недеља, 06. март 2011.

the lists: 1995

1. Faith No More - King For A Day, Fool A Lifetime (Slash)

I got this on my 12th birthday from me brother. The funny thing is that the info on the net says it was released on 28th march 1995, and my birthday was a whole week before, so I don't have a clue how me bro got it so early. I can only guess some journalists had the disc a couple of weeks before the release date and someone decided to sell his copy... Anyway, to this day I didn't ask him how he got it - I don't want the mistery to be spoiled.

Both of us were already huge Faith No More fans. The Real Thing was a huge album for us and Angel Dust was my first bootleg tape bought at the SKC black market. I liked Angel Dust, but it was a bit too dark for me at the time - I was 9 when it came out. So, I just can't describe the happiness I felt while holding a brand new Faith No More album on CD, ready to be played for the first time on the best quality format available for me at the time.

The album was full of hits. We already knew Digging The Grave, as MTV played it a lot. But we weren't ready for the greatness of Ricochet or Evidence. Or the fantastic lucidity of Cuckoo For Caca, The Gentle Art Of Making Enemies and Ugly In The Morning. The title track had the atmospheric part reminiscent of The Real Thing's title track, although I always preferred King For A Day over the Thing. Just A Man was this huge Elvis track I didn't get first, but liked more and more later. The band performing it live on last year's Exit festival brought this track to unexpectable new heights, crowning the band's career while explaining the human nature so perfectly lyric-wise at the same time.

This album was flawless. The band didn't have guitarist at the time as they fired Jim Martin, and the guitar work of Trey Spruance (Mr.Bungle) I liked best. The guitars sounded just wonderful and the production of Andy Wallace helped the band sound the best to date. Patton's vocals were also sounding the most convincing. King For A Day... Fool For A Lifetime is one of my favorite records made by anyone, ever.

2. Therapy? - Infernal Love (A&M)

I just loved Troublegum (1994). It was a perfect alternative/punk/rock album that went mainstream. The album was full of hits and every track was ace. That's how all the albums that sell good should be made of - excellent songs.

Infernal Love was a darker beast. I remember when Jadranka Jankovic aired the whole album on her radio show Metal Manija that was on air every Friday night. I taped the whole album and listened to it a lot. I was lucky, I think it was the October 1995 and my dad went to a business trip to Italy for a couple of days. He knew I was new into CD's and stuff and asked me if I wanted him something to bring over. I asked for this album and I was lucky - I was holding the crimson red / black and white sleeve in my hands when he came back.

I was sucker for ballads, so I loved A Moment Of Clarity, Bowels Of Love and the beautiful string cover of Husker Du's Diane instantly. The frenetic trademark riffs of Troublegum were all over Infernal Love too, but shaped a bit differently - the songs and the singings were more chaotic, with lots of effects and other experimental stuff going on through the arrangements. Stories and Loose were those Troublegum kind of hit singles, but the overall melancholia and the bare, naked seriousness / hopelessness that run through Infernal Love's veins was too much for mainstream people to handle. But I loved it and loved the band for such bravery.

30 Seconds had one of the best endings one could end a song with, and some parts of Bad Mother and Me Vs You are still remembered well when listened to sixteen years later. I was so happy when I met Andy and the guys in Belgrade when they came for a show in April 2007. Pera was also a fan, so it meant to him a lot too. He even went with the guys and the promoter to some nightclub after the show for some drinks. I remember I wanted to go but I had some stupid exam tomorrow morning, so I didn't. What a mistake. Didn't pass the exam, of course. But the overall feeling of seeing such a good band and meeting the guys remained remembered well.

Nowadays I'm not only nostalgic but also very glad that I listened to albums such as Infernal Love for thousand times during my youth. It would prove later that it shaped my musical taste and vision pretty much. Cause other, older people and musicians always listened to Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath albums as their personal Holy Bibles of rock, and albums such as King For A Day and Infernal Love were my Zepps and Sabbaths, my own Holy Bibles of music.

3. Anathema  - The Silent Enigma (Peaceville)

Wow. I was checking the band's back catalog since I loved Eternity so much. The thing that happened a lot with other bands when I was checking their earlier stuff were these small disappointments, since I liked the development of late works, but couldn't get into the former era so much. I never liked Serenades so much, and the same goes for Tiamat's and Amorphis' debut albums for example. What I didn't expect was that The Silent Enigma, Anathema's sophomore full-length, was this good.

I knew a lot of the songs already since I dubbed the Krakow gig first and watched it a lot. So, when I got the studio versions of the songs, I liked them even more. I remember I liked the title track and A Dying Wish so much, I wanted to play them myself. I played the track Silent Enigma in A minor and everything was fine, until I saw the gig again and saw Danny playing D minor instead of A. Yet it sounded like A, but the finger positioning was on the fifth fret playing open D minor or whatever it's called. That's when I realized their guitars were tuned to B. I liked the tuning. It was deeper than the other bands - My Dying Bride, In The Woods and Saturnus played in C# - but it would be only some ten years later that I would decide to use the B tuning myself too.

The opener Restless Oblivion was a strong one. Shroud Of Frost was also this grand piece of crushing doom, with wailing leads/harmonies all around and atmospheric centerpiece of spoken words and weirdness, transforming into this beautiful solo of Danny. Sunset Of Age remained one of my favorite Anathema songs to this day, with great slide guitar and outstanding wah effect on Duncan's bass. Pera considers this album the best album ever made by any band, and I can see his point, cause there were not many emotional records like this - ones that would be crushing the listener's soul so heavy and fine. The Silent Enigma could be the best album ever. Telling that to Duncan in person was one of the funniest experiences ever, cause we all later ended up in a strippers club. 'twas just one of those nights...

4. In The Woods... - Heart Of The Ages (Misanthropy)

This has to be my favorite black album ever. The story how I found it is a funny one too. I loved Omnio, but didn't have the guts to risk getting this one. I heard the story about it being black metal, which, um, let's say was never my first choice upon picking new albums. Since I wasn't so lucky with other band's debuts (Tiamat, Anathema, My Dying Bride, Amorphis, The Gathering...), I skipped this one.

A friend Jaksa, who played the guitar in band Abonos, had this album. We were hanging around at the time, I think it was 2001, and he borrowed it to me when I saw it among some other albums he had. I remember it was some cold weather outside, December or January, and I listened to it early in the morning with my headphones on. It was cozy inside, but when the Yearning The Seeds Of A New Dimension started rolling with its chilly ambient intro, my ass froze instantly. I couldn't believe that someone actually captured that perfect vibe of the woods and nature and darkness and mysteria on tape so greatly. And the melancholy and the despair of Jan's vocals... Lyrics were awesome too. There were some philosophical notes even, written by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (also known as Osho), in the sleeve underneath the songs' lyrics. Like 99 per cent of all black metal albums, the production was amateurish, but it gave the Heart a special something, especially at the end of the title track when the acoustic guitar and eerie synth took over the song's outro. Everything was perfect about Heart Of The Ages and I loved the band even more from that point on.

5. My Dying Bride  - The Angel And The Dark River (Peaceville)

I goth this one and Turn Loose The Swans on tape on the very same day. It was January 1997 and the weather was cold and miserable, so the Brides were the right companions. The first time I actually heard the band was in April 1995. There was the edited version of From Darkest Skies on Terrorizer sampler. I remember I hated it back then, cause it sounded so weird. I just couldn't get why was this man crying on the microphone. Two years later when I got into the doom scene, I loved For You and Like Gods Of The Sun. Now, after getting the whole album in that January of 1997, I loved the band more.

The Cry Of Mankind was this magnificent opener, with a theme that was going on and on and the chords and leads circling around it. It was a strong statement, the first half of the song, while the second part was this atmospheric piece in which the theme, tuned to C# minor, clashed with a choir singing C major at the end and, although sounding disharmonic at places, it gave a surreal gothic feel needed for the song. From Darkest Skies was still a difficult piece, but it was already a familiar one and the whole version of the song was more understandable in the context of the whole album, than the edited one I remembered from before.

Two Winters Only was the acoustic piece that had some parts of distortions and powerful drums thrown in (something that would Opeth use a lot later) and I loved it. The tape had a bonus track, The Sexuality Of A Bereavement, which I loved too. It was the only track with Aaron growling and the whole combination of violins and the reversed snares and cymbals, mixed with proper drumming and sick doom chords, was so evil sounding it was charmingly beautiful. It remained a special track to me to this day. The Angel And The Dark River remained the best album by the band, although I always preferred Like Gods Of The Sun for nostalgic reasons (yup, the first love). The masters of misery nailed it on this one.

6. Ulver - Bergtatt: Et Eeventyr I 5 Capitler (Head Not Found)

7. The Gathering - Mandylion (Century Media)

The third album by the band, and the first one that announced the new singer, beautiful Anneke van Giersbergen. This was not the first time that the doom metal band relied on female singer - there was The 3rd And The Mortal from Norway - but none of Paradise Losts, My Dying Brides or Anathemas did it this convincingly. The music was doomy and gloomy but vividly colored in significant ways as Anneke's voice shifted from low to high pitch, reminiscing more of a Cranberries croon than soprano singing of other ladies.

I always loved the title track merging into Sand And Mercury, those two were sort of epic doom tracks. The rest of the album was great too, as Eleanor, In Motion (both parts) and Leaves were discovering some proginess in the way the doomy riffs were arranged. I always preferred Nighttime Birds over this one, cause I heard the Birds first; the Birds also had more radiant and lighter approach to the songs, while Mandylion remained the darkest Gathering release to date.

8. Aphex Twin - ...I Care Because You Do (Warp)

Look at that cover. Just look at it! It's the only thing you'll need to know about this album, really.

9. Moonspell - Wolfheart (Century Media)

Somewhat silly in all of their vampire and werewolf fascinations, it worked in black metal/romantic goth context. Vampiria and Alma Mater were the absolute highlights of the album and the latter showed guest appearances of Dani Filth of Cradle Of Filth, a British band with a similar vision. Fernando's broken English with Portuguese accent had a charm of its own and always reminded me a bit of Max Cavalera's glory days of old.

Wolfheart was a strong statement and the band showed they knew their stuff well. The follower Irreligious would guide them into the goth metal stardom along with Type O Negative, which left Wolfheart the only album of its kind. Folky influences of Trebraruna and Ataegina (the excellent bonus track I got with the digipack version) were never recreated in the band's future discography and that's why this album remained a standalone jewel for many reasons.

10. Ugly Kid Joe - Menace To Sobriety (Mercury)

A great band and a great album. I loved their America's Least Wanted debut already, but this was a better and stronger album, a change similar to what Skid Row did with Slave To The Grind following their epic self-titled debut.

Hard rock or metal? It didn't matter what these guys were playing, cause the music was so good. The guys were filled with positive energy all the way up. Milkman's Son and Tomorrow's World were hit singles, although I liked both ballads Candle Song and Cloudy Skies, while the heavier Oompa, V.I.P. or C.U.S.T. rocked like hell. The photos in the booklet showed the right atmosphere of the band made of pals; their rehearsal room was their studio and their life, plus they brought lots of girls there... And some of them even charged the visits, more than the recording expenses were.

Menace To Sobriety was enjoyable as a whole and too bad it was their last great album - the follower Motel California wasn't as strong as the two previous albums were, so the kids disbanded shortly after the Motel was released.

11. W.A.S.P. - Still Not Black Enough (Raw Power)

This was supposed to be released as Blackie Lawless' solo album, but the management (if he had one at the time) realized the name W.A.S.P. was still too big. The previous album, the magnificent The Crimson Idol was already Blackie Lawless' solo album, so what the hell. Truth was that some tracks off Still Not Black Enough sounded like a collection of tracks that didn't make on The Crimson Idol, or couldn't fit the Quadrophenia inspired concept story The Idol was based on. Still Not Black Enough was pompous-free, more bare and naked Blackie for all the world to see. The highlights were the title track, the superb, gently ballad Keep Holding On, and the raw broken piece named I Can't. The closing No Way Out Of Here was also a great track, but the fans seemed to dismiss it. The singles Black Forever and Goodbye America were good tracks, but I seemed to like more those left-fielded ones - they seemed more honest, and well, black(i)er.

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