The Final Exit – Albums To Listen To Before You Die

Some albums come and go, some you play a lot during a particular period in your life and then you don’t visit them again. Some albums are the “flavour of the week” for a couple of weeks, perhaps a month at the most and then you forget about them entirely; whether this is down to a super saturation of music choices thanks to the Internet, sheer absent-mindedness, or a subliminal feeling of malaise varies wildly from person to person. Some albums you can’t visit again due to evoking memories that are bad from a certain time frame, or too much to bear because they remind you of a time when life was less complicated and the world was a younger, more welcoming place.

Some albums are just timeless, amazing, and as mind-blowing as they were the first day you heard them. That puts the listener in a better mood and a happier place, that stirs the soul, that makes you want to break out in phat guitar shapes and stage dive from your sofa – or unwittingly drive over the speed limit. A shining example of their works, a solid album in every second from start to finish. And album that you will never, EVER tire of. Welcome, dear readers – to The Final Exit.

Vesania – Firefrost Arcanium
23 March 2003, Empire Records

The world needs to know more about Vesania, because they’re one of the most amazing ‘super group’ black metal bands out there. Extreme metal fans have heard of Decapitated, and Behemoth; but it’s highly likely they probably don’t know of this band and quite frankly this is not only an error, but a crime against metal for not knowing them. The lineup currently consists of Heinrich on bass, Daray on drums, Orion on guitars and vocals, and Siegmar on keyboards; practically an “all star cast” of band members who have played with the likes of Decapitated, Crionics, Vader, Dimmu Borgir, and Behenoth – with a band of such a high calibre, that’s is dangerously close to eclipsing their day jobs. read more

The band has been active since 1997, releasing a couple of demos and then a split album with Black Altar entitled ‘Wrath Ov The Gods / Moonastray’ that was limited to 666 copies in 2002. The band demonstrated a simply other-worldly blend of superbly evil and densely layered black metal that took the world by storm, resulting in the release of this album a year later. Currently, they have 4 albums under their belt (Firefrost Arcanium, God The Lux, Distractive Killusions, and Deux Ex Machina) – but this album and ‘God The Lux’ are truly at their best work. Blackened death metal riffs, densely layered keyboards, and a perfectly matched blend of musicians make for one of those essential extreme metal albums that firmly belongs in that hallowed “albums to listen to before you die” category, because they’re simply that good. At the time of discovery, I was at a period of malaise with metal where I got bored and exhausted many possibilities of bands to check out, and were a breath of fresh blackened air that reinvigorated my passion for extreme metal once more. Incredibly, in an arse backward move yours truly heard Vesania some years before I ever checked out Behemoth and Decapitated while the usual convention is people would’ve heard of these bands before Vesania; and what made this album even more enjoyable was a totally random purchase based purely on a sticker mentioning who was in the band on the CD jewel case and temporary metal scene boredom. Therefore, in my book – this is definitely an album you need to listen to before you die.

Goth Mark

Evilfeast –  Elegies of the Stellar Wind
15 December 2017, Eisenwald

I was thinking about what album deserves the title of “the album that I choose to listen to before I die”, and many records came to my intricate thinking at this moment but one of them stuck its head out of the water. In my opinion, this is one of the best Black Metal records of the last decade. An outstanding atmospheric black metal album.
The polish one man (GrimSpirit) project Evilfeast released their last full-length `Elegies of the Stellar Wind` in December 2017, and this is all that you need to satisfy your needs of listening to a sincere and polished black metal album at greatness levels. read more

From the first time I heard its sound I was trapped, captivated, and it took immediate effect, calming my anxiety to hear something of this style that left me perplexed. This is a long record and it needs listening to with attention and passion, because the beautiful passages create magical moments for the listener. 1 hour and 7 minutes of pure epicness divided into 6 brilliant tracks will elevate your soul to the sky.

The combination of the riffing and keyboard are exquisite. The drumming and the acoustic guitar layers are awesome and the whole work reveals the great composition of the mastermind “GrimSpirit” bringing us a unique feeling, sound, and atmosphere. Simply push the play button and immerse into a cold silvery mist, and for moments you will be in a stormy sea, whatever, the epic moments and rhythm changes will not let you escape and you will be amazed by this complex but exciting listening experience.

This album points to the north, to the excellence and exuberance of cold and majestic sounds, and this masterpiece should be in a constant playlist of any black metal enthusiast. The artwork, the music, the songwriting and all the elements of this album are perfect in my opinion.

Jammerfal

Neurosis – Through Silver In Blood
02 April 1996, Relapse Records

Through silver in blood we stand, judged not by eyes of flesh”

If I’m not mistaken it was Roberto Benigni, acting in the great Jim Jarmusch movie “Down By Law” who first opined, “it’s a sad and beautiful world.” Yes, it is. It’s also an awesome and terrible one. “Through Silver In Blood” by Sludge Metal innovators NEUROSIS is neither melancholic, nor enchanting; it’s a tidal wave of fire on an ocean of bad dreams; an insect death rattle amplified in the roar of a hurricane. Hallucinogenic. Fearsome. Relentless.

Drowning in the birthplace of the sun; descending the path of an ascending god” read more

From the opening 12 minute title track, with it’s seesaw rhythm, hypnotic, tribal drums and the interweaving, primal vocals of Steve von Till, Scott Kelly and Dave Edwardson; to the ominously slithering “Locust Star” suddenly bursting forth in a fireball of fury; to the devastating “Strength Beyond Fates”, floating in mournful ambience for an interminable age, before finally exploding in an uncontainable expulsion of torment; to the soundtrack to the end of the world that is the epic “Aeon”; “Through Silver In Blood” is no mere auditory battering ram; the band are masters at building ambient textures and tension, weighing the listener down with expansive, but emotionally crushing sonic landscapes, to finally unleash the storm. This is the record that I measure all other Sludge Metal against. Take the introspective emotional intensity of “The End of Silence” by ROLLINS BAND and project it onto a cosmic landscape, looking for answers at the ends of the world, inside and out.

Of time that we rode, darkest vows seal my woe”

Through Silver In Blood” is an extremely dense sounding record. In a process already well underway on the album’s predecessor “Enemy of the Sun”, here the band basically eliminate the high-end and create this huge mid-range mass. It can sound extremely odd at first, if you are used to hearing Metal with guitars lines that pierce through the atmosphere at high altitude. Here everything all coalesces together, adding to the sense of weight. It isn’t murky or muddy; it’s a sonic choice: heaviness all the way.

You may find “Through Silver In Blood” profound; you may find it an impenetrable sludgy mass of lumbering noise and screams.

Either way, it’s a singular experience. Awesome and terrible. As is the world. As is life.

Tom Boatman

Scarab – Serpents of the Nile
06 March 2015, ViciSolum Productions

If we’re talking about albums you need to listen to before leaving your earthly existence behind, “Serpents of the Nile” by SCARAB is most definitely on the list. Egyptian themed death metal is nothing new to a lot of metalheads, but SCARAB present a much different beast than other incarnations of the sound. Every riff and progression serve its purpose well, with the songs accurately reflecting the wrath and destruction the ancient gods were known best for. With the band hailing from Cairo, you can really feel the passion and culture inside the music without them shoving it down your throat. read more

“Serpents of the Nile” is packed full of insanely fast, crunchy, and technical guitar riffs and some insane drum work. After the first few songs it’s clear that SCARAB has a lot more to offer than your run of the mill death metal band; providing ample neck-cramping melodies, clever instrumental chunks, and wicked guitar solos throughout the listen. “Serpents of the Nile” is a solid as hell album. Every song is killer, but I especially enjoyed the guitar work on the tracks “The Afterlife Illusions” and “Pyramid of Illusions”. Take a listen for yourself and make sure to check out the entire thing. They have new album on the horizon, but this one is worthy of the ears of the Ra himself!

Metal Yeti

Meadows End – Sojourn
29 February 2016, Independent

My album pick for the new article idea this Sunday is one that some of you may find biased of me. However, before you make that assumption, let me tell you a little story.
A battle wipes out the most of the kin of men in a lone town, laying waste to the land and cursing their home. Betrayed by their own, a hero arises amongst the defeated men to find revenge and lift the curse. read more

Now, of course the story goes on, epic battles take place, souls are lost, and in the end, painful truths are uncovered that perhaps should have been left untouched.
And seek the vengeance for my feeble kin just to unearth my part in it too.

Written between 1999 and 2006, the album “Sojourn” tells this tail in 12 tracks, not counting the bonus track of “Everlasting”. The album was the third full length Meadows End released by 2016, with one track being released each month during the year of 2015 on YouTube. When I first heard this album I believe I did not appreciate it as much as I should have, but throughout time I keep going back to it, I’ve read the lyrics, I’ve heard the original tracks from years before, and I’ve even managed to extract the story in whole from the one who wrote it. Even for my now personal connection to one of the members, I believed a long time before that that this album should be praised regardless of that.

Storytelling through an album is a delicate work, and I’ve always felt that metal, being as strong music as it is in itself, is one of the hardest and yet best way to do so. It requires fluidity, elegance, and some damn hard work that I know has been upheld here.

On top of that all, this album contains the best metal track I have ever heard in my entire lifespan. From the moment so long ago when I first heard “Heathens´ Embrace”, I knew I was in love with that track and I still am to this day. The goosebumps always rise, the tears almost twinkle in my eyes, and the shiver down my spine will most likely never go away.

This album is not just an album. It is a glorious, epic journey taken by the listener from the moment the opening track of “Amidst the Villains” starts out, until the closing track “My Leading Command” reveals the truth, and I would strongly recommend adding it to your playlist before you die.

 

Julia Katrin


 
Black Lotus – Harvest of Seasons
01 October 2008, Bleak Art Records

The first time I heard this band it was love at first hearing. It really was. It was a reco from a friend of mine and what a good reco he gave me back in 2008. I manage to get the cd and since then, it already played on my stereo so but so many times. I can’t get bored or saturated with it. read more

And why? Well… That is very simple. It’s really good. To be honest, If I started to BAZ that time, I would give a 10, for sure.
And… If the album was from this year to and I could review it, also a 10. I have to be honest. This album is a masterpiece, at least for me.

The way they mix the Black Metal with some touches of Folk. The mix of Raw Black Metal voice and clean voices. The place on the songs that are done. The riffs in the songs, the sound production, the cover… Many things that did this album so, but really so good. So, this album is the album that I really advise everyone inside the metal world to listen to before die. Especially the song “Terra Hiberna”.

Note: Unfortunately, I never managed to get past releases in physical format.

 

The Key Keeper

 

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