Saturday, 15 August 2015

Top 50 of 2000-2009, part 4, 20 to 11

Part IV

Positions 20 to 11

20. Manilla Road – Voyager (2008)
Mark Shelton came back to the metal world with a strong record in 2001 called Atlantis Rising and has been churning good albums since then but I think the best of the modern era of the Road is this one, Voyager. It's epic, heavy, intricate and it's about Vikings so it's automatically awesome.The production is raw and fits the extremely great soloing of Shelton and his incisive riffing, there's also a superb use of acoustic guitars such as in the title track. Mark Shelton isn't the best singer ever but his odd delivery fits the atmosphere like no others and is part of the identity of the band, they're automatically recognizable. He's the Bob Dylan of epic metal and Dylan is freaking awesome.

19. Electric Mud Generator – To the Disdain of Polyhymnia (2008)

Better known for A Forest of Stars, this trio lead by Duncan Evans plays a highly unique sort of progressive metal mixing doom, stoner, rock and other stuff into five lengthy tracks (there's a 22 minutes song here!). It's their last album before an unknown fate and it's quite a shame! I wrote a pretty long review for it here so I'll save myself the trouble and link it. 


18. Celtic Frost – Monotheist (2006)
The reformed legend released one of the best comeback albums of all time with Monotheist. For the time of one album, Tom Gabriel Fischer and Martin Ain put their differences aside and did a wonderfully dark and profound album. I may come as a blasphemer but I even prefer this to their proto extreme metal era. Tom continued with Triptykon and while I fucking like their 2 records, they're not as special and deep as this one. It's one of the heaviest record but it's not shallow at all, it's diverse and never let go of your spine for its whole duration. Hail Beanie.

Bolt Thrower – Those Once Loyal (2005)

The British death metal machine has said they can't write good albums anymore and I guess it would be a hard task to beat their latest one released 10 years ago. Anyhow, I'm quite fine with them touring and playing their classic material! This is pummelling war-themed metal of the purest quality, it has thundering riffs, harsh vocals full of spite and a tank like mid-paced approach to destroy all opposition. Long live Bolt Thrower!

16. Candlemass – Candlemass (2005)
Another comeback, this time it's Messiah Marcolin who went back to Candlemass for one last dance before their three albums with Solitude Aeternus' singer Robert Lowe. I think the self titled album is their best recent album and not only because of the messiah's presence but because of the quality of its songwriting. I don't really quite like what Leif Edling and company are doing now and I thought that Avatarium was quite mediocre, this album is the last great thing Leif did... for now.


Summoning – Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame (2001)
I had to include one of Summoning's albums here and this is certainly one of my favourite ones alongside Oath Bound and Minas Morgul. This album leaves Tolkien aside and focus more on Moorcock. It's not widely different from what they usually play, it's atmospheric epic black metal of the highest level but I feel this album is tighter and a bit more focused than some of their others. It's cheesy keyboard metal but with a lot of soul and vision, it's esoteric, fantastic and totally fits your best D&D games.


Melechesh – Emissaries (2006)
Ashmedi has yet to release a weak album, he's indeed a true Mesopotamian metal machine and bludgeons his way through the desert. Melechesh released their two best records during this decade, this one and their previous one Sphhynx and both could be included here but eh, I have my rules so only one can stay. Emissaries is the one I picked, it's aggressive, epic, melodic and totally groovy and that's totally want I want from black or death metal. It also features one of the best opening track ever with “Rebirth of the Nemesis”! The band is still compelling nowadays, The Epigenesis was almost as good and they're really fun to experience live (I had the chance to see them twice).

13. Asmegin - Hin vordende Sod & Sø (2003)

Probably my favorite folk metal album of all time, Asmegin's debut is a master class in terms of songwriting, it has plenty of excellent elements and they all fit very well together. From harsh black metal vocals to clean female vocals, mournful violins, fast paced blastbeats, the album has almost everything. Its pagan/Viking vibe is truly enjoyable, it's atmospheric and melancholic while never entering the long winded Moonsorrow territories (not that I don't like this), they keep things short and tidy but they're still able to get their point across wonderfully.

12. Blind Guardian – A Night at the Opera (2002)
ANATO was one of my gateway albums for heavy/power metal when I was like 16 so it's pretty important for me. And Then There Was Silence is a majestic epic song and it's always making me smile. It's truly a cheesy album but it's bombastic and has phenomenal songs and melodies that I don't care. The vocals of Hansi are so layered that he's his own choir and the automatically identified guitars of André Olbrich are some of the things that made this album an essential for me.

11. I
ron Maiden – Brave New World (2000)
Bruce and Adrian went back to Maiden after a hiatus from the band and they released another classic album with Harris and company. It's the classic lineup but with Janick Gers who took Adrian's place after his departure in 1990, Maiden now has 3 guitars... but it's pretty irrelevant really. What's important is the quality of the material here, while I kind of like The X Factor, BNW improves on all front and delivers excellent proggy heavy metal. It has a nice diversity too with epic songs like “Dream of Mirrors” or fast paced rockers like “Fallen Angel”. Compared to the two other albums of this decade (2003's Dance of Death and 2006's A Matter of Life and Death), it's tighter, more focused and doesn't have much filler except perhaps the two latest songs, especially The Thin Line Between Love & Hate, one of their worst closers and possibly the only reason it's not in my top 10. 

Only one part left, let's see if you can guess some of the albums in my top 10, guys!

No comments: