Six albums of ’06:
So undoubtedly you’re all busy compiling your end of year “best of” lists, or in some cases, have already done so. Here are six albums you may have missed:
Protest the Hero ~ Kezia
Protest the Hero manage to combine the post hardcore attributes of Funeral for a Friend with the tech rock ADD insanity of The Fall of Troy; all whilst managing to throw in a lyrically intriguing concept to boot. It must be noted that this record isn’t for everyone. Taking a listen to the first track is like witnessing the psychotic sounds of a bar fight between Trivium, System of a Down & Avenged Sevenfold. Truly mind-boggling.
Mountain Mirrors ~ Mountain Mirrors
Dubbed as “Heavy acoustic music from the woods of MA”; Mountain Mirrors fall somewhere between the acoustic melancholy of Nick Drake and the progression of Pink Floyd. But more notably, Opeth‘s superb Damnation album. The way this album was recorded, the drumming, the subtle mellotrons, even down to the production: it’s all quite clear the massive influence Opeth have on this record.
Khoma ~ The Second Wave
Khoma are the side project of Johannes Persson and Fredrik Kihlberg of Cult of Luna. Whilst they draw a lot of similarities from post-metal bands such as the aforesaid and Isis, the band are also (self confessed) heavily influenced by bands such as Muse, Deftones & Mew. The Second Wave is the product of great musicians who are deeply influenced by the darker elements of metal, but are also at the same time, respectful of the moody and atmospheric tones of bands like Radiohead & dredg. Musically the album is quite varied, but throughout, there’s a sort of underlying gloomy and at times, almost industrial vibe. Vocalist Jan Jamte’s Thom Yorke/Chino Moreno style drawn out vocals fit the music perfectly.
The final track, One of Us Must Hang, has got to be one of the best album closers in recent memory. Every time I listen to it, I imagine it being the soundtrack to a doomed, emblazing out of control Aircraft heading for earth to its impending demise; truly epic.
Agalloch ~ Ashes Against the Grain
Agalloch’s name derives from a resinous wood, and if you give this album a spin, you’ll see that it’s a very apt description of their sound. Ashes Against the Grain sounds like the supernatural product of Opeth and Mono getting lost somewhere in The Blair Witch Project.
I’ve heard all sorts of varying descriptions for Agalloch; Black-Folk, Post-Rock/Post-Metal, Progressive Doom, Woodland Metal & Neo-Folk amongst others. To be honest, I have no idea what to label them as, and I think sometimes the best bands defy genres or have you scratching your head in bewilderment. Agalloch’s roots lie in Black Metal, but the resonating post-rock guitars, acoustic folk interludes & eerie soundscapes will have you thinking otherwise. John Haughm’s vocals fritter between raspy growls, whispers and ghostly Gregorian style chants; complimenting the heavier and lighter sound of the band fittingly.
In Reverent Fear ~ Stomacher
In Reverent Fear used to be a run of the mill, ten to the dozen screamo band and then they went and pulled a “Codeseven”. It’s like the band suddenly stumbled across copies of Ok Computer & El Cielo and decided that’s what type of music they wanted to make. Right from the opening acoustic track, All Ripe, lead vocalist Jarrod will hook you in with his alluring croon; Thom Yorke & Matt Belamy comparisons are undeniable.
Secondsmile ~ Walk in to the Light and Reach for the Sky
Walk in to the Light and Reach for the Sky sees this British post-hardcore band leaving behind their earlier emo stylings and now incorporating more Minus the Bear math-rock and atmospheric space rock riffage into their music; pulling it off flawlessly.