Top 12 Heavy Metal Screamers

Metal has a reputation of not being accessible, mostly due to the heavier genres taking things a step further with the screaming. Most may not like it, but it is my drug, I am addicted to heavy music with this harsh style of vocalization. I had to do a lot of thinking on this one, and it may change later this year or in a few years when I discover new bands, but as of now, these are my top favorites of the masters of brutality.

#12: Caleb Shomo (Beartooth)

Caleb Shomo has a phenomenal voice, but I feel his regular singing is better than his screams, yet they work so well with Beartooth’s hardcore inspired style.

Along with the music, he loads up every lyric with so much emotion that it makes his passion standout to make for some of the most powerful metal music in the scene. He makes me feel as I bang my head every time.

#11: Johan Hegg (Amon Amarth)

Johan’s vocals match well with his Viking and Norse mythological inspired lyrics. His monstrous voice could easily come from a creature that the ancient pillagers believed in as he goes over his fascination with these themes.

#10: Corey Taylor (Slipknot)

Of course, I had to put Corey Mother Fucking Taylor on this list. His range brightens through his clean vocals then dulls out in his screams, like Shomo. What he lacks is made up based on his iconic voice that has inspired almost every metal band that has popped up since the release of Slipknot’s second album Iowa.

#9: Winston McCall (Parkway Drive)

Unlike most metalcore groups, McCall’s delivery gives some resemblance to heavier genres like death metal as he belts out booming screams and some spine chilling highs. When it comes to his neck of the woods in the metal underworld, it is hard to beat the Australian vocalist.

#8: Spencer Charnas (Ice Nine Kills)

The horror-loving frontman of Ice Nine Kills has a distinguishable approach to his style of vocalization. Death metal-inspired highs and lows certainly can be heard while he does classic medium registered screams and then hops into that weird middle ground of screaming and clean singing every other word. I feel like he is not fully appreciated, and anyone who has not heard INK then you better start with their last album, The Silver Scream.

#7: Spencer Sotelo (Periphery)

Arguably one of the best singers/screamers in modern metal, this other Spencer from Periphery can flip back and forth from smooth, beautiful singing to a shocking monster unlike anyone else in metalcore. He has a bold range but has his own sound that is hard to replicate.

#6: Randy Blythe (Lamb of God)

Not having Randy Blythe on here is like not having Corey Taylor. Of course, I had to put this legend here. The dreadlocked singer stands out not only with his impressive talent but from his signature sound that drops jaws every time he opens his mouth.

Interesting enough, unlike everyone else who has to learn the art of brutal vocals, Randy told Loudwire that he simply can make that sound. It started as a joke, and here he is, a punk guy who is a metal God.

#5: Scott Ian Lewis (Carnifex)

Carnifex, like some others, leads deathcore from its origins and continues to do so today. Fronted by Scott Ian Lewis, who has a classic voice for anyone who listens to the genre or the inspiration of this extreme movement, death metal. His voice makes his profoundly sorrowful lyrics more impactful. While some in this area of metal lean one way or another of doing higher or lower registered vocals better, Lewis can do every part equally as brutally with nothing getting left behind.

#4: Trevor Strnad (The Black Dahlia Murder)

Metal haters may think all screamers sound the same, and while many sounds similar, that is because they want to imitate their influences like George “Corpsegrinder,” Phil Bozeman, or whoever else that person seeks out as their inspiration. Then you get Trevor Strnad, who proves those people wrong.

His distinctive lows are one thing, but it is his highs that I think makes him such a legend. Those wicked witch vocals sound unlike anyone else out there. Replicating him would be foolish as everyone should strive to be an individual, like this death metal veteran. There is a reason The Black Dahlia Murder are a mighty force in the dark depths of blood, guts, and nightmares.

#3: Ben Duerr (Shadow of Intent)

I am calling here, Shadow of Intent will be new leaders of deathcore and Ben Duerr is the guy everyone will look to as he is breaking ground in the genre. I have not heard gutturals so good since Phil Bozeman, and I have certainly not heard anyone who has this type of range in a while. Keep your eyes open because this band, and vocalist, are the next big thing for fans wanting the heaviest metal possible.

#2: Phil Bozeman (Whitechapel)

Speaking of Bozeman and groundbreaking vocals, the Whitechapel singer goes above and beyond with his vocal performance with every album. His highs are good, but nothing impressive. What makes the Tenessee native an idol to all screamers who have formed since the release of The Somatic Defilement comes from his lows and gutturals. He has his own voice with techniques to create demonic sounds that boggle minds since 2007.

On top of that, the man can actually sing shockingly well. I wonder what other secret talents he is hiding from his fans.

#1: Travis Ryan (Cattle Decapitation)

I could be wrong, but I think Ryan is the most innovative vocalist in death metal/deathgrind/deathcore. Nobody in this extreme level of heaviness has a range like him. Whether it is his Cookie Monster lows, his brutal gutturals, shrieking highs, or his weirdly melodic vocals, he can do it all to the point I think nobody else can reach.

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15 Games That Allow You to Pet Dogs

Dogs are one of the most redeemable things on the planet as humans have to deal with so many atrocities day in and day out. Video games are another way to let go of that darkness, so nothing beats when a developer allows its player base to pet dogs in that world. If you want to play and give furry friends a little pat on the head or a good belly rub, then here are 15 that you will need to put on your list if you have not already.

#15: Runescape

Yes, of all the games I am starting with, Runescape is the first on the list. It might be hard for most people to even look at its pixelated graphics as the game has been out of date for years, but you can pet dogs, so there is an excellent reason to play if you want some nostalgia.

#14: A Plague Tale: Innocence

After a brief introduction, the first thing you get to do in this stealth game is to pet a dog named Lion. Now that is a way to start an otherwise depressing game. Just watch out for everything that occurs shortly after.

#13: Blair Witch

The biggest selling point to this horror title is the dog, Bullet. Not only can you pet the good boy, but there are also other interactions with him to ease the pain of playing a spooky game.

#12: Darksiders: Genesis

In this top and down hack and slasher, you can take a brief break from the killing to pet a demonic doggy. The creatures may look scary, but they are friendly enough to let you give them some love.

#11: Divinity: Original Sin 2

This RPG was highly acclaimed back in 2017. Though I missed out, I do have an urge to play it despite knowing little to nothing at all. But I cannot possibly miss out on a dog waiting for me to pet his or her’s little head.

#10: Far Cry 5

I did not end up loving Far Cry 5 the more I played it as it fell flat after its incredible beginning. That said, having the various pets made it much more tolerable, especially Boomer, the doggo. He can grab new guns for his owner that he loves so much, then you reward him with a few pats on his body, which seems fair enough.

#9: The Sims 4

I know the other Sims games have pets, but I am just talking about the latest one that most people will likely still play. Either way, you can get a dog to pet and make sure he/she has the best life possible. You better build a giant house just for your furry companion.

Plus you have so many options to choose. Give me a dozen corgis, please.

#8: Stunt Corgi VR

Nothing more immersive in virtual reality that petting a corgi who does insane stunts. How am I hearing about this now when this game came out back in 2018? I am disappointed with myself.

#7: Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition

I know almost nothing about the Dragon Quest games except for the things I hear about from its passionate fans. Well, whatever reasons they have for loving this franchise, I understand to a degree because you know, dogs.

#6: Luigi’s Mansion 3

Not all ghosts are bad, as this spiritual pooch will revive you and let you pet his/her. Though, I do question how Luigi is physically touching a ghost.

#5: Overcooked 2

In between intense cooking matches to save the world, why not take a break to give some love to man’s best friend?

Also, you can play a level where you cook for a dog. I need to buy this game now.

#4: Red Dead Redemption 2

Rockstar Games’ latest masterpiece is a sprawling world with so much to do, plus petting a wide range of animals. The dogs in this Western are not one breed, you can find multiple kinds of friends who would love to let you give them some pat, pat, pat on their side, and rub their faces.

#3: The Walking Dead: The Final Season

I never finished TellTale’s The Walking Dead series. Maybe I should go back and play the finale for, you know, reasons like zombies, perhaps the story, or perhaps something else that barks and likes receiving treats.

#2: Life is Strange 2

I know the gist of Life is Strange, but now that I know about the dog, I may have to give it a shot. Thanks for the motivation to try it out devs.

#1: League of Legends

How have I dismissed one of the most popular games in the world when there are dogs in it? Now I need to reevaluate League of Legends after this news.

What are some games I missed? Let me know in the comments.

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12 Best Movies of 2019

2019 was full of ups and downs in the film world. Letdown horror flicks with some superb executions, epic superhero conclusions with some not so stellar origin stories, and then a mixed bag of indies that either shined or fell through the cracks. The first quarter to half of the year did not impress me, but by the end, I can look back satisfied by the quality released.

I did slightly spoil this in my best-of list for the decade, but I am sure most of you may not have read that. Nonetheless, the rest of the entries may surprise.

Due to time constraints and retail being utter hell during the holiday season, some films will get skipped as I have not seen Richard Jewell, Little Women, or 1917. You bet I will try to knock those all out once the Academy Awards pop up.

Prepare to either cheer or bring out your pitchforks with my top movies of the year. I am sure someone will be happy or furious on my picks as this list is mostly going off of my enjoyment with a sprinkle of critical reasoning behind the brilliant techniques many of these films utilized to be worthy of making it on my subpar blog.

Honorable mentions: John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum, Detective Pikachu, IT Chapter 2, Stuber, Zombieland Double Tap, Captain Marvel, and Shazam!

#12: Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus

This nostalgia trip with one of my favorite childhood shows was a blast. The years since the final episode before its cancelation has aged well as Enter the Florpus feels like nothing has changed with all of its weirdness and darkness that Invader Zim was known for in the early 2000s.

Please, Nickelodeon, give me more.

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Image via Netflix/Nickelodeon

#11: Us 

It may not have had the same punch as Jordan Peele’s horror debut Get Out, but Us is easily one of the best horror films of the year. Cranking up the intensity and gore from his 2017 masterpiece, this still keeps the comedian’s style of social commentary, a focus on people of color, and a dash of humor to level out the terrifying experience. The message may not be as impactful, but it certainly delivers a heart-pounding viewing that goes into the weirder depth of the filmmaker’s demented mind.

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Image via Universal Pictures

#10: El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie

Breaking Bad had a satisfying finale to Walter White’s arc along with plenty of other characters, but Jesse. Aaron Paul got a chance to seal off that narrative that was initially left in the darkness. I felt it could have been left alone as my stomach was full on this meth filled world, but I ate every second up of El Camino with its compelling presentation. I could not resist one final goodbye to Jesse Pinkman.

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Image via Netflix

#9: Blinded by the Light

This wholesome look at a fan of Bruce Springsteen has more to offer than what it appears. The power of music can change someone’s life, even a whole family’s dynamic. Blinded by the Light has plenty to say that warmed my heart despite not being a fan of the legendary musician. It may not be an actual award, but this gets a mental trophy from me for being the most delightful movie of 2019.

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Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

#8: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

It may not be my favorite Tarantino film as it did not have the consistent humor I find so attractive in his projects. Still, I can’t complain too much as I am happy for another release by the legendary director and writer.

What it lacks, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, has the memorable characters with phenomenal acting that is expected across his filmography. It is no Pulp Fiction or Django Unchained, but it is still Tarantino in all of his foot fetish filled glory.

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Image via Sony Pictures Releasing

#7: Ready or Not

A horror comedy with commentary on the rich and powerful, what’s not to love? Seriously, this is a wild ride of gore, intensity, and laugh out loud moments that filled my eyes with tears. Full of quirky characters to remember who make the slower spots not die out in between the hunting for the bride.

Everyone knocks it out of the park, but Samara Weaving rightfully takes the spotlight as a funny heroine who can be grippingly compelling in the most dramatic of moments then turn around to be the ass-kicker of this wealthy Satan-worshipping family that I did not realize I needed so much. Rarely one performance sells me on one’s talent, well, Weaving will be that exception as she was phenomenal every step of the way.

Now it is time for me to look through her IMDB page and watch more films she has starred in. Maybe The Babysitter or Guns Akimbo will be next on the list.

This is the moment where I realized she was in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and feel dumb as hell.

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Image via 20th Century Fox

#7: Spider-Man: Far From Home

The MCU take on Spider-Man has swung past my wildest expectations, much of which is due to Tom Holland being the best Peter Parker/Spidey imaginable. Far From Home takes twists and turns that I did not expect (seriously, that after-credits scene took me so much by surprise that I think I lost a few years off my life).

The cherry on top of this sequel is that it goes from one of my favorite actors as the antagonist in Homecoming with Michael Keaton as the Vulture, and now Spider-Man’s second standalone tackles the beautiful Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio, that is what I am talking about boys.

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Image via Marvel Studios/Disney

#6: Joker

I know it got divisive, but I thought Joker was incredible. The superhero genre has plenty to push it forward, and this did exactly what I hoped it could achieve. A crime drama that feels like comic bookey and more like a real-life look at a man’s descent into madness and violence.

Regardless of what anyone thinks of this controversial origin story, Joaquin Phoenix is one of the best Jokers depicted on the big screen. I still have to give Heath Ledger the win out of the live-action movies, and Mark Hamill will live on to be the greatest to ever portray the iconic villain.

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Image via DC/Warner Bros.

#5: Avengers: Endgame

The most epic and satisfying conclusion I have ever experienced came from the end of the Infinity Saga. The Avengers facing off with Thanos one more time defied expectations I had for it. Resolving Iron Man, Captain America, and Black Widow was an emotional rollercoaster that closed out their character arcs respectfully.

I have seen depressing movies before, but nothing has made me cry more than Endgame. That is right, go ahead and judge me that I cried harder over superheroes than I did when I watched Manchester by the Sea.

Now I am waiting for the next phase to see what the future holds for the MCU.

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Image via Marvel Studios/Disney

#4: Midsommar

Ari Aster’s second feature continues his moody tone, religious and mental illness related themes, and brings down a hammer of emotional abuse to both his characters and audience. Midsommar is much more artsy and weird compared to Hereditary, making it the only movie here that I have a hard time recommending despite it making to number four on the list. If all of this sounds like your jam, then check it out, if not then avoid this folk horror film.

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Image via A24

#3: Knives Out

This whodunit is an absolute blast from start to finish. Rian Johnson had many moviegoers question his abilities due to the divisive Last Jedi, but I knew he would deliver something brilliant.

Outside of having the best cast of the year, Knives Out is both delightful and thrilling with its murder mystery. Nothing feels overly serious or goofy, the tone feels perfect settled in between to make it as accessible as possible. Not many of the entries on this list I would rewatch over and over, but Johnson’s later film can get looked over dozens of times without getting bored.

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Image via Lionsgate

#2: Parasite

Parasite is an unusual type of thriller, as it seems to have such low stakes that end up skyrocketing by the end. I went in, knowing nearly nothing and was blown away by this experience. If there were to be one film that could bridge the mainstream and artsy audiences, you are looking at it right here.

Interesting enough, 2019 had enough with rich people as this is the third film on my list that has commentary on socioeconomic statuses.

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Image via NEON

#1: Jojo Rabbit

Both hilarious and moving enough to rip out my heart, Taika Waititi has outdone himself as a director, writer, and actor. Unlike many WW2 movies, this is one of the most nuanced perspectives on a war without having to go into large scale battles. It keeps the setting intimate yet looks at the bigger picture of its subject manner. Jojo Rabbit may seem like a silly choice to put as my movie of the year, but it packs a punch in more ways than one while being as rewatchable as Knives Out or Endgame.

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Image via 20th Century Fox

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Ranking Every Star Wars Movie From Worst to Best According to Rotten Tomatoes

The saga has ended. With the release of Star Wars Episode 9: Rise of the Skywalker, the longrunning story arc has concluded, for now, until more films get made. This monumental moment does stir up the conversation of the best entries in the series, which I will look to Rotten Tomatoes for this one.

If you have a problem, now you can’t blame me, unlike other rankings on the Internet. Take the torches and pitchforks to the review-aggregation site as this is how I will conduct the rankings from the professionals and audiences.

Yes, I will have two different lists here. One is for the critic score, and the other is the audience. Decide which is right or wrong, or both can be wrong or right. You can figure it all out yourselves.

CRITIC:

#10: Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (53%)

#9: Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (55%)

#8: Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (66%)

#7: Solo: A Star Wars Story (70%)

#6: Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (80%)

#5: Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (81%)

#4: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (84%)

#3: Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (91%)

#2 (TIE): Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope and Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (93%)

#1: Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (95%)

AUDIENCE:

#9: Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (44%)

#8: Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (56%)

#7: Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (59%)

#6: Solo: A Star Wars Story (64%)

#5: Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (66%)

#4 (TIE): Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker, and Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (86%)

#3: Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (94%)

#2: Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (96%)

#1: Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (97%)

How would you personally rank each of the Star Wars movies? Let me know in the comments.

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11 Best Rock and Metal Albums of 2019

2019 had a strong lineup of metal and rock albums. Plenty of epic returns from Slipknot, Tool, and Rammstein, with other bands continuing the cycle of making new music, then hit the road. Everything from the experimental to simple heaviness had something to offer that was special to the final year of the 2010s.

Here are my top albums of the year:

#11: Amon Amarth – Berserker

Vikings, mythology, and death metal that is an excellent combination that Amon Amarth figured out a long time ago. Now with decades worth of experience, they still bring out melodic brutality with harmonic twists to take their fans through some history and lore behind the infamous Scandinavian pillagers.

The Swedish headbangers may not deviate from their formula much, Berserker is a prime example of such, but that does not stop them from being irresistible once that riff action kicks in and Johan Hegg starts screaming about history and Norse mythology.

#10: Nile – Vile Nilotic Rites

Continuing that train of history and mythology comes from Nile. The legendary death metallers have made a name for themselves by going through a time machine into ancient Egypt while delivering brutal music.

Vile Nilotic Rites is both skull shattering and epic. Seven Horns of War brings out a grand production across 9 minutes. The flip side to familiar territory in the graveyard that is death metal comes from tracks like Revel In Their Suffering and The Oxford Handbook Of Savage Genocidal Warfare. This record has so much to offer while scratching that itch for a different scenery compared to most bands in this scene.

#9: Killswitch Engage – Atonement

Killswitch Engage’s flavor of metalcore continues to show off with each record as they sprinkle in rock and hardcore ingredients to separate themselves from bands that overproduce breakdowns rather than substance. Atonement is the group’s ultimate example of everything they stand for musically and thematically. Everything from the heartfelt single I Am Broken Too to the aggressive Know Your Enemy to anthems like I Can’t Be the Only One, there is something for any mood.

#8: Periphery – Hail Stan

Progressive metalcore innovators Periphery never ceases to amaze me by their sheer talent.  No doors are closed off from creative endeavors like the electronic breakdown in CHVRCH BVRNER or the orchestral closing for Crush. You never quite know what to expect, yet you do with the balance of familiarity and experimentation.

Unlike most of the metal scene, Periphery can jump from silliness like the 16-minute ride that is Reptile, following a stoner trying to save the world from aliens. Then the pioneers take a sharp turn with It’s Only Smiles, where vocalist Spencer Sotelo reflects and grieves over his sister who passed away.

Musically and lyrically, nothing can prepare you entirely for their most innovative release yet.

#7: Rammstein – Rammstein

I never got into the German legends until this release showed me what I have been missing out on my whole life. Industrial grit and speaking in German sounds so brutal for a band that are not even that heavy, especially compared to everyone else on this list.

The weirdness of Rammstein had been growing for a decade in between records, and they have unleashed a bizarre masterpiece that defies all expectations, especially from this outsider. It is a front to back flawless launch that makes me worried that it will be their last release as it was a fight between themselves to get it made.

Also, while every track is meticulously crafted to perfection, one thing that this Rammstein has done above anyone else is making the best music video I have ever seen with Deutschland. If you do one thing after reading this article, please watch that video.

#6: Carnifex – World War X

Carnifex continues to be unapologetically heavy and depressing with their seventh album. Mental health is their brand from day one, and Scott Ian Lewis continues to bring out his darkest emotions, reaching all the way down from hell and back to deliver this emotional rollercoaster.

As self-taught musicians, the instrumentation soars above everything else done in the past. Riffs that have more complexity than all of the preceding records combined with melodic solos, nasty bass lines, and drumming that is both well thought out and destructive.

Deathcore can get stale, but this year has shown it is more than what naysayers have to say. The Californian metalheads are here to show you why as they push the boundaries for the confined subgenre of extreme metal. With first time collaborations with Arch Enemy’s Alissa White-Gluz and guitarist Angel Vivaldi, Carnifex are heading towards something big in the future, and the whole underworld of heavy music better be watching.

#5: Cattle Decapitation – Death Atlas

Like Carnifex, Cattle Decapitation has their own brand, except instead of agony, it is climate change. For a group who have had the same message for over 20 years, they still manage to be more thought-provoking than before. Death Atlas is an apocalyptic juggernaut that delivers a nihilistic viewpoint towards our demise as humans plunge the world into utter annihilation.

A mixed bag of deathgrind, straight death metal, and a touch of black metal, this is the highest form of brutality.  Not only a profound look at one of the world’s biggest issues, but it should be looked back on throughout heavy metal history of a genre-defining album.

#4: Fleshgod Apocolypse – Veleno

Symphonic death metallers Fleshgod Apocolypse must have come out of a time machine and discovered death metal as that would be the only explanation behind their look and sound. They come is looking as elegant as Hannibal Lecter, and eventually, get their high class looks ruined by getting drenched in blood.

The band figures out how to balance their Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde’s personality by adjusting the classical music and extreme metal to work together better than any other release. Carnivorous Lamb highlights their violent nature while Monnalisa showcases the dark beauty that hides behind the mask.

#3: Shadow of Intent – Melancholy

It seems every deathcore band wants to outdo one another with depressing records. Shadow of Intent certainly beat out Carnifex with Melancholy. The name says it all thematically, but not musically. It is a sweet middle ground of intensity, heaviness, and beauty with symphonic elements dolloped throughout.

The true cherry on top is a guest spot with Trevor Strnad from The Black Dahlia Murder. You can never go wrong with one of the best vocalists in the death metal scene.

#2: Whitechapel – The Valley

Again, another band seeking out to make a miserable album and the winner this year goes to Whitechapel. Vocalist Phil Bozeman has one of the most moving stories in the genre. He has tackled his troubled past throughout most releases, but this lays it all out, hopefully putting his demons to rest.

Outside of being a heartstring puller, The Valley takes what was established with the last two records and nails it. Previously, Whitechapel has tried going into more melodic and groovy directions that worked to an extent, but not in anyway astounding. This is where the skull shattering breakdowns blend with the new style cohesively.

Us metalheads always hear about a band putting out their heaviest album to date. Well, this is weird as the seventh creation from the Southern headbangers is both their softest and most brutal at the same time. Third Depth and Hickory Creek predominantly feature Bozeman’s haunting clean vocals. Meanwhile, Forgiveness is Weakness, We Are One, and Black Bear are some examples of how The Valley goes above anything the group has done since the old school days of This is Exile and The Somatic Defilement.

#1: Slipknot – We Are Not Your Kind

Slipknot went from more melody than experimentation for a long time after the release of Iowa. WANYK takes everything they learned and cranks it to 100. The legendary masked metalheads bang out brutality with Solway Firth, create new anthems like Unsainted, and go into their weirdest directions since the first two albums with Spiders and Death Because of Death.

This is a statement to the world that these Iowans are kings for a reason. WANYK is the best album of 2019 and out of the entire decade. Long live the Knot.

What are your favorite albums of the year? Let me know in the comments.

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Image via Universal, Metalblade Records, Roadrunner Records, Nuclear Blast Records

Best Metal Albums For Every Year of the 2010s

Heavy metal has had a strong presence in the last decade. 2020 will have a lot to prove to outperform, especially 2019, which had wildly anticipated releases that were gold. To reflect on that high bar, these are the best albums to release for every year through the 2010s.

To make an entry on the list outside of being a metal band putting out a new record in the time frame is that it needs to be a full-length release. EPs will not be counted for these purposes.

2010: Whitechapel – A New Era of Corruption

The gateway drug for me as I left the extreme metal scene and got pulled back in. Whitechapel’s criminally underrated third effort towers above almost anything for me regardless of year. The Knoxville natives balanced bone-shattering breakdowns, technical riffs, and world-ending vocals.

It is hard to hate on an album that has Chino Moreno of Deftones who comes in on the bridge of Reprogrammed to Hate, and Vincent Bennett from The Acacia Strain accompanies vocalist Phil Bozeman on Murder Sermon.

The record in which its title is a nod to their breakout Sophomore release This is Exile is full of underappreciated songs like End of Flesh, Darkest Day of Man, and Breeding Violence. This level of intensity from their older material is an excellent balance for the more melodic focused music they make today.

2011: The Black Dahlia Murder – Ritual

No death metal band can top The Black Dahlia Murder. Skillful playing with some of the most disturbing songs out there. While most bands have at least one weaker album, even if it is still a substantial addition to a group’s resume, these headbangers cannot disappoint in the slightest.

A Shrine to Madness celebrates Halloween as the opening track. Its orchestral introduction and leading into a web of riffs that goes off into a world of Satan, jack-o-lanterns, and all things scary leads to the best way to start a death metal album I have ever heard.

Each song has its own theme leaning onto the group’s fifth record, Ritual. Moonlight Equilibrium is the ritual of transformation, The Raven is observation, and Blood in the Ink focuses on indoctrination. To this day, it is the most tied together the themes have been from any of the band’s eight releases.

On top of that, at this point in time, it was their most collaborative. Since his arrival on Deflorate, guitarist Ryan Knight was able to get enough footing within The Black Dahlia Murder to offer more to the production.

2012: Periphery – Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal

Periphery is one of the best and most influential bands to come into the scene in well over a decade. Expert musicianship and one of the most impressive singers lead a new movement in metal while establishing their own identity. The second outing cemented them in history.

The intricately crafted songs have an impressive song structure like all of their material with a variety of different directions taken in just one track. Adding to the layers is the mix of melody, complexity, and heaviness. Standout hits like Scarlet, Luck as a Constant, and Mile Zero prove Periphery’s supreme skill at songwriting.

2013: A Day to Remember – Common Courtesy

Sure, A Day to Remember may not be entirely metal with lighter tracks like I’m Already Gone (which rules anyways) and pop-punk hits like City of Ocala (seriously, what a great opening to the album). Still, they make it on the list with their more metalcore/hardcore focused tracks. They are a blend, but I am putting them on here, put down your pitchforks and let’s move on.

The band’s second-best album includes some of their heaviest tracks. Violence (Enough is Enough) slows down with its pre-chorus, but other than that, it is non-stop adrenaline. Then, later on, there is arguably the most brutal song in their career, Life Lessons Learned the Hard Way. They may not be entirely a metal band, but these songs alone prove their worth.

What really makes Common Courtesy the best of 2013, despite some great competition, is its diversity. Having a death metal album that does not take a second to slow down is awesome, but I love having some variety. Melding different sounds and textures allow for everything to breathe and mix too heavily into one another.

2014: Behemoth – The Satanist

You may feel burned on my pick for 2013, but Behemoth should, hopefully, satisfy you.

With nine albums before, album number 10 stands out above the previous work down by the blackened death metal group from Poland. Starting off with the Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel, which sets the tone and much of the pacing for what’s to come. Going into a more brutal side, Furor Divinus is one of the most vicious creations from the band.

The one thing that stands out here is the ending. While it is eight tracks of pure mastery, the conclusion with O Father O Satan O Sun is the greatest way to end an album I have ever heard. From its long, epic instrumental introduction to Nergal’s drawn-out monologue, it feels both intense and monumental.

The Satanist is the perfect way for someone to get into black metal or any degree of extreme metal. Listen to the title track, and you will understand, or run into a church for safety.

2015: Cattle Decapitation – The Anthropocene Extinction

Cattle Decapitation has always had its stance on climate change while creating horror movie-level violence in their music. Vocalist Travis Ryan elevated his lyrical abilities to provide a more nuanced record that makes for the most impactful and intelligent album of the band’s career.

Manufactured Extinction sets the apocalyptic theme as it bashes through to end all of humanity. It not only establishes a tone and style for the rest of the album, but it also showcases so much of the talent from the band. From deadly riffs from guitarist Josh Elmore to Ryan’s shrieks and gutturals, and Dave McGraw’s lightning speed on the drums that are strategically executed.

Songs like Mammals in Babylon showcases Ryan’s unique range. He does all the normal lows, gutturals, high screams that will make your ears bleed, but he has a melodic voice that confuses the metal scene as it blends screams and clean singing techniques. These are no clean vocals but has that melody while maintaining the brutality that Cattle is known for. This album alone proves why Ryan is one of, if not the best vocalist in the extreme underworld of heavy metal.

With an album that is front to back equally intense and genius, you need every member firing on all cylinders. Too many times, metal records, especially on this level of heaviness, drown out the bass player in both the mix and the sheer levels of sound and various layers that get developed for each track. Thankfully producer and mixer Dave Otero let Derek Engemann have a voice with his bass that slams through everything to stand beside the rest of his friends in the band.

2016: Beartooth – Aggressive

The Sophomore release from Beartooth hits everything I would want out of an album. Heavy, melodic, memorable, and poignant. Mastermind Caleb Shomo uses his band to belt out his struggles with mental health, and it hits hard no matter when you listen to these tracks.

The title track comes off safe until blowing up with fiery, which should be expected with a name like Aggressive. It is an anthemic call to the band’s young fans that fits perfectly with small or big crowds to sing-along.

Hated, Loser, and Sick of Me are all great examples that Shomo makes some of the catchiest choruses out there. It is impossible to not bang your head during any verse then sing along with the vocalist during the choruses that will stick with you for a countless amount of time.

2017: The Black Dahlia Murder – Nightbringers

Another winner for TBDM. Nightbringers is one of their fastest records while having some variety to not get stale.

Widowmaker has a booming, epic introduction that leads into a violent and classic style that any fan would recognize. Sure, they keep to a formula, but damn, they know how to make it as tasty as any other release.

Of God and Serpent, of Spectre and Snake and Good as Dead are some of the fastest songs in recent memory from the death metal legends. Not only do the guys in the band all play their instruments fast, but vocalist Trevor Strnad impressively matches the speed with his iconic screams that make him sound like a cartooney witch.

The title track enters an evil underworld that will surely get some protestors at their shows if they have not since the release of the band’s eighth album. Showing off the evil reputation of heavy metal by poking at the Christian bear is as metal as it gets.

Ending off on this short 33-minute journey of death metal comes to The Lonely Deceased. A somber start that leads to a story of a mortician’s desire to bang his dead clientele. Sounds about right to have some necrophilia in a TBDM record.

As mentioned with Ritual, Nightbringers is top notch in every element of music-making. The standout from the already superb craftsmanship is the replacement of Knight on lead guitar with a new, young stud, Brandon Ellis, who nails his part flawlessly. He understands the TBDM sound while lending his own style to the mix.

2018: Behemoth – I Loved You at Your Darkest

I know in my 2018 list of the best rock and metal albums, I did not put Behemoth as number one. What places them here is that I don’t think of Ghost as a metal band, I think of them as rock as controversial as that is. Deal with it, I still love Ghost, but I have to give it to Poland instead of Sweden.

Right away, Behemoth goes into a terrifyingly epic direction with the introduction of Solve. A choir of children can go either way of creepy religious or beautiful, in case you can’t guess it, the answer is the former.

Like The Satanist, ILYAYD can be just as vicious with songs like Wolves ov Siberia and We Are the Next 1000 Years. While the band has gone for more melody, rhythm, and technicality, they can still crack open a few skulls with pure heaviness.

Meanwhile, God = Dog blends a grand scale of production, brutality, and some haunting beauty with the return of those damn kids. You will probably feel many different things with the first single off the album.  Plenty of other tracks offer the same complexity in texture like Bartzabel and If Crucifixion Was Not Enough.

2019: Slipknot – We Are Not Your Kind

Iowa and the self-titled albums had the perfect mix of experimentation and raw heaviness. Slipknot has not made a bad album, but their third, fourth, and fifth efforts lack that same level of magic. We Are Not Your Kind is what everything in their career has built up towards, as this is what the band has learned for their achievements and mistakes.

The anthemic chorus mixed with the headbanging verses of Unsainted is exactly what Slipknot has gone for in previous releases but finely tuned in to one of the biggest highlights of the 2019 album.

A hint of experimentation with that raw emotion from the Iowa days returns with songs like Birth of the Cruel, and Nero Forte reminds fans that the old school style is far from dead.

Going off the deep end of unusual sounds for the nine Iowans comes with the profoundly emotional black metal inspired track A Liar’s Funeral. Then getting weirder with songs like Death Becomes of Death and Spiders. In their older age, the surprises have not gone away by a long shot.

WANYK is not only my favorite Slipknot album or the best 2019 had to offer, but it is also my top record of all time. The sixth release has everything I could want from any band, especially the legendary Knot.

What are your picks for the best metal album of each year through this past decade? Let me know in the comments.

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Images via Red Bull Records, Roadrunner Records, Metal Blade Records

Best Movies For Every Year of the 2010’s

2020 has arrived, meaning a new decade for new movies to make our lives better or worse. The 2010s had everything to deliver beyond imagination. To celebrate those past ten years, these are the best films for every year.

If it were up for awards, I would probably choose something else. But most of these choices come down to enjoyment along with the overall quality. Prepare to fight me on some of these picks.

2010: Let Me In (Sept. 23)

Matt Reeves never disappoints, especially with his take on John Ajvide Lindqvist’s excellent novel Let the Right One In. Reeves makes it his own while paying respect to the Swedish author. The haunting and emotional narrative thrives, especially with its two leads, Chloe Grace Moretz and Kodi Smit-McPhee.

2011: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Dec. 20)

I was worried at first to watch Fincher’s take on the first novel in the Millennium series. I recently watched it the other day out of curiosity and my love for not only these books, but Lisbeth Salander, who is wonderfully portrayed by Rooney Mara.

It may have its issues with accents, but it takes on almost everything necessary from the source material while standing on its own two feet. Nobody can adapt like Fincher, I wish he could adapt the second and third books. Maybe one day.

2012: End of Watch (Sept. 21)

What makes End of Watch excellent comes down to the chemistry between the characters. Michael Pena and Jake Gyllenhaal do seem like lifelong friends, while the relationship with their significant others played by Anna Kendrick and Natalie Martinez are equally endearing. Caring for these memorable personalities becomes dangerous as the investigation on a local gang catches the attention of the Mexican cartel.

2013: Prisoners (Sept. 20)

Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners is a slow burn that will ruin your night in the best way possible. Two daughters are kidnapped, and Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) must find who did it before one father, Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman), goes too far on his own investigation.

The hopeless, moody atmosphere is emotionally draining every second. While it is brilliant and easily the best to release in 2013, I don’t think I could stomach watching it again.

2014: Gone Girl (Oct. 3)

Only David Fincher could adapt from an already phenomenal book and make something that meets the bar that was set by Gillian Flynn.

Gone Girl is psychologically abusive to the viewer with every twist, turn, and foul thing to come from the despicable protagonists, Nick (Ben Affleck) and Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike). This one role alone proves Pike is one of the best actresses in the industry today, while Affleck feels like he is playing himself, in a disturbingly good way.

2015: Sicario (Oct. 2)

Intensity injects itself with this deep dive into the Mexican cartels. Sicario knows when to sit down and when to shed some blood. Once the credits roll, it will be hard to utter a word after watching the events unfold.

If only its sequel was as intelligent as its predecessor.

2016: 10 Cloverfield Lane (March 8)

The most intense theatrical experience I have ever experienced. The second Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) finds herself in Howard’s (John Goodman) basement; it is relentless tension. I felt I hot like I was ready to sweat the entire time as I never knew what would happen in this claustrophobic sequel to the already excellent Cloverfield.

2017: Logan (March 3)

Going above the usual standards set for the superhero genre, Hugh Jackman’s final outing as Wolverine is equal parts a magnificent comic book movie and drama. It has the brutal action that it deserves while telling a story that will obliterate anyone watching by its somber ending.

2018: Avengers: Infinity War (April 27)

The first part to the end of the epic Infinity Saga goes all out. Thanos (Josh Brolin) finally gets his time to shine after so much playing in the dark. It manages to wrap it all up with a satisfying conclusion with enough of a gap for Endgame.

Building a universe for ten years takes trial and error along with patience to tell the stories needed to lead up to one of the most threatening characters to appear on the big screen.

2019: Jojo Rabbit (Oct. 18)

One of the funniest and most moving movies of 2019 comes from Taika Waititi. Jojo is bold, smart, hilarious, and heart-wrenching. Hollywood has plenty of fresh ideas, even if the generic remakes and sequels float to the top, and this is an example of how creativity still lives on.

World War 2 movies, especially ones centered on the holocaust, can feel redundant as everything has been said with other films’ messages. The New Zealand filmmaker has more nuance to his satirical twist on history’s worst event than most in the field of putting this war to the big screen. He adds to the conversation in a meaningful way that mixes entertainment, humor, and seriousness that could be dangerous to one’s career.

What are your picks for the best films in the 2010s? Let me know in the comments.

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