In the first of a new series of WeAreNoise Staff Top 5′s, Barrytron calls for more death metal on the site…
Everyone says that choosing their top 5 favourite tunes is an impossible task, and of course they’re right. My favourites change day to day and week to week, the same for most people I am sure. For instance, I spent all last week listening to Level 42′s ‘Level Best’ and ‘Doggy Style’ by Snoop Dogg, and if I didn’t have a new obsession every other week to get stuck into, I would probably lose my nut and start that supermarket shooting spree I dwell on in times of real stress. So for this I have picked five examples of the type of thing that gets me going, typically the artist that personifies it for me. Hope some of ye enjoy these fine examples.
1. Genesis – Turn it on again
When I was just about to start my Leaving Cert exams I had this amazing mix tape that I would put on and go for strolls at night to get out of the house. Sometimes I would meet buddies a few miles over the road but generally I would just walk around at night smoking cigarettes with my headphones on, looking out at Cobh and Ringaskiddy and wondering what I could do with my life. I remember it being a very pleasant time in my head, so much choice and freedom coupled at the end of this very immediate focus and objective. This song was on it and always reminds me of that few weeks. Being Genesis, it has a typically strange time signature for a rock song and a great early 80s keyboard sound.
2. Cameo – Single Life
I wanted something to signify my love of 80s pop and of 70s/80s funk and I think this sits in there perfectly. I often make playlists of music from a particular year – because I am a sad c*nt – and it’s interesting to see where all the sounds converge within the different styles in the same time period. Being that we can only choose 5 songs here, I thought this 1985 classic would be ideal, as Cameo came out of the late 70s as a big funk band and popped-up their sound as they slimmed-down and hit the mid-80s. I love the space they give this song and the gigantic drum sound, and of course the wonderfully charming videos they made. If you overtake me and I’ve got this song on you will be able to tell.
3. Mike Oldfield – Hergest Ridge (excerpt)
My brother and I have always had wildly divergent lives, but music is our common language. We shared a room when we were growing up and I was forced to listen to everything he had (as it was his stereo, of course..). Needless to say I love all of it, but none more than this absolutely spellbinding album that can reduce me to tears if I have had even two glasses of red wine. Mike Oldfield’s 70s output is deeply introverted, and many feel he lost much of his genius when he finally conquered his mental demons in the 80s. This is a truly beautiful piece of music in my opinion, and very sad. Don’t you love how music can do that…
4. Cannibal Corpse – An Experiment in Homicide
My long-standing love affair with death metal began with Cannibal Corpse (as it does for many) when I heard The Bleeding around 1996. Their albums would be so raw and visceral to listen to and look at that there was no way I wasn’t going to love them. Butchered and Birth and Tomb of the Mutilated were both deeply shocking lyrically, but nobody noticed their ability to write a viciously catchy death metal tune till this album in ’94. At that time I played bass and Alex Webster’s Iron Maiden-aping fingerstyle and dominance in the mix made me want to climb inside the band even more. This is the final track from that album, their last with the infamous Chris Barnes before he joined plod-along stoners Six Feet Under and Cannibal disappeared up their own overly-technical arses. There’s not half enough US Death Metal on wearenoise goddammit!!
5. Def Leppard – Women
One of the first tapes that I wore down to a thread was Hysteria in the summer of 1989 when my brother came home with it from a school tour. He soon lost interest and was probably off listening to ROXETTE or CROWDED HOUSE after a few days so I acquired the album. I remember hearing distorted guitars for the first time ever on that tape, my long family car journeys up to that point consisting of Mary Black and Horslips (wasn’t my stereo in the car, you see). I fell completely in love with the sound of it. I still am, it is an album I have listened to more than any other by a million gajillion miles – the huge overblown drums, the clinically crafted songs and the 250+ voices in the backing vocals. I have it on all playlists and there’s a special tape copy in my girlfriend’s Fiat. Look up the torturous four-year recording process behind the album if you want an amazing story of human friendship and faith (and 80s coke-headed decision making! Oh, LOL). Laugh at Def Leppard if you want, I don’t care, that album is like an old friend.
Barrytron writes The Codologist: (http://www.codologist.com) and plays drums with I’ll Eat Your Face & Revolution of a Sun as well as many other working bands. I’ll Eat Your Face’s acclaimed second album HOT BRAINS TERROR is out now on Grindscene Records (www.grindscene.co.uk).