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Awesome album Surfpup! One of my all-time faves.


For me today it's:


Primus - Pork Soda (1993)


Classic Primus album, it's got all of their distinctive weirdness and uniquely creative virtuosity intact and displayed in spades. Some of the tracks are laugh-out-loud funny, some of the tracks are surprisingly morbid, some of them are shockingly poignant--a lot of them are all three. While Larry LaLonde's guitar is less prominent on this one than it is on subsequent albums like Tales From The Punchbowl or Antipop, he manages to make effective use of the space left him by Les Claypool and Tim "Herb" Alexander, who are the ace rhythm section that drives the entire album from start to finish. Signature tracks on this one are "My Name is Mud" and "Mr. Krinkle." The high point on the album for me is the title track, "Pork Soda," which is hard-hitting and unrelenting in its hilarity--one of the funniest things I've ever heard committed to record. I'll give this one a five out of five.


Helstar - Nosferatu (1989)


A classic from the formative years of progressive speed metal, Helstar's Nosferatu is an album that's both exciting and challenging in how fast, punishing and aggressive the music is. Most of the tracks on the album are unrelenting speed metal songs, mixing frequent time changes, neoclassical lead guitar, aggressive drumming and high-concept lyrical content, it's basically an album that defines "metal" for me. I hear it and immediately go "yep, this is metal." The songs are interesting throughout, and melodically there is hardly a weak point (save, perhaps, for the less-than-impressive "Harsh Reality," which mostly plays it safe and has little in the way of interesting content.) While some may definitely criticize the instrumentation for being soulless or needlessly fast, I think that as a genre album it works perfectly--and, on most of the tracks, you can definitely pick up on a noticeable amount of feeling in the midst of so much fast shredding. Signature tracks on this album are "Rhapsody in Black/Baptized in Blood" and "To Sleep, Perchance to Scream." The high point on this album is definitely the instrumental track "Perseverance and Desperation," which takes everything I could ever want in four minutes and sixteen seconds of shameless guitar masturbation and puts it in, making a track which is fun and exciting because it epitomizes everything that speed metal fans love about speed metal. Another high point is the track "Swirling Madness," which, despite a few lulls in activity, has a few of the most interesting lead breaks I've ever heard in a speed metal song. In the end, it's fast, it's tasteless, and it's cheesy. It's far from perfect--but it's everything I could ever want out of a 1989 speed metal album. I'm going to go ahead and give this a four out of five.

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