Monday, December 27

End of the year goodness

Genesis Device-Cloudkicker.
I listened to a lot of Cloudkicker this year. All the awesome of aggro metal without the frequently irritating vocalists. Lots of people hailed Beacons as a great record and it's certainly a solid effort but I stumbled onto Cloudkicker this year so the entire catalog is open to me.

Power-Kanye West.
I am as big a sucker for a killer single as anyone else and this one is huge. I haven't even listened to the whole album yet; this song is still killer.

Snakes for the Divine-High On Fire.

This song was described as their 'Thunderstruck' and I'm hard pressed to disagree. The album felt little uneven for me but this is probably one of the best opening tracks to a metal record that you could ask for.

Blind in One Eye-Coliseum.
"Ain't no key left in this hand...ain't no hope left in this room,"
There are some lines that just resonate and that's one for me. I don't think this song is about devastation, I think it's about discovering there are things you hide from yourself that you can't hide from others.

Little Monkey-Armored Saint.
I suppose it says something when a band that, twenty years ago, would've been considered heavy metal (and still is by those who've listened to it for long enough) is now using Van Halen-esque harmonies in their choruses. That's not to suggest that Armored Saint is suddenly just a rock band or that the guitars are up with Van Halen's. But they made a damn solid hard rock album that I think I would've loved at 17 and still somehow really like at 38.

He Films The Clouds Pt 2-Maybeshewill.
So I recommend Cloudkicker to a friend, sending the myspace link to Cloudkicker so he can get an idea of what they sound like and he comes back with; Did you hear this band? They're apparently 'friended' on MS.
The moral of the story; sometimes the internet works.

God's Gonna Cut You Down-Johnny Cash.
I heard way too many clips of this song being used to sell me shit, mostly because it's got one of the most amazing riffs ever. But the music has nothing to do with a product someone wants me to buy into. The long and short of it is, this is one of my favorite songs by the Man in Black. Guitar gods everywhere wish they'd come up with this, tuned it down and slogged through this one. In honor of the awesome of this song and to keep it from being a corporate whore I had to include it.

I Gave You All-Mumford and Sons.
This one is about defeat. Sometimes, it's like that.

Love Like A Sunset Part 1 and 2-Phoenix.
I generally don't include two songs by the same group back to back but in this case an exception had to be made. Phoenix does some really nice pop music however Love Like A Sunset is why they're interesting. The first part is this Tangerine Dream influenced soundscape that gently segues into a catchy riff that becomes the second song, which dreamily ends, all the crescendo happening previously. I don't know if Phoenix will be a great band but certainly taking risks like that make them more interesting than 90% of other bands working the genre.

That Dress Looks Nice On You/Make You Feel That Way-Sufjan Stevens/Tor.
It's a sign of the times, I suppose, that one of the songs I listened to a lot this year is a mashup. Speaking of...

Triple Double-Girl Talk.
Girl Talk has managed to produce three records in a row of solid to awesome quality and all of them are pretty much meant to be the soundtrack to your crazy party. I'm not sure you can dance to it for very long because the energy level is nearly inhuman. This music may have the motor of a five year old and the mentality of a 24 year old but that's probably what makes it work.

Tell Them-Sleigh Bells.
Which brings me to this bombast. It's too aggressive, too loud to be pop music but it's not heavy enough or dense enough to be rock, really. Like dance music that's been hit with the mutant gene or something.

The Water Glass-Melvins.
The Melvins have devolved a bit for me; I'm not sure that I like entire albums they do, anymore. However, when you've been playing as long as they have, doing pretty much whatever they like with as consistent a quality, I'm fairly certain they don't need to please me. All that said; this was a really solid opening to their latest and is just the kind of transition song a list like this needs.

Absolute Dissent-Killing Joke.
The latest album from KJ just can't hold up to Hosannas From The Basement of Hell because, frankly, Hosannas is the kind of record you get to make once in a lifetime. They couldn't do anything else but this album; a solid one that touches on their past, continues with their vision and mines the strengths of Hosannas.
But a solid album from Killing Joke is still going to be better than a great album from many other bands.

I Hold Grudges-Goes Cube
This was a band I found out about in '09 but didn't pay attention to until '10. Somewhere in between the punk-metal-rock cloud bands like Goes Cube mine a whole bunch of ignored territory. Ignored because people tend to get stuck on things like genre purity. Fuck 'em.

The Theatre Goer-Daughters.

Daughters' self-titled album was probably the record I ignored almost to the point of criminality. Sad, because every time I listened to it the record just got better and better. Weird and yet really catchy with a vocalist that doesn't always make it easy, the whole album is full of moments of standout riffs that draw me in. I'll probably listen to it more in '11, likely on the strength of songs like The Theatre Goer.

Widower-The Dillinger Escape Plan.

DEP is always very hard for me to ignore but very difficult for me to love.They're undeniably talented on pretty much every level; even the lyrics, as hard as they might be to understand until you read them (and then suddenly they crystalize like a giant snowflake) are just awesome. But damn if they don't work the jazz-metal thing to the absolute limits of my tolerance.

In Your Words-Lamb of God.
This was the year I got into Lamb of God. Granted, I think last year was also the year where they elevated their game with Wrath-but of course I didn't hear it until the album showed up on all these end of year best lists. I'd given them a shot before and even seen them open for Slipknot but just couldn't get into the music, even though I could definitely see the appeal because they put on a good show. Fortunately for me, not only was Wrath good but so is Sacrament, a track from which makes an appearance a little later on.

Apocalyptic Havoc-Goatwhore.
Once upon a time, it was really easy for me to say that I didn't like black metal. The vocals were unintelligible and the music wasn't made to be liked, or so it seemed. But damn if this isn't one of the best opening riffs ever. So I converted, at least for this album-which was also released in '09 but appeared on a bunch of 'best of' lists.

Virus-Black Breath.
Maybe you saw them, these great punk bands playing in some shitty bar in your hometown; fast and gritty and loud, and you really hoped they'd make it because man, they just blew everybody else off the stage.
Well, at least one of those bands made it.

Underneath the Waves-Strapping Young Lad.
It's really, really, really rare for me to include a song I've heard in years past. Lamb of God or Cloudkicker have discographies that extend past this year but I just got into them so they're new to me. SYL's stuff I've been into for years-before the band broke up, even.
However, the glories of random shuffling on iTunes brought this song to my attention again at a time when I really needed to hear it. It's super aggressive sonically but lyrically the theme of "I am tired of the boring bullshit that leads to nothing" just worked for me.

the sun, the earth-Constants
I love it when albums surprise me with a hook somewhere that isn't the first or last song. Granted, this is the second song on the album but still; anything to help shake me out of the flow of a record and pay attention is usually good.

Core Relations-Intronaut.

A concept album based around LA. Neat! I suppose this is filed under stoner rock but I don't see that so much. Influenced by, sure but this is like a slightly more catchy Isis to my ears.

You've Seen the Butcher-Deftones.
The Deftones have had a hell of a few years, with the Saturday Night Wrist album proving they can still bring the noise, then having their bassist go into a coma while writing a brand new album, shelving that record to make a new one because touring on the comatose bassist's work felt wrong and going full out to make a new record.

And the new record is stellar. How about that?

At this point, I feel like I practically have to have an Jesu song on my end of year lists. Hell, even as it stands Justin Broadrick is all over this list, having produced the Constants album and doing a remix of a Pelican song that made it on, down the line.

Blacken the Cursed Sun-Lamb of God.
I wish I'd seen LoG when they had written this song. It's probably 100% crowd pleaser.

Scum Will Rise-Nails.
Nails probably released the angriest album of the year. I think this song is maybe a minute thirty seconds but it flays.

The Dream is Dead-Type O Negative.
Peter Steele died this year and when that happened I took it upon myself to investigate the Type O history a bit more than I had. I've always liked TON but albums never seemed to settle on me. There were great songs, which I'd tape (very old school I know) and then usually sell the CD off because the album just didn't work for me. But Life is Killing Me and Dead Again were the two albums I poked around on and looking at it, it's more likely that I was just not ready to really love Type O Negative. A rare metal band with a sense of humor, they will be missed.

Plus, there's something about a man howling, "The dream is dead." If you've been there, you know.

More shoegaze metal. Rosetta didn't produce an immediately catchy record but as with Daughters, it was one that went frequently unlistened by me and I aim to make that up in the next few months because every time I hear it I like it.

Final Exit-Fear Factory.
Probably the best closing song to a FF album, ever. The album itself was solid and very much a return to the form of Demanufacture or Obsolete but this was the song that suggested to me that the band that stretched what sounds metal bands could incorporate on those older records was still alive. I don't know if Fear Factory has another album in them but if this is their revisit to Demanufacture and the next one is the Obsolete revisit, then that will be damned impressive.

This was also the song that, when I started building this list, was going to be the one I wanted as a closer. As the list got built, it became more apparent that this song was instead going to be the beginning of the end but that works too.

Angel Tears-Pelican, remixed by Justin Broadrick.
Took me some time to acquire this song; iTunes wouldn't let me buy just this one, it insisted I get the entire 3 song single which includes the original version-which I already have. On CD.

But man, is it a brilliant rework of the original. Fifteen minutes and I wasn't bored.

Out Again-Torche.
Torche probably made the most pop friendly heavy album of the year and undoubtedly one of my favorite videos for the year. I wish this album had gotten more attention because man it's good. The band works that last riff into the ground for probably three minutes but I don't care; it's catchy and fading it off is the exact right move. As good as Final Exit was, this song had to be the penultimate one. It says goodbye in a sad but not cheerless manner and I think I'd like to remember my year that way. I won some, I lost some but it wasn't all bad.

God Be With Ye-Cloudkicker.
It's just a nice finisher; the kind that allows me to start the list up all over again.

1 comment:

A.Ho said...

Where did you end up acquiring the Pelican remix? Or did you give in to iTunes?