70. Grave: Into the Grave
I find it hard to believe Jörgen Sandström is a member of the human
race. He has the most evil, twisted vocals in the metal scene, and even
though his voice was not totally developed on “Into The Grave”, he still
outdoes the competition. Grave does not fuck around in their freshman
release, no shitty breakdowns, no trying to act evil for the sake of it.
Just pure, downtuned, slow, groovy riffs. And it works, good lord it
works. Out of all the “classic” Swedish death metal albums, this has to
be my favorite, and it sure as hell belongs on this list.
69. Acid Bath: When The Kite String Pops
Acid Bath’s debut, “When the Kite String Pops”, is one of the finest
and most original recordings representing the extreme metal division of
the Southern metal genre. The album is incredibly dirty and ferocious,
but also quite varied in sound. Songs on the album range from sludgy
doom ditties to fierce full-speed-ahead attacks with formidable
screaming vocals to eerie melancholic ballads crowned by the soulful
crooning of Dax Riggs. Acid Bath released one other remarkable
dirty-south-style metal album before their tenure in the scene was cut
short by a tragic car accident which left bassist Audie Pitre dead. In
spite of the band’s untimely end, “When the Kite String Pops” (along
with their sophomore release, to a slightly lesser extent) is widely
recognized as one of the few true masterpieces in the Southern metal
68. Slipknot: Slipknot
No matter what people say, everyone thought Slipknot were cool and
interesting when they first came out. I know this, and so do you. As
soon as they turned into a major thing it was time to start dissing
them. I never did. I just started to find their music less interesting
when they started trying for the charts with ballads and whatever. I
think some of the Slipknot material is fantastic while some of it is
quite boring. Alot of fillers here, but nonetheless they made a huge
impact on the scene and this album was a fine punch in the nose for its
time. Tons of aggression and fresh ideas, at the time matched by few.
This is definitely the hardest album from these guys, closely followed
by “Iowa”. They deserve the success, without a doubt. If not for the
music alone, then for the fact that Joey Jordison handed me Screwdrivers
after their show in Stockholm some years back.
67. Machine Head: Burn My Eyes
I know a lot of people out there hate what Machine Head has become,
and I have to admit, “Burn My Eyes” is the only Machine Head album I
enjoy. A modern thrash classic, with guitar tone to die for.
66. Earth: Earth 2
Earth can be summed up in one word: “DROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONE”.
This may be the heaviest album ever made, but to “n00bs” of drone this
can be a very painful experience. To some this is the musical equivalent
of watching paint dry, but to others (like me), it is a run through of
sound manipulation and pushing amps to their fullest.
65. Godflesh: Pure
“Pure” is an album that preys on the listener. It sounds calm at
first, and you might think, “Well, that’s not so harsh”. When you least
expect it, nails are being bitten, you’ve already kicked the cat twice
and that vodka bottle is gone. Ok, maybe I’m an alcoholic cat-kicking
son of a bitch, but the truth is that this album has a really acrid
taste lurking behind its plodding pace and linear beats.
While their debut “Streetcleaner” was more direct than its
successors, listening to “Pure” catatonic endeavors is like being tied
down and being submitted to a session of Chinese water torture. It
doesn’t hurt, but it keeps you anxious. And what makes this album worthy
of being featured on this list is exactly this: it found a new way to
abuse the listener. And for that the masochist in me is forever
64. Dillinger Escape Plan: Calculating Infinity
“This shit is fucking crazy!” That’s usually the first thought that rolls through the head of a DEP
virgin as he or she experiences this musical tempest for the first
time. And it’s the perfect descriptive phrase for “Calculating
Infinity”. Though the aleatoric music techniques (look it up) Dillinger
Escape Plan used to produce this album have existed for many years in
free-jazz and classical music, no one had ever done it as loud or as
heavy. And DEP’s violently intense live shows prove that they aren’t doing it just to show off.
Chris Pennie is a Top 5 modern metal drummer and the rest of the
band keeps up fine, with Dimitri Minakakis screaming his lungs out and
Ben Weinman climbing the frets of his guitar at a million miles a
second. In fact, Weinman handled bass and electric guitar duties, since
just prior to recording this album the band’s usual bassist, Adam Doll,
was tragically paralyzed in car accident.
Although no one ever finds themselves humming “43% Burnt” every
track is unforgettable and “Calculating Infinity” is an intense
edge-of-your-seat type listening experience. It’s also the pinnacle of
math metal and must own for anyone into really extreme, mind bending
63. Ayreon: Into the Electric Castle
The opening track to this album is “Welcome To The New Dimension”,
and how aptly titled it is. Take Hawkwind, make them ten times more
heavy, and add a story that would shame The Who, and you have “Into The
Electric Castle”. When I first heard this album three years ago, it was 3
AM, and I was ready for bed. I decided to check out a new CD I bought,
unaware of the ride I was about to experience. It’s psychedelic, heavy,
and spacey. Not to mention all the fantastic vocal work, and our own Mr.
Ed WARby, because he sounds like he is
banging on war drums in this album. I’ve told him before that if he ever
starts a black metal project, that should be his name. Anyways, this is
a must have for all fans of prog, and really anyone who claims to be
into metal. If you want to experience it in the best way possible, turn
off all the lights, lie down, close your eyes, and drift away into the
62. My Dying Bride: Turn Loose the Swans
There’s no denying that “Turn Loose the Swans” was a milestone in
doom metal. It’s dark, slow ‘n heavy with a huge dose of romanticism
wrapped all around it. Such things don’t come off so well too often.
These guys knew how to rock back in the day, and they never lost the
ability to maintain their snail-pace on later albums. But this one
effort was the apex of their whole career, because with songs like “The
Crown of Sympathy” or “Your River”, you can’t go wrong. Best doom metal
61. Amon Amarth: Once Sent From the Golden Hall
This was the album that made it obvious to me that Amon Amarth were something VERY
different from the typical melo-death Swedish stuff. On this album
they were not too arrogant, proud, or fearful to put in some sexy fucken
melodic passages…but they are also TOUGH!
Enslaved might have shaken their dragon sword at Amon, but the latter
got the better of the genre of viking death metal, and we still see
proof of this today. “Once Sent” has such a fresh sound to it given the
scene in the late 90’s that it cannot be overlooked as a genre
transitional masterpiece. Great songs, awesome riffs that hold up to
this day in their concerts, and a power not seen in those who seem to
try twice as hard. Hail Amon!