Friday, March 22, 2013

A beautiful dystopia: best albums from 1984 to now

Ever a fan of lists, I decided to compile a list from what I think are the very best albums of every year since my birth in 1984. The further back we go, my knowledge of music decreases, so I thought I'd make the cutoff at 1984. So, if your favourite album from 1989 isn't on the list, it's very much possible I haven't heard it. Or maybe I just liked another album better. Also, I know you were expecting it, but I nevertheless apologise for writing a list of metal albums. But now, without further ado, the list:

1984 – Metallica: Ride the Lightning
Something like the fourth Metallica album I bought. Also one of the first few albums I owned. It was a tossup between this one and Powerslave by Iron Maiden, but as is often the case with Maiden albums, Powerslave contains too much filler whereas Ride the Lightning is, in my opinion, top notch material from start to finish.

1985 – Sielun Veljet: L'Amourha
Sielun Veljet are a cornerstone of Finnish rock music of the 80s, noteworthy in the sense that they didn't suck. And this album is, simply put, pure fucking awesomeness.

1986 – Metallica: Master of Puppets
Going through my collection, I found an assload of good albums from 1986. Reign in Blood, Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, Somewhere in Time, Orgasmatron. Master of Puppets, however, is the best.

1987 – Bathory: Under the Sign of the Black Mark
What can I say about this one? The first Bathory album I ever heard. Raw, unpolished, totally awesome. And a legion of Norwegians followed.

1988 – Saint Vitus: Mournful Cries
At this point it's already getting difficult to decide on just one album, there's so much awesome stuff out there that I'm acquainted with. But this is a stunning record and I'll crown it king of 1988.

1989 – The Offspring: The Offspring
Getting even harder to decide, argh! In this golden age of death metal, I'll go with punk rock. My indisputable favourite from The Offspring's catalogue, catchy enough and yet harsh enough to create an atmosphere unrivaled by the rest of their albums. All in all, a fine display of youth energy.

1990 – Megadeth: Rust in Peace
Megadeth's finest hour. Despite increasing difficulty in making up my mind, this is the conclusion I came to.

1991 – Carcass: Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious
About time I had some death metal on this list. Even with just death metal albums, I had a tough call between 5 albums, but I'm partial to Carcass.

1992 – Alice in Chains: Dirt
All killer, no filler. No mean feat with an album with 13 tracks (of which one isn't really a song, but you get me, right?).

1993 – My Dying Bride: Turn Loose the Swans
This got really difficult. There were like 10 albums I wanted to pick. But since I can choose just one, it's this. Liquid gold in my ears every time I listen to this, a sublime concoction of beauty and despair. One of my all time favourite albums.

1994 – Acid Bath: When the Kite String Pops
From the swamps of Louisiana, sludge arose in the early nineties (probably even as early as the late eighties), and while these guys weren't the first, to me they were the most interesting.

1995 – Saint Vitus: Die Healing
Another Vitus album on the list. It's simply proper, since this is, to me, their best effort to date. I will forever stand in awe of Scott Reagers's voice, and together with some of the best songs they've written, Vitus win 1995.

1996 – Acid Bath: Paegan Terrorism Tactics
Another Acid Bath album, I cannot help it. They only released two albums and both were like the best thing ever. Simply amazing.

1997 – Katatonia: Discouraged Ones
It took me awhile to dance my way through the rest of Katatonia's back catalogue to this one, but when I first heard it, it was love. Say what you will about Katatonia, but their style works for me.

1998 – Anathema: Alternative 4
Another incredibly hard decision. Another incredibly awesome record.

1999 – Type O Negative: World Coming Down
So dark, so heartfelt, so full of pain, so catchy. I suppose most fans of Type O like their odd sense of humor, but to me, the balance was only perfect on this album, and what a nigh-perfect album it is.

2000 – Electric Wizard: Dopethrone
There's no question here, I didn't even have to think on this one.

2001 – Crowbar: Sonic Excess in Its Purest Form
This was difficult again, so many good ones to choose from. This one prevailed, however, because it's slightly more awesome than the other awesome albums from the same year.

2002 – Agalloch: The Mantle
An even better year than 2001, tons of really, really good albums. Still, this wasn't a difficult choice, since this is the. best. album. ever.

2003 – Sleep: Dopesmoker
Originally released in 1997 as an edited version called Jerusalem,  2003 finally saw the emergence of Dopesmoker as it was supposed to be. And it was good.

2004 – Kuusumun Profeetta: Sanansaattaja oraakkeli salamurha hyökkäysvaunu
From the pen of a Finnish genius by the name of Mika Rättö (also known from Circle, Omfalos Renaissance, Eleanoora Rosenholm and others) comes this slab of I don't know exactly what. What I do know is I love it.

2005 – Kent: Du & Jag Döden
The least heavy record on the list so far. Not a single bit cheerier, however, and that is how I like my music.

2006 – Celtic Frost: Monotheist
This. Is. Metal.

2007 – Wolves in the Throne Room: Two Hunters
Another year packed with awesome stuff. This, WITTR's finest effort to date, takes the cake, however.

2008 – Thou: Peasant
Plagued by shoddy mastering, this is still one of the best albums I know.

2009 – Fall of Efrafa: Inlé
What was ultimately Fall of Efrafa's swansong is also their finest work. One of those records I feel lucky to have heard.

2010 – Christian Mistress: Agony & Opium
Short and to the point. Energetic heavy metal that gets stuck in your head.

2011 – Witch Mountain: South of Salem
Traditional doom with an uncanny knack for writing the best songs.

2012 – Witch Mountain: Cauldron of the Wild
From the top of my last year's end of the year list, as seen on the Ever Circling Wolves blog. Might've linked the list to my facebook, too. Anyway, Witch Mountain are on a roll, and while it took me some time to really get into this one, eventually I understood it and it was awesome.

2013 – My Bloody Valentine: M B V
It's a bit early to tell for this year, but so far this has been my favourite. I've got a couple of new records I haven't really had time to listen to, so only time will tell, but right now this sounds really good.