Sunday Sesh: Breaking Up with Great Albums

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It’s not you, babe. It’s me. (Even though my friends all say it’s you.)

We are all metalbuttz. Some of us are in it just to party and that’s okay. Others are in it because we are fundamentally dark or damaged people and we need this music to cope. If you fall into the first camp, you have doubtless broken off an affair with beloved records of old because you’re just not that into them anymore. That is not the kind of breakup I wan’t to talk about today. I do not want to talk about the kind of relationships which drag on for years until indifference takes root; until you realize you’ve both “changed” and there is too little love left to bother with reconciliation.

I want to talk about the kind of breakup which results from trauma: you’ve been through some rough times, said some harsh things to one another which cannot be unsaid; your relationship was based on pain and despair and fueled by unhealthy levels of codependency and now that one or both of you are ready to heal you must part ways and sever all ties. I’m talking about those old albums you cannot bear to hear anymore because the only thing they ever meant to you was pain. To listen now would be to go scratching around at scars better left to fade.

Here are a couple of examples from my personal collection, both of which I should have sold long ago. (Only a masochist would keep these tainted artifacts lying around.)

 

There are casual fans and long-time devotees alike who view this album as a sort of “jumping of the shark” for Anathema. Granted, it is a rock album. And granted, as is usually the case with rock albums, the quality of the songs varies widely. For me, this is the last solid album Anathema was to record. I was not a huge fan of their Peaceville-style doom metal days, and only really came on board with The Silent Enigma. Before that, their music struck me as more whiny than authentically sad. The Silent Enigma may be a sad album, but its follow-up, Alternative 4, is altogether desolate. Judgement is also desolate–at times unbearably so–yet more colorful, more romantic in its tragedy. It boasts a much improved production and a more focused vision. Which does not make it a better album, per se. I was in my earliest twenties when I bought it: an emotionally volatile time for many people of my generation. Even to imagine listening to it today makes me feel physically ill. Same goes for Alternative 4, so I guess the matter of which is the better album is neither here nor there.


 

 

I came across Lilitu’s The Delores Lesion closer to my mid-twenties, when the volatility of earlier years had been augmented by shitty life events and shitty decisions and a pathological inability to get the fuck out of my own head. I meandered through life like a sleepwalker, and through the nightmare fog came this cutting slab of melodramatic grief. The album’s lyrics about suffering, failure and loss are stripped of the literate poeticism of, say, My Dying Bride, veering toward self-indulgent emo territory; but the music is top-notch melodic death metal, tinged with the orchestral predilections of goth. It came to me at the perfect time, seeming to lay bare all the uncertainty and defeat which hobbled my every waking (or dreaming) step. It’s probably a good thing Lilitu did not continue beyond The Delores Lesion: I definitely did not need more of this woeful shit in my ears.

Some albums come to define a distinct period of your life which shaped the person you are today but which you wish all the same had never happened. A period you did not expect to survive. A period you knew might never end. If it did end, odds are you’d rather purge all traces of it than indulge in precarious remembrance. Odds are revisiting those albums just isn’t worth it. So you break up.

If you do not know what I am talking about then either A) You are a lucky childofabitch or B) I am a melodramatic old fool. If it so happens that you do know what I am talking about, I invite you to share–or at least mention–those albums from your past which you hope, for your own safety, you never have to hear again. Not because they suck. Not because you’re older and more cultivated now. No, because to hear them today would conjure an abyss of toxic nostalgia from which you might never return.

bye bye now

 

(Images via, via)

  • The Delores Lesion is a Top 10 all-time album for me.

    • Patrick Bertlein

      Agreed. I’m probably going to listen the fuck out of it for a week now, good timing.

  • Ryan Levitation

    I bought Aftertaste by Helmet when it came out back in ’97, and growing up it was one of my favorites. A few years ago I had a soul-crushingly terrible experience unfold while that album was playing, haven’t spun it since. Now attached to it is a bad Aftertaste, if you will. It’s an important enough album that I’ll probably go back and face up to it one day, but thinking about it gives me shivers.

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      Aw man 🙁 I love that album

      • Ryan Levitation

        I haven’t broken up with it forever, especially since I’ve now all but redeemed the situation that went so terribly wrong. Betty and Meantime have been my go-to Helmet albums for a while now, but I’m getting closer to being able to revisit Aftertaste at last.

      • more beer

        I got you a tight patch for one of your battle vests today. I will get it in the mail to you some time this week.

        • Señor Jefe El Rossover

          Whaat?! You didn’t have to do that!

          • more beer

            I know I didn’t have to do that. I wanted to.

          • Señor Jefe El Rossover

            Thanks man 🙂

          • more beer

            My pleasure!

  • Pentagram Sam

    OhmahGawd, someone else knows fucking Lilitu. Right on Richter man, dude if you want some more “buy a bullet and rent a gun” shit from Lilitu check out their second album Memorial.

    Self released but incredibly well put together, long ass fucking songs that veer way more towards say classic Opeth. And ohhh man, the lyrics on Delores Lesion sound like recovery next to the stuff on Memorial.

    It is great fuckin record though, criminally underrated. Alot, alot more gothic vibes on Memorial due to Henry’s clean baritone.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDHmNpSj4d8

    • I met Henry about a year or two ago. His new band Act of Defiance was opening for Killswitch Engage. I brought my Delores Lesion booklet for him to sign and he was super psyched to see it. He actually introduced me to Shawn Drover and Chris Broderick and was showing them the booklet. Super nice dude.

      • Pentagram Sam

        Fuck yea dude, hey. Did you ever hear their stuff when they changed their name to Blood Promise? (looooong story on that one) Their MySpace page had some songs including Suite 218, but these last four were never released and only demos for record label people. Jason eventually put em on his soundcloud after the band broke up. I think this is the only place to hear em now.

        While I thought the name change sucked, it sucks even more there’s like 8 or 9 songs, a fuckin ALBUM and it’s never gonna be released cos label politics.

        https://soundcloud.com/againsttheflame/blood-promise-somewhere-in-st

        • Yeah I remember the change. Some songs and a music video made their way to Youtube. There was also a brief time where he did some black metal demos under the Lilitu name in the dying days of Myspace.

        • I thought Blood Promise was some cringeworthy pandering to the masses shit. =

          • Pentagram Sam

            You’re def not wrong. The name change and the style shift were def influenced (lol) by label people. To me it’s more of a cautionary tale of a band getting the carrot dangled in front of em, told to shuck and jive, and then getting denied. The aftermath then leads to a breakup. Anyhoo, I think Memorial is tit splattering great, and still rip out Delores Lesion.

    • Lone Biker of the Apocalypse

      Yeah, we all thought Lilitu was our undiscovered gem in our tiny midwest town…I still get chills when I listen to the anguish in “Follow Through” when he screams:

      “AND EVERYTHING MEANS NOTHING TO ME NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!”

  • Señor Jefe El Rosa

    Guess I’m a lucky sonofabitch, though possibly the melodramtic old fool as well…

  • xengineofdeathx

    I think Judgement is a great album, but I can’t bear to hear One Last Goodbye, ever since I lost my own mother. The pain on that song is real shit.

  • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

    I have honestly never gotten any emotional reaction to Anathema’s alt-rock albums. If anything, it’s “Serenades” that spoke the most to me and I still rate it as one of the saddest, most mournful metal albums out there. And as far as I’m concerned, it’s also one of the most underrated metal albums in the history of the genre. Many don’t like Darren White’s vocals and sure…they’re not your typical “evil” or “monstrous” type of growl but I feel they’re one of the closest depictions of agony and despair you’ll find.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dW4CxIg0qo8

    • Zeke

      Couldn’t agree more. probably my second all time favorite doom album begins solar lovers by celestial season. And great choice on sleep in sanity

    • Sid Vicious Promos

      The only album besides The Crimson Idol that garnered a true emotional reaction from me was Berlin by Lou Reed. I can’t even listen to that album anymore as it’s attached to the lowest points of my life and I can’t bring myself to listen to it. Same with the song Snake In The Grass by Annihilator. Berlin is so emotionally heavy that I broke down whenever I heard it and like the album The Crimson Idol I lived vicariously through it as it played. I can still enjoy The Crimson Idol quite a bit though.

      • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

        The Crimson Idol is a superb album. Most people here don’t seem to like WASP, but I feel that they really struck gold with both The Headless Children and The Crimson Idol.

        It’s been years since I last listened to Berlin (Lou Reed is an artist my dad’s a fan of) but it’s a great album as well. “The Kids” is pretty disturbing.

        • Sid Vicious Promos

          The Crimson Idol saved my life. I’m deadly serious about that. I’ve been listening to a lot of Lou reed lately but I won’t listen to Berlin because of what I mentioned above. I always liked his album Transformer and I listened to Rock And Roll Animal, Lou Reed Live, his self titled debut and Sally Can’t Dance this weekend. I finally get his solo work and I prefer it to the Velvet Underground. WASP will never equal The Crimson Idol. Because of that album I worship at the altar of Blackie Lawless and all the other musicians who played on that album.

    • Jack Rabbit

      Idk, I know they are overly dramatic, but Anathema’s newer albums do something for me that no other band really does.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oo8vU2D67So

      • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

        Many people love their new stuff and usually I can get into a lot of stuff, but for some reason I just don’t feel any connection to it whatsoever.

        • Patrick Bertlein

          Parts of it are excellent, but it can get to be a bit much. Dudes are on a serious high and it needs to be a bit grounded. Untouchable Pt1 and 2 is one of the finest moments in rock history though, no doubt about that.

      • TheGranulatingDarkSatanicMilfs

        I actually think they should do an album with Lee Douglas on all lead vocals. She’s a great singer

    • Sid Vicious Promos

      I’ve never listened to Anathema before. Are they good?

      • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

        You’ll probably like anything from Eternity onwards.

  • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

    I think many already know that I hold this album in extreme high regard. Despite how utterly bleak, massive, desolate and soul crushing the album as a whole is, it reasonably often finds its way into my rotation. Yet there’s one song on it that I find to be almost unbearable to listen to at times: “Dying In A Minor” never fails to make me feel like a miserable puddle of flesh.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p52KnFg1pnU

    • sopadeloro

      Is this a song about and old pedophile who has a stroke whilst raping a little boy?

      • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

        LMAO

  • IronLawnmower

    For a while I couldn’t listen to Midnight because of associations with what to that point was the worst night of my life. I don’t mind now but I’m nowhere near as into it as I used to be.

    • DARKBEARD

      i would hate not being able to listen to Midnight

      • IronLawnmower

        It was a bad time for lil ol me.

  • Howard Dean
    • DARKBEARD

      i promise ill never talk to you about feels, HD

      hate is the only rel feel anyway, all others are false

      • ME GORAK™✓ᶜᵃᵛᵉᵐᵃⁿ

        HATE FUELS SMAAAAAAAAAASH!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • TheGranulatingDarkSatanicMilfs

        What about the love of hate?

        • DARKBEARD

          nah, you dont love to hate. you have to.

  • Sid Vicious Promos

    I broke up with the first Motograter album because I although I liked it once I stopped liking it after a while.

    • more beer

      You shouldn’t have hooked up with that in the first place.

      • Sid Vicious Promos

        I hope the new one is good. I’m seeing them in May.

  • TheGranulatingDarkSatanicMilfs

    Dir En Grey – all of their albums

    Listening to that band reminds me of a woman I’m better off just forgetting

    • I have that problem with the first Killers album.
      *awaits the tolling of the Bell of Shame*

      • TheGranulatingDarkSatanicMilfs

        Hot Fuss was a pretty solid album, no shame there. “Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine” actually reminds me a little of synth era Rush

    • Waynecro

      Dude, the scream at the end of “Namamekashiki Ansoku, Tamerai ni Hohoemi” sounds like how I feel most of the time.

  • dr.derelict

    Back in the mid to late 90’s I used to listen to River Runs Red by Life of Agony a lot. I identified with many of the themes on that album such as isolation, anger, inability to fit in, depression, and suicidal ideation. I still have a lot of love for LoA, but it’s best we don’t see each other anymore.

  • Dagon

    This happened to me with the movie Her.

    • Edward

      No kidding?

      • Dagon

        No kidding. I loved the film, but it was one of the last I watched in the theater with my ex, with whom I had a long and at times complicated relationship.

        It’s been almost three years since we broke up and even these days there’s still complications disappearing and reemerging every now and then.

        • Edward

          I’m not sure I ever need to watch the film Requiem For A Dream again. Watched it several times a long time ago, and think it’s an excellent film, but it might be best left back in the day if you know what I mean.

          • Doom Scientist

            Yeah, definitely not a fun and happy times kind of movie, especially if you find yourself relating to the characters. O_O.

          • DARKBEARD

            *watches movie just for ass-to-ass scene

          • Dagon

            I understand completely. Not trying to compare both issues as there is no practical comparison point but the feeling is definitely similar if not the same.

  • Can’t say I’ve ever had this happen, but as a teenager I once ate an entire bag of ketchup Lay’s chips (I live in Canada, it’s a common flavour here) while listening to Tori Amos’ “Under the Pink” album, and now I can’t even think of that album without thinking of red-stained fingertips and the salty smotheredness that comes from eating too many chips.

    • Edward

      I’m trying to think of an album I had to break up with, too.

    • Patrick Bertlein

      I had a major Tori moment in my life, can’t say I feel as strong about it now, but yeah that happened.

    • Might as well put Tori’s Little Earthquakes on the list.

    • Sid Vicious Promos

      I never liked Tori Amos for some reason.

      • I don’t anymore, and not just because of the ketchup chips.

      • Ted Nü-Djent ™

        I never liked ketchup Lay’s chips for some reason.

  • Patrick Bertlein

    Damn, these are two of my favorite albums of all time right here.

    I’ve had a slight break up with most death metal though, and quite a bit of the satanic black metal stuff. I prefer it folksy…although now and again I’ll jam to some Behexen or Gorguts when I’m in the mood.

    • DARKBEARD

      slight break up with satanic black metal <<<<<<<<<<<

      • Patrick Bertlein

        Yeah, it’s kind of hard to be an.adult and take a band like Black Witchery seriously, even that anti cosmic stuff makes me roll my eyes nowadays. You’re not conjuring shit just play some metal and take your meds kids.

        • RJA

          I love Black Witchery, although I wouldn’t say that I “take them seriously”! – but I do understand what you’re saying.

    • GoatForest

      Yeah? I’ve actually had the opposite. I’ve abandoned the more folksy stuff in favor of the hardcore Satanic and death worshipping stuff.

      • Patrick Bertlein

        Well that’s only because I am more mature than you!

        I’m completely kidding of course. In all seriousness I could easily have a major death metal obsession in my forties, who knows.

  • Dave Vincent’s Perm

    Anathema <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

  • DARKBEARD

    i guess you could say ive fallen out of love with any form of hiphop or rap recently.

    • RJA

      I have too to some extent – although I enjoyed Danny Browns recent record

      • DARKBEARD

        im not saying there arent talented guys in hiphop, danny brown included, i just cant get down with it anymore

    • Doom Scientist

      Still loving that Czarface.

  • Doom Scientist

    “Wings For Marie” will someday be the hardest song for me to listen to ever considering the subject matter and, especially, since my Mom’s name is Marie.

  • Dumpster Lung

    I kind of have the opposite problem. I have albums, TV shows, songs, etc that I grew very attached to, or that came to represent a time in my life that no longer exists, and it’s not so much that they represent low points, so much as high points that won’t exist again (not symmetrically anyway, not saying I can’t be happy again, it just won’t be with the same person).

    I’m slowly starting to take them back, though. Trying to reclaim them for myself and not let old memories taint my appreciation of them now.

  • NDG
  • saprophial

    Necro, and not metal (dunno, metal feels good for the soul. And the lifts), but I’ve found that I can’t listen to Hospice by The Antlers anymore. Incredible album, but it ripped me up and pushed all of the right buttons at a time when I was shifting into a depressed, anxious, housebound nightmare period for the better part of two years after dropping my degree. Too much baggage.