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  #11  
Old 01-07-2009, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by ChildrenofSodom View Post
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.
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Old 01-07-2009, 11:25 AM
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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.
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Old 01-07-2009, 11:28 AM
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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.
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Old 01-07-2009, 12:44 PM
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Good read. I can't wait for the rest of the list.
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Old 01-07-2009, 12:54 PM
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10. Lil Wayne - Tha Carter III



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

9. M83 - Saturdays = Youth



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



(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



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



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



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



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



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 ) really just dug out a special place in my heart for it.

2. Cynic – Traced in Air



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 () 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



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.

Last edited by overkiller; 01-07-2009 at 01:13 PM.
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  #16  
Old 01-07-2009, 04:39 PM
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Well, I'm quite happy that Fleet Foxes gained some more ground.

This was a very good read, I think you and I are just going to have to do these for the rest of eternity.
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  #17  
Old 01-07-2009, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by DethMaiden View Post
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.
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Old 01-07-2009, 05:16 PM
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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.
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  #19  
Old 01-07-2009, 05:50 PM
overkiller overkiller is offline
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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"

Last edited by overkiller; 01-07-2009 at 06:24 PM.
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  #20  
Old 01-07-2009, 06:17 PM
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Nas and Immortal Technique > Lil Wayne
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