Vuk’s Top 10 of the Decade
1. Converge – Jane Doe
What drives one to write such music? It’s a question I’m left with every time I listen to Jane Doe. There is no doubt that every Converge album following it was equally significant in defining the band’s sound, but Jane did more than words could ever describe.
2. Mastodon – Remission
Easily one of the most epic things I’ve ever heard. I mean, there’s a clip of a T-Rex roaring on it; a fucking T-Rex. That should be enough reason to love this album.
3. Cursed – III: Architects of Troubled Sleep
It seems odd to place a record that only came out about two years ago on a top-of-the-decade list, but I’d even go as far to put this on a top-of-all-time list. You could say I loved Cursed, but they are probably the most important band in extreme music to come out of Toronto, so it’s hard for me not to have a slight bias. Pretty much anyone in Toronto who listens to hardcore knows Cursed, and I’m confident that a comparable amount of people love the band. It’s just sad to think that their best had to be their last.
4. Thursday – War All the Time
Probably, also one of the most misunderstood bands of the decade. I say misunderstood, because everyone seems to take Thursday for this shitty, mainstream screamo band; kind of like half the bands they influenced, yet share barely any resemblance with. Unlike most of the bands playing in this style, nowadays, Thursday write interesting and relevant music, and War All the Time is perhaps the best example of that. The parallels between love and war create an intensifying musical experience, bordering on chaotic at times, as Geoff Rickley’s agonized yells tear through the soundscape. People have taken Thursday for granted, and hopefully that will change.
5. Pig Destroyer – Terrifyer
From the pounding footsteps that break the silence in the opening seconds of this album, to J.R Hayes’ chilling accounts of slaughter and insanity, there isn’t anyone that does grindcore better than Pig Destroyer; for multiple reasons, and no, neither of them are the fact that the band is named fucking Pig Destroyer, though that is pretty awesome. I personally love that the band is composed of men that have families, but aren’t afraid to be kids, because come on, do you really think J.R. Hayes or Scott Hull would kill anybody? Clearly someone was watching too many slashers or reading too much Poe. But, jokes aside, albums like Terrifyer exemplify more imaginativeness than the typical grind album – lyrically and conceptually, in this case – and thus, give us listeners something more than just head-banging material.
6. At the Drive-In – Relationship of Command
Don’t get me wrong, I love the Mars Volta. But neither they nor Sparta will ever release anything as good as Relationship of Command. It’s a perfect mesh of the experimentation Omar and Cedric continued with when they formed The Mars Volta, and the intensity of At the Drive-In’s unique breed of post-hardcore.
7. Ion Dissonance – Solace
Labeling genres to bands like Ion Dissonance is such a pain in the ass. Sure, for Minus the Herd you could just say “Meshuggah worship”, but Solace is altogether an entirely different beast. Driven by the obscurity of Gorguts and the groove of Meshuggah, this is technical metal at its finest. While it’s all over the place, musically, and seems quite anti-atmosphere, its sheer eccentricity provides it with a unique sort of atmosphere – in the sense that, to get this music, you have to put your entire mind to the task, so it puts you in this higher conscious state. It’s like an evil Buddha, or something.
8. Mogwai – Mr. Beast
Besides them being one of the most unique forces in post-rock, since they first started out, Mogwai are probably one of my favourite bands in terms of songwriting, overall. Mr. Beast is easily the best example of their prowess in this discipline, as the build-ups they create in Mogwai classics like “Auto Rock” and “Friend of the Night”, are simply mind-blowing. As a musician myself, I could never imagine writing anything of this caliber, as it is simply that well-done.
9. Envy – A Dead Sinking Story
You don’t need understand what Tetsuya Fukagawa is saying to become absolutely captivated by it. It’s almost like watching a foreign film, except the music creates a scenery and plot no theater or television could duplicate, and the imagination is the projector. If this album doesn’t move you, you don’t have a heart.
10. Kayo Dot – Choirs of the Eye
It’s actually unfair, how much of a genius Toby Driver is, and of all his work, I think this is the finest. Many compare his work to that of Pink Floyd, and while I personally don’t see that many similarities, it’s really the expression of a similar mood, or atmosphere, that they have in common. The way they go about attaining that spacey feel – particularly with vocal delivery, phrasing, etc. – is very akin to the way Pink Floyd did it. Thankfully, though, there are no David Gilmour and Roger Waters in Kayo Dot, to ego-battle and eventually ruin the band.