Monday, December 21, 2009

Top Albums 2009

Here are twenty albums I enjoyed from 2009. I heard (and liked) a lot of new releases this year. I think it was a slightly better year for music than 2008, and I have my hopes up for 2010 (flying cars and some new crust punk I hope)!
My top ten are filled in with several artists I already knew and loved coming back for more, along with some excellent new debuts.

I'm certain I'm forgetting some important releases, and also I just like to hear other people's opinions, so you should all comment with your favorites! And if anyone would like to hear an album from my list, leave me a comment and I'll post it.

1. Panopticon - Collapse AND ALSO split w/ Wheels Within Wheels
  • more awesome anarchist black metal; both releases are ace, but I find myself listening to the split more than I thought I would
2. P.O.S. - Never Better
  • angry yet thoughtful underground hip-hop; about as good as Audition, which is to say excellent
3. Punch - Punch
  • hardcore thrash punk from SF; awesome female vocalist
4. Skagos - ást
  • a big hit among fans of atmospheric black metal; this band certainly deserves the underground attention they are getting
5. Cobalt - Gin
  • progressive black metal; with the hype I've seen I imagine this will make a lot of people's lists
6. Star Fucking Hipsters - Never Rest In Peace
  • sort of a pop-ier Leftover Crack/Choking Victim; this probably isn't as good as Until We're Dead, but the concert was pretty great
7. Rx Bandits - Mandala
  • progressive rock with hardcore and soul influences; they don't play ska anymore, but they're a better band for it
8. Martyrdöd - Sekt
  • more blackened crust from one of Sweden's best
9. YOB - The Great Cessation
  • the return of the sludge-doom metal masters; heavy heavy!
10. Nadja - Belles Betes AND ALSO split w/ A Storm of Light
  • two solid and listenable drone and post-metal releases
11. Mouse on the Keys - An Anxious Object
  • Japanese jazz-fusion
12. DödsÄngel - Helgrind
  • a nice Canadian one-woman black metal piece with some crust influences
13. Iskra - Bureval
  • blackened crust from Canada; this time with an emphasis on the black
14. De Silence et d'Ombre - Ascension
  • dense, atmospheric black metal from Germany
15. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - self-titled
  • indie pop shoegaze; This Love is Fucking Right!
16. Witch Hunt - Burning Bridges to Nowhere
  • anarcho-punk; I recommend the earlier albums more though
17. Oranssi Pazuzu - Muukalainen Puhuu
  • weird psychedelic black metal, with an astronaut on the cover!
18. Ilkim Oulanem - Iblisbilim
  • quality traditional black metal from Turkey
19. Intro5pect - Record Profits
  • more electro-dance-anarcho-punk from southern California
20. Wolves in the Throne Room - Black Cascade
  • more atmospheric black metal straight out of the North American forests (Fen was in this position, but I decided this album is better)

a handful of honorable-mentions:
Megadeth - Endgame
Sylvester Anfang II - self-titled
Sun of the Blind - Skullreader
Fen - The Malediction Fields
Sonic Boom Six - City of Thieves
Pensees Nocturnes - Vacuum
Celeste - Misanthrope(s)
Drudkh - Microcosmos
Fall of Efrafa - Inlé
Black Moth Superrainbow - Eating Us
Deafest & Cynd split

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Weakling - Dead As Dreams

Artist: Weakling
Album: Dead As Dreams
Genre: Black Metal
Year: 2000
Origin: USA

I've been meaning to post this album for a long time, but it's difficult to write about. I'm not sure I even know how I feel about it. It's a brilliant album for sure, but you have to be in the right mood to handle the dark and hypnotic atmosphere, otherwise it can be downright hard to listen to. From Dead As Dreams, Weakling's only release, you can see where some of the more recent US black metal bands, such as Wolves in the Throne Room, got their dense atmosphere. But Wolves in the Throne Room took it in a more... light-hearted, I guess... direction, whereas Weakling is closer in some ways to the misanthropic feel of fellow San Francisco artist Leviathan.

All of the ID tags should be correct, though one of the files is misnamed: it should be "Desasters in the Sun". In general, if it looks like proper English it's probably not the correct track name.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra - Full Tension Beaters

Artist: Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra
Album: Full Tension Beaters
Genre: ...
Year: 2000
Origin: Japan

I think the name pretty much sums it up. Really I have no idea what else to say.

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Friday, December 4, 2009

Ilkim Oulanem - Iblisbilim

Artist: Ilkim Oulanem
Album: Iblisbilim
Genre: Black Metal
Year: 2009
Origin: Turkey

Ilkim Oulanem is a one-woman black metal band from Ankara, Turkey. This EP is actually one of the better pure black metal albums of the year, above any Scandinavian releases I can remember from 2009. As far as I know, there's not too much of a Turkish black metal scene (I've listened to ...Aaaarrghh..., but wasn't much more impressed with their music than with the band name), but I think this album is a very nice (though traditional) beginning.

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