Sunday Sesh: Companion Albums

Some things just seem made for each other. Black metal and Winter. Thrash and beer. Doom and weed. Bacon and eggs. Politics and misinformation. Religion and disagreement. Pizza and cheese, well come to think of it, any sort of bread and cheese. You get the idea…

Last year I was introduced to two excellent black metal bands – Greece’s Nocternity and Obsequiae, who clearly hail from some long forgotten verdant forest. The latter of the two received quite a fair few end-of-year recommendations around the vast expanse that is the metal blogosphere (or so I’m told), including a bunch of mentions in this very bowl. To anyone who heard this near-transcendent masterpiece that will come as no surprise. The rich melodies and lush atmosphere are compelling in every sense and on every listen. Don’t let the harp intro and interludes fool you, this album is full of riffs and soul. If you’re not transported into the cover art by around the 22.16 mark (“Analace and Heart”), then you’re devoid of all that is good in this world (and should probably just skip ahead to Nocternity).

After the dork with the red helmet introduced me to the former through their exalted Harps Of The Ancient Temples album from last year, I returned to him seeking more. Almost immediately he bestowed upon me a collection of similarly styled Hellenic metal. The somewhat obvious conclusion was that I would enjoy their previous album from all the way back in 2003 – Onyx. Enjoy? Pffttt.. I fucking loved this album instantly. Since that day it has rapidly climbed to become one of my top 5 black metal albums of all. The riff that breaks free from the build-up around the 17-minute mark is stirring and invokes a sense of epicness (yes, fuck you, I said epicness) that would rival all the crusades throughout history.

[Nevermind the misspelling of ONYX in the video, this one is the best rip *shakes claw*]


Now, that’s all well and good but what do these albums have in common aside from the obvious medieval imagery? Well, for me work is mundane; I simply toil in the sun to earn my meager crust. One of the only positives is that I have a lot of time to put some headphones on, shut the world out and listen to music alone with my own thoughts. For whatever reason I was listening to these albums in succession and found them to align quite nicely in a sort of quasi-Tolkienesque manner. Obsequiae setting the scene by providing the calmer and joyous times in the rural hamlet. The fellowship binding together to defend their village from the evil that was building afar. Nocternity’s contribution to this perceived companionship could be thought of as the journey toward the East, facing strife and attempting to avoid death during the quest, culminating with the final battle. Now, I am fully aware that one of the tracks on Onyx is named after a certain Game Of Thrones mythos, so don’t… uhh, just don’t. Either way, it’s a good excuse to pair two excellent albums and let your mind wander for an hour or two.

So, that’s my part done. Now it’s your turn. You might think Abyssal’s Antikatastaseis pairs excellently with say Deathspell Omega‘s Paracletus, or that Invocation SpellsDescendent The Black Throne segues nicely into Kreator‘s Pleasure To Kill. You may enjoy (as I do) destroying your lounge-room/steering wheel/eardrums with a combination of Mammoth Grinder and Borealis. Whatever the case may be, just make sure you don’t be an unimaginative tool who picks two albums by the same band and states the obvious that Mastodon‘s Leviathan works well with Blood Mountain. So be creative! Points for picks that are from different sub-genres or those that are separated by vast expanses of time. Tell us why you believe the albums work well together.

Go forth.

  • DVRKBEVRD

    the best two (literal) companion albums i can think of are Wolves in the Throne Room’s Celestial Lineage and Celestite. They were meant to accompany each other, and they do it well.

  • Eliza

    I never thought about albums that compliment each other that come from different bands, but I listened to Clutch’s debut right after Melvins’ Stoner Witch once and they fit pretty well with one another. They have kind of a similar style, but are executed differently.

    • Boss the Ross

      YESSSSSSS!!!!!!

      • Eliza

        Do you have “companion albums”?

        • Boss the Ross

          I put some.

      • Dave Vincent’s Perm

        Ayy Boss I won the bid on a guitar

        • Boss the Ross

          Oooh, what is it?

          • Dave Vincent’s Perm

            A Jackson DK2. Jackson >>>>>>>> and Japanese made guitars >>>>>>>>
            Plus I paid about as much as what the hardcase alone is worth.

          • Boss the Ross

            Hell yes man! Nice grab!

          • Dave Vincent’s Perm

            The fucking Japanese Jackson rhoads I played was smoother to play than Hamish from MDB’s £2000 USA custom which was at the same shop, so I’m looking forward to playing this one. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/31167c09ad8cee7d4784102259afdfbbd010695cbabf5bf1b34afc7db4b1b65e.jpg

          • Boss the Ross

            That finish is sick!

          • Dave Vincent’s Perm

            I usually don’t like fancy flame or quilt tops but this one looks like a stealth bomber or something.

          • Boss the Ross

            Definitely has a mean look to it, not flashy like a sunburst maple top.

          • BobLoblaw

            Burlwood though…

          • *siqq

          • Boss the Ross

            *refresh

          • DVRKBEVRD

            i love jacksons. this is awesome.

          • Dave Vincent’s Perm

            Jackson >>>>>>>>>>

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            This guitar makes me expand greatly.

  • (shrugs)

  • Boss the Ross

    Excellent write up Mr. LIZARD! I need to check these out, I’ve seen them around.

    I will need to ponder this today while at work, and hopefully get back to you at some point.

  • BobLoblaw

    Kvist’s For Kunsten Maa Vi Evig Vike always went well with Twin Obscenity’s For Blood, Honour and Soil for me. Same feel I guess.

    https://youtu.be/xkyxxy6pElY
    https://youtu.be/jhOq_B84azE

  • Dave Vincent’s Perm

    Paradise Lost’s debut and My Dying Bride’s Symphonaire Infernus et Spera Empyrium.

    • Dave Vincent’s Perm

      I suppose PL’s album is more focused on fear, whereas the tone on the MDB EP is more mournful, so Symphonaire would work as the epilogue of Lost Paradise.

  • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

    Two I’ve rather enjoyed together are Pelican’s Australasia and Yob’s The Unreal Never Lived. Both alike in vastness, but the former is a rather earthly, human kind of vastness, the latter more cosmic, mystical.

    • Boss the Ross

      Nice picks!

  • Spear

    Hmm… tough call for anything beyond the obvious. Wintersun’s Time and Frosttide’s Blood Oath go very well together if you’re in a flying through space and slaying dragons mood.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3JQtcJFGd0
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mG7_fOuM5vE

    • Stiff Bologna In The Corn Pipe

      Love both of them! Practically the same band in many regards. I guess you could top those two off with anything from Whispering.

  • Pretty much any Revenge album pairs well with War Cult Supremacy by Conqueror.

    • Rob M

      …think that might be considered cheating

  • Stanley

    This…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUvQ3L2sUjQ

    and this.

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

    Two blasters that I used to play after school, one after the other, on repeat.

    • more beer

      NIce pairing Stanley.

  • CyberneticOrganism

    Don’t have an album rec but when KoK (heh) released Armada years ago, I fell in love with the insane melodies all over that album. Awhile later they released a companion song to it via their website, a piano solo piece with all those melodies strung together and played by a damn good pianist. It’s awesome. I’ve added it as my copy’s album closer since then.

    • Dubs

      Armada is when they really started to hit their stride.

  • Stanley

    This…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXfv2nJ6WT4

    and this.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhwGthp2z2I

    26 years apart in real time. 5 minutes in music time.

    • Lacertilian

      I’m a couple of days late here, been busy.
      That Barbarian track is killer.

  • Janitor Jim Duggan

    Survival, Uprising and Confrontation by Bob Marley

  • Janitor Jim Duggan

    Time to expand.

  • Boss the Ross

    Clutch and Kyuss always pair well. I would probably go with Elephant Riders and Sky Valley, respectively.

    Also, when I first got The Sword – High Country I felt the urge to listen to Clutch – Robot Hive/Exodus and ZZ Top – Deguello. Those three pair together in an excellent way.

    S.O.D. – Speak English or Die followed by M.O.D. – USA for MOD. Kinda cheating, but oh well.

    EPMD – Strictly Business and Kool G Rap – Road to Riches pair superbly.

    • Stiff Bologna In The Corn Pipe

      You’re the one other person I’ve heard in years that’s mentioned EPMD.

      • Boss the Ross

        EPMD is critical hip hop listening.

        • Stiff Bologna In The Corn Pipe

          Yep! Sucks that they broke up rather quickly.

    • DVRKBEVRD

      i wanted to ask your opinion on Ibex Angel Order

  • Boss the Ross

    Just from reading the description, Caladn Brood – Echoes of Battle would work well with the albums above. Though maybe not.

  • EsusMoose

    Tried to think of some and all I could get was the last combo album binge I had which was Steak Number Eight’s Kosmokoma and Intronaut’s the Direction of Last things. Both being great post metal records but both seemed to touch different shades of the genre. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9Onunctlkw

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOxxAdRtU1w

  • Max

    I’m not sure about any pairs of albums I have that complement each other like that, but I can say this: I’ve had plenty of industrial/avant-garde/noise/etc. albums wherein some of the material would make great intro tracks for black metal albums. Like, better than the sort of intros that usually feature on black metal albums.

    Like this one:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXFXh9NcnIE

    • Stiff Bologna In The Corn Pipe

      On the industrial end of things, you could always pair up any of Metallica’s first 4 CDs and Die Krupps’ ‘A Tribute To Metallica’. Or pair up some Godlfesh with Decree’s second and final CD.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NCaCvR9XRY

  • Boss the Ross

    Clutch – Clutch & Wu-Tang Clan – Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
    Two of my favorite albums of all time that are not actually as unsimilar as one would expect. They both flow as coherent albums in their own right, but sound even better when listened to in succession.
    It is one of my musical dreams that Wu-Tang would cover this album in collaboration with Clutch. Method Man would kill on Animal Farm. I cloud talk about this for hours, but i don’t want to bore you all.

  • Stiff Bologna In The Corn Pipe

    Never thought about this kinda thing before, but any of Angra’s Falaschi-era albums and Age Of Artemis’ debut come to mind, since they’re practically the same band (and both are from Brazil, and Falaschi even produced AOA’s debut). Oh, and pairing Mr. Bungle’s self-titled CD with My Dick’s double album.

  • Stiff Bologna In The Corn Pipe

    Stumbled upon this industrial-classical-melodeath bad boy earlier. Best parts start at the 19:30 mark.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=seLvIqshLE0

  • Stiff Bologna In The Corn Pipe

    As far as companion albums, probably doesn’t get any more companion than Samael’s ‘Passage’ reissue, the one with Xy’s classical version of ‘Passage’.

  • wild a.i.

    I like to do a double header of Defeated Sanity’s “Chapters..” and Impetuous Ritual’s “Relentless Execution..” Makes a nice cocktail of physical and spiritual annihilation.

    • Stiff Bologna In The Corn Pipe

      Welcome to the Toilet!

  • Hans Müller

    late again and i don’t even have an album pair, but what came to mind are these two songs complementing each other in their use of the phrase “god damn son of a bitch”.
    could be coincidence or a reference. i took it to be the latter when i first heard the trap them song.

    “i ain’t no god damn son of a bitch”
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4LOaEzmaPfU

    “i am that god damn son of a bitch”
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0E6Bpoetzgs

  • #Doom (rfi)

    • Boss the Ross

      Doomdrink

    • Boss the Ross

      Doomdoctor

      • Gotta love that bright, happy, 70s style Wonder bread packaging that just screams “Doom!”. Perhaps Witchhelm or Pesta can use it for their next album cover.

        • Boss the Ross

          Jack Kirby is the man.

          That would be sick! I’m surprised more bands don’t utilize that imagery, you’d figure Monster Magnet would atleast have done something like it.

          • Without Stan & Jack, there would be no Marvel. I’m hoping we see more Celestials in upcoming movies, such a shame that FF can’t be part of the real MCU, not yet anyway.

          • Boss the Ross

            Most definitely. Kirby had a huge impact on DC as well, even though he wasn’t there for too long.

            That would be super cool. The FF situation is brutal, in the worst way possible. Hopefully they can get it back on track and do Marvel’s oldest super team some justice.

  • Boss the Ross

    Om – Variations on a Theme and High on Fire – Art of Self Defense

    These are interesting to listen to together. You can still hear a lot of Sleep in both albums, but you get to hear the direction each member wanted to go in at the time. Then after that you can listen to Lumineferous and Advaitic Songs to hear where each band is now and discover the roads each band traveled along their musical journeys.

  • Coprolytic

    Hardcore high school era: Long-playing cassette with Integrity – Systems Overload on one side and Zao – The Splinter Shards the Birth of Separation on the other.

    Angsty undergraduate era: Candy flipping Gorerotted – Only Tools and Corpses and Gorelord – Norwegian Chainsaw Massacre.

    Dawn of depression era: Sleep – Dopesmoker, Acid King – III, rinse and repeat.