Revisisting the 2009 list

2010-11-30 09:59:39 by johan

Looking back at my list from 2009, I think I pretty much still agree. I would rearrange the list slightly but no album has really appeared on my radar that should have been on the list but wasn't, nor has any album on the list so fallen out of favor that I'd have removed it. So with some hindsight after the break is my rearranged list of 2009s best albums:

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The complete list, some thoughts and loose ends

2009-12-14 21:13:37 by johan

While looking over this years list what strikes me most is that while I enjoyed them all, most of these bands have produced better works, so is it cognitive bias or do bands really get worse over time? There are of course exceptions to every rule, but on the whole I think the evidence is against most bands. Perhaps a better way of putting it is that bands get less and less original over time, drawing more on influences from heroes as well as peers, this in turn makes them less interesting and hence "worse". I'm not sure how bands would get around this, not listening to other music to avoid tainting is obviously not an answer.

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1: Gorgoroth - Quantos Possunt ad Satanitatem Trahunt

2009-12-13 00:10:00 by johan

Quantos Possunt ad Satanitatem Trahunt A friend of mine used to say that bands who played mid-tempo songs those riffs had to be top notch to keep you interested. Bands who played at top speeds could get away with more as the speed covered it up. As somebody who is a sucker for speed I always saw his point, there are few bands that put out mid tempo albums which could keep my interest more than a song or two, if that even. There are of course the exceptions, and wow is this one of them. From the first listen I knew this album would make the top of this list. The vocals and the drums are amazing, the production on the drums could have been better, but the tightness and precision make up for it. Of course it would be nothing without Infernus simple but effective riffs. Without a doubt album of the year.

 

Gorgoroth

2: Funeral Mist - Maranatha

2009-12-11 15:10:42 by johan

Maranatha Every now and then you come across an album, that at first listen does little for you, and even after subsequent listens once it has started to stick can you really put your finger on what it is. This is such an album, on the face of it it's quite standard black metal. However after a few listens you start noticing all those small things: the random ups and down in tempo, the choir thrown in towards the end of "Anti-Flesh Nimbus", the reoccurring religious madness samples (the most prominent being the almost 12 minute long "Blessed Curse"). Once you start finding these anomalies this becomes less and less a standard black metal album and nothing short of a great album.

 

Funeral Mist

3: Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue with the Stars

2009-12-10 14:50:14 by johan

Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue with the Stars Compared to much else on this list, as well as most of Blut Aus Nord's back catalog this must be classified as easy listening. If Anaal Nathrakh is a jack hammer pulverizing your skull, Blut Aus Nord is a carnivorous earwig slowly turning your brain to mush. Never really staying too long on the same path, this album is quite a far cry from previous ones, I still hold 2003's "The Work Which Transforms God" to be their finest moment but this isn't far behind.

 

Candlelight Records

4: Anaal Nathrakh - In the Constellation of the Black Widow

2009-12-09 16:56:00 by johan

In the Constellation of the Black Widow When asked to compare their current work with past or future works the phrase "most extreme" is often abused. Anaal Nathrakh can with some semblance of honesty actually claim this. I know of few other bands where each release in many ways becomes less listenable than the previous one. The barrage of sound that meets you on this album is astounding, and the vocals are as insane as ever. To say that this album isn't for everybody is an understatement; I think the subset of people whom like metal in general and black metal in particular that can actually stand this album are easily counted, and I can't stop listening.

 

Anaal Nathrakh

5: Shining - VI - Klagopsalmer

2009-12-08 16:16:33 by johan

VI 0 Klagopsalmer Shining has with each release progressed further from their black metal roots to something more akin to a black / dark rock band. I've slowly come to accept it, though I still hold their second album as my favorite. Despite that I like this, I like it a lot, probably not as good as "V - Halmstad", but quite logically the next step. I already look forward to "VII - Fdd Frlorare" due out early 2010.

Shining's Myspace

6: Arckanum -

2009-12-07 19:30:17 by johan

Arckanum can be added to the list of artists which prior to 2009 I had extremely limited exposure to. This album honestly blew me away though, it's consistently strong despite it's range from at times thrashy to at other times melancholic and further into classic monotonous black metal. Don't take this albums relatively low placement as an indication of lack of quality, the list is simply getting quite competitive.

Arckanum

7: Immortal - All Shall Fall

2009-12-06 17:58:21 by johan

all shall fall cover One of the reasons I resisted making genre specific best of lists, is because of albums like this. It fails to fit neatly into any one category, it's for lack of a better word "Immortalish". Keeping with the tradition of the last 4 albums it mixes the Immortal black metal sound with riffs that are decidedly heavy metal. Immortal can get away with it, thanks to the fairly unique vocals. For a bit of a comeback album, not half bad.

Immortal

8: Katharsis - Fourth Reich

2009-12-05 06:09:04 by johan

fourth reich cover Katharsis has always been one of those bands that everybody else has raved about but I never bothered checking out. Partially because I resist hype, and partially because I'm lazy (the latter probably being predominant). I did however pick this album up and, I guess I should have done so sooner. This isn't half bad. 5 songs clocking in at just over 45 minutes means you're in for some serious listening here. It's not in any way ground breaking, but it serves it purpose.

Katharsis

9: Destryer666 - Defiance

2009-12-04 15:38:41 by johan

defiance cover Destryer666 have always been one of my favorite bands. Their thrashy war black metal have been a party staple for as long as I remember. It's been seven years since the last full length, but once again they don't disappoint. Don't get me wrong this is no "Phoenix Rising" or "Unchain The Wolves", but it's a solid slab of exactly what you'd expect from Destryer666, and that's good enough to land them at spot number nine.

Destryer666

10: Nazxul - Iconoclast

2009-12-04 02:23:53 by johan

iconoclast cover It's been 14 years since Nazxul's previous album, "Totem", so it was hard to know what to expect. In all honesty if I was subjected to a blind test I don't think I'd have ever made the connection. Whilst Totem was raw and unrelenting Iconoclast is symphonic and overall pretty easy listening (all things relative). None of that is to say it's not a very enjoyable album, it was just not what I expected. The long sweeping passages will make for excellent reading or coding music.

Nazxul on Myspace

The 2009 list

2009-12-03 15:45:56 by johan

Since we're coming to the end of 2009, I will be posting the mandatory list of album releases I enjoyed the most this year. There will be ten posts in descending order. As these posts will most likely bore some people I'll try to toss in a few other posts as well.