“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 October 7th — October 13th.
Sunday, October 7th
Contaminated – Final Man (2017)
The criticalness of Contaminated’s debut, Final Man, depends entirely on how one feels about the prospect of being chained to a tree in the middle of nowhere and left to die of exposure. That death would likely be very slow and terribly remarkable—the hunger and dehydration eventually giving way to a wild sense of delirium would certainly make the occasional predator visits to pull your intestines further and further out more interesting. And who’s to say some teensy level of awareness wouldn’t be there to allow one the pleasure of witnessing the insanely gradual decay of your trunk as bone and clumped moss casually become one. Slow death or GTFO. [Captain]
Monday, October 8th
Bathory – Blood Fire Death (1988)
Under the Sign of the Black Mark essentially perfected the first wave of black metal in the 80s, cementing Quorthon’s place on the genre’s Mt. Rushmore. So where did he go from there? Only forward, obviously. Blood Fire Death served two purposes: it was both a send off of Bathory’s fiery black metal and an introduction to his next phase, a style that would eventually become known as Viking metal for obvious reasons. Much of the album spent its time taking Bathory’s black metal into speedier terrain (one song is actually called “Pace ’till Death”), refining the sounds of the past and adding some blazing thrash. But a few tunes really showed that the bombast of “Into the Eternal Fire” from Under the Sign was no fluke, chief among them the closing title track—which may have been the true birth of Viking metal—and the nearly nine minute approaching apocalypse of “A Fine Day to Die.” The latter was the album’s true maker of legend and possibly Quorthon’s finest single moment as a songwriter. It was both an advancement and destruction of the band’s past, a new level of unbridled passion in extreme metal, and one of the most iconic and important moments in the history of metal. For some pieces of art, no amount of hyperbole is too much. [Zach Duvall]
Tuesday, October 9th
Living Death – Protected From Reality (1987)
Lurking just beneath the surface of the German thrash scene, Living Death made marked strides between each of their first three records. Debut Vengeance Of Hell is a slap-happy mess, like a drunken Accept running off the rails, while second album Metal Revolution tightens up and sees vocalist Thorsten Bergmann developing a much more refined shrill wail. But it’s here, on their third album, that Living Death gets everything right—they’re still speed-driven, thrashier now than earlier, with Bergmann’s Dirkschneider squeals balanced atop those riffs, and it’s all still just loose enough and just raw enough to capture that certain Teutonic thrash spark. Protected From Reality didn’t catapult them into the league of Sodom and Kreator and Destruction, but it certainly holds its own as an often-overlooked platter of German speed / thrash. [Andrew Edmunds]
Wednesday, October 10th
Seance – Fornever Laid To Rest (1992)
How do you find a way to stand out as a Swedish death metal band that’s about to release a debut during a time when everyone is feverishly gobbling down records such as Like An Everflowing Stream, Clandestine and virtually anything else that’s lucky enough to have the tag “Swedeath” nailed to it? Pretty simple: release a Swedish death metal album that sounds like it just roared in from Florida. Sure, Fornever Laid To Rest did roughly zip to push the Florida sound forward, so it’s not exactly hailed for its innovativeness, but it still managed to damn-near out-morbid Morbid Angel in terms of overall ferociousness and its ability to gut the listener with jagged riffs. Total classic. [Captain]
Thursday, October 11th
Hyborian Steel – Barbaric Mysticism (2014)
Hailing from both Italy and the USA, Hyborian Steel sound exactly like the name implies. With a sound falling between the swashbuckling swagger of Omen and the high-energy open-road speed of Exciter, the band have three albums of fun, spirit-lifting, anthemic heavy metal under their (presumably gargantuan leather) belts, the latest of which, 2014’s Barbaric Mysticism, showcases the band at their most free-spirited and powerful. The riffing is furious and catchy. The vocals are deep, throaty, overly hyper-masculine battle cries—you can almost hear the mustache tickling the microphone. As their name would imply, the band’s themes rest largely in the realms of the fiction of Robert E. Howard. The music complements it well, bringing out the barbarian lust for victory in the listener. It’s near impossible not to sing along on tracks like “Power of the Ancient Rites” or “When Swords Song Slaughter.” While pushing absolutely no boundaries, Hyborian Steel deliver the goods: a fun, balls-out romp through Cimmeria that behead all that stand in their path to glory. [Ryan Tysinger]
Friday, October 12th
Warrior Soul – Drugs, God And The New Republic (1991)
Some bands just don’t fit anywhere—Warrior Soul is one of them. With his long blonde hair and pin-up boy looks, Kory Clarke could’ve been in some ballad-heavy melodic rock band—but he wasn’t, and his aggressively confrontational attitude and system-smashing anarchist bent are straight out the hardcore handbook. His band was equally split, borrowing from classic rock, metal, and post-punk in equal measure, creating a potent blend of blistering rock that was both undeniably catchy and fiercely defiant. Any one of Warrior Soul’s first three albums are pretty much perfect, but this second record has long been my favorite, from the rollicking Joy Division cover through the title track to “Children Of Te Winter.” A literal rager, this one, and who’d have ever expected then that, twenty-plus years later, lyrics like “Donald Trump is just a money whore” and “the goddamn president can go to hell” would seem so … prescient… [Andrew Edmunds]
Saturday, October 13th
Insomnium – Winter’s Gate (2016)
Six albums in and Finland’s Insomnium essentially sat back and said, “Hey, here’s an idea: let’s release our best album to date, and let’s make the record one 40-minute-long song. That happens all the time, no?” No. No, that does not happen all the time. Edge Of Sanity did it with record #5, although many would argue whether or not Crimson was their best, and Moonsorrow came damn close with 2007’s V: Hävitetty. Winter’s Gate, however, floated across speakers like a true goddamned wonder in 2016. Not only was melodeath of this sort not considered terribly “fashionable” at the time, but to expect the average listener to sit still for 40-minutes straight was also a huge risk. Insomnium pulled it off, though, as Winter’s Gate delivered on nearly everything: beautiful, sweeping mellow stretches; moments of blunt, nearly blackened walloping; and a masterful mix of progressive metal, death and folk that was all neatly wrapped within an inventive story that made the entire trip incredibly rewarding and never something that felt needlessly bloated or exaggerated. Just… Fantastic heavy metal, basically. An album for the ages. [Captain]
See you next week.