Saturday, January 26, 2013

Best metal albums of 2012

Top 5 probably:
  • Anathema - Weather Systems
  • Woods Of Ypres - Woods V - Grey Skies & Electric Light
  • Ne Obliviscaris - Portal Of I
  • Alcest - Les Voyages De L'Âme
  • Sonata Arctica - Stones Grow Her Name
  • Paradise Lost - Tragic Idol
Runner ups:
  • Anneke Van Giersbergen - Everything Is Changing
  • Borknagar - Urd
  • Burzum - Umskiptar
  • Dragonforce - The Power Within
  • Drudkh - Eternal Turn Of The Wheel
  • Lacuna Coil - Dark Adrenaline
  • Master's Hammer - Vracejte Konve Na Místo
  • Monolithe - Interlude Second (EP)
  • Swallow The Sun - Emerald Forest And The Blackbird
  • Drudkh - Eternal Turn Of The Wheel

Woods Of Ypres - Woods V - Grey Skies & Electric Light

Having enjoyed their previous releases I always felt that Woods of Ypres had their own style of making music. Another point of view almost.

The opening track, the extremely energetic and catchy "Career Suicide" kinda sold me over the first hear. That track features excellent drumming, a fantastic riff and some goddamn singalong lyrics! This rest of this album isn't far from being a piece of art, mostly doomy, gothic and heavy on the outside, but still accessible and almost rock'n'roll in an alternative way.

A very intense and solid Woods release that became the unexpected swan song of the bands founder/vocalist David Gold who died in a traffic accident before this album was released. Nice work Mr. Gold, thanks for the trip, RIP!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Best games of 2011

#1 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Skyrim is the last episode of the Elder Scrolls series. Up untill now, the series didn't manage to keep me interested for a longer period but this one might be the exception. The main storyline is very well worked out, a bit short maybe, but there are TONS of side quests (all voice acted btw!) to compensate. The thing I like about Skyrim is the element of surprise, for example, once you are set to do a certain quest, then some NPC comes along with some intriguing situation, and suddenly you spend the rest of the evening doing something completely different. The fact that you play a prophesised semi-god called The Dragonborn, slayer of dragons, also adds to the fun factor.

Btw... this game is single player only.

And another side-note:
The game interface is clearly designed for console players and takes some getting used to on PC. Nevertheless I recommend the PC version just for the sake of all the available mods. Mods like a complete new interface, high res graphics, effects,...

Oh...I wanted to add another side note but then I took an arrow in the knee ;).

#2 FIFA 2012

The most complete footy game ever released its yearly update and what a gem it has become...
Electronic Arts drastically improved the user interface and improved the way defence works. I love the new head to head online matchups, where you play 10 matches vs equally ranked players  trying to get a promotion to a higher league. The difference now, is that you are matched vs equally balanced teams, so you can play with your favorite local team (Club Brugge btw :p) and get to play matches against similar rated teams and NOT against Man Utd, Real, Barca all the time. The Ultimate Team feature, where your create your own teams and compete vs other people online is ace as well.

#3 Star Wars: The Old Republic

As a semi-casual MMO player, I was very anxious for this release and I'm glad this game turned out to be more than just another World of Warcraft clone. I've been playing this game for a couple of hours each night now and enjoyed the story line very much. All quests are voice acted, with fitting music from the Star Wars universe and the mandatory pew-pew lazorbeam lightsabre shootouts. The fun part about the quests dialogues is that they're interactive, some answers give you light/dark side points, others improve your relationship with your companion. Also when you select an answer, your character will not just rephrase the line you selected, but will mostly add some humor or a little twist, which is a detail, but these details all add up.

I'm having so much fun playing a sadistic and murderous Dark Side Sith Inquisitor right now, but the best part is that the main quest line is class based, so after I'm bored with my current character, I'll just pick up a new class and start all over again.

It felt weird, cancelling my WoW account for the first time in 7 years.
This game probably would have made my #1 spot if it hadn't been for the late release (20.12).

#4 Battlefield 3

If you like multiplayer first person shooters with a bit of a challenge, then go get this game.

Well those are the games I've been playing this year, what are your favorite games?

Best metal albums of 2011

So I made a top list with a written review for each album entry, then managed to delete my post by accident. This is the 2nd attempt...won't bother rewriting my initial comments simply because doing things twice sucks.

1. Primordial - Redemption At The Puritans Hand

EPIC release if you ask me. Expect a wall of sound with a constant groove, divine melancholy, anger and pain, topped with passionate storytelling. From the intense head bang moments in "Bloodied Yet Unbowed" and the slowly building "The Mouth of Judas". Visit another plain for 63 mins, starting the second you press that play button.

2. Moonsorrow - Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleiden Maassa

These guys from Finland combine death/black and folk metal influences and have created some solid, heavy and epic, pagan metal. Too bad I can't understand a single word of the lyrics.

The English translation of the album title sounds like "As shadows we walk in the land of the dead".

3. In Flames - Sounds Of A Playground Fading

Another step in the evolution of this awesome band. Damn good precision drumming, excellent singer and souring riff epicness. It's harder to label them these days... lets just label it awesomesauce.

4. Wolf - Legions of Bastards

Pure heavy metal, rock and roll, excellently played with a reference to the 80's.

Don't be surprised if you hear yourself trying those catchy lyrics out in the highest voice you can manage.

Runner ups:
  • 5. Burzum - The Fallen
  • 6. To Cast a Shadow - In Memory of
  • 7. Spaces - Nothing Exists But Atoms And The Void
  • 8. Shells - Plains of the Purple Buffalo
  • 9. Novembers Doom - Aphotic
  • 10. Enslaved - The Sleeping Gods (EP)
  • 11. Alpha Tiger - Man or Machine

And the next part of the list would look like:
  • Channel Zero - Feed' Em With A Brick (Belgian!)
  • Dämmerfarben - Im Abendrot
  • Falkenbach - Tiurida
  • Fleshgod Apocalypse - Agony
  • Ghost Brigade - Until Fear No Longer Defines Us
  • Septic Flesh - The Great Mass
  • Skogen - Svitjod
  • Symphony X - Iconoclast
  • This Will Destroy You - Tunnel Blanket
  • Thurisaz - The Cimmerian Years (Belgian!)
  • Turisas - Stand Up And Fight
  • Tyr - The Lay of Thrym
  • Voyager - The Meaning of I

Best albums of 2011

Would look something like this:
  • Gotye - Making Mirrors
  • Lykke Li - Wounded Rhymes
  • Yuck - Yuck
  • Kasabian - Velociraptor
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers - I'm With You
  • Foo Fighters - Wasting Light
  • The Weeknd - House of Balloons
  • Snow Patrol - Fallen Empires

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Best metal albums of 2010

Top 5:
  • Urfaust - Der Freiwillige Bettler
  • Helloween - 7 Sinners
  • Burzum - Belus
  • Borknagar - Universal
  • Akelei - De Zwaarte van het Doorstane
The rest of the high score table:
  • Agalloch - Marrow of the Spirit
  • Darkthrone - Circle the Wagons
  • Enslaved - Axioma Ethica Odini
  • Rotting Christ - Aealo
  • Drudkh - Handful of Stars
  • The Vision Bleak - Set Sail to Mystery
  • Orphaned Land - The Never Ending Way of ORWarriOR
  • In Vain - Mantra
  • Alcest - Écailles de lune
Other albums, although non metal:
  • Dax Riggs - Say Goodnight To The World
  • Triggerfinger - All This Dancin' Around