Adrien Begrand

At first, the concluding song on SubRosa's For This We Fought The Battle of Ages feels like the haunting denouement to an arc largely inspired by Yevgeny Zamyatin's 1921 dystopian novel We. When the album was released this past August, "Troubled Cells" was revealed not only as a departure from the primary source material but as a bold, extremely personal statement by singer/songwriter/guitarist Rebecca Vernon and the Salt Lake City doom-metal band.

The smartest thing Mikael Åkerfeldt ever did was to stop writing extreme metal and focus on his biggest musical obsession: progressive rock. As sterling a run as he and his band Opeth experienced from the 1995 debut album Orchid to 2008's Watermark, the Swedes ran the risk of spinning their wheels if they would've kept playing the same labyrinthine hybrid of death metal and doom metal over and over. You could tell guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Åkerfeldt wanted more space to express himself beyond a monotone growl.