A while ago, at the same time as Matt and Reggie, I posted my Top 100 All Time Favourite (Metal) Albums over at the forum The History of Metal on FB. It took a good amount of time and effort to put it together, but it was so much fun! My taste in metal is always changing, so the list will not always look the same. In fact, it’s already a bit different than it was when I first put it together and posted it on the forum seven months ago.
I tried to limit myself to three albums per band to make the list a little more diverse and interesting. I don’t really consider the ‘test of time’-factor when selecting what albums that will go on my list, instead I measure it by how strongly the album has affected me emotionally and how much/often it has helped me through both good and bad phases in my life. That’s why you can find quite a few newer releases among my favourites too.
#15 Tool – 10, 000 Days
An album that took forever to get into and eventually ended up being one of my most loved records. It’s quite different from Tool’s other albums, more emotional and quirky. I can’t choose a favourite song, but these two tracks, dedicated to the singer’s mother who passed away after being paralyzed for 10,000 days, includes some of the most beautiful music this band has ever composed.
If you have the slightest interest in progressive rock/metal, especially the kind with a good rhythm section and great guitar work, and some of your favourite bands happen to be named Opeth, Tool, Karnivool, Porcupine Tree or Pain of Salvation, you need to check out the Australian band Caligula’s Horse. Don’t worry, they are not copying aforementioned bands, they do have a very nice style of their own and perfectly blends modern metal with a more classic proggy sound and outstanding vocals.
I first saw their name on Facebook a couple of weeks ago, as a recommendation by the band Ne Obliviscaris. Because they were mentioned by Ne Obliviscaris (another awesome band) and in the same sentence as “great gigs” and “Twelve Foot Ninja” (my latest musical addiction), I decided to investigate it further. After a couple of days and their new album ‘The Tide, The Thief and River’s End’ on repeat, I’m sold. Completely. In love. Head over heels…
‘Dark Hair Down‘ provides a taste of it, but the album has so much more than this to offer:
Full Album Stream:
“It’s extremely liberating in the digital age to approach composing and creating in this manner.
Infinite paths to explore, reinterpret and re-present.”
Release Date: August 27, 2013 on Puscifer Entertainment
Length: 60 minutes
Genre: Alternative, industrial rock, experimental, electronic
Don’t Shoot The Messenger EP, 2009
“V” is for Vagina, 2007
“C “ is For (Please Insert Sophomoric Genitalia Reference Here) EP, 2009
Conditions of My Parole, 2011
Donkey Punch The Night EP, 2013 and three remix albums
Recommended for fans of: Nine Inch Nails, Tool, A Perfect Circle, electronic music
#16 Tool – Eulogy
“Don’t you step out of line. Don’t you fucking lie. You’ve claimed all this time that you would die for me. Why then are you so surprised to hear your own eulogy? You had a lot to say. You had a lot of nothing to say. “
A mysterious, weird and almost hypnotizing intro. It builds up beautifully and seamlessly into the song and just keeps going. After a minute some nice bongo drums are added and around the two minute mark the guitar riffs starts and Maynard comes in sounding like he’s singing through a megaphone. It’s such a great song with emotional vocals and wonderful flow. It’s taken from the album ‘Aenima’, released in 1996.
“Your assumption brings to a conclusion of no consequence.
And I refuse to play into your hands for your appeal.”
– Of Matter: Retrospect
A band that makes progressive music has the freedom to be whatever they want. Progressive bands can and should experiment and break boundaries to reach their musical vision. The members of TesseracT were not afraid to do this and took a road less traveled with this album; they once again created something fresh and unexpected (no, I’m not only talking about the saxophone solo) in a sub-genre that has become saturated with unoriginal bands. ‘Altered State’ is a confirmation of their remarkable talent when it comes to creating strong musical structures combined with an intense and emotional atmosphere. If you are a fan of progressive rock/metal and bands like Anathema, Pain of Salvation, Periphery, Karnivool or Tool this album might be interesting to you. The first single ‘Of Mind: Nocturne’ was out already in October last year and it has been a long wait for one of my most anticipated releases of the year.
#32 Tool – Bottom
From their debut album ‘Undertow‘ that came out in 1993.
One thing I miss about this way to long wait for a new Tool album besides the obvious fact of new music from Tool to listen to is the mind-raping videos that accompany their albums. Always filled with darkness, trippiness, psychedelia, and creativity, they are consistently heavy metal eye candy. Many bands and their music video directors have tried to emulate that same style that Tool does in their videos, but just about never ends in succeeding. Well finally someone has broke through and crafted a Tool-like video that earns my awesome Tool Video That Doesn’t Include a Tool Song Seal of Approval™. Directed and Animated Magnus Jonsson this dark slab of imagery leading up to the birth of a colossus will tickle the right side of your brain very nicely and push you to hit that replay button more than a few times. The thundering music of Meshuggah’s powerhouse song “I Am Colossus” will only reinforce the video’s impact. Check it out! Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!
The riff, a melodic phrase, often constantly repeated, forming an accompaniment or part of an accompaniment for a soloist. In metal, we are not lacking in the heavy use of them. In fact the large majority of all metal and hard rock revolves around the riff. The riff is what hooks you into a song, it’s what drives to keep you engaged, it’s what determines the phrasing of a good solo or breakdown. So, needlessly saying, a fine riff will often lead to a great song. Some bands excel at creating bold and brazen riffs (eg. doom metal, death metal, groove metal) and others may use a more mellow, low-key riff to build atmospheres for the other instruments to build a dynamic off of (eg. black metal, post-metal). But whatever the approach is, the power of the riff compels us!
Some riffs have gone down in metal history as the greatest groups of music ever created. Upon hearing the first few notes of the riff, you can identify the song in no time flat and chances are that the riff has spent extended time stuck in your brain more than once. Here’s a list of what I consider the best riffs of heavy metal. To show fairness to the newer bands out there, they’ll get inclusions also, so if you see a track you don’t know here, give it a listen, I guarantee there will be a damn sick riff contained within. But on the flipside, I also feel that the real signifier of a solid and memorable riff is the test of time. If over 20 years after hearing it the effect it has on me is still the same and my enjoyment of the song is still immense, then that sir, is a f’n killer riff. To not turn this into a list of best Black Sabbath, Pantera, or ‘Tallica riffs, I’m limiting myself to one song per band, so if you dig a riff more than one not included in the list, make sure to give it a shout out in the comments. And also, this is just scratching the surface of the best riffs in metal/hard rock, so be prepared for part deuce. Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!
Even though I partake in herbal relaxation from time to time, my days of being a stoner are behind me. But while I left most of the lifestyle that came with the stigma behind, my love of the psychedelic music I loved to listen to while under the influence has never gone away. I still find that the trippy music is able to completely able to engage me and send my mind into that nice transcendental place I enjoy so much. Simply put, it’s great music to relax to.
One of my favorite tracks to zone out to has always been Led Zeppelin’s “No Quarter”. The wintery atmosphere, shifting moods, the colorful tones, and the thought provoking lyrics all add up to make this particular tunes one of Zeppelin’s best. As far as my interpretation of the song, it deals with the British during the American Revolution. When settlers refused a British soldier a place to stay and food to eat the settler was shown no quarter, which is also a way of saying no mercy. This was a tactic used by the British to try to force their way into a position of power through fear. But I feel that the song goes deeper than that, acting more as a commentary on the fear mongering primarily found in religion and politics. And with a deeper meaning pointing to questioning religion and politics, what better band than one that is consistently asking their listeners to dig deep below the borderline and open up their minds and question everything.
Being a band that rarely ever does cover material, Tool completely rock “No Quarter”‘s socks off. Retaining that psychedelic feel of the original, even making it more trippy, they add a layer of heaviness that increases the depth of the song ten-fold. What really gets me about this cover is how much more fitting I feel Tool’s approach to the music compliments the lyrical themes. Even more frozen and saddened than the original they really give the feeling a British soldier must have refused room and board. And when the heavy kicks in it better personifies his rage. The trippy sections serve to convey the fact that the protagonist is not of sound mind when looking to execute ‘no quarter’. All in all, this is one of the few covers of majorly influential songs that I find I enjoy much better than the already excellent original. Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!
Close the door, put out the light.
You know they won’t be home tonight.
The snow falls hard and don’t you know?
The winds of Thor are blowing cold.
They’re wearing steel that’s bright and true
They carry news that must get through.
They choose the path where no-one goes.
They hold no quarter.
Walking side by side with death, The devil mocks their every step
The snow drives back the foot that’s slow, The dogs of doom are howling more
They carry news that must get through, To build a dream for me and you
They choose the path where no-one goes.
They hold no quarter. They ask no quarter.
The pain, the pain without quarter.
They ask no quarter.
The dogs of doom are howling more!
Original Led Zeppelin Version:
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!!!
#15 Colors by Between the Buried and Me
In the early and mid 2000’s I found myself a bit disenchanted with new metal. I had kept in touch with the established bands in my catalog, but anything new just ‘didn’t do it for me’. Then I stumbled on BTBAM and their newly released Colors. Never have I heard metal quite like this, ferocious, complex, organic, beautiful, chaotic, and so unorthodox. How each song flowed into the next created a neat flow and the musicianship in each one seriously blew my mind and gave me a new-found faith in modern metal. I also love while on one end the music and themes on this record are pretty serious, the band knows how to sit back and have some fun at times and get playful with the music breaking that ‘more brutal than thou’ mentality that was plaguing metal at the time in my eyes. After this record I became more adventurous with my music returning to actively seek out/check out music by stuff I never heard of in hopes I find something that blew me away like Colors. To quote Forrest Gump: “I must have drank me 15 Dr. Peppers”. Returning to this album 7 years after my big first impression it still holds up wonderfully and BTBAM received much deserved success and took the right path and upped their talent (seriously, check out the new record ;) ).