Before I dive into this, hello Sound on the Sound, I’ve missed you guys! Prepare to hear more from me, but for now, ho ho ho, it’s heavy fucking metal time.
You know what’s great about being a metal head during Christmas time? Most if not all of your music is neck snappingly irreverent and a bona fide recipe for suppressing holiday cheer…fuck yes. Though this is usually quick to delight a metal head tired of the incessant red and green that has been displayed since the day before Halloween, at times it can be difficult interfacing with family members or old friends who aren’t of the metal ilk. This can create a huge problem: getting a ton of either crappy and/or duplicate CDs as gifts. So this list is for you metal head with crappy gifts (and/or for a family member searching for ideas on a late or last minute gift).
Must haves for a 21st Century Metal Head:
Okay, so I’ll preface this by admitting not all metal heads share my tastes, but if you headbang and enjoy doing so, you’ll find something on this list you can get into. So here it is 25 albums spanning three decades for the metal head in your life…unless it’s me, cuz I have them. Oh, and don’t be confused, these aren’t in order of my favorite or anything…making that list would take a helluva lot longer.
Slough Feg- Hardworlder
One of San Francisco’s diamonds in the rough it’s amazing that Slough Feg has not gotten the attention a band of their talent deserves. Sharing members with San Francisco’s Hammers of Misfortune, Slough Feg offers up a progressive and eclectic approach to the light black metal derived thrash that is currently tearing up the SF scene. Hardworlder is a sci-fi/comic book superhero influenced album with intensely sung vocals (imagine the guy from Creed, except good) and intricately arrhythmic guitars.
Yyrkoon- Unhealthy Opera
If you read any of the old Metal Mondays you might remember these guys. Brutal French death metal quartet Yyrkoon is easily one of the heaviest bands I have ever come across. With HP Lovecraft influenced lyrics and incredible gutturally growled vocals, which sound as if it were the Old One himself (followers of the Cthulu mythos know what I’m saying) was calling out to you.
Wolf- Black Wings
So basically if you took Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and AC/DC and crammed all their sounds into one band, you’d get Sweden’s Wolf. Needless to say, they fucking rock and are bound to get any head banging and some fists pumping. Their musical talent provides for technical thrill rides on each of their albums, yet their last two albums (2004’s Evil Star and 2006’s The Black Flame) have been rather inconsistent in the quality songwriting department. Their second release, Black Wings is a track-by-track kick in the face, well worth every dollar.
Vio-Lence- Eternal Nightmare
With humble beginnings in the early 90s Bay Area thrash scene which brought us Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Exodus and others Vio-Lence took the stage with these bands offering some of the fastest metal around. Over the top vocals and crazy fast guitar licks bolster the album’s solid song structure. As many know, the dual guitar talent from Vio-Lence is still around as the front men for Machine Head, proving that their talent is ageless. Also, it’s nice to wow metal head friends by having an early thrash album that isn’t Metallica’s Master of Puppets.
The Ottoman Empire- Way of the Blade
So I guess Ottoman Empire has a new song up on their myspace page. Considering how awesome their first full-length release The Way of the Blade is, this new song must be killer. Combining both melodically sung and devilishly growled female vocals provided by lone vocalist Mary Zimmer, and eargasmically intricate guitar, bass, and drum interplay, Ottoman Empire offers a unique, creative and just plain old kick ass sound. Employing elements of thrash with a heavy influence from power metal there is really nothing about Ottoman Empire not to like.
Neurosis- The Word as Law
For any who get in the mood for dark, slow, churning, doomy riffs accented with cold and hollow samples to create a richly textured depressive atmosphere NEED some Neurosis. The Word as Law is one of my favorites for the mind-fucking lull it can put on a sunny day. With drony guitars and oppressive vocals, it’s hard not to have a good time while listening to these guys!
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