So I managed to check out a few of those releases that I had listed for 2010 and even though I didn't actually listen to any of these in full, what I did hear was very disappointing.
- I literally listened to the first two songs (if the first track even counts as a song) and then called it quits immediately after it was finished. It sounds like all that time in prison did NOTHING for Varg's creativity. Other than a slightly better production than past albums, this sounds like a rehash of ideas left over from his last black metal album, Filosofem. The main riff in the second track on Belus, "Belus' død", is horribly similar to "Jesu død". This might be for connection purposes given the titles of the two songs but it doesn't sit well with me. According to Varg, he claims to have "evolved" over time, yet I don't hear any evolution. In fact, he even mentions that he wanted this album to be stylistically similar to his last two black metal releases. It sounds pretty difficult to "evolve" if that's the case. Varg doesn't want to let the black metal sound of yore die it seems and that really hurts him because that style has been done to death all those years he's been away, and it now sounds stale and boring. I guess it was impossible not to have some expectation given how monumental Filosofem was but I am disappointed by what I've heard out of this release. I honestly don't care about listening to any more songs either. It's best to just let this one pass by, folks.
Dark Tranquillity- We Are the Void
- One of my favorite bands over the last decade, I had yet to come across a Dark Tranquillity album that I considered boring. Sadly, I must report that trend ends here. Like Burzum's album, I listened to just a few songs from this and I hear no attempt at evolution whatsoever, not even a refinement of their current sound. It's just more of the same, only this time it's not grabbing me like it was. Fiction, while comparisons were drawn to Character, stood very much apart from it and formed an identity. It's as if Dark Tranquillity have stopped trying and are just releasing music just to release it. There's no inspiration at all. Then again, it could also be due to the fact that the genre they're playing in is a black hole for sameness these days. Nevertheless, I fear that I must finally proclaim this band dead, and that's a damn shame. This is easily the most lifeless effort of theirs to date. You had a great run, guys, but it's best to end this band now before it gets any worse.
Eluveitie- Everything Remains As It Never Was
- You can more or less paste exactly what I said about Dark Tranquillity's new album here. Unlike Dark Tranquillity, however, Eluveitie are only four albums into their career, and have already reached the point where it seems they're going to release the same album over and over but with decreased quality on each successive album. If you're new to this band, I highly recommend listening to their first album, Spirit. It's bursting with fresh ideas and the band utilized their folk side with much greater appeal. Its follow-up, Slania, is very good too but not as good. I love what this band does but they've already hit a slump and I will likely not continue to pay attention to future releases.
I might revisit these later in the year but for now they've all earned a spot at the bottom of my "must hear" list.