Secrets is the name of the upcoming third album by A Breach of Silence. I must be doing something right because for the third time I was asked to review it. Whether or not I am doing something right, you can bet the band is doing plenty. The transition between their first album Dead or Alive and their second album The Darkest Road saw the band transition from being a pure and simple metalcore band, cliché’s and all, to a band making songs with a bit more substance. That told me I could only expect great things from Secrets.
What do you call metalcore music that doesn’t really have a lot of screaming at all? Sages certainly aren’t a metalcore band, but this thought occurs to me when I listen to their album Sleepwalker. I mean, just like any subgenre, metalcore has meant many different things for many different bands and has evolved (really for the worst) the way other genres evolve.
2016 has proven to be a year to forget in respect to my reviews. The amount of albums I accepted and committed to reviewing completely overwhelmed me to the point of practically hiding myself and only coming out every once in a while. This includes writing reviews for the other two great sites that I love writing for. I’ve accepted considerably less albums to review this year and really just stuck with reviewing what I wanted to review, and for all of those emails that I never responded to and to the one or two reviews that I never wrote, I sincerely apologize and I hope that 2017 will bring me back to my old self.
That being said, 2016 was perhaps the best year in a long time for new albums, and as I so love to do every year, I want to talk about my top ten album picks of 2016. There are surely a lot of great independent albums that I passed up that could deserve mentions, and even a major release or two that could have stood a chance. For instance, had I listened to Kaleo‘s A/B in full I’m sure it would probably be on this list, considering how great everything I’ve heard from it is, but I haven’t heard the full album and thus can’t really assess it. But here are the ten picks that I know are great.
And please check out my past top 10 lists here.
It’s about time I review this album. Avenged Sevenfold‘s The Stage was one of the 2016 releases I anticipated the most, even though nothing much about it, including its name or even its release date was correctly known until the very day it was released. This once pure metalcore band left us with a controversial traditional sounding heavy metal album three years ago, so as per usual I was curious to see what direction Avenged Sevenfold would take on this adventure, thinking they have covered everything possible by this point. Then a few weeks before the album was released, the title track came out.
In 2014, thanks to Metal Nation Radio (one of the two other great sites I write for) I was given Under Satan’s Sun by Bloody Hammers to review. I had no prior knowledge of the band before that, even though they had previously released a self-titled album, but I was immediately struck by their very intelligent doom metal sound. You can read my opinions of the album here. Ever since then I’ve been keeping close tabs on Bloody Hammers, heavily anticipating their follow up. That follow up, entitled Lovely Sort of Death, has arrived, and thanks to Decibel Geek, the other great site I work for, I received the album early for review.
Here’s another review done a few weeks too late, but like every time I do that, it’s because I think the album is really worth writing about. This time it’s Volbeat‘s new album Seal The Deal & Let’s Boogie. Volbeat, one of today’s biggest metal bands, is the kind of band that couldn’t possibly release an album without having me share my opinion on it. Now on their sixth album, Volbeat show just how far they’ve come since going from a band who was only relatively popular in their home country of Denmark to turning heads while playing the opening bill on Metallica‘s 2009 world tour.
It’s pretty widely known that just about every metal band, no matter how impossible it is to imagine, has Black Sabbath as their root. Even if bands don’t realize it. Often times these bands don’t realize that these bands that they admire started off playing Sabbath covers or grew up admiring Tony Iommi‘s guitar riffs etc. Some bands, however, hold their Sabbath influence on their sleeve and embrace it. To slightly paraphrase Tony Iommi, a lot of these bands just take one ingredient from Black Sabbath’s early years. That ingredient is the slow doomy and gloomy sound of many of their songs, but very rarely do I hear a band and an album that captures the true roots of heavy metal the way Electric Citizen do on their recently released Higher Time album.