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Requiem

All Time Top 20 Favourite Metal Bands

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Ever felt too restricted trying to come up with a top 5 of this and a top 10 of that?  

I propose this thread where people can list a full 20 bands that are for them the epitome of metal, which I think will allow other users to get a more complete picture of each person's tastes. 

Bands don't have to be in order (mine will be), and feel free to nominate a Key Album for each band. Without further ado, here is:

Requiem's Top 20 Bands of All Time

20. Rapture

One of metal's tragedies is that Finland's Rapture didn't make more albums. While the first one was steady and effective 'Brave Murder Day' worship, the combination of clean and growled vocals that characterised their next two releases just propelled this band into the stratosphere. Forlorn yet rockingly catchy songs. Key Album: 'Songs for the Withering' (2002)

19. Moonsorrow

Epic pagan metal that blew me away when I first heard them in 2001. At that time they had a sound almost unmatched for epic and I still love them today. It's disappointing I don't have room for more viking/pagan metal because it moves me greatly. Key Album: 'Kivenkantaja' (2003). 

18. Saturnus

A stunningly emotional gothic doom band who would be higher in the list if their last two albums reached the heights of their first three releases. Achingly beautiful and romantic odes to lost love. Key Album: 'For the Loveless Lonely Nights' (1998)

17. Rotting Christ

The Greek melodic masters just keep delivering, and - perhaps with the exception of 'The Heretics' which I'm still warming too - they are as good as they've ever been after nearly 30 years. Occult anthems and rituals with huge melodic emotion. Key Album: 'Kata Ton Daimona Eayatoi' (2013)

16. Emperor

The ultimate masters of their art, they don't rate higher for me because they have two classics ('Nightside' and 'Anthems'), the kvlt self-titled, and two lesser offerings in their last two. What they achieved in the early and mid-90s, however, were untouchable anthems to forests, mountains and the Norwegian skies. Key Album: 'In the Nightside Eclipse' (1994)

15. Satyricon

Edges out Emperor because they've put out some pretty entertaining albums since the genius heyday of the mid-90s, including 'Volcano' and 'Deep Calleth Upon Deep'. They're only really in this list at all, however, for their three album masterpieces from 1993-1996. Key Album: my favourite black metal album of all time: 'The Shadowthrone' (1994)

14. Sentenced

Staggeringly effective suicide rock that crossed the bridge between catchiness and despair. Simply amazing songwriting from Miika Tenkula and bare-faced lyrics to suicide by Lopakka. Their last two albums in particular are two of my all time favourites. Key Album: 'The Cold White Light' (2003)

13. Type O Negative

I don't love everything Peter Steele and the gothic goons put out, and their brand of humour chaffs me badly, but their period between 1993-1996 produced the greatest romantic gothic metal ever created, and to this day my favourite all time album is the Key Album: 'October Rust' (1996)

12. Dissection

Three classic albums, composed and played with a conviction that can only come from, let's face it, a bit of a maniac. Jon Nodtveidt was a real miracle as a songwriter of immense vision and melodic imagination. People knock 'Reinkaos' but I find it dripping with menace, despite the mid-paced melodic bop. Key Album: 'Storm of the Light's Bane' (1995)

11. Moonspell

Another life-long band that has never let me down (thanks lads), Portugal's gothic metal masters are too special to really analyse, but I can say that their dark odes are magical. Their latest album is, for me, their second greatest ever in '1755', which is an amazing feat this far into their careers. It's just incredible. However, Key Album has to go to: 'Irreligious' (1996)

10. Amorphis

Amorphis were blessed with a second shot at greatness with the arrival of Tomi Joutsen back in 2006, and those first three or four albums with Tomi are masterpieces. They're still doing alright now, although 'Queen of Time' is a bit soft. But they hit the top 10 for me due to their miracle 90s period with two nearly perfect albums like 'Elegy' and Key Album: 'Tales from the Thousand Lakes' (1994)

9. Marduk

Another band who just keep delivering the goods over decades, you can pretty much point to any stage of their career and find a classic, although I do feel that the 'Plague Angel' to 'Wormwood' period was a flat point. But the classics prevail with 'Opus Nocturne', 'Panzer Division' and a personal favourite 'World Funeral'. For me though, easily their best album, and the best black metal album of the 21st century is the Key Album: 'Frontschwein' (2015)

8. Septicflesh

I came late to Septicflesh (though I came hard), and this is evidence that I'm not just listing bands of my youth (although I'm mostly doing that, obviously). The combination of orchestra and death metal changed my life, and I still hold 'The Great Mass' and 'Titan' as some of the greatest music of all time. Key Album: 'Communion' (2007)

7. Black Sabbath/Ozzy Osbourne

I nearly forgot these guys. Considering how many books and products I have, and my interest in their story, they should probably be at number one. I'm also cheating here by including Ozzy's solo career, because dammit I need the space. I don't think I need to justify Sabbath's inclusion. Key Album: 'Paranoid' (1970)

6. My Dying Bride

When they're good, they're untouchable. While they've clanged away for decades now, mostly hitting highs, it's again their 90s output that certainly changed my life as a teenager when I first heard them. They were hauntingly obscure, with brilliant album titles (and band name!) for a love sick 16 year old. The original line-up who released the classics from 1992-1996 remain kings of gothic doom. Key Album: 'The Angel and the Dark River' (1995)

5. Paradise Lost

Flip a coin between these guys and the Brides, but Paradise Lost win due to a better quality of 21st century albums. Nick and Greg are like brothers I've never met, and their gothic metal rock has so many amazing moments and eras that, apart from the awkward late 90s, it's all good. Key Album: 'Draconian Times' (1995)

4. Anathema

Damn, I'm in emotional territory now, and it's like choosing between children. Anathema are just a terrible band these days, but from 1993-2001 they had the world in their hands, not to mention my emotions. Look at those classic albums, 'Serenades', ‘The Silent Enigma’, 'Eternity', 'Judgement' and the heartbreakingly beautiful 'We're Here Because We're Here', not to mention the 'Falling Deeper' release that contains emotive orchestral versions of some of their best songs from the first three releases. Current output is not my thing, though. Key Album: 'Alternative 4' (1998)

3. Cradle of Filth

Much maligned - unfairly in my view - by many in the scene, the impact of this band on me personally has been, and remains, huge. They're sort of my Iron Maiden, and although they haven't always hit the mark with their albums, particularly during their mid period, they have released two stunning albums recently which seals their legacy. 1994-1998 saw untouchable gothic metal produced. Untouchable. My favourite band for lyrics by some distance. Damn I love that little guy. Key Album: 'Dusk and Her Embrace' (1996)

2. Mayhem

Oooh, are they first or second? Depends on my mood. What is it about Mayhem? The classic and ever-changing albums, the amazing live material, the huge impact of seeing them for the first time in 2002, the miracle combination of great vocalist and guitarist in Dead/Euro and Maniac/Blasphemer, the collectible bootlegs. The history and their story. Their image. Their attitude. Key Album: 'De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas' (1994)

1. Katatonia

And here it is, number one. Yes 'Brave Murder Day' is a masterpiece, yes their various EPs have proven that they have better B-sides and bonus tracks than any other band, but it's their absolutely untouchable melodic atmosphere and emotional weight that puts them here. Jonas's vocals, the huge choruses, the songs to the emptiness of modern life. They're made for Requiem's sensibilities. Key Album: 'Last Fair Deal Gone Down' (2001).

 Special Mention: Shining, Blind Guardian, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Borknagar, To/Die/For, Dimmu Borgir, Theatre of Tragedy, Finntroll and Swallow the Sun.   

What are your twenty?

 

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We have so many threads dedicated to albums, I'm actually a fan of dedicating one specifically to bands. So with that said here's

RelentlessOblivion's Top 20 Metal Bands

20. Nile

Nile tend to be a divisive band. You either like them or you don't. I love the Egyptian vibe present in both their music and lyrics. Their earlier albums are their best but that's ok plenty of great bands peaked early. Essential album: Annihilation Of The Wicked.

19. Anathema

I loved Anathema's death/doom work but the atmospheric rock road they've gone down since doesn't work for me which is why they sit so low. Essential Album: The Silent Enigma.

18. Pentagram

There's a lot to like about Pentagram, heavy groovy riffs, competent vocals, good songwriting. The only thing not to like is how sporadic their albums are. Essential album: Day of Reckoning.

17. Iron Maiden

Call it fan-boying if you want but with nearly 40 years in the business Maiden must be doing something right. So far as I'm concerned six of their first seven albums are near untouchable for heavy metal but they've not done much of note since so that hurts the rating a bit. Essential album: Seventh Son of a Seventh Son.

16. Dissection

The kings of melodic black metal, and that one melodic death metal album, deserve to be recognised for their achievements. Spin these guys in the middle of winter for the optimal listening experience. Essential album: The Somberlain

15. Cathedral

When Cathedral are good they craft a stunningly heavy, often psychadelic sound that simply can't be topped. When they're not good though it's often a boring experience. Essential album: Forest of Equilibrium.

14. Candlemass

Another band with extraordinary longevity Candlemass have brought their brand of epic doom to the world for thirty some years at this point and show no signs of slowing down. The Door to Doom may not be their best ever album but you still get the feeling these ageing rockers have plenty to give and their early albums are some of the heaviest traditional doom albums you could ever hear. Essential album: Nightfall.

13. Blind Guardian

The Tolkien-inspired imagery and lyrics paired with folkish melodies make Blind Guardian a memorable band. All of their efforts go into creating a sound which does the grandeur of Tolkien's Middle Earth justice. If you ever wondered what sort of music elves would make with electric guitars this is the band for you. Essential album: Nightfall In Middle Earth.

12. Carcass

The grindcore-turned-melodic death metal nutters have written some of the most furious songs in metal, and some of the most interesting melodic lines in death metal. They can be somewhat divisive but I love them. Essential album: Necroticism.

11. Sadistik Exekution

Intense, that's the best way of summing up Sad-Ex. There is absolutely no let up, no end to the pummeling. From start to finish it's an assault on the ears courtesy of a punk/death/black metal fusion. Essential Album: We Are Death, Fukk You.

10. Ahab

Have you ever wondered what would happen if the ocean could write music? So did Ahab and so they set about writing music which captures that odd musing. Their sound alternates between tranquil, almost soothing, sections and crushing heaviness which hits like a tidal wave. Throw in some Moby Dick inspired lyrics and imagery for an epic win. Essential album: The Divinity of Oceans.

9. Type O Negative

Like Requiem I don't absolutely love everything TON put out but even their weaker material (Life Is Killing Me imo) is still at least half enjoyable. Pete's vocals got better with time and the band never lost their sense of humour. 'Til the end they were just four dicks from Brooklyn out to have a good time. Essential album: Bloody Kisses.

8. Judas Priest

Another classic heavy metal icon. Priest deserve the Metal Gods label for their longevity, consistency, and the fact that they are still releasing quality albums. They're past their prime but Priest can still rock it with the best of them. Essential album: Stained Class.

7. Black Sabbath

Without Sabbath there would be no metal it really is that simple. It has been said that every great riff in metal is just putting a spin on something Tony Iommi has already written and whilst I wouldn't go that far he has written a crazy number of iconic riffs. When even non-metal fans recognise your riffs you are an icon. Essential album: Master of Reality (but don't make me choose).

6. Bolt Thrower

Bolt Thrower are a pillar of the UK death metal scene. Their consistency is incredible and once you've heard one album you'll instantly recognise the band. Listening to Bolt Thrower is like being slowly crushed by a tank, but in a good way. Essential album: Warmaster.

5. Trouble

Trouble's first four albums are the heaviest traditional doom has to offer. It's music which seems at odds with the overtly Christian lyrics and imagery the band frequently use. Then again some of the most violent art ever made was inspired by Christianity so maybe it's not so strange. Anyway if you like your doom to be super heavy (and isn't that the point) this is for you. Essential album: Psalm 9.

4. dISEMBOWELMENT

I know, I know, the number four spot and they only released one full-length album and a compilation. It speaks to the quality of that release doesn't it? dISEMBOWELMENT crafted a crushing, bleak, cavernous sound. The vocals are about as low as growls can go and the tempo fluctuates between crawling atmospheric sections and frenzied onslaughts. These Australians mastered funeral doom/death before it was really even a thing and for that they deserve to be heard. Essential album: dISEMBOWELMENT compilation (it's the best way to hear everything they ever did on one record).

3. Mournful Congregation

Mournful Congregation are, without a doubt, the best band to ever come out of South Australia. They craft an intricate melodic kind of funeral doom that loses none of the heaviness you'd expect from the style. The atmosphere is melancholic and the melodies are beautiful, funeral doom doesn't get much better. Essential album: The Monad of Creation.

2. Bathory

Bathory started as a thrashy first-wave black metal band and played the style magnificently. They then, along with Enslaved, pretty much invented Viking metal and mastered that style as well. With 8 classic albums that you simply must hear Bathory are as close to flawless as you can get (unless you're the number 1 band on my list). Just ignore the retro thrash rubbish they briefly flirted with and you'll be fine. Essential album: Hammerheart for viking metal, Blood Fire Death for black metal.

1. Death

Chuck Schuldiner's Death are quite simply flawless. Despite numerous personnel changes and three distinct sounds Death never released a bad, or even an average album. Their debut is a thrashy, raw, extreme metal album. They followed that up with two records which epitomise the Floridian death metal sound before evolving into a technical/melodic death metal juggernaut. They finished off with a progressive, technical, masterpiece which sounds like nothing else in death metal before or since. Quite simply Death are as good as it gets in Death metal. Listen to them, now! Essential album (as if I could pick just one): The Sound of Perseverance.

 

Honourable mentions: Morbid Angel, Mayhem, Angel Witch, Thergothon, Dark Angel.

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8 hours ago, RelentlessOblivion said:

20. Nile

Nile tend to be a divisive band. You either like them or you don't. I love the Egyptian vibe present in both their music and lyrics. Their earlier albums are their best but that's ok plenty of great bands peaked early. Essential album: Annihilation Of The Wicked.

 

I was always surprised at how much hatred Nile received from the metal community. The ancient Egyptian vibe/atmosphere combined with death metal is winning formula. But it seemed to me they were a victim of their own 'commercial success' or whatever modicum of praise they received from the metal press.

 

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3 hours ago, Vampyrique said:

I was always surprised at how much hatred Nile received from the metal community. The ancient Egyptian vibe/atmosphere combined with death metal is winning formula. But it seemed to me they were a victim of their own 'commercial success' or whatever modicum of praise they received from the metal press.

 

I think those first four albums, Annihilation in particular, represent Nile at the peak of their powers. They've sort of fallen into the trap a little bit and haven't moved their sound forwards. It's a shame how many good bands slow to a stand still after promising starts. Better to explode onto the scene with one or two phenomenal records then carry on re-hashing the same old ideas if you ask me.

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55 minutes ago, RelentlessOblivion said:

I think those first four albums, Annihilation in particular, represent Nile at the peak of their powers. They've sort of fallen into the trap a little bit and haven't moved their sound forwards. It's a shame how many good bands slow to a stand still after promising starts. Better to explode onto the scene with one or two phenomenal records then carry on re-hashing the same old ideas if you ask me.

I can't comment on Nile specifically, but I do agree with your view on bands sort of stagnating. Its part of the reason I listen to so many weird takes on metal, just for the variety. There are some older bands that do manage to actually improve over time and I think Pretty Maids would be the prime example. They just got heavier and heavier as the years went on and the vocalist sounds better than ever at 50+

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This is going to be weird no matter what. My first thought is that I could probably name twenty bands that are important from the year 1973 alone. Which I shall so not do, so relax. However, it remains a fact that 1973 is the year I got into "hard rock and heavy metal" (I guess a somewhat broader umbrella applies, on account of seniority), so there's been some years. So there's that.

Then there are some peculiarities. For instance, I like Judas Priest before 1980, Iron Maiden before 1982, Metallica before 1987, and so forth. So ... fuck it, this is not the sort of thing I want to overthink, so I'm just gonna list 20 bands that seems like "repeat offenders" in the sense that I play their records a lot. As in more than just one record that they made, and that I also like. There must be a certain consistency over time, in that they've been "with me" for a while ... without me getting tired of them. 

One last disclaimer though. With few exceptions, any band on this list could be replaced by "something similar" that I could also find in the shelves ... so not written in stone, by any means. It's more like an imaginary situation, where I have to quickly decide which 20 bands I'd like to bring with me for a year alone somewhere remote. My "one full year diet" so to speak. With such caveats as has been mentioned, here we go:

20. Sodom. German act. Runs on pure fury. This is Motorhead level, bare knuckled rock'n'roll attitude. 

19. System Of A Down. They get included because I seem to play them a lot, yet I hardly ever mention that.

18. Kvelertak. Norwegian "black'n'roll" act that lays down a serious effort on blowing people away.

17. Kreator. See "Sodom" ... only more technical, perhaps also a notch more aggressive.

16. Electric Wizard. I don't know WTF it's called. Stoner? Doom? Whatever. It rocks.

15. Wo Fat. Definitely stoner. As fat as you'd expect, from the name.

14. Diamond Head. Classic NWOBHM act from ye aulde days.

13. Cro-Mags. Metal meets hardcore, yet it's not metalcore. Like a riddle.

12. Obituary. Picked up "Rot" because of the corny cover. "Yeah it's pretty heavy" said the clerk. It was. 

11. Slayer. Nuff said.

10. Darkthrone. Let's be real: This is Gylve "Fenriz" Nagel's art performance project. It's still on the road.

9. Gojira. They are different ... but they do whatever it is that they do very well. 

8. Rammstein. You either get it or you don't.

7. Led Zeppelin. It's genius. Really. There will never be another band like that.

6. Mayhem. Call me weird, but I like them for their music. All that other nonsense is only annoying.

5. Deep Purple. 1970. In Rock. OMG! Nobody could believe their ears. Then it got better.

4. Death. The band that never did anything wrong. Except for what the name kind of gave away.

3. King Diamond. (Also MF.) For the second time today: You either get it or you don't.

2. Black Sabbath. Where it started for me. My first "heavy album" was Paranoid, for my birthday in 1973.

1. Motorhead. My 16th birthday in 1979. Overkill. I saw the god sound. I still see it. 

 

 

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On 3/1/2019 at 8:13 PM, Vampyrique said:

An impressive feat indeed. Not only did you narrow it down to 20, but you also ranked them. What was your criteria? 

I'll try to come up with a list... 

 

 

The criteria that contribute to my favourite list include:

1. Overall musical enjoyment

2. Intensity of love for 'classic' albums by the band within a broader discography

3. Meaning added to my life that contributes quality of life over some years

So it's unlikely that I would list a band in my top 20 that has only one miracle album and a whole heap of mediocre, like say The Foreshadowing or Funeral. Having said that, not every album has to be a hit. They also need to have contributed enough to my lifestyle and enjoyment of life over a number of years to make the list. Other things might be less specific, like image and history, but these things are obviously vastly less important. 

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On 3/3/2019 at 1:07 AM, Vampyrique said:

I was always surprised at how much hatred Nile received from the metal community. The ancient Egyptian vibe/atmosphere combined with death metal is winning formula. But it seemed to me they were a victim of their own 'commercial success' or whatever modicum of praise they received from the metal press.

 

Terrorizer magazine was obsessed with Nile when they first came out. I love the Egyptian themes and the musical interludes, and I like the death metal. 

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On 3/2/2019 at 9:19 AM, RelentlessOblivion said:

I think those first four albums, Annihilation in particular, represent Nile at the peak of their powers. They've sort of fallen into the trap a little bit and haven't moved their sound forwards. It's a shame how many good bands slow to a stand still after promising starts. Better to explode onto the scene with one or two phenomenal records then carry on re-hashing the same old ideas if you ask me.

I agree. I do like their later works, but they seem to have lost a bit of the magic in recent years. They tried something slightly different, production-wise at least, with At the Gates of Sethu, but I had mixed feelings on that album like many others did.

 

1 hour ago, Requiem said:

Terrorizer magazine was obsessed with Nile when they first came out. I love the Egyptian themes and the musical interludes, and I like the death metal. 

I remember they were always well received in the metal press until about the mid-00s when the backlash came. People acted as if Nile was just a gimmick band constantly shoved down the throats of reluctant metalheads everywhere; not that these metalheads would ever deign to read metal magazines lest their credibility take a hit. I remember people were even presenting Nile's lyrics to university professors just to see if Nile's grasp of ancient Egyptian was suspect.

2 hours ago, Requiem said:

The criteria that contributes to my favourite list includes:

1. Overall musical enjoyment

2. Intensity of love for 'classic' albums by the band within a broader discography

3. Meaning added to my life that contributes quality of life over some years

So it's unlikely that I would list a band in my top 20 that has only one miracle album and a whole heap of mediocre, like say The Foreshadowing or Funeral. Having said that, not every album has to be a hit. They also need to have contributed enough to my lifestyle and enjoyment of life over a number of years to make the list. Other things might be less specific, like image and history, but these things are obviously vastly less important. 

That is basically how I am approaching this. My list is at about 15 right now...

 

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17 hours ago, Vampyrique said:

I agree. I do like their later works, but they seem to have lost a bit of the magic in recent years. They tried something slightly different, production-wise at least, with At the Gates of Sethu, but I had mixed feelings on that album like many others did.

 

I remember they were always well received in the metal press until about the mid-00s when the backlash came. People acted as if Nile was just a gimmick band constantly shoved down the throats of reluctant metalheads everywhere; not that these metalheads would ever deign to read metal magazines lest their credibility take a hit. I remember people were even presenting Nile's lyrics to university professors just to see if Nile's grasp of ancient Egyptian was suspect.

That is basically how I am approaching this. My list is at about 15 right now...

 

You can't just list Theatre des Vampires 15 times by the way. 

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24 minutes ago, Vampyrique said:

How about Cradle of Filth 15 times?

Acceptable.

 

21 minutes ago, True Belief said:


I’m working on mine too. Hanging out to read yours though Vampy, before Saturday so Req and I have something to digest over beers and metal emoji1591.png

 

We’re going to analyse Vampy’s list in great detail. That goes for all the other lists posted here too. 

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4 minutes ago, True Belief said:

 


I’ll try and have mine up prior to the weekend too.

 

If it’s not I’ll get you to write your list on a piece of paper here at Castle R. 

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31 minutes ago, True Belief said:

 


I’m working on mine too. Hanging out to read yours though Vampy, before Saturday so Req and I have something to digest over beers and metal emoji1591.png

 

 

6 minutes ago, Requiem said:

Acceptable.

 

We’re going to analyse Vampy’s list in great detail. That goes for all the other lists posted here too. 

How romantic. I intend to submit my list before Saturn's day, 'tis written in blood. Will audio of said analysis be available?

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22 hours ago, Vampyrique said:

 

How romantic. I intend to submit my list before Saturn's day, 'tis written in blood. Will audio of said analysis be available?

We should do a podcast. True Belief and Requiem's Metallic Elegy. It's just me and him talking about the forum and getting drunk. It'd be romantic if it was me an @Fjara

 

1 hour ago, RelentlessOblivion said:

I think I'll review my list in a year's time, it's likely to see subtle change if I don't add new music to my collection and significantly if I do.

Good point. I'll do the same. I'm always shuffling preferences around. 

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5 minutes ago, Requiem said:

We should do a podcast. True Belief and Requiem's Metallic Elegy. It's just me and him talking about the forum and getting drunk. It'd be romantic if it was me an @Fjara.

Definitely. You two should've already been doing podcasts. Besides, nobody reads anymore anyways.

 

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Getting drunk and taling metal? Where do I sign up for this podcast. It'd almost make moving to Melbourne tolerable, provided I can import all my food and drink from South Australia.

 

 

If you move to Melbourne from Adelaide, you’d need to understand there would be an expectation that you eat that food with utensils.

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