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Top 10 Albums of Any Given Year

365 posts in this topic
1 hour ago, FatherAlabaster said:

The decade's not even close to done yet! Hyperbole aside, I like "Titan". I also thought Thantifaxath, Dead Congregation, Behemoth, and Tryptikon had strong albums in 2014, but I didn't do a lot of digging around that year. Wouldn't expect many of those to appeal to a Requiem...

That At The Gates album annoyed the piss out of me. There were enough good parts on it that I feel like they could have done something special, but frustratingly, they routinely failed to capitalize on them, and dragged the songs down with placeholder riffs. Not to mention the sterile sound.

My use of 'decade' was retrospective. You're right though, and I'm sure their album this year will trump it! 

I haven't heard the albums by those other bands with the exception of Behemoth, but I've had a gutful of them. 'Gut full' is an Australian colloquialism meaning you're fed up with something. I feel Behemoth are really overrated. I have about five of their albums. Going cheap on ebay soon... 

By the way, aren't you one of those guys who say that 'Slaughter of the Soul' isn't that great an album? I could be wrong, but if that's the case I could never imagine anything At the Gates would do by way of a reunion would appeal to you. They were hardly going to make 'The Red in the Sky' part II! 

So my bemusement at 2014 is partly due to me not knowing that many albums, but also not being happy with the albums that I have heard. It really took me by surprise too and I didn't see it coming. When I did my 2014 research I thought, 'um... where are all the good albums? What's going on here?!' 

 

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Requiem's Top 10 Albums of 2016 and thank god this is the end of the modern era lists I can write! 

My 2015 list is a few pages back in this thread, created before I decided to write lists chronologically. Compared with 2014, 2016 is a golden year for metal. Just amazing. Alright here we go: 

 

10. Moonsorrow - 'Jumalten Aika'

The Fins are back with another epic. I don't know how much more I can take from these pagans, but I'm still going strong for now. I still need to listen to this more, hence it's uncertain placing at number 10. Henri Sorvali is easily the best pagan metal writer of all time (see also Finntroll).

9. Novembre - 'URSA'

A very good album from these Italian masters of melodious melancholy. It's not quite the classic I was hoping for, but this is subtle, beautiful and sinks in nicely after a few listens (and vinos). I'm not sold on the mixing and I'd love to hear this remixed, but the emotion is real. 

8. Insomnium - 'Winter's Gate'

Albums that are one long song don't usually do it for me, but this is a fabulous, monumental work of art. It's so refreshing to see this band step away from the tried and true riffs that had admittedly become a little repetitive, and instead use some new ideas. This is a beautiful album. Step through the winter gates!

7. Dark Funeral - 'Where Shadows Forever Reign'

This album has grown on me a lot over the past four or five months. It opens up with each listen and now I just love it. Yes it's norsecore, but it's about as good as norsecore gets. I'm not 100% on the new vocalist as I'm a major Emperor Magus Caligula fan (or whatever his name is), but this guy does the job. The riffs and production are the best part of this album. God it's a sweet product they've come up with here. For a more mainstream black metal release it's also got a decent whack of satanic darkness that I think really works well. In fact, they feel less cartoony than on past albums. Good stuff. 

6. Trees of Eternity - 'Hour of the Nightingale'

This is amazing. Juha Raivio from Swallow the Sun with the Norman brothers (ex Katatonia) and Kai Hahto (Nightwish/Wintersun) and an amazing female vocalist Aleah Stanbridge who has now apparently died. I need to hear this a lot more, but holy hell this is one special release of gothic tinged doom metal. Juha Raivio is one of modern metal's greatest songwriters by the way. Get on board. Also Nick Holmes guest vocals on the last track. This has some sort of magic to it that can't be fabricated. 

5. Borknagar - 'Winter Thrice'

Oh man, what a year this is. God I could cry. This album is the best Borknagar release ever in my opinion, with the grand triptych of vocalists (Vintersorg, ICS Vortex, Lars) meeting up with Garm/Trickster G on the title track. Brilliant progressive folk metal with intelligence and emotion in equal parts. 

4. Sirenia - 'Dim Days of Dolor'

The best Sirenia album, and anyone remotely into symphonic or gothic music would love this. It leaves the rest of the genre in the dust. Instead of the foolishly long songs of the previous album (which didn't make my list), Morten Veland has trimmed all the tracks to between 4 and 6 minutes and the effect is symphonic metal perfection. My god the songs. Also features new French vocalist Emmanuelle Zoldan who was previously part of a choir for Sirenia and she does a stunning job. This album is monumental. 

3. Fleshgod Apocalypse - 'King'

Goddamn what the hell. A concept album about a royal court and its schemings in what appears to be the eighteenth century, set to some of the greatest orchestral death metal ever produced. One of the most brilliant covers and booklets you'll ever find too. Worth actually buying so you can read the lyrics which are works of art. This band actually understands classical music and it sounds real. Just magical. 

2. Rotting Christ - 'Rituals'

And the greatest Rotting Christ album ever produced. All those recycled riffs from previous works come together in their best possible forms, except this time with enough variety to take it all to the next level. This is truly sacred, and you could have commune with any deity via these songs. Light some candles and listen 'Thou Thanatou' loudly on a moonlit night and I guarantee you'll see any god you want. 

1. Katatonia - 'The Fall of Hearts' 

And here it is, the album that just keeps getting better. In future years this album will still be improving, ever reflecting the changing seasons of my life. 'Old Heart Falls' is the anthem for all downcast adults, caught in an absurd suburban life of emptiness and futility. A classic album and the end to one of the best years metal has ever produced. 

 

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3 hours ago, FatherAlabaster said:

There were enough good parts on it that I feel like they could have done something special, but frustratingly, they routinely failed to capitalize on them, and dragged the songs down with placeholder riffs. Not to mention the sterile sound.

So, basically the inevitable follow-up to Slaughter of the Soul and exactly the kind of album that would be expected from an At the Gates without Alf Svensson. 

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14 minutes ago, Ecthelion said:

So, basically the inevitable follow-up to Slaughter of the Soul and exactly the kind of album that would be expected from an At the Gates without Alf Svensson. 

Correct. Depending on perspective that's either a good thing or a bad thing. There's an undercurrent of hostility around here for the great 'Slaughter of the Soul', so I'll reserve any further comment at this juncture. 

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4 minutes ago, Requiem said:

Correct. Depending on perspective that's either a good thing or a bad thing. There's an undercurrent of hostility around here for the great 'Slaughter of the Soul', so I'll reserve any further comment at this juncture. 

If I'm being honest, it was really just a musical observation on my part despite my dislike for that particular album. I don't really think less of you for liking it. The two that proceeded it just possessed elements that I enjoy more in music. 

Also, I really need to make some lists of my own. You've been on the warpath with this thread when it comes to making them.

Requiem gave this Horns Up!

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1 minute ago, Ecthelion said:

If I'm being honest, it was really just a musical observation on my part despite my dislike for that particular album. I don't really think less of you for liking it. The two that proceeded it just possessed elements that I enjoy more in music. 

Well, that's great to know, Ecthelion. A real weight off my mind. Although there would be plenty of reasons to think less of me if you knew me better...

I meant I would reserve further comment so as not to ignite another fruitless discussion of its pros and cons.

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13 minutes ago, Requiem said:

I meant I would reserve further comment so as not to ignite another fruitless discussion of its pros and cons.

Oh, I see. Well, that's understandable.

13 minutes ago, Requiem said:

Well, that's great to know, Ecthelion. A real weight off my mind. Although there would be plenty of reasons to think less of me if you knew me better...

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It's more that the inevitable follow-up was exactly the kind of album that would be expected from an At the Gates dominated by the Bjorler brothers who've spent too much time writing sub-par, color-by-numbers riffs in The Haunted. The album was safe & lame; 'saved' only by Tomas.

 

Where's 2015 Req? Hint... I'm hoping Mgla, Lluvia, WASP, Paradise Lost, Amorphis, Enforcer, & Cradle of Filth make the list....

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, True Belief said:

 

It's more that the inevitable follow-up was exactly the kind of album that would be expected from an At the Gates dominated by the Bjorler brothers who've spent too much time writing sub-par, color-by-numbers riffs in The Haunted. The album was safe & lame; 'saved' only by Tomas.

Where's 2015 Req? Hint... I'm hoping Mgla, Lluvia, WASP, Paradise Lost, Amorphis, Enforcer, & Cradle of Filth make the list....

 

 

Yeah, The Haunted... so unexciting. 

As for my 2015 list, as stated at the top of my 2016 list, it's a few pages back in this thread. Before I launched into the chronology from 1994 I had already done lists for 1996, 2001 and 2015, so I didn't bother doing those ones again. 

The next thing I'll do is start at 1993 and work my way backwards. I don't know how I'll go deep into the 80s but I'll give it a shot and see how it goes. 

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Requiem's Top 10 Albums of 1993

 

Alright, we're back in classics-ville, where a teenage Requiem was drinking Jim Beam and coke with his feckless friends, making out with chicks to the sounds of some of the best music ever created. Here we go: 

 

10. Immortal - 'Pure Holocaust'

A classic album, I'm not as head-over-heels for this slab of grim black metal as some people, but it still gets more rotation at Requiem Towers than the microwave tray. 

9. Cathedral - 'The Ethereal Mirror'

Doom, disco and Sabbath, I can't tell you how many times my friends and I put 'Midnight Mountain' on and jumped around the room like ecstatic fools back in the day. Ah, good times. This album has a great atmosphere and some fabulous riffage. Great earthy production too. 

8. Darkthrone - 'Under a Funeral Moon'

The middle album of the trilogy, this is cold, frightening, with amazing artwork, track titles, band photos. "Alcohol in my veins, tears fall as I think of you...". I wish Darkthrone would write songs like this again instead of tracks about Wyoming and Canadian Metal. 

7. Satyricon - 'Dark Medieval Times'

This sounds otherworldly. I prefer 'The Shadowthrone', but this is still a brilliant album back when a young Satyr was worshipping at the throne of Euronymous. A stunning black metal album with all the bells and whistles that made this genre so special before it got all $. 

6. Burzum - 'Det Som Engang Var'

Speaking of... This is classic Burzum. Repetitive riffs, that intense vocal, simple drumming all wrapped up in brilliant artwork. Again, not my favourite Burzum album, but this is just so precious. There's 'time and place' in every chord, and you can feel the enthusiasm and magic spilling out through the speakers. 

5. Anathema - 'Serenades'

All of the Peaceville 3 bands make the top five this year. 'Serenades' is big, slow, romantic and a once in a lifetime album. Darren White kind of groans and warbles all over this like a dying moose, but it somehow works, plus his lyrics are romantic odes that still resonate today. The acoustic interlude 'J'ai Fait Une Promesse' is just haunting with those female harmony vocals. Oh god what an album. 

4. Paradise Lost - 'Icon'

Paradise Lost were already miles ahead of the pack when this came out. It took the rest of the gothic metal world another 3 years at least before they were even close to putting gothic metal/rock songs like this together as far as structure and songwriting is concerned. This album sounds amazing. So many hits: 'Embers Fire', 'Christendom', 'True Belief'. Songs full of potential usernames for the future...

3. Dissection - 'The Somberlain'

Goddamn. Who knew guitar melodies could actually be so good that they cause you pain? The thing about Jon Nodtveidt is that for all his personal intensity he knew all about emotion in music. Just incredible really. 

2. Type O Negative - 'Bloody Kisses'

I prefer the digipak re-release by Roadrunner Records that expunged all the jokey songs and re-arranged the tracks to make more sense at the request of the band, but either version will do. This album is a beautiful, untouchable gothic metal classic. 'Christian Woman', 'Black No. 1', 'Summer Breeze', 'Suspended in Dusk' (if you have the digipak). Every song is a classic, and this combined with 'October Rust' is easily the band's peak. 

1. My Dying Bride - 'Turn Loose the Swans'

It's hard to explain what this album was like when I first heard it in 1996. I can only imagine what its effect was like in 1993. The violin, the shadowy band member shots in the booklet, the opening and closing tracks that didn't even have guitars and drums. The deep romantic voice of Aaron Stainthorpe which wasn't as annoying as it now is. This album was and remains so special to me on a personal level. So many bands have ripped off 'Turn Loose the Swans' and the whole violin thing has become diluted, yet at the time this was so radical, so fresh. When I hear this album it's just like when I heard it as a teenage kid. Perfection. 

 

 

FatherAlabaster gave this Horns Up!

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9 hours ago, Ecthelion said:

So, basically the inevitable follow-up to Slaughter of the Soul and exactly the kind of album that would be expected from an At the Gates without Alf Svensson. 

It's tempting to say they just suck without Alf, and what I liked about the band ended with his departure, but truth be told, I really like at least half the songs on Terminal Spirit Disease as well. The songwriting is awkward and inconsistent, but some of those melodies are fucking great. The point for me isn't that I want them to go back in time, it's that I wish they would explore their songs more instead of just slapping them down and holding them in place with a couple of cheap hooks. It's frustratingly obvious  (subjectively, to me) how they could have made their existing songs cooler and more interesting - expand on some of the melodies, put a little more thought and detail into the "heavy" parts and use them less gratuitously, maybe try a couple of extra parts or left turns here and there to spice things up. And for fuck's sake try to remember what it felt like to perform with a little nuance. I'll admit that some of my irritation stems from the crop of paid reviews and somewhat clueless youngsters treating At War like it's some amazing, aspirational next-level piece of art. Shouldn't matter! But it does!

On topic, I had a list ready to go but somehow my hours worth of writeups got erased by our lovely system. Excuses excuses.

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16 hours ago, FatherAlabaster said:

 

On topic, I had a list ready to go but somehow my hours worth of writeups got erased by our lovely system. Excuses excuses.

Sure you did. ;)

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Requiem's Top 10 Albums of 2016 and thank god this is the end of the modern era lists I can write! 

My 2015 list is a few pages back in this thread, created before I decided to write lists chronologically. Compared with 2014, 2016 is a golden year for metal. Just amazing. Alright here we go: 

 

10. Moonsorrow - 'Jumalten Aika'

The Fins are back with another epic. I don't know how much more I can take from these pagans, but I'm still going strong for now. I still need to listen to this more, hence it's uncertain placing at number 10. Henri Sorvali is easily the best pagan metal writer of all time (see also Finntroll).

9. Novembre - 'URSA'

A very good album from these Italian masters of melodious melancholy. It's not quite the classic I was hoping for, but this is subtle, beautiful and sinks in nicely after a few listens (and vinos). I'm not sold on the mixing and I'd love to hear this remixed, but the emotion is real. 

8. Insomnium - 'Winter's Gate'

Albums that are one long song don't usually do it for me, but this is a fabulous, monumental work of art. It's so refreshing to see this band step away from the tried and true riffs that had admittedly become a little repetitive, and instead use some new ideas. This is a beautiful album. Step through the winter gates!

7. Dark Funeral - 'Where Shadows Forever Reign'

This album has grown on me a lot over the past four or five months. It opens up with each listen and now I just love it. Yes it's norsecore, but it's about as good as norsecore gets. I'm not 100% on the new vocalist as I'm a major Emperor Magus Caligula fan (or whatever his name is), but this guy does the job. The riffs and production are the best part of this album. God it's a sweet product they've come up with here. For a more mainstream black metal release it's also got a decent whack of satanic darkness that I think really works well. In fact, they feel less cartoony than on past albums. Good stuff. 

6. Trees of Eternity - 'Hour of the Nightingale'

This is amazing. Juha Raivio from Swallow the Sun with the Norman brothers (ex Katatonia) and Kai Hahto (Nightwish/Wintersun) and an amazing female vocalist Aleah Stanbridge who has now apparently died. I need to hear this a lot more, but holy hell this is one special release of gothic tinged doom metal. Juha Raivio is one of modern metal's greatest songwriters by the way. Get on board. Also Nick Holmes guest vocals on the last track. This has some sort of magic to it that can't be fabricated. 

5. Borknagar - 'Winter Thrice'

Oh man, what a year this is. God I could cry. This album is the best Borknagar release ever in my opinion, with the grand triptych of vocalists (Vintersorg, ICS Vortex, Lars) meeting up with Garm/Trickster G on the title track. Brilliant progressive folk metal with intelligence and emotion in equal parts. 

4. Sirenia - 'Dim Days of Dolor'

The best Sirenia album, and anyone remotely into symphonic or gothic music would love this. It leaves the rest of the genre in the dust. Instead of the foolishly long songs of the previous album (which didn't make my list), Morten Veland has trimmed all the tracks to between 4 and 6 minutes and the effect is symphonic metal perfection. My god the songs. Also features new French vocalist Emmanuelle Zoldan who was previously part of a choir for Sirenia and she does a stunning job. This album is monumental. 

3. Fleshgod Apocalypse - 'King'

Goddamn what the hell. A concept album about a royal court and its schemings in what appears to be the eighteenth century, set to some of the greatest orchestral death metal ever produced. One of the most brilliant covers and booklets you'll ever find too. Worth actually buying so you can read the lyrics which are works of art. This band actually understands classical music and it sounds real. Just magical. 

2. Rotting Christ - 'Rituals'

And the greatest Rotting Christ album ever produced. All those recycled riffs from previous works come together in their best possible forms, except this time with enough variety to take it all to the next level. This is truly sacred, and you could have commune with any deity via these songs. Light some candles and listen 'Thou Thanatou' loudly on a moonlit night and I guarantee you'll see any god you want. 

1. Katatonia - 'The Fall of Hearts' 

And here it is, the album that just keeps getting better. In future years this album will still be improving, ever reflecting the changing seasons of my life. 'Old Heart Falls' is the anthem for all downcast adults, caught in an absurd suburban life of emptiness and futility. A classic album and the end to one of the best years metal has ever produced. 

 

 

I'm glad to see Trees of Eternity on this list Req. what an album. Tragic circumstances obviously with Aleah Stanbridge passing before the album was actually released. What a mesmerising voice.

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Requiem's Top 10 Albums 1992

I was 12 years old in 1992 and definitely a heavy music fan, but it was a different sort of era compared to (my) glory days in the mid to late 90s and beyond. It was much more varied. Anyway, let's see how this goes. 

 

10. Amorphis - 'The Karelian Isthmus'

The first Amorphis album is good, but considering what comes shortly after in 'Tales from the Thousand Lakes', for me personally this is like a bowl of potato chips before they bring out the lobster. It's good though. The guitar melodies that come to define the band are here, as are the great vocals from Tomi Koivusaari. It's a good album, no more, no less. 

9. Marduk - 'Dark Endless'

A nice dark black/death album with the beginnings of some atmosphere. It's not quite 'Panzer Division Marduk' just yet, but this is very listenable. Another debut. 

8. Immortal - 'Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism'

Lots of debut albums in this list. I didn't realise when I was putting it together. This is a quality album - I really like it. It has an effective black metal atmosphere and it's fairly underrated as one of the genre's first major pieces. Also the video for 'The Call of the Wintermoon' is the funniest and greatest thing ever. 

7. My Dying Bride - 'As the Flower Withers'

Oh shit another debut. Similar to the Amorphis album in this list, this is a good album about to be eclipsed by a great one. The rustic atmosphere here is brilliant, with real violin, some great slow and epic moments and beautiful artwork from Dave McKean. Some of the fast parts of this album sound a bit bollocks to me, but overall this is cool. I'd love to listen to this in an old church or something. 

6. Def Leppard - 'Adrenalize'

This album is amazing. Yes, it's no 'Hysteria', but how could they ever top that? This album sounds a million dollars, has catchy songs and the best rock song of 1992 in 'Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad' which is pop metal/hair metal/power ballad perfection. I have a lot of time for Def Leppard. 

5. Black Sabbath - 'Dehumanizer'

I'm sure most will agree that this is a pretty killer album. I wasn't listening to it back in 1992, but this is a pillar of metal history. Dio, Iommi, Butler and Appice, the songs are just great. The production is pretty weak though considering it's 1992. The drums sound terrible, as if they haven't been mic'd at all or something. Just weird. Not sure if anyone else has noticed that. I'm not saying everything needs a polished production, but look at the albums above and below this one on the list. Production values were available but Iommi went with "cardboard box for the drums please". It also has a terrible album cover. This just goes to show how much I love the actual songs for it to make it to number five. 

4. Megadeth - 'Countdown to Extinction'

This album had a huge impact on me as a 12 year old. Crystal and clinical production and great songs like 'Skin o My Teeth' and the title track just blew me away between watching episodes of Voltron and games of Battleship, or whatever I was doing in 1992. I guess I like 'Rust' and 'Youthanasia' better than this, but this is definitely part of Megadeth's golden era and contains what I consider to be their ultimate line-up of Nick Menza, Marty Friedman, Dave Ellefson and some crazy guy on vocals... 

3. Alice in Chains - 'Dirt'

Brilliant songs, masterful vocal harmonies, cool grunge attitude, all wrapped up with talent, talent, talent. I don't understand why they couldn't come close to this again, because even if you rule a line through Staley's input on the next album Cantrell just didn't bring the songs. However, before that 'Dirt' is quality all the way through and easily the best album to come out of the *shudder* grunge scene. 

2. Burzum - 'Burzum'

This came out about a month after the album below it apparently, so talk about a moment in time. I didn't hear my first Burzum (or Darkthrone) until 1995, but all the same, this is a great black metal album. 

1. Darkthrone - 'A Blaze in the Northern Sky'

And here it is, the album of the year. I thought long and hard about whether this is really my album of 1992, and I've concluded that it is. The spine-chilling intro with the chants and ritual drum, 'Kathaarian Life Code', 'In the Shadow of the Horns', 'The Pagan Winter'. The outro that brings the sounds of the intro back to complete the ritual. The absolutely cult album cover of Zephyrous in a graveyard. The incredible listenability despite the necro production. This really set the paradigm for Norwegian black metal and will live on for eternity. 

 

 

FatherAlabaster gave this Horns Up!

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