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The best of 2006 - 2015

Top 30 albums from 2000-2009: Habakuk

30/07/10  ||  Habakuk

This is an album cover Introduction: Just a little note here, 2002 must have sucked ass. No entries at all… Apart from that, mix and match throughout the decade. And here we go:

1. Mastodon: Leviathan (2004):

And it’s not only my personal best album of the decade, but in my opinion the high point of the most formative band of the decade. I’ll try to make out a couple of trends for the last few years:

- More complexity. Gone are the days where you just went out full frontal and released “Reign in Blood”. It’s either not being done anymore or a rehash. So, every second band that swarms Audio Autopsy seemingly needs to have clean vocals and whatnot in addition to the “heavy” parts.

- More technicality. Gone are the days when you played over your abilities and learned your instruments “on the job”. That’s right, Kreator, Sodom, Napalm Death wouldn’t make it big anymore. Necrophagist, on the other hand…

- Marketability. In the grand scheme, Metal is a business. With this comes the need to sound accessible, professionally produced, the need for good artwork, band members that know a decent pose and whatnot, a story to tell, in the end: unique selling points on a solid, tried-and-tested basis.

Well – this band and album have it all. According to GD, there’s one of the best artworks as well as one of the best drummers. In fact though, all the members absolutely master their instruments. There’s a fantastic production. Complexity – Don’t even get me started. Seamless moves from acoustics to kick-in-the-nuts heavy. Clean vocals, yes, and good at that, not your average whiny ass teenage angst crap. The band even has an overlying “elements”-theme to their albums, as well as a concept for the individual albums. The hipster look to sell it, too. And most importantly, they write songs and they sound like no-one else out there. Countless bands try to sound like them, though, with their mix of sludge, stoner, post-whatever, technical death metal even. Still, all the elements have been heard before, refined a little and incorporated into a bigger idea. And on “Leviathan” that translates to: Intelligent “All killer, no filler” metal that can still make even the dumbest fuckwit (see: yours truly) bang his head.

2. Insect Warfare: World Extermination (2007):

Fuck the market and all that was written above, if you’re a full-on grind band, produce an album like this or remain doomed to second rank forevermore, for this is where it’s fucken at, total mayhemic anti-everything disstwuktion.

3. Bolt Thrower: Those once loyal (2005):

Release one of your best albums ever, then disband – how to leave with a bang, war machine style.

4. The Project Hate MCMXCIX: Hate, Dominate, Congregate, Eliminate (2003):

…because it sticks to the best formula TPH have ever had: stripped-down, crushing rhythm guitars underlying majestic lead sections.

5. Clutch: Blast Tyrant (2004):

With an album like this up their sleeve, it remains a mystery why rocksters and masters of entertaining groove and versatility Clutch still aren’t bigger than they are.

6. Hellacopters: High visibility (2000):

If you like guitars, you will like and should buy this album without further ado – Simple as that.

7. Ahab: The call of the wretched sea (2006):

The ocean, portrayed in Funeral Doom.

8. Nile: Annihilation of the wicked (2005):

Nile, one of the few brutal death bands that I enjoy on a regular basis, used to evolve their sound with each release, and the monumental “Annihilation of the wicked” marks that series’ grand finale.

9. Immolation: Close to a world below (2000):

Give this album a chance until it clicks and you won’t regret it.

10. Immolation: Shadows in the light (2007):

On here, Immolation found a perfect mixture between the complicated, wicked style of “Close to a world below” and the higher accessibility of this album’s direct predecessor, “Harnessing Ruin” – Still, “CTAWB” wins by a close margin due to its more unique approach.

11. Septic Flesh: Communion (2008):

I call this “easy-listening Nile”, and I mean it as an honest compliment.

12. Luciferion: The apostate (2003):

The best high speed death metal riffs after Angel Corpse deicided (get it?) to become lame ducks.

13. Motörhead: Inferno (2004):

You don’t have to be old young to be wise kickin’ some serious ass.

14. Grand Magus: Iron Will (2008):

Grooving, catchy Heavy Metal with a fantastic vocalist in JB of Spiritual beggars that sounds like Candlemass with an anvil tied to their leg for extra heaviness, but still more energetic -, all thanks to their… badoom-tish! Iron Will!

15. Motörhead: Kiss of death (2006):

Yes, more Motörhead – fuckers were on a roll, and you know it.

16. Motörhead: Motörizer (2009):

“Rock out / with your cock out / impress your lady friends!”

17. Violator: Chemical assault (2006):

This piece of Brazilian thrash is the best “retro thrash” album ever released – because it doesn’t sound “retro”, but like the real thing.

18. Mastodon: Crack the Skye (2009):

You know a band’s on the money when they follow up an over-the-top progressive album (“Blood mountain”, aka “Minor Catastrophe”) with something like this and actually manage to merge the good, and only the good progressions they made with their old qualities, plus maturing their overall sound – I tip my hat.

19. Sodom: M-16 (2001):

My first Sodom album (sue me, I was still a Little Boy at the time), thus a personal classic, and their best one in a quite a while.

20. Municipal Waste: Hazardous Mutation (2005):

I have the impression these guys get flak not for what they do, but for what followed them, but oh well, quality attracts plagiarism like shit pulls flies.

21. Wormrot: Abuse (2009):

Best singaporean grind album since… err…rice.

22. Sleep: Dopesmoker (2003):

One 70-minutes drugged-out stoner track comprised of one riff – this album would earn a spot on this list for novelty value alone, but hey, it’s also pretty damn good.

23. Vital Remains: Dechristianize (2003):

Insanely good, monstrous death metal suffering only from a bit of repetition, insanely good, monstrous death metal suffering only from a bit of repetition,
insanely good, monstrous death metal suffering only from a bit of repetition.

24. Dødheimsgard: Supervillain Outcast (2007):

…and I don’t even like black metal.

25. Vader: Litany (2000):

…or: stepping into a boxing ring against an an artillery barrage.

26. Karl Sanders: Saurian Meditation (2004):

…will help you recover from that endeavor if you’re into soothing yet dark pseudo-oriental acoustic guitar melodies done by the dude who does it best, Nile’s Karl Sanders.

27. Misery Index: Traitors (2008):

Yes, not “Retaliate”, because the ‘Index brought more smashing grooves in here, which brings “Traitors” closer to the “Dissent” EP, their true shining moment.

28. HatePlow: The only law is survival (2000):

Der Name ist Programm.

29. Japanische Kampfhörspiele: Hardcore aus der ersten Welt (2004):

Look, you might never get it, but in terms of creativity these people are among the best things that has happened to grind in the last decade, if you’d only learn fucken German already.

30. Vektor: Black Future (2009):

Put this on the list after only listening to a few YouTube clips, hence the low rank – more music like these guys’ technical thrash has to be made, so consider this entry based on an awesome first impression an imploring plea as well as a vow to buy this fucker ASAP.