viernes, 30 de diciembre de 2016


12. CARL GENE “Feel EP”

Under the moniker of Naked, last year Baltimore’s Carl Gene dropped one of those scarce albums that change your perspective in music and, hopefully in life as well. Believe in me, I’ve been listening to the most depressive, oppressive and melancholic music for more than a decade, and last year Naked’s “Hopeless” topped as the most distressing music I’ve ever heard. With the slogan “offensively boring music”, Naked, makes most of the funeral doom metal and depressive black metal songs sound like heavy versions of REM’s “Shiny Happy People”.   Carl Gene changed the name of his project to Naked Cult in late 2015 as far as I remember, to, finally, start putting out music under his own name in this 2016. He now offers the “Feel EP”, without acute modifications to his characteristic sound (which are good news for me).

Carl Gene just stands with his guitar and a nice number of pedals, softly plays repetitive melodies but adds distortion in some important moments and poignantly sings while rain falls throughout the album. No drums, no bass, no keyboards. The result is a very miserable, yet natural and sincere sound. Shoegazer freaks could probably “enjoy” what Carl Gene does due to the guitar effects and the soft, sometimes whispered vocals. As stated in his Bandcamp page, Carl Gene uses music as a conduit for dealing with his depression. And this is what makes his music so unique, in this EP you’ll find nothing but passion, real music with no trace of posercism. In some moments you can hear Carl’s dismay through his screams and noisy drone riffs, which sound heavier in this EP than in “Hopeless”. My only gripe is that the EP is extremely short: 22 minutes. I hope to keep on listening to more new stuff from this guy in the future.

11. CLOUDS “Departe”

Here’s the sophomore full-length album by Clouds, a project that, according to some interview with the band’s members, was not meant to go this far. However, Clouds, composed by members of well-known doom metal bands like Officium Triste, Eye of Solitude, Pantheist and Barren Earth, just to mention a few, had a truly successful debut in 2014 with “Doliu”, being praised by critics and the whole doom metal scene. The reason is that Clouds developed their own signature sound somehow different to that of any of the bands which the members belong. “Departe” makes no major changes and sounds like a continuation of “Doliu”. Here we have more extremely bleak and depressive music blessed with the brutal growls of Jón Aldará from Hamferð and Barren Earth perfectly alternating clean vocals. Jón, who, as far as I know, also writes the lyrics expresses a lot of sorrow and loss through very personal lyrics and an excellent live performance, which is not easy for singers that shift from growls to clean vocals in the studio. Kostas Panagiotou from Pantheist plays sorrowful piano tunes throughout the album, this is a key element since most of the songs open with these keyboards preparing the atmosphere for the crushing doom metal discharge. All these elements create a beautiful experience. The formula is still effective for this second album. In fact, opening track “How Can I Be There” is quite catching and “In the Ocean of My Tears”, with a stunning long introduction and female vocals, stands as the most melancholic song ever made by the band. If you enjoyed “Doliu”, you’ll love “Departe”, and basically if you’re into doom metal there is no doubt you should check this album.

10. CREMATORY “Monument”

2015 was not a good year for me. But it seems like Crematory also went through a bad situation in such a dreadful year. Their 2014’s “Antiserum” was not having a good reception, and I still regard it their weakest effort. But all bands have lows and highs, what in really fucked up 2015 was the departure of Matthias, who had delivered clean vocals and guitars since “Act Seven”, album released in 1999 and which defined the sound of the second period of Crematory’s style. According to interviews with the band, the possibility of calling it a day was contemplated. However, the remaining founder members pulled strength to hire new members, get into the studio and record a “Monument” to the band’s history. The result is this 13th full-length album featuring two new members who deliver a two-guitar sound and new clean vocals.

“Monument” is clearly heavier that “Antiserum”, but no more, since “Infinity” sounds heavier due to  Matthias’ aim of playing “gothic thrash” in such album. “Monument” has a solid sound, with the band’s signature style, the outstanding brutal growls of Felix, the use of lyrics in both German and English and the catching melodies. The new clean singer sounds different, sometimes even scratching the heavy metal vocals style.  “Haus mit Garten” is one of the most dynamic songs ever made by Crematory, while “Die so Soon” stands as the ultra-catching song of the album, in which the new clean singer effectively claims the respect of long term Crematory fans.

When Lotte left the band in 1999 an era of Crematory died, a second era started with Matthias and now we see the birth of a third period in the band's history. After the recording of “Monument” long-term bassist Heral also parted ways with the band. He had joined in “Just Dreaming”, 22 years ago! I hope Crematory continue for many years and I also hope fans realize that Crematory is one of those few bands from the 90s that is not throwing mediocre and uninspired albums nowadays.

9. BURIAL CHOIR “Iconoclast”

Last October Falls full-length album “The Plague of a Coming Age” had a clear doom metal influence. The album was closer to October Tide than to Agalloch. Seems like Lehto, the man behind October Falls has been pretty much into doom metal (at least) last years, and being a multi-instrumentalist allowed him to record a new album through which he could conduct his darkest and slowest doom metal affinities. The result is a new band, Burial Choir. And, yeah, it’s a band rather than a project, since a second member joined and now they are looking for a label. Their first output is available on Bandcamp and it’s entitled “Iconoclast”. Although the band warns that this is a promotional demo without proper artwork I enjoyed it too much like for not writing a couple of lines about it.

I love the name of the band, and the sound of this demo makes worth the band’s name: The music is slow, dark, depressive and mysterious, featuring an excellent funerary touch. Bells sound at the distance between tracks, preparing a consuming a gloomy atmosphere that can pair that one that Tristitia used to create. You may remember that dense keyboards throughout the songs and the church-like feeling in Tristitia’s “Garden of Darkness” and “One with Darkness”. Burial Choir develop a similar atmosphere, but the music in general is definitively different, with slow, sometimes raw, riffs, excellent guitar melodies and the Lehto’s vocals which sound between black metal screams and death metal growls. I’m really looking forward for this album to be released in physical format and also for Burial Chamber to continue doing this brand of murky doom metal.

8. CROSS VAULT “Miles to Take”

I am a huge doom metal fan, always trying to find out what’s new in the scene. But even with the advantages of internet, there are some well-hidden gems waiting to be discovered. This is one of those outstanding bands that are not that new but regretfully I had never listened to before. Cross Vault, hailing from Germany, play some excellent doom metal and they already have two full-length albums in their career. This year they dropped “Miles to Take”, a 2-track EP, and it finally approached my ears. Cross Vault plays traditional doom with a poignant epic feeling. The band delivers a style similar to that of Warning but with a suitable touch of Viking melancholy which makes them to stand out. With a well-inspired songwriting, Cross Vault includes slow riffs, weeping guitars and brilliant acoustic guitar passages. Vocals become a key element because they poignantly express that feeling of loss and torture. The singer makes an amazing execution which I could only compare with Thomas Erikson from the unfortunately defunct band Griftegard (I don’t know if he sings so expressively in Year of the Goat since I have never listened to that band). All I hear in this EP is passion, sincerity and melancholy. Fans of epic and traditional doom metal shouldn’t miss this one.

7. TREES OF ETERNITY “Hour of the Nightingale”

The tragedy of Trees of Eternity reminds us how unfair life can be. I remember 2013, when I first listened to “Black Ocean”, off their demo with the same name. I had no idea that Swallow the Sun’s guitarist, Raivio, was involved, my attention drew to the soft enigmatic vocals of Aleah. After a few listens to the demo anyone could conclude that the project had an important future ahead. Expectations increased when the Norrman brothers, from the best era of Katatonia, joined the band. Reading the devastating news of Aleah’s passing saddens us not only because of the loss of an amazing singer in doom metal, but also because nobody deserves the cruelty of such illness. And Raivio, in the middle of his grieving, pulled strength to put out “Hour of the Nightingale”, which was planned to be Trees of Eternity’s debut.

“Hour of the Nightingale” is quite a melancholic album, but metalheads not familiar with the doom metal genre may actually also enjoy this album. The reason is its dynamism, it’s not a monolithic piece of slow metal. Here is where Raivio’s songwriting style is noted due to some clear similarities to Swallow the Sun, a band that sometimes reaches the mid-tempo gothic metal sound. The rich sound of the album includes excellent melancholic guitar melodies, I don’t know if Fredrik Norrman took part of the song-writing, but some October Tide-influenced riffs and solos can be detected. Of course, the beautiful atmosphere of “Hour of the Nightingale” is crowned by Aleah’s unique voice, which is not intended to be operatic (like it’s usual in gothic doom), Aleah’s voice is rather soft and ethereal, sometimes almost whispered, closer to Lethian Dream’s Carline. She sings with a shattering sadness through impressive lyrics full of hopelessness. The overwhelming atmosphere surrounding this album and the excellent songwriting make it an essential album of the modern era of doom metal. Aleah will always live, sharing her astounding voice through this album. 


Stijn van Cauter may be mad to know that this album makes someone happy. But is true, I am actually glad to know that Until Death Overtakes Me is back from the dead after a 5-year hiatus. These have not been good years for funeral doom, some important bands split up, Pantheist departed from the genre, after listening to what Aarni is now doing understanding Twin Peaks is no longer a puzzle, the guys behind one-man projects Amaranthine Trampler, Torture Wheel, Kairi, Lord Grief, Reclusiam, Catacombs and Dusk ov Shadows were apparently abducted by aliens and they left no trace. Somehow we are lucky to still have Esoteric and Sketicism around. It is sad that the current funeral doom metal scene seems to be full of generic one-man projects who believe that all they have to do in funeral doom is to play as slow, heavy and ugly as possible, which was not true back in the day. Stijn van Cauter is back here but from all his projects only Until Death Overtakes Me is back to life. In the Nulll website, van Cauter explains that Until Death Overtakes Me now will cluster up all his other projects which included but were not limited to Fall of the Grey-Winged One, I Dream No More, The Ethereal, The Organium and Beyond Black Void. And with this statement in mind, we witnessed the release of a series of singles this year, each of which I enjoyed with the proper nostalgia of a funeral doom metal fan. These singles were gathered in a compilation called “Well of Dreams”. These songs bring back the unique style of Until Death Overtakes Me, that extremely dark blend of ambient darkwave and funeral doom metal: ambient music contrasting with ultra-heavy and slow riffs and brutal growls, mostly lacking of drums. The debris of I Dream No More can be contemplated in “Magistralis”, with the space doom feeling in the track, while opening “Days Without Hope” sounds like taken from previous releases of Until Death Overtakes Me. The compilation is actually more varied than the previous full-length albums. It even features an acoustic guitar in “Ancient Light”. While the album sounds definitely like a renovated Until Death Overtakes Me I don’t think any of his old fans would not enjoy this compilation of tracks. A full-length album entitled “AnteMortem” is to be physically released by Dusktone. I am eager to listen to such first full-length after the project’s hiatus.

5. THE TEMPLE “Forevermourn”

Being yet a specific sub-subgenre, epic doom metal encompasses three different kinds of bands... At least that’s the way I setup my playlists! First we have the very epic Viking bands whose members play swords instead of guitars, like Doomsword and Scald. Then we have the religious bands like Griftegard and Forsaken. And, finally, a small group of epic doomsters play melancholic and personal doom metal in the vein of Warning and Isole. But, with Warning diseased and Isole infected with poisonous progressive metal, running into a worth-listening band fitting this last classification is not an easy-going issue. Hailing from Greece, The Temple self-released their first EP “As Once Was” last year and it quickly became one of my favorite albums of 2015. After some months I read on Facebook that the band had been signed by I Hate Records, which is a pretty cool label. Accordingly, I Hate put out The Temple’s debut this year. “Forevermourn”, one of the best titles I’ve ever heard, probably resembling Isole’s milestone “Forevermore”.

Epic doom is not about heaviness or extreme suicidal atmosphere. This is why it is not simple to create an effective atmosphere in the genre. The Temple know this, and they utterly nailed it in “Forevermourn”, since the they have these two important highlights: First, the melodies are just perfect, very natural weeping guitars through mid to down tempo drums and riffs. And second, but not less important, the singer has a very particular vocal style, completely unique. Far from the typical high-pitched tone, vocals are rather melancholic and expressive, also featuring an excellent arrangement in their interaction with the guitar melodies. The track “Beyond the Stars”, in my opinion, reaches perfection in this style of doom with a perfect balance of melancholy, honesty and melody. I hope this is the first of many excellent albums by The Temple, a band that deserves becoming an important name in the genre.

4. 40 WATT SUN “Wider than the Sky”

The evolution of Patrick Walker’s work achieves a new stage with this long awaited follower to 40 Watt Sun’s “The Inside Room”, which became my favorite album of 2011. Whilst Walker has stated that he kindly asked Cyclone Empire not to promote “The Inside Room” as a doom metal album, it was clear that, by the time, his fanbase was purely made up of Warning fans waiting for a descendant of “Watching from a Distance”. Nevertheless, “The Inside Room” had that folk rock feeling that built a gap between traditional doom metal and 40 Watt Sun, but still delighting our ears with highly distorted guitars. Released under Walker’s own label, “Wider than the Sky” strips out the sound of 40 Watt Sun, getting rid of any distorted riff and leaving a soft and charming melody in each long track. This sounds like a familiar story for us doom metal fans, since bands usually depart from the genre after a couple of albums. However, 40 Watt Sun is an example of these quite a few bands that evolve without losing their emotional impact and inspiration. “Wider than the Sky” is not a happy album, it features that unique songwriting style developed by Walker since the Warning era: that introspective, personal and emotional style in both lyrics and music. I had the opportunity of giving the first listen to this album while being played live by 40 Watt Sun, the atmosphere was outstanding, filled with melancholy, but also nostalgia and a bit of hope. Walker usually makes this kind of albums that are perfect to be played while walking a city far from home. Musically, “Wider than the Sky”, is of course slow, with Walker’s distinctive poignant vocals and a nice combination of clear electric and acoustic guitars. Some people may relate this album to Minnesota’s Low or the saddest songs made by Idaho. Moscow-based doomsters A Young Man’s Funeral evolved in a similar direction in their last album “Redemption”. What is true is that Patrick Walker keeps on developing genuine music that doom metal fans can still enjoy due to its melancholic nature. “Wider than the Sky” is a third masterpiece that shouldn’t be missed by any fan of melancholic music.  


I remember 2014, when BadMoodMan released the brand new The Morningside album, “Letters from the Empty Towns”. The band that had caught me in 2007 with that beautiful album with a forest of conifers on its cover art had departed from their signature style of melodic death/doom metal, to venture in progressive metal lands. Even though “Letters…” was not a bad album, I couldn’t help feeling disappointed, since progressive metal has taken the soul of a scary number of bands that traded melancholy and inspiration for convoluted riffs. Look what they did to Katatonia, who stood as my favorite band for more than a decade until this year when they dropped an album that I still cannot understand. This 2016, Solitude Productions announced the release of the latest The Morningside opus, “Yellow”, and the amazing record label described it as a “return to the style of the second full-length album, ‘Moving Crosscurrent of Time’”. A ready-witted description! I immediately ordered the album, because “Yellow” brings back the post-rock clean guitars, the gorgeous melodies, the doom metal feeling, and that unique autumn atmosphere which made “Missing Day” the most played song in my iPod this autumn. The album has some progressive sparks in some solos, but it never reaches the progressive death metal frown of “Letters”.

Every time I start listening to this album I end up listening to it as a whole. One never gets enough of “Yellow”, because it is extremely well executed, the melodies are perfect, and the use of both, clean and harsh vocals and acoustic passages are an extra point to the dynamism of the album. A must have for fans of Agalloch, Katatonia, Akelei and October Tide.

2. ALCEST “Kodama”

I imagine Neige sitting in his room these last 2 years since “Shelter” was released, watching in his laptop the birth of dozens of bands trying to imitate the legacy that he had built before “Shelter”; lots of guys recording in their rooms amateur uninspired versions of Alcest, feeding on the melancholy that sheds from “Souvenirs d'un autre monde”. Blackgaze, a genre whose father abandoned, now a number of new bands fighting to occupy the throne Neige had quitted. Some may call me crazy, but I blame Neige for the rebirth of the shoegazing genre (not blackgaze), which was back in 2007 considered a defunct genre. Neige not only introduced shoegaze to metalheads, but it is also suspicious that since 2007 the number of pure shoegazing bands rose until these days when the genre is quite popular, mostly controlled by hipsters though. What is not in discussion is that Neige gave a new horizon to metal and now post-metal and black metal blend with shoegaze every day. It is important, however, to mention that quite a few blackgaze and post-black metal projects have been able to evidence originality and inspiration, I could only mention Lantlos, Clouds Collide, Sylvaine and Cold World. And while Deafheaven was earning popularity playing in every hipster festival, Alcest returned to put order and to show how blackgaze is played in its most perfect form.

“Shelter” was far from being a bad album. It could actually be considered the fourth masterpiece by the band. But what we love from Alcest is that signature sound that combines black metal and shoegaze, the soaring unique screams of Neige and the dynamic drumming of Winterhalter. And while I was thinking that it would take at least three albums for Alcest to return to their roots, I listened to “Oiseaux De Proie”, the first song Prophecy Records revealed, and it just made my day! The new album “Kodama” can be placed between “Écailles de Lune” and “Les Voyages de L'âme”. It brings back the distortion in guitars, the beautiful black metal riffs, the blast beats and, of course, the outstanding raw screams. But melody is one of the most important aspects in Alcest, and this is the point that Neige has always earned and a reason to also love “Shelter”. Melodies are stunning in this new album, as in every Alcest record, they depict the beauty of melancholy with proper limitations, without sounding cheesy. Neige seems to sing in a more characteristic way, especially in “Je Suis D'Ailleurs”. Winterhalter sounds amazing in this album with an ultra-dynamic performance moving from modern Anathema’s energetic style to a black metal drummer.

The whole record represents a perfect balance between beauty and violence. I believe Alcest has accomplished their aim again and has dropped another masterpiece. We are really grateful with Neige for coming back to the genre he coined and forged for years. It is also striking how Alcest has been doing excellent full-length albums for almost 10 years, without losing a single spark of inspiration.


2016 was a nostalgic year. I found myself dusting off my old CDs and searching on internet the whereabouts of bands that I had not listened to in a long time. It turned out that most of them either split up or are playing quite different music. For a reason that I still cannot understand I had not listened to the Italian metal outfit Novembre in quite a long time. In fact, I only knew their second output “Arte Novecento”, and the song “Venezia Dismal” because I bought the compilation “Beuty in Darkness vol. 6” in 2002, so this band is pure nostalgia for me. It turned out that Novembre had dropped a new album in April through Peaceville Records. My expectations were low, quite a few bands from the 90s are still playing good music with the feeling they had in such a glorious decade. I totally understand it, it’s been 20 long years. But in a similar way that Amorphis do, Novembre is luckily still playing the same style with the same feeling. Maybe I don’t have the right to talk about Novembre’s evolution through years since “Arte Novecento” is definitely different. As far as I know, Novembre’s milestone is 1999’s “Classica”. But what I can actually do is to tell you that I had the same feeling listening to new Novambre, called “URSA”, as I felt when I first listened to “Venezia Dismal”: it’s melancholic music, full of beauty, perfect exection, perfect vocals, growls in the climax of the song… oh boy, all this is still present in “URSA”.

Long-term drummer Giuseppe Orlando, actually a founder member, parted ways with the band before the recording of “URSA”. This could have negatively affected the band since drums are a key element of Novembre, especially in “Arte Novecento”, whose drumming is that of a progressive metal album. In this new record, drums were taken over by Stormlord drummer David Folchitto. He delivers an excellent sound, with his double bass in the most violent moments. The recording of drums and the mix of the album (performed by omnipresent Dan Swanö) make drums sound a little similar to some 80s songs, which I actually love. But probably the two aspects that I have always found haunting of this band are Carmelo Orlando’s vocals and the melancholic atmosphere made artistic sound: Carmelo’s vocals are perfect in this album, I find awesome the fact that he never gave up his growls, and there are plenty of them in this album. The overall atmosphere is beautiful and artistic, the polymorphic aspect of Novembre’s style of metal makes you never get bored through the more that 60 minutes that the album runs. Excellent melodies in clean guitars blending with riffs (probably not heavy ones) are also a key element to paint this picture. Anders Nyström from Katatonia fame plays guitars in the single “Annoluce”.  Being label partners, some comparisons between Novembre and Katatonia had been made after the release of “URSA”. Despite similarities are clear, Novembre have a very unique style and so do Katatonia, although the latter has been moving towards progressive rock in their last two albums.

The homonymous track “URSA” is my favorite song of the year. It is a flawless, perfect track. But what make it so irresistible are the unpredictable changes throughout the song. The melodies and songwriting are stunning and describe a rollercoaster of violence, beauty and melancholia. This feeling is actually present in the whole album. Which is elaborated and complicated, but it doesn’t sound like a progressive metal aggression with the musicians showing off their skills, Novembre rather creates an artistic picture: it’s about beautiful melancholia rather than a bunch of convoluted riffs and drumming.

This is, in my opinion, the best album of the year, truly a masterpiece. All I hear here is nostalgia. “URSA” leaves a 90s and early 2000s taste in your tongue. Novembre’s inspiration has survived to the bad stage of the current metal scene and I hope they never give up to their signature sound.    

martes, 21 de enero de 2014

Warpaint - Warpain (2014)

band: Warpaint, álbum: Warpaint, year: 2014, genres: Alternative.

Expectativas altas comienza este 2014, diversos nuevos álbumes nos esperan este año, y para entrar en materia llega la segunda larga duración de esta agrupación de chicas formada allá por el año 2004, y lideradas por Emily Kokal.

El material comienza con el ritmo de la batería que irá guiando en el transcurso del disco, en "Keep it Healthy" la conjunción de la guitarra con la rítmica de la batería se fusionan para darle paso a la voz de Emily que armoniza la canción con un toque atmosférico, acto seguido comienza "Love is to Die", (el sencillo del álbum), el toque atmosférico continua, donde ahora la fusión guitarra-batería le da paso a la fusión bajo-batería, y esta se adueña totalmente de la canción, y conjunta a una extraordinaria interpretación de la letra, el resultado es un sencillo de muy buena calidad.
Como comentaba en un principio la batería, es el principal instrumento que da pauta al ritmo de la música en los siguientes tracks, donde te van adentrando a un trance hipnótico por momentos, hasta llegar a Disco//Very, donde el disco toma un giro provisional y nos muestra un ritmo un poco mas acelerado, que da paso a la segunda parte del disco, donde Feeling Right y CC me recuerdan a los tintes atmosféricos implementados por la ya legendaria agrupación Pink Floyd en su álbum Meddle de 1971, (obviamente con sus muy debidas y grandes diferencias, simplemente como fan de esta banda (Pink Floyd), estas dos canciones me hicieron recordar algunas de ese disco antes mencionado) esas dos canciones cuentan con una alta incorporación de teclados y un bajo mas agudo, sin dejar de ser la batería, la principal portadora del ritmo de las canciones.
Para abrochar Warpaint implementa el uso de sintetizadores y teclados, para marcar el desenlace del disco, en donde "Son" es una digna canción para decir "Hasta Luego", "Nos Vemos Luego".

En términos generales el álbum muestras muchas cosas interesantes, de alta manufactura que seguramente se te quedaran grabadas algunos ritmos de algunas canciones. Para concluir y es para justificar y/o dar una explicación, a un servidor no le agrada del todo catalogar o etiquetar a una agrupación en un genero en especifico, esto viene en cuenta ya que diversos medios catalogan a Warpaint, como "art-rock", "rock psicodelico", "alternativo", etc. , como suelen hacer. Así que yo simplemente etiquetare por hacerlo, no por considerarlo como tal.


viernes, 27 de diciembre de 2013

Top 10 Lo Mejor 2013 (Según Jack Rollins)

Después de algunos años sin hacer una reseña, quise regresar en grande. Según mi biblioteca de Itunes y mis oídos, los siguientes 10 álbum, son lo mejor de 2013, haciendo un pequeña reseña del por que lo considero como tal, y tal como dice, si esta rankeado.

1. Savages - Silence Yourself - Reino Unido (Post-Punk)

Sin duda alguna estas cuatro mujeres británicas saben lo que hacen, y es simple, recordarnos como es el post-punk nato (Refiriéndome a los finales de los 70's). La esencia de misticismo con cada acorde de bajo y el galopar de la batería, te hacen sacudir el esqueleto con un frenesí total. Tuve la dicha fortuna de escucharlas en vivo el pasado mes de Octubre en la mas reciente edición del Festival Corona Capital, y agradezco a esa fortuna o lo que haya sido, la atmósfera que se vivió en esa hora fue totalmente fuera de lugar de ese festival, realmente me sentí en el famoso concierto de los Sex Pistols en el  Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall en 1976, lo mejor de la noche y del festival para un servidor. 
Canciones como Shut Up, I Am Here, City's Full, Hit Me y Husbands, avalaran lo antes dicho.

2. Arcade Fire - Reflektor - Canada 

No es de sorprender que esta agrupación canadiense nos deleite álbum tras álbum con su infinidad de ritmos entremezclados en cada una de sus canciones. Lo que es de destacar, es su ingenio musical, progresan con el paso de los años, que se refleja en Reflektor (valga la redundancia), donde nos invitan a implementar algunos pasos de baile guapachosos.
Canciones: Flashbulb Eye, Here Comes The Night Time I y II, Reflektor, Porno, Afterlife.

3. LowCityRain - LowCityRain - Alemania 

Se puede decir que el 2013 se ha declarado el año que recordara a los años 80's, y LowCityRain lo confirma. Con toques que te harán recordar un poco a Tears For Fears, Bauhaus y esa ola de New Wave británico (de la época antes referida). Con buenos acordes de bajos distintivos del genero y conjunto con las percusiones, te acompañaran en esos días depresivos. 
Canciones: I Don't Know Myself, Vulnerable Now, You are Everyone You Are Everywhere, Numb, Phantom.

4. Kavinsky - Outrun - Francia

Tengo que reconocer, no lo había escuchado antes, y lo hice gracias a la pelicula Drive (2011) de Nicolas Winding Renf, donde reluce Nightcall. Siendo este su primer larga duración, Kavinsky muestra toda la influencia de sus mejores amigos (Daft Punk), y nos regala un House totalmente digerible de principio a fin, y en la sencilla opinión de este aficionado escucha, este disco supera claramente al elaborado por Daft Punk. Cuenta con la producción de uno de los integrantes de la agrupacion antes mencionada y colaboración de diversos artistas franceses.
Canciones: ProtoVision, OddLook, Suburbia, Testarossa Autodrive, Nightcall.

5. Junip - Junip - Suecia

El sueco-argentino José González, es para un servidor, uno de los mejores autores de los últimos años, como lo avala su trabajo como solista. Ahora con su agrupación JUNIP nos trajo este 2013 su segunda larga duración, donde nos muestra un folk fuera de lo cotidiano y nos enseña sus cualidades musicales. Canciones: Line of Fire, Villain, So Clear, Your Life Your Call, Head First.

6. Soviet Soviet - Fate- Italia

Esta agrupación italiana te toma de los pies, te voltea y te sacude hasta que te tus pies se queden blancos, con su desenfrenado sonido. Creo (mi otro yo lo piensa) que este disco merecía estar en las primeras tres posiciones, el por que ocupa esta posición, esta su segunda larga duración tiene tintes idénticos al primero (Summer,Jesus), variantes pocas, letras similares y sonido creo ya característico de ellos. Con esto no quiero decir que sea monótono o predecible, tanto este álbum, como el anterior, vale mucho la pena dedicarles tiempo y un gran espacio en nuestro disco duro.
Canciones: Ecstasy, 1990, No Lesson, Hidden, Further, Something You Can't Forget.

7. Jake Bugg - Jake Bugg (2012) - Reino Unido

Bueno este álbum salio a finales del año 2012, lo considere para este 2013 por la simple razón, que un servidor, como antes comentara, tenia tiempo de no hacer una reseña, y este disco vale la pena un reconocimiento. Les haré una pregunta que me he hecho desde que escuche este álbum y supe la existencia de este chamaco, ¿Que hacían, hacen o harán (dependiendo de su edad) cuando apenas tienes, tuviste o tendrás 18 años cumplidos?, mi respuesta a este cuestiona miento, NTPI, no tenia puta idea de lo que quería hacer, Bugg lo tenia claro desde los 10, su unica escapatoria de su vida cotidiana era la música y lo plasma en esta producción. En resumidas cuentas y para solo darles un incentivo a escucharlo y no terminar como un empedernido fan, es de rescatar la voz, la virtuosidad y la capacidad compositiva de Bugg, que en ese entonces contaba con 18 años, y que es de resaltar su edad, debido a sus profundas y bien elaboradas composiciones.
Canciones: Lighting Bolt, Two Fingers, Taste It, Seen It All, Broken, Trouble Town, Slide, Someplace.

       8.  Daft Punk - Random Access Memories - Francia

El álbum mas esperado por algunos centenares de tektronix wannabe (desconozco totalmente esa palabra), por decirlo así. Creo que mentiríamos si dijéramos que no nos causo un poco de curiosidad escuchar algo nuevo de Daft Punk, después de 6 años (Human After All).
Después de un documental y una serie de avances de su nueva producción, para dejar en claro, estos tipos saben como venderse, es también una de sus grandes cualidades. A primera estancia, para un servidor, el álbum no agrado del todo, para ser sinceros tenia expectativas mas altas, hablando de una agrupación que había logrado producciones de altas manufacturas, pero con el paso del tiempo y con el paso de las escuchadas (vulgarmente hablando), el disco mostraba cosas diferentes y una muy notable, el uso en menor parte de los sintetizadores. El álbum por completo me recordó mucho al sonido hecho anteriormente por el difunto Michael Jackson en su primer larga duración como solista "Off The Wall" de 1979, producido por el magico, Quincy Jones cabe resaltar. Volviendo al ámbito Daftpunesko, la parte mas agradable del disco y que motiva el volver a escucharlo, es el Bajo, al estilo Old School Funk, y se demuestra en la canción tributo a Giorgio Moroder, el solo de bajo espectacular y el final es brutal.
Canciones: Giorgio by Moroder, Get Lucky, Instant Crush, Within, Lose Yourself to Dance, Touch.

9. Arctic Monkeys - AM - Reino Unido

Para muchos el mejor álbum del año, para otros el peor de su carrera. 
Si bien los Monos en sus ultimas tres producciones nos han dejado en claro que han madurado en todo los aspectos. Para un servidor, un fan mas de la agrupación, el álbum muestra una evolución, obvio ya no son los escuincles de 19 años, ni los jóvenes de 21 años, ahora ya con múltiples giras mundiales y dos discos mas, se plasmaron en este nuevo sonido, si sonido, dejando ya por completo aquellos guitarrazos desenfrenados, bajos retumba tímpanos y batería marca registrada de Agile Beast. Este nuevo "sonido" que experimenta Turner y compañía, se resume en el R&B clásico, con guitarras y batería con sonido mas pesado, como se muestra en "One For The Road" y "Arabella", esta ultima con toques en el riff de "War Pigs" de Sabbath (Guardando sus respectivas diferencias). Se preguntaran  ¿Si eres fan de ellos por que lo posicionas tan bajo?; En si el disco es de buena calidad, pero, si pero, siento que al igual que Daft Punk, se esperaba grandes cosas, el año pasado que sacaron el sencillo "R U Mine" (que es la mas desenfrenada del disco) hizo ilusionar a muchos fan's con su siguiente producción. 
A fin de cuentas, si, el sonido afecta un poco, ea...
Canciones: R U Mine, Arabella, One For the Road, Fireside, Knee Socks, Snap Out of It, Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High?.

10. Black Sabbath - 13 - Reino Unido

Si quedaba duda alguna que lo antiguo es lo de hoy, he aquí la prueba contundente. Que se puede decir ya, a menos que no conozcas a la agrupación.
A mi parecer, es una recopilación de todos los sonidos experimentados, expuestos en uno mismo, dando como resultado "13". Es de admirar que esta agrupación siga en acción y aparte, realicen este tipo de producciones, con y sin Ozzy.
Para concluir, si eres fan de los riffs de Tommy o del bajo de Geezer, ellos no te defraudaran, y por alguna extraña razón, no se nota la partida de Billy Ward.
Canciones: God is Dead?, Age of Reason, Damaged Soul, Loner, Zeitgeist.

Menciones Honorificas:

Queens Of The Stone Age - ...Like Clockwork - Estados Unidos

Josh Homme y compañía, elaboraron un disco digno de unos buenos tragos amargos de amor y olvidarse un poco de la vida cotidiana. No el mejor disco de la agrupación, pero si es demasiado interesante este sonido mas calmado que intentan ejercer.
Canciones: I Sat By The Ocean, If I Had a Tail, My God Is The Sun, The Vampyre Of Time And Memory.

Travis - Where You Stand - Reino Unido

Ahora entiendo ese dicho de los padres, "Los años no pasan en vano", cuando un servidor pensaba que Travis ya habia dado todo lo que tenia que dar, sale a la luz Where You Stand. Sin lugar a dudas el mejor disco de los britanicos.
Canciones: Where You Stand, Moving, Boxes, Reminder, Warning Signs, On My Wall, New Shoes.


jueves, 19 de diciembre de 2013


50. WHELM “A Gaze Blank and Pitiless as the Sun”

Unfairly underrated doom metal band from Denmark Whelm recorded their freshmen full-length just to split up, seemly, before it was released. Somehow their 2006 demo passed through my ears some years ago without standing out. This new album “A Gaze Blank and Pitiless as the Sun” is however pretty haunting with crushing and slow marches of doom metal riffs featuring some black metal guitars along it. Powerful, ruthless yet sometimes atmospheric doom metal that you should not let pass by.


Toner Low just got better with their third effort. This is ultra-heavy music focused in delivering the best dosage of doom riffs. Since the album is instrumental almost in its entirety your mind is completely captured by the slow riffs that depicts a mastodon clumsily walking and destroying everything. A more simple formula than other instrumental stoner doom bands since few other elements are added, keeping the album from sounding exaggeratedly psychedelic that you feel coerced to smoke some weed to enjoy it.

48. ABYSMAL GRIEF “Feretri”

I really mean it when I say that one of the things in my bucket list is watching Abysmal Grief playing live. It is not only because the dude singing and playing keyboards is a devil look-alike, but it is also because their music is so effective and catching that the funereal atmosphere created must be even more overwhelming with all the candles and stuff they set up in their live shows. I’ve been loving each release of this Italian band, they deliver a pretty original sound that can bring in mind since UK’s goth masterminds Nosferatu to funeral doom legend Skepticism specially because of the awesome intense use of organ. A quite dark album, perfect for a burial ceremony.

47. GRIME “Deteriorate”

Nowadays it is hard to find good sludge albums filled with the hatred that was almost a mandatory inside the genre in the 90’s. All that happy pop sludge that some famous bands like Torche and Baroness have been making in the last years just makes me sick. Hailing from Italy, here’s a band called Grime that is ready to deliver raw, aggressive and angry sludge doom to erase the smile in your face. Yeah, they play slow and unpolished riffs with a lot of distortion and vocals that are more black-metallic rather that a copy of the scream-the-lugs out style of Grief’s Jeff. You should check out this album, you’ll find no trace of joy here.

46. THE BODY “Christs, Redeemers”

These guys in really strive to make their music twisted enough even for the average avant-garde ear-drums. This is the first album I listen from this creepy duo from the US. It is drenched in aggressive stuff: either you hear extremely distorted riffs or you find yourself in the middle of an electronic harsh noise attack. But the gloom is created by puzzling female chants, unusual drums and the desperate tortured screams that bring the signature sound to the album. I am sure that not everyone will like the vocalist, his screams are just another love-it-or-hate-it case. This is a quite chaotic album recommended for fans of bands like Menace Ruine.

45. THE STARGAZER LILIES “We Are the Dreamers”

I’m just astonished about this album. This is a pretty dragged soundpool of guitar effects, melodies, ethereal vocals and just raw shoegaze. All songs here are downtempo, forget about the shitty indie rock happy drums, in this album drums are slow and pulled to the background letting the utterly distorted noisy guitars to lead this beautiful experience. The melancholy in the soft females whispers is awesome, used as another instrument ornamenting the wall of sound… Folks, trust in me, in these days shoegaze has become into a cliché for lots of hipsters and it can be a pain in the butt trying to find worth listening bands. Do yourself a favor and have a listen to this one.

44. EVERLASTING “March of Time”

Debut album of this Russian young band called Everlasting. They may not be the heaviest band in the world, but they are so crestfallen that the singer can barely scream growls in the usual fashion! Yeah, they are into the funeral doom subgenre and their music is in the kind of bands like Mournful Congregation, focusing in the weeping melodies rather than in heaviness. Their debut “March of Time” is quite beautiful, with all that melodies helped by a constant use of keys, weeping guitars and, of course, slowness, deep-rooted slowness. As above mentioned, vocals are striking because the singer seems to speak throughout the album but sometimes his voice sounds more like growls. This is the hopeless element that makes the difference. This is the first of several Russian doom metal bands in this list.

43. WĘDRUJĄCY WIATR “Tam, gdzie Miesiąc opłakuje Świt”

Well, you got me, I copy-pasted the name of this band and the title of this their debut. These guys hail from Poland and are not the only band from that country in this list. This debut album is an atmospheric black metal piece with a subtle touch of folk metal elements. The outstanding aspect is the songwriting work in the melodies that makes it so haunting. The cold forest atmosphere is created by these melodies and a nice work on keyboards. As a nice atmospheric black metal album the fast blast beats contrast with the beautiful melodies and with the occasional acoustic guitars. Another highlight of the album is the recording quality which is not the best in the world adding a raw feeling to the combo. You better go look for this one and make sure of having a Polish-to-English dictionary on hand.

42. SAÅAD “Orbs & Channels”

This is a baåarren, lifelee̊es, saåad album, as the name of the project suggests it. This is the latest effort of the French experimental duo Saåad. Travel with these guys through a journey of desolation and nothingness as they create a bunch of plain soundscapes based on the misery of guitar feedback and electronics. By playing the album at a high volume you’ll be able of almost touching the sound of vibrations that will lead you to nothingness. The engaging part of the album is that the textures can move through different stages but always remaining ethereal and in slow motion, vanishing from low frequency gloomy drones to beautiful sounds close to the voices effect in keyboards.

41. DEVIL “Gather the Sinners”

Hailing from Norway, Devil is a band that despite their not-so-original name have earned a nice amount of listeners inside the doom metal scene. This year they released their sophomore album with a coarse production that fits so well with the idea of delivering a retro grooving riff jam. This is one of those albums that are built upon a killer riff with a basic structure on drums. The result is awesome and actually it doesn´t sound like another uninspired copy of Black Sabbath (as Orchid does). Instead, Devil has features taken from the so-called occult rock. In fact, lyrics are one of the highlights of the album with a pretty doomed occult feeling. Striking is the song “They Pale” with a 70’s classic sound-alike melody (doom’n’roll?). If you are into the proto-doom stuff you better go get this album, you’ll love its primitive sound!

40. WEED PRIEST “Weed Priest”

The Weed Priest is here for a sinister riff ceremony. This young Ireland-based band offers its first full-length album drenched in slow crushing riffs, downtempo drums, some fuzz effects and an awesome vocal work placed between clean and harsh, much in the vein of Pombagira. That’s perfect in a genre like this stoner doom. The whole wall of sound feels like a ghost haunting an occult ritual, this is helped by the plus that the album is always trapped between down and mid tempo, bringing a whole doom experience.

39. NONSUN “Sun Blind Me”

Ukranian drone-worshipper duo Nonsun have been throwing out gloom and drones since 2011, “Sun Blind Me” is their second EP. These gentlemen appear to be great fans of late Sunn O))) works but they are far from being a clone band. In fact, their sound is as original as murky. The summoning of ghosts is of course led by ultra-distorted guitars with a lot of feedback and slowness, but the spooky atmosphere is helped by a nice use of organ, ritualistic melodies, tortured vocals and marching drums. As you can see, the artwork is not the only well-baked thing in this album. Really interesting music that you should check out if you are into drone. 

38. RUSSIAN CIRCLES “Memorial” 

Russian Circles are huge, each album they put out blows my mind. The trio from Chicago has released their fourth full-length album which, personally, has become into my favorite from their roster. This piece of album is proof of their skills as songwriters, hosting a delightful crash of heaviness and beautiful melodies. The distorted riffs that can be paired with Pelican meet charming shoegaze guitars to bring that melancholic feeling. This paramount blend is more consistent here than in their past albums which I find it pretty cool. Of course, the album is almost instrumental until the ghosty beautiful voice of Chelsea Wolf (who is also in this list) appears at the homonymous track. This is, in my opinion, the Russian Circles apex!

37. NOOTHGRUSH / COFFINS “s/t” (split)

What can I say? You have read it, Southernlord made a favor to the world and launched a split of these two insane bands. And the result is a short EP of pure hate to humanity. It’s astonishing to see Noothgrush releasing new stuff with the same attitude from the early 90’s and with an almost intact sound. In their 3 tracks, Noothgrush deliver perfectly written and executed sludge riffs that are eargasmic to anyone inside this kind of music. Meanwhile, Coffins is here with two tracks of more dirty and harsh sludge with brutal vocals. Personally, I am not a great fan of Coffins because I find their music pretty plain and sometimes even uninspired, but they are a killer band anyway. However, this EP is worth buying even only for the three Noothgrush tracks.

36. URNA “Mors Principium Est”

One more band hailing from the country of the boot in this list: Urna, who are launching their fourth studio album. What we have here is a stunning jam of doom metal elements that develops a pretty chaotic yet elegant atmosphere. A post-modernist scene is depicted by programmed drums and nice guitar effects and noises but always maintaining the slow funeralish riffs. The result is similar to Tyranny but with a more majestic atmosphere, perhaps closer to late Void of Silence. The vocal work is kind of spooky with several entities and stages. This is quite an interesting album of well-worked doom metal.

35. VIN DE MIA TRIX “Once Hidden From Sight” 

Astounding debut from the Ukrainian doomsters Vin De Mia Trix. This is a melodic death doom metal with some fresh ideas. The band seems to have a weighty influence of Saturnus with all that romantic weeping guitars and a great job on keyboards. Vin De Mia Trix has however flavoring their music with a pinch of jazz and other experimental stuff. For instance, you can find some slapping bass moments in the album as well as weird bass lines which make this album different from the bunch of melodic death doom bands out there.

34. WINDHAND “Soma”

Even though “Soma” doesn’t stand for “Stephen O’Malley”, this album bears such a heavy load of low toned bass and guitars. “Soma” is the sophomore studio output of the Virginia-based band Windhand. The album features slow yet not monotonous drums and clean stoned vocals but these two elements are pulled back by a wall of ultra-heavy riffs whose tone is low enough to put your speakers in risk of blowing up. The originality of the sound of Windhand is based in its formula which is clearly effective and catching, actually “Soma” is a pretty easy-listening album with a nice repetition of melodies on vocals. One just can’t stop listening to this album once one has first tasted it.

33. APHONIC THRENODY “First Funeral”

Aphonic Threnody is a new project run by five gentlemen who have been involved in other well-known doom metal acts like Gallow God, Pantheist, Urna and Arcana Coelestia among others. Hence, as you can see, this is not their very first funeral. It is however their first studio output together as Aphonic Threnody. The album is based on the blend of death/doom and funeral doom, perhaps Ahab can approach here. Nevertheless, this album is endowed with the keyboards of Pantheist's mastermind Kostas Panagiotou bringing a gloomy melancholic atmosphere. Important is to mention that the structure of the songs if far from being boring and borrowed. Drums have a considerable change of tempos as well as guitars can move through different passages keeping the band from joining the long list of uncreative Ahab-inspired doom metal bands out there in the genre.


Six years and some line-up changes have passed since Officium Triste fed our ears with “Giving Yourself Away”. Last year these Dutch doomsters shared a split with Ophis in order to prepare us for the long-awaited full-length that was about to be launched. The album is here and is called “Mors Viri”. This is a clear successor of “GYA” with that extremely romantic doom drenched in aching melodies, weeping guitars, pianos and the perfect alternation of growls and clean vocals. However, this album has a more polished sound with higher recording quality. This time Officium Triste scratches the gothic metal genre with not-that-slow songs. But don’t be afraid, “Mors Viri” is still enjoyable for romantic doom metal fans.

31. THE BESNARD LAKES “Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO”

That’s a weird album title! Canadian dreamers The Besnard Lakes have entitled like that their fourth full-length effort. The popularity of the band has been increasing this year and it shouldn’t be a surprise, this album is extremely beautiful in substance. The guitar of Jace Lasek waves with delicate shoegazer effects building unforgettable melodies. The motion of the album is pretty slow which brings a touch of melancholy though this is not the focus of the songs. Vocals are stunning too, featuring both female and male voices. The Besnard Lakes provide a well-worked album in both execution and songwriting. This is an utterly mature shoegazer record.

30. OLD WITCH “Come Mourning Come”

Enter to the spooky realms of the Old Witch. Not much is known about this band, just that they are based in the US and that this is their first release. The album has a raw darkened sound in which everything is severe and sharp: guitars are extremely distorted close to the harsh noise status, drums are ultra-slow all the time, vocals are harsh black metal screams and keyboards are used not only as an ambient plus but as a main element of each song. The result is an intense experience and a dense grim darkness in which you won’t be able to see anything. Adding a rough recording quality, this is an album that gets its own way.

29. THE NIHILISTIC FRONT “Procession to Annihilation”

Australian apocalyptic duo The Nihilistic Front assaulted this year with their brutal version of death doom metal. This is a quite chaotic album focused in bring you through a journey of city destruction. Here you’ll not only find tons of debris but also a blend of quite interesting elements: very heavy guitars with a distortion enough to satisfy Corrupted fans; a  touch of industrial feeling that is also reflected in the twisted vocal work adding some weird clean vocals to the predominant brutal growls; and a nice alternation of death metal fast blasts crashing with ultra-slow sections. If you are into aggressive death doom bands like Disembowelment you will surely enjoy this one. READ THE WHOLE REVIEW.

28. PALMS “Palms”

So many things have passed since the tragic demise of Isis. The coupling of several ex-members of Isis with Deftones’ Chino Moreno is without doubt the most successful (not necessary saying that the best) affair after Isis split up. The sound of Moreno and ex-Isis fellows’ child is pretty stunning. Basically, Palms brings a bunch of post-rock melodies, mostly driven by clean guitars, and these entwine with the unique vocals of Chino Moreno who makes an amazing job here. Not afraid of comparing with Isis, I can say that the influence is notable but it is clearly different, it is actually less heavy. The songwriting is without doubt a main aspect in this album in which you’ll find that each song could be easily released as a successful single. I hope this project keeps on going forward and this album won’t become into a chance encounter only.

27. THY LIGHT “No Morrow Shall Dawn”

Some years ago the Brazilian project Thy Light earned a nice amount of followers in the underground fields due to a demo that was haunting the web, so much so that I knew about it because of my ex-girlfriend. This year Thy Light launched their first full-length output with a less rough recording quality and with a more atmospheric and polished sound. Even we are in depressive black metal lands, Thy Light is not really mattered about ultra-raw and chaotic atmospheres. Instead, the keyboards play an important role throughout the album. Of course the black metal riffage and the screams are present, but what in really hook me up are those acoustic guitars that bring the folkish brushstroke to the melancholic picture, just in the way that Agalloch does it.  


What Black Sabbath has made this year is just astonishing. Few bands with such a huge trajectory and renown dare to record a completely new album after a long, extremely long time of throwing only compilations and live albums and still do it right. Forget for a while about the absence of Ward and stop waiting for another classic of the size of “Paranoid”, let’s come down to earth and see the current situation of the band and the music scene itself. The master Iommi sounds great with a pretty similar riffage to the one found in “The Devil You Know” with Heaven and Hell, Ozzy is still able to do it and bring the darkness he brought to a complete genre, but is Geezer fucking Butler who takes “13” to a new level with his heavy bass lines. Black Sabbath had the balls to record a new album even with Iommi fighting cancer and the result is not disappointing at all. Long live Black Sabbath and long live the traditional doom metal riff!

25. VASTUM “Patricidal Lust”

“Patricidal Lust” is the sophomore production of this band based in San Francisco, California. Vastum plays ruthless death metal with slow passages that scratches doom metal. The result is a primitive style that is similar to legends like Cianide from the golden era of death and doom metal. Thus, if you are sick of the current death metal scene and its implacable effort for sounding as technical, fast and brutal as possible you should try Vastum. The classic sound of this album is molded by killer slow to mid tempo riffs, awesome solos and drums that don’t sound like an ultra-polished SMG. Vocalist is great as well, he can move between Asphyx’s Martin and George Corpsegrinder.


If you think that the cover art of this album is kind of weird and insane, you should take a listen to what is inside. There are things here that don’t seem to make sense. For instance, even though the Sunn O))) logo appears there, the album is not really close to the sound of the hooded drone monks. It is also mysterious that there are only 2 songs in this “full-length” and they have names of cities as titles. Going through the album one realizes that making sense is the last thing that matters to these guys. The band plays a sort of drunk and twisted doom metal. It can be raw but it can bring a couple of melodies as well. Sometimes guitars do sound like drone but the album is not focused on that. The second track is actually the most insane with samples of people in terrible situations while a sinister march of ultra-slow doom is leading the ceremony. The samples in the song are recordings of Jim Jones (dude in the cover art) encouraging members of the Peoples Temple cult to commit mass suicide in Guyana in 1978. And yeah, you're right, "Dronestown" must be a joke about Jonestown, the place where this tragedy came about. This album is so weird that it is striking and clearly original.

23. LYCHGATE “Lychgate”

What would happen if Esoteric played black metal? The answer is Lychgate. This is a project born in the UK apparently some years ago but this is actually their first studio output. Lychgates features Greg Chandler from Esoteric and even though I’m sure he is not the only one writing the songs, his guitars and vocals are so characteristic that you can recognize them wherever he is present. Actually the project was unleashed by Vortigern. This debut album is so insane, the gloom is generated by the twisted guitars and the unique vocals of Chandler, but one of the most important elements are keyboards and organ, yes organ! But easy folks, this album is far from sounding like the cheesy symphonic black metal everyone is used to. This is because the sound is so untraditional that it just cannot fit into that genre.

22. CHELSEA WOLFE “Pain is Beauty”

Believe in me, I’ve got a crush on Chelsea Wolfe. But I will not talk about that now. Instead, I’ll tell you that her latest effort “Pain in Beauty” is in some aspects different to her previous releases. Yep, it is her least dark album but this doesn’t mean that we will not enjoy it as much as before. This time Chelsea Wolfe has added an important load of electronics, “Pain is Beauty” sounds fresh, but somehow still dark. This is due to the experimental approach that this girl gives to her music. That sound added to her beautiful ethereal ghosty voice make this album a delight to any of her old fans and, of course, to hundreds of new ones. The style of Chelsea Wolfe also remains original and without parallels.

21. LOWCITYRAIN “LowCityRain”

There was something about the 80’s in their vibe, in their air... Of course one of the good things about 80’s was the dark wave which brought a large number of good albums that once in a while influence a current band turning out in pretty good results. This time the goth wave caught Herbst the man behind the post-black metal opus Lantlôs. He has unleashed this new project called LowCityRain with a first homonymous album. This one is pretty catching with awesome melodies, showing off his skills as songwriter. The style of LowCityRain is dark and melancholic just like the 80’s used to be. And of course, your mind will find connections with Depeche Mode, The Sisters of Mercy and Killing Joke.

20. ATARAXIE “L'Etre Et La Nausée”

Ataraxie’s third album can be considered as their most brutal, yet their more polished. What I love about this third one is that it’s so visceral, so contrasting: it can be the fastest and the slowest. This time Marquis is so angry that he doesn’t matter to bring more long passages using his insane tortured screams which he used to reserve more for Funeralium. The higher quality in the recording allows Ataraxie to bring more brutality to the album. With this, riffs, deep growls and drums sound powerful and really catching. Personally, I liked more this one that its predecessor “Anhédonie”, but “Slow Trascending Agony” is still in the first position.

19. MY DYING BRIDE “The Manuscript” (EP)

If that's what they cut out, what they leave in must be pure gold! This year My Dying Bride brought these 4 songs that were recorded in the sessions of their hailed “A Map of All Our Failures” but that were not included in the final tracklist. As you may know, the full-length was a complete success, becoming in one of their best recordings in years. Well, the quality of these other 4 songs is exactly the same, they are as astounding as the ones featured in the full-length. It’s like if these guys randomly kept aside 4 tracks. Although short, the EP can unfold all the main features of the full-length: the narrative, the patented weeping guitars, the beautiful violin, the growls, the sudden death metal blasts and, of course, that songwriting style that sheds melancholy all the time. The only big problem here: IT IS TOO SHORT!

18. KEIRA IS YOU “Last Row Needs Heroes”

Had a bad day? Ride your car and have a night-time drive listening to this album. Keira is You is one of those bands that deserve more than what they have in terms of acknowledge. These Polish dudes have created this album drenched in feelings and melancholy. An utterly inspired songwriting can be found here. It is that kind of atmospheric rock that undergoes guitar effects, melodies and even slowness in order to surround you in by the atmosphere the band wants to transmit, turning out in a quite beautiful experience. This is one of those elusive albums with which one can find a personal connection. Actually, I can say that some of the tunes in this album will always bring me clear memories from the 2013. READ THE WHOLE REVIEW..

17. DEOS “Fortitude.Pain.Suffering”

High quality funeral doom metal album delivered by UK-based Deos. This newborn project was unleashed just this year and has already one full-length that made them earn followers inside the underground doom metal circles. The music of Deos is slow, tortured and gloomy enough to meet the funeral doom standards. The interesting feature here is the quality, not only of the recording, but also of the music itself. The melancholy is built by well-worked melodies with beautiful weeping guitars, they also took care about the atmosphere by adding suitable keyboards and even some samples. Everything is then polished by high quality recording and the results are pretty catching. A must-have for fans of bands like Ea, Remembrance and Colosseum.

16. REVELATIONS OF RAIN (Откровения Дождя) “Deceptive Virtue” ("Обманчивая добродетель")

Solitude Productions have in really nailed it this year! Take a look at their roster and you’ll find several surprises there. Russians made an invasion to the doom metal scene this year and Revelations of Rain, powered by Solitude Prods, became in one of the most important representative of the movement. The band shouldn’t be a new name for you, they stood out in 2010 with their previous release gaining a nice amount of followers. What we have here is really solid high quality melodic death/doom. The band sounds powerful with a strong production. The sore soul of this album features an abuse of weeping guitars in beautiful melodies and an important use of keyboards. Majestic, sad, beautiful yet powerful album that you shouldn’t let pass by if you are a fan of Saturnus.

15. NEGATIVE VOICE “Infinite Dissonance”

Other Russian fellows assaulting this list are Negative Voice. Heads up to this band who seems to be lined-up by skilled guys. They have built this first studio output rising from black metal roots, but turning out in a sound that is closer to the characteristic doom of October Tide. You know it, it’s that version of melodic death/doom that has midtempo passages in it. Nevertheless, the black metal influence brings a catching migration from black riffage to melodic doom solos in the same song. If this can justify giving a check to the album, let me tell you that these guys are skilled songwriters bringing a really dynamic sound. Thus they deliver catching songs and make this 53-minutes-long album appear so short.

14. THE EDEN HOUSE “Half Life”

The ambitious project The Eden House has blessed this 2013 with another studio album. After they launched the EP “Timeflows” last year, we were ready for a longer experience promised by the band since then. We were not disappointed, “Half Life” turned out to be a pretty outstanding album. The mysterious signature sound of the band is just so haunting. The unique guitars of Stephen Carey and the completely female-fronted songs make it a catching album without parallels. Perhaps, some suitable changes can be noted. For example, this new album includes some more dynamic songs like “Wasted on Me”.

13. CATHEDRAL “The Last Spire”

One last goodbye to the doom metal legend Cathedral. The hailed band kicked the bucket but before that happened they were able to say goodbye to the huge number of fans that they have earned throughout these years launching one last piece of master high-quality doom metal. I am not a great fan of Cathedral’s new albums, I am one of those who worship their doom era and just consider “not too bad” their later stoner sound. But since this album is the actual funeral of Cathedral, the band wrote a powerful doom metal record with relentless slow riffs and a permanent funereal feeling. ”The Last Spire” holds some new Cathedral features though. R.I.P. Cathedral and we hope to know more about these guys in the future.

12. HAMFERÐ “Evst” 

The Faroe Islands must be a cold place to live and this kind of places are perfect stashes for original and outstanding doom metal bands. Hailing from those small islands, Hamferð is a doom metal band that this year came up with a brand new sound for the genre taking as skeleton some romantic melodic doom with deep growls and a melancholic atmosphere, but the plus is brought by the alternation with clean high-pitched vocals that deliver an epic feeling. Gorgeous keyboards and lyrics in Icelandic (?) bring the final touch to this piece of unique doom metal. Highly recommended for fans of bands like The 11th Hour.

11. OCTOBER TIDE “Tunnel of No Light”

This is the second album of October Tide since the project came back to life in 2010. It is kind of disturbing that each album they have launched has been made with a different vocalist. This time In Mourning’s Tobias Netzell parted ways with October Tide. I loved his work in “A Thin Shell”. A new vocalist has been hired and it seems like he in really wants to sound like Tobias. Actually, the entire new album sounds pretty similar to its predecessor. Fredrik Norrman is so constant in his song-writing. But, in my opinion these are good news for us since October Tide has been forging this signature style of melodic death doom throughout its albums bringing a total of 4 productions without a single bad song. “Tunnel of No Light” is a stunning album, perhaps even darker than their previous release because it is a little bit slower. I am pretty sure that no fan of October Tide was disappointed by this album this year.

10. LYCUS “Tempest”

Yep, here’s a second album whose cover art was painted by Paolo Girardi in this list. The Oakland four-piece Lycus is back, this time with a full-length album after their hailed 2011 demo. “Tempest” is one of those albums that can be enjoyed by a larger number of doomsters because its blend of heaviness and melancholy. While you can find connections with the sound of ultra-sad melodic bands like Mournful Congregation, it has also to be noted that “Tempest” is rawer and manages heavier riffs, actually an evident black metal influence is present too. The beauty of the melodies throughout the album becomes somber when some extra lifeless choirs appear, reminding of Funeral’s first demo. Definitely, one of the most important releases of 2013 and a new must-have for extreme doom metal fans.

9. CARDINAL WYRM “Another Holy Trinity”

The weird cover art of this album is not the only insane thing about it. Cardinal Wyrm, doomsters based in California, kicked off their career with this full-length that turned out to be highly enjoyable for anyone inside the somber world of doom. The band came up with some fresh ideas but with a strong basement in traditional doom metal: slowness, some grooving Sabbathic riffs, nice solos and an occult atmosphere. The twisted things here are, in the most, vocals. The vocalist sounds pretty grim and insane, a sort of clean vocals that doesn’t sound friendly at all and are combined with raw screams with a pretty somber and psychotic result. I hope this band keep on delivering such a deranged version of doom metal.

8. KRYPTS “Unending Degradationh”

This is what I call a badass album. Nothing but ruthless and merciless death/doom metal sheds from this record. Krypts are a Finnish band that is offering their first studio output in an era when the old school sound seems to start coming back from its grave but when it is also hard to find bands that are actually making it work. Krypts seems to develop their raw and brutal death/doom in a natural way. Their debut album has the gloom and coldness of Paradise Lost’s “Lost Paradise” but with a clearly more brutal sound that seems to be completely linked to death metal. Heads up to the bass which sounds powerful throughout the album. You better don’t miss this one if you are into bands like Cianide, Disembowelment and Winter, among many other old school acts.

7. LOW “The Invisible Way”  

Does anyone have an idea of where Alan and Mimi take inspiration from? It’s been twenty years since Low started off making music and if you take a glance to their entire discography you’ll find no trace of mediocre songs. And, naturally, this won’t change with this new album called “The Invisible Way”. Just like life itself, this record is a damned roller-coaster moving from depression, some moments of hope and even some others of insanity. However, the album is pretty melancholic blessed by those beautiful melodies, outcome of the unique songwriting style of Low. But, be careful folks, if you listen to the song “Just Make It Stop” you’ll probably won’t be able to get rid of the melody in your head for a long while, even when you’re trying to sleep. I still cannot do it.

6. OCTOBER FALLS “The Plague of a Coming Age”

This time October Falls has nailed it. Usually when a band departs from such a nice genre like that atmospheric folk metal, its sound becomes kind of sickly and uninspired. But not October Falls. In March I was astonished once I put an ear on their new album, the band has moved towards a more October Tide-inspired doom metal. Nevertheless, even though both bands’ month is October, October Falls forgoes getting rid of their folk influence. So the northern cold feelings as well as those gorgeous acoustic guitars are still present. As you may know, one of the most important features in October Tide are the melodies in the guitar solos. Well, the striking aspect of this album is that these melodies are more folkish rather than melancholic, turning out in a quite original sound.

5. FUNERALIUM “Deceived Idealism”

For some this album can be considered as launched in 2012, since some reviews started to appear on the web that year. However the album was officially released for us the mortals in early 2013. Since the band kicked off with their demo “Ultra Sick Doom” we are always ready for an attack of utterly oppressive tortured doom in their albums and, of course, this didn’t change with their new record. However, it has to be said that this is their most elaborated album. It is actually an extremely long record and it was made with a higher recording quality. However, it is as crushing as their previous works. It is ultra-slow, with grim riffs and, of course, the characteristic screams of Marquis that bring that tortured feeling. This time the band is a bit more dynamic with some black metal influence and occasional use of deep growls. This dynamism keeps the listener from boring in such long tracks, making this a really haunting and “enjoyable” album for anyone starving of extreme doom.

4. ABSTRACT SPIRIT “Theomorphic Defectiveness”

Another band from Russia and one more brought by Solitude Prods: Abstract Spirit. These pallbearers have been developing high quality funeral doom metal since a not that short time ago and it seems like with each release they improve the funerary experience by adding elements to their already somber music. Personally, their new album “Theomorphic Defectiveness” has become my favorite one. These guys don’t let any beam of light filter through their music. This is truly dark album and the interesting thing is that it is not raw or minimalist at all, Abstract Spirit is a whole funeral orchestra with strings, choirs, trumpets and, of course extremely slow and crushing riffs. Even if you are used to this kind of music you’ll find that Abstract Spirit has come up with an original sound that is darker that most of the albums you’ll find out there these days. READ THE WHOLE REVIEW.

3. DREAM DEATH “Somnium Excessum”

This time Dream Death are indeed back from the dead. It appears like if this album was recorded back in 1989, following Dream Death’s debut “Journey through Misery” and before the band split up in that year. Time froze up for this band and nothing relevant had place between 1989 and 2013. So, after the band suddenly appeared in Roadburn Festival, the announcement of a brand new album made me fear that maybe this could be a disaster as so many returns. But it wasn’t at all! Dream Death recorded an astounding full-length that sounds pretty similar to their 1987 debut. Even though the long hair is gone, these fellows bring a nice dosage of unclassifiable metal, perhaps close to doom, driven by relentless guitars. Dream Death still knows how to write great killer riffs. The whole merciless sound of the album can be compared with early Celtic Frost. I would really like to have a second album after the return of the band. Only time will tell, by now go and grab a copy of this one, you’ll not be disappointed.

2. THE PROPHECY “Salvation”

Doom metal bands are prone to depart from their roots even earlier than most of the bands in other genres, in lots of the cases the band ends up spoiling their musical careers. This year UK doomsters The Prophecy decided to leap to some important changes in their sound for their latest album “Salvation”. Just as happened with bands such as Katatonia, the change didn’t affect their emotional impact, their inspiration, and everything turned out in a unique melancholic sound that is giving the signature to the band’s identity. “Salvation” is not a heavy album, it is rather atmospheric and it focuses in melodies and peaceful sadness. The band doesn’t get rid completely of its death metal influence though. The characteristic voice of Matt Lawson still alternates growls and his outstanding work on poignant clean vocals. The album is so well structured that a natural progressive approach can be found. The track “In Silence” became into one of my favorite songs of the year. This is an important release for the band and I hope they keep on going in the right direction. READ THE WHOLE REVIEW.

1. OUR CEASING VOICE “That Day Last November”

…And the prize for the best album of 2013 goes straight to the Austria-based band Our Ceasing Voice and their sophomore release “That Day Last November”. Life is though, and we have to accept that some memories will haunt us for the rest of our lives. This is what this record is about. Folks, I’ve been listening to this kind of melancholic and poignant music for a very long time and I can tell you that there is seldom an album with so much passion and inspiration as this one. “That Day Last November” is a very personal output of main song-writer Sebastian Obermeir, who tells the story of the distraught moments lived in a certain day, last November, but don’t worry, this is not really a concept album. Obermeir uses a three-guitar sound and whispered spoken words as channel to develop one of the most overwhelming atmospheres I have ever heard in music. This is not exactly post-rock, not even shoegaze, “That Day Last November” has an extremely original sound. The vocal work is astounding featuring whispers, growls, gang shouts and the raspy whispers of songwriter Matthew Ryan as guest singer in a couple of tracks. I’m in love with this record, this is real music, music used to express real feelings that hopefully you have lived too and so you’ll find a personal connection with it. For this and many other reasons this is, in my opinion, the best album of 2013. READ THE WHOLE REVIEW.