Good call, Jim! That’s easily my favorite track I’ve heard in ages.
(And Avichi’s kicking some ass, too.)
I lurk in the shadows. Thanks for the support, Jim!
I’ve always had a weird fascination with “Heavy 33″ by the Verlaines. It sounded like nothing else here, and it still seems like hardly anyone else remembers that band. For the record, their greatest hits collection is pretty stellar, and I never would have found it had I not heard them here first, many, many years earlier.
Besides that, “Glynis” and “Effigy” rule pretty hard.
That’s exactly what it is. A double-disc compilation of random covers recorded across the years: some recorded “new” at the time of release (1998), some randomly tossed off at various points, and some pulled from the old Garage Days EP that they did in ’87, which was Newsted’s first proper recorded appearance in advance of …And Justice For All. As a collection it’s more of a curio than anything… some decent tunes, some dogshit, and in ’90s Metallica fashion, just waaaaaay too fucking long.
What’s interesting to see is what constitutes “best” here… I get the sense St. Anger is coming out above Load because St. Anger is the more “metal” of the two, which is pretty much undeniable. I draw the line between the two simply: I can listen to Load. St. Anger is a horrendous, unpleasant listen, bereft of songs, literally painful to experience (that. fucking. SNARE.). At it’s best, Load sounds like Down, or Crowbar-lite. They were mixing southern rock with metal in a way that occasionally hit hard, and was rarely awful if not exactly exciting. Sure, the country songs suck, but they’re just as much of a creative departure as the nu-metal freakouts were on St. Anger, and at the time plenty of folks thought “Hero of the Day” worked just fine. In defense of Reload: I like Marianne Faithfull enough to get excited to hear her voice in the midst of an otherwise feeble record.
Doug, I know we’ve debated plenty on this list already, but I gotta hand it to you: this is a killer piece of work. Stellar album write-ups, completely respectable order (ever if we disagree), and I now feel a desperate need to listen to Master of Puppets on my drive home. Cheers!
My personal order:
1. Ride the Lightning
2. Master of Puppets
3. And Justice For All
4. Kill Em All
5. Black Album
7. Death Magnetic
10. St. Anger
I get the sentiment, and I see where you’re coming from, but I also think an awful lot of metalheads would agree that the first four metallica albums are literally better than all other metal. Of all the albums you mention I’d put Metallica handily above each, with the caveat that Led Zeppelin really are not a metal band, no matter what they occasionally got called in the early days.
Great list, and a great overall understanding of the band in question. That said, I obviously disagree with a few placements, naturally, because I’ve always been such a massive U2 fan, and I’m coming into this with a different set of age-related expectations. I can see why some folks like ATYCLB, but honestly… it’s so completely watered down compared to virtually every album that came before. I’d take October over ATYCLB in a heartbeat. Or Pop. Probably even Rattle and Hum, though I fully understand putting that one last. Latter day U2 is supremely disappointing, sad to say, with HTAaAB as the worst offender of all. Achtung Baby at #1, though: spot on.
Yeah, it’s funny when a band dodges a particular association only to have all of us writer-folk make the obvious comparisons anyway. Oh well.
The feedback is much appreciated!
As our group’s resident Blind Guardian nerd and sometimes power metal fan (as well as being a preexisting fan of Atlantean Kodex) I probably could have knocked out that writeup from a place of comfort, but I’m glad Doug got to do it for a few reasons. (1) It’s fun to cast against type, and (2) I think Doug hits on an important point. With so many entry-points to the genre, it’s easy to find your way in without developing much of an interest in “classic” heavy metal, particularly when it comes to some of the more flamboyantly melodic offshoots. There can be a fine line between tastefully majestic (Atlantean Kodex) and hamfistedly cheesy (Hammerfall), and I think that’s more or less what Doug was expressing here.
Re: the “doom” thing. It’s largely how the band describes themselves, in part, I’m assuming, to avoid the “cheesy” stigma of being called power or trad metal. Sure, “Epic Traditional Doom” in this sense sounds to the modern ear like slowed-down power metal, when in reality power metal is really just sped-up traditional metal anyway. It’s all about perception. It’s a wide genre when you’ve got bands playing stoner doom stuff butting up against death/doom, funeral doom, drone/doom, and then more melodic stuff like this, which is just a variant on classic metal played slower. Argus are another modern band doing something similar, and they typically get tagged the same way.
PS. I love that you take the time to engage so fully with everything on this list every month. Your comments / track breakdowns are fucking awesome, and I hope they continue!
I like. Safe bet that anything Sean is willing to post over at cvltnation is well worth hearing, and this doesn’t disappoint. Gnaaaaarly vocals, and I dig the weird sci-fi leads that swoop in out of nowhere.
I have to chime in (again) just to second everything Doug wrote about the new Oranssi Pazuzu. Stellar fucking record.
Color me jealous.
I can’t see the point of any kind of streaming radio service when spotify, rdio, mog, and whichever other sites already offer the exact same service bundled with the far greater ability to play any song you want when you actually want to hear it.
I say this as an existing user of Itunes Match (which is a horrible, virtually worthless service that barely works at all, is plagued by bugs and lapses in service, yet has somehow trapped me for life so far as I can tell, since my mp3 collection only exists in the iCloud at this point)–and apparently us Match users get extra features or something. I just don’t see the point in introducing a service modeled on another existing service that already feels hopelessly outdated.
I remember getting this when it came out through either BMG or Columbia House because of a wholly inaccurate description that described them as vaguely “industrial”. Being 13 and obsessed with Nine Inch Nails and Ministry, I was not that stoked to receive an actual metal album. But I remember trying hard to like it simply because the album cover was so fucking badass.
Years later, this thing does rule. I’m way more into Beneath the Remains and Arise, but a friend wisely pointed out how much the band was channeling Celtic Frost at this point. Listening now, I can definitely hear the influence, along with all the weird flourishes mentioned above. Sepultura were truly one of the greats, and this was probably the least release of theirs I can fully get behind. (Roots does what it does well, but it’s not for me.)
Totally agree. All of these records are stellar, but the new Gorguts is probably my favorite thing this year, too.
This month was total overload. For once in my life I may have heard TOO MUCH good metal; my brain is still trying to catch up. The Inquisition record is gonna be a crusher, along with way too many others to even touch on here. Instead, here are some tracks that will likely slip under the radar, which is a shame. We live in a glorious time for metal, friends!
WAR MASTER – Pure, unadulterated Bolt Thrower worship. It sounds an awful lot like earlier “grindcore” period Bolt Thrower (meaning uptempo old school death metal, before they dropped the blastbeats), which is all there is to say and all we need to know.
AXESLASHER – Really fun, raging, horror-themed thrash. These dudes are definitely on their way up.
NEKROFILTH – Filthy punk getting all up on some death and grind, with oddly (and horrifyingly) intelligible vocals. Choice lyrics: “I’m a degenerate… I want to cum on your brains.” Classic Hells Headbangers band right here.
SCYTHE – Ripping black speed metal from Chicago, brought to us by the main dude from Usurper, who also ruled hard. This will undoubtedly fly under the radar, but it’s pretty fucking badass.
ALTARS – If we didn’t have insanely good tunes from Grave Miasma and Cleric already clogging up our earspace Altars would be the best forward-thinking death metal of the month. As it is, it’s very much in the Grave Miasma vein and not far off in terms of quality. Weird, angular, occasionally jarring, but entirely enjoyable.
TWILIGHT OF THE GODS – Here’s a new supergroup featuring Alan Averill of Primordial on vocals. I think it’s meant to sound like Viking-era Bathory but it comes out closer to Bathory played like power metal. Still fun for driving around and fist-pumping mightily.
I think he means arena in the “arena-ready” aspirational sense. These days the Rolling Stones can’t even fill an arena.
That’s the one! I love the name of the Dark Descent sub-label releasing it, too: “Unspeakable Axe”.
Between Noisem, Power Trip, and Besieged it’s been a kickass year for thrash thus far. That Mammoth Grinder rips, too. I gotta give that one some more listening time!
Err… maybe that’s a sax. Too much metal a deaf boy makes.
That midsection breakdown is the best thing ever. And then the squealing violins… excellent.
Kinda getting Wall of Voodoo vibes here. Which is a good thing.
I love these writeups, Carson. It’s great to see some in-depth feedback on everything we’re throwing out there.
With regard to my thrash comments, yeah, I hear you. Honestly I didn’t mean to bag on thrash in general, just the crossover stuff specifically. After spending a few weeks with the new Power Trip I was all stoked to listen to Nuclear Assault, DRI, Cro-Mags, Leeway, all of it. And while plenty of it was decent, none of it was as good as memory would have had me believe. But give me the first Vio-lence record and I’m a happy man, so who knows.
Today is a good day.