Monkey with headphones

Damn you, MetalSucks, and your early Top 15 deadlines; I rushed to put that incoherent stream of fanboy drivel together and now, little more than a week later, my list is already obsolete. While it was apparently individualistic and snobby enough to land a cherished spot on Corey Mitchell’s esteemed “MORE ELITIST WRITER HOO-HA” countdown, I only managed to tie for fourth place — disappointing, I know.

Just to affirm my elitist cred I’ve tacked on a few more “don’t know ‘em; don’t care” albums in 2011 that you’ll definitely want to check out if you’re a real snob like me:

Jolly - tagthpJolly – The Audio Guide to Happiness (Part One)

2011 Superlative: Album most likely to troll you / make you look snobbier than you already are.

This was one of Vinnie’s finds early this past year that I completely forgot about until a week ago. If you know anything about this band, you’ve probably heard a little about their binaural tone gimmick/innovation and that the guys, in general, have a (hopefully) tongue-in-cheek sense of pretension about their music (for cripes sake, they refer to themselves as “The Incredible Jolly!”).

I, for one, think they’re totally full of it, but that doesn’t at all hinder my enjoyment of their music. The Audio Guide to Happiness picks up right where 46:12 left off with a polished style of Porcupine Tree/Muse/Oceansize-influenced alt-prog, but the songs this time around feel a lot catchier than I ever remembered them being on their debut and the heavier tunes rock much harder (look out for the djentle breakdown at the end of “The Pattern.”).

Thy Catafalque - RengetegThy Catafalque – Rengeteg

2011 Superlative: Album most likely to look like a shittily produced black metal record, but isn’t.

The very fact that I got that impression looking at the album cover and title was enough to make me ignore this peculiar one-man project from Hungary. But in reality Tamas Katai’s latest work couldn’t be further from that. Instead of the “soundtrack to being raped in cave” you might expect (term courtesy of Vic Vaughn), “Rengeteg” turns out to be a really unusual and exciting record. A cross between Arcturus and Rammstein is probably about as succinct of a description as I can give this album, but that doesn’t really do it justice. Katai stirs black metal, industrial, prog, and Eastern European folk together in a way I can’t say I’ve ever heard before. The lack of consistent heaviness may turn some off, but just about every style attempted here succeeds, and that, in itself, is impressive.

Exit Ten - Give Me Infinity

Exit Ten – Give Me Infinity

2011 Superlative (tie): Album most likely to sound Australian (but, of course, not actually be Australian) / Album title most likely to sound like tour support for Design the Skyline.

If you’ve ever heard of Exit Ten, then you were probably more than a little perplexed by the fact that they were essentially a metalcore band with a singer who pretty much only sang…. over breakdowns, over blastbeats, whatever. You were probably also perplexed by that said singer’s incredible resemblance to pop singer and fabulosity-monger Mika.

On their sophomore outing Exit Ten drops the distracting metalcore shtick and portray themselves as a solid modern alt-rock band. Singer Ryan Redman’s voice no longer sounds wussy over the instrumentation, but instead really shines with the proper support of his bandmates. Definitely not one of the heavier albums you’ll hear in 2011, but just about every song is catchy as nettles and the record easily ties with Dead Letter Circus’ This is the Warning for best Aussie rock album of the year (despite not actually being Australian).


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