78. Voivod, ‘Dimension Hatröss’ (1988)

There are bands that are so unique in their approach to writing and recording music, that they defy classification, and yet we find a way to systematize them. How else could you expect to find music in a record store—and it wasn’t that long ago that people primarily bought music from record stores. Certainly whenContinue reading “78. Voivod, ‘Dimension Hatröss’ (1988)”

79. At the Gates, ‘Slaughter of the Soul’ (1995)

Earlier, when I reviewed Entombed’s Left Hand Path, I introduced the Stockholm style of playing death metal—raw, fast, and subterranean. Left Hand Path is a prime example of that sound. At the same time, bands in Gothenberg were engineering a second style of death metal, which would become melodic death metal. Melodic death metal straysContinue reading “79. At the Gates, ‘Slaughter of the Soul’ (1995)”

80. Ministry, ‘ΚΕΦΑΛΗΞΘ (Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs)’ (1992)

Two stories and then two points. 1. I saw Ministry essentially perform this album at an outdoor festival in the summer of 1992. It was insane. First, they had some massive sub-sub-sub-woofer that you couldn’t really hear, but could feel in your guts. It was the lowest pitch in the universe and had some kindContinue reading “80. Ministry, ‘ΚΕΦΑΛΗΞΘ (Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs)’ (1992)”

81. Bathory, ‘Under the Sign of the Black Mark’ (1987)

Fewer people have done more to change the world of heavy metal than Thomas Börje Forsberg, while remaining in deep obscurity. Forsberg’s stage name was “Quorthon”, and he was essentially the band Bathory, named after the infamous Elizabeth Bathory, a Hungarian countess and possibly the most prolific murderer in modern history. Elizabeth Bathory was rumoredContinue reading “81. Bathory, ‘Under the Sign of the Black Mark’ (1987)”

82. Entombed, ‘Left Hand Path’ (1990)

CW: Some of the albums on this list are overtly Satanic. As a nonbeliever, I’ve been pretty comfortable enjoying sacred music of many traditions; Mozart’s Requiem, Beethoven’s 9th, and of course, Handel’s Messiah. I like a good chant now and again, and find the Islamic call to prayer as well as Jewish traditional hymns (whichContinue reading “82. Entombed, ‘Left Hand Path’ (1990)”

83. Baroness, ‘The Red Album’ (2007)

From 2002-2004, I played guitar in a three-piece out of Columbus, Ohio. Our band was grounded in punk and alternative rock, but we were disenchanted with the idea of style. As our lyrical content became more complex, we wanted to produce music that matched. Yet, we didn’t want to abandon the emotional content of theContinue reading “83. Baroness, ‘The Red Album’ (2007)”

84. High on Fire, ‘Blessed Black Wings’ (2005)

In 1977, NASA launched the Voyager I probe, which is now the farthest man-made object from the earth, at almost 14 billion miles from earth and counting. The hopeful people of the planet, who still had the good sense to believe in science by the way, extended their greetings to any interstellar alien species whoContinue reading “84. High on Fire, ‘Blessed Black Wings’ (2005)”

85. Darkthrone, ‘Transilvanian Hunger’ (1994)

“That romantic disease, originality, all around we see the originality of incompetent idiots, they could draw nothing, paint nothing, just so the mess they make is original… Even two hundred years ago, who wanted to be original, to be original was to admit that you could not do a thing the right way, so youContinue reading “85. Darkthrone, ‘Transilvanian Hunger’ (1994)”

86. Lamb of God, ‘As the Palaces Burn’ (2003).

[Nota bene, my review is not based on the 2013 remastered version of this album, which takes a very different approach to tone.] My cousin, Patrick Brennan (as opposed to Patrick Shay, Patrick Mahr, or Patrick Bachmann…I have a lot of cousins named Patrick), is a metal aficionado, and he and I agree on aContinue reading “86. Lamb of God, ‘As the Palaces Burn’ (2003).”

87. Manowar, ‘Hail to England’ (1984)

Its going to come up, so I might as well start explaining here. I’m not a huge fan of second wave British heavy metal. This is an accident of history, more than anything. Lemme ‘splain. When I was in sixth grade, I rode on a school bus with a couple of douche bags who wereContinue reading “87. Manowar, ‘Hail to England’ (1984)”