This week we’re looking at numbers 220-211 in our trek to look at the 300 metal albums on my iPod, in the order I prefer them. It’s a little thrash heavy this week, but there’s still a little bit for metal lovers of any genre.
FYI: A few people have asked me about why there are less pictures of the art work lately. To simply keep the post unclutted, if you can click on the YouTube video and the only video is a still of the artwork, then I’m not posting the cover as well. If it’s an actual video, the cover shot will go up as well.
220. Bolt Thrower, … For Victory (1994)
I read a review of Bolt Thrower some place recently that said “if you don’t like Bolt Thrower, you don’t like metal.” I’m not sure I agree with that statement, but it is a little difficult to not like them at all.
I seem to love to point out in every Bolt Thrower conversation I have (you’d be surprised how many) how both the name and the artwork for pretty much every album they’ve put out indicates that there is going to be epic power metal instead, but on the contrary you get death metal. Their artwork is the most misleading representation for death metal ever! But what does that matter when you sound like these guys?
These Brits have been around since the late ‘80s and have been consistently strong from the start. …For Victory is their 5th record and one of their best. They play a very listenable brand of death metal with this release – both melodic and technical and with vocals you can actually understand – lyrics mostly following their regular topic of war (the artwork fits in there at least).
“Tank (Mk. 1)” and “…For Victory” are the best tracks, both with killer riffs and a ton of melody.
219. U.D.O., Mean Machine (1989)
I’ve said it before – Udo Dirkschneider – best name in metal and that’s reason enough to get me to listen. Mean Machine was Udo’s second solo album, but the first he wrote without his former Accept band mates. Over the years his catalog went pretty much the same as Accept’s did – either totally awesome or completely mediocre – rarely in-between.
What you get with Mean Machine is straightforward heavy metal. Every song was catchy enough to have been a single back in 1989 and the sound overall just reeks of pure testosterone.
218. Impaled Nazarene, Tor Cormpt Norz Norz Norz (1992)
Impaled Nazarene’s debut album is so absurd that it’s definitely a must listen to at least once. They made a name for themselves by pretty much spewing hatred about the Norwegian black metal scene – which of course they were a part of.
That notwithstanding, their debut album is probably their craziest with sounds of orgies and sex with goats and a song called “The Dog (Act of Vagina)”. The sound is based in black metal with some lyrics in English but most in Finnish. It’s not even the all over the map craziness of the music that makes it cool, but it’s widely consider to be a bit tongue in cheek as the band has even come out and said that every album has to have a song about goats (“Goat Perversion” on this one). I hope that’s the case too, otherwise this album has some serious hatred in it and the band has been called out in the past for promotion Finnish nationalism and displaying homophobia in their lyrics so if they are serious, then this becomes one really fucked up album. Let’s say they aren’t serious because I’m not taking it that way and listen to the repeated screaming of the word “goat” in “Mortification / Blood Red Razor Blade” to start the basis of this conclusion.
Overall, what you get is simply a bizarre and very unique sounding black metal record, something that I love just the thought of in a genre where 75% of the bands sound the same.
217. Grey, Sisters of the Wyrd (2008)
Should it still be that much of a shock that and all female group can put out a great metal record? I would hope not, but I still find a band like Grey to be intriguing because of that very thing. So many of these generic “core” bands have a chick in the band seemingly to get on the cover of Revolver or they end up being like Kittie – a novelty barely able to play their own instruments. So Gypsywitch, LunaLoca and Bitchhammer already have something going for them as they appear to rather have their boobs covered up and have people focus on the fact that they are excellent musicians.
With their only full length so far, Sisters of the Wyrd brings some filthy down tuned doom that’s slow and crushing at the same time. With only four tracks and the album clocking in at 41 minutes, you better like the songs right up front to sit through 12 minute tunes but it’s worth the time to hear something a bit harder than the usual doom album.
216. Crucifer, Cursed Cross (2006)
I give it up to bands like this. They’ve been together since 1995 and have seemingly struggled to point where they’ve only been able to release two albums since then – but they have hung on and continue making music. It doesn’t make what’s on the disc any better, but it does add something to the appeal of a band for me.
These guys are simple old school thrash metal out of Greece and released this second full-length on their own back in 2006. They’ve got the riffs, they’ve got the lyrics about struggles in society and how thrash metal rules – so they’ve got all the old-school pieces now. Now they just need a real deal.
215. Bulldozer, Neurodeliri (1988)
This one took me a long while to get to because I just wasn’t really familiar with Italian black metal. But once I did take a chance I was pleasantly surprised at the results. The album is actually named for the band that founding member Dario Carria form after leaving Bulldozer. Carria committed suicide in ’88 so the album became a dedication to him in the end.
Musically it’s a great thrash album and it’s pretty interesting lyrically with songs like “We Are…Italian” and the kind of funny, “But we must live here in this fuckin’ sunny country/we will never see around/blonde girls to chase as well/tall girls with big tits” and “but the Italian squat girls/pretend to be like Madonna/and they are looking so disgusting/we are going to puke in their face” Ha.
214. Assorted Heap, Mindwaves (1992)
And here’s another record that I passed up for a long time. The name Assorted Heap always sounded pretty lame to me, so I wasn’t expecting much. Thankfully the great cover art to Mindwaves drew me in because this is an extremely underrated record. It’s based in both thrash and death metal – not fast enough to be truly thrash but not brutal enough to be death. But it’s that middle ground that works really well for these guys. “Coloured Eyes” is really a great representation in the opening slot of the disc for what’s coming, as it hits both elements and adds a melodic mellow passage in the middle. “Holy Ground” follows that up with some progressive elements as well and the rest of the seven tracks on the record follow suit with that formula.
213. Abuser, Threats of Fate (2010)
One of only a handful of 2010 records on this list, this came out in January of the year and marked the debut of the band. There are a ton of bands that like to get proggy or technical on us but finding a really good technical thrash record is difficult these days. Taking cues from bands like Voivod, Mekong Delta and Whiplash, Abuser’s brand of thrash is more complicated than most which also makes it awesomely exciting that this is only their first album.
212. Testament, Practice What You Preach (1989)
Have I had the chance to mention yet how much I love Testament? They absolutely should have been on par with the Big 4 and gotten much more recognition than they did. They have consistently made better music than Anthrax and maybe even Megadeth.
Practice What You Preach is the album that should have broken them, especially now when you listen back to this and the title track has a riff in it remarkably like Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” released a year later. In fact, you can hear a lot of similarities to that disc in the album which means that while Metallica got the slick production and all the push to change the face of metal, the reality is that a year earlier Testament should have been the band to accomplish this. This isn’t nearly the last Testament disc you are going to see in this countdown but even so, the more I listen to this, the more I wonder why I didn’t put this higher. Oh well, an adjustment may be due down the line.
211. Mastodon, Remission (2002)
Mastodon may keep improving over time but with their debut, you get the technical elements that you are used to from them but you also get a mass amount of power in more concise blocks than later on. Their trippiness on later records can get a little weighty at times, where Remission doesn’t have much of that at all. It’s the mark of a band that seemed to have a clear vision of where they wanted to go but hadn’t completely opened up yet. For those unfamiliar with the band or just have a short attention span, this might be the record to start with. It’s loud as fuck and fuck is loud.