Category Archives: Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade
Mammal’s top songs of the years 1993-2013
Sorting out my year-by-year hit parades taught me a lot about myself and my changing tastes in metal. If you’re ever so bored that you start drawing faces on all the potatoes in the pantry, you may find it interesting and perhaps illuminating to do such an exercise too.
The big pattern was clear to me before I started making my lists. Even with my museum exhibit of a brain I knew that I’d been listening to less symphonic and heavy metal and more of the harder music over the years. My personal average scores for all my selections are thus an average over a long period, not a snapshot of any particular year in that period. If there’s been a constant over those two decades, it would be prog metal.
I used a fairly common scoring system to analyse my hit parades. For some years I had as few as ten selections and for the last year, 2013, I chose 25 songs. For the sake of consistency I cut my lists to the top 10 songs for each year. Then, for each year, I scored 10 points for #1, 9 points for #2, and so on down to 1 point for #10. Microsoft Excel did the rest for me.
But first! Yes! Before I insert my lists, it is is time to reveal one of the best-kept secrets in the Universe… the true identity of Dark Metal Cat, my constant adviser and referee. He’s taken off his costume and revealed himself as…
… Tiny Tiny Cakey Kitten, a.k.a. Cookie Cat or Caucus Caterus Cattus or Flubby, the world’s fattest thin cat. He doesn’t play the guitar. He’s a keyboard artist. He can make Windows do things I can’t, and he does it often. My darling wife doesn’t like metal and won’t go to sleep on my desk in front of the monitor, so I couldn’t use her to put in creative typing or exit from unsaved work.
My top bands of the last 21 years
1. Opeth (Sweden), Progressive Death Metal: 73
2. Dream Theater (USA), Progressive Metal: 36
3. Riverside (Poland), Progressive Metal: 33
4. Dimmu Borgir (Norway), Symphonic Black Metal: 29
5. Therion (Sweden), Symphonic Heavy Metal: 27
6. TIE: Borknagar (Norway), Folk Black Metal ~and~ Leprous (Norway), Progressive Metal: 26
8. Arch Enemy (Sweden), Melodic Death Metal: 25
9. Ayreon (Netherlands), Progressive Metal: 24
10. Orphaned Land (Israel), Folk Death Metal: 23
My top metal genres and sub-genres of the last 21 years
1. Symphonic Metal: 127
2. Folk Metal: 125
3. Progressive Death Metal: 105
4. Melodic Death Metal: 87
5. Progressive & Experimental Metal: 78
6. Thrash Metal: 60
7. Gothic Metal: 44
8. TIE: Black Metal ~ and ~ Doom Metal: 39
10. Stoner & Sludge Metal: 38
My top metal countries of the last 21 years
1. Sweden: 219
2. USA: 216
3. Norway: 131
4. UK: 122
5. Finland: 86
6. Netherlands: 71
7. Poland: 65
8. Germany: 43
9. Israel: 33
10. Canada: 26
It’s been a good ride. Thinking back to the first time I heard Sabbath, metal has given me a wonderful ride for more than 40 years.
What’s really beautiful about metal – to me, at least – is that it keeps growing bigger, more diverse and better. I greatly look forward to continuing the journey until my brain atrophies again, as it did a couple of years ago when it turned into a fossil like the rest of me.
I haven’t referred to my list of top albums of 2013 that I posted on Metal State at the end of last year. I don’t need to because I know it’s markedly different to my current sets of year-by-year hit parades. This series has featured my favourite songs, not albums. It hasn’t included non-metal, whereas my top albums list did.
I set another condition for myself at the start of this exercise, which has been a wonderfully enjoyable game. To spread the pleasure among the artists who’ve given me so much pleasure over the years, I chose only one song per year per artist. There too I’ve been arbitrary at times. There are albums so good that just about any song would be a contender for top song by that artist.
No doubt my lists would look different if I re-did them in a year’s time. Music shapes itself to our moods.
I hate it when Dark Metal Cat goes gallivanting with feline temptresses and isn’t here to write my intros for me.
While I’ve been playing with so much metal in the last few months I’ve wondered about my taste, which isn’t the same as yours or anyone else’s. Your taste is also unique. Two or three people with a common interest in certain types of metal may agree on their favourite album of a particular year. If those three were to make their top ten lists for just three or four years, however, it’s almost 100% certain there would be three quite different sets of lists.
What is taste? Can it be defined? There is some concensus among critics about what is good. There is never universal agreement. Music is too intangible and personal.
What then about the bottom-line question: What is the best music? I have only one answer to that, and it’s been my answer for many decades… the best music is the music you enjoy the most. It would be gravely presumptuous of anyone to tell you otherwise.
Ultimately there are only two types of music for anyone – music you like and music you don’t.
~ Dark Metal Cat, defending his chorus with a marauding stray cat last night
Since this is the last week of my year-by-year hit parades, I’m overindulging myself completely by posting my top 25 songs of last year. This’ll be good practice for making my list of my top albums of 2014.
Next week I shall reveal the true identity of Dark Metal Cat unless he gets me first with his very big paws and his very, very sharp claws.
A couple of the songs that top my list for 2013 are rather long. They’re worth it, says Dark Metal Cat. Aeon Zen’s song is my ideal of what a prog metal song should be. Of course it leans strongly towards the prog quarter. The Wintersun song embodies just about everything I love about harder melodic metal. It’s one of the best songs I’ve heard in the last 64 years, 9 months and 5 days.
The shorter number by Diablo Swing Orchestra is so… out there… that it sets the bar for many types of experimental metal.
Be glad you don’t live on the Planet of the Dolphins or in any other sub-aquatic civilisation. You can’t do chemisty, make fire or smelt metals under water. It would probably be even more difficult in salt water. I should imagine it would also be quite a bugger trying not electrocute yourself with a big amp.
On Water Planet there is no music except for The Whale Glee Club and the Coral Crackers.
There are more bands today playing classic-style heavy metal than there were at the height of heavy metal in the 1980s.
Since the advent of online music streaming and buying, more metal albums are released every month than the total number of albums of all kinds of Western music in 1980.
No one can possibly listen to every new metal album… but, oh man, it’s fun trying!
My #11 song is causing me many headaches and much anxiety. I know the dancing girls in the Leander video were auditioning in the hope of drawing me as their partner in the Metal State Dance Contest. How can I tell them I stopped dancing when my knees stopped working in 1927? I don’t want to shatter their dreams.
Maybe I can dress Dark Metal Cat in a tuxedo and hang a “Mammal” sign around his neck. He has some amazing moves.