As I alluded to in my last post, I've decided to follow in the old keew tradition and list my favourite albums released in 1998, ten years and a month or so after the fact. The best of '98 came out in the midst of the nu metal phenomenon, in the transient space between the days of the Power 30 and - for me - immersion in the internet and the virtual metal scene. It was also a few years before I started getting free promos, when I derived my knowledge of new metal through Unrestrained!, Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles, radio show Space in Your Face, and the few new metal releases that showed up on the CKMS shelves.
This isn't the list I would've come up with in 1998, though it does draw on what I was listening to at the time - as well as I can remember it all, that is. My memory's a bit vague at the best of times, and all I strongly remember from 1998 involves cats and my best friend's wedding (not the Julia Roberts movie, that was 1997). And, significantly, 1998 was the year I began to toss eggs and dairy off my personal menu on the road to veganism. (It was not an instantaneous transformation.) The rest? ...includes the albums it took me a little longer to catch onto and reflects the development of my tastes in the years since.
So, here goes. In no particular order...
Bruce Dickinson - The Chemical Wedding -- bought it then and loved it. love it still.
Fear Factory - Obsolete -- but for a couple of tracks I never got into it as much as Demanufacture, but it's permanently imprinted on my brain nonetheless.
Dan Swanö - Moontower -- drooled over the idea of the album for months and months before snagging the whole; every note sings to my soul.
Pitchshifter - www.pitchshifter.com -- I miss the growlier, dirtier old Pitchshifter, but I was also in the mood for this punkish-industrialized menace.
Katatonia - Discouraged Ones -- at first I only knew two songs and had mixed feelings about them; my love affair with Katatonia, including this album, developed later.
Devin Townsend - Infinity -- caught on to "Christeen" early on but didn't get around to buying the record for a few months at least; still a strange one but an utterly delightful mix of show tunes, metal and other weirdness.
Iced Earth - Something Wicked This Way Comes -- Iced Earth snuck under my skin while I wasn't looking; if you asked me about them I'd probably say "meh" but when I spin this one it somehow sounds so right.
Opeth - My Arms, Your Hearse -- other than "When," I came to this album through Moontower but after much too long of a delay.
Theatre Of Tragedy - Aégis-- add this one to my late discovery list; a delightful and sophisticated moment between their early goth metal and later electro twist.
Therion - Vovin -- classic, though I'd lost track of the band for a few years and took a while to rediscover their bombastic glory.
Diabolical Masquerade - Nightwork -- another album I tracked down after the fact because of its Dan Swanö connection; I only had scattered mp3s till recently actually.
Sentenced - Frozen -- delightful revelry in a pit of self-destructive gloom.
Primordial - A Journey's End -- it took till a few albums after this before I caught onto Primordial's genius; I only recently made it back this far in their catalogue and wasn't disappointed.
Cradle Of Filth - Cruelty and the Beast -- not my favourite CoF album but enjoyable in its evil cheesiness.
Monster Magnet - Power Trip -- even at the time I was rather appalled by the radio single schtick but underneath that the record has some powerful moments.
Korn - Follow the Leader -- this one came out during the peak of my Korn appreciation, and I seriously got into its dark, danceable groove but now it's been relegated to the club music category.
Drown - Product of a Two Faced World -- I loved the gloomy industrialized sound of the debut; this one took more of a punk, even nu metal, turn but it has its charm.
Spineshank - Strictly Diesel -- heard these guys on Space in Your Face and got a CD out of it; made sense in relation to Korn, Drown and maybe even Pitchshifter but doesn't get much play these days.
Tristania - Widow's Weeds -- this is one of the reasons bands with female singers get labelled "goth" but I refuse to hold it against them.
Blind Guardian - Nightfall In Middle-Earth -- some dude on Napster turned my onto Blind Guardian when all I knew was "Into the Storm".
Soilwork - Steelbath Suicide -- nice and thrashy but it took another album or two before I paid a lot of attention.
The Haunted - The Haunted -- I think I had to backtrack for this one too; it wasn't till The Haunted ... Made Me Do It that I noticed the buzz.
Dimmu Borgir - Godless Savage Garden - I remember thinking black metal with high-speed keyboard parts was ridiculous; what happened to me?!?
While trying to think back to 1998 I've also been reviewing from the tail end of 2008 - new material and re-releases - and oddly there's not much difference. It's all blending together in one big musical agglomeration. My brain's finding categorization and classification harder all the time it seems.