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DethMaiden
12-21-2008, 05:25 PM
All in all, I think this year was pretty weak, because looking back over my top 50, I can only wholeheartedly recommend the first 22 or so. Oh well, here's the countdown, ten at a time.

50. Kingdom of Sorrow- Kingdom of Sorrow
http://www.musicdown.org/uploads/posts/2008-01/1201689825_kingdomofsorrow.jpg
It is so bad. Seriously. Awful stuff. Kirk Windstein forgets what made his riffs in Crowbar and Down so awesome and gives Dimebag Darrell an hour long blowjob, while Jamey Jasta does his best to sound EXACTLY like Phil Anselmo circa The Great Southern Trendkill, when Phil Anselmo had already started sucking. The only attempt at sincerity, "Scream At the Sky", is a half-baked attempt at a, you guessed it, Dimebag tribute, and sucks horribly. Don't listen to this if you can at all avoid it.

49. Whitesnake- Good to Be Bad
http://horadelspeluts.com/criticas/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/good_to_be_bad.jpg
I like Whitesnake sometimes. In fact, the self-titled album and Slip of the Tongue are two of the most fun albums in my collection, with some of the best vocals in rock music from the amazing David Coverdale. This album, however, is a tepid attempt at recapturing their long lost youth, and the result is quite embarrassing. Steer clear.

48. DragonForce- Ultra Beatdown
http://www.buzzgrinder.com/media/ultra_beatdown.jpg
On their last album, DragonForce were still a power metal band whose music happened to fit Guitar Hero well enough to make them video game superstars. On this album, they intentionally made songs that they thought would fit Guitar Hero. It seriously sounds like a video game, and a parody of power metal in general. I will never spend another hour of my life listening to DragonForce.

47. Guns n' Roses- Chinese Democracy
http://cover6.cduniverse.com/MuzeAudioArt/Large/53/1049453.jpg
I don't believe Axl Rose for one second when he says he's been writing this since the mid-1990s. I think he scrapped whatever he had and replaced it last year, because there is way too much modernity and too many computer-generated sounds for this to be anything but a tired rehash of the band's weakest moments with a slightly updated backbone. Appetite for Destruction and the Use Your Illusion discs made Guns n' Roses legends, and rightly so. The twelve-year debacle that led to this album's release and its ensuing horribleness threatens to knock them down a peg.

46. In Flames- A Sense of Purpose
http://www.metalunderground.com/images/covers/In_Flames_-_A_Sense_of_Purpose_cover.jpg
Honestly, I don't know why I thought this was going to be any different. In Flames have burned me too many times. Reroute to Remain was terrible, Soundtrack to Your Escape was worse, and Come Clarity had four great songs, but the remaining songs were so awful that I barely remembered the good stuff. This album continues the streak of awfulness that they've been keeping up strong this decade, and there's really only a couple of listenable songs here ("The Mirror's Truth" and "Move Through Me" come to mind), which are only listenable because of their infectious grooves. I'd rather hear this than their pathetic metalcore, but it's still pretty lame.

45. Meshuggah- obZen
http://www.alternative-zine.com/images2/albums/meshuggah_obzen__big.jpg
Jesus Christ, I can't believe this bland "progressive" metal band is headlining over Cynic. The detuned Meshuggah-chugga-chugga riffs belong on a Ministry album or some shit, but people still consider this to be progressive, forward-thinking music. Don't be fooled. This album is what would happen if Tool accidentally dropped their tuning another step, got really drunk, and traded Maynard for a chimp who was bad at growling. The only real redeeming qualities are the few times the music gets pretty: they're much better at atmosphere than at being heavy.

44. Flametal- Master of the Aire
http://www.metal-forever.it/forum/imagehost/1/cover/442451a54e76e6067f25160c94f57cb9.jpg
I like "Battery". I like "Arc of Space". I even like the Mars Volta songs that dabble in flamenco. But an entire band whose shtick, right down to the ridiculously stupid name, is flamenco metal is a terrible idea. The songs are more like flamenco intros and solos pasted into bland 80s metal parodies. The effect is sickening. The guitarist of this album should put out a solo album, though, because the pure flamenco parts are actually quite beautiful.

43. Testament- The Formation of Damnation
http://i29.tinypic.com/2bnq82.jpg
I'm really not sure why Testament have felt obligated since 1999 or so to play way heavier music than they really should. They've been releasing "death thrash" albums for some time now, and none of them are really all that memorable. At least there are some catchy choruses on here, namely the ones to "More Than Meets the Eye" and the title track. Still, this album is difficult to recommend with a straight face when much better thrash, death, and death thrash exists, and the new Metallica album sounds much more youthful and fresh.

42. Tiamat- Amenethes
http://www.tvrock.com.br/new/imagens/img_5669_037tiamat-amanethes.jpg
The 90s doom-gone-gothic rock thing that Anathema, Paradise Lost, Katatonia, and a dozen others are doing is actually pretty cool in my book, but Tiamat just make the entire thing one giant cliche. There is nothing interesting on this album. It is competent doom, through and through, but not one second of it will stick with you or demand a repeat listen. Leave it to the masters, guys.

41. The Sword- Gods of the Earth
http://www.sweetslyrics.com/poze/the%20sword%20gods%20of%20the%20earth.jpg
Now, I'm the first to defend the Sword if so-called true metalheads call them out as hipster metal or question their sincerity. That doesn't automatically make their music any good, however, and this is kind of awful. It doesn't deviate from the standard 4/4 Sabbath-on-downers formula in any way, and accentuates the fact that there are much better bands doing the 70s worship thing right now. This just isn't that good.

DethMaiden
12-21-2008, 05:59 PM
40. Keep of Kalessin- Kolossus
http://www.metalkingdom.net/album/img/d11/21210.jpg
There's some really good moments on here, but the rest of the time it feels like they're making a constant effort to sound like Dimmu Borgir without anyone noticing. The orchestral passages are unfortunately useless. They make great use of the quiet acoustic moments, and the singer's black metal voice is actually not bad, but the striking resemblance to post-Enthrone Darkness Triumphant Dimmu makes the experience kind of dull.

39. Dismember- Dismember
http://www.pit-of-doooom.com/Pix_Content/Dismember001.jpg
There is absolutely nothing wrong with this album. But that's the problem. On their 90s classics, they managed to be groovy and heavy and brutal at the same time, and on The God That Never Was they were able to integrate lots of melody without becoming melodic death metal. The new self-titled album is just plain death metal. Forty minutes of death metal, nothing more, nothing less. That wouldn't really be a problem if any of it was remotely catchy or made you want to hear it twice. Burly dudes who work in record stores and have gory posters on the walls of their parents basement would probably name this safe-ass shit album of the year.

38. Ihsahn- angL
http://www.u-zine.net/cover/Ihsahn-AngL
You caught me, I only listened to this album because of the Mikael Åkerfeldt guest spot. But it's really not awful, it's just a little too proggy-for-the-sake-of-prog as far as black metal goes. Emperor's swansong, Prometheus: The Discipline of Fire and Demise, saw Ihsahn doing this sort of stuff at the peak of his abilities, but maybe he actually needed Samoth around to do it. This is kind of just "meh", as was his debut.

37. The Sound of Animals Fighting- The Ocean and the Sun
http://i38.tinypic.com/3536rh1.jpg
I like wacky shit as much as the next guy likes wacky shit, and some of my favorite albums have been derided as "throw shit at the wall and see what sticks" music. But this is seriously the least cohesive prog album I've ever heard. It has some moments of brilliance: in fact, it has lots of moments of brilliance. The problem is, none of those moments are woven together properly, and the result is a clusterfuck of epic proportions. Twenty-plus person collectives perhaps aren't the best way to make music if this lack of cohesion is any evidence. If they trim down the roster, this band could be serious business in the future.

36. Black Tide- Light From Above
http://hardrockhideout.files.wordpress.com/2008/01/blacktidelightfromabove.jpg
If you haven't heard of Black Tide by now, you probably live under a rock. A bunch of meddling teenagers got together and decided to declare their love for Metallica in a musical offering, and they sound like they're at least in their twenties. But hype rarely is justified by an end product, and this is unfortunately no exception. There are definitely some very catchy songs on here: "Shockwave", "Warriors of Time", and the cover of "Hit the Lights" especially, and this band is very promising. Their debut may not show it, but I think in five years they could really start rocking. And kudos to a group of young kids who can withstand the rigors of touring and recording.

35. Agalloch- The White
http://www.code7music.com/store/images/whitecvr-SM.jpg
Most days, if you ask me what my three favorite movies are, I'll tell you The Big Lebowski, Fargo, and the original Wicker Man. This folksy EP samples the hell out of The Wicker Man, so why don't I love it more? Well, the sad truth is that the band uses The Wicker Man as a crutch: the most interesting musical moments are the ones playing behind Christopher Lee's brilliant dialogue ("A heathen, conceivably, but not, I hope, an unenlightened one" gives me chills!). The songs without samples tend to feel aimless, and even though they're very beautiful, there is little substance. I realize that this was meant as an exercise in minimalism, but I like a little more meat to my Agalloch.

34. Pharos- The Light of the Fire As the Power of the Sun
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v157/eponychium/cdnf7.jpg
This band is kind of an enigma: over the last year, they got together, made this album, self-released this album, toured with Minus the Bear, split into two bands, and started writing a new album. Yikes! The record in question, however, weaves an Isis-like post-metal sound with unfortunately screamocore vocals in the vein of And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Our Dead and the like. Once you get used to the vocals, however, the sound is pretty damn good. Again, this is a band who are too young and inexperienced to make something great yet, but show a lot of potential.

33. Gathiens- Nesh
http://c2.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/21/l_fb4c57446025452995eebedc2f758ca9.jpg
This is a little-heard post-rock band from Sidney, Ohio, and their debut CD is a couple of years in the making. Honestly, though, they're yet another post-rock band whose live show is exhilarating and great but whose recorded output is terribly underwhelming. It's a shame, because they're extremely nice guys who put a lot of sweat and blood into their craft, but only about half of this album is interesting. It's good post-rock to put on and space out to, but nothing to focus intently on or look for nuances in.

32. Evergrey- Torn
http://www.metalkingdom.net/album/img/d33/21582.jpg
How about that album cover? Pretty goddamned awesome. Unfortunately the contents are only sometimes as awesome, and oftentimes just disappointing considering the pair of awesome album it follows. True Evergrey fans will scoff at the prospect of it, but I think Monday Morning Apocalypse was a better album with a much more concise vision. This is a good record, for sure, but nothing to write home about. Just standard melodic progressive metal with some beautiful vocals courtesy of Tom S. Englund.

31. Immortal Technique- The 3rd World
http://www.illestlyrics.com/images/tech.jpg
There's nothing inherently wrong with a lot of this album. It's very different from his earlier recordings, and that's fine. But he was so much better at his old style that the change of pace seems unnecessary and simply confusing. "Golpe de Estado" is the best song on here because a) it's as angry as he used to be, and b) rap in Spanish sounds really fucking cool. But the problem with this album is the "candy-ass beats" he used to hate on and the shift to a more commercial sound, only with his name, beats, and politics pasted on top of it. The whole album feels hypocritical, and even though not all of it is bad, it's a far cry from the classic Revolutionary albums.

ChildrenofSodom
12-21-2008, 06:08 PM
I dont think he ever hated the 'candy-ass beats'...he hated the corporate sell outs that were 'rapping' over them.

Rap as an art form, as well as Immortal Technique's entire existence, is based upon the words of the song, and I dont think more commercial beats dilute Tech's message. The message is still there, even if the music has changed a little bit (its not bad music.)

DethMaiden
12-21-2008, 06:28 PM
30. Ben Folds- Way to Normal
http://stereogum.com/img/thumbnails/posts/ben_folds-way_to_normal-album_art.jpg
Ben Folds is one hell of a cool dude, a great songwriter, and a talented piano player to boot. But when your genre is "singer-songwriter" or whatever the hell they're calling it these days, shouldn't your songs be VERY VERY strong? Shouldn't you just blow people away every time you sit down at your piano since that is your entire musical purpose? He does that on several occasions on this album: "Hiroshima", "Brainwascht", and especially the emotive "Kylie From Connecticut" (which very nearly sneaked on my top 10 songs list), but the rest of the album is just pretty damn good. That's not quite enough from you, Ben. Sorry.

29. Torche- Meanderthal
http://i146.photobucket.com/albums/r260/wickedlionsdesign/71sz-9Z1tDL.jpg
What an album title. Jesus, who thought puns could be metal. I do really like this album, but I'm just not creaming my jeans over it like everyone else in metal right now. It's definitely an interesting combination of groovy stoner metal and pure pop (see the perfection of this on "Grenades" and "Healer"), and I expect that a Torche live performance would knock me on my ass, but I'm not sold that this is the future of metal. If it is, I'm frankly kind of disappointed. I'd rather have Mastodon and Isis clones.

28. Lair of the Minotaur- War Metal Battle Master
http://www.southern.net/southern/band/LAIRO/pics/SNN91M.jpg
This is pure fucking metal. This is, like, get drunk and beat up your neighbor for looking at your girlfriend metal. This is put on a full suit of armor and go out in public metal. This is Maiden, Priest, Slayer metal. True fucking metal. Beyond the image, though, the songwriting kind of takes a backseat. You'll bang your head until it hurts listening to this sludge-meets-modern thrash monster, but you won't listen to it ever unless that's what you're planning on doing. Like cookies, Lair of the Minotaur are a sometimes food.

27. A Silver Mt. Zion- 13 Blues for Thirteen Moons
http://writeabite.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/asmz.jpg
Post-rock with vocals can get kind of weird, because the voices have to serve as instruments, and do unusual things to match the unusual things traditional post-rock instruments do. This Godspeed You! Black Emperor spinoff has some bizarre intonations, and some unusual choices in instrumentation, but is overall a pretty unique experience, and an exciting introduction to the world of vocal post-rock. Songs like "1,000,000 Died To Make This Sound" and "BlindBlindBlind" show the band's addiction to punk and application of that affinity to a completely different genre, and the result is pretty damn interesting. It's a flawed album, but given the odd goals, that's not even really an insult.

26. Bloodbath- The Fathomless Mastery
http://www.metalikos.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/2677622301_5136dbd4f9-300x300.jpg
It might be unfair to Dismember to put this album so much higher than theirs, because it is most certainly also "just death metal". But man, there are some great death metal songs on here. It comes down to songwriting, and the guys in charge on this album (Mikael Åkerfeldt and Jonas Renkse among them) are some of the best in the Swedish death metal business. "At the Behest of Their Death", "Mock the Cross", and "Earthrot" are especially headbanging, and the band fires on every cylinder, often making you wish they were a legitimate touring act and not the just-for-fun studio project of Swedes with even better day jobs.

25. The Mars Volta- The Bedlam in Goliath
http://www.progarchives.com/progressive_rock_discography_covers/1033/cover_840202112008.jpg
I'll be the first to admit it: I spent half the year hating this album. Just hating it. This was somewhat misguided hate, because I was hating it for doing exactly what it set out to do: fuck with your mind and do things that music probably shouldn't. I guess that's what makes it progressive, but even as a prog nut I found a lot of this album off-putting at first. I warmed up to it, though, and there is some excellent stuff to be found on here. As a full album experience, it still feels very disconnected at times, but with songs like "Aberinkula" and the still fucking amazing "Wax Simulacra", it's hard to care. The Mars Volta get more obtuse with each successive album, but it hasn't made me hate them yet, so I guess they can do whatever they want.

24. Landmine Marathon- Rusted Eyes Awake
http://www.level-plane.com/images/release_covers/lp128_150x150.gif
Landmine Marathon are definitely a band with a shtick: cute as a button, fierce as a lion lead growler Grace Perry sells more albums than the bands sped-up Bolt Thrower songwriting, but that's actually okay. Once you listen to the album, you tend to forget a girl is growling so fiercely, and get swept up in the excitement of the new twist they're putting on classic American death metal. This band, along with The Red Chord, will carry the death metal torch far into the next century, and when the final chords of the brutally epic "Bile Towers" strike, it doesn't matter who's singing.

23. Edguy- Tinnitus Sanctus
http://www.metal-archives.com/images/2/1/1/9/211963.jpg
While it is somewhat of a step down in quality from the excellent Hellfire Club and goofy-but-great Rocket Ride, the new Edguy does pack a nice punch by balancing the styles of the two albums. The best songs are the catchy hard rock tracks, "Ministry of Saints" and "Dead or Rock", and the two full-on power metal tunes, "The Pride of Creation" and "Speedhoven", showing that they can play both styles with skill and efficiency. Tobias Sammett's voice gets better every year (I love the somewhat rough edge he's adopted, personally), and they get, like, a million bonus points for writing a song about an aardvark. Who does that?

22. Russian Circles- Station
http://img523.imageshack.us/img523/4867/ld5ae9ec8233a11bf7426fcvr8.jpg
It's somewhat misleading to even call this a true post-rock album considering how groovy it gets at times and how rock-n'-roll the drumming tends to be. The duo play like the dirty hippies they are and create just enough atmosphere to be lumped in with Explosions in the Sky and the like, though, and in the process break down a lot of barriers post-rock bands have traditionally adhered to. This album is more grimy and less beautiful than a lot of similar crescendo aficionados' works, and their upcoming gig opening for Clutch makes a lot of sense in a weird way.

21. Mogwai- The Hawk Is Howling
http://mediaportal.ru/uploads/posts/2008-08/1219735316_the-hawk-is-howling.jpg
Despite the fact that these poor Scots obviously don't know the difference between a hawk and an eagle, this album is pretty damn good. The bizarre song titles intentionally distract from the beauty hiding in the songs: unlike an Explosions in the Sky-like approach which finds incredibly fitting song titles for the emotional journeys the music takes you on, Mogwai come up with jarringly inappropriate titles to trick you into thinking the song will be goofy when it is, in fact, probably the most beautiful thing you will hear on a given day. Such examples include "I'm Jim Morrison, I'm Dead" and "I Love You, I'm Going to Blow Up Your School" and "Batcat". The one serious sounding title, "Scotland's Shame", is ironically home to the album's best and most beautiful song. Their bairns will be very proud of them.

Div
12-21-2008, 06:44 PM
Despite the fact that these poor Scots obviously don't know the difference between a hawk and an eagle, this album is pretty damn good.

:lol: :lol:

DethMaiden
12-21-2008, 07:04 PM
20. Men As Trees- Weltschmerz
http://www.scenepointblank.com/reviews/covers/02095.jpg
The Detroit sometimes quartet, sometimes quintet are *this close* to making a masterpiece. All that's missing is a bit more professional recording, better production values, and less tiny fuck-ups during the fast parts. This album is by far their strongest performance to date, with LVNGS drummer/violinist Mick Evans providing guest strings and the band's hero, Dick Proenneke, offering touching voiceovers. The mellow parts are more evocative than ever, the buildups are more climactic, and the fast parts are more ferocious. I honestly think the next Men As Trees album might be an album of the year contender whenever it comes out.

19. Toxic Holocaust- An Overdose of Death
http://static.rateyourmusic.com/album_images/1572761.jpg
This is how modern thrash should sound. Joel Grind furiously shreds through thirteen brief, concise, awesome tracks and never sounds exactly like any 80s act unlike most of his counterparts (well, okay, pre-Beneath the Remains Sepultura is evoked on more than a few occasions), and the lyrics are dripping with the apocalyptic cheese that makes thrash metal history. The MTV video premiere is a slight drawback, but as long as Grind keeps pumping out the jams, I really could care less what he does to supplement his earnings. Nuke the cross!

18. Metallica- Death Magnetic
http://www.buzzine.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/metallica_death_magnetic_20080724.jpg
Before I heard anything from it, I really expected this album to suck balls. I heard that Ozzfest recording of "Cyanide" and thought it would be just alright. Once I heard "The Day That Never Comes" when they released it to radio stations, I thought I'd give it a chance. Once I actually listened to it, I was pleasantly surprised: this is the album they've been waiting to make since 1988. It actually surpasses the Black Album in terms of consistency, and it has a couple of bonafide classic tracks. If you're dead-set on hating it, it won't change your mind, but if you go in open to something new from Metallica, it's a pretty sweet little package.

17. Romance of Young Tigers- Marie
http://romanceofyoungtigers.net/images/Merch/MarieLP/CoverBig.jpg
This might be the most difficult to get into post-rock band on the planet, but the Dayton foursome knows how to make some deeply disturbing and beautiful noise. It took until the third time I saw them live to "get" them, but it is so rewarding once you do. The songs don't have a beat unless you make one. They don't have notes unless you look for them. They don't have a backbone unless you feel it in your own spine. The beauty is really beyond words and not easy to grasp, but once you find it, the result is worth the wait. This EP is probably their least accessible recording to date, but that's where the beauty lies. A lot of music is said to "challenge the listener", but it rarely means anything. This will challenge the shit out of you.

16. Earth- The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v134/Treblinka/bakedziti/178274sv6.jpg
The title comes from something in the Bible that I've never read, and the cover is the greatest piece of art in modern metal this side of John Dyer Baizley. Fortunately, the music is able to back up the great imagery the package conjures up. The desert rock ambiance and addition of Zombi ivory-tickler Steve Moore makes for a totally unique album in the Earth discography, and one with an almost post-rock vibe. The true moments of beauty are the ambling Neil Young-esque guitar solos that grace the title track and "Engine of Ruin", among other tracks. If this is drone metal's contribution to Americana, I think we could do a lot worse.

15. Warrel Dane- Praises to the War Machine
http://shopbase.finetunes.net/shopserver/BinaryCacheServlet?albumid=1205259522660&datatype=fc300
Although I frankly would have rather had a new Nevermore album, this is an excellent addition to the Warrel Dane catalogue, and a chance for him to showcase his amazing (best in melodic metal?) pipes in a less technical, guitar-oriented environment than his main band. The songs here are basically straightforward metal songs, but the total creative control Dane has over the lyrics, vocal phrasings, and especially vocal effects makes the disc very effective as a solo album. Dane again proves his unmatched prowess in dealing with cover songs, creating entirely new versions of the Sisters of Mercy's "Lucretia My Reflection" and Simon & Garfunkel's "Patterns". Now make that follow-up to This Godless Endeavor, please; I'm getting impatient.

14. An Horse- Not Really Scared
http://2.music.bigpond-images.com/images/AlbumCoverArt/240/XXL/Not-Really-Scared.jpg
Well, here's a band I knew nothing about before I saw them open for Tegan and Sara back in May. They fit that bill, as they play a style of indie rock that is fairly consistent with that duo's, but with a more enunciated nod to Modest Mouse. This is only an EP, but the Brisbane, Australia duo grasp the importance of making extremely catchy songs when your style isn't overly complex. From the two-minute joyride "Postcards", to the Melvins-fuzzed outro of album closer "Shoes Watch", this is a great debut for a band that promises to turn some heads in the very near future.

13. Mouth of the Architect- Quietly
http://www.code7music.com/store/images/mota.front.cover.-SM.jpg
While it feels a little more passive and less sure of itself than its genre-defining (yeah, I fucking said it) predecessor The Ties That Blind, MOTA's new album dabbles in some new things and still makes 99% of post-metal look silly. The brilliantly effective samples in "Hate and Heartache" and the unaccompanied shouting in "A Beautiful Corpse", along with the two keyboard-centric segue tracks, "Pine Boxes" and the simply heart-wrenching "Medicine" show that Mouth of the Architect plan to keep Dayton on the modern metal map for years to come.

12. Flogging Molly- Float
http://aycu33.webshots.com/image/48272/2001236204134523621_rs.jpg
On the positive side, this is the most consistent Flogging Molly album to date. Every single song is good, while there have been some serious filler tracks on each of their other three records. Unfortunately, this album isn't going to produce any classics like "Black Friday Rule", "What's Left of the Flag", or "The Seven Deadly Sins". It's still a damn good album, and an incredibly quick listen. They keep a very consistent sound throughout the album, and Dave King's woeful Irish tales stay believable even nearly twenty years after he moved to the United States. That's what makes a great storyteller, I suppose: believability.

11. Bigelf- Cheat the Gallows
http://img145.imageshack.us/img145/2289/bigelfpi4.jpg
When I commented earlier that The Sword are doing that 70s thing wrong while other bands are doing it right, I definitely had Bigelf in mind as an example of the latter. This combination of Ozzy-era Sabbath, Pink Floyd psychedelia, and the whimsical nature of ELP'S "Karn Evil 9" anthology creates a totally unique blast from the past that alludes to every great band from the 1970s and plagiarizes none of them. Your move, Witchcraft.

DethMaiden
12-21-2008, 07:04 PM
And that was kind of exhausting, so expect a top ten either much later tonight or sometime tomorrow.

SomewhereInTime72
12-21-2008, 08:19 PM
That Bigelf album is definitely something I should hear...

ChildrenofSodom
12-21-2008, 08:20 PM
That Bigelf album is definitely something I should hear...

Me too....

powerslave_85
12-21-2008, 08:24 PM
That's why you write all this shit out before you start posting it, jerk :tp: ;)

DethMaiden
12-21-2008, 08:56 PM
10. Judas Priest- Nostradamus
http://www.allmetal.com.ua/files/1213185386_judas-priest-2008.jpg
This is probably the most controversial album of the year, and the most controversial album in Judas Priest history. They're great at writing rocking metal tunes on forty-five minute albums, so what the hell are they doing making a double album about the life and times of a French prophet? Well, they fumble around in the dark some of the time and throw in some unnecessary interludes, but all in all, I think they fucking nailed it. No one expected this from Judas "Breaking the Law" Priest, but they did it. Rob Halford sounds more evil on "War" and "Death" than he has in his entire career, "Conquest" rocks harder than anything the band has done since 1990, and the closing one-two punch of "Nostradamus" and "Future of Mankind" is an appropriately climactic ending to a very epic album. Controversy or not, Judas Priest or not, this album is an impressive feat.

9. This Will Destroy You- This Will Destroy You
http://static.rateyourmusic.com/album_images/936135.jpg
With a band name like that, you had better back it up with some seriously earth-moving music. Fortunately, the Texan post-rockers don't disappoint on their full-length debut: equal parts Explosions in the Sky and electronica are evoked on songs like "A Three-Legged Workhorse" and the impossibly great "They Move On Tracks of Never-Ending Light", and "Villa Del Refugio" and "The Mighty Rio Grande" do what instrumental music should do in evoking the landscape from which the band comes. The songs stick to the tried-and-true post-rock of rising and falling instrumentation, but many of the climaxes are difficult to find, and invite further listening. The subtlety of the album is probably its strongest point, and the band will hopefully continue to put out such excellent music for many years to come.

8. Protest the Hero- Fortress
http://www.sweetslyrics.com/poze/Protest_The_Hero%20fortress.jpg
This is progressive metalcore, alright, but it has almost nothing in common with Between the Buried and Me. The primary outlet for Rody Walker's vocals here is a jovial power metal croon, with his shouts and screams acting more to accentuate his full-bodied singing. Musically, it's a grab bag of styles and speeds, time signatures and key changes. I'm not sure any band could really imitate this style, and it's a little bit physically exhausting to listen to. I'm not sure if they can keep going at this pace and continue to make satisfying albums, but the total disregard for rules and embrace of insanity is refreshing.

7. Lemuria- Get Better
http://static.rateyourmusic.com/album_images/1190502.jpg
Somewhere between Blink-182's breakup and Green Day's Grammy, pop punk lost all of its credibility. Lemuria are the only band I can name that are doing it a favor and bringing it back, albeit with a hip indie edge. The traded vocals between the lovely and talented Sheena Ozzella and the band's drummer, Alexander Kerns, create amazing contrast and serve to enhance the overall vibe of the album, which already has a warm-and-fuzzy feeling most of the time. The flow is excellent, and the almost pedestrian lyrics complete the package: this is how indie punk should be done.

6. Amon Amarth- Twilight of the Thunder God
http://www.metalblade.de/thumb.php?image=images/releases/twilightofthethundergod.jpg&width=385&height=385&mode=fit
Sweet Jesus, erm, Thor...there is no band that is more effortlessly metal than Amon Amarth. You can't avoid banging your head when they come on, and each album is just as good as the last. If you've ever heard Amon Amarth before, you know what to expect from this album: pounding rhythms, Norse-centric lyrics, shredding solos, and vocals bellowed from the depths of Hel. A few new elements are added to this album as well, most notably the guest cellos of Apocalyptica on the excellent "Live for the Kill". By the time the seafaring wanderlust of "Embrace of the Endless Ocean" fades out, you'll be ready for a swig of mead and a funeral pyre to send you off to hall on high. This is what metal should be.

5. Opeth- Watershed
http://scribblingpad.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/opeth-watershed.jpg
Bold title, guys. It's not quite accurate, but this is another terrific album from Stockholm's favorite progressive death metal band. Mikael Åkerfeldt fearlessly ventures into new territory with every damn album Opeth puts out, and the blastbeats of "The Lotus Eater", pure death metal fury of "Heir Apparent", and haunting female vocals of "Coil" do nothing but reinforce this fearlessness. There's really nothing to complain about on this entire album, other than the fact that it's slightly less awesome than its predecessor. When Opeth drop a new record, it's always nerve-wracking because it seems impossible that they could keep being awesome, but Watershed shows that they have, at bare minimum, nine awesome albums in their system.

4. Genghis Tron- Board Up the House
http://www.punknews.org/images/interviews/genghis_tron-board_up_the_house.jpg
This was Relapse's gem this year. They always manage to find a band that sounds unlike any band I've ever heard and change the way I think about the metal genre as a whole. Genghis Tron play furious grindcore, but infuse that style with heaping helpings of electronica and progressive rock keyboards. All of the drums are programmed, and only one member plays a "real" instrument. That's fucking crazy. They shouldn't be able to make some of the best metal I heard this year, but dammit if they didn't just keep doing the unexpected. Aside from being one of the most exciting live acts you're bound to see, Genghis Tron can make a mean album that goes not only all over the musical spectrum, but all over the emotional spectrum.

3. Cynic- Traced in Air
http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/cynic.jpg
Progressive metal is probably the most diverse subgenre of metal, just because anyone who does anything remotely unique seems to get the tag. Cynic defy that logic and produce music that is truly progressive, and at times beyond comprehension. The songs here probably sound most like the mellower moments of Between the Buried and Me mixed with the heavier moments of Porcupine Tree, but even that is a butchered description. The eight songs on Traced in Air flow brilliantly into one another, creating what amounts to a single piece of music with eight movements rather than a thrown-together collection of songs. The vocals are wisps of smoke, accented by the occasional rage of backing death growls, and the guitar work shifts from elegant jazz-like runs to unequivocally metal soloing on a dime. This is really unlike any other album I have heard, and anyone who considers themselves a fan of progressive music owes it to themselves to take a listen.

2. Made Out of Babies- The Ruiner
http://assets.mog.com/pictures/0000/0000/5819/images/1214597007.jpg
Maybe I'm a little bit masochistic, but I love being disturbed. Just being genuinely freaked out. Horror movies can't really do it for me unless they're extremely surreal, and most so-called disturbing music is just goofy or boring. Made Out of Babies frontwoman Julie Christmas actually scares me shitless. She can sing like a frightened little girl ("Buffalo"), a strong, independent woman ("Invisible Ink"), a sultry bombshell ("The Major"), a tattered wastrel ("Stranger"), or an apocalyptic madwoman ("How to Get Bigger"). She isn't so much a singer as she is an actress. Each song is sung from the perspective of a character she has created, and the combination of her vocals and too-close-to-home lyrics makes for a genuinely terrifying experience. If you can listen to the howling "Run! Run for your life!" that closes "Cooker" without looking over your shoulder, or keep from choking up when she sings about a waitress with "dirty strands to veil the face" whose "small tattoos name big mistakes", then you're just a stronger man than me. Behind Christmas' lunatic ravings and sheer poetic brilliance, a very skilled band matches her tones with their style that drifts from NYC noise rock to post-metal to sludge to industrial with ease. The album is best experienced as one piece of music (as with most great albums), and is just the mindfuck I think we all sometimes need.

1. Fleet Foxes- Fleet Foxes
http://thehurstreview.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/fleet-foxes-lp.jpg
It should be no surprise at this point that the best thing I heard this year was the debut full-length from Sub Pop's worst-kept secret, Seattle indie folk act Fleet Foxes. Every music journalist in the country is giving them props this year, so I'm sure I seem very trendy naming this album of the year, but simply put: this album affected me. The vocals, melodies, lyrics and atmosphere of the album are from a simpler time: nature is evoked at every turn, the very best elements of folk, indie, rock, and gospel are gathered in one place, and the songs are endlessly addictive and generally beautiful. "White Winter Hymnal" makes even more sense to me now that winter has fallen over Ohio, and each song seems to have certain elements of the natural world that it works best with. "Blue Ridge Mountains" was even more effective when I was actually in the Smokies over Thanksgiving. "Oliver James" sounds great when observing a long riverbank. The greatest part of this is the pure anachronism of it all: Fleet Foxes are from Seattle. They don't live in the mountains of Tennessee. They don't walk around in the woods. Everything is an illusion, yet they make it so real. And that, in a nutshell, is what music should do. You should be enveloped by it. You should suspend your disbelief. You should miss your connecting flight to the Blue Ridge Mountains over near Tennessee. You should not know what you have done and turn yourself into a demon. Music is so much more than something to fill your eardrums with to kill the time for me, and this album reminded me of how important it really is in my life.

mankvill
12-21-2008, 09:45 PM
damn you fleet foxes! :mad:

overkiller
12-21-2008, 10:37 PM
39. Dismember- Dismember
http://www.pit-of-doooom.com/Pix_Content/Dismember001.jpg
There is absolutely nothing wrong with this album. But that's the problem. On their 90s classics, they managed to be groovy and heavy and brutal at the same time, and on The God That Never Was they were able to integrate lots of melody without becoming melodic death metal. The new self-titled album is just plain death metal. Forty minutes of death metal, nothing more, nothing less. That wouldn't really be a problem if any of it was remotely catchy or made you want to hear it twice. Burly dudes who work in record stores and have gory posters on the walls of their parents basement would probably name this safe-ass shit album of the year.

I felt the same way.

overkiller
12-21-2008, 10:38 PM
21. Mogwai- The Hawk Is Howling
http://mediaportal.ru/uploads/posts/2008-08/1219735316_the-hawk-is-howling.jpg
Despite the fact that these poor Scots obviously don't know the difference between a hawk and an eagle, this album is pretty damn good. The bizarre song titles intentionally distract from the beauty hiding in the songs: unlike an Explosions in the Sky-like approach which finds incredibly fitting song titles for the emotional journeys the music takes you on, Mogwai come up with jarringly inappropriate titles to trick you into thinking the song will be goofy when it is, in fact, probably the most beautiful thing you will hear on a given day. Such examples include "I'm Jim Morrison, I'm Dead" and "I Love You, I'm Going to Blow Up Your School" and "Batcat". The one serious sounding title, "Scotland's Shame", is ironically home to the album's best and most beautiful song. Their bairns will be very proud of them.

Crap, I forgot about this one!!

DethMaiden
12-22-2008, 07:12 AM
damn you fleet foxes! :mad:

:tongue: Fleet Foxes > you

Maiden33
12-22-2008, 07:23 AM
A few things I've gotta say:

1.That Whitesnake album is NOT that bad. It's not very good won't rank very high at all for me, but it's NOT nearly as bad as you make it out to be. If that album had been released in 1993 or so, it would've been accepted as just another solid Whitesnake album.

2.Dragonforce's overwhelming desire to write video game music started on Inhuman Rampage. Just because they weren't in a video game prior doesn't change the fact that Herman Li has said they intentionally write "video game metal". This band's first two albums were salvagable, the later two are garbage.

3.The fact that you don't think Torn is at least as good or better than Monday Morning Apocalypse scares me beyond all belief. You can't believe how much it annoys me that you totally ignore their first 4 excellent albums and then praise the absolute downpoint of their career. Torn is much better than MMA, a very solid album that gets back to what Evergrey are all about, the problem is that's kind of hard for you to understand when you don't care about their first 4 albums.

DethMaiden
12-22-2008, 07:29 AM
A few things I've gotta say:

1.That Whitesnake album is NOT that bad. It's not very good won't rank very high at all for me, but it's NOT nearly as bad as you make it out to be. If that album had been released in 1993 or so, it would've been accepted as just another solid Whitesnake album.

2.Dragonforce's overwhelming desire to write video game music started on Inhuman Rampage. Just because they weren't in a video game prior doesn't change the fact that Herman Li has said they intentionally write "video game metal". This band's first two albums were salvagable, the later two are garbage.

3.The fact that you don't think Torn is at least as good or better than Monday Morning Apocalypse scares me beyond all belief. You can't believe how much it annoys me that you totally ignore their first 4 excellent albums and then praise the absolute downpoint of their career. Torn is much better than MMA, a very solid album that gets back to what Evergrey are all about, the problem is that's kind of hard for you to understand when you don't care about their first 4 albums.

1. It made me want to throw up a couple of times.

2. I don't hate a couple of songs on Inhuman Rampage, but I hate EVERYTHING about Ultra Beatdown.

3. I should be able to objectively judge an album without the context of a band's entire career. There's no "on last year's episode" track on the beginnings of albums, so really I should only judge what I'm hearing. A "return to form" can still be worse than an album that breaks the mold.

SomewhereInTime72
12-22-2008, 09:57 AM
I always felt Dragonforce used to be pretty decent when they wrote cheesy power metal songs. Then Inhuman Rampage came along and they were no longer writing songs, just amalgamations of solos and choruses. It's even worse on Ultra Beatdown, I couldn't even get past the first three songs.

ADD
12-22-2008, 03:28 PM
Can't say I agree with too much of this list (also I didn't hear most of the albums you listed anyways), although for sure Fleet Foxes are awesome and totally live up to the hype. Hella good write ups though man, you are the best at these. I should hear that Men As Trees album too so I'll check it out :cool:

And that Bigelf album just did not do it for me at all, kinda liked their older stuff but the new one was just too wtf?

DethMaiden
12-22-2008, 04:39 PM
Can't say I agree with too much of this list (also I didn't hear most of the albums you listed anyways), although for sure Fleet Foxes are awesome and totally live up to the hype. Hella good write ups though man, you are the best at these. I should hear that Men As Trees album too so I'll check it out :cool:

And that Bigelf album just did not do it for me at all, kinda liked their older stuff but the new one was just too wtf?

Yeah, Men As Trees are serious business, especially live. Hopefully you get the chance to see them next time they make it out west.

And you should hear Emerson, Lake & Palmer's Brain Salad Surgery album. I think it had a big influence on Cheat the Gallows; maybe you'll understand it a little better then.

ChildrenofSodom
12-22-2008, 05:03 PM
I always felt Dragonforce used to be pretty decent when they wrote cheesy power metal songs. Then Inhuman Rampage came along and they were no longer writing songs, just amalgamations of solos and choruses. It's even worse on Ultra Beatdown, I couldn't even get past the first three songs.

DEATH THE EPITOME OF ALL OF OUR DAYS!

Damion13
01-11-2009, 08:01 AM
I personally don't think that the Made Out of Babies album was better than the the new Genghis Tron album. Don't get me wrong, The Ruiner is one of the most wonderful albums I've ever heard! But Board up the House to me is just... better. The mix of melodic electronica and metal are brilliant in Board up the House. MY opinion

Natrlhi
03-25-2009, 12:58 PM
I know it's pretty late to comment and you might never read this, but I just wanted to give you kudos for the list. Not only do you have a very diverse taste in heavy music (as do I), but your reviews are really well written. Who would believe that metal heads exist who are actually able to express themselves quite well? :D

I checked out some of the stuff I hadn't heard before, and much of it is really good (examples: Romance of Young Tigers, Gathiens, Landmine Marathon).

Some of the stuff I was really stoked to see on your list includes:

Torche (although I would have rated them much higher)
Lair of the Minotaur
A Silver Mt. Zion (not metal, but awesome)
The Mars Volta (musical geniuses)
Russian Circles (They brought the house down at the Clutch show in Columbus on 12/30!)
Mogwai
Mouth of the Architect (Go Dayton!)
This Will Destroy You (yes, they will)
Genghis Tron (what a fun band live - saw them at Peabody's last year)
Cynic (long live the prog death masters!)
Made Out of Babies (absolutely INSANE live - saw them at the Grog Shop last year)

In fact, just for the sake of comparison, check out my top fifteen for 2008:

15. Mouth of the Architect - Quietly
14. Portishead - Third
13. Origin - Antithesis
12. The Mars Volta - The Bedlam in Goliath
11. This Will Destroy You - S/T
10. 5ive - Hesperus
9. Torche - Meanderthal
8. Cynic - Traced In Air
7. Cult of Luna - Eternal Kingdom
6. Grayceon - This Grand Show
5. IntrOnaut - Prehistoricisms
4. Made Out of Babies - The Ruiner
3. Russian Circles - Station
2. Burst - Lazarus Bird
1. Meshuggah - obZen

...lots of similarities, no?

Now, the one thing we will obviously have words about in the future is Meshuggah, but what fun would a discussion board be without a little "creative abrasion"? :D

But again, well done on the list.

Nat :horns:

DethMaiden
03-25-2009, 07:03 PM
I know it's pretty late to comment and you might never read this, but I just wanted to give you kudos for the list. Not only do you have a very diverse taste in heavy music (as do I), but your reviews are really well written. Who would believe that metal heads exist who are actually able to express themselves quite well? :D

I checked out some of the stuff I hadn't heard before, and much of it is really good (examples: Romance of Young Tigers, Gathiens, Landmine Marathon).

Some of the stuff I was really stoked to see on your list includes:

Torche (although I would have rated them much higher)
Lair of the Minotaur
A Silver Mt. Zion (not metal, but awesome)
The Mars Volta (musical geniuses)
Russian Circles (They brought the house down at the Clutch show in Columbus on 12/30!)
Mogwai
Mouth of the Architect (Go Dayton!)
This Will Destroy You (yes, they will)
Genghis Tron (what a fun band live - saw them at Peabody's last year)
Cynic (long live the prog death masters!)
Made Out of Babies (absolutely INSANE live - saw them at the Grog Shop last year)

In fact, just for the sake of comparison, check out my top fifteen for 2008:

15. Mouth of the Architect - Quietly
14. Portishead - Third
13. Origin - Antithesis
12. The Mars Volta - The Bedlam in Goliath
11. This Will Destroy You - S/T
10. 5ive - Hesperus
9. Torche - Meanderthal
8. Cynic - Traced In Air
7. Cult of Luna - Eternal Kingdom
6. Grayceon - This Grand Show
5. IntrOnaut - Prehistoricisms
4. Made Out of Babies - The Ruiner
3. Russian Circles - Station
2. Burst - Lazarus Bird
1. Meshuggah - obZen

...lots of similarities, no?

Now, the one thing we will obviously have words about in the future is Meshuggah, but what fun would a discussion board be without a little "creative abrasion"? :D

But again, well done on the list.

Nat :horns:

Thanks man. :rocker: I dig your taste too. Romance of Young Tigers play a lot of Cleveland shows, you should check them out live sometime. Mind-expanding experience.