REGARDING DECIBEL’S 100 GREATEST METAL ALBUMS OF THE DECADE (AND LISTS IN GENERAL)
Here’s what I don’t understand about all these lists: why they make people so very angry. When we set out to make our 21 Best Albums of the 21st Century (So Far) list earlier this year, we pretty much knew from the outset that it would be unsatisfactory. For one thing, there were only going to be 21 albums on the list, which meant a lot of great records were going to get left off; for another thing, we made the decision early on to allow bands to have multiple albums on the list if that was the way the voting turned out, and that meant that even more artists who deserved recognition weren’t going to get it; and finally, there was the very issue of how you even go about compiling such a list – we thought it was exciting to solicit the opinions of a lot of prominent musicians and industry insiders (as opposed to just the MS staff), but that approach obviously had its pros and cons, too. I’m not apologizing for or disowning our list – I’m just pointing out what should be obvious, which is that it was meant to be a fun conversation starter, which, from our end at least, is exactly what it was. And who really gives a shit which albums did or did not end up on that list? You know which albums you love and which ones you hate, so you shouldn’t need MetalSucks, or any other media outlet, to validate your opinion. I think Albert Mudrian is a great writer and is way more knowledgeable about metal than I am, but my ego isn’t so frail that I need him to agree with my every assessment of every band and every album.
Which brings me to what this blog post is actually about: Decibel’s 100 Greatest Metal Albums of the Decade special, which you can order here. It’s considerably more comprehensive that our list was, but I imagine most intelligent metal fans will also find it just as infuriating, and just as fun.
If my count is correct, fourteen of the twenty-one albums that appeared on our list all ended up on Decibel’s list, including at least two that I seem to recall a lot of our readers criticized for allegedly not being metal. At least two of the albums and four of the bands that made our “we wish they made the list” post-list list are also on here, and four of our top five albums all found their way on. I don’t like every album on Decibel’s list any more than I like every album on our list, but I will say that I respect every album on their list the same way I respect every album on our list – in other words, I wouldn’t really give anyone shit for proclaiming their love of any of these records.
A band that figured really, really prominently into our list didn’t make the cut at all for Decibel, and the complete omission of that band strikes me as the biggest fault of this Decibel special edition. Love them or hate them, I’d argue it’s impossible to deny their impact on metal in the past ten years – they are, simply put, one of the biggest and most respected bands in modern metal, and they’ve achieved that status for a very good reason, regardless of whether or not they’re generally perceived as tr00. I’m honestly kind of shocked that not a single one of their albums – not even the early shit, before some people started calling them sell-outs – made its way onto the list.
That will inevitably piss some people off, and it won’t be the only aspect of the magazine that does so: there are a surprising amount of entries that were just released in 2009 and will therefore probably strike some readers and having yet to withstand the test of time (even if “time” in this instance is ten years or much less). There are still other albums that will make the aforementioned allegedly non-metal records seem like the heaviest fucking things ever recorded, and that’s probably going to upset some people, too.
But like I said – who really gives a shit? This magazine is so much goddamn FUN. Decibel works with so many great writers, most of whom got to write entries here: Cosmo Lee, who we’re constantly gushing over here at MS, and Nick Green, who contributed to our own list, and Zena Tsarfin and J. Bennett and Kevin Stewart-Panko and John Darnielle and Jeanne Fury and our own Etan “Satan” Rosenbloom and a whole lot of other people my pot-head brain is forgetting right now. If you love metal, you just have to read the way these men and women write about it, because that writing is always, without fail, thought-provoking.
And if you read through the magazine and listen to albums you’ve haven’t given a spin in a long time, or violently disagree with everything and find yourself scouring your iTunes library and CD/vinyl collection to compile your own list… if all that came of any of this was just getting to revisit hours and hours of great music… would that really be the worst thing in the world? And who knows – there are 100 fucking albums here. You’re likely to discover at least one you didn’t know before that you will now love.
Go order a copy now. You can only buy this special issue online and at select indie record retailers, but even with shipping and handling, it’s pretty cheap. And like I said, it’s just a great read, cover to cover, even if you’re the kind of person who can’t help but get angry because someone expresses an opinion that’s different from your own.
And then, once you’ve had a chance to look it over, come back here and tell us how bad it sucks and how you’re so angry that your favorite album didn’t make the cut/was ranked too low/whatever, and how I’m an asshole for lying to you and saying it’s a fun read.
P.S. While I’m singing Decibel’s praises – I just found this oral history of the magazine, which is pretty interesting.