This week's TT is the first of four "end of the year" lists that will come between now and Christmas, one each Tuesday, detailing my best – and worst – of the year.
This week's is the Ten most disappointing albums of 2007, and the next three weeks will work as follows:
04-Dec: Best Tracks of 2007
11-Dec: Best Albums of 2007
18-Dec: Best Gigs of the 2007 (although seeing as my last gig of 2007 is that night, it may be delayed beyond that)
So anyway. Rather than covering films this year – I simply haven't seen enough to come up with "the best" – I've decided to cover the albums that have really disappointed me this year. For some reason there have been a fair few during 2007 that have simply not come anywhere close to expectations. As always, comments and indeed your suggestions for anything else that I missed are encouraged.
After the thrill of the comeback with A Greater Wrong of the Right – and in particular the awesome live show – I felt somewhat cheated by this. Little in the way of fire, new ideas or even tunes, this sadly sank quickly. Time to call it a day, folks – particularly when the Download album that appeared this year was so damned good.
Eat Me, Drink Me
Anyone who thought that following the excellent Golden Age of Grotesque we may see another album of similar quality turned out to be very, very wrong. Shorn of his recent inspirations, the lack of a certain burlesque model looms large here. Yep, this is a breakup album, and frankly, it sucks.
I mentioned this in passing a short while back, and my view still stands. This album is a diluted and toothless version of what this band have produced before. Where the previous album Dos Unit was pounding harsh industrial, with some belting dancefloor tracks, this album barely whimpers with it's softer, more melodic beats that sound really rather incongruous behind the booming vocals. In harsh electro terms, this is the aural equivalent of arming front line soldiers with penknives.
Let's Go Dark
A horrendous mess of an album, with lots of hammy horror samples, "spooky" atmospheres and not a lot else. Redeemed slightly by a pair of genuinely great songs in Beyond Fear and Brains, but overall a hugely disappointing album.
Repeated attempts to re-create the success of Soilbleed does not make a good album. Nor do bad pr0n samples. Yes, this album is about as derivative as you can get, in my eyes. There is nothing wrong with building on success, but it needs to be evolved, not parroted.
In Sorte Diaboli
After an ass-kicking opening track – and lead single – hopes were high for this. But despite the ridiculously over-the-top packaging (hardly a new idea for this band, though), good press and the promising lead track…it just hasn't held. Four years since the last album, and while we have a coherent concept, that's about it – the sheer bombast of the last album, the huge sound, the overflow of great ideas are all missing. Or maybe it's just that I'm still annoyed I missed the gigs, I dunno…
I remember when VAST first burst onto the scene in '99, with a storming track called Here. Mixing rock, clever electronics and a truly unusual set of sample sources (Gregorian chants, chain gangs…) the first album was a rare breath of fresh air. Subsequent albums diluted the effect somewhat, until we come to this. Gone are the interesting samples, tunes, and indeed emotion: and all we are left with are the dull acoustic whining that this album consists of. Not for a while has such a talent been squandered.
Talking of squandering, here is another. While previous output has been nakedly emotional harsh electro, with great hooks and tunes, this new album sadly has neither. The single before the album (which oddly doesn't appear here) – Nyctophobia – was a "grower", that got much better in time, but despite repeated attempts to get into this album it has never done so. It was also notable that all of the strongest tracks, both times I have seen them live this year…were the older ones.
I'm beginning to get the feeling I'm one of the only people that thinks this, but I'm still not hugely taken by this album. While tracks like Summon The Antichrist and Man Without Faith or Trust are near-perfect examples of death metal in 2007, the (many) experimental sections on this album feel like a stretch too far. Axiom appears to be about five different tracks all welded together – and it's not the only one. All in all in just felt too disjointed for me: which is a shame.
Blood, Brains & Rock'n'Roll
I so wanted to love this album more than I did. And while I was impressed with the album to start with, as I feared it doesn't seem to have an awfully long shelf life. While certain tracks are still great, it all feels now to have been perhaps a stretch too far for a fun concept.