I remember reading about this band in Terrorizer but there was no way back then to actually get anything by them in Serbia. It will be only a year later when Lazar would come to Belgrade from New Jersey - he brought some neat CD's. I remember we met at some metal fest at Dom Omladine and he brought me Isis' Oceanic and Meshuggah's Nothing. I remember I was a bit drunk coming home, but couldn't resist playing one of the discs straight away. It was 1 or 2 AM and I put Oceanic with some headphones on.
I remember it was a strange journey. I liked the vibe of the record, although I managed to fall asleep sometime through the record. I think it was during the instrumental - or Maritime when I fell asleep. I think I woke up at the beginning of Hym when the drums kicked in. Either then or at the end of the song, and I was pretty much in what the ??? mood, since they lulled me to sleep so perfectly some twenty minutes before.
Terrorizer made a remark of the album being more some kind of nowhere hardcore than nyc hardcore. I didn't like most of the hardcore stuff back then, but this band had some vibe that I started to fall in love with. Inch by inch, song by song. My first favorite one was The Other. It had the thunderous prog ending with crushing riffs that got me easily. The opener The Beginning And The End was an early highlight too. Carry I did like a bit later when i started to swim deeper into the record, while False Light remained one of the strongest songs Isis ever made, riffs-wise.
I liked the artwork so much. It was printed on two different types of paper and the lyrics were intertwined with the narrative story following them. I had no idea what genre this band played but it certainly levitated somewhere between doom, sludge, hardcore and atmospheric/ambient music. Eventhough some of the Godflesh influences could be detected through the album, Oceanic was far more organic and vast, something completely new and fresh for the underground metal that couldn't pass unnoticed.
They did it again. What a motherfucker of a record they released. It was impossible to top Blackwater Park, so the guys decided to do two records at once, one more aggressive and the other more calm. Deliverance was the more aggressive one. Morbid Angel influences were obvious from the first seconds of blasting Wreath. although some Led Zep acoustic influences got through the song as well.
The title track not only had the best Opeth riff yet - one could feel that those last three minutes could simply last forever. That was how fantastic that riff was. A Fair Judgement continued the third-track-should-be-ballad system the guys established with Still Life (Benighted) and Blackwater Park (Harvest) and it served well. The closing By The Pain I See In Others had some interesting vocal effects that made Mikael's growl even more monstrous.
This was the record that launched Opeth to the metal stardom. Simply put, nobody could touch them with this one.
They got me with this one. A couple of listens of Clocks on air and I couldn't resist not to like them. The synth pads that coloured the chorus along with the catchy piano line were too beautiful. Soon enough I discovered In My Place and its wonderful sounding clean guitars (courtesy of Hiwatt amps, I'd learn years later), followed by The Scientist, another fine ballad. I was a melancholic-goes-happy person at the time, so Coldplay seemed like nice companions amplifying that mood.
The title track, Politik and God Put A Smile Upon Your Face were good tracks as well, but the three singles made this band superbig. And they deserved it. They were modest, humble and sincere and the music reflected that. The production got better and richer, although the presence od piano was more evident. Some fans didn't like the overall bigger sound, but I did - it made the debut Parachutes even more unique.
This was a proper rocking record. Dave Grohl playing drums proved he should be in all the dictionaries under the tag rock drummer. Josh Homme and the gang returned with an album full of hit singles and one couldn't tell which one was better - No One Knows, Go With The Flow or First It Giveth. Song For The Dead was the crowning pinnacle of Grohl's thunderous yet catchy drumming.
Rock n' roll never sounded more fresh and groovy so the worldwide applause for this record couldn't be more appropriate. Stoner rock this was, but the old days of Kyuss were buried more beneath the single layer of fuzzed out, no treble or presence on the amp EQ, tone-knob-set-to-zero wonderful tone guitar wise. The guitars went big, went straight to the mainstream and all guitar lovers across the globe were happy.
Wow. I fell on my ass when I heard this one. I liked the previous album, but this was exactly what I expected from Sigur by evolving further into the depressive depths of Iceland.
All the songs were untitled and there were no lyrics in the booklet at all - it emphasized the importance of the music. And the music was very, very heartbreaking. The dynamics of postrock were taken to perfection here, with cosmic sized reverbs and thunderous drums. The heavily sustained bow-played Gibson of Jonsi was really taken to the extreme here.
The world noticed ( ) too. The video clip for untitled 2 (also entitled Fyrsta) got the MTV award even, showing post apocalyptic slow motion (so-slow-they-were-painful kind of slow) images of children playing with gas masks put on - it reflected the overall atmosphere of the album so well. The absolute highlight of ( ) was the closing Untitled 8 (or Popplagið) with growing dynamics that burst into trillion zillion pieces when the bow hit that Gibson at the end.
Ambient music got really strong with Oceanic and ( ) and 2002 was that year that shook the underground, be it metal, rock, postrock or indie.
Not many people that I knew liked this record. But I loved it. I was a big fan of Saturnus and when I heard that Kim Larsen and the rhythm section left Saturnus, I was curious to find out what they would come up with next.
The result was a strong mixture of gothic rock/pop. The likes of Anathema, Katatonia and HIM were happy and I was among them. Kim Larsen was so ace he sent me a CD version with the guys' autographs on the sleeve. It was a nice gesture and I still keep the disc somewhere. Slipping, The Darker The Sky (The Brighter The Stars) and Follow were the absolute highlights of the album, while the doom rocking Deceiver was the heaviest ballad Katatonia never wrote. The pathos of the overall album was perhaps too obvious at some places throughout the album, but Star Rover remained a nice listen to this very day.
This was that band from that guy who helped Opeth in studio to make Still Life, Blackwater Park, Deliverance and another one that would show up next year. The guy's name was Steven Wilson and by a single spin of In Absentia every Opeth fan got instantly hooked on Porcupine Tree as well.
This was the band that married prog with alternative metal and indie rock. The psychedelia of early days of the band was evident in traces only, but the songs were very strong on this one. The opener Blackest Eyes was a heavy one and it clearly showed that Mikael's riffs finally influenced Steven a bit after all those studio hours of recording and mixing Opeth stuff. Trains was this fantastic ballad that married Anathema with The Beatles while some Radiohead, Genesis and Dream Theater influences were lurking from the above. The Sound Of Muzak was another excellent track and In Absentia was finally this breakthrough album for the band that was around since 1992, but didn't have any luck to step up from the prog rock underground.
The only downside to In Absentia was that it had a couple of songs too much, although the overall taste of the record was thrilling. All newborn fans across the globe were checking the huge back catalogue and waited patiently for the upcoming new stuff as well.
8. Meshuggah - Nothing (Nuclear Blast)
I was never so much into thrash but this was more avantgarde than anything. Not only did these Swedes confuse all the world's metalheads with polyrhythmic mindblowing riffs, they also tuned the guitars down to F# and made Meshuggah a metal band that actually played three bass guitars (two of them were 7-string guitars tuned as 8-string ones) with syncopated rhythms and a demon for a singer.
Trey Spruance once said that listening to Meshuggah is like being punched in the face all the time and not knowing where those punches came from, only to learn you were actually enjoying it. One listen to Rational Gaze or Spasm just yelled to all the nu metal bands go home! and truth to be told, lots of them actually did. It will be years later that all the copycats showed up, but nobody could touch Nothing. Nothing was as it was, nothing and everything and it was just a perfectly right time for a record like this, groovy and dark as hell.
10. Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Yanqui U.X.O. (Constellation)
This album is kinda special to me. Especially the song Dawn Of A New Day - I have some fond memories around the time of October 2002 when I listened to this album. Once I had a nice evening with someone rather special in my life and I still remember returning home at night (or rather early in the morning) while singing the song's chorus repeatedly in my head. The song was acoustic driven, folky type of ballad (reminding of Gyroscope) and it was rather uplifting.
Reroute To Temain had some powerful songs as Trigger and Cloud Connected. Recently I discovered that one of the riffs in Drifter pretty much reminded of a riff that Mastodon would use years later for one of their bigger hits/album openers. This album was dirty and going to some new directions; it also remains the last album from these Swedes that I liked.
These guys just came out of the blue. Pera and Vanja got a hold of the album somehow and told me it's a must play for me. They weren't wrong.
Dredg were marrying alternative rock with more interesting stuff, such as ambient passages with Eastern influences. The distortion pedals were put off and on every now and then and the reverb laden passages that got away off some Radiohead were nicely put to them. El Cielo was some kind of avantgarde OK Computer cousin from the States and the idea of lyrics made of actual dreams was even more intriguing.
Same Ol' Road, Sanzen, Convalescent and Of The Room were some of the highlights, although the closing The Canyon Behind Her would become my favorite some years later. The infected voice of Gavin Hayes and the interesting guitarwork of Mark Engles made El Cielo more memorable.
Wow. I knew The Dillingers from before but this one really slapped me in the face like a flying dick of Mike Patton.
The Dillingers lost a singer and Mike was helping them out with this EP. And not only that he did a good job - this was his best work since the demise of Faith No More. The aggression and the physical presence of the music during the listenings of this record were just the evidence of pure awesomeness.
Three tracks and one cover and you couldn't decide which one was better. When Good Dogs Do Bad Things was always my favorite, although the brave cover of Aphex Twin's Come To Daddy wasn't that much out of place - it was very good too. The following works of The Dillingers I liked too but the future singer was always too close to Mike Patton and rather resembled me of trying to recreate this EP than adding some of his own new creative things, so this one will always be my choice concerning this band. Not that they became bad - I just always loved Mike Patton too much and this record came out at the right time.
Another EP, but I just couldn't resist not putting it. I saw The Gathering live at the Sziget festival in Budapest that year. Not only did the gig confirmed my crush on Anneke by seeing her live - I also loved the new songs as well. The title track was perhaps the best Gathering work to date, seventeen minute track that expanded some more horizons.
The band also released this for their own label and the chains that were holding them were finally off, so the newborn relief The Gathering were experiencing were also audible for the listeners too. Debris was a rocky one that was much better than Liberty Bell or, say, Shot To Pieces, and Broken Glass was a piano piece that was announcing the future journeys of the Dutch.