As time goes on I find myself delving deeper into the world of heavy metal. The ear damaging ring of the distortion, the blistering kick pedals, brutal vocals and complexity of such a misunderstood genre, is leaving me more enthralled. As I go fall deeper into this genre of music, my tastes for more elaborate and textured metal is growing. As well as this, extremity is something that has also been somewhat of a prerequisite for bands who I favour. In this article I will go into a few albums that fit the above criteria and have changed my 2018 for the better.
The Way Of All Flesh - Gojira
Gojira may be one of the most important metal bands to come out of the modern era. They have only recently broken through into the public eye and in my opinion have a back catalogue which is largely overlooked. Their music does not receive anywhere near as much recognition for its originality, heaviness and ability to take metal into different realms. Their fundamental sound is technical death metal, however their sound is so unique compared to counterparts such as Nile or Necrophagist. I always knew who Gojira were, but my only knowledge of them stemmed from the acclaim that Magma had received. I knew the band had an outstanding catalogue and decided to purchase The Way Of All Flesh. From the opening notes of Oroborus, I was enthralled. This album combines so many genres of metal but still manages to bring something fresh to the genre. The drumming is unbelievable, the riffs are heavy and dark but most importantly the song structures are textured and leave you guessing where the song will go. Gojira have shown that they have evolved, and each release is a testament to their inability to stay stagnate. I am lucky enough to see them open for Mastodon next week, and I haven't been this excited for a concert in a long time.
Blood Mountain - Mastodon
Like Gojira, Mastodon is another band who I had heard so much about but never gave time to. My first exposure to them was when I decided to listen to Once More 'Round the Sun, and I was definitely not disappointed. From that moment I have started an almost religious affiliation with this band and purchased their entire discography. However, Blood Mountain has really changed the course of my metal tastes and 2018 altogether. The band draws on influences of Black Sabbath, but takes you on a psychedelic journey. Their music is quite enchanting. It becomes difficult to listen to Mastodon songs outside of their album order. Blood Mountain is a journey from start to finish, much like every other Mastodon album. The band's ability to create stories and concepts is engaging and the music is perfectly suited for their message. Their combination of sludge/doom/Sabbath influences makes for the basis of progressive metal which really has not been done like this by anyone else. Mastodon deserve all the acclaim they are receiving and I cannot wait to experience this in a live setting next week.
Behemoth - Satanica
Like I said in the introduction to this article, I thrive off of metal's extremities, and Behemoth is one of those bands which provide the perfect music for my growing addiction. Behemoth are one of those bands that have gotten better as time has gone on. Their albums are monuments in the world of heavy metal, and each release leaves you questioning how they managed to top their previous release. Satanica was an album that when I first heard it I could not believe how underrated it was. From beginning to end it is an onslaught of black metal taken to new lenghts. It was also one of the first signs that Behemoth where straying away from a pure black metal sound. The album delves into the technicality and heaviness of death metal and proves to be a rather important album for the sub-genre. I only recently made my way down to Satanica after having listened to Behemoth's later albums for so long. This is another release which has proven to me that Behemoth are one of metal's finest bands and will continue to impress for the years to come.
Cannibal Corpse - Torture
Cannibal Corpse may well be named the most brutal band on planet earth. And rightly so, their lyrics could be the scripts to horror movies and music goes with this agenda. I discovered Torture in 2018 and was flawed by this album. The production makes for a sickeningly heavy record, and the riffs are not as quick or complex as other Cannibal Corpse releases. The band slows things down with songs like Followed Home Then Killed, Caged...Contorted, Scourge of Iron. This album has me headbanging for its duration and has made me realise why Cannibal Corpse are one of the titans of death metal, 2018 has been great with them.
Meshuggah - The Violent Sleep of Reason
I couldn't be completely satisfied with this article if I didn't mention Meshuggah. My love for this band goes beyond the words that are printed on this page. From the start of their discography to its current place, the band has been flawless. The uniqueness of their music is worthy of their own genre, and so many have tried to mimic their complexity and technical ability but failed. Meshuggah took the bar to the next level with their most recent release The Violent Sleep of Reason. Theband showed once again that they are capable of maintaining that bar as high as possible. Since its release 2 years ago I have had an obsession with this album, still trying to work out how a band who has been around for so long has can still manage to produce a record such as this. For anyone who is interested in Meshuggah this is the perfect demonstration of a band who has failed to make a bad album, and remained true to their sound.