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)”

bad religion - all ages

Bad Religion: All Ages (1995)

So even though Bad Religion left for the exotic lands of major labels, Epitaph still had the rights to the early album and thus All Ages was born.  If you needed any proof as to the power of a band to righteously rock you with pulverizing riffs and sweet, sweet harmonized choruses, you need look no further.  From the very beginning Bad religion could seamlessly blend melody, power, and an erudite lyrical bent that was progressive and wise and clever and I might as well overuse righteous because, well..it was all that and more. Continue reading “Bad Religion: All Ages (1995)”

bad religion - stranger than fiction

Bad Religion: Stranger Than Fiction (1994)

I don’t mean to be so brief with a band that’s had such a profound impact on me, but that’s life, and to be fair you don’t need me to tell you how great Bad Religion is.  But where we might differ is in how great Stranger Than Fiction is, considering it’s their first album for a major label (Atlantic) after moving off of Epitaph.  It was also coincidentally their last album with Brett Gurewitz, who happens to be the founder of Epitaph. All this drama wonderfully comes together in one of the band’s most cohesive and catchy that still manages to be everything you’d want from a Bad Religion album.  Continue reading “Bad Religion: Stranger Than Fiction (1994)”

bad religion - recipe for hate

Bad Religion: Recipe for Hate (1993)

Bad Religion was a college revelation for me, and Recipe For Hate was the ground zero for that revelation.  The combination of air-tight riffing, incredible vocal hooks and harmonies have not ben equalled in the punk world to this day, and as we’ll see over the next few albums (it’s gonna be Bad Religion all week here), even when the album overall isn’t a classic there are still enough classics to make it worthwhile. Continue reading “Bad Religion: Recipe for Hate (1993)”

axiom funk - funkcronomicon

Axiom Funk: Funkcronomicon (1995)

When I was 17 I was introduced to two albums that changed my life.  Hardcore Jollies and Up For the Downstroke were two sides of a puzzle I became obsessed over ever since: the hard rock attack of Funkadelic and the buttery soul funk of Parliament.  The concept of Axiom Funk is to take those elements – and players, and songs – and update them with the dub sonic foundation of Bill Laswell.  If all those things are your jam, then I welcome you to enter the Funkcronomicon. Continue reading “Axiom Funk: Funkcronomicon (1995)”

atheist - unquestionable presence

Atheist: Unquestionable Presence (1991)

Call it “death jazz” call it innovative, call it whatever you want…there was an unquestionable feeling that metal had evolved when Atheist released their second album Unquestionable Presence.  Metal had always been known for its technical chops, but the lengths to which Atheist contorted those chops to encompass so many style, including – yes – jazz, were quite frankly unknown.  Today it stands as a monument to the pinnacle of technical death metal: dazzling without being too overwrought, fast and frenetic and still cohesive as a death metal album. Continue reading “Atheist: Unquestionable Presence (1991)”

asgard - to a golden age

Asgard: To A Golden Age (1996)

I got To A Golden Age, the debut and only album from French viking/death/black metal band Asgard as part of a box deal with Transcending Records.  Back in October of 2017 the Chicago based label, online store, and distribution center suffered a massive amount of damage from a storm, and this “surprise box” deal was one way of supporting them.  So I got 10 CDs, a ton of stickers, and the feeling that I was able to help just a little to ease the burden of a small independent label. Continue reading “Asgard: To A Golden Age (1996)”