Friday 5: Awesome Metal Albums That Are Too Damn Long
Happy Friday, MetalSucks reader! Welcome to MetalSucks Friday 5, our awesome series that appears every Friday (duh) on MetalSucks (duhh) and involves the quantity of five (duhhh).
Here’s how it works: A list of best/worst/weirdest/whatever five somethings is posted by one of your beloved MetalSucks contributors or by one of our buds (like you?). Then you, our cherished reader, checks it out, has a chuckle, then chimes in with a list of the same. No sweat, just whatever springs to mind, k? (Just like that movie about those losers working at a Chicago record store!) After all, it’s Friday — the day dedicated by the gods to mindless, fun time-wasting. Today we hail classics that probably couldn’t be shorter, but definitely couldn’t be longer :)
Five Awesome Metal Albums That Are Too Long
Sammy O’Hagar, MetalSucks reviews editor
1. III | Spectral Lore
I, Voidhanger | 2014
Just because a CD has room for almost 80 minutes of music doesn’t mean every second should be filled. Hip-hop was ravaged by this misperception (ie. a few singles and a whoooooole lot of skits, interludes, and junk), while metal experienced a parallel problem: Will 80 minutes of solid music leave a listener exhausted? Spectral’s Lore’s spectralacular record III illustrates that this issue persists: Every song is excellent, brilliantly-sculpted, and powerful. But put those songs back to back to back, and eventually the magic’s gone. Each is an experience so intense that just one could satisfy you for a while. Like Schnapps, it’s a great idea at first, but gets draining if you don’t switch it up.
2. Ænima | Tool
Zoo | 1995
Tool is the biggest band to suffer this problem. Chunks of Lateralus and 10,000 Days are dedicated to song suites, but Ænima is just a shit-ton of clunker-free music jammed into your face — even a tossed-off track like “Hooker with a Penis” does pretty well. But for a listener to sit down and take in “Stinkfist,” “Eulogy,” “H.,” “Forty-Six & 2,” and “Jimmy” is a considerable journey, and that’s before you arrive at the stretch of unhurried, fretful epics from “Pushit” to “Third Eye.” Ænima is filled with Tool’s tightest and maybe most effective songwriting; it’s one of my all-time favorites and affects me profoundly. But I can count the times I’ve listened to all of it at once on one hand.
3. Through Silver In Blood | Neurosis
Relapse | 1996
When an album opens with a 12-minute beast of a title track, it’s like a billboard announcing that this one ain’t for greenhorns. Likewise, the dueling slow-burn, epic, and emotional standouts — “Purify” and “Aeon” — are engrossing and taxing in equal measure. So it’s easy to see that those and the title track and “Locust Star” add up to a slog through jungle mud. Fortunately, Neurosis’ a keen sense of a song’s identity on its own and as part of a record makes it rewarding.
4. Vertikal | Cult Of Luna
Indie | 2013
Intro track, nine-minute opener, 19-minute follow-up. Then more. Brilliant work by a brilliant band, but I can’t get past “Vicarious Redemption” without taking a fucking break.
5. RIITIIR | Enslaved
Nuclear Blast | 2012
Enslaved’s latest may be my favorite — though I’ve said that about almost every album since RUUN, possibly because the scale of said albums is far larger than in the prior 20 or so years. And that’s saying something. Thing is, while I’m sure RIITIIR is probably just as brilliant as a complete document, I usually save it for a long car ride. And even then, one when I’m going through some real shit.
How about you?? Which albums are way too long to take all at once? Sidenote: that’s what she said!