About Court In The Act.

No albums are hosted here. All files must be deleted 24 hours after download, as they are for review and criticism purposes only - provided you follow this guideline, downloading from Court In The Act is legal as per s30(1) of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. If any copyright holder has a problem with their material being posted here, get in touch and I will remove it. Let me know if any links are broken, I'll remove the post to prevent future annoyance, and will attempt to re-upload the file.

Comments make our work worthwhile. If you really enjoyed an album, tell us about it, we'd love to hear from you. If you hated it, tell us why.

Although music is a major part of all of our lives, we all have some form of external life. If there are periods in which no posts are added, I'm sorry, but that's how things happen. Even though I love blogging like this, sometimes I can't muster up the desire within myself to write about yet another album.

I'd like to say too that Court In The Act will never be run for personal profit. This means no advertisement, no premium schemes, and no LinkBucks. Megaupload is used because it strikes a fair balance between ease of upload and ease of download.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

REPOST: Slayer Magazine #7 [1989]

Only recently have I personally discovered the joy of old cult Linkmetal fanzines, but I'd like to share that with you now. Slayer is the Norwegian fanzine of Metalion (written in English - albeit somewhat stiltedly so), and it's charming, both in its interviews and the way it puts itself across. The set is soon to be released in a book called Metalion: The Slayer Mag Diaries.

PDF format


Sunday, 29 January 2012

Sorry to anyone who's sent me music over the time the blog's existed...

Due to a problem with the email forwarding system, I have just discovered 100+ emails from bands and people asking me to review their music etc. and with regard to the blog. The email address courtintheactblog@gmail.com is still valid - although I may change it to a hotmail address soon.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Elephant9 - Walk The Nile [2010]

I've got something a little different for you today. Elephant9 is a band that I only discovered recently, and one with a small discography; indeed, they only have two albums to my knowledge. However, after hearing this, I shall be looking forward to any future releases. What these Norwegians have produced is a delightfully jazzy take on prog rock - now, I know I'm not usually the one who posts prog around here, and in fact, have been known to utter the words 'prog fag shit', but this instrumental band deviates so much from the ironically tired cornerstones which formulate recent prog that even someone as grumpy and curmudgeonly as I cannot deny its quality. Whatever your usual taste is, I recommend this as objectively good music.

320 kbps


Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Code - Discography [2002-2011]

Since I heard their stunning second full-length, Resplendent Grotesque in 2009, Code has been one of my favourite bands. From that album's incredible mixture of decidedly progressive black metal with pop (yes, you read correctly) influence, without ever sounding cheesy, to their demo and debut and the decidedly more depressive approach there. Although part of that will always be due to ex-vocalist (since 2010) Kvohst's outstanding vocals, the musicality is such that it rivals the classics of the black metal genre and those of their other influences in terms of sheer quality. Every song is a stunner.

N.B. I've also included Seasonal Code's Aortian Dialectus here, which is a collection of demos released under the Seasonal Code moniker and a few unreleased tracks from the Resplendent Grotesque sessions.

If I haven't given you enough enticement to now go and get the lot, you are hopeless.

Neurotransmissions: Amplified Thought Chemistry demo [2002]
Nouveau Gloaming [2005]
Resplendent Grotesque [2009]
Seasonal Code - Aortian Dialectus [2011]

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Blogs are being ended left right and centre...

...due to Mediafire deciding to delete thousands of links in one fell swoop. I'm going to get the question out of the way; Court In The Act will NOT be ended, but will be stopping activity for the next week or so until I have assessed the situation better. I don't want to upload to Mediafire and then only have time for two people to get the album before it's taken down. I may move to another filehosting service - does anyone know of a non-US service which is any good (i.e. not ifolder)? If it actually turns out to be the death of the internet as we know it, the blog will be continued as a text-only blog, thus undoubtedly becoming far less interesting to all of you.

But so, to the death toll:


Hyperborean Cake
FrostDomain 2011
+Angrychairs Redux+
My Nightmare
Thrashpunx Crew (maybe... the post which announced the end has been removed)
An Die Musik
Depressive Black Metal
Extreme Fucking Music!! (no more download links)
Only Metal Discographies
Sex Murder Art
Necrose Download
Never Heard These Sounds
Jazz Is My Life (going private)


Sunday, 22 January 2012

REVIEW: Savage Messiah - Plague of Conscience [2012]

Alright, I'll admit to having shown no interest in this album until I got an e-mail from Earache records offering it as a free download from their site. Given that the last two albums I downloaded from Earache were Gama Bomb's "Tales From the Grave in Space" and Wormrot's "Dirge", I figured I may as well give it a spin. Plus, I'd be going into this album with absolutely no expectations, so at least I wouldn't be disappointed.

So then, "Plague of Conscience" is a thrash/power metal album from Savage Messiah, and their first release on Earache. Those of you who read my 2011 roundup may remember the first impression I had of Destruction's "Day of Reckoning", in that it was a little underwhelming. Well this first impression showed its ugly face again with "Plague of Conscience", and continued throughout. There wasn't anything on the album in particular which caught my attention or made me think 'hey, that was pretty cool'. All in all, the 53 minutes of the album passed by without incident, which definitely can't be good for my rating of it.

There were some parts of the album which at least sounded nicer than other parts (a statement so vague it's completely without merit by itself), which is not necessarily good, as there were no real ball-grabbing moments as you'd maybe expect on a thrash album. Anyway, "Six Feet Under the Gun" and "In Thought Alone" were the two best tracks of the album, and even they weren't much better than the rest quality-wise.

And that's about it really. Ordinarily I could write much more, but this album affected me that little that I've already run out of things to say.


You can download this album for free of Earache Records' website, so I'm not going to bother uploading it.

Re-upload: Nifelheim - Nifelheim [1994]

If there was one certain word to describe Nifelheim's stunning debut, it would be 'bad-ass'. This vile concoction of black and thrash metal fell just about into the second wave of black metal, and stands proudly alongside the greats.

Re-upload notes: I still feel Nifelheim are horribly underrated, and whilst that's perhaps due to their somewhat small discography, each and every one of their albums is at least good.

320 kbps


Re-upload: Black Sabbath - Master Of Reality [1971]

Although I stated in an earlier post that Black Sabbath's best work was their eponymous debut, and I stand by that, all the albums up to and including 'Mob Rules' are bona fide classics, and this is no exception.

Re-upload notes: Scratch that, all the albums are fantastic. Yes, even Born Again. Yes, even Headless Cross. There was simply nobody else who wrote riffs at the same standard as Tony Iommi (who, at the time of writing this, is suffering from a cancer scare. Get well soon Tony).

192 kbps


Re-upload: ACxDC - He Had It Coming [2005]

Again, something a bit different to the already standard metal fare. Personally, I'm a huge fan of music that is raw and punky, so powerviolence naturally appeals to me. Unfortunately only releasing this before splitting up, ACxDC (Anti Christ Demon Core) are great.

Re-upload notes: Ought to be viewed in its context as one of the first posts here. Also, ACxDC have reunited. Look forward to more material from them, hopefully this year.

128 kbps


Re-upload: The Sisters Of Mercy - Floodland [1987]

This is the best goth album of all time. Full stop. No question about it. Although purists may say it was too mainstream, only on this album has a 10 minute long pop song been so hugely enjoyable throughout (I am referring, of course, to This Corrosion). Get it now.

Re-upload notes: Seriously, don't pass this up!

160 kbps


Re-upload: Sodom - Agent Orange [1989]

This is one of the seminal German thrash albums, and rightly placed Sodom among the thrash elite. It's less raw than previous releases, but Sodom honed their songwriting chops for this, as shown on the title track and 'Ausgebombt'.

Re-upload notes: Still, I prefer their rawer, older stuff, and in particular Persecution Mania, but this is still a damn good album.

320 kbps


Re-upload: Mercyful Fate - Don't Break The Oath [1984]

This was the album with which Mercyful Fate really broke through into the metal spotlight - famed for influencing the black metal scene in terms of image, and for King Diamond's schizophrenic vocal style, this was quite extreme for its time, perhaps only topped by Slayer's debut.

Re-upload notes: When I talk about extremity here, I'm only really referring to the metal spectrum. Also, I don't see how I failed to mention it, but this is one of the best heavy metal albums of all time.

320 kbps


Re-upload: Celtic Frost - To Mega Therion [1985]

Celtic Frost's second album featured a more refined approach than its predecessor, 'Morbid Tales', and certainly better production values than that and all Hellhammer releases. When listening to this, it's even possible to forgive them for 'Cold Lake'.

Re-upload notes: Somehow many thrash fans seem to not really be aware of this album, which is surely one of the classics of the genre. If you are one of these, you would be very wise to rectify that matter.

320 kbps



Just wanted to see how Blogger time related to my own time re: re-uploads.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

James Blake - James Blake [2011]

Boy, did I miss a trick here. Had I listened to this album just a month ago it could have been sitting proudly among my favourite of the year. Anyway, I really did just download this on a whim the other day, and boy was I pleasantly surprised. "Imagine Jeff Buckley is still alive and making minimalist electronic music" is how I've been describing it, and I reckon that's pretty close to what it is. It's been officially described as 'post-dubstep', but I'm really not seeing it here. Whatever it is, it's short and sweet and a great listen. Check it out.

11 tracks, 38:00, 58.94 MB
Mediafire (Mp3, 320 kbps)

On Megaupload

Hey guys, JohnRCC here. It may trouble you to know (and it sure as hell troubles us) that file host Megaupload has been shut down by the American government, for allegedly "running an international criminal enterprise centered on copyright infringement on the Internet".

This means that any albums posted on the blog which were hosted on Megaupload (like, 95% of them) will no longer work. As Persona101 mentioned in his post, we'll try and get all affected albums back up on alternate hosts, but we have kind of a lot to get through, so bear with us in that respect.

It's an eerie coincidence that just as all the discussion of SOPA/PIPA seems to be coming to a head, something like this should happen. A stark warning then, I suppose, of what may occur much more often if these acts are passed and a reminder everywhere for fans of music to help do something about it, be it contacting your local politicians or signing petitions whichever which way you can.

As for future posts on Court in the Act, for me at least I will be posting albums hosted on Mediafire, but it's a damn shame that such a fine file host should go under (just think of all the porn that has been lost!).

Here's an article on the closure of Megaupload.



This means that all existing Megaupload links NO LONGER WORK. I will attempt to restore what has been destroyed in one fell swoop by the Americunts.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Sacramentum - Far Away From The Sun [1996]

Sacramentum can feel a little hard done by that they have always been overlooked when it comes to Swedish melodic black metal, probably due to the fact that their compatriots Dissection put out two absolutely seminal albums during their time in The Somberlain and Storm Of The Light's Bane. It's also not helpful for their case that, while it is an excellent album, very strong parallels can be drawn between this and those two, except for the fact that this feels a little less inspired. It has a slightly larger death metal influence though, which should please some people. Certainly underrated, and one that everyone should check out.

320 kbps


Why SOPA and PIPA matter and why they must be fought

It seems that anyone who is remotely aware of what is going on in the world is aware what SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act, currently stalled in the US House Of Representatives) and PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act, currently being considered in the US Senate) are, and is probably aware of a few of the implications, but what many do not realise is quite how drastic and wholly unreasonable the changes could be worldwide. As people who are present on a blog that is predominantly used for downloads, I presume that you already have opinions, or at the very least disregard towards copyright, but these two bills have shown that the USA is prepared to completely ignore the progress of technology and society in order to better protect corporate income (it must be remembered that there is a precedent of this in Eldred v Ashcroft).

Anyway, even if you aren't aware, there is an excellent summary over at the BBC News website. As it succinctly says, perhaps the most worrying consequence of SOPA is that any website which in theory could 'enable or facilitate' piracy could have action taken against it, sometimes to the extent of being shut down. This is where the global consequence comes in. Whilst the US law theoretically has no authority or sovereignty over most of the world, the sheer power of the US is such that other states could well feel pressured into being complicit with this law, regardless of how ludicrous they find it. Furthermore, it still applies to a huge number of websites, including many of the world's largest - indeed, any site whose address ends in .com, .net or .org to name but a few would be affected by this. Those which would be immediately at risk, largely due to hosting user-created content include Youtube, Wikipedia, most filehosting websites (and let's face it, nobody likes iFolder), Bandcamp, and indeed any website which hosts text, images, video or sound which is not 100% original or in the public domain (a public domain which many high-standing people in US politics seek to destroy).

This is, however, just talking about a direct effect. Under SOPA, the US government and copyright holders would be able to seek action to be taken against websites which link to a suspected site. And while much is made of Google's Big Brother-esque presence, I think that few people who use the internet would deny that the internet would become practically unusable if one was unable to use search engines. And that's just to start - those accused of breaching copyright could have far more serious measures taken against them.

I'm well aware that my views are neither the most refined nor the most eloquently expressed regarding this huge issue, but if one more person joins the fight against SOPA because of this post, it has been a success. Fight regression. Fight SOPA/PIPA.

Monday, 16 January 2012

REVIEW: Paul Cusick - P'Dice [2012]

I was first introduced to Paul Cusick around two years ago when a helpful Facebook advert informed me about his 2009 debut, "Focal Point". After giving it a few digital spins I decided I liked it enough to invest in the CD, which came with a very nice personalised postcard from the man himself. Thing is, I first got into "Focal Point" when I was just starting to properly discover prog, and it was soon after this that I discovered Porcupine Tree. Let it be said that the similarities between "Focal Point" and tracks from Porcupine Tree's "Deadwing" and "Fear of a Blank Planet" albums are more than just coincidences. Don't get me wrong, "Focal Point" was a good album. It just could have featured more in the way of creativity from Paul.

But that was the past. We're now living in the distant future of 2012, and 'Q6' (as he's credited on the cover) has released a second album, and here it sits in my grubby mitts. Right from the off (and as evidenced from the lengthy, ever-so-slightly pretentious description on his website), the tinge of sadness and pessimism which was present on "Focal Point" returns, stronger than ever. Songs this time round deal with various aspects of prejudice, such as religious bigotry, patriotism & war, poverty, among others. However these songs are less personal than they were on "Focal Point", and as a result some of the songs can sound a little detached on the emotional front.

Anyway, this is a prog album. What about the music? The lineup of Paul playing everything but drums, someone else playing drums has remained, but this time Q6 has managed to enlist the help of some more famous drummers than on "Focal Point", namely Marco Minneman and Gavin Harrison. That's right. Gavin. God-damn. Harrison. Of Porcupine Tree. Somehow, and for some reason, Cusick has managed to recruit the drummer of the band he so shamelessly ripped off back in 2009. I can't exactly claim to understand exactly how that deal went down (unless "Paul Cusick" is actually just a pseudonym for another of Steven Wilson's many many side projects), so let's just ignore the technicalities of that and move on. As far as the drum tracks on the album are concerned, Gavin and Marco do a terrific job at giving some of the tracks atmosphere, specifically on "Tears". Coupled with Paul's watery, Gilmour-esque guitar playing, the album as a whole has a great sound and some very good production & mixing work has gone on here. However, the 50-foot giant fly in the ointment here is the singing. Don't get me wrong Paul, I both admire and respect you for aspiring to do absolutely everything on this album yourself (sans drumming), but there are some aspects where you just have to step back and consider whether you're actually doing a good job. Most of the time, Q6's singing on this album sounds rather breathless and flat, which in some cases is the decider between whether a song is good or not (listen to "God, Paper, Scissors", and you'll see what I mean).

Aside from what the rather irritating problems I've mentioned, "P'dice" is still a very solid second effort from Cusick, and is definitely worth a couple of spins. If you liked "Focal Point", you'll like this. If you're unsure or haven't heard "Focal Point", go and listen to that first before deciding whether to buy this or not.


Sunday, 15 January 2012

90's Death Metal That Doesn't Suck: Morta Skuld- As Humanity Fades[1994]

There are some seriously bad band names in the long history of Death Metal. Lubricant. Uncanny. Darkified. Sarcasm. Not all of the bands themselves suck, but without a doubt their band names are affronts to good taste. Yet the German Death Metal scene takes the crown for spawning without a doubt the two worst Death Metal monikers in the history of the genre: Jumpin' Jesus and Lemming Project.


The first one pretty much sucks without having to look too hard into it. Just read it as Robin from the old Batman T.V. show, then listen to The Art of Crucifying and tell me you can take it seriously in anyway. It sucks, and don't let any super trve internet Metalhead tell you otherwise.

Lemming Project I find far more hilarious. To be fair, Lemming Project are much, much better than Jumpin' Jesus. They still suck compared to anything good or competent, but they can at least claim not to be the worst German Death Metal band. However, the bands name is ever worse. For the uneducated/lazy, this is a Lemming:

Yep, a rodent that finds very idiotic ways to die. That's a lemming for you. And apparently, Lemming Project are all about lemmings.

Trve Fucking Methuls.

Morta Skuld hailed from the great state of Wisconsin, and quietly put together an excellent early discography before changing their name and becoming a Nu-Metal band. That part sucks, but in the mid-90's, Morta Skuld were pretty fucking awesome. As Humanity Fades is their best as far as I am concerned, and also features some of my favorite cover art of all time. The Bolt Thrower/Benediction influence is here, but there are also plenty of Tech-y solo's and Jungle Rote-esque grooves to mix things up. One of the better pure head-banging Death Metal albums I can think of, and while it may not be life-changing shit, it certainly slays rodent worshiping shit Metal from the bowels of obscurity.

320 kbps


S.O.D. - Speak English Or Die [1985]

Whilst we're talking about fun music, and also thrash metal, here's the only worthwhile album from the kings of tongue-in-cheek crossover, S.O.D. (or Stormtroopers Of Death). Whilst musically this isn't the most instantly appealing album, the tunes, alarming in their brevity, will become like old friends over time, and one can appreciate the humour at work instantaneously. File next to Lawnmower Deth under 'comedy thrash which actually has a fair amount of musical merit'.

~150 kbps VBR


Metal Church - The Dark [1987]

And before someone comes along and comments 'needs moar methulz' on one of pastilhas' Merzbow posts, I'll post this, a wonderful album from one of the less-sung gods of thrashy heavy metal. This certainly takes more influence from thrash than their eponymous debut, and indeed has an entirely different feeling to the whole thing. Fear thee not, however, for the histrionics are still present for those moments when overblown fun is all you need and you refuse to listen to power metal to retain your status as the king of kvlt.

320 kbps


Saturday, 14 January 2012

Merzbow - Live Khabarovsk, CCCP (I'm Proud By Rank Of The Workers) [1988]

This is the a legendary live session, and the legend tells that when Merzbow was performing a series of shows in Russia and the first one got stopped for being too loud and he was "requested" to slow down. So the result was this the two following live sessions the first is the most noisy and the second is a very rhythmic track,both tracks are very jazz influenced, feature processed radio sound pieces and parts of the Batzokai album on background. Also at this point Merzbow was still a group and Kyoshi Mizutani played guitar and piano, while Akita played drums, electronics and various preparated instruments.
Also no artwork available since this was released has part of the Merzbox.

Merzbow - Fantail [2002]

Time to present you the two slightly lighter Merzbow works that I know (and like).
Fantail is a harsh noise work built on melodic guitar, songs usually start slow and then build up to noisy noise (some more than others). For those who dislike harsh noise and those who dislike Merzbow's harsher works like Pulse Demon, Tombo and stuff can get a pretty good starting point here. (also Clouds and Waterfall are two awesome awesome songs).

Friday, 13 January 2012

Bohren und der Club of Gore - Gore Motel [1994]

Bohren und der Club of Gore are a respected jazz/drone band or has some people call it doom jazz, with dark ambient and doom metal influences, hope that's enough to tickle your curiosity.
This album is played by a quartet composed by a bassist, a drummer, a keyboardist/vibraphonist and a guitarist, the last one was replaced by a sax player in the albums following the next one and the next one features a far more ambient side that was also carried in later, anyways this is a rhythmic, minimalistic, and odd blend of sounds with a dark metallic atmosphere.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

SebastiAn - Total [2011]

On its release in May 2011, Ed Banger Records artist SebastiAn's first album was met with some anticipation. He had gained some exposure as a remixer and as an opening act for Justice on their "A Cross the Universe" tour, but people were interested in hearing what his own work sounded like.

Unsurprisingly, it sounds a lot like Justice. The French duo's fidgety style is prominent here, and there's a lot of sampling of split-seconds of singing, occasional individual bass notes and so on. However, "Total" is both harsher and lighter than the work of Justice at the same time. Harsher in that a lot of the time there's an almost industrial edge, though there's also much less bass here than, say, "Cross".

Either way, if you like Justice you'll be sure to like this, so check it out.

22 tracks, 51:18, 73.46 MB
Mediafire (Mp3, 192 kbps)

Mediafire pulled the link. E-mail us if you want a re-upload.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

90's Death Metal That Doesn't Suck: Belial - Wisdom of Darkness [1992]

Long story short, I heard Swedish Death Metal band Authorize today for the first time, and holy shit are they bad. Like, some of the worst shit I have heard in a long time.

Now listen, in the name of full disclosure, I will point out that as a rule, I don't like Swedish Death Metal. It's too melodic... too Iron Maiden-y for my taste. I like my Death Metal either: A. Strange B. Dense and atmospheric or C. Complex. Swedish Death Metal is none of those. They all sound the same, all have the same production... the all even look the same.

That said, I am willing to meet everyone half way in most situations. True, I can't listen to Like An Everflowing Stream all the way through without giving up and playing Onward to Golgotha instead, but I would not say it is a bad album. For what it is, Like An Everflowing Stream is a competent, tight slice of Death Metal I just happen to find boring. But Authorize? Holy fuck are they bad. I thought Grave and Unleashed were horrible before, but I would listen to those two for the rest of my life than ever be subjugated to fucking Authorize again. Of course, a quick Interwebz search has me finding all kinds of "under-rated and over-looked classic" and "shits all over modern Death Metal" nonsense. Ugh.

To wash my ears clean of this filth, and to please the readers, I give you Finland's Belial. Like many Death Metal acts from the 90's, Belial ended up changing genre's later on before breaking up, and only ended with a modest discography. But when they were playing Death Metal, they were playing fucking Death Metal. Blackened, Doom-infused Death Metal that brings to mind a twisted mix of Incantation and Demigod, with Mayhem providing a few guest appearances. Also, they are from Finland. Which means they rule. Fact. Wisdom of Darkness was in my opinion the bands best release, so go ahead and enjoy it. And for fucks sake, listen to some Cephalic Carnage or some shit too. ANYTHING but Authorize.

224 kbps


Monday, 9 January 2012

90's Death Metal That Doesn't Suck: Oppressor - Solstice of Oppression [1994]

I think there is something that needs to be said, and if I don't say it then no one will: the vast majority of Death Metal from the 90's sucked, and the genre is way better off now than it was then. I know this automatically qualifies me for "untrve" status, or a "poser" rating. But then again, I have never been one to let fear of internet Metalheads scare me.

Because those are the people who "listen" to bad 90's Death Metal. Internet Metalheads, usually age 12-16 with a Metal-Achieves account and no girlfriends or jobs. How do I know this? History my friends: see most of these beloved 90's Death Metal albums suffered from very poor record label support and saw very limited distribution. It would have been very, very difficult for a small time Death Metal band from Pittsburgh to get their music past state lines circa 1992, if not entirely impossible. Most of these bands formed, recorded albums and broke up in total anonymity.

That was until the Internet came along. Suddenly, every 15 year-old who could figure out P2P services became an expert on obscure-for-a-reason Death Metal. It has become a status symbol, a badge of coolness. And it ignores the facts: most of it sucks. I mean seriously, who can listen to Baphomet/Banished or Jumpin Jesus and say with a straight face that this is the "gold standard" of Death Metal? Cianide somehow found a way to make Death/Doom the most relentlessly boring thing ever, while Master are only relavent because of Paul Speckmann's beard. 15 year old's, lounging in their E-Lairs, decrying the end of Death Metal while listening to second hand mp3's of Panaramic Twilight. It sickens me.

That said, there were many Death Metal albums from the 90's that were truly, truly awesome. And not just the classics: there were some truly brilliant and over-looked classic's from the 90's that most certainly did not suck big fat cock. So in honor of those albums, I will be doing a series of posts about some kick-ass 90's obscure Death Metal that is, ya know, actually good.

I will be starting with Chicago's Oppressor, one of the earlier Technical Death Metal bands. Solstice of Oppression is their first full-length album, and it fucking rules. Technical, brutal riffs, blistering drums and vicious guttural vocals are all on display, but the band is also unafraid of melody and atmosphere. This is pretty much one of the best Death Metal albums I have ever heard, and shits all over anything fucking Jumpin' Jesus ever released.



Shining - VII: Född Förlorare [2011]

Shining purportedly play depressive black metal, but I think that that's as much to do with frontman, and indeed mainman, Kvarforth's antics than their actual musical approach. In addition to featuring on other classic albums like Bethlehem's S.U.I.Z.I.D., Kvarforth has built a strong legacy through this band (recently he suspended his activities with all other bands), the closest similar artists to which which springs to mind being Lifelover (sorry for the awkward grammar). He plays fairly clean-sounding black metal with a defined poppy approach, stopping a fair way short of the likes of Ved Buens Ende in progression and eclectia, but still being far from the BM hordes. This has naturally attained him lots of fans and lots of haters, but I find this album, although just outside my top 50 of 2011, to be a very satisfying listen.

~260 kbps VBR


Sunday, 8 January 2012

Reagan Youth - A Collection Of Pop Classics EP [1984]

One of the more unsung heroes of US hardcore punk, Reagan Youth repeatedly produced anthems for the damned and divine, preaching peace or satirically attacking the politics of the time. The songs themselves are great - this eight-track EP is a very good example of their craft, and indeed, some of the best examples of the style that will be heard anywhere. Admittedly, I was a hardcore newb when I first heard this, after downloading it because I liked the name, but now I have something of a more developed taste in the genre, and would still recommend the EP to anyone.

192 kbps


Friday, 6 January 2012

Justin Vernon - Hazelton [2006]

Boy, I have not posted here in a long time. I have been insanely busy with my review blog, Curse of the Great White Elephant, as well as my job... such as it is. Anyway, I hope to post more often here, since Persona is my homeboy and I like his blog. I promise to post lots of shitty obscure Death Metal from the 90's and even shittier Incantation worship bands in the near future. But for today, I have something different and exponentially better.

For the uninformed, this album cover gives off a total chubby white nerd-rapper vibe. Thankfully, this is not a collection of Nintendocore beats and Yoda raps(fucking white boy rap, am I right?), but instead the solo work of American Folk Singer-Songwriter/Kanye West homeboy Justin Vernon. Vernon is best known as the vocalist/egotistical spotlight hog of Bon Iver, who suddenly got all popular and shit(what's with that?) Vernon has made a very impressive musical career by piggy-backing even more talented musicians and songwriters to newer heights of glory and popularity. Starting with Mt. Vernon, a band comprised of probably the most talented teenagers in history, then moving on to the Cook brothers in deYarmored Edison, before standing on the shoulders of Sean Carey and co. of Bon Iver to become a superstar of Indie hipsterfags.

The thing is, Vernon might be an egotistical dude who uses those around him and absorbs all the praise and spotlight, but he really is one fuckall of a songwriter. Hazelton is one of two albums Vernon has done under his own name, writing all the material. And it is by far the best thing he has ever done, period. Better than Bon Iver, better than Volcano Choir, better than all of it. Hazelton's is so brilliant, it is closer to an experience than a mere musical album.

A free-flowing, basically genreless piece of low-fi pathos, Hazelton is by far the wettest, most heart crushingly sad album I have ever heard. Yet what makes it stand out and above most sad Folk music is how uplifting it becomes, how it forces you to let go. When Vernon, backed by a full forced male gang vocal, screams a whisper for you to "lay down your end, " you are ready to give into the fullness and truth of his words. This is the kind of music that changes your perspective on the world around you, not merely color it. Basically, not to be missed by any music fan.

Next time, I swear I will give you some shitty Incantation worship.

192 kpbs


Marduk - Wormwood [2009]

Well, I for one am fairly excited to hear a new Marduk album later this year, and this, their most recent, is a strong reason why. Marduk have proven a lot since Panzer Division Marduk that they do more than just blast away - this has some top notch riffs on it. Although this is fairly orthodox (not meaning lyrically - although it might be, I haven't bothered finding out), it still departs from much black metal in its heightened melodic sensibility and a production that is fairly clean, and very much so for the genre. Fortunately, Marduk have avoided the overuse of dissonance that plagues so many modern black metal albums (Deathspell Omega may be just about the only band who can fully get away with it), and so this is, as it was in 2009, quite refreshing to listen to.

320 kbps


Thursday, 5 January 2012

Los Campesinos! - Hello Sadness [2011]

Since it was my album of the year, I figured I may as well post it. Following on from 2010's "Romance is Boring", Cardiff-based indie-poppers Los Campesinos! have put out a slower, darker, and ultimately more mature fourth album. Apparently ten songs about breaking up or loss of love or something (so a bit like Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours", only more pretentious), not that I'd know as the lyrics are as bullshitty as ever. Still though, the songs on the album work whether or not the lyrics make sense, as it's all about tone and emotion here. A trend beginning with "Romance is Boring" was to shy away from the relentless upbeat energy of their earlier work, "Hello Sadness" is a further natural progression of that. Not that there are no upbeat songs, they've just manifested themselves in a less 'twee' way ("Songs About Your Girlfriend" is probably the fastest track on the album, and it's also one of my favorites).

Anyway, as I said before, "Hello Sadness" was my album of 2011 and you'd do right to give it a listen.

10 tracks, 40:02, 84.45 MB
Mediafire (Mp3, 320 kbps)

DMCA came calling. E-mail us if you want a link.

Devin Townsend - Infinity [1998]

It goes without saying that Devin Townsend is strange. Strange enough that in the same year he released "City" with his band Strapping Young Lad, an extreme, noisy, industrial loud-a-thon, and "Biomech" under the pseudonym Ocean Machine, a calmer, radio-friendly progressive rock album. It was shortly after this he had a nervous breakdown and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Shortly after he'd come to terms with this he put out "Infinity" in 1998, an album which marries the aggression of "City" and the 'happiness' of "Biomech". The first three tracks are a barrage of awesome: the intense instrumental "Truth", the poppy "Christeen" and the insanely catchy "Bad Devil". Even if after that the album meanders a bit (specifically, "War" drags on), it still has a great overall sound and is well worth a listen. This version also comes with three bonus tracks: Live, acoustic versions of two songs from "Biomech" and a 1996 demo, simply called "Man". Good stuff.

13 tracks, 59:11, 63.87 MB
Mediafire (M4a, ~198 kbps VBR)

Porcupine Tree - Nil Recurring [2007]

If you've listened to Porcupine Tree's 2007 album about the state of the 21st century youth, you'll know what this companion EP is all about. These 4 songs were all recorded along the songs that made it onto "Fear of a Blank Planet", but were left out because they interrupted the flow of the album and would have made it too long. Thankfully they were saved though, because the songs on here sure are some crackers. The title track features some guitar wizardry from one Robert Fripp (who also appeared on the album), and some pretty heavy riffing about halfway through. "Normal" is the EP's best track. It was shortened and re-worked into "Sentimental" on the album, but here the original is much longer and varied (although I'll admit "Sentimental" works in the album much better than this would). "Cheating the Polygraph" takes hints from "Anesthetize", especially in the riff that comes in a couple of minutes in. Finally, "What Happens Now?" is mostly instrumental, with a sound something like that of Voyage 34.

Anyway, if you liked "Fear of a Blank Planet" and didn't quite feel depressed enough about the current generation after listening to it, then this EP is for you.

4 tracks, 28:44, 40.73 MB
Mediafire (Mp3, 192 kbps)

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

JohnRCC's 2011 Roundup

Only a few days late!
Anyway, I haven't even listened to fifty newly-released albums this year, let alone enough to make a top fifty list and have some left over to give out extra awards. So what I've done instead is simply review every album I've heard this year, then giving out some additional awards for special album categories and other goings-on in the music world. So let's get started:

The Reviews

Adele - 21
Look past the monotony of the singles from this album (and the fact that they're played waaaay too much on the radio; if the point of pop music is to get into people's heads then mission fucking accomplished I guess), and be pleasantly surprised that the rest of this album is worth listening to, for both the more upbeat rock songs and the downright soulful ballads. [7]
Rumour Has It

Anthrax - Worship Music
It's been said this is the best big 4 album of the last 10 years, which is quite frankly a load of balls (and we all know that, because St. Anger only came out 8 years ago :V). But anyway. On its own merits, Worship Music sounds like a bastard cross between the Anthrax of old and the more commercial NWOAHM bands like Avenged Sevenfold. And trust me, this is not a good thing. [4]
Fight 'Em Til You Can't

Black Stone Cherry - Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
The thing I liked about BSC's 2006 debut was that it was simple man music. It's the kind of album you'd have blaring out of the stolen stereo in your pickup while driving around looking for alligators to shoot. 5 years later though and the band have done some soul searching, and now their songs are about more emotional topics like feelings and butterflies and being massive sissies. Not to say the album itself is bad - the non-ballady songs are extremely competent southern-tinged blues rock - the band just needs to man the fuck up again. [6]
Blame it on the Boom Boom

Destruction - Day of Reckoning
If there's one thing that struck me about this album, it's how extremely like a standard thrash album it was. Riff here, shout there, shredding solo everywhere, and so on. It felt severely as if it was simply going through the motions. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing (hey, thrash is thrash), but it didn't leave much of an impression on me. [6]
Day of Reckoning

Devin Townsend Project - Deconstruction
In terms of the Devin Townsend Project as a whole, "Deconstruction" is the 'fuck everything, question everyone, cheeseburgers AAAAAAKGKGKJHGK' album, and as such is probably the closest any of Townsend's music has been to Strapping Young Lad since... well, Strapping Young Lad. Complete with ridiculously complex arrangements, a plethora of guest musicians (including Ihsahn of Emperor and Mikael Åkerfeldt of Opeth) and even a sixteen-minute suite with full orchestra, "Deconstruction" is the most bizarrely complicated - and probably most compelling - thing Townsend has done in a long time. [9]

Devin Townsend Project - Ghost
Here then is the chalk to Deconstruction's cheese(burger), the yin to its yang, and some other bullshit metaphors. "Ghost" is intended as and very much is a chillout album, with none of Townsend's usual harsh vocals or heavy playing. The usual wall of sound production is still present, but this time the sonic space is filled more with synthesisers and flutes and such. Overall "Ghost" is a lovely relaxed album, with my main criticism being that many of the songs are actually quite repetitive, in a new-agey, ambient sort of way. [8]

Dream Theater - A Dramatic Turn of Events
An enjoyable if slightly unoriginal effort from one of my favourite bands. Read my full review here. [6]

Duran Duran - All You Need is Now
One of the most popular bands associated with '80s cheese has been largely out of the public eye since the release of their last album. 2007's "Red Carpet Massacre". This is the first post-'85 album I've heard by the new wave boys, and one thing that can be said for them is that their '80s vibe is still alive and well. Most of the tracks on the album have that clean, new wave production, specifically the title track and "Safe (In the heat of the moment)". Sadly, as with any retro synthpop album it made for the singles, and as a result some of the album tracks have an unmistakable whiff of filler about them. Still though, the album as a whole is very solid and harks back to the time when the band were at their peak (especially on "Before the Rain", which sounds suspiciously like 1982's "Rio" album closer "The Chauffeur"). [7]
Blame the Machines

Evile - Five Serpent's Teeth
It would appear Evile is the proud owner of The Big Book of Heavy Metal Cliches, your ultimate go-to resource for all aspects of being a decent metal band. It includes how to imaginatively name your songs (e.g. "Cult", "Eternal Empire"), how to have lyrics about blood and death and spooky spooky ghosts, and how to relentlessly copy Slayer. Though as I mentioned about Destruction earlier, sometimes the appeal in thrash lies not in creativity but in sheer balls. Unfortunately, "Five Serpent's Teeth" appears to be lacking in the balls department as well. [5]
Eternal Empire

Foo Fighters - Wasting Light
Although Foo Fighters currently are the radio-friendly mainstream rock band, it could quite easily be forgotten that they do put out some good, honest hard rock now and again. "Wasting Light" is the closest the band have had to an old-fashioned classic rock album, complete with a punchy opener in "Bridge Burning", softer, more introspective tracks in "I Should Have Known" and "Back & Forth" and some balls-out riffing in "White Limo". Not that this is the best album of 2011, but it's certainly one of the Foos' strongest and certainly worth a listen. [7]
Bridge Burning

Gorillaz - The Fall
Some of you may be familiar with the term "Third Album Syndrome", in which a fledgling band will set out with enough material to record one or two albums, but then they go off on tour and suddenly the record label is at their door demanding new songs. They try to write under pressure, and it shows. Well former Blur man Damon Albarn has taken this notion to its logical extreme and written, recorded, and released an LP while on tour. The whole thing was done on an iPad, and - with fear of repeating myself - it shows. The album seems dull and uninspired, with few interesting ideas that don't really go anywhere. It was a novel way of doing things, but ultimately it didn't pay off. [2]
Revolving Doors

Havok - Time is Up
Returning once again to the theme of thrash balls, this new album by Denver-based Havok kicks off with a rocket to the face in one of the best album openers of the year, "Prepare for Attack". From here on out, the album is forty-two minutes three seconds of pure insanity that refuses to let up. It could be argued that this outright refusal to just slow the fuck down at all is a point against it, Havok are a band who know what they're good at, and they do it very well indeed. [8]
Prepare for Attack

Hell - Human Remains
It's debatable whether this album should even be included in the 2011 roundup. It was written, rehearsed and even partly recorded way back in the mid-'80s, and was only postponed due to the death of guitarist/vocalist Dave Halliday. What the modern incarnation of the band have done then is reformed to pick up the pieces, so "Human Remains" really is a traditional NWOBHM album disguised in 2011 production. Nevertheless, it was released in 2011 so I'll include it as such. And as far as proper British metal is concerned, Hell is among the best there's been in some time. "Human Remains" may adhere shamelessly to those heavy metal cliches I mentioned earlier, but they're all pulled off with such style it makes me feel like it's 1982 and NWOBHM is still riding high. [9]
Blasphemy and the Master (I couldn't find a studio version)

Jay-Z & Kanye West - Watch the Throne
As someone who admittedly knows very little about hip-hop, I was apprehensive about listening to a joint album by two of the most popular modern hip-hop artists. I've heard all too much about autotune in hip-hop recently, but thankfully Jay-Z is pretty strongly against it himself. Unfortunately, West does his best to make himself heard on this album, and it shows as about half the tracks are reminiscent of his 2010 opus "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy". But judging the album on its own merits, "Watch the Throne" features some very catchy tracks, the best of which being the lead single, "Otis". [7]

Joss Stone - LP1
A rich, fulfilling (if at times slightly pornographic) return to basics for the soul singer. Read my full review here. [8]

Justice - Audio, Video, Disco
I only got into Justice near the start of 2011, by getting hooked on their 2007 debut and listening to it over and over for a few months. Given then that I was almost at the point of listening to "Cross" once per day when the French house duo announced their second release in August, I wondered how on Earth they would be able to best their first. And while it's true that "Audio, Video, Disco" is by no means as good as "Cross", it shows how the pair have taken their sound in a more mature, album-based direction. It's easy to hear the arena rock influences on the opening chords and drum fills of "Horsepower", and the theme set at the start is pretty consistently held throughout. One could argue it's a lot more tame than their previous album, but it's obviously the direction they've chosen to take here. [8]

Lazuli - (4603 Battements)
It was through a contributor of this very blog that I first heard about Lazuli (thanks Xylem), though at the time I listened to this album once, thought "that was pretty decent" and then completely forgot about it. Only recently did I give it a few more spins and discover just how fantastic this is. "(4603 Battements)" is modern French prog done to perfection, with great songs (and I mean SONGS, the longest track on the album is a mere 7:20. Not that I don't like the really long prog songs, but this is a nice change), spine-tingling instrumentals and overall a great atmosphere. Great job. [9]
Dans le formol au muséum

Los Campesinos! - Hello Sadness
LC! are an oddity in that they are an indie pop band with shouty, cockney-accented vocals, more "quirky" instruments than you can shake a piccolo at and - at times - a laughable approach to pretentious bullshit lyrics about relationships. But that's not why they are an oddity. They are an oddity in that they are all of this yet they don't get on my nerves like most other similar bands. 2011 saw the release of "Hello Sadness", the 4th album from the rowdy lot, but it's clear right from the off that this is a much different album to, say, "Hold on Now Youngster". For a start, lead singer Gareth's voice appears to have dropped about four octaves since those heady days of 2008, and although the lyrical content remains as "artsy" as ever, it's no longer delivered like the entire band have been chugging red bull and boost bars all evening (although their gigs certainly feel like that). And believe me when I say this is very much in their favour. The songs on the album are delivered with both energy and modesty, and they haven't yet outstayed their welcome, which given my stance on indie bands is a MASSIVE achievement. [9]
Songs About Your Girlfriend

Lou Reed & Metallica - Lulu
I'm going to come straight out and say it: "Lulu" is alright. That grinding sound you hear is the teeth of my fellow Court in the Act contributors, but it is alright. Sure, it's not the best thing either party has done by a long shot, but what you have here (and what I'm tempted to say is the focal point of the album, minus grandpa Lou's stories) is atmosphere. I listened to Lulu while walking to work at 6AM a few days ago, and the atmosphere it created in the cold was simply sublime. Yes, I agree it's repetitive and I also agree it's just too damn long, but it really works best when considered an ambient album. In particular, "Cheat on Me", the 11-minute closer to the first disc, passed almost without me noticing, as the sound created by the instruments almost blended into the background. So, "Lulu", is not the best album of 2011 by far, but it has its niche and fills it well. [5]
Iced Honey (I was going to put "Cheat on Me" here, but there were no videos of it)

Mastodon - The Hunter
It would seem Mastodon have gone soft. Gone is the pure aggression of earlier releases such as "Remission". In place is a more technical side of the band, allowing their progressive side to come through even stronger. And mostly, this works in their favour. While some of tracks seem like filler (such as "Blasteroid" and "Thickening"), the album managed to hold my attention throughout, with one of the least-Mastodon tracks on there (the title track) being the most surprising, and ultimately the most rewarding. [8]
Dry Bone Valley

Megadeth - Th1rt3en
If there was any band that are a caricature of themselves, it would be Megadeth. Especially since Dave went off on his whole 'satanic forces' tangent (also you just read that in Mustaine's voice), everything the band has done has seemed exaggerated and just plan silly. "Th1rt3en" is the epitome of this silliness, in one succinct package. Everything about this album reeks of lack of ideas. Never mind the fact that some of the tracks have been floating about for about 18 years (no seriously - "New World Order" and "Millennium of the Blind" appear as bonus tracks on my copy of "Youthanasia"), there's little to none of Megadeth's past creativity or energy. Simply put, this band is not ageing gracefully. Though, given how good 2009's "Endgame" was, this was a huge disappointment. [5]
Public Enemy No. 1

Mitochondrion - Parasignosis
"Parasignosis" was another album I listened to during my quest to like all music earlier this year. However, like "(4603 Battements)", once I'd heard it I kind of brushed it to one side and went on my merry way. Coming back to it now, about 8 months later, it's certainly grown on me. Maybe it's because I developed a liking for Godflesh in the interim, and the pounding, mechanical drums on this album are reminiscent of "Streetcleaner". It may also be the production, which as far as I can tell (though I don't know much death metal) is second to none. Either way, this is an extremely infectious album that was certainly deserving of that much more favourable second listen. Also there's a lovely ambient drone track at the end. [8]

Opeth - Heritage
I should need to give very little background to this album. Chances are, if you are interested in metal in any way, shape or form, you already know about Opeth's bold new direction and the various points for and against it. Well here's my two cents. There's no denying Opeth are good musicians. It was Åkerfeldt and his band of cronies who put out still life, which had its pure prog moments in "Benighted" and "Face of Melinda", and they were executed perfectly. But the question remains as to whether a whole album in this style would work. And the answer is a resounding... 'sort of'. While all this crazy jazz fusion requires a lot of talent to pull off, on record it sounds ever so slightly too refined. I'm tempted to make the Dream Theater comparison here, where the music as a whole feels a little soul-less. It's prog for prog's sake. That's not to say the album doesn't have its moments. For example, the solo at the end of Häxprocess had me by the balls throughout. "Heritage" is a good album, it just doesn't match up to Opeth's previous work in terms of both emotion and songwriting. [7]

Peter Gabriel - New Blood
Peter Gabriel's voice is one I will never tire of. No matter how old or raspy it gets, I will always have a special place in my heart for the sound of the former Geneis frontman. Continuing on from the orchestra project which began with "Scratch My Back", an orchestral covers album, Gabriel has now focused his attention on his own songs, providing us with lovely orchestral versions of some of his lesser-known gems, such as "Intruder" and "San Jacinto". Not content to just transcribe each instrument to strings, woodwind, etc, Gabriel has enlisted the help of John Metcalfe and the pair have more or less completely re-arranged each track specifically for orchestra. This has resulted in some spell-binding renditions of PG favourites of mine, such as the originally world-influenced "The Rhythm of the Heat". A Wonderful companion to "Scratch My Back", however now Gabriel needs to stop fooling around and finish up "I/O". [9]
San Jacinto

Primordial - Redemption at the Puritan's Hand
Now this is folk metal done superbly (is that a word?). There's none of the cliche of certain other folk metal bands (which isn't always bad, but shut up I'm getting to that). The feel of the album is that of a religious outcast backed against a wall of sound, shouting his final desperate words to his persecutors. But enough analysis, how about the music itself? As far as folk metal goes, this can't really be done any better. There's something about the atmosphere created by the instruments, the production, and the vocals that I can't quite put my finger on, but sends shivers down my spine whenever I hear it. My only real qualm is that the songs are each perhaps a teensy bit too long (the shortest clocks in at 6:19, the longest 9:21, the average about 8:00). Although I'm not too familiar with earlier Primordial (I've heard it leans more towards the black metal side of things), I'm not really sure how this can be bested by the band. [8]
Lain With the Wolf

SebastiAn - Total
I found out about SebastiAn the same way absolutely everyone else did: through Justice. I downloaded his debut album "Total" as I heard in was similar in its fidgety style to Justice's 2007 masterpiece "Cross". A sticker I saw on the retail version proudly boasted '22 TITRES' (22 tracks), however when you cut out the filler tracks which are less than a minute long each, you're left with more like fourteen proper tracks. But what a fourteen these are. The fidgety house label could not be more accurate, with quick and erratic samples being used to create a jarring yet wonderfully compelling sound. Although SebastiAn is slightly more 'obnoxious' (a term I use to describe dance music that lacks all subtlety, e.g. Skrillex, Pendulum, etc.) he thankfully known when to rein it in so the often abrasive sound of the album doesn't wear out its welcome. A must for all fans of the 'other' French dance duo. [8]

Steven Wilson - Grace for Drowning
Steven Wilson certainly is a strange one. Jack of all trades, master of- some, actually. In his art rock side (I haven't yet delved much into his more experimental work with IEM and Bass Communion yet), the Porcupine Tree frontman is very difficult to fault. With his second solo offering in the form of "Grace for Drowning", Wilson has attempted to make an all-out jazz prog album. Cue the inevitable comparisons with "Heritage" (instigated by Wilson himself as he named GfD and Heritage as part of an 'odd trilogy', to be completed by the Wilson/Åkerfeldt collaboration "Storm Corrosion"), "Grace for Drowning" is better than "Heritage" in every respect. Referred to as two separate albums in one package, we have here 1 hour and 20 minutes of simply amazing music, which draws on many of the different types of music Wilson has made throughout his career (such as Porcupine Tree on "Sectarian", Blackfield on "Postcard" and bits and pieces of IEM on the 23-minute epic, "Raider II". However, what this album does so much better than "Heritage" is emotion. On every track you can tell Wilson is singing (or playing, in the case of the instrumentals) from the heart. And that improves this album vastly. [9]
Deform to Form a Star

Turisas - Stand Up and Fight
If ever it was manly to wear make-up, put on costumes and jump about on-stage with a violin, Turisas proved it. 2007's "The Varangian Way" has been one of my favourite albums this year, and I was looking forward to seeing how "Stand Up and Fight" would top it. Unfortunately, it hasn't. But fear not! "The Varangian Way" is a worthy opponent, and even coming close to its splendour is an achievement. The trademark Turisas silliness is still present and strong, and the whole album smacks of self-parody, but the songs swell with victorious melodies, singer Warlord Nygård rallies his troops with powerful vocals, and overall it's an album that just makes me want to go out there and break stuff. With a broadsword. Its only falldown is that some tracks feel padded with an arguably weak string section. [7]
The March of the Varangian Guard

Vektor - Outer Isolation
You know all those negative comments I've been making about thrash cliches throughout this article? Well, Vektor have just taken those comments and fired them out of a cannon directly up my arse. I would say Vektor transcend classification, but they don't. What we have here is quite clearly thrash, but it's pulled off with such technical mastery and such aggression that it doesn't sound like any other thrash I've heard. The follow-up to 2009's "Black Future", "Outer Isolation" is like a two-ton slab of man being ejected from a spacecraft, only to burn up on re-entry and land slap-bang on my speakers. And unlike some other thrash, which feels like an hour straight of 'AAAAAAAAAAAGH', "Outer Isolation" is like an hour of "AAAAAAAAAAAGH" with a purpose. And its purpose is to fuck. You. Up. Fantastic. [9]
Venus Project

Yes - Fly From Here
How do yes cope on only their second album without the iconic voice of Jon Anderson? Okay, I guess. Read my full review here. [6]
Fly From Here Part I - We Can Fly

Additional Awards

The 'You'll Never Beat Roger Dean' Award for best album artwork/packaging:

Mastodon - The Hunter (Special Edition)

The Atlanta sludgers have always been known for their highly trippy artwork, but they've really outdone themselves on their fifth release. For "The Hunter", the band chose not to use longtime collaborator Paul A. Romano, instead opting for the services of psychedelic woodworker AJ Fosik (a.k.a. the man with the best job title in the world), who created this bizarre cow/deer... thing. But what makes this album packaging great for me is the bonus little interactive activity you can do, where you can hold the album artwork up to your webcam on the Mastodon website, it plonks a 3D model of The Hunter on top of your head, so now you can be the mascot for your favourite trippy weirdo band. Try it out here (I think you need the special edition version, artwork pictured above).

The "£2.50 Transaction Fee" award for best live act:

Roger Waters - The Wall Live

Well holy shit this was amazing. I got the chance to see The Wall Live in London back in May, and it was worth every penny. The Wall being one of my favourite albums of all time ever, this stage production brought the album that I loved back together with the theatrics of the original 1980-1981 Pink Floyd tour, its grandeur multiplied by a million. A blast start to finish.

The "Jackson Pollock on a Carousel" award for most erratic album:

Devin Townsend Project - Deconstruction

I'm not entirely sure what Devin had in that weird little mind of his when he set out to make "Deconstruction", and I'm not sure I want to know. All I know is that this album (and the DTP as a whole) is one of the most varied pieces of work I've heard, and thankfully that works in its favour.

The "Universal Scrobbler" award for most listened to album of 2011:

Pink Floyd - The Wall (262 Scrobbles)

What can I say? The Wall is one of my favourite albums and I spent a shitload of time listening to it this year. As far as 2011 albums are concerned, though, the new release I listened to most this year is Total by SebastiAn, which certainly surprised me.

The "Creme de la Crap" award for worst album of 2011:

Gorillaz - The Fall

I had a hard time picking this one, but then I remembered The Fall was released this year. Huh, that was easy.

The "Creme de la creme" award for best album of 2011:

Los Campesinos! - Hello Sadness

It may not have been the highest rated, it may not have been the one I listened to most, but simply put it's the one I enjoyed the most. So here's looking forward to seeing these guys in 2012.

And here's looking to seeing you guys in 2012, it's been fun.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...