Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

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crumbsroom
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Re: Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

Post by crumbsroom » Thu Jan 09, 2020 3:37 pm

Stu wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 7:50 am

Yay!!! What were the albums you bought, out of curiosity?Nah, I wasn't planning on covering Burzum; I'm not a big fan of raw black metal, and I consider the genre to be pretty well-covered already with my writings on Darkthrone, Dissection, Mayhem, etc. My apologies!
Celtic Frost (Pandemonium, Therion), first Darkthrone album (didn't have the one I wanted), Megadeth (Rust in Peace). I think something else but can't remember...

I was just joking about Burzum. I was mostly referring to my own personal shame when I bought a copy of their first record. I am a curious cat. I can't be helped.
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Re: Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

Post by Stu » Thu Jan 30, 2020 7:21 am

Thief wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 12:53 pm
I kinda liked Korn. I never got full into the whole nu-metal trend, whatever that is, but I did like some of their stuff ("Got the Life" is probably my favorite of them).
C'mon, y'know what Nu Metal is... Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, Slipknot, the aforementioned Korn, etc., lots of groovy (not in the good way, mind you), mid-tempo riffage, a muddy, down-tuned guitar sound, lots of mindless, rage-filled screaming and whining about how terrible your parents were, some bad rapping, etc.? I used to listen to a lot of it back in its early 2000's heyday, shamefully enough, but almost all of it has held up terribly since; I do still owe those bands some sort of debt for helping to get me into heavier stuff than whatever the local Country station was playing, but that's about it. And I never really liked Korn, not even back then, but besides "Twisted Transistor", I did enjoy the remix of "Make Me Bad" at the time, especially when its super-fancy big-budget video used to play on TRL all the time:

crumbsroom wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 3:37 pm
Celtic Frost (Pandemonium, Therion), first Darkthrone album (didn't have the one I wanted), Megadeth (Rust in Peace). I think something else but can't remember...

I was just joking about Burzum. I was mostly referring to my own personal shame when I bought a copy of their first record. I am a curious cat. I can't be helped.
Pandemonium was a bit of a failed experiment on the whole, IMO (though still nowhere near their worst album), but Therion and Rust are both classics (as you can see from my earlier write-ups), and Soulside Journey is very good as well, and surprising to see such a relatively pure Death Metal release from one of the most iconic Norwegian Black Metal-ers of all time. Never was a fan of old-school Burzum, as raw BM just generally isn't my thing, but I can't deny the impact that Varg, for all his murderous, racist, arson-y real-life bullshit, had on the style with his early records.
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'94 (Bolt Thrower: For Victory)

Post by Stu » Thu Jan 30, 2020 7:22 am

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By '94, those towering icons of British metal, Bolt Thrower, had gone through a number of stylistic changes, whether it be starting off as murky, grimy death/grind on '88's "In Battle, There Is No Law", before shedding the grind influences in favor of a purer death metal style, and gradually cleaning up their sound over the course of "Realm of Chaos" & "War Master", or slowing things down with the slightly doom-ier tempos of "The IV Crusade", but, by the time they gifted the world "For Victory", the band had more or less perfected their sound, re-upping the speed for maximum impact, while also going with one of the punchiest, hardest-sounding productions that the death metal world had heard up until that point, representing a continuation of a trend in the genre of records beginning to sound less raw (because, let's face it, most of the old-school classics of the genre weren't really well known for having particularly polished productions, were they?).

That being said, "For Victory" isn't far from being some watered-down, "Black Album"-style sellout record made just to appease radio audiences and MTV, as it proves that making nice-sounding metal doesn't mean you have to sacrifice the almighty HEAVY in the process, as in this case, the former greatly enhances the latter, allowing the band's signature pounding, relentless riffage to hit harder than ever before, slamming into us like a ton of concrete every single moment, while Karl Willets' monstrous growl howls away the lyrics' tales of apocalyptic hell-on-Earth warfare without mercy. The whole thing bulldozes your ears harder than an entire platoon of Sherman tanks, and listening to this record this is probably the closest you'll ever feel to fighting in a war without actually being in one, creating what was (and still is, for me) Bolt Thrower's undisputed magnum opus, so be sure to listen to this one... FOR VICTORY!!!

Original Coverage

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Re: Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

Post by Thief » Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:12 pm

Stu wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 7:21 am
C'mon, y'know what Nu Metal is... Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, Slipknot, the aforementioned Korn, etc., lots of groovy (not in the good way, mind you), mid-tempo riffage, a muddy, down-tuned guitar sound, lots of mindless, rage-filled screaming and whining about how terrible your parents were, some bad rapping, etc.? I used to listen to a lot of it back in its early 2000's heyday, shamefully enough, but almost all of it has held up terribly since; I do still owe those bands some sort of debt for helping to get me into heavier stuff than whatever the local Country station was playing, but that's about it. And I never really liked Korn, not even back then, but besides "Twisted Transistor", I did enjoy the remix of "Make Me Bad" at the time, especially when its super-fancy big-budget video used to play on TRL all the time:

Yeah, I thought that song was ok too... I also listened to those others you mentioned, still listen to them every now and then. I think Linkin Park and maybe Slipknot, are the ones that have held up better for me, with Limp Bizkit being the worst to hold up. Anyway, they were never my top choice to listen to and that hasn't changed.
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Re: Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

Post by Captain Terror » Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:40 pm

I remember watching Carson Daly use the word "bawitdaba" with a straight face, and knowing that I was officially an out-of-touch old guy.
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Re: Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

Post by Stu » Mon Feb 03, 2020 9:11 am

Thief wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:12 pm
Yeah, I thought that song was ok too... I also listened to those others you mentioned, still listen to them every now and then. I think Linkin Park and maybe Slipknot, are the ones that have held up better for me, with Limp Bizkit being the worst to hold up. Anyway, they were never my top choice to listen to and that hasn't changed.
To my eternal shame and embarassment, I did listen to a TON of Nu Metal back in the day (which for me, is the early 2000's), back when I only cared if something was loud and angry, not if it was actually, y'know... good at all. Fortunately, I grew out of that phase some time ago, although I do still enjoy a few outliers from the style, like Sepultura's Roots, a record which generally has a more dynamic sound than most of the rest of the genre, which makes it one of the few examples to still hold up to scrutiny, as far as I'm concerned.
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'94: (Edge Of Sanity: Purgatory Afterglow)

Post by Stu » Mon Feb 03, 2020 9:15 am

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As we enter the mid-90's, and we see the initial golden age of death metal (in my opinion) begin to come to a close, it was prime time that we heard a record that truly showed the wide-ranging, diverse possibilities of the genre as a whole, and surprisingly, we got just such a record from Edge Of Sanity, a band that, although they'd shown some potential on their earlier releases, had still never really lived up to it, as far as I'm concerned... until "Purgatory Afterglow, that is. You see, band mastermind (and musical genius in general) Dan Swanö's original plan was to separate the material on this album between two different EPs, with the more traditional death metal cuts ending up on "Purgatory", and the more "experimental" tracks being put on "Afterglow", but their record label convinced them that this would've been a huge financial risk, so instead, we got all the material all at once in one big ol' full length.

However, rather than being an incoherent, Frankensteined mish-mash of a record, it worked like gangbusters instead, and showed the diverse potential of death metal, whether it be the more brutal, straightforward crunch of bangers like "The Sinner and the Sadness", the aloof, gothically-styled clean vocals of "Blood-Coloured", the borderline poppy, downright sugary melodic death of "Black Tears", or the progressive stylings of album opener "Twilight", with its incredibly lush, dreamy, keyboard-laden intro, the tense, eerie spoken-word interlude at the midpoint, or the complex, ambitious songwriting of the overall track, which lasts for nearly 8 minutes in total, which is an eternity in terms of death metal. However, it's tremendously impressive stuff all the way, with Swano showing off his amazing, incredibly versatile songwriting skills no matter what style he's playing with on this record, so if anyone ever asks you if "Purgatory Afterglow" was a failed musical experiment, just get right in their faces and scream what Dan did at the climatic moment of the opening track: "NO!!!!!!!"

Original Coverage



Other Notable Metal Records From '94:


Besides "'De Mysteriis" and "Nightside", '94 proved to be THE peak year for 2nd wave black metal, with Marduk's "Opus Nocturne", Gorgoroth's "Pentagram", Burzum's "Hvis Lyset Tar Oss", Darkthrone's "Transilvanian Hunger", and the first two albums from not just Enslaved with "Vikingligr Veldi" & "Frost", but Satyricon as well, with "Dark Medevial Times" & "The Shadowthrone", along with a couple of classics like Rotting Christ's "Non Serviam" and Samael's "Ceremony of Opposites" coming from outside of Norway, and serving to diversify the scene (and yeah, and number of the most divisive bands in the genre debuted as well, with Dimmu Borgir's "For All Tid" and Cradle Of Filth's "The Principle of Evil Made Flesh", unleashing one of the most annoying vocalists ever upon an unfortunate world).

Unfortunately, this year was a mixed bag for the former thrashers, as Megadeth continued to age surprisingly gracefully with "Youthanasia", while, on the other hand, Slayer & Testament both struggled with the relatively clunky efforts "Divine Intervention" & "Low" respectively, while the "groove" metalers that the former group helped to birth were doing great, with Machine Head's classic debut "Burn My Eyes" and Pantera #1-debuting "Far Beyond Driven" both absolutely tearing up the scene, while on the miscellaneous side of things, doom icons Electric Wizard debuted with their self-titled release, Dream Theater put out the (unfortunately extremely popular) "Awake", and Acid Bath gave us their classic sludge debut "When the Kite String Pops".

Finally, as far as death metal goes, besides "For Victory", "Afterglow", and "Disease", the style continued through its individual golden age, with Asphyx's self-titled, a couple of debuts from significant acts like Cryptopsy and Septicflesh with "Blasphemy Made Flesh" and "Mystic Places of Dawn", Hypocrisy's "The Fourth Dimension", Obituary's "World Demise", Grave's "Soulless", and Cannibal Corpse's "The Bleeding" keeping the "pure" side of the genre going strong, while, on the melo death side of things, Amorphis's "Tales From the Thousand Lakes" and "Lunar Strain", the debut from a little ol' band called In Flames both continued to help the genre branch out, and ensuring a bright future for it looking forward.
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Re: Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

Post by Rock » Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:24 am

I wish I had more to add over the last few posts, but just wanted to say that I was listening to Leprosy by Death on repeat at work today. Also Blackout by the Scorpions.
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Afterword

Post by Stu » Thu Feb 13, 2020 8:10 am

Like I said, '94 was the final year I'm going to cover in the main run of this series; I’ll write a few more spin-off entries dealing with the history of metal before/after the golden age later, but this is it for the “official” run of this series. And just in case you’re wondering, no, I’m not ending this here because I actually think that the Golden Age ended in ’94 (despite Korn’s best efforts), as I do think that this halcyon era continued onward until at least the end of the mid-90’s, however, I do I feel that, besides the appealing symmetry of beginning in ’84 and ending exactly a decade later, since ’94 saw the peak of one of the most important sub-genres (black metal), it naturally feels like a great stopping point for this series, so that way, we go out on a high note instead of an anti-climatic one, before I get anymore burned out on writing this (hopefully, none of that was coming through towards the end of this, haha).

Of course, all good things must come to an end, but, while I do feel that the history of metal after this point hasn’t (yet) consistently produced as many classic records as the era covered here, I don’t want anyone reading this to despair because of that, as amazing metal continues to be made to this day (as we’ll see eventually), and, because of the immense impact that the Golden Age had on the genre, as long as greasy, long-haired youngsters are respecting their musical elders, taking inspiration from the Age, and taking this music that we all love forward into new directions in a bright future, metal will never, EVER die! Now, thanks for all the viewership you’ve gifted me with here, and toodles to all, finally.

\ m /
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Re: Stu Presents: The Golden Age Of Metal!

Post by Stu » Thu Feb 13, 2020 8:14 am

Rock wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:24 am
I wish I had more to add over the last few posts, but just wanted to say that I was listening to Leprosy by Death on repeat at work today. Also Blackout by the Scorpions.
Leprosy's definitely my favorite effort of Death's "early" records (meaning their first 3, although their best overall for me is still ITP-izzle for shizzle), and I never got much into anything the Scorpions have done, but they're not bad or anything, and I think they're historically important as helping to comprise a sort of "Intermediate Wave" of Hard Rock/Heavy Metal bands in the mid-70's (along with AC/DC, Rainbow, and Priest), in-between the "Old" Wave of late 60's groups like Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and Sabbath, and the New Wave that blew up at the turn of the decade between the 70's & the 80's.
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