Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

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'90 (Eyehategod: In The Name Of Suffering)

Post by Stu » Thu Sep 05, 2019 6:21 am

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While many people (rightfully) acknowledge the Melvins as an early influence on the style, and while they have one of the dumbest names I've ever heard of from a metal band, everyone still agrees that New Orleans natives Eyehategod are one of the biggest pioneers of the incredibly dirty, dank sound we now know as sludge metal (along with their fellow citymates Crowbar, of course), and their debut “In The Name of Suffering” is pretty much universally considered to be the first true modern example of that sound on record, what with the way the band took the crushing, overbearing heaviness, incredibly dark, dread-laden moods, and agonizingly slow, crawling tempos of doom metal, and combined that with the occasional, sudden burst of hardcore punk-style speed, helping to patent what’s become known as the "NOLA" sound of metal (and no, while awesome, Down didn't do it first either... you n00b).

Anyway, at any rate, "In The Name" is like drinking the darkest, sludgiest coffee that's ever been brewed (with the occasional forays into brisker tempos representing the caffeine kick), and, while not really anywhere near what I'd call a "fun" record to listen to, the record still makes an impact as a memorable listen, with its combination of genre trailblazing, Mike Williams' raspy, tortured shouting, and the way that the constant, distressing guitar squeals resemble a big ol' hog being slaughtered, ensuring that The Big Easy will never be able to take things quite so "easy" ever again.

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Other Notable Records From '90:


In addition to "Rust in Peace", 1990 thrash also saw the releases of records like Sadus's "Swallowed in Black", Suicidal Tendencies' "Lights...Camera...Revolution!", Vio-lence's "Oppressing the Masses", Kreator's "Coma of Souls" (a record that I've warmed up to over the years, so no need to gripe at me about it anymore, mehvenant & Habacuck), Forbidden's "Twisted Into Form", Death Angel's "Act III", Testament's "Souls of Black", Anthrax's "Persistence of Time", and my favorite effort from Slayer, "Seasons In The Abyss", as all these records represent one of the greatest years in the history of the genre, and one of the LAST great ones as well, as, pretty much the rest of the old-school bands in the genre, Big 4 and all, would see a sea change about to start taking place very, VERY soon. It wasn't the only sign of the turn of the decade though, as the year also, appropriately enough, saw one of the last "hurrays" for 80's-style glam metal with Poison's "Flesh and Blood", the beginning of a period of decline for Iron Maiden, THE 80's metal band, with the rather meh "No Prayer For the Dying" (and Bruce Dickinson's lousy solo debut "Tattooed Millionaire" didn't do him any favors either), along with the closest thing to the "official" end of a major movement in 80's metal, that being the 1st wave of black metal, as Celtic Frost "Vanity/Nemesis", while still a step back in the right direction considering their disastrous previous release (which was also representative of another 80's metal movement, but a much worse one), was still a fairly underwhelming record to break up on for a decade and a half, while Bathory full-on embraced their Viking era with the great "Hammerheart", although both bands already left a rich legacy behind for the 2nd Wave to soon blow up with in a couple of years.

Anyway, as always, there was also a number of significant miscellaneous releases this year, including Blind Guardian's "Tales From the Twilight World", Danzig's "Danzig II", Queensrÿche's "Empire", Napalm Death's move into death/grind with "Harmony Corruption", and a lot of notable debuts with Demolition Hammer's "Tortured Existence", Exhorder's "Slaughter In the Vatican" (a band that would soon be described as the underground answer to Pantera), Iced Earth's self-titled, and Alice in Chains's "Facelift", which lay at the intersection between metal and the burgeoning grunge movement that was on the cusp of bursting out of Seattle and taking over the world. And finally, besides "Left Hand Path", the golden age of death metal continued strong this year with the release of Carnage's "Dark Recollections" (a record that, if there were any justice in the metal world, would get the credit everyone gives to LHP as the ACTUAL first classic Swedeath record), Obituary's "Cause of Death", Death's "Spiritual Healing", an intermediate steeping stone inbetween their relatively straightforward, brutal 80's records, and the far more technical classics that would define them for the rest of the decade, Nocturnus's early tech death classic "The Key", and a couple more notable debuts like Deicide's self-titled, as well as "Eaten Back to Life", the first record from a band you've probably heard of called Cannibal Corpse, and all of this richness in the genre would grow even stronger and result in the greatest year in the history of the style, very, VERY soon…
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Re: Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

Post by Rock » Fri Sep 06, 2019 2:35 am

Left Hand Path is fucking great, but I refuse to use the word "Swedeath" (except in this sentence, but that's a necessarily evil).
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Re: '90 (Eyehategod: In The Name Of Suffering)

Post by Jinnistan » Fri Sep 06, 2019 4:52 am

Stu wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 6:21 am
While many people (rightfully) acknowledge the Melvins as an early influence on the style, and while they have one of the dumbest names I've ever heard of from a metal band,
First of all, Melvins is a fine name for a band that don't give a fuck, Stu.

It's hard for me to pinpoint the Melvins to any particular style as their niche seemed tucked pretty equally in the cracks between the feral indie-rock/metal of Butthole Surfers, the emerging grunge scene, and a healthy dose of wiggy pastiche which was closeer to the whims of Ween and Mr. Bungle than most metal of the time. It's interesting that their sludge marathon, Lysol, has a cover from Flipper, or the band which became hardcore pariahs for insisting on playing their punk rock at a fraction of the speed of their peers.

But, yes, I agree on the welcomed pitiful demise of hair metal around this time. Louder Than Love, Mother's Milk, In Case You Didn't Feel Like Showing Up, Ritual de la Habitual, The Real Thing were all permeating the mainstream, cluing the inert masses to more liberating alternatives. The fact that none of these albums neatly fall into specific genres was a big part of the promise.
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Re: Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

Post by Captain Terror » Mon Sep 09, 2019 2:53 am

Pleased to see the New Orleans scene mentioned, I sometimes wonder how relevant it still is in other parts of the world. The Thomas brothers (Exhorder/Floodgate) went to my (Catholic) high school. Safe to say songs like Slaughter in the Vatican and Anal Lust aren't getting mentioned in the alumni newsletter. :P
Just so happens that Exhorder is in the middle of one of their periodic reunions. New album coming later this month----
Never knew the guys from Eyehategod, although they were standing behind me at an Ace Frehley show back in '08.

I'm kind of jumping ahead of your timeline here, but you might want to check out Soilent Green if you're not familiar with them.
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Re: Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

Post by Thief » Mon Sep 09, 2019 3:06 pm

Stu wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 9:17 pm
I'm obviously a big fan of Rust, buit those two songs are actually some of my least favorite on the record, heh; not that I hate them, mind you, but I've always found the main riff of "Hangar" to be dull, and the second half of the song just feels like an excuse for some crazy solos (as opposed to being well-integrated into the core of the songwriting, like with "Five Magics"), and Dave's vocals get on my nerves more than usual on "Tornado". They're both still decent at least, just lesser than the other songs on the album, which I would probably rank in order of preference as:

1. Five Magics
2. Lucretia
3. Take No Prisoners
4. Rust In Peace
5. Holy Wars
6. Dawn Patrol
7. Poison Was The Cure
8. Hangar 18
9. Tornado Of Souls
I'm a Rush fan, so I have no issues with Dave's vocals :D No, but seriously, I guess if one's a Megadeth fan, one gets used to Mustaine's vocal limitations. I think he does a good job in terms of how to use his voice in benefit of his music; and I just love the guitars in "Tornado". For what it's worth, my ranking is these, but most of them are pretty close.

1. Hangar 18
2. Tornado of Souls
3. Lucretia
4. Holy Wars
5. Rust in Peace
6. Five Magics
7. Take No Prisoners
8. Poison Was the Cure
9. Dawn Patrol
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Re: Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

Post by Stu » Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:09 pm

Rock wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 2:35 am
Left Hand Path is fucking great, but I refuse to use the word "Swedeath" (except in this sentence, but that's a necessarily evil).
What? It's more efficent, yo! Anyway, Path is a very good record, but my favorite album to come out of that scene still has to be Carnage's Dark Recollections, recorded with some of the future members of Dismember teaming up with a pre-Carcass Michael Amott on guitar!:



\ m /
Jinnistan wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 4:52 am
First of all, Melvins is a fine name for a band that don't give a fuck, Stu.

It's hard for me to pinpoint the Melvins to any particular style as their niche seemed tucked pretty equally in the cracks between the feral indie-rock/metal of Butthole Surfers, the emerging grunge scene, and a healthy dose of wiggy pastiche which was closeer to the whims of Ween and Mr. Bungle than most metal of the time. It's interesting that their sludge marathon, Lysol, has a cover from Flipper, or the band which became hardcore pariahs for insisting on playing their punk rock at a fraction of the speed of their peers.

But, yes, I agree on the welcomed pitiful demise of hair metal around this time. Louder Than Love, Mother's Milk, In Case You Didn't Feel Like Showing Up, Ritual de la Habitual, The Real Thing were all permeating the mainstream, cluing the inert masses to more liberating alternatives. The fact that none of these albums neatly fall into specific genres was a big part of the promise.
I was talking about Eyehategod's name, ya goober. But yeah, the rise of alternative metal/rock during the late 80's/90's really was fascinating in its sheer diversity of sound, and I'll be sure to go into it in a bit more detail on it here, as you'll soon see...
Captain Terror wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 2:53 am
Pleased to see the New Orleans scene mentioned, I sometimes wonder how relevant it still is in other parts of the world. The Thomas brothers (Exhorder/Floodgate) went to my (Catholic) high school. Safe to say songs like Slaughter in the Vatican and Anal Lust aren't getting mentioned in the alumni newsletter. :P
Just so happens that Exhorder is in the middle of one of their periodic reunions. New album coming later this month----
Never knew the guys from Eyehategod, although they were standing behind me at an Ace Frehley show back in '08.

I'm kind of jumping ahead of your timeline here, but you might want to check out Soilent Green if you're not familiar with them.
Those NOLA bands really were significant in defining the sound of sludge metal, so no way I wasn't going to cover at least one of those early records. Also, that Exhorder tune sounds pretty sweet; I didn't know they were working on a new record, but now I'll have to keep my eye on it, so thank you for sharing!
Thief wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 3:06 pm
I'm a Rush fan, so I have no issues with Dave's vocals :D No, but seriously, I guess if one's a Megadeth fan, one gets used to Mustaine's vocal limitations. I think he does a good job in terms of how to use his voice in benefit of his music; and I just love the guitars in "Tornado". For what it's worth, my ranking is these, but most of them are pretty close.

1. Hangar 18
2. Tornado of Souls
3. Lucretia
4. Holy Wars
5. Rust in Peace
6. Five Magics
7. Take No Prisoners
8. Poison Was the Cure
9. Dawn Patrol
I'm more used to Dave's vocals now then when I first started listening to 'deth, but he's still always been the definition of an aquired taste vocally, and he's still not as easy to listen to as Hetfield (although Het's early vocals were honestly pretty terrible in their strangled-cat, high-pitched shriekiness, and his performance on Puppets doesn't have a ton of personality to it either, despite the amazing songwriting on that record, although he did get good on that front starting with Justice-onward, and some of his vocals on the 90's records are just flat-out great in their richness, despite the relative weakness of that era of the band). Anyway, we obviously have very different rankings of the songs on Rust, although I am glad "Lucretia" up as high as it is, as I always thought it was an incredibly catchy, underrated tune off of that record that no one seems to ever mention.
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'91 (Metallica: The Black Album)

Post by Stu » Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:13 pm

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Tired of seeing Metallica in this project? Too bad buddy boy, they're pretty much the most iconic metal band of all time, and their self-titled release, AKA "The Black Album" (AKA "The Blackest Albvm") is a big part of the reason why... but not because it's an actual great record, mind you. I mean, yes, despite a faction of slightly over-zealous backlashers in the headbanger community, TBA is still generally pretty well-regarded, although not as a true classic, and it's certainly not as beloved as anything from the band's golden age in the 80's. Rather, part of why "The Black Album" is so notable is due to it essentially serving as the official beginning of the end for old-school thrash metal, which makes sense, since, seeing as how Metallica is widely considered the first major bunch of thrashers to break out in the underground, it's only logical that they would continue to set the pace (literally) for the rest of the scene, as they were one of the first thrash bands to stop actually thrashing, making it more palatable for their peer bands to similarly tone down their sound as a result. And, as Metallica moved much farther into the mainstream, they switched to a significantly less aggressive songwriting style, with much more mid-paced tempos in general, setting the stage for pretty much every other band in the genre to either temporarily slow their roll, tone down the heaviness, or otherwise change their style by experimenting with influences from other sub-genres as the 90's wore on, although fortunately for us, TBA was somewhat of an outlier in terms of how radio-friendly the former thrashers got during the decade.

Anyway, besides all of that, "The Black Album" also holds great significance for Metallica as an individual act, as, even though they had already released some of the greatest albums in metal history, they were still nowhere near the arena-dominating monsters they are today, as such relatively harsh, epic songs like "One" or "Master of Puppets", amazing as they are, just didn't have the level of accessible mainstream appeal needed to win over the MTV crowd (I don't think "Justice", which was their biggest-selling album at the time, had even gone just double platinum by this point). But, it's almost as if they sensed that this was their one, razor-thin window of opportunity in-between the ongoing decline of glam metal and the oncoming explosion of the grunge scene (with both "Nevermind" and "Ten" being released mere weeks afterward), in order to fill a niche between the campy poppiness of the former and the anti-social angst of the latter, and become one of the biggest bands in the world, metal or otherwise. And of course, seize the day Metallica did, riding a couple of power ballads, a bunch of MTV-ready singles/videos, and a big, glossy, polished production style, courtesy of a fresh-off-Mötley Crüe Bob Rock, to over 30 million records sold worldwide (and still counting), creating the best-selling album of the past quarter of a century, providing a big boost to the sales of their back catalog in the process, and ensuring consistent success for (almost) everything they've released since, regardless of whether or not those subsequent albums have actually deserved it (they don't).

And, in doing this, Metallica became THE band that everyone to this day thinks of first when they think of metal, with the fusion of the kind of rapturous underground worship for their early records that metal icons like Death get, and combining that praise with the sort of mainstream success of a Def Leppard, straddling those two incredibly disparate scenes in a manner that's still one-of-a-kind in all metaldom to this day. Sure, they pretty much sold out to, well, sell out so much, it took the thrash scene a long time to start returning to its former glories after this, and this record did a lot to set up a law of consistently diminishing returns that the band would continue without fail for over a decade afterward (and even after that, they've still never gotten anywhere close to their 80's heyday since), but, for better or worse, "The.Black Album" remains one of the biggest watershed moments in the band's history, as well as in just heavy metal in general; sad but true, eh?

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'91 (Death: Human)

Post by Stu » Wed Sep 18, 2019 8:16 am

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Since Death was one of the first major bands to make what we now know as death metal, it only makes sense that they were also one of the first, and also the most iconic by far, to make tech death as well, as their legendary fourth album, Human, took a veritable light speed leap forward in terms of musical sophistication, with Mr. Schuldiner fortifying his already amazing instrumental wizardry with a murderer's row of amazing musicians, including the god of bassists himself, on on-loan from Sadus Steve DiGiorgio, as well as an incredible drummer/guitarist duo in the form of Sean Reinert and Paul Masvidal, borrowed from a then still-underground band of metal hippies known as "Cynic" (ever heard of 'em?). So, it was with this mind-blowing line-up (one that is really only out-matched by the band's later efforts), that Death officially become metal LEGENDS, with Reinert's furious, pounding percussion, DiGiorgio's fluid stream of bass lines constantly bubbling underneath, and the virtuosic tag team of Chuck & Paul playing their bloody hearts out here, never forgetting to marry skill with an incredible passion with their amazing trade-off solos, which is also reflected in Chuck's unstoppably zealous vocal performance here as well.

Of course, all the technical skill in the world would be for complete naught if it wasn't backed up by great songwriting, but Human has that in spades as well, mixing incredibly intense, thrash-style riffs and tempos with the copious amounts of sudden, abrupt songwriting switch-ups so synonymous with tech death, and which keep the energy level here sky-rocketingly high at all times, and the album puts all of these elements even further over the top with its overall grandiose ambition, whether it be the unexpectedly serene, melancholic clean guitars at the beginning of the immortal "Lack of Comprehension", or the eerie echo of Chuck's voice during the outro of "See Through Dreams", which segues seamlessly into "Cosmic Sea", an all-out, overwhelming monolithic journey of an instrumental, one that can even rival Metallica in their prime, and one of the most epic compositions, metal or otherwise, I've ever heard in my life. And so, while it wasn't the first in the genre, no other record has defined the sound of technical death metal more than Human, and, even coming out during the greatest year in the history of death metal, as far as I'm concerned, no other DM album from '91 is more iconic than this one right here ... it's just that good.

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'91 (Sepultura: Arise)

Post by Stu » Mon Sep 23, 2019 3:27 am

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While they broke out pretty late in the 80's thrash scene, Brazil's native sons Sepultura certainly made up for lost time pretty fast, releasing their classic "Beneath the Remains" in '89, and quickly following it up with "Arise" in '91, just in time for what I consider the final "official" year of the golden age of old-school thrash (more on that later), as the band kept the intensity high by retaining their signature blistering tempos, harsh, sandpaper-coarse production, furious percussion courtesy of Igor Cavalera's relentless kit-bashing (who I still say we snubbed by not including him on GD's old Best Drummers list), and big brother Max's hoarse, accented shouting, and improving but still noticeably broken-English lyrics painting vivid pictures of end-times hellscapes, both of which are aspects that add a Southern (American) fried style to Sep's spin on thrash here.

However, while the sound of "Arise" is still undeniably Sepultura, the boys from Brazil still find a number of ways to keep their sound from stagnating here, and setting up the path their career would take into the 90's, whether it be the occasional toning down of their constant breakneck speed to allow for some more groove/variety in terms of tempos, Igor's experimentations with Latin/"tribal"-sounding percussion (which you can hear in the immortal intro to "Altered State" below), or the way the band began to incorporate influences from industrial music by including cold, menacing-sounding soundscapes like on the album-opening title track, interludes that, instead of sticking out like the sore thumbs that they could've, only end up enhancing the overall, overwhelming effect of "Arise" on the whole (in the immortal words of Q Magazine, this whole thing sounds like "an angry man throwing tools at a urinal while reading the Book of Revelation"). And, while they may not have as been accessible as old-school Metallica, Sep made up for it with sheer fury, creating uniquely harsh, brutal, apocalyptic-sounding thrash here, and, as far as I'm concerned, this album is the peak of the entirety of their old-school efforts; ARISE!!!

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Stu Presents The Golden Age Of Metal

Post by Fruinuers » Fri Sep 27, 2019 12:15 pm

In it something is and it is excellent idea. I support you.
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Stu Presents The Golden Age Of Metal

Post by Williamequiz » Fri Sep 27, 2019 10:48 pm

Hoovers Magazine Feb 2015 Issue

Forever Home: Bluff Park family on the cover and featured in the "At Home" section.
Owls Holllow Farm Market and Skull Girl Soap Feature
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Re: Stu Presents The Golden Age Of Metal

Post by Rock » Sat Sep 28, 2019 3:25 am

Fruinuers wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 12:15 pm
In it something is and it is excellent idea. I support you.
For the record, Stu, I was supporting you before it was cool.
"We're outgunned and undermanned. But you know somethin'? We're gonna win. You know why? Superior attitude. Superior state of mind." - Mason Storm
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'91 (Suffocation: Effigy Of The Forgotten)

Post by Stu » Wed Oct 02, 2019 9:31 pm

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    While the early days of American death metal were pretty much dominated by bands from sunny climes such as California, and of course, the legendary Florida scene, it didn't take long for the frozen tundra known as New York State to start producing some significant acts of their own, and, while they did get beat to the debut-punch by fellow statemates Cannibal Corpse, Centereach's own Suffocation made up for that lost time with the release of "Effigy of the Forgotten", a trailblazing work that took death metal to new depths of brutality, with vocalist Frank Mullen's incomprehensibly guttural growling, which pretty much pioneered the "clogged, gurgling-toilet" style of death metal vocals, or the dry clank of Mike Smith's relentless blastbeating pounding our eardrums into oblivion, and the overall churning mass of downtuned, way down on the low-end riffs that make up the core of the band's sound.

    And, songwriting-wise, Suffo created a wrenching mixture of intense, up-tempo riffs balanced out with pummeling breakdowns, as the band almost completely forsake any traditional, quaint notions of things known as "melody" or "catchiness", while still retaining an overall sense of technicality, with "Effigy"'s complex songwriting and myriad of tempo changes, and of course, always maintaining a constant, overriding brutality over it all, trailblazing a new extreme for the genre, and becoming one of the biggest American DM bands as well (and even supposedly influencing a stupidly-titled microgenre called "slam" death that no one seems to care about in the process). And hey, it has a cover by Dan Seagrave, and they even got a pre-CC Corpsegrinder to provide guest vocals on a couple of tracks, and if that doesn't make "Effigy" one of the death-iest death metal albums ever made, then I don't know what does.

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    Re: Stu Presents The Golden Age Of Metal

    Post by Stu » Wed Oct 02, 2019 9:33 pm

    Rock wrote:
    Sat Sep 28, 2019 3:25 am
    For the record, Stu, I was supporting you before it was cool.
    8-)
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    '91 (Autopsy: Mental Funeral)

    Post by Stu » Sun Oct 06, 2019 8:32 am

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    Seeing as how '91 was THE peak year for old-school death metal, bar absolutely none (but more on that later), it only makes perfect sense that the genre kept branching out at that time, whether it be the continued flourishing of tech death, the birth of brutal death (as if it wasn't brutal already, haha), or the arrival of death/doom, a sub-sub-genre most prominently heralded by Autopsy's sophomore effort "Mental Funeral", which saw the band going from making incredibly dirty, dingy death metal with their '89 debut "Severed Survival", to incredibly dirty, dingy death-DOOM, as fascinatingly ugly to listen to as that hideous mass of montrosity on the cover is to stare at (which is kind of a great visualization of what the album sounds like, really), with Chris Reifert's crude caveman growling, the occasionally killer solo, and an overall production as murky as a big ol' pit of mud.

    But, of course, the real historical importance of "Funeral" lies within its influence on the creation of the sound of death-doom, as it alternated the inherent brutality and mid-to-uptempo pacing of the former, with the plodding, agonizingly slow riffage of the latter, sort of like if Candlemass made some sweet, sweet love with Death (which makes sense, seeing a how Reifert WAS one of the latter's early members before founding Autopsy, after all), and that unholy coupling produced the love-child sound baby that you hear here, adding another little branch to the overall death metal family tree. Unfortunately, a little while after releasing this, Autopsy would break up for quite some time before reforming, but thanks to their early records like "Funeral", there was no doubt that their metal legacy was already eternally-secured (and then some) by this point; "Can you hear the funeral bell, ringing in your mind"...

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    Other Notable Metal Records From '91:


    I personally consider '91 to be the very last year of the golden age of old-school thrash, as, along with "Arise", we also saw the releases of Heathen's "Victims of Deception" (the band's final record before a lengthy hiatus), Overkill's "Horrorscope", Dark Angel's final effort (to date) "Time Does Not Heal", and Coroner's "Mental Vortex", albums that, combined with the burgeoning sea change in the genre signalled by "The Black Album", brought an official end to the genre's initial classic period, unfortunately. Still, there were plenty of significant miscellaneous records coming out in other styles that year, including some classic first records that represented the rise of some fresh, new genres to compensate for the downfall of thrash, including Type O Negative's debut "Slow, Deep, And Hard", a unique mish-mash of gothic sensibilities and hardcore influences quite unlike anything else they would release later, or Kyuss's freshman effort "Wretch", which provided an early inspiration for stoner metal, Cathedral's classic doom metal debut "Forest of Equalibrium", Bathory's "Twilight of the Gods", which put a bow on the band's initial Viking era, more trailblazing NOLA sludge metal with Crowbar's debut "Obedience Thru Suffering", and "Contradictions Collapse", the first record from some Swedish nobodies who named themselves after the Yiddish word for "crazy", whatever that is.

    But of course, '91 is most notable for seeing the peak of old-school death metal all around the globe, as, in addition to "Funeral", "Effigy", and "Human", we also the releases of (deep inhale) a bunch of debuts from significant acts in the genre, including Malevolent Creation's "The Ten Commandments", Gorguts's "Considered Dead", Edge of Sanity's "Nothing but Death Remains", and Immolation's "Dawn of Possession", more pioneering death-doom with Asphyx's "The Rack", some big British records including Bolt Thrower's "War Master" and Carcass's "Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious", Pestilence's "Testimony of the Ancients", plenty of classic Swedeath including Unleashed's "Where No Life Dwells", Grave's "Into the Grave", Entombed's "Clandestine", and Dismember's "Like an Ever Flowing Stream", and more American DM from iconic veteran acts like Cannibal Corpse's "Butchered at Birth", Morbid Angel's "Blessed Are the Sick", AND Atheist's "Unquestionable Presence" (long exhale). Heck, even Darkthrone was getting in on the action with their classic debut "Soulside Journey", which was just before they went black (and never went back?), but that's a discussion for future entries, such as the very next one, eh?
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    '92 (Fear Factory: Soul Of A New Machine)

    Post by Stu » Sun Oct 13, 2019 9:03 pm

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    Coming out in what was probably THE peak year for industrial metal (more on that later), "Soul of a New Machine" heralded the debut of genre icons Fear Factory, who took a central core of industrial influence, with the record's use of scene-setting dialogue samples and distressing mechanical noises (including a minute-long interlude of nothing but machines mindlessly clanking), its overall incredibly bleak, oppressive, Godflesh-style atmosphere, and the use of distorted vocal effects, like the eerie echo on Burton C. Bell's clean singing, which also marked an early major example of a clean/harsh vocal blend in metal, contrasting with his death metal-style mindless caveman growling here (which isn't all that good, to be perfectly honest with you).

    But, in addition to those influences, "Soul" further proves itself to be an oddity in Fear Factory's body of work (and in metal in general), by taking some leads from grindcore, of all things, with Raymond Herrera's copious usage of blastbeats, Dino Cazares's incredibly fuzzy/dirty bass sound, and the album's generally chaotic songwriting, which keeps it from reaching true greatness for me personally, but still helps distinguish itself from any other industrial metal classics out there. And, after this, the band would go on to a purer (and superior) industrial style with their next record, and then go through a bunch more changes, some inconsistent releases, and a LOT of petty, career-derailing internal drama, but "Soul" still stands asides from all these shenanigans as undeniably one-of-a-kind, and the birth of a new machine, indeed.

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    Stu
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    '92 (Rage Against The Machine: Self-Titled)

    Post by Stu » Wed Oct 16, 2019 9:29 pm

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    While "alternative" metal was undeniably born in the 80's with the success of early genre icons like Faith No More, it was during the 90's that the vaguely-defined sound really took off, and the rise of Rage Against The Machine with their self-titled debut was a big part of the reason why, with their blending of a core of metal with obvious influences from so-called "non-traditional" sources (i.e. any genre that isn't metal). Of course, Rage wasn't the first big band to mainstream the idea of marrying metal with, say, funk rock or hip hop (The Beastie Boys, anyone?), but Rage took those inspirations further than any other major band in metal had up until that point, with Tim Commerford smooth, funky-as-month-old gym socks basswork, Tom Morello's iconically choppy, super-catchy riffage, and vocalist Zack de la Rocha furiously rapping the band's signature outraged, politically-tinged rants, which are all the more effective for their repetitive, sloganeered nature (although he does get some welcome help by none other than Maynard James Keenan himself on "Know Your Enemy", of course).

    And of course, the unexpected triple-platinum success "Rage" arguably influenced the unfortunate rise of nu metal later in the decade, as a generation of naive white boys became utterly convinced that they could rap as well as Zack did here, but you can hardly hold that against Rage anymore than you can diss Metallica for apparently having influenced bands like Trivium, eh? At any rate, Rage thankfully avoids descending to the unintentional self-parodying levels of dumb, blind rage that made those bands so obnoxious to listen to, and I don't know about you, but I personally can't think of any better song to watch a newly-awoken Neo flying away to fight the system at the end of The Matrix then "Wake Up", so, like the man said, "Come on!!!".

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