False Metal, Dead! 300 Headbangers, Part 3

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)

The inclusion of the Thrall: Demonsweatlive EP from Danzig is not only because it totally rocks, but it also was a record that got me into metal in the first place.

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.

  • Matt

    Actually, I would argue that The Last Sucker is the third album in a trilogy of albums from Ministry that were mighty fine, starting with Houses of the Mole, Rio Grande Blood and concluding with The Last Sucker. Talking with the mighty Al Jourgenson about “No W” from Houses of the Mole, he stopped me and corrected me, saying, “it's no Dubya!” Jourgenson hated Bush (like everyone else making albums during the period), and as a result, he made some really fine music that despite the subject matter, wasn't bogged down by the political content.

    Deicide, I have a friend that does radio promotion for metal radio, and every time that I think of that band, I think of him telling me “I won't allow that in my house,” when I asked him if he had heard the latest Deicide CD at the time. Funny thing to hear from a single white dude. I never got Deicide….just not my thing as I'm not really one to sit around all day worshiping Satan for real.

    Regarding Danzig, I think the live version that got all of the airplay here in Cleveland was actually sourced from that EP, so I'm fine with it, but I still think Danzig sounds like a cartoon schmuck when he says “Thank you” in his big metal voice at the end.

    Love this series :-)

  • http://www.drcastrato.blogspot.com drcastrato

    So what DO you like? “Never been a fan of death metal,” “never been a big fan of Ministry,” “not a big fan of Paul Baloff's vocals,” “never a big fan [of Kreator],” “Cannibal Corpse is pretty ridiculous.” But really, I guess this should be expected at the low end of a 300-album list. This is where we'd expect to find your favorite albums from bands you don't normally like.

    But the shocking and most damning sentence is, “…I couldn't get why people liked Bruce Dickinson.” WHAT? He's only been the best metal vocalist for the best metal band for 25+ years. You only got into Maiden last year? Better late than never, I guess, but this is disturbing. I mean, I don't think I even own 300 metal albums, and my scope is not as big as yours, but I sure as shit own every Maiden album. If you've only been diving back into the studio albums, don't pass up “Live After Death,” my favorite live album of all time.

  • Matt

    Not speaking for Dave, but I understand his late bloomer status with Maiden. For me, although I grew up during Maiden's heyday in the '80s, I was a little bit young to buy the albums and go see the shows, so I didn't really get into them until I started hearing some of Bruce Dickinson's solo albums in the mid-90s, particularly “Accident of Birth” and “The Chemical Wedding.” By the time Bruce reunited with Maiden, I was well primed, with several Maiden albums in my collection, and now he's one of my favorite vocalists. I think that for music fans like us, we have access to so many different kinds of music that it sometimes takes a little while for us to get around to all of the bands/artists on “our list of bands to get into/more familiar with.”

  • http://www.bastardradio.com steed

    Danzig sounds like a cartoon schmuck on many occassions in his catalog. There are many points where I've compared him to Barney from the Simpsons. I don't really watch it anymore but it's what I picture Barney sounding like if he sang.

    I didn't like the first two “Dubya” albums from Ministry as much as the last one – I think the first two had moments but this one was the most solid.

    And you know, I don't believe in these Satanic lyrics – I listen to metal for the entertainment value and I get a good laugh out of some of the death metal and grindcore lyrics but never have I once thought about switching over to the darkside myself, you know. That is a funny statement from a single white dude, but more so because he promotes metal radio of course. I always thought that you either liked the entire death metal genre or you hated it – nothing in between, but bands like Deicide constantly pushed the boundaries and came up with something new and exciting in it.

  • http://www.bastardradio.com steed

    That's a valid question – I didn't realize I was disliking so much. If it catches my ear, I'll listen to it no matter what genre, but I'm really into Thrash and Doom more than anything else. There's a lot of bands that I really don't like though, that have one or two really great albums.

    I own all the Maiden records as well as I pretty much knew I was missing something, but with Maiden it really was like someone turned on a lightbulb in my head and all of a sudden I was a fan. I had a roommate that listened to nothing but Rush and Maiden all day and I guess that got it in my head that I should go back to them – and then last year, I listened to the catalog from start to finish and finally understood what I was missing all these years. I'm there now man, better late than never. And there's plenty more Maiden in the series.

  • http://www.bastardradio.com steed

    I agree with that last line – I have a ton of bands I want to get more familiar with and no time to do so. And thinking about it – I think I went back to the Maiden catalog during a period last year where I thought new music just sucked, so I was going back and pulling out a lot of older material.

    Dickinson's solo stuff – that's on my list.

  • http://www.popdose.com DwDunphy

    The thing with Dickinson is that he's very near musical theater, insofar as his over-dramatic singing is concerned. Having said that, my high school years were filled with nothing but over-dramatic singers, from Rob Halford on down. It made it that much easier to gravitate to Maiden. Up the irons!

  • http://www.drcastrato.blogspot.com drcastrato

    I guess I should keep my mouth shut, since this is very true for me as well. There are loads of bands that I didn't get into until after their prime, like Jesus Lizard, and more that I still haven't got around to fully examining, like Dio. But I guess I'm just surprised that Maiden could be one of those bands, especially for someone writing about their favorite 300 metal albums. I don't consider myself a metal head, but they were my gateway into metal, and many of my friends consider them the best metal band ever.

    Anyway, Dickinson's “Tattooed Millionaire” is really cheesy but fun at times. I tried listening to “Balls to Picaso” just the other day and got really bored. “Accident of Birth” is better, partly due to Adrian Smith's involvement.