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Friday, September 09, 2011

The Metal Minute's 100 Metal Albums You Can't Live Without: Numbers 39 to 30

39. Lamb of God - As the Palaces Burn

In the metal revival, there are few bands striking the limelight who produced a genuine future artifact like Lamb of God did on their way up the totem with As the Palaces Burn. This is one of the most agitated, alarming and beautifully maniacal albums of the modern age.

38. Sigh - Imaginary Sonicscape

Asia is red-hot with metal and punk acts. Gonin-Ish, Boris, Chthonic and Balzac are a few standout groups, while Sigh are on another planet altogether. Mostly considered a black-death hybrid, Sigh is equal to the speed of Chthonic yet are even more inventive when the urges strike. Imaginary Sonicscopes is an album that would bury less-capable groups with its 'round the bend mood changes and lunatic genre blends. By the final note, you've been subjected to one of the most intelligent tunnels of excavation you're going to stumble into.

37. Amorphis - Tales From the Thousand Lakes

Amorphis deserves credit, if for nothing else, their fearlessness in discovering a voice. That voice is subject to change in this group and each album is a suspenseful query prior to its release date. In a couple cases, Amorphis' bravado to change up their identity has hurt them, yet they maintain a loyal fan base and much of it stems from their early-on windswept speed-death metal odyssey, Tales From the Thousand Lakes.

36. Fear Factory - Demanufacture

Is there any other band outside of Slayer and Pantera who young artists wish to emulate more than this one? Raymond Herrera redefined metal drumming after Dave Lombardo, and his signature blast beat has been mimicked and modified by would-be double-bass crushers from all walks of life. On top of it, Fear Factory married metallic grooves with sequencers and electronica to create one of the deadliest, most ambient sounds out there.

35. Queensryche - Operation Mindcrime

Often referred to as "the thinking man's heavy metal," Queensryche penned an Orwellian masterpiece which will never be topped, even by themselves. Only Pink Floyd's The Wall is a more haunted rock dystopia, yet Queensryche (still with Chris DeGarmo in the fold) created a heaving, soaring and ultimately tragic caveat about mind control and violence that is still a magnificent story to submit yourself to--pun intended.

34. AC/DC - Let There Be Rock

Everyone has a favorite AC/DC album and it's usually Back in Black or Highway to Hell. Both are crucial albums by the band that accepted their roles as scruffy heathens and played them up to the max. Dirty Deeds and High Voltage are likewise mandatory, but for the ultimate ear-blasting, sonic clout upon your thrashing noodle, it's Let There Be Rock or bust.

33. Overkill - Horrorscope

One of the most endurant metal bands in history, Overkill has seldom let anyone down on their albums, even if only Blitz and DD Verni represent the halcyon lineup, bisected by the time Horrorscope was released in 1991. That being said, Horrorscope is still one of Overkill's biggest triumphs. Nobody then would've considered the follow-up to the ravenous The Years of Decay to be this good without Bobby Gustafson, but it sure as hell was.

32. Slayer - Hell Awaits

One of the most frightening metal albums ever recorded. The legacy of Slayer was imprinted upon metal with Reign in Blood, but it was already forged beforehand. Still capable of rattling your spine.

31. Judas Priest - Sad Wings of Destiny

If I wanted to, I could dot this list with a huge bulk of Priest's catalog, since Defenders of the Faith, Screaming for Vengeance, Stained Class, Point of Entry and even Painkiller deserve to make the cut. However, it must be said that Judas Priest's long standing in the music community is best served due to their earlier works of metal impressionism. Sad Wings of Destiny is a somewhat hazy verve of rough 'n ready exploration that by now should be considered high art.

30. Prong - Beg to Differ

Cleansing put Prong on the map and Prove You Wrong might be their finest bit of songwriting, while Rude Awakening had a lot of balls for its grooves and experimenting, but for me, it's all about Beg to Differ. One of the heaviest trios outside of Motorhead, Prong delivered a series of metalhead classics beginning with this one that had slivers of "Lost and Found" and "For Dear Life" hoisted onto the original Headbangers Ball for commercial break purposes after S.O.D. had ruled it. Put up against Nirvana at the time Prong started getting hot, the mass population would obviously go with Cobain and company, but we knew the truth.


Metal Mark said...

"Queensryche penned an Orwellian masterpiece"
I don't recall George Orwell writing any dry, one dimiensional B movie type stories. I prefer The Warning and the debut EP to OM.

"Everyone has a favorite AC/DC album and it's usually Back in Black or Highway to Hell"
Mine's Powerage, but Let there be rock is a close second.

"Nobody then would've considered the follow-up to the ravenous The Years of Decay to be this good without Bobby Gustafson, but it sure as hell was."

I agree, but it's important to note that it took two guitarists to replace Gustafson. Feel the fire is still me favorite album by them.

Sigh play an overwhelming style of audio chaos. Just crazy, but every note and beat pulls you in.

I find Lamb of God to be just very okay. They try hard, but I listen to their albums and half an hour later I remember nothing about them.

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

Laughing at your QR quote, Powerage is worthy, stick around for Feel the Fire (though I really wanted Taking Over here), Sigh is simply unreal and I see what you're saying about LOG since a ton of bands emulate them and it's easy to get lost in the crowd. I think Palaces is a really outstanding album, though, and their last one was pretty rowdy. I've interviewed them 3 times and each time was a riot. Those guys are pretty down to earth.

Metal Mark said...

Taking over isn't as good as I thought it was in 1987. It's a very noisy album. Feel the fire and the Years of decay are much better.

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

Hate to say I agree, but I agree.

cjk_44 said...

this is the 10-spot list that will probably be the greatest intersection of your choices and my personal favorites.

Lamb of God's effort on "As the Palaces Burn" is seared in my memory. i couldn't stop listening to it upon my receipt of my promo copy. truly amazing disc.

i did not like Fear Factory at first, but over time i grew to like them b/c "Demanufacture" had too much quality and too much of a signature sound to deny.

Amorphis' "Tales" is in my mind one of the true classics. a fearless step forward.

"Operation: Mindcrime" is amazing. it will forever remain one of my favorites.

AC/DC were instrumental in my early forays into the hard rock realm. again, hard to pick a favorite, but you can't go wrong recommending "Let There Be Rock" to anyone intersted in a hard rock classic.

also, i am not sure if you meant to omit #30!

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

Thanks for calling me out, cjk. 30 allowed me to reinstate a previous cut and I honestly don't know what the hell happened there, lol...

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

Loved your comments, btw, cjk

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

cjk, I need you to email me, brother, it's pretty important, thx