Hello friends, My name is Billy and I’m the vocalist of a band called Vesuvius. Today, exclusively on PureGrainAudio, I will be sharing with you my favourite records of all-time. Let me begin by stating that this was one of the most arduous tasks I’ve ever had to complete in my life, and I mean that in the most literal sense. The decision-making involved in creating this list was incredibly time-consuming, and I’m sure moments after this is uploaded to the internet I’ll be thinking about what records I wish I had included instead. Anyway, here are the 10 records that I currently believe are my favourite of all-time.
10. Deafheaven – Sunbather (2013)
Favourite track: “Sunbather”
If you’re a fan of the genre, you know that you either love or hate this band. This record completely changed the black metal game for me. The epic mix of raw, intense black metal and chiming, uplifting post-rock/shoegaze vibes completely blew my mind upon first listen. I think this band and a few others in the scene right now are really opening doors and pushing boundaries that many people wouldn’t have expected from the genre. My favourite kind of black metal is the kind that is constantly revolutionizing itself. Black metal has always been known as a genre that doesn’t take too kindly to change. It doesn’t take too kindly to bands that aren’t of the same extremism as its predecessers.
For me, my favourite bands were always the ones that were injecting influences and elements of other genres into their black metal. I see black metal as the response to metal’s complacency with itself. The forefathers of black metal weren’t content with the state of metal and what it was doing for them, so they completely revolutionized what metal could sound like. I see bands like Deafheaven as bands who continue to apply that same black metal ethos into the genre, keeping it ever-changing.
09. ERRA – Impulse (2011)
Favourite track: “The Architect”
A huge reason I’m where I am today with Vesuvius. This band quickly became a favourite when I first heard “White Noise”, which was the first single they released off the record. Discovering ERRA lead me to follow Tragic Hero Records very closely, and is ultimately the reason we’re here now putting out a record with them. While the whole “progressive metal/djent” craze was going on, this band really stood out for me. This is an album that is melodic and emotional, but with plenty of intensity and technicality. They were hitting on all cylinders with great musicianship, incredible songwriting and insightful lyrics.
08. Linkin Park – “Minutes to Midnight” (2007)
Favourite track: “Valentine’s Day”
Don’t get me wrong, Hybrid Theory will always have a special place in my heart as the band that got me into the whole “nu-metal” thing, and a huge reason we’ve implemented that into our sound, but this record is simply my favourite. All the softer songs and the weird ones really struck a chord in me. “In Pieces”, “Valentine’s Day”, “Hands Held High”, “Shadow of the Day”, those were all my favourites. Minutes to Midnight continued Linkin Park’s run of outstanding albums, and I think their musicianship on this release was hands down their best.
07. Sonata Arctica – “Ecliptica” (1999)
Favourite track: “My Land”
I’m a huge power metal fan. Actually, before I got into extreme metal and -core subgenres, I listened to power metal almost exclusively because I wasn’t exactly accepting of screaming in metal yet. I got so into it when I was younger that these days I could probably compile a top 100 power metal records of all time (and I’m patiently awaiting that challenge). When I think back, I think this is the first power metal band I discovered, and the first power metal record I owned. They gradually matured in terms of songwriting and musical ability throughout the course of their next few records (up until recently where it all went downhill), but I really like how raw and youthful this record sounds. I was so fascinated by the exchanging of guitar/keyboard solos, massive amounts of backing vocals, and overall strangely interesting songwriting.
06. Eluveitie – “Slania” (2008)
Favourite track: “Bloodstained Ground”
On top of power metal, I’m a huge folk metal fan. For a solid year of my life in middle school this is the only band I would listen to. They’re the reason my very first guitar purchase was a 7-string and I think the very first thing I did when I got home after buying it was try to learn to play the entire record. What I love so much about Eluveite that separated them from the crowd for me was the fact that they use all traditional instruments on their recordings, and live. Most bands typically try to imitate folk instruments with a keyboard, but no, these guys have a freakin’ flute player. I don’t know how many members are in the band currently, but at one point they had eleven. Some of this record is written in Gaulish, a long-dead dialect of Gaelic, and they had help from celtologists for the lyric writing process. I literally know every lyric to a song sung in a language that doesn’t exist anymore.
05. Atreyu – “Lead Sails Paper Anchor” (2007)
Favourite track: “Lead Sails”
This is another band in which I was very close to picking an earlier release. The Curse completely blew my mind when I first heard it, but this record had some of the best songwriting I’ve ever heard in rock music. Every song was memorable and unique in its own way. It was a complete deviation from their usual “metalcore” sound they had on The Curse, and pretty much a full transition into straightforward melodic rock. It was an angrier rock approach, but hey, how can you not love a chorus that goes: “So fuckin’ blow those words out the back of your head; I’ve heard it all and I’m done with that shit”?
04. Green Day – “American Idiot” (2004)
Favourite track: “Letterbomb”
If you don’t know every lyric to “Jesus of Suburbia” we absolutely cannot be friends. I got this record as a gift from my mom in 2004 when I was 9 years old and I had no idea what it was. I remember she gave it to me as we were getting in the car for a very long road trip to a cottage or something. I popped in into my walkman (I’m not that old, you guys had walkmans too, right?) and played this thing on repeat for the entire 4 hour drive. Amazing concept record. I think this thing even got its own Broadway musical.
03. Trivium – “Ascendancy” (2005)
Favourite track: “Rain”
I was very close to putting their 2011 release In Waves in this spot because I think that was their best, but this album is ultimately what got me into the “metalcore” subgenre. The thing about Trivium is I still listen to them just as much as I did when I was twelve years old. I would say they are my all-time favourite metal band. It blows my mind to think that Matt Heafy wrote this record when he was in junior year of high school and it instantly became successful worldwide. The dude has never had to work a real job in his life because he was playing shows overseas in the 9th grade. Anyway, besides my envy for Matt Heafy, this record is immaculate. Both guitar players have such an unerring ability to write music, it’s obvious when you listen to it that they both had a firm grasp on their craft at a very young age.
02. Avenged Sevenfold – “Waking The Fallen” (2003)
Favourite track: “I Won’t See You Tonight Pt. 1”
This is the record that officially got me into metal. Yeah, I used to listen to Metallica in the car with my dad, but this is the first band I discovered on my own. Honestly, this record had such a colossal impact on my life and who I am as a musician that I don’t even really know what to say about it. All I’m going to say is “I Won’t See You Tonight – Part 1” is the most emotional, compelling, brilliant song ever composed, and I cry myself to sleep every night to the thought that I will never write something that good.
01. 30 Seconds To Mars – “A Beautiful Lie” (2005)
Favourite track: This was very difficult to choose, but ultimately I would say it’s “The Kill”.
Alright, here we are. My favourite record of all time. Also my favourite band of all time. I was 10 years old when I first saw “From Yesterday” on TV, and from that moment on my life was completely overrun by rock music. I don’t know why this band/record made such a lasting impression on me, but it really has held the number one spot for over a decade now. This has been my favourite band for longer than it has not been my favourite band. This is also the only band that does not have a record, or even one singular song that I do not like. I personally think their songwriting peaked with the release of their 2009 record This is War, which contains most of my favourite 30STM songs, but A Beautiful Lie will always hold a special place in my heart.
Check out the lyric video for Vesuvius’ song “This House Is Not A Home ” here.