1. Massacre: From beyond (1991)
Somehow this didn’t make the overall Top 20 list, but it’s all good…
as I can include at my top spot right here. Beautiful, high speed,
demonic guitar leads flying all over the place across driving, pounding
rhythms with maniacal death growls and occasional high shrieks (Eat your
heart out, Dani Filth) to cover the creations. Not your typical death
metal record and a record that many underground fans praise, but even
more don’t know about. The album ends with a brilliant cover of the
Death tune “Corpsegrinder” (Yes, that’s where the current Cannibal
Corpse vocalist took his stage name from, kids) and it’s also worth
noting that the aforementioned Cradle Of Filth paid tribute to these
guys by doing a top notch cover of the album opener “Dawn of eternity”
for their “From the cradle to enslave” EP. 1991 never tasted so good.
2. Monster Magnet: Spine of god (1991)
Back in the very early 90’s when Monster Magnet wasn’t the fairly
stripped down, catchy hard rock band that would garner them radio play
later in their career, the group relied on psychedelic prowess and
stoner rock sensibilities with some heavy metal crunch and created one
of the most mesmerizing records for all time. The group still tends to
play at least 2 or 3 tunes from this record live on a regular basis and
although the production is crude in areas, the musicianship is still top
notch. Take note of the hypnotic nature of tunes like “Spine of god”
(Epic before ‘epic’ became a dirty word that caused a violent, primal
reaction inside you), “Zodiac lung” or the Grand Funk Railroad cover
“Sin’s a good man’s brother”. This album was a great example of grooving
in the early 90’s while nodding towards the 60’s and 70’s.
3. Skepticism: Stormcrowfleet (1995)
Thergothon may have come first, but with Skepticism the funeral doom
landscapes changed forever and our kings were born. Although I
personally prefer the two follow-up records (“Lead and aether” and
“Farmakon”), there’s no denying the dark atmospheric power of this
release. If you’re ever feeling just a little too happy for your own
liking, throw on this record.
4. Dolorian: When all the laughter has gone (1999)
Although “Voidwards” will forever be my favorite Dolorian record
(And possibly favorite doom metal record ever), this album was a
brilliant start to their otherworldly blackened atmospheric doom metal
saga. I want to live inside this band’s discography.
5. Coal Chamber: Coal chamber (1997)
Big truck! First and foremost, if you think that the first Coal
Chamber album is a blatant rip-off of the first KoRn album you need your
ears checked. It’s also worth noting that, to me, KoRn couldn’t hold a
candle to Coal Chamber (Although Dez’s lyrics are a bit dumb at times,
at least he was never a blubbering man child) and the pounding drive of
this record further cements that fact. The riffs and structures may be
simple, but they’re fierce to me all the same.
6. Reveille: Laced (1999)
Rage Against The Machine rip-offs? Fuck off. Better than RATM
in every way, shape or form, Reveille never needed to annoy the public
with politics or hate crime drivel to drive their catchy tunes home.
Hitting just around the time of the nu metal boom in 1999, this album is
often overlooked in favor of the more popular acts at the time. Also
worth noting is that one of the tracks (‘Splitt’) features a guest
appearance from the guys in Cypress Hill.
7. Death: Scream bloody gore (1987)
Why was this not on the actual Top 20 list? Complete madness. One of
(If not) the very first death metal records and although crude in
nature, it’s still a really good staple for anyone wanting to hear some
of the earlier death metal offerings. Rest in peace, Mr. Schuldiner.
8. Powerman 5000: Mega!! kung fu radio (1997)
Before the space suits, the kids in Powerman 5000 relied heavily on
funk metal and rap rock to get their message across and their debut was a
great example of how to do it right and not sound like shit (looking at
you, Red Hot Chili Peppers). Although I preferred when they grew a bit
more of an industrial rock edge on the two subsequent albums, it’s
undeniable that tunes like “Organizized”, “Car crash” and the title
track are infectiously catchy, well crafted songs.
9. Brutality: Screams of anguish (1993)
Jeez, I really am biased aren’t I? Yes, it’s true… most of my
favorite early death metal records do, in fact, hail from the great
state of Florida but, in my defense, that state’s output was fucking
stellar at the time! As with most of their contemporaries, the love here
goes to the guitar work, but unlike a number of them, these guys
actually made some good follow-up records. This album also has to have
one of the best album openers ever in “These walls shall be your grave”.
Also, what a puzzling looking cover piece.
10. Apartment 26: Hallucinating (2000)
Geezer Butler’s little boy is all grown up and tossing the nu
metal-meets-industrial rock salad all over the kitchen floor! Another
group that never got their due in favor of heartless groups like
Disturbed, Godsmack or Papa Roach, these guys put out two really good
records (including this fantastic debut), toured their asses off and
then imploded out in England somewhere. The rhythms and use of
electronics on this record are great, the sound is crisp and clear and
the culmination of elements is just what I like to hear in my more