Monday, December 23, 2013

Top 10 Metal Albums of 2013 Preamble

The Malicious Intent crew in the middle of a typical debate.  Mark of the Beast is usually the first one to burst into tears and run from room, calling us all "assholes" and slamming the door on his way out. 

One of the most annoying things I find about myself is that I can get fairly obsessive about "completeness". I'm not even entirely sure how to explain it...but I do know that a lot of times it results in me not being able to keep up with shit or constantly failing to meet deadlines. For example, if you haven't noticed, almost every metal magazine and blog has published or posted their own "Best of the Year" lists. For me, I can't release mine until January 1st of the next year because there's something in my brain that has convinced me that it's entirely possible there will be an album released on December 31st of this year that will obliterate the fuck out all the other albums that made everyone else's lists. You might think this is a little ridiculous, but just look at Nokturnal Mortum's "The Voice of Steel" (2009). Yeah yeah, they're a controversial group because their extremist right wing ideologies and political affilations and probably wouldn't have made a lot of critics' lists anyway because of it, but STILL!! It's an absolutely killer album and easily one of the best metal albums of 2009, which happened to be released on December 26. If I would have made my Top 10 list early and missed it I would have had to either edit the list, which is annoying and kind of pointless after everyone's already read it, OR I'd have to make some goofy new post about how it should have been on my list to begin with or whatever. I guess the latter isn't so bad since its absurd to be expected to somehow have listened to EVERY album that came out, but I guess that's why I have a problem to begin with. I'm convinced that if I hold out for just a couple more days I'll be able to somehow come up with a better list after discovering some obscure, yet amazing record, or re-listening to an album I previously thought was shitty and finding it to be mind-blowing. Even this rant is starting to get pretty irritating.

Rob Gordon was so fucking hip, he read Decibel before it even existed!!
Anyway, I just came on here to write a quick post about how my Top 10 is going to be a little late this year! The main reason actually isn't because I'm holding out until the new year (although that's something I'd do anyway out of principal), but because my headphones are kind of fucked up right now and it's going to be a couple weeks until I can get them fixed up and make sure my list is solid. That's another kind of annoying order to truly judge an album's quality, I have to hear it on headphones! Computer speakers, a tablet, a phone...nope!! Anyway, for everyone out there eagerly anticipating my list (i.e. Judge Dredd), just know that my list will be out soon!!  So should we leave it at that? ;)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Sergeant D is Coming...AND WE'RE ALL ON HIS LIST

Love him or hate him, infamous Metal (and non-Metal) writer, Sergeant D, has made a valid point about the collective obsession that Metal fans have with the past.

If I may summarize his point, he writes that there are far too many Metalheads who are content to listen to nothing but Metal music from the past and who shun any new Metal music. What’s more, this creates a market for bands who simply follow trends (or revitalizing old trends, such as with Old School Death Metal and Thrash), rather than really trying to do something unique. This aspect might account for the creative stagnation at which Sergeant D points.

In his post, Sergeant D includes two promotional posters for two Metal festivals. The headliners are all at least 10 to 20-year-old bands. Most of the headlining have also never really strayed from their trademark sounds.

I do certainly agree that Metalheads (especially IMNs) are too quick to dismiss new and experimental sounds in Metal. One can even look as far back as “Focus” by Cynic (truthfully, probably even farther). They toured with Cannibal Corpse after they released that album, and you can easily search on YouTube for live footage from that tour where people in the audience are audibly booing Cynic. In the present day, “Focus” is one of the most revered albums in the Death Metal genre (if it can even really considered Death Metal) and its influence has traveled far and wide.

So obviously, this conservative nature of Metal fandom is not new. Bands that are exceptionally avant-garde or simply doing something new and interesting are often cast aside for whatever is hot at the time.

Of course, one should point out that there is a canyon of difference between dismissing new music because it’s new, avant-garde, or experimental, and dismissing it because it just doesn’t line up with your musical preferences.

In many cases, it seems like words (used by IMNs) used to criticize are the same in both instances: “untrve” or “gay”. The most recent example that comes to mind is Deafheaven’s “Sunbather”. OK, it’s straying from the black metal (some may even say post-black metal) form with brighter tones and more triumphant highs than most other Black Metal. What happens? It gets pummeled by IMNs.

Now I will totally acknowledge that the criticism of “Sunbather” is also partly due to the fact that it has become the Metal baby of 2013 for “hipsters” - but this is also part of the issue. To IMNs, if it doesn’t appeal to their most kvlt or br00tal musical preferences, then it is “untrve” or “gay”. By the same token, if it appeals to an audience outside of the Metal community, it is also “untrve” or “gay”. Is “Sunbather” a bad album? In my opinion, no. It’s one of my favorite albums of 2013. You might think it’s a bad album, because it doesn’t align with your musical tastes. But it’s hard to deny that they are pulling, if ever so slightly, the Post-Black Metal form in a new direction and that is something commendable.

To give another example, I am not really a fan of Kayo Dot’s music. However, I respect them for their experimental nature and the way that they completely fuck with what our preconceived notions of heavy music should be.

In turn, this all creates a chasm of creativity: not many bands are willing to try something new or at least experiment with the form, because it’s just easier to get accepted doing something everyone else has heard before.

However, Sergeant D failed to point out that EVERY genre of music has its purists and conservatives. That’s just the way it works. Even what I would consider some of the most “progressive” music genres have their purists. For example, I would consider Jazz a very progressive genre of music. However, one needs to look no further than famed trumpeter, Wynton Marsalis, to see its puritanical side. Marsalis plays a very old style of Jazz and refuses to adapt. Many of his critics say that it’s as though Marsalis doesn’t realize that new Jazz music has come out since 1965.

In any case, it doesn’t make puritanism right in any musical genre. If you don’t think art should progress, you’re just ignorant.

Wat u think?

(the picture at the top of the post is taken from this Sergeant D article on more or less the same topic...also worth reading)

Wulf's Official Response to Decibel Magazine's Top 100 Black Metal Albums (part 3)

80. "In the Streams of the Inferno" - Mysticum

I know next to nothing about Mysticum except that they were playing black metal in Norway in the early '90s and and did a split with Ulver in '94. Other than that I guess this is some sort of forgotten classic? Like a lot of these albums on this half (100-50) of the list I'll have to check it out later. Sorry guyz.

79. "Fex Urbis Lex Orbis" - Ludicra

Man, part 3 of this list is starting out pretty badly. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get into Ludicra when they were all the rage several years ago. I know Judge Dredd was all over them, but for whatever reason they just didn't click for me. Add this to the growing pile of albums from this list I should probably revisit.

78. "Om" - Negură Bunget

OK, finally a band I know something about!! I've been interested in these dudes ever since I read an interview with them in Metal Maniacs (RIP) a long time ago where they talked about how their take on black metal was heavily inspired by Romanian folk tales, legends, and mysticism. Sign me up!!
Anyway, many people consider "Om" to be their best album (and if IIRC one of Terrorizer Magazine's Top 10 metal albums of the 2000s!), but unfortunately I'm still not too familiar with their stuff, even though I really like what I've heard!! I'm still pissed I didn't get to see these guys when they came to Sydney, but it was one of my first days at a new job!! :(

77. "Darkspace I" - Darkspace

I'm listening to this CD right now!! From what I can tell, it's somewhat similar to Wroth's other one-man BM band Paysage d'Hiver, except I prefer the latter. Paysage has a more varied sound, and his ambient stuff rules!! Really great for D&D (even if Professor Grindstein thought it sounded like NPR's Hearts of Space, bah!). Anyway, if you want unrelenting, emotionless, cold and uncaring black metal, then knock yourself out!

76. "Phoenix Rising" - Destroyer 666

Yeah!! Finally an album I'm somewhat familiar with!! Maybe it was because I was in Australia, but while living in Sydney I listened to this album all the time on the way to work!! I'd say "Lone Wolf Winter" is arguably the best song on the album, but almost the entire thing is chock full of killer riffs and savage energy. I don't know if I'd necessarily count this is a black metal album, but whatever. I'd say this is actually a pretty good spot on the list for this album!

75. "Written in Waters" - Ved Buens Ende

I haven't listened to much of this album, but based on what I've heard I think this album sucks and don't know why so many people like it! Maybe it's just too "weird" or whatever, maybe it's because the vocals are lame, maybe it's because the cover art blows, but if we're making a Top 100 black metal albums list then this would definitely not be one of my selections. Sorry, but no thanks!!

74. "Fas - Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum" - Deathspell Omega

Even though it took me awhile to get into Deathspell just because they're style is so unorthodox, this is a great album, even if it is arguably the weakest of the "trilogy" that makes up their three latest full-lengths. Anyway, not too sure what to say about this record other than that it's dark, evil, disorienting, and has done a lot in taking black metal to a new, more intellectual and philosophical level.

73. "Battles in the North" - Immortal

One of my favorite Immortal albums!! I remember first checking out Immortal back in the Kazaa days and downloading as many black metal music videos as I could find. Besides Emperor's "The Loss and Curse of Reverence" and Satyricon's "Mother North", "Grim and Frostbitten Kingdoms" was arguably my favorite, even though not much happens in the music video. I think I just liked the song the time, I didn't understand why the band was perhaps trying to sound like shit on purpose and was mainly into stuff like Dimmu Borgir, Borknagar, and In Flames. Anyway, it took me awhile but Immortal's pre-"At the Heart of Winter" sound really grew on me. I started realizing that crystal-clear production wasn't everything, and while "Sons of Northern Darkness" sounded awesome, there was a certain charm and mysterious atmosphere that went with this record's icy, hyperspeed riffing and blasting, rickety drums.

72. "Maranatha" - Funeral Mist

Always wanted to check out Mortuus' solo project, but didn't realize anything he had put out was critically acclaimed!! I'll investigate soon!

71. "Ultima Thulée" - Blut aus Nord

Seriously?? I guess it's a kvlt album and shit, but I found it to be kind of cheesy, amateurish, forgettable, and nowhere near as great as Blut aus Nord's later stuff!! Maybe I'm missing the point, as this is a much more dark, grim take on Nordic mythology (usually a lyrical theme completely beaten to death at this point by ever viking/folk metal band ever), but still!! I'm still working on BaN's earlier albums, but as far as I can tell the band didn't become truly relevant until "The Work Which Transforms God" (2003), which was also the leader in a renaissance of twisted French black metal that is still going strong today!! Anyway, sorry but I don't believe this album is good enough to be on here.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Assault and BA-TAH-RY!

The other day I was watching some live footage of Converge, and there was a point in the clip where Jacob Bannon's hoodie is getting pulled on by a fan who is attempting to stage dive (around 5:40).  Bannon proceeds to knee the guy in the face and then punches some other fan in the face (one can only assume he was trying to punch the same guy that he kneed, but who knows). 
After watching this, I realized something that hadn't occurred to me in my more-than-15-years of listening to Metal: assault and battery takes place at almost every decently attended Metal show.  OK, maybe not at EVERY decently attended Metal show, but at least at all of the shows that involve some sort of moshing or any sort of physical..."interactions"?

I consider myself a law-abiding citizen (ok, MOST of the time), yet it has never once entered my mind that by voluntarily (or involuntarily via my 14-year-old self at Hatebreed shows) joining a mosh pit, I am committing a crime against my fellow Metalheads.
I'm certainly not a lawyer nor an expert on law by any stretch of the imagination but think about it: unless you're playing American football, it's certainly illegal for people to run into you, which can sometimes result in your getting knocked to the floor (aka mosh pits). Those metalcore and hardcore guys who fly around like ninjas doing karate kicks?*  Pretty sure that's illegal.  Grabbing someone by the hair in order to toss them off stage (a la Randy Blythe)**?  Yup, illegal. Cutting someone's throat with a knife: DEFINITELY ILLEGAL.

 These guys all have black belts in karate.  Too bad they're breaking the law.
With the advent of smart phones with built-in video cameras, it's easier than ever to record the world around you at anytime, anywhere.  Of course, "anytime" and "anywhere" also include Metal shows where people beat the shit out of each other.  Thus, it is easier than ever to have irrefutable evidence that assault and/or battery took place at some random basement show in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
What I find slightly surprising is that even with this type of video technology widely available, there aren't Metalheads suing one another (and the bands!) left and right!  I guess that means that for the most part we're pretty chill dudes and dudettes...who like to beat the shit out of each other.

Anyway, am I missing something here?  Shouldn't we all be going to jail?!?!  I guess I need to talk to a lawyer.  

...Actually, I did talk to a lawyer.  A good friend of mine...ahem...I mean, one member of my legal team...has been out of law school for a couple of years now and is currently employed with some hot shot law firm (the rest of my legal team, The Inverted Cross Examiner and The Lecherous Litigator, were unavailable for comment).  To protect his identity, I will refer to him only as "The Cryptic Prosecutor".  Here is what The Cryptic Prosecutor had to say on the subject:

"When thinking of situations like this, one may consider other entertaining baseball games. A baseball fan is presumed to assume some risk in attendance. This is because a "reasonably prudent person" knows what to expect at such an event. Like a foul ball, or bat even, coming into the stands.

OK, sure.  Any "reasonably prudent" Metalhead, who has gone to more than one show, knows that mosh pits are to be expected. 

"So, the question is rather would a reasonable person take a risk in attending these type of concerts based on the knowledge these events lead to this risk. In this situation, it is not a subjective observation, rather, an objective observation."

OK, makes sense.  We objectively know that people will beat the shit out of each other at Metal shows.  Brutal.  Moving on...

"Another thing to consider is that a court may not care about two people getting into a fight in a consensual manner. Each party may be liable for the injuries for the other party. This can apply in a civil and criminal court."

Alright, courts don't give a flying fuck about consensual moshers.  

"At the end of the day we have to hope that a court will try and make a reasonable decision, not always the case, in which the parties are restored to where they were before they were injured. Civil courts lacks superhuman powers, so this is usually done through financial means."

So if you and some other dude get your bones broken ravaging each other in the pit, you BOTH may have to pay up until you're both not horribly disfigured.

Thanks, The Cryptic Prosecutor! 

So, since one would generally expect a mosh pit to take place at a Metal show, one would make an implicit acceptance of the risk, and therefore, could not lay fault on others for moshing.  If two hardcore kids get into a karate match, then chances are the court may make both parties pay for losses incurred by doctor visits or reconstructive surgeries. 

Case closed.


*Note: Assault, by legal definition, is merely the "threat of violence"...that is one law-related thing I do know...

**Note: Yes, I know he was not convicted.  I'm not saying he killed someone, I'm saying he grabbed someone's hair in order to remove them from the stage.  This is clearly seen on many a YouTube video.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wulf's Official Response to Decibel Magazine's Top 100 Black Metal Albums (part 2)

89. "The Black House" - Krieg

Man, I always wanted to get into this album. I've already expressed my disdain for 90's USBM bands since they just seemed so lame compared with their European counterparts...however, the whole concept behind this particular record really intrigued me. Back when I was still a bit new to the scene in 2004 I just thought black metal for the most part just involved being Satanic and anti-Christian, so to read about a band who was doing something different lyrically was interesting to me. For those out of the loop, "The Black House" is somewhat of a weird autobiography of Imperial himself portrayed through some nightmarish musical lens. I should probably actually listen to the album before I talk about it in more detail, but I always wanted to sit down with this record and try to get a better idea of what Imperial's deal is. Great album cover too!!

88. "Those of the Unlight" - Marduk

Even though the album cover is fucking awesome, I think early Marduk is kind of mediocre. I don't know why people are so blown away by it! Yeah, it's got its strengths: Bogge's bass sounds great, the drum production matches the atmosphere, and Av Gravf's vocals are really well-done. However, what brings it down are too many mediocre riffs that don't go anywhere, as well as being a bit slow (compared to Marduk's later stuff) just doesn't do it for me. For me shit doesn't start getting real though until Legion and Fredrik Andersson are both in the band and take the intensity up a notch, although it's debatable who is the better vocalist between Legion and Av Gravf. My vote goes to Legion I suppose just because on he looks like this, whereas Av Gravf looks like this (and went on to play in Dimension Zero, which isn't very evil).
Anyway, Norwegian BM during this time was way better during this time as well. This shit is especially whack if you compare it to what Mayhem, Burzum, Immortal, Emperor, etc. were putting out in the early '90s. I know most BM elitists consider Marduk's pinnacle to be either this one, "Opus Nocturne", or "Heaven Shall Burn...When We Are Gathered", but what can I say?? I like my black metal fast and brutal, and Marduk doesn't start getting truly speedy until "Nightwing" (which I would much rather listen to than any of their albums that came before it). Still though, one of my favorite album covers!!

87. "Malice (Our Third Spell)" - Gehenna

I've never really listened to Gehenna. I know that they're an old-school Norwegian BM band from back in the day, but the only song I really know by them is "A Witch Is Born" from their second LP...I think it was back in 2003 or so and I had just read Lords of Chaos and was trying to check out as many new Scandinavian black metal bands as I could find, and this was their only song available on Kazaa. I remember thinking the track was pretty cool, but didn't like it enough to get my hands on any of their records. I'll come back and give this a listen later!!

86. "Black Thrash Attack" - Aura Noir

Surprise, surprise, I haven't listened to this album, sorry!! I know it's got a bunch of big names involved with it from the Norwegian BM scene and blah blah but I'll probably give it a listen after I check out Gehenna haha.

85. "Anno Domini" - Tormentor

God fucking damnit!! I haven't heard this either!! When I first saw this I was pretty surprised...Attila Csihar's old band's 1989 demo...yeah right! No one's heard that shit! Then I looked on metal-archives and saw that it has 9 reviews and a score of 92%. Ugh. I'll have to check it it really that good though?? These guys were like, 17 when this came out (yeah, I know so were the dudes in Emperor, but you know what I mean!!)!

84. "Thy Dying Light" - Judas Iscariot

First of all, I need to mention that the song title "His Eternal Life, Like a Dream Was Obliterated..." is one of my favorite song titles ever (it's also my favorite track on the album)!! Actually, all the song titles are pretty cool on this album...not too sure what the lyrics are since they're mostly just (allegedly) trance-induced improvised babbling (IIRC based on interviews with Akhenaten). I don't know why I enjoyed this album more than his others (besides "Heaven in Flames", that's a good one too). It's been awhile since I've listened to it, but I remember enjoying it because the songs are long, hypnotic, and depressing. Also, he seems like he was pretty fucking serious about this shit. Something about the ritualistic, hypnotic quality of the music and its mysteriousness just gets me. Why it applies to this album more than the others I can't remember, but this one stuck out in my mind as his best work along with "Heaven in Flames". I also just really enjoy listening to his psychotic babbling too! I like to imagine this was recorded on a cold day in a shitty part of DeKalb, Illinois, with weeks of physical and mental preparation and the actual music itself being an afterthought. Worth checking out, but I would put it a bit higher on this list, if at all.

83. "Fuck the Universe" - Craft

I listened to either this album or their latest ("Void") and remember thinking it was just OK. I should probably listen to it again though, as these guys seem pretty evil!!

82. "Gin" - Cobalt

Damn, this one's tough! I really wanted to like it, as Phil McSorley seems like an interesting cat based on his interviews. The fact that the record is all philosophical and nihilistic is cool, but the cover art is what really does it for me! I love it when there's just some old photograph or artwork (in this case, it's a portrait of a young Ernest Hemingway) with a metal logo superimposed randomly on the cover. It's too bad that Cobalt's logo is kind of lame; I prefer the traditional, completely illegible BM logo, but whatever. Anyway, I remember the music on this album to be interesting and fairly original, but nothing special enough to cement itself on some underground metal magazine's Top 100 Black Metal Albums list. I've always been meaning to give it another chance though, as well as Cobalt's earlier albums. Anyway, as with many of these albums on this list, I'll have to revisit it sometime soon to make a final judgement!

81. "Min Tid Skal Commme" - Fleurety

This is one band I come across like once a year when I'm drinking wine by myself on a Friday night and digging through metal-archives for random crap. While usually I'm drawn to experimental black metal, I really don't want to like these dudes just because I think their name sucks (yeah it's supposedly the name of a demon, but that demon picked a pretty shitty sounds like something Tom Cruise would name his daughter or some shit) and the guys just look like dorks. Anyway, I'm just talking out of my ass, I'm sure this is a wonderful album. I'll check it out soon enough!!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Seasons in the Abyss

Well, another autumn seems to be abruptly coming to an end. Autumn always makes me feel reflective and a bit nostalgic, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. For some reason, during this autumn in particular, I happened to listen to a lot of albums and bands that remind me of specific times in my life. Most of the bands and albums I stumbled on to were not on purpose, though it seemed like an unconscious force was leading me towards them.

Listening to bands and albums for which I have such strong mnemonic associations lead me to think about how we are possibly (stick with me here) unconsciously drawn to music that we perceive to "fit" into a certain season while that season is occurring. Honestly, now that I write that out, it sounds like a complete pile of horseshit.

However, I think we can all agree, for example, that listening to "Blizzard Beasts" or "Transylvanian Hunger" in the snowy dead of winter makes a whole lot more goddamn sense than listening to them in the blistering heat of the summer.

So after some considerable deliberation, I thought I would list some Metal bands that I think "fit" into a certain season. Of course, you can listen to these bands and albums any goddamn time you want. But to harness their trve power, you have to play them during the right time of year.
Note: I tried to avoid some obvious choices, such as the aforementioned "Blizzard Beasts" for Winter.
The Triumph of Spring
In the spring I picture myself prancing upon fields of tulips and lilac, biking along rivers, and picnicking as the sun bathes me in it's nurturing, uh...not exactly the most Metal of experiences.

It was for this very reason that spring was the most difficult season for which to think of examples. Normally we think of spring as a time of rebirth and new beginnings. This is a problem when it comes to matching this with appropriate Metal bands or albums, because - let's face it - about 90% of Metal lyrically deals with destruction, death, evil, and just about everything that is opposite of concepts of rebirth and new beginnings. So I had to think of happy, triumphant-sounding Metal - namely, Power and Progressive Metal.


Nothing says "EPIC TRIUMPH OF SPRING FLOWERS!" like Dragonforce!

Blind Guardian

Summer Slaughter of the Liver
When I think of summer, I picture myself at BBQs, the beach, and back patio and deck parties. I picture myself drinking outside, going on road trips, and...did I mention drinking outside? In short - carefree, good-times Metal.
I thought Motorhead would have been too obvious of a choice for summer, so I chose Speedwolf who are heavily heavily heavily influenced by Lemmy and his merry band of drunken minstrels.
OK, maybe an obvious choice...but how could I forego listing the ultimate Metal party band of the post-millenium!

Demon of the Fall
As I mentioned in the introduction, fall for me is a time of reflection and bittersweet nostalgia. For this reason, fall is also an ideal time for Graduation Day Metal (a term coined by Mark of the Beast, which is basically synonymous with Shoegaze Metal). For fall, I picture myself hiking (by myself, of course) with the colored leaves falling all around me thinking about...what...could...have...been.
For whatever reason, the French have metal for autumn down pat.


Black Winter Days
This was by far the easiest season to come up with examples for. I mean, c'mon...the most grim and kvlt season of them all!  I imagine myself trudging through the never-ending snow-laden tundra.  Or wandering aimlessly in the forest as snow falls around me.  That or just losing my mind while thrashing around in my bed, because I haven't seen the sun in four months and can't stop reading philosophy for whatever reason.  Really hard to narrow all the choices down, but I focused mostly on Doom and Black Metal.
How can it possibly get more grim or cold than Xasthur?!


Nowadays, people can't seem to stop cumming in their pants over "grim" and "kvlt" production values in Black Metal releases (the majority of which I can only assume were recorded exclusively using Yak Baks). But for me, there aren't many releases that are more "grimly cold" than the slick-sounding "Storm of the Light's Bane".
(old) Katatonia
New Katatonia isn't quite as dread-inducing as their older material, so I included an old favorite of mine as the last entry.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Wulf's Official Response to Decibel Magazine's Top 100 Black Metal Albums (part 1)

It's come to my attention that Decibel Magazine just released a special issue that lists their picks for the top 100 black metal albums of all time. Usually these sorts of things do nothing really except bring out an endless spew of whining and complaining from the internet's vast legions of IMNs, but we here at Malicious Intent (i.e. me) felt left out from the party and decided to weigh in with our own thoughts on this controversial list. Here we go!!

100. "Ominious Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm" - Inquisition

#100?? Seriously?? This should be much higher, as it's one of the best black metal albums to come out since 2000!! Killer stuff. Dagon's guitar-playing is top-notch, his croak is gnarly, and the way they layer the instruments in their songs is tastier than the new 7 Layer Bean Dip Crunchwrap Supreme at Taco Bell!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Seriously though, even Inquisition's lyrics are both interesting and original as well...most bands blather on about Satan and blah blah, but their take on "cosmic Satanism" is refreshing. As someone who's scared shitless of outer space after reading H.P. Lovecraft and taking astronomy courses in college, these lyrics resonate with me much more than talking about dying and going to Hell or whatever LaVey was trying to convey in The Satanic Bible.
On a side note, I actually met Inquisition when I was living in Sydney, Australia...really nice guys!! Friendly yet soft-spoken and a bit intense, I found these guys to be really cool and genuinely interested in meeting their fans and hanging out. If you're going to check out Inquisition, I would say it's perfectly reasonable just to enjoy the music as it is, but if you read the lyrics along with it I feel like it adds an extra dimension (so to speak) to it that solidifies it in my mind as a masterpiece!!

99. "Vampires of Black Imperial Blood" - Mütiilation

I've never actually listened to Mütiilation (or any other LLN band for that matter) so I'm kind of a n00b when it comes to old school French BM. I'll check it out very soon, but I still refuse to believe that it's going to be better than some of the lunacy the French have been sending our way in the past few years via Blut aus Nord, Deathspell Omega, Peste Noire, Spektr, etc. Anyway, yeah yeah I'm sure this is a great album...NEXT!!

EDIT, APRIL 2015: Finally checked out this album.   I haven't listened any other LLN bands at the moment, but from what I've read this is supposed to be the pinnacle of that collective.   It's not bad!   I kind of dig the atmosphere and overall vision of what they seem to be going for, but as far as songwriting goes this isn't very good.   However, I definitely respect this record in terms of influence (raw minimalism, experimentation, vaguely romantic atmosphere), especially within the French BM scene.   I suppose this spot on the list is appropriate for this album, but it's definitely not better than anything Inquisition has put out, EVER!!

98. "Tentacles of Whorror" - Leviathan

First of all, this cover art is fucking insane. I really have no idea what to make of's so bizarre and creepy that I'm just going to let it speak for itself. That being said, I've really tried to get into Leviathan and while I think it's interesting stuff, if we're talking one-man USBM then I'd much rather listen to Xasthur! I usually tend to go for the more atmospheric stuff to see where it takes my imagination, but for whatever reason it doesn't quite do it for me. I still need to check out his later albums tho, plus I'm sure at some point I'll revisit his earlier stuff. I did enjoy his Lurker of Chalice stuff tho, IIRC it's much more atmospheric and strange.

97. "Ordo ad Chao" - Mayhem

This is another great album that should be higher on the list. Yeah, yeah, it's maybe not as good as De Mysteriis, but it's arguably Mayhem's second best LP. Damn...isn't it crazy to think that Mayhem has only released four full-lengths??
Anyway, I haven't listened to this album in awhile but I remember this used to be a favorite to pass out listening to after a night of utter madness!! I don't know why, but it always reminds me of that one scene in Time Bandits where they're trying to escape from the hanging cages (or the last third of the movie where they enter the Fortress of Ultimate Darkness).

96. "Infiltration.Downfall.Death" - Revenge

I've never heard of these dudes, let alone listened to this album. I guess it's a Canadian black metal supergroup of sorts with Pete from Angelcorpse thrown in the mix? I'm pretty unfamiliar with Canadian black metal like Axis of Advance, Weapon, Conqueror, and Blasphemy. Sorry, not really much to say except that their band name is lame and they don't look like very nice guys :(

95. "V - Halmstad" - Shining

I remember when I got this promo in the mail and thinking "WTF is this?" Back then, DSBM hadn't quite become the popular subgenre that it is today, but I would argue that this was a very important album in bringing that style to the metal masses (or at least me haha). And I hadn't even heard of their legendary stage shows or all the drama surrounding Niklas Kvarforth's disappearance, addictions, mental health problems, etc. Yeah, it's pretty emo and I'm not really sure what to make of Kvarforth...he's a weird guy with a big ego for sure, but his vocal performance on this record is great!! I need to give it another listen, but at the time I hadn't quite heard music so atmospheric, depressing, and experimental, and yet at the same time still vaguely be categorized as black metal. I would say this should be higher on the list as well, kvlt warriors be damned (in black)!!

94. "Triarchy of the Lost Lovers" - Rotting Christ

I'm more familiar with Rotting Christ's newer stuff, but I thought this was the album where they started exploring a more gothic rock kind of sound or whatever. I could be wrong, maybe that's "A Dead Poem"...either way, I hate to say it but while I've listened to this album I really don't remember it at all. Sorry!! For what it's worth, I really enjoy some of Rotting Christ's newer stuff!!

93. "La sanie des siècles - Panégyrique de la dégénérescence" - Peste Noire

It's too bad that Famine's such a racist hooligan, because this band's music is awesome!! I put PN in the same boat as Nokturnal Mortum or Graveland; politically-incorrect bands that write some really killer stuff. Anyway, we're focusing on the music here, so I just want to say that I've been a huge fan of this album (PN's best, by the way) ever since Mark of the Beast played it on Malicious Intent years ago. I was blown away by the sloppy, punky attitude of Famine's guitar-playing, combined with his fucking insane vocals and the music's bizarre experimentation. Listening to this always made me think of a Bubonic Plague-stricken France, with peasants living in squalor, cities crumbling, and plague doctors wearing those bird beak gas masks running around trying to save the day all while the unwashed masses hysterically scream for forgiveness within vast cathedrals. Every Peste Noire album has gotten weirder since, but it's still been an awesome ride!! I just wish Famine wasn't such a bird brain!!

92. "Welcome to My Last Chapter" - Vinterland

Damn, 13 reviews and 94% on I've never heard of these guys!! I'll be sure to check it out very soon.

91. "Göetia" - Mystifier

This album cover is awesome!! Sadly, I've never listened to Mystifier even tho I always feel like Brazilian bands come off as way more evil than anyone from North America or Western Europe...I have no idea why. Maybe because so many MMA fighters come fom there?
Anyway, sorry it's amateur hour at Malicious Intent right now!!

90. "Le Secret" - Alcest

Annnndd to finish off with what started with a bang and is rapidly ending in a whimper, we have Alcest's "Le Secret", which I've never listened to!! I'm quite familiar with the Neige's back story and their full-length releases, but I've never listened to this EP. I'm sure it's great though!! I remember Ty from Hammerlord saying that he really liked this release more than their later stuff. Or maybe he was talking about Amesoeurs and their "Ruines Humaines" EP, I can't remember.

Sorry this ended up being kind of shitty! It's pretty disheartening because I really thought I knew my black metal!! Looks like I've got some catching up to do!! Check in soon for further analysis of Decibel's Top 100 Black Metal Albums of All Time, more zany stories, and mildly interesting commentary!!