2008 has been the worst year in my life. Im glad its gone and I hope it never comes back. The music I listened to last year was most with a happy vibe, compared to earlier play lists. I guess the grotesque hate rape kill music is meant for happy times.
Fast heavy metal with high pitched vocals.
With Iron Maiden as an exception, I have always had a hard time getting into metal with clean singing. All this changed 2008, don't know what happened. Maybe Im maturating or something. The favorites has been:
1. Mercyful Fate
Danish new wave of heavy metal from early 80ies, with the legendary King Diamonds falsetto as a trade mark. Love the cover of their first EP. A crucified girl with pentagram string panties, surrounded by ghouls. Devils Eye are the most possessed singing ever recorded.
2. 3 Inches of Blood
Amazing new band from Canada. Their album Fire up the Blades, was the album that triggered my fascination with this musical genre.
Judas Preist singer Rob Halford made two albums in 2000 (Resurection) and 2002 (Crucible). Both of them totally passed me by then, but are now 2 of my favorites ever. Long live the METAL GOD!
Mercyful Fate was an awesome band, but the material from the reunion never managed to create any magic. A young band from Sweden, Portrait are the ones to pick up the torch. Their first, self titled album is so amazing you think its actually recorded 1983 and not 2008.
5. Vallient Thorr
Well, actually not clean vocals heavy metal, rather a mix of punk and AC/DC and some metal. Their album Immortalizer spinning almost non stop in my iTunes :P
The Ancient death metal Kult
Swedish Dismember returnes with a new drummer and a new album. Not hiding their influences at all, the offer a mix of Autopsy, Repulsion, Iron Maiden and Swedish chainsaw death metal guitar.
â€œDismemberâ€ is their best album in their career, since the debute â€œLike an everflowing Streamâ€.
7. Acid Witch
This year Razorback Records (www.razorbackrecords.com) released some rely heavy death metal, made the true and only wayâ€¦.repugnant and putrid. Acid Witch is a funny one, mixing slow old school death metal with psychedelic rock and hamond organ. Sounds stupid but works excellent.
8. Hooded Menace
â€œFullfill the Curesâ€ is the debut by Hooded Menace from Finland, out on Razorback Records. Slow heavy doom death, drawing influences from Candlemass, early death metal and the Spanish horror movies â€œTomb of the blind deadâ€. Its so excellent it sounds totally like Finnish 1992 death metal.
At the end of 2008 Razorback released yet another epitome of slow heavy darkness. â€œCondemned Cathedralâ€ embodies everything that was so great with death metal in 1989. It like a case studies of this music genre when it was created in basements by teenagers, not knowing what legacy it would leav behind.
10. Resistant Culture
I picked up â€œWelcome to Realityâ€ because it was Jesse Pintardos last recording before he died from diabetes. Grind Crust from California, with tight metal production. Napalm Death, Bolt Thrower and Discharge are the corner stones, but what makes it stand out is the Native Indian Chanting in some songs. At first I thought it was a joke, then I listened for the amusement and now Im totally into it.
The Big Thrash Metal Revival
2008 was the year when 80ies Thrash Metal was coming back big. You could see kids with patch wests a white reebok hightops, left and right and labels released albums with nuclear zombies and vector based logos on, happily licking up this new trend. I checked out the most, but have been kind of picky.
Return of the gigants. Have been out of the metalica loop for almost 15 years, but *Chough*downloaded* chaugh* Death Magnetic to check it out. Andâ€¦it wasent that bad. These old hacks finally made something that reminded of why they once were great. This made me go back and listen through everything they ever done, even St. Anger and Load/ ReLoad. But I didnâ€™t stop there, I got hold of all their demos, a bunch (30+) live bootlegst and rewatched the â€œSome kind of Monsterâ€ movie. This was a sweet thing, kind of like squashing the beef with some old friend and catching up again. Man, listening to Kill em All today, and it still cutting it like back in the day.
Why get excited about the young blood, when the old ones are still around and doing it better than any one else? Everything Exodus put out since the reunion is awesome.
Well, maybe not really retro thashâ€¦vocals are black metal and itâ€™s a lot of blast beats and death metal in the music. I just see them at labeled retro thrash a lot so I put em in hereâ€¦.excellent band though. Beyond the Permafrost is my favourite if I hav to pick one from 2008.
14. Cannabis Corpse
Definitely not retro thrash, but the pet project of Land Phil of Municipal Waste that definitely is retro thrash. A Cannibal Corpse tribute band mixed with good weed. Everything is excellent with this band. Loved everything Cannibal Corpse done, but not the last one as much as I wanted to. The Cannabis version saved the day by doing it all right, humor, warmth and catchy, brutal death metal.
Hail mighty Bud Monster!
Some Jazz to spice it up
15. Anthony Braxton, William Parker, Milford Graves
I thought the day of great jazz died with Albert Ayler and John Coltrane in 1968, but I was wrong, thank you. Contemporary legendary gigants Anthony Braxton, William Parker & Milford Graves comes together for first time. Recorded and mixed by Bill Laswell for excellent sound, this is a masterpiece equall to the stuff from the good old times.
On the album Double Sunrise Over Neptune William Parker delivers some contemporary big band jazz, with some of todayâ€™s best players. Funky, catchy, melodic vs. atonal and complex.
The Avant Gard called to say it want back its clichÃ©s
I love Pendereckis St. Luck Passin. Can you belive I was happy when I found out there was two sequals. St. Luck is about the crusificaton of Christ, Jutrznia/ Utrenya is about the death, mourning and resurrection. Just as over the top crazy passionate if not even more, than the first one.
Bruno Maderna & Luigi Nono
Italian modernism, excellent stuff. Can someone explain why I missed out on the two above guys?
Anyway, Nono is very extreme and harse in the 60ies and 70ies (i.e. good stuff) and mellows out in the 80ies (ok stuff). Maderna was lucky to die young, and therefore missing out on the wanky part of his career. A modernist sound with a touch of romantics and mysticism. The three oboe concerts are a good place to start.
Discovered a Canadian composer thanks to a tips from the Anthony Braxton Yahoo group. Completely unknown to me, but thanks to Innova records almost his entire output is available.
Lots of percussion, quotation and dramatic gestures. Very much like John Zorn, George Crumb, Harry Partch and other north American composers. A true gem.
OK, music lovers, that was my playlist for 2008. Same time, next year. Till then, keep all ears open, the horns flying and the art coming.