The 2017 Cold Lake Awards

Author:Casual Observer
Date:2018-01-06 22:18:16
In recognition of Celtic Frost's infamous Cold Lake album, here are my Cold Lake Award winners for 2017. I've also included a couple of Dishonourable Mentions for some truly terrible albums that had to be excluded either because their fans are the sort of people who also claim to have enjoyed 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' and therefore lack the cranial capacity to find them as mind-numbing excruciating as I did or the band has previously been presented with a Cold Lake Award and is now transitioning to the 'living on a remote island chugging alien titty milk' stage of their career (complete with a screen wipe stolen from Akira Kurosawa). I'll see if I can get through all this pointless invective without sounding like a series of weather-dependent Nosferatwo reviews.

1. Suicide Silence - Suicide Silence

Suicide Silence are a 'deathcore' band from California and this is their fifth album. Deathcore, for the uninitiated, is that noisy shit with screamed vocals and no melody that is typically performed by sweaty, greasy-haired and tattooed white people who probably voted for Trump and don't bathe often. Normally I wouldn't give a fuck about anything that happened in the world of deathcore short of an ebola wipeout but I began to take an interest after learning that their fans were so incensed after hearing one of the songs from the new album that they launched a petition to stop its actual release. Now that's the sort of butthurt the Cold Lake Awards stand for.

It appears offense was taken, not because of the lead singer's personal hygiene, but because he's gone and introduced some Einar Solberg-styled falsetto into the mix. Falsetto, or as one semi-literate YouTube commenter referred to it, 'that gay squeak' is apparently kryptonite to deathcore fans as this backwards-cap-wearing douchebag theatrically demonstrates.

Incidently, let me know how far you got into that 'reaction' video before wanting to punch that prick in the face, just to shut his entitled cake hole up. JFC. If the North Koreans do manage to get a nuke off before the US turns the country into a glassy carpark for Samsung employees, hopefully it lands on his house.

2. Leprous - Malina

A-ha for hipsters. Sad-boy prog. An even gayer Bronski Beat. Say what you like about Leprous but let me tell you: this album is a pretentious, boring, repetitive, poppy nothing-burger championed by vest-wearing millennials whose only exposure to music has been determined entirely by what appears in their social media feeds and nerds who feel compelled to blog about the verse in 'From the Flame' being in 13/8 or the opening of the 'Captive' being in 17/16. Big fucking deal, Poindexter.

Wannabe Jimmy Somerville impersonator, Einar Solberg, can't write a decent melody to save himself. Even in 4/4 time. The final track, aptly titled 'The Last Milestone', is a wank-fest of falsetto, violins and tedium that transports the listener to the equivalent of a never-ending Peter Greenway retrospective. I haven't wanted to escape my own senses this much since sitting through 'The Baby of Mâcon'.

The fans, whose devotion started to wobble when The Congregation came out (giggity), have gone full Helen Keller on this one and are now jumping off the L-train in droves. Let's face it: Leprous could give AIDS to their remaining fans and they'd be able to find positive things to say about the experience.

I once said you'll be able to catch this band with Fakeryche on the Funnel Cake circuit. Well that day is approaching and what a glorious day it shall be. If only I were there to throw an exceptionally phallic corndog at them. Dicks. Get the new Ulver album if you want to hear a band abandon metal in a more listenable way.

3. (Alex Staropoli's) Rhapsody Of Fire (Experience) - The Legendary Years

Imagine, if you will, had the first post-Dickinson studio album to be released by Iron Maiden after Fear of the Dark been a compilation of their greatest hits as sung by Blaze Bailey. Actually, that's probably not a good analogy. It would have still been better than the X-Factor. Unless Gers played all the guitar parts. Yeah, then it would properly suck. Imagine Gers attempting to harmonize with himself on The Loneliness Of A Long Distance Runner. Yikes.

Nevertheless, that's what Rhapsody Of Fire have done here. Vocalist Fabio Lione is out and new singer Guacamole Voli is in. Turilli's guitar work has been redone with all the finesse of KK Downing by Roby De Micheli and undoubtedly the production budget was a fraction of the original.

This album is as pointless as the Manowar re-recordings and conveys the same message to the fans: 'hey guys, we're running on empty here, please buy our old shit again'. While true of Manowar, in Rhapsody's case this is a bit unfortunate. Staropoli wrote the last two albums on his own which I quite enjoyed, if only because Turilli took most of the cheese with him, and Voli is a better fit for the band than Blaze ever was so they may still have an original album left in them. I would have much rather waited for that to judge the new lineup than to sit through this and their fans would appear to agree with me. These guys have the potential to be a very good Rhapsody cover band.

4. Wintersun - The Forest Seasons

Wintersun is the brainchild of main composer Jari Mäenpää, who began Wintersun in 2003 and has managed, over the course of 15 years, to produce a mere three albums and a seemingly endless list of excuses as to why they're taking him so long to complete. Their last album, titled 'Time I', was released in 2012 and ever since then fans have been clamouring for news on the promised follow-up, the imaginatively titled 'Time II'. The development of 'Time II' is beginning to parallel that of Duke Nukem Forever with the most recent notable excuse offered by Jari being he needs money from the fans to build not only his own studio but his own band headquarters, which as the linked article points out, 'demanding your own headquarters in order to properly create an album seems excessive'. Indeed.

Yet such is he revered as a musical genius in his native Finland and, one has to assume, the rest of Europe that the initial crowdfunding campaign seeking 150,000 euro ultimately raised 464,330 euro (more than half a million US). This was achieved even after it was revealed that a portion of the funds would be spent on some rather questionable incidentals, such as sauna, which resulted in the following justification from Jari in order to quell the concerns of the more incredulous fans:
My skin is a bit sensitive, because of the cold and dry air of Finnish winters, but in Finland saunas are pretty much a default in every house (even in every apartment in apartment buildings) and they don't cost much. They are part of the culture. It would be more for the band guys after hard day of rehearsals anyways.
So calm down everyone. It's more for the other band members. Not exclusively for, mind you. Did I mention I'm beginning to like this guy?

Where then does this album fit in? Well, seeing as the creation of 'Time II' is now dependent on the construction of a sauna-equipped band headquarters, Jari threw this together as the centrepiece of his crowd-funding campaign. Unambitiously described by Jari as "our version of Vivaldi's 'The Four Seasons'", it contains four 12-14 minute songs intended to capture the essence of Spring, Summer, Autumn (that's Fall for you retards in America) and Winter.

Musically, it's a bit like a cross between Vintersorg and Moonsorrow but the whole crowd-funding saga and the fact that this album is still not 'Time II' appears to be the absolute final straw for a lot of the fans who would like nothing more than to flay Jari's sensitive Finnish skin. The following quote from one of the (positive) reviews on Encyclopaedia Metallum is a good summary of the situation:
If you go into this album expecting it to be this insane, delirious, almost religious hallucination/vision that rabid elitists have built 'Time II' up to be, then you will be disappointed; not due to lack of delivery, but because when you reach that level of ridiculous reverence, then you will always be underwhelmed, likely in a similar fashion to Jari with every musical endeavor the man engages in. If however, you go into this with an open mind (I can already hear the elitists shrieking and writhing in fury/agony) then what you'll find is an album that offers many high points.
I have to say, compared to the other albums listed here, I don't actually mind this.

Dishonourable Mentions

1. Arch Enemy - Will To Power

Having adopted the gimmick of a female singer in 2001, the discography of this group up to the mildly worthwhile 'Burning Bridges' now looks like an aberration. Something their management would prefer dismiss as 'a false start'. The prioritisation of style over substance, à la Kamelot, and further 'sexing up' of the band with the hiring of Alissa 'Jar Jar Smurfette' White-Gluz completes the Disneyfication of the band. Fans of the first three albums would be advised to check out the original members performing as Black Earth instead, because these are not the tunes you are looking for.

'The World is Yours' has a chorus that sounds like it was ripped off from a Nokia ringtone. 'The Race', 'The Eagle Flies Alone', 'Murder Scene', 'First Day in Hell', 'Dreams of Retribution', 'My Shadow and I' and 'A Fight I Must Win' are fungible, soulless and forgettable. It's almost as if they were written entirely by computer using the same artificial intelligence software responsible for the black metal band 'Dadabots'. 'Reason to Believe' only stands out because it has Jar Jar Smurfette singing clean vocals: signalling this band is officially done, once again.

This is corporate melodeth at its worst. A twitching abortion of an album. I'm surprised the marketing geniuses at Century Media haven't saddled Arch Enemy with a chubby Chinese bassist, called Rose, in a lame attempt to increase their appeal to Asian audiences. Because that's how marketing types think, you know.

2. Adrenaline Mob - We The People

Speaking of marketing geniuses, the 'don't fuck with us, we're badass mobsters' image that this band adopted has to be one of the most unhelpful to their wider acceptance by the metal community since Joey Demaio found a pair of furry underpants in his parent's basement and dared to dream.

There was a rumour going around that Russell Allen is so tough he keeps a defused World War II-era hand grenade under his hat to scare promoters into paying them in unsequenced bills. I'm a little sceptical myself. I thought the hat was protecting the excess ego that had burst out the top of his head. Nevertheless, do you really want to cross a band whose biggest hits after three albums have been their bassist and tour manager?

Unfortunately, for those in the wider metal community not put off by the way they look, Adrenaline Mob also sound ridiculous. Allen's faux aggression, which appears to be an extension of his Symphony X 'Angry Russ' persona, coupled with the hyper-masculine 'keyboard warrior' sophistication of the lyrics leaves the listener wondering whether the missing ingredients for enjoying this are acne, maths homework and no girlfriend.

Watch List for 2018

Judas Priest - the new song suggests the album will be snoozefest but, at least, a much better produced one.

(Nick van Dyk's) Redemption (Experience) - Tom Englund is likely to be as compatible with Redemption as his complexion appears to be with the Californian sun.

W.A.S.P. Re-Idolized - because the fans really wanted a jesus crispy remake of Crimson Idol with all the swearing removed.

Whatever shit Tool claim to be cooking up.

Ok. I'm done. I wonder if Tony makes it to this line.

nvandyk proclaimed:
Fuck off already. You really are an immense prick, you know that? Have been for years.
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