Killer English prog that makes good on the promise of bands such as Yes, King Crimson, Hawkwind and so on. Even more so than on their debut, Diagonal's 'The Second Mechanism' delves further into the realm of organic technicality. Whereas most technical metal bands come off as cold and clinical and ultimately uninteresting, Diagonal manages to lure in the listener and commands his/her attention until the very end.
9) My Dying Bride - A Map of All Our Failures
Ever since the band's creative misfire back in '98 (otherwise known as 34.788% Complete), the mighty MDB have been on the warpath, unleashing a slew of monstrous albums, one after the other. I really couldn't say that 'A Map of All Our Failures' hearkens back to the band's "glory days" as the band have been on a roll for well over a decade now. No. What 'AMOAOF' is, is a confirmation of MDB's consistent domination over the doom metal genre. My Dying Bride's latest is just another gem in the crown.
8) Profetus - ...to Open the Passages in Dusk
Taking their cue from fellow countrymen, Skepticism, Profetus opts to drench their take in the same watery depths where Thergothon had arisen from so many years ago, only to return to their ancient slumber beneath the ocean's depths. Profetus' debut is existentially massive and in all likelihood shall require a lifetime to fully comprehend its dark glory and dismal majesty. Though relatively new, Profetus comes across as a band that has been around for aeons, like some long sleeping behemoth awakened anew and slowly rising from the depths, it's mass of form blocking out all light and clutching ruins within its grasp.
7) Coffin Texts - Tomb of Infinite Ritual
Part of the Los Angeles trinity of blasphemy (alongside Infamy and Sadistic Intent), Coffin Texts has finally made good on the promise of their debut with this mind numbing assault upon the senses. Like their Californian brethren, Coffin Texts wields a style more than similar to that of East Coast ghouls, Incantation, Immolation and Disma with the main focus being feeling and heavy atmospherics.
6) White Hills - Frying on this Rock
1968 called and they want their vibe back! On second thought, keep doing your thing, White Hills, as cosmic psychedlia has never sounded so god damned good!
5) Lumerians - Transmissions From Telos Vol. IV
Lumerians returns with a brief but brilliant follow-up to last years stellar 'Transmallinia'. With their stream of sub-conscious style, beat driven grooves, Lumerians once again hits the ball into orbit as the world around you melts away and all you're left to do is dance in mid-air to the sounds of gentle hysteria.
4) Elephant9 with Reine Fiske - Atlantis
Elephant9 returns to mindfuck the masses and brought co-conspirator Reine Fiske along for the ride this time around. Absolutely mindblowing space-jazz that will have you dazed, drooling and begging for more after the final notes of 'Freedom's Children' have rung out.
3) Haunted Leather - Red Road
Possibly the most mellow band on this planet, Haunted Leather finally unleashes their debut long-runner after their absolutely mind blowing debut -ep-, 'Desert Spells'. This time around Haunted Leather gathers a generous helping of early 90's shoegaze along with a dash of pre-sexual revolution 60's folk, and add it into their already amazing sound, creating what is easily one of the most engaging albums to see the light of day in the last few years.
2) Fire! - In the Mouth a Hand
Zappa on a crack binge. Yep, that's about the stretch of it. This is some rather frighteningly maniacal space-jazz guaranteed to leave you in a stupor! Fire!'s style isn't far removed from Elephant9, so if that sort of thing is your bag, then by all means, indulge!
1) Evoken - Atra Mors
And here it is! The grand puba, numero uno. After two albums that, although solid in their own right, just seemed to lack the truly adventurous quality of the band's then pinnacle moment, 'Quietus', Evoken took a few years off to creatively regroup and have returned with a masterpiece of colossal proportions, 'Atra Mors'! Everything that makes Evoken great is all here and then some. The band have really outdid themselves and I am truly thankful to them for releasing an album that has received daily listening from the moment I first heard it. My only hope is that we do not have to wait another 5 years for their next masterpiece to arrive.