“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 August 19th — September 1st.
Sunday, August 26th
Metallica — …And Justice For All (1988)
After three of the greatest albums ever made, Metallica was dealt a huge blow with the tragic death of Cliff Burton. Regrouping with former Flotsam & Jetsam bassist Jason Newsted (and the famously muting him), Metallica wrote and recorded their most intricate and technical album, stretching the song lengths into the epic by cramming every track full of riff after riff. From the blistering “Blackened” through the classic “One” to the killer “To Live Is To Die,” there are no bad moments on Justice. A fourth straight classic from the biggest band in metal history. [Andrew Edmunds]
Monday, August 27th
Zero Hour – Specs of Pictures Burnt Beyond (2006)
Roughly a decade of existence from 1999 to 2008 that provided the metal world with six albums of superbly knotty, surprisingly heavy, seriously emotional progressive metal from a band that never quite seemed to grab the level of praise they absolutely deserved, at least based on the amount of times you see Zero Hour mentioned in 2018. They were absolutely stellar through all those years, though, and twin bros Troy and Jasun Tipton commanded the strings for the band like Conan commanding the Atlantean Sword. Fans could probably argue for days about which of their six records is best, but Specs Of Pictures Burnt Beyond gets the nod here simply because it was the first to introduce the stellar voice of Chris Salinas. Side Note: The brothers Tipton have a brand new project, A Dying Planet, and they’ve just released a new album called Facing The Incurable. Seek and you shall find. [Captain]
Tuesday, August 28th
Saor – Aura (2014)
Propelled by a breathtaking drum performance from Panopticon’s Austin Lunn, Saor’s second album Aura is one of the fiercest atmospheric black metal albums in recent years. Augmented by the windswept melancholy of John Becker’s tremendous string accompaniments, Andy Marshall’s riffs and tin whistle paint an idiosyncratic portrait of the green hills and craggy landscape of his beloved Scotland. Although its follow-up Guardians would prove to be a rather striking disappointment, Aura still retains a core of such stirring beauty that this particular lunkhead has been moved to tears more than once. (See in particular the Godspeed You Black Emperor-indebted midsection of album opener and world-beating inspiration, “Children of the Mist.”) Mesmerizing and essential. [Dan Obstkrieg]
Wednesday, August 29th
Theatre of Tragedy – Velvet Darkness They Fear (1996)
Theatre of Tragedy’s second album Velvet Darkness They Fear was certainly of its time, as the mid-90s saw an entire cohort of European bands wandering farther and farther afield of their weightier beginnings in favor of gothic and other experimental tendencies. In 1996, though, there were few albums that could match the sheer capes and corsets melodrama of Velvet Darkness. The Norwegians still knew how to aim a doom/death punch straight to the gut, but the increasing spotlight on the crystal-clear and airy soprano vocals of Liv Kristine Espenæs was indicative of the light/dark contrast that so many bands reveled in around this time. At its heaviest, Velvet Darkness sometimes feels like a successor to My Dying Bride’s Turn Loose the Swans, but these baroque and satisfyingly maudlin songs carved out a niche that few others would ever occupy in quite the same way. [Dan Obstkrieg]
Thursday, August 30th
Twisted Tower Dire – Netherworlds (2007)
Although I thoroughly dug both Crest Of The Martyrs and Make It Dark, for some unknown reason, until recently I had slept on this album that falls between them, fool that I am. Netherworlds is a grand slice of American power metal, all dancing melodic guitar leads and the late Tony Taylor’s effortless soaring tenor, and though it make lack any absolutely instant-hook moments like Make It Dark‘s irrepressible “Snow Leopard,” it’s nevertheless filled to bursting with Jag Panzer-y greats like the title track, “Casualty Of Cruel Times,” and “Dire Wolf.” If quality American power/trad is what you seek, then look for the sign and into Netherworlds you go… [Andrew Edmunds]
Friday, August 31st
Sodom – Persecution Mania (1987)
In 1987 I was dirtbag metal fan with a shitty mullet, never-washed jeans, puffy high-tops and bad acne, and I never went anywhere without my Walkman—a typical fan of Sodom in the 80s, basically. Accordingly, Persecution Mania wins today’s AotD race because it’s dirty, angry, deadly, sometimes slow, sometimes fast and wears its Motörhead influence directly on its sleeves, the combination of which is reason enough to celebrate anything time and time again. [Captain]
Saturday, September 1st
Killing Joke – Extremities, Dirt & Various Repressed Emotions (1990)
Tonight marks the opening bow of the 40th Anniversary tour of the inimitable Killing Joke. They’ll certainly have an embarrassment of riches to choose from when putting together a setlist, but I’m hoping that when Andrew Edmunds and I see them later this month they’ll bang out a couple numbers from Extremities. It’s definitely some of the heaviest material they’ve produced, and was a jarring about face from their escalating synth proclivities that originated on the stellar Night Time and eventually jumped the rails on Outside the Gate. [Matthew Cooper]
See you next week.