Ten Albums That Made an Impact

Another “share and nominate” game is making the rounds on Facebook – who comes up with them? I suspect it’s Facebook, trying to keep people hooked! 😉 Now I try to limit my activity on Facebook to a minimum* but this one was about music, so I of course got sucked in… 🙂

I do find it a pity though that these things happen behind the gates of a social media site, where they’re out of sight and out of mind way too fast – so in an effort to preserve this a little bit longer, I’m compiling my list into this blog post.**

The sharing game came with this description:

“In no particular order – which 10 albums really made an impact and are still on your rotation, even if only now and then. Post the cover, no need to explain, and nominate a person each day to do the same.”

Obviously, I’m not going to just post the covers here and leave the explanations away – I’ll do the opposite and leave the covers away and do some explaining. 🙂

I also won’t nominate anyone but if you like the idea, then please, go ahead and write a blog post with your ten albums that made an impact on you – add a backlink to this blog post (pingback/trackback), or leave a comment with a link to your post (or series of posts). This is how this thing called internet used to be, and should be like! #SayNoToWalledGardens 😉

Ten Albums That Made an Impact

This isn’t the music that I listen to on a regular basis anymore. It’s simply music that had an impact, changed my taste, got me into a certain genre, marks a certain time in my life, etc. – as the “game” description says, I can (and do) listen to these particular albums every now and then, but not on a regular basis, at all (for example, right now I’m totally hooked on The Hold Steady and Shearwater – if I’d write a post about what music has recently had an impact on me, those would be two bands).

  • Judas Priest – “Sad Wings of Destiny” (1976) – I obviously discovered this later in my life and I think I pretty much thought “wow, that’s a beautiful cover – hey, this is Judas Priest?!” and so I bought it. It’s a wonderful piece of 70s metal/hard rock. I’m pretty sure I bought this album sometime between 1985 and 1990, and it made me realize what gems may be hidden in some band’s back catalogs. Most recently I chased down the remastered Japan version on CD (it wasn’t really worth it, I’d like to add;-).
    Listen: YouTube Playlist (this has way too much bass, unfortunately)
  • Iron Maiden – “Piece of Mind” (1983) – I was getting into heavy metal thanks to the “help” of some friends from that time and this was undoubtedly THE album that really got me hooked. Another was Judas Priest’s “Defender of the Faith” but today, I find their “rockers glorifying themselves” type of lyrics less favorable – Iron Maiden tells the better stories. Also, I’m fairly certain that Iron Maiden’s much-lauded follow-up album “Powerslave” from 1984 was already out by the time I got hooked on “Piece of Mind” – it must have been 1985, because I also remember buying the 1986 album “Somewhere in time” when it was released.
    Listen: YouTube Playlist
  • Rush – “Power Windows” (1985) – my uncle gave me this as a birthday gift. At the time, I was pretty much only into heavy metal and hard rock. I did compose music on the computer though back then (I had an Amiga 500) so the synthesizer sounds on “Power Windows” got me interested. I’ve been a fan of Rush ever since, and unlike others, I actually find their “synthesizer” phase really great. I bought the follow-up album “Hold Your Fire” in 1987, and continue to collect their studio albums.
    Listen: YouTube Playlist
  • The Sisters of Mercy – “Floodland” (1987) – I didn’t buy this album when it was released. I heard the single “This Corrosion” first and bought it. Interestingly, the 8″ single version of the track is shorter than the album version! I think that’s what ultimately got me to buy the album, at a time when I was beginning to get more into Goth/Wave, thanks to some other friends (who also introduced me to Deine Lakaien and other bands).
    Listen: YouTube Playlist
  • Queensryche – “Operation: Mindcrime” (1988) – I owned the rather glam-rock oriented predecessor “Rage for Order” and was skeptical when I saw the tracklist of “Operation: Mindcrime” with all the short interludes – what was this? Then I read the review in the German “Metal Hammer” magazine and it was full of praise for this concept album. It’s still the best album that Queensryche made. Unfortunately, the original band is pretty much in shambles nowadays as far as I can see.
    Listen: YouTube Playlist
  • Front 242 – “Tyranny For You” (1991) – a friend introduced me to Front 242 with their two albums “Official Version” and “Front by Front” and I really liked their sound. Hard, serious electronic music – unlike the ridiculous German “techno” crap from that time. When “Tyranny For You” was released it acted like a bridge between EBM (Electronic Body Music; it’s what Front 242 called their music) and Techno/Trance.
    Listen: YouTube Playlist
  • Eternal Basement – “Nerv” (1995) – by 1995 I was really into electronic music. The silly German techno and early trance had matured considerably and the EyeQ/Harthouse label was at the forefront of releasing serious music from seriously good artists. “Nerv” marks the peak of the “hard trance” genre for me with its slowly building tracks that are incredibly driving, darkly pulsating, hypnotic, and contain a pinch of melancholy. They never made anything better than this album.
    Listen: no album playlist and they’re not on Bandcamp; “Woy” will have to do. 🙂
  • Biosphere – “Substrata” (1997) – I ventured from trance to goa/psytrance, and goa introduced me to “chill out” music and ambient. Lucky me – Biosphere had just released “Substrata”, which turned out to become one of the hallmark albums of the ambient genre. Unbeknownst to me then, the album is laced with samples from the “Twin Peaks” TV series. I listened to this album countless times, using headphones, lying on my back in a darkened room. There was always a point where I drifted away into sleep, and just at that moment the sample “Sorry to wake you…” played (and obviously woke me). It’s absolutely freakish how that sample appears just at the right moment.
    Listen: Bandcamp (this is the 2CD re-release, the original ends with track 11 “Silene”)
  • Voivod – “Phobos” (1997) – I was late in my appreciation for Voivod. When I was into heavy metal and hard rock, I preferred Metallica, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and other bands that could probably be considered the “mainstream” of heavy metal. Voivod was too far out for my taste back then. Years later I read a glowing review of “Phobos” and gave it a try. It’s one of the very few metal albums where I’d rate almost every track 5/5 now.
    Listen: YouTube Playlist
  • Cosmosis – “Synergy” (1998) – this album marks “peak psytrance” for me. The genre somewhat deteriorated after 1998, got dumbed down, more monotonous and less psychedelic. Synergy on the other hand has it all: driving basslines, caleidoscoping synth lines that interweave and filters that twist and twirl up and down the frequency spectrum. 🙂
    Listen: Bandcamp (try track 4, “Moonshine”)

A few more

I took the following albums into consideration as well but they didn’t make the list – I wanted to have some of my “main” musical influences and development covered, and the following overlap with the selection a little bit. I chose Front 242 over Depeche Mode in the list above for example, because Front 242 also touches on techno and the harder side of electronic music; Voivod over Metallica because Voivod is just way harder than Metallica (and that influenced me more, into today); and so on…


*) that means moderating my photo club’s group – if it wasn’t for that, I’d actually be ready to delete my account, but I accepted the duty to serve as the club’s vice president this year, so my many personal issues with Facebook take second place.

**) I’m also cleaning out old posts from my Facebook profile more or less frequently with the “Social Book Post Manager” plugin, so the set of posts from this “game” will get deleted in a couple of months.

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