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  #21  
Old 01-25-2010, 08:36 PM
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I'm a big Lamb of God fan and I didn't like Wrath, I thought they tried too hard to recreate Ashes/Palaces so hard that everything sounded forced.
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  #22  
Old 01-26-2010, 07:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idrinkwine732 View Post
I'm a big Lamb of God fan and I didn't like Wrath, I thought they tried too hard to recreate Ashes/Palaces so hard that everything sounded forced.
I feel samesies re: The Infection. I'm basically a Chimaira fan (they come from my home town, and they rock pretty hard), but this latest album of theirs was just totally phoned in. Complete garbage, for the most part.
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Old 01-26-2010, 11:55 AM
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Continuing on...



89. Job for a Cowboy – Ruination
Before listening to this album, I had I had heard some comments from JFAC fans that this album is a lot less deathcore and a lot more death metal that the previous album, “Genesis”. While I would agree for the most part, I do still hear quite a bit of deathcore here, which in general is not a good thing for me (I’m just being honest!). I will admit that this band is pretty good at fusing the two genres, similarly to bands such as The Red Chord (whose new album I did not hear this year…oh well). The vocals on this are better, the production is cleaner, the riffs are more clear and catchy, and the overall flow of the album is smoother and less choppy than its predecessor – so by all rights, this is a big step up for this band. If I could only get over the deathcore aspect of this album, I think I would really like it – at least it isn’t full of garbage breakdowns and other totally easy, lame song devices that make this genre so difficult to swallow for so many people.



88. General Surgery – Corpus in Extremis: Analysing Necrocriticism
I had my first real exposure to this band at last year’s Maryland Death Fest. They are obviously inspired in almost every way by the great grindcore legends Carcass, except that General Surgery seems to missing one crucial ingredient (maybe two). They just do not seem to have riffs that are as catchy as Carcass’s early material, and of course they are following someone else’s example instead of seeing what they can come up with on their own. I mean, don’t get me wrong – this album is refreshing in the sense that it’s as close to old-school Carcass as you’re going to get in an album released in the past decade (save perhaps a few by the band Deaden), and the stage antics of this band of goofballs (which include buckets of fake blood being ladled and splashed out by attractive, busty young girls in nurse uniforms – rrroooowwwrrrrr!) are fun enough, but this review is of the songs on this album, and quite frankly most of those songs, while familiar-sounding, just aren’t as compelling as those that inspired this band’s work.



87. Merrimack – Grey Rigorism
During my research for this album, I came across an online review for this album that started thusly: “There are a lot of avant-garde, sonically adventurous black metal bands coming out of France these days. Merrimack is not one of them.” While I don’t think I would have thought about starting my review of this album that way, I think I have to say that I somewhat see the reviewer’s point. This album is dark and old-school sounding, but it really isn’t very adventurous or original, and really does feel somewhat uninspired. As the reviewer also points out, with bands like Mayhem, Marduk and Immortal still putting out albums in this genre (spoiler alert: the latter of which has an album which appears much higher up this particular list), albums like this just disappear into the noise. Black metal is a genre that is really evolving these days, but this band just does not seem to be following that same “generally upward” trend.



86. Psyopus – Odd Senses
Wow. There is a whole lot going on here with this album. First, let me state the obvious and say that the band’s founder Chris “Arpmandude” Arp is a complete animal. I read somewhere that he had to prove to someone at a record label or something that he could actually play as fast as he does on his albums, and that Psyopus got their first major break because he showed up and blew them away (or something along those lines). I can believe it. I’ve never heard anyone play this fast (and I listen to Necrophagist and Origin). There are also some cool technical tricks at work here, too. The chorus of one of the songs is comprised of spoken sound clips strung together in quick progression – it’s a nice touch that got my attention. There is more to discover, too, but suffice to say that for all the technical wizardry at work here, I just had a fairly hard time getting into this album. Genghis Tron does a lot of technical tricks, but at the end of the day they have some pretty compelling licks in their songs that hit me on more of an emotional level than an intellectual one, and so I like them more. This is a case in point for something I said in last year’s review of Origin and Arsis – “fast for the sake of fast” just doesn’t cut it with me (although Chris Arp is about as fast as they come). I need to connect to the music somehow.



85. Emperor – Live Inferno
One interesting aspect of this live album is that it is a two-volume set – presumably the full set of two different shows (Wacken Open Air and Inferno Festivals). Be advised, though – each disc contains approximately the same material (the Inferno Festival set includes two or three tracks which aren’t on the Wacken disc). However, the sound quality of both discs is very good, and although I am not a huge Emperor fan it would seem that the set lists do include many of the fan favorites from over the years (much of it is from their earliest albums). So basically, as with many live albums, fans of Emperor should love this. New fans might also enjoy it – I did.



84. Revolting Cocks – Sex-O Olympic-O
Those that know me, know that I am a big fan of some very serious music indeed. It may come in many different forms (extreme speed, extreme accuracy, heavy low ends, deep lyrics, etc.), but usually I am looking for so-called “serious” substance. Sometimes, though, I guess just need to check my brain at the door. Enter this album. This is Ministry cross-bred with equal parts Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie. The politics (at least in recent years) of Ministry give way to the popcorn horror movie, drunken biker, robot hooker antics of Zombie, and the white-faced, pierced/tattooed, teenager-trying-oh-so-hard-to-piss-his/her-parents-off goth-ness of Manson. This is not a serious album, but it can be reasonably fun if taken in the right context.



83. Jesu – Infinity
This full-length album is one of two releases in 2009 for the metal-gaze outfit Jesu – the other being a four-song, twenty-five minute EP titled “Opiate Sun”. This album, unlike the EP, is very explorative – and different from Jesu’s previous work in many ways, the most obvious of which is that the album consists of a single fifty-minute track. Perhaps less obvious – at least at first – are the differences in tone, song structure and overall sound. For example, there are few vocals here, and the ones that are present are, for the most part, sampled, or – hold on to your hats, Jesu fans – shouted. Yes, there are vocals on this album that border on harsh. Also, much of the fuzz which is typically present in the guitar playing on Jesu’s other material is ostensible absent here. Now, that’s not to say that there is no distortion used on this album – it’s just not used in the typical “Jesu” way. The production is a bit cleaner, allowing the listener to hear more of what’s going on between the guitars (for example, keyboards, or in some cases, silence). At the end of the day, this album is one of exploration for this band, and it is a solid piece of work. It’s not quite what most Jesu fans are probably used to, at least in terms of the more subtle nuances, but on the other side of the coin, this is unmistakably still a Jesu album, and that’s a good thing.



82. Keelhaul – Triumphant Return to Obscurity
While 2009 was one of the best years in recent memory for metal albums in almost every genre, it hasn’t exactly been a banner year for bands from Cleveland – and while this album is much better than the bitterly disappointing new album from Chimaira, it would seem that Keelhaul’s latest release is probably doomed to be exactly what its title promises. I realize that, with an album title like that, Keelhaul is completely happy where they are, and they’re not trying to please anyone but themselves – and while that is admirable for the most part, it’s also just a little bit disappointing. Don’t get me wrong – this album is classic Keelhaul at its best – heavy as hell, twisting and turning every which way in terms of song structures and time signatures, and obviously designed to be played loud as hell – so by Keelhaul’s standards, it’s probably a damned good album. I just found most of it to be a little bit inaccessible, and I didn’t really get caught up in any hooks or memorable parts that just dragged me in (such as the chorus in “360”). This album just “happens”, and didn’t really grab me and make me want to come back for more.



81. Muse – The Resistance
The first time I really paid attention to Muse was last September at Giants Stadium in New York (well, technically, East Rutherford, NJ) when they opened for U2. I was absolutely blown away. They played a few songs from their new album, including the rousing album opener “Uprising”, as well as old favorites such as “Supermassive Black Hole”, and “Knights of Cydonia”. What a show. Sometime after I got home, I grabbed a copy of “The Resistance” and started listening expectantly. What I heard was somewhat unexpected. I heard a band that can clearly do almost anything they want to do musically, including not only sound like Queen but also write an album that is basically a rock opera such as Queen used to do. While this is impressive, it left me asking “Why?”. Why would a band this good try so hard to sound like someone else? Their own material is just so damned good, I just didn’t understand the motivation behind writing an album like this. So while I do give Muse credit for doing something extraordinary (and I’m not surprised at all that they could pull it off), I have to say it didn’t please me much as a fan.



80. Kreator – Hordes of Chaos
It took me quite a while to bring myself to download this album (I admit it – but let’s face it – there was no way I was going to pay for this). The reason it took so long is that I remember what Kreator used to sound like (basically, like old Destruction – a German thrash / death metal band), and I sensed that after all the line-up changes, retirements and coming back from retirements and the like, that this group would have lost their edge. Sadly, I was right. This is very mediocre, which doesn’t sound all that bad, but with all the excellent music out there today it is basically (and unfortunately for Kreator) the kiss of death. Kreator might just be irrelevant at this stage.
Edit: After listening to this album a few more times (maybe more for the sake of posterity than anything else), I admit some of the riffs have grown on me a bit. There are also some super-lame moments (like the clean vocals at the beginning of “Amok Run”, even though the song really takes off later), but at least the album is thrashy as hell. High marks for energy / effort.
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  #24  
Old 01-26-2010, 01:42 PM
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No comments on anything except the Kreator so far, which I would have a hell of a lot higher than #80. Top 25 of the year for me. Sheesh.
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Old 01-26-2010, 03:53 PM
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I'm with you on Hordes of Chaos, but Muse at 81? Shocking, It's no Absolution or Black Holes for sure, but I thought it was fantastic.
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Old 01-26-2010, 05:48 PM
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Saw that DVD/CD of Emperor at Hastings today. Looked mighty tasty!
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  #27  
Old 01-27-2010, 05:24 AM
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I kinda liked RevCo. Been a huge Mnistry fan for years but the side projects never really grabbed me except a song or 2 here and there. If there are 80 better cd's than Kreator, Muse and LOG this should get interesting...
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  #28  
Old 01-27-2010, 06:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DethMaiden View Post
No comments on anything except the Kreator so far, which I would have a hell of a lot higher than #80. Top 25 of the year for me. Sheesh.
The problem for me is, I was around when Kreator first came out, and the new stuff is nothing like that. Just like the Carcass conversations we've had in the past, I'm stuck thinking that the "old" sound is the way they "should" sound. It certainly wasn't a BAD album - truth be told, I liked almost everything on my list to some degree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by idrinkwine732 View Post
I'm with you on Hordes of Chaos, but Muse at 81? Shocking, It's no Absolution or Black Holes for sure, but I thought it was fantastic.
Musically, it is definitely a superb album (as are all of Muse's albums). The problem I had was that the style they adopted for it had me scratching my head. Thus, it got very little playing time in my queue, which was one of the major factors I used to rank all these albums. The more it got my attention (and therefore got played), the higher up my list it will appear - generally speaking.

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Originally Posted by mankvill View Post
Saw that DVD/CD of Emperor at Hastings today. Looked mighty tasty!
I downloaded that one, so I wasn't aware it was a CD/DVD set. I know there at least two audio discs in there. Maybe we are talking about two different things, or maybe not. Like I said, if you are an Emperor fan, this is likely to look very appealing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jhdeity View Post
I kinda liked RevCo. Been a huge Mnistry fan for years but the side projects never really grabbed me except a song or 2 here and there. If there are 80 better cd's than Kreator, Muse and LOG this should get interesting...
I actually "kinda" liked it, too. It just went out of my music queue about as fast as it went in, and never returned. If you read my comments to Wine above, you'll realize that this generally means I'm going to rank it lower. Like I told Brad, I actually liked most of what is on my list. By the way, I've been a Ministry fan since they first came out, and RevCo as well. I jammed "Beers, Steers and Queers" non-stop in college. This new album kinda struck me as Rob Zombie lite, but it was (is) fun. EDIT: ...and how could you at least not love the album cover?!?


----------

THANKS EVERYBODY FOR YOUR COMMENTS...ANOTHER UPDATE IS SCHEDULED FOR TONIGHT, HOPEFULLY.
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Last edited by Natrlhi; 01-27-2010 at 06:50 AM.
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  #29  
Old 01-28-2010, 05:12 AM
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Missed last night's update, as I laid down with my son when I put him to bed, and straight up crashed. Missed my P90X workout and everything - dammit. Oh well, I must have needed the sleep (in fact, I did - bad ).

I'll try to get something out there later today.
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  #30  
Old 01-30-2010, 02:58 PM
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Sorry I'm off my pace here, guys. Shit has been weird lately. Right now I am on the road traveling with my wife and kid, but I had some downtime so I thought I would throw another quick ten up there...



79. Belphegor – Walpurgis Rites – Hexenwahn
Some black metal bands (mainly older ones) have focused on minimalism and low production values in their sound. Belphegor is not one of these. Some have gone the route of being more on the symphonic side of the spectrum. This is not Belphegor, either. Yet others have gone to the eclectic / avant garde side of things, and again, not Belphegor. So one might think that Belphegor is a pretty unique band in the black metal scene, but to be honest, this album still just sound to me like black-metal-by-the-numbers, and I can’t really explain why. Maybe it’s because Immortal’s 2009 release (discussed further up this list) was just so brutal and awesome, or maybe it’s because I’ve never been a true “fan” of this band, but this is one of many albums which appear in the middle of my list this year simply because, although I listened to them and liked what I heard, there was just some je ne sais quoi kind of thing missing that would demand repeated listens. If you’re a huge black metal fan, or even a passing Belphegor fan, you’ll probably like this album even more than I did. It is certainly evil-sounding and heavy.



78. Suffocation – Blood Oath
This is one of many albums that ended up in the middle of my list this year, simply because there was nothing about the album that really grabbed my attention beyond the band making decent music in their respective genre, and being reasonably competent at what they do. I mean, one thing I do know about Suffocation is that they are very brutal-sounding, and they can definitely play their instruments well enough. The drums are pretty fast, and the bass guitar is really thick and heavy. This is damn good death metal. However, it’s just not the type of sound I just can’t wait to get back to and hear again. Like what I hear? Yup. Compelled to listen again? Not really. I will give this album decent marks for production as well – the various parts seem to be really well-balanced, and the overall sound of this band comes across very well.



77. Municipal Waste – Massive Aggressive
Lots of folks have been making a really big deal out of Municipal Waste lately, and while I can understand why, I am also a bit puzzled by this phenomenon. Certainly, they are one of the best modern thrash / hardcore crossover bands out there today – but my reaction to this is, “So what?” I mean, if I didn’t know better, I would think I was listening to a D.R.I. album when I hear this album (which is basically a compliment, as they were tops at the same game back in their day). However, the reason I never really fully got into this genre is that all of the bands, all of the albums, and all of the songs on the albums, sounded exactly the same. There was no depth to it, and there still isn’t. Is it fun? Sure. Is it energetic? Hell yes. Fast? Yup. Heavy? At times. But even after acknowledging all of this merit, I still am left with no reason why I would listen to an album like this over and over again. See Municipal Waste live? Probably. Buy this album and spin it over and over again? Probably not. It’s basically just a genre thing to me (shrugs).



76. Warbringer – Waking Into Nightmares
My first significant exposure to this band came in late 2009 when I saw them live opening for Vader. I did expect to like Warbringer, but what I didn’t expect was to come out of the pit grinning from ear to ear, shouting “those guys are awesome!” Nevertheless, that’s what happened. However, a few weeks afterward, I listened to this album a couple of times, and my reaction was, “why did I like these guys, again?” I don’t know what it is, but I think that Warbringer’s primary draw is their live show, and not their album performance. This isn’t a total shock when it comes to music like this – I mean, it’s thrash. It’s high energy stuff. When you see the band up there doing it, it’s just bound to be more fun (in this case, a hell of a lot more). Now, this isn’t to say that this album is lousy, because on a technical level, there is basically nothing wrong with it at all – it just didn’t appeal to me anywhere near as much as Warbringer’s live performance did. Should you buy this album? I would say if you are a fan of the band, or a big fan of modern thrash, then absolutely. If you’re not sure, then go see Warbringer live, and then make your decision. Either way, they are a good band with a solid work ethic. They make good music, are really entertaining, and deserve some praise (and a little of your hard-earned cash, whether it’s from buying a ticket to their show, or this album).



75. Tombs – Winter Hours
This is the second album for Brooklyn’s sludge metal outfit Tombs, and their debut on their new label Relapse, and many critics are calling it a triumph for them. While I can definitely detect a new level of increased density and richness in their sound here, this album still has some of the same qualities that their previous album had that prevent me from becoming even more interested – primarily, that while there is a whole lot going on here sonically, it just doesn’t create the same cohesive wall of sound that experts in this genre such as Pelican can create. This album is just not as compelling as some other sludge metal is, at least to me. Unlike Pelican, Tombs uses vocals frequently in their work, and while there is nothing overtly wrong with the vocals, in my opinion they don’t add much either. At the end of the day, this is a very thick, dense slab of sludge metal that hardcore fans of the genre might appreciate, but as far as drawing me in and making me want to hear more, it just didn’t do that much for me.



74. Dethklok – Dethklok: The Dethalbum II
Many folks refer to Dethklok as a “fake” band – even those that jokingly and / or lovingly refer to them as their favorite “fake” band. However, Dethklok are really anything but fake. Just ask anybody who has seen them live – they are very real, and also very talented. Guitarist / vocalist Brendon Small is actually close to being a guitar prodigy, and drummer Gene Hoglan – well, let’s just say we don’t even need to point out his chops. This album is yet another collection of full-length tunes, sections of which were an integral part of episodes of the show Metalocalypse. It bears mentioning here that the aforementioned show is a comedy, and as such, the lyrics in these songs are of course funny and tongue-in-cheek – but the music is quite serious. True, some very common musical techniques are showcased here – but they are techniques which have been used by some of the very best musicians in the metal world, so in a sense the music becomes as much of an homage to metal as it is a parody of some of metal’s sillier aspects. Both the show, and the music behind the show, are smartly written and well-executed, which is a direct reason for the success of both Metalocalypse as a show, and Dethklok as a very “real” band.



73. Múm – Sing Along to Songs You Don’t Know
This album is officially the furthest thing from metal in this list, and by a pretty wide margin. This group sits squarely in the Indie Pop genre, composed of a bunch of girls and guys from Iceland. I originally got into them because their earlier sound was very electronic, but it really isn’t anymore. The group is still very experimental, though, making many of their musical noises in highly interesting ways, such as with rarely-used (and sometimes even homemade) instruments, employing beautiful and haunting multi-part harmonies on vocals, and the like. This is as decent an effort as I have heard from this band, although as I say it was the electronic-tinged sound of their earlier career that I loved most. Still, if you’re looking for something entirely different, possibly in the vein of A Silver Mt. Zion meets Björk, then give this a shot.



72. Les Claypool – Of Fungi and Foe
I read somewhere that this latest album from Les Claypool – his second solo album to date – is primarily a collection of songs written for a couple of different video games. His previous solo album includes the theme song from the highly irregular TV show “Robot Chicken” – and of course, we all know that Les also wrote the theme song from “South Park”. This just goes to prove that whatever Mr. Claypool’s reason for writing a song, the outcome is still likely to be highly eclectic and often just plain weird. Anyone who knows the history of Primus (and its many offshoots) knows this – but there is something else that these folks also know. They know that whatever the reason for the song – it is certainly going to be weird, but it is also probably going to be very well-executed. This album is no exception. Some of these songs are downright ridiculous in their content (no surprise whatsoever, considering their source), but they are almost universally just as compelling as they are strange. There’s just something about the odd genius that is Claypool’s music, and whether it’s for Primus, or some band having to do with Frogs or Mackerels or Buckets of Bernie Brains or whatever, I am almost certainly going to like it.



71. Goatwhore – Carving Out the Eyes of God
It should come as no surprise to a neophyte that, with a name like Goatwhore, this band is primarily a black metal outfit. However, there is also a decidedly death / thrash aspect to their sound as well. As described in the old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups commercials – two great tastes that taste great together. However, some fundamentalist fans have used this as evidence that the band has “sold out”. Clearly, the band has consciously progressed in the direction of still having black metal roots, but with cleaner production and more prominent riffs than are typically found on most “pure” black metal albums. All I know is that this formula works for me, and I’m honestly surprised that I’m not more of a fan of this band than I am – this album may finally change all that. There are times when I’m honestly reminded of Celtic Frost when I listen to this album, so I would say that the band’s roots are still where they are “supposed” to be – and then there are times when I’m reminded of earlier Sepultura, for example, and to me this is a good thing. Naysayers can rant all they want – Goatwhore is a very good band whose skills are steadily improving, whose fan base is steadily growing, and whose star is definitely on the rise.



70. Saviours – Accelerated Living
When people ask me what this band sounds like (which they often do, because they tour like crazy and have been attached to quite a few good shows which have come through the area where I live), I usually find myself at a bit of a loss. The funny part is, this band is not complicated at all – they are simply high energy and fun – it’s just putting it into words that’s sometimes difficult. Basically, Saviours is a stoner / doom band, but their tempo is almost like a punk band’s would be (and the punk comparisons don’t end there, either). Think “High on Fire”, but lighter and maybe a bit faster overall. There is also a bit of thrashiness present from time to time, primarily in some of the drum beats. Saviours is as fun as D.R.I., but with thicker riffs like Black Sabbath – does that make any sense? Probably not, but if you listen to them you might understand what I mean. At any rate, this album is every bit as good as their previous work – in fact, it’s probably their best album to date. This is a good, solid piece of upbeat stoner metal with just enough punk and thrash to keep the mood light – and the pace is steady and quick.
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9/8 Man or Astro-Man?

Last edited by Natrlhi; 02-08-2010 at 09:07 AM.
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