Matt’s Top 100 Favorite Albums of All Time: #10-#6

Is it Top 10 time already!?  It’s been fun recounting my favorite albums to you all.  Thanks for reading!  Doing the list was fun and gave me a great excuse, not that I need one, to go back and listen to some amazing records that I haven’t spun in a while.  Here in the Top 10 is where the big dogs come out.  My ‘stranded on a deserted island’ albums per say.  Each one here holds something special for me and some have helped shape me into the man who I am today and some are just really damn great records.  Here’s the first half of my Top 10 Favorite Albums of All Time with the second half including #1 to drop next Monday.  Enjoy and if you have a spare couple of minutes, let me know what your favorite albums all.  Sharing is caring!  Peace Love and Metal!!!!

#10 Fly By Night by Rush

Picture if you will, a young and impressionable lower-middle class American suburb kid at around the age of 7 in the back yard of his neighborhood buddies home digging a big hole because, well, who really questions a kids motives on stuff like that. Then the older brother of the friend comes out back and does what any awesome older brother should do. “Hey, you kids really need some music to dig that hole to” he says as he plugs in his boombox and proceeds to play 3 albums for the youths. Included in that trio of albums are 2 records that would help shape the passions and interests of the visiting child.

The first to make a massive impact is a hard rocking prog rock album called Fly By Night by a Canadian band called Rush. The opener “Anthem” give him such a surge of energy that he attacks that hole at full force and the following tune, “Best I Can” makes him want to make sure that the crater he is making is the best damn crater in the world where people would travel around the world to see his magnificent work.

Tune by tune the sweet music connects with the dirt encrusted kid as he learns life important skills like quality ditch digging and the pleasures of air-drumming. Soon a period of rest comes as sweet sun tea is guzzled by the glassful in the warm sun and the chill sounds of “Rivendell” grace our ears and initiate a lesson on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien (who would also go on to be another favorite of the impressionable child).

Even at such a young age, there are events in one’s life where the memory sticks vividly as it just had happened an hour ago. This was one of those days, especially when the other album, which will be talked about at a later date, was included. And in case you’re curious, the odd man out album was Appetite For Destruction, which the kid thought the music and songs were great, but the singer sounded like a pig getting his nuts stepped on and it kinda killed the album for him.

#9 Nightfall in Middle-Earth by Blind Guardian

Does it get more nerdgasmic than Blind Guardian. German power metal band transcends genres and brings metal heads of all walks of life together by recording a concept album based on the works of pace-setting fantasy author J.R.R. Tolkien. When a buddy had told me that he knew of a metal album that was prime quality and was about the creation of Middle-Earth I had to get my hands on it. Soon as the initial nerdgasm wore off I experienced the phenomenon known as multiple nerdgasms as everything beyond the subject matter was also mindblowing. The variety of songs is staggering as you pass through furious bouts of speed/thrash metal to anthemic ballads all tied together with interludes reenacting parts of the Middle-Earth origin story, The Sillmarillion. Not anything close to a stinker on NIME as each song gives me gooseflesh. BG will always be a band very dear to this nerds heart, and NIME is their love letter to the nerds of the world.

#8 Far Beyond Driven by Pantera

Where do I even begin on what this album means to me. While I was already quite the metal head by the time I bought Far Beyond Driven listening to bands like Iron Maiden, Sabbath, Metallica, and Primus, nothing could prepare me for the deluge of extreme that Pantera delivered. I guess you could call this record my gateway into the deep depths of metal leading me to check out what this whole Slayer thing was or what’s a Cannibal Corpse. And while it led me to open up to many of the extreme bands of the genre, few have even come close to matching my first dose. Beyond being the gateway drug, FBD is simply a fucking amazing record showing Pantera at their most energetic and pissed off. At about the age of 13 when FBD came out I was rife for the picking with its anti-establishment and angsty-tough guy lyrics and Phil’s take-no-shit persona. Then there was the group clown Dimebag doing what the hell ever he wanted on guitar, the level-headed one Vinnie delivering some of the best metal beats ever recorded, and the wild-card Rex doing what any great bassist does, being a great wild card. Now that I’m older I see Pantera less for the image they burned on my young brain and more for the amazing music they created and still I feel that FBD is the best record they have to offer.

It doesn’t have as much catchiness as VDP or party feel that CFH had. Nor was it as vilely pissed off as TGSTK and the less we say about RTS the better (good album, not up to Pantera standards). What it has is insane amounts of energy. Absolutely raw energy. If there is one album that possesses me into wanting to throw chairs and create wanton destruction, FBD is the soundtrack. Even the slow-moving parts of the album make me want to methodically bash things with a sledgehammer. And they were even cool enough to add a nice mellow cover of Planet Caravan at the end of the album to relax to after you’re done ‘metalling out’. If I had to choose just one Pantera album to have for the rest of my life, I’d snag FBD without even batting an eye at a second though.

“Deep down Stronger than All!!!!!”

#7 Somewhere in Time by Iron Maiden

After having his mind blown away by the almighty Rush, the ditch digging kid was graced with a musical album of the heavy metal variety that would change his life forever. From the opening notes of the title track “Somewhere in Time” the kid was just floored. “Guitars can make these sounds and voices can soar higher than the birds” thought the kid. “This music is more perfect than the most perfectest thing in the world. Such speed, such energy, it makes me want to explode!” The energy the songs filled the young boy up with was like giving 7 Snickers bars and 5 Red Bulls to him. Such a rush.

Being so in love with the cassette that his friends brother played for him, he had to have his own copy to listen to forever. Lucky for him, there was a dual tape deck on the boom box and the kid had a Raffi cassette that wasn’t getting much use. How many times that cassette was reproduced is uncountable, but each and every one of them was played until the tape inside was just strips of melted plastic. Luckily as the kid grew older compact discs came out and allowed him to listen to the life changing album as much as he wanted without worry of ruining yet another copy of one of his favorite albums. He could listen to “Wasted Years” on repeat as much as he wanted or skip ahead and groove out to “Stranger in a Strange Land”. He could pop disc on random and start the madness off with a surprise song like “Sea of Madness” or program the tracks in a certain order so he could go out running with “The loneliness of the Long Distance Runner” popping on for every other song for inspiration.

The kid will never forget that fateful day of metal nor would he ever turn his back on the music that helped shape him into the man he is today. He would neither forget the kindness that his friends brother inadvertently showed him. RIP Jackie, you’ll never be forgotten.

Thus ends the tale of the kid and the Maiden. Moral of the story: Iron f’n Maiden Rules!!!

# 6 Ghost Reveries by Opeth

While Opeth has a multitude of albums that just blow my mind, none have come close to melting my cerebral cortex quite like Ghost Reveries has. Every song on this album sends shivers down my spine whether it by from the brutality of “The Grand Conjuration” the proggy grooves of “The Baying of the Hounds” or the mist laden landscapes of “Hours of Wealth. And “Harlequin Forest”, perfection musically personified; such beautiful and harrowing imagery it has. I was a fan of Opeth before this album hit, but it was Ghost Reveries that turned me into a super-fan inspiring me to go back and take a deeper listen to their back catalog really exposing the genius that is Opeth. I really don’t have much more to say other than I f’n love this record. If for any reason you’ve yet to hear this record, go now!

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About RiffRaff

Just takin' it easy for all you sinners.

Posted on November 12, 2012, in Matt's Top 100 Albums and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Not surprised to see Blind Guardian so high on your your list. You have always spoken fondly of that album. I need to take a listen, I only have their latest studio album. We both have Pantera on our lists in this section, just different albums. As for Ghost Reveries, what an amazing album. That one hit me hard. It wasn’t really my introduction to Opeth, but it was the album that got me into them as much as I am now. It appears on my list at almost the same spot as yours.

    It took me so long to get into Rush, but I completely understand wny they would be so high on your list or anyone’s list for that matter. They are such an inspiration to so many other bands…Not sure what it was that kept me from really getting into them, but i love their new album, Clockwork Angels. As for Iron Maiden say no more…it is where it should be. I wouldn’t be surprised if another Maiden albums appears next week in your top 5 😉

    • Glad you’re coming around to Rush. Such a great band and a looooooot of music to discover. I think that their earlier works and post 2k albums will be more your speed.
      Even if you aren’t familiar with the works of Tolkien you should get some wear and tear out of Blind Guardian. That album has it all from a metal standpoint. Great melodies, catchy tunes, huge ballads, fast paced assaults. Highly recommended. It isn’t nearly as symphonic as At the Edge of Time, but still has that huge sound.

  2. You’re kid-thoughts on “Somewhere in time” are really my grown-up-thoughts on it ;-P. To “Nightfall in Middle-Earth” I listened countless times. The third record I got of my first and one of my favorite Metal bands. I knew every word on this record, including the spoken parts. It seemed the band burst with creativity. The lyrics are poetic, the music serves the full range and atmosphere is intriguing. I listened to it on the way to school, lying in the dark on my bed or with friends playing Warhammer Fantasy Tabletop (so much about nerdiness).

    Also I would choose another Pantera album I can really recover what you write about it when I think of some records. It also approves the theory that a personal relationship to a record and a certain context the music gives to your life and vice versa often creates those few records you love the most. And “I’m broken” has one of the best riffs ever written.

    “And thus ends the third comment of the day…” or something like that. 😉

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