The latest issue of Decibel magazine arrived in my mail on Friday. Big photo of Mastodon staring me in the face. Says on the cover that it’s the January 2010 issue. My calendar says that Friday was November 20 in the year 2009. Okay, that’s not so unusual — every magazine advance-dates their copy. (Even a weekly like Time has got an issue on the stands right now dated Nov 30). I’m not sure when advance cover-dating started or why. Maybe you know. I guess if you publish a magazine you can put whatever fucking date you want on the cover.
But guess what’s inside the “January 2010” issue of Decibel: Their list of the “Top 40 Extreme Albums of 2009.” Why does that strike me as odd? Find out after the jump, and I’ll also give you the Decibel Top 40 list.
Why does it seem odd to find a Decibel “Best of 2009” list out now? Well, think about it: In order to get this issue into my mailbox on Nov 20, I’m guessing Decibel’s writers and editors had to agree on that list by around Nov 1. I mean, for fuck’s sake, they had to write the blurbs that accompany each band listing in the Top 40, they had to lay out the copy and the graphics, they had to proof it and get it to the printers, the printers had to print, and the distributors had to get the mags and put them in the hands of the US Mail, who then had to get one to my mailbox.
I don’t really know how long all that takes. Maybe you do. The point is that when this “Best of 2009” list was compiled, there must have been approximately two months left in 2009. So, the issue should have been called something like “The Top Extreme Albums of January – October 2009,” but who would have bothered to read that? Anyway, bands who released new music in about the latter half of November or who plan releases in December are just shit out of luck – assuming any of them really care about making Decibel’s “Best of 2009” list. Who might those bands be?
If you want to see an evolving list of what’s coming between now and year-end, have a look at Cosmo Lee’s list of Upcoming Metal Releases over at Invisible Oranges. Most of those bands probably had no chance anyway, but still, I’m actually looking forward to some of those releases.
Turns out that jumping the gun on “Best of the Year” lists, like advance cover-dating, is pretty common too. Just browsing at my friendly neighborhood newsstand yesterday, I came across this random sampling of “Best Of” lists blaring from the covers of these mags, all of which boasted a cover date of December 2009:
- Atlantic: “The Best Books of 2009”
- Popular Science: “100 Best Innovations of the Year”
- PC World: “100 Best Products of the Year”
- MacLife: “Gear of the Year 2009”
- Glamour: “Women of the Year”
- GQ: “Badass of the Year” (Clint Eastwood)
- Oxygen: “Tight Glutes & Sexy Thighs” (Oh, wait a minute, wrong subject . . . .)
Not to be outdone, some kind of personal finance rag called Kiplinger’s claimed on the cover that the issue would be devoted to “The Best of EVERYTHING 2009.” Yeah, right. And the “December” ’09 issue of Money blares on its cover, “Make Money in 2010.” Shit, what about making some money in the last two months of 2009?
And then there’s the current issue of Fortune with a big photo of Apple’s Steve Jobs on the cover beneath a headline proclaiming him “CEO of the Decade.” Just think how embarrassed Fortune will be if, say, next month (still in the current decade) someone discovers Steve Jobs ass-fucking a dead girl or a live boy. (Of course, that assumes Fortune is capable of being embarrassed by anything.)
And speaking of “Best of the Decade” lists, Decibel has already got one of those out, too (“The Top 100 Greatest Metal Albums of the Decade”).
I vaguely remember a time when “Best of the Year” lists didn’t come out until January, or at least late December. I don’t know why these lists now come out in November. Maybe you do. Maybe next year, publishers will start the race even sooner and bring out these lists in October.
On the other hand, maybe no one but me gives a fuck about when the lists come out. Maybe a more pertinent question is why they come out – why does anyone bother to compile them or read them, particularly in the case of “Best Of” metal lists? I’ll get to those topics in the next post, in addition to saying a few things about the albums on Decibel’s “Best of 2009” list. In the meantime, here’s that Decibel list:
1. Baroness – The Blue Record
2. Converge – Axe to Fall
3. Coalesce – Ox
4. Napalm Death – Time Waits for No Slave
5. Cobalt – Gin
6. Kylesa – Static Tensions
7. Slayer – World Painted Blood
8. Tombs – Winter Hours
9. Marduk – Wormwood
10. Isis – Wavering Radiant
11. Immortal – All Shall Fail
12. Agoraphobic Nosebleed – Agorapocalypse
13. Obscura – Cosmogenesis
14. Magrudergrind – S/T
15. Nile – Those Whom the Gods Detest
16. YOB – The Great Cessation
17. Mastodon – Crack the Skye
18. Paradise Lost – Faith Divides Us, Death Unites Us
19. The Atlas Moth – A Glorified Piece of Blue Sky
20. Asphyx – Death . . . the Brutal Way
21. Altar of Plagues – White Tomb
22. Mournful Congregation – The June Frost
23. Funeral Mist – Maranatha
24. The Gates of Slumber – Hymns of Blood and Thunder
25. Burnt by the Sun – Heart of Darkness
26. City of Ships – Look What God Did To Us
27. Goatwhore – Carving Out the Eyes of God
28. Gaza – He Is Never Coming Back
29. Katatonia – Night Is the New Day
30. Keelhaul – Keelhaul’s Triumphant Return to Obscurity
31. The Red Chord – Fed Through the Teeth Machine
32. Brutal Truth – Evolution Through Revolution
33. Krallice – Dimensional Bleedthrough
34. Culted – Below the Thunders of the Upper Deep
35. Goes Cube – Another Day Has Passed
36. Suffocation – Blood Oath
37. Javelina – Beasts Among Sheep
38. Municipal Waste – Massive Aggressive
39. Millions – Gather Scatter
40. Funebrarum – The Sleep of Morbid Dreams