Jup's look at 2007
2007 is long gone; however, I always like to allow myself for some time to pass before I sum up a particular period of music. Emotional responses to albums fall and allow for more objectivity and moreover, a lot of music ultimately flows under my radar in any given year, leaving me to discover it slightly later. I am quite sure I will continue to discover gems from 2007 as time goes on; however, I believe that to a reasonable extent, I am now more or less ready to write a blog entry summing up this period to the best of my abilities.
2007 was a pretty decent year musically for me. First and foremost, it was a year of surprises, and those are always good since they make life less mundane. Even better, a lot of these surprises turned out to be particularly good ones, pushing bands into directions that are for one reason or another worthy of attention.
Let me begin with the albums that are to me the absolute cream of the crop of 2007 (in no particular order):
Nine Inch Nails - Year Zero
One of the surprises. Trent abandons the pop sensibilities of With Teeth in favor of an abrasive, corrosive, noisy set of tracks. It all works surprising well and is very memorable.
Waltari - Release Date
Release date doesn't see the Finnish band branching out particularly, since it is just as schizophrenic as their previous releases; however, there is a significant move forward in terms of song writing. Enough to be on this list.
Between The Buried And Me - Colors
Shockingly concise and accomplished modern metal record. Bands like this are the ones that will set the trends for next few years, just wait and see.
Warning - Watching From A Distance
Probably the most impressive doom metal release of 2007. Nothing innovative about it; however, it nails the depressive, forlorn mood so sought after in doom metal expertly and the song writing ensures that it never bores.
Shining - V.Halmstad
Although I feel a bit of pretension behind this example of depressive black metal, the pure quality of the music more than makes up for it. No idea if they were influenced by the Fields Of The Nephilim; however, this album works on me in the same way "Elizium" does. This is not complicated stuff; however, it excels in nuance.
Mayhem - Ordo Ad Chao
Another big surprise. Instead of trying to make another De Mysteriis, Mayhem record an album full of improvised noise metal, which has more in common with projects like John Zorn's Astronome than it does with traditional black metal.
Manes - How The World Came To An End
One of the more out there albums of the year, Manes' record wins with the competing Ulver by being more memorable and downright crazy in their mixture of genres.
Besides the above excellent releases, 2007 offered plenty of albums that were simply very solid and enjoyable, even if ultimately not worthy of being called "albums of the year". Alchemist's Tripsis was an impressive return to extremity but otherwise a somewhat pedestrian record that doesn't live up to their previous offering. Candlemass released a brilliant album that would have probably been in the above list if it wasn't for Warning, which is simply better. Paradise Lost returned to a much heavier style and their new album is also quite brilliant; however, it has the band's own back catalogue to compete with, at which it fails. Porcupine Tree, with their Fear Of A Blank Planet take another step into a more dynamic metallic direction; however, there is still a sense that the band hasn't really found a comfortable style yet. Raging Speedhorn shocked everyone by jumping on the post-metal bandwagon; however, as good as their album is, it doesn't quite measure up to the heavyweights of the style. Project: Failing Flesh's Conjoined was a very enjoyable industrial metal release mired by some particularly inappropriate samples here and there that bog down an otherwise excellent album. The British supergroup This Is Menace released a great set of songs that nevertheless do not sound like a cohesive album and instead like an hour long metal radio show. Conqueror by Jesu was a watered down shoegazing mess and although Pale Sketches is far better, it doesn't wash out the bad taste entirely. Releases by Deathspell Omega, Anaal Nathrakh, Glorior Belli, High On Fire, Type O Negative, Earth and Electric Wizard were other solid, but not exceptional albums of 2007
2007 was also quite decent for quality non metal releases. Dalek and Aesop Rock committed some very interesting and innovative rap music, while Burial and Scorn made us appreciate the aesthetics of dub yet again. Against Me! recorded a powerful and moving folky punk record with fantastic lyrics, while the Bad Brains made an unexpected return with the very unorthodox hardcore reggae of Build A Nation. The Liars and Tear Garden presented some of the more interesting (kinda)industrial of the year, while Scott Walker released a very haunting ambient piece called And Who Shall Go To The Ball? And What Shall Go To The Ball?. The year's most inspiring lyrics were probably those on The National's Boxer. Oh, and Bruce Springsteen also recorded his most rock based album in years...
I am sure I forgot to mention some things, both in the metal and non metal categories. I am also not listing disappointments because I don't believe in them (no expectations, no disappointments). Besides, bad albums are better forgotten. Still, if you want to discuss any of my choices or point out something that I have forgotten or that you think I might have gotten wrong, please comment!
|Written on 17.04.2008 by With Metal Storm since 2002, jupitreas has been subjecting the masses to his reviews for quite a while now. He lives in Warsaw, Poland, where he does his best to avoid prosecution for being so cool.
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