With the dawn of the THKD YouTube channel, I decided to do something a little different this year. I’ve split my year end top 20 metal albums list in two; half of them can be found below, the other half on YouTube. So, once you’re done reading this list, head on over to THKD TV and check out the rest of the list… if you don’t mind watching a semi-drunken nerd rant and rave about heavy metal for thirty minutes. But enough of my rambling; as I’ve been saying for almost a decade now, long-winded intros are bullshit. Let’s get on with it.
I’m sure some of you have noticed that I’ve been doing less writing of late and focusing more on making YouTube videos. I’ll get back to writing eventually, but I’ve decided that I need to challenge myself with a new medium, as well as expand the THKD empire beyond blogging. It’s been a fun, refreshing change of pace and I hope you’ll come along on this journey with me while I try something new for a while.
With 2018 beginning to wind down, I’ve started to reflect upon all the great releases I’ve enjoyed throughout the year. This in turn lead me to compiling a massive playlist on Spotify; it’s about 99% metal, but there are also a few non-metal surprises lurking around in there.
It’s a widely accepted fact that British metal legends Judas Priest helped define the sound of heavy metal as we know it today. But what isn’t as widely acknowledged is how they also helped define the visual aesthetics of heavy metal; indeed, Priest is as much responsible for what metal albums look like as they are for what metal albums sound like. Although they’ve never had a single unifying theme to their artwork (ala Iron Maiden’s Eddie or Motorhead’s Snaggletooth), no less than seven of their album covers do have something very important in common: ass-kicking robots.
My wife recently surprised me with tickets to the Smashing Pumpkins reunion tour, and as such I’ve naturally been compelled to revisit their catalog. For the longest time I’ve proclaimed that the band’s 1993 breakthrough Siamese Dream was my favorite Pumpkins album, but right now I’m thinking it might actually be Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.
Ah, the intro. This is the part where most writers attempt to regale you with an account of the myriad ups and downs they experienced throughout the year. However, most writers fail to understand one very important fundamental truth: no one cares. So without further ado and in no particular order, here’s a list of fifteen albums that grabbed a hold of my crank and kept on yankin’ in 2017…
In October of 1988, Sonic Youth released Daydream Nation, an album littered with references to the speculative cyberpunk fiction of William Gibson. While I have never read Gibson’s work (though I have seen the god-awful film adaptation Johnny Mnemonic), it is my understanding that his writing predicted many of the technological and cultural developments we now take for granted, including the ubiquitous influence of computers and the Internet on our daily lives. Just as Gibson’s writings predicted these developments in technology, so too did Daydream Nation predict developments in rock music; if there is such a thing as “speculative music,” then surely Sonic Youth’s sprawling masterpiece (and really their early career as a whole) falls squarely into this category.