When I first saw the animated music video for “Blackened Call” I was not aware of Finnish artist J.P. Ahonen or his popular web comic Belzebubs. As such, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of a cartoon black metal band romping about the woods, “Call of the Wintermoon” style. I’m more than a bit ashamed to admit that my first thought was “Oh great, a corpse-painted version of Gorillaz,” yet there was something about the combination of quirky comic book visuals and frostbitten yet catchy and melodic black metal that made me want to see/hear more.
On November 16th, 2016, the online metal tabloid known as Metalsucks published their “manifesto” in which they very publicly announced “We will not tolerate racism, misogyny or any form of bigotry or hate speech” (because apparently it took them ten years of running a website, not to mention a good chunk of their adult lives to figure out these things are shitty).
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.