2007, Going out in STYLE(s): Death Metal


8 jan. 2008, 17h58m

Ah Death Metal. I've always had a love/hate relationship with the genre. It was the first kind of metal I truly fell in love with, and for awhile I was obsessed with finding the best bands and unearthing every single area of death metal. It was through these inquiries and discoveries that I grew to realize that though death metal can offer a kind of power and cathartic malevolence like no other music... A lot of artists are stagnant and boring, relying too heavily on formula and lax songwriting.

However, I still pay a lot of attention to artists that create music within the realm of the death metal sound, and there are certainly some that continue to make good use of it. These albums being excellent examples of that from this year. (Please note that I am being relatively loose with my use of "death metal" here... I fully realize some of these albums are hybrids and composites of various sounds, death metal perhaps only being one of them).

6. Monotheist - Unforsaken

Why? When I ordered this album on a relative whim after hearing a few samples from their site, I wasn't expecting much from Monotheist. After all, an unsigned band producing an hour long album with not one, but FOUR ten-minute plus tracks? Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this underground band has the chops to back up their ambitions. They utilize a bunch of styles ranging from some clear Opeth influence in the more folksy and melodic guitar passages, to even some black metal riffing on some songs that would make Emperor proud. The mix here could definitely use some work, but it's not horrible enough to take away my enjoyment of the album. Keep a lookout for this band.

5. Hacksaw To The Throat - Wastelands

Why? Don't underestimate this band by their name or the fact that they're commonly referred to as "deathgrind." This now deceased group of gentlemen knew how to create an eclectic brand of extreme music that showed great musical depth and maturity on their last release here. Once again there are many influences to be found throughout this release, including many very beautiful clean passages, sometimes aided pianos, violins, and even some jazzier guitar segments.

4. In Vain - The Latter Rain

Why? This is another entry that's hard to nail down in terms of style, but I put it on the death metal list anyway. In Vain combines parts of death metal with a heavy dosage of black metal and a lot of progressive, symphonic tendencies. And the symphonic arrangements, I might add, are particularly impressive as they are all arranged by band member Johnar Haaland and aid the music perfectly. There is even one shorter song, "Morning Sun," which features a delicate flute melody and backing from piano and acoustic guitar. The track is so pleasant and pretty you'd be hard pressed to imagine it's also placed alongside an extreme metal record. Fans of Opeth and Undeceived era Extol would really dig these compositions.

3. Miseration - You Demons, Their Angels

Why? Miseration is a death metal band with heavy melodic inclinations. The group is a supergroup, of sorts, featuring guitarwork by Jani Stefanovic of the band Divinefire(among others) and vocals by Christian Älvestam of the band Scar Symmetry (among others). This album is just a really enjoyable slab of well-written death metal that's aided greatly by Älvestam's resonant death growl, as well as his excellent and strongly toned singing voice. The production gives album's guitars and drums a very meaty death metal consistency, despite the fact that Stefanovic often likes to interject melodic leads and solos into his compositions (which are also very well done).

2. Cephalic Carnage - Xenosapien

Why? Again, Cephalic Carnage hardly fits the "death metal" tag to a tee, but they just seemed to fit this list more than others, especially this album which features some of their most death-influenced pacings and guitar lines, I feel. I must say I am a bit puzzled that this album has been given a somewhat negative reaction by many of CC's fans, because this is probably my favorite album that they've done. The album meshes their insane death metal and grinding insanity as well as their more doomy and experimental traits. And no part of the album sticks to one particular sound or trend for too long. If you like unique extreme metal, check this out. If you like Cephalic Carnge, this is a no brainer.

1. Odious Mortem - Cryptic Implosion

Why? Odious Mortem gets not only top death album of the year, but also biggest improvement of the year. Their last album, Devouring the Prophecy, was a relative colorless and boring slab of brutal death metal that left virtually no impression on me. In the transition between that album and this one something must have snapped in Odious Mortem, because this album is an exciting 35 minutes of technical death metal that's neither contrived nor uninteresting. It still suffers some of the negatives of a lot of tech death: If you're not paying attention, you're going to get lost. That's just the reality of the music. But damn... DAMN the solos and leads on this are good. When they hit, they demand your attention to their beauty. What's most interesting is that when acclaimed guitarist Rom Jarzombek (Spastic Ink, Watchtower) makes his guest appearance on "Collapse of Recreation," you might not even realize it, because the rest of the solos on the album are that good.

This isn't a perfect album, and it doesn't resolve a lot of extreme metal's common and innate problems as a musical form. But it excels and pushes that form in every way possible, and is an album that will entertain and reward you listen after listen.

Honorable Mentions/Albums That Need More Time:
-Animosity - Animal
-Common Yet Forbidden - The Stuggle
-Farmakon - Robin
-Orgone - The Goliath
-Trauma - Neurotic Mass

As always, inform me on what I missed out on, how you disagree with the list, or if you just hate me in general. :-)


  • gIdBBKF

    The only time I've ever realy listened to Animosity was when I saw them. I need to listen to them more because they sounded great.

    8 jan. 2008, 19h41m
  • ershtor

    The only band I've heard of on here is Cephalic Carnage. I really liked that CD. I thought that top band was Dethklok for a second, because of the font.

    9 jan. 2008, 4h53m
  • gIdBBKF

    Also, needs moar Dethklok.

    9 jan. 2008, 5h39m
  • weezescorcho

    No, needs less Dethklok.

    9 jan. 2008, 16h39m
  • fuz53

    I have and enjoyed the Monotheist album. I'd never heard of Hacksaw to the Throat but I just got the album so we'll see. I don't have the In Vain but based on the tracks I've heard, I don't think it'll do it for me like the Wounds EP did. Miseration sounds really good but I haven't gotten around to getting it yet. I agree that Xenosapien is definitely Cephalic Carnage's best. Cryptic Implosion is really good, but I haven't given it enough plays to let it really sink in. Not really interested in Animosity. The CYF songs I've heard didn't do anything for me. I've never heard Farmakon. Orgone's good but I haven't gotten their cd. Never heard Trauma.

    9 jan. 2008, 23h47m
  • weezescorcho

    No, I like Dethklok on the show, but when you put them together for an album, there seems to be more filler than anything else. I'm quite the fan of Brenden Small, and really enjoy his work on all his shows, but I can't get into it. From what I can tell, many people feel the same way.

    10 jan. 2008, 2h38m
  • magnumforce2006

    I am totally in agreement with Spense on this. Brendan can write some neat solos and leads, but his general songwriting skills are.... mediocre at best. There are a few strong tunes on the album, and the rest largely bore me, saving a few solos here and there.

    10 jan. 2008, 5h13m
  • Youndty

    I honestly think this list has somehow reawakened my love for death metal.

    10 jan. 2008, 23h59m
  • cooperaa

    Mordecai85: I loved the Dethalbum - it's great :) Not my top of '07, but probably on the list. In regards to the chart - very interesting, but Cephalic? After seeing these guys live I went home and deleted their music... awful.

    12 jan. 2008, 17h11m
  • Mrozikos667

    From albums listed here I've heard only Cephalic Carnage (not a big fan of them) and Trauma, and their album kicks so much ass! My favorite DM of 2007 was Behemoth's The Apostasy, but Neurotic Mass is close to it.

    13 jan. 2008, 12h55m
  • elnimio

    The Dethalbum is terribly underrated. It's definitely on my list of top metal albums of 2007. It's not perfect obviously, but considering that Brendan Small has almost no experience performing death metal, I'd say he did a darn good job. Didn't you just say that you didn't like death metal?

    16 jan. 2008, 3h46m
  • Reincremation

    the only death metal releases this year that i really dug that much were immolation, portal, and abscess.

    24 mars 2008, 4h25m
  • smileyxcore

    GOOD =3

    22 fév. 2009, 12h46m
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