Archive for ‘Retrospectives’

December 11, 2013

301-400 Retrospective

So we went from August 2012, to December 2012, to July 2013, and finally to December 2013. The longest gap (in a sense) is still that first one, as this project began January 2012. However, because of various little bits throughout this year, I’ve only gotten through 200. It could have been worse though. I think I’m on a good track now, maybe I can get three of these lists done next year! Now, for the numbers.

Total Artists: 97
Total Tracks: 1132
Total Length: 87:37:12

Well, the pattern continues. The amount of tracks is within the 1100-1200 range, and the length of all these tracks/albums is within an hour. These are all randomized and I rarely pick out a specific album to listen to. And obviously we’ve got the short end with some lasting under ten minutes, to the longest currently being nearly three hours, and I guess it all averages out the same. Anyway, moving on.

1. Arjen Anthony Lucassen – Lost In The New Real
Man do I love this album. I have started to dislike the intros a bit, but halfway through the song I then tend to forget them and all is forgiven.

2. ColdWorld – Melancholie²
I debated a little about putting this on, but it’s just a (depressing) joy to listen to, and it never treats its listeners as being stupid.

3. Danny Elfman – The Nightmare Before Christmas Original Soundtrack
God this is awesome. How can you hate or even dislike this? The songs are so good it’s unbelievable, they can always cheer me up, ugh it’s so good.

4. Death – Symbolic
This album is kind of a perfection of the sound Death had been building to for a while. It’s progressive, harsh, and melodic. Maybe not to most people, but it just sounds pleasant to me.

5. Devin Townsend – Infinity
This may not be my favorite Devy album, but there’s no discounting how much goodness is on here. It’s hard to get annoyed by it.

6. Fates Warning – Disconnected
This may not have a lot of bits that get stuck in my head after a certain amount of time, but it’s quite enjoyable to listen to.

7. Frank Zappa – Apostrophe (‘)
This is the album many fans refer to when trying to introduce someone to Zappa. It’s wacky, kind of ridiculous, but also thoughtful at times. Fantastic little piece.

8. Kaviar – The Kaviar Sessions
This Kevin Gilbert side project took some time to grow, but I definitely see the value in it now and would love to see it influence some other artists since Kevin himself can’t.

9./10. Manticora – The Black Circus Part 1 – Letters/The Black Circus Part 2 – Disclosure
This pair of albums kind of falter at times, but they’re very strong and like most Manticora works, only get better the more you listen to them.

11. Mastodon – The Hunter
While not their best, this album is packed full of good riffs and catchy vocal lines, and also grows on me each time.

12. Oingo Boingo – Boingo Alive
There’s not much I can say that wasn’t just said in the last review. Any issues in the production I may dislike, the strength of the songs completely wins out and makes this album unreal.

13. Porcupine Tree – Lightbulb Sun
Kind of the same thing here, since the review was so recent. Just check it out.

14. Queensrÿche – Operation: Mindcrime
For me this is one of those rare convergences where an album is both incredibly good and gained the band in question an enormous amount of attention. This is a massive masterpiece.

15. Shpongle – The God Particle
This short EP is highly imaginative and I hope they draw influence from it in the future.

16. The Forces Of Evil – Friend Or FOE?
Pretty much just a fun little ska/punk album, and a weird slice of history for one of my favorite bands. Just a solid collection of songs.

17. Tortoise – Millions Now Living Will Never Die
As I said in the review, this album gets attention for the first song alone, and the rest aren’t anything to sneeze at either.

18. Wuthering Heights – Far From The Madding Crowd
What a monster of an album. It’s unbelievable to me.

19. Yes – Drama
This oddity in the Yes collection hooked me well and good. I can’t get the songs out of my head.

20. Zolof The Rock & Roll Destroyer – Schematics
This album does not overstay its welcome one bit, and leaves you with lots of neat little hooks and choruses.

And now for the honorable mentions, the albums that I want to point out for various reasons.

1. Adagio – Sanctus Ignis
Adagio is just kind of perpetually in this category, aren’t they?

2. Amesoeurs – Amesoeurs
This one really wavered for me between which list to put it on, but it definitely at least deserves to be here for sure.

3. Amon Amarth – Surtur Rising
This has some of the band’s finest work, but as an album it didn’t grip me enough to get on the top list. Those first two songs though, man…

4. Boards Of Canada – Geogaddi
This is an intense album, and critically loved. It’s worth hearing, but I have issues, plain and simple.

5. Candlemass – Epicus Doomicus Metallicus
This is kind of the cornerstone of a genre, and gets on here if only for that.

6. Cormorant – Metazoa
This is an odd piece for me. I kind of avoid listening to this band sometimes, but then once it’s on I get pretty into it. Weird.

7. Dark Suns – Orange
A better attempt at classic prog rock than Opeth, but this album doesn’t stick with me enough to get out of the honorable mentions.

8. Dream Theater – When Dream And Day Unite
For me this is kind of historically important, and the album still kind of holds up.

9. Edguy – Hellfire Club
A strong album that I just can’t connect with, sadly.

10. Finntroll – Ur Jordens Djup
This album is another that gets better with each listen, but there are issues with it.

11. Five Iron Frenzy – All The Hype That Money Can Buy
There’s a few fantastic songs that get it on here.

12. Flogging Molly – Drunken Lullabies
Man this album has an absolutely amazing first half, but then issues plague the second half and it barely picks it back up. I wish it were more consistent.

13. Gorillaz – Gorillaz
I refamiliarized myself with this album right around the time my brain started clicking to the idea of trip hop, but there is a lot of filler on here that I could do without.

14. Guttermouth – Gusto
I’m sad that the band considered this a failed attempt, it’s easily their most imaginative and fun.

15. Hollenthon – Domus Mundi
A strong first showing, and tells of wonderful things to come…

16. Iced Earth – Something Wicked This Way Comes
Maybe a weird choice. This is a fine album, there’s nothing really bad here, but it just doesn’t entirely gel with me.

17. Kronos – Colossal Titan Strife
The riffs man! The riffs!

18. La Roux – La Roux
Inconsistent as hell, but those high points are amazing!

19. Manilla Road – Crystal Logic
Manilla Road - Crystal Logic 1983 Album Cover
This is on here as a historical piece, and my brain is slowly acquiescing to recognizing what exactly it is.

20. Masterplan – Masterplan
Very solid album, but same issue as Iced Earth. It just isn’t one of ‘those’ albums for me.

21. Michael Jackson – Off The Wall
Maybe my take on this classic would be disliked, but it’s worth listening to at least. I can say that with confidence.

22. Misteur Valaire – Golden Bombay
This album has the same problem as Flogging Molly. Amazing front half, lackluster back half, aside from the last song.

23. Moonsorrow – Viides Luku – Hävitetty
I need more time with this album, but I never regret hearing it.

24. Nightwish – Once
I’ll relate this one to Iced Earth. Technically competent, critically lauded, but just isn’t there for me.

25. Om – Pilgrimage
Solid as hell, but when there’s one song I’m not fond of and it’s a quarter of your album…

26. Opeth – My Arms, Your Hearse
Let’s add this to the list of albums that are great, just not for me for some unknown reason.

27. Rx Bandits – Halfway Between Here And There
A couple ridiculously good tracks on here, but as a whole it’s just not there.

28. Shade Empire – Zero Nexus
Slightly disappointing, but still fun.

29. Shadow Gallery – Carved In Stone
I probably just need more time with this one, as I really do like it, just not quite enough.

30. Sorcier des Glaces – The Puressence Of Primitive Forests
Sorcier Des Glaces - The Puressence Of Primitive Forests (2011)
There is some great material here, but it tends to blend together.

31. Spock’s Beard – V
I need more time with this, but it is far, far from bad.

32. Steven Wilson – Grace For Drowning
Steven Wilson - Grace For Drowning
I fully appreciate how much material is here, but sometimes it’s so much that it’s hard for me to parse through, so it’s on the backburner for now.

33. Subterranean Masquerade – Suspended Animation Dreams
subterranean masquerade - suspended animation dreams
Again, I know I like this but I need more time with it.

34. Suburban Legends – Suburban Legends
Some wonderful material on this little thing.

35. Summoning – Oath Bound
This gets on here if only for the last song, but the rest is decent, just not up to the same level.

36. Symphony X – Iconoclast
Booklet 16 Seiten - Maße.qxd
Me and this band kind of clash at times, though I know I should like it.

37. The Aquabats! – The Return Of The Aquabats!
Basically a sign of good things to come. Unrefined, but fun.

38. The Who – Who’s Next
I wish I liked this monumental classic more, but it’s worth listening to.

39. Weird Al Yankovic – In 3-D
I almost didn’t put this on here at all, but there are enough good songs on here that I can safely put it here.

40. XTC – Drums And Wires
The makings of a good album, with some really strange choices holding it back.

41. Yyrkoon – Unhealthy Opera
Yyrkoon - Unhealthy Opera
A solid album with some fine moments, but nothing amazing.

July 20, 2013

201-300 Retrospective

Finally got to that time again. Thanks to moving there is a pretty large gap in the schedule. But perseverance will win in the end. I’m not gonna say much here and just get on with the list, after some stats.

Total artists: 92 (but again, counting all of the Scott Pilgrim soundtrack as one)
Total tracks: 1176
Total length: 87:58:28

Alright, it’s kind of weird that the total length of each 100 albums so far has managed to stay within an hour of each other. I think at least. Moving on.

1. Altar Of Plagues – Mammal
Another solid release by this band, a wonderful mix of post-rock and black metal. I especially love the third track, it’s really creepy. It definitely deserves more of my attention.

2. Ayreon – Into The Electric Castle
A pretty much perfect album. There’s almost nothing bad I can say about it. The only issue I ever had was with its scope, meaning that it’s a big album with a lot of tracks that are each doing their own thing, and so it took me a few listens to fully grasp the album, or rather the opera. Once I did though the emotional high that comes from listening to this album can’t be ignored.

3. Cobalt – Eater Of Birds
Cobalt’s strongest effort I’ve heard so far, I simply understood it more than Gin. Everything made more sense, the songwriting, the album structure, it just all flowed better through my mind, as dumb as that sounds. This album is pretty much all you can ask for from black metal.

4. Dark Tranquillity – Character
This was the first album I heard by the band, and one of the first albums in the Gothenburg style entirely. I loved the ‘modern’ feeling on it and how it was aggressive but melodic. It’s a strange thing, just looking at the track titles and everything I kind of forget how much I like the album until I hear it.

5. Devilish Impressions – Diabolicanos – Act III: Armageddon
This is another album where I didn’t understand what I was listening to at first, though this was more due to it being weird as crap. Avant-garde black death metal is almost a bit hard to categorize. The group just does what they want it seems. Also as always, keeping the vocals varied goes a long way to keeping my interest.

6. Devin Townsend – Terria
The first solo Devin I listened to, it’s worth all the hype. The album covers so much ground and yet it’s all consistent. The only thing I can fault it for is the bonus track, where Devin’s love of weird ambient stuff comes through, but it is a hidden track so I’ll be fair. Just an amazing album all around.

7. Ensiferum – Iron
As I stated just a few posts ago, this is pretty much a perfect album. Not much more to be said, if you’re curious about Jari pre-Wintersun or just want a good album, check it out.

8. Franz Ferdinand – You Could Have It So Much Better
While this is still not their strongest album in my opinion, it’s quite solid and almost every song is fun. It just kind of flows and is over before you realize it. Just plain catchy.

9. Freak Kitchen – Land Of The Freaks
I remember having that fear the first time I listened to it if Freak Kitchen would have lost their… own way of doing things over the years. While I miss using more varied instruments, the songwriting and performance is still top notch. Solid as crap album.

10. Freak Kitchen – Spanking Hour
Another really good performance here. Some of the songs aren’t quite as fast but other than the production and mastering you could easily interchange songs between this album and the other one, despite 13 years of difference. That’s something to be admired.

11. Imogen Heap – Speak For Yourself
A fantastic pop album, the amount of effort put into every track is ridiculous. I think everyone could find at least a few songs to like on here.

12. Kamelot – Epica
A very solid power metal album, other than the interlude tracks there’s not really a bad song on here. I still don’t entirely care about the story but it’s neat to have.

13. Less Than Jake – B Is For B-Sides
Simply a really nice little album. Like I said in the review, how some of these tracks got relegated to b-side is beyond me, this is as good as some of their other albums.

14. Lovage – Music To Make Love To Your Old Lady By
Alright, maybe this isn’t one of my favorite albums ever personally. It is pretty great though, and it deserves a spot on here simply for introducing me to a type of music I’m unfamiliar and (eventually) getting me to like it. I still have issues with this album but I won’t bring them up here.

15. Mirrorthrone – Carriers Of Dust
If you’re looking for symphonic black metal, then you have the perfect album right here. Just unbelievable and it caught me from the first time I heard it.

16. Murder By Death – Red Of Tooth And Claw
Ridiculously cool album here. Still a couple boring tracks but it deserves the spot on the list.

17. My Chemical Romance – The Black Parade
I wasn’t entirely taken with this album the first time I heard it, but it has grasped me fully since then. I don’t like some of the aesthetics on it or a song or two, but the rest is great and just works so well and got better with each listen.

18. Negură Bunget – Vîrstele Pămîntului
negurabunget-Vîrstele Pămîntului
This album is another one that took me a few listens. It’s highly atmospheric but also has its heavy parts, so it’s pleasing all around. Also another album that deserves more of my attention.

19. Oingo Boingo – Boi-Ngo
As usual, there will be a Boingo album on the list. This is probably my least favorite Boingo album but damn if it still isn’t good enough to beat out tons of other albums.

20. Ragnarok – Diabolical Age
One of those albums that surprised the hell out of me. I wasn’t expecting much, but I got a really aggressive, well done, great sounding black metal record. Still don’t know how this band doesn’t get name dropped more based on this album alone.

21. Rhapsody Of Fire – Symphony Of Enchanted Lands
This is where the band really came into their own. They had the budget for great sounding symphonic parts, the songwriting was better, and everything else was great as well.

22. Sigh – In Somniphobia
Just a fantastic album. Avant-garde black metal where Sigh does whatever the crap they want and it all works fantastically.

23. Sonata Arctica – Ecliptica
Not actually one of my favorites by them but it’s pretty strong overall, and classic power metal.

24. Stratovarius – Elements Pt. 1
A supremely surprising album. Stratovarius had never entirely impressed me, until this. Just wow. Also kind of strange that one of best and more unique tracks is a bonus song.

25. Streetlight Manifesto – Everything Goes Numb
Just look at the review a few posts ago. Pretty much perfect.

26. Talking Heads – Little Creatures
What a great album to start listening to this band with. I have a few qualms with this album but in the end I’m not sure they entirely matter.

27. The Beatles – Abbey Road
This is the first Beatles that really gripped me. It immediately grabbed a hold and was pretty enjoyable the whole way through. Still not the biggest fan of the medley but it’s not too big a deal.

28. The Books – Thought For Food
The Books - thought-for-food
Kind of on here for the same reason as Lovage. I didn’t really get it or like it at first, but over time my thoughts changed and I saw the appeal. A lot of it is still weird for me but I can deal with it.

29. The Dear Hunter – Act II: The Meaning Of, & All Things Regarding Ms. Leading
Unbelievably good album, you would do yourself a huge favor by checking this out. Words can’t entirely describe it.

30. The Dear Hunter – Act III: Life And Death
A great follow up to the previous album. Not as expansive or ambitious but good in its own ways.

31. The Lonely Island – Incredibad
As I said in the review, this is by far the group’s best effort. Even the interludes are good, that’s how much I like the album.

32. The Lord Weird Slough Feg – Atavism
An album I didn’t entirely understand the first time I heard it. I liked what I was hearing, but I didn’t get why some songs were really short and others were of a decent length, and it even still puzzles me a bit. I guess it’s better to leave people wanting more rather than going on too long.

33. The Muppets – The Muppets Original Soundtrack
It’s kind of weird how much I like this. Well not really weird. Just a nice little bunch of songs.

34. The Planet Smashers – No Self Control
I kind of ignored this Smashers album for a long time, it didn’t really appeal to me. Now it feels like one of their strongest, and there is a nice amount of variety on here.

35. Tulus – Biography Obscene
I could almost say that this album would get on here for the first song alone, but that’s overselling the song a bit. It’s an amazing song that most of the rest album doesn’t quite live up to, but that rest of the album is great too.

36. Weird Al Yankovic – Bad Hair Day
I kind of had to debate with myself about putting Weird Al on this list. In the end though this is one of his most consistent, there’s only one or two songs I don’t like and it has some great classics.

So now it’s time for the Honorable Mentions and I’m pretty sure there will be a lot of them. This was a great 100 albums.

1. Andromeda – Chimera
Andromeda never stays quite the same. This album is its own thing a bit, and it deserves more of my attention but I can’t really give it a very good recommendation so it goes on here.

2. Angra – Aqua
This is actually pretty solid, but it’s not as catchy as the band’s previous and the production is just kind of weird.

3. Arcturus – Sideshow Symphonies
Not a shabby album at all, but not as catchy or interesting as it could be.

4. Behemoth – Zos Kia Cultus (Here And Beyond)
Behemoth Zos Kia Cultus Here and Beyond cover_front
This is honestly really good but Behemoth and I don’t entirely get along. I wish I could figure out why, but for now that unknown reason is why the album goes here.

5. Blind Guardian – Memories Of A Time To Come
Due to the nature of this being a ‘best of’ I couldn’t really justify putting it on the main list, but it having all the songs be remixed and whatnot and them all being great songs means it easily gets on here.

6. Candlemass – Candlemass
Most of the stronger tracks are up in the front end, but a pretty solid album honestly. Just not quite good enough though.

7. Cobalt – Gin
This is actually a pretty cool album as well, but I just didn’t quite feel like putting it in the main list.

8. Dark Moor – Tarot
This album is almost too cheesy for its own good, but the bigger songs get it a place on this list at least.

9. Dragonland – Holy War
Dragonland - Holy War
The band’s sophomoric effort is nothing amazing, but stands well on its own.

10. Falconer – Armod
There’s not really a bad song on here but I didn’t quite love it enough to place it on the main list.

11. Falkenbach – …Magni Blandinn Ok Megintiri…
Falkenbach - Magni Blandinn Ok Megintiri - Front 1
Neat and somewhat unique folk metal, but I have a couple issues with it so here it is.

12. Falls Of Rauros – The Light That Dwells In Rotten Wood
Neat black metal, but the actual metal parts sound kind of weak.

13. Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five – The Message
Grandmaster Flash The Message
This definitely gets on the honorable mentions based on its status as a classic alone and the for first track and title track.

14. Gris – Il Était Une Forêt…
Gris - Il était une forêt...
One guy would punch me for not putting it at least on here. I like a good amount of it but don’t listen to it enough.

15. Hellveto – Kry
Pretty cool black/folk metal, but not really deserving of the main list.

16. In Mourning – Shrouded Divine
Same thing as above honestly, except replace it with melodic death metal.

17. Iron Maiden – Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son
Iron Maiden - Seven Son Of A Seven Son
There are some great tracks on here but I just couldn’t put it on the main list for whatever reason.

18. Karnivool – Sound Awake
Some really cool sounds marred by wanting to be too much like Tool or some nonsense. I look forward to what these guys do next though.

19. Korpiklaani – Spirit Of The Forest
This band is always just fun enough to get on here.

20. Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin IV
I have to put this on here at least. I mean, like this whole album is the definition of ‘classic’.

21. Mors Principium Est – Liberation = Termination
Really cool album but not good enough for the main list.

22. NOFX – The War On Errorism
I wasn’t even sure about putting this on the honorable list, but hey why not. That first song is really strong and there’s not really anything outright bad on it.

23. Operation Ivy – Operation Ivy
4PGFLDR.QXD (Page 1)
This gets on here as a classic album as well. I like it well enough.

24. Pink Floyd – A Saucerful Of Secrets
Pink Floyd - A Saucerful Of Secrets - Front
There are some amazing tracks on here and I think if it wasn’t for a couple of the shorter tracks it could have gotten on the main list.

25. Reel Big Fish – Cheer Up!
A lot of really great songs marred by a bad tracklisting and a few other bad choices.

26. Reverend Bizarre – In The Rectory Of The Bizarre Reverend
Same dude as Gris would punch me for not putting this on here either. I still am not the biggest fan of doom metal but this album is cool.

27. Rhapsody Of Fire – Legendary Tales
The band’s first album has some big issues, but its charm can sometimes outweigh them. Still, not quite good enough to be on the main list.

28. Strapping Young Lad – Alien
I’ll reiterate my reasons from the review for putting it on here: the album structure is way too lopsided. The constant heaviness is too much with the mastering on here and having to get through something like 3/4 of the album for the first break from it is too long.

29. Stratovarius – Elements Pt. 2
Definitely not as good as Pt. 1 but it has some good stuff as well.

30. The Flaming Tsunamis – Zombies Vs. Robots!
A really fun little EP, but not one of my favorites I guess.

31. The Pillows – Good Dreams
This one had an internal debate as well. I kind of love it but it’s not quite good enough for the main list.

32. Tool – 10,000 Days
I like this more each time I hear it but I still wouldn’t quite put it on the main list.

33. Wolfchant – Call Of The Black Winds
A semi-solid album and notable to me for the improvements the band has made, but still just only above average.

34. Zebrahead – MFZB
A pretty cool pop-punk album. I can’t get over the slight embarrassment enough to rank it really high but there is some fun stuff in it.

December 27, 2012

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.

August 27, 2012

1-100 Retrospective

So I’ve gotten through 100 albums. I figured I’d do a special post regarding them. It took a while to get through them (as I did nothing for the entire month of April, for shame) but once I got on a roll it was pretty smooth sailing. To give you some quick stats, here’s the tallies on everything here.

Number of artists in first 100 albums: 79 artists. That’s a bit more repeats than I would have expected.
Number of tracks: 1193
Total length of albums: Here’s the biggie. The total length of everything I listened to in these first 100 albums (and this is just listening through once, let alone how many times I listened to the stuff I really liked) is 88 hours, 25 minutes, and 32 seconds. Or labeled more simply as 88:25:32. That is certainly more than I expected. It’s honestly a bit of a staggering number.

The main focus of this is not to list off some stats though, I really wanted to go through everything again, listening to bits here and there and focus on what I considered the best of these albums. Of course my first thought was a simple top 10, but considering the random nature of how I listened to the albums (I don’t know if I’ve specified before, but I literally put a big list of albums into a randomizer to choose what to listen to next) that wouldn’t be fair because the randomizer could pick nothing but good albums or only the crappy ones. So it’ll just be a “Top However Many I End Up Listing”. Let’s begin shall we. And I figure we will make things simple and go alphabetical.

1. Angra – Aurora Consurgens

This album really surprised me. I was a little familiar with Angra, I’d liked a few of their songs but had never really gotten too deep into them. I also had heard through the grapevine over the years that compared to the album that came before this one, this Aurora Consurgens was a disappointment. I went in with low expectations and came out having heard a pretty stunning power metal album, mixing some different styles while never quite straying from the band’s unique sounds. The melodies are catchy and stick with you, and it never really bores at any point.

2. Arcturus – The Sham Mirrors

This album is a perfect showing of just how great wacky music be. It flies in the face of what you would expect at all times while still having a unifying feeling of cold and space. It’s kind of like a rediscovery when I remember that this album exists, it’s just a lot of fun.

3. Black Sabbath – Paranoid

Usually the idea of listening to a classic like this is daunting. It’s extremely hard to listen to an album like this and take it on its own merits. Not only had I heard some of the songs plenty of times before, and multiple versions of them, but the entire aura around the album that gave it universal acclaim almost certainly filtered how I first took the album. What I took on my own after a few listens was the sounds of a band doing something very much unique and discovering their own sound. The songs on here, even at their worst, ooze with effort and creativity. Completely deserving of the word ‘classic’.

4. Blind Guardian – Imaginations From The Other Side

This however is an album that did not take multiple listens to figure out or understand. It does however get better with listens, as all the brilliance of the arrangements and layering show forth past the simple joy of the songs. I absolutely can’t resist singing along with Hansi, and the riffs are impeccable. Literally a near perfect album.

5. Bomb The Music Industry! – Scrambles

I sadly ignored this album for a few years for some odd reason. I was huge into BTMI! their first few years, tracking when a new album was gonna come out and becoming very excited when it was announced that they were using a real drummer on a next album, etc. For some reason they just dropped off my radar. I didn’t dislike them, I just didn’t listen to them. This album does not deserve to be ignored though, it has so much love and creativity and the emotions the band can evoke are fantastic. There are still some issues, like the hardcore songs that have never done anything for me, but pretty much any time Jeff uses some synths is magical.

6. Devin Townsend – Ziltoid The Omniscient

This album is simply a wonder to me. It has so much variety and great moments in it, and I still can’t believe how it was made. The idea that Devin essentially locked himself in his studio for a few months, performing every vocal and instrument (well, and a drum machine) and producing and mixing it himself is incredible. I can’t imagine doing anything like this on my own and churning out something this good. You are doing yourself a disservice if you have never heard this album, or Devin Townsend in general.

7. Dream Theater – A Dramatic Turn Of Events

There are a couple rough spots on this record, I admit it, but when the band is good and on, it’s damn good. The longer tracks honestly match some of their earlier work, and I’ll freely admit that I’m pretty much a sucker for almost everything Dream Theater. I won’t say that these guys can do no wrong, but even when they are playing it safe it still feels refreshing to me. This album in particular, they had a new air to them and they rectified some of the complaints from their previous albums, like having too few songs, not being able to hear the bass, and falling victim to the loudness wars.

8. Fuck Buttons – Tarot Sport

I had no idea what to expect going into this album, and came out extremely surprised and happy. The amount of emotions and style here is pretty surprising. From making me reminisce about 80s movies to feeling like I can do anything this album is great. I believe I mentioned it during the review, but just like some more atmospheric black metal (Drudkh for example) I get the exact same trance type effect of getting lost in the music.

9. Ghost – Opus Eponymous

Here’s a mother of an album. A bunch of friends kept going on and on and on about this album, and I didn’t think it could live up to that kind of praise. It completely does. Whenever I think of any part of any song off this album I suddenly want to listen to the whole thing. It’s so absurdly good that it makes me afraid how much I am going to hype up Ghost’s upcoming second album.

10. Helloween – Rabbit Don’t Come Easy

I kind of put this album in the same line of thought as Drudkh. My opinion on it wavers from time to time and I wasn’t sure if I really wanted it included in a ‘best of’ list. Then to test it out I went back and listened to some of the album and my god is it catchy. A song or two may not be great, but man does this album make me feel good.

12. Helloween – Unarmed – Best Of 25th Anniversary

Honestly this Helloween album has the same issue, but like Gogol Bordello the few ‘excellent’ songs validate its place on the list. I still think this is an insanely cool idea for a band’s anniversary album as well. Instead of simply reissuing the same songs we’ve heard before, they did something genuinely new and different with the songs, and in the case of at least a couple of them I prefer these newer versions.

13. Kamelot – The Black Halo

Definitely an odd case here for me. In a reversal of the last couple ones on the list, I actually like the individual songs on their own a lot better rather than thinking of this as a whole album. It’s hard to describe what I mean, but basically I know this album has great songs, but I can’t really think of it as an amazing album at the end. Before anyone cuts my head off, I certainly don’t consider it a bad album but for some reason listening to a whole Kamelot album just rubs me the wrong way, despite liking the songs.

14/15. Less Than Jake – Greetings From Less Than Jake / TV/EP

I’m just going to save a bit of time and combine these two, mostly because of their length. They are fantastic little EPs, and the change in direction Less Than Jake has undergone since leaving their major label is amazing. In 2006 I would have said the band is out of creative juice, but these two little slices are absolutely fantastic.

16. Moonsorrow – Verisäkeet

Moonsorrow is good any day of the year. This is a band I’m not afraid to throw out the word ‘epic’ when describing. Their compositions are of course lengthy and well worth investing in, but their productions are pretty absurdly layered and there is always something new to listen for.

17. Nevermore – This Godless Endeavor

This album is full of great riffs and choruses, but by far the highlight is Sentient 6. This is one of those types of songs that I can see myself still listening to 20 years from now and really should have gotten them more recognition.

18. Oingo Boingo – Good For Your Soul

There’s no surprise here and in the next couple of albums. Boingo is by far my favorite band and I keep coming back to them and somehow there is always something new they are offering me, even in songs I’ve heard dozens and hundreds of times before. Good For Your Soul is sort of the end of a certain era of Boingo, the fast angry Boingo. Not my favorite album of theirs in a sense, but my god the songs on here are all just so brilliant.

19. Oingo Boingo – Nothing To Fear

Nothing To Fear is still this same type of Boingo, but they were really starting to experiment a bit at this point. Some songs were a bit more subdued, and the arrangements even somehow managed to improve. Almost certainly one of my favorite albums of all time. Seriously.

20. Oingo Boingo – Only A Lad

Only A Lad still can blow my mind like Ziltoid can. The production quality here for their first album is pretty astounding, and the band is completely on point. I literally cannot understand why these guys were only popular in southern california. These may not be the most technically proficient songs and playing, and the lyrics may not be the most poetic or politically charged, but there is a magic here than I can’t fathom.

21. Oingo Boingo/Danny Elfman – So-Lo

Same idea here. As I said in the previous post, I have no idea how none of these songs were enormous hits. Most bands I’ve ever heard struggle to write a song as good as Cool City. Just unbelievably brilliant, and like I said this band is always, always good to me.

22. Pain Of Salvation – Remedy Lane

What a damn good album to start this whole escapade on. The music challenges you, and each listen of the album ingratiates you more and more until the album is a part of you. It’s kind of like playing a video game that seems way too tough at first: once it clicks it feels really damn great.

23. Queen – A Day At The Races

Just like Black Sabbath, this album and band are absolutely deserving of being called timeless classics. This is definitely a pure album experience. Sure, you can find a few faults with a song here or there, but you listen to the album through and you’re better for it. And it’s worth noting that yes, some of the songs still get me pretty friggin’ close to tears.

24. Radiohead – OK Computer

A few days or weeks ago I didn’t think this album was going to end up on this list. I would have noted it at the bottom of this post, but I wasn’t going to list it as one of the best. It clicked with me though. I don’t quite yet considering it a life-changing record (which is a leftover of that little issue of outside perception I mentioned with Sabbath) but it definitely resonates with me.

25. Rx Bandits – Mandala

Yet another that I can describe as a great album experience. This one definitely took me a few listens to really get, as it was yet another slight change of style and tone for the band. I absolutely love it though and don’t find myself bored at all.

26. The Aquabats! – Hi-Five Soup!

I bare no remorse for adding this album on here. It’s super incredibly catchy and fun, and by god if I don’t love listening to it every change I get. It just blows my mind how much I love this.

27. The Dear Hunter – Act I: The Lake South, The River North

This band is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Just a brilliant mix of styles, and it’s got enough elements of avant-garde music to keep it interesting the first few listens, and then the power of the melodies and vocals keep you hooked for pretty much forever.

28. The Phenomenauts – For All Mankind

Same idea as The Aquabats!. I’m surprised how much I like this album. It’s so incredibly catchy and their mix of modern lyrics and rockabilly stylings is so absurdly cool.

29/30. Therion – Lemuria / Sirius B

Just a brilliant set of albums, and Therion are by far the kings of operatic metal. I’ll point out that again these are great album experiences, as a lot of the songs can’t be fully enjoyed out of context in all honesty.

31. Týr – By The Light Of The Northern Star

I can’t say enough good things about Týr or this album. TO some they may seem simplistic, but there’s a certain melodiousness to them that just completely and utterly appeals to me.

32. Týr – The Lay Of Thrym

Same thing here, I can’t get enough of this band. They are a band that truly live up to the title of folk metal, and not because they throw in corny instruments, but because most of their basis is in songs that would be sung at a bar or by a campfire put to metal. Just brilliant.

Whew, that got a bit bigger than I expected. And now I can say that if I had tried to pick ten of those only then this post wouldn’t have been completed for at least a week. To put into perspective how much this concept of one album per day has helped me, half of those top 32 albums I had either ignored or just never even tried listening to before. And of those 15, definitely a few rank in my top albums ever. Definitely been a huge benefit to me. However, some people may get annoyed at certain things I left off, so let’s quickly go through the

Honorable Mentions

1. Atheist – Unquestionable Presence

This is an album I pretty much have to talk about for a few minutes simply because of the influence it has had. I really do enjoy it, but I don’t consider it a favorite.

2. Candlemass – Nightfall

Kind of the same idea as Atheist here. This album has left a huge mark on metal, and I highly enjoy some songs but it hasn’t quite struck me and been life changing.

3. Disillusion – Three Neuron Kings

This is pretty much a perfect EP, but because of its length I neglected to include it on the main list. You should still absolutely go listen to it right now.

4. Dream Theater – Falling Into Infinity / Demos

While I can’t list either of these as amazing albums, I wanted to include as a what could have been. The finished album sounds great but leaves me wanting, while the demos could have been an amazing double album but the unfinished quality of it makes me not necessarily want to sit down and really listen to it too often.

5. Drudkh – Autumn Aurora

There are some great tracks here and I love getting lost in those few songs, but something about that I can’t quite describe keeps me from listing it as an absolute top album.

6. Gogol Bordello – Super Taranta!

When I first heard this album right around the time it first came out I was obsessed with it. I played it over and over. My appreciation for it has waned a bit, but there are some extremely great songs on here not worth missing.

7. Rhapsody Of Fire – Triumph Or Agony

I just can’t bear to put this on the main list. It’s a good album experience, and the big track is brilliant but there are just too many flaws to ignore.

8. Sonata Arctica – The Days Of Grays

I really wanted to flat out love this album, but I just can’t. It just feels like too much, but there are some amazing songs on here.

9. Stephen Lynch – Superhero

Being more of a comedy record than an album, I didn’t quite feel right including it in the main list, but it is still fantastic.

10. Summoning – Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame

I absolutely love the sound only Summoning does but this album, despite being rated pretty highly, doesn’t quite strike me enough to be on the main list.

11. The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

I’m sure someone eventually would have smacked me for not including this. Once again the influence it has had is undeniable, and I recognize that it is a good album, but it’s not quite for me.

12. The Bridges – Limits Of The Sky

I’m including this one simply because of the surprise it gave me. I didn’t think I could ever enjoy an album in this style, and yet here we are. It really makes me believe that I could probably like any style of music assuming it’s done well.

13. The Vandals – Oi To The World!

And we’ll end it here. This isn’t too brilliant of an album, but I really do honestly enjoy most of the songs and it’s a good, surprising Christmas album.