50 Unheralded Albums from 2011

50 Unheralded Albums from 2011

In just one more trip around the sun, another swarm of immensely talented but under-recognized musicians has harnessed its collective talents and discharged its creations into the void. This list is but one fraction of those dedicated individuals who caught our ears with some serious jams.


The Metal Examiner: Arkan’s Salam

Every Friday, The Metal Examiner delves metal’s endless depths to present the genre’s most important and exciting albums.

Arkan: SalamArkan: Salam (Season of Mist, 4/18/11)

Arkan: “Origins”

[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Arkan-Origins.mp3|titles=Arkan, “Origins”]

Despite some great successes, aspirations to incorporate “world” music into metal has also managed to sink countless bands along the way. Ambition and intention aside, most efforts came off as gimmicky or, even worse, just plain silly.

French melodic-death-metal outfit Arkan showed that it was the real deal with its 2008 debut, Hilal, by delivering on the promise of a more Eastern brand of metal — one not just splashed with Arabian and Occidental influences but fully fused with them. Whereas some bands merely branch out into Eastern sounds, Arkan emerges with fully planted roots. Hilal was not perfect, but the follow-up, Salam (Arabic for “peace”), picks up where its predecessor left off, smoothing out what rough edges existed and pushing the band’s sound to its limit.

100 Unheralded Albums from 2010

Among the thousands of under-appreciated or under-publicized albums that were released in 2010, hundreds became our favorites and were presented in ALARM and on AlarmPress.com. Of those, we pared down to 100 outstanding releases, leaving no genre unexplored in our list of this year’s overlooked gems.


The Metal Examiner: Atheist’s Jupiter

Every Friday, The Metal Examiner delves metal’s endless depths to present the genre’s most important and exciting albums.

Atheist - JupiterAtheist: Jupiter (11/8/2010, Season of Mist)

[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Atheist-06-Tortoise-the-Titan.mp3|titles=Atheist – Tortoise the Titan]

Atheist’s first two albums are landmarks of technical death metal. These recordings represented a visionary take on metal composition conceived by injecting jazz-fusion riffing into the more structurally integrated style of death metal. Though under-appreciated during their time, these albums — Piece of Time and Unquestionable Presence — have since become part of the extreme-metal canon.

Kylesa to release Spiral Shadow on Season of Mist

Just a year and a half after Static Tensions, psych-sludge quintet Kylesa will release Spiral Shadow, its fifth full-length album, on October 26 via Season of Mist. With the album, Kylesa’s cross-genre sound jumps from Prosthetic Records, which put out its last three discs.

The new album was produced again by Kylesa’s guitarist/vocalist Phillip Cope, who has manned the boards for Baroness and Withered.

Weekly Music News Roundup

Holy collaboration — Mike Patton and Justin Broadrick are contributing to a score by Fog‘s Andrew Broder and Adam “Doseone” Drucker for a semi-autobiographical “photographic novel” by Alan Moore.  Whoa.

In other news, The Dillinger Escape Plan has signed to Season of Mist, Eyedea & Abilities has a new album, two Rodriguez-Lopez brothers (not Omar) are releasing a debut full-length, and Múm will release a new disc in August.  This and more is in the roundup.