Can’t hardly believe I’ve been making top ten lists since about 1993. Has it really been that long. Wait, what 93! I graduated HS in 93, damned it all to hell I’m getting old. Wouldn’t believe that looking at this list, I can hang with the youngsters just fine, and they way you stop discovering new music after your formative years are over hasn’t happened yet to me thankfully. Tough list this year, mostly due to not having as much access to new stuff as I would normally have liked. I’m one foot back in the music industry so there are some interesting pics in the top of the listening, I think. Every year I do these a little different, so no real number one record per se just a mishmosh of stuff to note of the 20 most played.
Heartstrings come attached
Testament the Formation of Damnation
Radiohead In Rainbows self-released
Rise Against Appeal to Reason Geffen
Testament helped make me metal. Radiohead helped make me indie. ’nuff said. Both records obliterate for different reasons. I am well away of the 07 v. 08 question for Radiohead, I’m not going to debate it, the CD came out in 08. Yes, I still buy CDs, I like something tangible to hold, I like reading liner notes and critiquing packaging and artwork and this is how I want to experience Radiohead, in it’s full form. Rise Against is still this generations Bad Religion, both bands I have utmost respect for and get amped about just thinking about
Origin Antithesis Relapse Records
Soilent Green Inevitable Collapse in the Presence of Conviction MetalBlade
Meshuggah Obzen Nuclear Blast
Cynic Traced in Air Season of Mist
Origin might have been the biggest surprise for me this year. Blistering. I don’t know why I never paid as much attention before, but when I finally regain conscientiousness from this record, I’ll buy the old stuff up. The triumphant return of the mighty Cynic. What these kids did back in the day was sick and this picked right up where they left off. No need to say anything about the music of SG and Mesh, it speaks for itself, but the artwork, ouch.
Becoming the Archetype DichonomySolid State
Scar Symmetry Holographic Universe Nuclear Blast
Bleeding Through Declaration Trustkill
Unearth the March MetalBlade
Into Eternity the Incurable Tragedy Century Media
Opeth Watershed Roadrunner
Heaven Shall Burn Iconoclast Century Media
Byzantine Oblivion Beckens Prosthetic
BTA I literally just heard the day before putting this list together, so it hardly accumulated enough spins to even come close to cracking the #1 like last year, but damned, it’s good. Scar Symmetry’s last with Christian Alvestam is a dynamic onslaught of over-the-top. Bleeding Through return to the old days and remind us yet once again what a cruel joke they are on hardcore kids. It’s metal people, really, it is, pure and simple. Unearth are predictable but for me it’s nice ear candy. Some people listen to Britney Spears and Beyonce, I listen to Unearth. To me, not Opeth’s most overwhelming effort, but then again, this band could essentially write the same thing from now to the end of eternity and still be better than everyone else.
Poison the Well I/III Ferret Recordings
Norma Jean the AntiMother Solid State Records
Never really was sure how to correctly categorize these two. Previously NJ probably belong in tech, but after this experiment I’m not quite sure that’s correct. Not really sure what NJ were going for here, but the flashes of brilliance offset my occasional confusion, plus, well, its NJ. PTW discovered yet another dimension of their sound and we’ll leave the curiosity I have at at that. I can’t wait to just completely absorb this album on my home stereo.
Judas Priest Nostradamus Epic
Metallica Death Magnetic Warner
AC/DC Black Ice
Well, what do we have here? Yes, the dinosaurs still stomping along with the young guys. I’ll head bob along any day, especially with the new Metallica which is the best record since Metallica went into hibernation and was under this mysterious delusion they were called Alternica. Priest put out a killer concept album that cemented their return (and next to Maiden the most triumphant one for the old NWOBHM generation). AC/DC are still writing the same record they were a quarter century ago, and once again, it is as good as ever and well worth the little wait.
Sleep Station Blood of our Fathers Eyeball Records
Thrice the Alchemy Index Vagrant
I don’t care what you say, I like these two records. And this is MY list so if I want to have a couple of lighter fair efforts on it, I’ll relax to them when I so choose!
Still hitting home from 07
the Dillinger Escape Plan IreWorks Relapse
Soilwork Sworn to a Great Divide Nuclear Blast
Becoming the Archetype the Physics of Fire Solid State
Signal to Noise Kodiak Eyeball Records
As I Lay Dying an Ocean Between Us MetalBlade
Five year’s in the rearview mirror – yep believe it or not, five years ago was 2003, seemed like the new millennium was just yesterday … and here’s a few key connections to that era that make me bob my head
Radiohead Hail to the Thief Capital
Rise Against Revolutions Per Minute Fat Wreck
Haste the Mercury Lift Century Media
Extol (thrash) Synergy Century Media
Bleeding Through this is Love, this is MurderousTruskill
Most Precious Blood Our Lady of Annihilation Trustkill
The Rise Against record is still by far and away on the top of my listening after “Voices…” became a personal anthem ne’re mind the new album meant go back and listen to the old. And Bleeding Though literally wrote an entire epic of how it feels to be in that conflicted position in life and who’s lyrics continue to ring though, plus the new brought back out the catalog… . I know, Maiden’s Dance of Death isn’t on here, what can I say, that wasn’t nearly as beautiful as other Maiden records were for me, not that it was bad, but I don’t pull it out as often as other stuff.
Ten year anniv. Yep and that’s what it is. Surprisingly, or sadly, these are almost the exact same records that I think I named that year in the top ten too!
Vision of Disorder Imprint Roadrunnner
the Dillinger Escape Plan Calculating Infinity Relapse
Death the Sound of Perseverance Nuclear Blast
Meshuggah Chaosphere Nuclear Blast
the Refused the Shape of Punk to Come… Epitaph
VOD, a band I will always cherish, not just because of how the music makes me feel, but how much it still means that this album was my first ever number one record on a national radio chart and how meaningful it was for the band to call and say, “thank you.” VOD reuinting this year, only made the excitement even more. It will resonate till the day I die. DEP was one of my first record reviews that helped solidify my writing style in that realm and is still among one of the most quoted references to the band ever by the label. Great album too, despite my sentimental flair for it. Death’s final opus is still the finest death metal album ever conceived, genius beyond genius and NB-A’s first ever #1 on the charts thanks to yours truly, so there’s some extra love just on that. Argue all you want about DEI, Chaosphere is not only my fave Meshuggah record, it was also the tour i first ever saw them on and I’m still feeling the aftereffect in my bowels. The Refused…there just aren’t words, the prophetic nature of the title alone says it all. What a nostalgic year, right?
And, where this mess all began a whopping 15 years ago in a bedroom with headphones on. This isn’t really a rehash of what I listened to then as much as what I am looking back on loving that era from my current viewpoint.
Sepultura Chaos AD Roadrunner
Cynic Focus Roadrunner
Primus Pork Soda Interscope
Therapy Hats off to the Insane A&M
Rush are one of my all time fave bands and I just began reading Neil’s book from after his wife and daughter’s death and it made me pull back out all those memories of Rush and my own life. Sep are among the bands that helped make the “metal” and well, if this isn’t the percussionist and metallic best of what they were I don’t know what is. Cynic are 10 years in the making of their opus this year, stunningly enough how the current version stirs my soul as much as the original did when i first unearthed it. Primus isn’t because Chef from South Park died, though, that’s not a bad reason to pull the boys out of the CD stack, nor was it finally seeing the Police’s Steward Copeland (who also played with Les in Oysterhead), nor was it my trip to the DMV, it was really still because this is a timeless classic. Wow, Therapy? A band I hardly realized they were as important as they were then as to what I see their influence as becoming now.