In the realm of metal and rock, 2007 brought us some great releases. A few came from some pioneers of punk and metal (Black Sabbath, Bad Brains) and some from the experimental and progressive (Poison the Well, Between The Buried and Me). Some were intense and maniacal (The Black Dahlia Murder, The Funeral Pyre) and others just want to make you get up dance and strut (Every Time I Die, Queens of the Stone Age). So I give you now my list from number 10 all the way down to numero uno. Enjoy.
10. As I Lay Dying-An Ocean Between Us (Metal Blade) With an increased amount of technical brutality, AILD have constructed a more focused and well-structured metal composition for their third release. A reminder of how–despite the stagnant state the genre of “metalcore” may be in–they are only one of the few who can do it right. “Comfort Betrays” is by far the best songs on the record and one of the best heavy metal singles of 2007.
9. Queens of the Stone Age-Era Vulgaris (Interscope) When I first got this, I wasn’t too thrilled about it. I mean, I’ve been a fan of QOTSA for years now but it seems they lost the luster a bit when they let go of bassist Nick Oliveri. Upon further listening, I seem to have underestimated Josh Homme and for that, I can say I was wrong. Songs such as “Misfit Love”, “Make It Wit Chu” and “”Sick Sick Sick” come off sounding as if Tom Petty hooked up with Black Flag and that is not a bad thing at all.
8. Poison The Well-Versions (Ferret) What better way to reintroduce yourself to everyone than to come out of left field and create a record full of atmospheric inclinations so risky, you will leave alot of folks scratching their heads after listening. Very dynamic and driving, PTW took a leap of faith and put together a solid melodic hardcore masterpiece. Just listen to "Letter Thing" and be amazed.
7. The Funeral Pyre-The Natural of Betrayal (Prosthetic/Creator Destructor) Channeling melodic death metal and Norwegian black metal into their songs, TFP have constructed a 43-minute dark catharsis of pure anguish and fury. You can feel the music take you on a journey that is definitely not for the weak at heart. Great keyboard arrangements and attacking guitars, TFP are making their mark slowly but surely. Look for big things from the La Habra, CA-based quintet in 2008.
6. The Black Dahlia Murder-Nocturnal (Metal Blade) Much darker, both lyrically and musically, than their previous release Miasma, they continue the tradition of great metal classics released by Metal Blade Records. To hear them pull off songs like “What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse” live and in person is even more of a treat. Plenty of nods to great bands such as Carcass, Dissection and At The Gates, TBDM are definitely creating a place of their own in metal history.
5. Black Sabbath-The Dio Years (Rhino/WEA)Ok, I know this is a best of CD but how can you not include the era of Black Sabbath with Ronnie James Dio? (whom I still hail as one of the best singers in music) While you can never discount what Ozzy did, Dio reminds everyone yet again that he–along with Iommi, Appice and Ward–created a barrage of classics of their own. With one of the best riffs ever, “Heaven and Hell” is a beast of a metal song and “The Devil Cried” only adds to their already great repertoire.
4. Between The Buried and Me-Colors (Victory)Challenging listeners to venture into more complex and textured music, BTBAM brought together a collection of songs that I can only describe as a chaotic juxtaposition of keyboard-laced melodies and off-time guitars. Songs such as “Foam Born: (a) The Backtrack” and “Sun of Nothing” continue to extend the savagery with flawless execution. It may sound complicated at first but keep an open mind and you will hear heavy music in a very different way.
3. The Brothers Martin-self titled (Tooth and Nail) Every few years, a number of bands like to pay homage to New Order and many other great British new wave bands. Few actually capture the essence and style so flawlessly. The Brothers Martin (brothers Jason and Ronnie) have created a 34-minute mixture of blissful synthpop and grandiose guitarwork.
2. Bad Brains-Build A Nation (Megaforce) If there was one record I have been looking forward to since I heard it was in the making, it was this. While Build A Nation is more grounded into their reggae than hardcore roots, it does not disappoint. Very fluid, very potent, it’s a great reminder of even after 25 years, Bad Brains is still capable of making a timeless record.
1. Every Time I Die-The Big Dirty (Ferret)
Coming in at number one, this record brings the spirit of the Sunset Strip to the Hot Topic crowds. As I stated before in one of my reviews, it’s a sonically pleasant collage of filth with its own penicillin shot, well suited for a night of debauchery. It has been in constant rotation since I got my hands on it and probably will appear on many folks top 10 lists. Take a listen and you will hear many reasons why. I even have their main single “We’rewolf” as my song on my own MySpace page.