bathory - nordland i

Bathory: Nordland I (2002)

After Twilight of the Gods solidified the place of Bathory among the progenitors of viking metal, things went a bit astray.  Quorthon put out a solo album, and Bathory went back to the blackened thrash of the earlier albums for a time.  Nothing quite seemed to congeal.  That is until Nordland I, the first of a planned four-part masterwork that would bring back the viking metal in full force to walk through the tales of Nordic myths and legends.  This was my first real experience experience with Bathory, and similar to to when I first heard it, there’s a lot that works and admittedly a bit that doesn’t. Continue reading “Bathory: Nordland I (2002)”

baroness - blue record

Baroness: Blue Record (2009)

Baroness rightly became metal and indie darlings after their Relapse debut, and Blue Record, their 2009 follow-up earned even more accolades.  So why do I have such a hard time getting entry into its many, many strengths?  After giving it a few more listens the past few days, I think I have the answer.  It still doesn’t top Red Album for me, but I can really see this as the album (or record) where the band finally carve out their real identity, one of passion and pain and a heart that strives for light. Continue reading “Baroness: Blue Record (2009)”

baroness - red album

Baroness: Red Album (2007)

Back in 2007 I named Red Album, the debut full-length by Baroness as my album of the year.  Want proof?  Anyway, the mix of prog and southern sludge post rock still strikes a chord within me, and though it may not be the popular choice, going by thisd re-listen I think I’m comfortable saying this is still my favorite Baroness album.  Maybe that’ll change as I go through the discography this week, but for now it remains solid.  Continue reading “Baroness: Red Album (2007)”

bad religion - new maps of hell

Bad Religion: New Maps Of Hell (2007)

It took three years for Bad Religion to craft their follow-up to The Empire Strikes First, and while New Maps Of Hell doesn’t quite reach the heights its predecessor did, there are moments where it almost manages to strike that particular nerve.  It’s a little darker, a little angrier, and a little faster, but it’s still Bad Religion, which means it’s still a blast to play. Continue reading “Bad Religion: New Maps Of Hell (2007)”

bad religion - the empire strikes first

Bad Religion: The Empire Strikes First (2004)

It’s a sad reality that turbulent times feed art like little else.  Whether it’s internally generated or a product of the outside world, art seems to thrive and feel more vibrant when it’s railing against the tyranny of the negative.  Enter Album #13 from Bad Religion, the so good I didn’t realize how good it was at the time it came out The Empire Strikes First.  With the horror of the Bush years as fodder, the band makes the most rock and roll album of their career, and it’s brutally good.  Continue reading “Bad Religion: The Empire Strikes First (2004)”

bad religion - the process of belief

Bad Religion: The Process of Belief (2002)

You might consider the years 1996-2000 the lean ones for Bad Religion.  After the rousing success of Stranger Than Fiction for Atlantic the band, now without Brett Gurewitz, had to rely on Greg Graffin for the vast majority of the songwriting.  And so The Grey Race, No Substance, and The New America merged together into a slightly unfocused, softer and more radio accessible (though they got practically no radio play) period for the band.  Strange to say it, but the key to the band’s invigoration was easy: go back to the way things were.  And so Brett Gurewitz returned, the band went back to Epitaph, and The Process of Belief came to blow everyone’s doors down.  Continue reading “Bad Religion: The Process of Belief (2002)”

avenged sevenfold - waking the fallen

Avenged Sevenfold: Waking the Fallen (2003)

Are you surprised that I own an Avenged Sevenfold album?  Have I lost my remaining metal credentials yet?  Will I when I tell you that Waking the Fallen, the band’s second album is pretty damn fun?  At this stage in the ban’d life there’s still plenty of meaty riffs and breakdowns, more than serviceable growls, and massive whopping hooks as far as the eye can see.  I don’t care how you view their “cred” in the community; this is a fun, fun album.  Continue reading “Avenged Sevenfold: Waking the Fallen (2003)”