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[Recap] March 2011

This month was much better than last month. Still, I don’t think I will be where I’d like to be until May. Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep up semi-regularly as I have been, but times are busy and promises cannot be made. Fortunately, I was able to do some catching up and keeping up this month, including the following:

  • Album of the Month
  • Runner-up
  • Remainders
  • Late February
  • Beast Wars!
  • My personal favorites of the month

There were all-around good releases this month; I was glad to not have come across any bad albums per say. My late reviews for February albums, on the other hand, were rather disappointing. But for March, it was quite difficult to choose the Album of the Month. After much deliberation, I decided that the Album of the Month is:

Album of the Month: Mammoth (Beardfish)

Beardfish‘s latest album came out on March 28. Whether it is just me or the record, something really clicked with Mammoth. It took a few listens to fully embrace, but this one is a real winner. The musicianship is fantastic and diverse in its approach and style, and the instruments are no less appreciable. The melodies in their most basic forms are beautiful, and they are built up to their fullest at all times. And to top it all off, they are able to evoke the nostalgia and finesse of progressive pioneers without even having been there! All in all, Mammoth is another amazing piece by the Swedish elites, Beardfish.

And the Runner-Up is…

I really loved Havok‘s second album. It was a really tight tug-of-war battle between Time is Up and Mammoth, and it all came down to me being more of a progressive fan than a thrash one. It’s all personal preference, really.

If there is a band that is capable of restoring one’s faith in the thrash metal genre, Havok definitely showed themselves to be that band with Time is Up (released on March 29). There is huge potential with this band, as shown by their excellent musicianship and their instrumental capability. This record is undoubtedly one of the best thrash albums I have heard in a long time. I certainly hope that in time, these relative newcomers will transcend the thrash genre, and put out an amazing genre-breaking album. If this is their Ride the Lightning, I can’t wait to hear their Master of Puppets.

March Remainders

The two remaining albums are by no means bad in any way. They just didn’t bring as much to the table as either Havok or Beardfish did. Nonetheless, they are good albums.

Overall, One is a decent album. It was released on March 22 through Century Media. Regarding its complexity and technicality, it is very impressive. But its general musicianship lacks diversity and the album is not very densely layered. Still, it is a welcome addition to the math metal scene, though I would recommend Cloudkicker’s Beacons over this one. Given that this is TesseracT’s first release, I am far from disappointed. TesseracT shows much potential with One. Though it is not fully reached here, it very well could be in the near future.

The almighty Amon Amarth released their newest record on March 29. Surtur Rising is a good album, but is not as consistently awe-inspiring as I would have hoped. Some parts are rather empty and stale, but there are some gems in here (like “Destroyer of the Universe“). I’ve been taking a lot of heat for my lack of appreciation for MDM, which is fair enough. But from my personal standpoint, this is far from a masterpiece, but still a good listen.

February Leftovers

It took me a while, but I did get to reviewing a couple of albums which I had no time for in February. Unfortunately, both were disappointments.

On February 4, Cauldron‘s second album was released. Based solely on the individual quality of the tracks, Burning Fortune is average at best and only enjoyable by die-hard heavy metal risorgimento supporters. The musical composition and the instrumental performance are both mediocre in every track. It is due to the lack of depth or any highlights that lessen the record’s value even further. This is an album of style, not substance. Ironically, there really is no fire or richness to the music in this album called Burning Fortune.

Jag Panzer released their newest album entitled The Scourge of the Light on February 28, and I was quite disappointed. This is more because I expected great things to come from the band. Still, the record is a semi-enjoyable listen. There is nothing really wrong with it, but there also is nothing really right. It is not a must-hear, but it surely is not a wasted hour. If expectations are neutral or anything below, this release cannot disappoint. The Scourge of the Light is basically a major tease in which Jag Panzer shows how great they could be but never actually hit that level.

Beast Wars!

It took me an extremely long time to get this on youtube, but I finally put up my Beast Wars metal cover this month. I’m quite proud of it, despite its nerdiness and amateurish sound. But feel free to take a look and comment (and thumbs up)!

My Month of March

February of both 2010 and 2011 had the same favorite artist (Evergrey). Apparently, this is the same for March… seriously, I’m not planning this…

My personal favorites of the month have been:

  • Artist: Riverside
  • AlbumThe Perfect Element I (Pain of Salvation)
  • Song: “The Perfect Element” (Pain of Salvation, The Perfect Element I)

Let’s welcome back Riverside to the favorite artist of March once again. And Pain of Salvation – they can never seem to find their way off of my playlist… good for them! This month is bound to be busy, so I’ll see you here and there. Come May, we’ll be seeing a lot more of each other (I hope). ‘Til then, take care!

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