Matt’s Top 100 Favorite Albums of All Time: #20-#16
Posted by RiffRaff
Over on my favorite forum for rambling about metal, The History of Metal (it’s an open Facebook forum, so anyone, meaning you, can join and flap your jaw about metal with a wide variety of metalheads from all over the world), the admin made a challenge to all the members to create their top 100 albums of all time. Loving making lists I’m all on this. Between the ~1500 albums I have there is a lot to filter through and this has turned into quite a daunting, yet fun, challenge. This list will represent where I am with my favorite albums right now, if I were to do this last year or next year, while being similar, I’m sure there would be lots of differences. My only self-imposed limitation on this is I’m confining each band 3 albums in the list to avoid entire, very large, discographies over saturating it. Every 5 days or so I’ll make a post with the next 5 entries into the list. Fellow bloggers, I extend this challenge to you (and be sure to let me know where and when you’ll be posting it, I’d love to read it), and for readers without a blog join up with THOM and post yours there! Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!
#20 Still Life by Opeth
And here is where Opeth hits the ball out of the park. With a sizable recording budget and a huge vision everything about Opeth improved immensely over their previously recorded material (which is a trio of damn fine albums, so that’s saying something). The inclusion of new member Martin Mendez on bass brought some much-needed full body to Opeth’s sound and perfectly compliment Mikael’s much deeper growls and the massive improvement of Martin Lopez’s drumming add a great groove to the album ultimately adding yet another enthralling dynamic to Opeth’s sound. I love everything about this record from its flowing and serpentine song structures to the somewhat cliché’ yet Opeth makes it work narrative about a man exiled from his village and torn away from his love for not believing in God. There’s that harrowing intro the album in “The Moor”, the acoustic melody section in “Godhead’s Lament”, that solo in “Benighted”, the insanely sick riffs of “Moonlapse Vertigo”, the damn cool jazzy nature of “Face of Melinda” (pointless Opeth trivia: did you know Mikael’s daughter is named Melinda?), and the brutality of “Serenity Painted Death”. If you need proof that Opeth are one of the best bands in the whole of music you needn’t look any further than Still Life (or further down my list 😉 ).
#19 Sabotage by Black Sabbath
The last great Sabbath album before the Ozzy-era Sabbath started to show signs of wear and tear Sabotage contains some of the bands most diverse and solid work. From the hard rockers “Hole in the Sky” and “Thrill of it All”, the rock epics “Megalomania” and “The Writ”, and the ‘I swear if I ever become a pro wrestler this will be my epic intro music’ “Supertzar”, there is so much to love about this album. As always Tony Iommi is a beast writing some of the riffs which would later inspire me to pick up a guitar and Ozzy’s unique voice sounds superb throughout the whole record. Not much more to say other than I adore this record, Bill Ward’s red pants and Ozzy’s high heels on the cover crack me up, and “Megolomania” is one of my favorite songs of all time.
#18 Panopticon by Isis
Hearing Isis for the first time is an experience I will never forget. I was attending a Tool concert at an open-air venue and had lawn seats. Me and my buddies got there early enough for the opening bands. I happened to be in a really chill mood that day and the weather was beautiful out so I thought I would pass some time by just laying down on the lawn and zoning out. Isis happened to be the opening band at the show and when they took the stage I just continued to lay there staring at the sky turn from day to night in my own little world while they played their music. Feeling the vibrations from the amps in my body and the tones from the my ears it wasn’t long before the combination of my self-inflicted trance and the hypnotizing music of Isis transported me to another world and for the hour that they were on stage I just lay there blissfully floating on cloud 9. To put how that experience felt into words is hard to do, but it felt so spiritual and out-of-body. Needless to say the next day I was quick to the record store to grab me an Isis record which happened to be Panopticon and I was instantly in love with it. Any time I need to put my spirit to rest and just zone out this is one of the first records I reach for. And when I just want to hear some great post-metal Panopticon also fits the bill. All of their other records are excellent, but this one holds a special place in my heart due to the above experience.
#17 Vulgar Display of Power by Pantera
While I love Cowboys from Hell, on VDoP Pantera really found their sound and took it to a new level. Angrier vocals spat from Phil’s mouth for war, insane riffs and solos rise to make listeners fucking hostile, a tighter rhythm section you’d have to live in a hole not to notice, and a crisper production make this album take a walk across the Rubicon as one of the must have classic metal albums of all time and without it your record collection is quite hollow. Even regular people who once thought metal was no good grooved on this album as it stormed the charts. This love I have for this album is immense and, by demons be driven, I will constantly spin this album regularly until the day I day.
#16 Jar of Flies by Alice in Chains
As much as I love AiC’s heavier works, I feel the band shined brightest when they mellowed out and played their somber semi-acoustic ballads. While the tone on Jar of Flies is anything but happy, the sincerity in the songs is more than true. Layne’s lyrics and vocals may be about his struggles with addiction, but written so well that just about any human can find a way to perfectly relate to his introspection. Paired with Jerry Cantrell’s amazing guitar work and songwriting skills, JoF is a 30 minutes of intensely powerful music that brings positivity to a brooding session. For me, JoF is a very personal album with songs like “Rotten Apple” and “No Excuses” really hitting me on a very personal level and “Nutshell” almost bringing me to tears every time I hear it.