“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 feature that gathers the albums in a single piece on a weekly basis.
Here are the seven albums we picked for the week of June 17th — June 23rd.
Sunday, June 17th
Judas Priest – Painkiller (1990)
Released in 1988, Ram It Down represents the nadir of Judas Priest’s discography—composed of outtakes from the unfairly maligned Turbo, Ram It Down was a largely lackluster return to heavier rock, with some horrifically lame riffs and lyrics and an abysmal cover of “Johnny B. Goode” to show just how out of ideas Priest was. So when Painkiller opened with Scott Travis’ rolling drum intro… and then that thrashy, fiery riff… and then Halford’s godlike scream… well, it’s more than just a great Priest track—it’s a return to the hallowed halls of godhood, and the most aggressive album in a catalog literally bursting at the seams with great heavy metal. It’s closer to power metal and thrash than anything else Priest would release, and though not all of it is amazing—and some of Halford’s lyrics are still pretty ridiculous—Painkiller remains Fun As Hell. If you can’t rock to “Between The Hammer & The Anvil,” you may already be dead. [Andrew Edmunds]
Monday, June 18th
AC/DC – Let There Be Rock (1977)
Let There Be Rock has every essential element of the Bon Scott-era of AC/DC: down-on-your-luck lyrics, monstrous, tectonic riffs from the Young brothers, a beastly rhythm section, and Bon’s undeniable presence. But more so than any AC/DC album not named Powerage, Let There Be Rock has THE SONGS. Other than maybe “Crabsody in Blue,” every damn tune here is an 11/10 classic: the resigned swagger of “Overdose,” the we’re-in-this-mess-together greatness of “Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be,” the pretty-sure-the-real-story-is-grosser (and beastly leads) of “Whole Lotta Rosie,” etc. And that title track. You’ve heard “Let There Be Rock,” right? A lot of folks like to say “Highway to Hell” is the band’s signature song, but those folks just don’t have the right idea about history’s greatest 42-decibel rockin’ band. [Zach Duvall]
Tuesday, June 19th
Corrupted – El mundo frío (2005)
Japan’s Corrupted has been in the business of burying listeners under an overwhelming (and verrrrry slowly progressing) avalanche for nearly 25 years, and many would agree that 2005’s El mundo frío captured the band at a notable high-point. They’ve always been masters of balancing light and dark / delicate and HEAVY, but stretched across a single one-hour-plus song such as this makes the extremes the band is so adept at accomplishing seem even more absolute. The first 10.5 minutes does little more than gradually introduce a delicate and gently repeating guitar run, and then BOOM—the mother of all riffs finally hits, and it’s as gradual as the day is long. The remainder of the cut spends the majority of its time neatly weaving lighter elements—including a surprising touch of elegant harp—around brief and sudden explosions of heaviness thick enough to crack the enamel on an elephant’s molars. Vocalist Hevi has unfortunately since departed the band, but his presence on this record, while somewhat brief, is unmistakable. His rasped spoken word pairs perfectly with the long, somber stretches, and his guttural growl is more fierce than a pissed silverback with a bee in his ear. And surprise! The full hour is captured on youtube, so you can spend your Tuesday afternoon getting leveled by one of the heaviest, most gradual bands ever to land on this here planet. [Captain]
Wednesday, June 20th
Master – Unreleased 1985 Album (2003)
Here it is, the album deemed too heavy for Combat Records… When death metal was just sprouting off from thrash, Chicago’s Master recorded this, the album that would’ve been their debut, had the label not rejected it. Raw and completely feral, these tracks embody the mash-up of Venom, Slayer, and Discharge that has always defined Master—this is almost-off-the-rails in tempo, roughshod and gnarly in production, and filled to bursting with righteous anger. Most of these tracks would appear in a more professional recording on the band’s proper debut, 1990’s eponymous effort, and then many of them also appear on their brother band Death Strike’s seminal Fuckin’ Death demo / album, which came out in either 1985 or 1991, depending on which version you have… But what those newer recordings gain in thicker tones, they lose in raucous exuberance, and there’s something undeniably charming about these earliest Master tapes. At the time when Possessed and Death were laying the groundwork for the death metal waves to come, Master stood beside them, fast and loud and ugly in all the best ways. [Andrew Edmunds]
Thursday, June 21st
Born Dead Icons – Work (2000)
Montreal has long been a hotbed for underground punk and hardcore action with a penchant for the d-beat style assault when it comes to political ravings. Thus, Born Dead Icons didn’t break the musical mold in any revolutionary sense, they merely did it better than a lot of other bands that were part of the same scene. Drawing on influences as diverse as Amebix to Discharge while mixing in a Motörhead-reminiscent attack on vocals, Born Dead Icons produced a balanced onslaught against the systems that keep our society firmly ensconced in class, and race, politics. No strangers to the metal scene, a 2015 reunion saw them hit the stage with Bolt Thrower, Razor, and Abyss in London, Ontario, Canada. While a few tracks on Work would be re-worked and re-recorded for their 2001 EP New Scream Industry, it’s their debut LP that remains a firm foundation for their sound and a staple among advocates of revolution. [Manny-O-War]
Friday, June 22nd
Red Harvest – Cold Dark Matter (2000)
The world was never really ready for Red Harvest. Beginning as an oddball thrash band (1992’s “The Cure” sounds like Voivod fronted by David Byrne), they quickly added elements from genres as disparate as industrial, noise rock, and ambient (1994’s “Resist” sounds like Unsane and Ministry colliding after listening to Sepultura cover New Model Army). It was with 2000’s “Cold Dark Matter,” however, that Red Harvest seemed finally to announce itself as the band whose essence they had always been chasing. A clanging, aggressive, dense, and only occasionally danceable album, Red Harvest’s take on industrial metal was less a vision of gleaming futurism and more a vision of mechanical decrepitude, of hulking machines left to rust after laying waste to humanity. Although clearly influenced by both Godflesh and Ministry, Red Harvest is firmly planted in extreme metal, and “Cold Dark Matter” sounds like someone programmed Deep Blue to think that Darkthrone and Front Line Assembly were the same band, after which it got stuck in a fatally recursive algorithm. From the unrelenting opening of “Omnipotent” and the despondent vortex of “Junk-O-Rama,” and from the slithering blast and acid synths of “Absolute Dunkel:heit” to the explosive stomp and Vangelis lift of “Death in Cyborg Era,” “Cold Dark Matter” is a bleakly triumphant manifesto. [Dan Obstkrieg]
Saturday, June 23rd
Slough Feg – Atavism (2005)
Weird and Lordly or not, life is simply better with some version of Slough Feg in it. The band has spent three decades reminding us that heavy metal doesn’t necessarily need to sound pessimistic in order to be extremely effective, and that’s a great arrow to have in the quiver these days. Album number five, Atavism, stands out for a number of reasons, but it’s particularly noteworthy because it finds the band reconnecting with the rawness of their roots, both in the Celtic/Irish folk tradition and in relation to how the songs channel a more crude and turbulent form of metal. It’s obviously still Slough Feg to the core, with oodles of that unmistakable Thin Lizzy dual-lead LIFT blended with the classic sounds of the NWOBHM, but one listen to the furious manner in which “Robustus” opens the record shows that the boys weren’t just back in town to light up Dino’s Bar ’n’ Grill, they were going to kill you, and you were going to die. Wait… What was that I said about pessimism? [Captain]
See you next week.