Question Of The Week: What Sleeper Is In Your Hall Of Fame?
Hey it’s Friday yaaay! Let us party :) First, a question: Have u ever moved to a faraway city and shipped all your furniture and stuff? But in your car, u pack a box of the stuff that u can’t live without? Or load up your computer or whatever with that portion of your collection marked “lifetime rotation”? And side question: Aren’t there a handful of beloved albums in that box/computer that are not popular, revered albums? Likewise, maybe a few of your favorites never pop up in conversation or emit from a passing car. Do u bug friends to listen to them? Well then here’s a new MS Question Of The Week! Beware: Its wording is unwieldy :(
Fearless. Controversial. Half-baked. We give it to you straight every Friday afternoon. Straight outta the metal hall of fame in your heart! Here’s this week’s question:
Inspired by the awesome Hall Of Fame series by our budz at Decibel magazine, we asked our staff the following:
Every metal listener on Earth has just assembled a personal Metal Hall Of Fame of 20-50 albums. So, which of your HOF albums would be in the fewest other metal HOFs?
Answers by us and by u below!
Honestly, I doubt I’d have any oddballs in a list of this size. If you look further out into the triple digits, you might find stuff like Lykathea Aflame’s Elvenefris, At The Gates’ The Red In The Sky Is Ours, and !T.O.O.H.!’s Rad A Trest, but any metalhead who knows his stuff will pick these ones off too. Maybe I’d have better luck going with something that’s been lost in the circuits of time like Suicidal Tendencies’ Lights… Camera… Revolution! or The Art Of Rebellion. Fuck it, just listen to Reign In Blood. Seriously.
I wouldn’t necessarily call Bury Your Dead‘s Cover Your Tracks one of my favorite albums. However, the number of times I’ve listened to it — while at the gym, while running, while in traffic needing somewhere to release my anger that isn’t the back of an Escalade — makes it a shoo-in. Those even vaguely familiar with Bury Your Dead know Cover Your Tracks isn’t much more than a series of breakdowns with song titles; that being said, they’re all GREAT breakdowns. Theoretically, I’m a hypocrite for loving this album as much as I do. I’ve spent most of my time at MetalSucks sighing and looking at my watch while making snide remarks about dumb hardcore. But this is dumb hardcore done well, which makes all the difference. I can’t offer an intellectual defense of CYT. I can’t make the excuse that the band don’t seem to take themselves as seriously as bands similar to them, because who fucking cares? But I don’t consider it a guilty pleasure, either. Boring metalcore is basically a tedious wait for a breakdown. Cover Your Tracks takes the tedious part out of the equation.
Probably Nespithe, the lone album by Finland’s Demilich. The album isn’t exactly unknown — it’s been reissued a couple times, including once by Century Media — but it’s so deeply weird that I can’t imagine it being on too many Hall Of Fame lists, unless Portal and Gorguts are on constant rotation. Demilich wrote disjointed, syncopated guitar lines repeated and stacked in dissonant harmony; their vocalist sounds like a burping frog filtered through way too much reverb. Even their song titles (e.g. “The Putrefying Road in the Nineteenth Extremity […Somewhere inside the Bowels of Endlessness…]”) are playful and strange. Mayhaps Demilich’s greatest coup is their deep sense of groove, which permeates even the strangest constructions on Nespithe. This is alien music, and it tickles me just thinking about it. Can’t believe it was recorded 20 years ago — this shit still sounds light years ahead of anything to me. AND: The entire Demilich catalog is available free at Demilich’s web zone.
While there’s are countless albums I absolutely adore – some borderline obsessed with (like the newest from Lord Mantis and Wolvhammer) — there’s only one that really sticks out as Hall of Fame-worthy: Middian’s Age Eternal. The band featured Yob’s Mike Scheidt and Nachtmystium bassist Will Lindsay, and with such talent behind the project, it’s kinda hard not to be enamored with Middian. Sadly though, after only the one album, the band was forced to change their name to Age Eternal and then disband, largely because of a ridiculous lawsuit over naming rights brought by Wisconsin “death/groove” (barf) band Midian, whose unreasonable demands included thousands of dollars in damages. I’m getting angry all over again just typing that out. Anyway, it ended with Middian being unable to sell anything related to their former name (including merch and their album) and being dropped from their label, Metal Blade. At least we got the one record and … it’s perfect. It’s one of my favorite albums of all time, and it’s a fantastic reworking of what we’re used to from Yob. Anyone would fall in love.
Chimaira‘s 2005 self-titled album, for sure. I was the only person who voted for it to be on 21 Best Metal Albums of the 21st Century… So Far list. I don’t even know if the band really likes it — it was made during a pretty dark period in their career, and it’s the album they seem to revisit least in a live setting. But it’s a fucking beast — the perfect amalgamation of guitarist Rob Arnold’s two favorite albums, Metallica’s …And Justice for All and Cannibal Corpse’s The Bleeding. Every song is an epic, intricate symphony of pain and ugliness … I’m not surprised that it didn’t do as well as other Chimaira releases, because it’s the musical equivalent of spiritual cancer. I mean, it is fucking brutal.
It’s also the only album they made with Kevin Talley on drums, and though there were some major personality clashes there and even Talley isn’t all that pleased with his performance on the record, his contributions are immeasurable. The interplay between the drums and guitars during the post-solo section of “Save Ourselves” (3:23-4:08) is enough on its own to warrant purchasing this album. And it’s a grower — more than seven years after its release, I still feel like I’m discovering new elements of it with every listen. I implore people who have never heard this album to check it out, and people who have dismissed it to give it a second chance. It’s only six dollars on Amazon, or you can listen to it via Spotify.
A childhood friend of mine used to make a big show of disliking Iron Maiden. He wielded this weak excuse that it was the singing, not the band, that wrecked it for him. Cuz it’s true actually — when u first hear Bruce Dickinson he seems immodest and flamboyant. But then something clicks, u vibe his whole thing, and blammo Maiden is up in your butthole forrrr life. That was our experience. And he was just being difficult. So somehow it became a big deal to trick dude into contradicting himself, and into liking it: There exists an album where Dickinson’s vocals are not all operatic, one he made backed by a trio of young hard rock guys who love Deep Purple I think? It’s called Skunkworks. Okay so we loaded that one in the CD player and clicked play once we heard bro coming down the steps. He was liking it, all like “I like this.” The first song ended. Then we pounced: “That’s the singer from Maiden. U didn’t even recognize he whom u so despise! And u like his jam! Burrn!” Sighhhh Good one, right? I wasted all of high school plotting shit like that. Awesome album though, a 10/10 hall-of-famer that I never encounter anywhere but my collection! U jam?
Look, we should tell u that your family has had Axl and Vince on the phone all day, all worried that u might not answer the QOTW down there. I guess after all of our sacrifices we figure it’s the least u could do.