Matt’s Top 100 Favorite Albums of All Time: #25-#21
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!!!
#25 Sailing the Seas of Cheese by Primus
As I look back at the Excel file with my ‘list’ on it one common theme that seems to be running through a large part of the albums is that they all include well pronounced bass and rhythm sections. One could argue that having heavy bass dulls down the music and muddies up the intricacies, but I digress and say that some well used bass adds a nice full body to the music that makes it even more tastier. Like a good whiskey, wine, beer, or woman. When it comes to bassists, one of the most skilled and eclectic that will come to many’s mind is Les Claypool. What that man has done with the low-end tones is unique to say the least, but as well as being a titan on the bass he also is a damn fine songwriter/storyteller/lyricist and collaborator. Without the aid of the other 2 members of Primus the complexities of his style wouldn’t come to fruition. Larry LaLonde’s trippy and shredy guitars work wonders when paired with Les’ groove accentuating rather than carrying. And to keep up with the insanity of Claypool a damn fine drummer is needed, and Tim Alexander’s jazz beats dance in tandem with the quirky bass. While the trio have released some damn fine albums, their second full length collects the best the band has to offer in one package. Not a stinker or a dull moment the whole record and this is always the Primus record I cram down everyone’s throat when they tell me they never listened to Primus. So, if you enjoy some thick bass in your music and for some strange reason never heard Primus before, I implore you to go get your hands on this album right now.
#24 Powertrip by Monster Magnet
While many old-school Monster Magnet fans would call heresy on me for this entry and burn me at the stake (go to a MM show and count how many times someone yells Spine of God), I can not hold back how much I dig Powertrip. Taking a big departure from their pioneering, lo-fi stoner rock roots, the Red Bank, NJ band shifted their style to a big, loud, hi-fi rock and roll sound. What they did maintain was the overall trippiness of their music and Dave Wyndorf’s charisma and intelligent, yet bat-shit crazy lyrics. I love every catchy tune on this record and all the NJ references throughout the album make the songs even more personal to me (Red Bank was a stones throw from where I grew up). Even though their lead and breakthrough single “Spacelord” got way over played I still find it to be a great tune. That’s some awesome songwriting right there. Every other track on Powertrip catches the same magic as that song did all while showing a great amount of diversity. If you’re looking for a top quality hard rock album, look no further than Powertrip. And now to pick a favorite track from this record, a damn hard task.
#23 Brave New World by Iron Maiden
And Iron Maiden makes its first appearance on my list. I remember the day I got this album like it was yesterday. After becoming a bit disenchanted with the band during the Blaze Baily era I lost touch with the comings and goings on what was going on in the band. One day I had taken a trip to New Hope, PA to more or less loaf around (really cool town to check out if you live near NY,NJ, or PA) and check out this really cool record store that had a ton of rare albums (it’s called Spinsters and as of last year it’s still there). I happened to be wearing one of my many Iron Maiden shirts that day and the clerk/owner took notice and we ended up in a conversation about Maiden and how I was ‘not happy’ with their recent output. Then he said he had a surprise for me. He went to the back room and came back with Brave New World and then told me it was due to come out the following week but he would sell it to me. The real kicker was when he told me Bruce was back in the band. I actually shed some tears of happiness. The drive home was pure euphoria as the record was blasted at full volume and I quickly learned that not only is Bruce back, but they had released one of their best albums ever. Words cannot describe how ecstatic I was the first time I heard “The Wicker Man”. It has that classic Maiden sound we all have come to love, but with a modern twist where they dig a bit deeper into their progressive side.
#22 Blast Tyrant by Clutch
Following up the excellent Pure Rock Fury (#32 on my list) was to be no easy task. Was Clutch to follow that heavy blues rock sound or push forward and expand their musical repertoire even further. Both would have been a worthy path and both they did. Adding even more new elements to their established Appalachian rock style including darker tones and thicker atmospheres, yet not forgetting about all those damn fun songs they write, Clutch continued their streak of top-tier records. A bit more political on this record than usual (they really didn’t like the Bush administration, but really, who in their right mind did?) they wrote a light concept of a tyrant and his boat ‘The Swollen Goat’ which tells a little tale over the course of a handful of select track off the album. Neil’s oddball lyrics are a tad toned down, but still retain their quirkiness and intelligence maintaining his status as a master wordsmith. As per usual the riffs and rhythms simply kill and groove and drummer J.P. Gaster is simply a beast here. I love how they capture that turn of the century Americana atmosphere throughout this record while still keeping a modern sound. And the song “Ghost”, damn, some of the finest Clutch music ever released. Seriously, if you never checked out Clutch before, do me a favor and give a few of their songs a listen. By far one of the best (if not the best) modern hard rock bands out there today.
#21 Lateralus by Tool
Quite possibly the most original band in the spectrum of metal, Tool’s sound has been largely inspirational on the genre, but is rarely replicated. A rarity in today’s metal scene. But I guess writing insanely complex songs that appeal to both the scutinizers ear and the layman’s at the same time is no easy task (and probably why we have to wait so long in between Tool records). Toss in one of the best drummers in music along with some of the best written and sung lyrics in the all of music and you have yourself quite a powerful concoction. Lateralus marks Tool at the height of their success taking over the mainstream and still maintaining the respect of their original fans. Songs like “The Patient” and “Reflection” will put you into a trance while “Parabol/Parabola” and “Lateralus” will both please and challenge your cerebral cortex at the same time. And every track in between is nothing close to a sloucher. I’m sure by now almost all Tool fans know of the Fibonacci sequence found in the album (and highlighted in the video below), but if not, did you know if you make a playlist and rearrange the tracks to follow the spiral sequence you are rewarded with one hell of an interesting flow of an album. Referred to as the Holy Gift among Tool fans, you would put the tracks in this order: 6, 7, 5, 8, 4, 9, 13, 1, 12, 2, 11, 3, 10. The Fibonacci goes even deeper on the record touching just about every aspect of it, so if you enjoy mathematics, patterns, or just really delving into some quality music, there is plenty to be discovered about Lateralus.