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  #61  
Old 01-15-2008, 06:39 PM
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Why is it that 90% of the stuff on your list, I have never heard of? Its all the dark, doomy shit too that looks and sounds really good.
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  #62  
Old 01-15-2008, 07:29 PM
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30-21

30. Therion - Gothic Kabbalah



The two-disc Gothic Kabbalah was one of the first albums of 2007 I listened to, and probably the first one I actually bought. I wasn’t too thrilled with what I heard, and after one or two more listens, I ended up liking one or two songs but essentially shelving it until now. I realize now that I may have just been put off by their slightly revamped sound, and man, does that first disc sound good after all that time. This album sees Therion opting for more power metal-esque vocals, utilizing solo performances far more often than their signature choir vocals, and fittingly, a lot of the material here can definitely be called power metal. They even play with some folk elements on the title track (although the main riff is copied from “Holy Wars” by Megadeth ). And while there are these significant changes, most of the material on Gothic Kabbalah is undeniably Therion, and there are moments of such quality and beauty in songs like “The Perennial Sophia,” “Wisdom and the Cage,” and “Son of the Staves of Time” the likes of which only Therion can produce. The lyrical themes are nothing short of awesome, continuing Therion’s tradition of dabbling in the occult. Gothic Kabbalah is apparently a concept album of sorts, the story of which was partially explained by someone here a while back, in a thread reviewing the album I believe. Anyway, trouble starts for this album once we get into Disc 2. There is definitely good stuff on the second half as well, but the level of quality does drop, and it starts to make the overlong, 1-hour-23-minute playing time seem like an eternity. So, if you’re going to listen to this album, you might want to just hear one or the other, and really, Disc 1 is the better of the two.

29. Cobalt - Eater of Birds



I think this album could be best described as two grim dudes coming together and jamming on Immortal, Darkthrone, maybe even Impaled Nazarene riffs, with enough headbangable rocking out to almost be called black ‘n roll. It works quite well for them, and gives them somewhat of a unique feel even if the riffs are familiar. Also, the acoustic interludes (all ingeniously titled “Ritual Use of Fire”) are excellent and call to mind those of early Dissection—not in that they sound alike (in fact they sound pretty dissimilar), but rather in how necessary and effective they feel, rather than just being superfluous wank. They’re unsettling; the recording is noisy and almost digital-sounding, in contrast with the relatively crisp production of the black metal material. It gets to feeling a tad overlong (approx. 1 hr 10 mins), partially due to the black metal compositions not all being on equal footing in terms of quality, but regardless, this is one of the stronger BM releases this year.

28. Victimizer - The Final Assault



This is straight-up, no bullshit, old-school extreme speed/thrash. For 2007 it’s pretty fucking impressive, but as 80s thrash goes it’s not exactly the best album ever. The vocals are very effective at times, but at others they’re slightly annoying and sound vaguely similar to Alexi from Children of Bodom, which is kind of detrimental to the “old-school” feeling, I think. Also, the solos are strange. They’re like your typical thrash solos, except they seem to anchor on one note each—he’ll play one note continuously, then trill up into some flashy stuff, return to the anchor note for a few beats, play some more flashy stuff, and so on. It’s a strange sound, as I said, and to my ears it’s slightly irritating. Anyway, despite all my complaining, this is most definitely a great 40 minutes of old-school Satanic thrash metal with lots of memorable riffs; all I’m saying is that the praise its getting is slightly disproportionate to its quality considering other great bands that are out there.

27. Björk - Volta



Björk returns with more of her style of dreamy, spacey avant-pop music, influenced as usual by a number of different genres. Volta makes frequent use of subdued horn sections, which often give the music a sort of 70s vibe, at times almost feeling like the soundtrack to a film from that era. There are also moments where the brass seems to recall Philip Glass, but that might just be my imagination. As one would expect, there’s plenty of signature electronica and ambient elements on here as well. One pleasant surprise comes near the end of the album as “Declare Independence”, an uncharacteristically aggressive, industrial-flavored track whose lyrics are probably an exhortation to empowerment, at least on the surface. All in all Volta is thoroughly enjoyable if you like Björk, and unique enough to warrant listening to this one as opposed to just sticking to her other albums.

26. Minsk - The Ritual Fires of Abandonment



American sludge/doom, especially of the progressive and experimental nature, seems to be huge this year, and Minsk’s The Ritual Fires of Abandonment stands tall as one of the better releases to come out of that scene. Like any good prog-sludge, it progresses slowly, developing each song carefully through recurrent themes and gradual buildups. It has a very Eastern mood to it, another element which is not at all uncommon in sludge, and it makes nice use of spacey sound effects to enhance the atmosphere. The saxophone and trumpet solos in tracks 4 and 6 (respectively) are nice touches which feel very natural to the music, despite being distinctly Western instruments. This is high quality stuff and is fairly unique within its style, but the new Rwake and Neurosis are both better.

25. Porcupine Tree - Fear of a Blank Planet



This is the first and only Porcupine Tree album I’ve heard, but I have to say, this modern take on 70s progressive rock is really pretty cool. I’m not sure that Steven Wilson is necessarily treading too much new ground on Fear of a Blank Planet, but every song has treasures to offer. His style of 70s prog seems to have some elements of modern post-rock infused into it, a touch that yields beautiful results. The lyrics are intensely emotional, with Wilson’s withdrawn, timid vocal delivery making them all the more touching. My only real problem with this album is with the attempts at metal passages. They unfortunately recall Opeth not only in their sound, but also in their being misplaced, irrelevant, and irritating (for examples, see the random chugging riff in “Anesthetize” and the unnecessary riff around 5:00 in “Way Out of Here”). Other than that glaring flaw, this is quality music.

24. Total Fucking Destruction - Zen and the Art of Total Fucking Destruction



Now here is some solid fucking great grind. In sound and style you can tell this band is an offshoot of Brutal Truth, but they definitely manage to have their own personality. Those shrieky vocals are fucking fantastic, and they fit perfectly with the drugged-up, humorous style of grind TFD deliver. Not to mention the 4 hilarious acoustic tracks we’re treated to at the end! Admittedly I didn’t check out too many grind releases this year, but this is my favorite.

23. Mayhem - Ordo Ad Chao



With Ordo ad Chao, Mayhem (that is, the modern incarnation thereof) show us that they’ve been listening to latter-day Deathspell Omega and Blut Aus Nord. And you know what, they do a pretty good job of that style. This album can be called experimental black metal, featuring schizophrenic, entirely dissonant guitars and bizarre vocals (they brought back Attila, so that’s not much of a surprise). In fact, about 99% of this album is dissonance, with the only semblance of melody being the clean guitar part that fades out at the end of “Illuminate Eliminate”. When I first heard this album I was pleasantly surprised, not expecting much after 2004’s Chimera, but time will tell whether or not it retains its potency. There is some very interesting music to be found here, and this should be counted among the black metal albums of 2007 that are worth hearing.

22. Witchaven - Black Thrash Assault (Demo)



Holy fucking thrash, Batman! This demo is one of the most insane things I heard all year, at only 12 minutes long! Pure fucking old-school death/black/thrash with ungodly levels of aggression and intensity, taking lots of cues from old Kreator and Dark Angel. Had me headbanging unlike much else from 2007. I wish I could get my hands on more demos from these guys, they have a bunch but this one was hard enough to find as it was. I seriously hope they put out an LP in the near future, and I hope it matches the intensity of this evil little cassette.

21. Explosions in the Sky - All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone



It took me a few listens to like this, but that may be to its credit. The beauty of All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone is a subtle one, and its simplicity may be hard to appreciate at first. The sweeping crescendos the band is known for are here in full force, projecting the listener head-first into emotional landscapes and aural memories. The opening track, “The Birth and the Death of Day”, begins with powerfully distorted chords, giving way to timid guitars quietly finding their bearings as if awoken from a deep sleep. The song slowly builds confidence and presence, eventually blooming into a soaring epic that leaves you salivating for more. This leads to my only complaint about the album, which is that from then on it doesn’t always fulfill the promise made by that first track. Still, Explosions in the Sky’s latest effort is a beautiful work of post-rock in a style difficult to reinvent.

Last edited by overkiller; 01-16-2008 at 02:33 PM.
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  #63  
Old 01-15-2008, 09:40 PM
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40. Blood Freak - Multiplex Massacre
Agreed, though I like Ghoul better.


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39. Blüdwülf - Cryptic Revelations
I cannot fucking believe I haven't heard this yet, gah


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38. Nunslaughter - Hex
Agreed.


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37. Slough Feg - Hardworlder
Agreed, especially your point about more people needing to hear it.



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35. Bestial Mockery - Slaying the Life
For some reason I didn't get into this one, though style-wise it would seem to be to my liking. There's just something missing. Oh well.


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34. Uaral - Lamentos a Poema Muerta
Outstanding album, the melding of Chilean folk (which I'm familiar with already) with doom is beautiful.


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33. Turisas - The Varangian Way
No way this touches the new Moonsorrow dude, no way. It's alright for what is it though.


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32. Primordial - To the Nameless Dead

A strong point is the lyrical topics as you mentioned, and overall it's a great piece of art from one of the shining stars of the pagan/folk metal genre.
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  #64  
Old 01-15-2008, 09:54 PM
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30. Therion - Gothic Kabbalah
Agreed.


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29. Cobalt - Eater of Birds
Masterfuckingpiece. Genius even.


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28. Victimizer - The Final Assault
I haven't felt compelled to wreck shit this badly since I first heard Show No Mercy. Thrash metal fucking insanity, riffpowers of the gods, utterly brutal skull-smashing sonic attack. Could've made my top 10.


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26. Minsk - The Ritual Fires of Abandonment
I'm surprised at how high you ranked this, I'm a big fan of this style and while I thought it was definitely good there's no way it should beat some of the albums of similar ilk that it did. I do dig on that Eastern atmosphere, and thematically its one of the more engaging albums of 2007, but Neurosis already nailed the tribal thing and this just basically sounds like a watered-down version of Through Silver In Blood with a saxophone.


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25. Porcupine Tree - Fear of a Blank Planet
*clap, clap, clap clap clap* "O-VER-RA-TED!" *clap, clap, clap clap clap* "O-VER-RA-TED!" Majorly so.


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24. Total Fucking Destruction - Zen and the Art of Total Fucking Destruction
Ehh, too incoherent for my liking.


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23. Mayhem - Ordo Ad Chao
Stunned at how good of a return to form this was, probably makes it seem better than it actually is but damn if that production and those vocals don't make Mayhem sound truly evil once again. Badass.


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22. Witchaven - Black Thrash Assault (Demo)
Haha I'm glad you picked up on this, cool ass shit indeed. They used to play the local thrash shows up here a lot, never caught them though and they haven't been up to NorCal in awhile.


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21. Ash Pool - World Turns On Its Hinge
Probably the most intense album I've ever heard. I can't think of anything more sinister and possessed-sounding than this, so fucking ugly. The soundtrack to being locked in a dark, disgusting, cold basement with rats crawling around your feet while intermittently being tortured in the worst possible ways by some maniac in a trenchcoat. Such an appropriate band name too, vividly recalling the Holocaust. Horrifyingly captivating music.
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  #65  
Old 01-16-2008, 12:40 PM
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25. Porcupine Tree - Fear of a Blank Planet
This is the first and only Porcupine Tree album I’ve heard, but I have to say, this modern take on 70s progressive rock is really pretty cool. I’m not sure that Steven Wilson is necessarily treading too much new ground on Fear of a Blank Planet, but every song has treasures to offer. His style of 70s prog seems to have some elements of modern post-rock infused into it, a touch that yields beautiful results. The lyrics are intensely emotional, with Wilson’s withdrawn, timid vocal delivery making them all the more touching. My only real problem with this album is with the attempts at metal passages. They unfortunately recall Opeth not only in their sound, but also in their being misplaced, irrelevant, and irritating (for examples, see the random chugging riff in “Anesthetize” and the unnecessary riff around 5:00 in “Way Out of Here”). Other than that glaring flaw, this is quality music.
I don't mind the metal riffs at all, but only this album and their last one even have those, so if you like the sound but would prefer not to have the heavy riffs, get Stupid Dream or In Absentia. That said, glad you liked the album so much.
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  #66  
Old 01-16-2008, 02:14 PM
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Err, ok, I made a minor miscalculation. I still gotta write a few reviews for my top 20, but Ash Pool will be moving way up into those numbers, it's just too damn good. Once I write a review for what's going to replace it at #21, I'll edit it into my post.

Edit: And done.

Last edited by overkiller; 01-16-2008 at 02:34 PM.
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  #67  
Old 01-16-2008, 03:23 PM
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Desert rock fanboy
You know it



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=overkiller]Explosions in the Sky - All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone
Boring, generic post-rock that couldn't hold my attention whatsoever. Not good.
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Old 01-16-2008, 03:28 PM
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Boring, generic post-rock that couldn't hold my attention whatsoever. Not good.
Grails much?
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Old 01-16-2008, 03:29 PM
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Grails much?
Loser
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  #70  
Old 01-16-2008, 04:29 PM
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Boring, generic post-rock that couldn't hold my attention whatsoever. Not good.
It takes multiple listens, dude.
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