(Today we’ve got another guest post for you, this one from an NCS reader and a metal vocalist and lyricist who goes by the handle “.jh“. His band suggestions in our Comments section and in his “Best of 2010” list, published at NCS here, have reliably steered us to lots of music we’ve gotten hooked on, so we were curious to see the list you’re about to see.)
A few weeks ago TNOTB ran a story where they were promising to crown the 100 best songs of the past decade and asked people to contribute 15 to 20 albums, and they’d talley the votes up and post the resulting top 100 albums. Now who doesn’t like a good list? So I diligently carved up a list of all albums I own that were released between 2000 and 2009. For the record, I ended up with roughly 4000 songs / 400 albums. Picking just 5% from the list was hard, and I’m sure that if I were to revisit this list a year down the road, I might pick differently, but this is here and now, so what follows is the list, plus sample songs. After the list are a few thoughts about some of the albums, and also a list of albums that might have made the cut.
(in alphabetical order)
1349 – Hellfire
Aborted – Goremageddon
Absu – Tara
Abyssic Hate – Suicidal Emotions
Anaal Nathrakh – In The Constellation Of The Black Widow
Belphegor – Lucifer Incestus
Blut Aus Nord – The Work Which Transforms God
Cadaver Inc – Discipline
Deathspell Omega – Si Monvmentvm Reqvires, Cirvmspice
Deströyer 666 – Phoenix Rising
Drudkh – Blood In Our Wells
Funeral Mist – Maranatha
Immolation – Unholy Cult
Krieg – The Black House
(ok this is a cover, but it’s too damn good not to mention)
(This is an actual Krieg song:)
Lifelover – Erotik
Mgła – Groza
Myrkskog – Deathmachine
Shining – II – Livets Ändhållplats
Watain – Sworn To The Dark
Xasthur – Nocturnal Poisoning
I think my biggest problem was picking which Deathspell Omega album to include. To many, Si Monvmentvm Reqvires, Cirvmspice is a foregone conclusion, but while it’s an amazing album I think many of the albums that came after it in the trilogy are either on par or better.
2010’s Paracletus might very well be the highlight of the trilogy, but since it was released in 2010 it was out of scope for the TNOTB list. 2007’s Fas – Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum is a very strong contender, but in the end I picked Si Monvmentvm Reqvires, Cirvmspice, not because it was perhaps the best Deathspell Omega album but because regardless of your views on the band or the music, this album changed black metal. In the most conservative, old-fashioned, and orthodox subgenre (black metal) of an already ultra-conservative genre (metal), they released an album that shocked everyone and changed everything. For that feat alone they deserve to be on any list of top black metal bands.
A second problem came when trying to decide on which Myrkskog album to choose. I am quite fond of both of them, and in general I think it’s a toss up. If I had to choose again I might just pick the other one.
The more I look at the list, the more I’m convinced that I chose correctly. The albums below could have made the cut, but I have a hard time justifying putting any one of them up ahead of the ones that did make it. That’s not to say the below albums are in any way not top tier albums, just that the ones above are even better.
(once again in alphabetical order)
Arckanum – ÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞ
Arcturus – The Sham Mirrors
Behexen – My Soul For His Glory
Carrier Flux – Introspective Nightmare
Defleshed – Royal Straight Flesh
Dying Fetus – Destroy The Opposition
Glorior Belli – Ô Laudate Dominvs
Gorgoroth – Quantos Possunt ad Satanitatem Trahunt
Hate Eternal – King of All Kings
The Haunted – Made Me Do It
Judas Iscariot – To Embrace the Corpses Bleeding
Marduk – Wormwood
Melechesh – Emissaries
Misery Index – Dissent
Nile – Black Seeds of Vengeance
Shroud of Despondency – For Eternity Brings No Hope
Skyforger – Latvieðu Strçlnieki (Latvian Riflemen)
Vile – Depopulate
Vital Remains – Dechristianize
Weltmacht – And to Every Beast Its Prey
[EDITOR’S NOTE: That “Best of the Decade” poll that The Number of the Blog has been running closes today. Based on preliminary reports at the TNOTB site, the voting has been heavy on the “core” and light on the black metal and death metal. If that rubs you the wrong way, and you haven’t put in your own list, you’ve got one day left to do something about it. Here is where you go to post your list — be sure to read the damn rules first to avoid having your list tossed out.]
.jh: nice list! And 400 albums??? Damn, that’s twice my entire collection. I need to do some more shopping….
I also just posted my list on TNOTB…it’s kinda piddly and it feels incomplete…
I wouldn’t call your list piddly even if TMDC’s Trivmvirate is the only one on there that also made mine. I share the incomplete feeling though. It’s so damn hard to leave all those other good albums out.
I just took a look at your list.
I think we have distinctly different tastes in music. (Yah for diversity!)
The bands that I knew were bands that I have lots of respect for, but haven’t really gotten into.
Mastodon, for instance, is one of those bands where I recognize that they are excellent musicians, but the vocals just didn’t do anything for me. Not entirely certain why.
Not only do I feel like my list is incomplete, I also feel like I’m woefully ignorant of the metal scene….
I think our tastes are similar enough 🙂
Man, I’ve been listening to metal since the early ’80s ( a lot of that stuff is considered hard rock now , but it was called metal then) and extreme metals since around ’90 or so and I still feel ignorant pretty often. Metal is such a vast and diverse music with new twists and blends all the time. I feel for those who are just getting started, it’s hard enough to keep up, much less catch up!
I really appreciate that sympathy!
I JUST started listening to anything beyond radio rock/numetal around 2004.
(I just realized I started listening to metal just after I started studying Japanese. How strange.)
I progressed pretty quickly, I think. I started listening to DragonForce and Sonata Arctica actually
I still like me some power metal, but it’s strange how what once was brutal now seems so soft…
Anyway, I’m glad to have a place to discover new music everyday!
Thanks not only to Islander for running this, but also to all the great commenters!!
I didn’t mean to imply that you were just starting out, but still, not bad progress from what’s evident in your list 🙂
Obviously, I love NCS and what Islander and co. are doing here, aswell as the commenter community, but don’t forget about DMB! We want love too!
No offense taken!
I still feel like the new kid. Hahaha!
I will start checking out dmb too!
I tend to get myopic at times…
Just saw your list Phro, and I love it. Not one of your bands was on my final list, but a bunch of them were on the initial list of 40 that I made before I started agonizingly whittling it down. And looking at your list made me start doubting some of the choices I made for my final one. 🙂
I was looking at yours again to compare and…yah…no same albums, but a couple of the same bands.
I struggled with adding Amon Amarth, because they have so many excellent albums. And I kinda think I should have included them instead of nervecell…but I really prefer tech/brutal death to viking…
But if I had included AA, I probably would have gone with With Oden on Our Side. There are some downright singalong songs on that album, but I never felt that way with Fate of Norns. Though, really, both albums are fucking awesome.
Solid list! Mine also included Belphegor’s Lucifer Incestus and some 1349, though it was Beyond the Apacolypse, I did struggle with deciding between it and Hellfire. There’s just something vicious about the drumming on those and even Liberation.
I had a hard time with “Beyond The Apocalypse” never thought it lived up to Liberation, was then very happy when Hellfire came out as I found it to be more of a natural follower to Liberation. Unfortunately I’ve not been a fan of any of the albums they’ve put out since Hellfire, the obviously have the talent to produce top notch albums, but none since Hellfire has grabbed me.
I think I am only familiar with the death metal on your list, but most of the black metal just went right over my head. I’ll be honest – I am one of those types who doesn’t “get” black metal. I can appreciate it musically, but I generally don’t enjoy listening to it. Perhaps it was because I was a child of thrash and melodeath, but black metal is just about the only extreme genre that isn’t represented at all in my own library. So, given that I like to think that I have an open mind, what single black metal band would you recommend I check out?
There’s a huge cross-over between Storm Of The Light’s Bane and albums like The Jester Race and The Gallery imo.
I agree with Andy…Dissection is always a good place to start. If not them try Immortal..they were the first black metal band that clicked for me
Dissection is a good choice, note though that there is a very sharp difference between old and new Dissection. I would recommend staying away from the post 90s Dissection album (and EP) as to me that’s a completely different band. Check out “The Somberlain” and “Storm of the Light’s Bane”. I would also say check out Watain (the last two in particular are very accessible albums) and not very far from Dissection.
Then there are quite a few cross-over bands that straddle both death and black metal, perhaps that would be an even better starting point for somebody coming from the death metal camp. Deströyer666 does this excellently, also Belphegor could be be at least partially put in this category.
Allow me to “fourth” the nomination of those two early Dissection albums — they’re wonderful. And Dissection also brings to mind a current German band called Thulcandra, which includes one of the guitarists from Obscura (Steffen Kummerer). We reviewed their debut album, which is a tribute to Dissection and includes a cover of “The Somberlain”. The review also includes a song you can listen to:
For me, the band that got me interested in learning more about black metal was Rotting Christ and the Theogonia album in particular. You might try that too, Dan.
Rotting Christ is another solid recommendation, although I’d say start out with “Triarchy of the Lost Lovers”
Shoot. I also meant to mention Immortal. I had “All Shall Fall” on my “best of the decade” list, and in addition to being a fine album, I think it also qualifies as a good, accessible “gateway” to the genre.
Iskald? Riffy and cool.
Dissection, but a vote for Dissection is essentially also a vote for Watain because they’re 3/4ths the same band. I recommend Watain’s two most recent albums as well.
If you can stomach long songs, Emperor’s Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk was a huge gateway record for me, as well.
Also: this is a good list.
“Dissection, but a vote for Dissection is essentially also a vote for Watain”
Jesus. What a list. Looks like I’ve got some learning and discovering to do. Thanks man!
I echo this. I echo it so hard.
I can’t answer everyone individually, but first I’d like to say thanks to all for the suggestions. On my second listen to “Storm of the Light’s Bane” currently, because my first run through was while I was writing a paper and I’m now giving it more attention. I like what I’m hearing from Immortal as well. Watain will be next.
Second, NCS community ftw. This site rules.
Here at NCS, we take our metal seriously.