I recently started keeping track of albums I’ve listened to in a spreadsheet because I’ve got nothing better to do with my time, apparently. I realized I’ve been consuming a ton more music recently than ever before, so I while I log it in my Google Drive for me, I figured I could share it here for you.
I’m thinking this might work best as a monthly post, with whatever inconsistent posting I can manage in between. Whatever, here goes.
First of all: the spreadsheet. I’ll link this every time I post an update to my Listening Log, and write bits and ramble on my thoughts below. I’m still figuring out what I want to track in the sheet and what I want to capture in writing, but I’ll figure it out on the fly, just like everything else on this website.
Long Time, No See, Lots Listen
That heading sounded way better in my head. I made that Ovaryrot review on request almost two months ago, and before that, the last thing I slung up on here was a review of Outer Heaven‘s sickass album, Realms of Eternal Decay in January. Because of this, I decided my first foray into this format would span over half the year because I’m extra af as the kids say. There’s a shitload I listened to over the last 7 months, and for the sake of my (and your) sanity, I’m going to only briefly flirt with the tip of the iceberg in this first entry.
Here I’m logging music that is new to me, not new to the world. I’m only tracking first listens. Yes, I spin Cryptopsy‘s None So Vile like 500 times a month. No, I’m not counting that, nor am I counting revisiting albums I haven’t heard in a long time. Here’s how (so far) I’m keeping track of the new music I’m pouring into my ears.
Artist: Who made the damn music. Obviously.
Album: What release I listened to. I call it album, but I’m counting things like EPs, splits, mixtapes, and compilations. Think of a package of music put together, regardless of length or number of songs. Singles are a grey area for me, but I’ll make the call on the fly. I only log a release when I finish listening to it.
Genre: This is where any elitists (other than myself) who happen to read this will get upset. Yes, I distinguished Technical Death Metal from Brutal Death Metal without distinguishing Metallic Hardcore from Metalcore, and no, I did not include Technical Brutal Death Metal nor Burtal Technical Death Metal in my log. In cases where I want to be specific, I am. In cases where I’m not, guess what: I’m not. Eat it, nerds.
Country: What country the band is from. For multinational bands, I just chose one of the countries. I probably leaned towards the non-American band member if the option was available. You’ll see why later.
Year: The year it came out, according to wherever I listened to it. In the case of re-released music that hasn’t been remastered, remixed, or re-recorded, I tried to see if I could find the original release date.
Is it Sick?: My simple, non-numeric way to describe how much I liked what I listened to. There are no lines in the sand, it just comes down to how much I dug it when I listened to it. The ratings I have chosen to give out (in order of increasing sickness) are: Nah, Pretty Sick, Sick, and The Sickest. You might think that is just a 4 point scale, but go fuck yourself.
|# Albums||# Bands||# Genres|
|Oldest||Newest||Most Popular Year|
|# Countries||Most Popular Country||How Sick has it Been?|
So, I listened to a metric ton of death metal over the last half a year. I’ve got to credit a lot of it coming from The Obituarist himself, as well as a personal shift which happened only in the last couple months, where I learned to stop being unimpressed by things so much. Seriously, I stopped wanting every album to be the next The Phobos/Deimos Suite and stopped getting all dismissive when it inevitably wasn’t. There is so much sick (and even more totally solid) music that isn’t gamechanging, and making that slow realization was like clearing my musical skies of my self imposed rainclouds. Go me.
Now to figure out a way to apply that to other genres.
Regional Rabbit Holes
Once that ball got rolling, I looked to more avenues for finding new bands and albums. I looked at the inspirations my favourite newer bands wore on their sleeves, or dove down rabbit holes on Spotify and Encyclopedia Metallum. Obviously when I found an album I liked, I checked out more from that band, but I found myself whether consciously or subconsciously checking out different regional scenes along the way.
I really dug the New York death metal scene and their subwoofer breaking filth. Suffocation was my fust Lahng Aiyland loave, but soon after, Internal Bleeding, Pyrexia, Incantation, and Immolation followed. I think I missed a few albums from Immolation and Incantation in my spreadsheet, but I honestly just picked and chose random albums to listen to from their discographies when I discovered them. For the first week or so I even kept mixing their names up. Someone call the poseur cops. Honestly, the only New York band that consistently makes it into my rotation still is Suffocation. They’re a top tier band for a reason, and they fart out albums that might be middling in their discographies but would top most other bands’. Their self-titled album has one of the most violent snare tones ever put to record, and I still can’t help but slam cupboards when the bridge section in “Liege of Inveracity” kicks in. It’s the riff that launched a thousand spinkicks and it still slaps, almost 30 years after it was recorded.
I don’t know if New York’s finest made a big influence on the over 60% American music I consumed over the past 7 months, but, honestly a majority of my favourite labels are American anyways, so I wasn’t surprised. I don’t think that portion of my listening log is going to change unless I really fall into some niche shit.
The next scene I briefly dove into was the Finnish old school death metal scene. Normally, I like my death and my doom separate, and my entire life (read: since I first heard about Finndeath a few years ago) I had only heard that Finnish Death Metal was the original Death/Doom, crafted out of equal parts of each. Solely because of that, I put off an entire country’s worth of death metal. How fucked is that? Luckily for me, after Toronto’s Tomb Mold ascended to underground Godhood status by releasing three album-of-the-year-worthy LPs for three years straight, I learned that one of their biggest influences was Finnish old school legends, Convulse.
I was solemnly mistaken, and while the Finns do love bringing their death metal to a knuckle-dragging crawl, the 1991 masterpiece World Without God had enough mosh inducing sections to blow any negative preconceived notions I had right out of their glacial waters. Quickly thereafter I fell in love with Purtenance and Ville Koskela’s inhumany deep growls. I know Ville isn’t the original vocalist, but honestly I think Purtenance‘s post reunion material is way better than their lauded debut. Just because it’s old, doesn’t mean it’s good. Speaking of…
Old School, Old Schmool
Yeah, I played a lot of catch up from 2018 so far this year. Obviously I have a boatload of 2018 releases I still need to work though, but I think I put a decent dent in some of last year’s best. From the 21 albums released in the past 7 months that I did get to (which I think is pretty respectable, to be honest), only 3 of them weren’t at least pretty sick, which makes me excited for the second half of this year. It’s become a meme how much 20 Buck Spin has been bludgeoning everyone half to death with how good their releases have been this year, but even after Superstition, Tomb Mold, and Immortal Bird, we still have Cerebral Rot and Witch Vomit to defile our speakers. I’ve heard a ton of great things about Maggot Stomp as a label too recently, and I think my gym playlists might start absorbing all that ignant caveman death metal in the near future.
I did explore some old school death metal, as you can see by the small hump around 1991 in the graph above. ’91 is considered among many to be the year death metal planted it’s viscera soaked flag on the map, with landmark albums (debut or otherwise) from Death, Suffocation, Morbid Angel, Immolation, Bolt Thrower (who I still need to properly listen to, maybe you’ll see their name in a future Listening Log!), Entombed, and many, many more. I gotta give credit where credit is due: a lot of 1991’s death metal releases are super solid and I think worth exploring, but many of them don’t hold up to more modern music. Again, call the poseur cops on me. Do it. I dare you. Blessed are the Sick is definitely the worst of Morbid Angel‘s first trilogy of albums, and in my eyes doesn’t even hold a candle to 2000’s Gateways to Annihilation, let alone even more modern death metal – brutal or otherwise.
Old school can be cool, and the albums that truly are eternal classics will live on forever with my respect and reverence. Fact of the matter is, so many bands have taken those original building blocks laid out 28 years ago and expanded on them and mutated them into far more interesting and nuanced music than ever could have come out in the ’90s. If ever I need that bludgeoning sledge vibe, I know that None So Vile will always be there waiting for me. If I and fancy for a more sleek, honed, surgical strike, The Phobos/Deimos Suite is equally available and awe inspiring.