Top 5 albums from metal-influenced bands that have since released 2 more full-length albums, put on a great live show and…oh, of whom you’ve probably never heard
That’s right. I said it. You have probably never heard of these bands.
I know you like to think of yourself of a music aficionado, and that’s OK, I’m not trying to one-up you by reviewing rare bands. In fact, these aren’t obscure bands at all. They all have over a hundred thousand fans on myspace, unlike Razzle Blaster. I only said this because…you don’t like metal. Nope. You sort of got into it junior year of high school when your friends were downloading obscure albums off of WinMX (when they weren’t exceeding the bandwidth with porn) but then you “grew out of it” once you got to college and found Snow Patrol and the entire discography of Modest Mouse. Pssh…fuck that. These guys never grew out of it
and they’re awesome. Just who the hell do you think you are?
Alright, so…no. I’m not talking about maiden, or priest, or anything that Scott has accurately mentioned here. The key phrase here is “metal-influenced.” Actually, the genres covered in this post range from southern metalcore, to grind, all the way to nintendo-core. Yes…it’s very real. And very awesome.
So, you should read this if:
1.) You are looking to expand your musical horizons
2.) You can tolerate interesting music that may include [alot of] screaming vocals
3.) You’re really bored
You should not read this if:
1.) You only like shitty music (such as [your favorite band])
2.) You think that screaming means people are angry
3.) You think I’m honestly this pretentious about music
With that, I move onto the Top 5. Enjoy!
Nuclear. Sad. Nuclear. Released 2005 by The Number Twelve Looks Like You.
This is quite the album. If you start your trip by listening to these guys, you are in for a ride, or a “what the fuck is this” experience. Wikipedia describes the genre as “mathcore” or “experimental metal.” I’ll add that there is quite a bit of grindy grindy in there as well. This was the bands first album on a bigger label, and it got them alot of well-deserved attention. After this, they released two more albums, Mongrel in 2007 and then Worse than Alone in 2009. I don’t say this lightly, but Worse than Alone will bend what you think you know about musical genres. Honestly, it is an incredible mix of metal, hardcore, jazz and avant garde that will delight your taste for the eclectic. More importantly though, its well written and a wonderful masterpiece. This album would be on the top 5, if only the band had released two more albums since then.
For the lazy, here’s a video of one of the better songs from the mediocre middle child Mongrel.
Onto number four!
Doppelganger. Released 2005 by The Fall of Troy.
In all honesty, the first time I listened to this album my jaw was on the floor the entire time. In-fucking-credible. The intensity, emotion, and complexity these guys play with will blow your mind (if you like good music…). The best part is that it’s a 3-piece. And yes, it’s all reproduce-able live: just ask PK. We saw them when they charged $12 a show and sold t-shirts for $10. Then the unthinkable happened. This song was featured on Guitar Hero II, and it was all downhill from there. They released 2 more albums after this one; Manipulator in 2007, and In the Unlikely Event in 2009 and they both sucked wrinkly goat scrotum. To add insult to injury, their tickets cost $30, as well as their t-shirts. Fuck them. I hate this band for making me so incredibly cliche:
“I liked them before they were popular” – me.
Regardless, Doppelganger will forever be on my top 5 albums of all time, let alone this exclusive list.
Gutter Phenomenon. Released 2005 by Every Time I Die.
Yes. This is it. Southern Metalcore at its finest. I can’t describe just how awesome this album is. So I won’t try. I will say, however, that I hated it the first 3 times I listened to it. Then, I put it directly in my ears and went skateboarding, and it clicked. I appreciated everything this album was, and so much more. The lyrics, my friends. The singer is a brilliant cynical metaphorical brutal romantic. And you will love it. If you ever get the chance to see them live, you should go for it, and give me a call. For a taste, check out this video. Recognize it? Sadly, it was also featured on Guitar Hero II.
And yes, you guessed it, after this album the band released two more albums. The Big Dirty, which was exactly that, in 2007, and New Junk Aesthetic in 2009. While TBD is magnitudes grittier and more southern influenced, it doesn’t tickle my fancy as much. You may want to check it out though if you enjoy feeling like you just made out with a bearded chain smoker in a sweltering bar in the heart of Southern Texas. NJA is also commendable, but the singer is starting to lose his voice…his lyrics are just as good though.
And now it’s time for…
You Fail Me. Released 2004 by Converge.
I call this music hardcore grindmetal. You will probably call it “is this guy actually saying anything?” Either way, it is beautiful once you grasp what the songs are about. I recommend listening to this while reading lyrics, so you get the full effect and can truly appreciate how good this album is. My favorite song is probably “Hope Street,” clocking in at just over 1 minute long (typical for grind). Another song, which is the most hardcore [punk] influenced of any is featured in the video below.
This album, my favorite of the entire band’s discography, was actually not received well. The next two albums they released however, were. No Heroes in 2006 is probably one of the hardest albums I’ve ever heard…perhaps even too hard for me. Axe to Fall, which was released last year in 2009, is a another home run, however. I would recommend it to anyone looking for intense and fast-paced metal. The final two songs, however, slow it down for an incredible and artful ending to what is perhaps the bands greatest album.
Finally we reach
El Numero Uno
The Mechanical Hand. Released 2005 by Horse the Band.
This album is number 1 for a few reasons, none of which I feel like getting into. Sorry. However, this album is pretty amazing, and is the only band I know of that can legitimately be referred to as nintendocore. They start the album off by singing about Birdo from Super Mario Brothers Two. Amazing. The rest of this album is well orchestrated and epic to say the least. It is a great work of art, and I recommend it to all who crave music without boundaries. The band continued to impress me after they released two more albums; A Natural Death in 2007 and Desperate Living in 2009. Natural Death still has some great music, but is a little lacking in overall quality as a complete album. DL however is a wondrous masterpiece. The level of music writing on this album is so intricate, detailed, and dynamic that you will love every second of each song, waiting to see where they’ll take it next. If you only check out one of these bands, please check out this one. You will not be disappointed (but most likely you’ve hated all of this music so far.) Enjoy the videos for the first two songs of The Mechanical Hand below. I hope you learned something new about music today.
<3 the engineer