“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 21st — October 27th.
Sunday, October 21st
Y&T – Mean Streak (1983)
History is full of bands that coulda-shoulda been bigger than they were, and Oakland’s Y&T is on that list. After a pair of commercial flops under their full name of Yesterday & Today, these blue-collar hard rockers shortened their moniker and tightened their belts and dropped four straight burners beginning with 1981’s Earthshaker. Bolstered by Dave Meniketti’s soulful vocals and searing guitar, Y&T’s early 80s run arguably peaks with Mean Streak, a rollicking rocker of a record that treads between NWOBHM grit and Van Halen California party-time. Still, even that wasn’t enough to put Y&T on top for long—a later keyboard-laden hit with “Summertime Girls” almost helped—and though they’re still out there, slogging away in clubs (with only Meniketti remaining from the glory days), Y&T remains one of American hard rocks most underrated acts. [Andrew Edmunds]
Monday, October 22nd
ACCEPT – Blood Of The Nations (2010)
After the debacle of Eat The Heat—Accept’s Udo-less foray into hair metal in the late 80s—I don’t feel bad about approaching Blood Of The Nations with some trepidation. Udo’s shrill shrieking scream is an iconic one, and a large part of Accept’s sound. But it takes about three minutes for Blood Of The Nations to prove unequivocally that my fears were unfounded—Mark Tornillo is a perfect fit, and the band sounds completely revitalized. (Further proof: the subsequent three albums, all of which range from very good to exceptional. But in 2010, we weren’t there yet.) The one-two punch of “Beat The Bastards” and “Teutonic Terror” is as good as Accept has ever been—and that’s very very good, kids—and with that, in one giant blast, the gods of German metal smiled upon us and our metal hearts were filled with joy. A more than welcome return, and as strong a comeback as we could have hoped for. [Andrew Edmunds]
Tuesday, October 23rd
Suffocation – Souls To Deny (2004)
Souls to Deny is in many ways similar to the band’s landmark releases, Effigy of the Forgotten and Pierced from Within. The jazz influenced time signatures and soul crushing rhythm section remain, as does the ingenious guitar playing of Terrance Hobbs. And, it is in Hobbs’ guitar work that this album truly finds its stride. Hobbs’ distinctive playing style is most evident in the dissonant chord riffing on “To Weep Once More” and in dark subversive melodies on the album’s closer “Tomes of Acrimony.” Listeners will have the opportunity to really appreciate Hobbs’ contribution to Souls because the band seems content to remain in one place for a while. This allows the riffs to build upon themselves and lure the listener into a semi-hypnotic state. But, don’t fool yourself. Even though Suffocation does offer the listener some leash, it’s a rather short one, and they’re not afraid to snap it back if they catch you off your guard. “Surgery of Impalement” is a prime example of this calculated assault. The track unassumingly commences with some mid paced guitar synchronization. Just when I thought it was safe to gingerly nod my head, the riff I had become so accustomed to died gloriously at the hands of expertly executed blast beat. [Ramar Pittance]
Wednesday, October 24th
Sepultura – Arise (1991)
Coming off the thrash brilliance of Beneath The Remains, Sepultura upped the death metal factor a notch and released my personal favorite of their records, the groovy and crushing Arise. Slowing down the tempo just a hair without losing any of the aggression, Arise erupts forth with the title track, riding a simple riff to absolutely skull-cracking results, and from there it doesn’t let up, through “Dead Embryonic Cells,” through “Desperate Cr y,” through “Altered State,” to “Infected Voice.” Sepultura’s finest hour, the last before the groove overtook them and they slid downwards from these heights with each subsequent release. Do yourself a favor and pick up the reissue to get the band’s killer cover of the ever-welcome “Orgasmatron.” [Andrew Edmunds]
Thursday, October 25th
Deceased – The Blueprints for Madness (1995)
In the mid-90s, King Fowley and his band of merry death/thrash misfits were still searching for their signature sound, but that didn’t mean their more developmental records didn’t bring a lot of fun on their own. The Blueprints for Madness found them greatly expanding on the simpler song structures of debut Luck of the Corpse, but Fowley himself had yet to fully develop his personality as a vocalist, and the band’s now-standard injection of a ton of Maiden melody into their extreme-ish metal was less prevalent. The result is a record that is likely their most brutal, while still offering a hint at the songwriting maturity they would form later. Mostly, it feels just a bit splattery in its rawness, a trait that might make it appeal to certain fans more than the polished works they would do soon after. Plus, a splattery feel undoubtedly matches the band’s Halloween and horror themes. [Zach Duvall]
Friday, October 26th
Corrosion Of Conformity – Animosity (1985)
Before Keenan came and converted this Corrosion to Southern stoner kings, CoC was a punk band dabbling in metallic riffing. Reduced to a trio after the departure of the late Eric Eycke, CoC soldiered on with bassist Mike Dean covering vocals and dropped Animosity, which still battles Blind as my favorite Corrosion Of Conformity release. This is not the swaggering Skynyrd-y groove that would come—this is fiery crossover, touched with Sabbath-ian tones, and topped with Dean’s chattering bark; it’s a bridge between Eye For An Eye‘s unrepentant hardcore and Keenan’s bluesy bluster, but it’s closer by far to the former, and it’s a blast. CoC would get far bigger, arguably better (at least more musically accomplished, I will concede), but they’d never again be this aggressive and this fun. [Andrew Edmunds]
Saturday, October 27th
Opeth – Ghost Reveries (2005)
I like Ghost Reveries. I like it quite a bit, actually. First and foremost, because it doesn’t sound like any other Opeth album I’ve heard. It FEELS like one, but musically things have taken quite a turn, most notably the incorporation of a lot more progressive elements. The songs are also more dynamic, going back and forth from clean tones and vocals to dirtier tones and growls and back again, which definitely keeps you on your toes. Album opener “Ghost of Perdition” is the best example of this. [Dave Pirtle]
See you next week.