Album Year List (2016)

the_dark_side_of_the_moon toplist 2014

Although it’s hard not to jump on the bandwagon when talking about 2016 we still wish you a pleasant year’s end and a cheer for the new year. However, before we start the days that lay ahead with champagne and fireworks we counted our blessings which of course, also resulted in these two illustrious album year lists.

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Album Year List (2014)

the_dark_side_of_the_moon toplist 2014

Although it’s always difficult to pin down a musical year in a few words a lot of critics do it anyway. Thus, we can’t stay behind on that, can we? However, before we end 2014 in style, let us loosely say we enjoyed working in the dark to serve you the reviews of the music we like and that nothing is true and yes, … everything is permitted. 

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Sounds from the Dark Side top albums of 2014 (until now)

the_dark_side_of_the_moon toplist 2014

Hey y’all, summer solstice lies behind us so it’s time to saw the year in half. These are our top albums of 2014 until now and in no apparent order. Metal, Latin, Hip Hop-Jazz, Western funeral march music… we’ve got it all!

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Uriah Heep - OutsiderUriah Heep – Outsider

Britain’s most resilient hard rock underdog returns with a new album, building on 2011’s Into the Wild’s strengths to deliver a well-rounded album that fits well in Heep’s ever expanding oeuvre (RP).
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angel-olsen-burn-your-fire-for-no-witness_FRONTAngel Olsen – Burn Your Fire For No Witness

Burn Your Fire For No Witness is richly produced and gives way to Olsen’s strong voice. Oh, its also full of bone breaking honestness too. All spotlights on Angel Olsen please! (WRM – SftDS review).
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Gamma Ray - Empire of the Undead_Gamma Ray – Empire of the Undead

A remarkably strong album by Germany’s power metal institute, Empire of the Undead takes Gamma Ray to heavier, darker places than before, and it’s a better album because of that (RP- SftDS review).
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Meridian Brothers - Salvadora Robot_COVERMeridian Brothers – Salvadora Robot

Tropical madness in its full glory is probably the best way to describe Salvadora Robot. All forms of Latin just tumble over each other creating a madcap carnival for those who have a few screws loose (WRM – SftDS review).
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Epica - The Quantum EnigmaEpica – The Quantum Enigma

Although the album bursts at the seams with sonic bells and whistles, choirs and orchestration, The Quantum Enigma is arguably the strongest album the Dutch female fronted band has released since The Divine Conspiracy in 2007 (RP).
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BADBADNOTGOOD - III_FRONT

BADBADNOTGOOD – III

If you’re into instrumental hip hop and don’t mind a whiff of fusion, these Canadian youngsters have something special to offer: a krauty hip hop-acid-jazz crossover record that is. And indeed, it’s awesome (WRM – SftDS review).

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Sonata Arctica - Pariahs ChildSonata Arctica – Pariah’s Child

Something of a return to form for the Finnish melodic metal band, after years of alienating friend and foe with faux art rock (RP –SftDS review).
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Timber-Timbre-Hot-DreamsTimber Timbre – Hot Dreams

Although the title suggest otherwise, the new Timber Timbre is in fact a pretty haunting listing experience. Over the top somber guitar play, frightening violin sections and tolling funeral bells will certainly turn a sultry dream into an endless nightmare. Delightful album, if you ask us (WRM – SftDS review).
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Triptykon - Melana ChasmataTriptykon – Melana Chasmata

With Triptykon’s sophomore album, Tom Gabriel Fischer cements his status as a death metal legend. Melana Chasmata oozes dark, metallic brilliance from all pores (RP).
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ELYSIAN-FIELDS-For-House-Cats-And-Sea-FansElysian Fields – For House Cats And Sea Fans

Mix up some smooth late night jazz with a touch of gloominess and you’ll have your perfect dayender right here. Also we’ve only recently discovered cats truly love Jennifer Charles’ sensual voice. Can’t ague with that (WRM – SftDS review).
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So, eyes front, and on to the horizon, because 2014 still has a lot in store, and things might even get more diverse as we head into the year’s second half.

Ralph Plug & Wander Meulemans – 300614

Further surfing:
W’s Sounds from the Dark Side on Spotify

 

Gamma Ray – Empire of the Undead

Gamma Ray - Empire of the Undead_On and on rolls the power metal train, with just about every German power metal band firing shots one after another. And what’s more: all those bands are releasing unexpectedly strong and heavy albums. It’s as if some Holy Spirit of metal has touched these bands, showing them where their roots lie and that there’s no shame in writing fast songs with double bass drumming (I’m looking at you, Edguy and Sonata Arctica). German metal institution Gamma Ray is the next in line. Continue reading

Sonata Arctica – Pariah’s Child

Sonata Arctica - Pariahs ChildBefore we dive into this review, there is a confession I have to make. I really, really enjoyed Sonata Arctica’s Stones Grow Her Name (2012), a record that is much maligned for being too weird, faux artistic and soft. And whilst I do love the earlier power metal efforts (up to and including Reckoning Night), I think Unia is by far the strongest album the Finnish band has put out. Then again, I also think A Matter of Life and Death is the best album Iron Maiden has released since Powerslave. Perhaps I’m just a sucker for classic metal bands who dare to tread outside of their safety zone and into a more daringly progressive area, which is exactly what Sonata Arctica has been doing for years now. So, with that out of the way, let’s check out what’s on offer this time. Continue reading