Monday, December 31, 2012

What A Day

My 2012 playlist:

Another busy day, another wonderful month, another rapid year. I did my best and I survived. 2012 was a season of frustration, confusion, pain and hard work, but also one of healing, of inspiration, of (half-)accomplishments and of realization.

May 2013 be fruitful, glorious and healthy.

Happy New Year to everyone. Time to celebrate!

Goon Squad

#1: Deftones - Koi No Yokan (4.5/5)

In the end there is really just one album that can take the crown for my album of the year 2012. Whenever my favorite band puts out a record, it's certainly a candidate for the year-end prize no matter how it ranks amongst the band's own discography. Moreover, when the album is as gorgeous as this one, ranking somewhere between places 3-4 in my all-time Deftones rank, there is no question who's the winner.

Before anyone accuses me of being biased... Well I am, but I have my reasons to love this album even ignoring the fact that it's Deftones we're talking about. Koi No Yokan is an entity that just has it all. Firstly, there's the diversity. Right from the get-go we have the song Swerve City that is built around a groove-laden and heavy riff, which develops itself to a more melodic verse, still maintaing the straightforwardness of the introduction. After going back and forth with the two parts for one and a half minutes, the two sides collide and create an eargasmic musical scene erupting with beauty that gives me the chills every time. Other songs that master the mix of heaviness, catchiness, beauty and harmony are Leathers, Poltergeist, Gauze and Goon Squad. Slower and ballad-like songs Entombed and What Happened To You? utilize one of the two elements as they dive into dreamy choruses in between verses of peaceful floating. Romantic Dreams, Tempest and the epic Rosemary all explore the stream of consciousness, driven by progression and liberality. Despite all this variation the album has its own sound and mood, differentiating it from other Deftones albums and uniting its separate chapters distinctively.

Moving on to the members' performances, Chino Moreno's vocals are what everyone's been talking about. It may come as a surprise, but to me this is far from his best delivery. His presence sure is there and while his lyrics have gradually gotten more linear and dare I say a bit uninspired, on Koi No Yokan they are still throught-provoking in my eyes and in terms of the whole album, there is a good thematical flow. The vocals themselves just aren't as emotionally expressive and clever as on some previous records and I wish Chino would step out of his comfort zone just a tad more. The guitar parts that are most likely his are ethereal though. Stephen Carpenter's work is a little uneven, some of the riffs being overly simplistic even for his style and just not grabbing me that deep, but the times he does hit the nerve... It's among his most ingenious playing to date, and that's saying a lot. Sergio Vega is no Chi Cheng, but the bass lines have some very well-thought content and never fail to compliment the songs. On Koi No Yokan, Vega's bass is by far more prominent and more expressive than on Diamond Eyes, but I feel that he could've still brought in additional personality. Abe Cunningham beats the hell out of his kit, as always. There aren't many earworm-y beats like Around The Fur, RX Queen or Needles And Pins, but Abe has a few fantastic moments here nevertheless. Last but definitely not least we have Frank Delgado, who's keyboard magic and programming may honestly be the best out of all performances on here and all releases he's been a part of. Decorating the music that Deftones make with samples and little sonic details so that the songs actually get better and not too crowded or messy is a tough task, but Mr. Delgado always pulls it off with ease. His soundscapes here are beyond the limits of Earth.

I really don't know what to say except that Koi No Yokan is an incredible record. There aren't many moments or factors where it would trip, remain average or sound stale. The songs are all stand-outs on their own, merging together beautifully and presenting a sweet amount of the musical palette of this band. Deftones have made some perfect albums in the past, which this is not due to its highlights not reaching high enough and its lowpoints sinking a little too deep. It is, however, the next best thing, with the status of a classic almost in its reach.

Lock Howl

#2: Storm Corrosion - Storm Corrosion (4.5/5)

It took over 10 years, but finally this project has seen the light of day. Prog-masterminds Mikael Åkerfeldt and Steven Wilson finally united their forces (and their forces alone) to create a record which fans of Opeth and Porcupine Tree had been dreaming about ever since the release of Opeth's 2001 magnum opus Blackwater Park, written almost entirely by Åkerfeldt and produced by Wilson. For some the wait was well worth it, for others it wasn't. A division was soon to occur among the fanbase of this superduo, who amusingly even had one prior to any material being released. It turned out that what Åkerfeldt & Wilson had to offer for us was something totally different than just progressive metal taken up a notch.

At least on their debut release, Storm Corrosion is music for open ears and open eyes, no question about that. But what is it then exactly? It is indeed progressive to an extent: the structures are wandering, the songs are long in length and the music is mainly executed in unorthodox ways. There is no rock on here though. Symphonic elements and the soft, yet haunting mood of the record have led people to call it primarily symphonic prog and progressive folk. There is no real consensus on this, however, just like there is no consensus on whether this album is an artsy and faked mish mash or a unique masterpiece that doesn't try to be anything, and instead just is.

Judging by my rank and rating, I of course belong to the latter group of people. Storm Corrosion is an album that to me requires a certain environment and mindset, but once heard in the right context, the album leaves a permanent mark and is not only impressive in its original concept and atmosphere but also tweaks the emotional side. Particularly touching are the first two songs, Drag Ropes and the title track Storm Corrosion. The string instruments played can be tranquil one second and make a turn to absolute chaos the next. As if you were walking on a mine field, without knowing where it's safe and where it's not, there's a surprise element that's almost horrifying even after several listens. The awe-inspiring thing is that despite the experimental approach and abstract nature of this piece, it still maintains a certain type of logic and its segments flow together somehow - not seamlessly, but still pleasantly.

The album is varied and intense even without heavy guitars and fast tempos. Drums barely make an appearance in the six songs included. This leaves the string instruments to the front. Whenever they're present, the singing of both Wilson and Åkerfeldt is soft and harmonizing, and often an important element in the captivating soundscapes throughout the album. Wilson's stripped voice is more commonly utilized, but the few times Åkerfeldt sings, including the high falsetto in the beginning of the closer Ljudet Innan, he impresses more. Both voices fit the atmosphere and music well, however. Wilson's lyrics are strange and fragmented, adding to the slight creepiness and oppressing vibe of the material.

Whether it's folk or rock, progressive or symphonic, Storm Corrosion's debut is on a level of its own and distinguishes itself from all stereotypes and expectations. It is an album that's core lies in minimalism, but outcome can only be described as complex. Like all great albums, the album as a whole is a lot more than the sum of its parts. Not easy to digest and most definitely an odd 47 minutes, this record is a rollercoaster I will surely visit time and time again.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Alternate Ending

#3: Woods Of Ypres - Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light (4.5/5)

No review of this album can start without mentioning what a great man David Gold was. Although his passing was one of the major reasons as to why I ended up hearing Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light in the first place, it's incredibly saddening how a kind-hearted and talented man like him had to die so early and tragically in a car collision, and coincidentally just weeks before the scheduled release date of this album. Although Mr. Gold was helped by other people while making this record, most notably guitarist Joel Violette, it's still undoubtedly his creation and his masterpiece - containing his mindsets and his agony.

Of course, the creepy thing about Woods 5 is that its lyrics and mood are so well-fitting with what eventually happened to David Gold. It's as if the man knew he was going to die. To get a hint of this, all you really have to do is look at the song titles: Finality, Alternate Ending
Career Suicide (Is Not Real Suicide)Kiss My Ashes Goodbye... This is also reflected in the music, which is less black metal-influenced than Woods Of Ypres' previous work (I hear), and focuses more on the gothic and doom-y side of things. The quality of the instrumentation is well-managed in every way and the album as a whole is broodingly atmospheric and moving. 
The modest yet effective usage of strings brings its own color to all the bleakness. In other words, Gold seized his one and only opportunity to take things to a new level and compose the best art he ever could, and in that he was 100% succesful.

Woods 5 is pretty much an album like no other. Even without knowing its context you can identify with the album's honesty, heartache, depression and fatality, but also its message to glorify life for as long as you live and ignore the high demands and partial shallowness of the modern society. The album is a journey of ups and downs with no weak links whatsoever, yet still containing some jaw-dropping highlights such as Travelling AloneSilverModern Life Architecture and the afore-mentioned Finality. I could go on about this release for a long time, but it's better felt by the people themselves listening. So, please, pick this album up, and let David Gold speak to you. Share your sorrows and love for great music together. If you let this piece get inside your head and most importantly your soul, it will move you, calm you down and heal you. That is David Gold's heritage to the world.

Friday, December 28, 2012

When Gods Leave Their Emerald Halls

#4: Drudkh - Eternal Turn Of The Wheel (4.5/5)

If there is one band I'd have to choose as the masters of atmosphere, it would be Drudkh. Ever since I first heard them a little over two years ago, I was basically blown away by their mystical sonic appearance and hypnotizing material. Never would I have thought that music could be so angry, ascetic, natural, beautiful and transcendental all in the same form. Drudkh praised their own unique nature and the Ukrainian culture, but through the power of music managed to appeal to even me, one who has never been to Ukraine and at the time had never had the slightest of interest in black metal music.

In February 2012, Drudkh once again revolutionized the history of my life by being the first band whose CD I pre-ordered. Just like your first concert, your first instrument or your first kiss, this was an experience that to me had extreme significance, and one I'll never forget. The feeling when you hold the CD for the first time knowing it's brand new in every way, the feeling when you pop it in not knowing what you'll hear, barely knowing what to expect
... And the moment you realize that your purchase was well worth all the money and the waiting. It's one-time only and a precious, wonderful moment.

What's not exactly revolutionary is the album itself. Eternal Turn Of The Wheel is the same old Drudkh that fans of the group have come to know and love, and for newcomers it's a fitting place to start at. Although raw production is one of Drudkh's main assets and has always served them well, the fact that the production value on this record is higher than on any of the Drudkh releases I've heard in the past is only a good thing. The bass, played with a lot of detail, is really on the surface this time. You feel every note deep in your gut and it's lovely. The guitars and the keyboards, which are arguably the two main elements in Drudkh's music, are somehow far away and covered in mystery as always, yet still you identify with all the sounds they make and find them breathtaking. The vocals are in no way prominent, but whenever they are performed, they're desperate-sounding and almost painful to listen to (in an oddly good way). All the lyrics are in Ukrainian, which adds to the mysticism of the music. Some drum parts on the album are purely genious with their tempo and intensity shifts. Then again, perhaps the biggest downfall of the entire record are the times when the blastbeats and rapid beating end up taking way too much room from the rest of the music.

It's obvious that a lot of sentimental value goes into this album, its rank and this review. This doesn't make Eternal Turn Of The Wheel a bad album by any means - it's just not Drudkh's best either, clearly lacking some of the flow and brilliance that the band's two best albums, Forgotten Legends and Autumn Aurora,  respectively had. After this album it's needless to say that Drudkh is alive and doing well, and the album itself is very worthwhile for any listener. Hopefully the band has found their path again with the sessions of this album, making the next one even better, with potential to even become their best record. Eternal Turn Of The Wheel will never take that glory in my books, but it is a fine masterpiece regardless.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Solitary One

#5: Paradise Lost - Tragic Idol (4/5)

During the past two or three weeks I ended up discovering some great albums as I went on to check all the records I wanted to hear but didn't have time for in the earlier parts of the year. The crown jewel of these albums is Tragic Idol by Paradise Lost. I had been hearing the name of this longtime metal band hailing from England for quite some time but had always let it slip my mind when actually looking for new music. This time I took the chance to listen to them with open ears, and man was I in for a ride.

To cut it short, Tragic Idol is a gothic doom metal masterpiece, adorned by enchanting atmosphere and excellent songwriting. The vocals and melodic riffs are somehow empowering, yet still dwelling in melancholy, making sure that the listener maintains a grasp on hope but still acknowledges the pain of reality. This makes the name of the band as well as the name of this album seem very fitting. While it contains just a few particular ingridients, this album's sound has been crafted with a lot of emotion, experience and detail. At times it almost feels like the album has been executed with precise calculations, but then you feel it hit you with such thunderous sentimentality that you realize it as only being music so well-done it's nearly flawless in nature.

Despite it being ranked "only" on 5th place in this list, I can't find much to complain about with this record. It is instantly gripping, which may indicate that it doesn't have a lot of lasting value, but that is a factor I can't judge after just six days of active listening. The music on here isn't overly technical for my taste, but maybe I could've done without a few of the solos and fills. Some songs don't shine as bright as others either, but that happens with even the most beloved albums in my collection. Tracks like Solitary One, Honesty In Death and The Glorious End are addictive and tremendous offerings with sophisticatedness and darkness interlaced with primitive forcefulness and specks of light. This is just the type of music for many different acts, including contemplation, relaxation and exercise as well as just banging your head and diving with every note. I may be a tragic idol who was lost for a long time, but thanks to the hype that lead me to finally check this band, I might of just found myself a new paradise.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


#6: AqME Epithète, Dominion, Épitaphe (4/5)

This year I've become more familiar with a lot of French bands in particular. Looking at my list from the bottom to the top, we see bands like Mass Hysteria, Alcest and the one we talked about just yesterday, Gojira. This leads us to place #6, which is held by a band I know the best out of all French acts - the nu metal/alternative metal group AqME.

Despite finding AqME's debut Sombres Efforts fantastic and its follow-up records 
Polaroïds & Pornographie and La Fin Des Temps fairly enjoyable as well, the band's sixth full-length Epithète, Dominion, Épitaphe took me by complete surprise. Starting with the groovy and massive opener Idiologie and ending with the epic closer 110.587, this album delivers some of the band's most catchy, heavy and downright best material. The album is
 not only consistent but by far the most diverse offering I've heard from the band to date. Gone are the nu metal roots and beautifully clean, sometimes eerie melodies that made Sombres Efforts the wonderful piece it is. By 2012, AqME has become an alternative metal powerhouse with strong sludge metal tendencies, even borrowing a trick or two from death metal and post-metal. I was reminded of the band Pelican already by the guitar tone on La Fin Des Temps, but on this album it's also the riffs and moods that are very reminescent of the Chicago-based quartet. A lot of the stuff on this album is similar to what you can find on albums such as City Of Echoes and What We All Come To Need.

Before I end up praising Epithète, Dominion, Épitaphe too much for what it's actually worth in my mind, I have to mention the negatives. What may be a problem for some but not for me at all, actually, are the French vocals. I always thought that the language added to the band's appeal and their originality. Instead, my issues lie within the fact that in its cohesiveness the album is lacking in ups and downs - in other words, it has very few standout moments. The album is indeed varied and its assaulting nature is occasionally broken up well by calmer and more melodic portions, but it still tends to get a little tiring. After a handful of listens the album also seems to lose some of its edge. My initial reasoning as to why the album was so great was its surprise element, which inevitably fades away with time. It feels as though AqME should've gone even deeper and more experimental for this record to truly flourish and reach the heights of better lasting value and enjoyment.

Nevertheless, no flaw can take away the fact that this album is killer. It's clear that AqME really wanted to make the album of their career with this one. Its vicious attack mode, the semi-complex and often doubled leads and solos (which aren't always succesful in complementing the songs yet are still somewhat impressive), as well as the emotion that drives the whole album gather the band's best elements from the past. In the same time the album showcases aspects that I personally had never heard before with this group.
 New guitarist Julien Hekking plays his parts flawlessly and has been able to freshen things up with his own style without changing the essence of AqME too much. On the reverse side, it's sad that another original member has now been lost since vocalist Thomas Thirrion left soon after the completion of this album. Fortunately, I find it hard to believe that he could've ended his career with AqME on a much higher note than this. Perhaps the new and promising direction present on this record together with the line-up changes is a new beginning for AqME, with other similarly great albums to come in the future.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Am I Going Crazy?

Before tomorrow and spot 6 of my end of the year list, I want to do a short yet sweet post showing all the CDs I've obtained this year. In total there are 69 of these, including the ones I already showed in my post from June. This time the order isn't fully chronological because after taking the picture (and already putting the CDs back into my shelf) I noticed that certain CDs have switched places while I've carried them, listened to them and whatnot. The order is still fairly correct though, and the most important thing is getting to collect and see the CDs, anyway. So here, enjoy! Once again I've put the purchase date and the actual date of receiving when different than the purchase date of the CD in brackets.

Nightwish - Wishmaster (January 14th)
God Is An Astronaut - God Is An Astronaut
 (Gift; February 9th) 
Major Label - When I Am With You You Are Safe(February 15th/February 17th)
Kotiteollisuus - Eevan Perintö
 (February 15th/February 17th)
P.O.D. - The Warriors EP, Vol. 2
 (February 15th/February 17th)
Drudkh - Eternal Turn Of The Wheel
 (February 25th/February 29th)
Opeth - Deliverance
 (February 25th/March 2nd)
Project 86 - ...And The Rest Will Follow 
(February 25th/March 2nd)
Orgy - Candyass 
(February 25th/March 7th)
HIM - Greatest Lovesongs Vol. 666 
(April 11th/April 16th)
Opeth - Morningrise
 (April 11th/April 16th)
Sara - Narupatsaat
 (April 11th/April 16th)
CMX - Aion 
(April 11th/April 18th)

Katatonia - The Great Cold Distance [5.1. Mix Special Edition] (April 11th/April 16th)
Deftones - Diamond Eyes (April 11th/April 18th) 
P.O.D. - Brown [Re-Mastered] (April 30th) 
Jacks Of All Trades - Teaser (April 30th) 
Demon Hunter - Summer Of Darkness (April 30th)
Opeth - Damnation (May 1st/Mat 4th)
Cataract - With Triumph Comes Loss (May 1st/May 4th) 
Kent - Vapen & Ammunition (May 1st/May 4th)
Evanescence - Anywhere But Home
 (May 1st/May 8th)
Pariisin Kevät - Meteoriitti
 (May 1st/May 8th)
CMX - Aura 
(May 1st/May 8th)

System Of A Down - Toxicity (May 30th/June 1st)
Cult Of Luna - Salvation (May 30th/June 1st)

36 Crazyfists - A Snow Capped Romance (May 30th/June 6th)
Killswitch Engage - Alive Or Just Breathing (May 30th/June 6th)
Project 86 - Songs To Burn Your Bridges By
 (June 3rd/June 11th)
Ünloco - Becoming I
 (June 3rd/June 11th)
Faith No More - King For A Day... Fool For A Lifetime 
(June 26th/June 27th)
Faith No More - 
The Real Thing (June 26th/June 27th)
Katatonia - Brave Murder Day
 (May 30th/June 28th)
Kotiteollisuus - Iankaikkinen (July 14th)
P.O.D. - Murdered Love (June 6th/July 16th)
Kotiteollisuus - Tomusta Ja Tuhkasta (July 18th/July 19th)
Kotiteollisuus - Kuolleen Kukan Nimi (July 18th/July 19th)
Opeth - My Arms, Your Hearse (July 18th/July 19th)
Velcra - Between Force And Fate (August 11th/August 14th)
Tool - Ænima (July 18th/July 23rd)
Megadeth - Rust In Peace (August 11th/August 14th)
Duran Duran - Rio  (August 11th/August 15th)
Spineshank - The Height Of Callousness (August 11th/August 29th)
Velcra - Hadal (August 17th/September 13th)
Storm Corrosion - Storm Corrosion (August 11th/August 29th)
Katatonia - Viva Emptiness (September 27th/September 28th)
Lapko - Stacy (September 27th/October 3rd)
Pelican - Pelican (September 27th/October 5th)
Skillet - Collide (September 27th/October 5th)
Major Label - Hold Breath Between Lines (October 4th/October 9th)
Major Label - The Weightlifter (October 4th/October 9th)
Drudkh - Autumn Aurora (Gift; November 3rd)
Fear And The Nervous System - Fear And The Nervous System (October 13th/November 3rd)
Deftones - Koi No Yokan (November 1st/November 9th)
Korn - Untitled (November 9th)
Rammstein - Sehnsucht (November 9th)
Rammstein - Mutter (November 23rd)
Kent - Isola (November 9th)
Sara - He Kutsuivat Luokseen (November 9th)
Nostromo - Hysteron-Proteron (Gift; November 12th)
Steven Wilson - Grace For Drowning (Gift; November 12th)
Opeth - Ghost Reveries (November 24th)
Jimi Hendrix - First Rays Of The New Rising Sun (November 24th)
Staind - Dysfunction (November 24th)
System Of A Down - System Of A Down (November 24th)
Sara - Kromi (December 7th/December 13th)
Metallica - Ride The Lightning (Gift; December 24th)
A Perfect Circle - Mer De Noms (Gift; December 24th)
Minora - Imago (Gift; December 24th)

Liquid Fire

#7: Gojira - L'Enfant Sauvage (4/5)

When I heard that Gojira had just put out their 5th studio album entitled L'Enfant Sauvage in June, I decided it was time for me to finally listen to this well-established and critically-acclaimed progressive death metal band. Despite the accolades, prior to my first listen I didn't have high hopes. Those hopes were, well, met since I initially found myself liking the album to an extent but not exactly adoring it. Upon further listens, however, the album revealed its secrets to me leading me to be taken by the grooves and crushing yet majestic nature of it.

At first L'Enfant Sauvage does indeed sound quite bland, at least for a first-time Gojira listener. The guitar tone is relentless but the actual playing doesn't seem to go that much past the 'chugga-chugga' riffs, while the drums rely a lot on fast-paced kick drum usage and the vocals are screamed and dirty throughout. It's questionable whether Gojira even is what they are called - the song structures seem quite simplistic and usual for progressive metal, and the aforementioned groove element that's present isn't something I personally expect or find to be a characteristic in death metal. Later it becomes apparent that the progressiveness is just  well-hidden in the technicality (of the drums and rhythms in particular, but also in the at times noisy guitars) as well as in the slight puzzly nature of the music, which makes it easy to approach if you're a metal fan, but not easy to understand instantly. Genre names are just another way of scratching the surface when it comes to Gojira really. The album is close to a trip where we face different styles and different states of mind, and each of the stops are beautiful in their own right. In the same time the album is cohesive and works fairly well as a whole.

Although there are influences taken from different places, the low points of the album are definitely its lack of variation and the vocals. The more melodic parts including the tapping-infused and bright interlude The Wild Healer don't contribute enough to the record to my mind, not to mention how the 'take-a-breath' parts are actually weaker than the heavier moments in terms of catchiness and conveying the mood of L'Enfant Sauvage. On the screaming department I find Joe Duplantier's voice a bit strained, lacking depth and force, and overall just not always fitting the music seamlessly. There's a certain type of charm to some vocal parts though, like the exceptionally clean and low vocals on Born In Winter or the even more dynamic and emotional delivery in the closing track The Fall. Regardless, Gojira positively surprised me, and this album is deserving of its spot amongst some of the most interesting records I've heard this year, marking its place as a piece (and Gojira's place as a band) that I will continue to hear and learn from in the future.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Bish Bosch

Now that my Christmas calendar is done, it's time to move on to my end of the year lists. This year I've checked 61 new albums and 6 EPs, which means that while I have grown a lot as a listener and found a lot of music to be inspired by, this amount of stuff is just too much for me to do writing for all of them like I did last year for the 26 releases I heard. I will, however, write reviews for the top 7 of my albums list, and post one entry each day here in this blog and on Lost In The Woods starting tomorrow (the 25th) and ending on the 31st.

So, what I am revealing now are spots #61 to #8 of my albums rank as well as the EPs list in its entirety. My ratings for each release are indicated in brackets. Unlike last year, some of the entries on both lists I've heard only once as opposed to at least twice. I really wish I could've heard each at least twice, but I wanted to check as much stuff as possible and found myself having too little time for re-listens of some albums. I'm sure that my opinion on some of these albums and EPs is bound to change anyway as time passes. I feel quite different towards some of the entries on my 2011 list now as I did 12 months ago for instance, and hence this is simply how I think at the moment. I'm in no shape or form trying to argue that these lists or ratings are objective or factual either - this is precisely how I subjectively feel.

That's enough rambling. :P Without any further adieu, here's my 2012 EPs list:

#6: Agalloch - Faustian Echoes (2.5/5)
#5: ††† - EP †† (3/5)
#4: Pelican - Ataraxia/Taraxis (3.5/5)

#3: Wilt - Wilt (3.5/5)
#2: Hacktivist - Hacktivist (4/5)
#1: Love And Death - Chemicals (4/5)

As you can see, all the EPs I heard this year were somewhat enjoyable. As for albums... Well, see for yourself!

#61: The Rasmus - The Rasmus (1.5/5)
#60: Green Day - ¡Uno! (2/5)
#59: Earth - Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light II (2/5)
#58: Napalm Death - Utilitarian (2/5)
Sturm Und Drang - Graduation Day (2/5)

#56: Lamb Of God - Resolution (2/5)
#55: Shinedown - Amaryllis (2.5/5)
#54: Kiss - Monster (2.5/5)
Ektomorf Black Flag (2.5/5)
#52: Ektomorf - The Acoustic (2.5/5)
#51: Digital Summer - Breaking Point (2.5/5)
#50: Neurosis - Honor Found In Decay (2.5/5)
#49: Ill Niño - Epidemia (2.5/5)
Black Light Burns - The Moment You Realize You're Going To Fall (2.5/5)
#47: Linkin Park - Living Things (2.5/5)
#46: Serj Tankian - Harakiri (2.5/5)
#45: W
intersun - Time I (2.5/5)
#44: Pariisin Kevät - Kaikki On Satua (2.5/5)

#43: Devin Townsend Project - Epicloud (2.5/5)
#42: Kotiteollisuus - Sotakoira II (2.5/5)
#41: As I Lay Dying - Awakened (3/5)
Janus - Nox Aeris (3/5)

#39: Parkway Drive - Atlas (3/5)
#38: The Mars Volta - Noctourniquet (3/5)
#37: Sara - Se Keinuttaa Meitä Ajassa (3/5)
#36: The 69 Eyes - X (3/5)
#35: Stone Sour - House Of Gold & Bones: Part 1 (3/5)
#34: Raubtier - Från Norrland Till Helvetets Port (3/5)
#33: Killing Joke - MMXII (3/5)
#32: Steve Vai - The Story Of Light 
#31: Rush - Clockwork Angels (3/5)
#30: Soundgarden - King Animal (3/5)
If These Trees Could Talk - Red Forest (3/5)
#28. Lapko ΓΟΛΕ 
#27: Spineshank - Anger Denial Acceptance (3/5)
Ahola - Stoneface (3/5)
#25: Silversun Pickups - Neck Of The Woods (3/5)
#24: Mass HysteriaL'Armée Des Ombres 
#23: Meshuggah - Koloss

#22: Intohimo Northern Lights (3/5)
#21: Alcest - Les Voyages De L'Âme (3/5)
#20: Celldweller - Wish Upon A Black Star 

#19: HURT - The Crux (3/5)
#18: Demon Hunter - True Defiance (3.5/5)
#17: Paleface - Maan Tapa (3.5/5)
Swallow The Sun - Emerald Forest And The Blackbird (3.5/5)
#15: Shadows Fall - Fire From The Sky (3.5/5)
#14: Soulfly - Enslaved (3.5/5)
#13: Project 86 - Wait For The Siren (3.5/5)
#12: Stam1na - Nocebo (3.5/5)
#11: 10 Years - Minus The Machine (3.5/5)
#10: Katatonia - Dead End Kings (4/5)
#9: P.O.D. - Murdered Love (4/5)
#8: Scott Walker - Bish Bosch (4/5)

Alright, so tomorrow we will have album number 7. Tune in to see which one it is... ;) And don't hesitate to comment on my ranks and/or share your own list of the year!

[Christmas Calendar] Day 24: NightEndDay

The night has ended. It is the only day in the year when the sun shines relentlessly everywhere regardless of season or weather and miracles are not only possible but prominent. Just make sure you don't devour too much of the sun... We're dependant on liquid as we wander in this desert called human life.

Rejoice, because when the day comes to its end, it's night again. With only small sparks here and there, the night is long, silent and understands you, but it may also be distressful and cursing. You design your day and you design your night. Today I propose that you forget about the night's prolonging influence to unite with the world in a state of carelessness and love.

Merry Christmas to each and everyone. :)


Sunday, December 23, 2012

[Christmas Calendar] Day 23: About A Burning Fire

We've survived the apocalypse and suffered through our impatience for nearly all of the time we need to. We've also contemplated things touching on some pretty negative and bleak yet real and honest topics. Now all of that has been taken care of and it's time to start our actual celebration and be grateful for what we have. Let love fill you and the people around you, share, care and smile. Whether your Christmas has a spiritual meaning or not, whether you're alone or with family, whether you're healthy or sick, whether you feel happy or down, it's time to give and receive. Everyone has something to give and everyone deserves something in return. Let the light inside your heart be lit and let it glow, not just for Christmas, but for the whole duration of the rest of your short yet meaningful existence.

I thought about fire in the sky
I thought about fire
I thought about love burning in your eye
I thought about fire

It hurts that drops of fire would fall so precise
and that everything else would lose its meaning
What a beautiful, what a painful surprise
There is no peace outside if there's nothing within
It hurts but like coming home once dried up
I guess this is what you get when a heart expands

Love is destructive for the ego
and your voice is the only thing that speaks rebelliously
in this world of claiming your own

There is no peace outside if there's nothing within
Love is addictive and your voice whispers with a roar
That fire rises up, refills, place the right king on the throne

I thought about a burning fire
I thought about a love in fire
I thought about your love

I thought about a love
I thought about love

Saturday, December 22, 2012

[Christmas Calendar] Day 22: Travelling Alone

Travelling alone is a concept that at first may seem stressful, even terrifying, just like anything and everything new you need to do on your own without knowing what exactly might and will happen. There's also the fact that you're solitary and surrounded by people you don't know and maybe don't even want to. But just like any conquered fear, seeing that there's nothing to really be worried about and realizing that you can survive in the end is a prize well worth the skipped heartbeats and shivering. Perhaps you are taken over by a sight of incredible beauty or meet a soulmate where you would've least expected one to be found. 

Although I'd love to end on a positive note, it's true that things might go wrong too, because any trip is life and life is out of control. In addition, for some of us loneliness is a virtue and source of inspiration, while for others it's pain unlike any other. No one knows with certainty when the journey they're taking is in fact their last...

When I was questioned I shook my head and stared
I was traveling alone and had nothing to declare
He asked how I knew for sure
and would I tell everyone I knew
if it would hurt to know the truth

I can be thankful to be alive but I despise this life
in all my years at best have only learned just to survive

but when I look around you I understand why you believe
I see your evidence of God all around me
You have so therefore you are but I have not
You've seen the evidence of God but I have not and I have none

I shook my head and laughed
I never had a taste for life 
and I felt there was no turning back
Would I try to take away their hope
replace it with reality
exchange their joy with my bleak view
and leave them miserable like me

I have searched and I have tried to find a place where I can be
I love my homeland dearly but never carved a place in society

But when I look around you I understand why you believe
I see your evidence of God all around me
You have so therefore you are but I have not
You are too rich for hate and I'm too poor to love

When I asked him he shook his head and stared
I see no evidence of God in the men from the west

*in memory of David Gold (1980 - December 22nd 2011) who was and is Woods Of Ypres, forever* 

Friday, December 21, 2012

[Christmas Calendar] Day 21: Ænema

Our sun is already in its early afternoon position. It may set fast. Thus you should treat all your days as if they were your last. Hold on to each other, because life may disappear, but you and what you share won't. When emotions or thoughts are about to be dammed, let them flow out. Rejoice and stay strong. I sincerely wish you good luck, 'cause we're all in this together...   

Some say the end is near
Some say we'll see Armageddon soon
I certainly hope we will
I sure could use a vacation from this
bullshit three-ring circus sideshow of freaks
here in this hopeless fucking hole we call LA
The only way to fix it is to flush it all away
any fucking time, any fucking day.
Learn to swim, I'll see you down in Arizona Bay

Fret for your figure and fret for your latte
fret for your lawsuit and fret for your hairpiece 
and fret for your Prozac and fret for your pilot 
and fret for your contract and fret for your car

It's a bullshit three-ring circus sideshow of freaks
here in this hopeless fucking hole we call LA
The only way to fix it is to flush it all away
any fucking time, any fucking day
Learn to swim, I'll see you down in Arizona Bay

Some say a comet will fall from the sky
followed by meteor showers and tidal waves
followed by faultlines that cannot sit still
followed by millions of dumbfounded dipshits

Some say the end is near
Some say we'll see Armageddon soon
I certainly hope we will cause
I sure could use a vacation from this
stupid shit, silly shit

One great big festering neon distraction
I've a suggestion to keep you all occupied
(Learn to swim)

Mom's gonna fix it all soon
Mom's comin' round to put it back the way it ought to be.

Fuck L. Ron Hubbard and fuck all his clones
fuck all these gun-toting hip gangster wannabes

Fuck retro anything, fuck your tattoos
fuck all you junkies and fuck your short memory

Fuck smiley glad-hands with hidden agendas
fuck these dysfunctional insecure actresses

'cause I'm praying for rain
and I'm praying for tidal waves
I wanna see the ground give way
I wanna watch it all go down
Mom, please flush it all away
I wanna see it go right in and down
I wanna watch it go right in
watch you flush it all away

Time to bring it down again
Don't just call me pessimist
try and read between the lines
I can't imagine why you wouldn't
welcome any change, my friend
I wanna see it all come down
suck it down, flush it down

Thursday, December 20, 2012

[Christmas Calendar] Day 20: Anita Spielt Cello

When looking around ourselves, and looking around with a careful eye, it's hard to imagine that we would not be headed towards annihilation. Ever since we've started making exponential leaps in the development of our society and culture, we've started distancing ourselves from nature - both the nature found in ourselves and the nature that surrounds us. I may be speaking to you directly thanks to information technology, but I'm not a hypocrite since I am talking about the big picture here. Every day I see possibilities of the world possibly benefitting from shallowness and suffering, and then watch how some human sees the same signs and uses them to their advantage. Every day I feel myself and the people around me becoming more lost in our own lives and pseudo-deity. Every day I know that it's only a matter of time when an end will come. In which form, that I don't know. That's the most scary thing. Things progress by the day yet no one can follow how exactly the progress is made or know how it affects the universe.

The end almost came once and we only have ourselves to blame for it. Here's THE war seen through a pair of eyes, interpreted by an artist's mind.

Anita ging nicht mit den anderen in Gas
Ein altes Cello aus Kanada war's
das sie bis heut am Leben hält
Anita spielt täglich dem Teufel ein Lied
und betet und fleht darum, dass Gott nicht sieht
wie sehr sie hofft, dass es ihm gefällt

Kapos treiben mit der Faust und dem Stock
die Muselmänner hinaus aus dem Block
raus in den Schlamm zum Morgenappell
Die Mädchen spielen den Marche Militaire
Auf den Beinen zu bleiben fällt ihnen schwer
Man verliert seine Kraft hier drinnen sehr schnell

Anita spielt frierend Cello im Schnee
die Füße sind taub und die Hände tun weh
Die Musik ertrinkt im Geschrei
Anita spielt barfuß Cello vorm Tor
Die Hunde knurren und bellen im Chor
Lebende Tote ziehen vorbei

Ein Neuer hat Zigaretten versteckt
Als der Kapo beim Filzen den Tabak entdeckt
gibt die Kapelle Madame Butterfly
Auf allen vieren, mit glasigem Blick
zusammengesackt nach dem Schuss ins Genick
während Schumanns Träumerei

Anita spielt täglich dem Teufel ein Lied
und schämt sich beim Beten, weil Gott genau sieht
wie sehr sie hofft, dass er sie verschont
Typhus, Fieber und ein leerer Bauch
verbranntes Fleisch, Ascheregen und Rauch
Keiner weiß, ob der Kampf sich lohnt
doch Anita spielt Cello

Anita spielt frierend Cello im Schnee
die Füße sind taub und die Hände tun weh
Die Musik ertrinkt im Geschrei
Anita spielt barfuß Cello vorm Tor
Die Hunde knurren und bellen im Chor
Lebende Tote ziehen vorbei

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

[Christmas Calendar] Day 19: Mein

If you are fairly secretive and mysterious, like me, your lack of expression comes with consequences. You are in a way safe from a lot of emotional war, hold your privacy and rely on independence, and who knows you might even have certain appeal. But this means that getting close is a mission impossible and this naturally pushes other people away. While every individual wants to attain at least some sort of level of communication, understanding and kinship, often receiving these require the one attribute we can't give in to - openness. And when we end up lost, uninspired and lonely, we blame it on the universe, while deep down we know it's all our fault and that there's only one individual who can turn things around. Even with acknowledgement, it's easier to say than do though... 

I've looked outside
but I never wandered out
I'd like to pull you in to me
intercept you, in between
but I never wandered out, outside

That way, I'll always stay away from you

I've looked inside
But I never wandered in
I'd like to pull it into me
intercept you in between
but I never wander in, inside

The universe breaking us down