Matt’s Top 100 Favorite Albums of All Time: #35-#31
Posted by RiffRaff
Over on my favorite forum for rambling about metal, The History of Metal (it’s an open Facebook forum, so anyone, meaning you, can join and flap your jaw about metal with a wide variety of metalheads from all over the world), the admin made a challenge to all the members to create their top 100 albums of all time. Loving making lists I’m all on this. Between the ~1500 albums I have there is a lot to filter through and this has turned into quite a daunting, yet fun, challenge. This list will represent where I am with my favorite albums right now, if I were to do this last year or next year, while being similar, I’m sure there would be lots of differences. My only self-imposed limitation on this is I’m confining each band 3 albums in the list to avoid entire, very large, discographies over saturating it. Every 5 days or so I’ll make a post with the next 5 entries into the list. Fellow bloggers, I extend this challenge to you (and be sure to let me know where and when you’ll be posting it, I’d love to read it), and for readers without a blog join up with THOM and post yours there! Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!
#35 BE by Pain of Salvation
Who is God, what is God, where is God, does God know what he is doing, does God believe in himself, what is the meaning of life? These are some questions that PoS explore within their sci-fi concept album BE. Within the record some of the questions and concepts they arise on the subject are some of the most interesting I’ve heard on the subject. While I do not believe in a ‘God’ in the popular sense of the word, delving into the themes and doing some extracurricular research on the album has led to me asking myself some serious questions. And then there’s the music contained within to boot. Even if you’re not concerned with the concept, PoS weaves some of the most touching and most emotional pieces of music they have written throughout their career, ranging from metal to classical piano suites to heart strung ballads. And “Vocari Dei” (the God’s answering machine song) is one of the most powerful and emotional pieces of music that PoS have ever written. This is one album, regardless of preferred musical genre or faith, I recommend everyone listening to.
#34 Vheissu by Thrice
While their previous album, The Artist in the Ambulance, was a completely solid slab of post-hardcore, Thrice took their knack for writing highly catchy and highly introspective songs and progressed it ten-fold for Vhiessu. Not only are the songs catchy, they are much more ‘full’ and while still being introspective at times, more philosophical and spiritual themes take the forefront on the lyrical end of the record. Throughout the album, the band pours so much energy and passion into the music, it’s neigh impossible not to feel something from at least a couple of the songs on the record. On a side note, one of my all-time favorite authors, Dave Eggers (Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, You Shall Know Our Velocity), designed the album artwork for this record, cool huh.
#33 The New Order by Testament
While my top list does lack a good amount of thrash metal, the style is up there as one of my all time favorite types of metal. Sitting at the coveted top spot as my all time favorite pure thrash album is The New Order by Testament. Everything I look for in a great thrash record is found here. That classic thrash guitar tone, driving, high energy riffs and rhythms, aggressive yet understandable vocals, ripping solos, that ‘fun’ feel, and completely solid songwriting. Every song on this album rips with tracks like “The Preacher”, “Into the Pit”, “Disciples of the Watch”, and “Trial by Fire” really getting my blood pumping. While they have enjoyed moderate success, I feel that Testament are one of the most under rated bands in metal. And if you consider yourself a self-respecting fan of thrash metal and don’t have Testament in you collection, you need to fix that immediately, preferably with The New Order ;)
#32 Pure Rock Fury by Clutch
By the time 2001’s Pure Rock Fury had hit store shelves I had already established myself as a complete Clutch fanatic totally jiving on their heavier earlier records and drooling over their new-found mellowed out, bluesy, Appalachian stylistic shift on The Elephant Riders. Where was Clutch to go from there, well, how about combine the best of both worlds. Pure Rock Fury is an album true to its name. Not quite metal, but a bit more furious than your average run-of-the-mill hard rock. The bands unique sound found a strong direction on this record and there isn’t anything close to a stinker on the record. The title track simply rocks, “Careful With That Mic” has Clutch experimenting with some hip-hop, and “Sinkemlow” makes my house sound like a Gospel church with its howls of Hallelujah. Then there’s the insanely catchy “Open Up the Border”, “The Great Outdoors”, and “Frankenstein”. This album pretty much solidified me as a life long Clutch fan.
#31 At the Edge of Time by Blind Guardian
Huge, gargantuan, epic, massive, grand, insanely fucking big. All great descriptors to describe the Bards 2010 release, At the Edge of Time. While the Blind Guardian has always had this epic flair to them they really unleashed it tenfold on this album. From the orchestral masterpieces “Sacred Worlds” and “Wheel of Time” to the hard rocking “Tanelorn” and “A Voice in the Dark” the Bards also include some of the best ballads they have written to date. Not being personally impartial to orchestral metal or ballads, Blind Guardian makes it impossible not to get swept away in their songs with exceptional songwriting and arrangements. After being in the game for over 20 years, Blind Guardian proved that they are at the height of their creativity and still have plenty of room to keep on growing. It doesn’t hurt that they included songs based on the worlds of George R.R. Martin (A Song of Ice and Fire is my favorite book series ever) and Michael Moorecock (and Robert Jordan for those who were able to get through that whole series). The poetry of John Milton (Paradise Lost) and medieval texts also make appearances adding to the grandeur of the many literary themes of the album. And then there was the song based on a video game (“Sacred”). A metalhead, bookworm, gamer nerd’s metal album dream come true.