In the Pool of Dreams the Water Darkens …

Lightning flashes about the Worm Gear bunker tonight, a menacing preface to the 35-mph-wind-thunderstorm bearing down upon our locale, so we insulate ourselves with Running Wild’s ‘Gates to Purgatory’ and review-readying. A smackerel of heaviness awaits you all as we dissect the recent releases from tech-deathsters Ulcerate, symphonic-deathsters Deals Death (heh), and the foresty black-jam of Velnias. Also, as we did previously with our own Marty Rytkonen awhile back, Worm Gear presents the entirety of the Metal Maniacs-themed interviews Decibel mag conducted with S. Craig Zahler and Jeff Wagner, available heretofore only in abbreviated form on the printed page. Open your skulls and ears and prepare for the deluge! As always, participate with your own comments, playlists, or quiet introspection \m/
side note: if you’re into dark/revisionist Western fiction and haven’t read Zahler’s A Congregation of Jackals, do yourself a favor and grab a copy. -Jim

Jim Clifton Playlist
Nhor – Within the Darkness Between the Starlight
Helloween – Keeper of the Seven Keys Pt I
Fyrnask – Eldir_Nótt
Rotting Christ – Apokathilosis
Katechon – Man, God, Giant
Nuclear Assault – Survive / Handle With Care
Cadaveric Fumes – Macabre Exaltation 12″MLP
Winter – Into Darkness/Eternal Frost
Burzum – Burzum / Aske
Gorgoroth – Incipit Satan / Under the Sign of Hell
Iron Maiden – Iron Maiden / Killers

Jake Moran Playlist
Nhor – Within The Darkness Between The Starlight
Sangre de Muerdago – Deixademe Morrer no Bosque
Rudi Arapahoe – Double Bind EP
La Reverdie – Nox Lux
Agalloch – Ashes Against The Grain
Kinit Her – Storm of Radiance
Kinit Her – The Poet & The Blue Flower
Circulation of Light – Acheiropoieta
Rain Drinkers – Yesodic Helices
Skogen – Vittra

Marty Rytkonen playlist
Megadeth – Peace Sells/Killing is my Buisness… (it takes putting classics on the shelf for a while, to return to them with a new respect. Dave is nuts, but his old music was amazing.)
Iron Maiden – Piece of Mind
Metal Church – S/T
Mercyful Fate – Don’t Break the Oath
Agent Steel – Skeptics Apocalypse
The Accused – Martha Splatterheads Maddest Stories Ever Told
Anacrusis – Screams and Whispers
Anacrusis – Manic Impressions
Fates Warning – Night on Brocken
Running Wild – Gates to Purgatory

And I’ll leave you all with an amazingly mighty song. These guys were so ahead of their time…

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~ by cliftonium on August 21, 2013.

77 Responses to “In the Pool of Dreams the Water Darkens …”

  1. Thanks for posting the Wagner/Zahler interviews. Had fun reading them. Big thumbs up on the Anacrusis. They were a very overlooked band and everyone should check out both Manic Impressions and Screams. Screams and Whispers in particular is a very unique and progressive sounding album. Way ahead of their time like you said. I always wonder what their next album would have sounded like.

    Asphyx – The Rack
    Asphyx – Deathhammer
    King Diamond – Them
    Witchfinder General – Death Penalty
    Candlemass – Nightfall
    Believer – Sanity Obscure
    Dismember – Where Ironcrosses Grow
    Drudkh – Forgotten Legends

  2. Sound the alaaaaarm! Yes, good to see some appreciation for Anacrusis, highly unique band. Kenn Nardi is still keeping himself busy it seems, re-mixing some of the early stuff which he offers for free download on his site. I’ve bought Hindsight vol 1: Suffering Hour & vol 2: Reason a while ago, re-recordings of the first two albums done in 2010 I believe. Haven’t really absorbed them yet come to think of it… Nardi is also writing new material but not under the Anacrusis banner.

    Looking forward to the reviews and interviews. There are sure some classics in your playlists this week sirs! Especially Marty; trip down memory lane hehehe? Inspiring! I’ve been avoiding my Megadeth stuff since Dave’s gone cuckoo but I guess I shouldn’t, they’re really classic thrash I guess…

    Over here it’s been:
    Gorephilia – Ascent to Chaos & Embodiment of Death
    Vorum – Poisoned Void
    Beyond – Fatal Power of Death (amazing!)
    Swans – We Rose from your Bed with the Sun in our Head (my first proper introduction to these reborn cult heroes. Shit this is overwhelming! I need more Swans!)
    Peter Brötzmann – various Full Blast albums
    Morne – Untold Wait & Shadows
    Samothrace – Life’s Trade
    Indesinence – Vessels of Light and Decay
    Saint Vitus – S/T & The Walking Dead/Hallow’s Victim
    Church of Misery – Master of Brutality

    …plus propably some stuff I forgot…

  3. Y’all are breaking into the classics vault this week 🙂 Always fun to revisit the great ones; Metal church, Mercyful Fate, early Megadeth, etc.
    I’ve noticed something odd about Anacrusis over the years. It is almost impossible to find a serious metalhead who doesn’t like them, Mention any other band- even Black Sabbath- on message boards and you’ll quickly get some detractors chiming in. But discussions of Anacrusis can go on for pages and there’s never a single negative comment posted. ‘Nuff said.
    Will read the interviews later, gotta run for now.

    Platlist
    Saharra- Time’s Forgotten Sands
    Wolves in the Throne Room- Two Hunters
    Seidr- For Winter’s Fire (
    WASP- The Crimson Idol

  4. classics, seems that is all that is discussed on this forum. no surprise here. ya’ll live in the past! hahaha. me too, sometimes.

  5. Oh, playlist:

    Freek’s Mom …..nevermind.
    Cadaveric Fumes MLP za shit as it has been since the fine man Jim introduced it to me
    Patrice O’ Neal ‘Unreleased’
    Sorcery – Ancient Creation Demo
    Blizaro – City of Living Nightmare
    Rottrevore – Iniquitous
    Darklord – …By the Force of Sacred Magic Rite..
    Uncanny – Nkytalgia
    Vom Fetisch Der Unbeirrt – Psychohygiene (fantastic black metal, super original)

  6. Enjoyed the interviews, kinda neat to get a little more of a ‘behind the scenes’ look at how MM was run.

    Worth noting that the MM forum was a very lively place back in the day too. Around ’99 it got lots of traffic, and several of the writers would occasionally post there too, including Jeff, Sue, and Marty I think. The site hit a major glitch around Y2K and never really recovered, but one of the members spun off the successful Lapland Metal forum, and many MM regulars migrated there. The MM board- what was left of it- became a barren little homeland for trolls. Lapland thrived for years and is still going, but it’s been a closed community for years and very few folks still post there, although there are a few die-hards.

    Evilingus: re: the classics always being discussed; I notice that on lots of sites. I think it’s b/c those are the albums that most people know, so more people will chime in about them. New acts are unknown to many people, and old obscurities also have a smaller following. It can get a tad boring to see the same few things discussed ad nauseam (e.g., I refuse to participate in another John Arch vs Ray Alder debate), but it’s hard to start a conversation when no one else is familiar with the topic. I guess the take-home message is to give new stuff a chance from time to time. My recent discovery, via WG, is Seidr ‘For Winter’s Fire’; very cool album that strikes me as having Evoken at its core, but develops it’s own identity.

  7. Yeah, i need to check out the Seidr. Wasn’t sure where the links were to hear the music. A lot of people are saying it is quite something. That is on my ‘to-check-out-list’. Myself, I am always on the lookout for new stuff. I rarely go back to the oldies. I revere them in spirit, and listen occasionally, but something in me always seeks something new to chew on, like Beef Jerky of sorts. Now, my findings are rarely of anything special. I would say I average about something worth really getting into once every other month or so. Not a bad average. How long it lasts? I don’t know. Doesn’t matter. Nothing lasts forever..

  8. How philosophical Patrick (lost the evil alter ego eh?). Is that a hint of sadness I detect…?

    My listening habits tend to go in all directions at once, past to present, crossing many genre boundaries, so I always have the feeling there is simply too much each month that’s worth getting into… Recent discoveries that really stuck with me are Beyond and Morne, and very recently (and non-metal, although very very heavy) Swans, Liars and Einstürzende Neubauten (somehow these three presented themselves through reviews and the local record store dude shortly after each other and somehow they seem connected in sound and feel, but I digress…). Still on the list: Lustre, Kinit Her and Fyrnask. And the the new Gorguts. And the new Ulcerate. And the new Carcass. *sigh*

    I still play my oldies regularly. My guess is that these oldies are not only subject of many a conversation because we all know them but also because they sort of define us, the metalheads. I’ve always thought that metal isn’t just something you listen to, it’s something you are. The hair (and when hair starts to lack, the beards hehehe), the shirts with unreadable bandlogos, the denim (and leather hehehe) full of patches and those Priest, Maiden, Mercyful Faith, Slayer, Death albums, aren’t they what connects us all in a way that die hard Dire Straights fans will never be connected?

    Mmm, considering deleting that blurb, feels a bit eh… silly. Beer’s starting to kick in. Ah whatever.

  9. Me, lost my evil edge? You surely are drinking too much sir. I just like to turn the amp up and down depending on which side of the bed I woke up on. I am only human after all. Alter-egos, most definitely. But the name, yeah, I am tired of Evilingus, and thinking of another funny name. until then, it’s just sadly me….

  10. new Gorguts (pretty much every day)
    new Watain
    Argentum – Ad Interitum Funebrarum
    Necromass – Mysteria Mystica Zofiriana
    Severed Savior – Servile Insurrection
    Spectral Lore – Sentinel
    Christicide – Upheaval of the Soul
    Perdition Temple – Edict Of The Antichrist Elect
    Deranged – Morgue Orgy EP
    Dr. Shrinker – Grotesque Wedlock comp
    Front Beast – Demon Ways Of Sorcery
    Obscured Secretions demo
    Raspberry Bulbs – Deformed Worship

  11. Freek, nightsblood, evilingus:
    I’ve been thinking on your comments re: the discussions here (and elsewhere) that tend to center on classic metal, and I feel there’s truth to be had amongst each of your takes on the subject. A task for all, if anyone’s interested: if you could choose one album released in the last five years that deserves all-time classic status, what would it be and why? I know it’s lame to put something out there without an initial contribution, but I’ve been trying to decide on something for the last two days and I decided if it’s that difficult for me to answer, I’ll go ahead and put it out there to give everyone else time to ruminate as well (though I do have a deadline I’m setting for myself to keep this post from getting stale 😉

  12. Shit, that’s hard. Nothing comes to mind immediately. I guess you could say five years is a bit short, it seems to me there has to be more distance between now and the release so I can judge the album completely loose from the period and the other releases from that period… More years to absorb and contemplate before the “classic” status can be given… But I’ll accept the task; I have a candidate but I’ll ruminate some more.

  13. That would probably take a week or so to really figure out what that would be. I’ll stew on it.

  14. It is a daunting task, and deserving of more time. Let’s all try and have our answers by next Thursday. I’ll push Jake and Marty to do so as well 😉

  15. It is tough to put something in the “classic” category within 5 years, but I would not hesitate to put Arch/Matheos – Sympathetic Resonance in the modern classic category. That is the only one that instantly comes to mind for me, but I will see if I can think of some more.

  16. and we are talking just metal, any genre, right?

  17. Yep, any type of metal \m/

  18. and it has to be a full length? MLP or demo okay too?

  19. Ran across this site fairly recently and have to say it’s one of the best I’ve seen! It’s hard to find sites that cover underground stuff in an intelligent manner-Most cover the same bands and it’s usually crappy commercial laden stuff.

    My playlist for the past week:
    Master Fury-Circle of Hell
    Tyrants Blood-Into the Kingdom of Graves
    Forestfather-Hereafter
    Ninkharsag-Album promo
    Rinbearer-Undying
    Scythe-Beware the Scythe
    Scythe-Subterranean Steel
    Motley Crue-Too Fast for Love
    Rush-Greatest Hits
    Antaeus-Cut Your Flesh and Worship Satan
    Melechesh-Sphynx/Djinn/As Jerusalem Burns
    Twisted Sister-Stay Hungry

  20. Ran across this site fairly recently and have to say it’s one of the best I’ve seen! It’s hard to find sites that cover underground stuff in an intelligent manner-Most cover the same bands and it’s usually crappy commercial laden stuff.

    My playlist for the past week:
    Master Fury-Circle of Hell
    Tyrants Blood-Into the Kingdom of Graves
    Forestfather-Hereafter
    Ninkharsag-Album promo
    Rinbearer-Undying
    Scythe-Beware the Scythe
    Scythe-Subterranean Steel
    Motley Crue-Too Fast for Love
    Rush-Greatest Hits
    Antaeus-Cut Your Flesh and Worship Satan
    Melechesh-Sphynx/Djinn/As Jerusalem Burns
    Twisted Sister-Stay Hungry

  21. I’d say anything you’re passionate about \m/

  22. Welcome aboard, Curt! Excellent list. Thanks for reminding me about Melechesh – great band, haven’t listened to them in a while. TS ‘Stay Hungry’ was one of my first cassettes back in the early ’80s; ‘You’re Gonna Burn In Hell’! That’s the stuff \m/

  23. Re: ‘new’ classics; the one I’d propose from the past 5 years is Atlantean Kodex ‘The Golden Bough’. This was discussed a few weeks back so I won’t go into detail, but IMO the band blended some truly great elements, taking their epic cues from SOLSTICE, early MANOWAR, and ‘Hammerheart’-era BATHORY, doomed it up some, and produced their own unique voice. If EPs and such are allowed consideration, their ‘Pnakotic Demos’ release also warrants consideration.

    The only other candidate IMO is While Heaven Wept’s ‘Vast Oceans Lachrymose’. Like ‘Kodex, WHW has combined familiar elements in order to create their own sound. The band has always fused doomy instrumentation with clean, clear, sad vocals, but the infusion of Arch-era Fates Warning into VOL propelled that album to new heights.

    I agree with others; something 5 years old to even enter such conversations. All-time classics have to prove their staying power; lots of great albums eventually wear out their welcome, become dated sounding, and eventually stop getting played except once in a blue moon. But I can definitely see the 2 albums I mentioned above becoming ensconced as two of the all-time greats, at least from my POV.

  24. Thanks for participating. The ‘Golden Bough’ has been on my list to check out for awhile (mostly due to the aforementioned earlier posts) so I will this week; looking forward to it even more so now with that high praise.
    Also, FWIW, I know 5 years isn’t long enough, but that was the reason for the challenge – select something that
    *hasn’t* had time to garner sufficient respect, and find reasons to champion it despite the time problem. And make Patrick happy 😉

  25. In my mind, the following would be required to achieve ‘classic’ status:

    Timelessness
    Originality
    Influential
    Excellence

    ‘Timelessness’ is really a hard attribute to give something so young, as many have already suggested. However, I’ll just have to take a risk and guess what would be timeless. I can’t right now actually. But I’ll keep thinking. The one I keep coming back to is Triptykon’s ‘Eparistera daimones’. I know many many would disagree with this, but my mind keeps coming back to it. If I do choose this one, I’ll be prepared to defend it, however, its very much a matter to taste and what you seek in the end.

  26. just got the gorguts yesterday in the mail. i’ll say, impressive production and heavy as hell. i can’t get through the whole album without it getting ‘samey’ though. but the time i get to side ‘c’ (about 6th song in) i feel as it all meshes into one dissonant heavy evil open note djent type of fancy thing. not sold on this by far yet. i’ll certainly give it a lot more tries though.

  27. Triptykon is an excellent choice and could be considered timeless since it basically models the already classic strand of creativity set forth by Celtic Frost.

    For me, I have to look at albums that I have listened to endlessly and keep coming back to. There isn’t 1 only choice here, but 3 albums come to mind instantly that remain in my player a lot and always strike me as refreshing. The Arch/Matheos full-length is fantastic and even though it has that ancient metal feel to it, there is enough of a modern twist to keep it relevant. And John’s vocals send chills down my spine. They always have. 2 goes to Vektor – Outer Isolation. What a stunning thrash album. They came from the mindset of classic thrash, but their ultra technical approach WITHOUT losing site of songs with hooks or substance, feel so inventive and ahead of their peers while destroying others trying to ape that “let’s mosh” stupidity found in the “resurgence” of thrash. The final album that leaps to mind, though it is 6 years out at this point, is Gorefest’s Rise to Ruin. Wow. Great moody death metal album with fire and aggression at it’s core. They came back and gave the fans of their excellent beginnings some serious meat to gnaw on. Granted it was nothing “new”, but it connecetd with me and I’m still excited to spin this album.

    So what is classic to me may fall short to a lot of you, but isn’t that what music is supposed to be? A personal pursuit and journey. this is why music made for the masses has zero staying power or substance.

    I’m sure I’ll think of other recent classics as I ponder the question further and see where this discussion goes.

    Lastly….. Welcome Curtis!!!!!! Nice to have new readers that feel so compelled to share withthe rest of us. Your compliments are kind and greatly appreciated!!

  28. Marty> I’ve been reading more praise for Rise to Ruin lately, gonna have to check that one out as I’m a big fan of the early stuff (saw them live during the False era, they were crushing!). Erase was a bit meh and after that the Thin Lizzy cum death growls shit… That was just silly. Great guitar work, but no. Never realized they made a succesful comeback. Is La Muerte also worth checking out?

    Patrick> Triptykon, yeah… Wouldn’t be my first pick but it’s a good one nevertheless.

    The ones that came to my mind at fisrt seem to be the late-career-underrated or killer-comeback type; Deathhammer by Asphyx, All Shall Fall by Immortal, Absu by Absu… But it´s hard to call them classic because these bands have produced arguably better albums in the past (although All Shall Fall is a career highpoint imo).

    And then I decided on this:
    I feel very strongly that Burzum’s post-detention trilogy as a whole should be viewed as classic because it is so incredibly one of a kind; deeply rooted in the misanthropic Norsk grimness that he helped give birth to but evolved into such a highly personal and individual art that it should make most surviving bands from those grim days blush (right through the corpsepaint hehehe) and reconsider what the fuck they’re doing and if it is still relevant (in that respect: kudos to Emperor for simply quitting while they were ahead. Please don’t disgrace yourselves with the reunion guys…). Plus, Burzum has developed such a strong love ‘m or hate ‘m aura, that’s gotta count for something hehehe… So ok, if I have to pick one: Umskiptar. Fucking classic. Brilliance that transcends all genres of heavy music. In ten years or so the whole metal world will agree hahaha!

    Oh, and one runner up: Graves of the Archangels by Dead Congregation (although it was released in 2007). In my opinion it’s the perfect “new school of OSDM” album and, if you agree with me on the existence of such a subgenre/revival (you know, the Onward to Golgotha worshippers), it’s arguably (one of) the first of it’s kind and a herald of the recent battalions (a lot of them seem to be finnish hehehe) that are making something not new, not highly original, but sort of fresh (can death metal be fresh?) and very very HEAVY out of the rotting remains of ’90 death metal. Mmm now Disma’s Towards the Megalith comes to mind as well… Maybe that would be an even better choice…

    Pfff and now I really should get some sleep. Hope this all makes some sense, I’ll re-read it in the morning hahaha…

  29. On my run, i thought through this for about an hour, and I am sticking with Triptykon’s LP.
    Why – I’ve played it a zillion times, like the classics.
    Secondly, it took Celtic Frost in an even heavier and darker path. It is very original, and I would certainly say highly influential (particularly in the Euro region Metal scene). Every song is so dark, heavy and emotional. The last song is one of the coolest songs I have ever heard. It puts all Doomsters and Sludge nuts to shame. It will always remain special to me. I bought the vinyl copy after it sold out for $100, so that should say something there. So, there ya have it Jim.

    I listened to the Arch/Matheos. Not my cup of tea, so I can’t comment on it. Nightsblood and I have totally different tastes in Metal, so its nice to see potential classics on the other side of the fence.

    The other albums I would ‘probably’ consider classics would be:

    Diskords ‘Doomscapes’ is another classic in my mind. Some of the best Death Metal I have ever heard.

    Bloodbath – The Fathomless Mastery – not original, but done so mother fucking well and exectured with perfection, that it makes it a DM classic

    Necrovation – Breed Deadness Blood

    Weapon – Embers and REvelations (not sure about this one)

    I know I’ll come back to these and listen again years past.

  30. Yes Freek, you and I agree on Burzum and Umskiptar. Its quite amazing. I would consider those 3 he did classics as well. Over time, they will be just as important has his first 4 records.

  31. Marty – damn this Gorefest is FUCKKKIINNG heavy. Never heard them before, but this Rise To Ruin album is something. Gonna spin this good!

  32. Ha! My pick is Burzum as well, but a specific album of the trilogy which shall remain nameless for the moment; looks like we’re on the same page, Freek 😉
    I’m @ the beach right now and will give more info later when I get home \m/

  33. Jim – I am guessing you will go with Belus. Just a hunch.

  34. The metal god that is Marty turned me onto that one as well a couple years ago. Undeniably death metal, undeniably fucking great record \m/
    ps I see you get the Vargness as well …

  35. Well, shit 😉
    I’ll explain my reasons later \m/

  36. Yes, I have tremendous musical respect for Varg, of the highest kind.

  37. I don’t know which one of the newer 3 is better. I love them all for different reasons.

  38. Re: Triptykon- Interesting choice. Any particular reason you chose it over Celtic Frost’s ‘Monotheist’? Triptykon seems like a continuation of the direction Tom took on that last CF album, so personaly I’d give the nod to that one. Nothing wrong w/ the Trip- album though, good stuff there.

  39. Good question Nights. I think Tom takes Trip in a much more direct and forward dark hell. Trip taps Tom’s emotion and soul very eloquently , so much that I can feel the pain and suffering While with Monotheist, it is a bit more experimental, and ‘cooler’, but nonetheless an excellent record. You can almost see it. And the band members he plays with all add an incredible amount to the record. Just fantastic synergy I think.

  40. Freak…. La Muerte is also good, but not as instantly fierce and it suffers slightly for being a tad bit too long. Rise to Ruin is damn close to being just as essential as the godly “False” album. They totally lost me on Erase, Soul Survivor and Chapter 13. Totally dumbed down their sound and this tough guy shouted vocals were terrible.

    Regarding Burzums post slammer trilogy… all great in my opinion. Though it may not be as “mystical” as his musical origins, the atmosphere and overall style is undeniably “Burzum” and so amazingly constructed as only he can. I even enjoyed the remake album “From the Depths of Darkness”. He did all the songs justice IMO.

    Patrick… Arch/Matheos not being your thing. I get and respect that. I’m an old Fates Warning junkie and just having John back sharing that voice with the world is amazing to me. His style isn’t for everybody and he may fall into a classification similar to King Diamond as in, people either love or hate the higher register. It’s ok… blew me away. still does! Is it partially a nostalgic thing? Maybe. Doesn’t matter as I still love it.

    Regarding Triptykon…. again…. a dark manifestation of focused and PURE art. Monotheist was at times a bit overwhelming due to the darkness it cultivated, but man that was the comeback Tom needed to get his head back on straight and in the game. After Into the Pandemonium, he was creatively in a tailspin. CF ending needed to happen for him to further realize his path and feed from the greatness that was Monotheist. Dying God Coming into human Flesh….. fuck man…. what a troubled (in a great way) and mesmerizing song!

  41. Yeah! Dying God is an amazing song. I didn’t like the video. In fact, I never really liked it when bands make professional videos. It bastardizes the soul of the music. So that video is another reason why Monotheist isn’t a classic in my mind.

  42. The video has nothing to do with the album as a whole, rather a marketing outlet to help promote it. In all honesty, quality videos in metal have never really been a factor as most of them are low budget, or just fucking lame.

  43. i know, it still affects my opinion though. can’t help it.

  44. So I went to a bunch of used shops this weekend and was happy with my haul. Caught up on some classic metal that I had missed first go around:

    Jag Panzer – Mechanized Warfare
    Avulsed – Nullo…
    Manowar – Into Glory Ride and The Sign of the Hammer
    Helstar – A Distant Thunder
    Lost Horizon – A Flame to the Ground Beneath. (Their first is one of the greatest metal releases!)
    The Red Chord – Fused Together in Revolving Doors

    My Picks for albums destined for classic status (at least in my mind) and I’m cheating with three.

    Spite Extreme Wing – Vltra
    Vektor – Black Future (Sorry Marty, although I like the 2nd release, I feel the first was better)
    The Living Fields – Running Out of Daylight

    I do however think it is much harder to make an impression in the metal world now. Just think how many metal releases came out in say 1989 (a great year…) compared to last year. So many releases, so many different genres are released in a given year. It’s hard for a band to make an impact like they use to. Hence the broad acceptance of what is a classic release will probably be more difficult to obtain. That being said each generation probably has it’s own classics. I imagine someone out there considers releases by Lamb of God or some other more commercially popular band “classics”

  45. Cliftonium Classix:
    Battleroar’s To Death and Beyond… is the #1 classic of the previous 5 years. Rarely do traditional metal bands get this creative with riffing (or pinch this many harmonics) and it stands proudly above the rest.

    6+ years ago was Reverend Bizarre’s incredible So Long Suckers and Drudkh’s last great album, Estrangement and also Minotauri’s II.

    And a little before that is Necros Christos’s Grave Damnation and Bolt Thrower’s For Those Once Loyal, my top two favorite platters of death metal.

    Cirkuslizard— so that’s the best playlist I’ve seen posted in a long time, pretty much all stuff in my permanent collection. You may find in time that the second Lost Horizon album is better than the first, but the louder keyboards and weaker drum sound are step down, and it took me about a year to land on this conclusion. In terms of how I define power metal—upper register soaring vocals & lots of double bass and plenty of double time—Lost Horizon made the two very best power metal albums EVER. And the Luciferion album by Lost Horizon’s main guy is quite good, albeit overproduced.

    I’m a huge fan of Spite Extreme Wing’s Non Duco—I’ll check out the one you mentioned, which I don’t know.

  46. Alright, having my daily espresso shot and playing Belus. Good to see some agree with me. Usually discussing Varg tends to polarize (he’s a racist murderer blablabla), thank Wotan we focus on the music here…
    I picked Umskiptar because I had to pick one but now I feel I’m letting Belus and Fallen down a bit, all three are sheer genius. I’m curious why Belus is the special one for you Jim. I remember the impact Fallen had on me; it was the first of the three I listened to (somehow I felt like skipping Belus at the time, lots of negative reviews and I wasn’t really listening to Burzum for a while). I felt it was not of this world. Filosofem did hint at something like this but Fallen was simply unlike anything I ever heard in heavy music. The cover art, that genuinely creepy intro and then Jeg Faller with those sickly twisted guitar lines and then that refrain… What. The. Fuck?! It kicked me in the gut, literally made me feel something pleasantly uneasy in the underbelly when I first heard it. I immediately got me copy of Belus which was also a revelation (Kaimadalthas Nedstigning, how epic!) and which seemed to be more furious where Fallen was creepy and twisted. And then after a short wait Umskiptar came out and seemed to say “oh you were amazed by the previous albums? well hear this!”. Umskiptar feels like the most “post-everything” of the bunch, it’s simply beyond, Varg sounding like Varg and nothing else.
    In a way it’s great he followed these three with an electronic album, allowing the trilogy to breathe a while longer before creating a sibling to compare them to. Man, how else can you follow up Belus-Fallen-Umskiptar than with an album that’s a completely different beast? Fucking well done Varg.

    Patrick> be sure to check False by Gorefest. It’s massive and very original. I am biased though, it’s part of the soundtrack of my high school daze (I was 15 when it was released) and one of the most influential albums in my life. I played the tape to death when I was not playing Morbid Angel’s Blessed are the Sick or Pestilence’s Testimony of the Ancients or Sinister’s Cross the Styx or Deicide’s Legion… And their debut Mindloss is also great.
    Weapon’s Embers and Revelations is actually a good pick I think. That one will be remembered in ten years time, I’m sure. Too bad they split up.

    Cirkus-Lizard (I recently came across my King Crimson albums which made me think; is your name a reference to them?)> Congratulations on into Glory Ride and Sign of the Hammer, now you are truly METAL my friend hehehehe… I agree with you; the flooding of the metal market makes it harder for albums to get noticed, survive and become classics in the long run. I wasn’t there in 1989 (well, of course I was, but I was still listening to Toto and Queen hehehe) but 1992 feels that way to me: Amorphis, Gorefest, Sinister, Morbid Angel, Bolt Thrower, Autopsy, At The Gates, Cannibal Corpse, Hypocrisy, Incantation, Vader… They all released albums that year that had a truly individual and fresh sound. But I guess it also has to do with how strongly you are impressed by music when you are in your teens, something that simply doesn’t seem to happen anymore when you’re thirtysomething.

    Right… And now for some more espresso.

  47. Crap, my posts seem to get longer and longer… I get carried away I guess. \m/

  48. My 5 year classics:
    Burzum Belus:
    One of the great things about some classic albums is that, in their own time, they are polarizing for a variety of reasons – whether it be a drastic alteration in sound, opinions about the artist clouding the judgment of the art itself, changes in personal taste, etc. When Varg returned to the scene, he did exactly what he wanted to do in absolute disregard of fans or critics, and for Burzum die-hards that just wanted Filosfem or Hvis Lyset Tar Oss again, disappointment ensued; for those that always hated him for his actions and beliefs, a new album was just more fodder for trolling. But Burzum albums were always vastly different from one another, and for seekers of great, challenging metal, Belus‘s encircling, high-on-the-fretboard, layered guitars, loud, often clangy bass, whispered and -gasp!- sung vocals were simply examples of a talented mind utilizing new avenues for expression. For me, the completely unexpected, yet still spellbinding nature of Belus translated into a triumphant return for Burzum. I place the album highest on the scale of the post-prison trilogy because in many ways Fallen and Umskiptar continue elements in the sound and riff structure set down by their predecessor, and thus for me, don’t have quite the emotional impact that this completely original work contains. In time, those unsure of its power will hold this album in high regard as yet another potent offspring of a frayed psyche and creator of game-changing Heavy Metal.

    Agalloch Marrow of the Spirit:
    Agalloch’s The Mantle remains one of my favorite albums, though aside from John’s occasional screamed vocals, a few tremolo riffs and sporadic double-bass drumming runs, it qualifies more as dark/neo-folk. With Ashes Against The Grain, the band sought to re-include more of the Black Metal of its past, yet the cleanliness of its production lessened its intended impact (understand, however, I still love the album). But with Marrow of the Spirit, the planets finally aligned. The speed and ferocious Black Metal of their earlier works, deftly propelled by the excellent drumming of Aesop Dekker, finally melded perfectly with the neo-folk elements that lay at the band’s heart. With intelligent, thought-provoking pagan/Transcendentalist lyrics and a great dirty/analog production, the album turned me on my head and remains in my permanent playlist to this day. A stunner that can be played for any asshat that believes Metal cannot ever achieve the status of high art.

    For when I die, the universe will die with me
    and all will be lost forever gone…

    Obsequiae Suspended in the Brume of Eos:
    Yes, this a Bindrune Recordings release. Yes, the ordering of this album from Marty resulted in a friendship that culminated in the relaunching of Worm Gear Zine in its current form. And yes, the album deserves classic status, though I think it will remain an obscure gem.
    Metal owes much to medieval sounds, and every metal musician (whether they realize it or not) attempts at one point or another to imbue their own writing with that element in varying degrees of success. Few succeed as well as Tanner Anderson, a trained multi-instrumentalist whos riffwork would have been celebrated a thousand years ago in dark castles and beer-soaked inns, and most certainly would have attained him a patronage. Ancient scales are constantly in motion, constructing a forest-heart that’s pleasing and yet powerful due to Tanner’s insatiable Black Metal shriek and the technically proficient drumming. The classical acoustic passages between the heavy tracks keep your mind rooted deep in a pagan, woodsy world, and you never want to leave. On hearing the record for the first time I thought surely a larger label would license the record from Bindrune and in so doing raise its visibility (as Candlelight did with Wodenthrone’s Loss), but that hasn’t happened – at least not yet. Regardless, Obsequiae’s Suspended in the Brume of Eos creates a demonic troubadour in your headphones that carves its way deep into the tasteful side of your Metal brain – and never leaves.

  49. The coolest thing about all of us writing what we think are classics results in myself checking out stuff I have never heard. If someone says it is a classic on this forum, I have to give it a shot, cause there is something there, no doubt. Had it been on any other site, and I would probably not even give it a shot.

  50. Jim> Well said and very well written. However in my opinion the trilogy really evolves. I hear things in Fallen (touches of folk, a deep sad gloom) that I don’t hear in Belus (where overpowering fury reigns, as if Varg needed to get a lot of his chest after being incarcerated so long) and Umskiptar takes both as a departure point while moving away from the standard conceptions of “metal” and reaching for some sort of ancient pagan sound, using metallic means but imo sounding less and less like metal.

    Good to see those Agalloch and Obsequiae records. I have both but hadn’t considered them as classics. Time to reconsider. Suspended in the Brume of Eos (which I also ordered from Marty, not knowing yet there ever was such a thing as Wormgear hahaha) has a very special sound and deserves to be wider known indeed. Are they still around? Will there ever be a follow up? Marty?

  51. Truth! I can’t wait to dig into all the albums listed so far that either a) I haven’t heard or b) need to revisit. Whether I will end up agreeing or not on the excellence of those listed, regardless I respect the musical opinions of those participating here, because we all share that same strong passion for Metal \m/

  52. Jesus, i have to agree with Freek again. WTF. This is not cool man. haha

  53. Mr. Zahler,

    I really enjoy the Battleroar album. For me sometimes the vocals come across a little flat at times…maybe I’m missing something. That’s probably not the best explanation but hard to put my finger on it. I still listen to the album quite a bit though as it is still pretty great. I bought the first Lost Horizon just a few years ago when The End Records re-released it. I truly did not expect to like it as much as I do. I would have bought the 2nd one right away, but heard stories of mastering issues with the re-release. So I patiently searched for a used copy. I think you will enjoy the last Spite Extreme Wing. The production is more organic and a Beatles cover song that I actually took off my iPod. But as good as Non Dvcor I would recon. They seem to have such triumphant riffs and melodies.

    Still gotta get the last Reverend Bizarre…so many albums so few hours and dollars.

    The Obsequiae album is very enjoyable and would also be curious on any new material forthcoming. And obviously I need to revisit the recent Burzum albums. I have the 1st two post incarceration but haven’t listened to in awhile.

    And Mr. Freek yes my screen name is a reference to the great King Crimson.

  54. That’s ok Patrick, apparently even complete idiots can have good taste in metal hehehe…

    And yes, I also can’t wait to check out or revisit the albums mentioned. Filling up my iPod as we speak…

    Mr. Cirkus-Lizard, well done sir!

  55. Freek – don’t be so hard on yourself bro. tehehe. okay, enough joking. you alright in my book. for now that is. : )

  56. This is freaking hilarious and awesome, especially for the fathers. My daughter loved this and thought it was funny even.

  57. ANyone else have comments on the new Gorguts? I listened again this morning. Still, by the time I get to the second record , it all just sounds like the same song. Each song loses its own character as you go farther in the album. Maybe this is intended to be a concept piece where in which it all kinda of blends, but it is rubbing me the wrong way. I am going to just say, this album might be really good, haven’t decided yet, but there is WAY TOOO much hype over this and people got way too cummy over it after just hearing one or two songs (which happened ot be the best, so far).

  58. Nope, no comments here. Still considering ordering the thing, together with the new Watain, Ulcerate and Carcass. Decided to quit ordering CDs for a while (and focus on all the stuff I have) but damn I love these bands and own all their other albums and I wanna wanna wanna… *sigh* fucking luxury problems eh?

  59. haha. i hear ya dude.

  60. The flesh is weak… Just ordered the lot. Plus the Gorefest we were discussing. Fuck it.

    I was just playing Swan Song by Carcass. Why people are so indifferent about (or even dislike) this one (and Heartwork) is beyond me; sharp songwriting, great guitar leads, biting lyrics and those vocals shred me every time, so fucking venomous and vicious. So it’s not old school but it’s no “rot ‘n roll” (at least to these ears) either, just the old Necroticism sound evolved and streamlined I think. Ah well, the eye of the beholder and all…

    I have high hopes for the new one, if even Marty thinks it’s “not bad”…

  61. if ya wanna get even weaker Me Saco Un Ojo has some cool new vinyl releases, including Undergangs first on glow in the dark vinyl, new undergang 7″, and engulfed MLp. Dark descent just released Mitochondrions new 7″ as well. The artwork is astoundingly awesome. me got them all. yes, i am a weak collector. and I DO listen to all this stuff. honestly. i listen to music almost 8 hours a day (at work).

  62. I have Gorguts’ Obscura and just don’t like it that much. I used to think that I just didn’t get it, but truthfully I don’t like that much dissonance/discordant notes in the music I listen to. I did listen to one sample of the new Gorguts and it sounded ok, but probably not enough to pick it up.

    Haven’t listened in awhile, but I think Swan Song is decent, probably overlong, like most albums these days, but like you said good riffs and songs. I prefer bands to progress and try new ideas, successful or not. I think it would might have been better with slightly more tuneful vocals to match the “rockier” vibe. Not really clean vocals, but more melody than on display. I should que that one up…

  63. Patrick> Work AND metal at the same time? I should be so lucky. Although I do spend every available five minutes with my headphones on, and lunch break is definitely not spent yapping with collegues… Yes, Me Saco un Ojo is a very cool label. Luckily I’m not addicted to vinyl anymore like I used to be. Sometimes I think I should spend more time with the turntable again but then I see all those gorgeous vinyl (re)releases and how much they cost (I pay a fortune on shipping anyway, ordering a lot directly from amrican labels) and I think I’ll be lost when I do hahaha…

    Cirkus-Lizard> Swansong overlong? With 49 minutes it would fit perfectly on an LP, which is the perfect length for me. I once read someone say (can’t remember who) that bands should petition their fans first before releasing anything longer than a single LP hahaha…

  64. Freek, It has been statistically proven that the perfect metal album length is between 38 and 42 minutes long. Anything over 45 means you probably have filler. Although there are exceptions to the rule, most albums in the CD era and especially since the late 90’s could use some trimming. Someday bands will learn to keep listeners wanting more (i.e. the repeat button) rather than searching for the shuffle/skip button.

    So yes Swan Song is too long…imo 🙂

    I am lucky to have an office at work where I play music also. We are currently under construction and I share an office with another dude. He likes artists such as Debbie Gibson and Tiffany…so needless to say he’s been getting an education on extreme metal. My favorites lines are usually similar to “is that his voice?”

    Good times!

  65. Statistically proven eh? Hehehehe… In a lot of cases (and not just in metal) I think you’re right. Slayer only needed less than half an hour for one of the most perfect thrash records ever imo. Sometimes epic music calls for epic album length though; Manilla Road’s Gates of Fire (although I think a lot will disagree with me on that one), various Evoken or Opeth albums and the much praised For Winter Fire by Seidr come to mind.
    A dude that likes “artists” such as Debbie Gibson and Tiffany? Ouch…

    I spend most of the day talking to people so alas no worktime background metal for me…

  66. Ah, a subject dear to my heart: ‘Album length’. I too believe it is critical in leaving the listener wanting more. There is a fine line between a album that doesn’t feel finished and one that leaves the listener wanting more. The former obviously is more nearly non-existent and rare than one that is too long. I call it the curse of the 5 minute song. hehe. Take Grave as an example. Their latest album, and new EP actually are both quite good. Not as good as ‘Into the Grave’, as many have ignorantly argued, but I believe Ola’s main problem with his writing is that he takes super simple decent ideas and just makes slams them to death. Those 5 minute songs he does really should only be 3 minutes max. If he cut the fat out of each song significantly and made the last Grave record 32 minutes or so, it would be 100 times better, and maybe even close to being as good as ‘Into the Grave’. But in truth, the riff writing just ain’t there like it used to be.

    On listening to music at work – i work on an open floor plan. 3 guys around me. None of which like metal, but are very cool and just deal with it. I don’t blast them, unless listening to Grim Reaper ‘See You in Hell My Friend’! They have to deal with it anyways, cause me their superior, hehe. evil fingers up and invisible apple in hand! I start listening to music around 5:30AM and on till off work. Not consistently of course, but you get the idea. I even leave the shit on when my clients call. Just turn it down a little. One guy on the phone said ‘it sounds like a train wreck in the background.’ I said, “uh, yeah, most be a video clip of that Spain train wreck playing at another desk’. hehe.

  67. Freek – re-vinyl, i am lucky enough to have Hells Headbangers, dark Descent and Nuclear War Now carry all the stuff I want from Europe, so I keep my postage costs down super low, and hence, able to readily buy more vinyl than cd. Sometimes I can’t wait, like the new Beyond, and buy direct, but usually I wait and save a ton of money. I never liked CDs as much as vinyl . Too dry and doesn’t have that wonderful crispy grit to it that vinyl does. when i get the vinyl, i transfer it to a high quality uncompressed wave or AFLAC file for my computer. Takes up a shit ton of space, so i limit my library on my computer to about only what i am listening to currently, about 20gb’s at any given time. thats my system. it is a bit crazy, but i am one of those audiophile loser’s. Listening to crust and necro demos on a great stereo uncompressed is so good!!!1

  68. Re: album length- Length only mattered to me back when i was recording tapes and CDRs. There are 70+ minute albums that i love every minute of, and there are 38 minute records I wouldn’t listen to if you paid me.
    Quality, not quantity.

  69. There are exceptions to the rule Nightsblood, as that old adage of ‘quality versus quantity’ doesn’t really hold with me. Precisely because a key component of ‘quality’ is brevity or knowing when to put that proverbial guitar down. So in some cases 70 minutes is okay, rare, though.

  70. I am not saying an album has to be short to be good, but I think overall, what Circus Lizard is saying statistically is correct. And Reign in Blood is one of the best fucking albums EVER. 29 minutes is it? Fucking A right. A full complete album as concise as that just doesn’t come around often. Just like women, we don’t like’em when they talk to much. Keep it to the point boys! heheh. Okay, I better stop there with that moronic shit.

  71. Patrick> Good point on song length. I think Grave’s brethren in Unleashed have always been good at this (even when they did suck from time to time) and the songs of their recent albums are models of economy in songwriting, Three great riffs and a lead? Ok, make it a three minute song then. The art of leaving stuff out often seems to distinguish great songwriting. Of course we’re not talking funeral doom, tech death or prog rock here.
    I work in addiction care, spending most of my day with highly mentally unstable, psychiatrically unsound people so eh… no black metal during working hours.

    New Beyond??!! *frantically (and in vain, some bandames are simply impossible to google) googling “Beyond new album”*
    You’re referring to Fatal Power of Death, right?

    Nightsblood> True also. Only when there’s more quantity the quality better be fucking great.

    Now playing: Obsequiae – Suspended in the Brume of Eos. Yes, it is indeed that good. The soundtrack to all those bloody Westerosi battles… 😉

  72. Yes, Fatal Power of Death. So Freek, you spend time dealing with mentally troubled individuals, then you come here? My lord, I am surprised you even have the energy to deal with folks like me. Mucho respect for what you do. Now I have to be ultra nice to you.

  73. Testies.

  74. Nice? Please don’t. You’ll freak me out.

  75. Aww, you are so handsome and cool Freek. hehe. This is me btw, if you couldn’t tell. haha

  76. @Freek Glad you’re enjoying the Obsequiae!
    Jake and I were having a version of this discussion the other day from the perspective of song length. In terms of songs, I do think that some (not all) artists benefit from forcing themselves to edit. For example, Lustre’s most recent songs are shorter than those on his previous albums, and the compressed timeframe is working out well toward the overall impact, with each track now less drone-y and more memorable. However, there are albums like Type O Negative’s October Rust and an album I’m posting a review of tonight (tba 😉 that would be significantly less than they are should any moment have been subtracted. I think overall, style is the major player – if I’m looking for something for crusty, thrashy, or old school death or raw black metal, I like to get in and get out. If I’m sitting down with something truly epic like Summoning, however, I need enough time to pass for me to be fully enveloped within the world the artist is attempting to create \m/

  77. aw shut up jim. hahahaha.

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