It's that time of year again, where Christmas adverts and songs begin to creep into our lives, us students draw nearer to deadlines with the realisation we have done sod all and need to pull our fingers out very quickly, whilst all the while the weather gets much colder and everyone gets a runny nose and a cough that sounds like they are dying. But it is also that time where people start thinking about their favourite albums of the year in magazines, webzines etc; and as it is that time of year once again and I have actually managed to listen to quite a few albums out this year (thank you Spotify) I thought why not do a top 20 myself, after all I bet you're all dying to hear my thoughts again.
I would like to point out a couple of things first off. A lot of you are bound to disagree with my opinions, you may feel that I have overlooked an absolute classic, or given praise to a bigger turkey than the one that will be sat on your dining room table come Christmas day; of course we aren't going to agree 100%, so I apologize if you think I have it all wrong, but this is simply my opinion (and if you have read my blog before you may already know I am an idiot). Secondly, despite the use of Spotify there will still be many albums I have missed. With Metal Blade and Century Media record labels removing their back catalogues from Spotify's database as well there are certainly a few albums I have missed. Some notable examples that come to mind are Skeletonwitch, Vallenfyre and The Black Dahlia Murder; which perhaps makes this exercise redundant....but we will move on anyway.
I will be doing a different number (or a couple of numbers per blog entry, I'm sure you'll work it out) and try and post regularly as possible (feel the tension in the air). So here we go *drum roll* Chris Tippell's top 20 albums of 2011. Obviously starting with number 20.
No.20- Toxic Holocaust- Conjure And Command
First emerging during the mostly nostalgic Thrash revival a few years ago, Toxic Holocaust; whilst not sounding terrible by any means; never seemed to really impress. Conjure And Command quickly made up for this. Whilst previous Toxic Holocaust albums (certainly with their artwork) have had a somewhat cartoon like vibe to them, Conjure And Command is a much darker and aggressive work that doesn't so much grab your attention than lock your neck tightly in a vice and roar in your face.
This is the first Toxic Holocaust album that see's a fully cohesive band rather than just main man Joel Grind performing full vocal and instrumental duties himself, and although it is uncertain how much to do with the writing process these extra members have had, it has to have helped Joel perfect his vision. As much inspired by blackened metal acts such as Bathory and Venom as by thrash, this has a darker edge which stands it out from most other 'Thrash Revival' acts into Kreator territory (and they are surely a major influence).
Each and every song on here is a highlight, no filler whatsoever, and at only 32 minutes it does not feel too drawn out in the slightest, in a time where too many people are making albums that are far too long to keep the listeners attention this is a massive welcome. Conjure And Command sadly doesn't seem to have grabbed the attention that I feel it has deserved because I was gripped upon the first listen and it only improves after every listen. This is a mighty album that easily sits with other thrash albums from classic and newer bands in the last couple of years.
Listen to: Agony Of The Damned, Nowhere To Run, Sound The Charge