Recommend me some quality Metal


Supremely excited for the new Decapitated album coming out in a couple months. There’s even a brand new video to help whet my appetite until the album drops.

You’ll have to click this link to see the vid, I’d rather not embed it because there’s a couple gross parts involving spikes being driven through clenched hands (dumb metal videos), and I don’t know which part of the video will be thumb-nailed… no pun intended.

I’ve probably talked about Decapitated around here before, but they’re easily one of my favorite discoveries in the last few years. And though I’m not as much a fan of the back catalog (different style, different vocalist too), I’ve considered all their latest album to be guaranteed day-one purchases the millisecond they’ve been available.

If you enjoy groove oriented technical death metal, give them a shot. I discovered them when they opened for Meshuggah a few tours back, and pretty happy I did.

Here’s a more couple tracks I particularly like from other recent albums.



Oh yea, new Iced Earth due soon too. And, the released tracks sounds great so far. Much better than anything I’ve heard off their last two albums.

Count me as one of the few who think they were doing great with Tim “Ripper” Owens on vocals, as I consider The Glorious Burden and Framing Armageddon to be among their best work since Matt Barlow departed the first time around; and I think these songs show a solid return to the quality of those releases. They also mark the first time I’ve been satisfied with the vocals since the Tim Owens era. New guy, Stu, does a great job here.

Anyway, here’s a couple new tracks. The first one has some get up and go, the second one is a typical Iced Earth power ballad.


I doubt they will ever top Glorious Burden, but that’s a top 25 album in my book so…


I want to love this shit, I really do. And in fact I really do fucking love their playing. It is technically incredible stuff. I watched both of those videos all the way through just because of that. But as much as I’ve tried, I’ve never been able to get past the rough vocals of death metal in general, as much as I do enjoy the playing. Maybe I’m just too old for this stuff.

Are there any examples of bands that feature this kind of playing but with clean vocals? I’m relatively new to metal, so my experience is limited. I only got into it in a minor way back when Avantasia released their first album (The Metal Opera Part 1.) and I heard it by accident and fell in love with that particular style. Power metal I guess.

So I guess I’m looking for fast, technical stuff with clean vocals. Is power metal my best option for that? Stuff like Gamma Ray?

Edit: Okay, I just listened to kerzain’s Iced Earth videos, and that’s getting close to what I mean.


Really liking this one! Bathory/Immortal ‘influenced’ with a nice thick sound, atmosphere, and riffy funkiness:

Havukruunu - Kelle Surut Soi (black/viking)


I am going to ramble so hard, I’ll pretty much forget whatever point I’m trying to make about half way through.

[quote]I want to love this shit, I really do. And in fact I really do fucking love their playing. It is technically incredible stuff. I watched both of those videos all the way through just because of that. But as much as I’ve tried, I’ve never been able to get past the rough vocals of death metal in general[/quote]This is precisely how I feel about black metal vocals. Except for classic Opeth, I pretty much hate all black metal vocals, no matter how I constantly try to sample additional bands and songs. But I keep trying. Vocals alone are one of my biggest hindrances to beefing up my library.

As for Decapitated, one of the reasons I like these latest three albums so much is their vocalist. I know death metal vocals aren’t everybody’s cup of tea, but this guy pushes all the right buttons for me.

[quote]So I guess I’m looking for fast, technical stuff with clean vocals. Is power metal my best option for that? Stuff like Gamma Ray?[/quote]Man, I wish I could say. I get really, really hung up on vocalists, and one of my biggest problems with modern clean singers is that they all tend to sound depressed or whiny, living in some sort of perpetual hipster victimhood.

There’s a trend for bands modern bands to switch between clean and harsh vocals throughout a song, and I pretty much hate all of it. Not because I hate the genre or the act of switching back and forth, but because the clean vocals are just so fucking lame. Now, I know switching back and forth between styles isn’t a new thing, but it wasn’t quite as popular when Fear Factory was doing it 20-25 years ago compared to the sudden proliferation of the style today. And the reason I bring this up is merely to point out the attitude differences between Fear Factory’s classic clean vocals (another), and what just sounds like melodramatic whining to me from so many other bands today.

Anyway, to more directly answer your question (that previous paragraph is like 2% of a tangent I’ve been trying to keep inside a while), maybe trying listening to bands that mix it up a bit. Opeth, Fear Factory, Iced Earth, many of their songs swing back and forth on the harsh/clean vocal scale (some more than others), and they can help ease you into music that tends to swing one way and stay that way for longer periods of time.

I don’t know. I know I’m giving a horrible reply to the question, but suffice to say that I feel like, with a lot of these bands, newer listeners just have to keep working at different ones till something finally clicks. And when it does click, you’ll never understand what sounded wrong in the first place.

I don’t know everything you’re familiar with, but here’s a couple sample songs with technically impressive music, but cleaner vocals you may or may not like. I don’t know much about Power Metal, I got into Iced Earth during The Dark Saga (a Spawn comic book concept album), and to me they’ve become more and more like a weird hybrid of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden ever since.


Oh dear, a newbie!

Imma throw a bunch on the wall, and see what sticks. If anything catches your ear, let me know! I’ll get more.

(yes, hevy Devy gets two, whatcha gonna do about it)


Thanks for the write-up. That’s what I’m thinking too. It just seems to be taking me a long time. Although there was a time not too long ago that I could not have listened to those Decapitated videos all the way through, and I made it through just fine now, so maybe I am adjusting after all. Or maybe it’s just that his vocals were less harsh than most.

And thanks @kerzain and @CraigM for the links. I’ll be checking them out. And a few others earlier in the thread. There were a few I remember with harsh vocals that I didn’t think were too bad, although what I enjoyed most was the playing.


Part deux for @Giles_Habibula

And unrelated to your requests @Giles_Habibula, but something I’ve been listening to a lot. An underrated band that nobody has heard of!

@ArmandoPenblade @Adam_B check it out :D


Thanks for the Vampire and Havukruunu recommendations, @Profanicus, really liking both of those.

As for @Giles_Habibula, I’ll second the mentions of Ayreon, Myrath, and Dragonforce. Here are a few more choices in that same sort of speedy technical power vein:

Ancient Bards

Eternity’s End




If you want to stick a bit closer to the aggressiveness you get in death metal, but without the growls, thrash would be a good place to look too.




And this may not be as relevant for you because you already like the instrumental side of death metal, but I found hybrid genres like melodic death metal and death/doom to be a more enjoyable and approachable way to acclimate to death growls than jumping straight into the pure stuff. So this batch has less speed and technicality, but hopefully is still enjoyable.

Omnium Gatherum



Amon Amarth


This is really great goth metal. Probably the best track on the album


Time for a little head-to head competition between recent releases. Which prog-power band released the more a-MAZE-ing piano intro on April 28?

Pyramaze – Contingent (power)


MindMaze – Resolve (power)

And which concept album about AI uprisings wiping out human civilization makes a better companion piece to NieR: Automata?

Ayreon – The Source (prog)


Artificial Brian – Infrared Horizon (weird death)

Sorry, no unifying theme for the rest of these – just a grab bag of (quality) metal.

Seven Kingdoms – Decennium (power)

Ingurgitating Oblivion (tech death)

God Dethroned – The World Ablaze (melodeath)

Hideous Divinity – Adveniens (tech death)

Mesarthim – Presence (atmospheric black)

Venenum – Trance of Death (death)


Holy shit!

Nuclear Blast is proud to finally announce the worldwide signing and return of POSSESSED! Few bands have done more to push the boundaries of extreme metal than the legendary POSSESSED. Even fewer can create a unique style, which continues to set them apart from all others by being the very first in a genre they laid the foundation for. POSSESSED are by definition, the creators of Death Metal. Ever since they stormed onto the San Francisco metal scene in the early 1980’s, POSSESSED has been redefining and breaking the rules for metal. Nuclear Blast is very excited to be a part of that continued legacy.

Comments vocalist and founding member Jeff Becerra:
“POSSESSED are pleased and honored to announce our joining the Nuclear Blast family. Currently, we are hard at work writing new material for our upcoming first full-length release on Nuclear Blast. I want to give special thanks to everybody at Nuclear Blast, and to all of our supporters. This has been a long time coming and this is a very exciting time for us.”

Fans can expect POSSESSED’s first a full-length release in 31 years, sometime in 2018.

Jeff Becerra - Vocals
Daniel Gonzalez - Guitars
Emilio Marquez - Drums
Robert Cardenas - Bass
Claudeous Creamer - Guitars



I love Clawmaster from the 2011 album and also one of the coolest videos of all time.


A couple of recent concert dumps to follow:

##Amon Amarth with Goatwhore at the National in Richmond

Thoroughly awesome show. Goatwhore much better live than on album: I’d originally figured I’d not care for them much, but they wound up winning my heart a little bit when they dedicated “Fucked By Satan” to the crowd there that night.

The National was a huge venue, but I insisted on getting right up to the 3rd or so row for Amon Amarth. Probably a mistake in retrospect, as I think my back is still fucked up from the ravishing I received from the crowd, who were utterly insane that night. Not without good reason–AA are an incredible live act absolutely worth the time and money. They pounded out a huge 17-track setlist of classic hits like “Twilight of the Thunder Guard” and “Destroyer of the Universe” alongside brand new stuff like “The Way of Vikings” and “Father of the Wolf.” They were utterly locked in and insanely charming. The huge viking longboat with glowing red eyes didn’t hurt, either.

Plus, hey, fun road trip to Richmond with two awesome friends, and tasty Indian food nearby!


##Sabaton with Leaves Eyes and Battle Beast at The Underground in Charlotte, NC

On the way back from my huge cooking adventure in Gatlinburg, TN, I grabbed a buddy of mine who was having a post-wedding get-together in Asheville and drove on to Charlotte to meet two more friends for a three-band show: Leaves Eyes, Battle Beast, and Sabaton!

I’d seen LE once before, many years ago, as the only opener the first time I ever saw my favorite band, Blind Guardian. I wasn’t thrilled to have had them wasting my time that night, but I like to think I’ve matured a little! Their new female lead is perfectly good, the male lead is much better than he used to be, and the instrumentalists are thoroughly competent. They still don’t rise much above Nightwish copycatism, but c’est le vie. One of the guys there loves the band, and he had an absolute blast, so I’m glad to have seen em!

Battle Beast are absolutely amazing. Their energy, charisma, and talent just poured off the stage, from tiny little Noora on up. Their ludicrous 80s-inspired glam metal antics may not be to everyone’s taste, but frankly, they’re one of my favorite acts to debut in the last decade after spending the last couple of months getting to know 'em, and it was killer to see them live. They hit all my favorite tracks, including “Familiar Hell!”

Of course, Sabaton are infamous for their insanely good live shows. The entire band clearly maxed out on CHA and DEX at character creation, and their hilarious antics, passion for the fans, and superior musicianship all showed through in their first headlining US tour. The crowd–a sold-out show–was absolutely bonkers for them, breaking out into chants of “Sabaton” between every song and jumping up and down like teens at a Bieber concert during the big hits. The band played around with us a lot, letting us vote on a track to hear and whether or not we wanted it in English or Swedish (Swedish, duh!) and giving us a little history quiz before playing “Winged Hussars.” Joacim, the front man, was eating up the fan-love and couldn’t stop falling all over himself thanking us for coming out on a Sunday night and bringing down the house, but frankly, for a top-5 all-time live act, what else could we do???

Plus, that Swedish flag bass? Yeah, dude’s got “SWEDISH WAR MACHINE” printed down the neck of it, hah!


And finally, from Tuesday night. . .

##Nordjevel with Dreaded and Imperial Triumphant at Slim’s in Raleigh, NC

I got clued into this show by my awesome concert-buddy Briony, and am super glad I was. Despite opening up at 9PM on a work night, it was utterly worth seeing. Dreaded are a local outfit from Greensboro, NC playing some pretty brutal black metal with sick stage presence and a lot of love from the local crowd. So many spiked arm bands!

New York’s Imperial Triumphant were something to watch as smoked cloaked the tiny stage and their horrifying golden masks went on. Only a three-piece live, the superior bass work of Erik Malave really comes through, even if the full sound is a little less present in that format. Give em a little more road experience and they could really go places!

Finally, Nordjevel, a minor black metal supergroup (maybe more like greatgroup) who aren’t terribly likely to tour the US somehow made it out to Raleigh, NC, so of course we had to go see ‘em! They are absolutely killer and locked in as hell live–probably owing to the many years’ experience onstage the members possess from their various activities. Brutal, artful, relentless. . . seeing them from literally feet away was awe-inspiring and a little horrifying :)


Thanks for sharing @ArmandoPenblade! Looks like some awesome shows have been coming through. If I was less lazy I’d drive to Chicago or Detroit and see some of those tours.


Honestly that 3-hour drive back from Sabaton–after already being on the road a good 11 hours in the preceding 60H or so–was pretty hellish, but super worth it.

Still a few more definitive shows on the radar: Raleigh Death Fest in June, Slayer/Behemoth in July, and Dark Tranquility in September. May try to squeeze Sarah Longfield, Mega Colossus, and Insomnium in there, too. . . I might crack 20 concerts in 2017 by the end!