18. My Silent Wake – Damnatio Memoriae
For nigh on a decade now My Silent Wake have released a plethora of outstanding albums – from straight-up death/doom to entirely acoustic releases and ambient instrumentals – but Damnatio Memoriae marked a return to heavier realms for My Silent Wake.
The fast and playful tempos of “Highwire” toyed with the notion that doom has to lurch from one painfully drawn-out riff to another and ably recalled the majesty and traditional metal melody’s of Trouble’s “Assassin” while “And So It Comes To An End” drew warranted comparisons with the savage yet melancholy classics found on My Dying Bride’s Turn Loose The Swans.
Cleanly sung passages and a mournful baritone jostled with deathly – yet audibly clear – growls and beautifully sparse guitars added light to the considerable shade cast by the kind of chest-crushingly heavy riffing that would make Tony Iommi proud. In 2015, you’d be hard pressed to find a truer representation of death/doom’s simple yet ornate power to suffocatingly soothe the listener. An engrossing work.
17. Manilla Road – The Blessed Curse
The production’s shite and the band are an ancient throwback to a time forgotten so why the hell are Manilla Road included here? The answer’s simple, The Blessed Curse is true metal, forged with a fearless dedication to the golden age of mysticism, god-sized riffs and unparalleled atmosphere.
These cult heroes have released a few classics since their inception in the late 70’s – Open The Gates and Crystal Logic are mandatory – and The Blessed Curse was a welcome, if a little surprising, return to the quality of their finest moments. A double album – what else(!) – it was the tracks on Disc 1 that proved the most alluring; a psychedelic and mellow vibe tempered by moments of unbridled aggression.
Nearly 40 years in the business and Manilla Road are still writing and recording classic metal that never once feels trite or lacking in enthusiasm. A quality release from one of metal’s most revered cult bands.