Question Of The Week: Absolutely Not Best Albums Of 2013
Hey MetalSucks people! Dude, thanks so much for jamming with us through all of our awesome lists of 2013’s top 15 metal albums. It’s a tradition, so never hesitate to join in, list your favorites, explain their vibe, and sorta shine a light on the stuff that shone a light on you, lol. You’ll see that it is healthy to gather these little feelings together, these little collections of sounds that please us, and view them while searching out the meaning of their importance. To what are you relating, and why? For real go on, don’t half-ass it or it won’t work :)
Anyway, today we pause our celebration of the like 200 awesome albums of 2013 — nice work, Metal! — to mourn a few disasters. Yeah, today’s Question Of The Week is about all that could’ve been, all that would’ve been, and all that should’ve been.
Inspired by our world’s-biggest coverage of 2013’s best metal albums, we asked our staff:
Say, what 2013 metal album kinda let you down?
You expected to jam. You hoped to jam. You begged to jam. But you didn’t jam. What happened?
Everyone I know watches The Walking Dead. My dad watches The Walking Dead. Everyone I know thinks I watch The Walking Dead and love it more than them. And why wouldn’t I? I love gore, metal, prestige cable … But guess what show I cannot get into? That show The Walking Dead. I have the same problem with The Ocean: I have tried many times to get lost in what is loved by everyone else, and it won’t stick. This year’s Pelagial was gonna be the last time I gave them a shot: Their last two were supposedly subpar (maybe why I didn’t take to them), dudes seemed to love it … But, nothing. There’s riffs and orchestration and themes and etc. Neat. But I do not hear whatever is making the Smart Metal World cream their clever jeans. At this point, I may keep up with them to figure out why in the hell I don’t like them.
I was let down by my pick for Album That Will Fuck Your Face Off In 2013, actually: Hardcore Superstar is in my top five most adored bands, but their 2013 album C’mon Take On Me was little more than trashy fluff and filler — and none of their signature grit and punk edge. It’s like they’re a completely different band, even though it’s all the same members! So disappointing I couldn’t even get through it in one sitting. Me! A diehard fan!
I hate writing this: All Pigs Must Die, Nothing Violates This Nature. This is by no means a bad album, but it definitely wasn’t the follow-up to the epic God Is War (my album of the year in 2011) that I wanted. The production feels cold — everything too up-front, too clear — and where each track of God Is War has its own strength and charms, these songs kind of blur together, with only one or two standout tracks sticking to my ribs. There’s too much speediness and not enough of that brooding, slow-burn fury; it sounds like they’re trying too much to ape their contemporaries like Nails and Enabler. On top of all that, I find the cover art really bleh. Maybe it’s just HOW MUCH I loved God Is War; maybe Nothing Violates This Nature had no chance to live up to my worship of its predecessor. But I gave this record multiple listens, and just couldn’t get into it.
To my dismay, my face wasn’t sufficiently penetrated by The Monolith Deathcult‘s Tetragrammaton. It’s more stripped-down than Trivmvirate, and despite the album’s heaviness, each song drags on a couple minutes too long. It’s a cool album — the historical content intrigues, the grooves still rip, and the narration is hilarious — but it’s neither as frenetic nor as distinctive as I would have hoped for. Compare a track like “Deus Ex Machina” with “Human Wave Attack.”
DAVID LEE ROTHMUND
Fleshgod Apocalypse‘s Agony (2011) was a letdown when compared with Oracles (2009). It lacked the madness, syncopation, and freshness of Fleshgod’s virgin album — and leaked orchestration and harmonies. This year’s Labyrinth is kind of a throwback the wickedness of Oracles, but still it’s too disconnected and familiar. A lot of its songs sound exactly the same? It bleeds together into one big hall echo and I keep getting lost. I miss straight-up fuck-you songs like this:
Ulcerate’s Vermis. I loved Destroyers of All so much — SO MUCH — and greatly anticipated this new one, their first with the big dogs at Relapse Records. It sounds superficial, but the biggest reason I don’t like it is the production/mixing. Destroyers was so clear, so concise, perfect for this kind of technical death metal, but the Vermis sounds like amateur city. I can only imagine this was a calculated aesthetic decision … but why?!?! Raw, loose recordings are great for some kinds of metal, but music this technical demands the listener hear EVERYTHING that is being played, and it’s difficult to make out much amongst the sonic mud that is Vermis. There might be really cool songs underneath all that but I can’t see past the production enough to be able to tell. Oh well, maybe next time.
I’m bummed about the new Black Sabbath. When I first pressed play on 13, I imagined four faces: Tony Iommi’s, Geezer Butler’s, Ozzy’s, and … Brad Wilk’s. But my image of Wilk’s was kinda blurry and might actually have been Tim Lambesis. (Then Wilkbesis’s mug turned into Sharon Osbourne’s. Gross.) Anyway soon I noticed that the album sounds like beige wallpaper, and that Rick Rubin was a prestige move, a mark of legitimacy on a slapdash effort. Still, it’s possible for a flat album to be likable, and heck, a few of this year’s best albums totally overcame similarly weird vibes. I thought Black Sabbath could too.