The trend this year IS to make top 15 lists instead of the classic top 10. The rise of the Ipod allowing us to digest more music. With Metal this was not a problem though with rock music I had a harder time finding 10 much less 15.Being O.C.D , making lists which rank things in any order became an all to intensive task where i broke out spread sheets and devised scoring formulas.While engaging in that sort of crazy behavior for this I gave my self a little veto power.I looked for good songs, originality, and staying power... how much it was listened to over the course of the year. So here we go in count down order.
the top 15 metal
15-Skeleton Witch- Forever Abomination -Ok thrash is making a comeback i got it . What this album has on some of the others that didn't make the list, ...toxic Holocaust, Absu, etc, is a dark sense combined with hooky guitar interplay and fantastic song. alot of the other bands in a similar vein just didn't tie it altogether as perfectly for me . Sure the vocals are a little one dimensional but we rocked past it.
14-Peste Noire... L'Ordure à l'état Pur- one of the more unique albums on here, captures a sleazy night of debauchery in Paris or perhaps this is gangsta black metal. The songs are winding almost Mr.Bungle-ish adventures and i would have digested them more regularly if i still did drugs.
13-An Autumn For Crippled Children-Everything - Ever wonder what the Cure's Wish album would sound like if covered by a black metal band? This comes close to capturing that. To be considered depressive suicidal black metal this album is oddly uplifting.This is the year i also re-considered medication.
12-Leviathan - True Traitor , True Whore- This came out late in the year so yet to have it fully grow on me so i can absorb it for the masterpiece i will one day recognize it to be, so for now I see it as Wrest's musical therapy after being charge with sexually assaulting his ex-girl friend with a tattoo gun. If he had actually done this it would have been the most metal moment of all time. the creative growth on here is remarkable and needs more time to sink in.
11-Blut Aus Nord - 777 deSanctification - This feels more like a piece of modern classical music than a black metal album. Dense and seething like a storm cloud in hell. It's more of a score than songs but i don't skip it when it comes on shuffle and fits my mood perfectly for early sunday mornings.
10-Krallice - Diotima- This album may cause dizziness , don't listen it operating heavy machinery . The guitar work on here was created by gloves of + 5 dexterity and worn by a chaos mage. It embodies one of the things i look for in good black metal to be pummeled by the ambiance.
9-Moonsorrow- Varjoina kuljemme kuolleiden maassa- Epic blackend folk metal .I am sure this one topped the pop charts in Middle Earth. I for one have rolled many a 20 sided die to it this year. While the songs are sprawling variations of a theme, it's a theme to ride into glory to.
8-Taake - Noregs Vaapen- Raw Norwegian black metal that still manages to be melodic and experiment beyond the tried and true which at this point would be stagnant.For all it's experimentation none of the fierceness is compromised.Another album i didn't get a hold of until later in the year but it ranked high because i was impressed with the song writing and creativity .
7-Woe - Quietly Undramatically- This howls with fury in a way few American Black Metal bands can capture. While not taking as many chances as Krallice or Liturgy, they make up for it in grit. There's a strong aftertaste of post-hardcore, but that's not a band thing.
6-Loss- Despond - Normally i would not consider myself a fan of funeral doom or doom of any flavor aside from the Doctor, but this album plods with beauty. It trudges the road to unhappy destiny in a way that really resonated with me. it is however better played at home than out and about on my ipod which is why it isn't ranked higher.
5-Primordial -Redemption at the Puritan's Hand- though i was a little disappointed these guys are atheists and not pagan, this one rocks with a grim epicness which made me forget that. Very cohesive playing throughout that always serves the songs. In fact the superior quality of the song writing is why these guys scored so high as i am not always in the mood to roll like Braveheart.
4-Shining- Född förlorare- OK, these are not the Swedes you are looking .They are no longer depressive -suicidal black metal or black metal of any flavor , but like charlie sheen are rocking out like total fucking rock stars from mars . if you have seen the video from this one you know its true. It recalls old Opeth which is fine with me since Opeth is now Emerson Lake and Palmer.
3-Liturgy-Aesthethica- My ipod doesn't care about triple h's pontificating . No all it knows is it likes the abrasive shimmer of guitar these guys spit out. Are they Hipsters? Prolly so, but unlike most hipsters these guys get it done so maybe the Hipsters in Brooklyn rock but everywhere else suck, i dunno. I do know this shit is blisteringly pretty and has stood the test of time when other albums got deleted.
2-Tombs- Path of Totality- Speaking of hipsters i heard this streaming on npr before release and yes i already had winter hours, what impressed me was how dark this son of a bitch is . I am not sure if this is black metal or not but god flesh raping joy division the bowels of the hollow earth. Not a bad word to be said here.
1-Burzum - Fallen- When i was putting this list together , i forgot this album had come out the first of the year, i just thought of it as another classic from the Varg vaults. It has that kind of a timeless quality to it. the addition of clean vocal melodies is positive growth from an old dog you wouldn't assume to be learning new tricks.The vocal hooks on this one i find myself singing under my breath today just as much as i did in January .It has every element i want in my metal...of course aside from King Diamond like yodels. I think Varg's legend obscures the fact he makes some fucking killer music as my inner teenager would say. In a year obviously dominated by black metal it only makes sense he has to take the number one spot.
ok non-metal ...that exists you know .
10- Ancient VVisdom-a God Like Inferno - You think this was going to be kvlt as hell but it turns out to be campfire songs for Satan. I don't have any of those in my Ipod so yes please and thanks.
9-Puscifer- the Conditions of My Parole- I love Maynard, but the first album from these guys didn't do alot for me mostly because all of the songs were sung in a register lower than what i feel he should record a whole album in. This one he is back into his A Perfect Circling croon. I think the scope of melodies he has to work with here lends it's self to more compelling song writing. Sure there are a few songs which sound like Tool's deleted out takes but thats life at the vineyard .
8-Cult of Youth- self titled- This had to grow on me in part because i was unsure about the singers often out of key bellowing. There's also something kinda like if the Pogues wrote their lyric with a Ouija board to this as well. Not to mention the whole are these hipsters trying to find the irony in Death in June factor, But when i made it past that i had fun with it.
7-Mogwai- Hardcore Will Never die but you will-They have been at this for a long time. Another one of those bands who i did not require as much listening time from when i quit doing drugs, however rather than ride on the name they have made for themselves they have craft some beautiful songs here , they have fit many a mood this . You know they have a killer guitar tone , now they have killer melodies to serve with it.
6-the Devil's Blood- Thousandfold Epicenter - Yes , if they ever flirted with metal then they have decided to see other people. The whole occult element seems toned down and the production heavy handed, but great musicianship, i mean unrealized guitar gods of the freedom rock variety. The Jefferson airplane has indeed landed on their street. Now is the singer going to start wearing skimpier outfits?
5-Pain of Salvation- Road Salt Two- Another band who once flirted with metal continues to drift into other waters. I like this one much better than it's predecessor as the blues shuffle felt a little forced to me , i think it is also a good idea the faith no Mormonism is left at home. The vocals are what wins it for me here, the most dynamic singing of the year.
4-Royal Thunder- Self titled Ep- Ok this is only ep i allowed to rank on either list, though Cynic's would be a close second place but feels like Goldilocks would find it too small and this one just right. This is also the only band in the ATL i am giving props, as they put their best foot forward where Mastodudes put out what sounds to be an album of b-sides, i think they might have been wiser to put out an ep instead but oh well. I think Royal Thunder would like to be a metal band, but i think they fill this middle ground much better. the singer sometimes reminds me of Lita Ford, but is full of darkened soul, these songs have a great feel which ranks them this high . if that makes any sense.
3-Glasvegas- Euphoric Heartbreak- The fact that this band's sophomore slump is better than almost everything other rock album that came out this year ,says something. their first album was so good that the bar was set pretty high. the song " what ever gets you through the night " could be my favorite song of the year. i wanted them to take the gut wrenching and tear jerking to 11 but instead i got something wanting to be pop. However this collection of coming out of the closet lamentations fills the void Placebo left when they decided they were just going to start dialing it in. Once the fact this doesn't pick up where the first album left off has begun to sink in i think i can get more out of this than i have in my initial listens and is growing on me .
2- The Decemberists- the King is Dead- In some ways this is a perfect album but this is the Decemberists we are talking about so you know what thy are capable. everytime i wanted to cross my arms and complain they were selling out i was brought back to the fact these are really good songs. Ok leaning towards country and not a sea shanty to be found, but after Hazards of Love i can understand why they would want to strip it down and hey R.E.M isn't making this kind of music anymore so i'll take it.
1-Zola Jesus- Conatus- the lady gaga of Witch house? sure she prays at the altar of Siouxsie. But the conviction she sings with is what helped give her the edge over everything else i have heard this year. i can listen to it all day .the perfect blend of bleak and beats. She gets alot of feeling and sound out of employing very minimal elements. i relate to every lyric it's one of those things where it is the album that sums up where i am at in life so that factors in why it rates so high , not to take away from what she has created . like charlie sheen says of partying .."whats
not to love. looking to make a road trip to see her.
1-Zola Jesus- Conatus
3-Tombs - Path of Totality
5-the Decemberists- the King is Dead
6-Shining- Fodd forlorare
7-Glasvegas- Euphoric Heartbreak
8-Primordial- Redemption at the Puritans hand
10-Woe- Quietly Undramatically