Album of the Year 2016 – Number 25

Welcome to day six in my ‘Album of the Year 2016’ top 30 countdown. Thanks for staying with me. It already feels like I’ve been doing this for weeks, but at the same time, it is flying by.

One of the best things about doing this series is that I get a real and genuine excuse to sit back, relax and listen to all those albums that I have loved this year, with the sole purpose of trying to rank them into some kind of order. With so much music to listen to and to review, it can be easy to forget how good some albums really are and very difficult to revisit them as often as I would like. So this is the perfect opportunity for some self-indulgence.

If you’ve missed any of the 2016 series to date, links can be found to all these at the bottom of this post. Additionally, there are links to my 2012-2015 countdowns too, should they be of interest to you.

But now on to the most important part of this post: my choice at Number 25:

Number 25

Press_Cover_01

 

Headspace
All That You Fear Is Gone
InsideOut Music

 

“The all-out attack and crunch of the debut is still present but nowhere near as frequently but that’s in keeping with a different overall vibe to this album than the debut. ‘All That You Fear Is Gone’ is more varied and arguably more mature with the quieter passages demonstrating a different facet of what is unquestionably a highly talented team of musicians…On ‘All That You Fear Is Gone’ nothing is apparently off limits and nothing is seemingly beyond the ability of the quintet.

…if you’re willing to persevere and listen to ‘All That You Fear Is Gone’ on its own considerable merits and accept that it has an identity all of its own, the chances are that you too will end up loving it and will willingly take it to your heart.”

Read the full review here

Credit: Ian Blissett

Credit: Ian Blissett

If you’d asked me to place a bet at the beginning of the year, I’d have said that the new Headspace album would almost certainly have featured in this 2016 list. The debut album ‘I Am Anonymous’ was so damn good and the clientele within this UK based progressive outfit is so talented that surely this would have been a safe bet for a died-in-the-wool progressive metal fan. And so it has proved.

‘All That You Fear Is Gone’ is a fantastic record, although it took me some time to get to grips with it and appreciate all of its charms. It is a bona-fide grower in every sense of the term. When I listened initially, I wasn’t a fan at all because it didn’t seem to have that crunch and power of the debut; it felt like it meandered along without much purpose. How wrong could I be though because with time and effort, it has blossomed into a thoroughly excellent, utterly absorbing listen, full of subtle and clever nuances that aren’t obvious at the beginning.

The key is to not compare it to the debut because stylistically, it is quite different. But the musicianship, the professionalism and the attention to detail ids quite incredible, arguably even more honed and assured. As I sit here now, listening to it for the umpteenth time, I am actually wondering whether this album should be featuring higher in my list, because the longer I have it and the more I listen, the more I fall for its unconventional charms. This isn’t as heavy as the debut, but it is as engrossing and commanding without a doubt. I still don’t like ‘Polluted Alcohol’ though!

In case you’ve missed any of the other posts in the 2016 series, here they are for you to explore and enjoy:

Album of the Year 2016 – number 26
Album of the Year 2016 – number 27
Album of the Year 2016 – number 28
Album of the Year 2016 – Number 29
Album of the Year 2016 – Number 30

And from previous years:

Album of the Year 2015
Album of the Year 2014
Album of the Year 2013
Album of the Year 2012

Album of the Year 2016 – Number 26

Day five of my ‘Album of the Year 2016’ top 30 countdown is upon us meaning that I’m already a sixth of the way through this series. Thank you to those who have been following this series since the beginning. And to those who are new to this, I welcome you – I hope you enjoy what you read and that you stick around for the remaining 25 posts still to come in this series.

I’ve already had some really nice positive comments about this year’s countdown and to those people, I salute you. I am more than happy however, to receive some negative comments if you have them. I can’t be getting every decision right, surely? Or can I?

Well, whatever the answer to that, there’s plenty of time to make a faux pas and I look forward to the banter that will ensue when I do. With that firmly in mind, it’s time to cease procrastination and reveal my choice at 26 this year:

Number 26

600435_10153996290562230_6815861156457657249_n

Be’lakor
Vessels
Napalm Records

 

 

“…‘Vessels’ is, quite simply, fantastic. It is one of those albums that makes an instant impression but with further listens, matures and blossoms into something even more impressive. Small and subtle nuances come to the fore, intricacies reveal themselves and the melodies burrow deeper into your psyche.

At its heart, ‘Vessels’ is a death metal album or, at the very least an extreme metal record…But Be’lakor are not content to just plough a brutal furrow…’Vessels’ is, as a result, a multi-layered, multi-faceted beast full of wonderful aural textures, atmosphere, drama and grand elegance.

Be’lakor…is the biggest and most exciting melodic death metal discovery I have made in the last year or so, maybe longer. They do everything that I like in my metal and they do it extremely well. I am well and truly converted to the Be’lakor cause and I cannot sing their praises highly enough…”

Read the full review here

bk-0002-11_hi

As someone who absolutely adores melodic death metal and intelligent, progressive music, I simply cannot believe that Be’lakor and I had never crossed paths before now. It is ludicrous. And yet it is the reality that faced me earlier in the year as I ‘discovered’ Be’lakor for the first time. I can be such an idiot sometimes.

I had nothing to compare it to in terms of their back catalogue at the time I reviewed this album. However, on the strength of ‘Vessels’, I have since delved into the past and have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I must admit that ‘Vessels’ remains my favourite Be’lakor record but I think it has much to do with the fact that it led to this new voyage of discovery, because this Australian band are frighteningly consistent. Quality is a key word in their armoury but then so is technicality, sophistication and ambition; all of these words are well-placed when describing the music of Be’lakor with ‘Vessels’ being the absolute epitome of all of them.

Again, but for an insanely strong year, ‘Vessels’ could have easily made it into my Top 20, maybe higher. It is pure brilliance and must be checked out as soon as humanly possible.

In case you’ve missed any of the other posts in the 2016 series, here they are for you to explore and enjoy:

Album of the Year 2016 – number 27
Album of the Year 2016 – number 28
Album of the Year 2016 – Number 29
Album of the Year 2016 – Number 30

And from previous years:

Album of the Year 2015
Album of the Year 2014
Album of the Year 2013
Album of the Year 2012

Album of the Year 2016 – Number 27

It’s officially December, the day when I lose my annual battle about putting up the Christmas decorations in my house. I always want to wait longer but when I’m outnumbered 3 to 1 by excited girls, I know when to fight and when to accede for a quiet life. And if I give in, I get more time to write these blog posts, so that must be a good thing surely?

And on that subject, we’re already on to day 4 of my ‘Album of the Year 2016’ top 30 countdown. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly this rather epic labour of love passes by, although it is usually in a flurry of panic and constant indecision about my inclusions in the list and then the appropriate order. But I love it, so here I am again.

If you’ve missed the first three posts so far this year, you’ll find links to them at the bottom of this post. And if you are new to the Blog of Much Metal entirely, you’ll also find links to my full lists from previous years that go back to 2012.

As I’ve said before, this list is not about a popularity contest, it is about shining a light on the bands and albums that have impressed me the most over the past 11 months or so. I’m keen to know what your thoughts are, so feel free to hurl the friendly abuse my way!

With that, I present you Number 27:

Number 27

in-the-woods-cover

In The Woods
Pure
Debemur Morti Productions

 

 

“For many reasons, ‘Pure’ is a very apt title for this record, not least because it is an album that offers pure escapism and pure entertainment from start to finish, across ten compositions and an hour’s playing time. But moreover, there is a definite pureness to the musical output, a palpable sense that ‘Pure’ represents the completely honest vision and distilled essence of an older, wiser and more experienced In The Woods.

I have tried to find it, believe me, but there is absolutely no filler on ‘Pure’. I don’t dislike any of the compositions and the consistent quality is very impressive indeed. It is an album that begins at a very high level and continues until the bitter end. As comeback albums go, this is very definitely one of the best I have heard. Highly recommended.”

Read the full review here

14117887_10153663435696541_1404874304811342775_n

When I refer to this being a comeback album, I really mean it. ‘Pure’ represents the first new material from this fantastic and highly regarded extreme prog/experimental band for 17 years. And not only did it make a big impression on me at the time of its release as my review implies, it continues to work its magic nearly three months later.

There is much I could say about this record in terms of its strengths because believe me, there are plenty. However, sitting here now, the thing I like best about it is the overall depth of the music and the way in which the compositions are constructed. There is no doubt that this is an extreme metal record but this aspect has been blended so artfully with sweeping atmospheres, moments of quiet reflection and elegant melody that it is easy to forget. It sounds daft I admit, but I say this because the sometimes complex transitions sound so effortless. And the vocals too are so simply delivered and full of melody and poignancy that I find the whole thing such a smooth and immersive listen from beginning to end.

I just hope that we don’t have to wait until 2033 for the next studio album.

In case you’ve missed any of the other posts in the 2016 series, here they are for you to explore and enjoy:

Album of the Year 2016 – number 28
Album of the Year 2016 – Number 29
Album of the Year 2016 – Number 30

And from previous years:

Album of the Year 2015
Album of the Year 2014
Album of the Year 2013
Album of the Year 2012

Album of the Year 2016 – Number 28

Here we are already at day three of my annual countdown of the best albums released during 2016 as far as I am personally concerned. And, because the Blog Of Much Metal is a one-man blog, there is no voting system or complicated formula – the 30 albums that will feature in this list are those that have had the biggest impact on me personally this year. Simple as that.

If you disagree with my choices, tell me. I’d love to hear your opinions, whether or not you agree with me. Music is subjective and that’s part of the magic of it. So if I’ve put your favourite album too low in the list or if you hate a band in my list, let’s get some discussion going!

As I’ve mentioned before, I have reviewed justabout every album in this list, so I will keep the content here quite brief, whilst linking my full 1000+ word reviews if you want to take a closer look.

And with that, allow me to reveal my choice at number 28:

Number 28

testament-brotherhood-of-the-snake-artwork

 

Testament
Brotherhood Of The Snake
Nuclear Blast

 

“Speaking of sounding ‘fired-up’, this would be a worthy description for the vast majority of the material on ‘Brotherhood Of The Snake’ and explains to some extent why this is such a great album. There is an audible hunger and desire throughout the record that translates into the music to excellent effect. When you’re confronted with a bulldozing riff, blazing lead, full-on rhythmic assault or a snarl or growl from Billy, you believe it. The energy that oozes from the music isn’t forced or some attempt to recapture their early youth; this is the real deal. Five quality musicians delivering some of their most accomplished work and apparently loving every second of it.

With ‘Brotherhood Of The Snake’, Testament have produced a record that has truly captured my imagination, delivered enjoyment in spades and breathed life into a genre that had lost its spark for me. As a result, Testament have almost certainly managed the unthinkable – put a thrash metal album slap bang in my end of year ‘best of’ list. Yup, it’s that good.”

13892164_10157166151920332_4678687037391139942_n

Read the full review here

I think the last quote above says it all really. I’ve never been the biggest thrash metal fan to be honest and so, to find one mentioned in this end of year round-up should speak volumes as to its quality.

As the weeks have gone by, I had expected the sheen to wear off ‘Brotherhood of the Snake’. However, the opposite has happened. The blend of razor sharp riffs, snarled vocals and the juxtaposition between all-out aggression and strong melodic sensibilities means that this record remains on regular rotation in my house and on my headphones on these cold dark nights. There’s nothing like a bit of solo moshing to warm you up, am I right?!

There is something incredibly intoxicating about this record that makes it a compelling listen for me – in a way, I think it serves to remind me just why I got into heavy metal in the first place. The energy, the power, and the groove all come together expertly to create a listening experience which is intense but also a lot of fun. The performances all-round are on-point and the overall production takes everything to another level. ‘Brotherhood of the Snake’ is a behemoth of thrash metal, easily the best thrash metal album released all year.

In case you’ve missed any of the other posts in the 2016 series, here they are for you to explore and enjoy:

Album of the Year 2016 – Number 29
Album of the Year 2016 – Number 30

And from previous years:

Album of the Year 2015
Album of the Year 2014
Album of the Year 2013
Album of the Year 2012

Album of the Year 2016 – Number 29

Welcome to day two of my ‘Album of the Year 2016’ top 30 countdown. If you missed the first post in this series, check it out here:

Album of the Year 2016 – Number 30

As I stated at the beginning of the last post, 2016 has been an incredibly strong year for my personal music taste. I have listened to countless new releases and have reviewed, in full, nearly 100 of the best. Whittling them down into a top 30 has been excruciatingly hard and even now, I’m still tinkering with the order and making 11th hour swaps.

In some cases, my opinion of the music has increased whilst in others, my initial love has waned disappointingly. As such, my final 30 contains a few surprises even to me. Mind you, going back and revisiting all these super albums has been a delight and is something I’ve enjoyed immensely. However, rest assured that every album that’s featured in this list is worthy of its place, whether it was released 11 months or 11 days ago.

So, back to the main issue at hand – what is today’s album of choice?…

Number 29

COVER SMALL

 

In Mourning
Afterglow
Agonia Records

 

“‘Afterglow’, the fourth album from In Mourning, is such a positive album because Messrs Tobias Netzell (guitars, vocals), Pierre Stam (bass), Björn Pettersson (guitars, vocals), Tim Nedergård (guitars) and former katatonia drummer Daniel Liljekvist have really come up trumps in terms of merging three or four key ingredients into a cohesive and believable end product. They take the crushing brutality of death and doom metal and blend it with mournful, elegant melodies, a progressive bent and a liberal dose of dark, foreboding atmosphere.

I am hugely impressed by what I have heard. There’s not a weak track anywhere to be found and the consistency of the song writing and indeed the execution is out of the top drawer…‘Afterglow’ is a damn fine record and is one of the finest melodic death/doom releases I’ve heard in a while, right up there with label mates October Tide and last year’s opus from Swallow The Sun.”

Read the full review here

Photo: Daniel Jansson

Photo: Daniel Jansson

This record was released back in May 2016 and, if anything, the more I listen to this album, the more I like it. ‘Afterglow’ made a big impact right away but it is one of those releases that actually gets stronger with time and repeated listens. It is particularly satisfying when it is returned to after a bit of a break because I find that the heavy and uncompromising riffs hit harder whilst the melodies and the dark atmospheres feel even more emotive and elegant.

Some six months on, ‘Afterglow’ really feels like a remarkably consistent record with plenty to enjoy throughout, most notably the progressive elements that keep the listener on their toes. However I have to admit that ‘Ashen Crown’ is the standout moment; I just love the juxtaposition between the heavy opening and the shoegaze-infused second half that sends shivers down my spine thanks to its subtlety and acoustic-led elegance that conveys real depth, emotion and poignancy, not to mention its uplifting overtones. That said, there are plenty of other fantastically mesmerising moments to be found littering this impressive album.

If you’re looking for an album that is brutal, sophisticated and dripping with dark atmosphere, make sure that you check out ‘Afterglow’ as it is easily the best and most accomplished release from this talented Swedish extreme metal band.

In case you’ve missed any of the other posts in the 2016 series, here they are for you to explore and enjoy:

Album of the Year 2016 – Number 30

And from previous years:

Album of the Year 2015
Album of the Year 2014
Album of the Year 2013
Album of the Year 2012

Album of the Year 2016 – Number 30

Hello and welcome to my annual musical extravaganza that’s my countdown of the year’s best album releases from across the rock and metal spectrum. As usual, you’ll find just about everything in this list, from black to death metal, from prog rock to extreme prog metal and plenty in between. I am a fan of heavy music in most of its guises and that, I hope, will be reflected in this list.

In keeping with last year, I have decided to keep the ‘top 30’ format, just bescause I quite enjoy writing these posts and because 2016 was an insanely great year for rock and metal music. The quality has been unbelievable at times and hopefully this is something that can be underlined by the albums that made it on my list as well as those that have just missed out.

However, this year, I will do things slightly differently. This is the first year where I have reviewed albums exclusively on my blog. As such, everything in this list will have been reviewed by me at some point in the year on the Blog of Much Metal. Therefore, I shall keep these posts quite short, adding a brief commentary about my thoughts on the album some days, weeks or months on from their release. In addition, I will quote a passage from the review, with links to the full article and, where possible, will include different sample tracks, possibly different photos too – we’ll see how I get on with that.

As always, I love the banter that this series initiates – please keep it coming. I know that there will be some releases that don’t feature that you think should and vice versa. Let me know what you think as we go along & hopefully get some debate going in the process.

There are also links to the previous series from 2012-2015 at the bottom of this post, so if you’re new to these and you’re intrigued by my choices from other years, feel free to check them out.

Ok, on that note, let’s get down to it. From this point on, there’s no going back…

Number 30

amaranthe-cover

 

Amaranthe
Maximalism
Spinefarm Records

 

“…above all, when all is said and done, who doesn’t like a good dose of feel-good, memorable music that perhaps doesn’t require a huge amount of effort to enjoy? Sometimes, we’ve all got to rock out, yes? Sometimes, we all need to hear something that you can sing in the shower, yes? Well, in that case, there’s no one better than Amaranthe.

Once again, the sextet has delivered an excellent album that will almost certainly hit all the right notes in the live arena. ‘Maximalism’ demonstrates yet again that Amaranthe are consummate professionals at writing and performing music that is succinct, powerful and infectious as hell. Amaranthe are no longer a guilty pleasure; they’re simply a pleasure.”

Read the full review here

12002311_1221955811163142_2268289677403562326_n

After a few initial misgivings, I really grew to like this polished and pristine slab of modern melodic metal from Amaranthe. As the quotes above indicate, ‘Maximalism’ is big on excess, be it in the form of huge choruses, over-the-top vocals or the massive mainstream pop influences.

I accept that Amaranthe is a love or hate band but I’m a lover – the whole thing is so damn catchy that it is almost impossible not to get swept up in it. So why is it not higher in my top 30? Good question.

The answer, quite simply and honestly, is that it is a victim of an impossibly strong year where I have been inundated with superb music left, right and centre. Another year, ‘Maximalism’ may have found itself within my top 20 or higher. But as it is, as excellent as it is, it only just sneaks into the list. But don’t let that put you off – ‘Maximalism’ is a great record, deserving of your attention.

And from previous years:

Album of the Year 2015
Album of the Year 2014
Album of the Year 2013
Album of the Year 2012

Delain – Moonbathers – Album Review

delain-cover

Artist: Delain

Album Title: Moonbathers

Label: Napalm Records

Date Of Release: 26 August 2016

I must apologise for the tardiness of this review. However, I do have my reasons. When I first listened to ‘Moonbathers’, the fifth album from melodic symphonic metallers Delain, I was not overly impressed.

I have, over the years, grown tired of female-fronted melodic symphonic metal to the point where I rarely listen to it. Bands like Universal Mind Project have sprung up out of nowhere to make an impact this year but in terms of the more tried and trusted genre favourites, nothing has really grabbed my attention for quite a while. Whether I’m being grossly unfair or not, I got the feeling that it was ‘same old, same old’, re-badged and released to the faithful. Delain were one of the bands that fell into this category.

However, a week or two ago, I found myself in Norwich, watching Delain headline at the Waterfront and I was shaken from my apathy. I was in attendance purely and simply because of the inclusion of Evergrey on the bill. However, I stayed in the venue to watch Delain and I am so glad that I did. It may not have changed my opinion of all female-fronted music of this kind but I heard and saw something in Delain that compelled me to go home a re-listen to ‘Moonbathers’.

I think with hindsight, it was two things that stuck with me. Firstly, it was the sense of fun and love of what they were doing that made me realise that the sextet formed by keyboardist Martijn Westerholt and fronted by Charlotte Wessels deserved a second chance. The enthusiasm, the smiles, the interaction with the audience; it all came together to create a special atmosphere, one that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Secondly, the following morning, I awoke with two distinct earworms running through my head and they were both Delain songs from the new album as it turns out. This rarely happens, particularly when my all-time favourite band were also on the bill the night before.

Since then, I have listened to ‘Moonbathers’ with fresh ears and a fresh, unbiased perspective. The result? I cannot help but really fall under the Delain spell, via what must surely be their most satisfying and accomplished release to date.

In 2016, the aforementioned Wessels and Westerholt are joined by bassist/vocalist Otto Schimmelpenninck van der Oije, guitarists Merel Bechtold and Timo Somers and drummer Ruben Israel. Each member of the band, be they longstanding or new to the fold come together really well to create the Delain sound. And that sound is highly melodic, infectious heavy metal with big choruses and bombastic, grandiose orchestration, which adds drama and a theatrical, cinematic depth to the songs. The majority of the music is generally around the classic mid-tempo with a strong beat and satisfyingly chunky riffs. I think it’s fair to say that Delain are not a complex listen but then that’s not the end result that they are going for, far from it. In fact, if they dallied with more complicated ideas and structures, it might even detract from the overall impact.

delain-band

Atop the instrumentation is the not so secret weapon in Charlotte Wessels, a striking lady that has an even more striking voice, not to mention an infectious love of what she is doing. Wessels’ range is impressive, but more so is her effortless power that creates a formidable cocktail when combined with her softer, more emotional delivery. And her phrasing as well as her innate sense of melody helps to transform a good composition into something great, even magical at times.

I realise that I am making a rather huge u-turn in my opinion of Delain and ‘Moonbathers’, from where I was after a first couple of spins. However, something has simply clicked and as is the beauty of music, sometimes things happen that cannot fully be explained. When all is said and done, I honestly don’t think that there is a weak track to be found on ‘Moonbathers’, such is the consistency of the material.

The album begins with ‘Hands Of Gold’ which opens with a short cinematic intro before launching into one of the most urgent songs on the entire album. The track bounds along at a decent lick, built on a strong foundation by drummer Israel, bassist Schimmelpenninck and guitarists Bechtold and Somers. The composition builds up to a hook-laden chorus dominated by Wessels’ rich and honest voice. The verses are laced with full-on orchestration to accent a central riff with bite. There is even the inclusion of gruff vocals from bassist Schimmelpenninck to increase the extremity and inject a ‘beauty and the beast’ element which I can’t help but like.

The delightfully named ‘The Glory And The Scum’ follows swiftly and, if anything, it ups the heaviness and the bombast. The orchestration is front and centre, acting as a counterpoint to some genuinely cracking riffs. And the enormous chorus is closed out by a gorgeous vocal melody from Wessels, one of those aforementioned magical moments. This was one of the earworms that wouldn’t let go after the gig.

‘Suckerpunch’ is a more immediate hit of aural saccharine. It begins with an 80s synth-pop vibe before delivering one of the most infectious choruses on the album. By this point, I’m well and truly being sucked in to the energetic vitality of the record and I’m loving it. After an extended cinematic workout, there’s a quick guitar solo before the chorus takes us breathlessly to the close.

The second earworm from that fateful night came courtesy of ‘The Hurricane’, an altogether moodier and more emotive song. The atmospheres take centre stage alongside a sprawling chorus where Wessels can once again shine beautifully. The same can be said of ‘Chrysalis’, a delicate ballad which builds in intensity, allowing Westerholt to show off his considerable talents in the process.

The heaviness is ratcheted up again via the up-tempo hard rocker ‘Fire With Fire’, a stadium-friendly beast if ever there was one. It is a bit of a grower but thanks to an insidiously infectious chorus and some unusual vocals from Wessels, it has slowly become one of my favourites.

Other highlights include ‘Danse Macabre’ thanks to more uniquely compelling vocals from Wessels, some subtle lead guitar work from Somers and the use of some bold electronics. And I also particularly like the initially brooding and sombre ‘Turn The Lights Out’ that again launches into a memorable, sing-along chorus.

Even the cover of Queen’s ‘Scandal’ is handled well – it’s not as good as the original, but then no-one could realistically better or match the original.

Ok, so this is the part where I once again admit that I was wrong. ‘Moonbathers’ is a monster of a record that delivers some of the most enjoyable and compelling female-fronted melodic metal I have heard in a while. The music itself is strong in its own right but what makes it even stronger is the knowledge that Delain genuinely love what they are doing. It comes through in the music, creating an honest and well-crafted set of songs with honesty and heart; and with killer choruses of course. You can’t really ask for more than that can you?

The Score Of Much Metal: 8.75

If you’ve enjoyed this review, check out my others via my reviews pages or by clicking the links right here:

Arcade Messiah – III
A Sense Of Gravity – Atrament
Devilment – Devilment II: The Mephisto Waltzes
Maschine – Naturalis
Brutai – Born
False Coda – Secrets and Sins
Pretty Maids – Kingmaker
In Flames – Battles
The Neal Morse Band – The Similitude Of A Dream
Memoreve – Insignia
Enbound – The Blackened Heart
Blind Ego – Liquid
Dark Tranquillity – Atoma
Hammerfall – Built To Last
Testament – Brotherhood Of The Snake
Crippled Black Phoenix – Bronze
Riverside – Eye Of The Soundscape
Hanging Garden – Hereafter
Theocracy – Ghost Ship
Arkona – Lunaris
Oddland – Origin
Sonata Arctica – The Ninth Hour
Edensong – Years In The Garden of Years
Meshuggah – The Violent Sleep Of Reason
Alcest – Kodama
Opeth – Sorceress
Negura Bunget – ZI
Epica – The Holographic Principle
Amaranthe – Maximalism
Eye Of Solitude – Cenotaph
Seven Impale – Contrapasso
DGM – The Passage
Pressure Points – False Lights
In The Woods – Pure
Devin Townsend – Transcendence
The Pineapple Thief – Your Wilderness
Evergrey – The Storm Within
Dream The Electric Sleep – Beneath The Dark Wide Sky
Periphery – ‘Periphery III: Select Difficulty’
Karmakanic – Dot
Novena – Secondary Genesis
Witherscape – The Northern Sanctuary
Eric Gillette – The Great Unknown
Tilt – Hinterland
Cosmograf – The Unreasonable Silence
Fates Warning – Theories Of Flight
Wolverine – Machina Viva
Be’lakor – Vessels
Lacuna Coil – Delirium
Big Big Train – Folklore
Airbag – Disconnected
Katatonia – The Fall Of Hearts
Frost* – Falling Satellites
Glorior Belli – Sundown (The Flock That Welcomes)
Habu – Infinite
Grand Magus ‘Sword Songs’
Messenger – Threnodies
Svoid – Storming Voices Of Inner Devotion
Fallujah – Dreamless
In Mourning – Afterglow
Haken – Affinity
Long Distance Calling – Trips
October Tide – Winged Waltz
Odd Logic – Penny For Your Thoughts
Iron Mountain – Unum
Knifeworld – Bottled Out Of Eden
Novembre – Ursa
Beholder – Reflections
Neverworld – Dreamsnatcher
Universal Mind Project – The Jaguar Priest
Thunderstone – Apocalypse Again
InnerWish – Innerwish
Mob Rules – Tales From Beyond
Ghost Bath – Moonlover
Spiritual Beggars – Sunrise To Sundown
Oceans Of Slumber – Winter
Rikard Zander – I Can Do Without Love
Redemption – The Art Of Loss
Headspace – All That You Fear Is Gone
Chris Quirarte – Mending Broken Bridges
Sunburst – Fragments Of Creation
Inglorious – Inglorious
Omnium Gatherum – Grey Heavens
Structural Disorder – Distance
Votum – Ktonik
Fleshgod Apocalypse – King
Rikard Sjoblom – The Unbendable Sleep
Textures – Phenotype
Serenity – Codex Atlanticus
Borknagar – Winter Thrice
The Mute Gods – Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me
Brainstorm – Scary Creatures
Arcade Messiah – II
Phantasma – The Deviant Hearts
Rendezvous Point – Solar Storm
Vanden Plas – Chronicles Of The Immortals: Netherworld II
Antimatter – The Judas Table
Bauda – Sporelights
Waken Eyes – Exodus
Earthside – A Dream In Static
Caligula’s Horse – Bloom
Teramaze – Her Halo
Amorphis – Under The Red Cloud
Spock’s Beard – The Oblivion Particle
Agent Fresco – Destrier
Cattle Decapitation – The Anthropocene Extinction
Between The Buried And Me – Coma Ecliptic
Cradle Of Filth – Hammer Of The Witches
Disarmonia Mundi – Cold Inferno
District 97 – In Vaults
Progoctopus – Transcendence
Big Big Train – Wassail
NightMare World – In The Fullness Of Time
Helloween – My God-Given Right
Triaxis – Zero Hour
Isurus – Logocharya
Arcturus – Arcturian
Kamelot – Haven
Native Construct – Quiet World
Sigh – Graveward
Pantommind – Searching For Eternity
Subterranean Masquerade – The Great Bazaar
Klone – Here Comes The Sun
The Gentle Storm – The Diary
Melechesh – Enki
Enslaved – In Times
Keep Of Kalessin – Epistemology
Lonely Robot – Please Come Home
The Neal Morse Band – The Grand Experiment
Zero Stroke – As The Colours Seep
AudioPlastik – In The Head Of A Maniac
Revolution Saints – Revolution Saints
Mors Principium Est – Dawn of The 5th Era
Arcade Messiah – Arcade Messiah
Triosphere – The Heart Of The Matter
Neonfly – Strangers In Paradise
Knight Area – Hyperdrive
Haken – Restoration
James LaBrie – Impermanent Resonance
Mercenary – Through Our Darkest Days
A.C.T. – Circus Pandemonium
Xerath – III
Big Big Train – English Electric (Part 1)
Thought Chamber – Psykerion
Marcus Jidell – Pictures From A Time Traveller
H.E.A.T – Tearing Down The Walls
Vanden Plas – Chronicles Of The Immortals: Netherworld