Our Music, My Journey

Forest reveals the ten albums that have had the biggest influence on him as a writer and vocalist for his band, Killborn.

Hello Super Metal Worlders!

I’ve been given this opportunity and platform to talk to you all about the music we have all come to know, love, and hold so dearly… Metal. As with any art form that has passionate fans, opinions can be controversial and the content is subjective to the individual. So with that said, I apologize in advance, for the subject matter of this blog will be based my point of view and may not coincide with others. This is also my first foray into the world of blogging, so bare with me as I get my feet.

Content is the question you all must be asking about now. “What the fuck is this guy gonna write about that I’m going to care about?”. Well folks, I’ll be doing reviews of major releases, inside look into the life of an underground band and surrounding music scene, up and coming bands/albums that might pique your interests and any other random shit that I may come up.

Now, I thought about ways of how to go about introducing myself and thought the best way would be through music. Some of you may know me from previous episodes of the podcast itself, as I am a member of Canadian melodic death metal band Killborn. I enjoy more than just metal when it comes to music, but for the most part it’s about 70% metal. As far as sub-genres are concerned, I can dig a little bit of everything except maybe porno-grind. I just don’t know what to make of it. Death, Black, Thrash, Stoner, Prog, Nu, Metalcore & Deathcore (and their many offshoots) make up the majority of my metal content.

So with this first post, I present you with the 10 albums that shaped me into the metal fan I am today. They might not necessarily be my top 10 albums of all time, but they definitely have a heavy influence on what I listen to.

1. Cannibal Corpse – Gallery of Suicide

This was probably the first full death metal album I had listened to and then everything changed. To 14 year old me, this album was brutal as fuck! With that brutality came a lot of groove though. With tracks like, “I Will Kill You”, “Blood Drenched Execution” and the intoxicating instrumental of “From Skin to Liquid”, I was hooked instantly and haven’t looked back. Cannibal Corpse might not be in my daily listens anymore, but they did eat a piece of my heart.

2. Weed Demon – Astrological Passages

This one is a little more recent, as recent as this year. While rummaging around on Bandcamp I stumbled on Weed Demon. As the name might imply, a little herbal enhancer goes quite well with their music. I had never really gotten into the stoner/doom/sludge side of metal. Mastodon may be some sort of exception, but after this album that changed. The tone and drone of Weed Demon will draw you in and take you on an audio journey. I now know what all the fuss about these sub-genres is about and many a band have made their way into my daily listens ever since.

3. In Flames – Reroute to Remain

This was the first full In Flames album I heard. Now this bands later work, or even this album, is quite controversial among the metal community. I do enjoy their early work, but the In Flames I grew to love is from this album on. Not my favourite album of theirs but 14 year old me was loving it! From the opening title track to the single “Trigger”, the acoustic melodies of “Dawn of a New Day” to the anthemic “Free Fall”. This album changed my view of more melodic music at the time when all I wanted was the most heavy and brutal music.

4. Satyricon – Now, Diabolical

Satyricon might not be the first Black Metal band I discovered, but I think it’s the one that left the most impact on me as a musician. As with most of the people I knew at the time we got into Black Metal via Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir (It was a toss up between this album or Death Cult Armageddon). Eventually we branch out and discover the real depths of the sub-genre, but when I heard the single “K.I.N.G” it just clicked. The single itself might not be the best representation of the album, but the title track introduced me to a more raw Black Metal sound at the time. Oh, how little I knew. If I can point to one track in particular that stood out to me it would be “The Pentagram Burns”. The ambience of that song was like nothing I had heard, it was dark. Not a glossy dark or a matte black, it was unrefined and almost anxiety inducing. It sounded primordial, like the soundtrack to the earth being formed. It showed me I could appreciate not only a more raw production, but ambience can do so much to music to make you appreciate it in a different way.

5. MTV2 Headbangers Ball Vol.2

This compilation to me and metal is akin to a virus going from a regional epidemic to an international pandemic overnight. Yeah, I was listening to the classics. The Big 4,what was popular and what was left standing of the Nu-metal era. This double disc compilation almost never left my disc-man at 14. I’m sure I used lyrics for most of the songs as cringy MSN messenger screen names. It introduced me to so many new bands in one shot when the world of YouTube and Spotify was nonexistent, and I had not yet discovered Metal Hammer Magazine. With 40 tracks between the two CD’s spanning multiple sub-genres I was ready to conquer the world of metal. Which then led to…

6. Lamb of God – Ashes of the Wake

Now the only LOG track I had heard before “Laid to Rest” on the MTV Compilation was “For Your Malice”. I liked it, but after “Laid to Rest,” I had to have all the Lamb of God! It wasn’t long after I bought this album that I had bought the previous two and the only Burn the Priest album I could get at my local CD store. From the aforementioned opening track and single “Laid to Rest”, the anthemic choruses of “Now You’ve Got Something To Die For”,the title track instrumental of “Ashes of the Wake” beating you with melody and groove, to the final track of “Remorse is For the Dead”. This album to me at the time was the epitome of metal and will be heralded as a classic album one day. Randy Blythe’s voice was the one that I modelled my own after when I learned to sing/scream or whatever you may call it. For many years, this band and their albums would top my favorites list.

7. Opeth – Ghost Reveries

This album is one that would make every one of my top “insert title” album lists. I had first heard Opeth from the MTV Compilation and “The Grand Conjuration” radio edit is not the best representation of Opeth. At all. It’s an ok track but doesn’t show what Opeth is really about. It wasn’t until years later, after high school, when I had my first job that I purchased this album on a whim. Not a decision I would regret. As soon as the opening track of “Ghost of Perdition” finished my view on death metal and music in general had changed. I had not ventured into anything progressive before. I had heard Dream Theater through a friend earlier and that turned me away from progressive metal for a while. I could go into detail about every track on this album. The full version of “The Grand Conjuration” being the exception, but I think it speaks for itself. An hour, six minutes and forty six seconds was all it took to change my view of music for the rest of my life. The band may not have the same sound today, but their back catalogue represents essential progressive death metal.

8. Black Crown Initiate – Song of the Crippled Bull E.P

Keeping in spirit of all things progressive death metal… When this album came out in 2013 I was almost disenchanted by death metal. Nothing was really standing out to me. The bands I grew up with had nothing exciting to offer me that I liked, but all it took was a little prog to fix that. All 4 tracks flow seamlessly into each other to take you on this audio journey and to come full circle in the end. I can’t recommend this album enough. It might not actually be the album itself that helped shape my musical preferences but what it lead too. It wasn’t long after I went to Summer Slaughter to see them that I discovered bands like The Faceless, Archspire and Fallujah that reignited my love for Death Metal.

9. Slipknot – Slipknot

This was the tipping point. This was the album that really did it. I was 9 when this album was released. I was 9 when my sister had showed me Slipknot. I was 9 when I fell in love with Metal. Before this most of my music was hip-hop and classic rock. Only real regular exposure to metal before this was the VROK radio station on “GTA Vice City” that had Slayer, Megadeth, Motley Crue, Judas Priest and fucking Tesla. This would also become the first album I bought with my own money from doing chores. You can feel the anger through your speakers with this album. The intensity is almost violent in it’s delivery. Something that carried on into Iowa but was certainly lost throughout the years. Needless to say, this band has been one of my favorites since I was 9 years old and still is today despite the change in direction.

10. Gojira – From Mars to Sirius

It’s hard to narrow it down to 10, but I couldn’t do it without this album. I had never heard them before seeing them live in Montreal in 2007 with Behemoth, Job for a Cowboy and Beneath the Massacre. I was very familiar with the other three bands, Behemoth being one of my favourites at the time. After having my mind blown by their set, I headed to the merch table to purchase “The Link” and “From Mars to Sirius. From that day forward, the band and album have remained favorites to this day. The opening track “Ocean Planet”, the stomping groove of “Backbone”, the controlled chaos of “Heaviest Matter Of the Universe” are only the beginning. “Flying Whales” is a track that words cannot give justice to. The feeling it gives me is the same it did eleven years ago. The band has a sound unique to themselves that no one could replicate and many try to emulate. I have purchased every album since, listen to them daily, and their work has influenced my own as a musician.

These are the top 10 albums that shaped me as a metal fan. Maybe this gives you a little insight into what’s to come or as to who I am and what I look for in metal. I don’t plan on doing many Top 10’s , as they are long but they might pop up from time to time. It’s also hard to narrow things like this down to 10 albums so I have a few notable mentions.

  • Machine Head – The Blackening, for teaching me about songwriting.
  • Fear Factory – Demanufacture, for polyrhythms, hooks and grooves.
  • Mastodon – Crack the Skye, the real stoner album.
  • Slayer – South of Heaven, fuckin SLAAYYYYEEERRRR!!
  • Meshuggah – The Violent Sleep of Reason, for staying fresh while getting rawer.

Forest is the vocalist for Killborn, a melodic death metal band from Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada.