Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Top 10, or 8

1. Destruction – Thrash Anthems
What do you do when the quality of your early output gets overshadowed by poor production values and drumming that sounds like Stephen Hawking tap-dancing with bags of ping-pong balls on his feet? You take your new drummer into the studio (one of the most solid thrash drummers on the planet) and RE-RECORD THEM. An interesting route for a ‘best of’ but this record couldn’t possibly deliver any more than it already does. Not to take anything away from the quality and nostalgia of the original recordings from these Germans but the updated versions of these tunes really allows their greatness to be revealed. The drums and guitars are so loud and in your face that they might as well be in your mouth and Schmier "I'M SO PISSED UFF"'s vocals are proof that a ridiculously tall, leather clad man can still sound terrifying with shreaky vocals. I find it very difficult to not raise at least one arm in the air when listening to this record.
Hey guys, how do you want this thing mastered?
Um, louder zen anyssing ulse und zee planetz.

2. Mors Principium Est – Liberation = Termination

Not even the electric-circus, white-button-down-shirt, white-pants, white-leather-cockroach-killer shoe, gold-chain, guess-jeans-belt-buckle, bass-thumping intro to the ‘Animal Within’ from this record can deny how awesome this band is. To some it’s pretty standard melodo-death-thrash but these guys have more shred in them than something with a whole lot of shred in it. All three of their releases have had at least 5 to 6 ‘YES’ songs which, if ya don’t know, is a remarkably high average. The main guitar player / song-writer chappy has left to pursue the arena-ready stampeding success of solo instrumental music which is a crying shame but he did a hell of a job in releasing three great MPE records.

3. Pig Destroyer – Phantom Limb

Pig Destroyer? No thanks, I’ve heard they’re good but I’m not that into grind. HEY WAIT THIS ISN’T GRIND.
One guitar, one drumset, and a very talented lyricist. I’m embarrassed to have so quickly dismissed them in the past. This record kills from start to finish with flurried blasts and grooved out glory.

4. Black Dahlia Murder – Nocturnal

Zach Gibson / Drums: Hey guys, I’m like the only good member of this band and the only reason Miasma was any good was because of my drum performance eff you to the max I’m out of here.
Black Dahlia Murder: Hey cool man, you were sloppy live and did nothing but complain the entire time anyway. Oh apparently you’re an arrogant prick too. No worries though as we’ve since replaced you with Tony Laureano, oh wait, we mean Kevin Talley, nope, make that Pierre Langlois, haaaang on, no here we go, Yo Shannon Lucas, why don’t you leave All that Remains and come help us destroy the rest of the modern American Thrash scene on our new record.
Shannon Lucas: Sounds good.
You ever heard a heavy metal waltz? Track 2.
1 – 2 – 3, 1 – 2 – 3-, puh – nih – shing.

5. Iron and Wine – The Shepherd’s Dog

Finally an album to counter that weird uncle of yours and his fondness for ‘world music’. Guess what, Paul Simon’s Graceland came out a looong time ago and those Putumayo Kenyan Jambalaya collections aren’t going to add the flavour to your collection you seem to so desperately desire. Nice multi-coloured vest by the way. Dear Sam Beam, thank you so much for evolving in a way that came as a complete surprise yet seemed to make a shocking amount of sense at the same time. The melodies and terrifyingly strong and the instrumentation is awesome. Also, the cut on there about the Buzzard smothered my face with a smile instantly.

6. Between the Buried and Me – Colors

Haha yeah we were just kidding when we released that completely unnecessary tribute record ‘The Anatomy of’ last year. I mean, we couldn’t have made it any less interesting if we’d tried, considering every song pretty much sounded exactly like the original with the exception of good vocals. BUT YAY have fun with Colors because we’re still crazy nerds who will throw in Vaudevillian and Country & Western sections into 11+ minute metal / prog blends freshly pureed for you to probably not completely appreciate.

7. Radiohead – In Rainbows

There was a time oh so many years ago when I lived and breathed Radiohead. You know, back in the mid 90’s when I actually bought cd’s. How interesting is it that now, over 10 years later I actually got this record legally but still didn’t pay anything for it. Sure, a generous move by the band but it wouldn’t have been possible if myself and a few other million people hadn’t shelled out for their previous releases. The ‘pay what you want’ thing was kind of like having a friend win the lottery and offer to take you out to dinner while giving you the option of covering the tip. The real thrill of this record was its announcement roughly 10 days before the release. I gave up on them after Kid A when Metal got all possessive, asking me tediously jealous questions about who else I had been hanging out with and why my clothes didn’t smell of greasy hair and ‘someone else’s Right Guard’. I’m not the devoted fan I once was but the song ‘All I need’ is almost enough for In Rainbows to make this list alone.

8. Neil Young – Live at Massey Hall 1971

Oh hi, I’m Neil Young and I’m on stage at Massey hall. I released After the Gold Rush last year and will be releasing Harvest next year. I’m currently 26 years old. Guess what, that pretty much makes me more talented than you’ll ever be at anything in your entire life. "This next one isn’t quite finished yet, it’s called ‘The Needle and the Damage Done’". Yeesh.

Honourable mentions

Coliseum – No Salvation
I can’t justifiably include this record in the numbered portion of this list because I don’t actually own it yet. I am including it simply because after seeing them live at Sneaky Dee’s this summer I fully expect this album to be a monster. The singer and sole guitar player had four Marshall cabinets on stage and the drummer was absolutely amazing. The songs ripped in their hardcore / metal way and it was great in every way possible. They also have the coolest merch designs this side of Missoura.

Meshuggah – Chaosphere

This record was released in 1998 but since no band has topped the battering turbine of clattery caustics that is Chaosphere it will remain on any top list I compose out of spite and obnoxiousness.