Hellride Music's Top Ten Albums of 2009

Posted by Captain Beyond Zen on Monday, January 4, 2010

Chris Barnes posted his top ten albums of 2009:

  1. Shrinebuilder Shrinebuilder: Supergroups usually look way better on paper than they sound on record, but this collaborative project between luminaries from Spirit Caravan, Om and Neurosis actually did exactly what was promised. The result was true synergy between members. This thing was massive.

  2. Om God is Good: Al Cisneros and new percussionist Emil Amos build on the “Chantcore” foundation set by the band in it’s early days. God is Good is a stunning combo of rhythm, aesthetic and texture. Always makes me feel like I’ve been smoking hashish with nomadic clansmen in a tent somewhere in the middle of Morocco. Amazing stuff, definitely original.

  3. Memory Driven Relative Obscurity: Good God Almighty… it’s great to have Dennis Cornelius back on the guitar again. Dennis writes melodic doom like nobody’s business and Relative Obscurity is everything you loved about late-period Revelation and his OverSoul project with a more progressive touch. I don’t know how many times I’ve listened to this since it came out in ’09. Magnificent.

  4. The Gates of Slumber Hymns Of Blood and Thunder: I can count on one hand how many Heavy Metal bands have had as many consistently solid releases as TGoS has, and it’s great to see them get the recognition they deserve from the Metal press and fans. Hymns Of Blood and Thunder is their Mob Rules. The mix of uptempo, mid and downtempo material is perfect as is the individual songs contributed by both McCash and Simon – McCash’s stuff more moody and given to epic twists and turns while Simon contributes the songs that you want to smash things to. A more brilliant pure Heavy Metal record from this decade I’d be hard-pressed to name. If this were the early 80’s, Martin Birch would be handling production and engineering and TGoS would be doing arena tours with Black Sabbath. McCash and RJD would be high-fiving each whilst on either end of a willing groupie.

  5. Hellmouth Destroy Everything. Worship Nothing. This originally came to me as a demo in ’08, then a full-scale assault with their debut in ’09. Holy shit. Nothing has viscerally grabbed me like this since My War way back when. Raw, rabid aural nihilism from Detroit bringing to mind Cliff-era Metallica crossed with Rollins-era Black Flag, Hellmouth also calls the current state of the world on the carpet. There’s no love songs or escapist Tolkien-esque fare here, it’s reality rock that says “Nothing will be all right, we are fucked”.

  6. Eagle Twin The Unkindness of Crows: Inspired by a series of poems by the controversial British poet Ted Hughes, Gentry Densley (ex-Iceburn, Ascend) and Tyler Smith take music-backed storytelling to new highs, definitely on par but in a category separate from Nick Cave or Tom Waits. In essence , they create a new mythology that is as dark and as bloody as any we’ve seen previously. All this is backed by music that is Wagnerian in scale. Amazing imagination here and the execution is near flawless.

  7. Aeolian Race Landlocked Nation: This almost flew under the radar and I put it on with an almost ‘this is going to suck’ attitude knowing nothing about that band. Proof positive that gut feelings sometimes let you down – Aeolian Race was a much-needed change of pace for me, blending classic Pink Floyd and Hawkwind with a nod to the jam-band scene for a truly original psychedelic swirl.

  8. Black Pyramid Black Pyramid: From the same roots that produced the above Aeolian Race, comes MA-based Black Pyramid. They have a unique way about them, blending classic trad doom with bong-rippin’ groove and polluted sludge then juxtaposing said sound with moments of true awe-inspiring beauty. A fantastic debut from this trio.

  9. Spice “Shave Your Fear”: Better known to American audiences as the rough-hewn throat behind those great early Spiritual Beggars and Mushroom River Band releases in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, Spice has a whole solo career that’s gone mostly unnoticed here. It’s a shame, because the man is not only a passionate vocalist, but he’s an extraordinary songwriter and guitar player. “Shave Your Fear”, with all it’s 70’s-based rock n’ roll appeal is also a deeply personal album for the man, and gets regular rotations here in the Hellride bunker.

  10. Saturnalia Temple “UR” & Lord of the Grave “Raunacht”: These two tie for #10. I hold them both in awe for their dedication to groove, distortion and Electric Wizard like assault on the senses. Two examples of trance-inducing Acid Doom that we haven’t heard since the Supercoven/Burnout EP from Electric Wizard.
Source: Hellride Music's Top Ten Albums of 2009

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