The Best Avantgarde / Experimental Metal

1.  Lux Occulta - Kołysanki 75
2.  Botanist - VI: Flora 62
3.  Trioscapes - Digital Dream Sequence 61
4.  Lethe - When Dreams Become Nightmares 52
5.  Kayo Dot - Coffins On Io 50
6.  Manes - Be All End All 45
7.  Schizoid Lloyd - The Last Note In God's Magnum Opus 33
8.  Los Random - Pidanoma 23
9.  Atomic Ape - Swarm 18
10.  Merkabah (POL) - Moloch 17
Total votes:
462




Atomic Ape - Swarm

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With a band name like that, the music is bound to be good. Born from the transformations of Orange Tulip Conspiracy, Atomic Ape are led by the former Estradasphere guitarist Jason Schimmel and enter the stage to deliver an album of extraordinary variety, high on craziness and jazz influences. It's a true instrumental avantgarde fusion album that lives up to the name of the band.

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Botanist - VI: Flora

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The sixth installation in this saga of "eco terrorist black metal" can best be thought of as conducting a grand harmony of sorts. Never before has Otrebor, the mastermind behind this one man band, seemed to be so interested in exploring the tone of his beloved hammered dulcimer and all the potential sounds that can spring from it. Featuring a warm, almost shoegaze-like texture, yet with all of the intensity the project was previously known for, this album is a prime example of the fact that the boundaries of extreme metal are being significantly redrawn.

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Kayo Dot - Coffins On Io

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A yellowish horizon boasts numerous volcanic eruptions painting subtle shades of yellow, red, white, black, and green on the surface. Just kidding, we'll spare you the astral-hipster soliloquy. In all seriousness, this is an album that strove to push the boundary in 2014. Metal listeners think they know "avantgarde" and "experimental" but this one really challenged those willing enough to give it a go. Many claimed simply, "it's not metal" and withdrew to their comfortable genres. Others weren't impressed and exclaimed "This isn't avant-garde or experimental enough. Too structured!" But with their more cohesive approach we are rewarded an honest album that will leave most listeners wondering: can a recording of sounds truly be honest? Maybe it's lying to you. Who knows? The beauty cannot be described.

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Lethe - When Dreams Become Nightmares

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Showcasing Anna Murphy's vocals as no Eluveitie album can, When Dreams Become Nightmares is as beautiful as it is disturbing. It's an experiment at creating a mood that is an attempt at a bleak, oppressive and haunting state of mind that could be associated with dark corners of human psyche, that of nightmares, paranoia, mental breakdown and insanity. It poses questions you just don't know the answers to. Yet, at its core, it is a satisfying musical journey through the imaginary wastelands.

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Los Random - Pidanoma

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Is it prog, or something more? The Argentines in Los Random seem to be bent on the latter. With a sound beginning in the former's territory, the band's sophomore effort slowly descends into madness from there, with a delightfully peculiar use of sax, choir, electronics, and many more tricks they have up their sleeves. Random? You bet.

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Lux Occulta - Kołysanki

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Now this is weird. Chaotic but structured, simple but complex, Lux Occulta's return after thirteen years is quite a journey. Built on an electro background featuring dark folklore, jazzy moments, Polish singing, French spoken parts, and some metal heaviness (among others), these entrancing lullabies - that's what Kołysanki means - will keep you awake late at night.

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Manes - Be All End All

A catchphrase taken from "The Cure-All", a song featured on their previous album, heralds Manes's return after seven years under the radar. And while they've seemingly taken some old ideas, don't expect anything really similar to their previous works - except for the mood, maybe. This Be All End All, built on dissonant electro, is weirdly quiet, yet don't let this lull you into any sense of security. Darkness hides everywhere, and at the tired end of the night, maybe all that'll remain will be a blanket of ashes...

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Merkabah (POL) - Moloch

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Merkabah (POL) takes sludgy textures and applies them to jazzy song structures, creating something that always feels surprising. Moloch is a twisted, sour treat. It's like a Warhead candy that you drunkenly decide to eat (and you enjoy it) despite its having been covered in grime and being stuck inside your couch for, what, must be a decade.

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Schizoid Lloyd - The Last Note In God's Magnum Opus

Following the grand avant tradition of weird styles collages and all-around craziness, Schizoid Lloyd's debut The Last Note In God's Magnum Opus is wacky yet catchy and cohesive as the best of them. Seriously, what else to expect from an album whose first song is called "Suicide Penguin", anyway?

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Trioscapes - Digital Dream Sequence

Instrumental? Check. Technical? Check. Challenging? Check. The jazzy and layered music produced by these three musicians feels like a satisfying jam session. The combination of fuzzy, experimental bass sounds, flute splashes and the saxophone goodness is glorious. Yes, Digital Dream Sequence is a bit out-there but this out-of-the-box character is one of its biggest strengths, making this such a rewarding record.

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