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Matt’s Top Ten Albums of 2013


bad_taste_xlg2013 was an odd year for me.  While there were countless amounts of outstanding releases, I found myself extremely burned out with heavy metal overload.  That’s not to say I even for a moment slowed down on my heavy metal listening in the slightest, but found myself with lots of difficulty getting into something new unless it was something extra special.  Something beyond just a solid death metal/black metal/post metal/doom metal/etc metal album.  It had to be absolutely extraordinary to pull me away from my current need of delving back into the thousands of albums already in my collection.

However, within my current disregard throughout the year for actively seeking out the new or checking out new albums from established artists I’m already a fan of I still did find a good amount of time to embrace the new.  There were many great releases this year and I gave a listen a lot of them.  On the contrary, many albums you would think would objectively be on my list you may not find here (honorable mention post coming in the very near future), as naturally, a top ten list is very subjective and the following albums are the records that really shone through despite my bout of new music burnout and got lot of playtime in between obsessive bouts of the classics.  In fact, every record here I would consider a modern classic and recommend taking some time to check it out.  So, without further ado, here’s my favorite releases of 2013.

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Reggie’s Top 15 Albums of 2013


Black Bomb A, Olympic (Nantes) 17/11/2006Initially, I was going to limit my best of 2013 list to just my top 10.  My reasoning was to make my list as tight as I could only highlighting the very best of what moved me during the year.  After looking back at how many albums I listened to or was exposed to, that number hovered around 270 albums.  So, I decided to expand my list to the same standard as previous years. Despite increasing my list to 15, it still only highlights about 5% of all the albums that graced my ear drums this year.  So, what I present to you for the year 2013 my top 15, plus five more honorable mentions that will be posted in the vicinity of this list.

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America! F**k Yeah!!!!!


fyeahamerica-montageSo today is the 4th of July.  The day the whole world celebrate just how awesome the U.S.A. is and the citizens of the States celebrate their superiority in the world by getting rip-roaring drunk, eating their own weight in meat, buying explosives from other countries (mainly China), and blowing shit up.  It’s damn good time for all.  How do you celebrate the 4th of July in your country?

But in all seriousness the 4th of July, also known as Independence Day, is one of the most loved holidays in the United States.  Families and friends get together and party hard in celebration of the day the States gained their independence from the British and marks the start to what is easily one of the most controversial countries in the world.  One thing I love about America is the deep and diverse culture we Americans have.  Having so many immigrants from so many different parts of the world has led to this mish mash of random mannerisms from other countries that lends its self to letting an American have a taste of the rest of the world without having to leave the country’s borders (which is a double-edged sword).  But the thing I love most about the States is the music.  Always a trendsetter in the aural entertainment market some of the most loved aspects of music originated in the States, like you know, the blues, which is the base of rock and roll and by proxy heavy metal.

Today I’m just going to brain fart out some songs and bands that make me think of the stars and strips, amber waves of grain, and sea to shining sea as well as other things love about the U.S.A.   Enjoy!!!  Peace Love and Fuck Yeah!!!!

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Album Review: Earth Rocker by Clutch


clutchearthrockercoverReally? How does Clutch do it?  For a band I’ve been a rather huge fan since I got my hands on their eponymous titled 2nd album the Maryland quartet has only slightly disappointed me once over the course of another 9 albums (while I dig it enough, I feel that their previous album Strange Cousins from the West, was a drop in overall song quality), various EPs, and a multitude of live records.  I can think of no other band that is able to maintain such a long running, strong consistency to the quality of their music and at the same time keep a consistent style and sound that somehow evolves from record to record (well Opeth maybe, but that is debatable).  And so, here we are at album number ten, and to be honest, I was a little worried that maybe they peaked on From Beale St. to Oblivion and would just churn out good, but not f’n great albums like Strange Cousins… from there on in.  Boy, was I wrong.  The aptly titled Earth Rocker is an absolute beast of an album and serves perfectly as the landmark album number ten from the hard rockers.  Acting almost as a self homage to themselves, Earth Rocker takes the many quirks from all of the bands previous records and rolls them into one big fattie and a side of brews leading to one of Clutch’s absolute strongest records to date.  You’ll find the fat grooves of Elephant Riders, the humor of Pure Rock Fury, the heaviness of Transitional Speedway League and the self titled album, the songwriting strength of Blast Tyrant, the oddness of Robot Hive/Exodus, and the bombast of Beale St.  All with that trademark Appalachian blues sound Clutch has trademarked and performs so well.  If this overly long opening paragraph isn’t enough to convince you to buy Earth Rocker, read on brother (sister), read on.

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Matt’s Top 25 Favorite Cover Songs: #11- Gravel Road covered by Clutch


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s common knowledge that all the wonderful rock and metal music you hear today is based off the roots of the blues.  And while many artists acknowledge that, finding a cover paying homage to the oldschool delta bluesmen seems to be quite a rare commodity.  Well, leave it up to Clutch, who are no stranger to incorporating the delta blues into their unique style, to be ones to buck the trend and drop a cover of one of those old timey blues jams.  And being Clutch, they just couldn’t do a straight cover of the song, but went ahead and added a wealth of electricity to the song changing Mississippi Fred McDowell’s “Gravel Road Blues” from a chugging steam locomotive into a speeding Maglev.  Clutch also added a few more lines to the song not heard in the original, but they still carry on its spirit and feel.  Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!

Clutch Version:

Original Mississippi Fred McDowell Version (note: not the real original but the closest I could find on Youtube)

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Matt’s Top 100 Favorite Albums of All Time: #5-#1


Is it the end already?!  That went faster than I thought it would.  Well, it was a lot of fun actually sitting down and drawing the whole thing out and asking myself why I love these records as much as I do.  While some I dug just cause they were f’n great albums, others I found I had quite a bit of history with.  I loved catching up with some classics I may haven’t listened too in a while and also rediscovering some records (some of which missed the Top 100, but I’ll make an honorable mention post in due time).  The other big fun I had with this list was as well as posting all of it in its glory here on Metal State I was posting entries on a Facebook forum dedicated to metal where many others were doing just the same thing.  It was/is (many are still posting theirs and some other have just begun) great to talk about all these albums with many other people and also see what their lists had to offer.  I have to say, my mind is inundated with a ridiculous amount of music to check out and I look forward to hearing it all.  If you’re feeling like talking some metal and use Facebook you can join the group through this link.  There are cool metal nerds within and some very fun metal discussions.  If you don’t have FB, I’d still love to see your list so post it to your blog, write it in the comments, or send it to me through email.

Anywho, here are the final 5 entries in my Top 100.  I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did making it and I hope you discovered some cool new albums to check out or were inspired to revisit something you may not have spun in a while.  So, without further ado,  we come to the end of ‘The List’ (which I now feel slightly depressed is over, will make up for with my top cover songs list which will begin at the start of the new year).  Drum roll please! Drtrtrttrrttrrttrttrtrrttrtrtrtrrttrtrtrtrtrtrtrtrtr!  Peace Love and Metal!!!!!!!

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Matt’s Top 100 Favorite Albums of All Time: #25-#21


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!!!

#25 Sailing the Seas of Cheese by Primus

As I look back at the Excel file with my ‘list’ on it one common theme that seems to be running through a large part of the albums is that they all include well pronounced bass and rhythm sections. One could argue that having heavy bass dulls down the music and muddies up the intricacies, but I digress and say that some well used bass adds a nice full body to the music that makes it even more tastier. Like a good whiskey, wine, beer, or woman. When it comes to bassists, one of the most skilled and eclectic that will come to many’s mind is Les Claypool. What that man has done with the low-end tones is unique to say the least, but as well as being a titan on the bass he also is a damn fine songwriter/storyteller/lyricist and collaborator. Without the aid of the other 2 members of Primus the complexities of his style wouldn’t come to fruition. Larry LaLonde’s trippy and shredy guitars work wonders when paired with Les’ groove accentuating rather than carrying. And to keep up with the insanity of Claypool a damn fine drummer is needed, and Tim Alexander’s jazz beats dance in tandem with the quirky bass. While the trio have released some damn fine albums, their second full length collects the best the band has to offer in one package. Not a stinker or a dull moment the whole record and this is always the Primus record I cram down everyone’s throat when they tell me they never listened to Primus. So, if you enjoy some thick bass in your music and for some strange reason never heard Primus before, I implore you to go get your hands on this album right now.

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Matt’s Top 100 Favorite Albums of All Time: #35-#31


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!!!

#35 BE by Pain of Salvation

Who is God, what is God, where is God, does God know what he is doing, does God believe in himself, what is the meaning of life? These are some questions that PoS explore within their sci-fi concept album BE. Within the record some of the questions and concepts they arise on the subject are some of the most interesting I’ve heard on the subject. While I do not believe in a ‘God’ in the popular sense of the word, delving into the themes and doing some extracurricular research on the album has led to me asking myself some serious questions. And then there’s the music contained within to boot. Even if you’re not concerned with the concept, PoS weaves some of the most touching and most emotional pieces of music they have written throughout their career, ranging from metal to classical piano suites to heart strung ballads. And “Vocari Dei” (the God’s answering machine song) is one of the most powerful and emotional pieces of music that PoS have ever written. This is one album, regardless of preferred musical genre or faith, I recommend everyone listening to.

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New Song by The Sword!!!!!


It should come as no surprise that I’m an unabashed fan of The Sword, I mean, their entire discography made it into my Top 100 Albums of All Time.  All of their groovy and doomy hard rock/metal tunes just hit me in all the right places.  Needless to say I’m hyped about their upcoming new record, Apocryphon, which hits shelves on October 22, 2012.  They have just released a new tune to build up some hype and it’s a damn fine single.  Classic Sword riffing, big fat grooves, and lyrics steeped in mythology and sci-fi.  As a fan, I couldn’t ask for anything more.

Looking into some of the details surrounding the album I noticed that the record will be co-produced with J. Robbins.  Mr. Robbins is most known for his work with one of my all time favorite bands, Clutch.  And then it started to dawn on me.  Is The Sword going to take the Clutch route of progression?  Their first couple albums were pretty heavy, and on Warp Riders they mellowed out for more of a hard rock sound with a thick groove, much like Clutch did after their first couple albums on The Elephant Riders.  Personally I have no qualms with that in the slightest.  What do you all think, could my prediction come true?  Remember, if I am some sort of musical prophet, you heard it here first.  Anywho, click here to go to the stream provided by Rolling Stone (Boooooo!!) and check out the new tune “Veil of Isis”.  Enjoy!!  Peace Love and Metal!!!

How Did I Miss New Music From Clutch!?!?!


So, I was browsing fellow music blog Andenochrome Music (great stuff, check em out!) and became privy to the fact that there was a new song by Clutch now available as a digital and physical single.  Well, I grabbed that ASAP, and the tune, “Pigtown Blues” is a straight up rockin’ Clutch tune.  Nice bluesy feel with enough rock to get your body a-movin’, much like the tune “Gravel Road”.  Check it out and grab the single for yourself.  Now, Clutch, it’s been 3 years, where’s my new album, eh?  Lol.  Enjoy!  Peace Love and Metal!!!!
PS.  The actual single sounds muuuuuuuuch better than the recording in the video below, but I really dig the fact that they recorded from an LP player for the video.