Wow. This was really a record that changed my life a little bit. It opened some new doors... I was fucked up a bit at the time because of the failed relationship and I got hooked with some friends - there were many going outs to rave parties and stuff and those helped me a great deal to get over the past stuff. We took some MDMA's too and had good fun. And this record was the best soundtrack for that period of time. Untrue sounded so sad yet it was so danceable at the same time. The groove was so moving and the sub basses so deep, they clashed the reverbed melodies so great.
There was nothing like this at the time and I was not the only one who fell in love with this record and Burial in general - the rest of the globe did too. This dubstep thing soon became huge, yet nothing sounded quite like Burial. Nobody knew who was the guy hiding behind the alias and that made the music a favor - it was more meaningful that way. The dub and dubstep thing was not completely new to me, as my brother was a lot into dub, so this was one of the rare records we both enjoyed and listened to together (on those rare occasions when I was at home at all during that time).
Archangel, Near Dark, Ghost Hardware - they were all excellent tracks. All the songs were wonderful and there were no fillers on Untrue. I even remember that at one point I saw Burial among Isis' Top Friends on their Myspace page, and it was a nice feeling knowing kindred spirits across the globe felt the importance of this record as well. Be it hype or not, there was nothing so beautiful and sad as Burial was at the time.
I was always imagining these vast landscapes while listening to Neurosis, the rusty naked old trees and the freezing ground so dried it turned black. The more I listened to Given To The Rising, the more I was realizing it was the best Neurosis album they ever did.
They got old. They got wiser I guess, but with age came the faster thoughts of realizing things. Then again, the imaginations were going wilder and insane. There is something about aging that is tied closely to this record. Listening to the opening chords of To The Wind kept me thinking that they figured it all out. You had to believe them because what you've heard made you believe them. Was this what should calmed anger sound like? Was this anger at all? Was it the weariness of life and the losses that were always inevitable? Neurosis were the best doing their own thing and they had done it for so long that Given To The Rising was the great finale of it all.
The spoken words of Shadow or Nine and the bonafide atmosphere they created was the one only a movie could perform, a movie with exact visuals in front. Neurosis figured it all out on the closing Origin, a song that had such infinite finality to it, I just didn't know what to do with myself every time the last drop of the song fell down. The void was visible only when Neurosis weren't playing at all, though the presence of the void was always there with the sounds on. Of course, the record was loud as hell, the sound organic, Steve Albini was doing his best production yet... But all that didn't matter anymore. It was beyond all that. The sound itself was much more important.
Given To The Rising continues to amaze me on and on every time I put it on. The feeling is rather strange, as I'm still not sure if I feel love or affection for this band. The only thing I do feel for sure about them is massive respect. It was an honor spending time with this band and I'd fully understand if they decided not to record anything ever again after this one.
In all honesty, I didn't care much for Ulver when this record came out. I was disappointed with Blood Inside as it seemed a bit forced to my ears, and during that time my musical development got me searching for other things. Couple of years later I returned to this record and loved it. It had the intimacy that the previous album didn't and non-pompousness and the tragic modesty of it conquered my heart. One listen of Solitude (Black Sabbath cover) had that instant fix of melancholia that I could hear only in bits and pieces on previous Ulver records. And now it shone magnificently. The trumpet in Solitude simply destroyed. It reminded me of Kayo Dot's Antique and let me relisten to that Bill Laswell's 1998 remix record he did with Miles Davis' Panthalassa, which I always considered the best jazz record ever made. The opening Eos also gathered the motion soundtrack picturesque sinister sound Ulver were interested in doing for some time now, hand in hand with spiritual vocals of Garm and beautiful Rhodes piano. A big welcome back for the big bad old wolves.
This was the ultimate record for all the Opeth, Katatonia and Anathema lovers out there. Steven Wilson finally made Porcupine Tree big and made an accessible record that would make a great starting point for newfound fans.
I never liked the first two tracks off A Blank Planet so much, but the centerpiece Anesthetize compiled in its eighteen minutes everything Porcupine Tree were about. The prog got its new modern heroes and the fans screamed in happiness. Sentimental, Sleep Together and Way Out Of Here were those monumental tracks, epic melancholies that weren't as grand since some Depeche Mode hits of darker modern age were around (In Your Room springs to mind). The ultimate melancholy and the loneliness of teenagers got pictured perfectly and, all of a sudden, this nostalgic thing about our youth was better cos we knew how to make a good fun got dangerous proportions, since the youth of today perhaps couldn't live their childhoods as nicely, since every single new gadget available rather seemed to alienate than befriend for real. Friends weren't gathering anymore for checking out new vinyls, last.fm profiles were showing everyone's personal playlists. Kids stopped going to the movies cause they could watch whatever they wanted, alone at their own home, and cafes and night buses started to appear deserted and empty since Facebook became the favorite virtual meeting place.
All of that was captured wisely on Fear Of A Blank Planet and the world knew it. The sympathy was shown, although no one could do anything but accepting it. The present was dark.
6. Radiohead - In Rainbows (free download/XL Recordings)
Radiohead were doing the huge thing by putting their album for free download through their site. A lot of people actually payed (donated) good money to get it, but the balls had to be big to actually do it and the move was very brave. Sure, they were big enough they could pull it off by themselves and didn't need a label anymore to do things for them. But this was the pioneering step in taking the download thing seriously and into their own hands.
In all fairness, In Rainbows wasn't as mindblowing as Bends, OK Computer, Kid A or Amnesiac were, but it was better than Hail To The Thief and contained some great songs. Weird Fishes/Arpeggi had to be one of the best Radiohead tracks ever, with multi-layered guitar styles accompanied with Thom's uncomfortable voice. Videotape was a minimalist closer that reminded of Thom's solo work and worked better than some other tracks on the album. However, In Rainbows was more of a statement than full-blown album and Radiohead showed that not only they could still put out some excellent music, they proved they really followed what was going around them as well. And went with the flow.
7. Queens Of The Stone Age - Era Vulgaris (Interscope)
I love these guys. Josh Homme always had the best guitar tone since Jimmy Page wasn't around. And the rock the Queens play is so hypnotizing and groovy. Making hit singles or not, the honor of good music is always satisfied with Queens Of The Stone Age.
Sick Sick Sick or Suture Up Your Future are one of those songs that will still be remembered ten years later, no matter what happens to the rock music in the meantime. The production of the record was class A, as expected. Every detail sounded warm and Era Vulgaris was a strong statement of why was still useful to use analog desks and tapes in the studio. The more I get back to this record, I love it more. A true masterpiece.
This was another record along with Damien Rice's 9 that got me easier through the divorce thingy. It was minimalistic, indie and honest, like a cross of some Kent, Coldplay debut and some Sonic Youth and Nirvana, if only Kurt was from Sweden.
Death To My Hometown was this hymn-like dirge that colored the city black and added some silver drops of rain upon the echoing piano. The Invitation was a sappy piece you couldn't resist crying to and this record was such a relief for letting all the wrong things out and keeping the good ones in. The Black Box kept the hope flame alive. A New Hope closed the album with a cup of tea in the gray morning after a wild party, dropping a piece of lemon and some cinnamon to keep the smile visible. Too bad Logh didn't do much after North cause this album was really something special amidst the sea of halfhearted indie junk.
9. Mayhem - Ordo Ad Chao (Season Of Mist)
Wow. What a surprise. I didn't expect this. Neither did the world. This inventors of black metal resurrected Attila, the Hungarian singer who sang (well, not actually sang) on the cult album De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas back in1993. He returned with a more bizarre and grotesque performance. Xasthur's Malefic (where do they find out that names?) closed himself in a casket for a Sunn O))) song couple of years back, but Attila sounded like he was actually buried alive for all these years, and got up again to tell us his impressions of death.
And death was just the beginning. Wall Of Water welcomed the chaotic atmosphere but Illuminate Eliminate was the real treat. Nihilistic perfume of the deep Atilla's murmurings got destroyed with Hellhammer's drumming and the beautifully deranged chords of guitars. Ordo Ad Chao was the beginning and the end of all black metal, like a oruborus eating its own poisoned tail. It was impossible to recreate the atmosphere and the presence of the spirits summoned at the Ordo sessions by any other band. Catching this band couple of years later playing live in Belgrade would only confirm these madmen did or didn't know what they were doing, let alone if it was them doing it at all. The gig was sick and awesome, like a Mayhem show should be and Atilla and his friends possessed spirits delivered the message of true horror and everlasting chaos of inner darkness.
11. Nine Inch Nails - Year Zero (Interscope)
13. Clutch - From Beale Street To Oblivion (DRT)
This one was a great portion of blues infected rock. It was also one of the most enjoyable records of the year. I started to work as a soundman in this venue SKC Livingroom and Joca, a friend that taught me nearly everything concerning the making of a live sound for a band, loved Clutch too, so we played this album endlessly in the venue. There was also lots of blues bands playing over there and I started to get sucked into the magick of blues inch by inch.
From Beale Street To Oblivion had so many hits - Electric Worry, Power Player, You Can't Stop Progress. The riffs were all shiny and bright, kicking like the Christmas tree on the cover. You couldn't stop the rock with this one, and rock never sounded this fresh and vital since Queens Of The Stone Age released their Songs For The Deaf.