First of all I want to say sorry for the lack of posts on this blog. It has been a while since my last post (about a month I believe) because it turns out working and running a blog don’t always go hand in hand! Like all good bands coming back from a hiatus, I want to bring my own hiatus to an end with something special. So here’s the first of two blogs listing RockAtlantic’s top 10 records released in the year of 2015! Today it’s numbers 10 to 6.
10 – David Maxim Micic – EGO & ECO
I featured Micic and his 2015 EP pairing on an Introducing blog in August. EGO is a more progressive effort than its counterpart, mixing djent elements with his virtuoso guitar playing to produce four supremely detailed tracks. Contrast this with ECO‘s more relaxed, almost hypnotic vibe, and you soon begin to realise how diverse and talented Micic is. His music is never going to trouble the charts, but for fans of instrumental progressive music Micic’s collection of unique EPs is a great find.
9 – Lamb of God – VII: Sturm Und Drang
The first record after vocalist Randy Blythe’s imprisonment and lawsuit was always going to be a monumental occasion. Fortunately for LOG fans, the five-piece channeled their traumatic times into a concise effort that when it wasn’t busy ripping your face off, surprised listeners with the odd experimentation in song structure and style. Notably Overlord introduced a grungy clean vocal and a soft blues-influence, from a band that until now has never done anything but blast drop-tuned riffs at eleven. Sturm Und Drang is Lamb of God reaching maturity and it will undoubtedly provide a stepping stone to a more diverse metal sound on future records.
8 – Tesseract – Polaris
Where once only a handful of bands occupied the scene, djent is now an over-saturated genre sagging under the weight of mediocrity. Very few bands have been able to differentiate themselves and stand out as either a pioneer or a front-runner, but even with a revolving door of high-pitched vocalists, Tesseract have cemented themselves as leaders of the djent genre. Polaris sees the British quintet develop their ethereal brand of djent further into the realm progressive metal, by employing the stereotypical percussive riffs carefully and learning to focus on song structure and dynamics.The only question remaining around Tesseract is whether they can maintain a stable lineup or not.
7 – Coheed & Cambria – The Color Before The Sun
It’s hard to rate The Color Before The Sun because it is so different compared to the rest of their discography. Firstly it is their first record not to be written around their sprawling sci-fi concept and secondly progressive rock has given way for a much poppier sound. Looking at things critically The Color Before The Sun has some superb moments. The Audience is a fantastic and aggressive guitar-led track, Peace to the Mountain is an emotional acoustic journey and Atlas is a beautiful song dedicated to vocalist Claudio Sanchez’s newborn son. The Color Before The Sun is a very honest and personal record and whilst pop melodies and slick production might not be everyone’s cup of tea, there’s no doubt that Sanchez and co. can still write an engaging rock album.
6 – Bruce Soord – Bruce Soord
The Pineapple Thief leader has often been thought of as a mix between Steven Wilson and Radiohead’s Thom Yorke. With this self titled record, Soord continues his parallels with the former by breaking free from his band environment (which, like Wilson, he has full creative control of) to release a record that sees him delve into a more eclectic and left-field array of influences. Bruce Soord delivers sparse droning piano keys, grooving orchestration and Floyd-esque guitar solos in one bundle, which would be considered too unpopular for a conventional Pineapple Thief release. However on his own he is allowed a free reign, resulting in an unusual, yet somewhat charming debut effort, which is of course exactly how Wilson’s blossoming solo career began in 2008. Watch this space.
The second half of my top 10 countdown will be available soon and I hope to blog more frequently in the coming months! As always thank you for reading and if you’ve enjoyed this blog post please comment, favourite, share and subscribe.