TOP TEN CDs of 2001
As chosen by East Coast Editor Christopher J. Kelter
In a year that was pretty much devastating all the way around it seems kind of pointless to have a "best of" list, but I feel compelled to continue forward in performing this kind of annual expulsion of my thoughts to put the past year's musical output into perspective if only for my own selfish reasons.
Again, so many good discs were released in 2001 that I've had to add an "honorable mention" list as a way of saying that certain discs shouldn't be overlooked even if they didn't make my Top Ten. Besides, it practically reads like a personal playlist of the discs that were in heavy rotation during 2001. Those efforts deserving of an honorable mention include:
"Follow The Reaper" by Children Of Bodom
"God Hates Us All" by Slayer
"Rock Hell" by Gandalf
"Darkness And Hope" by Moonspell
"So Sedated, So Secure" by Darkest Hour
"From Bliss To Devastation" by Vision Of Disorder
"Last Fair Deal Gone Down" by Katatonia
"Horror Show" by Iced Earth
"Bath" and "Leaving Your Body Map" by Maudlin of the Well
"Unleashed Memories" by Lacuna Coil
"Anarchists Of Good Taste" by Dog Fashion Disco
"Waist Deep In Dark Waters" by BRAVE.
Those are the "honorable mentions." My Top
Ten List begins here:
Number 10: MullMuzzler's "MullMuzzler 2" is probably one of the biggest surprises of the year with performances that best the debut by far. James La Brie and his cohorts have crafted an engaging romp through prog-rock and prog-metal that tears down the fragile emotional state we all scrape by in our day-to-day lives.
Number 9: Everygrey's "In Search Of Truth" takes sci-fi into the realm of prog-metal with great riffs and a desperate soul trying to figure out the mysterious events that have overtaken his life. This is one CD that gets better each time I hear it.
Number 8: "Organasm" by Alchemist really caught me by surprise with its mix of Mindrot's aggression, Tool's artiness, and an endless array of tribal drumming rhythms and cascading keyboards that form an eclectic mix of sounds that grows on me with each new listen. "Organasm" is a very interesting and challenging listening experience.
Number 7: Arch Enemy's "Wages Of Sin" is still not available in the US (yet) so you'll have to find an import copy or you can just wait for the special double CD version when it is released in the Spring of 2002. Many folks considered Angela Gassow's inclusion to the band to be a death knell without ever hearing what she sounded like. Well, I happy to report that Angela kicks ass and delivers a stunning performance. And I haven't even begun to talk about the brother tandem of Christopher and Michael Amott who shred and dance their way around the songs with their stunning lead interplay. Wow!
Number 6: Ah, what can be said about Dimmu Borgir that hasn't already been said? "Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia" is killer from the get-go with great songs, killer production, and a relentless approach. Dimmu Borgir's brand of glossy black metal may piss off the purists out there, but I like it.
Number 5: I'd waited a long five years for Tool to release "Lateralus" and although I was a little bit disappointed by the fact that Tool didn't really progress, even the simple rearrangement of Tool's style was enough to warrant repeated listens and inclusion to this year's Top Ten. "Lateralus" is staunchly anti-commercial which is at once both annoying and invigorating. It's rare that one can apply the term ‘visionary' to a band, but Tool are worthy of this tag for their stunning sonic and visual approach.
Number 4: Soilwork are the underdogs of the ‘Gothenburg sound' although "A Predator's Portrait" should do much to alleviate their unwarranted status as being less than stellar. Adding clean vocals to the band's mix of aggressive guitars and understated keyboards really added depth to a band that really didn't need any more depth to draw fans like moths to a flame.
Number 3: In 2001, Emperor grace the world with their latest (and, sadly, last) opus "Prometheus: The Discipline Of Fire And Demise." I so desperately wanted this disc to be my all-time favorite CD of 2001, but it falls a little short if only because I had such high expectations of it. Ishahn, Samoth, and Trym create another masterpiece.
Number 2: Amorphis continue to evolve and "Am Universum" is more proof that Amorphis continue to mature and create captivating music. While Amorphis' death metal days are now long behind them, they are still crafting songs that meld melody and emotion into a compelling and complete package.
Number 1: Opeth continue to amaze and "Blackwater Park" is no exception to their incredible catalog of progressive death metal stylings. "Blackwater Park," with the help of Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson, became my top CD of 2001 with progressive influences, quality songs, attention to detail, and music that is as beautiful as it is dark.
Stay metal! There's more great metal to come in 2002!
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Revised: 23 Aug 2016 22:57:11 -0400.