Liz is 25 years old. Two years ago, Liz had 40 songs on her iPod and “a graveyard of abandoned projects”. She found a book called 1001 Albums You Should Listen To Before You Die. The book starts with a Frank Sinatra album called In The Wee Small Hours from 1955 and goes up to 2007. On a day 516 days ago, Liz decided to start listening to all the albums in that book. She listens to one album each day, from start to finish, and then she writes her impressions in a blog. On May 6, 2012, if she keeps this up, she’ll have listened to someone’s idea of the best 1001 albums in history.
What caught my eye was that this list of 1001 albums includes some metal. I haven’t made my way through very many of Liz’s posts, but on April 2 (Day 513) she listened to The Number of the Beast by Iron Maiden and on March 26 (Day 510) she listened to Black Metal by Venom. By her own admission, Liz was in a “tiny music bubble” when she started this project. Whatever music was in the bubble with her, it’s fair to say that it didn’t include anything like Iron Maiden or Venom.
I like imagining how non-metalheads react when they listen to metal. Reading Liz’s take on these albums, seeing them through the eyes of someone who is new to the genre but is clearly doing her best to keep an open mind, is kind of fun. Of course, she hasn’t been converted — yet. It would have been better if she had found a list of the 1001 best extreme metal albums of all time and forced herself to do that for 1001 days, though she might have been hospitalized before finishing. Also, I’m not sure there are 1001 great extreme metal albums.
After the jump, you can see what she wrote about The Number of the Beast and Black Metal. You can also hear a brand new track from the Swedish band called Shining (not the Norwegian one by the same name) from their next album. I’m wondering how Liz would react to this beast of a song (it’s a fucking killer).
Here’s Liz’s take on Black Metal:
Oh hey. Guess what these guys do….extreme heavy metal. Extreme? So heavy metal wasn’t crazy enough? Black metal, Venom’s cup of tea, is, and I quote, “It often uses fast tempos, shrieked vocals, highly distorted guitars played with tremolo picking, blast beat drumming, raw recording, and unconventional song structure.” So, as you can imagine, I couldn’t get enough of it.
Oh I’m just kidding. Heavy metal…go sit with psychedelic music and jazz and think about what you’ve done.
I wanted to somehow get on board with these guys. I attempted to reason with heavy metal with The Birthday Party and get my head around the appeal. I still sort of get it and I see where it came from…people wanted to break with the conventions of rock and just go crazy.
I get it.
I just don’t like it.
I’m sorry boys.
Here’s a list of other manly things I don’t care for…let’s just get this out of the way:
1. Caddyshack…not funny.
2. I didn’t even get vaguely weepy over Field of Dreams.
3. Star Wars…overrated.
4. Clint Eastwood? No thanks.
5. Boxing…wrestling…don’t get it.
I’m sure there’s more. Don’t hate me…it’s just little princess ears can’t handle this kind of angsty loudness. I’m sure this is great heavy metal but I couldn’t wait until the album was over. 2 stars.
Now here’s what Liz had to say about The Number of the Beast:
Iron Maiden. You, my friends, are the perfect amount of bad-assery. Scary metal…meet Iron Maiden…these guys know how to rock out without giving me a cluster headache.
This album was just so much fun. Every ounce of it was so tremendously epic and I just wanted to be in a huge crowd screaming and jumping around while it was playing. “22 Acacia Avenue” has these crazy guitar solos, I mean crazy. This song was incredible, it got me all hopped
This album was definitely going for something. They had the whole intro to The Prisoner (love that show!) in the song “The Prisoner” which made me smile. “The Number of the Beast” had a quote from The Bible about 666. I couldn’t quite put the connection together…number theme…but it didn’t mater. It definitely gave this heavy metal album some interesting weight.
Overall, I was really into this album. It was heavy metal with a lot more emphasis on the rock and less on the scary crap. It really focused on the amazing guitar and drum work. It’s quite a listen. 5 stars.
So, 5 stars for The Number of the Beast shows that Liz’s mind isn’t closed. But 2 stars for Black Metal shows that it isn’t open quite wide enough yet. Still, there’s hope for Liz.
Maybe she’ll take a momentary break from Def Leppard‘s Pyromania (which appears to be what’s on her list for today) and have a listen to this next song. It’s called “Förtvivlan, Min Arvedel” (Despair, My Heritage) and it will be on the new album from Shining called VII / Född Förlorare, which in English means “Born Loser”. The album is scheduled for release on May 25 via Shining’s new label, Spinefarm.
So Liz, what’d you think of that monster? It fucking slayed me. Give me more! May 25 will not come soon enough.