Letters from Crom: Top 5 Albums

October 15, 2013

My Writing Bunker

I’ve been considering the question of what albums would constitute my top 5 list, since we were high and discussing the topic Saturday of last. It’s an odd thing to consider — especially because I hate these kind of lists.

The issue I have with them is how can a person possibly encapsulate everything they feel, think, or invest in, with a list of five items? Jesus, can you imagine if you were only able to eat five things? I guarantee that by week three of such a horrible nightmare, you would consider stabbing out the eyes of a wandering dog, and eating them. If only for a respite.

But avoiding the subject merely suggests that I am a pussy – so let us attempt this daring list making.

#5 – DragonForce “Sonic Firestorm”
Regardless of how absurd many people think this band was (I say was because the lead singer left) I still consider this album to be one of the best things produced by human beings.
Not only does the stunning display of skill that Herman and his skando counterpart possess gush out of the speakers, but the message behind their music is one for which I feel a powerful kinship. Their music is about clashing against the evil and destructive forces in the universe. They ride against demons and dark-wizards for all eternity on Dragon back. How do you fuck with that?

#4 – AC/DC “Back in Black”
No band I have ever heard of has lost their front man, and then come back STRONGER than before. They’ve come back to be sure, but have they released their greatest and highest selling album? No.
After the death of Bon Scott, most assumed these guys would end up trundling along, playing their tunes, until they died. Or perhaps break up and form other bands – A Foo Fighter deflection, if you will. Instead, they returned and flew directly in the face of it. The title of the god damn album declares them to have returned, still in mourning. And to deliver what? Shoot to Thrill. You shook me all night long. Anthems of rock that still resonate.

#3 – Guns N Roses “Appetite for Destruction”
The stars that burn twice as bright, and all that. These guys were still a sophomore band, with only a minor record before this one, to signal their arrival. Fuck me if this didn’t blow “Lies” out of the water with a nuclear fucking depth charge.
Few albums I own are full listens — by which I mean, an album I can put on and listen to the entire thing without feeling antsy, and wanting to change the track. This one kicks balls in from start to finish. So many amazing tracks — and I consider Sweet Child O’ Mine to be the greatest long song ever written. But that’s a bias of mine, I have zero objective evidence for this claim.

#2 – Bad Religion “Process of Belief”
Sweet christ, have you ever listened to this album? It makes me want to go crazy and fight the forces of darkness with a broadsword while surfing an Econovan. It begins like most of their albums, with solid speedy tracks, but the last half of the album… fuck.
It turns with Sorrow, and those haunting words “Father can you hear me? How have I let you down? I curse the day that I was born, and all the sorrow in this world. Let me take you to the herding ground, where all good men are trampled down. Just to settle a bet that could not be won, between a prideful father and his son.”
And then the rest of the tracks… all of them are Power Word: Awesome. Especially “Shattered Faith” – a song that communicates the sad outcome of so many children of religion when confronted with the truth of the world. An indelible mark on the soul, that serves to remind them, always, of something lost.

#1 – Pink Floyd “The Wall”
This is a massive toss up. I think I could have easily exchanged this with either “Wish you Were Here” or “Dark Side of the Moon”. Those three albums form a Triforce – a trinity of power and glory. But The Wall wins out for two reasons: Comfortably Numb, and Nobody Home.
Nobody Home is one of the most sorrowful songs I’ve ever heard, and it has so few instruments in it. Just a wistful voice taking stock of what an insanely successful music career has yielded a tortured soul. A little black book with his poems in, a bag with a toothbrush and a comb in.
Comfortably Numb. Jesus. If you haven’t listened to this song, I recommend doing so immediately. Sit in a quiet room with the song playing, and really listen to it. The words are amazing, but the solo to end the song borders on religious. In musical phrases you hear a man begging for release, to be set free from a world where he can’t FEEL ANYTHING.

This list is subject to revision at any time – because I don’t discount the possibility of something mind blowing floating along. In the last year alone I’ve listened to albums that have come close to being contenders.
Anterior – Echoes of the Fallen
Black Sabbath – 13 (an amazing return to the stage)
Eminem – Recovery (I only heard it this summer)
Plus there’s about a million artists who have thrown out badass work that could be argued into coveted positions: Snoop’s first album? awesome. Trivium, The Sword, Suicidal Tendencies, Sublime, ENTIRE GENRES – this is my attempt to dodge judgement on my choices :P. There’s a lot of good shit out there… we live in a radical fucking time, when we can get it and hear it in seconds.

As always, Defending the Faith,