Friday, January 18, 2008

Best of 2007 - from #80 to #76

80. amorphis - 'silent waters'
Vocalist Tomi Joutsen was part of what helped make Amorphis' 2006 album 'Elegy' such a resounding come-back for the band. I manifested my love for it on these very pages and gave it a very respectable spot on my best of 2006 list, at the time. His deep, soulful yet powerful voice carried those wonderful compositions even beyond their original brilliance and put a band that was more or less fading right back on the map. This is all good, but it created a huge anticipation for this follow-up, which naturally takes away a bit of the impact that it might have had otherwise. Therefore it's natural that you'll feel somewhat underwhelmed on your first sessions with 'Silent Waters', especially considering the subtlety of the album. There is nothing as catchy as 'Brother Moon' or instantly live-set-material like 'House Of Sleep' here, as this record is much less direct. After this initial adaptation, however, the rich melodic tapestry becomes apparent, as does the fact that Joutsen still has a few tricks up his sleeve. Well, throat. The quiet, emotional 'Her Alone' represents well this relative shift of direction, with several other songs in this sombre, melancholic vein. It's not all quiet emotion though, as the album also offers a few rocking numbers like the bruising opener 'Weaving The Incantation'. Above all, the most notable thing about this finnish band is that, 17 years after their inception, they are still mutating, creating and innovating.

Amorphis - 'Her Alone'

79. middian - 'age eternal'
Some of you might be familiar with Yob, a very unorthodox doom band that released four fascinating albums (if you're not, here's a good place to start) and then disbanded back into the aether where they seemed to have come from. Well, some aeons stuck around in the form of guitarist Mike Scheidt, who formed the Middian entity shortly after, and 'Age Eternal' is their first discographic step. Despite some similarities in the overall feeling of the sound, there are important differences between the two bands. Middian approach their songwriting in a more dynamic fashion, varying the tempos much more and even going outside the dooooom of Yob for several interesting loud/quiet interactions. The riffs are huge, the vocals are downright scary when they leave the cavernous roar for something quite otherwordly and the entire package feels oppressive, intimidating and above all very heavy. A very promising debut in the life of a band that has since been troubled by some band from Milwaukee who are just out to hurt them and get money because of the band name. Support them in any way you can, they deserve it.

Middian - 'Dreamless Eye'

78. sear bliss - 'the arcane odyssey'
It's great that this Hungarian band is finally starting to get the recognition they have fully deserved for years. Yes, 'The Arcane Odyssey', their sixth full-length, is their best album yet, but not by a very wide mile. Records like 1998's 'The Haunting' or 2002's 'Forsaken Symphony', just to name a couple of examples, have already been very noteworthy and essentially original releases. Most people with a vage knowledge about Sear Bliss will know them as the band with the trombone, but it goes so far beyond that. The brass instruments they use, trombones and trumpets, are merely there to give these songs an extra air of vastness, of epic cosmic proportions, of space, just like the keyboards that avoid the Dimmu complex of carrying a song and ruining it and are used for texture, for ambient. But none of this would work if the songs themselves weren't written like that - vast, mournful yet very black monsters like opener 'Blood On The Milky Way', the Naglfar-gone-orchestra 'The Venomous Grace' or the dark folk of 'Path To The Motherland', among many other highlights, combine to make 'The Arcane Odyssey' a truly unique experience. When someone tells you black metal is stagnated, play them this.

Sear Bliss - 'The Venomous Grace'

77. anaal nathrakh - 'hell is empty and all the devils are here'
'Hell Is Empty And All The Devils Are Here' is a straight-to-the-point fucking blast of hatred and bile, and both for the break-the-furniture impulses it'll raise in you and the band's devil-may-care mock-the-trve attitude it would deserve a much higher placing on this list. Vitriol's (aka Dave Hunt or, well, Dave Cunt) vocals keep evolving too, to the point of bringing to mind the great Simen Hestnaes on the huge 'The Final Absolution'. Thing is, despite all the great things about this blackdeaththrash assault, this is Anaal Nathrakh we're talking about, and the face-ripping assault of 'The Codex Necro' or 'Domine Non Es Dignus' still remains completely unrivaled. By all means go out and get this right now if you have any kind of interest in aggressive music, but get those two instead if you don't have them already.

76. ministry - 'the last sucker'
Farewell albums are difficult beasts to tackle. Either they're great and worthy of being the final memory of a good band, or they're half-arsed releases that focus more on their circumstances than on their music. Happily for all Ministry fans, this happens to be a case of the former. Not that Al Jourgensen's mighty gang would need it, as Ministry will be more than remembered for deflagrations like 'Psalm 69', 'Filth Pig' or 'The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste', among many others, like this late string of hate-fueled anti-Bush administration records. The approach to 'The Last Sucker' has been the right one - throughout these eleven songs (including an unbelievably pitch-black Doors cover, 'Roadhouse Blues'), Ministry offer their fans everything that they have loved about the band in these decades of their existence. The buzzsaw guitarwork, the kick-ass groove, the harsh industrial environment, Al's trademark vocals snarling all over the place and the gung-ho rock'n'roll feel of it all will leave everyone drooling for more, and that's the proper way to bow out. A special note to the participation of the great Paul Raven, who passed away recently. His typically thunderous bass is the final piece of a final puzzle that concludes a brilliant band in style.


  1. Por este andar lá para 2025 deves chegar ao top 10.... CWARALHO!

  2. Já está melhor, oh artista de MERDA?