Friday, October 28, 2011

498 - Unstoppable Force - Agent Steel - 1987

Here we have an interesting album. Despite this band's first album coming out in 1985, leaving little time for imitation, comparisons to "elite" 1980's bands is inevitable. Not that they are a clone of any band, but they seem to have borrowed elements from other bands. So we have Queensryche vocals, Iron Maiden guitars and Metallica (Kill 'em All era) bass & drums. The whole thing is wrapped in an early Fates Warning vibe, and the result is Unstoppable Force.

Certainly, there were better bands and albums in the era, but among the bands who died out early (there was a reunion, but it is not really worth mentioning) this is one of the better albums. I'm not sure why these guys fizzled out, maybe it was bad management or lack of support from their label, but my guess is they would have changed their style to fit in with either the thrash movement or the glam movement. Maybe it was their refusal to change that destroyed them.

In any event, this is a good example of a good band, which may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. For me, it is good enough to land at number 498.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

499 - Metallica - Metallica - 1991

I struggle with this album. In a vacuum, it's a really good traditional metal album. There are a few annoying slow songs, but face it, most good metal albums have them. Also, as with many good albums that clock in over 60 minutes, the last few tracks start to blend together.

But these minor flaws are not what brings this album down. There is an intangible here, and it is not a good one. Since music and it's enjoyment involves emotions and mood, this intangible hurts this album's ranking.

This album suffers from it's legacy, and that is why so many metal fans of my era dislike it. This album seemed to cause a wave that killed metal temporarily. Just look at the 1990's and you'll see a dearth of good metal albums, and for some reason, this album serves as a signpost for that end. On the bright side, I believe it was this dearth that opened up so many of the great albums and bands from the late 1990's and early 2000's, but that doesn't absolve Metallica and this album of its sins.

As such, "The Black Album" lands at 499. As a side note, if not for Mariano Rivera, it may not have cracked the list.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

500 - Point of Entry - Judas Priest - 1981

This is an interesting record. Also, and interesting band. After reviewing the top 500, some may argue that I hold better bands to a higher standard. For example, if Demon released this album, I would sing its praises, but because it is Judas Priest, and they have a ten or so records better than this, I have been overly critical.


All I can say is this album suffers from inconsistency. There are some really great tracks here; Desert Plains, Solar Angels and even the overrated Heading Out to the Highway are all great tracks. Unfortunately, there are some real stinkers here. You Say Yes, Troubleshooter and All the Way are unlistenable. Turning Circles and On the Run are not much better.

Really, as I type, I am thinking 500 may be too generous given how many bad songs there are here. However, sometimes a couple of great songs can salvage an entire album, and I think that is the case here. I can overlook the problems here and focus on the great songs. Really, Priest usually has a clunker or two on their albums (Take on the World, United, etc.) and this album is no different, except that the clunker to classic ration is not as favorable as other Priest albums.

As a result, it lands at number 500.

Note - so how long until I post #499. Maybe a day, maybe a week, maybe a month, maybe never. I am noncommittal.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Top 400 (or so) - Introduction

In cataloging the top heavy metal(ish) albums of all time, I have found it interesting how the landscape of music has changed over the years. It is almost impossible to categorize Led Zeppelin II with White Wizzard, but I'll give it a try.

The other problem I am having is that the bottom 300 or so on this list can be very interchangeable. I think that when I am done, I'll find there is little difference between #317 and #483.

We shall see as I finalize the list, but my preliminary conclusion is that there are probably about 50 or so indispensable classics, another 150 or so really good releases, then a bunch (several hundred) of solid, but flawed records out there.

Again, stay tuned....

Thursday, October 06, 2011

The Top 400

OK so in the next few weeks, I will begin the countdown the Top 400 heavy rock albums of all time. This will be a marathon, and may take 10 years, but who cares? I know I will phase in and out. Some weeks I may be prolific, other times I will not post for months. But since, I have nothing else to say, I may as well say this.

Coming soon #400...........................

Saturday, October 01, 2011

The Top 250 - One More Try

So, loyal reader(s), I have finally decided to embark on a bold project that I have been wanting to do for some time. The problem is with a Top 250 album list is that new entries come in and tend to make the list outdated. However, with so few albums that I like coming out in recent years, it seems like now is a good time to embark on this bold project.

How long will it take?

How often will I post?

How soon until I completely abandon the project like so many others?

How long until I actually post Number 250?

There are many variables, plus there is probably a hidden variable, let's call it The X Factor....