40. Morbid Angel: Domination
Morbid Angel guitarist/vocalist Trey Azagthoth is a sort of crazy
old hippie uncle to the metal community these days, but his band will
always be remembered for violent, evil death metal. Nobody has released
more high quality death metal than Morbid Angel and while all
of Morbid Angel’s early albums are stunningly brutal and highly
influential, “Domination” may have been the band’s high point. First,
it’s got the best name (obviously). Second, it’s got the most groove.
Third, they took everything they learned from their first 4 albums and
churned out something even more satanic and filthy by adding some great
new tricks to the arsenal. For examples, look no further than the
classical arrangements and David Vincent’s crazy fishman vocals on the
classic tune “Where the Slime Lives”.
Heck, the band even tried to release a special edition called the
“Slime Pack” that came with toxic-green colored goo. When the slime
turned out to actually be deadly toxic and had to be canceled, it just proved that Morbid Angel was evil enough to attempt to kill off its entire fan base (inadvertently or not). Neat-o.
39. Dissection: Storm of the Light’s Bane
Jon Nödtveidt was a murdering douche bag. He had one of the most
eagerly anticipated, yet under-produced comeback albums in metal
history. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who found fault with his
music. Jonny Boy blew his fucking head off in 2006 after reading 45,825
negative reviews of “Reinkaos.”
This disc, however, is deserving of every bit of praise it receives.
An album as dark as it is melodic, “Storm…” represents Mrs. Nödtveidt
at his creative peak. Like In Flames, Dissection is a great way to
introduce traditional metal fans to the dark side of the genre. Just
ask them if they want to hear blackened death metal at its most epic. If
their drool sacks bob up and down, turn on “Where Dead Angels Lie” and
kick back with a cold one.
“A spell was cast and the sky turned red and the angel’s heart
froze to ice in the gloomy sky – The silence where dead angels lie”
38. Death: The Sound of Perseverance
At this point, it is widely accepted that Death was one of the most
influential bands in death metal and beyond. However, it is also well
worth noting that Death remained a trailblazing band throughout its
existence. When listening to Death’s last album before Chuck
Schuldiner’s untimely passing, one can clearly hear the immense
influence that latter-era Death had on the more technically-inclined
death metal of today. The album is an unsurpassed gem in
forward-thinking tech-metal. The complex-yet-accessible songwriting
coupled with Schuldiner’s passionate lyricism makes “The Sound of
Perseverance” a definite classic. There is a very good reason why
Chuck’s absence is so painfully felt by so many metalheads to this day:
Death’s last album and Control Denied’s single release made it clear
that he had many masterpieces left in him. R.I.P. to Chuck Schuldiner,
true master of the metallic arts.
37. Dying Fetus: Purification Through Violence
I don’t even remember how I first stumbled upon Dying Fetus’ music,
or even what album it was. They like to get a bit technical with their
riffs, and unleash plenty of blastbeats, but they always have some
groove going on, and somehow manage to make songs with titles like
“Raped On The Altar” so damn catchy.
36. Entombed: Clandestine
Downtuned death thrash has always been something no one could up
Entombed on, even though many have tried. “Clandestine” shook the death
metal world at the time, showing fans that thrash and death go hand in
hand, as well as using those drop z crunchy riffs they are known for.
(Note from Stephen: I was surprised and disappointed that the
name Dan Seagrave didn’t show up anywhere on this list, so I’m adding a
note about him. He’s not a musician, but an unbelievably talented
artist and his dark, gorgeous alien landscapes adorn many memorable
albums. More importantly, his influence on modern metal album artwork
was massive, and his style is cribbed by everyone. The cover for
“Clandestine” is particularly memorable. Check out a bigger version here).
(Note from the Mane: Gorgeous alien landscapes? Fuck that shit, show me blood, steel and naked women! Yea bitches!)
35. Sepultura: Arise
A theme we see on all of these classic albums is that they were
composed at a time when the band was at its strongest. Sepultura was
never “stronger” in terms of thrash/death aggression than on “Arise.”
Gone are the more melodic tribal influences of Max’s later works. This
disc is just jammed full of riffs upon riffs upon Brazilian piña colada.
Igor behind the kit is all crazy and groovy and shit, Andreas has his
signature sounds coming through his leads, Paulo enjoys playing with a
pick, and Max is doing his best raped goat impersonation. To truly take
stock of Sepultura’s gorgeous fusion of late 80’s death metal stylings
with the melodic/groove/thrash they will soon pave the way for.
34. Opeth: Morningrise
Not to be confused with Blowpeth. This was the first great Opeth
album and probably my favorite of theirs. Mikael Åkerfeldt’s creative
songwriting, though excessive and sometimes tedious, always placed them a
few notches above their peers. Opeth’s classic and progressive rock
influences made for much needed diversity in a melodic death metal scene
that was becoming over saturated and generic.
“Morningrise” is a dark and heavy album despite the frequent use of
acoustic guitars and clean vocals. Unlike their later, snore-inducing
efforts, every note here stirs your emotions. The middle section of
“Black Rose Immortal” is one of the most eerily soothing moments you’ll
find in metal.
I’ll end this on a somewhat interesting note. My mom absolutely
loves the song “To Bid You Farewell.” Congratulations Mr. Åkerfeldt.
Take your seat next to Barry Manilow and Neil Diamond. You’ve earned
your throne in my mom’s heart.
33. Amorphis: Tales From the Thousand Lakes
To this very day there is a load of bands that intend to blend their
distinct influences into a homogeneous sound of their own and most of
them fail miserably. Amorphis, back in 1994, managed to pull off the
nearly impossible by making a great mixture out of equal parts of
progressive rock, death metal, folk music and classic metal into a
fantastic album called “Tales From The Thousand Lakes”.
The lyrics, taken from or inspired by the Finnish epic poem
Kalevala, go hand in hand with the spacey production and monotone vocals
to weave an album that summon images as epic as the tales contained
within it. Whether you choose to lay on your couch while reading the
booklet or headbang to it, it provides you a great experience with songs
that are quite melodic and also groovy, yet always moving and without
sounding one bit less metal than it was supposed to.
It took a couple of releases for Amorphis to release this landmark,
but it will remain a relevant release for years to come. One must
applaud their boldness back in the day, in the time the extreme metal
underground feared the words “melodic” and “innovation” as much as the
cross. So refined was their concept and sound that is ironic the
amorphous nature of their name.
32. Type O Negative: Bloody Kisses
Ever since Bauhaus gave the post-punk movement a dark and curiously
morbid twist in the late 70s, freaks in black have constantly thrown
themselves at any band who seem to share their feelings, ideologies and
most importantly, their image. While Type O Negative might casually
disregard any deliberate association with anything remotely “Goth”,
their ’93 breakthrough “Bloody Kisses” might say otherwise, considering
the legions of followers the album would spawn. Despite all the
sludge-doom-goth-metal labels often pinned to TON, BK was a hell of a nice progression for the Drab Four and would even land them a certified platinum album.
In hindsight, it has aged extremely well. Peter’s deep crooning
flows effortlessly over heavy yet elegant compositions. While every
single TON release is significant in its own
right, “Bloody Kisses” would prove to be their most critically acclaimed
album, thanks mostly to the 2 tremendous singles “Christian Woman” and
“Black Number 1”. The former, a lengthy parody of the lifestyle adopted
by the aforementioned gothic culture couldn’t be any more entertaining,
albeit ironic, considering the nature of many Type O fans. And according
to Peter, loving a goth girl is like loving a dead
girl. Couldn’t he have saved us from numerous mind-numbing fan
interpretations and just outright said that fucking a goth chick is
31. Metallica: Metallica
This one sure belongs on this list and it is the last Metallica
album that should end up on any list that features important albums.
Metallica were once a group of guys who actually had a part in this
world, even though it is hard to believe nowadays. This black one is the
last effort they released that’s at least a bit metal and it also holds
a great production and some true gems in tunes like “Wherever I may
roam” and “Through the never”. Up to this point in time, Metallica still
had some decent musicianship in them and they obviously knew how to
write some catchy music, something they completely lost after this one.
With “St. Penis” they really completed the task of being one of the most
terrible bands around, something not even the black album can prevent. A
fine black effort and obviously the last decent chapter in the history
of Metallica. Rest in piece.