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Issue 41 - A year of Ultimate Metal

Discussion in 'Songs To Watch' started by Demonspell, Jun 17, 2002.

  1. Demonspell

    Demonspell cheating the polygraph

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    DEMONSPELL’S SONGS TO WATCH
    Anniversary Edition – A Year Of Ultimate Metal

    Greetings, devoted readers! What follows is a brief look at most of the artists who have hosted forums here, along with some of the Launchpad songs and artists.

    UPDATED 11/25 to reflect the new additions made to UM since the initial posting.

    Alas
    Style: symphonic metal
    Notable talents: Martina Astner (ex-Therion), Erik Rutan (ex-Morbid Angel)
    Their sole release to date, Absolute Purity, is a highly impressive debut
    Key songs: Endlessly Searching, Silencing The Sorrow

    All That I Bleed
    Style: technical metal
    Bizarre development: The least active forum on UM. Considering that their Dying To Remember is one of the year's best debuts, they should receive more attention.

    Anathema
    Style: began as doom metal but have followed their own path since Eternity.
    Bizarre development: Daniel Cavanagh’s departure that lasted all of three weeks. Related band Antimatter also has a forum here.
    Essential albums: Judgement, A Fine Day To Exit, Alternative 4
    This writer’s favorites: Release, Underworld, Lost Control, Anyone Anywhere, Judgement, Cries On The Wind

    Angel Dust
    Style: aggressive power metal
    Career setback: this year’s lackadaisical Of Human Bondage.
    Essential albums: Bleed, Enlighten The Darkness
    Underrated release: Border Of Reality

    Anthrax
    Style: needs no introduction
    Career setback: September 11, endless label changes, growth under Scott’s chin.
    Album I played the hell out of in high school: Spreading The Disease
    Underrated release: Stomp 442

    Arch Enemy
    Style: Maiden-influenced melodic death
    Notable talents: Chris Amott
    Essential album: Burning Bridges
    This writer’s favorites: Sinister Mephisto, Eureka, Fields Of Desolation ('99 version)

    Arena
    Style: neo-progressive rock
    Notable talents: keyboardist Clive Nolan
    Bizarre development: Drummer Mick Pointer resurfaced in this band over a decade after being fired by Marillion.
    Best album: Immortal? (question mark included.)

    Ayreon
    Style: space rock with a revolving door of vocalists
    Notable talents: Arjen Lucassen
    Essential album: Universal Migrator
    Favorite vocalist: Russell Allen

    Beseech
    Style: goth-tinged doom
    Bizarre development: the ABBA cover Man After Midnight, a bonus track that has become a popular download at mp3.com
    Best album: Souls Highway

    Blaze
    Style: straight ahead metal
    Career setback: Maiden fans who thought Virtual XI was disastrous (raises hand)
    This writer’s favorites: The Tenth Dimension, The Launch, Born As A Stranger

    Borknagar
    Style: progressive black metal
    Favorite with Garm: A Tale Of Pagan Tongue
    Favorite with Simen: Colossus
    Favorite with Vintersorg: Soul Sphere

    Children Of Bodom
    Style: over the top melodic death
    Notable talents: Alexi Laiho, Janne Warmen
    One of the few songs I can tolerate: Deadnight Warrior

    Dan Swano
    Style: depends on project, has reportedly given up on death metal though
    Favorite Nightingale: Thoughts From A Stolen Soul
    Favorite Edge Of Sanity: Twilight
    Favorite from others: Uncreation (solo), Amon Ra (Odyssey), At The End Of The Bridge (Unicorn), 2 (Pan-Thy-Monium), etc.

    Dark Tranquillity
    Style: increasingly keyboard-heavy melodic death
    Career setback: abrupt stylistic change on Projector, later refined on Haven and Damage Done
    Essential album: The Gallery
    Favorite from new album: Hours Passed In Exile & The Treason Wall

    Devin Townsend
    Style: progressive, aggressive, schizophrenic.
    Essential album: Terria (featuring an amazing trio of emotional paralyzers in Deep Peace, Nobody’s Here, and Tiny Tears. Also witness Stagnant.)
    Favorite from Ocean Machine: Funeral
    Favorite from others: Kingdom

    Enchant
    Style: emotionally charged progressive rock
    Notable talents: Guitarist Doug Ott
    Bizarre development: The band nearly falling apart during and after Juggling/Dropping, permanently losing two members and temporarily losing another, only to recover with...
    Their best album: Blink Of An Eye

    Evergrey
    Style: dark progressive metal
    Career setback: Sven Karlsson joining Soilwork full time
    Essential album: In Search Of Truth (featuring one of the best combinations of three to open an album ever, ending with Watching The Skies, possibly my favorite song of 2001.)
    Favorite from others: Nosferatu

    Hypocrisy
    Style: melodic death
    Notable talents: Peter Tagtgren

    In Flames
    Style: nu-me…lodic death?
    Career setback: post-Clayman/RTR backlash and Tokyo Showdown
    Essential album: Whoracle

    James Murphy
    Legendary thrash guitarist, help donate to his cause.

    Katatonia
    Style: shoegazer doom metal (not my words)
    Notable talents: Anders Nystrom’s simple but often mesmerizing textures
    This writer’s favorites: I Am Nothing, Had To Leave, A Darkness Coming, Dispossession, Future Of Speech

    Lefay
    Style: aggressive power metal
    Career setback: prolonged label troubles, alcohol-induced breakup
    Underrated album: all of them, but especially Sanctified
    Favorite from last two: Child Of Time (not to be confused with Deep Purple)

    Maudlin Of The Well
    Style: astral metal (their words, not mine)
    Bizarre development: Just read a random thread on their forum, almost as trippy as their music. :)
    Essential albums: The simultaneously released Bath & Leaving Your Body Map

    Nevermore
    Style: visionary, dystopian metal
    Notable talents: Jeff Loomis and Van Williams’ playing is savage.
    Essential albums: all of the last three
    Underrated songs: Sea Of Possibilities, 42147, Deconstruction, All Play Dead, Evolution 169, Insignificant

    Novembers Doom
    Style: adventurous doom, not as slow as most in the genre
    Notable talents: Paul Kuhr
    Best album: To Welcome The Fade
    Writer's favorites: Not The Strong, The Spirit Seed, Dark Fields For Brilliance

    Opeth
    Style: In a word, Opethian.
    Notable talents: About a quarter of the people on the UM forums worship Akerfeldt, and for good reason
    Essential albums: all of them
    Opinion on Deliverance: Awesome. Last two songs are among their most adventurous to date.

    Power Of Omens
    Style: technical metal
    Notable talents: Drummer Alex Arellano, guitarist Dave Gallegos
    Bizarre development: Upcoming release Rooms Of Anguish being rescued from an unappreciative label by Metal Ages.
    Writer's favorites: Word On A Line, In The End, A Toast To Mankind

    Reading Zero
    Style: progressive metal
    Claim to fame: Has played at two of the three American Progpower festivals.
    Best album: The two indie releases The Actual and Satellite Sessions are about equal.

    Sinergy
    Style: bombastic power metal
    Bizarre development: Marco ditching them for Nightwish
    Essential albums: none, they’re all highly inconsistent
    Guilty pleasures: Razorblade Salvation, Gallowmere, The Sin Trade

    Soilwork
    Style: melodic death growing further apart from the Gotheburg norm.
    Bizarre development: Being amongst the first acts praised by Rob Halford after suddenly rescinding his "metal is 100% dead" stance.
    Best album: Natural Born Chaos
    Writer's favorites: Black Star Deceiver, Song Of The Damned, Grand Failure Anthem

    Sonata Arctica
    Style: passionless, watered-down power metal with horrible keyboards
    (Yes, I am aware I just insulted one of the webmaster’s favorite bands…)

    Spastic Ink/Watchtower
    Style: insane instrumental tech-metal/pioneering early tech metal
    Notable talents: Ron “anyone who listens to rap should be killed” Jarzombek.
    Essential album: Control & Resistance
    Albums coming soon (for about a year now): Ink Complete/Mathematics

    Steve DiGiorgio
    Style: thrash’s master of the fretless bass
    Career setback: short-lived stint with Jon Schaffer’s ego…er, Iced Earth.
    Albums coming soon: Appears on Vintersorg’s next (see entry)

    Tad Morose
    Style: aggressive power metal
    Interesting fact: shares hometown with Morgana Lefay.
    Best album: Matters Of The Dark

    Testament
    Style: thrash metal that gets heavier with each release
    Essential albums: Practice What You Preach, Low
    Underrated album: Souls Of Black

    The Black League
    Style: gothic doom metal
    Notable talents: Taneli “Sentenced sucks without him” Jarva (not my opinion)
    Cool song available only on official site: Pain Without A Name

    Threshold
    Style: progressive metal
    Career setback: frequent vocalist changes
    Favorite with Damian: Wounded Land
    Favorite with Mac: Hypothetical

    Travis Smith
    Style: not a musician, leading artist in the metal scene.
    Best cover for a band on this list: Devin Townsend – Terria (also Tonight’s Decision, Souls Highway, A Fine Day To Exit)
    For one not on this list: Winds – Reflections Of The I

    Vintersorg
    Style: increasingly progressiive melodic...can I really call this death?
    Bizarre development: folk metal cover of Holy Diver (with Otyg)
    Essential album: Visions From The Spiral Generator

    Zero Hour
    Style: ultraheavy ultratechnical metal
    Notable talents: Brothers Jasun and Troy Tipton
    Bizarre development: Side project Death Machine, in which three-fourths of the members use pseudonyms
    Essential album: The Towers Of Avarice

    THE LAUNCHPAD –a collection of artists who have songs available on Ultimate Metal. Notable among these is the site’s ongoing partnership with the company that has become the mailorder site of choice among metalheads, The End, and their growing roster of artists, which includes some of the most innovative acts in the scene today. First and foremost is Green Carnation and their incomparable mega-epic Light Of Day, Day Of Darkness. Among the first of their acts to make waves was Agalloch, who established themselves as one of America’s best melodic death acts (and possibly our answer to Opeth) with Pale Folklore, and their critical standing should only improve with The Mantle, out in August. (Which, as you might know from my frequent postings and subsequent STW installments, I now regard as a masterpiece and one of the absolute best albums of 2002.) Also featured are the technical death of Scholomance and their ambitious Immortality Murder releases, and the somber romanticism of Virgin Black. Another great discovery from the Launchpad, and the Opeth forum, is Farmakon, who is one of the best unsigned bands I’ve had the pleasure of hearing in a while, along with another hosted act, Lilitu, whose Memorial is a great album reminding one of Opeth and the best in doom metal. Britain’s Area 54 has quickly gained a strong following for their straight ahead metal. Ossian and Cascade also sound promising.

    I greatly enjoyed putting this special together. I apologize for not including every act, there are some I haven’t heard a complete album from yet but sound promising (Forest Stream, Lunaris, Sun Caged) some I don’t care for (i.e. Cannibal Corpse), some I am still in the process of formulating an opinion of (Kalmah, Eternal Tears Of Sorrow, Skyfire, all three have some great songs), etc. Thanks to the fans, the staff, all of the bands (especially people like Mikael Akerfedlt, Niklas Sundin, Dan & Dag Swano, Warrel Dane, Anders Nystrom, Tom Englund, Anders Nordin, and all others who have posted on their respective forums. I also can’t forget the LOTFP and Progpower forums, you guys rule.), and anyone associated for making Ultimate Metal the best metal community on the web.
     
  2. Mark

    Mark Not blessed, or merciful

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    I highly recommend Beseech (who, since you didn't include them I can only assume you've not heard them!:)). One of my personal favourites on UM...
     
  3. christcrusher

    christcrusher Goddess of All

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    Vehemence
    Style: Brutal Melodic Death Metal
    Bizarre development: Music that has progressed so much since the their start in 1997, from slow and brutal arrangements to mid paced/fast beautiful melodic evil death metal.
    Essential album: God Was Created
    Underrated album: The Thoughts From Which I Hide
    Favorite from God Was Created: Christ, I Fucking Hate You!
    Favorite from others: You Don't Have To Be Afraid Anymore
     
  4. Thorns of Sorrow

    Thorns of Sorrow My pic is squished

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    Right on about Sonanta Arctica, what garbage. You didnt do a review of Area 54, or Blaze, Ive always wanted to know what the hell those bands are.
     

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