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Best Of Lists

Best Of Lists
June 29, 2013, 10:57:41 PM
I think they're a good idea.

Rather, I've realized that I'm an elitist -- I prefer quality/reality over quantity/sociability -- and thus I tend to like paring down to essentials, and really getting to know those.

I don't want to pick up third-string bands because they're interesting examples of that fertile transition period between classic Swedish OSDM and the melodic variant, etc. Or because they use a flute. That's hipster jive.

What I think matters is not form, but the unity of form and content. Together they make a voice. When separated, content becomes ranting and form becomes surface. When together, an object is made that unites the idea of the time with its outcome.

Thus I think it's important to have "best of" lists otherwise known as "best practices" listening lists -- if you want to really enjoy the genre, and not get bogged down in the forgettables the hipsters enjoy, try these.

I'm looking at Jim Necroslaughter's micro-list now:

Quote
His Majesty at the Swamp / Black Arts Lead to Everlasting Sins / Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism / Oath of Black Blood / Privilege of Evil / Dawn of Possession / In Battle There is No Law / Thousand Swords / To Mega Therion

Can't think of any I disagree with here:

* Varathron - His Majesty at the Swamp
* Necromantia - Black Arts Lead to Everlasting Sins
* Immortal - Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism
* Beherit - Oath of Black Blood
* Amorphis - Privilege of Evil
* Immolation - Dawn of Possession
* Bolt Thrower - In Battle There is No Law
* Graveland - Thousand Swords
* Celtic Frost - To Mega Therion

However, if I were making a list, it would turn out differently.

I'd point people to Drawing Down the Moon before Oath of Black Blood.

I actually would point them to the first Immortal album, but only after they've heard Blood Fire Death and The Return, which are the two influences they hybridized to make it.

Immolation? Other than the carnage of the last three releases, which are just embarrassing, I'd point toward Here In After. It's more together.

Hard to limit oneself to such a short list! For example, I'd throw in Morbid Tales/Emperor's Return to go with To Mega Therion (and if someone ever edits the cruft out of the album following it, that too).

Ah well, you see how hard it is. And yet, how easy. Because you're selecting the things that really exemplify what you enjoy. Then all is purity.

Re: Best Of Lists
June 30, 2013, 12:06:35 AM
That Immortal album really has climbed up my favorite albums list over the past few years. I hardly ever listen to Pure Holocaust any more, actually, but that's probably because I used to listen to it all the time. Given a few years, I'm sure it'll fall back into regular rotation. Blizzard Beasts and Battles in the North also get a lot of play, and even At the Heart of Winter from time to time.

That said, their first album really just has this special feeling to it that the others don't quite posses. Like you said, it's a great continuation/perfection of Bathory's evil black metal phase. When I listen to Diabolical all on its own without any distractions, I often feel the urge to follow it up with Ancient's first album. That one pulls from similar ingredients for its recipe, and I wouldn't be surprised if Aphazel and co. were heavily influenced by the early Immortal stuff. The longer songs towards the middle of the album in particular feel like a response to "A Perfect Vision of the Rising Northland."
Hard to limit oneself to such a short list! For example, I'd throw in Morbid Tales/Emperor's Return to go with To Mega Therion (and if someone ever edits the cruft out of the album following it, that too).
It seems like it's very easy for these lists to balloon around particular albums. I was looking through Necroslaughter's list and saw that Amorphis EP, and I immediately thought about how I would have added their first full-length, as well as the two Abhorrence demos. The same could be said for the Varathron and Necromantia: I'd want to add the first Rotting Christ album, the second Necromantia full-length, and maybe even the first three Septic Flesh releases to show the perfection of the Hellenic black metal ideal.

However, the point of these lists is to get you thinking about which albums encapsulate particular strains of death metal/black metal thought most effectively, so I could understand maybe just listing the Black Arts Necromantia/Varathron split as the best introduction to what those bands were about. Hopefully, someone in the future sifting through the ashes of modern society and finding such a list with that split on it might be inspired to hear Septic Flesh, Rotting Christ, etc. after having listened to the CD. Luckily, there's enough room on my shelf for all of the classic Hellenic black metal albums!

Re: Best Of Lists
June 30, 2013, 01:22:08 AM
Demigod - SoSE or Unholy Domain
Burzum - Burzum/Aske

Most listened to/highest regarded/best introduction-to-metal material.

Re: Best Of Lists
July 01, 2013, 04:20:17 AM
The problem with creating "best of" lists is overdoing it. There is great joy, but little productivity in deliberating over which albums must fill an all-time pantheon of arbitrary length, even when we agree on what qualities are necessary. I'm personally rather ad-hoc about recommending metal, since I habituate a bit too quickly for my own good.

Deep in the crevices of ANUS's older metal site, I found a diagram with some value to the taxonomists. The way it links styles, describes them in some detail, and provides examples is something that would be very useful to presenting our thoughts. A replacement would need to be smaller and more concise, and the presentation obviously needs a bit of a boost, but the idea of presenting the list as less of a list and more of a journey is valid. It would take neophytes more time and effort to traverse such, but if they're genuinely interested in metal, they'll accept it.

Re: Best Of Lists
July 02, 2013, 04:10:24 AM
I agree that their is a use for 'best of' lists especially in terms of directing the uninitiated. On a personal level someone could be a technical death metal fanatic or into raw, ultra-fast black metal or even ambient and so their personal bests or favourites will differ. This doesn't make their taste any more or less inferior as it doesn't go beyond individual preference. What is best for the community however should encompass and evaluate those preferences to form one coherent and historically informed framework.

I found a diagram with some value to the taxonomists.

Thanks for the link. I remember this from a few years back and had forgotten all about it. Pretty cool stuff.

Re: Best Of Lists
July 02, 2013, 08:34:06 AM
God, I love lists. Any kind of list, really! Shame on me and my terrible attention span. Speaking of these lists, what happened to these when the site switched over? This site's list is much more bloated, and has a few curious omissions (from my point of view, anyways). Could we see a more concise list  here, with a bit more exposition on what makes those artists/albums stand out, and what they contributed to the genre?

http://www.anus.com/metal/about/best_of/

Re: Best Of Lists
July 03, 2013, 05:29:54 AM
The point is twofold:

1. Fun
2. Making this genre open to others, since it's old enough now that people don't automatically get into it.

Handing them a definitive list would help.

Most list-threads end up with people hucking in whatever old bullshit they're thinking just to sound important. Hope that doesn't happen here.

Re: Best Of Lists
July 03, 2013, 07:03:49 PM
Lately I've been listening to a lot of Bathory - Hammerheart, Twilight of the Gods, Blood on Ice, Nordland - really enjoying that take on metal, definitely some of my favorite stuff.

You can also tell a story with the micro-list:
His Majesty at the Swamp - The king is in his realm
Black Arts Lead to Everlasting Sins - He experiments with black magic
Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism - Now he's all in and there's no turning back
Oath of Black Blood - So he takes the oath
Privilege of Evil - He becomes aware of these new privileges that have been granted
Dawn of Possession - It is like waking up to a new morning and he is re-birthed
In Battle There is No Law - So he goes to war with his army
Thousand Swords - He squares off against another army; swords and blood everywhere
To Mega Therion - The beast rises!

LOL   ;D  8)

Re: Best Of Lists
July 13, 2013, 04:05:56 PM
Now the irony would be to make a power metal song using those lyrics, I suppose.

I support adding the first, third, and fourth albums from Darkthrone. I still can't like the second, and while the 'Faust is good, it's still not the truly excellent.

I think of this list as a metal evangelism list. What music will convince other people that metal is awesome?