Washington Think Tank: When Does an Album of the Year Become an All-Time Favorite?

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Every December, the entire metal blogosphere collectively loses its crap in a giant ego-stroking endeavor known as “listmania.” Top ten albums are trotted out. Elusive and illusory trophies are proffered for the very best releases to crush our dicks in an album cycle. Fans compare, argue, and get utterly butthurt about whose list is the very best. In all that frenzy of annual self-congratulation, though, perhaps we’re losing sight of what’s most important. The entire point of annual year-end-lists, or at least what we all pretend is the point, is to celebrate the very best this musical genre we all love can produce. Amid the hype of last year’s listmania, though, David Parnell, guitarist of Hadean, asked some of us in the Facebook group how often our yearly favorites get added to our lists of favorite albums of all time. It’s a simple question, but it actually gave me pause because the implications are pretty immense. If we are indeed celebrating the very heights to which metal as an art can rise, should the newest albums we praise regularly find positions among our favorite albums ever, or is there something more than taste and artistic value that causes the classics to predominate our own personal collections of most-treasured records?

Today’s question: “When does an album of the year become an all-time favorite?”

After David posed his question, I began thinking back to some of my favorite albums released within this decade. Though there have been so, so many albums that have meant the world to me, the only one from recent years that I can at this point in time consider an all-time favorite (i.e., if I had the wherewithal to choose my ten favorite albums ever, it would appear on the list) is Cult of Luna‘s Vertikal. That album is an impenetrable fortress of dark atmosphere, alluring mystery, and utterly masterful musicianship. It is peerless, praiseworthy, and priceless; Vertikal, as with the very best albums, elevated metal to an art and redrew the lines that define this genre we love. Despite its 2013 release, it is a timeless classic, a metropolis whose streets I often find myself wandering yet again, lost deep in thought, simply absorbing the sights and smells and sounds engulfing my soul.

Vertikal is just one album of many that I have truly enjoyed in this decade, yet it’s the only one I would write into my ultimate top ten. The reason for that, I think, is that the albums we love the most deeply are often there for a number of reasons beyond simple technical ability, artistic merit, or groundbreaking legacy. In many cases, nostalgia is an even more powerful adjudicator, one able to tip the scales even against better judgement.

As an illustration, my favorite metal album of all time is …And Justice for All. There have obviously been better thrash albums released in history, and you could easily make the argument that Metallica’s own Master of Puppets or Ride the Lightning is in fact the superior record, but Justice reminds me of learning to love metal, of growing up, and of a million other memories. There is an immense chain of nostalgia binding Justice solidly in its place, and the older I get, the less I think anything will ever supplant it.

So now it’s your turn to respond. Have any albums released in this decade found their way into your list of all-time favorites? What is your favorite album ever? Do you view music through the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia? Sound off in the comments below.

Don’t know what the Washington Think Tank is? This is a periodic column where your former President poses a pressing question and allows the top minds at the Toilet ov Hell to investigate his query.

  • Janitor Jim Duggan

    For me Meliora by Ghost which was my AOTY last year is one of my all time favorites. The reason for that is because it appeals to all the things I like in music. Same with my 2012 AOTY 17 Pine Avenue by the New Riders of the Purple Sage.

    • Stanley

    • I don’t understand the appeal of that band. Their songs are good for like a single listen until you realize they are more boring than Pale Communion and Siren Charms combined.

      • Janitor Jim Duggan

        Which band?

        • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

          All bands.

        • Probably the band you were talking about in the comment I replied to?

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            Oh. I should have guessed.

          • yea, probably, common sense and all that jazz

          • Vault Dweller

            New Riders of the Purple Sage, then, eh? 😉

          • Stop making up bands you two!

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            They’re real. I have 47 concerts of theirs on my phone.

          • Thats….you poor thing.

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            It’s what I like. I get them off Archive.org as they have good stuff.

          • RJA

            I was going to tell you to be careful on Archive.org – can be addicting – but I see with you already having 47 NRPS concerts it’s too late!

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            I have 43 Melvin Seals shows, 10 Grateful Dead shows and more. That’s not even all the NRPS shows. I have ones where they open for the Dead and ones I haven’t put on my phone yet.

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            No, I think it was Ghost. I’m the only fan of theirs here.

          • No it was Shinedown

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            I hate Shinedown.

          • boom lay boom lay BOOM. You clearly said “I love shinedown’s new album. It’s my favorite ever.”

          • KJM, Tapir, JR (who i guess quit commenting), and myself also love Ghost.

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            Ghost is the shit. I was referring to myself being the only NRPS fan here.

          • Dubs

            Pretty sure Cybro does too.

          • SHIT, good call Dubs. he even wrote that review of praise for them, using the new rating system. (Sorry Cybro!)

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            And JAG and Karhu

          • ME GORAK B.C.™
          • Stanley

            I like Ghost, JJD.

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            I meant to say I was the only New Riders fan here.

          • I like some of that stuff, but not as much as The Dead or Allman Bros.

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            The Dead and the Allman are top tier. I actually saw Jerry Garcia’s organist on Sunday with his Jerry Garcia tribute band. It was awesome. It went 2 and a half hours and they did an amazing version of Simple Twist Of Fate.

          • Um, I like Ghost.

      • that’s purr-fectly okay for somebody to not understand the appeal of a band. that’s like 1000x better than saying “they suck” … which is a skill that most people on other metal sites still haven’t learned.

        • Janitor Jim Duggan

          This. Feature this comment.

          • Vault Dweller

            I dunno, I think we should feature THIS comment.

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            I chortled at this for a second. It was very funny. I think Jimmy made an extremely important statement though. Not enough people do that. At least here we don’t really say bands suck without an explanation as to why we don’t like them.

        • brokensnow

          I don’t understand their appeal, so I think suck.

        • Ghost are TEH SUXX0R!! Whoop whoop!

    • CyberneticOrganism

      Meliora is their best yet. That whole album is insanely catchy.

      • Janitor Jim Duggan

        It’s their best album and a future classic.

    • Óðinn

      I just tell people that Ghost and Deafheaven released my favorite albums of 2015 because it’s funny when people get poutraged about those bands.

      • Janitor Jim Duggan

        Deafheaven was in my top 5. I enjoyed New Bermuda quite a bit.

        • Óðinn

          Yeah, it is actually a good album. It’s probably not my AOTY, but I don’t believe the hate for them is entirely based on their music alone. It’s because they’re hipsters. I don’t care if they are hipsters. It doesn’t bother me.

  • COAL ROLL

    All time favorite is a pretty lofty title, I’m not sure that all of my albums of the year are worthy of that distinction.

    • COAL ROLL

      I don’t think I have an all time favorite album that was released later than 1998

      • Dubs

        That’s kind of the point of me bringing up nostalgia. I suspect a lot of folks are the same way.

        • COAL ROLL

          fuck I’m old.

          • Vault Dweller

            Aren’t we all? The sweet release of death closes in.

          • KSoFM is rubbing off onto you

          • COAL ROLL
          • Vault Dweller

            Or is it I that rubbed one out on him?!?!

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5gGVOERXss

          • all this rubbing is getting me hot (there, he’s rubbed off on me too)

          • COAL ROLL

            most of my all time favorite metal albums came out before many toilet readers were even born

          • more beer

            As are mine. But I see it as I got to live through a time many wish they could have. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

          • COAL ROLL

            all the internet high fives for this

          • more beer

            Right on.

  • Mgła – With Hearts Toward None

    • Stanley

      What’s so great about this album is that each song stands alone and yet works together, and each song at one point or another has been my favorite on the album.

    • Janitor Jim Duggan

      This is an opposite effect for me. I listened to it and I thought it would be on my AOTY list last year. After more listens I realized my love of the album was misplaced. I know many people love this album here but to me the hyping up of it here made it more of a letdown for me.

      • Dude… Wrong album.

        • Boss the Ross

          Just about to say that. Hahaha! He’s a goofball

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            I’m serious.

          • Boss the Ross

            Mgla released Exercises in Futility last year.

        • Janitor Jim Duggan

          No, it’s the right album. I didn’t get the appeal behind it.

          • Dubs

            Which Mgla album came out last year?

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            Exercises In Futility.

          • Boss the Ross

            Nope.

          • Maik Beninton™

            DISQUALIFIED!

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            I don’t get them at all. People here love them. I don’t.

          • Maik Beninton™
          • Hubert

            ..

          • COAL ROLL

            we don’t expect you to, but you’ve set our expectations for your facts so high that we’re let down when you miss a few

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            A for effort, bro.

          • COAL ROLL

            would you like to phone a friend?

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            HAHAHAHAHA.

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            Was it Exercises In Futility? That album came nowhere close to my top 10.

          • COAL ROLL

            It is modern masterpiece

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            As I said that kind of music isn’t my thing.

          • Black Metal>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> dad rock

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            I knew my opinion on this matter would be extremely unpopular.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            At least you got that right.

          • Dave Vincent’s Perm

            Using less than symbols properly <<<<<<<<<<<

          • Stanley

            Ha ha!

      • Stanley

        It makes me laugh when I see people mention hype and Mgla in the same sentence. Other than the Toilet, where on earth are you seeing all this hype? They don’t do interviews, they don’t make videos, they don’t release singles, fuck, they hardly even give an advance notice of releasing an album. In fact the band actively shuns everything about the commercialization of their music. They just march to their own beat.

        • Boss the Ross

          Which is commendable

          • Jom Pootersan

            Yeah, but they have 20k+ likes on Facebook. TOO POPULAR

          • Stanley

            I don’t get it.

          • Dubs

            Grassroots

          • Stanley
          • COAL ROLL

            that does not look OMRI certified..

          • Stanley
          • more beer

            Judging by they cut. That is a putting green. Golf courses do not concern themselves with such things. Only that the grass is green.

          • COAL ROLL

            the straight edge looks more like tee box?

          • more beer

            Possibly either way it is a golf course and the environment is of no concern just as long as it is green.

          • It sucks when people like your band.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            OBSCURITY ‘TIL DEATH!

          • Boss the Ross

            That would be a good album title, but you can’t tell anyone when you release it.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Such is life. It’s funny I’ve been writing riffs not a lot of people have heard for too long, haha. Fuck the world.

          • Boss the Ross

            Haha, indeed

        • Janitor Jim Duggan

          I do like that they march to their own drummer. I said the hyping of them here on the blog made it more of a letdown when I listened to it. It’s not my kind of thing. If that’s a bad thing so be it.

          • Stanley

            Then stop talking about them.

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            I don’t talk about them much. I haven’t brought them up before and I won’t bring them up again.

        • Hubert

          I really like that about Mgla. The way they make their music available to everyone who could be interested, while still maintaining their non-commercial look at their work. I find it hard to respect groups that make their own material extremely hard to listen to legally.

        • Idk man, they sold out of 2500 vinyl. That’s a pretty neat feat for a band

        • if music is the meritocracy that we all want to think it is, Mgła has succeeded. with all the points that you’ve made, they still have sold a shit ton of digital albums (the metric that we can all see on Bandcamp) — aside from the number of physical copies that we can’t see. highly commendable. — as Boss the Ross said.

        • Rob M

          When “With Hearts Toward None” came out they were pretty unknown, but that album pushed them into wider knowledge because “Exercises in Futility” was popping up on everyones end of the year lists

          • Yup, I first saw them at MDF. Never heard of them before that and I was completely blown away.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Seeing them in Chicago with a killer buzz fucking slayed!

          • Rob M

            Even in the bright fucking sun with only a 30 minute set they tore it up…set the tone for that weekend

            It was some dude on Last FM turned me onto them right around the time “With Hearts…” came out, such a great album. Even then, I was actually shocked to see how they blew up last year

          • They had to be burning the fuck up. They had hoodies and leather coats on.

          • Rob M

            No doubt…Psuedogod looked like they were going to pass the fuck out

          • Their set was so fucking devastating.

          • Rob M

            That was such a great year…crushing set after crushing set

          • Now that you bring it up, that was one of the best MDF years.

          • Rob M

            I’ll be shocked if they manage to ever top that one. Honestly, after the clusterfuck that was 2013 they needed something like that to bounce back with

          • Óðinn

            That’s the best way to discover something good, when you’re not expecting anything.

        • brokensnow

          Thats very cvte and all ,but their music is on youtube, found through related artists…lol

          • Stanley

            Yeah, they have three videos and one of those was because the album leaked and they wanted to make sure a good version was out there. Other than that, it’s all bootleg posts. Hard to avoid really.

          • brokensnow

            welcome to the digital age.

          • Stanley

            Only analogue is real.

          • brokensnow

            kvlt.

          • Óðinn

            Gah!

          • your statement is not wrong at all. digital is an approximation of analog.

          • RJA

            I just watched somebody argue the existence of dinosaurs the other day on youtube – is it really a way to gauge popularity or hype?

          • brokensnow

            exposure*

          • RJA

            Yea, I mean Exercises in Futility has hundreds of thousands of views – so they definitely have exposure on/through youtube. But just being on youtube is no guarantee of exposure! Tyree was talking about a Mjolnir record recently and of course I found it on you tube with a couple thousand views – came out in 98 but I had never heard of it, so you tube definitely gives exposure – I wouldn’t say that Mjolnir is well known though? I don’t know, like you said – “welcome to the digital age”

          • brokensnow

            indeed

        • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

          I’ve twice now missed their show here (both times a special set) because nobody would tell me before it was too late.
          And I follow this stuff pretty closely.

        • Super Nintendo Chalmers

          They were all over the metal blogosphere. Maybe read something other than the Toilet? Or just don’t make shit up? There’s an idea.

          • “is he joking? serious?” who knows! and that’s part of the fun

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            LIkewise.Toilet was by no means the only blog all over them but saying “they were all over the metal blogosphere” is still a bit far fetched.

        • Óðinn

          Well…I guess it’s relative. Within music or Metal in general, not over-hyped. That’s probably true. But when it comes to the Black Metal crowd specifically, they are hyped quite a bit in my opinion. Every Black Metal fan I’ve seen lately, prominently has a Mgla patch on his jacket or vest. Plus, there last album was on a lot of “best of” lists last year.

      • JJD PLEASE!

    • Dental_Damnation

      This is so kvlt, they appear to be missing some vowels in their name.

      • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

        I think it’s called Polish.

        • RJA

          that explains it – they’re not speaking American.

      • It leaves more room for Kvltivating mass.

      • COAL ROLL

        Foreign languages and stuff

      • Rob M

        …one of those isnt even a letter

      • Whoa whoa whoa, when did disqus elder God Dental Damnation start visiting the toilet???

      • Major Zim

        ł≠l It’s closer to a w in English. It’s pronounced like moo-GWAH instead of MIG-luh. And it means fog! Because of course it does. This has been your Polish lesson for the day. #TMYK

  • Janitor Jim Duggan

    Also speaking of having nostalgia towards music I love the album Paradise Theater by Styx because it was the first record I bought back in 2011.

  • Edward/Breegrodamus™

    If pressed, Gorguts’ Colored Sands might work it’s way onto an all time favorites list of mine. I would say Pyrrhon’s The Mother of Virtues has been an important album to me, for reasons outside of strict musicality, but I doubt that it would earn a spot on the same coveted list. Leviathan’s Scar Sighted really caused me to dig back on all of his material, and overall he has become one of my favorite musicians because of it.

  • Boss the Ross

    Clutch, as my favorite band, have released some very strong albums in the past decade and are definitely all time favorites for me. Last year’s Psychic Warfare is easily in my top 30 albums of all time.

    I’d have to really think out my favorites to give any other answers. But i believe it to be subjective to each individual.

  • Jom Pootersan

    The problem for me is my taste is always changing. I would love to say Crack the Skye or Lateralus mean as much to me now as they did six or seven years ago, but they don’t hold the same power.

    That doesn’t take away from the fact they were once seminal records in terms of launchinng me into heavy music, but it’s not the same anymore.

    • Edward/Breegrodamus™

      That’s one of the reasons I still love The Dillinger Escape Plan and Botch so much.

      • Jom Pootersan

        It’s Strange. The only high school hold over that hasn’t lost it’s significance is Neurosis. And I commend you for the consistency!

        • Edward/Breegrodamus™

          As far as “extreme” metal goes, I was listening to both of those bands significantly longer than just about anything else I listen to regularly still today, by years. Weird.

          I’ve dabbled with Neurosis, heard a bunch of their albums a couple of times, seen ’em live, one day I should just take the plunge.

          • Dubs

            I love Neurosis.

          • Boss the Ross

            Neurosis loves you.

          • Jom Pootersan

            I wuv u <3

          • Dubs

            I know.

          • Edward/Breegrodamus™

            They’re actually pretty similar to some Swans recent material, if you think about it.

  • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

    Dissection-Storm of the Lights Bane. Reason being continual listens and literally never getting tired of hearing it.

    In recent time- Misþyrming-Söngvar elds og óreiðu. Several reasons for this: a newer scene, coming from nowhere (not even a demo), killer slant on well established music/scene….

    • Dubs

      That Misþyrming album is fantastic. I should have paid closer attention to it earlier in the year. Such is life.

      • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

        My old adage will always be: “Too many albums”.

      • Óðinn

        You are correct. Definitely OATY material.

    • I don’t see the Icelandic black metal scene slowing down anytime soon. Nothing but quality.

      • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

        Given how young in age and scope, me neither. Quality shit too, like you said.

        • Very good point. Very young indeed.

      • Dave Vincent’s Perm

        There’s a school trip to Iceland but I’m not allowed to go on it because I don’t do geography. Maybe they’re scared I’ll join a band and they’ll never see me again.

        • Óðinn

          But instead, you’ve joined the banned. 😉

  • Spear

    I think I may be an outlier given how relatively recently I got into metal, but almost all of my favorite albums ever have come out within the past ten years. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the classics, of course, but I feel that there are a lot more exciting things being done now as opposed to 20+ years ago. A lot of those old bands have come a long way since their inceptions, too.

    I’d say the only album that I would call a favorite that has something special associated with it (beyond the fact that I enjoy the tunes) is also my #1: Trivium’s Shogun. That album was a game changer for me, as it opened me up to the idea that current music can actually be good (I was one of those “wrong generation” douches before that).

    • Boss the Ross

      I was thinking about this aspect as well. What if a person has just recently gotten into metal? Thanks for the answer Spear!

    • Dave Vincent’s Perm

      People who say they were born in the wrong generation should have their iPhones taken away and be banned from the Internet.

      • Spear

        I like to think I’ve grown up a little since 2008.

  • Owlswald

    To name a handful: Textures – Drawing Circles; Gojira – From Mars to Sirius; Rush – Hemispheres; Soundgarden – Badmotorfinger; Meshuggah – Destroy, Erase, Improve. The pure musicianship on these albums in tandem with various life changes at the time these albums were found created a connection to these albums for me that cannot be replaced.

  • ME GORAK B.C.™

    GHOST REVERIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Rob M

    Its been a few years since some of my year end favorites entered into my all time favorites…probably not since 2012. That was a great year though… Mgla, Witchrist, Chapel, and Pseudogod among others

    • Is Witchrist still a band? I know they broke up for a short amount of time and then they were back together.

      • Rob M

        Think so…MA still has them listed as active and they did do an EP in 2015 called Vritra

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkskjXrs650

        • Ok, I just haven’t heard anything from them since they announced that they got back together. Good news! Crushing band.

          • Rob M

            …one of my favorites

          • I need to acquire more of their shit. I only have the The Grand Tormentor album

          • Rob M

            oh man…you have to track down Beheaded Oroborous. I really like Grand Tormentor, but their first release blows it away

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiuNR2qWJFg

          • Noted! I’m sure I’ve heard it at one point. Will check it out here!

  • Stanley

    I had to go back to 2009 to find this.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PB0nvFgSKqc

    • Stanley

      Also 2009, but maybe not quite in the all time list. Probably my favorite Black/Thrash album though.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hg3INmTE56Q

      • Dubs

        Even more than Pleasure to Kill?

        • Stanley

          I always liked Destruction more than Kreator, and Infernal Overkill is on my list.

          • Dubs

            Got it.

      • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

        Talk about a 180 nowadays.

        • Stanley

          It’s wrong, just plain wrong.

      • Rob M

        Gah!

        ..dont remind me how good they used to be

  • Jom Pootersan

    Does anyone else ever find themselves loving a record by a band, listening to it countless times, becoming weary of it, then moving on to another of the band’s albums and discovering the love again?

    • Edward/Breegrodamus™

      Yup.

      • Jom Pootersan

        Loved Gin, listened to it so many times. Still enjoy it, but Eater of Birds currently is giving my dick the more updated crushing.

        • Edward/Breegrodamus™

          I love Eater of Birds! It’s underrated since Gin is the one people always fap to.

  • For 2014:
    Occultation – Silence In The Ancestral House
    Wo Fat – The Conjuring
    Throne – Where Tharsis Sleeps EP
    Sinoia Caves – ‘Beyond The Black Rainbow’ Soundtrack
    Blood Farmers -Headless Eyes
    For 2015:
    Monolord – Vaenir
    ‘Phase IV’ – Soundtrack
    Acid King – Middle Of Nowhere, Center Of Everywhere
    Czarface – Every Hero Needs A Villain

    I’d say an AOTY becomes an all time favorite once you notice that 1-2 years have gone by and you’re still jamming it regularly.
    It’s all about how a particular song/album hits you in a specific point in your life.

    • Dubs

      I like that you allow for time to pass to see if it still matters.

      • COAL ROLL

        there are albums I regularly go back to that are decades old. They just don’t make em like they used to.

        • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

          Black Sabbath’s first 6 come to mind.

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            Those albums are untouchable, especially Volume 4, Sabbath Blood Sabbath and Sabotage.

          • COAL ROLL

            Holy Diver, Last in Line

          • COAL ROLL

            KIllers, Number of the Beast, Piece of Mind, Powerslave, Somewhere in Time

          • COAL ROLL

            Melissa, Don’t Break the Oath, Fatal Portrait, Abigail, Them, Conspiracy, The Eye. All over 20 years old

        • Rob M

          Anything from the early days of death metal

          • The early days of death metal and black metal were an exciting time. I wish I lived through those.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Agreed. Writing letters and getting demos.

          • Exactly!

          • Rob M

            Hell…just the newness of everything

        • Dubs

          I dunno that I’d agree with the second part of your statement, personally. I think the metal scene is as vibrant and talented as it ever has been, but I get that some folks just love when many of the older styles were fresh and cutting edge.

          • COAL ROLL

            I was trying to be a little bit provocative with that, more so than serious. I think there’s a lot more garbage out there now though to wade through to find the gems

          • Dubs

            Oh definitely tons more garbage too. Music has become easy enough to record and distribute that there’s far more crap than not crap released in a week.

        • tigeraid

          Indeed. Sabbath, first four Metallica albums, a bunch of Dio, and bunch of Iron Maiden, Priest, etc

      • Boss the Ross

        I think that is the real test.
        If an album is released and automatically hits number 1 on you all time list, i think something may be wrong. But kn the other hand it could be just a killer album.

      • IMO by definition, an all-time favorite should stand the test of time.

        • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

          Timeless is always the key.

        • Dubs

          That;s obvious. You captured a bit more subtlety than that, though.

        • Óðinn

          Good to have you back in the Toilet, KJM. You’re presence was missed.

    • Janitor Jim Duggan

      Czarface is a favorite of mine too.

    • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

      Truth.

    • Vault Dweller

      Yeah, same here; for me, if an album shows up regularly for longer than a year, that’s a classic/personal favorite.

      I consume music the same way Americans consume… everything. Input, digest, compost, discard, move on.

      • Hey! While I’ve got your attention, Mom’s B-Day is coming up. Cookiez?

        • Vault Dweller

          I can definitely swing that. I’ll grab a couple of bags around lunch today.

    • Time is a good measure because that means the album was good enough to hold up over time.

    • CyberneticOrganism

      I’m so-so on that BTBR soundtrack, I wish the songs on the LP were what was actually featured in the movie. They’re so close, why bother changing them?

      • I enjoy it a lot except for ‘Sentionauts II’.

        • CyberneticOrganism

          Yeah wtf is that

    • Óðinn

      Some tasty slabs of Sludge right there.

  • I’ve never done an album of the year list before doing TovH and my lists are trash so… I dunno.

    • Just like your music taste am i right?

      • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

        Derp.

      • Tough but fair

        • I expected more fight out of you

          • To be honest, the inherent narcissism of creating and fighting about AoTY lists kinda takes the winds outta my sails. I’d prefer to argue about almost anything else.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Lists suck in any niche.

          • Dubs

            That’s kind of what the whole intro here was about. I think sometimes we get so caught up proving how awesome we are that we forget to actually think about how awesome the records that move us really are.

          • It’s like list season is a terrible comment board and we’re all on a quest to type out “FIRST!!!1!!!!1!”

          • RJA

            There is an air of that about list season – hence some lists coming out mid November. But, I for one love list season because I can always find something new and for somebody who lives music it’s not always easy to find new stuff.

          • Dubs

            That’s the purpose it should serve, anyway.

          • Which is ideal. I just feel inundated by list talk for 12 months out of the year.

          • Rob M

            Which is why I enjoy them…

            …but it also the reason I avoid bigger sites around that time of the year. Places like that just repeat the same 20 albums over and over

          • RJA

            Yes they do man, yes they do. I love everyone here getting a list because of all the different tastes, even if I don’t necessarily care for their taste!

          • Dubs

            This is also why we ask musicians to give us theirs too. Often they have wildly different perspectives from listeners.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            I’m definitely not awesome. And I have never made a list longer than 5 albums. Too laborious and requires thought.

          • Stanley

            I’m not sure I get the awesome reference. I’m just a fool who likes heavy metal. Awesome is not what I’d use. Dumb, maybe.

          • Dubs

            I think the goal Joe and I have with partaking in listmania is to just show some great records to folks. That’s my mental justification, anyway, but you know what they say. Justification is like masturbation; in the end you’re just screwing yourself.

          • Boss the Ross

            I’ve found good albums that I didn’t know about because of the lists last year. And I’m happy about that. I see it as getting someone else’s opinion on what was good and checking them out because you agree with their tastes or just want to try something new.

          • Rob M

            Its cool dude..Im awesome enough for two people

          • Oh 🙁

          • I agree only with myself. The other can go fuck themselves.

          • #ToiletOvSelfImportance

    • Dental_Damnation

      I tend to like your tastes the best. All of these blackgaze metal hipsters on this site drive me crazy with their atmospheric super serious metal all the time.

    • David

      Joe’s list is the superior list.

    • CyberneticOrganism

      FLAGGED

  • Just off the top of my head:

    Judicator – At the Expense of Humanity (2015)
    Trial – Vessel (2015)
    Patrick Watson – Love Songs for Robots (2015)
    Cormorant – Earth Diver (2014)
    Twilight Force – Tales of Ancient Prophecies (2014)
    Satan – Life Sentence (2013)
    Liberteer – Better to Die on your feet than live on your knees (2012)
    Patrick Watson – Adventures in Your Own Backyard
    Dragonland – Under the Grey Banner (2011)
    Rhapsody of Fire – Frozen Tears of Angels (2010)
    Deathspell Omega – Paracletus (2010)
    Cynic – Traced in Air (2008)

    • Dubs

      Thinking about how far Cynic has fallen still makes me sad.

      • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

        It’s like they planned it. Making progressively different/bad album to alienate their fans before tearing each other faces off.

        Only that I liked all of their album 🙁

        • Dubs

          I didn’t love Kindly Bent to Free Us, but I thought it was a good prog rock album with some solid songs.

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            That’s really how I went about all their albums really. Some had more great songs than others, but in the end all were good, maybe even great, but not stellar.

      • That whole fight ruined them for me, and I usually never let personal stuff inside a band bother me

        • Dubs

          I think there are two factors for it: 1) Paul Masvidal, up until that point, had seemed like one of the really good ones, you know? Even if Chuck Schuldiner criticized him, Masvidal just seemed so sincere and with it. 2) The fight was exceptionally petty, even for a band fight.

      • i cri everytiem ;_;)>

  • Hubert

    I haven’t been listening to metal for too long (I think 4 and a half years in total), and my love for music really started after I discovered metal. I think I’m at a point where the records that I personally relate to now will look very different when I look back at them years from now. I can’t really say what albums are my favorite of all time.

    • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

      Maybe give it a few more years?

      • dude, we can all agree that you’ve got a finely-sharpened taste in heavy metal (especially considering how long you’ve been listening to it). how many times do you listen to something and go “that’ll show its age in a few years” or “this is timeless”? for example, now we all hear nu-metal and say “yuck” .. did people in the 90’s also hear it and say “yuck” or “this is so good, it’ll never sound stale!” AKA, can we as listeners ever quantify what’s timeless AT THAT TIME?

        • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

          You need to settle the fuck down, BRO! Time is a cunt.

        • Rob M

          …with Nu-metal? People were calling that shit from the get-go

        • RJA

          I lived through nu-metal – It was really a trend that just didn’t last long because it sucked. I don’t remember anyone – at least from my perspective – IMMEDIATELY saying this is shit. Everyone had the Korn record, the Deftones record, etc. Most of my friends really questioned it when Roots came out – that seemed to be the start of the downfall – a lot of people were like “what the fuck is this”?

        • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

          I remember all that nu-metal shit and not liking it and not buying it in a musical sense and album sense.

          • Rolling Stone were merciless in their early Sabbath and Zeppelin reviews. Bangs was a self important d-bag anyway.

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            LOL
            I knew Rolling Stones was always a mag filled with stuck-up white men in their 90’s and any album they didn’t like was probably a good one, but this still makes me laugh.

          • Lester Bangs was probably the worst example of that type of narcissistic, coked out music journalism.

          • wow. it’s difficult to read this and think it’s not a joke.

    • Jom Pootersan

      I’m in the same boat. Only been about five and a half for me.

  • EsusMoose

    Just looking at the last few years at the #1 spot they’ve been 50/50 some are played way too much, others don’t get old as true all time favorites should be like (this is only accounting for like 3-4 years of active participation in hearing new releases). Beyond that the 2-10 spots, I feel there are more albums I’ve grown to love than ones I may have added due to some of the hype (Blut aus Nord Memoria Vetusta 3 good but retrospectively not something I’ve listened to beyond that year).

  • tigeraid

    Judicator – At The Expense of Humanity is definitely in my “all-time” now… But I can see how most “all-time” choices come down to nostalgia and a place and time, rather than their actual merits.

    Oh, and Grand Magus – The Hunt.

    • Dubs

      What about Turbid North?

      • tigeraid

        fffffffffffffffffffffuck sakes.

        • Dubs

          The (Turbid) North remembers.

      • Boss the Ross

        I will be jamming that album until I drop dead.

    • brokensnow

      “most “all-time” choices come down to nostalgia and a place and time, rather than their actual merits.”…THIS. A lot of people here think its something more than chemical reaction and a need for serotonin.

      • It’s exactly why Thrice’s Vheissu will forever be one of my top 10 albums

      • Dubs

        Aye, hence my point about Justice.

      • tigeraid

        I mean…. How many of us have really gone alllll the way back to those albums that killed when we were younger? Or one that hit us stronger because we were depressed that one time, or happy that other time?

        I can remember digging the hell out of a lot of Megadeth in the 90s, but now I try and listen again and a lot of it is DOGSHIT.

        • brokensnow

          indeed. its the same with much of what gets pushed on this site.Won hold water after a few years, and will be deemed average or above at best.

          • i hope that’s not an honest criticism of the TovH. we are all writers who like sharing things with the world, sometimes without care as to how something may sound in the future. (although if they are reviews, low scores may indicate such a thing)

          • brokensnow

            some of the TovH take it to seriously, some not enough. Its all subjective I suppose, but I believe that breeds lazyness and a sense of entitlement. Too many here look to the past as superior or the now as a be all end all. I like a more forward thinking approach.

          • i shall use this feedback when composing future articles. thank you. (not sarcastic)

          • Are you referring to site content or comment community?

          • brokensnow

            a little of both….isnt it the same 30 or 40 guys..?

          • tigeraid

            A little Toilethate? brokensnow pls!

          • brokensnow

            read below.

  • In defense of my list, I’ve had multiple people tell me they’ve spent money based on a recommendation I’ve made. If my yapping helps put some money in a band’s pocket, it’s worth it imo.

    • brokensnow

      Keeping the art alive. as it should be.

    • Boss the Ross

      Word.

    • Óðinn

      I trust your opinion. You’ve listened to Metal for like 35 years. Plus, you like some good Stoner, Sludge.

  • I think it is a complex question. And I don’t have a good answer to it.

    My favorite records had some sort of connection with me, depending on the circumstances in which I listened to them.

    In fact, I was jamming this morning At War with Reality with the same enthusiasm I had two years ago. Same happens with Stigmata from Arch Enemy or Captivity & Devourment by Armageddon.

    Since Dubya and Randall were talking about Cynic, I think the devolpment of the artists runs with our tastes for their materials too; and the last time I spinned Traced in Air, it didn’t clicked with me like it did before 🙁

    • It just doesn’t feel the same anymore does it man 🙁

      • It doesn’t have the same vibe and passion 🙁 Is more like people in a room playing multi-layered music.

        ;_;)>

  • Dave Vincent’s Perm

    Morbid Angel- Covenant
    Akercocke- Choronzon

  • Lacertilian

    This happened for me last year with Tempel.
    Straight into the top 10.

    • 2016 is NOT tarnishing that album as of yet

      • Lacertilian

        I can listen to either of their albums at any time and enjoy them. That’s probably the most important criterion for me.

        • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

          I still haven’t listened to that Tempel properly.

          • Lacertilian

            You really should.

  • Agree with AJFA as an all time great as it was my gateway drug to metal and beyond. That would certainly be a challenge to pick 10. They’d all have to be close to perfect for consideration.

  • JWEG

    It should be easier for me to answer the question of an All-Time Fave within 10 years considering that I’ve only counted myself a “Metal Fan” since 2004-ish.

    My mind keeps going back to Moonsorrow even while considering other things to put here. Verisäkeet is just outside the 10 year mark though…

    • CyberneticOrganism

      Nothing wrong there, that’s a perfect album.

  • Boss the Ross

    I think we should revisit this think tank at the end of the year and reevaluate our 2015 aoty lists.

    • Dubs

      Last year I actually started making a top ten per year for the decade playlist on the ‘Fy. I’ve changed several of the lists given the benefit of time.

      • Boss the Ross

        Oh man, that’s really cool. This think tank is something that has kind of been in my head for the last few months. My music purchasing has been growing more and more each month and i have to make decisions on whether to buy new music or old “classics” that i don’t own or haven’t heard yet. I try to keep a balance between the two, but it gets hard sometimes.

  • Some recent AOTY that may also be on my all-time list:

    Amon Amarth ‘With Oden On Our Side’
    Cobalt ‘Gin’
    Cormorant ‘Dwellings’
    Altar of Plagues ‘Teethed Glory & Injury’

    Favorite metal album ever is Wintersun s/t. Nostalgia plays a huge factor, but they are all albums I’m always listening to.

    • Dubs

      There are several albums I dearly love that were released in 2005/2006, Oden included.

    • was just jamming Teethed Glory & Injury last night. i think that one’s got staying power, as the songs aren’t TOO long and it’s got the right amount of avant-garde to allow for multiple listens.

  • Óðinn

    If I offended you, oh I’m sorry

    But maybe you need to be offended

    Here’s my apology

    And one more thing, fuck you!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxcJW6bs5os

  • IDK what my favorite album of all-time is but, for this decade, Woods of Ypres’s “Woods 5: Grey Skies and Electric Light”would make it into my list of all-time favorites. (I don’t really make lists but you know what I mean.)