I’ve never met Tom Blyth in person. I’ve only ever seen him in videos, magazines and spoken to him through email. However, throughout the years of seeing press on him, one could easily figure out that he is a big music fan (metal to be specific). In addition, Tom plays in a band as well.
Read on as Tom elaborates on some of his favorite albums.
Obituary – Cause of Death
This is the perfect example of how a record can grow on you. I didn’t get on with Obituary at first, in my naivety something about John Tardy’s vocals turned me off, but eventually the riffs kicked my ass into submission and now I love everything about it. Slow, riffy, doomy Florida Death Metal from pioneers of the genre, it’s beautifully simplistic in the sense that it has everything it needs and absolutely nothing that it doesn’t.
Pantera – Far Beyond Driven
I had a really hard time picking between this and “Vulgar Display of Power”, I grew up on a diet of both these records with a gulp of the Pantera home movie series to wash it down with (If you even remotely like Pantera and haven’t seen the home movies you need to have a word with yourself). In the end “Far Beyond Driven” won out for the simple fact that I was so psyched the first time I saw Phil Anselmo kicking ass in an S&M shirt in the video for “5 Minutes Alone”. Pantera were way before their time and played like no one else, every time I hear their records or see the home movies I’m guaranteed a good time, sometimes too much of a good time. My Brother, myself and my friend Sam got a little too loose listening to “Far Beyond Driven” before heading out to see Alice Cooper a couple of months ago, a few beers turned into a few too many and needless to say, none of us made it to the gig. This is music to drink to. RIP Dime.
Metallica – Ride The Lightning
This is another one I grew up listening to and another I had a really hard time choosing between. I literally love everything Metallica did until they all lost the plot after (yes after) “The Black Album”. Van Homan rode to “Battery” off “Master of Puppets” but Brian Castillo rode to “Dyers Eve” from “…And Justice For All”, both are amongst my favourite video parts (and songs) ever and both records are amazing. I eventually settled on “Ride The Lightning” because I vividly remember driving to and from School in my Land Rover listening to “Fade to Black” on repeat when I was 17 and being totally blown away by it. If you’re reading this and are young enough to have only heard post 90’s Metallica then stop what you’re doing right now, find a copy of anything they recorded in the 80’s and prepare to be amazed. RIP Cliff.
Behemoth – Demigod
I would understand if you were dubious about listening to Polish Satanic Blackened Death Metal, it sounds pretty obscure I know. For some reason though, the Polish make some of the best Death Metal in the world and this as far as I’m concerned, is about as good as it gets. “Demigod” is both brutal and epic beyond comparison, the lyrics are intelligent Crowley and Nietzsche inspired tales of the Occult, Mythology and (mostly religious) rebellion and the songs are delivered with such fury and scorn that it genuinely frightened me on first listen. I saw Behemoth for the first time at the end of last year after missing their previous tour due to knee surgery and they completely made up for what I missed last time. I left covered in fake blood that had been spat on me from behind the Altar/Pulpit/microphone stand on the stage and I couldn’t have been happier about it.
Asunder – A Clarion Call
This was the record that got me into Doom and it’s still my favourite of the genre. It’s everything you’d expect from this kind of record, huge, tectonically slow, booming guitars combined with growled and chanted vocals but it’s also melodic and the cello gives it this etherial, atmospheric quality that makes me think of Druids, Pagans and other such ancient and otherworldly beings casting spells and worshiping old gods. Listen to this while walking through the woods at dusk in the Summer.
More Polish Death Metal and another band who lost an integral member in a tour bus accident, Decapitated are one of the best Technical Death Metal bands to ever have existed. The combination of the intricate, grooving guitar riffs and technical, fluid and innovative drumming make for, what are in my opinion, some of the best Death Metal songs ever written and with a completely unique approach and style. Guitarist Vogg has recently reformed the band after the death of drummer Vitek and serious injury to vocalist Covan in a tour bus accident in 2007. I saw them play a few weeks ago and although there has been some criticism about the continuation of the band I thought it was awesome to see him carrying on in the face of all he has had to endure.
RIP Vitek, best wishes Covan.
Black Sabbath – Take your pick from the Ozzy years
I honestly can’t choose. I was lucky enough to see the Ozzy fronted Sabbath play at a festival a few years ago while low flying jets passed overhead at dusk. Pretty surreal.
Burzum – Filosofem
While I find many of his political views unappealing to say the least, I can’t deny that as Burzum, Varg Vikernes has composed some of the darkest, most atmospheric works of music I have ever heard. All the more haunting given the history of this one man band from Norway who was convicted of both Church burnings and the murder of Mayhem guitarist Euronymous in the early 90’s. Filosofem translates to “Philosophy” and was his 5th release, it married his low tech recording approach with an increased use of electronic instruments that created an ambient, atmospheric sound that is noticably cleaner sounding than his earlier work but just as disturbing. For me this record conjures up images of Pagan Norse gods and Winters in the snow covered forest which probably sounds a bit pretentious given that I’m from Hull rather than Norway but there you go.
Immortal – Sons of Northern Darkness
This was my introduction to the world of Black Metal and although it was released long after the the movement had peaked in the early to mid nineties I still think it’s one of the best of the genre. It was much better produced than the majority of Black Metal releases and had a much more melodic sound that Immortal’s early albums but it also features some of the most epic and memorable song writing in the genre. Epic!
Death – Take your pick
Chuck Schuldiner was one of the pioneers of the Death Metal genre in the late 80’s and continued to innovate throughout the 90’s until his death from a brain tumor in 2001. Again I really struggled to pick one of his records to write about, early material was amongst the first archetypal Death Metal but got increasingly more progressive as time went on. It all kicks ass and paved the way for pretty much every Death Metal band that came after.
Thanks to Joe Cox for the photo.