280. Deicide, Legion (1992)
I’ll tell you, “Satan Spawn, the Caco-Daemon” is probably the first track to really scare the living shit out of me. Not only are Glen Benton’s vocals are just outrageous but when you see him with the inverted cross on his forehead screaming the title of the song over and over at the end like he’s possessed, it really is quite disturbing.
I’ve never really been a big fan of death metal, but Deicide is one of the handful of great bands to come out of the genre. They really challenged themselves on this record to create some really technical riffs, so technical it’s been said that the reason these tracks didn’t stand the test of time is because Benton couldn’t play them live. Having never seen them live, I can’t verify that first hand.
279. Austrian Death Machine, Total Brutal (2008)
It’s not a tumor! I had to fit this in somewhere, it’s just such an awesome concept. It doesn’t hurt that it’s pretty damn good too. Austrian Death Machine is a side project of As I Lay Dying’s Tim Lambesis and if you haven’t heard, it’s all about the Governator.
Lambesis performs all the music with Arnold’s voice coming from Chad Akerman who did background vocals with Tim in his main group. Akerman’s impression isn’t the best one I’ve heard (in fact, their next record – Double Brutal – features comedian Josh Robert Thompson who’s spot on) but it’s solid enough to be quite funny.
It’s a metalcore/thrash type record and it’s well done, but face it, you’re listening for the novelty fact of this. With titles like “Get to the Choppa”, “Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers” “Who Is Your Daddy and What Does He Do?” and “Screw You (Benny)” it’s all about a little fun here.
278. Danzig, Thrall: Demonsweatlive (1993)
My real introduction to Danzig was in ’93 of course from “Mother” which was played constantly on MTV and blew my mind how different and awesome it was.
As far as this EP goes, it was the first Danzig record I bought and I have to admit I was a little disappointed that the version of “Mother” I kept hearing wasn’t on the disc (it was re-titled “Mother ‘93” and put on as a bonus track once they reached the fourth pressing of the disc), but the live version of “Mother” and “Am I Demon” are killer and back when Glen’s voice was at its peak quality. But the real gems are what’s considered Thrall. All three songs, “It’s Coming Down”, “The Violet Fire” and the Elvis cover, “Trouble” kick-ass – “Trouble” being a perfect cover for Glen’s voice and persona. This didn’t leave my little portable CD player for months and still holds up well today.
277. Ministry, The Last Sucker (2007)
I’ve never been a big fan of Ministry. Back when they were a synth-pop group they were okay and back at their peak in the late ‘80s-early ‘90s they were tolerable in small doses, but I never thought they were worth listening to for long periods of time.
There’s just something about “The Last Sucker” though that really catches me. It’s not the fact that it’s the final album in a trilogy of albums about George W. Bush but maybe it’s because leader Al Jourgensen claims it’s his last studio record of new material. He kept saying how he wanted to go out on top and since I was never a fan, that was hard to believe but The Last Sucker is a mighty good disc. Thanks to tracks like “Watch Yourself” and “The Dick Song” it’s the only Ministry record I can listen to from start to finish multiple times. And the digipack cover is awesome, with a picture of Bush’s face morphing into a lizard as you turn it. Al might be right, maybe he is leaving on top of his game.
276. Exodus, Bonded by Blood (1985)
Bonded by Blood is probably one of the most influential albums made by a second tier thrash band. The trade-off solos in “Exodus” are flat out amazing and the chainsaw buzz of “Piranha” is something undeniably cool.
The only reason this doesn’t go higher on my list is that I’m not a big fan of Paul Baloff’s vocals. I like his successor Steve Souza better and the current singer – Rob Dukes – is well suited for the newer Exodus sound.
You can imagine my excitement when I heard that they were remaking the entire album with Rob Dukes on vocals in 2008 (released as Let There Be Blood) but that certainly wasn’t better than the original despite the better singer. The polished new wave of thrash sound was cool, but this disc sounds better in its rawer original state. The original Bonded by Blood is a must listen if you are a fan of thrash metal.
275. Hallows Eve, Tales of Terror (1985)
Here’s a totally awesome band that flew under the radar. Tales of Terror is an awesome speed metal record with lightning fast riffs and so much power that it really hits you over the head from the first note of the opening track – the awesomely titled, “Plunging to Megadeath”. Lead singer Stacy Anderson’s screaming vocals are a perfect complement to his fierce growl.
Everything about this record is fast, tight and killer, especially for a debut album. The only reason I can’t put it higher is because it’s over before it begins. Coming in at only 28 min with a couple tracks being instrumentals, there’s not quite enough music on here to satisfy my tastes. (and yes, Slayer’s “Reign in Blood” is ever so slightly shorter and I certainly have that higher. Despite this being very good, it’s no “Reign in Blood”)
274. Iron Maiden, Piece of Mind (1983)
Would you believe that I didn’t get into Iron Maiden until 2009? Honestly, for the longest time I couldn’t get why people liked Bruce Dickenson. They I was watching an Iron Maiden concert on Paladia and all of a sudden, it clicked. It was the first time I had seen the band on stage and after witnessing that energy, I felt I had to go back and check out the albums. All of a sudden then, Bruce didn’t sound so bad to me any longer.
Piece of Mind was the fourth album and first featuring the crazy ass Nicko McBrain on drums starting the classic Maiden lineup of Bruce Dickinson, Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, Steve Harris and McBrain.
There are a ton of great songs on this album like the awesome trio of “Flight of Icarus”, “Die with Your Boots On” and “The Trooper” and while I still think there are better overall albums from the group, Piece of Mind is pretty killer.
273. Kreator, Enemy of God (2005)
Many of you are probably going to find this impossible to believe, but Enemy of God is the only Kreator album in this list. I was never a big fan to be honest. I respected what they brought to the thrash genre in the ‘80s as one of the second tier bands, but never one have I tried to convince anyone that they deserved to be one of the big four, like I have with other thrash bands.
So when they put out their first new wave of thrash album in 2005, I was a bit surprised and took notice. I like the punishing riffs and layered heaviness they brought to this album and the modern thrash update. And although this sound is getting copied way too much now that we’re in 2010, it was a nice change to the sound back in 2005.
272. Opeth, Still Life (1999)
If the hells align correctly one day, Opeth will be the biggest band in the world. For my money there is no current band that has consistently is not only at the top of their genre, but pushes the bar higher with each release. And they’ve done this since they hit their stride with their second album in 1996.
I really think singer/guitarist Michael Akerfeldt is a musical genius. This guy can change from the brutal death growl, to remarkably melodic at the drop of the hat – and he creates music that does the same.
Progressive rock is a genre I can’t get into, and Progressive Death Metal tends to be overly complicated for the simple sake of showing off. You don’t get that with Opeth. They don’t have 850 time changes in a row. They may go from brutal to slow and melodic but they stick with those passages and develop them in a way most bands can’t.
Still Life is the 4th album from Opeth and a concept record about an outcast coming back to his homeland for the love of a girl. The 11 ½ minute opener introducing the character is a great track, but it’s the next one, “Godhead’s Lament” in which the character tries to conceal the fact that he is back so as to not face the troubles that lie ahead, that features one of my favorite blends of melody and brutality the group has ever done.
271. Cannibal Corpse, The Bleeding (1994)
I’ll be honest, I think Cannibal Corpse is pretty ridiculous overall. For so long and over so many albums they were just mindless violence over the same guitar riffs and blast beats with each track. And the lyrics were impossible to understand even more so than a lot of death metal bands deeming them unlistenable in my opinion.
However, people bought their music – probably for the shocking gore more than anything else, but with their 4th album – The Bleeding – leader Chris Barnes actually updated the sound a bit. He went to a more groove metal meets death sound and you could understand what he was saying (sort of). Every song didn’t sound the same for a change, which makes for kind of an enjoyable listen. There’s better death metal out there for sure, but if you feel you need to listen to one Cannibal Corpse album in your lifetime, make this the one.
I kind of feel I should just warn you that the video below is for “Fucked with a Knife” so you know, try not playing it at work.