WINGERSCHMIDT’S LISTS OF FURY (BEST ALBUMS OF 2007)
First off, I have to agree with Vince that this was not the landmark year that 2006 was, and for the most part, my attention has been elsewhere. So therefore my picks need to be predicated upon the following information: I really didn’t buy (or download) that many new albums this year…sad but true.
Nonetheless, I’m a good sport (mostly), and so I do feel obligated to follow in suit and give shoutouts to some worthy releases that touched me in the you-know-whats. I wish I had 10 to rave about, but I don’t, so I’m gonna hit y’all up with some multiple list action — first, some thoughts on a small handful of 2007 releases (7, to be exact), then my most spun albums of the year (again, 7, and they’re mostly recent, but only one came out this year – take a wild guess), followed by the official MetalSucks 2007 Album To Get Stoned To, and last but not least I will offer up a rare glimpse into the softer side of Wingerschmidt with my favorite non-metal album of the year…
Now let’s get crackin’!! Follow me past the man called JUMP
KW’s 7 best of ’07:
7) Pelican, City of Echoes
This band gets the official comeback of the year award, even though they never actually went anywhere. But Pelican’s Summer 2007 release City of Echoes is so much more advanced than previous offerings, and their live show has improved so so very much, that they are gettin some much-deserved love from yours truly.
6) Intronaut, The Challenger
I’m giving my boys Intronaut a spot on this list almost exclusively because of the title track of this EP, which actually could be the most ripping song of the year. The other two new tracks are good, not great (and only the 2 older out of the 5 live tracks are really worth it), but “The Challenger” lives up to the formidable foundation that the band has laid, and gives hope that the next recording from this outfit could be legendary.
5) Dethklok, The Dethalbum
How could a record by a fictional band be so goddamn good? Because this send-up of metal bands, and the “brutality” contained within, is so damn spot-on, and not only hilarious but totally awesome too.
The real question is how could this album appear on my list when I haven’t even really heard the whole thing? ‘Cause it’s fucking Dethklok, bitches!
4) The Dillinger Escape Plan, Ire Works
When I first heard the earlier albums by this band, I was a little turned off by the extreme spastic-ness of the changes; in a way, the DEP previously seemed all transition and no soul to me. Thankfully the tides have turned, and several releases in, this forward-thinking, perpetual risk-taking unit has found the perfect blend in its songwriting and style to turn out one of the very best of the year.
3) Baroness, The Red Album
Admittedly I was not such a huge fan of this record when it first came out in September; the old-school purist in me longed for the raw tone of gems First and Second, the band’s previous EPs. But the more I listened to The Red Album, the more I wanted to listen to it, and that’s always a good sign. I still prefer the old Baroness sound, but I have made a place in my heart for the newly refined, decidedly Southern indie-aggressive evolution of an extremely worthwhile band.
2) Rwake, Voices of Omens
I had never even heard of Rwake before Axl, Vince, and I went to go see them in early 2007, and to be honest I still have a slightly hard time listening to this album from start to finish, but Voices of Omens is truly one of this year’s most unique heavy musical experiences, a stoner prog metal excursion into the bowels of heck and beyond that is somehow subtle and relentless at the same time. Epic.
1) Between The Buried And Me, Colors
What can I say about this album that hasn’t been said already? After Colors I am a lifelong believer, and I can’t wait to delve deeper into the BTBAM back catalog. Every track on this album continues to dazzle me, even after so many listens. And aside from the DEP’s impressive Ire Works, Colors is the only album that appears on Axl, Vince, and my lists….so if you haven’t heard it yet, levitate don’t walk to your nearest music acquiring place, and check out 2007’s only masterpiece.
KW’s 7 Most Spun Records of ’07 (in alphabetical order):
Apiary, Lost In Focus (2006)
Thrashy, punk rockin metallic clusterfuck…these guys really know how to swiftly kick you in the nuts (musically speaking, of course), and I for one can’t wait for their next album, being recorded in early ’08. You need to make it a point to check out not only their debut, Lost in Focus, but their wickedly artful, lyrical t-shirts as well.
Between The Buried And Me, Colors (2007)
I still have a hard-on for Colors. No, stupid — not the 1988 movie about L.A. gang violence starring Sean Penn/Robert Duvall and directed by Dennis Hopper…
Intronaut, Void (2006)
This band (and their first full-length) entered my life late last year, and shit just ain’t been the same ever since. Intronaut is kind of like a metal jamband, minus the noodling, and from a musician’s standpoint, no band has impressed me this much since the almighty Opeth (who I’m about to get to). Each tune is so densely layered, and so bloody brutal without ever really alienating…please join me in spreading the word.
Lamb of God, Sacrament (2006)
Even though I have arranged this list alphabetically, I will gladly admit to y’all that this latest from LoG is absofuckinlutely at the top of my most-listened-to of ’07… I just can’t stop rocking it, and the looks I get from trepidatious passengers on the subway when Sacrament is blasting from my headphones is encouraging, nawmean? Yes, of course it’s sad to think about 2008 as a Lamb of God-less year, but truth be told, I prolly have another 365 listens of Sacrament left in me. Killer!
Mastodon, Remission (2002)
I’ve always really liked this album, but 2007 was the year that I truly fell in love with it. Leviathan was so easy to dig on, and Blood Mountain offered such a mind-bending twist on the Mastodonian empire that it was hard not to pay strict attention, but truth be told, the striking songs collected on Remission are among the very best that this unbelievable band has to offer.
Opeth, Blackwater Park (2001)
Are you kidding me? Of course this is on the list! Blackwater Park is probably the metal album I’ve listened to the most in the last 5 years, dude! What’s a better representation of epic progressive metal that goes from quiet to deafening so many times? And the groove is for real for real.
Unearth, The Oncoming Storm (2004)
Breakdown after breakdown, this album is some serious East Coast metal that takes the chugga chugga about as far as it can go. Unearth has sadly devolved in my opinion, but The Oncoming Storm is still a super-solid metal record. Another subway favorite.
METALSUCKS 2007 ALBUM TO GET STONED TO
High On Fire, Death Is This Communion
The masters of sludge really raised the bar on this one, incorporating more progressive leanings into the standard HoF metal drone-a-thon. The last album, Blessed Black Wings, is probably a little better overall, but if you’ve never heard this band before, their most recent is actually not a bad place to start. Just make sure you have plenty of ganja on hand!
Runners-up: Rwake, Voices of Omens and The Hidden Hand, The Resurrection of Whiskey Foote
BEST NON-METAL ALBUM OF 2007
Blonde Redhead, 23
This French NYC group has luscious melodies to spare, and the hooks are aplenty on their latest release. 23 not only sets a distinct mood throughout, but also displays a very astute sense of pop songwriting that never even feels like pop, due to most of the tracks’ dark undertones.
That’s not to say that there ain’t whimsy here – the band is french, after all, and with the exception of Gojira, most froggers have a lil bubble to them, which in this case is altogether charming.
Ultimately, 23 is a really good album to nakedly melt away in a hot tub in the Poconos with someone you mostly like, and the world needs more records like that, doncha think?
ps…Next week I’m droppin’ my list of best shows of 2007 (of which there were no shortage), and here’s hoping Axl and Vince will join in as well!