90. Clutch - From Beale St. to Oblivion
Prior to this I hadn’t listened to Clutch since back in high school, and this apparently was not a good re-introduction. Lazy, boring, average blues-rock. Didn’t catch my interest even once.
89. Obituary - Xecutioner's Return
Weak guitar tone + recycled ideas = Strong comeback? No. This album sucks. It’s even inferior to the other “comeback” album, Frozen in Time
. Obituary was boring when I saw them live this year, and I was just thrilled to see their new t-shirt design printed with a giant Confederate flag on it.
All these things add up to me not feeling too friendly towards Obituary these days. Stick to their first 3 LPs and forget they even existed after 1992.
88. Paradise Lost - In Requiem
Really rather boring music. Paradise Lost is a band I’ve never been into—even Draconian Times
does little for me, and the updated, overly modern sound of In Requiem
does nothing to improve on that formula. There are a couple decent “gothic” melodies and piano lines here and there, but every song basically sounds the same and overall I feel that this kind of rock/metal is stuff you grow out of.
87. Vital Remains - Icons of Evil
Actually has a riff or two of pure Dave Suzuki awesomeness, but on the whole this album is such a fucking Xerox of Dechristianize
it’s practically unlistenable. That’s really all there is to say. If you haven’t heard Dechristianize
, well… get that instead. Skip this one entirely.
86. Symphony X - Paradise Lost
Ok. As unlikely as it would seem, I like Symphony X. They were one of the first more “underground” metal bands I got into back in high school, so I’ve always had a special place for them despite not having any further interest in progressive metal. Regardless, by no means can I call Paradise Lost
a good album. They seem to have opted for a “heavier”, groove metal sound in the majority of the riffs here (a change that was hinted at on The Odyssey
but was kept in balance), and beyond that simply rehash material they’ve done before. Same old solos, the same old choruses, the same old ballads, except all weaker than their predecessors. Where they used to write songs that flowed wonderfully and were excitingly epic, now they seem to write songs that have little feeling and just hasten to get to their choruses, which feel out of place. This gives the songs an underlying feeling of pointlessness (see “Set the World On Fire” and “Seven” for examples of this). Also, they don’t really do such a good job of telling the story of Paradise Lost (since when is it a love story?). The Latin songtitles are laughably bad, but that’s excusable—it’s metal, after all, and practically any band that uses Latin uses it incorrectly. To wax nerd for a minute, “Oculus ex Inferni” means basically “Eye from of Hell”, and “Divus Pennae ex Tragoedia” is so wrong it’s basically meaningless. A translation of “Divine Wings of Tragedy” (which is what they were aiming for) would go something like “Divae Pennae Tragoediae”. “Ex” means “from”, not “of” in the sense they mean it. Anyway, I don’t see any real reason to choose this album over their other, better offerings, unless you’re a die-hard fan. Overrated.
85. Alabama Thunderpussy - Open Fire
When it’s the nihilistic, depressive, drug-laden style mastered by the likes of Eyehategod and Acid Bath, I like “Southern” metal. When it’s the Confederate-flag-toting macho-dickhead kind made by Pantera and the band in question, it loses me completely. I absolutely hate the vocalist on this album, and while there are some great moments of sludgy rock and roll/metal to be found (the main riff in “The Beggar” is fucking great), overall it’s basically average, and its style and attitude just kill it for me.
84. Finntroll - Ur Jordens Djup
It took Finntroll 3 years to give us this? Ur Jordens Djup
has very little to offer that wasn’t done far better on their previous albums. It’s the same stuff all over again, just far less interesting and less, well, fun
, which is part of what made Finntroll so enjoyable. They seem to have even scaled back the folk elements to some degree, which doesn’t make any sense at all. Don’t bother with this one.
83. Novembers Doom - The Novella Resevoir
I was surprised by the amount of speed/power riffs on this album, but honestly the stuff in that vein just isn’t that strong. In terms of their death/doom identity, it’s also pretty average. There are simply too many times when it’s obvious that they’re ripping off My Dying Bride or being influenced by—eek—Opeth. It’s nice that the acoustic ballad is about the guy’s kid, but the lyrics are absolutely awful. There have been a couple of very overrated albums put out this year, and The Novella Resevoir
is one of them.
82. Onslaught - Killing Peace
Even though their early material was pretty awesome and has become the stuff of cult thrash legend, Onslaught have never been the most original band, and 2007’s Killing Peace
continues that trend. This album sees Onslaught unfortunately adopting the modern-hardcore influenced style of latter-day Exodus, and as far as I’m concerned, the last thing we need is another “modern thrash” album. There are a very few cool riffs/moments on here, but overall there is no need at all to listen to this album.
81. Overkill - Immortalis
“Evil may never die… by perhaps now is a good time to consider retirement.” Ah well, nothing lasts forever. After Overkill’s basically mediocre previous album, ReliXIV
, many feared for the future of one of metal’s most solid bands, and Immortalis
confirms those fears. There is just very little going on here, with your typical modern thrash being peppered with rehashes of Overkill’s 90s groove material here and there. And for fuck’s sake, Randy Blythe of Lamb of God does guest vocals. I feel like Overkill’s sold us out. It would seem that despite the greatness of their 80s/early 90s glory days, these guy no longer have very discerning taste in metal, and it shows in their music. The only song I really like on here is “Walk Through Fire” whose chorus riff reminds me of AC/DC and feels the most like it’s got the old Overkill fire. They played it live the last time I saw them, and it was a blast. Unfortunately nothing else really catches my interest enough to make me think I’ll be spinning this album in the foreseeable future. Oh, and not satisfied to blight us with the presence of that fucking ape Blythe, Overkill sees it fit to play a cruel joke on us and Make an “Overkill V” song, except capture practically none of what made the first 4 so great and just mix self-referencing riffs from those songs with shitty modern ones. Why.