by Noobhammer on Mar.23, 2009, under Chainsaw
It is a GREAT time to be a metal head. There are so many new albums coming out this year, as well as concerts touring the US.
Out of all the years I have been a metal head, the 08-09 year has been one of the best. I have seen Symphony X playing with Into Eternity and Epica. I have watched Iced Earth play with Into Eternity. I have seen Suffocation. I have seen the almighty Carcass play with Suffocation, Aborted, and 1349. I have seen the black metallers Watain. I will be seeing Soilwork with Darkane and Swallow The Sun. Soon I will see Kreator with Exodus, as well as Dragonforce with Cynic. I have never seen so many great concerts coming through. I didn’t get a chance to go see At The Gates with Darkest Hour, but they toured as well.
The only thing better than concerts this year was albums. There were so many great albums released in 08-09.
Alestorm-Captain Morgan’s Revenge
Ghenghis Tron-Board Up The House
Death Angel-Killing Season
Zimmer’s Hole-When You Were Shouting At The Devil…
The Sword-Gods of the Earth
Arsis-We Are The Nightmare
Belphegor-Bondage Goat Zombie
Dominici-O3:A Trilogy, Part 3
Kalmah-For The Revolution
Warrel Dane-Praises To The War Machine
Deicide-Til Death Do Us Part
Testament-The Damnation of Formation
Cryptopsy-The Unspoken King
Sabaton-The Art of War
Norma Jean-The Anti Mother
The Human Abstract-Midheaven
Into Eternity-The Incurable Tragedy
Iced Earth-The Crucible of Man
Amon Amarth-Twilight of the Thunder God
Swallow The Sun-Plague of Butterflies
Battlelore-The Last Alliance
Jeff Loomis-Zero Order Phase
Bloodbath-The Fathomless Mastery
Darkthrone-Dark Thrones and Black Flags
Cradle of Filth-Godspeed on the Devil’s Thunder
The Faceless-Planetary Duality
Cynic-Traced in Air
And that is all 2008. 2009 looks to be as good, if not even better.
Grave Digger-Ballads of a Hangman
Iron Fire-To The Grave
Kreator-Hordes of Chaos
Saxon-Into The Labyrinth
Cattle Decapitation-The Harvest Floor
Rumpelstiltskin Grinder-Living for Death, Destroying the Rest
Napalm Death-Time Waits For No Slave
Vision Divine-9 Degrees West of the Moon
Cannibal Corpse-Evisceration Plague
Luna Mortis-The Absence
Hammerfall-No Sacrifice, No Victory
Buried Inside-Spoils of Failure
My Dying Bride-For Lies I Sire
Mastodon-Crack The Skye
Wolves In The Throneroom-Black Cascade
It’s a good time to love metal my friends.
Keep The Horns Rising Brothers and Sisters
It’s that time again: at the beginning of the year, every year, everybody offers their opinions about the music/books/movies/events of the past year. Personally, I love reading other people’s opinions about the best music of the past year. However, I also think that it’s a fairly ridiculous practice. Ultimately, it’s just an opinion, and nobody really cares about anybody else’s opinion anyway. Even the biggest award show in music, the Grammy Awards, is full of shit, and pretty much everybody knows it. So, in order to avoid putting together yet another meaningless top-10 list, I’m going to parody those stupid awards by giving you 10 top-1 lists. Yes, the commentary you are about to read is satirical (I’m only putting this under the assumption that if I don’t, moronic fanboys will be upset that I trashed their favorite album of 2008), but the albums I’ve chosen are actually some of my favorites (except for whichever section of commentary offends you most – that one’s serious) of 2008.
Best album nobody put into their top-5/1o/20/25/50/100 list of 2008: Radio Retaliation by Thievery Corporation – personally, I think that this was a great album. The first half is a world-tour of incorporating the music of various cultures into an upbeat-downtempo format that Thievery Corporation is known for, and the second half is a bit more reminiscent of their previous work. That sounds basically like they put out yet another album of the same shit you’ve heard before, and it is. (Also, this album wins 2 more awards: best packaging and worst packaging for the cardboard sleeve and poster liner notes – it’s catchy and environmentally friendly, but you’ll never be able to actually use it to package the album once you open it). Actually, I don’t think it was a great album.
Best “more-hipster-than-thou” album of 2008: Crystal Castles by Crystal Castles – another album I greatly enjoyed (if only we could have kept it in the studio for more than 48 hours), this award is somewhat pointless because everybody already knew that this was the hipster album of the year (Passion Pit‘s Chunk of Change E.P. being a close second). Which is oddly appropriate, seeing as how pointless this album was. The best song on here was “Courtship Dating”, which is basically a dance song with repetitive lyrics (which are screamed, by the way) that don’t make a whole lot of sense, as if we’ve never heard that.
Best album put out by a band from Australia of 2008: In Silico by Pendulum – it seems like Australia puts out a good album about once a year. Last year, we were blessed with the “albums” known as Attack Decay Sustain Release by Simian Mobile Disco and Guns Babes Lemonade by Muscles (and maybe a few others as well, but who knows). This year, we in the US got Pendulum’s sophmore effort. Is it just me, or are they actually trying to make music for video games? The first time I heard them was when I heard their song (from their first album Hold Your Colour) on Dance Dance Revolution, and several songs here sound like extras you could buy for Rock Band or Guitar Hero (though none of them are good enough to be included, and you’d be better off saving the money anyway). Sophmore slump much?
Best album of 2008 by a bald vegan in his 40s that has long lost all cultural relevance: Last Night by Moby – to be honest, I kind of feel like this album was like Play-lite(to the point where the title seems a bit unintentionally ironic), but it’s still a fun album overall with a few songs that actually approach being listenable. I like to joke with a few of my friends who are also avid fans of electronic music that I enjoy listening to “American techno”. And we (my friends and I) laugh about it because American techno (that is, good electronic music from this side of the Atlantic) doesn’t exist, and this CD proves it.
Best album of 2008 that proves Americans are uncultured: Mardulce by Bajofondo – pencil this band in under “artist/band with the most commonly mispronounced name” (next to Björk). This is also the only band (on this list, or possibly anywhere) that features a member that plays the … bandoneon. Now, I’m going to be honest with you: I don’t consider myself to be a stupid individual, but I don’t even know how to pronounce that instrument, let alone what it actually is. Judging from the album, something that sounds like an accordion. God damn, that doesn’t even need a punch line…
Best album of 2008 that relates drugs to electronic music: Fucked Up Friends by Tobacco – Not only is the artist’s name an addictive substance, but the album title is a suggestion for both how and with whom you should listen to the album (for the dumbfucks out there, you should listened to it while you’re fucked up with your friends). Not only that, but the album itself, from the time you see it, is addictive. It comes with a crazy cover that looks like a broadcast of Tobacco himself getting electrocuted, as viewed through a malfunctioning cheap TV built in the 70s. Also on the packaging front, the tray for the CD itself isn’t the usual black, white, or clear – Tobacco or whoever packaged this aural version of herion opted for a very subtle hot pink instead. The music itself sounds like something god-awful from the 80s, using only analog tape devices and synthesizers (along with the equivalent of a First Act talk box), that’s been cut one too many times with bleach and cement mix. This album actually wins several other awards, such as: Best album of 2008 for which I’ll require rehab, Best album of 2008 for which I’ll require therapy, Best album of 2008 for which I’ll require medication, and Best album of 2008 for which I’ll be pleading temporary insanity.
Best Album of 2008 which could have and probably should have been made in the 80s: In Ghost Colours by Cut Copy – The best band whose name consists of actions you can take in Microsoft Word (even though they got things kind of backwards – if you cut, you don’t have anything to copy, so you should probably copy before cutting, but that’s getting a bit technical) released this tribute to yuppies and disco this year that’s been getting a lot of acclaim. Frankly, I don’t see why this whole “80′s” thing has been a trend for the past couple of years – is our creativity as a culture really that bankrupt? If this is all we had to go on, the answer would undoubtably be a most-emphatic “yes”.
Best Album of 2008 that used only screechy guitar riffs and various noises that sound like animals growling and snarling: LP3 by Ratatat – this is the sort of sound that Ratatat has been cultivating for their entire musical career, and even I have to admit that it’s really come into its own on their third crime against humani… err, album. On the other hand, being the best in the world at creating “music” that consists of what sounds like a 5’5″ hipster wearing Converses and girl pants savagely beating squirrels into his amplifier with a Fender Squire is a bit like … well, it’s not really like anything else, which is the only reason why Ratatat will win anything this year (assuming they’ll win anything, which is dicey to begin with).
Album with the Best Bullshit Story behind their sound on their one-sheet in 2008: Never Trust the Chinese by Mr. Meeble – Basically, the fabrication here is that this band was hired by a French cosmonaut to create this album for him or her to listen to while in space. I wouldn’t really call this the best bullshit story in the sense that it was the most plausible or the most entertaining (although it’s up there for the latter), but it’s certainly the best bullshit story in terms of how ludicrously ridiculous it is. A French Cosmonaut? Do the French even have a space program? According to the wikipedia category “French Astronauts”, there have been 9 French astronauts who are noteworthy. This compares to 362 noteworthy “American Astronauts”. Now, if we compare the populations of France and America relative to the number of noteworthy French and American astronauts there are on Wikipedia, we find that American astronauts are about 8.5 times more common than French astronauts. Now, let me ask you something: how many astronauts do you know? That’s what I thought; the answer’s a big fat zero isn’t it? Now that means that you’re 8.5 less likely to come across a French Astronaut, thus proving that French Astronauts do not exist and making this story officially impossible. Oh, and did I mention the offensive album title? Seriously, I could go on and on about this thing.
Best album of 2008 that’s electronic but tries to bill itself as so-called “instrumental hip-hop”: Magic Monday by Michna – C’mon, this album was produced by a god damn trombone player for Christ’s sake. I’ll be up-front about it; I don’t know anything about hip-hop, and even I know that nobody plays trombone in hip-hop. Hell, people haven’t played trombone in popular music since at least the 50′s. Even then, did anybody anywhere ever front a band as a trombone player? I honestly have no idea, but my instincts tell me “probably not. probably fucking not.”
So that’s it, my ten top-1 lists for 2008. I hope that the swearing and what not didn’t offend people (I only do it because the FCC doesn’t want me to). So, before I conclude this post, I’d just like to add a few honorable mentions of 2008 (for which I primarily didn’t have any jokes):
Brightwhitelight by Sounds from the Ground
Thought So… by Nightmares on Wax
Hercules and Love Affair by Hercules and Love Affair
Saturdays=Youth by M83
Apocalypso by the Presets
UPDATE: This blog took forever to get posted because it took me a long time to come up with the material I used for it. That and Caid took forever approving this blog (something about providing links to the artists – it’s all really murky to be completely honest).
Greetings metal community, the Noobhammer here with my top ten albums which smashed the gates with a hammer full of steel.
10. Trenches-The Tide Will Swallow Us Whole
This album was a complete shocker for me. Yet from the instant I popped in the cd, I knew I had something special. This cd combines the heaviness of Isis with the melody and intensity of Haste The Day. This cd mixes these two elements perfectly into an album that doesn’t disappoint and will continually surprise you and have you listening to it again.
9. Arsis-We Are The Nightmare
This album blew me away with its sheer technicality and intensity. Arsis have always been one of those bands that just shock you with their skills on their respective instruments. This cd is no exception. With a step above United In Regret production wise, Arsis shows us what they can do when they flex their muscles and release that Virginian Death Metal machine.
8. Battlelore-The Last Alliance
Can you go wrong with Lord of the Rings? The answer is no, no you cannot. Battlelore has proven this by releasing their 5th full length album based off the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. They seem to gain their stride back with this release after releasing the much softer Evernight album previous to this one.
7. The Sword-Gods of the Earth
The Sword have quickly become one of the best stoner bands to ever come out. This cd is no exception. Their best work to date showcases what The Sword do best: Black Sabbathesque riffs that hook you and lyrics that just make no sense but will have you singing along nevertheless. That is what makes this album so great, their simplicity.
6. Sabaton-The Art of War
Sabaton has made a name for themselves as a power metal band that sings about wars. This album though is a album about the art of war. It has Sun Tzu’s teachings throughout it as we hear about Rommel’s Tank Division, the deaths in the trenches during WWI. This cd is just epic with its material and depth. It also has some very catchy songs that will have you banging your head.
5. Into Eternity-The Incurable Tragedy
The opening lines of this album, “The story is over”, paint the bleak outlook this album has with its concept about a patient who has cancer. This emotionally driven cd is some of the best work Into Eternity has done to date. Stu’s voice really shines on this album as well as Tim’s guitar playing. The mature growth that this band has shown over their last few albums is amazing and makes me impatient for the next album.
4. Avantasia-The Scarecrow
Tobias Sammet’s brainchild guest musician band is one of the best things to hit the metal world with it’s rock opera story and guest singers. I kept coming back to this album alot over the year due to it’s catchy songwriting and “can’t help but make you smile” lyrics. Michael Kiske, Alice Kooper, Jorn Lande, and kai Hansen all appear on this album making it a true masterpiece and hit album.
Pyramaze rose from ashes with the great Matt Barlow on vocals bringing out Pyramaze’s true potential and showing us what we all missed when Matt Barlow left the metal world. This cd just wakes you up and smacks you in the face with powerful lyrics and music. This is truly the year of the phoenix for most bands as they rose from the ashes into the spotlight of greatness.
2. Iced Earth-The Crucible of Man:Something Wicked Part 2
This was almost my album of the year just for its sheer genius and beauty that is contained within its walls. This album showed us what Iced Earth truly is, that no matter how many members they go through they can always release a great album. This album though brought back the prodigal son, Matt Barlow back to the folds of Iced Earth. His voice just fits so natural with John Schaffer’s guitars. This showed us the true power of Iced Earth and left us wanting more.
THIS IS IT!!! MY ALBUM OF THE YEAR!!! IT IS……
1. Cynic-Traced In Air
This is it. The big enchilada. Did you really not see this coming? I mean come on I even said that it was the year of the phoenix for most bands, and Cynic is truly a phoenix. They died in ’93 with Focus and were recently reborn with Traced In Air. They have truly made a masterpiece that many will be talking about for the next fifteen years. This album can be listened to so many times, and yet you wish that there was more. That’s how good it is. It wants you to have more and just shows what a truly masterful beauty this album is that many bands could only dream of attaining. These guys deserve the album of the year for writing a true masterpiece that goes along with A Piece of Time.