Well hello there. Man is the year coming to a close already?! Good because I’m ready for 2014 and all of the new stuff that is coming my way. 2013 was a fantastic year for metal, all genres gave me something terrific to enjoy. I reviewed well over 300 albums this year and listened to many more. So without further delay, I give you my top 25 albums of 2013.
Thyrfing, quite amazing put together viking/pagan metal. Moving keyboard ambiance is laid out behind melodic folk inducing metal riffs. The drumming is more of a thought out rhythmic progression rather than just blasting and the vocals are definitely heathen screams with some black metal moments in them. This album is unexpectedly very good.
Let’s kick start this triple header Qreview sesh with Moss of Moonlight!
Turisas, the band has been featured on many WoW boss take down videos along side other bands like Ensiferum, Tyr and more. These folk metal nerds have been bringing us some decent music for quite sometime now and they have come to return this year with a simple album called “Turisas 2013″. You’ll never forget which year this one came out! However, you’ll forget the music after a listen or two as the cheese is layed on thick and with other more powerful folk metal releases out this year, Turisas is left behind in the trenches.
Black metal and folk metal, two genres that are pretty damn good separate, and yet I’ve never thought about how it would sound if you combined them both. Thrawsunblat’s new album, “Wanderer on the Continent of Saplings”, is probably the best result you’ll ever get. To be honest, I’ve been a fan of this band ever since I first heard of Thrawsunblat’s first album, “Canada 2010″. Heavily influenced by life and his surroundings, Joel Violette puts together a wonderful album and the musicians he has brought onto this project make everything come together so beautifully. Rae Amitay on drums and Brendan Hayter on the bass make this release such a step up from Canada 2010, it’s as if they had a major label backing them, million dollar producers and engineers putting forth every bit of musical science into the album. However, this band put together a fundraiser and the fans reacted and come together to help fund this album. With the help of the fans and the masterful musicianship from the band itself, it all resulted in one of the most fulfilling metal releases of the year!!!
Growing up in the area that I’m from, we never really had a great music scene. There were talented bands scattered around, but most of them never lasted very long. There isnt really a surplus of musicians. When I was about 15 or 16, I started finding out about some bands from an area about 40min south of the town I live. The musicians in some of these bands were(and still are) some of the best musicians I’ve ever had the chance to know. One in particular is a guitarist by the name of Aaron Carey. At that time he was in a melodic death metal band called Angelrust. I had never heard anything like them yet, and didn’t know how to take their sound at first. But I do remember seeing Aaron play for the first time at my first Tombfest(a local summer metal show that sadly is no more), and to this day he is one of the most impressive guitar players I’ve ever seen.
So fast forward to 2013. Angelrust has been disbanded for quite some time now after writing an INCREDIBLE final album(The Nightmare Unfolds, Link will be at the end of the review). Aaron has moved on and started a project called “Nechochwen”. Blending his infleunces of early 90′s death, thrash and black metal with his Native American heritage, Nechochwen is truley uniqiue and amazing. A sound which I can only describe as Native American Folk Metal. While being a very extremely talented metal guitar player, Aarons acoustic and classical playing is where he really shines. The first album “Algonkian Mythos” is mostly acoustic music, but the metal influence hasnt come into play just yet. Still, Incredible guitar playing. Mythos is followed up by “Azimuths to the Otherworld” which is where metal starts to make its stand. This album is truely incredible and bounces back and forth, while staying closer to the darker metal sound. “OtO” is a natural progression for Nechochwen. Adding into the mix on “Azimuths” is former Angelrust bandmate and engineer Andrew D’Cagna on Drums and Bass, with some vocals as well.
OtO is a hard album to describe using only words. Imagine some metal dudes took a weekend trip to some forests in The Appalachian area. Both guys very talented musicians taking natural influences from culture and heritage of this area. Listening to Nechochwen is like taking a spiritual journey. Not following the pattern of Azimuths, OtO starts off pretty calm and melodic. Focused primariy on the classical guitar parts for the earlier part of the record, the rythym section does a good job of playing tastfully and dynamically giving some of these passages the exact skilled backing they deserve. Electric guitar work is also scattered throughout tastefully and skillfully. As Im writing this, Im about halfway through OtO. Its starting pick up, and is really foreshadowing the epic and powerful music thats on its way. While skillful guitar playing is thing that draws me most into this music, there are also other native wind instruments that I sadly do not know the names of, but rest assured Aaron is also skilled at these as well. Track 5, “Hey Ya Ho Na”, is one of my favorites off the album. Bringing back the extreme metal sound that was all over Azimuths, this track starts off heavy and melodic. All you can do is headbang. Tribal style drums and harmonized vocals chanting along similar to the title of the track make a nice little break in the action and then back to melodic headbanging metal. Continuing you through the musical journey that is OtO. \m/ . The album is closed with the track “Pekikalooletiiwe (instructions; an exhoration)” (dont worry, i dont know how to say that either). Excellent thrashy death metal riffs accompanied again by skilled and tasteful drumming, this album is coming to an extreme and climactic ending. The masterful riffs in this song really carry it. Getting very complex while still sounding intelligent, this is a good song to wrap up the album.
The arrangement of OtO is very important. This is not an album that you just pop one song on and are done with it. The flow is everything. Starting off calm and smooth, while branching into heavier parts towards the end, and bringing it back to the calm native folk sound that you will grow to love. It’s also important to note that this album was written and recorded for vinyl and intended to be heard that way. While the prodcution of the digital version youll more than likely hear is still good, this album can only improve when hearing it as intended. Aarons skilled and disciplined guitar playing deserves to be heard. Please do yourself a favor and add Nechochwen into your personal music collection.
Available now on bindrune recordings. Here are a few links to check out.
I give OtO a 4.5 out of 5. Listen to it TODAY!
Thrawsunblat have done it! They met their goals, worked tirelessly to get these new tunes recorded and have released the brand spanking new epic known as “Wanderer on the Continent of Saplings”!!! If you missed the interview with Joel Violette, be sure to catch up on that while you listen to the new album on their bandcamp page. A proper review will no doubt appear on this site soon, but for now I can just say I am loving every single bit of blood, sweat and tears that was poured into this record. The perfect way to start your day, listen to Thrawsunblat!!!!
Go give them a like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thrawsunblat?fref=ts
Seriously some of the best music by some of the nicest people in the metal world. Cheers!
Joel Violette, a man I admire. A man with intellect, talent and a desire to continue on after hard times. Joel is the main writer of the Canadian Blackened Folk band “Thrawsunblat” and ex-lead guitarist of Woods of Ypres. Now focusing on Thrawsunblat, we’re going to be seeing new music and much more coming from this band in the near future. I had a couple of questions for Joel and I enjoyed what he had to say. So sit back, relax and enjoy the deep responses this man gives.
Listen to Canada 2010 while you read this. Enjoy.
On this frigid winter morning I bring you a brand spanking new update from the even colder region of Canada!