101-200 Retrospective

Another 100 albums down. This time I only missed some time here and there, usually on busy days or when I was away on a trip. Let’s do the stats first.

Number of artists: 92 (not counting the appreciable amount of artists on the Zelda album though)
Number of tracks: 1115
Total length: 88:07:39

The neatest thing there is that these 100 albums are less than 20 minutes off the length of the first 100. Kind of ridiculous there. And now once again I will do a top… however many I get to. The plan is to just list thoughts on these, and later on when I have a bigger pool I will try and cull down my absolute favorites into a certain number. Also once again, these are in alphabetical order.

1. Akercocke – Words That Go Unpsoken, Deeds That Go Undone
I honestly had different expectations of this going in. I had always thought this band was straight up death metal, but it mixes a whole lot of stuff with it, and that makes this a wonderful album with lots of twists and turns.

2. Altar Of Plagues – White Tomb
A wonderful blend of black metal and post-rock, it is at once calm and invigorating. The slower parts drift me into a smooth land, while the heavier sections have great riffs in themselves. Just a pleasure to listen through this album.

3. Amon Amarth – Twilight Of The Thunder God
I honestly wasn’t sure about putting this one on, but really I can only say not-so-good things about a couple of the songs, and it’s stronger than I usually think it is. Amon Amarth does keep evolving, though subtly, and I love them for it.

4. Andromeda – II = I
I had always thought that Andromeda strayed too far on the cheesy side of prog metal. This album certainly doesn’t relent in that category necessarily, but it is done in a pretty classy way and each song offers something interesting. It was a great surprise that now has a couple of my favorite tracks, most notably the first track on the album.

5. Bandits Of The Acoustic Revolution – A Call To Arms
I probably gushed enough words about this during the review, just please listen to it if you haven’t yet.

6. Between The Buried And Me – Colors
I’m still not totally sold on the metalcore influences, but the rest of the album is good enough that I can overlook it. A great display here.

7. Big D And The Kids Table – Strictly Rude
15 extremely fun songs with only a couple dips in quality in them. Big D started to relax a bit here after experimenting with dub on their previous EP. Here is where the band’s quality rose extremely high for me, everything is refined, but they haven’t completely lost their edge. They can still tear down the roof if they need to.

8. Blind Guardian – Nightfall In Middle-Earth
Insanely good power metal. I love that the band really started to add some keys here, and the flow of the album is great. There is a strong reason people who don’t even like this style will point to this album as a good showing.

9. Dragonland – Under The Grey Banner
Another great power metal concept album, Dragonland really seemed to work on their arrangements with this album and it just shines. There is always something great going on, I love it so.

10. Eternity X – The Edge
I’ll admit to being surprised here as well. This is very good progressive metal that, while containing plenty of cheese, has cool stuff going on past it.

11. Frank Zappa – Joe’s Garage
Just a plain classic album, there is something for everyone to love. I have a few faults with it, but the highs very much outweigh the lows.

12. Freak Kitchen – Freak Kitchen
Freak Kitchen - Freak Kitchen (1998)
For years people had said great things about Freak Kitchen, but I couldn’t quite figure it out. I heard a song here or there, and it never caught me. The problem of course is that despite their focus on songwriting, they are still an album focused band, and only sitting down and listening to one gives the full experience. This album is still their most diverse, and this works largely to its benefit. While I could nitpick a couple songs, the overall album is extremely satisfying, always.

13. Mad Caddies – The Holiday Has Been Cancelled
A wonderful little EP, I don’t dislike a single song from it, and it earns a spot on this list simply for the song in the middle.

14. Mastodon – Crack The Skye
Mastodon managed something a bit different here, keeping their sludge atmosphere while bringing in other influences. The blend works perfectly, and it’s no wonder that this album propelled to some new heights as one of the biggest names in metal.

15. NOFX – So Long And Thanks For All The Shoes
It took me a moment to decide if I really wanted to place this on here, but it’s really tough to find a fault with this album. NOFX crafted some extremely catchy punk tunes on here, while also toying around with the ska and reggae genres and yet never got lumped in with other bands of the time. I for one never realized until listening to them that they had songs like that, which was a nice surprise and helps set them a bit apart, oddly.

16. Oingo Boingo – Dead Man’s Party
Don’t really to go into too much detail, this is my favorite band and this is a fantastic album.

17. Om – Conference Of The Birds
I’m still getting to used to doom and doom-like material, but Om’s combination of their rhythm section and rhythmic chants works wonderfully for me. This album of 2 songs is just perfect to zone out to.

18. Pain Of Salvation – One Hour By The Concrete Lake
This band is almost always great, and this album is no exception.

19. Solefald – Neonism
Another album where I had no idea what I was getting into. The amount of stuff going on here is pretty amazing and I always find something new and interesting in it.

20. Star One – Space Metal
This is another album where I can nitpick, but it’s overall enjoyable and I never regret listening to it.

21. Stolen Babies – There Be Squabbles Ahead
Avant-garde work at its finest. It’s unique and everything it throws into the melting pot tends to work. This album will stand the test of time, but I can’t entirely say that about the band’s other works unfortunately. Just listen to Filistata and see if you can dislike this.

22. The Devin Townsend Project – Addicted!
I think I have fully decided that of the first four DTP albums, this is probably my favorite. Its shorter lengths helps it be a bit more digestible, and every single song has something I love, culminating in one of the best songs Devin has ever wrote. The wall of sound production is also amazing, and I’ll probably be listening to this album for years to come.

23. The Devin Townsend Project – Ghost
I guess to say some words about this album, it’s just brilliant to relax to and has so many neat little things going on. A wonderful experiment by Devin that I hope he incorporates more of in the future.

24. The Pigeon Detectives – Wait For Me
This band on this particular album performs a type of indie rock heavily influenced by punk, giving it an edge that they softened later on and makes this album unbelievably catchy. While I have some issues with the album’s mastering, it’s obvious it was meant to be played loudly and not necessarily for the critical types of ears.

25. The Suicide Machines – Destruction By Definition
On a bit of the other end from NOFX, The Suicide Machines was more known for their ska but also snuck in lots of hardcore influences. That’s at least my take on it. The band is honestly at their finest here, they’ve had a few years to hone these songs down and the production is fantastic.

26. Therion – Vovin
Therion perfected their sound here, and set a pretty big standard for symphonic/operatic metal as far as I’m concerned.

27. Thy Catafalque – Rengeteg
While I listened to this second, we are following alphabetical order here. I had a bit more of an idea going into this one, but this album still definitely had some surprises for me and I’m still sort of discovering stuff each time.

28. Thy Catafalque – Róka Hasa Rádió
I had no idea what I was getting into with this album. It is one of the few albums where I can say it had something brand new I had never heard before, and I just love it always.

29. Transatlantic – SMPT:e
Modern prog by the books, I can see the album/band’s faults but this is still very wonderful overall.

30. Younger Brother – Vaccine
When I started doing all this I of course asked for suggestions for albums. This is so far probably my favorite album of things I would have never thought to listen to without it being recommended. The pop influences put into some psychedelic electronics works incredibly well.

31. Zimmers Hole – When You Were Shouting At The Devil…
I’ll once again say that an album surprised me, as I didn’t think that this album would be as good as it is. Devin Townsend’s production certainly helped quite a bit though.

Once again this list got bigger than I expected. Well, let’s get quickly through the Honorable Mentions and wrap this up.

1. Bibio – Hand Cranked
Utterly unique and always gives me this weird nostalgic feeling, I love it but oddly couldn’t put it on the main list.

2. Borknagar – Empiricism
This is wonderful melodic black metal, but I just don’t quite love this album enough to get it off of the secondary list.

3. Cormorant – Dwellings
I want to really love this album, but I still can’t really get into the vocals or some of the production.

4. Darkestrah – Epos
I figure I had to mention this great 33 minute track, it is wonderful, but something held me back, mostly the absurdly long intro and outros.

5. Fantastic Plastic Machine – Beautiful
This has a lot of great stuff going on, but there are a few points I don’t really enjoy. This album would at least get put here on the honorable mentions if only because of Black Dada.

6. Forest Of Fog – Rabenflug
This is a very cool demo that I feel should get mentioned again. It would be very useful as an introduction to black metal.

7. Frank Zappa – Hot Rats
While I can praise this album, it is not always my first go to choice for Zappa and I still am not the biggest jazz fusion fan. It would easily get a place here for historic significance either way though.

8. Guttermouth – Covered With Ants
Like FPM, this album has a lot of high points but I can’t quite put it on the main list. Also like FPM, it gets a place on here simply because of the existence of I’m Destroying The World.

9. Kyuss – Welcome To Sky Valley
I certainly don’t love this album as much as some other people, for reasons I mentioned in the review. To state it plainly, the atmosphere/production annoys me to the point of me not wanting to listen to this despite knowing it is good.

10. Mad Caddies – Rock The Plank
I wanted to put this on the main list, but some of the lesser songs stopped me unfortunately. Still contains some of the Caddies’ best.

11. Moonsorrow – Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleiden Maassa
Moonsorrow 2011 Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleiden Maassa
This one was a tough decision to make. I dearly love this band but still am not familiar enough with this album to put it up higher.

12. Negură Bunget – OM
Likewise, this is a great album but not to the point where I am listening to it over and over to learn all its intricacies.

13. Nightwish – Wishmaster
There are some wonderful songs on here, but the whole album doesn’t quite appeal to me. I tend to get quite tired of it and the last few songs simply aren’t as good as the preceding ones.

14. Obtained Enslavement – Witchcraft
This is very cool melodic black metal that I seem to enjoy more each time I listen to it, but again something held me back from putting it on the main list.

15. Queens Of The Stone Age – Songs For The Deaf
This is another bigger, more important album like Hot Rats that I wish I liked more. Some songs really can’t entirely appeal to me, but the album is definitely a good bit of fun.

16. Redemption – The Fullness Of Time
This is probably an album I haven’t given a fair shake to, it’s pretty great but doesn’t quite break my top albums (yet?).

17. Shpongle – Are You Shpongled?
I recognize the great parts of this album, but I have to say that I really don’t think I’m the target audience and am not quite getting the full effect.

18. Star Fucking Hipsters – From The Dumpster To The Grave
This one was also oddly a tough decision. I highly enjoy most of the songs, but I can’t quite place it as one of my favorite albums.

19. The Chasm – Farseeing The Paranormal Abysm
I had to put this here for mostly the same reason as Kyuss, the atmosphere really bothers me, but the songwriting is very good.

20. The Devin Townsend Project – Deconstruction
I would be remiss not to put the other two DTP albums on this list at least. I still love them, but their problems are a bit more apparent to me.

21. The Devin Townsend Project – Ki
See above.

22. The Sound Of Animals Fighting – The Ocean And The Sun
Like plenty of the others, I am highly positive of this album, but something prevents me from loving it fully. I wish I could explain myself more eloquently, but by this point I am a bit tired of typing.

23. Thrice – The Illusion Of Safety
This one being here is a bit easier to explain. I still kind of hate post-hardcore, it seems to try to be in both worlds at once and can’t do either very well, but I appreciate the production and some of the riffs here.

24. Turisas – Battle Metal
Turisas - Battle Metal
I’ll just reiterate what I said at the end of the review: this is a great start for this band, but not all songs on here are equal and some clearly have a bit more work to put in them and are more interesting in the end.

25. Yes – Relayer
I’ll end this off with an album that I wanted to put on the main list, but just couldn’t quite because I knew that I loved other Yes albums more and it would have to be cut eventually, but it is definitely to good enough to get a mention anyhow.

Wow, definitely a bigger list than the last time. Either I wasn’t as cutthroat or there really were more great albums here, not too sure. Really this just shows me how beneficial all this is, if over half of any given amount are albums that I love. That’s at least the way it goes in the case of this hundred.


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