EDITOR’S NOTE: Oak Pantheon is a Minneapolis-based band who we wrote about a couple of times earlier this year (most recently here), singing the praises of their EP called The Void. As a gross generalization, it’s folk-influenced black metal with memorable acoustic and electric melodies, infectious rhythms, and a scarifying dose of Nordic vocals. Sean Golyer is a “behind the scenes” member of the band, and he sent us the following list of his favorite albums from the past year. By coincidence, it includes three bands who made their first appearance on our the year-end lists from Stephen and Kenneth Parker that we posted yesterday.
There have no doubt been a lot of great music releases that I’ve listened to this year — countless more than this list indicates (Absu, Disma, and Wolves in the Throne Room are a few of the bands whose albums are great, but not listed below). However, I decided to take a new approach to my choices this year and compiled a short list of releases that have permanently made it into my collection of music that I listen to regularly, or simply releases that were so stand-out fantastic I couldn’t help but mention them.
I have to admit, the big metal releases this year were not quite as stellar as the past few years (at least not ones from the big names or labels). But that allowed me to open myself up further to bands outside of the genre, or bands that really pushed its boundaries. 2011 will certainly be known as the year that the underground really shined and surpassed anything the big labels put out.
Melancholy is a theme I always enjoy searching for and listening to. I discovered a lot of new bands and I’m also developing a newfound taste in crust, but not a lot of releases stood out enough that they stuck in my playlists regularly. I’m a man who likes to let the music speak for itself, so instead of me babbling on about my opinions for each band, I’d rather you just listen and take in the music to form your own opinion.
Altar of Plagues – Mammal (atmospheric/post black metal)
Der Weg einer Freheit – Agonie (melodic black metal)
[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/843099″ height=”200″]
Jacaszek – Glimmer (electro-ambient/classical/avant garde)
Kauan – Kuu… (post-rock/ambient)
Blodsgard (black metal)
Oak Pantheon – The Void EP*
* = OK, I’m obviously biased on this release since I engineered for it, but to deny that I don’t still listen to it on a very regular basis would be disingenuous. I think it’s a testament that my friends were able to write an EP that I had to listen to hundreds (thousands?) of times during the recording and mixing process yet it still maintains my interest to this day.
Solstafir – Svartir Sandar (Icelandic post-metal/post-rock)
Young and in the Way – V. Eternal Depression (crust/black metal/post punk)
Still Growing On Me/New Discoveries (not necessarily from 2011):
Kvelertak – Kvelertak (black n roll?)
Nux Vomica – Embrace the Cycles (blackened crust)
Embers – Shadows (crust/black/death)
Hierophant (blackened crust)
I enjoyed the Blodsgard release (although I had only heard the other two songs from it). Hierophant was a nice surprise. I will have to check them out.
Oak Pantheon and Embers would be in my list too. They’re very different albums, The Void has a clear and dry sound, Shadows a thundering wall of sound. They have great songwriting in common though – it is two albums I always hear from start to finish
On their Facebook Embers announced that will touring Europe in May – June. With two dates in Denmark! I’m fucking stoked! (tourplan here http://www.iconoclastrecords.org/?page_id=24 if you scroll down)
Haven’t heard Altar of Plagues – Mammal yet, but am really looking forward to. White Tomb was just epic melancholia.
Yeah, if you enjoyed anything AoP has done previously, Mammal blows those albums out of the park. It’s really something on another level.