Top 5 best post-rock and metal albums of 2013 so far
2013 has been incredibly kind to fans of post- fans, featuring enough high-quality albums that reducing them to a top five inevitably leaves out some great releases. Nonetheless, we here at SPB are paid on a per-list basis, so we are yet compelled to present you with the crème de la crème of this year's post-rock and metal (so far):
1. Inter Arma — Sky Burial (Relapse)
As far as ambient sludge is concerned, Inter Arma have nearly closed the book. Sky Burial is by far the fullest expression of the genre yet, with every deep chug and growl resonating loudly against the reverent, melancholic melodies and twangy southern rock passages. It may be a melancholic album, but every moment lives up to the promise of memorializing something even greater. Make sure you hear this.
2. Deafheaven — Sunbather (Deathwish)
Shoegazers Deafheaven occupy an odd corner of the musical landscape, blending euphoric melodies and pop-like progressions with raspy vocals and blast beat drumming straight out of black metal. Sunbather is an effective album on more than one level--not only does it drag you along in its inexorable pull, it forces you to be uncomfortable in your own enjoyment. They may be heavily indebted to Alcest, but it's safe to say that Deafheaven have now far outpaced their progenitors.
3. Cult of Luna — Vertikal (Density)
Cult of Luna have always been fascinated with the darker aspects of humanity, whether writing about the harrowingly sublime aspects of solitude or concocting stories about crippling madness; in that respect, Vertikal shouldn't be shocking. But the cold, isolationist themes seem fresh, ringing with disturbingly pristine clarity from a band normally known for its warmth. This is a bracing and difficult album, but more than ever, Cult of Luna make it worth the effort.
4. The Ocean — Pelagial (Metal Blade)
The Ocean may have finally expanded past the point of no return. Conceived and written as a single fifty-minute piece of progressive-influenced instrumental post-metal, Pelagial takes the word "epic" and makes it cower in fear. Every minute of this pieces feels beautiful, fully deserving of its massive scope; it wouldn't be hyperbolic to describe this as The Ocean's crowning achievement on top of their already impressive career.
5. Mouth of the Architect — Dawning (Translation Loss)
Absolutely nothing about Mouth of the Architect is restrained. From the huge group vocal lines to the climactic crescendos, Dawning is an album that seeks to capture grandeur without dilution--and even the stingiest of listeners must concede that it succeeds. This is an album that won't just blow you away, it will fill every inch of you with awe.
Runners up: Palms — Palms, Sigur Rós — Kveikur, From Oceans to Autumn — Pareto Analysis II: The Vital Few