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Blue's Decade in Music: 2001

A Little Introduction:

Contrary to the belief of many ignorant people who do not have much justification in their claims that this decade had nothing to offer musically, this decade has so much quality to offer for people of all personal preference and to all likings that this decade is arguably better than many of the decades before.

This is my personal retrospective of the decade. This is a series of 10 blogs, each blog consisting of a certain amount of albums I found to be fantastic or even perfect that were released that year.

This is not an absolute list in any way – none of the albums are in listed order, and many albums I may love may be missing accidentally. I will simply randomly choose at my own discretion what albums (can be 3 albums or 10 albums, who knows) deserve to have some sort of thick review, and then give a list of many albums and small reviews for each.

I hope this gets some people into some new music – I hope it is a good read for a few of you. Enjoy.


2001:

Following the opening of a slew of perfect and fantastic albums that came with 2000 (see the blog post here), 2001 comes in with no surprise to be another great year. What came in during this particular year was the progression of what is the genre “screamo”.

It is a genre whose name is plagued by the idiocy of many people who do not care to initially dive into the genre. It, for many people, has become a simply adjective for anything that “screams”. Screamo is not god-awful Slipknot, or nu-metal crap, neither is it Underoath garbage. It is not any of that – do not be deceived.

The term screamo represents a unique variation of punk and post-hardcore, which combines elements of post-rock, progressive rock, and others. The progressive nature of “screamo” is amazing – if only the genre wasn't infected by such a trivially immature name. That, and the genre died before mid-way of the 2000s, starting at which roughly around the end of the 1990s. It barely got to live, but its few short breaths and one or two continuing great bands exemplify respectable amounts of fantastic albums.

I am writing this as a defense to a massively misinterpreted genre. There is obviously more than screamo on this list, however, it may be the one people will most likely be alienated from due to the genre title. Do not, for the respect of the very essence of music, avoid the album just because of the genre title. Listen to it before judgment, at the very least. Not one song – the WHOLE album. Contact me if you want to hear more about the genre. There are a large number of artists in which are heavier than probably half of your metal collection. Try me. Regardless, enjoy the list!

 

Sigh – Imaginary Soundscape

They do not want a soft opener – they begin as if the listener already knows what to expect. Perfectly, seamlessly, they create what their title suggests. They create an imaginary soundscape for the listener to be immersed – through metal. Through the power of metal they create a soundscape of distinct rhythm and heaviness, with it, they tear through the cracks of what pretty much any metal band could never do. They push conventionality to its limits, and experiment beautifully with everything around them.

They layer it all – everything that genuine metal derives itself from and more. By the time one is half-way done with this powerfully amazing metal album, they have already gone through not just metal, but several other genres as well. From metal, to jazz, to avant-garde electronic music, to classical piano, everything is put together as if they belonged with each other all along. One can dance with the rhythm, then one can just sit there and think – simply think. Simply get lost in the imaginary soundscape they did no fault in creating and exemplifying.

This is the metal album for the decade. This is what is played to slap across the face the decades before and the bountiful amounts of awful metal albums today. Imaginary Soundscape is that album that must listened to before death knocks on an individual's door. What happened in 2000 is slated as consistent with this album – when they were going to heaven, when they were enjoying being earthly, when they moved no where – Sigh created something beyond all three and punched imagination in the gut.

Diabolical MasqueradeDeath's Design


There's something terrifyingly atmospheric about an orchestra's beauty – something all arts, whether it is a movie or a video game, exemplify when they want to bring out sheer terror. What if we took that terror that can occur through orchestras, and mix and apply it with the fierceness, the sheer density of metal?

Death's Design is what feels as if that mixture came to be. A terrifying notion, but ironically there is a beauty behind its design – as if the end is not as horrible as one may feel it to be. Mixing in many genres like Imaginary Soundscape, Diabolical Masquerade creates a fierce display of technical prowess to give to the listener the feeling of death in a different perspective. Broken into many movements like classical music, this album takes Sigh's progressive combination of genres in a different fashion – they create the feeling of terror, death, and make its inevitable nature beautiful.

Complex and beautiful, they formulate death's design and bring it to the listener. They give metal justification and show that this is an art form. Metal is art. Here is the reason.

 

EnvyAll the Footprints You've Ever Left and the Fear Expecting Ahead


Oh yes – look at that long title. It is without a doubt, a screamo album.

Opening electronically – opening like one is in a hospital waiting for death to come, when the heart monitor stops, thus is not sadness and whining that happens after the opening track.

What happens is the opposite – life is spurred out, with all the rhythmic happiness, all the musicianship for positiveness and aggression, but vocals that show wrath, that show anger and pride! Not once in this album does lose it's pride and trade it for weakness. There is a sense of genuine pride throughout this album, and a fistful of punk anger to punch any metal head so hard they cough up blood.

This is one of the most heartfelt, powerful albums of 2001 – mixing a complex plethora of genres, ranging from post-hardcore to post-rock to sheer punk. These guys as a result create a mode to express anger, desperation, and many more emotions without fear, without a single whine. Envy makes most metal bands weak to their knees. They show full and well that intensity in music is not just in metal, and the intensity of punk did not end years ago. This is one of the greatest, most unique albums of the decade, and it is nearly flawless in its execution.

This is what to play to the idiot who thinks screamo just whines – Envy will punch them in the face with their music alone.

 

FrodusAnd We Washed Our Weapons in the Sea


I was thinking of ending the list at Envy – then I remembered this album. This album is where the cries and honesty lie. Envy punched you in the stomach; Frodus invades your intellect.

A bass line to crush mountains is where this album begins, and without losing intensity, Frodus creates a sheer display of quality and heart wrenching beauty. “I hear these times are the end, and another one must fall down. I don't think I believe it, when another one must fall down,” is what is heard through what feels like a whine, but it feels heart-wrenchingly honest. The music, never losing intensity, pushes these lyrics into a beautiful atmosphere of sheer amazement. This album is nearly perfect in absolutely every way imaginable.

After the first two intense, powerful tracks, what is heard is pure musicianship – instrumentals to the highest degree, where the lyrics and desperate screaming comes second. The musicianship is one of the precursors to math rock, as shown through complex melodies as well as powerful ones.

Frodus is definitely one of the few bands I would want to talk about politics with. “The world is a business” is what they have in their MySpace, influenced by the movie Network. Words cannot be any more true. “The machines never died.”

They are an amazing band in political ideal and the musical prowess in album shows post-hardcore is not dead. They surpass nearly all bands today who only like the title “hardcore”, but they refuse to genuinely show it. Frodus does it without trying. An album of sheer necessity.

Jim O'RourkeI'm Happy, and I'm Singing, and a 1 2 3 4


The man who helped recover Sonic Youth from the ashes of stolen equipment, and helped them form the greatest album of the decade. Surely, a man worth to respect in my book. He creates a natural, complex, but yet heart-wealthy piece of perfection on this album. Entirely glitchy, entirely electronic, he creates soundscapes of glitchy beauty. Minimalism strikes with electronic atmosphere, and among the other records that were made around this album years before and years after, this album is completely out of place. Regardless of its difference compared to other albums, O'Rourke exemplifies perfection nonetheless, as if he's been doing this for years straight until he got it right.

Three long tracks are what this album consists of, and without a doubt they are each flawless. Terrifying sounds lie underneath the first track, which inevitably shows its complete form at the end. It transitions itself to ticking of experimental beauty on the second track, and finally reaches itself to a perfect drone-filled end.

This album is not for everybody, but to myself, this is an absolutely perfect album. It is not going to be a well-off listen, however, when the feelings are unlocked, it is without a doubt a beautiful one. It is not an album one can really listen to track for track, rather it is a whole, concise piece of experience that does not need attention to show off its existence. Absolute necessity to anyone wanting anything way beyond their conventional album structure.

Other Albums of 2000:

Note: These are essentially albums I feel need to be listened to, they won't get the huge review, however, due to time consumption. If you want more info on any of these albums, just comment me and I'll get back to you. These are all great albums, simply presented with no huge review. It will make for an easier read Comment if you want more info on any.

Against Me! - Crime as Forgiven By...

~ Against Me!, at this point of the decade, is a stale, mediocre band. When they released one of their first EPs, particularly this nearly perfect one, they showed acoustic punk at its very finest. An undeniable sense of rawness and power, this album is one of fiery passion that should not be overlooked.

Jay-ZThe Blueprint

~ His magnum opus, his undeniably strong and diligent piece of work. The richest rapper in the game, and without a doubt, if anyone can talk about money and cars, it is this guy. He does not entirely need to, he has all the class in the world and with the best beats and flows to ever come out of his mind, this guy hit home with this album. Popular rap at its finest. The ruler's back, and he knows what he's doing.

Cannibal OxThe Cold Vein

~ Sure, these guys are not popular rap, but you know what they are? Proof to any idiot who thinks rap cannot be atmospheric, attentive to musicianship, or just...fantastic. This album is a strong blast of unique and powerful rap. Unconventional, and amazing at doing it. Somehow it puts backpacker rap to shame at their own thought. Epic musical rap experience.

Magma - Theusz Hamtaahk Trilogie

~ Single hand proof that a band can stay consistent for years. These are the guys who I mentioned in the last blog created their own lanaguage. Creating their own language and utilizing it beautifully, they create a fantastic trilogy of music. This album is absolutely fantastic, but sadly a bit hard to find. An album worth picking up if you ever see it.

maudlin of the WellLeaving Your Body Map

~ These guys do what Dream Theater can never do. They can actually make a progressive metal album progressive – actually including a variety of instruments and tightness in their playing to make an orchestra look baffled. These guys created one of the most respectable and amazing progressive metal albums this decade. This album is fantastic by all means. Further proof that metal is just as artistic as any other form of music.

FugaziThe Argument

~ The last album before the hiatus – these post-hardcore legends exemplify musicianship for the first time, and they do an absolutely amazing job at it. If it wasn't for Frodus' album, this album would be up there as well. Including pianos, acoustic guitars and a slew of other instruments to their post-hardcore formula, this band proves themselves to be a fantastic band. Fantastic, hardcore, and progressive all at the same time. That does not happen very often. It is good to see it happen here.

MerzbowDharma

~ This is my favorite Merzbow album out of his entire discography. Either you get it or you don't – this is pure noise. Yes, noise. Nothing but noise. I find this noise-filled album to be fantastic, and certainly the best album he made after the shift from analog noise to digital noise. This album is only for those who can initially love it. Listening to it will pierce your ears if you are not accustomed to it. This is a truly, truly, harsh album. One of my favorites, regardless.

Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. - New Geocentric World of Acid Mothers Temple

~ I had an album from them just last blog, but even that album doesn't compare to this one. Psychedelic rock with that punch, fire, and amazement that comes from noise rock. Absolutely recommendable to anyone who wants to see how psychedelic rock can progress decades after its awesomely drugged inception. Not accessible in the least, but freakin' amazing regardless. Psychedelic noise rock amazingly executed.

Fantômas The Director's Cut

~ Okay, Mike Patton can be an ass – but what can you say? Wolfmother does suck. Horribly. Mike Patton himself is a pretty iffy kind of musician at times, but at some point he shines as a solid member. When you place him at the hands of Melvins' lead guitarist, and a slew of other amazing members from pretty great groups, you get a nice piece of sheer awesomeness. This album is fantastic, and while a bit pretentious, sure, it does a great job at doing that. Mike Patton can truly be a part of some amazing things.

Lightning Bolt Ride the Skies

~ With just a heavily distorted bass and badass drumming, this band has quite possibly one, if not the, best drummer this decade. This band is fantastically brutal live, and they do a solid job in the studio recreating that amazingly intense experience. On a side note, I had a very very minor seizure watching the video for “13 Monsters”. Yeah, wow.

Note: I'm going to end it right here because quite frankly, there are TOO many amazing albums from 2001 I can put on here but I simply one. Some include:

  • Silent Hill 2 OST

  • Cowboy Bebop Movie OST

  • Stars of the Lid – The Tired Sounds Of

  • UnwoundLeaves Turn Inside You

  • PageninetynineDocument #8

  • Sleepytime Gorilla MuseumGrand Opening and Closing

Regardless, hope this gets you into some new music, and I hope this spurs some conversation, at least! Off to the amazing year that is 2002, probably my favorite year of them all.

Thanks for reading. =)

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