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DecemberSoul
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Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 9:46 am
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2022 1:45 am 
 

So who can name any song by Anvil where its title is NOT sung in the chorus/refrain?
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Cirrus uncinus
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2022 2:56 pm
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2022 1:08 pm 
 

What are your opinions on narration/voiceovers/spoken word interludes in songs? I don't mind them and even enjoy them depending on what the band is going for with the song. However, a guy I know despises all kinds of speaking layered over music and will always try to edit them out.

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Nocturnal_Evil
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Apr 19, 2021 12:00 am
Posts: 472
Location: United States
PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2022 1:30 pm 
 

Cirrus uncinus wrote:
What are your opinions on narration/voiceovers/spoken word interludes in songs? I don't mind them and even enjoy them depending on what the band is going for with the song. However, a guy I know despises all kinds of speaking layered over music and will always try to edit them out.


I usually don't mind.
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HeavenDuff
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Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2010 10:35 pm
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2022 1:52 pm 
 

Cirrus uncinus wrote:
What are your opinions on narration/voiceovers/spoken word interludes in songs? I don't mind them and even enjoy them depending on what the band is going for with the song. However, a guy I know despises all kinds of speaking layered over music and will always try to edit them out.


There was a whole big thing in the unpopular opinion thread about Nightfall in Middle-Earth, and a lot of people were complaining about the spoken words and narration interludes. I personnally do not mind them all that much, in this context and most others.

But it is true that these interludes tend to be the things I usually grow tired of the quickest when revisiting albums over and over.

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matras
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2007 6:01 am
Posts: 1217
Location: Sweden
PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2022 1:57 pm 
 

I know a question that keeps all fans of death metal awake at night:

Is Rogga Johansson a person or a subgenre?

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Cirrus uncinus
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2022 2:56 pm
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Location: United States
PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2022 2:49 pm 
 

Oh yes, I know those interludes in concept albums are a contentious subject. But I was more curious about narration/speech samples/spoken word parts that appear on a proper song, be it at the beginning, middle, or end.

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HeavenDuff
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2022 3:21 pm 
 

Cirrus uncinus wrote:
Oh yes, I know those interludes in concept albums are a contentious subject. But I was more curious about narration/speech samples/spoken word parts that appear on a proper song, be it at the beginning, middle, or end.


I personnally love these. Atlantean Kodex used a wide range of samples on The White Goddess, namely of Christopher Lee in Wicker Man, and with his deep voice and charisma, it works wonders with epic music like what AK delivered on The White Goddess.

Agalloch also sampled The Wicker Man on their White EP, to an even greater extent, and it's dissipated all over the record, making it somekind of hommage to the movie, or even kind of a conceptual album.

Fulci did this with their Tropical Sun album, sampling different parts of Zombi 2 by Lucio Fulci, and using samples from it all throughout the record.

Being a big fan of cinema, I love when bands do this kind of stuff :)

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Footless
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2022 10:59 am
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2022 5:51 pm 
 

Here's a random metal question; what's your opinion of this thread so far? I think it's turning out better than I thought it would when I created it. What are your thoughts?
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Thexhumed
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 2:26 pm
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2022 9:39 pm 
 

Footless wrote:
Here's a random metal question; what's your opinion of this thread so far? I think it's turning out better than I thought it would when I created it. What are your thoughts?


I like nobody is taking it too seriously, otherwise it would become boring real quick.



On another topic, what song/albums do you shower to?
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Footless
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2022 12:06 am 
 

Thexhumed wrote:
Footless wrote:
Here's a random metal question; what's your opinion of this thread so far? I think it's turning out better than I thought it would when I created it. What are your thoughts?


I like nobody is taking it too seriously, otherwise it would become boring real quick.



On another topic, what song/albums do you shower to?


Agreed, no TRV3 KVLt neckbeards in sight! It's often quite humorous in this thread.

Answer to the shower question: usually nothing but my thoughts. If I have to listen to something, it's usually on the lighter, more accessible side of things, i.e. Gojira and the like. I find that showering to Paysage D'Hiver creates some unnecessarily trippy vibes. Just about to apply conditioner and then Welt Aus Eis kicks in... Yeah...
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CreepingDeath16
Metalhead

Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2021 12:49 am
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2022 1:52 am 
 

Cirrus uncinus wrote:
What are your opinions on narration/voiceovers/spoken word interludes in songs? I don't mind them and even enjoy them depending on what the band is going for with the song. However, a guy I know despises all kinds of speaking layered over music and will always try to edit them out.

They can be really great, Bathory's One Eyed Old Man is the first that comes to mind. The speech's accompaniment is really atmospheric and the whole thing builds up perfectly to the final metal section. Gets me every time.
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Metal_On_The_Ascendant
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Joined: Fri May 22, 2015 6:38 am
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2022 2:09 am 
 

Cirrus uncinus wrote:
Oh yes, I know those interludes in concept albums are a contentious subject. But I was more curious about narration/speech samples/spoken word parts that appear on a proper song, be it at the beginning, middle, or end.


Those are great and applicable in post metal, prog, doom, folk - not especially so in straight black and death where they tend to not work as well as with more contemplative styles.

Even power metal bands and traditional heavy metal that's working within a concept tends to sound really cool with spoken words. Think Iron Maiden's Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Seventh Son of a Seventh Son or Manowar's Dark Avenger and Father.

Primordial, Neurosis, My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost to name a few have usually scant lines spoken that add some extra element to the vocals. It's all about execution but the more atmospheric stuff favors narration.
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Cirrus uncinus
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2022 2:26 am 
 

Thanks to everyone for answering! Glad to see this appreciation for spoken word parts in songs, since of all the genres I actively listen to metal seems to have the most of those.

Thexhumed wrote:
On another topic, what song/albums do you shower to?

On days when I need to take longer showers to wash my hair, I like putting my entire music library on shuffle because I live for the extreme mood whiplash. One time I put on Falling Star by Stratovarius, which was followed immediately by Cobalt and Bolt Thrower.

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BastardHead
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2022 3:04 am 
 

Every single song with a spoken word section would be improved by 30% at least with those parts removed and yes that includes Rime of the Ancient Mariner. I absolutely loathe that shit and I'm frankly stunned that I'm the first to say so. Holy shit "Grandpa, tell me a story" is practically a meme for how unbelievably stupid it is and that got a shoutout in this thread. Absolute Twilight Zone shit here.
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Metal_On_The_Ascendant
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Joined: Fri May 22, 2015 6:38 am
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2022 3:26 am 
 

BastardHead wrote:
Holy shit "Grandpa, tell me a story" is practically a meme for how unbelievably stupid it is and that got a shoutout in this thread. Absolute Twilight Zone shit here.

The Grandpa tell me a story stuff is hilariously insufferable and I was going to say I wondered who found that listenable but I've heard a Manowar live album where over-enthusiastic fans repeated every word. That's called The Warrior's Prayer though, I've seen no shout outs.

Metal bands that overdo everything will ruin narrated parts; lots of metal bands tend to overdo everything lol. It can still be tastefully done, I think.
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CreepingDeath16
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Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2021 12:49 am
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2022 4:29 am 
 

Thexhumed wrote:
On another topic, what song/albums do you shower to?

As much as I like music, I don't listen to it in the bathroom, or the bedroom for that matter. Things have their places.
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Gravetemplar
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2022 5:31 am 
 

BastardHead wrote:
Every single song with a spoken word section would be improved by 30% at least with those parts removed and yes that includes Rime of the Ancient Mariner. I absolutely loathe that shit and I'm frankly stunned that I'm the first to say so. Holy shit "Grandpa, tell me a story" is practically a meme for how unbelievably stupid it is and that got a shoutout in this thread. Absolute Twilight Zone shit here.

Agreed. Spoken word is usually lame.

Also, this is hilarious.

https://shop-hellsheadbangers.com/incan ... -vinyl.asp

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mirons
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2022 9:22 am 
 

Cirrus uncinus wrote:
Oh yes, I know those interludes in concept albums are a contentious subject. But I was more curious about narration/speech samples/spoken word parts that appear on a proper song, be it at the beginning, middle, or end.


It depends. Usually I don't mind spoken parts, but sometimes they can be cringeworthy. For example, the Sakis Tolis solo album has some preachy motivational spoken word stuff that frankly sounds just vapid, and the thick Greek accent doesn't help either.

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Ravenlord266
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2022 9:58 am 
 

DecemberSoul wrote:
So who can name any song by Anvil where its title is NOT sung in the chorus/refrain?


Heh, I always think the same when I think of Dio. Not that it's bad, but the chorus' tend to get a bit predictable.
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DecemberSoul
Mirties Metafora

Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 9:46 am
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2022 10:47 am 
 

Re: useless/stupid spoken wordery: One case where a spoken word-less version will hopefully be made one day is Resurrection's Embalmed existence. That's the worst and most ill-fitting use of such nonsense I have ever heard, unfortunately. I would enjoy listening to such an alternative version, but not the one existing.It actually prevents me from wanting to own and/or listen to it at all. Goodamn, just thinking about it irates me, what a waste of an album.
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EvergreenSherbert
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2022 10:59 am 
 

BastardHead wrote:
Every single song with a spoken word section would be improved by 30% at least with those parts removed and yes that includes Rime of the Ancient Mariner. I absolutely loathe that shit and I'm frankly stunned that I'm the first to say so. Holy shit "Grandpa, tell me a story" is practically a meme for how unbelievably stupid it is and that got a shoutout in this thread. Absolute Twilight Zone shit here.

Does this include Agalloch's "I saw the nightfall!" interjection? I can't imagine She Painted Fire Across the Skyline without it. It's goofy in an endearing way.
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DoomMetalAlchemist
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2022 11:37 am 
 

Metal_On_The_Ascendant wrote:
BastardHead wrote:
Holy shit "Grandpa, tell me a story" is practically a meme for how unbelievably stupid it is and that got a shoutout in this thread. Absolute Twilight Zone shit here.

The Grandpa tell me a story stuff is hilariously insufferable and I was going to say I wondered who found that listenable but I've heard a Manowar live album where over-enthusiastic fans repeated every word. That's called The Warrior's Prayer though, I've seen no shout outs.



BH needs this info to be pounded into his head to not confuse this. I actually enjoy The Warrior's Prayer as corny as it is, but the narration in Dark Avenger is Orson Welles bringing his greatest contribution to popular culture. No, it's not Citizen Cane. No, it's not War of the Worlds. No, it's not even fucking frozen peas. It is fucking Dark Avenger. Perhaps this thought should be in the unpopular opinions thread.

Anyway, I know there's a lot of these parts I don't care for but the ones I don't care for almost never stick out in my mind. The ones that do stick out in my mind tend to be the ones I find to give the song such an incredibly epic boost to help that song just be the best, well, EPIC it can be.

Bill Tsamis was a master with this in Lordian Guard. The debut album had two samples of someone narrating the bible, and the grand storyteller voice of the narrator combined with Bill's knack for epic keyboards just makes those songs, particularly Revelation XIX, just over the top but just the right amount. I'm not at all religious, but it Bill would've made an audio book of the bible writing backing keyboards to that whole audiobook of the Bible, I so would've bought it. On the second Lordian Guard album, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, vocalist Vidonne does an incredible job narrating the intro, with the sparse instrumentation backing it making it that much more grand.

HeavenDuff wrote:
I personnally love these. Atlantean Kodex used a wide range of samples on The White Goddess, namely of Christopher Lee in Wicker Man, and with his deep voice and charisma, it works wonders with epic music like what AK delivered on The White Goddess.



Where is the sample used in Twelve Stars and an Azure Gown from? It's such a beautiful song but it seems weird to me that an epic heavy metal band would write such a pro-Christ song, just for the fact that those bands usually just don't write songs like that, lol.

EDIT: In case of misunderstanding, "Do I need to pound it in your head" or such is a common hyperbole, and does not actually have any violent connotations. I'm sure BH knows this as he his American, but juuuuuuuuuust in case.

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HeavenDuff
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2022 12:18 pm 
 

DoomMetalAlchemist wrote:
HeavenDuff wrote:
I personnally love these. Atlantean Kodex used a wide range of samples on The White Goddess, namely of Christopher Lee in Wicker Man, and with his deep voice and charisma, it works wonders with epic music like what AK delivered on The White Goddess.


Where is the sample used in Twelve Stars and an Azure Gown from? It's such a beautiful song but it seems weird to me that an epic heavy metal band would write such a pro-Christ song, just for the fact that those bands usually just don't write songs like that, lol.


The quote is, IIRC, from a Winston Churchill speech, and is more about what he refers to as "The Tragedy of Europe" then it is about Christianism, although there is a part of the speech that mentions Christianity. The entire quote is more about the greed deeds, culture, arts, philosophy and academics of Europe, and how great Europe would be if it wasn't for the wars and internal conflicts.

First few times I heard the song I also frowned at the part about Christian fate as it seems to be unfitting with the rest of the song, which is more focused on Roman and Greek mythos.

But yeah, I'm not sure why the speech is used in that song specifically. But I still love that song, haha :P

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Metal_On_The_Ascendant
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2022 2:27 pm 
 

Sorry, I like spoken wordery and samples in heavy music - a lot of my favorite bands of all time like Godspeed and all the post-rock and experimental stuff relies heavily on that.

As far as metal goes, another cool example would be Venom's At War With Satan.

Like everything else, it has to be done well. It has to add to the song and not stick out sorely. Even if it's theatrical - as long as it fits, that's sorta what counts.
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BastardHead
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2022 2:40 pm 
 

DoomMetalAlchemist wrote:
Metal_On_The_Ascendant wrote:
BastardHead wrote:
Holy shit "Grandpa, tell me a story" is practically a meme for how unbelievably stupid it is and that got a shoutout in this thread. Absolute Twilight Zone shit here.


The Grandpa tell me a story stuff is hilariously insufferable and I was going to say I wondered who found that listenable but I've heard a Manowar live album where over-enthusiastic fans repeated every word. That's called The Warrior's Prayer though, I've seen no shout outs.


BH needs this info to be pounded into his head to not confuse this. I actually enjoy The Warrior's Prayer as corny as it is, but the narration in Dark Avenger is Orson Welles bringing his greatest contribution to popular culture. No, it's not Citizen Cane. No, it's not War of the Worlds. No, it's not even fucking frozen peas. It is fucking Dark Avenger. Perhaps this thought should be in the unpopular opinions thread.


lmao whoops. I must've flipped the titles somewhere down the line and never noticed since I'm almost certain I've called it out by name incorrectly on the forum in the past and nobody corrected me until now :lol:. I sentence myself to 40 weeks on the wheel!
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Footless
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2022 2:50 pm 
 

BastardHead wrote:
I sentence myself to 40 weeks on the wheel!


*Conan the Barbarian music intensifies*
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Footless
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2022 2:51 pm 
 

What's the popular opinion on tshirtslayer.com? It seems like an excellent place to find rare, cool, and obscure stuff, but it almost seems too good to not be sketchy. Any thoughts?
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HeavenDuff
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2022 3:26 pm 
 

Metal_On_The_Ascendant wrote:
Sorry, I like spoken wordery and samples in heavy music - a lot of my favorite bands of all time like Godspeed and all the post-rock and experimental stuff relies heavily on that.


A big strenght of GY!BE is that the spoken words are, IIRC, not samples from other stuff, but actual field recordings the musicians recorded themselves, so it is very unique and is definitely an integral part of the art piece they create. I love these, because they are glimpses of real life, scattered throughout their music.

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CreepingDeath16
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2022 4:05 pm 
 

HeavenDuff wrote:
A big strenght of GY!BE is that the spoken words are, IIRC, not samples from other stuff, but actual field recordings the musicians recorded themselves, so it is very unique and is definitely an integral part of the art piece they create. I love these, because they are glimpses of real life, scattered throughout their music.

Same thing with Swans' Soundtracks for the Blind: oddities from Jarboe's tape archives, snippets from interviews of Gira's and Jarboe's elderly parents about their ailments, really intimate and personal stuff.
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EvergreenSherbert
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2022 6:19 pm 
 

HeavenDuff wrote:
Metal_On_The_Ascendant wrote:
Sorry, I like spoken wordery and samples in heavy music - a lot of my favorite bands of all time like Godspeed and all the post-rock and experimental stuff relies heavily on that.


A big strenght of GY!BE is that the spoken words are, IIRC, not samples from other stuff, but actual field recordings the musicians recorded themselves, so it is very unique and is definitely an integral part of the art piece they create. I love these, because they are glimpses of real life, scattered throughout their music.

The recordings in F# A# Infinity in particular make the whole atmosphere for me.
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Footless
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2022 8:02 pm 
 

EvergreenSherbert wrote:
HeavenDuff wrote:
Metal_On_The_Ascendant wrote:
Sorry, I like spoken wordery and samples in heavy music - a lot of my favorite bands of all time like Godspeed and all the post-rock and experimental stuff relies heavily on that.


A big strenght of GY!BE is that the spoken words are, IIRC, not samples from other stuff, but actual field recordings the musicians recorded themselves, so it is very unique and is definitely an integral part of the art piece they create. I love these, because they are glimpses of real life, scattered throughout their music.

The recordings in F# A# Infinity in particular make the whole atmosphere for me.


Oh, I have that album on CD. Interesting, but bizarre stuff, to be sure.
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Nocturnal_Evil
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2022 12:08 pm 
 

Any collectors here still collect physical singles or promos, or do you view it as not worth it in an age with internet?
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j_bentley12885
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2022 1:00 pm 
 

Nocturnal_Evil wrote:
Any collectors here still collect physical singles or promos, or do you view it as not worth it in an age with internet?


I occassionally pick up singles. Mainly from bands I consider my favorites. Like Motorhead and Poison Idea.

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~Guest 1730521
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Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2022 1:59 pm
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2022 2:08 pm 
 

Opeth's Still Life is quite possibly my favorite metal album of all time but their other albums leave me cold; despite multiple attempts to engage with their music I can't ever "get into it," there's just no penetration. Believe me, I've tried to penetrate—and I fail every time. Ghost Reveries? What the hell am I listening to? "Blackwater Park is just Still Life but better!" No, it's not... I don't see Benighted or The Moor on the tracklist, so how exactly does that make any sense?

Is Opeth really just a one-album wonder?

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Thexhumed
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2022 9:38 pm 
 

Nocturnal_Evil wrote:
Any collectors here still collect physical singles or promos, or do you view it as not worth it in an age with internet?


I love getting singles and EPs, I actually actively seek them.
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Nocturnal_Evil
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2022 10:31 pm 
 

What's your take on metal songs about metal or metalheads/community?

I can easily go either way, especially if the music is good. Kreator's "Hail to the Hordes" doesn't bug me, but Doro's "We Are the Metalheads" makes my eyes roll and it's uninspiring musically on top of that.

On a different note, it's cool to see some other people still seek out singles and EPs these days.
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Lord_Of_Diamonds
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2022 12:10 am 
 

Nocturnal_Evil wrote:
What's your take on metal songs about metal or metalheads/community?

I can easily go either way, especially if the music is good. Kreator's "Hail to the Hordes" doesn't bug me, but Doro's "We Are the Metalheads" makes my eyes roll and it's uninspiring musically on top of that.

I don't usually like them. Unless it's Barbatos/Abigail, in which case it's funny because of the band's poor English skills.

"I was felt miserable due to surprised"
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MetalCuresHeadaches wrote:
Hexenmacht46290 wrote:
Can I have, “barely graduated high school and listens to Pantera,” as a custom title, under my name?

That title seems a little redundant though. I feel like just saying one automatically implies the other; having both would be overkill.

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Defenestrated
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Nov 19, 2022 1:50 pm
Posts: 68
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2022 12:56 am 
 

Spiral Architect 2 wrote:
Opeth's Still Life is quite possibly my favorite metal album of all time but their other albums leave me cold; despite multiple attempts to engage with their music I can't ever "get into it," there's just no penetration. Believe me, I've tried to penetrate—and I fail every time. Ghost Reveries? What the hell am I listening to? "Blackwater Park is just Still Life but better!" No, it's not... I don't see Benighted or The Moor on the tracklist, so how exactly does that make any sense?

Is Opeth really just a one-album wonder?


I think you're actually the first person I've seen report that sort of experience with Opeth. I've seen plenty of people who aren't impressed by them, but to be unimpressed with the exception of one album? Interesting!

I don't really see any of their albums as equivalent to Still Life: Part 2. I can't really describe how (I'm pretty bad at describing music), but you might find that Watershed is marginally more similar to it than the others - disregarding the production, and disregarding the major differences in lineup and instrumentation! Any thoughts on that one?

Since you mentioned "Benighted"... Recently someone almost spoiled it for me by pointing out the old prog song it's, er, inspired by. I still love it anyway.
Spoiler: show

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BastardHead
Worse than Stalin

Joined: Thu Aug 18, 2005 7:53 pm
Posts: 10628
Location: Oswego, Illinois
PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2022 12:21 pm 
 

Defenestrated wrote:
I think you're actually the first person I've seen report that sort of experience with Opeth. I've seen plenty of people who aren't impressed by them, but to be unimpressed with the exception of one album? Interesting!


Make that two! Opeth is a band I was really quick to shit on as a teenager and I genuinely don't know why they were such a go-to target of mine. I hated how disjointed the songs felt, how boring the prog rock stuff was, how woefully lacking in energy the death metal parts were, basically I just thought Akerfeldt was a phenomenal vocalist who inexplicably loved writing and performing the most boring shit imaginable. That's all fine but the issue is that that was expressed through really hyperbolic hatred. I also formed that opinion after skimming a couple songs back in the Limewire era and then never bothered to follow up with other songs or full albums. Just like four tracks total. Pretty sure I ran across some rando on some old forum who said something like "why can't Cannibal Corpse write death metal as beautiful as Opeth?" and that statement was so fucking stupid that Opeth became stupid by association with whoever the fuck said that.

Nowadays, since I've revisited their catalog and given them the fair shot I refused to afford them as a kid. And it turns out... yeah I still feel almost the exact same way. I get what they're going for now but I will always always always prefer my metal to be pugilistic over textural. They're good at what they do, but it's not for me. I find it unengaging and uninteresting, one of the countless examples of technically very impressive bands that completely fail to evoke any sort of emotion for me.

Except Ghost Reveries. I have absolutely no god damned clue why, but I adore Ghost Reveries front to back. It's the same basic sound that they'd been using for a decade at that point but desperate search for emotional connection finally happened on their eighth attempt and then never again. I can't tell you why Ghost of Perdition blows me away but The Leper Affinity leaves me completely cold or why I love The Grand Conjuration but still can't remember a single note of Demon of the Fall despite listening to it on purpose probably around twenty times in my life.

I have no explanation why. Ghost Reveries works for me. Nothing else does.
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Defenestrated
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Nov 19, 2022 1:50 pm
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Location: United States
PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2022 4:29 pm 
 

BastardHead wrote:
"why can't Cannibal Corpse write death metal as beautiful as Opeth?"


Oof! That's...unfortunate.

I'm probably in the minority on this, but Ghost Reveries to me is not one of their best metal albums - in fact I find long stretches of it to pretty much epitomize the usual things that critics complain about. It has some of their strongest individual songs ("Grand Conjuration" and "Ghost of Perdition," and I'd also place "Atonement" among the highlights of their mellower stuff), but then there's a lot of it I find kind of forced, awkward, and uneven.

It's definitely not a bad album (I'm a fan of all their work), but I'd personally put it in the bottom three or four from their metal era. My rankings would go like:

1. Blackwater Park (My first listen, so, in large part a sentimental favorite. But probably their most well-rounded and representative, regardless.)
2. Still Life
3. My Arms... (Just marginally below Still Life. At one point I would've placed it at the very top, but a lot of the magic has worn off for me.)

From here it's much harder to say, and I'd probably be inclined to change my answers on a weekly basis. None of their albums is perfect, but I find more significant flaws outside the top three. But as with music in general, so much for me depends on highly subjective, personal, context-sensitive factors: nostalgia, life circumstances, developing knowledge and taste, etc. (I've been listening to the band since 2002, and fell in love almost instantly - but on first exposure, I hadn't even heard half-a-dozen extreme metal bands.) Anyway:

4. Orchid
5. Ghost Reveries
6. Deliverance
7. Watershed
8. Morningrise

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