Top 5 Great (Legally) Free Albums From 2012
Let's be honest--we've all pirated an album before. No matter what our reasons or how justified we think we are, there's just something great about getting music and not having to pay a cent for it. Well, it turns out that some artists are totally okay with that. And these five(-ish) artists have not only allowed their music to be free, but they've also done a damn good job writing it. And for that, we are grateful. If you haven't already, make sure you download:
Meshuggah - I Am Colossus
This one doesn't really count as a full album, but we couldn't leave it out. Meshuggah's latest album, Koloss, wasn't one of their best, but it did have a few great tracks on it. Among them was the decent slice of djent "I Am Colossus", which Scion A/V released as a free single earlier this year. That download also came with a bewildering and intriguing B-side, namely, a dubstep remix of the track by Engine-EarZ & Foreign Beggars. It's really something else to hear the familiar grunts and attacks of Meshuggah mixed up and distorted to such a degree. It's definitely an interesting take on the song, and for free, you could certainly do worse.
Islands - Islands
As far as post-metal goes, Australian five-piece Islands are in pretty top form. Their self-titled debut album is solid from beginning to end, and hopefully an indication of the quality they'll bring to their music as they mature. Sure, there are some growing pains here and there, but it's nonetheless a worthy listen, not to mention a welcome addition to any ambient metalhead's collection.
Cloudkicker - Fade
Ohio musician Ben Sharp, aka Cloudkicker, is semi-infamous for his penchant for writing high-quality, free music, and his latest album is no exception to his standards of quality. Leaving behind his incredibly soft post-rock pieces and the ultra heavy djent of his early career, Fade strays into hard rock territory, all the while maintaining the progressive and math rock elements that have been mainstays in his compositions. It's no wonder Sharp is still one of the best musicians in instrumental rock.
Adrift for Days - Come Midnight...
Come Midnight... defies any ready description. It's like Adrift for Days have taken every possible subgenre of slow, downtempo metal and decided "Fuck it, we're gonna do them all." This album sounds like Boris, Neurosis, early Black Sabbath, Sleep, and early Pink Floyd all at the same time. The album is supposedly post-metal, but the band strays into doom, sludge, drone, stoner, prog, noise, and psychedelic metals, all the while creating a listening experience that is still somehow coherent. This must be heard to be believed--and since it's free, you'd better damn well do so.
The Korea - Chariots of the Gods
Of all the entries on this list, this one is probably the most surprising. The Korea are a Russian djent act, and not particularly a big name in the scene--their modest discography up until now wasn't particularly impressive. But their newest album, Chariots of the Gods, is one of the best pieces of djent you'll hear all year. There's tons of delicious riffs and head-bobbing grooves everywhere in this album. It may not be revolutionary, but it certainly takes a hold of the djent formula and gives it a run for its money.
krokmitën - BWV565 Redux
Quebecois death metalers krokmitën, if nothing else, are quite dedicated to their art, and their latest release proves it without a doubt. The EP is only one track long, but it's probably the most impressive ten minutes of music you'll hear all year. It's a death metal reworking of the piece Toccata & Fugue in D minor, BWV565, an organ piece attributed to Johann Sebastian Bach, and if that attribution didn't alert you to how insane the composition is, then boy are you in for a treat. The band have not only paid proper homage to the original piece, but they've taken it and made it sufficiently their own. It's a captivating, not to mention fun, listen, and all in less time than it takes you to walk to the supermarket.