Classics That Still Endure: Albums of the Year for 2008 and 2009 (including Cynic, Pelican, Behemoth & Shrinebuilder)

[I never posted about my favorite albums of 2008 and 2009; below are my favs from those years.]

Heart vs Spine, cover2008– The Devil and the Sea’s Heart vs Spine (which was discussed previously here) and Cynic’s Traced in Air were easily my favorites (and to which I still listen)….

One of the best covers ever.

One of the best covers ever.

2009– Shrinebuilder’s Shrinebuilder, Pelican’s What We All Come to Need, and Behemoth’s Evangelion were easily the top albums. Shrinebuilder is the perfect genetic blend of stoner/ ambient bands like Neurosis, Om, the Melvins and everything Scott Weinrich has ever done. It’s graceful and great and (even though it was apparently recorded really quickly) truly well-composed. One of my top 5 records of the last few years.

Cynic, Traced in Air coverCynic’s Paul Masvidal (he, late of Death fame), also writes about the intercession of Buddhist ideas with Eric Dolphy’s thoughts on the nature of sound and music (big Sawtoothwave points there)– so, to me, he’s interesting even before I’ve heard Traced in Air. And I didn’t particularly like Focus, their 15-years-before follow-up, either; didn’t hate it, didn’t love it– it just really didn’t register with me.

But when you consider Masvidal’s other band, Æon Spoke, the acoustic touches prevalent as they are, make much more sense and truly show how metal and folk/acoustic might coincide successfully.

Evangelion, cover (hi res)And lastly there’s Behemoth’s Evangelion.

There is not one bad song, one unmemorable tune, on this. Nergal and co. tuned their guitars up (from B to Db) on this nearly-perfect album of blackened death metal, and apparently that was the right move: Evangelion is the perfect blend of death, black and sheerly-ferocious metal: it is ridiculously intense, insanely memorable, and mind-bogglingly literate (witness the lyrics and the insert regarding the lyrics). I can’t say enough good things about this record, which is easily my favorite of the last 4 years. Opener “Daimonos,” with its insanely-intense chorus of “ALL! HAIL! Slain… and risen God! ALL! HAIL! DIONYSUS!!” is to me the absolute incarnation of heavy metal.

Anyway, if you’re Christian (perhaps ironically, in light of the aggressively Atheistic/ Satanic band I just recommended), merry Christmas!

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