“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 September 9th — September 15th.
Sunday, September 9th
Alice in Chains – Dirt (1992)
Alice In Chains was always the darkest of the Seattle bands that ascended to near godhood in the early 1990s, and nowhere were they darker than on this, their almost-conceptual creative and commercial peak. Half the album is a bleak insider look at Staley’s heroin addiction (“Sickman,” “Junkhead,” “God Smack”), and even the half that isn’t—Cantrell’s Vietnam tale “Rooster,” the “song about a girl” of “Rain When I Die,” the mortality tale of “Them Bones,” the previously released look at Andrew Wood’s heroin addiction in “Would?”—is still pretty damned dark. Coming off the success of the inconsistent Facelift, Dirt was a focused and powerful collection of songs that the band has never yet bested. Of course, Staley succumbed to the demons he displayed here, and the band soldiered on, releasing some surprisingly strong material with a replacement singer. Still, Dirt remains their highest and lowest point, a harrowing black hole of emotion, and one of the finest rock records of the 1990s, without question. [Andrew Edmunds]
Monday, September 10th
Mayhem – De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas (1994)
While The True Mayhem’s influence had already been felt throughout the Norwegian scene due to their 1987 Deathcrush EP and a handful of demos, rehearsals, and live recordings, most of the world outside the Scandinavian scene had probably heard the style in which they had such a large hand in fostering through their peers in the form of acts such as Darkthrone or Burzum. The frigid tremolo riffing, the ghastly, inhuman vocals, and the praise of all that is cold and evil had already made its presence felt in the metal world. However, there is something to be said for going back to the forebearers of the style, even with a new vocalist (which, by his point, was really nothing new for the band) in the form of the former vocalist of Hungarian extreme thrash act Tormentor. In fact, Attila’s vocals add a great deal to De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. His croaking incantations weaving in and out of time with the music, the lyrics of Dead resurrected in a way that makes them feel like they have risen from beyond the grave, rotten and decrepit. The bass, while usually not very present, has some key moments that really make the songs, backed by a barrage of near-relentless drumming. Not to mention, of course, hearing the frostbitten riffs that inspired a style that would be re-interpreted time and again for the rest of metal history. [Ryan Tysinger]
Tuesday, September 11th
The Melvins – Lysol (1992)
By the late 90s, the idea of a Melvins album being a schizo collection of whatever came to mind was business as usual, but in 1992 the release of Lysol was an early indication of exactly how much they were willing to go anywhere and everywhere on a record. Most of Lysol is OPPRESSIVELY heavy, moving from the pretty-innovative-for-the-time drone/doom of “Hung Bunny” and great Dale Crover showcase “Roman Bird Dog” into a harrowing cover of Flipper’s “Sacrifice.” And then, the record suddenly becomes classic rock with an interlude, an Alice Cooper cover, and heavy-but-singable grunge closer “With Teeth.” All these years later, it remains a sometimes jarring but extremely cohesive and engaging album that covers a lot of ground in barely 30 minutes. While not as well known as the albums that immediately preceded and followed it (Bullhead and Houdini, respectively), Lysol was among the most essential steps in the evolution of a legend. [Zach Duvall]
Wednesday, September 12th
Razor of Occam – Homage to Martyrs (2009)
Perhaps more than any other subset of metal, black/thrash brings the FIRE. Razor of Occam, while coming from the same scene and having some former members as giants Deströyer 666, weren’t able to find the longevity afforded their better known counterpart. But on Homage to Martyrs, they conjure as much fire as KK and company, and then some. The record is stuffed to the absolute gills with incendiary riffs, rapid/rabid drumming, irate vocals, and the types of leads you’d expect for the style (fiery flaming leads, obviously). They may have done a couple EPs prior to this, but in terms of full lengths, Homage to Martyrs was one of the great one-and-dones in black/thrash history. Just searing stuff. [Zach Duvall]
Thursday, September 13th
King Diamond – “Them” (1988)
Let’s face it: grandmas are terrifying. Not all grandmas, obviously, but the ones who squirrel away endless butterscotch candies in seemingly every fold of their perfectly manicured, long-sleeved dresses. The ones who are always thrilled to see you, pinch your cheeks, and purl stitch the night away in comfy chairs while watching Alex Trebek. Those are the grandmas secretly pursuing infernal activities once everyone shuffles off to bed. They have stealthy meetings in the attic with ghosts and convince you to join them as they drain the blood of your relatives into tea pots with huge smiles beaming. This is the album that’s dedicated to them. And this is the AotD dedicated to “Them,” because it officially turns 30 today. Thank you, King Diamond, for everything you do. And thank you for helping grandma out of her chair. [Captain]
Friday, September 14th
Moonsorrow – Verisäkeet (2005)
The first few albums by Finland’s lords of blackened bombast Moonsorrow all maintained varying levels of bounce and playfulness. That all changed on Verisäkeet, where the vision was deadly serious, and the scope was infinite. Moonsorrow had always taken their time, but here the pace was deliberate, and nothing was rushed (an approach that reached its peak on the following album). Four out of five songs pushed over the 14-minute mark, with the long soft stretches as important to their grandiose visions as all of the sweeping tremolo picking and harsh vocals. It all comes together on “Jotunheim,” a song that does “epic” as well as any truly epic song ever in the history of metal epicness. When it completes its gradual crescendo and arrives at the first giant choral moment, time is compressed, and all you see is the sorrow of centuries and the triumph of ages. Chilling and stunning; a classic album from a band that seems permanently set at classic status. [Zach Duvall]
Saturday, September 15th
Ride For Revenge – Sinking the Song (2018)
This Finnish experimental black metal outfit might not always know what it’s going to get out of a recording session. The songs are largely improvised and the recording techniques are almost entirely haphazard. The results will only be occult, evil, ritualistic and somehow groovy. Without any fanfare, Ride for Revenge dropped their latest LP, Sinking the Song, which, despite their recent touring efforts, is able to set 9 brand new tracks to tape. The effort is full of grooves, fuzz and more than enough putrid vocals. The drums get a nice bump in production quality, leading to more bass drum than usual. The result is an album that is equally evil and filthy as it is hummable and danceable. Light some candles, desecrate a corpse and listen to the latest from these masters of all things nefarious. Never knowing what tomorrow might bring for Ride for Revenge, it’s crucial that fans of this artistic outfit cherish those musical moments that they are able to capture for posterity. [Manny-O-War]
See you next week.