jump to navigation

Counting down the 20 best OPM albums June 15, 2006

Posted by benj in Music.

The OPM industry is currently stuck in a rut since the turn of the millenium. Though ground-breaking acts like Up Dharma Down also made their debuts recently, one just couldn't help but feel really disappointed at how bad the scene has become. Rip-off allegations are the rage – and most of the time, the plagiarism is just too obvious to deny. So before we lose hope in everything OPM, let's depress ourselves further by looking back in the yesteryears to count down OPM's 20 best albums. We could all hang ourselves after this countdown is over.

20. BADBURN – Bound by Blood

Badburn has long been considered as one of the most intense and punishing live acts in the country. Though already a veteran of Mayric's gigs and other hole-in-the-wall venues, the band continued to be without a mass-produced and well-recorded album. Badburn simply existed without peers in the genre of rap-influenced metalcore that they themselves carved out. The music was heavy, but at the same time catchy. The lyrics came with a healthy helping of profanity, but they were still eloquently written. And even if you're hearing them on a CD, you could still imagine and feel the exhilirating rush that comes with a Badburn live set.

I have no idea if this album can still be found on record bar racks, but in case you (and you have an ear for fast-pounding music) snap it up. Everything on this album is competently done – right from the music, the lyrics and the black crucifix packaging.

Don't be afraid to step in to the realm of the wicked. You might like it.

19. Makiling Ensemble Medyo Modern

At number 19, we find a band that came up with the most ambitious projects in the history of OPM. Though OPM had its share of "world music"/indigenous musicians in Pinikpikan and Grace Nono, the genre seemed to have belonged to a generation removed from the vibrant youth of the late 90s. Then came Makiling Ensemble, a band whose influences are as eclectic as their music. Utilizing a tasty enchilada of rock, folk, indigenous, world and jazz, Makiling Ensemble delivers an undeniably palatable album.

This album is probably the best OPM album you havent heard of. Now, do something about it. 😉

18. SkychurchUrge of the Human Device

Back in the band explosion of the mid 90s whereas bands like Rivermaya and Eraserheads went on a route towards OPM immortality, Skychurch took the complete opposite. Just when metal was little more than a blip on the radar, the dela Cruz brothers took on a very promising yet ambitious project in producing one of the heaviest albums to date – and definitely the heaviest album ever by Star Records. It's amazing that the same record company will be managing Sandara Park a decade later, but back then, Urge of the Human Device was the bench mark for anything that approximating metal. Though the album was recorded in less-than-ideal conditions using equipment that leaves a lot to be desired, the triumvirate is undeniable. Though the lyrics weren't that sharp, the soundscape that the vocals, bass, guitar and drums create makes the sound much larger than their three-man line-up.

17. Imago Probably Not But Most Definitely

Almost everyone who listened to NU in the late nineties are probably aware of the song Alay. Needless to say, the evocative and heart-tugging eulogy was one of the better songs in its time. It was a real shock that the song only came out on an album in 2001 despite the singles Laya and Alay. In a totally unpredictable decision, the band decided to release their debut album with Rainsong – a quirky song with unintelligible lyrics which surprisingly topped the NU charts for a week.

The album seemed to be destined for mainsteam immortality, but for some reason, it wasn't the radio fodder that it seemed as first glance.

16. Chicosci Method of Breathing
Chicosci's debut album Revenge of the Giant Robot pales in comparison to their sophomore release Method of Breathing. Departing from their penchant for repetitive and almost interchangeable riffs, the predominantly Atenean six-piece unit delved into a more experimental and varied approach for their second album. Though the song 'Paris' is destined to be the track most associated with Method of Breathing (and I find it irritating as hell), there's a lot more to be appreciated. It takes a few spins to like it, so dont quit on it quickly.

15. WDOUJI – Ground Zero

I'm not really into jazz, but WDOUJI- that's Witch Doctors of Underground Jazz Improvisation — definitely unleashed my jazz sensibilities. I fondly remember listening to this album over and over again at my pad when I have friends over. If you like jazz, you have to check this band out – you don't know what you're missing.

14. Cynthia Alexander Insomnia and Other Lullabys

The folk goddess Cynthia Alexander can never be shut out in any list of the best OPM albums. Her debut Insomnia and Other Lullabys cemented her status as one of the premiere songwriters and guitarists in the country. The album featured the familiar cuts "Comfort in Your Strangeness", "Insomnia" and "Malaya".

13. Wolfgang Acoustica

For the interest of fairness, I will only put this album this high. Though Acoustica was an album of live acoustic (duh) performance recordings of Wolfgang's songs off their first four albums (something just tells you you'll see those three albums in this list, right? 😉 ), the band along with a host of other talented musicians collaborated to rework every song that was included in this cd. It's also an added bonus that Basti was at his absolute plateau in this concert. This was the culmination of Pinoy rock's most recognizable frontman (sorry Ely) development into the best vocalist of all time.

12. Battery Battery

Despite the self-indulgent zealotry of this christian band, I'm inclined to include them this highly on the list. During a time when almost every band was venturing into a hip-hop/mallcore oriented sound, Battery released an album that was reflective of good ol' rock and roll. It was rock – straight up. It's a shame that there was no follow up to this project. Blame your god.

11. Asin Himig ng Lahi
Few bands have championed caused bigger than themselves and Asin is one of the few bands who could without opposition stake their claim as a band who used their music to influence people into looking deeper into environmental problems and the culture of violence in Mindanao. The music is undeniably Filipino and indigenous. Songs that they wrote more than 20 years ago still hold true to this day.

10. Razorback Beggar's Moon

Im shocked that I could only put this album this high. In terms of imagery, this is easily the best Razorback album. Don't worry reysorbeksfans, there's one more in this list. 😉

9. Wolfgang Black Mantra

Wolfgang's last studio album sits nicely at number 9. It's a solid album, but it's far removed from the rich soundscapes and lyrical imagery that the other Wolfgang albums possessed. As esoteric as the album title sounded, there was nothing more to what meets the eye (or the ear) for this album. It was great music – and nothing more.

8. Cheese Pilipinas

The band formerly known as Cheese makes a splash at number 8. Cheese along with their contemporaries received flak from all corners for being shallow as a dish tub and as profound and non-melodic as a dog barking. It all changed in Pilipinas. Though the title of the album is a bit weird, the music delved heavily into the nuances of religion and faith – unheard of in the local scene. The album art was not bad either.

7. Up Dharma Down Fragmented

I hope I didn't lead you on into thinking that Up Dharma Down was topping this list. Yes, they're unique and the best and all that, but this is my list/ hehe. On the positives, Up Dharma Downs is already among the best bands in the country and yet they still manage to remain one of the most promising. The sky's literally the limit for this band. I'm really excited for their next album.

6. Pinikpikan – Atas

I know not a lot of people have heard this album. I sure hope you'll try and listen to this amazing piece of work. Pinikpikan is the most unrecognized and under-appreciated band in the Philippines today and it's sad to see that they're moving music is not reaching those who represent the music that they create. Pinikpikan (along with Asin) will make one feel more Filipino by the track.

5. Wolfgang Wurm

4. Wolfgang – Wolfgang

3. Razorback Razorback

2. Brain Salad Brain Salad

1. Wolfgang – Semenelin



1. kevin - June 15, 2006

yup yup. plagiarism talaga. HAHA. lahat sila gayahan, nakakaasar. tapos yung iba, ang hahaba ng balbas, ang papanget ng kanta, at iba pa. asar.

i love imago. so much. ewan, although wala namang banda na walang flaws. ayos. gusto ko yung song na ‘anino’. yun lang. :)) share.

gudlakk sa pinoy big brother version nyo! hehehe,, sige dumaan lang. comment ka saken, 200th post ko na to!!! salamat!

2. juice - June 15, 2006

I don’t know if it’s the affect of not having lived in the Philippines for 9 years (which is probably the case) but I have never heard of numbers 20-18 musicians ever. Thanks for changing my views, Ima check em out. As for Imago, yes they are sure good.

Waiting for the rest! 😀

3. benj - June 16, 2006

kevin: I hate Imago’s 2nd album. I liked them more when they were still folk.;)

juice: skychurch has been around since the early nineties (the album was released 1996), Makiling Ensemble released their album in 2001same as badburn. 🙂

4. ianuarius - June 16, 2006

Chicks dig Chicosci just play the song Paris and they go crazy lol.I also remember that they have “issues” with a foreign band.

5. benj - June 16, 2006

Yeah, Paris sounds like “Paris in Flames” by *sino nga ba?* Finch?

6. cruise - June 16, 2006

ok yung #13 wolfgang, malapit sa creed yung style nila diba?

7. benj - June 16, 2006

oh. i hope that’s an honest mistake man, my BP just shot up. 🙂

wolfgang is a lot closer to me metallica than to *barf* creed.

creed sucks.

stapp has nothing on artadi.

’nuff said.

8. jhay - June 16, 2006

yebah! kakaiba nga ang Up Dharma down, they know how to play and sound good.


The Philippine Blog Carnival is still open for submissions. Deadline is this coming Sunday. You could visit philippineblogcarnival [dot] lsjp [dot] org for details and submissions.


9. ade - June 16, 2006

Stop listing those albums. You’re making me drool.

10. inday - June 16, 2006

waahhhh Benj i doesn’t know any of them!

11. cyberpunk - June 17, 2006

hahaha call me nuts but i’m hoping to see Grin Dept on your list. And my big 3 (the bands that you probably hate) — Greyhoundz, Slapshock, and Queso.

you can shoot me now.

12. benj - June 17, 2006

cyberpunk: sorry, don’t expect Grin Department. hehe.

Two of the bands you mentioned are actually bands that I like. One album will be in the last 12 spots. 🙂

ade: the top 12 might be a let down. it will be my bias speaking in a 100% volume. haha

inday: you are too modest. 😉 Im sure you know at least one of them.

jhay: thanks man. yeah, UPD’s good. Are they good enough o snatch the number one slot? stay tuned.

take care, everyone.

13. rex - June 17, 2006

geesh, IMAGO lang alam ko dito! but anyway, hindi ko naman ikinakaila na hindi ako OPM band fanatic, but i do like some songs from them..

im actually intigued sa Top 12 mo.. dont know why.. 🙂

14. cursed-- - June 17, 2006

just as you’re counting down ur top 20 opm albums of all time, i’m currently completing my top 50 OPM albums of 2000-2004. hehe!!

15. cursed-- - June 17, 2006

pinikpikan? joey ayala? sugar hiccup? yano/pan? ciudad? bayang barrios? purple chickens? hehe!!

16. benj - June 18, 2006

among the artists you cited, only two of them are larger than the music than they create. i look for bands who have the ability to transcend music.

this is my own list – and it will reflect my biases.

17. reg - June 18, 2006

ui astig.hehe.chicosci pa.buti nga nagbalik sila eh..imago aus din.pati wolfgang xempre.one of d best tlaga!taga rural ka pala?hehe.ako din.4th yr.

18. reg - June 18, 2006

at mahal na mahal ko ang razorback pati c cynthia alexander..dumaan nga kami nung nagconcert xa sa LB eh. 🙂

19. Faith - June 19, 2006

Where is Badburn? I remember them back in the mayrics days. LOL. Where’s Kapatid? POT? Skies of Ember? 😀 It’s good that Makiling Ensemble and Pinipikikan are here.

20. benj - June 19, 2006

I dont like POT. :p *so it only follows that I dont like Kapatid*
Di na ko nanunood ng gigs eh.

Ang bagal ng connection ko lately, di ako makapagpost ng maayos.

Eraserheads and Rivermaya fans, sorry, they are NOT in the final 5 slots.

Parokya ni Edgar fans, asa pa.

21. klonoa - June 21, 2006

ay may Chicosci pala.

lemme rephrase that!


Wheres Cueshe and Hale!

This list fails.

22. cyberpunk - June 21, 2006

hahaha, very funny klonoa…you got me laughing out loud 😀

23. ollie - June 21, 2006

ok i agree with all the bands that was listed here. but where is Sugar Hiccup? although they only have 3 albums, new/old fans are still listening to them and are still hunting for their 2 original CDs. i have mine. NYEHH NYEHH!!!

benj hindi ba pwedeng gawin top 20 + 1 para maisa ma Sugar Hiccup? hehehehe…. lalo pa ngayon nagquit nanaman yun latest bokalist nila. haay naku.

neways gud list man. i agree with you also. semenelin has got to be the best Wolfgang album.

24. klonoa - June 22, 2006

“Parokya ni Edgar fans, asa pa.”


That line broke my heart, shattered all my hopes in dreams.

Seriously it did in a pathetic kinda way..
Anyways, that Mike Turner guy looks like some heavy metal rocker but he’s in a.. Christian band? Parang ndi bagay haha.

25. Guian Yeo - August 4, 2006

No greyhoundz?… sayang naman… Like ko panaman ang SOngs nila
Holes,YourPuppetAndClown,JackInTheBox,DobleKara,lEeCh and etc..

Slapshock also… one of the best! and most talented band of all-time.

26. marburn - August 10, 2006

hey. this is marben from badburn. thanks for listening to our shit. we have an ep out. it’s called darkness rising. 6 tracks. it’s not in any record bar. you can get em at gigs if you like. those that got the bound by blood record, thank you. if you’d like to check out this new ep, thank you too. if you don’t, that’s cool.

respect to all the bands. those that are here and those that aren’t.

peace out

27. Jacksparrow - August 12, 2006

brain salad deserves that rank!!! saan gigs ng badburn? anyone knows where to get the Battery album?

28. meymey - October 12, 2006

bam bobo mo mag lista pare… so you mean yun lang ang matitinong album na naproduce dito a pinas? think about it.. kulang pa ang mga alam mo sa bagay na ito. huwag kang mag marunong…

29. benj - October 12, 2006

aba mas malaking tanga ka.

saan mo nakita na sinabi ko na dapat tanggapin mo ang listahan ko para sa sarili mo? Sariling opinyon ko yan. saan mo rin nakita na sinabi ko na lahat ng mga album na wala sa listahan ay hindi matino? Kung hindi ka ba naman tanga. Mag isip ka muna bago mag comment, hindi yung basta basta nalang magttype di naman masyado iniisip yung rationale.


30. meymey - October 15, 2006

well di nga siguro logical yung ginawa ko… para sabihan ka nang ganun… pero sabi from the start 20 best albums… sana sinabi mo nalang ito without numbering them… saka sana may timeframe yung ginawa mo… i know youre a lot more intelligent than me… hehehe

kala ko nga di mo na to rereplayan pa e … heheheh

at least may na inflict ako sayong something psychological..(a disturbance)…. hehehehe…

siguro… yah tama medyo personal yung list…. and di dapat itake as a reference nang ninuman na naghahanap nang katotohanan.. kasi nga personal…. i just noticed na yung mga albums dito (especially in the high ranks) ay dark… hehehe
somehow reflects your personality… at halatang razorback and wolfgang fanatic ka…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: