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overkiller
01-07-2009, 11:04 AM
Alright, here goes. I got lazy on a bunch of these, and the brevity of certain blurbs reflects that. I'm going to post 50-11 now, but you'll just have to wait for 10-1 because I'm an asshole :D Like last year, I heard exactly the number of albums I'm listing here; nothing got left out.

50. Edguy - Tinnitus Sanctus

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

The only album I heard all year that actually straight-up annoyed me from start to finish. I don’t even hate Edguy that much, but I absolutely hated listening to this, and I barely made it through without turning it off.

49. Judas Priest - Nostradamus

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

Ugh. Did we learn nothing from that god-awful abomination Manowar put out last year? This nearly two-hour spectacle has something like, oh, two or three good riffs. OUT OF TWO FUCKING HOURS. The rest consists of mostly incompetent symphonic arrangements on top of guitars which are barely present at all. This is not progressive, this is like Glenn Tipton letting out a fart he’s been holding in for 60 years.

48. Destruction - D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N.

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

This album starts strong with its thrashing title track, but immediately after it all comes crashing down (beginning with the ironically titled “Elevator to Hell”). Destruction has gotten worse with every album following their 2001 masterpiece The Antichrist, and this turd continues the trend.

47. Motörhead - Motorizer

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/Motorhead-Motorizer.jpg

Well… it’s another Motörhead album. It’s not particularly good. It’s just kind of… there. It does feature Lemmy saying “Rock out with your cock out”, though, and that’s gotta be worth something.

46. Metallica - Death Magnetic

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

(blurb copied from Death Magnetic thread)

Ok, reality check here, folks. Yeah, this album is alright. If you judge it against St. Anger, hell, it even seems great. But let's remember a few things. Since the release of the Black Album, Metallica has been marked as a band that shifts with trends to garner mainstream success. Death Magnetic is no different. The market is ripe for this kind of album right now--just take a look at what's popular. Master of Puppets-worship like recent Trivium. Middling melodeath that is rooted in 80s metal, like Arch Enemy. So although Metallica manage to vaguely imitate the Metallica of circa 20 years ago, I can't help but feel that the whole "returning to our roots" thing is just a convenient label to smack on yet another cashgrab, just like St. Anger was (being an attempt at nu-metal, it also fit right into a profitable trend of the time).

Now, as to the actual quality of the music on the album, as I said, it's alright. But the universally positive reviews it's getting (see the "Professional Reviews" sidebar on: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_Magnetic) are somewhat puzzling to me. Allmusic.com's review says it sounds "as if it could come after ...And Justice for All". Fine. But aren't we forgetting that if it really had come out right after Justice, it would've sounded extremely familiar (excepting the modern groove etc. influences), and would seem a big step down in quality from the albums before it? Yes, Death Magnetic was a reasonably fun listen, if overlong, and the first track actually had me pumped. But I can't see myself listening to this (at least all the way through) more than once. You can get the same exact stuff in much higher quality from other bands (including Metallica themselves), without the annoying modern groove influence; the Metallica name shouldn't skew our perceptions of how worthy this album really is. I think everyone (and by that I mean mainstream music media) wanted Metallica to rehash Master of Puppets so badly, that when they finally managed to crap out something close to just such a rehash, everybody jumped on on James' and Kirk's dicks. I'll pass.

45. Ihsahn - angL

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/ihsahn-angl.jpg

Sometimes the all-over-the-place feel of this album works to its credit—wisps and chunks of familiar-sounding ideas are put together like some kind of unique puzzle. However, too many of the ideas here are just plain bad, and as one might expect, there’s too much prog-for-its-own-sake going on.

44. In Flames - A Sense of Purpose

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

I don’t hate new In Flames. I really don’t. But I don’t particularly like the stuff, either. This album could be good for what it is if it had more variety, but 50 minutes of the same melodeath-based, hook-laden modern rock gets very tiring very quickly.

43. Dismember - Dismember

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

I share Brad’s feelings on this album—there’s nothing wrong with it, per se, but therein lies the problem. For such a legendary band, this album is painfully nondescript. 42 minutes of plain old death metal that will slide right by if you’re not paying attention—and this album doesn’t make you attention, like good death metal should. Also kind of tragic considering it’s self-titled; in no way does this thing represent the mighty Dismember, as an eponymous album should.

42. Unearthly Trance - Electrocution

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

Ugh, what happened to this band? Prior to hearing this album, I was only familiar with Season of Séance, Science of Silence, which was a dark, terrifying doom machine with a healthy dose of Hellhammer influence. This is just… I don’t even know. It sounds so flaccid compared to that album.

41. Unleashed - Hammer Battalion

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

I thought I was gonna like this one more. It starts out great (just listen to that guitar tone!), but the songs begin to run into one another for me, and sometimes Johnny Hedlund’s ridiculous vocals are just too much to take. Still, definitely a solid slab of old-school death metal and worth hearing if you’re a fan of the band and/or the style.

overkiller
01-07-2009, 11:17 AM
40. Death Angel - Killing Season

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

This album definitely has some great riffs and some ass-kicking tracks, but I really just can’t get into this kind of “tough-guy” style of modern thrash. Probably won’t be revisiting this one any time soon.

39. Hibria - The Skull Collectors

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

Recommended to me as “power metal with balls”, and, well, I’ll give it that. But like most power metal, it just seems to me too much like a novelty—“Tiger Punch” had me pumped, but by the second or third song I just wanted to turn it off and listen to something else, even though the riffs and melodies are pretty solid (if unoriginal). I’ll stick to my Painkiller and Helloween.

38. Krallice - Krallice

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

Black metal side-projects of otherwise non-black metal musicians are often met with skepticism, and like fellow mediocre-USBM project Weakling, Krallice serve as a perfect example of why that skepticism is justified. This album has a handful of enjoyable parts, but what these guys fail to remember is that, even in a subgenre as diverse and interpretable as black metal, you need a core of good riffs to make good metal. The interesting parts of each song pop up here and there, bookending seemingly endless amalgamations of uninteresting, noodling riffs. Another plus is the audible and active bass, but on the whole, these guys should stick to their other bands and leave black metal to those who know how to do it right. (Also, what the fuck is with that name? Awful.)

37. Aura Noir - Hades Rise

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

I’ve never been particularly impressed (or repulsed) by Aura Noir, and Hades Rise doesn’t change that. Definitely some cool riffs and tracks that rock, and I give them props for being tr00, but on the whole this stuff is fairly lackluster. I think they just get the balance between 80s thrash and 90s black metal wrong, really.

36. Satyricon - The Age of Nero

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

This really isn’t that bad. I maintain that Satyricon does this style better than their old, “tr00” style, and the catchy-as-fuck “Black Crow On a Tombstone” (yes it’s cheesy, eat shit and die and then go listen to Venom, black metal is cheesy) only proves this point. When they sound closer to straight-up black metal, they get to sounding like a parody of themselves, so I can’t rank this any higher, but there is definitely some worthwhile stuff here.

35. Gnaw Their Tongues - Devotion

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

The crossover between black metal and experimental noise has yielded some great projects, but Devotion is not among these. It has real potential, but for the most part it just ends up sounding too hokey and contrived, instead of terrifying and engaging like the black/noise combo should.

34. Arcana - Raspail

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

Some enjoyable ambient/atmospheric “medieval” (really a very bad/false tag, but people like to apply it to this kind of music) stuff. Very, very obviously influenced by Aion-era Dead Can Dance, and that’s probably their biggest fault; they don’t really bring anything new to the table.

33. The Gates of Slumber - Conqueror

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

A decent traditional doom album, if a bit standard-sounding—right down to the 16 minute, multi-chapter doom epic which bands like Electric Wizard have made us so familiar with (although this one is somewhat unique in that it’s mostly quiet/clean). If you’re a fan of the subgenre, check this out. Otherwise, there’s not too much which makes this release stand out.

32. Toxic Holocaust - An Overdose of Death

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

A huge disappointment. I’ve had something of a falling-out with Toxic Holocaust ever since they signed to Relapse—it’s not so much that I have something against Relapse (besides the fact that I generally don’t take them seriously); rather it’s that Toxic Holocaust is NOT a band that should be signed to that label. They’ve always been an underground band, and signing to Relapse basically means breaking big. Fast forward a few months—the new album is out (which at this point I still haven’t brought myself to hear), and a newly-made video for “Wild Dogs” appears on Headbanger’s Ball on MTV. What was once one of my favorite bands, for their music and for their underground status, was now guaranteed to be discovered by any knuckledragger who watches Headbanger’s Ball. This did not make me happy. So, even forgetting all that, how’s the album itself? Well, it’s really not much different from the past two LPs, at least in style, which is a plus. However, this album just feels lazy—the songs that had been released as demo tracks via Myspace sounded better as demo tracks, and the other new songs are pretty fucking forgettable. And what’s with that re-recording of “War Is Hell”? I mean, okay, it might be their best song, but it’d be damn near impossible to outdo the version of it which appears on Evil Never Dies. It just feels wrong. Highlights would be “Nuke the Cross” (previously released), “City of a Million Graves” (previously released), and “Gravelord” (may or may not have been previously released, I’m not sure). If this album is your first experience with Toxic Holocaust, check out Evil Never Dies and Hell On Earth to find out what you’re missing. Then promptly jump off a bridge.

31. The Monolith Deathcult - Trivmvirate

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

A really interesting, brutal, and mostly excellent industrial/death metal album, but two things got to me and prevented me from ranking it any higher: the overstated Nile influence, and the uncomfortable track glorifying the SS RONA (a Russian military division which fought for the Nazis in WWII). I mean, I generally try to keep an artist's ideologies separate from their music if possible, and I listen to other bands with less-than-savory political views, but it’s hard to stomach a somewhat-discernible death growl belting out “Political prisoners, traitors and faggots” and “Warsaw’s Jews, Gypsies and retards/Prepare yourself for death and horror/The Kaminski Brigade enters the perimeter/And waits for the command to lay your city in ruins”. Eugh.

ADD
01-07-2009, 11:27 AM
like mediocre-USBM project Weakling

:( :hecho: :chair: :bricks: :mrt:

ADD
01-07-2009, 11:28 AM
42. Unearthly Trance - Electrocution

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

Ugh, what happened to this band? Prior to hearing this album, I was only familiar with Season of Séance, Science of Silence, which was a dark, terrifying doom machine with a healthy dose of Hellhammer influence. This is just… I don’t even know. It sounds so flaccid compared to that album.



Check out the album they released before this one a couple years ago called The Trident, their best one I think.

overkiller
01-07-2009, 11:31 AM
30. Earth - The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull

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

If you like Earth’s new style, then you know what to expect from this album. Droney, doomy stoner rock with a Western/highwayish feeling. Mostly enjoyable, though it does drag at several parts.

29. Trap Them - Seizures in Barren Praise

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

Some great DM/grind, with some resemblance to new crust like Skitsystem, but it’s got too much of a new-hardcore feel for my taste.

28. Coffins - Buried Death

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

Coffins are simply one of the heaviest bands around, and Buried Death is no exception. It’s fairly one-dimensional though, not the most interesting stuff (or the best Coffins release, for that matter), but I can’t stress enough how fucking HEAVY these guys are.

27. Amon Amarth - Twilight of the Thunder God

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/amon_amarth_-_twilight_of_the_thund.jpg

I really disliked this at first, but upon subsequent listens, I realized it was mostly because 2006’s With Oden On Our Side just set the bar so fucking high for these guys. This is a good record, but the continued inclusion of hardcore breakdowns (which we saw on “Asator” etc.) is irritating, and the overall quality is not quite up to the standard they set with the last album. And the title track really just sounds like power metal to me. Really. Regardless, there is definitely enough of what we’ve come to love about this band to be found here, with a touch of experimentation (is that a cello!?), and this should be considered a worthy addition to the Amon Amarth canon.

26. Hail of Bullets - ...Of Frost and War

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/HailOfBullets-OfFrostAndWar2008.jpg

Great old-school DM in the Bolt Thrower vein, totally fucking brutal and recommended for fans of the style—but it really doesn’t bring anything new to the table, as one might expect.

25. Darkthrone - Dark Thrones and Black Flags

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/darkthrone-2.jpg

I really want to get behind this one, but I simply can’t. It ain’t bad, but it’s just not that good. This is pretty much in the vein of their last album F.O.A.D., but at this point it sounds like the joke is wearing a bit thin (if you recall my enthusiasm for F.O.A.D. last year, you can imagine my distress over this). Had they made a shift in style analogous to the one between The Cult Is Alive and F.O.A.D. (which kind of shifted their focus from punk influence to heavy metal), this might have been a more exciting record—but then again, what would they have shifted to, honestly? Progressive jazz fusion black metal? No, I don’t think so. On the whole, if you like new Darkthrone, this album is enjoyable, but it doesn’t carry the musical or controversial impact that their last two efforts slammed in our faces. Highlights would be “The Winds They Called the Dungeon Shaker”, “Death of All Oaths (Oath Minus)”, “Hanging Out in Haiger”. This last one is utterly ridiculous and sees Darkthrone at their most melodic/heavy-metal-influenced—check out Fenriz’s impression of King Diamond’s lower-register vocals! :lol: Also, with the album title being what it is and with song titles like “Hiking Metal Punks”, I would’ve liked to see them turn up the punk influence again, but it’s not all that pronounced.

24. Melvins - Nude With Boots

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

I wasn’t familiar with latter-day Melvins before hearing this album, but Nude With Boots has some great stuff to offer. We still hear Buzzo’s wacky, weed-soaked doom, but this time there’s a healthy dose of hard rock straight out of the 1970s—Led Zeppelin can be heard all over some of these songs. Definitely enjoyable.

23. Enslaved - Vertebrae

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

This album is somewhat frustrating, primarily because it has so much damn potential. A lot of passages, especially the proggy ones, sound phenomenal, but they’re often interrupted by not-so-great black metal riffing or other disappointing ideas; the dynamics are just off. Also, this album gives me a general vibe of… fatigue, or something. I’m not sure what causes it, whether it’s the production, or how they’re playing, but from the guitar work to Grutle’s BM vocals (which are now croakier and more ridiculous than ever), everything just sounds kind of weak. They should be playing their hearts out, and it simply doesn’t sound like they are half the time. The clean vocals also sound kind of tired, but they fit the proggy passages beautifully, I must say. Overall this is a good record, and definitely worth a listen if you like later Enslaved, but I just can’t help but feel like it could’ve been much more.

22. Immortal Technique & DJ Green Lantern - The 3rd World

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

Opinion seems to be divided on this one, and I’m not terribly enthusiastic about it. It definitely has everything that makes Tech great; but I find myself not enjoying a good chunk of about half of the songs here. Some of Green Latern’s beats just don’t live up to those on Revolutionary Vol. 1 and 2, and some of Tech’s rhymes just don’t pack the punch they did on those records. Still, it’s a good album.

21. Kaki King - Dreaming of Revenge

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

Well, what do we have here? This is an interesting little album, which was recommended to me very late in the year. It consists of mostly instrumental acoustic rock/folk of some sort or another, with a few singer-songwriter-pop-style tracks featuring Kaki’s deceptively sweet singing. Not having heard her music before, my initial reaction was to want to hear more of the singer-songwriter style stuff, and that remains one of my gripes about the album, but I can’t really judge her music based on that. She’s an extremely skilled guitarist; she mostly uses fingerstyle/slap technique, but while her playing is indeed soulful and engaging, it can get to feeling a bit showy at times. Overall this is an interesting and unique album, unlike anything else on this list. Check it out if you’re looking for a change of pace.

overkiller
01-07-2009, 11:51 AM
20. God Is An Astronaut - God Is An Astronaut

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

If you’ve heard anything else by GIAA, then you know what to expect from this album—not that that’s necessarily a bad thing. Spacey instrumental post-rock, sometimes high-energy, sometimes moody and introspective. This album sees a bit more of the high-energy side of the spectrum, but I just don’t think it quite lives up to their past two full-lengths, which managed to convey so much emotion while rocking so hard.

19. Genghis Tron - Board Up the House

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/genghis_tron-board_up_the_house.jpg

I found this interesting for a couple of listens, but after that it started to get old. Still, this is a fairly imaginative, refreshing album.

18. Virus - The Black Flux

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

Avant-garde rock/metal consisting of mostly dark, disturbing (dare I say “virulent”?) semitonal guitar work a la Deathspell Omega and bizarre, almost trance-like clean vocals. Really quite good. It’s like the avant-rock cousin of Deathspell’s last album, Fas. My only complaint is that, at 53 minutes in length, it does get to be a bit taxing.

17. Moss - Sub Templum

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

A monolithic, primordial slab of twisted, excellent drone-doom. Owes something to Sunn O))), but I’d probably sooner listen to Moss than to that band.

16. Wold - Stratification

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/Wold-SM.jpg

Black metal/noise crossover done right. This album is like the coldest, bitterest ice storm imaginable. Terrifying yet beautiful.

15. Leviathan - Massive Conspiracy Against All Life

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

Dark, depressive, bizarre, terrifying—all things one would expect from a Leviathan album. Definitely measures up to his previous two releases, and may even exceed them. Loses some of its punch on repeated listens, but still recommended.

14. Nachtmystium - Assassins: Black Meddle Part 1

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

Quite a good album, but it could definitely be better. As the title suggests, this album is heavily indebted to Pink Floyd. It starts off strong, opening with “One of These Nights”, a dark, minor-chord parody of “One of These Days” by PF which borders on hilarity, suddenly jumping into “Assassins”, a headbanging, rousing black metal anthem (since when do black metal bands write rousing anthems!?), followed by “Ghosts of Grace”, another excellent high-energy track which also shows signs of rock influence. “Away From the Light” is an interlude which doesn’t feel especially necessary, and it leads into “Your True Enemy”, a revenge song in which not much seems to happen (besides a good riff or two). “Code Negative” is decent, but the album still seems to be in a lull at this point. Things pick up again once we hit “Omnivore”, a searing black metal track with some trippy electronic noodling. The last song, “Seasick”, which comprises three tracks, sounds a bit too much like they were simply trying to imitate Pink Floyd (right down to the saxophone solo), but it’s good for what it is. Definitely recommended, but approach with caution.

13. Roma Amor - Roma Amor

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

A rare little gem of an album I stumbled across while reading a blog partially dedicated to Neofolk. The band describes this stuff as “neo-cabaret”; it mostly consists of acoustic guitar, accordion, and female vocals—some in Italian, some in English, some in French. Beautiful music, at times brooding, at times touching, at other times tragically comic.

12. Sigur Rós - Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust

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

The opening track “Gobbledigook” heralds this album as an energetic, upbeat departure from Sigur Ros’ sprawling shoegaze soundscapes, and this promise is fulfilled by most of the rest of the album, but there are definitely tracks that sound like the same old Sigur Ros (which isn’t such a bad thing). Huge emotions, orchestral swells, timid vocals—it’s all there. Definitely worth checking out.

11. Nas - Untitled

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

Excellent album with serious evocative power. At times it’s a bit alienating (“Testify” specifically calls out white fans and downloaders… oh hey that’s me), but Nas’ message is definitely valid and pertinent to modern America. Extremely catchy stuff, and Nas’ flow is still razor-sharp, save for a few awkward rhymes here and there.







...10-1 may have some surprises :D

ADD
01-07-2009, 11:57 AM
20. God Is An Astronaut - God Is An Astronaut

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

If you’ve heard anything else by GIAA, then you know what to expect from this album—not that that’s necessarily a bad thing. Spacey instrumental post-rock, sometimes high-energy, sometimes moody and introspective. This album sees a bit more of the high-energy side of the spectrum, but I just don’t think it quite lives up to their past two full-lengths, which managed to convey so much emotion while rocking so hard.


Best band of that style going right now for sure, but I agree it definitely isn't in the same league as Far From Refuge which is a masterpiece.

DethMaiden
01-07-2009, 11:58 AM
I'll comment on the first 40 that I've heard:

50. Edguy- I didn't think the whole thing was all that great, and they definitely dropped the ball on the supposedly humorous track on the end, but it never annoyed me, haha.

49. Judas Priest- This was in my top 10, but this happened last year too. We disagree at times. :D

46. Metallica- I didn't hate this at all either. I liked the majority of it, in fact. Oh well. ;)

45.-43. Ihsahn-In Flames-Dismember- You nailed it. Well, for Dismember, I nailed it, then you agreed. :tongue:

32. Toxic Holocaust- I didn't feel betrayed because I wasn't a huge fan when they were still underground. I kind of feel the opposite of you on this one because I have nothing against good bands getting exposed to bigger audiences.

31. The Monolith Deathcult- I didn't hear this one, but FUCK THOSE LYRICS. Seriously, they will never get me to listen to them with that kind of attitude.

30. Earth- Basically.

27. Amon Amarth- Well, I liked it a lot more than you did, but I'm glad you somewhat came around and warmed up to it.

22. Immortal Technique- I think you're being a bit nicer to it than I was, but I don't totally disagree.

19. Genghis Tron- I'm just glad you don't totally hate it, because all year I kinda thought you might. But yeah, it's one of my favorite albums of the year and I first heard it last January, so obviously I don't really agree that its effect wears off.

ChildrenofSodom
01-07-2009, 12:11 PM
11. Nas - Untitled

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

Excellent album with serious evocative power. At times it’s a bit alienating (“Testify” specifically calls out white fans and downloaders… oh hey that’s me), but Nas’ message is definitely valid and pertinent to modern America. Extremely catchy stuff, and Nas’ flow is still razor-sharp, save for a few awkward rhymes here and there.


YEAH!!!

ChildrenofSodom
01-07-2009, 12:12 PM
Yeah Immortal Technique - I do think some of Green Lanterns little bells and whistles get annoying, but I still think the message is still strong.

DethMaiden
01-07-2009, 12:20 PM
Yeah Immortal Technique - I do think some of Green Lanterns little bells and whistles get annoying, but I still think the message is still strong.

I think this is the fundamental difference between our perceptions of the album. I have to judge primarily on what I hear, and whether I enjoy listening to it. I can't let my judgment be based on the lyrical content first and foremost; I'm sure there's plenty of bands with excellent lyrics that suck donkey dick. Lyrics are more like a very nice bonus, and a piece of the musical puzzle, but never the most important thing, for hip-hop or any other genre.

overkiller
01-07-2009, 12:25 PM
Lyrics are more like a very nice bonus, and a piece of the musical puzzle, but never the most important thing, for hip-hop or any other genre.

I'm not sure I can totally agree with that, though I sympathize somewhat. I think that's a fairly metal-biased way of looking at music; that description of lyrics' place in a song fits metal, but I'm not sure you can extend it to all other genres.

DethMaiden
01-07-2009, 12:28 PM
I'm not sure I can totally agree with that, though I sympathize somewhat. I think that's a fairly metal-biased way of looking at music; that description of lyrics' place in a song fits metal, but I'm not sure you can extend it to all other genres.

I just like lyrics that make sense given the atmosphere of the music that they go with. I mean, I'll use Fleet Foxes as an example because they're masters of it, but they sing about forests and mountains and squirrels and shit because they sound like they're sitting at the base of a California redwood while they're playing. And old Immortal Technique - he had angrier than shit lyrics, with some pretty "brutal" beats. But so much of The 3rd World sounds to me like angry lyrics with jarringly out-of-place radio rap beats. I'm not saying lyrics aren't important: they are, and as a writer who isn't much of a musician, I know that for a damn fact. But I think their purpose should be to supplement the music; not the other way around.

SomewhereInTime72
01-07-2009, 01:44 PM
Good read. I can't wait for the rest of the list. :D

overkiller
01-07-2009, 01:54 PM
10. Lil Wayne - Tha Carter III

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

Many critics are hailing this as the rap album of the year. Everyone here who heard it seems to have hated it. I’m somewhere in between, but I lean more towards the former. I thoroughly enjoyed most of it; Lil’ Wayne is out of his fucking gourd and I love that. The “no homo”s and standard misogynist lyrics are hard to stomach, as usual, but this album is intelligent enough in other ways for me to look past that; his brilliant inversion of some standard “bitch this and ho that” lyrics in “3 Peat” are a good example: “Bitch, swallow my words/Taste my thoughts/And if it’s too nasty, spit it back at me”. And come on, “Lollipop” is ridiculously catchy (listen to those synths!). Overall, it's this album's quirkiness, Lil Wayne's insane verbal technique, and the tremendous beats that sold me. Let the flaming begin :fingers:

9. M83 - Saturdays = Youth

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b265/overkiller187/m83saturdaysyouth-1.jpg

Much of this album sounds like it could’ve been plucked straight out of 1987—M83 just captures that sound and style so perfectly, without ever really feeling like cheap imitation. Nearly everything about Saturdays is totally 80s worship; you can detect traces of the Cocteau Twins, Tears for Fears, The Cure, etc. etc. And as the cover suggests, the album is also an homage to John Hughes films, but even having never seen one, I still immensely enjoy and “get” this album. Also, the “shoegaze” tag it often gets is misleading, though I could see how certain uses of heavy reverb and the general dreamy atmosphere might lead people to label it as such. If you like all that 80s music besides metal, Saturdays = Youth is for you.

8. Opeth – Watershed

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

(blurb partially copied from Watershed thread)

Ironically titled, considering that I recently had a watershed moment with Opeth, relenting my harsh dismissal of them and re-learning to enjoy them. Now, as to the album in question: It's damned good. It may not be on the level of Still Life or Blackwater Park, but it most certainly holds its own as an Opeth album, and is better than Ghost Reveries (which also has great material, but leaves much to be desired). Watershed sees a changed band, but one that is still unquestionably Opeth. The increased focus on the band's prog-rock influence is well-executed and not overly stuffy or cheesy, and while purists may lament the loss of Lindgren and Lopez (okay, yeah, the drumming on Watershed is inferior, but still), the shredding solos from Akesson (I think a good example is on "Hessian Peel", though I could be mistaken), and slick, surgically precise drumming from Axenrot gives the album's heavier moments more of a straight-up "metal" feeling, if you can catch my meaning. The balance between the softer prog elements and the heavier parts here is very impressive, and is arguably better than what they show on their disjointed early material, about which I have complained before. The whole album has a terrifyingly unified atmosphere, despite sounding at times like Pink Floyd ("Burden") and at others like, say, Swallow the Sun ("Porcelain Heart"). This is what Opeth should be about, and when they do it right, as they have here, the results are wonderful.

7. Gridlink – Amber Gray

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

This album is about 12 minutes of hyper-concentrated technical grind insanity. The long-awaited “next album” from Jon Chang of the tragically split-up Discordance Axis, Amber Gray shows the intelligence of that band, but the avant-garde quirkiness is toned down in favor of a more technical metal sound, owing primarily to guitarist Matsubara. Highly, highly recommended for anyone with even a passing interest in grind. It’s well worth your 12 minutes.

6. Agalloch – The White EP

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

Rejoice, it’s another Agalloch release! Mostly instrumental, The White provides both familiar and unfamiliar Agalloch sounds. The opener, “The Isle of Summer”, begins with a plaintive acoustic guitar line, soon joined by some other unfamiliar string instrument, to very interesting effect. When the gentle electric guitar chords come in, it’s like pure bliss. If one were to take Agalloch out of autumn/winter and place them in spring/summer, this is what they’d sound like. “Hollow Stone” strongly evokes the cave for which it’s named, “Pantheist” gives us some good old Agalloch strum-n-gloom, and the reflective, somber “Birch White” beautifully features a poem by A.S.J. Tessimond set to a tightly constructed folk tune. The warm synths on “Sowilo Rune” evokes a shoegazing atmosphere, and the closer “Summerisle Reprise” is deceptively simple and powerfully emotional. Not to mention the Wicker Man film samples throughout the album, which are exceedingly cool and tastefully used. In all honesty, The White might only be for those who are already fans of Agalloch, but it superbly satisfies what one looks for in a new Agalloch release.

5. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend

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

Forget your preconceived notions about this band based on their fanbase, Vampire Weekend is a wonderfully catchy, intelligent indie-pop album with great songwriting and a fun smattering of influences. Their rich-preppy-kid image is a little nauseating, but if you can look past that (and its several manifestations in their lyrics), you’ll find some great music, regardless of how mainstream it is.

4. No Age – Nouns

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

Amazing album, if a bit tragically-hip. Parts of it could practically be teen pop if not for the extremely noisy, washed-out guitars, quirky electronics, and Dean Allen Spunt’s frankly atonal singing. The whole package comes together for a punk-as-fuck noise-pop head trip.

3. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes

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

Perhaps the most buzzed-about release of the year in indie music; there’s already been a good deal of discussion about it here. The band describes their music as “baroque harmonic pop jams”, for whatever that’s worth. Huge, sweeping vocal harmonies, organic, folksy aesthetics, and wonderful songwriting are among the album’s foremost qualities; some songs are stronger than others, but the best parts of this album are nothing short of brilliant. Definitely an album which is enhanced through experience, as Brad discovered; for me, listening to this album in winter on Cape Cod and having it constantly stuck in my head that week, and listening to my girlfriend sing various vocal parts from it (sorry for the cheesiness :tongue:) really just dug out a special place in my heart for it.

2. Cynic – Traced in Air

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

Cynic is simply incredible. How often does a metal band go on a 15-year hiatus, and return with a comeback album that is equal to, or perhaps even better than, their “classic” material? Traced in Air is just such an album. Tight, focused (:D) song structures, brilliant guitar work, interesting use of unusual time signatures, insane drumming, and engaging, passionate vocals all come together in a half-hour of prog-done-right. The lyrics primarily deal with meditative/Buddhist themes, and the whole album seems to comprise a single structure—in one interview, Paul Masvidal said he actually envisioned the album to be something like an alien consciousness coming into a body at the beginning (“Nunc Fluens”), going through life experiences, and reaching death at the end (“Nunc Stans”). Simply the best metal album of the year.

1. Rome – Masse Mensch Material

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

Dark, romantic(ist) industrial/neofolk, Masse Mensch Material is perhaps the most striking album I heard all year. After the dark-ambient intro “Sonnengotter”, “Der Brandtaucher” explodes forth with a driving industrial/martial drumbeat, soon introducing us to Jerome Reuter’s deep, haunting singing and building to a jaw-dropping chorus (“And I offered myself to the night/In a spray of blossoms red and white”). “Das Feuerordal”, along with “Die Nelke” and “Neue Erinnerung” feature some of the best, most moving strum-n-gloom neofolk I’ve ever heard. The industrial-tinged “Wir Gotter der Stadt” has a cool, city-at-night aesthetic to it, and the martial-sounding “Der Brandstifter” has a playful, yet also deadly serious nature to it. The despairing “Der Erscheinungen Flucht” is devastatingly emotional, deceptively tender and gentle and yet horrifying and depressing—and while the childlike screams which play rhythmically in the background during much of the song do add to its unsettling nature, I feel that they’re a bit overdone. “Kriegsgotter”, at the climax of which the title of the album is chanted to amazing effect, is an exquisite lament of modernity. “Wir Moorsoldaten” is an inspirational military anthem which I’m sure must be a reference to the protest song “Die Moorsoldaten” (often translated as “The Peat Bog Soldiers”), written by prisoners in Nazi labor camps and used by political opponents of the Third Reich and fascism in general. Powerful stuff. The album closes with “Nachklang”, another dark-ambient piece in which distant opera vocals can be heard, leaving the listener with a feeling of uncertainty or unease. Despite the song titles, almost all of the lyrics are in English, besides a few spoken-word parts (which may be samples) in Italian, German, and French. I cannot recommend this album highly enough, to anyone who enjoys neofolk-type music, or any kind of music that is dark, moving and contemplative. Truly a masterpiece.

DethMaiden
01-07-2009, 05:39 PM
Well, I'm quite happy that Fleet Foxes gained some more ground. :D

This was a very good read, I think you and I are just going to have to do these for the rest of eternity.

ChildrenofSodom
01-07-2009, 06:12 PM
I just like lyrics that make sense given the atmosphere of the music that they go with. I mean, I'll use Fleet Foxes as an example because they're masters of it, but they sing about forests and mountains and squirrels and shit because they sound like they're sitting at the base of a California redwood while they're playing. And old Immortal Technique - he had angrier than shit lyrics, with some pretty "brutal" beats. But so much of The 3rd World sounds to me like angry lyrics with jarringly out-of-place radio rap beats. I'm not saying lyrics aren't important: they are, and as a writer who isn't much of a musician, I know that for a damn fact. But I think their purpose should be to supplement the music; not the other way around.

Rap, hip-hop, and general 'black' music was originally developed from African chants and slave songs that had two purposes: convey a message and history through lyrics, and keep the spirits up with music. ITs sole mission is to deliver a message. The beats are more commercial, but are so far off from what is actually on the radio.

DethMaiden
01-07-2009, 06:16 PM
Rap, hip-hop, and general 'black' music was originally developed from African chants and slave songs that had two purposes: convey a message and history through lyrics, and keep the spirits up with music. ITs sole mission is to deliver a message. The beats are more commercial, but are so far off from what is actually on the radio.

I can respect that, but I think since the majority of my listening is so far removed from that style of music I might just have a hard time "getting it". Nothing against Tech, he could still mangle any other MC in a rap battle, I just wasn't too keen on the new one.

overkiller
01-07-2009, 06:50 PM
Also, some miscellaneous rankings for fun:

Best Album Art:

1. Nachtmystium - Assassins: Black Meddle Part 1
2. Rome - Masse Mensch Material
3. The Monolith Deathcult - Trivmvirate
4. Krallice - Krallice
5. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes (would be higher, but it's not original art)
6. Moss - Sub Templum
7. Enslaved - Vertebrae
8. Nas - Untitled
9. Satyricon - The Age of Nero
10. Agalloch - The White EP

Best Metal Album:

Cynic - Traced in Air

Best Black Metal Album:

Nachtmystium - Assassins: Black Meddle Part 1

Best Death Metal Album:

Hail of Bullets - ...Of Frost and War

Best Thrash Metal Album:

Toxic Holocaust - An Overdose of Death

Best Traditional/Power Metal album:

Hibria - The Skull Collectors

Best Doom Metal Album:

Moss - Sub Templum

Best Progressive Metal Album:

Cynic - Traced in Air

Top Songs of 2008 (in rough order, with only one track from each artist to make it feasible):

Rome - "Das Feuerordal"
Cynic - "The Space for This"
Fleet Foxes - "Ragged Wood"
Nas - "Hero"
M83 - "Skin of the Night"
Sigur Rós - "Gobbledigook"
Vampire Weekend - "Walcott"
Agalloch - "The Isle of Summer"
Lil Wayne - "3 Peat"
Nachtmystium - "Assassins"
Roma Amor - "Next"
Opeth - "Heir Apparent"
No Age - "Sleeper Hold"
Amon Amarth - "Free Will Sacrifice"
Satyricon - "Black Crow on a Tombstone"

ChildrenofSodom
01-07-2009, 07:17 PM
Nas and Immortal Technique > Lil Wayne

overkiller
01-07-2009, 07:23 PM
Nas and Immortal Technique > Lil Wayne

The new Nas and the new Lil Wayne are nearly on equal ground for me, really. I gave Tha Carter III the #10 spot because there are a few tracks on Untitled which drag a tiny bit, and because Lil Wayne is an even crazier choice to see on someone's top 10 here, so it was more fun to pick that one. :D The new Immortal Technique is definitely way behind both of them, though.

powerslave_85
01-07-2009, 08:08 PM
The fact that Lil' Wayne is almost unanimously on every critic's year end list is...baffling to me. I guess there's just something I don't get. The Nas album is pretty good, though. I might have ranked it higher if I'd listened to it more. That Fleet Foxes record grew on me a bit, but I'm certainly not as in love with it as you guys are. I didn't really get into the No Age record, either. And I just straight up hate Vampire Weekend.

ChildrenofSodom
01-07-2009, 09:23 PM
At least you guys are open-minded enough to listen to Nas and Immortal Technique. Ever listen to The Game?

ADD
01-07-2009, 09:50 PM
Hella gay top 10 fool :cool:

SirLardsAlot
01-07-2009, 11:26 PM
Lil Wayne sounds like he's mentally retarded.





And Brady I love your "Top 50 of (Year)" threads, because you dislike them all up until the top 15 or so hahahaaha.

Maiden33
01-08-2009, 12:37 PM
Lil Wayne sounds like he's mentally retarded.





And Brady I love your "Top 50 of (Year)" threads, because you dislike them all up until the top 15 or so hahahaaha.

I noticed this also, kind of made me chuckle, still an interesting read though. ;)

JRA
01-08-2009, 12:41 PM
HAHA DISREGARD THAT, I SUCK COCKS!

powerslave_85
01-08-2009, 12:55 PM
I have Illmatic too.

overkiller
01-08-2009, 01:14 PM
I also have Illmatic.

ChildrenofSodom
01-08-2009, 01:55 PM
HAHA DISREGARD THAT, I SUCK COCKS!

Was it anti-new-Nas?

JRA
01-08-2009, 02:01 PM
Was it anti-new-Nas?

In short: "Nas had an alltime classic in the form of Illmatic, and you guys are just discovering him now?! I haven't even heard the new Nas, though I did like Hero."

ChildrenofSodom
01-08-2009, 03:07 PM
In short: "Nas had an alltime classic in the form of Illmatic, and you guys are just discovering him now?! I haven't even heard the new Nas, though I did like Hero."

I was 4 when that album came out. I JUST got into rap music this year.

JRA
01-08-2009, 05:37 PM
I was 4 when that album came out. I JUST got into rap music this year.

Well, I only heard Illmatic for the first time 2 years ago, but that's not the point. The point is I'd heard before everyone was going nuts over the new album.

On a side note, I'm surprised Let There Be Blood isn't #50 on this list.

overkiller
01-08-2009, 05:42 PM
On a side note, I'm surprised Let There Be Blood isn't #50 on this list.

I wasn't even considering going within 10 miles of that shit.

JRA
01-08-2009, 06:01 PM
I wasn't even considering going within 10 miles of that shit.

I think they reason they recorded it was because Gary was probably moping "well the only album anyone ever talks about with us is Bonded By Blood, the only album that ever sells well is Bonded By Blood, maybe if we rerecorded that album those stupid fuckers will buy it again"

TonyD
01-08-2009, 10:18 PM
It's for better residuals for the current members.

PowerMaiden
01-10-2009, 06:35 AM
very interesting read Overkiller, I wish I had the time to listen to as many albums as you in one year, well blame it on Iron Maiden :666:



btw, you didn't listen to 'Blooddrunk' by Children Of Bodom, is it because you don't like them or just you didn't had a chace to get a hand on it ?


Cheers !
PowerMaiden

overkiller
01-10-2009, 06:59 AM
btw, you didn't listen to 'Blooddrunk' by Children Of Bodom, is it because you don't like them or just you didn't had a chace to get a hand on it ?


I have no real interest in their new stuff. Once in a blue moon I'll throw on Follow the Reaper or Hatebreeder, but other than that I'll pass on CoB.

mastodon421
04-25-2009, 12:45 PM
Pretty Solid list but seriously Lil Wayne in the top 10. I think Tha Carter 3 is patheic. Nas's untitled and Jedi Mind Tricks's A History of Violence are much better.