Introduction by Habakuk: You know,
we’re a diverse bunch, not only spread across the globe but also with
considerably different tastes in music or preferred gender of imagined
sexual partner. Hence, this best of 2000-2009 list is an aggregation of
about 15 (sometimes completely) different viewpoints. With that in mind
and thinking about the last ten years, one thing not apparent on first
sight is worth shedding light upon: What’s not on the
list. And believe me, divergent tastes or not, the old guard is dying,
and fast. Yeah, as if you hadn’t known yet. As a matter of fact, where
were ye olde genre stalwarts in the last decade? I am not giving away
too much when I say that among the top 100 albums of 2000 to 2009 you
will not find, for example: Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax or Slayer. How
do I know? At the time of writing, the voting isn’t even finished! I
know, because they haven’t even been nominated into the voting by anyone on staff. And trust me, we have some people with a serious lack of taste.
But yeah, you know how it is, the Guard dies, but does not
surrender – some old big names will pop up here and there, and
righteously so, but in any case, even the most enduring long-runners
will have to take a bow in the end. Consequently, metal certainly has
taken a bit of a different direction in the past ten years – for the
better? Me, I don’t really know. After all, there will be some big shoes
to fill. However, looking at this collection of the officially
GD-sealed best albums of the decennium, there at least is some hope.
Note by The Lord: When this enormous feature is completed you
will also be spoiled with most of the staffers’ personal Top 30 lists
from 2000-2009. Yeah, we know – we truly are awesome.
100. Immolation: Close to a world below
When death metal pioneers Immolation released this album in 2000,
they were able to maintain their old formula but also add a fresh sound.
In the midst of all the soulless tech-metal that was going around at
the time, the dark sinister brutality of “Close to a World Below” proved
a refreshing listen. The menacing attitude and caustic lyrics lend a
dark atmospheric feel where religion is promising to take us upwards to a
heaven but instead are bringing us down, closer to a world below.
Immolation, like a nice wine, become better and better with age.
Their playing is extremely competent and technically masterful, yet
never burdensome in it complexity. They present us with excellent
guitar-work, nimble precision drumming, and discernible fiendish growls.
And more than likely, if you are true fan of death metal, you already
know these things because you own the album.
99. Swallow The Sun: The morning never came
Not often are both the band name and album title in such perfect
correlation with the music as on “The Morning Never Came”. The 2003
debut album of this Finnish orchestra of gloom is filled to the brim
with beautiful melancholy, deep and black despair, crushing anger and a
black atmosphere ov doom. Swallow the Sun’s music is most often labeled
as melodic doom/death metal, and the slow tempos, down-tuned and massive
guitar riffs, morose melodies and occasional clean vocals surely all
give this album the doom metal stamp of approval, the death metal part
consisting mainly of Kotamäki’s deep and meaty growls. A clear, good and
clean production gives the simple yet effective riffs the time and room
they need to breathe and bloom to their full potential. To this day,
StS have been unable to top their debut, and I seriously doubt that will
ever happen as “The Morning Never Came” is a near-perfect effort in its
genre. But we can always hope, can’t we?
98. Mayhem: Chimera
Jan Axel Blomberg, aka Hellhammer, once upon a time answered this
when asked if he supported arson brought upon churches: why not blow up a
mosque instead? Haha, that might be the best answer to a question I
ever chainsaw. Fuck Christianity, by all means, but be sure to fuck
Islam whilst you are at it. If you dare, of course. If not, stop acting
tough and hang yourself. Cuntface.
I never was the biggest fan of Mayhem around, the shit they recorded
when nowadays dead and rotten Euronymous was chieftain reeks to the
high heavens, but what I just wrote doesn’t make “Chimera” into a lesser
album. The progressive black without a single shard of pretto, but lots
of intensity and masterful musicianship, namely remains a joy to behold
whatever the name of the day might be. Hell, even Maniac sounds
absolutely fantastic on this one.
All those claiming to be truly necro, should leave life and begone already. Fuck you.
97. Naglfar: Harvest
Naglfar are one of my personal favorite black metal bands. Rather
than sticking to the lo-fi production trap that so many black metal
bands fall into, Naglfar chose a modern approach production-wise as well
as compromising the use of melody quite a bit. Instead there is a raw
and dirty sound of nothing more full onslaught, which reminds me very
much of a black metal “Left Hand Path”. “Harvest” lets up with mid-paced
songs like “The Mirrors of My Soul” which has a great atmosphere.
Vocalist Olivius does a decent job on the slower songs spewing forth
some of the best black metal vocals ever. The opening to the title track
with the heavy bass part, melodic lead guitar work and eerie atmosphere
and vocals make for something great. This is definitely one of the
better releases of the past ten years and in my opinion belongs higher
up the list.
96. Yyrkoon: Unhealthy Opera
The break-up of Yyrkoon a few years ago went relatively unnoticed
which is a damn shame. These Lovecraft lovin’ froggies played a killer
mix of thrash, death, and technical metal and their swansong “Unhealthy
Opera”. This is an album so fucken metal that it makes Gorguts look like
Lady Gaga. The production is ace; the songs have heavy riffs, brutal and
groovy sections, and just enough technicalities to keep things
interesting. Check out “Horror from the sea” for a near-perfect death
metal song. While Yyrkoon’s “Occult medicine” seems to get a bit more
attention than “Unhealthy Opera” I dare to say that Dagon and the rest
of the Old Ones would appreciate the dark heaviness of this record more.
The title track, “Avatar ceremony” and the monster “…of madness” are
all killer death metal tracks. Listen to the whispers in your head,
follow the call of Chthulu, and go pick this fucker up if you can.
95. Nile: Annihilation Of The Wicked
Obsessive-compulsive Egyptian nerds
Nile cranked out yet another solid slab of tech death with 2005’s
“Annihilation of the wicked”, propelled by Karl Sanders and He Of The
Skullet Dallas Toler-Wade’s incredibly thick, relentlessly aggressive
riffing, as well as plenty of Evil Cookie Monster growling, which fits
the hopelessly word-y, archaic, Dark Egyptian Shit TM lyrics
here perfectly. Throw in kick-ass solos, newcomer George Kollias’s
insanely intense-but-still-highly-groovy drumming, and some nicely
atmospheric, creepy usage of Middle Eastern instruments (just what the
hell is a “Baglama Saz”?), and you have a pretty good album here. And,
while I do think Nile’s songwriting skills still need work, as
they have the tendency to run around in circles some, I can’t deny that
what the band does get right makes for some damn fun times nonetheless, so this one’s definitely worth checking out.
94. Kreator: Hordes of chaos
Legendary Kraut thrashers Kreator had been floundering for quite
some time after 1990’s “Come of souls”, since every other album they
released during the 90’s was a disappointment, and while 2001’s “Violent
revolution”/‘05’s “Enemy of god” were both pretty decent, they still left something to desired. However, the band finally
managed to recapture the aggression from their old days with 2009’s
“Hordes of chaos”, with its intense, intricate, catchy songwriting
all-around, some of their fastest song tempos since “Coma”, great
confrontational vocals from Mille, Ventor’s best overall drum
performance to date, and a sharp production that’s a nice contrast to
the dull, too-slick Andy Sneap jobs on the previous two albums. Keep up
the good work, Kreator, ‘cause this one definitely sets a standard to be
aspired to in the future.
93. Dead Congregation: Graves of the archangels
Do you know Incantation? Oh, really! I love Incantation!!
They are soooo good, I mean, they’re like the best. They so satanic and
shit, it’ll creep you the fuck out. It’s like an evil goat Satan, Hail
Bapohmet lol! You know the way they’re all creepy. Because they play so
hard and metal it’s awesome1 They are the best and the drumming is so
brutal. In your face! Yeah Incnatation \m/.
No. Well, granted, Incantation have a pretty good sound of their
own. But here’s a little secret I’ll give away: you won’t find them on
this list. You can wait and wait, but it’s not going to happen. Not even
by the time you’re hoping for them to be in the Top 10. Nevar. Despair
not, however, for I shall provide ye with solace. Dead Congregation is
Greece’s superior answer to Incantation. They take their dissonant,
churning death metal formula and stir it up a little bit. And they do
not believe that in order to make it work, a shitty swamp-production is
needed. How right they are. You can actually make out the riffs, how
good is that? Personally, I think that enhances a band’s sound and
doesn’t reduce the sinister groove, but I could be mistaken. So, all you
lovers of blast beat hypnosis, dry your tears about Incantation’
misfortunes and make sure you check out this band asap. Not that they’re
going to be the next big thing on YouTube or something, but if you like
gritty death metal, you should definitely enjoy them. AWESROME.
92. Soilent Green: Inevitable collapse in the presence of conviction
Here is recipe from the New Orleans Metal Cookbook or just something written on the inside of Dom Deluise’s coffin…
1) mix equal parts sludge, grind, stoner, and death metal
2) pour in a gallon of each of the following: bourbon, cognac, sloe gin, cough syrup, and Abita Amber beer
3) Sprinkle in a gram of cocaine
4) Toss in a Quaalude or ten
5) add a pound of steamed crawfish
6) puke in the mixture
What do you get? Soilent Green’s “Inevitable collapse…” a blistering
piece of whothefuckknows metal that, like it’s home city, is a
mind-blowing mix of styles and influences. One thing I can tell you
though: it’s heavy as fuck and will make your teeth hurt. Oh wait, I
think I have finally figured out a way to describe Soilent Green’s
“Inevitable Collapse in the Presence of Conviction”… it’s definitely fingernails scraped down a chalkboard metal. Isn’t that the name of a Soilent Green song from a different album? I’m confused, someone get me a Hand Grenade…
91. Queens Of The Stone Age: Songs for the deaf
To begin with, this album is far from accessible, not because the
music is unfamiliar or extreme (more like Cream filtered through desert
rock, and punk), but because it is so concerned with pleasing themselves
with what they play that they don’t give a damn for the audience. This
extends to the production, which sounds like a stoned joke gone awry as
it compresses and flattens every instrument as if it were coming out of a
cheap AM car radio. However that might be the point as the album begins
with radio chatter, and there are lots of jokey by a fake DJ (my
personal favourite is the crazy Mexican guy at the start of “First it
Giveth”). ”Songs for the Deaf” ultimately winds up being monotone, since
every guitar has the same beefy tone and the drums are pushed to the
background, never sounding loud, never giving this music the muscle it needs. As such, it becomes tiring to listen to, and definitely deserves its place lower down in the list.