The 13th installment of this series has a bit of variety to it, tapping into shoegaze for the first time. Below are 10 more metal releases that sit on my iPod ready to be cranked up loud and you should be doing that with them as well!
180. Rumpelstiltskin Grinder, Living for Death, Destroying the Rest (2009)
Now this is a group name that I love, but it’s misleading. I avoided these guys like the plague for a long time because I naturally assumed they were a grindcore band, which they aren’t. Rumpelstiltskin Grinder is rooted in thrash but also have many hardcore moments as well.
Living for Death is their most recent release and their best. It’s first and foremost a total headbanger but really fun as well with songs like “Fiends in the Mountain, Ghouls in the Valley” and “Graveyard Vandalization” giving a good indication of the main theme to their lyrics. Just recently there was a rumor going around that they had changed their name to The Devil. Pretty sure they shot that down.
179. Suicidal Tendencies, How Will I Laugh Tomorrow When I Can’t Even Smile Today (1988)
How Will I Laugh Tomorrow is the true gem in the catalog of Suicidal Tendencies. In fact, it’s almost certainly the best CD singer Mike Muir has ever released (Cyko Miko, Infectious Grooves, No Mercy). This disc marked the transition point for the group from a pure hardcore band to a crossover thrash style. Muir wrote the catchy songs of his career and Rocky George started shredding like no one knew he was capable of before. That’s not to say the first two ST albums were bad but this is enjoyable from start to finish.
178. Prong, Cleansing (1994)
It was weird with me and Prong. I don’t think I looked at them as metal back in the day. In my college years I lumped them in with bands like Jawbox and Helmet which aren’t metal to me. Later on I realized that while I don’t think I was completely wrong I now definitely think Cleansing is metal and that’s the important part because it’s Prong’s best album.
Early on Prong was more of a crossover thrash band but by the time Cleansing rolled around they had more of an industrial feel to them. Whatever sound you want to call this album, it had a massive effect on me being one of the very first industrial records I listened to and really enjoyed. It helped me move on to Ministry, Godflesh, Pigface, Skinny Puppy and more.
Tommy Victor would bring his guitar sound to Danzig in the new millennium and change Glenn’s sound up drastically as well. But his ripping riffs combined with Paul Raven’s killer bass lines made this an undeniable industrial classic. The only reason it doesn’t go higher is because the songs start to blend together at the end. If I was putting together an all-time industrial metal CD mix, “Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck” would have to be on it though.
177.W.A.S.P., The Headless Children (1989)
I’ll be honest here. I know W.A.S.P. has a very devoted fan base who seem to love everything Blackie Lawless puts out but face it folks, they suck. They are around to put on a hell of a live show, which they do. But musically Blackie really isn’t that great. Now I do give it to him as he started out well and has gotten much worse over the years but he peaked in ’89 with the Headless Children. It has all the massive riffs, Blackie’s best vocals and his most well written songs like the title track and “Mean Man” (“Cause I’m a mean mother fucking man / Riding the wind / and know I’ll be damned / All the way / a-all the way / All the way”). If I were to do a worst metal album of all time list though, 1997’s Kill Fuck Die would definitely be on it.
176. Whiplash, Cult of One (1996)
So we already had their debut record, Power and Pain in this list and here we get the second of three Whiplash albums I think you should be listening to. Cult of One was the first Whiplash record in six years and really gave fans of their first three albums fits. They ended their first run with some killer speed and thrash and then came back here with a slower groove oriented metal and a singer (Rob Gonzo) that sounded a hell of a lot like Phil Anselmo (Pantera, Down). It definitely put off a lot of fans expecting to hear another ripping thrash record but if you forget about their earlier sound and just listen to this for what it’s worth, it’s a damn fine disc.
175. Addictive, Pity of Man (1989)
Here’s the thing about Pity of Man from Australia’s Addictive – it’s really not any different from 1000 other thrash records, but good is good and for some reason this one stands out in a crowd to me. Maybe it’s the songwriting which is superb or the blazing solos which by themselves are not the usual fare. Or maybe it’s the great melody in “The Forge” or the Metallica like brutality of “What Ward R.U. In?” that really hits me.
174. Anthrax, Spreading the Disease (1985)
I’ve said it before that I like John Bush’s vocals better than Joey Belladonna’s as a whole, but the music just wasn’t there with Bush like it was back in the day. I always found Joey to be better suited for a more theatrical power metal band than a thrash group but I simply can’t deny the force of Spreading the Disease. The breakdown in “A.I.R.” is one of the best things Anthrax has ever put to disc. The riffs on “Lone Justice” are fucking crazy and you absolutely have to scream along with the group “It’s a madhouse / or so they claim / it’s a madhouse / oh, am I insane?” in “Madhouse.” We’ll still see another Anthrax record later on but this is a great starting point if you aren’t familiar with the band.
173. Motorhead, No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith (1981)
As a rule, I hate live records. I mean, I really hate them. The only ones I go near are from my absolute favorite bands and even then it’s only because I’m a completist. So to have a live disc show up here is really quite a feat. Since we’re talking just metal here, I have to declare No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith the best live album in the genre. It’s certainly critically acclaimed and ranks up there or higher than most of Motorhead’s studio albums. It’s essentially a greatest hits disc up until this point with the production great, the band in top form and the feel that you are listening to them in their element without the constraints a studio release has. The versions of “Ace of Spades,” “The Hammer,” “Overkill” and “(We Are) the Road Crew” are simply amazing and the power of the disc will just blow your mind.
172. Jesu, Conqueror (2007)
I’d like to say that this is Justin Broadrick’s side project away from Godflesh, but with three full albums and a mess of EP’s that others would consider an album it really is yet another full time gig for the guy. Every time I listen to this record, I well up. The Silver EP right before this one introduced a less industrial sound to the mix throwing in these depressing mellow soundscapes with some eerie keyboards and straight clean vocals. The music is so moody, yet rhythmic and catchy at the same time that Conqueror is an emotional rollercoaster. No doubt it’s metal but I can listen to the title track and hear the same sounds that Jimmy Eat World has been putting out for years in their ballads. I don’t honestly know if I’ve ever really listened to the lyrics in the 50 odd times I’ve probably put this album on but each time it puts me in a very sad and dark place and nearly brings me to tears. And I figure the emotion I feel for this album is what he was going for, so mission accomplished.
171. Jesu, Lifeline (2007)
Okay, so I probably should have made this 172B if I was going to put them back-to-back, but I decided to give Lifeline its own slot. Slightly more focused than Conqueror with the vocals lower in mix and less prevalent here, this four track masterpiece gets the nod over Conqueror just by an inch. I think most Jesu fans would agree that this EP is made by “Storm Comin’ On” with lyrics written by and vocals performed by Jarboe from the Swans. But I can’t forget “End of the Road” either which is slightly more upbeat and ridiculously catchy. Both Conqueror and Lifeline represent two of the most important works in the reemergence of shoegaze.