bathory - twilight of the gods

Bathory: Twilight of the Gods (1991)

By now the switch from any kind of extreme thrash/black metal is gone, and Twilight of the Gods represents the full vision of Bathory into pure anthemic Viking Metal. Taken as a template for the style and a touchstone for dozens of bands who would iterate on the idea later, it might be near perfect. As a satisfying and cohesive album there’s a lot to love, though I’d be lying if I didn’t say I missed a little of the punch and pleasure from the faster, more immediate songs from the past. Continue reading “Bathory: Twilight of the Gods (1991)”

bathory - blood fire death

Bathory: Blood Fire Death (1988)

So here’s why you sometimes have to be dubious of what you buy.  After finally succumbing to the black metal bug, I decided I needed to dig deeper in Bathory, one of the primal godfathers of the genre.  I had heard the earlier stuff but didn’t own anything beyond the final two albums which – as we’ll see in a few days – were decidedly different.  So after deliberation I decided to start with Blood Fire Death, the touchstone for mainman Quorthon’s transition from the gnarly black metal of his earlier album into the more viking metal pomp if his later stuff.  And so I bought a CD off of Amazon.

From the Kraze label. Continue reading “Bathory: Blood Fire Death (1988)”

bb king - live at the regal

B.B. King: Live at the Regal (1965)

There are live albums, and then there are live albums.  Some of simply documents of a band or artist at a point in time; others are a snapshot of a comet, a fragile glimpse of the celestial heavens that will never come again.  Sam Cooke’s Live at the Harlem Square Club.  James Brown’s Live at the Apollo.  Hell, I’m more than happy to throw in Iron Maiden’s Live After Death…”Scream for me Long Beach!” indeed.  When it comes to blues, you can take your pick of classic live documents, but one that has always stood out as a a testament to the form is Live at the Regal, the 1964 recording of the great, the singular, B.B. King. Continue reading “B.B. King: Live at the Regal (1965)”

AC/DC, Alcest, and Music That Hurts

It’s probably not a shocking revelation that as I’ve been doing this project I’ve also been buying music.  Since it’s still in its infancy, the chances of picking up an album that would have already been reviewed is small.  But it does and did happen, so I wanted to take the time to spend a few words on two recent purchases: Highway to Hell from AC/DC and the debut full-length from Alcest, Souvenirs d’un autre monde.  Over the short course of writing this, it turned into something else. Continue reading “AC/DC, Alcest, and Music That Hurts”

art blakey and the jazz messengers - caravan

Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers: Caravan (1962)

Keeping this one brief…not only because it’s late and I’m slightly drunk, but also because often writing about jazz eludes me.  So…in that vein let’s talk about Caravan, which not only is the first album the Art Blakey Jazz Messengers recorded for Riverside Records, but it was the first jazz album I ever bought on vinyl.  Featuring incredible performances from the likes of Freddie Hubbard and Wayne Shorter, not to mention Blakey’s insane drumming prowess, it was an opportunity for me to discover a new voice I didn’t already know, as opposed to picking something up I was already familiar with. Continue reading “Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers: Caravan (1962)”

armageddon

Armageddon: Armageddon (1975)

One of the best things Decibel Magazine ever gave the world was Scott Seward’s Filthy 50: a collection/ranking of 50 of the best proto-metal/stoner rock albums.  I was only aware of a handful of the more popular bands (Cactus, Grand Funk Railroad) so to have my ears opened to the fuzz-blown wonders of bands like the Groundhogs, Dust, Toe Fat, and the great Armageddon was like a gift from the sticky bud gods of yesteryear.  We’ll definitely be checking a few of the bands from the list later in this journey, but for now let’s talk a bit about the band’s one and only album, 1975’s Armageddon. Continue reading “Armageddon: Armageddon (1975)”

aretha franklin - aretha's gold

Aretha Franklin: Aretha’s Gold (1969)

There was Aretha Franklin, the talented jazz singer signed to Columbia who just didn’t know how to harness all that talent. And then there’s Aretha Franklin, the powerhouse signed to Atlantic who wisely set her up with Jerry Wexler, who immediately knew how to take that power and just unleash it (he just stepped aside and let her do her thing).  Between the two of them the legend that was Atlantic Records in the 60s was solidified, and Aretha’s Gold is frankly ridiculous when you consider this is just a sampling of what Franklin brought to music in late 1967-68. Continue reading “Aretha Franklin: Aretha’s Gold (1969)”