Dec 172015



I’m willing to bet a wheelbarrow load of loris droppings that we post more year-end lists than any other metal site. Not only do we post lists of the year’s best releases prepared by our own writers (other than me, because my mind doesn’t work that way), we also post lists that appear elsewhere, and every year we also post lists by long-time readers and assorted other guests, not to mention the ever-growing readers’ lists that are hosted here. The risk of doing this is obvious:

I’m already seeing comments, both on our site and on our Facebook page, by people who are starting to feel overwhelmed by the volume of year-end accolades and recommendations. I even received a message yesterday  from one of our invited guests who was wondering whether people will bother to continue reading more lists — because we still have a LOT of lists yet to come.

I confess that I worry about this, too — though not enough to stop! So I thought I would tell you my reasoning behind doing what we do this time of year.


This is too much


Part of the logic is an idea that governs just about everything we do around here, i.e., we are constantly trying to spread the word about music we believe in — and the world of metal is so creative, so diverse, and so constantly generating new releases that the more we can do, the better. We’ll never do enough.

In addition, it’s apparent that many metalheads really like reading other people’s opinions about what qualifies as the year’s best releases, and then talking about it in the comments. Since we started our year-end LISTMANIA series this year, the page views at our site have gone through the roof compared to the average viewership per day — and that happens every year, but this year even more dramatically. The comments have risen as well (and the discussions have been interesting to read). That tells me people enjoy this.

Finally, we all know that tastes vary dramatically among people who are into metal. Even people with the most varied of tastes aren’t going to like everything — even those people are looking for new things that strike their sweet spots, or that will turn them onto some new kind of sound they hadn’t heard before. On the other hand, some people really concentrate on specific niches, but they like to dive deep. And so every list might contain what turns out to be a newly discovered gem for someone.


Now, that last point depends on us avoiding posting lists that just turn out to be mostly repetitive. I already know that the guys who write here regularly (our completely unpaid and long-suffering “staff” members) have their own preferences, and they’re mostly un-alike. So I have no fear that their lists will be repetitive. And as for the guests I invite to share their lists each year, I make a conscious effort to create diversity and variety based on what I know of the music they like, or the music they create as artists. Every year, I think that has worked out pretty well.

I think it will work out well this year, too, based not only on what we’ve posted so far but also on the lists I’m sitting on right now, waiting to deliver to you in the coming weeks, and the ones I’m expecting will arrive in the near future.

So that’s my reasoning, and also a bit of a sales pitch for people to hang in there with us until 2015 LISTMANIA comes to an end at some point in January. For those of you who are already exhausted, well, we will still have a few things other than lists to bring your way until this list orgy comes to an end.

Finally, if you are on good speaking terms with any infernal deities, please put in a good word for me, because next week I need to start rolling out the only list I prepare myself — that one with infectious songs in it — but narrowing it down is proving to be very challenging.

  34 Responses to “LIST OVERLOAD?”

  1. I’m OK if from now on you just post my lists. Those are the only ones that really matter.

  2. I’d rather have 10 TopTen lists then one 50 best albums list.
    So, please, continue 🙂

  3. Love the lists.
    I’m here to find music that is new to me, and each list presents an opportunity to do just that!

    • Oh and how about an idea for YET ANOTHER list: Most Anticipated Releases of 2016!

      • I second this idea.

      • thirded

      • Those do pop up on occasion…I know Ive done one or two for Islander over the years

        Hmmm, I havent written a guest article in awhile…maybe I’ll bust one out this year

        • The idea is good, and if you volunteer, than I’d encourage you to go ahead. I believe it’s probably one of those posts that generates a lot of comments, making it a living organism in it’s own.
          (By the way, I nominate Slagmaur, right of the top of my head).

      • I’ll fourth it. But, as always, I’m already thinking about how to have other people do my work for me. I’m thinking that maybe all I need to do is throw out a few ideas (or get SurgicalBrute to even do that part), and then just invite everyone else to fill it in through comments. I’m getting pretty comfortable just thinking about that.

  4. I do feel a little bit like that doomed vessel in the header image, dwarfed by swells of blastbeats and tremolos. But I welcome my fate, for down to Jones’s Locker I shall go… with a mind full of metal 🙂

  5. Keep em coming!! As you said, the variable between the lists are many.
    And yeah, its crazy overwhelming, as I like to give a listen to just about everything while at the same time going back through my own favorite listens from the year and i get myself in quite a bunch.
    But at the end of every day through this month I’m leaving the office with something entirely new and exciting to listen to.
    Sometimes I worry that it gets in the way of repeat listens of other things I love ( I mean, for chrissakes, Ive barely spent any time this year revisiting things from the past two amazing years of metal ), but I find if I just don’t look back and keep looking forward than what really stuck out remains clear as I rocket into the future.

  6. I join the chorus in saying that I really enjoy this time of year in metal bloggery. Despite following this and other metal blogs daily, I still manage to miss so much that it’s enormously helpful to have these lists to guide my listening, even if it takes me forever to get around to everything (and honestly I never do, judging by the ever-growing “shit to listen to” folder I have in my bookmarks.)

    One thing that would alleviate the concerns over redundancy would be to charge your writers to offer different kinds of lists besides simple favorite album or top 10 lists. Something Andy does for you to, I think, great success.

    “Favorite Songs of the Year” (yeah, the “most infectious” series is basically this with a twist)
    “2015’s Best Moments in Blast Beats”
    “Favorite Vocal Performances of the Year”
    “Favorite Albums That Everyone Else Seems to Hate”
    “Most Hated Albums That Everyone Else Seems to Love” (maybe too negative a topic for NCS)
    “Best Albums by sub-genre”
    “Best Debuts of the Year”
    “Best Non-Kvlt Metal Albums of the Year” (yes, Dance Gavin Dance did put out one of the best heavy records this year)

    Modify the criteria in the hopes that your writers will pull out some real randos, including stuff that maybe never got play on NCS before. And of course, keep doin’ what you’re doin’, because it’s all good stuff.

    • I like going through all these lists, but your way of thinking outside the box sounds spicy. I love album lists, as I love albums, but I’d definitely like to see some lists focusing from a different perspective from time to time.

    • I already do this every year man 🙂 I do a best of by subgenre but leave out all the bigger releases from the year that got press. Mine will be up next week.

  7. I greatly enjoy reading the year end lists and I think you nailed it on the head with this article…One of the biggest problems with other metal websites, especially the bigger ones, is that they almost always come down to the same 5 or 6 albums over and over again…Yes, Horrendous put out a good album, but when 20 metal websites have it on their best of the year list I start to wonder if they even listened to any other death metal.

    I think one of the biggest strengths of this website, whether its the year end lists or just the day to day posting, is that theres enough variety showing up that it dosnt get boring or repetitive

    (I also like reading them to see if anyone even comes close to my godlike metalness)

  8. I read every single list and make a spreadsheet out of all of them to track what albums got a lot of praise and track all the one-off super-sleeper hits. I love the year end craze.

  9. A big reason why my EOTY list tends to come out late (other than my instinctual procrastination of any and every task put in front of me) is that I try to wait until a good amount of other lists have come out, partially to help me remember what I might have forgotten, and also to impart maybe another deserving gem or two that I would’ve otherwise missed. I can already think of a few near the very top of my list as it stands conceptually in my head that I didn’t discover until checking out some early year-end lists.

  10. i can’t always read and comment on every single list but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t post them. i often find myself revisiting the collection later on to see what great releases i may have missed. and of course i hold out a sliver of hope that some deranged and misguided author may include me in their list. who knows, someday it just might happen. and even if it doesn’t my efforts are rewarded with dozens of new albums to add to my collection. 🙂

  11. First world problems. I love Listmania every year, keep the lists comin’.

  12. Tell you what, I just got the latest email from bandcamp of the purchases of people I’m following… and holy shit it’s the longest email I’ve ever got from them. Of course I can’t be sure, but I’d be willing to bet this is down to year-end lists. So that brings a smile to my face – that the artists and getting something back from it too!

    If I was to draw up a list of my ‘desert island’ albums, one of them would be a disc I only found out about from something leaving a comment on a list here a few years back. So I’m all for it continuing. The thing is, if you can’t be bothered you can easily skip a post anyway, so how much of a downside can there be really?

  13. I personally love and encourage bloggers to create lists of their favorite albums because this is probably the easiest and fastest way to discover something new that will probably result in one of your most listened tracklists in your player for a long time. Is it overwhelming? Well, if you are a music lover and discoverer, it is part of your “self” to look for more and more because your hunger for music is undying. On top of that, keeping in mind that metal so diverse, I think such lists are a gift for an extreme metal fan (especially the ones who are having hard time using a search engine).

    Yes, there will be some people who may shout out “it’s too much, don’t you think?” but let’s not forget the fundamental part that they are NOT obligated to digest every single bit that is posted across the net. It’s up to them.

    In a nutshell, explore, enjoy and be thankful (referred to those who feel overwhelmed) to the creators of those lists because most of them are totally unpaid and doing this for YOU, for the art of music and last but not the least, for the amazing artists who continue to push extreme metal further.

  14. I’ll be the lone voice of dissent here. In all honesty, while the lists do seem like a great idea, the deluge (which is really what it is) is too much for me. It takes over the site, and (with one exception) I don’t find them to be great ways to find new music. Also, I don’t have enough hours in the day to listen to the 50 songs on a single list, much less the 50 songs on each of the 50 lists.

    Last year I found myself coming here less and less because the site was swamped with lists of, to a large degree, the same bands I didn’t care for with the same accolades worded slightly differently. I reached a point where I would click the link to the list to see if there was any band I liked on it. If there was, then I’d listen to the bands on the list. If not, I ran away.

    Then, because that still took more time and patience than I had, and led to almost no good finds, I limited it to one band that seemed to be on the lists that spoke to me. If Emptiness’s Nothing But the Whole (which is possibly my favorite album from last year), wasn’t on the list, I didn’t bother. And the way it worked out was that the lists that included them were very diverse lists, and I often found something else interesting in the mix. And if the list didn’t include them, I almost never found anything I could tolerate (and I continued to try because I’m stubborn like that).

    So by all means, don’t stop. It sounds like a lot of readers love them. But I may have to tune out until February. (Of course I won’t because this is a daily stop for me, but the end of year list battering makes it hard).

    I appreciate all of the work that goes into this site, lists included. I would be a much less happy person without this site and all the great music I’ve discovered here. If I ever bump into your tattoos out and about, I’ll absolutely buy you a drink. Just wanted to be honest, since you asked.

    • I certainly understand your point and view, and I’m glad you felt comfortable expressing it. I can’t imagine you’re alone in feeling this way. And now that you’ve done so, no one else needs to. Not even one other person. NOT ONE.

      Seriously, when I look at lists on other sites, I tend to apply a similar criterion — if I see something out of the ordinary that I like a lot, I’ll tend to explore other things on the list that I’m unfamiliar with. On the other hand, I also admit to being lured into checking out something that appears repeatedly on multiple lists, if I haven’t heard it before. Sometimes that works out, sometimes it doesn’t. And I also tend to be more thorough in sampling new music that appears on lists by people whose opinions I already know are likely going to line up with my tastes. But time being limited, those are usually the only occasions when I’ll track something down from the lists I see.

      Anyway, I won’t say “see you in February”, because we will have some other things besides lists over the next month.

  15. I hear you. I’ve also tried your approach, but I do think that you like way more music (bands and styles) than I do, so finding things you’re interested in is probably easier, and seeking out that way may be more fruitful for you. And I value that even if I don’t feel the same, because that’s what allows you to make this site so great.

    I won’t say “see you in Feb,” either because I know I’ll be back later today, and tomorrow, and the next day… despite your goddamn lists!

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