(Tamás Kátai is the man behind a Hungarian band called Thy Catafalque, whose fifth album Rengeteg is one of my favorite recordings of the year, for reasons I’ll be explaining in a forthcoming review. Also, a song from that album will appear soon on our list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. So of course, as part of our Listmania series, I asked Tamás to contribute his list of the year’s best albums — and here we have it.)
10. Baaba Kulka – Baaba Kulka
A Polish band with early Iron Maiden covers up to Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son album. Why it’s interesting and worthy of note is that they handle the task with exceptional freedom and taste. My faves are the trip-hopish “Aces High” and the beautifully low-key “Flight Of Icarus”. True Warriors Of Heavy Metal keep out!
9. Absu: Abzu
For me the first one will always be the best Absu album because of its cool title and because that’s their darkest offering by far (and I’m dark). This new one won’t change this fact — however, Abzu is also crazy enough. They are not kidding in spite of their recent promoshoots.
8. Wolves In The Throne Room: Celestial Lineage
Pretentious, libertine American black metal. Hence something done for me personally.
7. Nader Sadek: In the Flesh
This is exactly like Morbid Angel and Chimera-era Mayhem mixed together. Odd, exciting, dark death metal exploiting the contributing musicians’ ability, charisma, and character to the maximum.
6. Decapitated: Carnival is Forever
Didn’t like it at first, but then somehow it grew on me and now I just love this. To tell the truth, much better than their oldest ones. All right, there’s plenty of Meshuggah here, but I don’t mind (unlike in the case of those djent bands).
5. Sólstafir: Svartir Sandar
I prefer Köld and find this album way too long, yet they still have that unique sound. You can tell from the very first note that it’s Sólstafir, and that’s quite important — to develop a characteristic, individual, distinctive musical world. They have it.
4. Oranssi Pazuzu: Kosmonument
Their first album was special and this one is even more special. Sometimes they remind me of Unholy, also from Finland, but the whole thing is so highly peculiar and idiopathic that it’s pure joy to listen to. Even their cover artwork is 10/10.
3. OneHeadedMan: We Are Not Unique (EP)
All right, there’s no way you know this Hungarian band. Just listen to this.
And also they have my fave Hungarian video using footage from the champions of Hungarian trash television, Budapest TV. Pure hilariousness. At least for the folk of my country.
2. Opeth: Heritage
I used to love Opeth. Saw them on stage back in ’96 supporting Cradle Of Filth in Budapest. After Blackwater Park they have been slowly becoming totally boresome with their barren, similar-sounding recordings. They did exactly the right thing to take a huge step now. Heritage is 10/10 at my place, and also, I had the luck to catch them live here in Edinburgh in October, and they were even better on stage than on album.
1. ICS Vortex: Storm Seeker
Opeth could also be the number one this year, it’s just alphabetic order that decided this. Here we have purely good songs. Even though the recording has a ridiculously lame production, it just doesn’t matter. Truly free-spirited, creative music coming up; even the very last, instrumental song “The Sub Mariner” is a superbly written one. This a total counterpoint to the scenical struggle of Dimmu Borgir.