My current favourite metal albums and EPs.

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8 Oct 2011, 7:08

Fragments Of D-Generation , Disarmonia Mundi
Melodic death metal
A crown jewel of melodic death metal. Highly memorable riffs and ridiculously catchy songwriting. But don't let that description discourage you - for being an album that's at first glance somewhat commercial-sounding, this is one of the best Gothenburg-inspired albums of all time. Featuring Bjorn Strid of Soilwork sharing vocal duties with the two other consistent members of the lineup, this album contains some of the most mesmerizing keyboard work in metal, along with ridiculously intricate melodies and patterns that take many listens to fully discover. You will find something new every time you listen to this. Those who dislike melodic death metal will probably want to pass this over, but anyone with even a slight interest in the genre is encouraged to get this immediately.

The Treasures Arcane , Crown of Autumn
Epic melodic black/death metal
A HIGHLY overlooked and underrated metal treasure. This album is filled with so much atmosphere and melody that I would describe it as epic metal, its lyrical themes notwithstanding. The album is a journey, an epic journey that I recommend all fans of symphonic/epic metal embark upon as soon as possible.

In the Nightside Eclipse , Emperor
Symphonic black metal
Not much can be said about this, as it's one of the best-known black metal albums ever made. My favorite tracks include "Cosmic Keys to My Creations and Times", "I Am the Black Wizards", and "Inno A Satana." Emperor successfully mesh an incredible soaring atmosphere with many memorable riffs emerging from the thick wall of buzzsaw guitars and screeched vocals. The abysmal production only heightens its raw, cold feel. A timeless classic.

Stronghold , Summoning
Atmospheric black metal
Just about everyone that will read this already knows that Summoning is awesome. But for those who haven't heard them, Stronghold is probably their magnum opus. Best described as the soundtrack to AWESOME.

Journey's End , Mirkwood
Atmospheric black metal
What many of you here may NOT be familiar with is the other Mirkwood - not Silenius' side project, but the black metal act from California. Some may dislike its MIDI-sounding bits, but all the songs on this EP are excellent atmospheric/melodic black metal tracks. There isn't much to compare this to except perhaps Summoning. Listen to Journey's End and see for yourself.

Fiction , Dark Tranquillity
Melodic death metal
While all of DT's work is great, Fiction is perhaps the best example of a classic Gothenburg metal band 'modernizing' their sound and still sounding excellent, hardly different from their early-career work. The songs here are memorable and very much earworms without being watered-down.

The Jester Race , In Flames
Melodic death metal
I might have too much meloidic death metal on this list. Oh well. In any case, this, along with Slaughter of the Soul and The Gallery, is one of the holy trinity of Gothenburg metal. The Jester Race is close to perfection.

Gambling with the Devil , Helloween
Power metal
Helloween is another good example of a classic band putting out an amazing album in the latter half of the previous decade. Gambling With the Devil is memorable from beginning to end, and is sure to please any power metal fan. I don't care what others say, Andri Deris is a very capable vocalist!

Soulside Journey , Darkthrone
Old-school death metal
Darkthrone played a raw and actually rather complex form of early death metal before becoming involved the early Norwegian black metal scene. I actually find their death metal work to be better than a lot of their later work, but I know others will disagree. A must-have for fans of early black metal and early death metal.

Traveller , Slough Feg
Power/folk metal
A little-known power/folk metal band from the US. Traveller is a surprisingly good and underrated album. It follows a concept, but is done very well.

Ghost Opera , Kamelot
Symphonic power metal
It's rare when I can find an album that I love every song on. This is one of those albums. Overrated, perhaps, but I simply adore every track.

Silent Night Fever , Dimension Zero
Melodic death/thrash metal
Dimension Zero is probably the 'heaviest' Gothenburg-styled band I know of. It borders on thrash metal. This and the preceding EP are fucking awesome for fans of early melodic death metal played at high speed and with great gusto.

At the Heart of Winter , Immortal
Black metal
Another classic album in the annals of black metal history. This is a landmark BM album, released rather late in the Norwegian scene of the 90s, which balances atmospherics and raw black metal flawlessly to create a spectacular album which is guaranteed to stand the test of time.

Shadows of the Sun , Ulver
Electronic / dark ambient
This.... is very different. After hearing some of Ulver's first work, I checked this out, and was dumbfounded. I hated it at first, but once ambient music in general started to grow on me, I listened to it again. Now this is one of my favourite albums of all time. It's far from metal in any sense of the word, but is one of the greatest ambient albums I've ever heard. The melancholy spirit of the CD is so thick that it practically oozes off the album and onto the floor. Beautiful stuff.

Altars of Madness , Morbid Angel
Death metal
One of the first death metal albums and still one of the very best. Altars of Madness is an incredibly dark and complex piece of work, containing some of the most memorable songwriting in death metal history.

Powerslave , Iron Maiden
Heavy metal
If you claim to be a metal fan, and don't like this album, there is something wrong with you. That's about all I need to say.

Live , Blind Guardian
Power metal
Just a little note to every band ever... THIS is how you make a live album. That is all.

Storm of the Light's Bane , DIssection
Melodic black metal
Dissection is a well-known band in the mid-90s black metal scene. Despite a heavy share of controversies, Dissection managed to put out three excellent albums in an unfortunately sporadic career. Of them, this is my favourite at the moment. The songwriting is amazing and the lyrics are extremely well-written.

Marrow of the Spirit , Agalloch
Doom/folk/black metal
I have no idea how to classify Agalloch. Orgasmic metal would seem to do well, because Marrow of the Spirit is THAT good. They truly have a sound of their own... although I'm sure you already know that. Black Lake Nidstang is a haunting epic, and no song on the album is weak.

The Stench Of Redemption , Deicide
Death metal
Deicide's never-compromising formula has led to a number of excellent death metal albums, but, like Helloween and Dark Tranquillity above, are also very much capable of releasing quality albums even in this day and age. This 2006 album is brutal, in-your-face, and contains some of the most awesome soloing in all of death metal. This is a must-have for fans of death metal in any form.

The Secrets of the Black Arts , Dark Funeral
Raw black metal
Raw black metal, played as fast as possible. Doesn't get much better than that.

The Red Jewel , Tartaros
Symphonic black metal
DJ-Pingas led me in the direction of these guys, and I must say this is a real gem in the annals of underground black metal. These guys sound a LOT like Emperor, but turned up to eleven. If you like Emperor's work, definitely check out Tartaros.

ColdWorld
Depressive/atmospheric black metal
Coldworld only has two albums out, and I couldn't choose which one to feature here. They are both BRILLIANT masterpieces of depressive black metal.

AND THAT'S ABOUT ALL, FOLKS. SEE YA.

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