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Tag Archives: Beardfish
In addition to the best albums of the year, here are the best songs I’ve found this year:
10. Acyl’s “Ungratefulness” from Algebra
9. Anathema’s “Untouchable, Parts I and II” from Weather Systems
8. Barren Earth’s “Passing of the Crimson Shadows” from The Devil’s Resolve
7. Bastard Sapling’s “Beyond the Void of Life” from Dragged from Our Restless Trance
6. Beardfish’s “This Matter of Mine” from The Void
5. Devin Townsend Project’s “Grace” from Epicloud
4. Alcest’s “Autre Temps” from Les Voyages de l’Ame
3. Beardfish’s “Ludvig & Sverker” from The Void
2. Ihsahn’s “The Eagle and the Snake” from Eremita
And the best song is probably from one of the worst albums from the entire year. It is like this band took all the emotions and thoughts for this one song and then were unable to muster the energy to go further due to the drain and power of this single song.
1. Swallow, the Sun’s “Emerald Forest and the Blackbird” from Emerald Forest and the Blackbird.”
These are the top overall albums I listened to over the previous year. I don’t rate by points or comparison. I rate this way, because these are the albums to which I listened the most, enjoyed, and those to which I felt emotional or creative response. Music is something for me that helps my creativity get started, and helps my thoughts start. So, without further ado, here’s the list:
10. Katatonia – Dead End Kings: Released in September 2012, this was the first album that I truly enjoyed from this Swedish band. In my opinion, it was a solid follow up that progressed the previous album “Night is the New Day.” This album offers a more mature look at their darkly chosen topics, such as loneliness, loss, and contemplation. I actually enjoyed this album as much as Opeth’s Heritage (which I love).
9. Acyl – Algebra: I hate Djent. I find it muddled, confusing, and excuse to use primarily charted rhythms with very little progressive movement in its structure. However, these French Tunisians nailed it on this album. The use of North African chanting with Djent was perfect and really made me feel the tribal bent of what Djent is supposed to be. Amazing album that is politically evocative and very tied to the band’s heritage.
8. Enochian Theory – …And All It Entails: Warning – this is not metal. This is a progressive rock band from England whose skill and focus build songs well through their album. I can’t tell you which is my favorite song off it, but I can tell you it was like listening to a collection of poems to found that were well written and well performed. They are of a similar vein to Porcupine Tree and Anathema, but their album was better than Anathema’s as I felt it carried more emotional weight and power behind it.
7. Enslaved – RIITIIR: This is the first album from Enslaved that I understood. I really enjoyed the music, the perform, the power, and folklore behind the band. It feels very rooted in the Norwegian scene, but at the same time feels apart from it and pushing the band’s sound forward. I love growled call and response that is not good cop/bad cop. They did a great job of using that on this album.
6. Ne Obliviscaris – Portal of I: A bombastic mixture of Ihsahn/Emperor style black metal, Opeth melodic progression, violins, and power metal. This Australian band’s release had me reeling with their first release. I loved the thoughts this album brought to me when listening to it. If there was anyway in which to make a statement on your first approach, then damn it, these guys did it. And other metal bands, looking to make a name for themselves, should take notes.
5. Obsidian Kingdom – Mantiis: I have been aware of this Spanish band for sometime now (I love to follow band camp/youtube to find new music from independent bands) and I had enjoyed their earlier works, but this album takes them beyond Death and Black into a truly unique and powerful sound. Some of the songs on the album would be movements within songs for other bands, for these guys, they define where they see that song’s emotions developing.
4. Devin Townsend Project – Epicloud: This album is just so damned happy, is filled with poppy, hook filled rock, but damn it, it’s one of his most progressive albums! Yes, it’s Devin Townsend, and it has its cheesy movements, but some of the emotional swings on this album have made me laugh aloud or brought tears to my eyes. Anneke Von Giersberegen’s performance on this album actually quiets some of Devin’s cheesiest moments.
3. Ihsahn – Eremita: Like all of Ihsahn’s solo works, listening to this album is listening to a philosophical examination of a theme. In this case, it is regard whether the misanthrope should return to society or not. The approaches that he took on this album pulled him further into progressive rock and even took him into using funk, hooky cock rock riffs, pop, and other strangeness for him. An amazing, soulful performance.
2. Beardfish – The Void: This was the first album I’d ever heard from this Swedish Progressive Rock group. It was perfect in nearly every way, in my opinion, using rock, metal, operatic, and classical approaches. Songs on this album made me reconsider what the Void really was, and what it all could mean. Ludvig & Sverker made me cry. Turn to Gravel made me laugh. Great damn album.
1. Alcest – Les Voyages De L’Ame: To be frank, I fell in love with Darkgaze thanks to his previous album; however, it missed what Neige wanted to do with his sound: making a traditionally dark, misanthropic sound when combine with shoegaze into something positive and emotionally warm. In this album, he did it. He transcended the band beyond black metal’s cold plains and icy depths and made each song a cry for joy. This was 2012’s best album in my opinion.
Art rock is a difficult genre of music to pin down, and is the only one into which I can lump this Swedish Band. Their music is a tightly wound, well produced measure focusing on the concept of “The Void.” The album’s mix allows each instrument room to be heard in their own space and comes together to create the mood of each piece. In listening to it, I am reminded of why art rock has always been a favorite of mine. When one can pick up an album from a band to whom they’d never listened and be thoroughly and utterly enthralled, the music is all that matters, not its genre typology.
The introductory track calmly expresses a particular brand of nihilism regarding personal perception and history. “Voluntary Slavery” leaps from the end of that introduction, burning with a metallic riff, that demands the listeners attention. Its darkness is accentuated in the lead up to the chorus by throwing in a near death growl for mood. “Turn to Gravel” hearkens back to depressive 70s rock, jamming and dancing around the void into its point and driving to its climax at the end of “Why won’t you fucking tell me what you want? Wake up!” There is little to no respite here as things continue to fall apart and meaning is disassembled. The song’s fuzzy, sludgy feel pulls these feelings out, leaving one raw in a way American Prog Metal giants Mastodon could only hope to do with their music.
“They Whisper” demonstrates the band’s willingness to diversify their sounds that sounds as if it could be directly off a Doors album at times with its jangly piano and fuzzy guitar riffs. Followed by “This Matter of Mine,” the album reverts to a frantic, fractured pace with its ringing bass and vocals that are all over the place from soft singing to growls and spoken word. After the instrumental “Seventeen Again,” the whole album seems to climax in the song “Ludvig & Sverker.” Possibly the album’s most accessible piece, the music, lyrics, and mood craft an emotional experience that examines yet another fractured relationship: a bond between parents and children.
Beardfish’s opus on this piece is “The Note,” a song that runs for nearly 16 minutes and contains four movements with itself. Comparable to Genesis’s Supper’s Ready, Opeth’s Black Rose Immortal, and Steven Wilson’s Raider II, this song encompasses the bands ability to evoke and manipulate the emotions of the listener through its ambling course.
This was my first experience with Beardfish and I feel that I will be returning to this band’s back catalogue of albums and will heartily anticipate their release of future albums. The album never falls into the retrophilia that Mastodon (a comparable analogue to this band) tends into following. While vintage sounding, the music incorporates new soundscapes and brings art rock stylings into the present. The music is surprisingly introspective and emotionally moving, and in the end is most definitely is worth a listen. I
Enjoy! I put off listening to this band for a while then I listened to their full album at work today and was stunned by their skill. This is the piano version of this song, I must prefer the rock version, but this is still very good and interesting much with a jazzy feel.