My Fave Albums Of 09 (Part 2)

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Feb 27 2010, 15:51

My Fave Albums Of 2009 (Part 2 )

Part 1 continued. In this journal are the top five albums of 2009. Enjoy!

5. Testament - Low



A thick, groovy, dark riff kicks this album off. Then in come Billy’s booming vocals. This album is a thrash one, but it isn’t dry like a lot of thrash albums are. You know those early ones that are good and all but seem to lack a depth within the guitar sound and production. This doesn’t fall into that trap, sure its thrash, but it contains its fair share of “sludge” within the sound. To me this is what a modern thrash album should be about, an obvious nod to the past of thrash, but also incorporating the thick and heavy sound of some modern metal. The opening of this album is fantastic, setting the tone with some brilliant tracks. Unfortunately the rest of the album doesn’t seem to quite match up to these opening songs but the other tracks are still of a pretty high standard. The riffs on here are top quality; they just keep churning them out throughout the album. The riffs are so catchy, yet so damn thick and heavy. It’s like The Gathering, but with less death metal influence and more groove, maybe more melody thrown in. Its mainly a thrashy album, but a soaring ballad and a funky instrumental keep things fresh.

HighlightsLow, Trail Of Tears, Urotsukidoji
LowlightsP.C., Chasing Fear, Last Call

4. Rammstein - Mutter



Now this was a surprise. The only reason I even got into this band was due to an online mate of mine (who I had never even met!) invited me to go see these guys with him and a few of his peeps. We had been discussing going to Download for a while, and he saw it as a warm up for that. He sent me all the stuff and I (eventually) set about listening to it all. My first thoughts were that it sounded pretty stupid and I didn’t know if I would enjoy them live. But, after a few listens I realised that the key was to enjoy this band is not too take them too seriously. If you do that, you get over the barrier of the German words which translate into god knows what. So, I did this and reaped the rewards. I realised just how heavy and catchy there music is, as well been bloody epic at times. This album stood out for me, and it’s a bloody good album. This album is an epic package of bonkers industrial (?) metal. This album is full of crunchy, heavy and catchy riffs, with some brilliant keyboard work and some operatic vocals thrown in. It all adds up to a potent mix, with the songs frequently using the operatic vocals and the keyboards to build up atmosphere, then WHAM! In come the heavy guitars and it explodes into life. As well as the guitars been heavy, the choruses are so anthemic, with the German vocals seemingly adding to the atmosphere. So many of Rammstein’s finest songs are on this album and it’s a great starting point for anybody trying to get into this band. One of the best surprises of this year for sure, and I have to thank my mate for introducing me to them. Oh and go see them live, they are bloody brilliant.

HighlightsLinks 2 3 4, Sonne, Freur Frei
LowlightsAdios, Hallelujah, Nebel

3. The Prodigy - Invaders Must Die



Ahhh those trail blazing Essex noise masters, The Prodigy, are at it again. They gate crashed a rock/metal chart list last time and have done it again. Not that’s a bad thing; in fact it proves what a fantastic band they are. As with any Prodigy album, this is a hard hitting electronic noise fest. They seem to just effortlessly seam everything together and make it sound good. Now I don’t know an awful lot about the dance scene, but this to me sounds like the classic 90’s stuff they came out with, blended with a lot of influences from the modern scene. It works perfectly, and I feel Prodigy have certainly reenergised themselves with this album. The wall of noise that hits you is almost unrelenting, but rather than been just random noise it’s all brilliantly listenable. This has everything, from the electronic beats that Liam sets up, the various samples used and even the odd guitar rift/or other instrument. It’s so catchy and makes you want to dance, but damn it’s intense. I think it’s this “heaviness” that attracts such a wind range of listeners. When I have seen them live, the audiences consist of a mixture of metal heads, indie/alternative types, chavs (unfortunately) and the “ravers” (though these can be mistaken for/can be the chavs). They are also all different age groups, so I think that is testament to the lasting appeal of this band. I will openly admit this is not Prodigy’s best album; however it’s a bloody good album which more than deserves its place on this list.

HighlightsInvaders Must Die, Take Me to the Hospital, Warriors Dance
LowlightsColours, World’s On Fire, Piranha

2. Opeth - Damnation



First things first, this isn’t your normal Opeth album. It’s very different from your average Opeth album. Known for their brutal heaviness as well as their thoughtful subtle approach, Opeth normally mix these two elements together, but, not on this album. This album is a more stripped down and mellow Opeth. Gone are the majority of the metal influences, replaced by an almost progressive rock sound. This album has clean vocals, acoustic guitars and far more obvious orchestration. It has a very natural sound to it, and is probably the most melancholic Opeth album. Opeth really demonstrate their song writing abilities here, with some utterly beautiful vocals along with the lush instrumentation. Despite this album been incredibly mellow, it still maintains my interest throughout, which is a feat in its self. Some of Opeth’s best songs are on here, and even if you like the heavy stuff, it’s still well worth a purchase. In fact, if you are looking for a route into Opeth, then this album could well be for you; though do expect a change in sound with the other albums! I have barely written anything about this album, not because it’s a bad album, but because it’s a stripped down masterpiece which gives off a vibe of natural beauty while listening to it.

HighlightsWindowpane, In My Time of Need, To Rid the Disease
LowlightsHope Leaves, Ending Credits, Weakness

1. Opeth - Blackwater Park



One of the biggest success stories of last year, the sheer brilliance of this album hit me straight away. I had barely been into Opeth when I started listening to this, but I knew this was the album for me. I have never heard anything so dark and powerful in so many ways. First of all the riffs are just so brutal and heavy, then you have the inhuman death vocals and of course the highly impressive drumming. All this adds together to make an immensely potent metal cocktail. However, this isn’t just any metal album; it has another more subtle side to it. To go along the heavy stuff, it’s got pianos, acoustic guitars and beautiful clean vocals. Now, I know what you’re thinking, this sounds just like Still Life doesn’t it? No, this is far darker than that. It’s quite difficult to describe without listening to it yourself. Imagine seeing someone you love drown in some remote bog, its midnight, the fog is closing in and it’s freezing. Imagine the combination of emotions you would be feeling, this album is a bi product of these emotions. But why would I want to listen to something that emulates those feelings? I hear you cry. Well, the truth is Opeth just make it seem so beautiful but without losing any of the sadness and melancholy of it all. It’s an utterly entrancing album to listen to, and I can’t say I have ever heard anything more epic in my time of listening to music. I find it very hard to justify the sheer brilliance of this album in words. I think the only way for you to find out how good this album is to listen to it and approach it with an open mind.

HighlightsThe Leper Affinity, Bleak, Blackwater Park
LowlightsHarvest, Dirge for November, Patterns in the Ivy

Conclusion

Well I certainly didn’t see this coming. Instead of a year of simply filling in gaps in my music collection, I have managed to check out a number of new artists. I can’t help but feel a fair few of these artists will become mainstays of my music collection. Were as last year, my best albums were a mixture of genres, this year it has been mainly all about the metal. Not that that is a bad thing, especially with some of the quality stuff I have got into this past year. I have certainly broken down a few barriers here, which will open up more doors. Here’s to 2010, its anything as good musically as 2009, I will be in for a treat!

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