Saturday, 22 August 2015

Top 50 of 2000-2009, part 5, 10 to 1!

TOP 50 OF 2000-2009

Part V

Positions 10 to 1

Here it is, the final installment of this top 50 with my 10 favorite albums of the last decade. Thanks for following the series and I'm sure I'll regret not picking this or that album later on but eh, making lists is fun!

10. Solstafir – Kold (2009)

The icelandic quartet reached their creative peak with this album. While their two most recent records are good, I never enjoyed them as much as I liked this one. The cold (pun intended) atmospheres and the inventive blend of post rock with Viking and black metal asthetics is simply grandiose. You're hooked the moment the 8 minutes instrumental opener starts and it's a voyage through this snowy country for an hour. Simply beautiful music.

9. Wuthering Heights – Far From the Madding Crowd (2004)
Oh man, I remember discovering this band and listening to this album (and The Shadow Cabinet as well) non stop for weeks. They're quite unique, blending neoclassical power metal with progressive metal, folk metal and Dio-esque vocal accrobatics. They're just exactly what I want in this sort of music, super epic lyrics about fantasy (mostly Tolkien), soaring vocals, excellent solos and super catchy songwriting. It's a shame they're on hold right now due to their guitarist/composer's health issues and I hope he'll get better and release the successor to the excellent Salt released in 2010.

8. Amon Amarth – With Oden On Our Side (2006)
Amon Amarth is a widely popular band for a good reason, they're fucking excellent. While they don't really reinvent themselves, they managed to really excel at crushing and manly melodic death metal. WOOOS is by far their best for me, it's a widely important album for my metal development and I still like it 10 years or so after its release. It's an album I spin often when I get nostalgic and it never fails to deliver the goods. With Oden on our side, we are indeed victorious. 

7. Cult of Luna – Somewhere Along the Highway (2006)
The Swedish project has released nothing but strong albums so far and it was hard to pick between “Salvation” and this one but I think Somewhere... is a bit more memorable and features better individual songs like “Finland” or “Dim”. I believe CoL is the best band exploring post-metal (whatever that is) territories and yes, this includes Neurosis and Isis. Their blend of atmospheric music with many subtleties is always making me happy. I can't wait to see their first Montréal gig ever in Montréal in early September with Kylesa (featured in part 4 of this top 50).

6. Symphony X – Paradise Lost (2007)
I thought Iconoclast was a disastrous affair, the New Jersey progsters decided to go in a groove and mecanical direction and I wasn't fond of it but damn, its predecessor is one of their best albums alongside Divine Wings of Tragedy. The groove side is present, yes, but it's a companion to their epic and mythological identity and mostly in Allen's voice. I have fond memories of buying the gorgeous digipak and sharing the album with my best friend during the last days of high school and I still go back to this album often, the songwriting is great and the instrumentation is top notch. Essential metal.

5. Opeth – Ghost Reveries (2005)
Opeth is my favorite band, I love all their albums but my favorite ones are their first three. Morningrise being one of my best albums of all time doesn't mean that their more recent work isn't good though, quite the opposite. While I'm not the biggest fan of their alleged breakthroughh album Blackwater Park, Ghost Reveries is a masterpiece and a rival to Still Life for the 4th place in their discography and my heart. Their first album on Roadrunner is a varied, profound and compelling effort and it's still full of extreme metal moments (Watershed was their true transition album towards prog rock). Songs like “Harlequin Forest”, “Beneath the Mire” or “Isolation Years” are some of the best ones Mikael Akerfeldt ever wrote.

4. Enslaved – Below the Lights (2003)
The Norwegians are in possession of one of metal's best discographies and there's still releasing super great albums nowadays but this one is perhaps my favorite. It's a perfect mix of their Viking/black metal era with their progressive tendencies and has memorable songs like “Havenless” or the live staple “As Fire Swept Clean the Earth”. There's also no weak(er) moments such as on RITTIR or even Mardraum. Prog metal at its best.

Oh and yeah, I own a signed copy of the album (I've seen them 3 times live, managed to get this signed when they they opened for Opeth in 2010). Note that it's the actual lineup and not only the members who did the album.

3. Sigh – Imaginary Sonicscape (2001)A true work of genius blending black metal with psychedelic rock, prog and everything else that Mirai Kawashima and company could think of. I wrote a long review about it in 2013 and I think it would be impossible to describe such genius again.

2. Slough Feg – Traveller (2003)
Slough Feg are one of the most consistent bands of their generation and this is in my opinion their best album. The sci fi concept inspired by an old table top role playing game is fantastic and gives the album a lot of memorable lines likeI feel the x-rays on my brain”. Mike Scalzi's inspired guitar playing and super catchy lines ensured that this album will become a full fledged heavy metal classic in the decades to come, it's definitely one of mine, that's for sure.

1. Reverend Bizarre – So Long Suckers (2007)

One of my favourite albums of all times, it was a no-brainer for the 1st place of this top. The massive length and the uncompromising approach made me fall in love with doom metal and it's still a total package experience every time I spin the two disks. Like I said in my 100% review, more is less. Their debut could had been considered as well since it's also a masterpiece but I don't have the same relation with it, it's a bit less personal. I remember ordering “So Long Suckers” from a metal/prog store in Montréal, this was back in 2008 where I had yet to use the internet to order stuff and it feels like a product of another time, a time more naive and full of life.

1 comment:

ilker said...

This top 50 list is absolutely brilliant. It has become milestone for my musical taste. I discovered great music thanks to your blog. You are a true internet hero for me. Thank you.