Lists of Domination
GD's Top 100 Most Dominating Albums From 2000-2009 (10-1)
09/07/10 || Global Domination
10. Tool: Lateralus
Tool’s masterpiece is a brain-fucking trip through the human mind and soul. The title track may be my favorite song of any band in any genre. The songs are intricate and progressive but still have a hard edge to them. The production is perfect and the musicianship is flawless. “10,000 Days” was a great record but Tool will never top “Lateralus”. It is the perfect representation of everything the band is and stands for. Tool is my generation’s Pink Floyd, Led Zepplin, and Black Sabbath all rolled in to one insane, psychedelic metal mess… and I fucken love it. While “Undertow” and “Aenima” are the perfect representations of late 20th century anger, “Lateralus” is early 21st century madness bottled and delivered right to your door.
There are songs on here that reflect the band’s earlier, angrier years like the blistering “Ticks and leeches” and the pounding opener “The Grudge”. However more melodic, experimental songs like “Schism”, “Parabola”, and “The Patient” show that Tool is much more than a band based on anger and frustration. Maynard and the boys are the most creative metal/alternative/hard rock band out there and are still packing arenas for a reason. From Maynard’s distinct vocals to Daney Carey’s sacred geometric drumming and Adam Jones’ signature heavy, haunting guitars Tool have it all and no album brings together like “Lateralus”.
9. Gojira: The way of all flesh
Every now and again a band will come along and put their own unique twist on an existing sound to make something truly special. Gojira is one such band, taking elements of groove and death, and twisting into something simply mesmerizing and astounding. Admittedly, it does take a few listens before true appreciation can settle in, such is the complexity and multi-layered nature of the music. But once it does, boy, have you got something intricate and special to get lost in. This isn’t so much an album as it is an experience, an eerie, remarkable, artful and poetic experience. There is no doubt this album is a classic, and one definitely deserving of a spot in our top ten.
8. Opeth: Deliverance
Mikael Åkerfeldt’s prowess as a songwriter is unquestioned. He is one of the finest composers the metal world has seen, ever. With Opeth, he has pushed the genre’s boundaries with virtually every release, without for one second losing integrity or identity. All nine Opeth albums are masterpieces for me, and “Deliverance” is the crown jewel, Åkerfeldt’s magnum opus. It holds one of the best songs of all time (the title track), the band’s performance is fantastic, the production is great, hell, even the lyrics are well-written this time around. But what really sets this record above the rest is how the compositions work with each other to create a haunting and complete whole. The six songs tell a ghastly tale filled with passion and emotions ranging from frantic rage to suicidal despair. The contrasts Opeth so often use are utilized to great effect, and the song structures seamlessly carry the momentum forward. Every note is placed in just the right spot to achieve maximal effect in the listener. Good ol’ Mike, you’re nothing but a genius. Cheers.
7. Gojira: From Mars to Sirius
The album that made Gojira a household name (in households that have at least one crazy metalhead in them) is the album that also sets the standard for 21st century metal. “From Mars to Sirius” is heavy a fuck, technically impressive, sounds great, melodic, and just plain awesome. I have not stopped listening to it since the moment I got it, and I don’t see any signs of stopping that any time soon. “Ocean planet” alone make this a winner but killer tracks like “Backbone”, “Flying whales”, and “Where dragons dwell” only make this sweet slice of whale blubber all the more sweet. The more recent “ Way of All Flesh” is great, don’t get me wrong. But “From Mars to Sirius” is the band’s best…so far.
Gojira have it all: talent, great stage presence, and creativity to back it all up. This is metal that metalheads from all walks of life can enjoy: massive riffs, breakdowns that make you headbang, and cool lyrics about whales, the earth burning, and lawyers being evil as fuck. Every album Gojira has done so far has been excellent, but this is definitely the best. Even though it is almost four years old it still sounds new and refreshing, like a cool burst of whale fart, every time I listen it. This was my pick for numero uno and in my opinion stands up there with other great albums like “Paranoid”, “Raining blood”, “The Number of the Beast”, and “Slaughter of soul” in terms of setting new standards and directions for metal.
6. Necrophagist: Epitaph
Ok, we all know that mainman Douchehammed is a… well… douche (can never stress that enough), but there’s no denying that “Epitaph” is a fantastic album by all means, created by a complete fucko who’s at least half-decent at playing, arranging and composing. It’s tech-death at its finest hour, to put it mildly. Great solos, killer groove, ace production, insane technicality and so forth. Maybe a bit too one-dimensional in the vocal department, but The Douche sports a good growl so it works anyways though some varied vocals would have worked wonders with the material. Just imagine this album with a grunter like Jörgen Sandström; someone with variety, extreme power and range in his growls. Holy shit, that’s be the end of it. One thing though: if Necrophagist don’t release a new album this year I think we all can agree that “Epitaph” was just a lucky shot and the pressure became too great for Douchebastard – hence why he hasn’t released anything new in, what, 6 years or so…
Anyways, as said – “Epitaph” is a fucken fantastic album. Probably the best one ever released in the tech-death field. Only becoz Death’s “Human” can’t really be put into that category. Douche metal is obviously not a bad thing after all.
-Lord K Philipson
5. Iced Earth: Horror show
Though I’m a bit surprised that 2001’s “Horror show” made it this high (you been stackin’ the votes, Trauma?) I’m not too upset about it, since it is a great album, one of Iced Earth’s very best, in fact (although they certainly made plenty of other good albums during the old Barlow era). Anyway, “Horror show” gets its name from its overall theme, which is that (almost) every track is about a different icon of horror, like The Wolf Man, Jack The Ripper, and so on, and it’s an idea that IE puts to brilliant use, since, like on “Fate of Norns”, every track here has its own unique personality.
“Wolf” is appropriately frenzied and furious, “Damien” is properly ominous and evil, “Dracula” is suitably tortured and tragic, and so on, and even though the power ballad “Ghost of freedom”, a cheesily patriotic tribute-to-fallen-soldiers, really doesn’t fit into the overall theme, it’s still a really good song.
So, overall, “Horror show” is a highly satisfying, epic, original, and diverse take on metal, with customarily passionate vocals from Matt Barlow, who unfortunately, lost interest in the band after 9/11. And, while I still enjoyed “The glorious burden” (despite Tim Owens’ weaker vocals), it was definitely a step down for Earth, and even bringing Barlow back recently hasn’t helped them to regain their former glory. Oh well, perhaps some day, they’ll get back to the awesome level that they had on here…
4. Septic Flesh: Communion
Surprisingly, this is as high up as number four on our top 100s list. It’s a fantastic album, for sure, but I didn’t expect it to be this high.
Greek melo-extremity deluxe. This is what you should be expecting. It’s black/death at its core, obviously – extreme metal as it should be. But what gives this one its special touch is the little Greek melodies strewn across the album, all over. It makes the album feel extremely fresh and rejuvenated, an anomaly between the sterile sounding records of today. This is not sterile at all – it’s as organic as you could possibly get in 2008, and that’s from a Greek band (when was the last time a Greek metal band was worshiped beyond belief?)
And the beauty about it is how epic it sounds. Most death metal revels in “back to basics” playing, except for guitar solos, but this sounds grand and sweeping. Dramatic, you might say. There is a real sense of bombast to the music without it being overbearing and cheesy, and it makes this album sound a lot more huge than it probably actually is. One of the few bands, therefore, that can pull this kind of thing off with aplomb.
Hats off to ye, Greeks, for making an album worth the time and all of our attention. Good to see a band like this making number four.
3. Clutch: Blast tyrant
This was the album that Clutch had to make. The album that took them from being pretty good to quite remarkable. Fallon’s talents particularly bloomed on this one with the excellent vocals and layering, bizarre lyrics, and a far out concept. The booklet is an important part of the experience (so don’t just be a downloading twat). The peculiar character art, the fantastical storyline, and all the handwritten little notes propel this album into a fully executed tale of the outlandish.
“Blast Tyrant’s Atlas of the Invisible World Including Illustrations of Strange Beasts And Phantoms” is brimming with kick ass songs that make you either want to drive a pick up truck on the highway or sit in your room and smoke a joint. The playing is really amazing; not show-offy, just guys that have been doing it for years. It’s just pure, unadulterated, to-the-point American rock in all its glory. Clutch shows what it is to be a real rock and roll band. Blast Tyrant is a package in which everything is done well, and then some.
2. Bolt Thrower: Those once loyal
Huh?! Where’s all this modern stuff coming from? I thought metal ended years ago.
Bolt Thrower are the semi-living proof that a band can lead a musical career by locking themselves into a basement and listening to their own stuff – and nothing but their own stuff – and bringing it to perfection. Consequently, this album has everything that made Bolt Thrower great, just better. Production, songwriting, groove, melodies, you name it. All improved. He who is a great metal brain knows that the stuff they did pre-2005 wasn’t exactly bad either, so making a huge leap forward from this already exponated position is no small feat, no matter if they make it sound so simple and natural.
The album is as good a starting point for those unfamiliar with the band as it is a grand finale to those already familiar with their back catalogue. “Those once loyal” finally reflects Bolt Thrower’s awesomeness with a more “competitive” production job that lets all instruments (special mentioning of course to the finally discernible bass) shine through appropriately. If you have any interest in mid-paced death metal, there is no way around this album, and I’m happy to see it featured as high as it is. Looking at what beat it for the top spot, I’d even say it deserves number one.
But who cares about a GD list anyway.
01. Opeth: Blackwater park
It is with great pride that I am writing words for what came out on top as the top album of this past decade. Now, not everyone ranked this as their number one. Some people didn’t even mention this landmark album. Clearly their opinion mattered the least because the numbers spoke and thus spake Zarathustra. Opeth, always progressing, hit their greatest mark with this album. It flows marvelously, from the tense beginning up to the very end it shows you that the art of crafting a great album was not lost in the slightest over the years. Not quite the concept album it’s predecessors were, it seemed something a bit more. It was less pretentious, more in your face, and definitely way more accessible while not dumbing itself down in the slightest.
The production is top notch courtesy of Steve Wilson. The clarity of every instrument, their balance in the mix, all the best they can possibly be at the hands of this man. You wouldn’t exactly be doing yourself a disservice to start your Adventures With Opeth at any point in your career, but this album truly is something quite majestic and highly recommended as an entry point, for you can clearly hear where they came from and where they went.
Don’t believe me? Hell, even a non-staffer professed his love for this masterpiece.