With my new series, False Metal, Dead! – I’m taking a look at the 300 metal albums that have a place on my iPod, ranked for your pleasure. Each one of these albums I can listen to from start to finish and if you enjoy metal or want to expand your horizons a bit, these are the places to start. If I was working on a 5-star scale, the albums you are seeing now would all get 4-stars, each having a track or two that isn’t great, but not taking away from the greatness of the disc as a whole. We’ll look at ten a week until we reach those masterpieces later down the line. And if you want to take a look at previous parts of the series, go to my archive.
That said, #290-#281 are below. Enjoy!
290. Motorhead, Overnight Sensation (1996)
Overnight Sensation is the middle album of a solid 3-CD run (Sacrifice before and Snake Bite Love after) of pretty consistently rockin’ music from Motorhead. It had been a long time coming really after a ridiculous amount of average records.
Second guitarist Wurzel left before this album was made and wasn’t replaced, so it took them back down to the core trio of Lemmy, Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee. Campbell took over with a vengeance and put out some of his finest guitar licks in ages like on the short, blisterning “Eat the Sun” or the super-fast “Murder Show”.
We’ll see plenty more Motorhead as we go along, but don’t overlook this period in their catalog as the old bastards showed they still had some life in them.
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289. Gwar, Lust in Space (2009)
What can you really say about people named Oderus Urungus, BalSac, Beefcake the Mighty and Jizmak the Gusha that doesn’t speak for itself? Here’s what; 2009 finally saw the first Gwar record that sounded like they knew how to play their instruments.
The draw of Gwar is obviously the dirty lyrical content, the costumes and the stageshow, but in reality most of their music is shit. When this somewhat rotating cast of characters started out it sounded like they had never picked up their instruments before that particular recording session. Throughout the years, the musical talent has picked up albeit with some pretty poor songwriting. Somehow though, everything came together for Lust in Space. The shock is mixed nicely with the story and the thrash, while not top-notch, is the best they’ve ever put together which ultimately creates a very enjoyable album.
The shorter bursts of energy like “The Uberklaw” and “Let Us Slay” are the key tracks on the album with the latter maybe being the best track they’ve ever released.
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288. Metallica, Reload (1997)
Sorry, I don’t get why a band can’t change their sound without taking shit for it. Now granted, most bands aren’t as big as Metallica when they do it, but I’m still one of those assholes who has no problem at all with the direction the band took starting with the Black Album.
I do kind of wish they had taken Load (1996) and Reload and condensed it into one great disc instead of one good (Reload) and one pretty good one (Load). But it’s not like Metallica likes excess or anything now, right?
The album is not perfect my any means, but “Fuel” is still a very listenable track and to me is right up there with the finest tracks they’ve made. And I’ve always loved the two tracks closing the album, “Attitude” and especially the 8-minute “Fixxxer” which is one of my favorite late period Metallica songs.
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287. Alleycat Scratch, Deadboys in Trash City (1993)
Released in 1993 on their own Kick Yer Cat records, this is a pretty great slab of sleazy glam metal, not as cheesy as Poison but not at gritty at Motley Crue – maybe somewhere between Poison and the Bulletboys. Either way, if you read fan sites, these guys were going to be the next big thing, which frankly is complete shit – I mean, the album is damn good, but releasing your debut record on your own label as the genre was on its way out doesn’t lead to prolonged success.
They broke up the following year, but re-released this to seven clamoring fans in 2006 and I think they put out a new album this year. This is enough for me though. “Sexual Addiction” satisfies my taste for Alleycat Scratch plenty.
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286. Boss, Step On It (1984)
Boss was a short lived group from Sydney, Australia that put out just a two-song single in ’83 and their one-and-only LP – Step On It – in ’84. With some “Kick Ass [Rock ‘N’ Roll]” (well, it’s the title of the first song at least) Boss had a sound somewhere between Twisted Sister and Def Leppard. Seems like Def Leppard noted this as well, as once the group broke up, the singer and guitarist went on to form a band called BB Steal that regularly opened up for Joe Elliot and the gang when they toured the outback.
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285. Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell (1980)
The first repeat offender in the list, Heaven and Hell is the first Sabbath record to feature the recently deceased Ronnie James Dio on vocals. Coming off two shitty albums in Technical Ecstasy (1976) and Never Say Die! (1978) a record as good as this one couldn’t have been expected. And actually, it’s the worst of the Dio fronted records.
It’s even more of a shock how good this is though, when you read the stories about how Geezer didn’t even participate in most of the writing process, didn’t know if he was in or out of the band and it might not even be his bass on the record and Bill Ward says he was so out of his mind on the booze that he doesn’t remember recording the record. And yet “Heaven and Hell” came out of this one – a song that was performed on stage by pretty much every incarnation of the band after its release and was so good that the reunited group named themselves it in 2009.
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284. Malevolent Creation, The Ten Commandments (1991)
In the world of metal, more so than any other genre in my opinion, there are just so many bands that put out a great first record and then can never live up to it again. And especially in a genre like death metal in which a ton of bands sound like they are just recreating the same album over and over again it’s even tougher to distinguish yourself from one record to the next.
Malevolent Creation was fortunately one of the more talented death metal bands to come out of the early ‘90s scenes but their debut – The Ten Commandments – is really the only one you need in their catalog. Their follow up – Retribution – is a decent slab of death but not quite as good as this one.
I’ve never been a huge fan of death metal, but that has more to do with the cookie monster vocals than anything else. If you dig through the generic shit you’ll find bands like this with superfast riffs but almost a prog-ish element to them as well – more than just playing as fast as possible – and lyrics that might even be understandable.
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283. Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Agorapocalypse (2009)
Grindcore is another genre that I just don’t get. Let’s pummel everything in sight to create songs that last seven seconds. Agoraphobic Nosebleed falls into this category – I mean, their previous record had 99 songs in just over 20 minutes. To me most of their output has been unlistenable but I understand that if you like the genre, the band and its leader Scott Hull are pretty much the shit.
That said, Agorapocalypse is a great mind-numbingly brutal record. Critics gave it mixed reactions mainly because there are only 13 songs and some get into the 3 minute territory. I guess the detractors think that grindcore is meant to be brutal, fast and as dirty as possible and by God, this record has some slower parts and well written songs on it. It becomes even more enjoyable because I can understand the lyrics and some of them are funny/disturbing as hell, like the track below called “Dick to Mouth Resuscitation”. Needless to say, some bosses and children might not like you playing this one. I’ll tell you what though – this album made me go and listen to some other grindcore and although I ended up finding some of the most ridiculous bullshit ever recorded it still intrigued me. So I call it an advancement in the world of grind. I’m no expert though.
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282. Avenger of Blood, Death Brigade (2008)
Avenger of Blood is a speed/thrash metal band from Las Vegas, Nevada that have the reputation for sounding more like an old school German thrash bands like Sodom. Of their two full length albums, Death Brigade is the one to get filled with riff after rippin’ riff and thoroughly headbanging from start to finish. It took me a while to get used to the singer’s accent, but once I did I realized how good this really was.
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281. Behold! The Monolith, Behold! The Monolith (2009)
If the monstrous beast on the album cover doesn’t clue you into the fact that there’s an even bigger beast inside, then you’re not thinking quite clearly right now. The self-titled and self-released album from these guys in 2009 features five tracks of ridiculously heavy sludge and some truly fierce sounding vocals mixed in with some moments of prog-like bliss on the longer pieces like the 10 ½ minute epic-titled “Battle For Balls Deep”. If you like bands like High on Fire or Mastodon, this one’s for you.
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