“Album Of The Day” is a Last Rites Facebook feature we started whose purpose is quite straight-forward: highlight one album per day and say a few words about it. Understanding that not everyone chooses to participate in the booking of faces, we thought it might be nice to toss in a new feature that gathers the albums in a single piece on a weekly basis.
Here are the seven albums we picked for the week of May 20th — 26th.
Sunday, May 20th
Flotsam and Jetsam – No Place for Disgrace (1988)
Flotz’s classic second effort was released 30 years ago today! Like Doomsday for the Deceiver, the band’s finest hour, No Place was immediately snatched up by an audience eager to get their hands on anything even remotely connected to the Big Four, and although Newsted was busy with basslines that would be inaudible on …And Justice For All, he left his mark on several of the tracks on No Place For Disgrace. Some of the album’s finest, in fact, including co-writing credits on the massive title track, “N.E. Terror, and “I Live You Die.” But the entire record smokes front to back, although the cover of “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting” is a completely unnecessary product of label interference. Flotz upped the thrash quotient of their thrash/speed style that made their debut such a stunner and pulled off one hell of a sophomore record. [Matthew Cooper]
Monday, May 21st
Wodensthrone – Curse (2012)
Wodensthrone’s debut, Loss, was magical—a combination of atmospheric black metal that managed to keep the aggression, sweeping melody, and gorgeous folk passages. For the follow-up, they decided the smart thing to do was to shift a bit, emphasizing the aggression and removing some of the foggier vibes. The result was one of the best black metal albums of the last decade, one that reached heights of “epic” grandeur paralleled only by the scene’s greatest legends, and that was loaded with unforgettable moments. No moment is more memorable than the entirety of closer “The Name of the Wind,” which builds to the album’s highest intensity (while maintaining the sorrowful aura) before eventually riding out a long, less aggressive outro. The latter features some truly harrowing vocals, using the eased up aggression of the background music as a way to emphasize the desperation. It was a perfect finish to the album—as if the entire band was exhaling for several minutes—but it was unfortunately also the end of their career. Wodensthrone called it quits a couple years ago, which may have deprived their fans of new music, but it also ensured that they’d never be able to tarnish their legacy. And that final moment, damn. [Zach Duvall]
Tuesday, May 22nd
Incantation – Diabolical Conquest (1998)
On album number three, Pennsylvania’s greasiest death metal murk-fiends Incantation spat out what likely still stands as their finest album by embracing such bold innovations as… doing more or less the same thing they have always done: producing the most sinuous, churning, blasting, blasphemous death metal possible. Of course, as the only Incantation album to feature Daniel Corchado of The Chasm (on vocals, guitar, and bass—busy guy!), Diabolical Conquest seems to have picked up some of his sneakily cosmic melodicism. But, as always with Incantation, the focus is squarely on the absurd bounty of ichor-dripping riffs that lurk around every corner, lurching through swampy dirges and lunging with breakneck precision. Abandon hope, all ye riffless who hope to compete with Incantation. [Dan Obstkrieg]
Wednesday, May 23rd
Ahab – The Call Of The Wretched Sea (2006)
The Call Of The Wretched Sea landed like…well, like a massive whale hitting the surface of the sea after a twenty-five foot breach: Huge, majestic, powerful, and, most importantly, thrilling. Most funeral doom doesn’t really bother with that last descriptor, but Deutschland’s nautically-possessed Ahab dropped an absolute stunner of a debut that did everything so right, one couldn’t help but walk away floored and soaked in ocean sediment. All the classic funeral tenets were down cold, but the added sense of melody and a notably robust production (particularly with regard to Cornelius Althammer’s drums) balanced dread and pleasure perfectly. Future records would increase the tinsel significantly, with varying degrees of success, but the overall impression of thrilling trepidation achieved through The Call Of The Wretched Sea remains unmatched. [Captain]
Thursday, May 24th
Anthrax – Sound of White Noise (1993)
Tomorrow is the 25th birthday of one of the more divisive albums from a classic band. Hailed as some as one of Anthrax’s best, and derided by others as the end of the band’s worth, the only point of agreement was that Anthrax would never again be the same. Even as a devotee of Armored Saint, news of John Bush’s selection to replace Belladonna came as a surprise. Looking back now that seems absurd, as John is twice the singer Joey is, and sang all the old material as well or better than Belladonna did. There’s a reason they re-recorded a bunch of that stuff and called the album The Greater of Two Evils. He is massive on Sound of White Noise, and Ian’s writing is more focused than it was on The Persistence of Time. But Benante is the is lynchpin, dialing back massive chops in order to quarterback the pervasive rhythmic nature of these songs. There’s not a skippable moment on the record, and tracks like “Potter’s Field,” “Only,” and the Twin Peaks inspired “Black Lodge” can stand toe-to-toe with anything in the band’s catalog. [Matthew Cooper]
Friday, May 25th
35 year anniversary!
Dio – Holy Diver (1983)
There aren’t many better opening statements for a heavy metal album than “Stand Up And Shout”—it’s literally everything that’s perfect about heavy metal in three minutes: a killer riff, a great vocalist with a great chorus, energy, great soloing from Vivian Campbell, boundless spirit, driving groove… And then follow that up with the stomping glory of “Holy Diver,” another indisputable classic, and then in turn, follow that with further greats like “Don’t Talk To Strangers,” the epic signature hit in “Rainbow In The Dark,” and “Straight Through The Heart.” After conquering the metal world with Rainbow and Black Sabbath, King Ronnie James made his solo debut with this album, and it was (is) an absolute monster, one of the greatest classics in a career that is almost entirely classics, from one of the greatest singers the rock ‘n’ roll world has ever known. Absolutely mandatory. [Andrew Edmunds]
Saturday, May 26th
Nasum – Inhale / Exhale (1998)
“This is what it’s all about / this is why we play” Anders Jakobsen growls in the opening 24-second blast of Nasum’s debut, and “This Is…” certainly sums up a good amount of their sound. This is… thick, pummeling, absolutely relentless grindcore, with a slight death metal twist. This is… loud and ugly, filled with gnarly riffs and blastbeats and d-beats and screams. This is… notably indebted to Napalm Death, but still with enough personality to transcend its influence. This is… 38 songs in 45 minutes, fast and short and ripping, never letting up, never giving quarter. This is… a great example of how to make grindcore that is simultaneously interesting and unflinchingly ferocious. This is… the first album from one of the most important grind bands in history. This is… mandatory. “So do you think you make a difference?” Jakobsen asks in “Time To Act!” Nasum made a difference, and this is how they did it. [Andrew Edmunds]
See you next week.