So I got suckered into reading the Top 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time on Rolling Stone last week and I was surprisingly not angry. Maybe due to my age, maybe because I set the bar so low for Rolling Stone Magazine, either way I only had minor gripes:
For the MILLIONTH TIME, Metallica's Black Album was not, and is not, a metal album. It is a Rock album by a metal band. All albums before the Black Album could be considered in the Top 10 for the list, based on your personal preference, but not the Black Album.
Ministry's Psalm 69 is clearly Industrial. It wasn't until, oh 2003, when Ministry kicked out Paul Barker, when Ministry became a straight forward Metal Band.
Meshuggah should be in the Top 10, not 77
Anthrax's Among the Living or Spreading the Disease should have been in the Top 10.
Shockingly Correct Selections
#90 Body Count - Body Count was a surprisingly good metal band with a sharp sense of humor. The Cop Killer song controversy overshadowed a solid effort by Ice-T and the gang.
#87 Manowar - Even though Rolling Stone picked 1984's Hail to England (I would have chosen 1987's Fighting the World), I'm glad Manowar made the list. They occupied a cartoonish spot between Hair Metal and Heavy Metal that few bands would tread.
#84 High on Fire - No one carries the torch, so to speak, of today's metal better than High on Fire.
#69 Soundgarden - Early Soundgarden was Metal, listen to Heretic above.
#64 Godflesh - I used to listen to the EP Slavestate constantly. I never met anyone else in real life who listened to Godflesh.
#56 Dillinger Escape Plan - A favorite of Alternative Press Magazine, I'm surprised Rolling Stone even knew one of the founders of Mathcore.
#45 Exodus - Usually an afterthought, I saw Exodus in 1989 and they were on their game.
Headbangers Ball Tour 1989 Summary:
Anthrax - Amazing
Exodus - Amazing
Helloween - A Historically Bad Abomination.
With that being said, I felt that the genre of Post Metal was sadly underrepresented on the Metal List, so with that in mind I give you the Top 10 Post-Metal Albums of All-Time.
10. Minsk - Out of a Center Which Is Neither Dead nor Alive (2005)
Not out of the remains of the former Soviet Union, but out of Peoria, Illinois, it is Minsk's debut in 2005 that makes our list. Angry and melodic, Minsk laid the template for great post-metal.
9. Blindead - Affliction XXIX MXMVI (2010)
Who am I to argue with the readers of Metal Storm?
8. Red Sparowes - Every Red Heart Shines Toward the Red Sun (2006)
What began as a side project for members of Isis and Neurosis has evolved into a self-sustaining band of its own. Despite the lack of lyrics, this album tells a very specific story about the Great Sparrow Campaign in China through its song titles:
1. "The Great Leap Forward Poured Down Upon Us One Day Like a Mighty Storm, Suddenly and Furiously Blinding Our Senses."
2. "We Stood Transfixed in Blank Devotion as Our Leader Spoke to Us, Looking Down on Our Mute Faces with a Great, Raging, and Unseeing Eye."
3. "Like the Howling Glory of the Darkest Winds, This Voice Was Thunderous and the Words Holy, Tangling Their Way Around Our Hearts and Clutching Our Innocent Awe."
4. "A Message of Avarice Rained Down and Carried Us Away into False Dreams of Endless Riches."
5. "'Annihilate the Sparrow, That Stealer of Seed, and Our Harvests Will Abound; We Will Watch Our Wealth Flood In.'"
6. "And by Our Own Hand Did Every Last Bird Lie Silent in Their Puddles, the Air Barren of Song as the Clouds Drifted Away. For Killing Their Greatest Enemy, the Locusts Noisily Thanked Us and Turned Their Jaws Toward Our Crops, Swallowing Our Greed Whole."
7. "Millions Starved and We Became Skinnier and Skinnier, While Our Leaders Became Fatter and Fatter."
8. "Finally, as That Blazing Sun Shone Down Upon Us, Did We Know That True Enemy Was the Voice of Blind Idolatry; and Only Then Did We Begin to Think for Ourselves."
7. Yob - Clearing the Path to Ascend (2014)
Straddling the lines between genres, Ascend is a four song masterpiece. The first 2 songs are doom metal, but the Yob guys shift gears for Unmask the Spectre and Marrow giving the listener an albums worth of glorious post-metal in the final 35 or so minutes.
6. Obscure Sphinx - Anaesthetic Inhalation Ritual (2011)
A.I.R. pulls you in, then challenges you to stay. Poland's Obscure Sphinx's debut album is a complicated mixture of highs and lows with an impressive range of vocals.
5. Neurosis - Times of Grace / Tribes of Neurot - Grace (2001)
This is not a hedge. As Neurosis evolved from a Hardcore Band to a Post-Metal band, their evolution was complicated. Some would consider The Eye of Every Storm in the 5 spot here, but I give the nod to the Neurosis/Tribes of Neurot effort, a better listen due to the degree of difficulty involved. What do I mean? The Tribes of Neurot are a side project of Neurosis, and the 2 albums were meant to be listened to AT THE SAME TIME.
4. Pelican - The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw (2005)
Who am I to argue with the readers of Decibel Magazine?
3. Russian Circles - Geneva (2009)
Russian Circles third album Geneva finds the band hitting its stride. As I review their discography, there are no bad Russian Circles efforts, it just took a few albums for the band to get their footing. Their latest, Guidance came out last year to positive reviews.
2. Jesu - Conqueror (2007)
After Godflesh broke up, Justin Broadrick formed a new "lighter" project in Jesu. Jesu's second effort Conqueror is a masterpiece of sound and texture. A soundscape that defies definition. Justin Broadrick is a busy fellow these days, he re-united with GC Green and re-ignited Godflesh in 2010 and just had another Jesu release last month, a collaboration with Sun Kil Moon called 30 Seconds to the Decline of Planet Earth. Where Conqueror is dark beauty, 30 Seconds is dark despair.
1. Isis - Oceanic (2002)
In hindsight, the best way to describe Isis (the band) is by what happened after they broke up. Aaron Turner went on to form Sumac (among other projects). Sumac is too hard and abrasive. Jeff Caxide, Aaron Harris, and Bryant Clifford Meyer joined Chino Mareno (lead singer of the Deftones) and formed Palms. Palms is too soft. Isis was the perfect blend of metal and melody. (They broke up in 2010.) What sets Oceanic above Panopticon and In the Absence of Truth is the track Weight, a sparkling exclamation point to an already great album.
Special Note: If not for Isis' In the Absence of Truth, there would be no American Suicide book. If there was no American Suicide book, there would have been no Beacon of Speech.
Isis - Holy Tears (single)
Special Note II: I had the item below on the original list and my wife said "God is an Astronaut is a great listen, but it's not post-metal. I think she's probably right, but you can decide for yourself.
God is An Astronaut - All is Violent, All is Bright