Author Topic: Parama's 2015 Retrospective List: #1: I'm Not Sorry For That At All  (Read 15671 times)

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Offline Cyril

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So I've been working on this for several months now and stressing over tiny point differences to present a full, ranked list of all the purchases I made in 2015. Because I got a lot of music in 2015, and a lot of it is worth talking about. This isn't an official "top 50 albums" list or anything, but I'd imagine if I redid my top 50 list today, at least the top 15-20 would all be on it, possibly even more.

Some statistical overview things; First, my rating scale.

10: Basically perfection. Nothing scored quite this high. I'm not sure I have any single album I'd score this high.
9: Really great, the kind of album I'll still be spinning years from now.
8: Quite good, but not quite great. Pretty much anything scoring this high is recommended.
7: Decent, solid. An album I wouldn't call a disappointment, but not one I'll return to often.
6: Average, by my standards, which are I guess a bit above the 5.0 expected "average"
5: Mediocre or forgettable, below average, but not outright bad.
4: Listenable, but rather boring.
3: Bad.
2: Awful.
1: Unlistenable.
0: Merzbow.

I scored on a .25 point scale; any narrower and it becomes really hard to distinguish scores, any wider and I end up fretting too much over half-point differences like in my roulette.

The overall rankings for the entire list are: 4.0 to 9.75. The most common single score is 7.5. The average is 7.41.

With that, let's start.

68. David Maxim Micic - EGO
67. Chimp Spanner - At the Dream's Edge
66. David Maxim Micic - Bilo 1.0
65. Gotye - Making Mirrors
64. Negură Bunget - Inarborat Kosmos
63. David Maxim Micic - Bilo 2.0
62. Crisis -  The Hollowing
61. Muse - Drones
60. Between the Buried and Me - Coma Ecliptic
59. Esben and the Witch - A New Nature
58. Kimbra - Vows
57. The Gentle Storm - The Diary
56. Godspeed You! Black Emperor - 'Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress'
55. Auriga - Reflection of the Magestic
54. Thrice - The Artist in the Ambulance
53. Periphery - Juggernaut
52. maudlin of the Well - Leaving Your Body Map
51. The Contortionist - Language
50. Riverside - Love, Fear, and the Time Machine
49. Schizoid Lloyd - The Last Note in God's Magnum Opus
48. Exivious - Liminal
47. Coheed and Cambria - The Color Before the Sun
46. Karnivool - Sound Awake
45. Intronaut - Valley of Smoke
44. Muse - Origin of Symmetry
43. Lesoir - Luctor et Emergo
42. Serdce - Timelessness
41. Mew - +-
40. Burst - Lazarus Bird
39. CHON - Grow
38. Negură Bunget - OM
37. Destrage - Are You Kidding Me? No.
36. Deafheaven - Sunbather
35. East of the Wall - Redaction Artifacts
34. Intronaut - Habitual Levitations (Instilling Words With Tones)
33. The Angelic Process - Weighing Souls With Sand
32. Alcest - Les Voyages de L'âme
31. Steven Wilson - Hand. Cannot. Erase.
30. Saor - Aura
29. Baroness - Yellow
28. East of the Wall - Ressentiment
27. Intronaut - Prehistoricisms
26. Being - Anthropocene
25. Caligula's Horse - Bloom
24. Skyharbor - Guiding Lights
23. Baroness - Red Album
22. Thank You Scientist - The Perils of Time Travel
21. Ne Obliviscaris - Portal of I
20. Baroness - Green
19. Rosetta - The Galilean Satellites
18. múm - Finally We Are No One
17. Obsidian Kingdom - Mantiis
16. Alcest - Écailles de Lune
15. Dordeduh - Dar De Duh
14. Ne Obliviscaris - Citadel
13. Leprous - The Congregation
12. David Maxim Micic - Bilo 3.0
11. Intronaut - The Direction of Last Things
10. The Hirsch Effekt - Holon : Agnosie
9. Bent Knee - Shiny Eyed Babies
8. David Maxim Micic - ECO
7. Enslaved - RIITIIR
6. Alrakis - Alpha Eri
5. Brand New - The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me
4. Cursive - The Ugly Organ
3. The Ocean - Pelagial
2. Thank You Scientist - Maps of Non-Existent Places
1. East of the Wall - The Apologist
« Last Edit: June 07, 2016, 05:10:10 PM by Parama »

Offline Cyril

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Re: Parama's 2015 Retrospective List: #68 - Djent is Dead
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2016, 02:43:17 PM »
#68: David Maxim Micic - EGO
#16 for 2015



Out of all the releases in David Maxim Micic's discography, this one seems the most... pointless. There's a progression from Bilo 1.0 to 2.0 to 3.0, an evolution of his sound. Here, we get... what has to be B-sides from his previous releases, almost.

It's just so... flavorless. So standardly djent. The only moments of flavor are on the third track, Disorder, and they feel wholly unnatural at best, obnoxious at worst; the vocal bits in this track are really grating. If the flavorlessness of this release isn't what does it in though, it's definitely the fact that the last track is literally just reprises of the first two. Nothing new or original for almost a third of the album's runtime. Not that much of this was original to begin with.

That's not to say it's terrible music. I actually like Define a decent bit, it has solid atmosphere to it and if it were a little less heavy it'd fit in pretty well on ECO, this EP's companion release. The main theme of this one actually gets reprised on ECO, too. Develop is mostly just boring, a lot of chugging riffs with the only notable moment being a melody in the background that also appears later on ECO.

Disorder at least has a nice guitar solo in its second half, despite being generally unlistenable otherwise. Devise is at least smart enough to take the better parts of the two tracks it reprises, but it doesn't stop it from being pointless; and that's not even getting to the awful compression that happens near the end of the track that can't possibly sound like anything but awful to everyone who's listened to this release, unless I'm crazy.

I don't think this is an absolutely awful, unlistenable release or anything like that. It's mostly inoffensive djent from an artist who can do much better. At the same time, even for the genre you can do much better than this, there's really no reason to waste your time with a mediocre release.

Favorite Track: Define
Least Favorite Track: Disorder

4/10

DTF Addendum:
Well, I've probably already lost Sacul.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2016, 10:26:12 AM by Parama »

Offline Sacul

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Re: Parama's 2015 Retrospective List: #68 - Djent is Dead
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2016, 02:59:27 PM »
Although I agree that it's probably his least inspired release, I really enjoyed EGO - there are some pretty creative twists here and there, and the ending is fantastic imo.

You already lost me on your roulette, and it's been a while  :P

Anyways, looking forwards to the rest of the list  :tup

Offline Cyril

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Re: Parama's 2015 Retrospective List: #68 - Djent is Dead
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2016, 03:19:46 PM »
you should've sent less 6.5 with +.5 bonus songs in my roulette, then

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Re: Parama's 2015 Retrospective List: #68 - Djent is Dead
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2016, 03:33:47 PM »
I'll send more sax on the next one  :P

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Re: Parama's 2015 Retrospective List: #67 - Djent Continues to be Dead
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2016, 07:05:23 PM »
#67: Chimp Spanner - At the Dream's Edge



The past year, my interest in djent had already been waning. The sound is kind of limited in what it can really do, and you can only hear so many djenty riffs before they get old. I'd say this was the album where I finally decided I wasn't going to bother looking deeper into the genre, but it was more like a last attempt to find something I can really get into.

I actually went through a fair number of artists in search of a djent album to get into, and what I heard from these guys engaged me more than any other band I found, evidently, since this was the album I ended up getting. And I will say that, if you take these songs on their own, they're each solid enough. But it's just... an hour of very samey djent music with occasional bleepy synth bits or calmer atmospheric bits really fails to hold my interest.

It's really hard to even talk about individual tracks because a lot of them are hard to differentiate. Uhh. Galaxy Rise and Ghosts of the Golden City get note for being purely ambient tracks with some nice bright atmosphere. Bad Code has a really dissonant bleepy synth line at the start which I don't really like. The rest of the song doesn't really stand out at all though. Far From Home is notable for having a really terrible guitar tone for its leads. All Good Things is a nice cooldown track at the end of the album, one of the more interesting ones for sure.

And look. I'm not trying to be too down on this album, because there's not really a lot I dislike here either. If you haven't heard much djent and this is one of the first albums you get, all the better for you, you'll probably enjoy it. And I'd say I prefer this over Animals As Leaders, there's at least some hint of emotion and soul in this album during the softer bits. And the riffs aren't awful as much as they are just generic. But... there's just not a lot for me here, and I doubt I'll revisit this in the future.

Best Tracks: Supererogation, At the Dream's Edge, All Good Things
Worst Track: Far From Home

4.25/10

DTF Addendum:
I don't remember what 90% of this album sounds like anymore, and I've listened to it probably 10 or so times in total, so... yeah. I think I only got this because I still marginally cared about djent and needed something to hit the $35 free shipping thing on Amazon, which is now $49 because Amazon wants to take all of my money. It's just... particularly meh.

Offline Sacul

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Re: Parama's 2015 Retrospective List: #67 - Djent Continues to be Dead
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2016, 07:58:17 PM »
Yeah it's not really special an album, but it has like one or two memorable tracks I guess.

Offline Cyril

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Re: Parama's 2015 Retrospective List: #67 - Djent Continues to be Dead
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2016, 08:26:45 PM »
this is gonna be the negativity power hour for a few days but i promise we'll get to good cool stuff eventually

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Re: Parama's 2015 Retrospective List: #66 - Regretfully Djenting
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2016, 12:43:39 AM »
#66: David Maxim Micic - Bilo 1.0



I can't really be too harsh on a nearly-5-year-old debut EP considering how far Micic has come since this EP, and it's not like it's a bad EP either, just a bit bland and lacking the ambition of his later work. It's far more djent than progressive metal, but there's still a pretty strong melodic focus throughout that keeps it mildly interesting. In general though I wouldn't say I think Micic has much of a talent for djent riffs, at least not here. None of them are that memorable and when they're in the foreground is when the music really starts to get boring.

The songs all have a solid main theme running throughout them, Part II and IV notable for having themes that would later be used in his later work. Though the theme of II is probably my least favorite of the four, the bagpipes don't really add to the song in any real way other than "haha wacky flavor". It's still probably the most ambitious track on the EP for its flavor alone, but that's not saying much.

The other three parts are mostly just... there. All feel too long for how little they do, though they're mostly not actively grating. There's a really bad and grating synth solo in Part III, but that's about all there is to note.

Really, as a whole, this is far from bad music. At the same time, it's not particularly interesting or unique music, and it's not great for what it is either. It's more just an early stage of a musical style that would continue to evolve over the course of future releases, but I'd say it's more for those curious about the artist's earlier work than a good starting point or a good listen on its own.

Favorite Tracks: Bilo Part I, Bilo Part IV
Least Favorite Track: Bilo Part III

4.75/10

DTF Addendum:
Okay I promise I'll stop picking on djent at some point.
But... not quite yet.
I don't really mind this one at all though, I just don't get much out of it.

Offline Sacul

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Re: Parama's 2015 Retrospective List: #66 - Regretfully Djenting
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2016, 12:55:22 AM »
Bilo part IV is still one of my fav songs by David, and I've been aware of him since 2012, but yeah, nice EP yet one of his weakest ones.

Offline Cyril

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Re: Parama's 2015 Retrospective List: #66 - Regretfully Djenting
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2016, 01:04:38 AM »
yeah but i can just listen to Where Is Now? and get basically the same experience, but better

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Re: Parama's 2015 Retrospective List: #66 - Regretfully Djenting
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2016, 03:30:48 AM »
Following, though I think you'll understand that your glowing endorsements so far haven't exactly compelled to check out any of this stuff. :P
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Re: Parama's 2015 Retrospective List: #66 - Regretfully Djenting
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2016, 03:46:52 AM »
I'm really not a fan of djent to be honest, with special regards to those exaggerated polyrhythms and 0-0-0 clungs (Tesseract - Proxy.....). It's just that some bands succeed to cover it up better than others I guess.

I already purchased DMM's discog when he put them on sale but haven't heard any of them yet.
people on this board are actual music fans who developed taste in music and not casual listeners who are following current fashion trends and listening to only current commercial hits.

Offline Cyril

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Re: Parama's 2015 Retrospective List: #66 - Regretfully Djenting
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2016, 10:22:16 AM »
well I totally forgot to post one thiside morning so I'll post two when I get home, not that either is gonna get much discussion tbh

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Re: Parama's 2015 Retrospective List: #66 - Regretfully Djenting
« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2016, 11:54:05 AM »
Anyone want to make bets on how long it takes for us to get to stuff Parama actually likes?

How about bets on how long it takes for us to get to something non-djent?

How about bets on how quickly The Astonishing shows up?


I'm betting 35, 63 and 61, respectively.
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Offline Cyril

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Re: Parama's 2015 Retrospective List: #66 - Regretfully Djenting
« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2016, 12:08:05 PM »
it's around 45, 65, and the Astonishing is a 2016 album  :lol
fwiw there's djent in the top 10, so

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Re: Parama's 2015 Retrospective List: #66 - Regretfully Djenting
« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2016, 01:33:07 PM »
Ah, totally forgot that this was 2015 only :lol
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Re: Parama's 2015 Retrospective List: #66 - Regretfully Djenting
« Reply #17 on: May 16, 2016, 01:45:44 PM »
Following~

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Re: Parama's 2015 Retrospective List: #66 - Regretfully Djenting
« Reply #18 on: May 16, 2016, 01:47:25 PM »
While I love bands like TesseracT and Periphery, I must say that instrumental djent is mostly really boring. I agree about At the Dream's Edge, it's a pretty meh album. Ego I like, I felt that that was a different enough album for me to enjoy. But it's still instrumental (mostly) djent, which like I said is pretty boring in the long run.

I barely know Bilo, so I can't comment on that one.
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Offline Cyril

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Re: Parama's 2015 Retrospective List: #65 - Number One No Longer
« Reply #19 on: May 16, 2016, 06:43:31 PM »
#65: Gotye - Making Mirrors



I feel a little bad reviewing this, since I can tell this is the kind of album that's simply just not for me. But at the same time, my opinion doesn't seem to stray too far from the general consensus either, so it's more than just me here, right? Artsy, low-key indie pop is not a genre I have much experience with though so you can feel free to take my thoughts with a grain of salt.

And yes, I like Somebody That I Used to Know. I think it's been talked into the ground, but it's good. I bring it up since Kimbra, the featured guest artist, is actually why I got this album. Well, that, and that I found it at the visit to a used CD store I made last year. It was there, it was cheap, I was curious, so why not?

Really, the thing about this album is that most of it passes in a pleasant haze, and I don't mind it when it's on, but I also don't remember most of it after it's done. The first four tracks are basically the best the album has to offer, and while there's only one or two tracks I don't care for much, there's not a lot here particularly memorable.

The segue from Easy Way Out into Somebody is one of the more memorable moments for how naturally it works, and both tracks are pretty good on their own. Eyes Wide Open also has a nice darker vibe to it and solid atmosphere throughout.  And even Smoke and Mirrors is pretty alright, a solid laidback jazzy feel to it but it could've probably been a bit shorter. The closer Bronte is also pretty strong, probably the most emotional presence of the entire album.

The rest is... hmm. I Feel Better and In Your Light are two bright peppy pop tracks that I have no real use for, just outright not my thing. But they're fine. State of the Art... what the hell. Who thought that deep-pitched robot voice as a good idea. It's a shame since the weird instrumentation of this track is pretty cool, but I just can't get past those vocals. Too long, as well. Don't Worry is just 3 minutes of tediousness that never goes anywhere, and the following two tracks are pleasant but particularly forgettable, no real flavor to them.

At the end of the day though... this album has never really stuck with me much, even if the majority of the songs are fine enough and only one of them is really "bad" in my eyes. The songs end up sounding a little samey despite the experimentation being done on this album, and there's nothing really -that- good that makes me want to come back to it. I don't really regret getting this album, but I highly doubt I'll come back to it in the future, either.

Favorite Tracks: Eyes Wide Open, Somebody That I Used to Know, Bronte
Least Favorite Tracks: State of the Art, Don't Worry, We'll Be Watching You

5/10

DTF Addendum: I don't really have much to say. I doubt many people here care about Gotye and frankly I only cared about him because of Kimbra, so...

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Re: Parama's 2015 Retrospective List: #64 - Three-Fourths
« Reply #20 on: May 16, 2016, 06:49:05 PM »
#64: Negură Bunget - Inarborat Kosmos



Technically over half of this EP came on the copy of OM I got, and the opener track is just a rougher version of Înarborat off of OM, so really the only track I don't "properly" own in some form is the shortest. So I figured, hey, why not just add this to my list of 2015 stuff, since I basically own it.

I mean, it's a bit pointless for me to talk about this. The first track is Înarborat. I like Înarborat, but I don't really love it. There isn't a lot different here other than the bass being more audible, but the song being produced a lot rougher and I think missing some of its instrumentation (haven't done a side-by-side comparison to tell).

Uprising Follow is the other metal track, and it's... fine. I don't think it's as interesting as Înarborat, the only really flavorful moment is a weird synth break at 4:10, and the production again lets it down a little, but there's some solid metal here and a few good riffs, I particularly like the one that comes in around the 6-minute mark, pretty driving cool riff.

The other two tracks are shorter ambient pieces, but pretty vastly different. Cint de Sursur has some warm synth stuff going on with subtle folky touches, by the end it's a full-on folk piece. It's a pretty nice break between the two heavier songs and would probably fit really comfortably on OM, might like it more than the ambient pieces on that album really. Whereas Vaiet... look. There's only so much disturbing, unsettling kind of stuff I can take, and when it's going to be this unpleasant... yeah. I can barely listen to this track, the screaming vocal stuff is just painful. Legitimately might be my least favorite song off any release I got this year.

The flow of the EP is pretty solid, it starts off with the folk of Wordless Knowledge, gets heavier, has a warmer break, more heaviness, ending quiet but unpleasant. Can't really fault it in that regard.

Overall though this release is... definitely not for me. The aspects of Negură Bunget I find myself liking the most are the folkier moments, and while there is some decent metal on Uprising Follow, it's probably more "standard" than any track off OM. And of course, the closer just really brings the whole thing down for me. It's an alright release, I suppose, but not one I expect to revisit much in the future, if ever.

Favorite Tracks: Wordless Knowledge, Cint de sursur
Least Favorite Track: Vaiet

5/10

DTF Addendum: There's basically a trend running through most of the albums at the bottom of the list in that I really didn't intentionally seek them out and just ended up getting them through coincidence or as part of something else. I also don't know if that's a valid excuse, though, since #4 on the list has basically the same story behind it.

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Re: Parama's 2015 Retrospective List: #64 - Three-Fourths
« Reply #21 on: May 16, 2016, 07:03:37 PM »
So I figured, hey, why not just add this to my list of 2015 stuff, since I basically own it.

I mean, it's a bit pointless for me to talk about this.

I like how you answered your own "why not" in the next sentence.

I don't know either of these artists so I don't really have anything useful to say but I appreciated that.
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Offline Cyril

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Re: Parama's 2015 Retrospective List: #63: Back to the Djent
« Reply #22 on: May 17, 2016, 12:15:45 AM »
#63: David Maxim Micic - Bilo 2.0



I feel this release is definitely a notable step up from Micic's first outing, but still stuck somewhere between the quality of Bilo 1.0 and 3.0; not quite as refined, but a lot more ambitious at the very least. Still, I don't think this EP is at the point where he's making really good music, yet.

This release basically has all the same problems the first Bilo had. All the songs save for the opener feel too stretched out, the djent riffing is never particularly interesting, and each song has a solid theme that gets kind of beat into the ground during its runtime.

There's a lot more nonstandard elements here to keep things interesting, at least, Electric Fields is heavily electronic, and Rise and Shine has some electronic elements to it as well; there's some voice samples in Strange Night which are kind of flavorful I guess; the Serbian main theme of Mbinguni Amina and some nice horn flourishes to give the song a lot of swell.

And really, the first two tracks and the last track here are all more interesting than anything off Bilo 1.0; on the flipside, Along For a Ride and Strange Night are probably worse than anything off Bilo 1.0, both being rather generic djent chugcore. Even the good tracks here still feel a bit too stretched out though. Rise and Shine is probably the only track here that I'd want to listen to on its own, it's pretty solid.

Even though I do think this is a step in the right direction for Micic, there's still a lot of pointless overindulgence and a human element that's definitely not too present here. If I didn't already know what Bilo 3.0 sounded like I probably wouldn't have been too excited for it at this point.

Favorite Tracks: Rise and Shine, Mbinguni Amina
Least Favorite Tracks: Strange Night, Along For a Ride

5.25/10

DTF Addendum: I wish I liked this more but like previously stated instrumental djent is always just kind of dull to me. Though three of the tracks here are pretty solid, none of them are really great and this barely leaves much of an impression on me. Anyways I promise I'm done picking on Micic for at least a little while now.

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Re: Parama's 2015 Retrospective List: #62: The Thinnening
« Reply #23 on: May 17, 2016, 08:49:30 AM »
#62: Crisis - The Hollowing



This is exactly what I think of when I hear the term "Sludge Metal". It's grimy, it's dark, it's sluggish, it's kind of gross. In that regard, this album has met my expectations for it flawlessly. But... simply being what I expected isn't what wins my highest favor.

I'll start off saying that I kind of like Karyn Crisis' vocal style, while also still disliking it somewhat as well. Her harsh vocals sound okay, but they're not fantastic. She's definitely a diverse vocalist though, two different times of harsh vocals on this album as well as some lovely clean singing. The lyrics are also generally quite distinguishable, a quality that not a lot of harsh vocals possess.

Another problem with this album is that most of the songs are built around two or three riffs without a lot of variation to them, and while this isn't a massive problem on the shorter tracks, it does make the longer ones drag somewhat. As well, the music often feels a bit... thin. The guitars aren't thick enough to pull off the heaviness the music really calls for, and the bass is kind of underplayed too.

The biggest problem though is that... these songs just go nowhere, and they all have a somewhat similar sound to them. I've spun this album a lot and I never remember anything about it other than "Mechanical Man is the one that's really energetic, Vision and the Verity has that riff I don't like, After the Flood and Come to Light are softer, more atmospheric tracks". That's... basically it. The songs end up kind of indistinguishable from each other, to the point where trying to do song-by-song writeups before a full review turned out pointless.

It's not like it's all bad or anything, I wouldn't even really say any of the songs are "bad" but none of them are really that good, either, save for the two atmospheric tracks. And there are other songs with some decent atmospheric bits; Vision and the Verity has a few nice spots in the middle, and Surviving the Siren has more atmosphere than the album tends to have, more cleans too.

And it's not like the riffs on the album are bad either, but mostly they just all sound the same. I'm not actually sure on this 100% but I have a feeling every song on this album is in the same key, I'd be surprised if more than two or three weren't.

If I had to point out standout heavier tracks, I'd say Surviving the Siren has the best sense of progression of any song here, as well as a higher bass presence and probably some of the better riffs on this album, it's a pretty solid song even if it's not largely different from the rest. In the Shadow of the Sun is practically prog metal with all its time signature changes and tempo shifts, though it loses a bit of momentum by the second half, where little to nothing new happens.

Overall though, this album probably suffers from age more than anything else. It's the oldest album I got in 2015 (and yeah it was only 18 years old, but I don't dig into the past much to begin with) and maybe it'd sound a lot heavier and intense if I was there at the time it came out, but by today's standards I don't feel there's much worth coming back to here.

Maybe it's because I'm just not into pure sludge metal by itself, the bands I like tend to be either the proggier ones (Intronaut, East of the Wall, The Ocean) or the more atmospheric ones (Isis, Rosetta). This has some of both of those, but the straightforward sludge is the primary element at play in the end. If you're more into sludge than I then you'll probably get more out of this album than I do, but for me I guess I had higher expectations than I should've.

Favorite Tracks: Surviving the Siren, Come to Light, After the Flood, In the Shadow of the Sun
Least Favorite Tracks: Fires of Sorrow, Take the Low Road

5.25/10

DTF Addendum: I'm not really sure why I got this other than "I listened to it once and it seemed decent" but it wasn't even that, so. Maybe I was tricked by the atmospheric songs. Nobody cares about this anyways so whatever  :lol

Offline Train of Naught

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Re: Parama's 2015 Retrospective List: #63: Back to the Djent
« Reply #24 on: May 17, 2016, 08:59:31 AM »
Nobody cares about this anyways so whatever  :lol
:tup

It's hard to say much about albums the OP himself hates/dislikes :lol I would maybe agree but I don't listen to anything defined "sludge metal", as far as I know.
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Offline Bolsters

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Re: Parama's 2015 Retrospective List: #62: The Thinnening
« Reply #25 on: May 17, 2016, 09:04:03 AM »
Yeah, I'm waiting for the stuff that doesn't suck to start appearing.

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Re: Parama's 2015 Retrospective List: #62: The Thinnening
« Reply #26 on: May 17, 2016, 09:06:15 AM »
the stuff that doesn't suck is gonna start appearing before the rest of the stuff that does, because i have awful taste :neverusethis:

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Re: Parama's 2015 Retrospective List: #62: The Thinnening
« Reply #27 on: May 17, 2016, 10:13:06 AM »
I quite like Bilo 2.0, and Mbinguni Amina is fantastic :P

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Re: Parama's 2015 Retrospective List: #62: The Thinnening
« Reply #28 on: May 17, 2016, 10:28:17 AM »
Mbinguni Amina is sort of my issue with Micic in microcosm: some really brilliant stuff juxtaposed with some really standard-issue stuff.

I dunno, I've tried several of his albums, and that's always the impression I come away with.
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Re: Parama's 2015 Retrospective List: #62: The Thinnening
« Reply #29 on: May 17, 2016, 06:30:47 PM »
I'm followign this so I can eventually win your roulette :neverusethis:
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Re: Parama's 2015 Retrospective List: #61: Qu'est-ce Que C'est?
« Reply #30 on: May 17, 2016, 07:10:35 PM »
#61: Muse - Drones
#15 for 2015



It's pretty clear that Muse are past their prime and are never going to come close to their earlier albums. But I'm of the mind that even at their best, they were never truly great. Absolution is pretty good, and Origin of Symmetry isn't far behind. And Black Holes is a decent album, but a mixed bag between good songs and kind of mediocre ones.

I think Drones more resembles Black Holes than any of their other albums, albeit without the experimentation that ran throughout most of the album. This is probably the least ambitious Muse album, honestly; The Resistance and The 2nd Law were both pompously overblown and even in their failures (especially with the latter, a truly awful album) they still seemed to serve a purpose. What purpose does Drones serve, though?

The worst this album has to offer is its two short interludes that are just samples. Drill Sergeant is laughable and Muse just outright shouldn't be invoking JFK at all, especially not with cheesy strings and annoying guitar chugging.

It's a shame that the attitude of Drill Sergeant bleeds through to the rest of the album, too; especially Psycho, which is just a colossal failure of a song only redeemed by a solid groove, but far from Muse's best. The lyrics in general feel overblown and preachy, but ultimately irrelevant.

Dead Inside and Mercy both feel like single bait songs, being pretty poppy and mostly inoffensive besides the wailing of "DEAD INSIDE" on the former, a silly "edgy" phrase that's hard to take seriously. The Handler and Defector are also easy to group into the same category, both being driven by bass grooves and both being pretty solid, but nothing that special. The former slightly has the edge on the latter, but not by much. Aftermath is a very pretty ballad that's also kind of cheesy, and while I don't find it especially strong it's still one of the better tracks here.

I guess I'm making it sound like I don't find any songs here that strong, which is untrue; Reapers is probably the best song they've done since Black Holes, the noodly tapping guitar works surprisingly well, the song has a ton of energy to it, and one heck of a groovy chorus riff. The slower groove of the outro is cool too, really no complaints about this. And Revolt is a song I feel like I should hate for how cheesy it is, but it's also quite a fun listen. The bright main chord progression is really strong, and the faster chorus is a great singalong moment. I'm aware this song definitely isn't the greatest but it brings a smile to my face every time. I also like, of all things, the a cappella outro track Drones. It's pretty haunting and doesn't outstay its welcome, it's definitely an interesting way to close the album.

And then we get The Globalist, the big "epic" of the album, and supposed sequel to Citizen Erased. That's kind of pissing in the face of the latter, honestly, since this track is a disaster. It's just a messy string of various ideas that are all fine enough on their own I guess but there's just no transition between anything and no part of the track really relates to any other part either.

The album overall is a pretty rocky ride though, some low points, some high points, and a lot of meh in-between. It's definitely a step up from their previous, but the high points aren't generally thaaaat good either. I doubt I'm going to be buying another Muse album in the future though, unless it gets wildly positive reviews or something. Just no interest left in this band, after a string of disappointments.

Favorite Tracks: Reapers, Revolt, Drones
Least Favorite Tracks: Psycho, The Globalist

5.25/10

DTF Addendum: Yes, Origin of Symmetry is in my 2015 collection too, for the record. I finally got around to getting it after like, 8+ years  :lol
Honestly this is the first full album on the list that doesn't generally bore me, but it also makes me cringe more than the ones below it.
Also, easily, easily their worst album cover. At least the previous two albums had pretty artwork.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2016, 10:26:30 AM by Parama »

Offline Cyril

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#60: Between the Buried and Me - Coma Ecliptic
#14 for 2015



Not satisfied with my first review of this album. I was too bitter towards it and too exhausted to put up with it by the end. But I don't think I really gave the album enough credit. I mean, no, I wouldn't call it a good album even still, but it's not awful or anything. So I'm just going to redo this one fresh.

So. The main problem of this album... the cool moments are pretty sparse, with a lot of the album being merely "alright". Good as background noise but not much else. And it's too long. Almost 69 minutes and by the end it's reused a lot of the same tricks enough that it stops sounding remotely fresh. And it draaaags, even the (longer) Future Sequence, which I don't exactly love, doesn't drag like this album does.

There's a lot of complex, sometimes wacky music on this album. But a lot of it lacks any sense of purpose, and the album is almost completely lacking in emotional depth or any real sense of power. You have the choruses of The Coma Machin and King Redeem/King Serene, the sludgy endings of Turn on the Darkness and Rapid Calm, most of Option Oblivion and the back half of Life in Velvet as far as power goes. Emotional presence is even worse off, I only really get much out of King Redeem/Queen Serene's intro and the piano half of Life in Velvet, and even then they're not that strong.

The Coma Machine is a weird track in the context of the album because it's rather underwritten in comparison to the overwritten rest of the album; it relies too heavily on its chorus and a lot of the other segments repeat. On top of that, Life in Velvet exists mostly to reprise the better parts of this track in different contexts, leaving them more worn out while also kind of doing them better.

A lot of the songs here aren't very cohesive, aside from the shorter ones; and even then Option Oblivion is the only shorter track that's really all that adventurous. Aside from The Coma Machine, the rest of the tracks here are sprawling messes of ideas loosely stitched together to vaguely form songs.

Honestly, a lot of the strongest moments here are cleaner or at least not-so-metal bits. There's a kind of punchy bit in the middle of Famine Wolf that's way too brief, there's most of the second half of Turn on the Darkness that has a nice jazzy feel and an actual buildup, a jazzy break near the end of The Ectopic Stroll, a spacey ambient break in Rapid Calm, and a nice clean break about three-quarters into Memory Palace. All some of the more notable highlights (seeing as they're all bits I mentioning combing through this album just now).

The other stronger moments here are the ones that are just plain fun. Especially The Ectopic Stroll with its playful piano line and kind of cheesy vocals during its early verses, just really fun to listen to. There's also a few moments with nice groove, the "chorus" to Turn on the Darkness is kind of Opeth-y in its groove and I quite enjoy it.

There really aren't really any actively bad moments on this album, either, just a lot that bore. Out of the 70 minutes, I'd be fine with completely dropping 40 of them, at least. The lack of quality at points is really what makes this album drag more than anything else, an absence of good more than the presence of bad. But really, I still feel I was being overly harsh on this album before; it's mediocre at worst and tolerable at best. Not an especially respectable status for an album to be, I'm sure, but there's enough cool moments here and nothing really offensive that it's at least worth a listen or two, but... perhaps not much more.
 
Favorite Tracks: Option Oblivion, Life in Velvet, Turn on the Darkness, The Ectopic Stroll
Least Favorite Tracks: Rapid Calm, Famine Wolf

5.5/10

DTF Addendum: I always feel like I should be rating this lower than I have it here, and in fact it did used to be lower, but... the decent amount of really cool parts is what saves from being really unbearable, but overall I really have no desire to ever revisit this. I doubt I'll get another BTBAM album at this point, after the previous two disappointments.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2016, 10:26:38 AM by Parama »

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Memory Palace and The Coma Machine should really be among the best tracks. That said, this album bored me very quickly too. It's an exhaustive listen and to be honest not a very good one either.
Hey dude slow the fuck down so we can finish together at the same time.  :biggrin:
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Coma Ecliptic is my favourite BTBAM album. It's amazing. Famine Wolf, Turn on the Darkness, Rapid Calm, Memory Palace, Life in Velvet... so many good songs. The flow is superb too.

Sadly, I kinda have to agree with you on Drones. The title track is really cool, and The Handler and Reapers are great songs, but the rest is just sorta... there. Globalist is a patchwork of cool ideas with no cohesion, and the rest is just business as usual. However, I will have to disagree with you on The Second Law, because I think that that is one of Muse's best - I'd probably put it at #2 in their discog. It's varied, it's fun, what more do you want?
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Offline Train of Naught

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Ouch, this one is rough, but I can kinda see where you're coming from.

I've skimmed through the BTBAM thread when getting into them and I saw a lot of reactions showing that they kinda liked the album but could see it growing really quickly, and so it did for most. I didn't like this one at first but it's now my go-to BTBAM album, lots of fun moments, great slow sections too in Node, KR/QS intro and Dim Ignition for instance. I lose a bit of focus near the end so I'll agree on you with the length, I woulda been fine with 60 minutes.

Your favorites/least favorites are objectively wrong though :tup
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