Angry Metal-FiI’ve written fairly extensively on my opinion about album lengths. I, rather infamously, gently panned the new Iron Maiden album because it was delivered totally unedited. I wrote about how the CD was the death of the album, and I wrote about why I think that a quintuple LP has failed from the outset. This has since taken on the name “The 45 Minute Rule.” This rule of thumb garners pushback for reasons that are understandable. First, people argue, the album is a work of art. Setting arbitrary boundaries for length defeats the freedom of expression available to artists. Second, others argue that it’s a matter of quantity—bang for your buck, so to speak—and that longer records are better as a matter of course. Indeed, in the true spirit of metal, they land in the Yngwie Malmsteen camp: “How can less be more?! That’s impossible!” Third, people point to magnum opi or exceptional albums which are very long and very good. These records, they say, are proof that having a “45 Minute Rule” is just plain wrong. There is merit to every single one of these points but I want to clarify what an album is, why length matters, and what it precisely is that we review here at Angry Metal Guy.

I’ll start by pointing out that points one and two from above contradict each other. As a “work of art,”1 I want artists to produce coherent, holistic albums. This is not the same thing from lining up 10 songs you wrote in a specific order that works pretty well. For me, the peak of the album is Seventh Son of a Seventh Son or The Wall. When I start The Wall I listen to it front to back and I enjoy the whole experience. Similarly, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son or Symphony X‘s V: The New Mythology Suite. These are albums that use the form to create something cohesive and should a band need 75 minutes to do that, more power to them. The key, though, is immersion. Listeners lose themselves in the music and the album is akin to looking at a painting. Sure, you could look at the left half now and the right half later, but a painting is meant to be seen in its totality. Such albums are usually carefully crafted so as to be continuously interesting and engaging; both as composition and narration. The best album-as-whole is the record that has likely been heavily edited because it needs to be perfect. This is Wintersun‘s particularly neurosis (see also: Turisas‘ The Varangian Way) and these albums drive their creators nuts. As with great film or great writing, great music is well-edited. Unlike great film or great writing, the editing is almost entirely self-imposed and artists are notoriously attached to their work and unable to “kill [their] darlings.”

flowchartBands producing records that are long because they can is different. Releasing the 15 songs I wrote in the last 18 months without consideration for time and space is not constructing an album. This is, rather, a playlist. There are plenty of great records that are playlists; in fact, I think most albums that are released are simply playlists.2 But that changes expectations. In this case, there will be varying compositional quality and it behooves bands to remove the worst material to improve the flow and feel of their playlist. Historically, this meant sitting down and cutting down to the LP length. And while this is hard, anyone who makes music knows that we all write stuff that we don’t like as well. We all produce music that we think is subpar, even if we like this riff or that idea. The musician who wants to produce the best album possible will either re-write those pieces or drop them. They edit.

Playlist albums are more likely to be repetitive at longer lengths, particularly if they lack dynamics. I love Amon Amarth, but those guys write pretty much the same songs for every album. They’re really good at it, but a 75 minute Amon Amarth album would fall absolutely flat. By the 40-minute mark, you’ve heard everything you’re going to hear and at that point you’re pretty much ready to move on. You’ll see them live, of course, but then they play 120 minutes of their best material, not their most recent.

Swallow the Sun FlowchartSometimes you’ll encounter albums where every song is great but it’s super long, making it enjoyable in two sittings. But is that a successful album? My answer is no. A successful album is something that you want to hear in a single sitting. Generally, the most successful albums are the ones which end before you’re ready. The ones that leave you wanting more. I review new albums on these terms. When enjoyable records crest at 55, 60, or 70 minutes and I’m bored, I consider it an editing problem. An album with plenty of interesting sections but that falls flat on a total listen is a failure which could have been averted with better editing.3 I’d say the same thing of a 30 minute album that I was bored with by the end, too. It’s the whole that matters.

Do we harp on this point a lot? Well, we talk about it more than most. Following (or around the time of) Opeth, bands began seeing song length as its own virtue. Why this is I can only speculate, but that this happened is undeniable. I cannot tell you4 the number of records we get where every song is pushing 10 minutes and where there isn’t nearly enough material to hold it together. Some bands have been successful with it—like Opeth or Moonsorrow—but most bands aren’t composing symphonies, they’re just repeating riffs ad nauseum. Because of this, albums are getting out of control in length and unless it’s the best material of their life, it just fades to gray. Yet it becomes more common all the time.

Ultimately, I think that records that bloat make for bad records and that labels are releasing fewer good records because of it. If you’re a person who doesn’t enjoy albums as a whole, then this isn’t a problem. But what are we to do when we review? Our job is to review albums. That means pointing out the strengths and weaknesses of the whole product that we’re reviewing. Since we judge them as single units, rather than rating how much we like each song and creating a composite score, length risks dropping scores due to dropping quality. There will always be exceptions. There are some bands who can pull it off. Sometimes editing actually even hurts an album as a whole. But given the literally thousands of albums that we receive every year, I feel entirely comfortable saying that most of them would be better with heavy editing and time constraints. Had they written for vinyl these albums would have been tighter.

Unfortunately, if as Stephen King once quipped, “To write is human [and] to edit is divine,” it appears that most bands have no desire to transcend the banality of mortality.

Show 4 footnotes

  1. In the sense of being ‘high art’ not just cultural production.
  2. And anyone who makes playlists for others or grew up making mixed tapes knows damn well that there’s an art to making a good playlist.
  3. I should point out, however, that backing off a master can sometimes also result in a similar experience. The listening experience not being totally overwhelming can make longer albums that felt oppressive less so.
  4.  because I have not counted, but I’m pretty sure Grymm has reviewed most of them.

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  • Satthia

    Somewhere, a grindcore guitarist is groaning.

    • Kronos

      Grindcore at once defies and epitomizes a lack of editing. While the genre usually understands keeping it quick and snappy, albums with 20 or 30 songs always produce some real duds to my ears.

      • ricin_beans

        Yeah but the great thing about a mediocre song that is only 30 seconds long is that it’s only 30 seconds long

        • Kronos Sr.

          But at 30 seconds there isn’t any time to hit fast forward and you actually have to listen or LA LA LA through the rest of it.

      • ActualBastard

        See Nasum – Inhale/Exhale. Could be one of the greatest albums of all time, but at 45 minutes, it’s just TOO MUCH GRIND.

        • funeraldoombuggy

          Never make it past side one on that record… but I love side one.

    • sir_c

      Still I am a bit wary when the number of songs exceeds the playtime in minutes.

  • I heard about Opeth ? Where is the review of their masterpiece Sorceress here in Angrymetalguy Please?

    • Oscar Albretsen

      I have to wait until 10/5 to get my copy. It’s killing me.

      • I Got that on Friday and listen to it twice a day since then but I still thirsty for another listen.
        I usually like heavier records but this progressive giant killed me . So Great. I can say the Album Art Shows Nature of the Content.

    • El_Cuervo

      I should think that AMG himself is claiming it. I wouldn’t hold out for an opinion claiming it’s outstanding.

      • That Would be Great

        • El_Cuervo

          I like it but I think I’m fairly alone on the staff.

          • Reese Burns

            I wasn’t too taken by any of the singles aside from Will O’ the Wisp, I was holding out hope, but if the rest of the album sounds like The Wilde Flowers and the title track, it’s most likely not gonna be for me.

          • I was wondering this myself El C. I would’d have a *hard* time believing AMG is gushing over this one.

  • Respect our authoritah!!

  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    Agree with a lot said here (too lazy to type it all) and tend to gravitate towards shorter albums but the whole “45 minute rule” has been off-putting as a principle. So much depends on the bands songwriting, and especially style. Can’t imagine KYPCK’s latest feeling anything but short at 45, but Insomnium’s Winter’s Gate was of a perfect length – both featuring stellar songwriting.

  • Oscar Albretsen

    Usually, I agree with most of your comments, but, honestly, I don’t think an album’s length is all that important. Sure, there’s more potential for a lengthier album to be less consistent, but, you said it yourself, that’s not always the case. Personally, I thought “Book of Souls” was easily one of the best albums last year, and had it been condensed, I can’t imagine it having improved much.

    Conversely, if I love a short album, such as High Spirits’ “Motivator,” I do sometimes wish it had been longer, but that doesn’t make me stop playing it.

    Really, I think it’s best to just enjoy what’s there, and try not to worry so much about speculating on what’s not. long albums can, short albums can be bad.

    • André Snyde Lopes

      Oh wow… That was a particularly striking post to read. Mainly because I disagree with pretty much every word (apart from the last 10). You don’t think cutting all the grating chorus repetitions in a song like The Red and the Black would have made it better? Because it would, by a large margin.

      I deeply dislike High Spirits. But that’s a bit harder to argue about.

      You can “just enjoy what’s there” but do you not want to think critically about the media you consume? I take great enjoyment from doing that as well as just listening to the music. That’s basically the sole reason why I post here.

      • Oscar Albretsen

        You make good points, and I definitely get bored when an album is too long. I suppose I’m just trying to say that when it’s there, there’s certainly no crime in thinking about it, but that’s all you CAN do. Different story if you’re producing it or writing it. But as the listener, you got what they gave you. Nonetheless, this is a music review site, and I’m whning about them doing what they’re freakin” SUPPOSED to do. OK, you win. If I think an album’s too long or short, I shouldn’t ignore that. I hadn’t had my coffee yet when I wrote that original post…

        • André Snyde Lopes

          Ha, you’re a good sport. And I agree, the music exists and you and I can’t do much apart from talking about it. So we do. Maybe because we’re nerds who care (probably way too much) about it.

  • manimal

    Ha, I was listening to Triptykon while reading this. Much as I love them (and much as your site gives them consistently good reviews) I always feel like pruning 15-20 minutes of material.

    • André Snyde Lopes

      Now that would be a crime against humanity. Of all the long albums you could cut why would you choose Triptykon? I would cut some 20 minutes off Celtic Frost’s Monotheist, no problem but leave Daimones and Chasmata alone, man.

      • David Kaz

        Triptykon is a pale imitation of Monitheist.

        • André Snyde Lopes

          How can it be an imitation if it’s made (in part) by the same person? It’s a continuation, sure, not an imitation.

          Or do you think Martin Eric Ain was calling all the shots in CF? Because that just Ain’t the case :D

          • David Kaz

            You’re arguing semantics. Fine he’s just rehashing Monotheist in Triptykon. For me CF records with Ain are superior to those without. So he must bring something to the table.

          • André Snyde Lopes

            Not really because I think Warrior is making better, more fully realized, deeply personal and emotionally gripping music now than he was then. Ain obviously brought something to the table that felt a bit more sacrilegious and twisted but Santura is bringing Warrior to a darker abyss wherein his emotional scars are fully and beautifully displayed.

            You can like Monotheist more but it was a jumping off point to the greater heights of Triptykon.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            I see what you did there with the word play between Ain / Ain’t ! ;)

      • manimal

        Because, despite loving their/his music to bits, I can never sit through an entire album.

  • Martin Knap

    Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 is 105 minutes long, that violates the 45 minute rule…

    • Stefunal

      But, as AMG said, it’s a symphony, not a playlist.

      • Martin Knap

        An album is not a symphony either… I think the reason why most people agree with the 45 min “rule” is precisely because an album is – pace AMG – a collection of songs, and 45 mins is just the right time you want to listen to genre music – no matter how much album oriented the approach of the musician.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Twice… and more

    • I edited out a section on this point. I think that classical music is very different for a variety of reasons. Firstly, most classical music (as well operas and showtunes) is designed for live performances. Secondly, I think that Mahler’s compositions are far more engaging than the average dronecore douchebaggery we receive that’s 85 minutes long. Thirdly, I think plenty of people think Mahler’s work is over-the-top and too damned long. But it’s extraordinary and intense and I appreciate it for that reason.

      • Meat Tornado

        I often wish that more metal bands would compose albums as symphonies though. I like themes and cohesion as much as I like longer records…

        Metal more than any other genre I think could be succesful at the modern symphony (other than actual symphonies), then maybe AMG would enjoy longer albums more?

  • manimal

    I contend that musicians have always suffered from lack of self-editing, and that the modern trend approach of self-production is the cause of album bloat.

    The first thing a good producer, who happens to *not* be in the band, will do, is sit down with the band and tell them which babies are ugly, and which they should keep.

    • El_Cuervo

      This is part of the issue. There really don’t seem to be A&R departments in most of metal’s small-mid sized labels (and even big ones).

      While this is understandable given budgetary limitations and the better profit ratio in spending as little per album released as possible, it means that there’s a lot of fluff which could have been trimmed in the production process.

    • Exactly my thoughts re producers! +999999

    • Yes yes yes. This is kind of the point I was making in my article about the CD being the death of the album. But it’s true that self-production makes this even worse. Not only do you not need to fit to the LP length, but you also don’t have anyone telling you when shit is shit.

    • mtlman1990

      “Thou shall hire Dan Swano”

  • Dr. Wvrm

    I try and use Stephen King’s 10% Must Go Rule of Editing when writing, I find that most bands would greatly benefit from that lesson as well.

    • manimal

      The irony is that Mr King himself confesses to suffering from what he calls ‘literary elephantiasis’.

      • Oscar Albretsen

        Not sure it’s literary…

      • Dr. Wvrm

        Self-awareness is a beautiful thing. I know I tend toward pontification in writing and speaking, so while the rule may not cure all ills, it’s better than subjecting people to 900 words on a 2.0 debut.

    • El_Cuervo

      I’d not heard this but it would be a good thing in 95% of cases.

  • David D.

    I agree with this. If a band isn’t able to put together a good long-form composition (e.g. Opeth or Ne Obliviscaris) then shorter albums are definitely preferable. Two of my favorite albums right now, Children of Nova’s The Complexity of Light and Shokran’s Exodus, sit around the 35 minute mark but the material is so dense that you have to keep coming back for more. They may not have worked as well if they were longer.

  • GardensTale

    Thanks AMG! Now if anyone still gives me flak about burning down the bloated corpse of the latest Allegaeon, I’ll just point them here!

    • Reese Burns

      That’s a case of me understanding and agreeing with almost all your points, but still not caring, if that makes sense. I love that album more than I feel like I should, so I’m curious as to how I’ll feel about it after some time has passed.

      • GardensTale

        Hey, if you like the album, more power to you. I was the same about Book of Souls so I get your position perfectly.

  • André Snyde Lopes

    I have argued for a lot of these points before so I will not repeat myself here. I want to tackle the “album vs painting” comparison because I feel like it is quite terrible. Paintings don’t exist in the temporal dimension as music does. You can’t take a glance at the whole of the album in one instant as you can do with a painting. They are “consumed” in distinct, almost polar opposite ways. With a painting you get a general feel and then you explore it in a non-linear way, which you cannot do with an album.

    So I think that is not a valid argument for the album to be a holistic experience. For myself (and you it seems), I do evaluate albums as one singular piece but other people may not and I think that’s why track by track reviews exist. They are frowned upon but they do have a very interesting and useful purpose for people who like to enjoy albums as a collection of songs rather than as solid blocks of music.

  • David Kaz

    10 songs or 45 minutes whichever comes first is the max, has been my rule. Of course there’s exceptions but those are few.

  • pfk505

    I absolutely agree with pretty much everything here, so much so that I’d give the author a high five and buy them a beer if I could. I listen almost exclusively to albums, which means a bloated album will most likely never be revisited, even if parts of it are good. The key piece of this is the bit about successful albums leaving us wanting more – that is absolutely nailed on. It’s possible to do with a 75 minute but in my experience becomes increasingly unlikely the farther away one gets from that magic 45.

  • Grymm

    You know, I think I HAVE reviewed most of them…

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      I think you have too. I should have passed off Midnight Odyssey to you last year…

      • Grymm

        geehowboutno

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          You would have loved it…

  • Ernesto Aimar

    Great article, and while reading it, the name “Rage” popped constantly into my mind. The major downside of almost every Rage albums is it’s length, they always have at least 3 or 4 songs that could had been left as BTs. Take 2 or 3 Rage consecutive albums and individually they are good, but edited as one single album it could had been greatness.

    About exceptions, sure there are lots, but I-d like to remark some “experiments” such as Green Carnation’s one-hour-track-marvel “Light of Day…”. Those are 60 minutes that perfectly flow alltogether that cannot (and should not) be listened interrupted. Also, the whole of In The Woods… 90s discography stands in that rare spot where long albums feel like concise marvels.

    And I should mention that BG’s massive and outstanding trilogy of great records (Somewhere-Imaginations-Nightfall) tick more than 50 minutes on each release. I personally would cut any hand that attemps to edit one of those albums. Evenmore, I think that Nightfall should have had the track “Harvest of Sorrow” as part of it.

    Anyway, I think that the best of this article is the phrase ” It’s the whole that matters”. That’s perfect, no matter if you like your metal extreme or mellow, symphonic or crust. No one should ever judge an album just for one of it’s parts.

  • melopath

    I meant ´paste´, not ´past´, of course…

  • hallowed

    Hardwired…to Self-Edit.

    • André Snyde Lopes

      We’re so concise
      Shit outta filler

  • Benevolent Sun

    Good points. I really dig the new Carnifex record but it is pretty short. I find myself flipping the record over and starting the whole thing over frequently. It’s only 30+ minutes, I think, but I can spend hours playing it over and over. That makes it feel like a perfect ALBUM to me. I love that new Allegaeon playlist though.

    • Reese Burns

      New Carnifex absolutely rips. Blackened deathcore is a better idea than I thought it would be.

  • Bart the Repairman

    Although I agree with the „throw out everything that isn’t necessary” rule, and I try to follow it myself in my daily work, I wouldn’t glorify the good ol’ times of vinyl so much. I think that limited space on black disc is one of the reasons, that many bands in 60’s or 70’s were able to release 1 or 2 albums per year – they often contained leftovers from previous sessions, only developed and reshaped.
    Lack of self-editing isn’t a problem of present times.

    P.S. Schammasch – Triangle. Fantastic triple album. I always listen to it in one sitting.

    • Kronos

      I couldn’t even sit through the first disc. That band apes DsO so hard and then does such a poor job of it.

      • Bart the Repairman

        I hear more ‘The Satanist’-era Behemoth in it (especially vocals are pretty much identical). I guess I have to re-visit some DsO for fresh comparisons. I remember their music as much more fucked up and unaccesible than Schammasch’s (damn, that’s hard to type… guys could drop some letters from the band name, that’s for sure).

        • Kronos

          I think it was mostly in the second disc that they really got Deathspellish

          • Bart the Repairman

            So… the impression after the first disc wasn’t bad enough to prevent you from going to the second?;)

          • Yeah, I am surprised by Kronos assessment of that album. I think it is MUCH better than how he sold it above.

          • Kronos

            I thought it might improve.

        • ActualBastard

          I haven’t heard this band, but I’m intrigued because one of you thinks it sounds like DsO and the other hears satanist era Behemoth. Either one of you is crazy or this band is all over the map.

    • Reese Burns

      Purient’s Frozen Niagra Falls is another great triple LP. It’s tough music to get into, let alone listen to three album’s worth, but man is it a haunting experience.

      • Bart the Repairman

        Wikipedia tells me that this is double record. Also, labels it as noise/industrial, which unfortunately isn’t my thing. But thanks for recommendation, I will wait for a proper mood to give it a chance.
        Speaking of triple albums – Kamasi Washington, “The Epic” (that comes from a guy who usually tolerate jazz only in small doses, as a spice for proggier sounds).

        • Reese Burns

          The version I got from Profound Lore comes in a triple LP set, but it could be presented as a double album digitally, since you’re not bound to the limits of vinyl that way.
          Edit: noise isn’t everyone’s cup of filth, but if you’re even remotely curious about it, you should check it out. It’s hard to describe the feels I get from it.

        • John

          Epic indeed. But I love jazz.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    I remember having “Reign In Blood” on cassette. It was so short that Side A and Side B had the same 10 songs. I usually finished playing it, flipped it over and listened to it again anything from a few to many times in a row.

  • AndySynn

    I don’t have a hard and fast rule myself, I just acknowledge that it IS possible (nay, even common) for an album to go on too long and outstay its welcome.

    For me it’s all about that amorphous quality of “feel” – when an album “feels” long enough (or, conversely, NOT quite long enough).

    For example, I felt like track 9, “Cognitive Computations” on the new Allegaeon was a perfect time (and track) to close the album… and everything after that just suffered from diminishing returns. Though I would also re-order the track list if I were them, for a tighter, tauter, experience.

    Similarly the new Blood Red Throne album felt like it closed out perfectly with track 9… but then there were two other songs. Thankfully these turned out to be “bonus tracks” and not part of the main album sequence, so I called that one about right.

    Whereas, conversely, the new Alcest feels EVER so slightly too short to my ears/mind.

    So, again, it’s not a hard and fast rule about length, just an awareness that length IS a relevant factor, and more material does not always a better album make.

    (FYI – for me Songs from the North is three separate albums in one package, hence why it works for me)

    • Reese Burns

      I thoroughly enjoyed Songs From the North, but the idea of taking it on all in one go is more than I can handle.

      • AndySynn

        That’s what she said?

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Regarding song length, most pop and rock songs are about 3 minutes long due to the constraint of being written with the main goal of having it played on radio and airtime is an expensive premium, so the longer the song, the harder to get airplay for it.

    Metal songs tend to be longer MAYBE because musicians realize they’re not getting radio airplay anyway so they can make longer songs. Maybe they just don’t care, maybe both, maybe even as a way of rebelling against “rules” (who says my song must be under 3 minutes long?).

    In the early 80s most Metal songs were structured as rock songs and were about 3 minutes long. Then Iron Maiden and Metallica started making longer songs, 6-minutes long, 8-minutes long. Now it is common for Metal to have song run 10 to 12 minutes. But the hallmark of a really good song is that it never feels “too long”. A good song makes you think have 7 minutes gone by already? as “Hallowed Be Thy Name” does.

    • Heifer Madness

      The style of metal has a lot to do with it, too. Stoner and doom bands want to repeat their riffs and bask in the fuzz for awhile, prog bands have to make room for a guitar, keyboard, and bass solo in every song, atmospheric bands take time building up the vibe of a song; all of this takes time. Grind, speed, thrash- these guys want to hit hard and move on; short songs.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Yet there are quite a few lenghty thrash metal masterpieces upwards from the six minutes mark. For example early Metallica has “The Four Horsemen”, “Seek and Destroy”, “Creeping Death”, “Eye of The Beholder”, “Blackened” to name a few.

        • Reese Burns

          V e k t o r

  • Jeff Kent

    Someone touched a nerve…

    • Not at all. This isn’t me being butthurt. This is me clarifying my point of view.

  • Listening to the stream of the new Neurosis as I read this. They have gone against their own historical pattern by releasing a 40 minute album this time round. I think this is influenced by the resurgence of vinyl and am sure they sat down with Albini (Neurosis is one band that maintains a relationship with a good producer) to reach a conscious decision to make the overall product shorter.

    I just hope Judas Priest comprehend what is blindingly obvious: all their great albums are 40 minutes or less and all their recent ones are bloated and suck. That realisation alone might not save the next one, but it can’t hurt. It is astounding how bands that have been in the business for years lose sight of the basics.

  • Lord Gronbuske

    It feels like you would love how Onmyouza solved it by releasing two separate albums at the same time instead of a double album.

    • GardensTale

      That depends on whether they edited at all

      • Lord Gronbuske

        Absolutely, not as well as they did on the album before that though. Kishi Bojin is perfection.

  • Interesting take, esp about a band’s album being a “playlist” rather than an album…I have noticed ever since I started arranging my own playlists certain bands’ albums go over better one song at a time shuffled into a playlist…like new Katalepsy, as an album as the reviewer here said, “simply not brutal enough,” but the individual songs go over way better on my “2016” list.

  • Kelli Caltabiano

    Well I’m listening swallow the sun last

  • André Snyde Lopes
    • AlphaBetaFoxface

      Stupidly extreme album length can have similar effects to mass alcohol consumption on reviewers.

      • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

        The secret is do both at once.

        • [not a Dr]

          Else, you may wish you had drunk jet fuel instead.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Angry Metal Worker? Angry Metal Guy goes blue collar?

    • The Nerd.

      So….. Does jet fuel melt steel beams?

      • André Snyde Lopes

        Click to find out! You’ll never believe what happens next! (GONE SEXUAL!)

        [Am I doing this right, Grier?]

        • The Nerd.

          You did it better than the old Doctor himself

      • sir_c

        Not when they’re British Steel cos leather doesn’t melt

  • Meat Tornado

    This is a well written article, and I am honored to be part of the rabble that inspired it.

    I am an album guy, 100%. I do not pick through songs. I, like you, prefer to experience an album all the way through. That being said, I often find myself enjoying albums front to back the reviewers here pan. I absolutely agree that editing is key, I just think maybe we all disagree where the editing stops.

    Of course, this is all opinion. You and I famously disagree with the quality of Songs from the North. I am captivated by it. I guess I just wish to understand how albums I love are panned here. Someone on the Allegaeon posed a question if it is possible the reviewers have come to enjoy shorter albums due to the nature of the reviewing process?

    Anyway, well written, and I do believe strongly in your point of editing. I will just continue to disagree about what the sufficient level of editing is, and I’ll always be mad.

    • Heifer Madness

      I’m with you in that I like things to be cohesive and be good as a single-sitting experience, but I don’t begrudge a band that just makes an awesome collection of songs.
      I buy the awesome albums on LP, and just download the less cohesive ones to shuffle or put into playlists when I’m in the mood for variety. Both approaches work well, although I prefer when something has a strong flow, and especially when it’s a concept album.

  • Adam

    I agree to a large extent – however for me a too-long album with some excellent songs and some fillers (Iron Maiden or Allegaeon, maybe) would rate higher than a concise album with consistently merely good songs.

    It’s like.. if I’m rating such an album with obvious editing problems, it would put a ceiling on the possible score, but not necessarily subtract points.

  • Treble Yell

    Excellent piece. Another way to sum up album length and how determine if it justifies its length:

    “When you sit with a nice girl for two hours you think it’s only a minute, but when you sit on a hot stove for a minute you think it’s two hours. That’s relativity.”
    – Alber Einstein

  • Dead1

    Excellent article and I totally agree with it’s content.
    There’s another old adage about “leaving you wanting more.” Eating a single piece of yummy chocolate leaves you wanting more, eating a whole block of the same chocolate makes you not only feel sick but each progressive piece isn’t as good as the first one.
    I’d rather be left wanting more than feeling bloated and not enjoying the album as much.

    • AlphaBetaFoxface

      As much as I agree for the most part, I feel there are still albums that feel conclusive enough that you are left complete. Wanting more is definitely better than desperately searching for the nearest bucket but I also think the act of finishing at exactly the right moment is an art of itself. I found the last Kauan album was a perfect example of an album that did what it se out to, and stopped at that, providing an exhilarating sense of finality.

      But yea I’m just nitpicking, I hate feeling tired of good material.

      • Reese Burns

        Every time someone mentions Kauan it reminds me that there is good in the world.

  • Nahuel Benvenuto

    if the music is good who cares how long it is, like SOEL 2 by Rhapsody, a truly work of art, or any album by Arjen Lucassen that the they are always double albums and always masterpieces

    • Dead1

      Problem is too often not all the music is good or good ideas get recycled too many times.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    You’re totally wrong here… 42 minutes is the magic moment that should be targeted by artists…;)

    • Monsterth Goatom

      Yes! The number 42 is the meaning of life, and the answer to “what’s the perfect album length”?

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        Ha yes!

    • Diego Molero

      I really, really like that number, I think is very cool for some reason. A few albums that run for 42 min:
      A Blaze in the Northern Sky
      Deeper Than Sky
      Monolith of Inhumanity
      Epicus Doomicus Metallicus (this one is extra especial, because it runs for exactly 42:42 minutes)

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        Epicus Doomicus Metallicus that’s a cool piece of trivia thanks!
        A lot of the classics run for 42/3 minutes it’s the perfect length for vinyl which is probably why. IMO it translate to the digital age too.

      • Will Atheling

        Also, DsO’s Paracletus is a perfectly choreographed 42 minutes, far removed from the wonderfully bloated corpse that is Si Monvmentum…

    • André Snyde Lopes

      But but… Coma of Souls is 45 mins and Tapping the Vein is 46! What are you saying here?!?!

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        They get a pass ;)

  • Monsterth Goatom

    I’m very much a fan of the album as an artform — a deliberately constructed “story” with a beginning, middle, and end (or least some kind of guiding principle). My personal favourite example is YOB’s Clearing the Path to Ascend. For me, it’s an entirely engrosssing journey from start to finish. Some complain that the quality falls off after the first two songs, but not for me.

    I’ve read elsewhere that in popular music today it’s all about the single and playlist, and that the young’uns just don’t get the idea of an album (in the sense mentioned above) as a deeply involving artistic experience. I try to explain this to my daughters, but none of the largely top 40 artists they like really create “albums”, so it’s kind of hard to show them examples. They hear a song they like, download it to a device, and end up with a collection of playlists they like rather than albums they treasure.

    And while I’m in get-off-my-lawn mode, I can’t say for sure, but the practice of hanging out at a record store checking out albums is a thing of the past. I don’t do that anymore for sure. Oh for the good old days: https://archive.org/details/casacsh_000018.

  • By-tor

    I think digital music, specifically the MP3, has killed the album simply because it’s too easy to just skip around. Many albums are great because the two sides are so different (I.e. 2112) or because every song fits together so well its seamless (The Wall, Blackwater Park). Not to mention that when you had spent $10-20 on a new album and that was a week or 2 of allowance/earnings you learned to live with a few so-so songs that now would be skipped over. Those songs sometimes become my favorites (Closedown-Cure, Artifacts of the Black Rain, Die with your boots on).

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating to go back to the cassette tape days of my youth, sound quality has come a long way, but sometimes I think we were a bit better off when it took a little more effort to skip around.

    • But AMG sorta of said this by stating that today’s albums are more like playlists (a brilliant assessment in my book btw, I’m a little jealous I didn’t think of it!).

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Great piece AMG, I for one appreciate that you and you’re crew don’t over look a key part of the form of the art that you review.

    There’s another view to consider in this discussion about album run times and that is from an artists perspective. Albums are expensive and difficult to make and an artists career is best served by putting out material of high quality as frequently as possible.

    From the perspective of most artists. If you can spend time pre production with a producer, culling material that’s not quite there, trimming fat from songs and setting a target of about 35-45 mins. You can head into the studio and spend less $ and have more time per song for the recording, mixing and mastering that will achieve a quality result. Spending a fortune going into a studio and recording everything you’ve got because you can’t critically asses your own work is a waste. No one is going to buy your album because its 70 mins people want quality.

    The worse thing I hear is bands going into the studio without a solid vision for what they’re doing. Songs being completed on the fly. To me that’s madness and undoubtedly why a lot of bands release sprawling 60% good 70 min albums and then you don’t hear from them again for years.

    I’ll use Horrendous as an example their rise has been on the back of superbly produced, tight, live sounding punchy albums all between 40-45 mins. released in quick succession.

    If I’m a fan of a band I want them to be productive not waiting for years to get back into the studio for months to record sprawling confused hour plus albums. Gimme a quality punch in the guts every 12 -18 months.

  • John

    If only Stephen King had shown some restraint and edited books #5 and #6 of the Dark Tower series.

    • ActualBastard

      i can’t make it through Wolves. Just can’t. I have forgotten the face of my father, because it was 8,000 pages ago.

      • John

        Everything I enjoyed from Wolves and Song of Susannah could’ve been condensed into a few chapters in the last book. The masturbatory, meandering dribble of #5 and 6 not only detracted from what was a great story, but just painted Stephen King as an arrogant, self-involved ass. This seems to apply to a lot of his later works, and I have stopped buying the new books of an author I previously very much enjoyed. Anywaysssss, I agree with everything AMG said haha.

        • Carlos Parlo

          Wow. I actually think that after a later period lull he’s had a resurgence in quality material. “11/22/63” may be his best book yet and “Full Dark No Stars” and “Resurrection” are stunners too.

    • I agree so hard it hurts. I’d say #7 could’ve used some editing as well.

  • jetblindracos

    Great written article and too true.Now the question is;Are you reaching nirvana soon?

  • Morrowind542

    I think that having a set time as “Best” is a red herring – it’s about quality, not the quantity. An album should run for however long it can keep a consistent quality, no more, no less.

    More albums that violate the 45 minute rule:
    Sleep at the Edge of the Earth – Wilderun
    Of Breath and Bone – Be’lakor
    Stone’s Reach – Ibid
    Pandora’s Pinata – Diablo Swing Orchestra
    Metropolis Pt. 2: Scene’s From a Memory – Dream Theater
    The Pagan Manifesto – Elvenking
    King – Fleshgod Apocalypse
    Quiet World – Native Construct
    Mabool – Orphaned Land
    The Neverending Way of Owarrior – Ibid
    Shin Ken – Persefone
    Core – Ibid

    Some of these I listen to in one sitting(King, Sleep), some I listen to as individual songs(Pagan Manifesto, Stone’s Reach), and some I do both
    (Metropolis, Quiet World)

    I also think it’s somewhat unfair to judge something by different standards than it was trying to meet. If an album wasn’t meant to be listened to in a single sitting, then I don’t think it should be penalized for not being great to listen to in a single sitting.

    I wouldn’t want to listen to The Pagan Manifesto in a single sitting; there’s no compelling reason to do so, and I get more enjoyment out of it shuffled in amongst my other music. It probably would drag if I tried. But you know what? I don’t think a single song should have been cut(with the possible exception of the intro). They maintain consistent quality throughout, and I would consider myself better off for having all of them.

    One thing we do agree about, though: Book of Souls needed some serious editing.

    • “Since we judge them as single units, rather than rating how much we like each song and creating a composite score, length risks dropping scores due to dropping quality. There will always be exceptions. There are some bands who can pull it off. Sometimes editing actually even hurts an album as a whole.”

      I wrote that. Read all the way to the end.

      • Morrowind542

        I did read the entire thing; I just responded to it as a unit rather than individual points :P

        I had two points:

        1. 45 minutes is arbitrary. There are bands that can fill two hours with great stuff, and there are bands that couldn’t even fill 20 minutes. The quantity of quality material should determine the length, not whether it would fit on an LP.

        As I said above, the length of an album is a red herring. The key issue is the “due to dropping quality” part, not the length part.

        2. Judging albums that weren’t designed to be listened to all the way through in one sitting worse because they drag somewhat when listened all the way through in one sitting is somewhat unfair. I’m not saying you should rate each song and average them, but at the same time, judge it for what it’s trying to do, not what you want it to do.

        • tomasjacobi

          About point 2.
          If a band doesn’t want to release albums that work as a whole then I honestly think they should stick to releasing single songs and EPs.

          • Morrowind542

            That thought crossed my mind, too, and I think that may end up being the way most bands go in the future. IIRC, a few bands have already gone that route, though particular names escape me. This idea leads to an interesting question: What separates an album from a bunch of individual songs dropped at once?

            Today, albums are rarely physical, but rather are a set of mp3 files grouped together in iTunes, or Bandcamp, or wherever, with a neat picture to look at. Most people don’t listen to the whole set, but rather spread out amongst the rest of their collection, or on a streaming service like Spotify or Pandora. Given this, I’m not sure that there is a practical difference.

            You could say that it’s about intent; that an album is intended to be taken as a whole, not as individual parts. But how would one tell the difference if the artist doesn’t specify?

          • tomasjacobi

            I think there is a growing interest in complete albums and I think the comeback of vinyl LPs is a result of that.
            For myself I do both physical and digital; I buy lots of LPs and CDs plus I use Spotify Premium. And even when I use Spotify or iTunes I always, without exception, listen to whole albums.
            On Spotify I hate it if albums have bonus tracks tagged on. In those cases I’ll make a playlist with the core album.
            As I said if a band doesn’t have quality material for an LP they should release an EP instead. It worked great for the Bölzer EPs.

  • miradautasvras

    Long, short doesn’t matter to me much. As long as it is enjoyable. I don’t get less enjoyment out of a good album just because it is 75 min long. If you can ride it to asa bay or play an aria to bathory which transfixes me, make that brew as long as you want; I am game. But then I do enjoy getting bored by shittons-albums-in-short-time bands,esp atmospheric bm stuff such as Wyrd etc. So maybe my opinion doesn’t count. Some genres can get away with it. Some can’t due to the nature of music itself

    • But that’s what I’m saying. My point is that the risk of being bad increases with the greater amount of material someone tries to force into a an album.

  • Exitium

    I just had the opposite reaction of this article to the most recent Twelve Foot Ninja album. It had ten tracks, but was actually less than forty minutes total. Each song could have been a good minute to minute and a half longer.

    I really don’t know where this completely arbitrary “45 minute” rule was fabricated, but most of the best albums were between 50 – 60.

    • El_Cuervo

      It isn’t arbitrary – the vinyl format put a limit of around that mark in place. Roll back to the early 90s and before and most albums WERE NOT 50-60 mins.

      • Exitium

        Come again?

        Ride the Lighting – 47:23
        Master of Puppets – 54:46
        …And Justice for All – 65:29
        Don’t Break the Oath – 47:30
        Appetite for Destruction – 53:51
        Ten – 53:20
        Nevermind – 49:09
        Badmotorfinger – 57:42
        Dirt – 57:37
        Symbolic – 50:37
        Sound of White Noise – 56:56
        Burnt Offerings – 52:39
        Politics of Ecstasy – 62:24
        Dreaming Neon Black – 66:05

        There is no hard and fast 45 minute rule. It’s completely arbitrary. There’s absolutely no guarantee that anything above 45 is just bloat, just like there’s no guarantee that 45 (or even less) is enough either.

        • And I don’t agree with you about all of those albums. Regardless, 45 minutes is basically all that you can reasonably put on a single LP. You can push at the boundaries (53/54 minutes), but again: “the 45 minute rule” is a rule of thumb (probably best called the “would it fit on a single vinyl” rule). It is not a line in the sand, more than an argument about proportions and editing. And if you read what I was saying, you will also have read that. Rather than getting pedantic, I suggest that you take it in the spirit it was given: as a rule of thumb.

          Also, Metallica was bad at self-editing. Sound of White Noise is released in the CD era. As was Ten, Badmotorfinger, and Dirt.

          • Exitium

            Hey, “the early 90s” was cited, so that’s where I went. Using the limits of vinyl length seems just as arbitrary too. Because of a limitation that people simply got used to, that somehow has to affect future media? I totally agree with the idea of keeping the fat out, but I don’t agree with a magic number. 45 -5/+15 is more like it. Beyond 60 though is pushing it.

          • He’s a kid. The early 90s is forever-ago for him. I mean the ’80s. Iron Maiden’s record lengths are actually a great example. They hover around 45-50 minutes until Fear of the Dark. Then they plop out a flabby 60 minute album. Even its predecessor, which is universally hated by fans, is a much tighter record musically and it lands at something like 47 minutes.

          • Exitium

            Iron Maiden is actually a really great example, but even before they broke the 50 minute mark. Iron Maiden was one of those bands that I could always a) expect an album with a bunch of awesome songs and b) an album that I could safely expect at least one complete filler track, if not two. They have a few albums that are the exception to this rule of course, but even some of the albums that are considered by many to be their “best” have quite a bit of filler. So if you removed those questionable songs, their albums would actually be quite a bit shorter, and give no reason to skip any tracks.

        • tomasjacobi

          While longer than 45 minutes, 8 of the 14 albums you list fits on a single LP.
          I’m sure they were all edited to not exceed the point where they could be pressed on a single vinyl record.
          I think the fact that those artists were forced to edit themselves and maybe “kill some darlings” is more important than if they slightly exceed 45 minutes.

  • Can’t say I’ve ever gotten to the end of an awesome long album and wished there was less of it. Until I started reading this site, I can’t say I’ve ever really thought about an ideal length for an album, as there isn’t one. I think penalising an album for being long is plain wrong. I also think Moonsorrow is an odd example if you’re talking about repetition. Really though, the whole arguement is rather pointless as there are plenty of great long albums out there. Of course, the longer the album, the more chance of bloat, but that’s all they should be judged on, not how long they are. I could argue that Symphony X and Opeth albums are full of bloat. I think they are, but thats beside the point. I don’t know how anyone could argue that a bloated album is a good album, but I think at times here, long is considered bloated and that’s not how it should be. And by the way, an album is an adventure, not a painting.

    • “Of course, the longer the album, the more chance of bloat, but that’s all they should be judged on, not how long they are.”

      That’s what we try to do and exactly what AMG said in the article, I believe… but as for what constitutes “bloat,” that’s always going to produce disagreements.

      • So basically a good album is a good album regardless of length.

        • Precisely. But through ongoing experience, it seems like records that exceed 45 minutes are the ones that tend to feel unnecessary and boring. It can happen with really uniform and short albums as well. Plenty of 35 minute death metal albums are boring, too. We’re speaking in general terms and proportions within a population, not a hard-and-fast “Past 45 minutes it is per definition bad.”

  • Innit Bartender

    A perfect example (obviously IMHO) of this rule are Rush’s albums. You can listen to Grace Under Pressure or Power Windows from start to finish because there are 8 good songs on each of them. When I come to Vapor Trails or Snakes and Arrows, superbly good as they are, I skip songs.

    As a reviewer, AMG makes the perfect point. I am sure, however, that as simply listeners, we all own and love long, imperfect albums that would get a bad review _as albums_, but feature one or two stellar songs that we couldn’t just live without.

    • Absolutely. Interestingly enough, when I love an album I’m far much less likely to appreciate individual songs from it. Most of my Top 10(ish) Songs lists were made up from albums I didn’t actually like that much, but where I really got stuck on a single song.

  • iiixf

    I totally agree with AMG’s opinion, there are really few occasions a band can justify album length going past “some decent or bearable time interval” mark (and I’m more than happy that Iron Maiden’s opus was used as an example of this). In the olden days, where record sales meant anything, extending the runtime of one’s release might have been a means to earn more, as one ended up with an LP instead of an EP. Creativity, or restricting the same, may be an issue here, but in my controversial opinion applying one’s self-editing skills to one’s work and putting the virtue of self restraint to good use is nothing but proving one’s creativity, not otherwise. It is at the same time showing one’s deep and conscious knowledge of the craftsmanship and technique in one’s art – one shows and shares with the world one’s best and well thought out work in which nothing distracts the listener/observer from admiring the sheer, unobfuscated and unadulterated display of talent, which may not be the case with unedited work that looks more like an assembly of ideas rather than the final version. Also, the fact (or possibility, rather) that one knows how to play a certain sequence or certain sequences of sounds, or not lose control over the arrangements, does not mean all those sounds should be included in the final product (yes, product) – and that’s for the technicality (yeah, it’s called getting myself sidetracked, but I think the so-called technicality is pretty closely related to the self-editing and restraint things). To quote a classic, brevity is the soul of wit.

  • While the graphic about “should I release a double LP” and reference to Pink Floyd is mildly amusing….it is not a good example. In its classic era Pink Floyd only released regular LPs, except Ummagumma (which was only double because it was a live show and an experimental disc the world could have done without) and The Wall. Perhaps The Wall is the definitive double album but it doesn’t have to be the only one allowed to exist. Quadrophenia? I have not heard the most recent Pink Floyd album but I am almost certain that it should have been edited down to a single album too.

    • Bart the Repairman

      The most recent Pink Floyd album should be edited to a SINGLE, not ‘single album’. It’s filled with pointless background music, except “Louder than Words”…

    • It’s a joke. However, that’s actually the point of the article where this came from. In those days you only got to make a double album if you really deserved it. Labels forced most bands to cut material.

      • By ‘deserved’ you really mean “had been successful enough for the label to listen to you”. Everyone else probably just got told “we’re only pressing a single LP so cut it back or fuck off”. Actually, I believe a double album in the classic sense, which is normally a concept album meant to be as long as a movie, is distinct from what this article is mainly about; i.e. albums that are 50 to 70 minutes and not actually as long as a double album. The kind that don’t cleanly fit on two or four sides of vinyl. I think true concept albums can be given a bit more leeway than the mere playlists you talk about.

  • funeraldoombuggy

    Great write up. The article you wrote about CDs killing albums actually influenced me enough to do some heavy handed editing on a record I was working on. For that project I wanted a short album and forced my band to keep it under 30 minutes. We cut a song and actually edited down two more. When all was said and done everyone in the band was happy and liked the edited songs better. So thank you AMG!!

    Another thing I’ve found which drags records down for me is when all the songs lengths are the same. I’ve noticed that having some diverse song lengths can help a records flow a lot. Anyone else feel the same?

    • Reese Burns

      Did you eventually release your record? I’d love to be able to listen to it!

    • Dudeguy Jones

      I actually totally agree with that. I don’t think Ive ever come to the point of recognizing it until you just said it, but it seems unequivocally true.

      I specifically noticed a few albums recently where all the songs were around the same length as I went to hit play and something struck me as strange about that.

    • I feel ya. The “same song length” problem usually arises as a result of using the same song structures. The usual “verse chorus verse chorus bridge chorus” formula doesn’t leave a lot of room for variation.

  • Pestmeester

    Heh, don’t think Gandalf’s Fist read this article. The Clockwork Fable clocks 3 hours and 14 minutes. It’s a concept album though, with a lot of narrative. Also it leans a tad more towards progressive rock than metal. The album builds up from slower (folkier) progressive rock to progressive metal. It may not be Pink Floyd, but that record worked out quite well. Very impressive actually, considering they do everything themselves.

  • pafg

    I think Turn Loose The Swans is the best piece of art an album can be. There’s no note out of place, every song complements itself in a beautiful journey where we’re guided by an haunting voice and meaningful lyrics. I agree that length is not an issue when immersion works, and few albums immerse the listener as well as TLTS.

  • The Unicorn

    http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/975b7c1f17c15c179b92e429d64867208c64eb37ccaa8e78e3680d7c5ecb97d8.png

    Gah!!!! Will the banhammare swing like a pendulum thrice? Have I been naughty? Will he be nice?

  • bushkov

    I enjoy reading this series of articles on the length, dynamics etc. of modern records. Fully agree with the author on these.

  • Reese Burns

    Thanks, I’ll make sure to listen today! Also bless you for making it free, you’re a good man.

  • basshole

    You Millennials and your ADD.

  • Reese Burns

    Just having given it a listen, this is great!

    • funeraldoombuggy

      Thanks! It was a fun record to make. I’m still really happy with it a year or so later. Did it on no budget except paid for mastering.

      We’ll hopefully be playing more shows now that our singer is back in the area.

  • Belgian Tom’s Hat Trick

    A good comedian lives by the mantra, “Always leave them wanting more”. Now the question is whether that comedian’s set is an hour long or an hour and a half. If the material is good, then let it go on for a little longer. As long as you leave the audience wanting more. I love it when an album ends and I immediately listen to it again.

    Take Queensrÿche’s Operation Mindcrime (the original, not the crap pt. II). It’s a longer album, but in my opinion, there’s nothing they should have added or taken from without hurting the quality of that classic. That being said, that album told a story from first track to last.

    Now, take a band like All That Remains (whom I happen to like much to the chagrin of others). Their songs do not tie together, therefore please don’t let me suffer B-sides just because you can fit 14 or 15 tracks on a CD. More is not always better. Less can certainly be more in most instances.

    If a band has a concept or a theme, I can see giving them the extra space on a CD. If not, for the love of God, give me the killer without the filler and “leave me wanting more”.

  • sir_c

    Yeah, sounds like you had some fun making it.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    So because I’m crazy and I really believe that since the advent of CDs/digital so many potentially masterful albums have been hobbled by artists feeling that they should use the full capacity of the CD. I started to have a bit of a look through my I tunes at the classic (IMO) albums that bands are still referenced back too.

    What surprised me was how many were in fact under 40 mins in run time. I started pulling them out and I ended up with a massive list of superb albums. It provides a bit of context for albums like Master of Puppets or Operation Mindcrime. Which in their day were epic albums though these days they could be considered concise or even short…

    When I look at the albums here, I can’t help but wonder if those bands/albums, amazing as they are had they been recorded in todays context would they have ended up as 60 – 70 minute albums with extra long noodling passages, a few extra numbers jammed up in the studio and that song the bass players been pestering everyone with… Would they still be considered classics now? I don’t know but I doubt it.

    Bottom line… I’d love to see more bands putting out 39 minute albums.

    Repulsion, Horrified – 29 mins
    Witch finder General, Death Penalty – 30 mins
    Cryptopsy, None so Vile – 32 mins
    Atheist Unquestionable Presence – 32 mins
    Deicide, Deicide – 33 mins
    At the Gates, Slaughter of the Soul – 34 mins
    Pentagram, Day of Reckoning – 34 mins
    Van Halen, 1984 – 34 mins
    Ulver, Bertatt – 34 mins
    Coroner, No More Colour – 34 mins
    Saint Vitus, Born too Late – 34 mins
    Bolt Thrower, Realm of Chaos – 34 mins
    Immortal, Battles in the North – 35 mins
    Motorhead, Overkill – 35mins
    Dark Angel, Darkness Descends – 35 mins
    Destruction, Eternal Devastation – 35 mins
    Bathory, Under the Sign of the Black Mark – 35mins
    Motorhead, Ace of Spades – 36 min
    Cannibal Corpse, Butchered at Birth – 36 mins
    Helloween – Keeper of & keys – 36 mins
    Cynic, Focus – 36 mins
    Megadeath, Peace Sells… – 36 mins
    Scorpions, Lovedrive – 36 mins
    Slayer, South of Heaven – 37 min
    Asphyx, The Rack – 37 mins
    King Diamond, Fatal Portrait – 37 min
    Autopsy, Mental Funeral – 37 mins
    Kreator, Extreme Aggression – 38 mins
    Sodom, Agent Orange – 38 mins
    Massacre, From Beyond – 38 mins
    Death, Leprosy – 38 mins
    Judas Priest, Screaming for Vengeance – 38 mins
    Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell – 39 mins
    Judas Priest, Defenders of the Faith – 39 mins
    Prong, Beg to differ – 39 mins
    Demilich, Nespithe – 39 mins
    Amorphis, Tales from a Thousand Lakes – 39 mins
    Paradise Lost, Gothic – 39 mins
    DRI, Crossover – 39 mins
    Savatage, Hall of the Mountain King – 39 mins
    Ozzy Osbourne, Blizzard of Ozz – 39 mins
    Darkthrone, Transilvanian Hunger – 39 mins
    Trouble, Psalm 9 – 39 mins
    Celtic Frost, Into the Pandemonium – 39 mins
    Anthrax, Spreading the Disease – 39 mins
    Voivod – Dimension Hatross – 39 min
    Dismember Like an Ever Flowing Stream – 39 mins
    Testament, New Order – 39 mins
    Possessed, Seven Churches – 39 mins
    Rush, Moving Pictures – 39 mins
    Entombed, Left Hand Path – 40 mins
    Iron Maiden, Number of the Beast – 40 mins
    Celtic Frost, To Mega Therion – 40 mins
    Morbid Angel, Altars of Madness – 40 mins
    Death Individual Thought Patterns – 40 mins
    King Diamond, Abigail 40 mins
    Exodus, Bonded By Blood – 40 mins
    DANZIG, I – 40 mins
    Napalm Death, Harmony Corruption – 40 mins
    Morbid Angel, Covenant – 41 mins
    WASP, Last Command – 41 mins
    Metal Church, The Dark – 41 mins
    Dio, Holy Diver – 41 mins
    AC/DC, Back in Black – 42 mins
    Satyricon, Nemesis Divina – 42 mins
    Sepultura, Beneath the Remains – 42 mins
    Obituary Cause of Death – 42 mins
    Candlemass, Epicus Doomicus Metalicus – 42 mins
    In Flames Colony – 42mins
    Black Sabbath, Paranoid – 42 mins
    Carcass, Heartwork – 42 mins
    Mercyful Fate, Don’t Break the Oath – 43 min
    Entombed, Clandestine – 43 mins
    Pentagram, Relentless – 43 mins
    Pestilence – Testimony Of The Ancients – 43 mins
    Dissection, Storm of the Light’s Bane – 43 mins
    Burzum, Hvis lyset tar oss – 44 mins
    Def Leppard, Pyromania – 44 mins
    Death Angel, Act 3 – 43 mins
    Bathory, Blood Fire Death – 44 mins
    Maiden – SSoaSS – 45mins
    Suicidal Tendencies, How will I laugh… – 45min
    Metallica – Ride the lightning – 46 mins

  • Oberon

    I see the 45 minute rule to be a solid guideline to go by, but not something to carve in stone and cast in bronze.

    I wonder if part of that rule comes from an attempt to reduce fatigue from listening to a tonne of new material without time to digest it? Maybe it is also an attempt to reduce fatigue and maintain your sanity

  • IronBerserk

    I love you guys so don’t take this as an insult, but your “45 minute rule” still seems dumb, and this article of yours proves it. You admit full well that long albums work if the flow and editing is well done…well as a reviewer that is what your supposed to point out! You’re not supposed to invent some nonsensical statement saying that there is a “45 minute rule” and just leave it at that. That’s not a rule but a small recommendation. For crying out loud, the greatest album this year so far is Terminal Redux by Vektor and that thing is beastly long. However, we both know that the flow, concept,and musicianship is worth the listen all the way through. That is literally all you need to say. Admit it AMG, your “45 minute rule” statement is stupid :P lmao!

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      But the point isn’t that long albums are bad. It’s that a lot of albums are the worse for being too long for the material.
      Most bands arn’t vektor (who totally rule) and are doing themselves and their fans a disservice by putting out excessively long albums.

    • The point of all this is that most artists are better served sticking to a 45 minutes album length. Obviously there are exceptions as was made clear in the piece but for every successful long album there are 10 that are hurt or derailed by excessive length. Think of it more as a helpful guideline if it helps.

  • Meat Tornado

    Maybe I’m biased in this whole argument because I tend heavily toward death/doom and funeral doom, which tends to have longer albums.

    I do agree with your argument about left wanting more, and I do get that a lot with longer albums. The new Eye of Solitude is nearly and hour but it feels way shorter and I wish there was more. Hopefully you guys have heard it or have a review in the pipes.

  • AnnieK13

    I do not know that I agree with an arbitrary time limit but I do very much prefer to listen to albums as a whole and think that it seems for many recent releases (last 5 or 6 years) editing has become a lost art. I am an ‘old timer’ that grew up with vinyl LPs (and hated the interruption of flipping them over..). I have always viewed albums as a whole and very much dislike the way the music industry seems to focus on individual songs these days and ‘playlist’ albums.

    I remember the days of waiting at my local record store for the days delivery of albums to come in and getting the first copy pulled from the box of a release I’d been waiting for and rushing home (across the street) to listen to the whole album uninterrupted.