90. The Ocean: Precambrian
“Precambrian” is one of those records that you either love at first
listen or you detest to time end. Luckily for me –and for you-, I really
enjoy The Ocean’s all-encompassing ambition, to create a record that
covers the whole ground from spastic bursts of aggression to introverted
pieces of post-Neurosis tension-and-release exercises in style and
form. Boasting a legion of musicians and singers, “Precambrian” never
loses focus or enters the realms of utter pretentiousness. Instead, it
gradually evolves into a whole much bigger than its component parts,
immersing the listener into a world of conflicting images and sounds.
This German collective is one of the best things that has happened to
metal during the last few years and “Precambrian” is prerequisite
89. Ahab: The call of the wretched sea
Something grips you by the throat, slowly pulls you under water, and
lets you experience the terrors of the deep first-hand. A choking
emptiness. Paralysis. In a distance too far to reach, traces of ancient
submarine life radiating through the darkness. A world impossible to
conceive. The iron grip around your neck lets go far too late. Deep
below, the lack of oxygen sends you to a soothing calm, floating amidst
that which cannot be fathomed. Your senses fade.
Miraculously, you wake up washed upon a dim shore. How you survived?
You don’t know. You don’t care. What does it matter? Slowly, but more
and more determined, you wade back into the sea until your feet lose
contact with the ground, only to sink into the bottomless abyss once
If you don’t like doom metal, check out “The call of the wretched
sea”. I thought alike until I heard this album. This is full-on stuff,
but with skilled songwriters behind it, and a fantastic production to
boot. Don’t expect it to be accessible, but once it sucks you in, you
will wade back, too.
88. Illdisposed: 1-800 Vindication
Pre-“Vindication”- Illdisposed was quite a dull band.
Post-“Vindication”- Illdisposed is watered down and uninteresting. But
the “Vindication”- Illdisposed really had something to offer. This album
is shock-full of semi-death metal hits with boar-vocals leading its
troops. Alot of bands do this; they are anonymous up until a certain
album in their career, then all of a sudden they release a monster album
and right after they go back to anonymity – never to walk their 15
Minutes Of Fame path again. “1-800 Vindication” is a great modern metal
album with an ace production and songs that really work wonders for your
daily headbanging. Holy shit, that was one cheesy sentence. Just like
some of the stuff included here on this recording, but still it works
great. Denmark never had much to offer when it comes to metal, but
nonetheless I don’t see Illdisposed (or any other Danish band) beat the
legacy Invocator created. This is a good try though.
-Lord K Philipson
87. High On Fire: Death is this communion
High On Fire had been making some pretty decent stuff with their
odd-duck mixture of doom/groove/sludge/stoner/whatever metal, but it
wasn’t until their fourth album, 2007’s “Death is this communion”, that
they created a record with highly compelling songwriting all-around;
here, HoF cranked up the complexity, energy, and groove on their
songwriting WAY up, and with thick, catchy
riffs & great solos from guitar hero Matt Pike (as well as some
surprisingly good acoustic work), the band’s best production job yet,
and Des Kensel’s liveliest, most entertaining drum performance to date,
this one’s definitely the winner out of the band’s body of work so far.
Oh, and not to fear, old-school Fire fans, as Pike still stuck with the
same ol’ bastard-son-of-Lemmy vocals here, so that should comfort you as
you get used to the new and improved HoF; enjoy.
86. Cobalt: Gin
From war metal, to tribal, ceremonial blackened thrash experience,
Cobalt was never a band who feared taking chances. Shit, the whole idea
behind the band –a soldier stationed wherever in the world there’s
enough trouble to guarantee that you’re living in constant danger and a
multi-instrumentalist who takes cues from anything that sounds intense
enough or scary enough and turns everything into a maelstrom of slashing
blackened guitars and teetering-on-the-edge drumming- is taking a
chance. “Gin” came out in 2009 and pays tribute to two of the most
celebrated intensely crazed guys in the world of letters, Ernest
Hemingway and Hunter S. Thompson. They both lived what they wrote about,
they both drank gallons of alcohol, they both took their lives. “Gin”
is a testament to nihilism and bravado. It’s an essential listen and you
should have it.
85. Diablo Swing Orchestra: Sing along songs for the damned and deranged
Holy cow, only amongst a top 100 list does it really dawn on you how fucken long that title is. Anyway, DSO
popped up a few years ago with “The Butcher’s Ballroom”, a decent album
with a few really good tunes, but overall lacking in balance. They came
back stronger than before with “Sing along songs…”, however. This was
one wacky album; while there had been some combinations of circuses and
metal before, it wasn’t until this release it became the central focus.
“Sing along songs…” is as well-written as it is executed, though, and
the myriad of vocal variations and bizarre melodies and sounds convey
the circus image perfectly. It has an evil edge, though, and that suits
the band perfectly fine.
When you listen closely, though, you do find the madness is not just
tomfoolery, and the musical base behind all this is solid as armed
concrete. The string work especially is fantastic, but all instruments
and arrangements match perfectly and work together to one goal: make
“Sing along songs…” a fucken great album, both in its vivid imagery as
well as its musical technicality.
84. Mustasch: Ratsafari
If you love heavy metal, I have a hard time understanding why you
wouldn’t love Mustasch. They’ve got everything you need: the
non-complex albeit catchy and heavy riffing, tasteful drums and bass.
It’s pretty much an amalgamation of the 90s moments of heavy metal along
with some of the classic 70s stuff these boys grew up on. This album
is all of that along with an attitude that says these guys aren’t here
to fuck around, they’re here to rock. And rock they do, nearly
flawlessly the entire way. I say so.
83. Soulfly: Prophecy
“I see Max, leaving Sepultura to make a new band,
I see criticism raging out of hand,
For he doesn’t play the style of Sep no more,
Instead he follows trends, plays nu-metal like a whore
This is the Prophecy
This is the prophecy
But trends change and to a new sound Max moves,
The lineup changes and Max lays down heavy grooves,
Soulfly’s album is more straightforward, heavy and cool,
If you haven’t checked this one out, you’ve missed out fool,
This is the Prophecy
This is the Prophecy.”
In all seriousness, discard your preconceptions on Soulfly and
forget Sepultura ever happened, and you will find this is actually a
fucken good album.
82. Kill The Client: Cleptocracy
Everything’s bigger in Texas. Apparently even the number of awesome
grind bands that rip your face off and wipe the stock exchange’s floor
with it. One of them is Kill The Client. Similar to their like-minded
fellows in Insect Warfare, these guys make no secret of their hatred
towards today’s politics, social reality or the SYSTEM
in general. Fittingly, they package their goods into short, unlikeable
and indiscernible noisebits, topped off with a nasty, sawing production
and way too much going on for the listener to “get it”.
Not even when they slow things down does one get a sense of relief,
it rather feels like they shift from curtain fire to less projectiles
with heavier calibers instead. This is sound meant to overpower the
listener, and all the more is it fun to listen to. If you’ve had enough
of music, get “Cleptocracy”. You will not be disappointed.
81. In Flames: Clayman
No, “Colony” wasn’t In Flames’ last good album, as 2000’s
“Clayman” was also quite good, though their last such album to qualify
as that (which is why it’s their only one on this list, of course).
Anyway, while one can hear very mild hints of the more
commercial (and shittier) approach the band would start taking on the
subsequent releases, overall, “Clayman” still qualifies as a good,
traditional In Flames record, with the expected well-structured,
energetic, and dynamic songwriting, as well as plenty of melodic, catchy
riffs/solos, and while Anders Fridén’s vocals are a bit too
whiny overall (though definitely better than on the future albums),
they’re still very tolerable when put next to all the other good shit
here. Enjoy this one, ‘cause Flames will probably never be this good