59. Deftones - White Pony
Around the Fur may be a hair better, but the Deftones hit a watermark with White Pony that remains one of the most bombastic efforts of its era. Chino Moreno's wallowing vocals are perfectly at home amidst the chaotic din the Deftones mined out on this album and later with Diamond Eyes. Moreno's note spelunking on the choruses of "Digital Bath" alone send shivers.
58. Static-X - Wisconsin Death Trip
Not much has been left to prosper from the short-lived nu-metal explosion of the late nineties, save for Korn, but Static-X proved there was tremendous groove to be fostered into the rhythmic guitar and bass struts of Wisconsin Death Trip. This is an album you can hump, dance and mosh to and it will ring your ears when all is said and done.
57. Kylesa - Static Tensions
Kylesa has become a major force in the art-sludge underground. There's not much better you can do than Static Tensions.
56. Enslaved - Isa
The unsung heroes of black metal, Enslaved. Their recent efforts Vertebrae and Axioma Ethica Odini and prior masterworks Eld, Blodhemn and Below the Lights are so good it's criminal they haven't reached a wider audience. Seriously, all of these albums are essential to any headbanger's collection as Enslaved has broken more black-folk-death-prog barriers than any of their contemporaries. They received a hefty bit of attention for Isa, and deservedly so. It's one of the most exquisite and catchy extreme metal albums ever recorded. "Neogenesis" gets in the running with Maiden and Helloween for all-time great metal epics.
55. Montrose - s/t
For my money, this is Sammy Hagar at his most volatile. Though it's Ronnie Montrose's show, this album is a collective blast of hard rocking fury that shakes its money maker and kicks a few tails in the process. Memorable riffs, a passionate performance by Hagar before he ever broke out and it was Ronnie Montrose on "Bad Motor Scooter" who engineered that sliding engine riff, not Mick Mars on "Kickstart My Heart." If there's anything that plucks my nerves, it's people who think Mars is a genius for that, when he borrowed it from Montrose and the blues guitarists before either of them.
54. The Dillinger Escape Plan - Miss Machine
Tech grind goes to new heights with The Dillinger Escape Plan, who elevated their craft in triplicate with Miss Machine. Going beyond mere ratchety metalcore and grind modes, Dillinger bravely fused electronics, rhythm and sublets that defied the odds of success. Fortunately for them, Miss Machine and its successor Ire Works are more than successes.
53. Dio - Holy Diver
Ronnie James Dio only got better following his stints in Elf, Rainbow and Black Sabbath. Already in his own league before releasing this revered solo debut, it was simply a matter of which directions Dio was going to follow. Holy Diver is full of both the extreme and the mainstream. Strange that "Rainbow in the Dark" sounds as sanitized today as Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train," but Dio's signature power ballad remains a beacon call to everyone who wishes to feel embraced coming into the ranks of metalheads. The rest of Holy Diver seals your pact.
52. Ace Frehley - Kiss solo album
It's no secret the generally maligned Kiss solo albums of 1978 were cash cow products that backfired in every way imaginable. Stories of how retailers were forced to send back overages once the unenthusiastic public rejected the solo albums are now legendary. Paul Stanley and Peter Criss' albums were overall pretty timid and Gene Simmons had a few cool ditties, but his cover of "When You Wish Upon a Star" was a telling tale of how limp Kiss had become at that point in their careers. It was Ace Frehley's aversely outstanding solo album that makes them even worth talking about. "Rip it Out" became a future Ace standard and his wonderfully layered "Fractured Mirror" set a standard for others to follow--even Ace himself who had mixed results in his "sequels." Still, the album overall is a rock 'n roll punchout that proved a few things back then we're still debating today.
51. Between the Buried and Me - Colors
If The Dillinger Escape Plan opened new portals in tech grind, Between the Buried and Me jumped into them with their textbooks of Pink Floyd, Queen and The Cure snugly in tote. One of the most thoughtful and mathematic-oriented bands on the planet, Between the Buried and Me's Colors is a must-own, as is Alaska and well hell, their entire catalog. Behind Mastodon and Opeth as one of this generation's absolute best bands.
50. Kreator - Terrible Certainty
Much of Kreator's early catalog is indispensable, but Terrible Certainty did something for thrash and death metal they, along with their fellow Teutonic terrors Destruction and Sodom, should be championed for. Not only did Terrible Certainty reach a diverse global market, it put a fearsome, hairy facade upon speed metal when it was starting to grow a fashionable exterior in the American metal sector. This album kept thrash honest as it was starting to go commercial.
Monday, September 05, 2011
59. Deftones - White Pony