2017-08-28

My top-150 favourite albums: 110-101

A top-150 list of my favourite albums!? Sure, why not. Needless to say, this list was really difficult to put together and it will probably look quite different in five years or so. But I just felt that I had to do it and the last time I did something like this was almost 10 years ago and that one "only" covered 100 albums. I cannot state enough how personal this list is and therefore bands that I find overrated or just plain boring wont be featured. This includes what many consider "classic" albums such as "Rust in Peace", "Vulgar Display of Power", "Reign in Blood" etc. Sorry, but I have a very selective taste even though there are some more "classic" and old-school albums as well. But then again, there's also stuff that's not metal at all. And always remember - 90's metal weirdness rules on this blog! Hope you enjoy this!
This is 110-101


110. Katatonia - Viva Emptiness (2003)
As I stated earlier (#143 to be precise) I felt like all the pieces we're coming together for Katatonia on "Tonight's Decision" (1999). The follow-up known as "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" (2001) was a trainwreck of epic proportions where only the single "Teargas" was something that I could bare myself listening to. I stopped following Katatonia then and there and did not look back until many years later. I think they had released "Dead End Kings" (2012) then and I worked myself back through the band's catalouge in hope of finding something redeeming. I found it in "Viva Emptiness". All of a sudden, the band decided to write damn good songs instead of the sleeping pills found elsewhere in the majority of the band's discography. I don't know what happened during this recording but the entire band just feels so hungry and it's pure joy to listen through the entire album. In general, I think these songs are shorter than on most of their other albums, which is why this one doesn't feel as watered down as the others. A damn fine record in my opinion.


109. Rage Against the Machine - Rage Against the Machine (1992)
When I was 12 years old, I discovered RATM and the teenage me loved absolutely every damn second of their debut album. This self-titled mixture of hip-hop, hardcore, metal and rap came just at the right time and I cannot think of a better time to use the phrase "lightning in a bottle", because this is exactly what the band captured here. It felt so fresh and almost out of this world back in the early 90's, which I think is difficult to comprehend if one didn't listen to it then and there. When the band finally released a follow-up 4 years later, it was too late. Even if there are a couple of good tracks on "Evil Empire" (1996) the world was already at a different place and to me personally, RATM was a thing of the past. This debut feels very dated when listening to it today, but still, one cannot deny the quality in each and every one of the songs here.


108. My Dying Bride - Songs of Darkness, Words of Light (2004)
I refer to 1999-2008 as My Dying Bride's mid-period where they at times felt confused as to what they exactly wanted with their patented gothic doom metal. This one obviously falls under that category and while there are good songs here, it's quite boring at times - for being a My Dying Bride-album that is. But it's very rare that this band dissapoints me at all (apart from that album from 1998 which had better be unspoken of) and even though this album just feels like "any other MDB-album" it's still good. Obviously. If I just have to give a special notion to one song, I have to say that I absolutely love the opener "The Wreckage of My Flesh".


107. Tiamat - Skeleton Skeletron (1999)
This is the album where Tiamat went gothic rock/metal all the way. It was bound to happen eventually when one looks at the band's previous two albums; "Wildhoney" (1994) stripped the band from it's death metal-roots while "A Deeper Kind of Slumber" (1997) stripped away everything metal. Even though this album is "more metal" than it's predecessor, it's main strengths does not lie in guitars but in keyboards, choruses and overall catchiness. I know that many people can't stand Johan's vocals and even though I agree that they aren't the best - nor are they 100% in key all the time either - they suite the music perfectly here. There's an instrumental track and a horrendous cover of Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil" that I usually skip when I listen to the album, but all the other songs are great goth metal tracks.


106. Arckanum - ÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞ (2009)
Swedish one-man army Arckanum have consistantly been releasing inconsistent black metal albums since 1995 and for that, we should all be thankful. This is basically the last killer album the man released as everything since have mostly been dull black metal without feeling or purpose. On this, somewhat ridicously titled album, most things are spot-on. It is a black metal album with good and clear production, loads of melodic riffing and atmosphere. It is not cold, badly produced nor is it dark or menacing. I guess it is a very "accessible" black metal album which of course means both pros and cons. I like the way that many of the first track sound so alike to each other, this makes for a very hypnotizing album, even though I can see why many people would find it dull instead. As usual when it comes to Arckanum, there are boring instrumental "songs" which feels out of place and destroys the flow of the album. There are also (as usual) tracks that are slower and feels like messed-up doom metal songs. Not a huge fan of those either. What I am a huge fan of is Shamatee's voice and the way he pronounces. It makes you feel like he means each and every word he spits out, which only adds to the atmosphere.


105. Vintersorg - Naturbål (2014)
What!? A Vintersorg-album this low? On this blog? Yes, it's true. Even though I have blindly bought everything that Andreas Hedlund has done ever since I discovered Otyg back in 1999, even I cannot oblige to blind fanboyism. Make no misstake though, this album is good. Songs such as "Ur Aska och Sot", "Överallt och Ingenstans", "Lågornas Rov" and especially the magnificent "Elddraken" are damn fine, classic V-compositions. But here's the real deal: We have heard this album before. It is basically a mish-mash of the two previous albums "Orkan" (2012) and "Jordpuls" (2011) - nothing more, nothing less. And since I like those two albums  a lot - this is of course not a bad thing. It's just that I would've wanted to feel something different here - would it be so much to ask of as a little more variety? Something unexpected? Long gone are the days since Vintersorg actually amazed me and knocked me off my feet. It is still all very competent and interesting - just not that interesting anymore. It doesn't help the album either that songs such as "Rymdens Brinnande Öar", "Natten Visste Vad Skymningen Såg" and "Urdarmåne" feels genuinely uninspired and dull.


104. My Dying Bride - As the Flower Withers (1992)
My Dying Bride's debut album is most certainly a hit and miss-album. One of it's feet is kicking frantically at the death metal-landscape. No surprise really, since this was the scene that dominated metal back then and as the youngsters they were, this was easliy the most natural and most "evil" thing to play. The other foot is firmly grounded in deep doom metal-concrete. This resulted in a quite uneven album where the more faster-paced sections feels boring and out of place, while the some (not all) of the slower sections reeks of atmosphere. While listening to the album today, one can almost feel what was about to errupt only one year later, but more on that further up this list. "The Bitterness and the Beravement" and "Vast Choirs" are the tracks that truly stands out for me, even though I enjoy parts of "Sear Me" and "The Return of the Beautiful" as well. The less said about the dullest, most clichéd death metal track I've ever heard - "The Forever People" - the better.


103. Age of Silence - Acceleration (2004)
This is partly a concept-album about working in an office. Finally, a brilliant concept that many people can follow and relate to. The line-up basically consists of members from the black metal band Winds + Lars Nedland (Solefald, Borknagar ex-Ásmegin) on vocals. If you're familiar with Nedlands' vocals from before, you'll either think of Solefald or Ásmegin when you listen to "Acceleration". Musically, this is not far from the madness of Solefald either. So if you enjoy said bands, you're sure to enjoy this somewhat forgotten gem in the realm of avantgarde metal. The keyboards on this album (Andy Winter is a god on keys) plays a huge part in the soundscape and this has more to do with progressive- rather than black metal. Still, I think every metal fan can find something they like on this album. I really recommend you check this out if you haven't.


102. Marduk - Frontschwein (2015)
Hands down, this is the best black metal-album ever to come from Marduk. Yes, I know that they've been active since the early 90's and pounding out album after album. I don't care much about their early "classic" period since I find those records just having ferocity without finesse. I can understand that those early albums might have been interesting when they were new, but judging them from my viewpoint today, it's mostly uninteresting to my ears. No, for me the band didn't become truly interesting until they got the incredibly talented vocalist (and lyricist) Mortuus in their ranks. And even then their albums have been, quite frankly, uneven. But "Frontschwein" is the perfect Marduk-album since it represents everything they are about - from neck-breaking speed to slow death-marches. Mortuus lyrics are always a joy to read and the album has a flow from start to finish that I haven't found on any of their previous ones. Colour me impressed!



101. Arcturus - Arcturian (2015)
I had to wait 10 fucking long years to finally get a follow-up to "Sideshow Symphonies" (#135) so you can safely assume that I had high hopes for this one. Sadly, I feel sort of let down. For while "Arcturian" is a very competent album, better that it's predecessor and would've been awesome coming from any other band - it just feels as though Arcturus have forgotten to surprise it's audience. Much of the riffing and keyboard-melodies present here are things we've heard before, only slightly variated and twisted. But they try and are somewhat granted success in songs such as "The Arcturian Sign", "Warp" and "Game Over". The album is more cohesive than it's predecessor and there are nods the band's entire back-catalouge. All in all, this is an album that feels uninspired at times and then all of a sudden we get a new twist and I find myself smiling and banging my head. I guess schizophrenic is a good way to describe it.


150-141 | 140-131 | 130-121 | 120-111 | 110-101 | 100-91 | 90-81 |
80-71 | 70-61 | 60-51 | 50-41| 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 | 10-1

2017-08-24

My top-150 favourite albums: 120-111

A top-150 list of my favourite albums!? Sure, why not. Needless to say, this list was really difficult to put together and it will probably look quite different in five years or so. But I just felt that I had to do it and the last time I did something like this was almost 10 years ago and that one "only" covered 100 albums. I cannot state enough how personal this list is and therefore bands that I find overrated or just plain boring wont be featured. This includes what many consider "classic" albums such as "Rust in Peace", "Vulgar Display of Power", "Reign in Blood" etc. Sorry, but I have a very selective taste even though there are some more "classic" and old-school albums as well. But then again, there's also stuff that's not metal at all. And always remember - 90's metal weirdness rules on this blog! Hope you enjoy this!
This is 120-111


120. Cradle of Filth - Dusk.... and Her Embrace (1996)
Even though Cradle of Filth have tried going back to their roots with their latest album and I have hope for their future now, let's all be honest here. The trilogy that started with the MCD "V Empire or Dark Faerytales in Phallustein" and ended with "Cruelty and the Beast" will probably never be surpassed. And right in the middle there, we of course have "Dusk.... and Her Embrace". It is an album that manages to mix ferocious black metal with Iron Maiden-harmonies with a gothic touch. It might not sound very "fresh" nowadays, but there's no denying the brilliant song-writing combined with Dani's amazing lyrics. This resulted in some of the band's best songs ever; "Funeral in Carpathia", "A Gothic Romance (Red Roses for the Devil's Whore)", the title-track and "Beauty Slept in Sodom". Also, be sure to get the digibook/special edition of this album so that you also get the re-recorded new version of "Nocturnal Supremacy" which is one of the Filth's best songs IMO.


119. Moonspell - Night Eternal (2008)
Even though Moonspell have been one of my favourite bands for a long time now, they've managed to release albums that ranges from great to good, so-so to utter crap and everything inbetween. "Night Eternal" is an album that has quite some filler-songs such as the pointless "Dreamless (Lucifer and Lilith)" and the mediocre attempt at a "gothic teenage angst-anthem" that "Scorpion Flower" is, but this is backed up by the amazing opener "At Tragic Heights", the furious title track and other good stuff such as "Moon in Mercury" and "Hers is the Twilight". The more I think about it, the more furious I become. I know this band is capable of so much more, yet inbetween every good or so-so album, there's always something to let me down. I wish that their new album "1755" will be great, but I highly doubt it.


118. Tiamat - Amanethes (2008)
Much of what I wrote about Moonspell and their dissapointments can be said about their Swedish "brotherly" gothic metal band Tiamat. My love affair with both bands started in the mid-90's and they both manages to piss me off by writing and releasing crap from time to time. Anyway, "Amanethes" is sort of an oddity in the Tiamat-discography (even though they like to change and experiment a lot) due to the fact that it re-introduced metal (for the first time since the 90's) and pseudo death metal-vocals in some of the songs. It's unexpected as fuck when we first hear the drums pounding as hell in "The Temple of the Crescent Moon" and even more so with the chilling black metal-riffing in "Equinox of the Gods". After those two songs, the album slows down a lot and there's not much tempo whatsoever (apart from "Raining Dead Angels"). We then get standard Tiamat-songs such as "When the Hellhounds Sleep Again", "Will They Come?" and "Meliae". Not that they're bad or anything - "Will They Come?" is actually very good but it feels as though the album is lacking somehow. And then "Via Dolorosa" comes and saves the day. This the only band I can think of that can take something so simple (as the song actually is) and make something great of it.
"Thy kingdom is gone
Satan's work is done
And A-Bomb over Babylon"


117. Storm - Nordavind (1995)
There was a time when I adored this album to such an extent that it probably shouldn't be considered healthy. I was heavily into Scandinavian folk metal at the time and this was the album that I measured everything else by. Even though I'm not as much into this sort of music any longer, I cannot deny the brilliance of doing something so simple as to just play the instruments along to the song-melodies of old Norse folk songs. The trio of Satyr, Fenriz and Kari basically had the entire album to write itself. When they had to write their own music, the result was either ludicrous ("Oppi Fjellet"), magnificent ("Langt Borti Lia") or simply just ripped right of one of Darkthrone's best songs ("Noregsgard"). Either way, this album hasn't aged that well in my opinion. When I revisit it to write these words, I totally get the youthful enthusiasm, I get what they were aiming for and to some extent, they even acchieved it. Even though I still think the album is good, I almost never listen to it anymore. I guess there truly is a thin line between love and hate...


116. The Vision Bleak - Witching Hour (2013)
This is my least favourite album from the German gothic metal band The Vision Bleak. There's really not much more to say here. Compared to all of their other works, this one just feels a bit bland, repetitive and quite boring at times. When the band do hit the infamous nail on it's head - like they do on the extremely catchy "The Wood Hag" - it's impossible not to nod your head along with the music and (do your best to) sing along. In other words, there are a couple of good tracks here but ultimately, this is the band's most forgettable album.


115. Therion - Theli (1996)
I really have to give this band a go again? Sigh... Therion was one the most important discoveries for me in the mid-90's to make me re-discover metal all togheter. I vividly remember getting chills across my spine the first time I heard the intro to this album, which ultimately crossed over into the band's most recognized song ever; "To Mega Therion". That song, along with "Cults of the Shadow" and my personal favourite "In the Desert of Set" are immortal classics in the nichéd field of symphonic/operatic metal. Nowadays, this album is mostly nostalgic to me and I can't remember the last time I felt the urge or need to really listen to "Theli". It of course belongs on this list, but as stated - it's mostly due to nostalgic reasons. If you haven't heard symphonic/operatic metal at all before - then this is the pretty much the only album you need. End of story.


114. The Coffinshakers - We are the Undead (1999)
I found out about this band thanks to the amazing wonders of the interwebs. I can't think of another band where I have first read the lyrics and after that decided that I just have to listen to the music. I was not dissapointed. Sweden's The Coffinshakers, according to themselves, play horror-punk/gothabilly which I guess is an apt description. You sort of get what they sound like just by reading that description. Musically, there's both valleys and peaks on "We are the Undead" and it almost sounds like a demo, though quite long and semi-professional. There's just something lacking here and I couldn't put my finger on what it was until I heard the band's follow-up. I'm not always in the mood for this sort of music, but when I am, I put this band on - mostly because I haven't found any other band that sounds like this.


113. Watain - Sworn to the Dark (2007)
Watain seems to be lumped into that category as many put Ghost in - you either hate them or love them. Again, I find myself to "just" like them. This album became their "big breakthrough" and I totally get why. I had heard them earlier on their second album "Casus Luciferi" which I did not care for particulary. Here however, the stars were correctly aligned as we got great black metal songs such as "Leigions of the Black Light", "Satan's Hunger", "Storm of the Antichrist" and of course the almighty title-track. This is a strong black metal album that has few lows, but nothing too crappy. Sadly, they never got this formula to work again as I have been constantly dissapointed ever since then. Latter albums have had one or two good songs and that's it. I have little hope for their next album, which is to be released in early 2018.


112. The Vision Bleak - The Deathship Has a New Captain (2004)
"Ladies and gentlemen, the portals of darkness are open and the Dead haunt over the Earth. Here comes The Vision Bleak." This was the introduction the world got to the gothic metal duo that claims they play "horror metal". It's catchy gothic metal where each and every piece of lyric has something to do with horror - mainly movies. They pay homage to Night of the living dead and Metropolis songs that share their name with the movies. In "Elizabeth Dane" we get a nice instrumental tribute to John Carpenter's masterpiece The Fog and "Horror of Antarctica" is pure Lovecraft. Sometimes though, this album feels a bit too catchy for my taste and the band's "anthems" in the form of "The Night of the Living Dead" and "Wolfmoon" - however catchy they are - soon fade into monotony and is not interesting for repeated listening-sessions. It's a strong debut, but not as good as some of their other works. And yes, there will be more The Vision Bleak on this list...



111. Darkthrone - Panzerfaust (1995)
I don't really care what the true Darkthrone-fans say. However good the intentions and the song-writing was at some points on "A Blaze in the Northern Sky" (1991), "Under a Funeral Moon" (1993) and "Transilvanian Hunger" (1994) this is the album where the band finally showed perfect understanding of their own form of art. The sound isn't as necro as on "Transilvanian Hunger", the song-writing is miles ahead from "A Blaze in the Northern Sky" and the variation in songs are more thought through than on "Under a Funeral Moon". "En Vind av Sorg", "The Hordes of Nebulah" and the song that Storm (#117) "stole" - "Quintessence" - are all masterpieces of black metal. The rest of the material is very good too and there's little to none fillers. Darkthrone's crowning acchievement.


150-141 | 140-131 | 130-121 | 120-111 | 110-101 | 100-91 | 90-81 |
80-71 | 70-61 | 60-51 | 50-41| 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 | 10-1

2017-08-23

My top-150 favourite albums: 130-121

A top-150 list of my favourite albums!? Sure, why not. Needless to say, this list was really difficult to put together and it will probably look quite different in five years or so. But I just felt that I had to do it and the last time I did something like this was almost 10 years ago and that one "only" covered 100 albums. I cannot state enough how personal this list is and therefore bands that I find overrated or just plain boring wont be featured. This includes what many consider "classic" albums such as "Rust in Peace", "Vulgar Display of Power", "Reign in Blood" etc. Sorry, but I have a very selective taste even though there are some more "classic" and old-school albums as well. But then again, there's also stuff that's not metal at all. And always remember - 90's metal weirdness rules on this blog! Hope you enjoy this!
This is 130-121


130. Radioaktiva Räker - Finito (2003)
And now for something completely different. In the mid-90's the music known as "trallpunk" exploded in Sweden and my teenage self quickly came to love it and the grown up me still does. Trallpunk is essentially streamlined punk with lots of melodies and tons of catchy sing-along parts. Radioaktiva Räker (Radioactive Shrimps in english) was one of my absolute favourite bands and this is their swansong and goodbye. This is mostly old stuff as demos and whatnot and then there's 7 newly recorded songs. This large collection of songs is basically half good and half crap/pointless and their previous two full-length's are vastly superior than this one. Still, it's darn good.



129. The Crown - Possessed 13 (2003)
I've come to realize that many of the bands I have this low on my top-150 list are bands that may release one or two good albums and then not so much. Hit and miss-bands so to speak. Swedish death/thrashers the Crown are no exception. Their best album is yet to come further up on this list and so "Possessed 13" is most definitely a hit and miss-album. On one hand, you have amazingly furious headbanging anthems such as "Face of Destruction (Deep Hit of Death)", "Cold is the Grave" and "Zombified!". But then there's also boring tracks such as.... ehm, they're so boring I cannot even recall their titles. But trust me when I say that this album do have some great songs.


128. Behemoth - The Satanist (2014)
I discovered Behemoth back in 2000 with their video to "Decade of Therion". I liked what I heard but I wasn't overwhelmed or anything because it's not really my kind of favourite metal style and that album ("Satanica") just felt bloated. And so I followed the band during the years, never listening to much other than those songs they released videos for. One song from each album was enough for me, as I've always felt that an entire Behemoth-album is just too much of the same. Enter "The Satanist". Less chaothic "extreme" metal and more streamlined and catchy black/death metal is what it's all about. And that's essentially the best album these Polish bastards has ever done. "Ora pro Nobis Lucifer" should be some sort of anthem IMO.
Fun bonus fact: Arcturus' classic album "La Masquerade Infernale" (1997) was originally planned to be titled "The Satanist".


127. Dia Psalma - Djupa Skogen (2007)
More trallpunk. This time, we're dealing with the band that started it all in Sweden. From their humble, more "extreme" punk background with the band Strebers, as they evolved into Dia Psalma they quickly became one of the biggest selling bands in Sweden in the mid 90's. They were everywhere and everyone listened to them (or at least knew about them). A decade later and so much has changed. The band reformed in 2006 and this album has abandoned almost everything from the band's folk-punk past and it defintely feels like a more mature Dia Psalma. This is mostly sad, since it's nowhere near the quality of their first two albums and I miss the folk-elements a lot. An uneven album but when the band decide to put lots of focus into their song-writing, it shows. And it's good.



126. Candlemass - Death Magic Doom (2009)
Traditional doom without the traditional monk is what we have here. Now I'm not saying that I don't like Messiah's vocals, but no one beats Johan Längqvist who sang on the band's debut album. Here, it's Robert Lowe who performs and no matter how lousy his live-performances was with the band, his voice fits like a glove on this album. I love when the band goes into faster territories, almost sounding like a traditional heavy metal band in "If I Ever Die" and "Dead Angel", even though they of course shine in slower, crushing numbers such as "Hammer of Doom", "The Bleeding Baroness" and "House of a 1000 Voices". I do think the album limps a bit towards the end, but overall, it's a good album.


125. Harlequin - Ont (1995)
A Swedish band with Swedish titles again? For sure, this must be more trallpunk! Yep, you are correct sir. This is one of many unknown bands that never "broke it" in Sweden during this wave. Still, I find it to be a hidden gem that I once picked up for 25 SEK (that's 2.6 €) out of the blue. I never came to regret this decision since it's a damn fine album where no song sticks out like a sore thumb. Yeah, production- and performance-wise this isn't the tightest band or the most polished songs but who cares when that youthful enthusiasm spreads like a contagious wildfire? I sure don't. Not for everyone though.


124. My Dying Bride - Like Gods of the Sun (1996)
If not the most revered band in my home, it's at least at my top-3 of all-time favourite bands. This was actually the first album I bought with the band after I discovered them in 1997 and oh my God how I fucking adored this doomy slab of goth metal. For you see, that's what it really is. Compared to about 95% of the rest of the band's discography this one is actually more gothic metal than doom metal if you know what I mean. And that's probably why I rate it so low today. You see when it comes to My Dying Bride, the songs here are shorter than they usually are, there's no growling and above all, it feels like the band wanted to "broaden" their sound and trying to reach a larger audience, as opposed to experimenting. This is what many people consider "selling out" although I think it's unfair to call this album just that. It has a few good songs, but there's also plenty of filler-songs here.


123. Biohazard - Urban Discipline (1992)
People who know me or have read this blog for a while now might wonder why I choose not to have one but two albums from Biohazard? Well, I can only blame the youth in me. You see, there was a time when I thought this band was da shit and I knew every single lyric on the band's first three albums. I know better now but nostalgia is a dangerous thing and you know it just as well as I do. This album is far superior than "State of the World Address" (#146) despite it's muddy production-job. The album is loaded with classics such as "Punishment", "Shades of Grey", "Man With a Promise", "Loss" and of course the title track. Obviously, this isn't something that I spin on a daily basis when I do, I like to pose in front of my bedroom mirror pretending to bust a cap or two. My wife hates me sometimes...


122. Darkthrone - The Underground Resistance (2013)
Countless are the black metal purists that loathe modern Darkthrone to the same extent that they loved the "old" band. I get where these people are coming from and had this band been one of my favourites, I would probably have the same feeling as well. My point is, if you just pretend that the music on "The Underground Resistance" isn't played and performed by Gylve and Ted, you might just appreciate the music better. The album consists of 6 tracks and I find that 3 of them are so-so whereas "Valkyrie", "The Ones You Left Behind" and "Leave No Cross Unturned" are fucking masterpieces. They're bascially perfect combinations of old school heavy metal and black metal. Simple as that.



121. Therion - Symphony Masses: Ho Drakon Ho Megas  (1993)
Well, this is a weird album, even coming from a band as weird as Therion. It's an experimental album, where it's evident that the band wanted to shed it's death metal-roots but were highly uncertain as to where they wanted to go. The result is a very uneven album that mixes traditional heavy metal with thrash- and death metal. Add a lot of eastern, Arabic and symphonic touches and you might just guess how confused this album is. Still, I like a lot. It's easy to hear the youtful passion as well as the discordant opinions that the band members at the time surely must have had. If you are a sucker for the band's current opera/symphonic crap they do, but are curious about their beginnings - then this is the album for you. Just skip "Of Darkness" and "Beyond Sanctorum" as they are mostly boring Swedish death metal that even the death metal-purists avoid. For a reason.


150-141 | 140-131 | 130-121 | 120-111 | 110-101 | 100-91 | 90-81 |
80-71 | 70-61 | 60-51 | 50-41| 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 | 10-1

2017-08-22

My top-150 favourite albums: 140-131

A top-150 list of my favourite albums!? Sure, why not. Needless to say, this list was really difficult to put together and it will probably look quite different in five years or so. But I just felt that I had to do it and the last time I did something like this was almost 10 years ago and that one "only" covered 100 albums. I cannot state enough how personal this list is and therefore bands that I find overrated or just plain boring wont be featured. This includes what many consider "classic" albums such as "Rust in Peace", "Vulgar Display of Power", "Reign in Blood" etc. Sorry, but I have a very selective taste even though there are some more "classic" and old-school albums as well. But then again, there's also stuff that's not metal at all. And always remember - 90's metal weirdness rules on this blog! Hope you enjoy this!
This is 140-131


140. Dio - Holy Diver (1983)
Forgive me, but I was never a huge fan of the fantasy-dwarf known as Ronnie James Dio. Sure, I've always admired his voice and been aware of the guy since, like forever. And mind you, I've never been a fan of much "classic 80's-metal" whatsoever. Now you know. Anyway, the band named after him released their debut album in 1983 and it took me most of my life to finally appreciate it the way I should. Now I know there's no denying the epicness and songwriting-skills in songs such as "Stand Up and Shout", the eternal title-track, "Don't Talk to Strangers", "Straight Through the Heart" and "Rainbow in the Dark".



139. Falkenbach - Heralding - The Fireblade (2005)
The German/Icelandic/Whatever one-man project known as Falkenbach have been active since the mid-90's and the combination of viking-era Bathory-worship, Scandinavian black metal and overall epicness have always been a hit and miss in my book. Let me give you an example; the band's (man's) best song ever ("...When Gjallarhorn Will Sound") is the opening track of the album "...magni blandinn ok megintíri..." from 1998 and said album isn't even featured on my top-150 albums of all time. Why? Because the rest of the album is so boring and bland it's not even funny. That's how uneven this band is IMO. "Heralding - The Fireblade" is sort of a reworking of older demo songs and other stuff. This album is also quite uneven, but the valleys aren't as deep as on other albums and there are quite a few peaks as well. "Heathen Foray" and "Walkiesjar" for example.


138. Paradise Lost - The Plague Within (2015)
Some people call the latter works of Paradise Lost a "return to form". While I understand these claims, I cannot fully concur. You see, to me this band have always delivered uneven albums ever since they became remotly interesting (that's "Icon" at #142). Nevertheless, this is the most interesting album from the band since the 90's. The sound is darker and the music doomier than ever. However, sometimes it feels that Nick and Greg (yes, that's whom the band is all about) forgets how to write a good song. The intentions are there, but they just don't come all the way through. Nevertheless, this album has a few good songs such as "No Hope in Sight", "Terminal" and "Beneath Broken Earth". It's just that there's filler here as well. If there's any band that's in dire need of a best-of album, it's Paradise Lost. Just let me choose the songs.


137. Satyricon - Now, Diabolical (2006)
Satyricon again eh? The only real difference between this one and "The Age of Nero" (#145) is just that I find this album stronger overall. The compositions feels more worked through here whereas "Nero" just continues the same sound that was cemented before, then varies it so little that you're left with a subtle "meh". They really perfected this mid-tempo rock n' roll black metal(ish) on this album and I like it for what it is. But what really stands out are the little things, such as the trumpets on "To the Mountains" - more stuff like that and less like "K.I.N.G.".



136. In the Woods... - Strange in Stereo (1999)
If there's ever been an aptly titled album, this is the one. The ecclectic avantgarde-metal band In the Woods... began as a boring "pagan" black metal band and released a crap album (containing one good song) before they found their own style and comfort zone on "Omino" in 1997. For some reason, they abandoned this style until their triumphant return in 2016 and ventured way off for this album. But fear not, this is as far from black metal as one can get. It's not really much metal to be honest. It feels more like a delusional Pink Floyd done in the "wrong" way but still sounding good so to speak. As you may understand, this album cannot be described in words. You have to hear it to understand. It's uneven yes, but when I'm in the right mood, this album just floats.


135. Arcturus - Sideshow Symphonies (2005)
More avantgarde metal coming your way. Lord knows how many times this band has broken up and then reformed again, but I stopped counting after this album. If you've heard Arcturus before, you know what to expect. Had this been the band's debut album, I would fucking adore it. As it is now, it has two very distinct masterpieces of avantgarde metal to compete with and this one ain't got shit on either. The songwriting feels dull in comparison and the production is amongst the worst I've heard in 2000's. Still, who can deny the sheer madness and genius in song such as "Shipwrecked Frontier Pioneer", " Evacuation Code Deciphered" and "Moonshine Delirium"? Mongoshitfacetabletwisters - that's who!


134. Black Sabbath - Heaven and Hell (1980)
I am far from being the world's most rabid Ozzy-fan even though I can appreciate both some of his solo work as well as what he did in Black Sabbath. But to me, this album where Iommi's riffing fits like a glove with Dio's vocals is their true masterpiece. The title track is an epic monster and there are plenty of other tracks here that the band shouldn't feel ashamed about. I also like the fact that the album just under 40 minutes which doesen't make it feel to bloated. Times were simpler back then...


133. Empyrium - Where at Night the Wood Grouse Plays (1999)
Countless are the metal bands that have experimented and recorded an all-acoustic album (or at least devoid of metal entirely) - Borknagar's "Origin", Månegarm's "Urminnes Hävd" and My Dying Bride's "Evinta" are those that comes to my mind immediately - but despite those albums having their moments, they all have one thing in common; they either sound forced or bloated. Enter German doom-metal duo Empyrium and their magnificent "Where at Night the Wood Grouse Plays". Granted, there are a bit too many instrumental tracks on this album for my taste, yet those that have vocals are all beautiful done. When I'm in the right mood, this album is a masterpiece and it makes me feel as though I am standing all alone in a forest.


132. Ghost - Infestissumam (2013)
Ah, Ghost. Either you love them or hate them. Me, I'm somewhere inbetween as I like them. I think they're basically a good band that plays catchy music (whatever you'd like to call it) and that most of their albums are quite uneven. This is their most uneven release to this date IMO and only four songs - "Per Aspera ad Inferi", "Secular Haze", "Year Zero" and "Monstrance Clock" - saves this album from being a snoozefest. They're so much better than what we got on this album and I'm really looking forward to their next.



131. Forefather - Steadfast (2008)
This is an album that I strangely keep forgetting about over the years. When I do remember how good it is, I wonder why I don't listen to it more often. Sure, it's not an even album but it does contain a few smash-hits such as "Cween of the Mark" and "Fire from the Sky". Forefather consists of two British brothers that call their music "anglo-saxon metal" which does sound a bit corny and what basically is viking/black metal done the right way. That of course means, not sounding jolly, cheerful and stupid like most viking/folk/black(ish)-metal bands from Finland sounds. This is a genuine effort with a good result and I don't know why I haven't bothered checking out the rest of their material. I hope those other albums doesn't have as cringe-worthy covers as this one though...


150-141 | 140-131 | 130-121 | 120-111 | 110-101 | 100-91 | 90-81 |
80-71 | 70-61 | 60-51 | 50-41| 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 | 10-1

2017-08-20

My top-150 favourite albums: 150-141

A top-150 list of my favourite albums!? Sure, why not. Needless to say, this list was really difficult to put together and it will probably look quite different in five years or so. But I just felt that I had to do it and the last time I did something like this was almost 10 years ago and that one "only" covered 100 albums. I cannot state enough how personal this list is and therefore bands that I find overrated or just plain boring wont be featured. This includes what many consider "classic" albums such as "Rust in Peace", "Vulgar Display of Power", "Reign in Blood" etc. Sorry, but I have a very selective taste even though there are some more "classic" and old-school albums as well. But then again, there's also stuff that's not metal at all. And always remember - 90's metal weirdness rules on this blog! Hope you enjoy this!
This is 150-141

150. Grimm - Heksenkringen (2007)
Dutch folk metal. Something I usually don't enjoy ever since I had the misfortune of hearing Heidevolk - yuck! Despite bathing in the same pond, Grimm is something entirely different though. Rather than going for the jolly folk metal-approach that I've never found to be working very well, this band has a more Scandinavian feel to them and music is dark, heavy and melodic without being overly upbeat or happy. This is an overall good folk metal album that works totally fine when I'm in the right mood. When I do, the "drunken vocals" and dark atmosphere fits like a glove.



149. Dismember - Like an Everflowing Stream (1991)
If you follow this blog, you know that I'm not a big fan of death metal in general. The debut from this classic Swe-death band is another thing though. The "razorwire-sound" from the guitars in combination with catchy - yet not melodic - riffage and Kärki's abyssal growls is what gives me a soft spot for this album. Even though there are more solid death metal alubums that I enjoy - opener "Override of the Overture" is one of my all-time favourite death metal songs. All in all, this is a great headbanging-friendly album that I'd much rather listen to than anything Entombed.


148. Metallica - Hardwired... to Self-Destruct (2016)
I guess that a lot of people will automatically roll their eyes and scoff at the fact that I'm including the latest album from the band that everyone that reads this blog have listened to at some point in their life. Well, fuck off! This is my list and even though this album is uneven as hell, I cannot deny the fact that I really like listening to some of these songs from time to time. To be honest, I find it quite remarkable that these guys (read: Hetfield) can create this kind of music at their age. "Moth Into Flame" (despite it's cringe-worthy lyrics), "Halo on Fire", "Here Comes Revenge" and "Spit Out the Bone" are the songs I keep coming back to. A good effort from band that I gave up on long ago.


147. Paradise Lost - One Second (1997)
No matter what others think, I find that this is the logic continuation of the bands' hailed "classic" "Draconian Times". Sure, the guitars aren't nearly as heavy as they used to and the keyboards have obviously taken a more central role. Nevertheless, this is a good album though far from perfect and IMO less interesting than the previous album. The first two songs are prime examples of how damn good Paradise Lost can be when it comes to songwriting. At times, at least. Also, I love that album cover!




146. Biohazard - State of the World Address (1994)
These tough guys from Brooklyn we're something that I listened to a lot in my youth. Not so much nowadays even though I sometimes spin their early works when I'm in that mood. This is the bands' last album to feature their "classic" line-up and IMO also the last interesting this band did. There shouldn't be a market for this kind of music (the mix of metal, hardcore and hip-hop elements) in 2017, but strangely enough I guess there is. Anyway, "State of the World Address" is a bit uneven at times and not as good as it's predecessor, but there are a couple of strong tracks here - no doubt about it.


145. Satyricon - The Age of Nero (2008)
On paper, I should be a huge fan of Satyricon, but that's not the case in reality. I think they're quite good in small doses and I like certain songs from the band's earlier works (what most people would consider "classic"). However, I am more of a fan of the band's latter albums which is why "The Age of Nero" is at this spot. It is an alright album even though many of the songs tend to blend together as I feel there's no real stand-out track here. It's midtempo pseudo-black metal with a rock n' roll-edge done competently. Nothing more, nothing less.



144. Unanimated - Ancient God of Evil (1995)
Do you like what people refer to as "blackened death metal"? Meaning loads of tremolo-picking and an atmosphere as dark as the nightsky on a cloudy night. Then you just might find songs such as "Die Alone", "Eye of the Greyhound" and the incredible "Life Demise" to your liking. Who knows, maybe you'll just enjoy even more songs from this album after those? I know I don't, but "Life Demise" is enough to warrant spot #144.



143. Katatonia - Tonight's Decision (1999)
Like the mysterious case with Satyricon at #145, Katatonia is hardly one of my favourite bands even though I should love them on the paper. The band - and especially vocalist Renkse - struggled a bit over the years to find their comfort zone and so 1999 was the year when we first got to experience the sound that they've had ever since. To me, this resulted in an album that's professional, dark and well-produced combined with a somewhat youthful approach to songwriting (Jonas and Blakkheim were in their mid-20's here). This would eventually get lost somewhere during the years as the band in my opinion started to get less and less interesting, more boring and predictable. Here on the other hand, we have a collection of great to good Katatonia-songs.


142. Paradise Lost - Icon (1993)
Paradise Lost are a band that I more or less have the same friendship with as Katatonia (see rant above). "Icon" is regarded a classic doom-metal album by many people, whereas I find it to be quite alright. Just that. "Embers Fire", "Dying Freedom", "Widow" and "True Belief" are all good songs while the rest are forgettable. Easy there, that's just like... my opinion man. Thankfully, we're spared nonsense such as one of the metal-worlds' most overrated songs ever. The one from the previous album, you know which one I'm talking about.



141. Amorphis - Elegy (1996)
I found out about the Finns in Amorphis somewhere in the mid-ninties and I bought and listened heavily to their second (most "classic") album "Tales From the Thousand Lakes" (which you may or may not find further along this list). It's follow-up added more clean vocals and experimented a lot with the bands' death/doom/goth/folk-formula. This resulted in weird, but fun songs such as "Against Widows" and "Cares" and also in more "streamlined", but still good goth/doom/folk-metal songs like "Better Unborn" and "My Kantele". Hurray!



150-141 | 140-131 | 130-121 | 120-111 | 110-101 | 100-91 | 90-81 |
80-71 | 70-61 | 60-51 | 50-41| 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 | 10-1