemmy and “God Was Never On Your Side” are actually just as poignant (in their own way) as CSN(Y)’s “Ohio” or ELP’s “Lucky Man.” Once I realized that, I gained a lot more appreciation for the genre.

—Patrick
 
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Scorpions are one of those annoying borderline cases because they've had such a long career (started in 1965, I believe) and their sound has changed a ton over the decades. Contrast Lonesome Crow, In Trance and Crazy World (my own intro to them), for example.

When I first heard them, I didn't consider them metal, as my own idea of metal was stuff like Slayer. I wouldn't discover the more melodic side of metal (with Rhapsody's Legendary Tales, my entry into metal proper) until nearly a decade later. That was a huge wake-up call for me, as I pretty much had the same idea you did until then.

That was in 1998, haven't stopped since.
 
Hey this is a thing I do.

My favorite bands are thrash metal - Testament and Death Angel, to be specific. Death Angel released their latest album Humanicide in May of last year, and Testament is releasing a new album somewhere beginning 2020. They're also touring together which is my dream come true (on the Bay Strikes Back tour), but the one concert they're giving in the Netherlands is sold out which I missed ticket sales for due to my move. :(

Other bands I listen to: Symphony X, Epica, Blind Guardian, Iced Earth, the classics (Iron Maiden/Judas Priest/Black Sabbath etc.), other thrash bands (Exodus, Anthrax, Kreator) and a lot of other bands that don't come to mind currently.
 
I think Anthrax are supposed to release something new in 2020 as well.

Really liked Death Angel's Humanicide, although I found The Evil Divide to be more my cup of tea. Intrigued by the new Testament coming, too. Brotherhood of the Snake was solid, although I liked Dark Roots of the Earth more.
 
I like Humanicide a bit better than Evil Divide, but The Dream Calls for Blood is still miles ahead of either of them imo. Brotherhood of the Snake was kind of...eh? I like the first four songs, but the latter half of the album is kinda wack, especially Cannabusiness. Like, I get Chuck Billy wanted to do a song about weed being legalized, I'm all for that, but I can't help but laugh at that song, it's just kind of silly. Dark Roots of the Earth remains my favorite album though, even over all the previous ones, it's so damn good. Throne of Thorns is in my top five songs of all time.
 
I'll come back with a more in-depth description of what I listen to a bit later, but for right now: anyone who likes metal and hasn't heard Jinjer, do yourself a favour.


 

Dave

Staff member
See, this is where I get very old school. I love old metal like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, etc. For the MOST part I can't get into screaming/cookie monster vocals. It's why I like some of the "middle" bands that people tend to shit on like Avenged Sevenfold. Their vocals and guitar licks hearken back to the Iron Maiden days.

I liked Jinjer when she was singing but when she went ful shouting I disliked it - even though I DO appreciate the ability to sing like that.

Having said all that, I do love me some Nekrogoblikon.


Oh, and don't call Ghost metal. They are pop with a metal persona.
 
I don't know if the stuff I like to listen to counts as metal.

Sounds more Pop to me. What I hear reminds me of Bon Jovi, Sammy Hagar, the Fame soundtrack, and an occasional dip into Progressive Rock territory. But it also has moments that feel inspired by Metal. 2:15-3:00ish or so: "You don't want the burden of my name/I am no one's blessing/I'll just bring you harm" - that section feels very Ozzy-esque.

(EDIT: These are merely my opinions)

--Patrick
 
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You guys don't even know how much you need a bunch of japanese grandpas rocking out.

 
BABYMETAL IS LOVE, BABYMETAL IS LIFE (not really, but they've some bangers).

The only metal I listen to these days is old Between the Buried and Me.

Also holy cow that Jinjer lead singer is amazing.
 
My only real exposure to Japanese metal is Mary's Blood. The album Revenant, in particular, was a great little slab of power metal.
 

figmentPez

Staff member
The only metal I listen to is the Brutal Legend OST. Though I might listen to more if I knew of more instrumental metal songs.

 
I think Yngwie Malmsteen has some instrumental albums, although I wouldn't swear to it. Trans-Siberian Orchestra has quite a few tracks, though no full albums. Galactic Empire is a fully instrumental, Star Wars-themed band.

Off the top of my head.
 
Russian Circles are a really really good instrumental postmetal band.
 
All right, I'm not sure how much interest there is for this, but here it is: My top 10 albums of 2019. They're in this thread because they're all at least metal-adjacent (statistically, always a strong possibility). Most of these are available on Bandcamp, by the way (number 7 isn't):

10. Lunar Shadow - The Smokeless Fire (heavy/power metal with some progginess from Germany)
An album that revolves around the theme of love, this marries aggression, technicality and emotion remarkably well.
Standout track: Roses

9. Sabaton - The Great War (power metal from Sweden)
A concept album about World War I, this is one of their best (Carolus Rex still reigns, though).
Standout track: Devil Dogs

8. Ram - The Throne Within (heavy metal from Sweden)
No frills, no nonsense, just old school straightforward metal.
Standout track: Fang and Fur

7. Beast In Black - From Hell With Love (power metal from Finland)
Cheesy as heck, but so much fun. Incredible energy, super catchy.
Standout track: Heart of Steel

6. Sanhedrin - The Poisoner (heavy/doom metal from the US)
Another old school (think NWOBHM) album, this is much less doomy than their debut, even evoking Motörhead at times.
Standout track: The Getaway

5. Gloryhammer - Legends From Beyond the Galactic Terrorvortex (symphonic power metal from Scotland)
An affectionate parody of the tropes of symphonic power metal, it embodies the genre perfectly. ULTIMATE cheese.
Standout track: The Siege of Dunkeld (In Hoots We Trust)

4. Traveler - Traveler (heavy metal from Canada)
Another straightforward trad metal release. Strong melodies, soaring vocals and tight songwriting carry the day. Their demo was one of my favourite releases of last year, and this deftly fulfills the promise shown then.
Standout track: Starbreaker

3. Twisted Tower Dire - Wars in the Unknown (heavy/power metal from the US)
The vanguards of the new wave of trad metal in the US are back after 8 years and deliver one of their strongest works. While Tony Taylor's vocals are dearly missed, Jonny Aune does a remarkable job here. I keep coming back to this one.
Standout track: These Ghosts Can Never Leave

2. Tanith - In Another Time (heavy metal/hard rock with some prog thrown in there from the US)
Featuring Russ Tippins of Satan fame on guitars and vocals (with Cindy Maynard also singing lead), this one is especially for fans of Blue Öyster Cult. It's a spacey and engaging trip.
Standout track: Citadel (Galantia Pt. 1)

1. Dream Tröll - Second To None (heavy metal with prog leanings from England)
Dream Tröll have quickly carved out a sound that is unmistakenly theirs. Their songs twist and turn but always stay engaging. I'm a big fan.
Standout track: Darkness Lies Within The Sun

So that's it. Lots of really good shit came out this year, some heart-rending choices needed to be made to whittle this list down to 10. Hope 2020 is at least as good!
 
I'm not sure I can actually do justice to a top 10 this year, but I think I can come up with 5 albums I really love. I'll also toss a link to at least one song from each!

5) Swallow the Sun - When a Shadow is Forced into the Light

This is a really powerful Doom album written after/about the death of one of the band members' partners. Mixed harsh and clean vocals (going to be a trend here!) for people who are put off by that, but this trends more towards cleans and I think the emotions come through whether you like the occasional screams or not.




4) Fleshgod Apocalypse - Veleno

Symphonic Technical Death Metal, so if you don't like harsh vocals and/or don't appreciate instruments played very fast (and very well!), you can skip this. That said, with a name like that, how can you not want to check them out? I've never heard anyone approach metal the way these guys do, and the layering and contrasts between the orchestra, the more standard metal instrumentation, the harsh and clean (and occasionally operatic) vocals let them accomplish things that I don't hear anywhere else. I'm not sure this is the best music they've released, but it's definitely the most consistent album from start to finish.




3) Allegaeon - Apoptosis

Technical Death Metal again, but of a more standard kind. If you can't handle harsh vocals, you won't like this. I first learned about these guys when they opened for Ne Obliviscaris for their 2017 North American tour, and I enjoyed them well enough but I wasn't blown away. This album goes a long way towards earning them a regular spot in my playlists. They don't do anything particularly unique, but they're getting really good at what they do.




2) Cult of Luna - A Dawn to Fear

I don't know if this is my favourite post-metal album of all time, but it's definitely in contention. The mix is beautiful, all the instruments get to shine, and the vocals (harsh, sorry!) add a layer to the sound that I think would be lacking without them. This album came out very shortly after Tool's release and ended up completely blowing it out of the water, at least for me.




1) Jinjer - Macro (and the Micro LP from January, as a bonus!)

I absolutely love everything this band does, so it was almost a foregone conclusion that they'd top my list (I think a new Ne Obliviscaris album might be the only thing that could beat them out, and they've been busy touring). Everyone in the band is top notch, they give everyone a chance to show off from time to time, and I love the area they've found between Djent and groove metal. I already linked a song from Macro, so here's one from Micro!




And now that I've sat down and done this, I see that there are some more albums I need to check out (Russian Circles) or spend more time with (Devin Townsend), plus a bunch that I haven't listened to at all from various year-end lists. I'll check back if anything stands out!
 
Right outa high school, I used to keep house for a couple I knew while I was waiting to go into the Navy. I basically watched their kid and did the cleaning in exchange for room, board, and cigarette money. I'd crank the metallica up every day, and dance around the house with the kid while doing chores.

Their daughter's first words were "exit light" :D
 
I feel like I would be doing the thread a disservice if I didn't crosspost this from reddit:


--Patrick
 
Just heard “Ordinary Man” this morning.


I found it touching. Not as devastating as Johnny Cash’s “Hurt,” but I’d put it in the same category.

—Patrick
 
That War dogs debut is some tasty, tasty trad metal out of Spain, hot DAMN!

 
Yesterday I discovered League of Legends has their own metal band, of sorts?



The Song was used as the soundtrack to a Crossout video I was watching, didn't know it was from a different game.
All this time I thought music from LoL and such were all just K-pop stuff. Huh.

--Patrick
 
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Dave

Staff member
I love Ozzy but I have him on my Dead Pool draft board for next year.
 
Just popping in to mention two things:

1. Testament's latest, Titans of Creation, absolutely rips. Big step up from Brotherhood of the Snake.

2. Calgary's Traveler released their second album, Termination Shock, a couple of weeks early. Check it out if you're a fan of 80's metal, especially Maiden. Available here:


Their debut was one of the best things I heard last year. Very high hopes for this one.
Edit: Just listened to Traveler for the first time. High hopes vindicated. Exactly what I wanted.
 
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My dudes, you may remember that, back in early April, Bandcamp waived its cut of the revenue generated by artists' sales on its site. People responded with a massive downloading spree, bogging down the servers and generating $4.3M (800,000 items were downloaded in all, 19 of those were me, yay!)

They're doing it again next Friday (May 1st), so if you've got some stuff you've been interested in but haven't pulled the trigger yet, that's the perfect day to do it! I've got my eye on 5 items for now, might make a leap for some more. :)
 
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