Tag: Metal

2001, Music

Blackwater Pater (2001) by Opeth

I’ve been struggling with Opeth for years now, trying to reconcile their reputation with what I hear on record. My biggest issue on earlier records has been the categorization of them as “progressive metal” when I’ve felt like I’ve been hearing “melodic death metal.” Now, that might seem like I’m picking nits but, as a …

1996, Music

The Jester Race (1996) by In Flames

So this is the third album of the holy trinity of Gothenburg-style melodic death metal. It is third because it is the last to be released, a full three months after Slaughter of the Soul and slightly less than that behind The Gallery (which came out a week after the former). I can’t believe I …

1970, Music

Kingdom Come (1970) by Sir Lord Baltimore

I spent some time in a weird corner of the internet where people argued that this record and Warpig’s self-titled debut were just as important as music by Zeppelin, Purple and Black Sabbath. Before I get to the actual music on this record I do want to point out the following:

2000, Music

Dopethrone (2000) by Electric Lizard

This is, from some accounts, the quintessential British doom metal record. I have no idea whether or not that’s true because I honestly didn’t know there were separate regional doom metal scenes before I read this album’s reviews. But, listening to it, I think I understand why.

2000, Music

Close to a World Below (2000) by Immolation

Like others, I am surprised that this record is considered such a classic. There is a tendency in internet criticism to get pretty excited by a band’s best record – or even just a band’s best record in years – and decide it is therefore a “classic”. I know nothing of Immolation but I do …

1995, Music

The Gallery (1995) by Dark Tranquility

This is the other supposed epitome of the Ghothenburg melodic death metal scene. (Actually that’s not entirely true – there are three of them.) But I like it more than Slaughter of the Soul. It is slightly less acclaimed so I find myself just slightly out of step with the critics on this one.

1985, Music

Spreading the Disease (1985) by Anthrax

I have both come to Anthrax backwards – having heard a later record before this one – and come to Anthrax last among the Big 4. That makes it harder to appreciate them. But worse, I’ve been listening to Seven Churches, a way more brutal, way more innovative metal record, released the same month as …

1985, Music

Seven Churches (1985) by Possessed

One of the conventional narratives about the invention of death metal is that it is so named because of the band Death, who supposedly pioneered the genre. Now, there were other bands in other places that also either claim credit or have been retroactively given credit, but Death’s claim is pretty good simply because they …

1980, Music

Lightning to the Nations [The White Album] (1980) by Diamond Head

There are a couple NWOBHM bands that sound a little closer to the thrash metal they would inspire and, from their debut album, Diamond Head appears to be one of them. Nowhere near as dirty and punk as Motorhead, they’re still (at times) grittier and heavier than some of their contemporaries.

1980, Music

Blizzard of Ozz (1980) by Ozzy Osbourne

Metal was evolving in 1980, maybe not as much as it would in, say, 1983-1984, but still it was evolving. But, like his former band, Ozzy doesn’t seem to want to evolve in the way the younger performers were. Rather, on his debut, he’s chosen a different kind of evolution, the kind that I would …

1990, Music

Persistence of Time (1990) by Anthrax

I have heard so much about Anthrax but somehow never heard them until today. I still remember reading about their debut in my Billboard book when I was a kid (or a tween), about how it was the fastest metal album ever (supposedly…according to Billboard) and not even knowing what metal was, just sort of …

1990, Music

Facelift (1990) by Alice In Chains

Alice in Chains are, to me, the least immediately appealing of the big Seattle grunge bands. I think that’s because they have the least catchy songs – though Cantrell is a good songwriter he is not necessarily a writer of particularly catchy songs. Though I do wonder how much of my experience of this band …

1990, Music

Cowboys From Hell (1990) by Pantera

I know the legend of Pantera but I don’t know their early music. Regardless, it’s hard to believe this band was once a glam metal band. I guess you can hear touches of it here and there if you’re really, really paying attention but, if you listened to this first, and then were told their …

1990, Music

Lights…Camera…Revolution (1990) by Suicidal Tendencies

Back in 2012 I heard Prime Cuts and I was pretty damn impressed. I’d never heard the band before and I was thinking “Where has this been all my life”? But it took me a really long time to hear some more of their music and I must say that I might have grown out …

1990, Music

Left Hand Path (1990) by Entombed

The early history and evolution of death metal is controversial. Like many genres of music, it’s possible that it was invented in two different places around the same time. (Or, rather, the sounds that came to be called death metal appeared in two different countries around the same time.) I’ve always found this evolution nebulous …

1985, Music

Killing Is My Business…And Business Is Good (1985) by Megadeth

The Bach-inspired opening of this record gave me high hopes that I would be listening to something in the real of Celtic Frost in terms of its willingness to break from the conventions of thrash. Alas, it is the only sign that Mustaine has music ambitions beyond what I think of as Megadeth’s sound. (I …

1990, Music

Hammerheart (1990) by Bathory

I have read that this is perhaps the second “viking metal” album ever. I really can’t confirm that because, well, I’ve never heard of viking metal before. I didn’t know it was a thing. What I do know is that black metal was definitely not this varied in its early years but I don’t know …

1985, Music

Bonded by Blood (1985) by Exodus

This album is supposed to be a great what-if of metal: what if Exodus’ debut album had been released right after it was recorded, just a little bit after Ride the Lightning. Would everyone remember this band differently? As a pioneer, as one of the Big 4 thrash metal bands, rather than a follower?

1985, Music

Hell Awaits (1985) by Slayer

So I’ve never heard their debut, only later records, so I don’t know how this compares to that record, but I read that it is significantly better (more ambitious, louder, more professional), etc. Even without hearing the debut, those descriptions make sense, because this is a crazy pummeling record, especially given that it’s 1985.

2000, Music

The Chainheart Machine (2000) by Soilwork

When you start getting into all the niche metal genres that have sprung up since thrash, it can get really hard to tell what is “good” or even “classic” for that given genre, simply because us music fans who are not obsessed with particular sub-genres of metal don’t have enough context. Case in point: I …

1970, Music

Black Sabbath (1970)

There are people who will tell you this is the first heavy metal album of all time. And I understand why they say that, especially with the benefit of hindsight. I respectfully disagree with that particular claim and I think I have pretty valid reasons for doing so, but that doesn’t take away from both …