5. Dark Suns – Grave Human Genuine 2008 (Sensory)
Progressive metal bands don’t make sense. Especially the foreign ones. What the fuck does Grave Human Genuine mean anyway? German outfit Dark Suns paints, expertly on tracks like “Amphibian Halo” and “Free of You,” quite a vista. Similar in parts to Pain of Salvation’s The Perfect Element, Part I, Ulver’s Perdition City, and Riverside’s Rapid Eye Movement, Dark Suns’ prog-experimental smorgasbord is bewitchingly effective. They’ve done more since and they’re still way left of center.
4. Ghost Brigade – Guided By Fire 2008 (Season Of Mist)
Released way back in 2008, Guided By Fire caught the attention of one, maybe two, people. On the surface, the Finns appropriated a few ideas from Katatonia, Burst, and the Deftones, but underneath it Ghost Brigade’s cross-genre darkcore is world-class. “Hold On Thin Line,” “Away And Here,” and “Deliberately” are the soundtrack to a November browbeating. You know, when it’s cold, rainy, and it looks like the world is gonna end. The two albums since are also top class, especially 2011’s Until Fear No Longer Defines Us.
3. Kaamos – Scales Of Leviathan [EP] 2007 (Nuclear Winter)
Posthumously released after Kaamos kicked the bucket in 2006, Scales of Leviathan is crushing high-quality Swede-death. Sonically in-between early releases by Visby brutes Grave and Americans Deicide, Kaamos, for whatever reason, didn’t get the same luciferian love bestowed upon, say, Bloodbath or the 8 billion Inclontation bands. Scales of Leviathan’s opening title track reminds us why non-fruity death rules. 2002’s self-titled and 2005’s Lucifer Rising are as devilishly good as the EP. Too bad few cared when it mattered. Drummer Christofer Barkensjö now skin pounds for ex-In Flames supergroup, The Resistance, as premiered on this very blog to much applause and worship.
2. Alchemist – Tripsis 2007 (Relapse)
Aussie’s Alchemist just aren’t appreciated adored as much as they should be. True, the style they’ve carved out—vestiges of Voivod, Slayer, mid-period Napalm Death, and Pink Floyd effortlessly co-mingle in ways few thought possible—isn’t immediate. But that’s the charm, dammit! Vocally, Adam Agius reminds of Max Cavalera and Jaz Coleman. Tripsis, released by Relapse many moons ago, found Alchemist revisiting the meandering tension of cult classic Spiritech. They sadly disbanded after six great, Jeff Wagner approved, full-lengths.
1. Hibria – Defying the Rules 2004 (Remedy)
Brazil’s got Picanha, hot chicks (in skimpy bikinis), and Hibria. For all those things, we Deci-metallers should celebrate. Hibria’s a relatively obscure heavy metal gem with only one album to its credit. The riff-tastic, DragonForce-killer Defying the Rules. Even though they’re influenced by the masters, there’s a ballsy grit to Hibria unheard in contemporary European counterparts. Guitarist Diego Kasper, Abel Camargo, and bassist Marco Panichi are amazing! And vocalist Iuri Sanson puts all pretenders to shame. On 2011’s Blind Ride, Hibria lost a bit of its luster, but that doesn’t mean for a ass-kicking good time Defying the Rules and The Skull Collectors shouldn’t be championed like the first day of summer.