Monday, 10 August 2015

Top 50 of 2000-2009, Part 3, 21 to 30

Welcome back to the top 50, let's not waste any time with some pretentious discussion and let's explore the albums I have in this third part!

30. Behemoth – The Apostasy (2007)
This album (alongside Nile's Ithyphallic, not featured on this list unfortunately) was one of the most important ones for my metallic development. Behemoth are an highly popular band but they got where they are for a good reason; they fucking slay. While Demigod is often seen as the superior release, The Apostasy is a bit stronger and more focused. It's brutal, dark, atmospheric, epic, smart blackish death metal with a strong direction and a clear vision of how modern metal should sound like. Nergal is perhaps a diva but he's almost without an equal in the extreme metal world.

29. Moonsorrow - V: Hävitetty (2007)
Finland's folk metal institution released one hell of an album with Verisäkeet in 2005 but I picked this one instead. It has only two songs for almost an hour of music and it's their most ambitious piece of work so far. It's atmospheric, intelligent, mesmering, heavy and uses their heritage in a very tasteful way. It's like traveling to Finland for 56 minutes, it almost feels like being in a sauna with Napero.

28. Agalloch – Ashes Against the Grain (2006)
For certain people, it's all about The Mantle but I personally think the moose clad album is quite overrated and I prefer this one. It has the best balance of their sound including all the elements that I like from the band. It's not as black metal as its follower nor a mixed bag like their latest one. It also features some of their best tracks ever like “Not Unlike the Waves” or “Limbs”. Agalloch is a subtle band full of complexities and a varied dark approach to metal and that's their best album.
27. My Dying Bride – The Dreadful Hours (2001)
I don't like everything the legendary Englishmen did but when I dig them, I think they're fantastic. This album is one of their best, it's a good mix of their harsher death/doom days with harsh vocals combined with their romantic Gothic side. For dark and depressive music, it doesn't get much better than My Dying Bride at their finest hour. Alongside "The Light at the End of the World", it's one of their best albums and can almost hold a candle to "Turn Loose the Swans".

26. The Ocean – Precambrian (2007)
The German project lead by Robin Staps has always pushed the boundaries of sludge metal by incorporating a shitload of atmosphere, post-metal, progressive and by following in the footsteps of Neurosis. Precambrian is a double album and it's divided in a very unique way, one of the disks is quite atmospheric, somewhat what the band has been playing for their whole career while the second is like a sludgier and more aggressive EP. They're a tremendous band who recently had a drop in quality (see Heliocentric) but they got their shit together for the excellent Pelagial and I can't wait to see where they'll go next. I was lucky to see them live with The Atlas Moth some years ago and they're as interesting and cerebral as on record.

25. Kypck – Cherno (2008)
The Soviet influenced troop from Finland released one hell of a debut album and it's still their best one as far as I'm concerned. Their doom is slow, depressive and fits the Russian coldness in the lyrics perfectly. As a history buff, it's awesome to see a bunch of sad Finns use Russian history as a theme and they even use the language to convey their despair. Kypck plays a very original brand of doom metal and there's no bands who sounds like them.

The Gates of Slumber – Conqueror (2008)
My buddy Mike made me remember to add a certain band so thanks ya bastard but now we have a tie since I didn't feel like removing any of the other albums on my list!

First off, we have The Gates of Slumber with their third album. It's possibly not the best of the defunct American band but it's the one that helped me discover them and I have an emotional to it. It's still a fantastic album full of variety, from fast paced numbers (Ice Worm) to epic ones (Children of Satan, Dark Valley Suite) and TGOS should be hailed as a doom legend. They have this epic heavy metal approach mixed up with trad doom. Sadly, they split up some years ago and then their bassist Jason McCash died before a tentative reformation. Guitarist/singer Karl Simon has a new project called Wretch though and they'll release their debut album this year, I believe!

24*. Type O Negative – Dead Again (2007) Conqueror is then tied with another last chapter from an American doom band, this time it's Dead Again from the legendary Type O Negative (Mike's fault!) It's their last album before the death of frontman extraordinaire Peter Steele in 2010 and they went out with a bang. I'd say it even has a place in my trilogy of their best albums alongside World Coming Down and October Rust. It's massive, heavy, very varied and has excellent long songs like “September Sun” or “The Profit of Doom”. It's also more condensed than most of their previous albums and doesn't have much filler (TON liked to troll with weird interludes). TON is really dead and unfortunately their remaining members have yet to achieve the quality of this album.

Rush – Snakes and Arrows (2007)

Rush got back from a hiatus with the excellent Vapor Trails (2002) but they improved on this album with their two subsequent albums, this one and Clockwork Angels (2012). The legendary Canadian trio is one of the only bands with more than four decades of experience that's still releasing compelling and thoughtful music. Furthermore, they still rock fucking hard (see Farcry) and can write subtle but fantastic songs (Armor & Sword). Alex Lifeson shines here with soulful solos and great guitar work on the instrumental tracks of the album (The Main Monkey Business is one of their best songs ever). Rush don't just ride on their legacy but they're improving it.

22. Ogre – Seven Hells (2006) This sadly overlooked American doom trio is pretty damn great. They mix hard rockin' blues with traditional Sabbathian doom and also include some Rush influences. With ties to Blood Farmers, they managed to write albums that are as good as the self titled from this other American doom titan. Expect long ass solos, explosions, thundering bass and slow heavy drums from these guys. Truly essential trad doom.

Krypt Axeripper – Mechanical Witch (2007)

Jussi Lehtisalo is now one of my favourite musicians and I owe everything to this extended play. I since discovered most of his projects including the cult experimental rock band Circle and Pharaoh Overlord but this one has a very special place in my heart. It's traditional heavy metal but with a very fucking weird twist and I can't enough of it, sadly that's their sole release so far but I've heard that he's a working on a follow up. 10 minutes of pure bliss.

Read the review I wrote in 2012 for this EP: Here

That's it for this part, stay tuned for part 2, we're approaching the end, friends!

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