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|15 For 2007|
2007 was a solid year. But, beyond that, I don't feel I can fairly attribute "ranks" to the albums, at least not in a sequential best to worst order. I feel that hindsight is necessary to look at the best ofs, but, in making this list, I did place emphasis on rank to a point. In essence, the first five albums are better than the next five. Also, you'll notice the blurbs are inconsistent and that they get progressively worse as they go on. I got lazy, what can I say?
Because of when this was released, I fear that it may get snubbed in favour of late-07 releases like Colors. That is why this is first. It's also first because it may very well be my favourite release of the year. Initially serving as an album of redemption, Hangman's Hymn re-births the Sigh of Hail Horror Hail, with a snarlier, thrashier twist. Mixing intricately woven and programmed symphonics with blackened thrash metal, Sigh handle the subject matter in such a way that it's both mature and playful, something the band has made a name doing. Consistent all the way through and with very few flaws, Hangman's Hymn may drop much of their psychedelic influences in favour of ballsiness, but it was a surprising and welcomed switch.
To the Nameless Dead
Unlike my last entry, this is something that's still fresh in my mind, but something I truly believe will stay on top when I look back. Primordial have always been one of those scarily-consistent bands, maintaining an equal-or-greater quality on every album they put out. And, unlike other "consistent" metal acts, they do it all while still sounding fresh. Their trademark blend of folk and metal is left mostly unchanged on this album, though it seems to strike the listener with a different mood than their last album. To the Nameless Dead does bring the melancholy of their last album to the table, but it does so with a sense of pride and accomplishment. Musically, the band has stepped it up yet again, with the vocals being more powerful and war-torn that ever, and the slight reintroduction of their early black metal roots make is a nice treat for long-time fans. In short, this album is the total package. It's honest, well-executed and excellent thought out. It can quite easily stand the test of time.
Bob Marley's youngest and perhaps most naturally talented son Stephen finally puts out an album, and those who've been following his stealth attack on the Reggae/Raggamuffin/Dancehall seem to be the only ones not shocked by how naturally gifted he truly is. Mind Control, a re-working of his unreleased "Got Music" album, is both commercially viable and 100% authentic. On the disc, Stephen effortlessly blends his influences, meshing Hip-Hop, Reggae, Pop and Dancehall into a disc that's solid from front to back. The album features a bevy of big names, but they all feel like guests, as they should, giving the true namesake to Bob's voice a chance to shine. The hooks are outrageously good and the album never really falters. With Mind Control, Stephen Marley stepped out from behind the scenes and, for once, let his brothers watch him stride to the top.
Life is a Grave and I Dig It!
2007 saw releases from both psychobilly giants and it's with great ease that I award the Nekromantix with the victory. Unlike their super srs friends in Tiger Army, the Nekromantix continue to embody ghoulish fun and traditional psychobilly rabble-rousing. Those who've heard them, or any faster-paced psychobilly band in the past, will probably know what to expect: upright bass slapping, aged production, an Elvis impersonator on vocals and drive-in subject matter. But, this album survives on standards, mostly because it sets then. Troy's guitar work is exceptional, soloing and leading with a bluesy edge, while Kim's bass is expectedly outstanding. There's little more to say about this other than it's quite possibly the best psychobilly album I've heard. It somehow sounds vintage and contemporary at the same time, and most of all, in the 8 months I've had it, it's remained as fun and enjoyable as ever.
|5||The Red Chord|
Prey for Eyes
After hearing Prey for Eyes, I let out a sigh of relief. Gone was the tepid, bland and stale production of Clients. Gone were the extended, meandering breakdowns that entered without reason and overstayed their welcome. Gone were the overused spoken passages. The sophomore slump had been defeated. Prey for Eyes was an almost complete return to form for the Red Chord, who yet again began focusing on the music, pushing aesthetics aside. The group's authentic blend of grindcore and death metal takes the forefront on this disc, and while it could have used the vocal-variation of the first album, the disc relinquishes the perks of Fused Together, with their trademark use of dizzying tempo changes and squeaky pinch harmonics. While it's not as quirky as their debut, it's leaps and bounds ahead of Clients, and yet it somehow embodies the basic sound of both. Far less polarising than Clients and almost as intense as Fused, Prey for Eyes makes the cut just because it's pound-for-pound a solid album.
Monstrosity's "Spiritual Apocalypse" does a lot of things really well. It touches on brutality without entering brutal death metal territory. It makes excellent use of melody, yet it's by no means 'melodeath'. I guess what I'm trying to say is it does everything a good death metal album should. Spiritual Apocalypse will kick your ass. The album's pace is relentless, yet never grows stale. The vocals are absolutely bloodthirsty, and Kelly Shaefer of Atheist even makes a brief appearance. The musicianship is ridiculously tight, and when you pair that with the previous points, this really is the death metal album to beat in 07. Take into consideration that this year sees releases from genre giants Behemoth, as well as hybrid heroes Akercocke and well, that's saying something. Some will say they were better with Corpsegrinder on vocals, and to them I simply say "have fun listening to gore metal". Some say Rise to Power was more effective, and to them I say "then listen to 'Rise to Power'". I, personally, am indifferent when it comes to Corpsegrinder, and I've listened to this dozens more than I ever did "Rise to Power". A fresh take on the Floridian death metal sound. For the win.
Throughout their relatively short career, The End have been repeatedly plagued by comparisons. Always compared to fellow tech-giants Dillinger Escape Plan, it seems like these guys never had a shot. With Elementary, The End prove that it's now or never. Having fully evolved beyond their roots, Elementary is what you get when "math metal" grows up. While they still retain many elements of chaos, dissonance and time-shifting, the focus on this album is tension and how it builds. By exploring post-buzzword structures and finally toying with clean vocals, The End have put out an extremely strong album that's both lyrically and musically interesting. While it will certainly piss a lot of their fans off, it ultimately proves the sceptics wrong.
Get the fuck up. Simon says get the fuck up.
Stern words, but Pharoahe knows what he's doing. Sure, his biggest song resulted in a law-suit, and thus was effectively pulled from the airwaves, but in no time he was ghostwriting for the best of them. And by best of them, I mean P.Diddy, so I'm not entirely serious. Regardless, with Desire, Pharoahe came back and, if anything, out did himself. Consistently good from beginning to end, Desire can survive exclusively on Pharoahe multi-syllabic flow and lyrical prowess, but run on fumes it does not. The beats are surprisingly solid. Quality material: nothing more to say, really.
I won't lie, I had no idea what "dubstep" was going into this album. I could piece it together, no doubt, but what I got was not exactly what I had expected. I wont say much more because nearly every other Staffer says it better than I ever could, but I don't think any 2007 list is complete without this.
Funeral doom tends to suck. Not necessarily a matter of length, the genre typically falls victim to a plague of meandering tracks that drag for what seems like an eternity, building to a predictibale and ultimately disappointing crescendo. This album doesn't do that. The songs are slow and plodding, but Worship add in an intense sense of emotion to the mix. An album started years ago and finished after on of the members committed suicide, Dooom's overemphasised title is as fitting as can be. An absolutely powerful and emotionally crushing album. Heavy as sin, too.
It's just fun.
They make two 20 minute folk metal songs work. I really don't have to say anything more.
Given to the Rising
It's great to see the heaviness return in full force. Left a little to be desired, but it's still Neurosis, meaning it's still fucking awesome.
Mathy and fun. Those two things shouldn't work, but hey, Battles found a way. So my support for this waned and continues to dwindle but in the end it's still a really solid album.
|15||Between the Buried and Me|
Though this in no way deserves to even make the top 30 based on overall songwriting and quality, Colors stands above its innumerable flaws and stays a really fluid and fun listen. It's contrived, the vocals are awful and some parts are downright stupid and unnecessary but I always find myself spinning it from front to back. And that has to be worth something.
|Thrice – The Alchemy Index Volumes I and II|
The Dillinger Escape Plan – Ire Works
Hot Cross – Risk Revival
Between the Buried and Me - Colors
Wolves in the Throne Room – Two Hunters
|List is obviously kind of half-assed and last minute. Wanted to do it because I'm staff but I'm really not a huge fan of lists.|
|good list. a few albums i need to check out. Primordial is so damn good and so is Sigh|
|5 is awesome, I think I put it 5th too. The End's record was solid but great. #15 is the best of 07. Sigh is good but I really don't see the fuss about it by you and some others in sputnik.|
|That is one heck of a list, i mean you damned near reviewed each of the albums just by commenting on them..|
I'll be checking out #3, #7, and #9 now, you've all but convinced me to buy them. #9 sounds real good.
And finally having no 'Fear Of A Blank Planet' on this list is a bloody relief...
|I really need to hear 5, and I need to finish 7 and 8. Good list of albums and nice descriptions.|
|I was wondering when your list was going to pop up. Finally 1 makes it on a list, good call.|
|This is the only top 15 list I've seen that is actually good. Sigh is definitely the best I've heard this year, same with Primodial. I'm dying to get the Worship album, I'll see if I can pick it up when I'm in Germany in January. Yeah, brilliant list.|
|Woop for 5 and Elementary too. That's an underrated record.|
|First song on 12 is 30 minutes long :)|
|"And by best of them, I mean P.Diddy, so I'm not entirely serious"|
HAHAHAHA. oh man cocaine, you never cease to make me smile.
|this is a really great list. the only one that matches a lot of my picks |
|Stephen Marley isn't Bob Marleys youngest son.|
Great list by the way.