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overkiller
01-12-2008, 10:45 PM
Okay, since I've been promising this thread for so long and my work on it is still not finished, I've decided to do it as an ongoing thing. I'm gonna post my ranking of the 100 albums I heard from 2007 in segments as I continue to finish it up. At the time I'm posting this I have nearly 80 albums mini-reviewed. Also I figure if I post the list bit by bit instead of bombarding you with 100 albums all at once, you'll all be more likely to actually read what I wrote. :D

Just as a disclaimer, as you'll probably notice, I was lazier with some albums than others, and this is reflected in the length and quality of each mini-review. Those reviews that I actually put effort into have been an exercise in criticism for me--as has this whole project, really. Also, the reviews for the releases at the bottom of my list are not of the highest quality, so don't write me off yet if you don't like them. ;) Here goes...


Edit: Oh, one other thing. Keep in mind that no albums "didn't make it" onto my list, so #100 is the worst thing I heard this year, etc.

overkiller
01-12-2008, 11:05 PM
100. Megadeth - United Abominations

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/megadeth.jpg

Jesus fucking christ, it has a song called “Amerikhastan”. Worst album of 2007. Congrats Dave.

99. Dååth - The Hinderers

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/daath.jpg

I first gave this album a chance because it was being bashed by so many tr00-heads and praised by others as “experimental” death metal or something. Wasn’t worth a second thought. This is absolute mallcore crap that wants to be Dimmu Borgir and ends up sounding like DevilDriver with electronics. Avoid at all costs.

98. Manowar - Gods of War

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/manowar-1.jpg

Absolutely the biggest disappointment of 2007 for me. After hearing the EP/single/whatever The Sons of Odin (the “Immortal Edition”, haha), which sees Manowar at their most Wagnerian—bombastic, epic, dark even—near the end of 2006, I was extremely excited for the forthcoming full-length Gods of War. Finally, the new album leaked and I got my hands on it sometime in February or so. The extent to which it failed to keep the promise made by The Sons of Odin practically broke my heart, and it set in motion a falling-out with Manowar that persists to today. As you may have heard already, nearly HALF of this album consists of spoken-word or orchestral interludes. Now, in theory I suppose it could work, if done by the right band with the right talent. However, Joey DeMaio shows us at every turn on this shitpile that Manowar are not that band and they do not possess that talent. The spoken-word parts sound like Joey reading fucking poorly-written Wikipedia articles on various Norse deities into a microphone, and they’re so goddamn long. The orchestral interludes have a few moments of listenability, but fuck, Manowar has simply lost sight of the difference between “epic” and “retarded”. Even the metal on here is substandard (see “Loki God of Fire” and “Die For Metal” [who the fuck rips off the “Kashmir” riff!?], and the ballad “Blood Brothers”, which is just a poor imitation of the wonderfully cheesy “Courage” from Louder Than Hell), and the great tracks that appeared on The Sons of Odin are slightly modified, which was completely unnecessary. Did we need those extra silly choir vocals? No! Adams sounded great all by himself on the EP! Fuck! This album sucks! Manowar is dead!

97. W.A.S.P. - Dominator

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/wasp.jpg

Another big disappointment. I hadn’t set my expectations too high for this one, considering the overall blandness of the Neon God albums, but still, a single positive review and an irrational love for W.A.S.P. allowed me to keep some hope. The result was painful. Once again Blackie Lawless has nothing new to offer, except it seems that now in the 2000s, every time he repeats his formulas, the resulting music just gets worse and worse. I barely got through this entire album, and I have no desire to ever hear it again.

96. 3 Inches of Blood - Fire Up the Blades

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/3iob.jpg

My hatred for this album borders on irrational. I downloaded it, listened to it once and immediately deleted it in utter disgust. Every fucking second of this album is torturously average or just plain bad. The vocals are some of the worst shit I have ever heard—the mock Halford/King Diamond voices are NOT funny, and they DON’T sound good. There is nothing “old-school” about this album. 3 Inches of Blood are the musical equivalent of Dethklok Metalocalypse—a joke that throws together all the clichés of metal into a plastic package of uninteresting tripe so that the mainstream can eat it up as the latest fad and pretend like they understand its roots. I don’t care if I’m the only person here who doesn’t cream their pants over this album; this is absolutely worthless, throwaway garbage. Makes me ashamed to call myself a metal fan.

95. Dimmu Borgir - In Sorte Diaboli

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/dimmuborgir.jpg

By now we all know what to expect from Dimmu Borgir, and this doesn’t let down our expectations. Seemingly endless awful symphonic metal chock full of stupid ideas and riffs that go nowhere. It was hard enough for me to sit through this entire turd, I really don’t want to spend much time going on about it here.

94. Kamelot - Ghost Opera

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/kamelot.jpg

Sometimes I like Kamelot. Ghost Opera is not one of those times. The whole thing was exceedingly boring and gave me no reason to re-listen--there was nothing on this album that I wouldn’t be able find on other, better Kamelot releases.

93. Redemption - The Origins of Ruin

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/redemption.jpg

Surprise surprise, I hated another one of the albums that everybody's jerking off to for reasons beyond me. What the hell is so special about this? All I hear is fairly typical to mediocre power/prog metal, needlessly down-tuned to pretend its heavy, with flat, wimpy, unemotional vocals. Some of this even sounds like a pale, unengaging version of (pre-2007) Symphony X to me. Maybe if they had a vocalist that wasn't so fucking deadpan and annoying this would be better, but even the music is just not that interesting. Also, most of the lyrics are painfully bad. I wanted to like this album. I really did. But I could barely make it through the entire hour of playing time.

92. King Diamond - Give Me Your Soul... Please

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/kingdiamond.jpg

Wow, what a disappointment. When the god-awful album title was announced way back when, I was afraid it was an indication of things to come, but considering the King’s general cheesiness and peculiar grasp on the English language, I didn’t let it lower my expectations. Unfortunately, that only led to a bigger letdown. Everything about this album is sub-par for King—the plot is just stupid (even by KD standards!), the storytelling is ineffective and nonsensical, and the music is just bland, bland, bland. The only time there’s really any semblance of quality is when Andy is simply ripping off Painkiller riffs. Boo.

91. Nine Inch Nails - Year Zero

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/nineinchnails.jpg

Basically terrible, and a good sign Trent should hang it up or focus on other projects. There are a precious few moments on here that actually got my head bobbing (“Survivalism” ain’t bad), but the recycled ideas and god-awful vocals (what happened?) are just more than I can stomach.

ADD
01-12-2008, 11:52 PM
100. Megadeth - United Abominations

Pretty bad, but c'mon this is not the worst of 2007.


99. Dååth - The Hinderers

Agreed.


97. W.A.S.P. - Dominator

Didn't really sway me either way, definitely didn't think it was as bad as you made it out to be though.


96. 3 Inches of Blood - Fire Up the Blades

Loser :tongue:


95. Dimmu Borgir - In Sorte Diaboli

Now this is the worst album I heard all year.


93. Redemption - The Origins of Ruin

Agreed.


92. King Diamond - Give Me Your Soul... Please

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/kingdiamond.jpg

Initially liked it, but hasn't had any staying power for me. Probably won't ever listen to it again.


91. Nine Inch Nails - Year Zero

Agreed.

TonyD
01-12-2008, 11:53 PM
Quite a few big names for the bottom of the list.
But I've got no problem if the good albums ARE at the top

ADD
01-12-2008, 11:59 PM
I'm totally looking forward to the rest of the list, plus this way I get to comment on a lot of shit I heard but someone else gets to do the work of writing the review :D

SirLardsAlot
01-13-2008, 01:19 AM
I can't believe I didnt buy a single fucking new album this year. I'll have to check the rest of this list for recommendations.

SomewhereInTime72
01-13-2008, 06:39 AM
There's no way Megadeth was worse than Iced Earth. :tongue: Heck, I'd say it was better than the Redemption album, which I basically agree with you about, although I haven't even been able to bring myself to listen to all the way through. I liked Gimme Your Soul... and Year Zero though. I don't really understand your problem with em. Also you basically nailed my feelings about Ghost Opera, which in my opinion was a MUCH bigger disappointment than United Abominations. I look forward to the rest of this list. I don't think I'll agree, but your opinions are pretty interesting. ;)

DethMaiden
01-13-2008, 06:41 AM
This is the shit I'm talking about. :fist:

Despite two of my top ten being in your bottom ten, I dig this so far and can't wait for the rest. You're right about Megadeth and King Diamond though. :zzz:

JRA
01-13-2008, 07:48 AM
92. King Diamond - Give Me Your Soul... Please

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/kingdiamond.jpg

The only time there’s really any semblance of quality is when Andy is simply ripping off Painkiller riffs. Boo.



Which is ironic considering the "Metal Meltdown" riff was on Abagail; 4 years before Painkiller came out.

ravenheart
01-13-2008, 08:26 AM
Haha, Megadeth at 100. Priceless.

Kamelot and Redemption WAY higher for me, though.

Div
01-13-2008, 09:47 AM
There's no way Megadeth was worse than Iced Earth. :tongue:

:agree:






--

I agree with the Kamelot and Manowar explanations, those are basically how I felt when hearing them too, although I still have faith Manowar can rebound with their next album.

Also, I didn't think the KD album was that bad, but then again you think Voodoo is a good album ;)

overkiller
01-13-2008, 10:50 AM
Quite a few big names for the bottom of the list.


Oh there are more to come. Just wait for 90-81. :D


Oh, and just to clear things up, I didn't hear the new Iced Earth. It was on my list of stuff to hear but it got bumped out (along with several other albums) since I reached 100 before listening to it.

powerslave_85
01-13-2008, 10:51 AM
Keep going! :mad:

overkiller
01-13-2008, 01:22 PM
90. Clutch - From Beale St. to Oblivion

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/clutch.jpg

Prior to this I hadn’t listened to Clutch since back in high school, and this apparently was not a good re-introduction. Lazy, boring, average blues-rock. Didn’t catch my interest even once.

89. Obituary - Xecutioner's Return

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/obituary.jpg

Weak guitar tone + recycled ideas = Strong comeback? No. This album sucks. It’s even inferior to the other “comeback” album, Frozen in Time. Obituary was boring when I saw them live this year, and I was just thrilled to see their new t-shirt design printed with a giant Confederate flag on it. :tp: All these things add up to me not feeling too friendly towards Obituary these days. Stick to their first 3 LPs and forget they even existed after 1992.

88. Paradise Lost - In Requiem

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/paradiselost.jpg

Really rather boring music. Paradise Lost is a band I’ve never been into—even Draconian Times does little for me, and the updated, overly modern sound of In Requiem does nothing to improve on that formula. There are a couple decent “gothic” melodies and piano lines here and there, but every song basically sounds the same and overall I feel that this kind of rock/metal is stuff you grow out of.

87. Vital Remains - Icons of Evil

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/vitalremains.jpg

Actually has a riff or two of pure Dave Suzuki awesomeness, but on the whole this album is such a fucking Xerox of Dechristianize it’s practically unlistenable. That’s really all there is to say. If you haven’t heard Dechristianize, well… get that instead. Skip this one entirely.

86. Symphony X - Paradise Lost

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/symphonyx.jpg

Ok. As unlikely as it would seem, I like Symphony X. They were one of the first more “underground” metal bands I got into back in high school, so I’ve always had a special place for them despite not having any further interest in progressive metal. Regardless, by no means can I call Paradise Lost a good album. They seem to have opted for a “heavier”, groove metal sound in the majority of the riffs here (a change that was hinted at on The Odyssey but was kept in balance), and beyond that simply rehash material they’ve done before. Same old solos, the same old choruses, the same old ballads, except all weaker than their predecessors. Where they used to write songs that flowed wonderfully and were excitingly epic, now they seem to write songs that have little feeling and just hasten to get to their choruses, which feel out of place. This gives the songs an underlying feeling of pointlessness (see “Set the World On Fire” and “Seven” for examples of this). Also, they don’t really do such a good job of telling the story of Paradise Lost (since when is it a love story?). The Latin songtitles are laughably bad, but that’s excusable—it’s metal, after all, and practically any band that uses Latin uses it incorrectly. To wax nerd for a minute, “Oculus ex Inferni” means basically “Eye from of Hell”, and “Divus Pennae ex Tragoedia” is so wrong it’s basically meaningless. A translation of “Divine Wings of Tragedy” (which is what they were aiming for) would go something like “Divae Pennae Tragoediae”. “Ex” means “from”, not “of” in the sense they mean it. Anyway, I don’t see any real reason to choose this album over their other, better offerings, unless you’re a die-hard fan. Overrated.

85. Alabama Thunderpussy - Open Fire

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/alabamathunderpussy.jpg

When it’s the nihilistic, depressive, drug-laden style mastered by the likes of Eyehategod and Acid Bath, I like “Southern” metal. When it’s the Confederate-flag-toting macho-dickhead kind made by Pantera and the band in question, it loses me completely. I absolutely hate the vocalist on this album, and while there are some great moments of sludgy rock and roll/metal to be found (the main riff in “The Beggar” is fucking great), overall it’s basically average, and its style and attitude just kill it for me.

84. Finntroll - Ur Jordens Djup

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/finntroll.jpg

It took Finntroll 3 years to give us this? Ur Jordens Djup has very little to offer that wasn’t done far better on their previous albums. It’s the same stuff all over again, just far less interesting and less, well, fun, which is part of what made Finntroll so enjoyable. They seem to have even scaled back the folk elements to some degree, which doesn’t make any sense at all. Don’t bother with this one.

83. Novembers Doom - The Novella Resevoir

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/novembersdoom.jpg

I was surprised by the amount of speed/power riffs on this album, but honestly the stuff in that vein just isn’t that strong. In terms of their death/doom identity, it’s also pretty average. There are simply too many times when it’s obvious that they’re ripping off My Dying Bride or being influenced by—eek—Opeth. It’s nice that the acoustic ballad is about the guy’s kid, but the lyrics are absolutely awful. There have been a couple of very overrated albums put out this year, and The Novella Resevoir is one of them.

82. Onslaught - Killing Peace

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/onslaught.jpg

Even though their early material was pretty awesome and has become the stuff of cult thrash legend, Onslaught have never been the most original band, and 2007’s Killing Peace continues that trend. This album sees Onslaught unfortunately adopting the modern-hardcore influenced style of latter-day Exodus, and as far as I’m concerned, the last thing we need is another “modern thrash” album. There are a very few cool riffs/moments on here, but overall there is no need at all to listen to this album.

81. Overkill - Immortalis

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/overkill.jpg

“Evil may never die… by perhaps now is a good time to consider retirement.” Ah well, nothing lasts forever. After Overkill’s basically mediocre previous album, ReliXIV, many feared for the future of one of metal’s most solid bands, and Immortalis confirms those fears. There is just very little going on here, with your typical modern thrash being peppered with rehashes of Overkill’s 90s groove material here and there. And for fuck’s sake, Randy Blythe of Lamb of God does guest vocals. I feel like Overkill’s sold us out. It would seem that despite the greatness of their 80s/early 90s glory days, these guy no longer have very discerning taste in metal, and it shows in their music. The only song I really like on here is “Walk Through Fire” whose chorus riff reminds me of AC/DC and feels the most like it’s got the old Overkill fire. They played it live the last time I saw them, and it was a blast. Unfortunately nothing else really catches my interest enough to make me think I’ll be spinning this album in the foreseeable future. Oh, and not satisfied to blight us with the presence of that fucking ape Blythe, Overkill sees it fit to play a cruel joke on us and Make an “Overkill V” song, except capture practically none of what made the first 4 so great and just mix self-referencing riffs from those songs with shitty modern ones. Why. :(

DethMaiden
01-13-2008, 01:59 PM
I suppose there's no point at bitching when we disagree on stuff because that's gonna be frequently, but yeah, I love that Clutch album.

ADD
01-13-2008, 03:43 PM
90. Clutch - From Beale St. to Oblivion

Lazy? Boring? Get a clue dude. This album fucking grooves majorly.


88. Paradise Lost - In Requiem

Agreed.


87. Vital Remains - Icons of Evil

Yeah there were actually a few surprisingly kickass moments, but overall very bland, like most death metal I heard this year.


85. Alabama Thunderpussy - Open Fire

Garbage assessment. There's only one song that has the "Confederate-flag-toting-macho-dickhead" thing to it, and if you don't like Kyle Thomas' vocals then I can't really take seriously your opinions on any vocalist. This is a perfect pure rock/metal album in my opinion.


84. Finntroll - Ur Jordens Djup

Agreed, did they really think suddenly turning into a generic black metal band would somehow make them better?


83. Novembers Doom - The Novella Resevoir

I liked this one a lot more than I thought I would, very good album in my opinion. And the song about the dude's kid is probably the best on the album.


82. Onslaught - Killing Peace

Agreed. If they were still ripping off vintage Venom instead they would be just fine in my book, but as you mentioned they have fallen prey to the trappings of modern thrashcore idiocy and are just ripping that off instead.


81. Overkill - Immortalis

I think I like this album a little more than you seem to, but clearly it doesn't hold the slightest candle to their early output and likely will not receive many more listens from me.

theWolfisLOOSE
01-13-2008, 05:25 PM
So, you know, I guess Symphony X doesn't win, because that's -76 points.

SomewhereInTime72
01-13-2008, 05:43 PM
So, you know, I guess Symphony X doesn't win, because that's -76 points.
:lol: :lol:

DethMaiden
01-13-2008, 05:50 PM
So, you know, I guess Symphony X doesn't win, because that's -76 points.

:party: :lol:

overkiller
01-13-2008, 08:39 PM
So, you know, I guess Symphony X doesn't win, because that's -76 points.

:lol:

es156
01-13-2008, 08:42 PM
So, you know, I guess Symphony X doesn't win, because that's -76 points.

DethMaiden (doing his best Mills Lane impression): I'll allow it!

:lol:

es156
01-13-2008, 08:45 PM
The Overkill review is my favorite so far.

So....... tell us how you really feel about Randy Blythe! Ha ha.

powerslave_85
01-13-2008, 08:46 PM
Brady, just PM me your review of Tegan & Sara, because that's the only one I'm dying to read ;) :lol:

overkiller
01-13-2008, 08:49 PM
Brady, just PM me your review of Tegan & Sara, because that's the only one I'm dying to read ;) :lol:

Hahah ok, I will when I'm home (tomorrow most likely). It's nothing special really, I'm not sure it really says much. :dorky:

JRA
01-13-2008, 09:17 PM
So....... tell us how you really feel about Randy Blythe! Ha ha.

I can.

He's a goofball Phil Anselmo wannabe who thinks the guitar was a "slave instrument."

ChildrenofSodom
01-13-2008, 09:37 PM
Do I have to read through all of Brady's reviews, AND scroll through Addi's quotes of them too? Makes me eyes hurt.

TonyD
01-13-2008, 10:13 PM
81. Overkill - Immortalis
http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/overkill.jpg


Hay... these guise stole a7x's logo!!!!11

ADD
01-13-2008, 10:21 PM
Do I have to read through all of Brady's reviews, AND scroll through Addi's quotes of them too? Makes me eyes hurt.

Yesssssssssssssssssss :hippie:

Maiden33
01-14-2008, 06:45 AM
[B]86. Symphony X - Paradise Lost

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/symphonyx.jpg

Ok. As unlikely as it would seem, I like Symphony X. They were one of the first more “underground” metal bands I got into back in high school, so I’ve always had a special place for them despite not having any further interest in progressive metal. Regardless, by no means can I call Paradise Lost a good album. They seem to have opted for a “heavier”, groove metal sound in the majority of the riffs here (a change that was hinted at on The Odyssey but was kept in balance), and beyond that simply rehash material they’ve done before. Same old solos, the same old choruses, the same old ballads, except all weaker than their predecessors. Where they used to write songs that flowed wonderfully and were excitingly epic, now they seem to write songs that have little feeling and just hasten to get to their choruses, which feel out of place. This gives the songs an underlying feeling of pointlessness (see “Set the World On Fire” and “Seven” for examples of this). Also, they don’t really do such a good job of telling the story of Paradise Lost (since when is it a love story?). The Latin songtitles are laughably bad, but that’s excusable—it’s metal, after all, and practically any band that uses Latin uses it incorrectly. To wax nerd for a minute, “Oculus ex Inferni” means basically “Eye from of Hell”, and “Divus Pennae ex Tragoedia” is so wrong it’s basically meaningless. A translation of “Divine Wings of Tragedy” (which is what they were aiming for) would go something like “Divae Pennae Tragoediae”. “Ex” means “from”, not “of” in the sense they mean it. Anyway, I don’t see any real reason to choose this album over their other, better offerings, unless you’re a die-hard fan. Overrated.

Despite the fact that we disagree on like absolutely everything, I actually pretty much agree. Other than the title track which I absolutely love I think it's a real shitty excuse for a SX album.

overkiller
01-14-2008, 12:53 PM
So far Addi's the only one bitching. Come on guys :tongue: :D

Maiden33
01-14-2008, 01:09 PM
Yeah. I calculate I owe you one absolte shitstorm at this point. :D

overkiller
01-14-2008, 02:07 PM
80. Rush - Snakes & Arrows

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/rush.jpg

I really didn’t enjoy this album, but I’m no die-hard Rush fan so I suppose that’s to be expected. It had a few decent songs, but the rest ranged from mostly unexciting to downright terrible. I’ll be sticking with the 70s and early 80s material.

79. Saxon - The Inner Sanctum

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/saxon.jpg

“State of Grace” is a pretty good opener for the album, seemingly trying to recall the greatness of “Killing Ground”, and “Red Star Falling” is an okay “epic” track, but overall this album is just really average heavy metal. I give props to Saxon for still chugging on after all these years and occasionally striking gold (see Killing Ground), but besides being relatively solid in its own right, this album just doesn’t have much to offer.

78. Dekapitator - The Storm Before the Calm

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/dekapitator.jpg

I thought this was really rather average, boring thrash that just wants to grab a piece of the “thrash revival” action without really offering anything special. Granted Dekapitator have been around since 1996 (formed by members of halfway decent goregrind act/Carcass imitators Exhumed), but why am I not surprised that they hadn’t put out an album for 8 years, and their new one is on—yes, you guessed it—Relapse? ;)

77. Behemoth - The Apostasy

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/behemoth.jpg

Not really sure what to say about this album. Behemoth were at their best before they started trying to be Nile and put out Demigod. The Apostasy doesn’t sound quite so much like Nile as that album did, but the influence is still heavy. Overall this album just isn’t very exciting. The riffs are nothing special, the atmosphere leaves something to be desired… it just sounds like status-quo modern death metal. The only song I really found interesting was “Christgrinding Avenue”. Oh, and that track with Warrel Dane on vocals is just stupid. If I’m gonna listen to Behemoth at all I’ll stick to the pre-Demigod albums.

76. Watain - Sworn to the Dark

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/watain.jpg

Egh. This is just the kind of black metal that makes the genre seem tired and generic. Overproduced. No especially interesting riffs, just typical tremolo-picking and contrived “evilness”. Too many plastic blastbeats. The vocals are nothing special, either. I’ll admit though, besides its stylistic issues, Sworn to the Dark isn’t horrible. The Dissection influence is felt strongly, and some have said this could be the rightful last Dissection album instead of the abortion that was Reinkaos. I don’t really agree with that, but it’s not an outrageous thing to say. This album is simply too generic, too plastic, too predictable. Skip.

75. Shining - V: Halmstad

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/shining-1.jpg

Shining have always been sort of hit-and-miss, but on their older albums, they usually had a great sense of dark, hopeless atmosphere that fit their style of “suicidal” black metal very well. On Halmstad however, they almost opt for a more black ‘n roll approach, which only works to a limited degree. The over-the-top vocals and rocking thrash/heavy riffs give this album somewhat of a unique sound (“weird” might be a better word), but it really just doesn’t seem to communicate what they’re going for. Also, the numerous acoustic passages aren’t bad, but almost all of them overstay their welcome. The samples of that girl crying and talking about being depressed, hating herself, etc. seem like a cheap way to get across the suicidal theme, and that basically sums up this album's problem, I guess—it’s missing that convincing atmosphere of despair that made the older Shining albums good… in a frightening kind of way.

74. Baroness - Red Album

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/baroness.jpg

Maybe I missed something when I heard (and enjoyed) the First and Second EPs, but I was not expecting this to be fucking Blood Mountain 2. It’s an ugly truth that there’s a new American sound emerging in metal which is, as far as I can tell, based on Mastodon, and the Red Album is a prime example of it. Just more "nowadays" metal that I simply cannot get into.

73. Skeletonwitch - Beyond the Permafrost

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/skeletonwitch.jpg

Hearing this touted as some kind of wonderful new black/thrash, I was naturally excited to see Skeletonwitch on the bill with Toxic Holocaust and Municipal Waste back in September, but when the show came, they really delivered less than what I expected. Months later I got my hands on this, hoping that maybe the studio recording was more exciting than their live performance. Once again I was disappointed. This album is excruciatingly average, mindless metal-by-numbers with more in common with melodeath than blackened thrash. Thumbs down.

72. Malevolent Creation - Doomsday X

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/malevolentcreation.jpg

Fairly average death/thrash, chock-full of signature MC breakdowns and decent but basically unexciting riffs. Not much more to say about this one.

71. Akercocke - Antichrist

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/akercocke.jpg

I’ve never really understood the hype surrounding Akercocke. My main beef with them is their dynamics—instead of seeming progressive, they just seem kind of disjointed, in that Opeth kind of way (though I won’t insult them by suggesting that’s where their influence lies). Antichrist suffers from this same problem, and it cuts down on the enjoyability considerably for me. I’ve always respected their image and themes—that kind of intellectual Satanism that only a handful of bands approach—and so I give them credit for what they’re doing. But I just don’t enjoy this stuff very much.

Nick
01-14-2008, 02:56 PM
Any credit your list might have had ended around #93.

overkiller
01-14-2008, 02:59 PM
Any credit your list might have had ended around #93.

:blah:

ravenheart
01-14-2008, 04:52 PM
Only Baroness and Saxon would make mine from those. And Saxon was shit by their recent standards.

Maiden33
01-14-2008, 06:17 PM
The Saxon album wasn't shitty. It was mostly predictable and and fairly boring. There's a difference.

overkiller
01-14-2008, 06:25 PM
The Saxon album wasn't shitty. It was mostly predictable and and fairly boring. There's a difference.

Yeah, I agree with that.

DethMaiden
01-14-2008, 06:57 PM
You accurately described the Red Album, but that's basically why it rules :dorky:

overkiller
01-15-2008, 12:39 AM
70. Lunar Aurora - Andacht

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Lunar Aurora seem to be a good example of that kind of black metal that focuses so much on atmosphere that they lose sight of what kind of music they’re making, and everything ends up falling flat. Granted, they do get the atmosphere right about half the time and create some really haunting ambiances, but at nearly an hour long, this quickly becomes rather boring music. I doubt I’ll be listening to this one again.

69. Vehementer Nos - Vehementer Nos

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This is not really the kind of black metal I enjoy so much. Very slick production, not too many great riffs, instrumental performances that are so tight as to sound bored, and mildly irritating use of violins, flutes, and other such “progressive” elements. This style can be done well, but often it’s not, and Vehementer Nos is an example of the latter. It's a sincere effort, but it's not for me.

68. Helcaraxë - Triumph and Revenge

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First full-length by this band, ½ of which is a Public Safety officer at my school, heh. He gave me a copy of this early in the year (last winter, practically a year ago already! :eek:), and I’ve only listened to it once or twice since then, plus once more just recently to refresh my memory. I want to give this album more credit than maybe I should, since I’ve kind of become friends with the guy, but I’m gonna be objective. What we have on Triumph and Revenge is basically a relatively unique style of death metal with Viking themes and tinged with melody. Both of these guys are in a melodic hardcore band, and it shows on this release, manifesting in lots of chugging riffs and noodling melodic licks. The melody here brings them close to melodeath, but it’s not really a Gothenburg type of sound—it’s closer to an Amon Amarth kind of thing. Unfortunately a lot of the riffs don’t really work together too well or are simply too strange to work at all, but there is a good deal of quality material to be found. Minus the melodic leanings, this album has a lot in common stylistically with old Amorphis (Karelian Isthmus-era) and Unleashed, both of which Traynor (vocals) has told me they’re heavily influenced by. Overall it ain’t bad for a “local” band’s debut, even though both guys have been involved in multiple other projects for a number of years.

67. Sigh - Hangman's Hymn

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Is it just me, or does this album sound like being inside a videogame? Anyway, Sigh is hailed as one of the most unique extreme metal bands out there, and this album has been getting some really high praise, but I’m not too into it. This is the only Sigh album I’ve heard, and from what I gather, it’s a sort of return to aggression for them, whereas their previous couple of albums were more “unique”. Honestly, this doesn’t sound terribly unique to my ears; in fact, it reminds me heavily of Cradle of Filth at times—the dark orchestration, the sense of melody, it’s all there. There are also elements of more epic bands like Bal-Sagoth, or even Devil Doll, who were basically the original symphonic metal band. They do deserve recognition, though, for the general influence of classical music on what they’re doing. The completed whole just doesn’t end up being that interesting to me. I think what I liked the most on this album were a couple repeated sound effects and peculiar vocal parts. That’s about it.

66. Die Verbannten Kinder Evas - Dusk and Void Became Alive

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Being a side-project of Richard Ledered AKA “Protector”, of Summoning, Die Verbannten Kinder Evas have always sounded to me somewhat like a synth-only version of his primary band. However, as its own project, DVKE can be described as a sort of neoclassical darkwave, and on each of his albums Protector has managed to create at least a few songs of striking gothic beauty. Dusk and Void Became Alive continues that trend, most closely resembling the 1997 effort Come Heavy Sleep. The biggest problems with this release (as with other DVKE albums) are its sameness and weakness of Protector’s vocals. The female singer is wonderful here, whereas on previous releases the female vocals had been awkward and sometimes off-key, but Protector’s own voice has not improved much, unfortunately. I suppose it could be argued that his slightly flat singing gives DVKE’s music a unique, mournful kind of character, but to me it just sounds awkward. The formulas here work for a few tracks, but after an hour the boredom factor begins to rise. If you’re a fan of Summoning you’ve probably already heard this, but otherwise I’d suggest checking out other bands that do this style before DVKE.

65. Eight Bit Alien - Photosensitive Epilepsy

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A neat little electronica album made by a friend of my roommate. Uses a good deal of “chiptunes” kind of stuff—think NES music. You know, square wave, triangle wave, sawtooth, that kind of thing. Also definitely some Aphex Twin influence going on here. Not sure what else to say, heh. It’s fun.

64. Candlemass - King of the Grey Islands

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King of the Grey Islands doesn't explore any new territory for Candlemass, but it does see the entrance of new vocalist Rob Lowe of Solitude Aeternus. While he does a decent job and fits the style well, without Messiah Marcolin it just doesn’t quite feel like Candlemass anymore—it almost feels like a tribute band. As for the music… like I said, it’s pretty standard fare for the band, but it ain’t bad. Almost every track is enjoyably heavy doom/traditional metal that’s worth listening to once or twice.

63. Impaled Nazarene - Manifest

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Man, pretty much every Impaled Nazarene album after Suomi Finland Perkele (1994) is hit-or-miss for me, and Manifest doesn’t change that. The cover art got my attention right away, looking like a bonafide crust punk album, but the music contained within is basically just a continuation of Imp Naz’s current sound. It’s still basically black metal with a healthy dose of (old) hardcore and heavy metal riffs blended in, to mixed results. There are a couple tracks that fucking rule hard, but a lot of them are just kind of status quo for the band, which is to say they aren’t bad, but simply don’t do too much for me. The lyrics are still comically awful and intentionally offensive. If you like Imp Naz, give this a listen, it’s got some good shit on it. Otherwise, go with the early stuff, especially Suomi Finland Perkele.

62. Swallow the Sun - Hope

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While this album is fairly guilty of being a generic Katatonia/My Dying Bride clone, it possesses an energy, sincerity, and enjoyability that not every effort in this style of gothic death/doom can achieve. At over an hour long the formulas begin to wear a bit thin, but if you’re a fan of the style, this might be worth checking out.

61. Odious Mortem - Cryptic Implosion

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/odiousmortem.jpg

This is a solid brutal/technical death metal album that is worth a listen, but not being a die-hard fan of the genre, I’d sooner listen to staples like Suffocation or Necrophagist. This album just isn’t very original.

ravenheart
01-15-2008, 01:18 AM
Yeah, I agree with that.

Only in places. "State of Grace" and even "Red Star Rising" were Saxon by numbers, but stuff like "I've Got To Rock (To Stay Alive)" were just shit.

Just Candlemass from that last lot in mine.

Maiden33
01-15-2008, 05:53 AM
Only in places. "State of Grace" and even "Red Star Rising" were Saxon by numbers, but stuff like "I've Got To Rock (To Stay Alive)" were just shit.

Just Candlemass from that last lot in mine.

Well, I found State of Grace and Red Star Falling to be great but nothing new, If I Was You and Ashes to Ashes are solid, and the rest is pretty much skipable.

ravenheart
01-15-2008, 06:06 AM
That's what I said. Saxon by numbers. Red Star Falling is the best song on the album, and it's a carbon copy of Beyond The Grave.

Maiden33
01-15-2008, 06:45 AM
That's what I said. Saxon by numbers. Red Star Falling is the best song on the album, and it's a carbon copy of Beyond The Grave.

I don't know I'd say that specifically, but it's easily safe to say that:

Lionheart >> Inner Sanctum

overkiller
01-15-2008, 01:15 PM
60. Grails - Burning Off Impurities

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Just one of several instrumental post-rock albums I’ve heard this year, Burning Off Impurities is decent—there is some good stuff to be found on this album, but overall not a whole lot of its playing time grabbed my attention. It kind of wants to be Pink Floyd, it kind of wants to be post-rock, and it’s steeped in (Middle) Eastern atmosphere, but overall it just doesn’t convince.

59. High On Fire - Death Is This Communion

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Yet another album whose popularity I don’t understand. I don’t hate this one though; I’m just not as thrilled with it as everyone else seems to be. Some of the songwriting here is great (the title track, for example), but not all of the riffs are that exciting to me and the whole thing just reminds me too much of Mastodon. I don’t really think of this as any better than what High On Fire has done before, as many seem to do. As usual, Pike’s lyrics and songtitles are full of badassery and his vocals recall Lemmy perhaps more than ever. The heavy Iommi influence is still there. I dunno. All in all it isn’t a bad record, but I’ll pass on this one.

58. Type O Negative - Dead Again

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Eh. Four years for this? Dead Again is like a weaker version of Type O’s previous album Life Is Killing Me, which was their weakest one to begin with. Like its predecessor, it has a couple gems, plus a few OK tracks, but the rest don’t really live up to Type O standards. The title track, which is upbeat and infused with punk energy, provides a typical Type O dichotomy—the happy-sounding melodies contrast comically with the lyrics about being a worthless drug addict. “Tripping a Blind Man” is a pretty decent track with plenty of usual Sabbath and classic rock influence, and “The Profits of Doom” is fucking heavy, with great dynamics—doomy riffs and kickass rock segments balance eachother perfectly, crescendoing into a glorious finish with Peter belting out “My soul’s on fire!”. “September Sun” is another standout, beginning with a poppy piano line that borders on parody, and building into an epic ballad that is total classic Type O, and would not have been out of place on one of their better albums. After the first four tracks, however, things start to go downhill. “Halloween in Heaven” is another up-tempo track that almost recalls the Misfits in Pete’s vocal delivery, but really doesn’t go anywhere interesting. “These Three Things” meanders around for 14 minutes, managing to find some great riffs here and there but falling short as a whole, and the rest of the album isn’t especially mentionable. Type O fans should definitely hear this if only for “The Profits of Doom” and “September Sun”, but Brooklyn’s Rehab Four have put out works of far higher quality in the past, and you should look to them before touching this.

57. Pelican - City of Echoes

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Pelican is a band I’ve tried to get into to no avail. The majority of their music simply fails to move me; it all kind of drifts by without seeming special or even interesting. I think the main problem I see in them is they fail to capture what’s great about each of the genres they combine—they lack the emotional, vocal instrumentation of great instrumental post-rock bands like Mogwai and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, while also missing the sheer heaviness and monolithic power of sludge-doom bands like Neurosis. All that being said, City of Echoes does have some pretty enjoyable material on it (I absolutely love the title track), but it’s very hit-and-miss.

56. Amorphis - Silent Waters

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Stylistically this doesn’t differ much from their previous release, Eclipse, which I enjoyed immensely, so it’s difficult not to judge Silent Waters against that album. This is no Eclipse. It doesn’t quite match the powerfully infectious catchiness that so many of the tracks on that album had, and in most ways just seems like a slightly weaker duplication of its predecessor. That being said, it’s a relatively solid album on its own, and has some genuinely fun melodic metal to offer.

55. Ensiferum - Victory Songs

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With the departure of their primary songwriter, Ensiferum seems to have balked and simply fallen back on formulas they’ve already used. There are a few standout tracks that definitely match the quality of their previous two albums, but on the whole this just feels like a paler imitation.

54. Middian - Age Eternal

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/middian.jpg

Though perhaps I hear a bit too much Mastodon and Opeth influence than is to my liking, this is decent, American-scene-style sludge. Not really my cup of tea, but it’s got some good material. The nasal, almost diminutive-sounding sung vocals are a nice touch, and they carry some great melodies. I really didn’t like the last track, though, and being over 15 minutes long, I thought it would never end.

53. Nile - Ithyphallic

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/nile.jpg

Well… it’s Nile, alright. Karl Sanders and company don’t vary much from their previous couple of efforts, and while this is not soul-crushing like, say, In Their Darkened Shrines was, it retains Nile’s positive qualities of creative riffs and monster atmosphere. Some of the breakdowns are killer, and as usual, the song titles and lyrical themes are utterly awesome. If you’re already a fan of Nile, you should probably hear this (and you probably already have), but otherwise, this is similar enough to other releases that you can just stick with them and not miss out on much.

52. Blut Aus Nord - Odinist: The Destruction of Reason By Illumination

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After a more extreme experimental foray into industrial on 2006’s MoRT, Blut Aus Nord return to a more black metal-oriented approach, closer to their 2003 album The Work Which Transforms God, with Odinist: The Destruction of Reason By Illumination. Similar in style to the new Deathspell Omega, Mayhem, and Xasthur albums, Odinist is still very much “experimental” black metal, testing the limits of dissonance and nightmarish atmosphere, much like its aforementioned style-mates. It differs from them, however, in its use of subdued guitar tone and mid- to slow tempos, further enhancing the ambiance of mysticism and unreason. Despite having such great elements all in place, though, Odinist does fall short of its contemporaries; its riffs and progressions simply don’t match the quality of those other releases (though the new Xasthur does have similar shortcomings). Regardless, if you’re keen on this new style of über-dissonant experimental black metal, give this a listen and decide for yourself. It’s difficult music and in all likelihood requires more than one listener to judge.

51. Zweizz - Yawn of the New Age

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I wanted this album to be better than I think it actually is. Ex-Dodheimsgard member Svein Egil Hatlevik has created a one-man experimental project that, like many experiments in music, has garnered mostly useless reviews from both extremes on the internet—the typical, ignorant “arrgh this are not music, this are just noise” review, and the annoyingly unhelpful “OMG, this is an amazing piece of art!!1 a total headfuck!!!!1!1”. Ignoring those, Yawn of the New Age is essentially an experimental electronic/noise album, into which Zweizz attempts to fuse black metal ideas. You have your elements of IDM, industrial, noise, and what have you, but if you keep in mind Zweizz’s background, you can definitely detect rhythms and phrases that come from black metal. Unfortunately the experimentation on this album often wanders into pointless noodling and wankery, lacking the sense of purpose that is still necessary even if—perhaps especially if—your music consists of jarring electronic noises. I kinda feel like this guy just wanted to make a Merzbow album and yet keep his black metal roots. It sort of works, it sort of doesn’t. Sidenotes, the Nintendo-esque cover of Immortal’s “Blacker Than Darkness” is good for a laugh or two, and the garish electric pink version of a black metal band-logo on the cover is a great touch.







Halfway there :party:

SomewhereInTime72
01-15-2008, 01:49 PM
City Of Echoes and Silent Waters are both way better than Ithyphallic.

overkiller
01-15-2008, 03:36 PM
City Of Echoes and Silent Waters are both way better than Ithyphallic.

The precise spot of each album isn't so important as its general area in the list. I only had so much time and energy to devote to this stuff, and seeing as I'm on break from school and I don't have much to do, I devoted way too much to it as it is. So, way better? I don't think so, but if I gave all of those more listens maybe they would pull ahead of Ithyphallic.

That's not to say the order doesn't matter, of course. But for the bottom 50 especially, give me some flexibility :tongue:

powerslave_85
01-15-2008, 03:40 PM
Brady, have you listened to The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw much? I didn't like City of Echoes, but I love that one.

ADD
01-15-2008, 03:48 PM
80. Rush - Snakes & Arrows

I thought it was a good album. Not in the upper echelon of their catalog though.


79. Saxon - The Inner Sanctum

A big step down from Lionheart. Again its not bad, but its not very memorable.


78. Dekapitator - The Storm Before the Calm

The first half of this record absolutely destroys, it slows down after "Run With The Pack" though. And cheap-shots at Relapse are intolerable :mad:


77. Behemoth - The Apostasy

So fucking boring, totally uninspired shit. Even Demigod kills this.


76. Watain - Sworn to the Dark

Agreed.


75. Shining - V: Halmstad

Agreed.


74. Baroness - Red Album

I agree that this was a step back from the EP's, well maybe not a step back but definitely a step in a direction different than what I had hoped. Red Album shows a ton of potential though, and there's some really outstanding moments.


73. Skeletonwitch - Beyond the Permafrost

I'm glad someone else out there realizes that this is nowhere in the vicinity of black thrash, this is melodeath. However, in my opinion it's kickass melodeath and I thoroughly enjoyed this album. Lots of good tunes.


72. Malevolent Creation - Doomsday X

Suck. Suck. Suck.


71. Akercocke - Antichrist

Words That Go Unspoken Deeds That Go Undone is one of my favorite progressive death metal albums, but this was a letdown. Too bad.

ADD
01-15-2008, 03:56 PM
60. Grails - Burning Off Impurities

This almost made my top 10. Therefore it is fantastic.


59. High On Fire - Death Is This Communion

This album crushes so hard that you just probably weren't able to comprehend it ;) At least that's what I'm hoping the case was.


58. Type O Negative - Dead Again

Eh, very middle of the road stuff. "She Burned Me Down" is tops though.


57. Pelican - City of Echoes

This is actually my favorite Pelican album, I hope they start doing more shit like "Winds With Hands" :drool:


56. Amorphis - Silent Waters

Didn't capture me at all.


55. Ensiferum - Victory Songs

Yeah this stuff just doesn't really do it for me like it used to. Not bad at all though.


54. Middian - Age Eternal

Phenomenal album in my opinion, probably would've made my top 10 if not for that last track as you mentioned.


53. Nile - Ithyphallic

Much like with the new Behemoth, I was severely let down by this. Annihilation Of The Wicked is a landmark album I think, but this didn't even serve as a mildly interesting follow-up.


52. Blut Aus Nord - Odinist: The Destruction of Reason By Illumination

Better than MoRT, but nowhere near The Work Which Transforms God. Very forgettable.



Halfway there :party:

I expect a better showing in the second half :bouville: :D

overkiller
01-15-2008, 04:36 PM
50. Forgotten Woods - Race of Cain

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Even if it’s not one of the stronger black metal releases this year, I have to give Race of Cain credit for forcing me to think about it. At times this is a difficult release, but at others it lacks enough of its own identity. The noisy, disturbing intro, which is especially unsettling if you have the eerie cover art in front of you, leads into the jarring “One Day”, whose riffs and songwriting feel as if they’re intentionally primitive and regressive. Thereafter we move into more standard raw BM, coming to a few great tracks but running into too many ideas that lack individuality. “Intolerance Is the New Law” and “Here, In the Obsession” stand out the most from this section of the album. “The Principle and the Whip” is a nice switch, favoring ethereal female vocals and floating, clean post-rockish arpeggios (though still fraught with gritty lo-fi noise, which actually creates a nice effect), and eventually moving into a folky 70s-psychedelia jam that kind of recalls Sabbath’s “Planet Caravan”. After that the black metal returns, and during the impressive last track “Third Eye (New Creature) there is a long break for a nearly 7-minute sample from the old Evangelist Christian radio show Talkback with Bob Larson. He’s interviewing Boyd Rice, an avowed Social Darwinist who you can look up if you’d like, but I’m not going to get into his views here. The whole point of the sample is the Social Darwinism theme (plus, it’s funny to hear Rice arguing with an Evangelical Christian media figure), which pervades their lyrics. Again, if you want to look these up yourself go for it, but I’m not going to begin debating their take on Social Darwinism and Fascism here.

49. Pig Destroyer - Phantom Limb

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Probably the best thing to come out of “mainstream” metal this year, but that isn’t saying much. Phantom Limb delivers up another dose of essentially the same thing as their last two albums, with maybe a few more thrash breaks and even heavier hardcore influence. Latter-day Pig Destroyer is pretty good if you want your grind infused with modern hardcore, but I don’t, so this album probably won’t get many spins from me in the future.

48. Earth - Hibernaculum

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Not exactly a proper full-length but generally considered one anyway, this album consists of three Earth classics redone with clean guitars and a western, desert-rockish approach, and a previously unreleased track in the same vein. Definitely a solid release and fun if you’re looking for something different, but I think I’d really rather listen to the originals. Also, the country-twang guitars seem oddly out of place to me. And though I haven’t heard it myself, from what I gather you’d be better off going for their previous album Hex if you want to hear how Earth does this style.

47. Immolation - Shadows in the Light

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Immolation are one of those bands whose influence and status I’ve always respected, yet whose music I could never get into. Shadows in the Light doesn’t change that. While I respect it for being straight-up old-school death metal, I just can’t say I dig it that much. The leads are definitely great and are part of what sets Immolation apart I think, however, the production of these is questionable—I can barely hear the guitar except for the leads, which are considerably louder in the mix. In fact, I almost think I got a messed-up early leaked version of this, haha. Anyway, if you like Immolation, get this. It’s good, there’s just something I can’t put my finger on standing between me and my total enjoyment of it.

46. Villains - Drenched in the Poisons

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Hyped partially due to having a member of doom icons Unearthly Trance as their guitarist, Villains puke out 28 minutes of gritty, alcoholic blackened thrash that is intense but a bit inconsistent. Some of the stuff on this album is awesome, but some of it loses me somehow. Regardless, if you’ve got a half hour to burn, give this one a spin and enjoy the madness.

45. Moonsorrow - V: Hävitetty

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Moonsorrow’s fifth album takes them in a slightly different direction, toning down the bombastic folk elements and focusing more on the melancholy and ambient aspects of their music. While some are bound to be disappointed by this move, it does work well to a certain degree. The album features only two tracks, each clocking in at about a half-hour. I prefer the first one, “Jäästä Syntynyt/Varjojen Virta”, which to me seems to explore ambient territory more so than the second. It sees the band utilizing more “electronica” keyboard voices which I don’t believe they ever had before (catch the Burzum tone at the end of the first track? ;)), and while its lengthy 30-minute duration finds it wandering into weaker moments here and there, overall it’s a strong piece with nice development. The second track, “Tuleen Ajettu Maa”, sounds more to me like usual Viking metal material, just with a minimal amout of folk elements. And as for those folk elements they retain, don’t worry, there are still the same old drunken choir vocals and folk instruments, they’re just used more conservatively on this album. As with many other new albums this year, fans should hear it, but newcomers should look to the previous releases first.

44. Electric Wizard - Witchcult Today

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A fairly status-quo effort for the Wizard, with one extremely unfortunate change: the vocals. Jus Oborn’s desperate, nihilistic voice used to be a big part of Electric Wizard’s sound, but on this album he just takes a backseat, sounding lazy and weak. It really detracts from the album—at every turn you want him to just belt it out like he used to, but he never really does. Anyway, besides that you’ve still got the thick, drug-laden Sabbath grooves and Sleep drones that this band does so well, so I can’t really complain there. A couple of the tracks are weaker, namely “Torquemada 71” and “Black Magic Rituals and Perversions” (which should’ve been good but ends up being stupid, probably thanks to the cheesy voice-over for the most part), but there’s enough solid satanic stoner groove to satisfy your saturnine listening needs. :stoned:

43. Witchcraft - The Alchemist

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This album strikes me as a bit trendy, but jaded cynicisms aside, this is pretty cool retro-rock/metal. They definitely managed to get that 70s vibe; judging by sound alone this could very well be straight out of that era. Unfortunately this all gives The Alchemist a bit of a novelty-act feel. While plenty of the riffs are great, not all of them are, and the vocals get to feeling a bit silly. Besides these flaws though, the album is entirely enjoyable and is a worthy tribute to old-school sword-and-sorcery rock and roll.

42. Manes - How the World Came to an End

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/manes.jpg

One of the weirder releases of 2007. Once a black metal band who’ve since gone experimental, Manes offer up a veritable blender of genres on the avant-garde How the World Came to an End—present are elements of industrial, dance, hip-hop, jazz, metal, R&B, and who knows what else. The lyrics are mostly abstract and are communicated in a diverse number of ways, ranging from soulful R&B wailing to rapping to tender female singing to computer voices. There is some truly impressive music to be found here, however, not every track works, and a few end up sounding unfortunately like some kind of mainstream techno/rock/hip-hop. The best track on here, which totally flattened me the first time I heard it, is “Come to Pass”, a 6-minute dark hip-hop epic with half French/half English lyrics. I’ve always though it was a great language for rap since the first time I heard it done, and considering that Manes are Norwegian, the French on this track is a pleasant surprise which yields awesome results. Give this album a try if you’re looking for something weird and distinctly un-metal from 2007, but come prepared.

41. Xasthur - Defective Epitaph

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/xasthur_defective.jpg

Nightmarish, cold, depressive, experimental, droning—all words that could describe Xasthur, and this latest offering is no exception. This album shares some significant similarities with the contemporary experimental material out of the French scene by Deathspell Omega and Blut Aus Nord, but overall Defective Epitaph sounds like, well, Xasthur, more than anything else. Malefic (the man behind the project) has managed to sculpt a fairly unique sound for himself; however, this stuff is just good, not great. My main criticism goes to the songwriting—he has some difficulties maintaining a progression of musical ideas that successfully communicate his themes and keep the listener’s attention. Often where there should be aural darkness there just ends up being Halloweenish cheese. Regardless, the good outweighs the bad here, and this one’s worth a listen. If you’re already a fan of Xasthur it will not disappoint.

ADD
01-15-2008, 04:38 PM
69. Vehementer Nos - Vehementer Nos

I thought this was one of the better black metal albums I heard last year, progressive shit done right.



67. Sigh - Hangman's Hymn

They deserve praise just for being such a unique, innovative, and forward-thinking band, the epitome of what "experimental" should mean.



64. Candlemass - King of the Grey Islands

Ridiculously boring album, they are really treading water and that's not good when the style of your music is already fundamentally predisposed to it.


63. Impaled Nazarene - Manifest

I dig this style a lot, good album. The more bands pick up on the Darkthrone slapstick black-'n-roll approach the better.


62. Swallow the Sun - Hope

Agreed.


61. Odious Mortem - Cryptic Implosion

Technical wanking sucks, and that's basically what this amounts to.

overkiller
01-15-2008, 04:38 PM
Addi, maybe you could just quote the title of each album or something? It kind of kills the progression to have every segment of my list repeat itself.

ADD
01-15-2008, 04:48 PM
49. Pig Destroyer - Phantom Limb


Insane album, totally loved it and I generally am not much for this type of music. So relentlessly brutal.


48. Earth - Hibernaculum

Yeah Hex is better overall, but this is still good. I like this new direction they've gone more than their old drone stuff.


47. Immolation - Shadows in the Light

Utter :zzz:


46. Villains - Drenched in the Poisons

This is a great twisted little bruiser of an album, pure raging alcoholocaust metal.


45. Moonsorrow - V: Hävitetty

Verisakeet is still far and away their best in my opinion, but this is also a phenomenal album. A little tough to get into at first, though I kinda like that aspect about it because its not always good to love something off the bat that you'll just end up discarding soon thereafter.


44. Electric Wizard - Witchcult Today

This is anything but status quo for Electric Wizard man, they have never boogied like on "Dunwich" and "Torquemada 71" before. Heavy, catchy, and stoner as fuck.


43. Witchcraft - The Alchemist

Best retro-70's classic rock throwback album I've heard yet, and their live performance definitely sky-rocketed this into the top 10 for me.


41. Xasthur - Defective Epitaph

Xasthur-by-numbers, which means its solid. Does nothing to separate from previous album though, and I think once you've heard one you've really heard 'em all.

ADD
01-15-2008, 04:48 PM
Addi, maybe you could just quote the title of each album or something? It kind of kills the progression to have every segment of my list repeat itself.
Sorry I will :D

overkiller
01-15-2008, 05:16 PM
Sorry I will :D

Thanks :rocker:

SomewhereInTime72
01-15-2008, 06:28 PM
The precise spot of each album isn't so important as its general area in the list. I only had so much time and energy to devote to this stuff, and seeing as I'm on break from school and I don't have much to do, I devoted way too much to it as it is. So, way better? I don't think so, but if I gave all of those more listens maybe they would pull ahead of Ithyphallic.

That's not to say the order doesn't matter, of course. But for the bottom 50 especially, give me some flexibility :tongue:

Well it was more of the way you described them that I disagreed with, I mean, at 60-50 the number doesn't weigh in so much :tongue:.

overkiller
01-15-2008, 06:32 PM
Yeah Hex is better overall, but this is still good. I like this new direction they've gone more than their old drone stuff.


Extra-Capsular Extraction :bouville:

Desert rock fanboy :tongue:

overkiller
01-15-2008, 06:35 PM
This is anything but status quo for Electric Wizard man, they have never boogied like on "Dunwich" and "Torquemada 71" before.

Yeah, I suppose you're right. It's a subtle change, but a change nonetheless. Whoops.

theWolfisLOOSE
01-15-2008, 07:21 PM
50. Forgotten Woods - Race of Cain

[
44. Electric Wizard - Witchcult Today

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/electricwizard.jpg

A fairly status-quo effort for the Wizard, with one extremely unfortunate change: the vocals. Jus Oborn’s desperate, nihilistic voice used to be a big part of Electric Wizard’s sound, but on this album he just takes a backseat, sounding lazy and weak. It really detracts from the album—at every turn you want him to just belt it out like he used to, but he never really does. Anyway, besides that you’ve still got the thick, drug-laden Sabbath grooves and Sleep drones that this band does so well, so I can’t really complain there. A couple of the tracks are weaker, namely “Torquemada 71” and “Black Magic Rituals and Perversions” (which should’ve been good but ends up being stupid, probably thanks to the cheesy voice-over for the most part), but there’s enough solid satanic stoner groove to satisfy your saturnine listening needs. :stoned:


Some might say they are uncomparable, but this should in no way be in a better slot than High On Fire's new album. Death is this Communion is just caked with emotion and crushing brutality. This was actually pretty boring.

overkiller
01-15-2008, 07:23 PM
40. Blood Freak - Multiplex Massacre

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/bloodfreak.jpg

Although very similar to Ghoul in style, this album delivers up a solid half-hour of gore-flick-inspired thrash/death/grind with some insanely catchy riffs. Most of Multiplex Massacre seriously rocks hard, but my only complaint is that some of the riffs are totally flat, and when put on top of blastbeats, they just sound stupid. The chorus in “Body By Death” is probably the best example of this. The good outweighs the bad here, though, and this is definitely work checking out if you like the style that Ghoul does. SPLATTERTHRASH!!

39. Blüdwülf - Cryptic Revelations

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/bludwulf.jpg

YES! This is old-school fucking heavy metal with a punk rock attitude and enough cheesy evilness to be an old-school black metal record. It definitely takes cues from Where Legend Began-era English Dogs, doing kind of a sloppier, cornier version of that style. The Lord Reverend Jimmi Sinn’s vocals are a bit much to take, but along with the awful lyrics (think Venom), they basically create the comical, cheesy attitude which is part of what makes this album so much fun. I saw these guys in Brooklyn back in August of 2007, and to see Blüdwülf live is to truly understand them. Jimmi Sinn has an unbelievable stage presence—he’s this huge, extremely flamboyant guy with heavy eye makeup and a giant mohawk, wearing bullet belts and a denim vest covered in old-school thrash and 80s black metal band patches. Anyway, besides having its own merits, this album has gained wider popularity due to the ever-cool Fenriz of Darkthrone including it on a list of recommendations in the CD booklet of their newest album F.O.A.D.. Cryptic Revelations rocks hard, shits all over “nowadays” metal, and doesn’t give a fuck.

38. Nunslaughter - Hex

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If you’ve heard… well, really anything by Nunslaughter before, then you know what to expect. They really pride themselves on delivering “the same music you’ve enjoyed for the last two fucking decades!!”, and Hex does not disappoint. Absurdly Satanic, hilariously anti-Christian, and heavy as fuck, Nunslaughter once again serve up a blasphemous slab of Devil Metal that smashes Christ and all other assorted posers.

37. Slough Feg - Hardworlder

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/sloughfeg.jpg

This is definitely a great album of retro-heavy metal, recalling early heavy/NWOBHM acts such as Manilla Road and Tank with all the power metal excesses of the former and the rock ‘n roll abandon of the latter. However, I didn’t like it quite as much as every one else seems to. I’m all about “Tiger! Tiger!” and “The Sea Wolf”, both of which are nothing short of inspiring, but the rest of the album seems to lose some of the momentum set by those tracks. The title track is great as well, and some of the other tracks such as “The Spoils” are cool, but some just don’t grab me. Still, this is probably the coolest retro-metal album of 2007, and considering that most of the members here would probably dig it, it’s a shame not more of you heard it.

36. Church Bizarre - Sinister Glorification

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Church Bizarre’s brand of black metal doesn’t forget that it’s heavy fucking metal. It doesn’t hesitate to rock out or incorporate melody, and it manages to do these things pretty well. Each track on this album is intro’ed by a movie sample, which works to varying degrees. The coolest is probably the wordless Seventh Seal sample, but Donnie Darko? Seriously? Anyway, this one’s definitely worth a couple spins.

35. Bestial Mockery - Slaying the Life

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/bestialmockery.jpg

Great black/thrash in the vein of Aura Noir or Impaled Nazarene—closer to black metal than to thrash, unlike, say, Toxic Holocaust. I prefer the latter’s style, but this is definitely good shit. There are some great riffs on this album.

34. Uaral - Lamentos a Poema Muerta

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/uaral.jpg

Hailing from Chile, Uaral have been gaining recognition as a folk-doom act with the unique aspect that their brand of folk is, well, Chilean. This makes sense in light of the fact that seemingly almost all successful folk metal acts are distinctly European (or Russian, which is close enough :tongue:). There isn’t much metal to be found on Lamentos a Poema Muerta, though—in fact there isn’t a single power chord throughout the whole thing, and the only distortion used is for overdriven guitar leads. The rest is a beautiful acoustic guitar experience heavily influenced by Chilean folk music—think of a South American-flavored version of a dark neofolk group like Empyrium or even Kveldssanger-era Ulver. The only serious criticism I can draw on this album is about the vocals. There are basically 3 vocal styles employed on this album, and while the deep, mournful singing voice and tortured black metal shrieks work wonderfully, the third is an unfortunately goofy cookie-monster death growl which absolutely does not work with the music. This voice is featured prominently through the first half of the album, and it’s a serious detriment to the music. It’s really unfortunate, because everything else about this album points it towards becoming a masterpiece of dark beauty. In any case this album will probably be getting future spins from me; look out for it in case it continues to garner popularity with the doom and folk crowds.

33. Turisas - The Varangian Way

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Epic, theatrical, and bombastically overblown as ever, Turisas return with a concept album of sorts whose themes, like the new Primordial, manage to enhance the overall quality of the album beyond that of the music alone. The Varangian Way is not too much of a departure from their previous album, Battle Metal—the distinct Finnish folk/Viking sound (a la Moonsorrow, Ensiferum, etc.) and bombastic theatrics a la Bal-Sagoth are all still there, with Symphony X’s “The Odyssey” maybe creeping in at a few places. Fitting perfectly with the music, the lyrical content of this album is what really makes it such a blast, especially for a Euro-history nerd like me. As a side note, it’s definitely superior to the 2007 efforts by their genremates and fellow countrymen Moonsorrow and Ensiferum.

32. Primordial - To the Nameless Dead

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/primordial.jpg

Although musically speaking much of this album is just above average (with moments of outstanding quality), it being a sort of melodic black-ish folk-ish metal, the themes contained within it and how the music communicates them are what makes it great. These guys are definitely very into Europe and its history, and I’m a sucker for that sort of thing. Some of the lyrics seem timely considering the state of affairs in the world and apprehensions many have these days, with vocalist Alan Averill singing about the empires falling and “Rome” burning (“Tell me what nation on this Earth/Is not born of tragedy?”). Speaking of the vocals, they fit the music well even if Averill is not the greatest singer. His voice seems to morph slightly from song to song, covering a pretty nice range of emotions but sometimes going a bit overboard. Production’s slick, clean, modern, but not to the point of sounding sterile. The first track, “Empire Falls”, is probably the best on here. Anyway, this album is worth your time. It’ll make you think.

31. Wu-Tang Clan - 8 Diagrams

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/wu-tang.jpg

After a six-year hiatus, the Clan return with an album much more moody and melody-focused than their older, harsher material, but they still deliver their signature style of hard-hitting rhymes with an intelligent edge. The change is a welcome one, and it sets 8 Diagrams apart as a necessary release for these guys. This album isn’t perfect, though; there are some weaker tracks and perhaps a bit too much singing. Regardless, this is by all means a worthy installment in the ongoing saga of the Wu.

ChildrenofSodom
01-15-2008, 07:39 PM
Why is it that 90% of the stuff on your list, I have never heard of? Its all the dark, doomy shit too that looks and sounds really good.

overkiller
01-15-2008, 08:29 PM
30. Therion - Gothic Kabbalah

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The two-disc Gothic Kabbalah was one of the first albums of 2007 I listened to, and probably the first one I actually bought. I wasn’t too thrilled with what I heard, and after one or two more listens, I ended up liking one or two songs but essentially shelving it until now. I realize now that I may have just been put off by their slightly revamped sound, and man, does that first disc sound good after all that time. This album sees Therion opting for more power metal-esque vocals, utilizing solo performances far more often than their signature choir vocals, and fittingly, a lot of the material here can definitely be called power metal. They even play with some folk elements on the title track (although the main riff is copied from “Holy Wars” by Megadeth :eyes:). And while there are these significant changes, most of the material on Gothic Kabbalah is undeniably Therion, and there are moments of such quality and beauty in songs like “The Perennial Sophia,” “Wisdom and the Cage,” and “Son of the Staves of Time” the likes of which only Therion can produce. The lyrical themes are nothing short of awesome, continuing Therion’s tradition of dabbling in the occult. Gothic Kabbalah is apparently a concept album of sorts, the story of which was partially explained by someone here a while back, in a thread reviewing the album I believe. Anyway, trouble starts for this album once we get into Disc 2. There is definitely good stuff on the second half as well, but the level of quality does drop, and it starts to make the overlong, 1-hour-23-minute playing time seem like an eternity. So, if you’re going to listen to this album, you might want to just hear one or the other, and really, Disc 1 is the better of the two.

29. Cobalt - Eater of Birds

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/cobalt.jpg

I think this album could be best described as two grim dudes coming together and jamming on Immortal, Darkthrone, maybe even Impaled Nazarene riffs, with enough headbangable rocking out to almost be called black ‘n roll. It works quite well for them, and gives them somewhat of a unique feel even if the riffs are familiar. Also, the acoustic interludes (all ingeniously titled “Ritual Use of Fire”) are excellent and call to mind those of early Dissection—not in that they sound alike (in fact they sound pretty dissimilar), but rather in how necessary and effective they feel, rather than just being superfluous wank. They’re unsettling; the recording is noisy and almost digital-sounding, in contrast with the relatively crisp production of the black metal material. It gets to feeling a tad overlong (approx. 1 hr 10 mins), partially due to the black metal compositions not all being on equal footing in terms of quality, but regardless, this is one of the stronger BM releases this year.

28. Victimizer - The Final Assault

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This is straight-up, no bullshit, old-school extreme speed/thrash. For 2007 it’s pretty fucking impressive, but as 80s thrash goes it’s not exactly the best album ever. The vocals are very effective at times, but at others they’re slightly annoying and sound vaguely similar to Alexi from Children of Bodom, which is kind of detrimental to the “old-school” feeling, I think. Also, the solos are strange. They’re like your typical thrash solos, except they seem to anchor on one note each—he’ll play one note continuously, then trill up into some flashy stuff, return to the anchor note for a few beats, play some more flashy stuff, and so on. It’s a strange sound, as I said, and to my ears it’s slightly irritating. Anyway, despite all my complaining, this is most definitely a great 40 minutes of old-school Satanic thrash metal with lots of memorable riffs; all I’m saying is that the praise its getting is slightly disproportionate to its quality considering other great bands that are out there.

27. Björk - Volta

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Björk returns with more of her style of dreamy, spacey avant-pop music, influenced as usual by a number of different genres. Volta makes frequent use of subdued horn sections, which often give the music a sort of 70s vibe, at times almost feeling like the soundtrack to a film from that era. There are also moments where the brass seems to recall Philip Glass, but that might just be my imagination. As one would expect, there’s plenty of signature electronica and ambient elements on here as well. One pleasant surprise comes near the end of the album as “Declare Independence”, an uncharacteristically aggressive, industrial-flavored track whose lyrics are probably an exhortation to empowerment, at least on the surface. All in all Volta is thoroughly enjoyable if you like Björk, and unique enough to warrant listening to this one as opposed to just sticking to her other albums.

26. Minsk - The Ritual Fires of Abandonment

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American sludge/doom, especially of the progressive and experimental nature, seems to be huge this year, and Minsk’s The Ritual Fires of Abandonment stands tall as one of the better releases to come out of that scene. Like any good prog-sludge, it progresses slowly, developing each song carefully through recurrent themes and gradual buildups. It has a very Eastern mood to it, another element which is not at all uncommon in sludge, and it makes nice use of spacey sound effects to enhance the atmosphere. The saxophone and trumpet solos in tracks 4 and 6 (respectively) are nice touches which feel very natural to the music, despite being distinctly Western instruments. This is high quality stuff and is fairly unique within its style, but the new Rwake and Neurosis are both better.

25. Porcupine Tree - Fear of a Blank Planet

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/porcupinetree.jpg

This is the first and only Porcupine Tree album I’ve heard, but I have to say, this modern take on 70s progressive rock is really pretty cool. I’m not sure that Steven Wilson is necessarily treading too much new ground on Fear of a Blank Planet, but every song has treasures to offer. His style of 70s prog seems to have some elements of modern post-rock infused into it, a touch that yields beautiful results. The lyrics are intensely emotional, with Wilson’s withdrawn, timid vocal delivery making them all the more touching. My only real problem with this album is with the attempts at metal passages. They unfortunately recall Opeth not only in their sound, but also in their being misplaced, irrelevant, and irritating (for examples, see the random chugging riff in “Anesthetize” and the unnecessary riff around 5:00 in “Way Out of Here”). Other than that glaring flaw, this is quality music.

24. Total Fucking Destruction - Zen and the Art of Total Fucking Destruction

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Now here is some solid fucking great grind. In sound and style you can tell this band is an offshoot of Brutal Truth, but they definitely manage to have their own personality. Those shrieky vocals are fucking fantastic, and they fit perfectly with the drugged-up, humorous style of grind TFD deliver. Not to mention the 4 hilarious acoustic tracks we’re treated to at the end! Admittedly I didn’t check out too many grind releases this year, but this is my favorite.

23. Mayhem - Ordo Ad Chao

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/mayhem.jpg

With Ordo ad Chao, Mayhem (that is, the modern incarnation thereof) show us that they’ve been listening to latter-day Deathspell Omega and Blut Aus Nord. And you know what, they do a pretty good job of that style. This album can be called experimental black metal, featuring schizophrenic, entirely dissonant guitars and bizarre vocals (they brought back Attila, so that’s not much of a surprise). In fact, about 99% of this album is dissonance, with the only semblance of melody being the clean guitar part that fades out at the end of “Illuminate Eliminate”. When I first heard this album I was pleasantly surprised, not expecting much after 2004’s Chimera, but time will tell whether or not it retains its potency. There is some very interesting music to be found here, and this should be counted among the black metal albums of 2007 that are worth hearing.

22. Witchaven - Black Thrash Assault (Demo)

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/witchaven.jpg

Holy fucking thrash, Batman! This demo is one of the most insane things I heard all year, at only 12 minutes long! Pure fucking old-school death/black/thrash with ungodly levels of aggression and intensity, taking lots of cues from old Kreator and Dark Angel. Had me headbanging unlike much else from 2007. I wish I could get my hands on more demos from these guys, they have a bunch but this one was hard enough to find as it was. I seriously hope they put out an LP in the near future, and I hope it matches the intensity of this evil little cassette.

21. Explosions in the Sky - All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/explosions.jpg

It took me a few listens to like this, but that may be to its credit. The beauty of All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone is a subtle one, and its simplicity may be hard to appreciate at first. The sweeping crescendos the band is known for are here in full force, projecting the listener head-first into emotional landscapes and aural memories. The opening track, “The Birth and the Death of Day”, begins with powerfully distorted chords, giving way to timid guitars quietly finding their bearings as if awoken from a deep sleep. The song slowly builds confidence and presence, eventually blooming into a soaring epic that leaves you salivating for more. This leads to my only complaint about the album, which is that from then on it doesn’t always fulfill the promise made by that first track. Still, Explosions in the Sky’s latest effort is a beautiful work of post-rock in a style difficult to reinvent.

ADD
01-15-2008, 10:40 PM
40. Blood Freak - Multiplex Massacre

Agreed, though I like Ghoul better.


39. Blüdwülf - Cryptic Revelations

I cannot fucking believe I haven't heard this yet, gah :hecho:


38. Nunslaughter - Hex

Agreed.


37. Slough Feg - Hardworlder

Agreed, especially your point about more people needing to hear it.



35. Bestial Mockery - Slaying the Life

For some reason I didn't get into this one, though style-wise it would seem to be to my liking. There's just something missing. Oh well.


34. Uaral - Lamentos a Poema Muerta

Outstanding album, the melding of Chilean folk (which I'm familiar with already) with doom is beautiful.


33. Turisas - The Varangian Way

No way this touches the new Moonsorrow dude, no way. It's alright for what is it though.


32. Primordial - To the Nameless Dead


A strong point is the lyrical topics as you mentioned, and overall it's a great piece of art from one of the shining stars of the pagan/folk metal genre.

ADD
01-15-2008, 10:54 PM
30. Therion - Gothic Kabbalah

Agreed.


29. Cobalt - Eater of Birds

Masterfuckingpiece. Genius even.


28. Victimizer - The Final Assault

I haven't felt compelled to wreck shit this badly since I first heard Show No Mercy. Thrash metal fucking insanity, riffpowers of the gods, utterly brutal skull-smashing sonic attack. Could've made my top 10.


26. Minsk - The Ritual Fires of Abandonment

I'm surprised at how high you ranked this, I'm a big fan of this style and while I thought it was definitely good there's no way it should beat some of the albums of similar ilk that it did. I do dig on that Eastern atmosphere, and thematically its one of the more engaging albums of 2007, but Neurosis already nailed the tribal thing and this just basically sounds like a watered-down version of Through Silver In Blood with a saxophone.


25. Porcupine Tree - Fear of a Blank Planet

*clap, clap, clap clap clap* "O-VER-RA-TED!" *clap, clap, clap clap clap* "O-VER-RA-TED!" Majorly so.


24. Total Fucking Destruction - Zen and the Art of Total Fucking Destruction

Ehh, too incoherent for my liking.


23. Mayhem - Ordo Ad Chao

Stunned at how good of a return to form this was, probably makes it seem better than it actually is but damn if that production and those vocals don't make Mayhem sound truly evil once again. Badass.


22. Witchaven - Black Thrash Assault (Demo)

Haha I'm glad you picked up on this, cool ass shit indeed. They used to play the local thrash shows up here a lot, never caught them though and they haven't been up to NorCal in awhile.


[QUOTE=overkiller;178016]21. Ash Pool - World Turns On Its Hinge

Probably the most intense album I've ever heard. I can't think of anything more sinister and possessed-sounding than this, so fucking ugly. The soundtrack to being locked in a dark, disgusting, cold basement with rats crawling around your feet while intermittently being tortured in the worst possible ways by some maniac in a trenchcoat. Such an appropriate band name too, vividly recalling the Holocaust. Horrifyingly captivating music.

DethMaiden
01-16-2008, 01:40 PM
25. Porcupine Tree - Fear of a Blank Planet
This is the first and only Porcupine Tree album I’ve heard, but I have to say, this modern take on 70s progressive rock is really pretty cool. I’m not sure that Steven Wilson is necessarily treading too much new ground on Fear of a Blank Planet, but every song has treasures to offer. His style of 70s prog seems to have some elements of modern post-rock infused into it, a touch that yields beautiful results. The lyrics are intensely emotional, with Wilson’s withdrawn, timid vocal delivery making them all the more touching. My only real problem with this album is with the attempts at metal passages. They unfortunately recall Opeth not only in their sound, but also in their being misplaced, irrelevant, and irritating (for examples, see the random chugging riff in “Anesthetize” and the unnecessary riff around 5:00 in “Way Out of Here”). Other than that glaring flaw, this is quality music.


I don't mind the metal riffs at all, but only this album and their last one even have those, so if you like the sound but would prefer not to have the heavy riffs, get Stupid Dream or In Absentia. That said, glad you liked the album so much. :party:

overkiller
01-16-2008, 03:14 PM
Err, ok, I made a minor miscalculation. I still gotta write a few reviews for my top 20, but Ash Pool will be moving way up into those numbers, it's just too damn good. Once I write a review for what's going to replace it at #21, I'll edit it into my post.

Edit: And done.

ADD
01-16-2008, 04:23 PM
Desert rock fanboy :tongue:

You know it :allan:



=overkiller]Explosions in the Sky - All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone

Boring, generic post-rock that couldn't hold my attention whatsoever. Not good.

overkiller
01-16-2008, 04:28 PM
Boring, generic post-rock that couldn't hold my attention whatsoever. Not good.

Grails much? ;)

ADD
01-16-2008, 04:29 PM
Grails much? ;)
Loser :tongue:

DethMaiden
01-16-2008, 05:29 PM
Boring, generic post-rock that couldn't hold my attention whatsoever. Not good.

It takes multiple listens, dude. :hmm:

ChildrenofSodom
01-16-2008, 07:35 PM
It takes multiple listens, dude. :hmm:

Like all post-rock.

DethMaiden
01-16-2008, 07:36 PM
Like all post-rock.

Yeah, essentially.

overkiller
01-16-2008, 08:00 PM
20. World's End Girlfriend - Hurtbreak Wonderland

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(First of all, ignore the band name and album title. They're both bad and evoke images of a totally different kind of music than this is.)

This album is a bit difficult to describe. World’s End Girlfriend seem to be considered instrumental post-rock, but the influences that go into Hurtbreak Wonderland are too numerous to lock it in to just one category. Prominent are elements of classical and jazz, with a string quartet leading many of the tracks, and pianos, saxophones, upright basses being featured as well. Electronica is also very important to the album’s sound; every song features various electronic elements such as beat, sound effects/noise, and electronic modulation of other instruments. There are also a number of other miscellaneous influences that crop up here and there, such as pop, Japanese folk (I think), and even black metal (okay, that might be a stretch, but when I hear distorted tremolo-picked guitars, I think black metal). So enough about the elements going into the music, what about the music itself? Well, it’s quite good, really. The strings lend a feeling of melancholy to many of the tracks, even a sense of nostalgia at times—the childlike “aahs” and music box outro in the beautiful “Birthday Resistance” only reinforce the atmosphere of youth and nostalgia created by the heart-wrenching string melodies. The album’s only flaw, besides feeling a bit samey at times, is the overbearing presence of the electronics. While they are certainly an integral part of the sound World’s End Girlfriend are going for, they are at times too busy for their own good. I don’t really understand the need for all the cartoonish sound effect samples either. At best they give the music a kind of wacky Japanese feel, but at worst they can kill the mood of a song. That stuff aside, this is definitely good music. If you’re into instrumental post-rock and you’re looking for something different, I’d recommend trying out Hurtbreak Wonderland. It’s unjustly one of the lesser-known releases of its kind this year.

19. Nest - Trail of the Unwary

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Nest return with what may be their darkest album yet, and perhaps their strongest full-length. Trail of the Unwary gives us a slightly reinvented Nest, with even heavier influence from dark ambient and perhaps even metal. At certain times they even scale back the ambience, opting for upbeat folk passages—one could practically dance to parts of “Claw and Fang”. The track they did for the 10” split with Agalloch back in 2004 hinted at new subtle developments for the band, featuring sung vocals (whereas previously they had only used spoken-word) and an acoustic guitar solo (previous releases had not featured any guitar), and while the guitar does not make another appearance, the new album sees them following such hints to their developed ends. The musical depiction of a pack of wolves hunting its prey on the track “Hunt” is nothing short of hair-rasing, and the spoken lyrics about the necessity of predator feeding on prey are simply perfect. Trail of the Unwary is a beautiful reincarnation of Nest’s brand of naturey, ambient Finnish folk, and it deserves your attention if you have even a passing interest in this kind of music.

18. Ulver - Shadows of the Sun

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At times peaceful, at times haunting, but always interesting, Shadows of the Sun is a melancholy work of ambient music from one of the most notoriously experimental former-black-metal bands around, Ulver. This album really shines in the fluidity of its song structures; warm synths, rich pianos, and mournful strings flow seamlessly into unsettling noise and dark percussion and back again, all held together by Garm’s deep, soothing singing voice. The cover of Sabbath’s “Solitude”, which adds a beautifully performed, distant, quiet, trumpet part, is a totally classy move. Repeated listens reveal new things about each track, so this may take more than one spin to fully appreciate. Definitely recommended, especially since this one is probably passed over by most people.

17. Om - Pilgrimage

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This may not be quite up to the level of their previous album Conference of the Birds, but I really enjoy Pilgrimage. The quiet, somber, reflective mood of the title track (and its reprise) is a nice variation from the previous two albums, if anything building upon the foundations set by the track “At Giza” from Conference. Basically what you have here is the rhythm section from legendary stoner-doom band Sleep creating a slowly-evolving piece of music for bass, drums, and voice, influenced by Tibetan chanting (thanks Wikipedia). They really manage to create a thing of beauty and depth out of very little. The lyrics are like spiritual, metaphysical versions of those unique Jerusalem-era Sleep lyrics, and they work beautifully. If you’re up for something that takes patience to appreciate, Pilgrimage proves to be well worth the effort, yielding huge aural rewards for those willing to make the journey.

16. Rwake - Voices of Omens

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Soaked in drugs and floating through space, Voices of Omens brings a despairing Southern attitude to the progressive/experimental sludge/doom sound of Neurosis and the like. I liked Brad’s description of it as a “twisted, backwoods acid trip”. :lol: Solid almost all the way through, though the last song begins to drag a bit. “Leviticus” with its brilliant development is probably the standout track.

15. Neurosis - Given to the Rising

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With Given to the Rising, Neurosis prove once again that they are still on top of their game. Mixing vintage monolithic Neurosis riffs with post-rockish melodic sensibilities and a suffocating sense of atmosphere, the album brilliantly expresses its abstract themes, which could be interpreted as spiritual journeys, drug trips, dream states, or any combination of the three. Even if you didn’t enjoy Neurosis’s other recent efforts, give this a chance; in my mind it’s right up there with Souls At Zero and Through Silver In Blood.

14. Wolves in the Throne Room - Two Hunters

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Although I wasn’t entirely taken with their previous release Diadem of 12 Stars, Two Hunters sees Wolves in the Throne Room perfecting their sound and stripping away what had been unnecessary. Wolves masterfully fuse black metal with elements of post-rock, a tendency that is becoming increasingly popular across many subgenres of metal in recent years. The album begins with the lush, majestic synth/guitar opener “Dia Artio”, in which the guitars are so distant and processed as to sound like synths themselves. After about 6 minutes of this euphoric bliss, the listener is thrown into “Vastness and Sorrow”, the highlight of this 4-song album. Utilizing repetitive, melancholy riffs that often recall Burzum, Wolves weave a hypnotic 12-minute epic that develops beautifully and wastes none of its long playing time. The following track “The Cleansing” begins with some subdued tribal drumming and floating female vocals, leading into another dark, intense black metal journey. Finally, the last track, ingeniously titled “I Will Lay Down My Bones Among the Rocks and Roots” begins with a whispering wind and a clean guitar intro before launching into another sojourn of hypnotic black metal. At 18 minutes long, this track is the only place where the album begins to feel overlong, but as a whole Two Hunters retains an air of quality and creates a unique sound that sets them apart as one of the better acts of the post-metal and post-black scenes.

13. Sodom - The Final Sign of Evil

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Sodom’s newest album consists of re-recorded material from the 1984 debut In the Sign of Evil, plus new recordings of songs that had been originally written for that album, but didn’t make it onto wax due to pressure from their label. Some may say Sodom released this because they’re tired and out of ideas, but the greatness of this record lies in how well they managed to recapture that 80s proto-black metal feeling, right down to the sloppy drumming. It’s a fucking fist in the face (or, an axe to the neck, as it were) of all those bands who claim to be going “back to their roots”, but really just deliver up a heap of uninspired, recycled garbage that ends up sounding undeniably “new” anyway. Slayer and Metallica, among others, come to mind. Not too surprisingly, the tracks we’re already familiar with are stronger than the new ones, but they all rule pretty hard—“The Sin of Sodom” and “Bloody Corpse” are especially unstoppable. I think this album may have passed under a lot of people’s radars—it seemed like it wasn’t too widely promoted or something, maybe it was considered too much of a “die-hard only” release. For this reason especially I’d recommend this album to anyone who’s into first-wave/proto-black metal like Hellhammer, Celtic Frost, Bathory, Sodom (duh), Venom, etc.

12. Ash Pool - World Turns On Its Hinge

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Full-length debut by the black metal project of Dominick Fernow, the man behind New York noise electronics act Prurient and owner of record label/store Hospital Productions. Given his background in Prurient one might expect this album to be a bit more experimental than it is—World Turns On Its Hinge is a relatively straight-forward raw black metal album with a few obvious nods to Burzum and a slight resemblance to Akitsa (with whom Prurient did a split EP). One thing this album definitely has going for it is its insertions of melody into the fray, in the form of catchy guitar hooks and haunting sung vocals, but the unbridled aggression found in many of the songs is also impressive, and definitely complemented by the raw production. The level of intensity maintained throughout the album is almost staggering. The lyrics are some of the more horrific in black metal, in that they deal heavily with one of the darkest aspects of humanity—sexual violence and rape. As hard as some of it may be to take, it’s a good artistic choice, as one of the functions of black metal (and really, metal in general) is to hold us down and force us to look at the dark, bestial side of ourselves. One of the best BM releases of 2007. Get it.

11. God Is An Astronaut - Far From Refuge

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The best post-rock album on this list. This album fulfilled what I had been looking for in the genre but had up till then not found in a 2007 release, and I see God Is An Astronaut becoming an artist I devote much more listening time to in the future. Far From Refuge is a treasure trove of textures and emotions, be they the gentle, inquisitive harmonics and mysterious aquatic-sounding electronics of the title track, the subtle grooves of “Grace Descending”, or the shadowy ambience of “Darkfall”. “Sunrise in Aries” expresses its title perfectly, ambling through a cool, city-at-night buildup to a celebratory guitar riff evoking a beautiful sunrise; “Tempus Horizon” features hauntingly melancholy guitar lines which, through crescendoed outbursts of distortion and explosive percussion, evolve beautifully into hopeful versions of themselves by the end of the song. Finally, the unsettling segue “Lateral Noise” leads perfectly into the intensely emotional closer “Beyond the Dying Light”, which leaves the listener in whatever heightened emotional state he or she may interpret. As any good post-rock album should, Far From Refuge expresses its range of emotions through its instruments; however, the brief use of distant, wordless vocals exclusively on the title track, “Tempus Horizon”, and “Beyond the Dying Light” is absolutely brilliant. The only criticism I would draw on this album is that a few songs get to feeling cyclical—seeming to proceed 'Segment A, Segment B, repeat', etc. However, the impact this has on the quality of the music is minimal. Far From Refuge is some of the most passionate music of 2007. A must-hear.










Eh... sorry the Rwake review is so fucking lazy. Neurosis too. I'm getting tired. :snivel:

DethMaiden
01-16-2008, 08:06 PM
I am gonna have to hear that God Is An Astronaut album soon. Goddamn it sounds awesome.

And thanks for the props in the Rwake review :dorky:

powerslave_85
01-16-2008, 08:17 PM
Well, Wolves in the Throne Room definitely wins the title of most illegible logo.

overkiller
01-16-2008, 08:19 PM
Well, Wolves in the Throne Room definitely wins the title of most illegible logo.

I actually sat down one day and mapped it all out, but I already forget how to read it. :lol:

JRA
01-16-2008, 08:24 PM
So I guess you never heard Land Of The Free II (which I was really hoping was in the 20-11 section :( ).

powerslave_85
01-16-2008, 08:26 PM
Hmm, I'm listening to Ash Pool right now, and it's pretty cool. Not really what I was expecting in terms of the vocals. Kind of reminds me of older Pig Destroyer. That said, it's not really something I could see myself listening to a lot because of the lyrical themes. I can handle a lot of horrific stuff when it comes to metal lyrics, but from what you described it doesn't sound like my cup of tea.

overkiller
01-16-2008, 08:27 PM
So I guess you never heard Land Of The Free II (which I was really hoping was in the 20-11 section :( ).

Nope. I didn't hear anything about it that made me want to listen to it.

Div
01-16-2008, 08:33 PM
You didn't listen to

http://mediaportal.ru/uploads/posts/1180259947_hyades.jpg

??

overkiller
01-16-2008, 08:40 PM
You didn't listen to

http://mediaportal.ru/uploads/posts/1180259947_hyades.jpg

??

Negative.

overkiller
01-17-2008, 10:06 AM
Also, given a bit more time, Ash Pool and God Is An Astronaut could very well have made it into my top ten. They both jumped up to the highest spot they could at the last minute, since my top 10 is already locked in due to voting. Besides, I could drive myself crazy redoing the order of the top 15 or 20. It's just not worth it, this stupid thing isn't that important. :tongue:

overkiller
01-17-2008, 05:46 PM
Kinda sucks that all the mystery is gone since I had to give away my top 10 for voting. Oh well, here goes...

overkiller
01-17-2008, 06:03 PM
10. Gallhammer - Ill Innocence

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At first I was afraid that Gallhammer had generated so much hype simply because they’re girls playing black metal who got the right publicity with Peaceville, but this album proved that theory wrong in a hurry. After backtracking through their catalog, it became apparent that Ill Innocence sees a matured, improved Gallhammer. Still retaining the same influences as were present on 2004’s Gloomy Lights—primarily Hellhammer, Celtic Frost, Norwegian bands like Darkthrone and especially Burzum, and crust punks Amebix, all done with a doom-metal aesthetic—this album offers improved songwriting and some forms of experimentation. The musicianship is still very basic, giving it a punk rock sort of work ethic, and the sound they create is still very bleak and apocalyptic (an obvious nod to Amebix). In interviews they’ve talked about wanting to give their music a “white” sort of atmosphere, and they would seem to succeed (the CD packaging being entirely white and grey doesn’t hurt). The album begins with “At the Onset of the Age of Despair”, a super-doomy dirge carried by four bass tones and a mournful lead guitar, into which Vivian Slaughter’s superb Burzum-inspired vocals soon burst. Her vocal style is truly a highlight of this album; she manages to sound as tortured and evil as any male vocalist, but still retains a distinctly feminine sound in her voice. She’s not trying to be a male black metal vocalist; she’s a girl doing black metal vocals as a girl and sounding great doing it. The second, faster track, “Speed of Blood”, is total Burzum worship, but it’s done with such energy and personal touch as to be unique in itself. “Blind My Eyes” takes a straightforward metal riff and runs with it, later countering Vivan’s frightening grunts with some wacky, high-pitched squeaky vocals, which are a bit too comical but give the song a weird, Japanese kind of feeling. “Delirium Daydream” starts off with more wackiness, with some delirious-sounding spoken vocals wandering in and out of a noisy riff. Soon Vivian’s screams take over and the riff morphs into a more coherent one, but suddenly it bursts into airy guitar flourishes that give it an almost post-punk aesthetic, which works wonderfully. “Ripper in the Gloom” begins with a somber, almost desert-rockish acoustic guitar intro accompanied by the bass before launching into blistering black metal akin to Darkthrone, or, as usual, Burzum. “Killed By the Queen” is a two-minute burst of pure black metal aggression. The bass intro to “Song of Fall” is a bit too long and a bit too simplistic, but it soon gives way to a heavy, ominous doom passage that features some of Vivian’s deepest, most frightening vocals. “World to Be Ashes” meanders through more doom & gloom, featuring some eerie sung vocals. The eight-minute-plus “SLOG” sounds surprisingly like—dare I say it—post-rock, and it builds slowly but triumphantly through the most positive-sounding track of the album. It still features gloomy sung vocals and climaxes with an up-tempo black metal riff, but it soon comes back down and finishes beautifully. The final track, “Long Scary Dream”, is a tripped-out reprise of the first song, featuring a spacey version of the doomy bass riff and a different, but still melancholy, lead guitar part which, by the end of the song, reprises its original role from the first song. Vivian’s vocals become nothing more than groans, shivers, and various timid noises of pain and discomfort, as if she were having a nightmare. This track wraps up the album nicely and leaves the listener with the atmosphere of gloom and despair that the band seem to be going for. Ill Innocence may be difficult to appreciate at first due to its extremely un-technical musicianship, but the energy these women put into their music alone is enough to create a thing of bleak beauty. The way the guitar and bass work together, being entirely separate entities, is phenomenal, and it gives them an edge over bands whose bassists simply follow the guitar and serve no purpose beyond that of a rhythm-keeper. Give this album a chance; it’s not for everyone, but if you discover the wonders it has to offer, you’ll be glad you did.

9. Darkthrone - F.O.A.D.

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The title says it all (F.O.A.D. stands for “Fuck Off and Die” for those not in the know ;)). Everyone who whines and complains about the “fall of Darkthrone” simply doesn’t get it. After nearly twenty years, Fenriz and Nocturno Culto are still doing whatever they want, and anyone who doesn’t like it, well, the title of this album makes it clear what they can do. After the punk flavored, Discharge-influenced (although I think some people made that influence out to be bigger than it was) The Cult Is Alive, black metal’s coolest oldhead duo return with an even more ridiculous, tongue-in-cheek-yet-earnestly-sincere tribute to the metal gods of old. Fenriz even goes so far as to include what bands inspired each song in the liner notes. So what does it sound like? Well, it sounds like Darkthrone, except focusing almost exclusively on their heavy metal influences, with a bit of the punk style left over. The riffs are heavy, dirty, ugly, and in short, fucking metal. People piss and moan about how much Darkthrone have changed, but those people fail to see that the same influences had always been there in all of Darkthrone’s music—the new, “black ‘n roll” albums simply amplify those influences and scale back the 90s black metal sound. Regardless of what idiot purist black metal kiddies will tell you, F.O.A.D. is some of the truest fucking shit around, and Darkthrone still reign supreme as one of the best bands in black metal, perhaps even metal in general, remaining true to themselves and their own music more than practically anyone else who came out of their scene.

8. Municipal Waste - The Art of Partying

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We like to party. We like to thrash. If you don’t like it, fuck you. This album sees Waste moving even closer to a straight-up metal sound (just listen to those Maiden parts!) and further away from their early crossover/hardcore sound, and they definitely manage to once again kick bodacious amounts of ass. Upon first listen I didn’t like it so much, thinking that it was too much a carbon copy of their previous album Hazardous Mutation, but it soon grew on me. This is about as good as new thrash gets. Throw this album on, grab some brews, some friends, and a J, and go fucking nuts.

7. Havohej - Tungkat Blood Wand

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What the fuck. I’m sort of at a loss for words for this album, so I’m gonna start by giving you the description their label (Hell’s Headbangers) gives: “All new studio tracks of Black Noise featuring Paul Ledney’s exclusive signature style of pounding on wooden coffins, rupturing volcanic rumble, and spewing voice vibrations of black vomit. Breaking major ground, many have already confessed ‘Tungkat Blood Wand’ to be the most achieved work to date. Expect the core structure of Havohej evolved into a guaranteed unpleasant listen. Your blood shall now spout!” …Okay. That’s a start. Second, Havohej is a black metal band, but focuses primarily on experimental material. If you’ve heard the full-length Dethrone the Son of God (which is an absolute must-have for anyone who considers themselves a fan of extreme metal), that’s really more like Ledney’s other, older black metal band Profanatica—Profanatica never released a full-length LP, but Ledney released a lot of their material as Havohej on that one. Anyway. This 10” album features three tracks (it’s reverse groove, so the turntable arm goes from the center to the outside), each of them featuring black, harsh, rumbling noise in place of guitars (as one might expect from Havohej at this point), and dense, simple drum patterns lending some semblance of rhythm, while eerie sounds, screams of agony, and hellish voices create a sonic maelstrom of pure fucking evil, all topped off by Ledney’s unbelievably blasphemous vocals... Guitars are present, but their function is to create more demonic noise, not to create melody or even tone. Actually, there’s not much point in me continuing my attempt to describe this music... it needs to be experienced.

6. Bone Awl - Meaningless Leaning Mess

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Holy fucking shit. This has got to be the most aggressive album on my list. This is harsh, minimalistic music done wonderfully. Bone Awl play a sort of black metal crossed with crust punk or even Oi! music, reduced to the core pure aggression of these genres and expressed through a minimal number of riffs. In terms of their black metal aspect, the only band I can think of that they even remotely resemble in style is the Norwegian act Ildjarn (whom Bone Awl absolutely crush in quality), but as for influence I’d point most to Darkthrone—if you listen closely enough, you can hear it in their riffs, and even in the vocals and drumming. Their combination of black metal with crustcore also invites comparison to the superb Canadian band Iskra, but really, Bone Awl have forged a sound that is unique and refreshing in a world of usual, uninteresting black metal. The production is absolutely perfect, giving the album an extremely lo-fi sound while still balancing the instruments and maintaining their clarity. It’s necro as hell and you can actually hear everything that’s going on! I bought the second pressing of this LP, which features new packaging, and everything about it is just artful and impressive. The lyrics are outstanding, only slightly esoteric, and are hugely expressive for using relatively few words. These guys know how to do minimalism right.

5. Jesu - Conqueror

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Shoegaze. Suddenly it’s become a regular term thrown around your local metal board. As far as I can tell, it’s the doing of primarily Jesu and Alcest, whose 2007 releases both conjure up the late-80s/early-90s dream-pop stylings of those shoegazers like Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine. Already infused with post-rock tendencies on the previous album, Conqueror sees Justin Broadrick taking Jesu further along that path while still maintaining the crushing heaviness we heard on the self-titled, and of course, on the Godflesh albums. Rumbling, droning, super-low-tuned guitars, soothing, timid pop vocals, ethereal synths and heavily processed leads all come together to create an aural experience unlike much else out there. Like the self-titled LP, many of the lyrics are still intensely personal, though now we see Justin touching on other topics as well. The title track could very well be about a drug trip (“All the colors that we saw they touched us/All the trails that they made we followed”), whereas “Medicine” sounds like a sort of social commentary, or maybe even more drug-based material (“The medicine is all we need/To keep us hidden away/We can never see the sunrise/We can only see the sunset/In our funny little homes/We’re really quite alone”). This is a must-hear for anyone interested in the whole “post-metal” thing; it’s one of the best efforts to come out of that umbrella category, if not the best thus far (eat it Pelican and Isis :D).

4. Ride for Revenge - The King of Snakes

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One of the most brutal, evil, ugliest goddamn things I heard this year. Droning, distorted basses, neanderthalic pounding drums, murmured vocals and spacey, strangely modulated noises come together on The King of Snakes to form a primordial mass of black horror that creeps slowly forward, crushing everything in its path. Although certain influences such as Hellhammer and especially fellow Finnish black metal act Beherit are arguable, the combination of elements into Ride for Revenge’s style of black/death metal creates an utterly unique sound that stands apart from the hordes of artistically impotent Darkthrone and Burzum clones. Highly recommended, but for open-minded listeners only.

3. Tegan and Sara - The Con

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Yes, Tegan and Sara. This album is practically an indie-pop masterpiece, with insanely catchy hooks bolstered by wonderful songwriting. The variety on this album is refreshing—they mix up their styles, ranging from the dark, almost Nine Inch Nails-esque “Are You Ten Years Ago” to the upbeat pop anthem “Back In Your Head” and the heartbreaking powerpop “Nineteen”. Their subtle use of electronics throughout the album is brilliant, and the two sisters’ heart-wrenching lyrics concern such universal things as breakups and old flames that anyone can appreciate—but it makes the lyrics even more powerful, I think, to know that Tegan and Sara are both lesbians. And while some songs naturally stand out above the others, there are no weak tracks to be found here. If you have it in yourself to get over your preconceived notions about indie, pop, even what might be perceived as “emo” music, definitely give this a try; it’s one of the best things in music this year.

2. Alcest - Souvenirs d'un autre monde

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One of the more controversial releases of the year, this album has received as much hate as love since its release in August. Souvenirs d’un autre monde (which translates to “Memories of Another World”) is the highly-anticipated full-length debut for Alcest, one-man project of Neige, who is also known for his work with French black metal act Peste Noire and his other band Amesoeurs. Let’s get one thing straight off the bat—this is not a black metal album. With Souvenirs, Neige shows us that he’s been listening to bands like Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine, creating what is essentially a shoegaze album that retains some technical elements of black metal, such as tremolo-picked guitars and simple, Burzum-esque drumming. From the very first track we are hit with a gorgeous wall of guitar sound, soon followed by a sample of children playing happily and thereafter by Neige’s gentle, ethereal singing. All of this sets the tone for the rest of the album, evoking abstract flourishes of nostalgia, joy, contentment, even melancholy and longing. On the otherworldly “Les Iris” and “Tir Nan Og”, Neige doesn’t even need lyrics to communicate emotions; he simply hums and sings carefree nothings like a child, to beautiful results. Though the dreamy soundscapes of Neige’s “other world” do get to sounding a bit samey, the emotional impact this music can have on a receptive listener is astounding. No other album I heard this year had such a profound effect on me, and it’s worth mentioning that it had dominated my list until very recently—I think I may have over-listened to the album throughout the year, and so the effect was somewhat dulled this last time I heard it, leading me to be uncomfortable naming it my #1 album of 2007. Nevertheless, this is a powerful aural experience that generates deeply moving emotional landscapes out of really rather simple music.

1. Deathspell Omega - Fas: Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum

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Monumental. That’s just one word of many that could be used to describe the work that is Fas. This is the culmination of their previous two releases—it’s the album they’ve been trying to make since 2004. Fas is the masterpiece that Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice wanted to be, and it carries the further experimentation of Kénôse to its logical, musically superior end. The album is a huge undertaking on the part of both the band and the listener, being a 46-minute assault of primarily dissonant, chaotic, semitonal guitar compositions and frantic drumming complemented by passages of dark ambience and more relaxed, but no less evil, clean guitar segments. While this is certainly a black metal album, the extremely technical guitarwork shares some amount of aesthetics with technical death metal, and the progressive nature of this music should also be mentioned. The songwriting is superb, with brilliant dynamics and a keen sense of buildup and recession. Some of the greatest moments come when the tension created by all the noisy chaos builds higher and higher until it’s released by a melancholy guitar lead—only to be thrown back into further confusion thereafter. And the drums! I usually don’t like constant blastbeating, especially with slick production, but this guy is goddamn adept. His drum patterns are ungodly, often combining blastbeats with free-form insanity and setting the tempo perfectly for the slower passages. As for the production, again, I generally do not prefer clean production for black metal, but for this style it’s absolutely necessary. The crisp, clear sound they achieve allows the listener to fully experience each individual part of the sonic maelstrom without having to guess what’s going on (get a nice pair of headphones if you’re gonna hear this album). Lastly there are to mention the lyrics: I still haven’t read them all—they’re primarily long-winded philosophical ramblings about the nature of good and evil, God, Man, (anti-)religion, faith, that kind of thing. Along with great songtitles, these give the album even more of an intellectual (if a bit pretentious, I’ll admit) edge befitting such an artistic work of music. Fas is the crowning achievement of its style, and an immensely important work for the world of black metal in 2007.










...PHEW. :hecho: I think I'll pass the torch to someone else for this kind of thread next year. :D

DethMaiden
01-17-2008, 06:12 PM
...PHEW. :hecho: I think I'll pass the torch to someone else for this kind of thread next year. :D

Torch accepted. :fist:

SomewhereInTime72
01-17-2008, 06:16 PM
Torch accepted. :fist:

Gross, Mars Volta.

;)

powerslave_85
01-17-2008, 07:05 PM
Well done, sir :party: I'm not too into black metal, but I think I'll still be checking some of this stuff based on your reviews.

overkiller
01-17-2008, 07:14 PM
Well done, sir :party: I'm not too into black metal, but I think I'll still be checking some of this stuff based on your reviews.

Yeah, this list made me once again realize what a grip the stuff's still got on me. :lol: It's really just one of the most viable genres, it can be taken in so many different directions. And, I'm glad. :D

DethMaiden
01-17-2008, 07:37 PM
Gross, Mars Volta.

;)

:tongue: In all fairness, the single for the new album ("Wax Simulacra") is nowhere near as good as anything on previous albums, so I'm a bit worried.

DethMaiden
01-17-2008, 07:39 PM
But yeah, Brady, this list/idea kicked major ass and I have a shitload of respect for you for pulling the damn thing together. :fist:

overkiller
01-17-2008, 07:45 PM
But yeah, Brady, this list/idea kicked major ass and I have a shitload of respect for you for pulling the damn thing together. :fist:

Thanks dude. I'm just glad it's finished. :D

mankvill
01-18-2008, 08:55 AM
Very nice list. I know what to look for to listen to now.

overkiller
01-21-2008, 08:17 PM
I recently found out that Terrorizer magazine also ranked Fas as album of the year. :hmm: This is coming from a magazine who I believe also included the new Dimmu Borgir on their top 10. :hecho:

ADD
01-22-2008, 07:00 PM
I recently found out that Terrorizer magazine also ranked Fas as album of the year. :hmm: This is coming from a magazine who I believe also included the new Dimmu Borgir on their top 10. :hecho:
:lol: Sucka, it shouldnt've have been anyone's #1 :D

overkiller
01-22-2008, 07:08 PM
:lol: Sucka, it shouldnt've have been anyone's #1 :D

I certainly didn't expect it to end up as my #1, but it's extremely good. :hmm: