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Top 10 Albums of Any Given Year

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15 hours ago, Requiem said:

I'll check it out. 

 

Ditto. Not that I'm suddenly thirsting for this type of music though. 

Actually I've also got Thulcandra's 'Fallen Angel's Dominion', although they're German I think. I only bought it because of the deliberate Dissection worship, and I guess it's pretty good. I mean, it's impressive and fun, but at the end of the day it's a tribute. They're definitely in the Dissection/Dawn ballpark though. Ballpark - how's that for an Americanism that really means nothing in my country. 

From what I've heard of Thulcandra, the bands I've listed are better, and aren't really Dissection tributes, but rather contemporaries. I think you'll dig at least some of them.

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@Requiem

 1996 it is! With early morning musings fueled by coffee and insomnia. Only albums that I own were considered and many metal albums were considered. This is a rough list. 

 

1. Cradle of Filth – V Empire or Dark Faerytales in Phallustein

The reign in flesh begins again be it EP, mini-album or through Jared Demeter's duplicitous soul! 

 

2. Cradle of Filth – Dusk… and Her Embrace

A nocturnal pulse so languorous and beautiful from start to finish.  

 

3. My Dying Bride – Like Gods of the Sun

The fans cried but she never died! Absolutely underrated. 

 

4. Satyricon – Nemesis Divina

Aggressive yet very atmospheric. Outstanding!

 

5. Burzum – Filosofem

Atmospheric, contemplative, hypnotic, brilliant.  

 

6. Moonspell - Irreligious 

A crucial change in the band's sound but nothing short of excellent. 

 

7. Deinonychus – The Weeping of a Thousand Years

When the dinosaur duo embraced their inner goth.   

 

8. Old Man’s Child – Born of the Flickering

Their best. Before the symphony of cut-and-paste overproduction. 

 

9. The Blood Divine – Awaken

Dusk and Her Anathema!   

 

10. Behemoth - Grom 

Their black metal era is very underrated, prefer it to their later albums. 

 

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^ I agree with you about Old Man's Child and Behemoth, those are my favorite albums from both bands. I'm also surprised to see another Deinonychus fan, I didn't think many people were into them. I only have 3 of their albums, but I really like what I've heard. 

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20 minutes ago, BlutAusNerd said:

^ I agree with you about Old Man's Child and Behemoth, those are my favorite albums from both bands. I'm also surprised to see another Deinonychus fan, I didn't think many people were into them. I only have 3 of their albums, but I really like what I've heard. 

Do you like Sventevith? I probably like it about as much as Grom. 

I have Deinonychus' first three albums. They're a strange but interesting band. You're right though, I don't think many people are into them.   

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Top Ten Metal Albums of 1994. Same rules as before, a lot of 'popular' picks but they really are some of my favourites. Lots of great albums didn't make it. I'm not going to write anything because this list isn't very diverse. 

 

1. Cradle of Filth – The Principle of Evil Made Flesh

2. Satyricon – The Shadowthrone

3. Burzum – Hvis Lyset Tar Oss

4. Mayhem – De Mysteriis Dom. Sathanas

5. Satyricon – Dark Medieval Times

6. Darkthrone – Transilvanian Hunger

7. Emperor – In the Nightside Eclipse

8. Abigor – Verwustung / Invoke the Dark Age

9. Mortuary Drape – As the Witches Dance

10. Graveland – The Celtic Winter

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2 hours ago, Vampyrique said:

Do you like Sventevith? I probably like it about as much as Grom. 

I have Deinonychus' first three albums. They're a strange but interesting band. You're right though, I don't think many people are into them.   

Sventevith is one that I don't have, so I can't comment on it. Deinonychus is awesome, I discovered them because of the Bethlehem connection, and I'm happy that I did. I'm not sure why they're not more well known because of that.

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12 hours ago, BlutAusNerd said:

Sventevith is one that I don't have, so I can't comment on it. Deinonychus is awesome, I discovered them because of the Bethlehem connection, and I'm happy that I did. I'm not sure why they're not more well known because of that.

Sventevith is excellent. Not as heavy but more atmospheric. 

I think it might be that Bethlehem has had too many members over the years and are subsequently affiliated with too many other bands. People must assume Deinonychus is just another band. Plus, I think Bethlehem's first couple are the only ones it seems people ever discuss. Are they still going strong? I only know them for their early releases.   

 

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9 hours ago, Vampyrique said:

Sventevith is excellent. Not as heavy but more atmospheric. 

I think it might be that Bethlehem has had too many members over the years and are subsequently affiliated with too many other bands. People must assume Deinonychus is just another band. Plus, I think Bethlehem's first couple are the only ones it seems people ever discuss. Are they still going strong? I only know them for their early releases.   

 

Yeah, the first 3 Bethlehem albums are (so far anyway) the only ones that most would discuss. They made a couple more after that, but they were industrial rock albums, so many people lost touch with them at that point. They've done a couple of EP releases since then with different vocalists (as per usual), but the only full-length they've released in their classic style recently is a re-recording of the SUIZID album with Kvarforth of Shining taking the vocal spot from Marco Kehren. By all accounts, it's awful, so I've never bothered with it. I've heard that they might be up to another full-length, but I'm not certain.

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3 hours ago, BlutAusNerd said:

Yeah, the first 3 Bethlehem albums are (so far anyway) the only ones that most would discuss. They made a couple more after that, but they were industrial rock albums, so many people lost touch with them at that point. They've done a couple of EP releases since then with different vocalists (as per usual), but the only full-length they've released in their classic style recently is a re-recording of the SUIZID album with Kvarforth of Shining taking the vocal spot from Marco Kehren. By all accounts, it's awful, so I've never bothered with it. I've heard that they might be up to another full-length, but I'm not certain.

They released a self-titled full-length last year. Very much in the "classic" style from the tracks that I've heard - even the vocals are reminiscent of Rainer's, although not quite so bitch-screamy and unhinged. Some of the riffs have a touch of their mid-2000s style here and there, but I don't mind that; for that matter I even like Mein Weg on occasion. Anyway, the new one is worth your time from what I can tell, and Vampy's too. Here's the bandcamp page if you want to hear it through: https://bethlehem.bandcamp.com/album/bethlehem

Edit: I'd only heard the promo tracks before. Now that I'm listening to it in full, it seems like they front-loaded it with a handful of oldschool-style songs; the "modern Bethlehem" rock-based riffs get a lot more prevalent near the middle of the album. The large majority of the vocals so far are nice and harsh, though, the Rammstein-esque cleans are gone. Not quite a "return to form" but it still seems cool on its own terms.

Nothing beats Dark Metal, though.

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On 11/09/2017 at 0:05 AM, Vampyrique said:

@Requiem

 1996 it is! With early morning musings fueled by coffee and insomnia. Only albums that I own were considered and many metal albums were considered. This is a rough list. 

 

1. Cradle of Filth – V Empire or Dark Faerytales in Phallustein

The reign in flesh begins again be it EP, mini-album or through Jared Demeter's duplicitous soul! 

 

2. Cradle of Filth – Dusk… and Her Embrace

A nocturnal pulse so languorous and beautiful from start to finish.  

 

3. My Dying Bride – Like Gods of the Sun

The fans cried but she never died! Absolutely underrated. 

 

4. Satyricon – Nemesis Divina

Aggressive yet very atmospheric. Outstanding!

 

5. Burzum – Filosofem

Atmospheric, contemplative, hypnotic, brilliant.  

 

6. Moonspell - Irreligious 

A crucial change in the band's sound but nothing short of excellent. 

 

7. Deinonychus – The Weeping of a Thousand Years

When the dinosaur duo embraced their inner goth.   

 

8. Old Man’s Child – Born of the Flickering

Their best. Before the symphony of cut-and-paste overproduction. 

 

9. The Blood Divine – Awaken

Dusk and Her Anathema!   

 

10. Behemoth - Grom 

Their black metal era is very underrated, prefer it to their later albums. 

 

Vampers, your 1996 and 1994 lists are stellar and very close to my own. 

I see you didn't include 'October Rust' by Type O Negative in 96. I would have thought a gothic shade of the night would be as obsessed with that album as I am! 

'The Celtic Winter' is a great inclusion for 94. I have the first five or six Graveland releases and love them dearly.

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8 hours ago, Requiem said:

Vampers, your 1996 and 1994 lists are stellar and very close to my own. 

I see you didn't include 'October Rust' by Type O Negative in 96. I would have thought a gothic shade of the night would be as obsessed with that album as I am! 

'The Celtic Winter' is a great inclusion for 94. I have the first five or six Graveland releases and love them dearly.

I knew you would bring that album up and I felt bad for leaving it off because I know there's a good chance that it might make the top ten if only I gave it a listen beforehand. But alas my list was made somewhat hastefully by looking at an excel spreadsheet of many albums and I didn't bother to listen to anything before deciding on or ranking them, and certainly not a 73 minute album! It's been a couple of years since I last heard October Rust but I believe it to be my favourite Type O Negative album. That being said, I haven't heard the last two albums of theirs.

In retrospect that OMC album might rank higher. There's a few other albums on par with Grom and Awaken. Someday, I'll make a proper list, maybe even for each year!  

I do like Graveland a lot but, like you, mostly just 90s Graveland including the very different Immortal Pride.  

 

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42 minutes ago, Vampyrique said:

I knew you would bring that album up and I felt bad for leaving it off because I know there's a good chance that it might make the top ten if only I gave it a listen beforehand. But alas my list was made somewhat hastefully by looking at an excel spreadsheet of many albums and I didn't bother to listen to anything before deciding on or ranking them, and certainly not a 73 minute album! It's been a couple of years since I last heard October Rust but I believe it to be my favourite Type O Negative album. That being said, I haven't heard the last two albums of theirs.

In retrospect that OMC album might rank higher. There's a few other albums on par with Grom and Awaken. Someday, I'll make a proper list, maybe even for each year!  

I do like Graveland a lot but, like you, mostly just 90s Graveland including the very different Immortal Pride.  

 

'October Rust' is my all time favourite album, so yeah, I recommend it hahaha. Also, don't bother with the last two Type O Negative albums. They're pretty bad. My friend and I actually held a cleansing ceremony at his house where we burnt and smashed 'Dead Again' in order to banish its crapness from his domicile. 

I really need to check out more (earlier) Old Man's Child. I only have 'Slaves of the World' or whatever it's called. It's pretty good but I don't love it. 

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9 hours ago, Requiem said:

'October Rust' is my all time favourite album, so yeah, I recommend it hahaha. Also, don't bother with the last two Type O Negative albums. They're pretty bad. My friend and I actually held a cleansing ceremony at his house where we burnt and smashed 'Dead Again' in order to banish its crapness from his domicile. 

I really need to check out more (earlier) Old Man's Child. I only have 'Slaves of the World' or whatever it's called. It's pretty good but I don't love it. 

 

Listened to October Rust earlier today. And yes, excellent album! The music has a warmth and pleasantness that washes over you, similar to how The Cure's incredible album Disintegration achieves this, despite being very different musically. I'm going to have to listen to it again! Only now I'm tempted to listen to Dead Again... can it really be that bad?? You've got me intrigued. I remember it got great reviews when it came out did it not? 

Regarding OMC: I didn't really like Slaves of the World. Honestly, just get Born of the Flickering. It's nothing like the others. Way, way, way better. Organic production with audible bass, excellent performances throughout and very memorable songs. It has a great atmosphere too and lots of feeling.   

 

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1 hour ago, Vampyrique said:

 

Listened to October Rust earlier today. And yes, excellent album! The music has a warmth and pleasantness that washes over you, similar to how The Cure's incredible album Disintegration achieves this, despite being very different musically. I'm going to have to listen to it again! Only now I'm tempted to listen to Dead Again... can it really be that bad?? You've got me intrigued. I remember it got great reviews when it came out did it not? 

Regarding OMC: I didn't really like Slaves of the World. Honestly, just get Born of the Flickering. It's nothing like the others. Way, way, way better. Organic production with audible bass, excellent performances throughout and very memorable songs. It has a great atmosphere too and lots of feeling.   

 

'Born of the Flickering' - consider it done. 

The thing about Type O is that there have always been two versions of the band. The version I like, version 'a', created 'Bloody Kisses' and 'October Rust', writing long yet catchy songs about gothic things. Then there's version 'b'. Version 'b' is full of potty humour, empty upbeat tracks and lame lyrics. 'Dead Again' largely falls into version 'b'. The band started with version 'b', moved into version 'a', then finished with version 'b'. 

In fairness it's been many years since I've heard that album, so it might not be quite as bad as I remember it, but we don't burn albums lightly and that one went up in flames. 

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On 9/16/2017 at 2:37 AM, Requiem said:

'Born of the Flickering' - consider it done. 

The thing about Type O is that there have always been two versions of the band. The version I like, version 'a', created 'Bloody Kisses' and 'October Rust', writing long yet catchy songs about gothic things. Then there's version 'b'. Version 'b' is full of potty humour, empty upbeat tracks and lame lyrics. 'Dead Again' largely falls into version 'b'. The band started with version 'b', moved into version 'a', then finished with version 'b'. 

In fairness it's been many years since I've heard that album, so it might not be quite as bad as I remember it, but we don't burn albums lightly and that one went up in flames. 

I think I understand what you mean but that doesn't surprise me. I've always knew the band was too tongue-in-cheek to be really be goth or gothic, and likely continued to mock the idea that some people (goths) actually thought they were. They seem to me to be more into Black Sabbath and an eclectic variety of influences than just goth, alternating between influences on albums in a somewhat manic-depressive manner. I probably like the same style of songs that you do but the joke tracks I've never cared for. I've always thought about making a proper album edit for October Rust and Bloody Kisses. 

 

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Top 10 Metal Albums (of 1999) once again with brief summaries. 

 

10. Darkthrone - Ravishing Grimness

Much like the overlooked and underappreciated Plaguewielder and Total Death, this is another solid entry into what became a vasty chasm of grim obfuscated gemmary known as Darkthrone’s mid-era. The hunger was still there even if it wasn’t Transilvanian and the band proved they could produce quality albums reflexively. Ravishing indeed!  

 

9. Moonspell - The Butterfly Effect

I wrote about this one in the Moonspell thread and best described it as "a moth to some, a butterfly to others." I've always enjoyed this ever-interesting detour of quasi-industrial goth metal.  

 

8. Ancient - The Halls of Eternity

Oh, there's goes my kvlt credit again! A very theatrical approach to melodic black metal with a gothic touch and plenty of Halloween fun! 

 

7. Nevermore - Dreaming Neon Black

Once upon a time I didn't like clean vocals in metal. I made exceptions for a few bands that used them sparingly but it wasn't until I heard Nevermore that I began to change my mind. Warrel didn't sound like the common power nelly and his aggressive snarl really gave him a worthy dynamic and edge that even full-on harsh vocalists couldn't contend with. The music hits hard and yet still possesses enough emotion and atmosphere.

 

6. My Dying Bride - The Light at the End of the World

After an odd but interesting year-long acid trip the band saw the light, sobered up proper, realized they weren't tapping into commercial success nor were they fully committed to echoing Paradise Lost's journey away from the shores of metal and instead released a solid return-to-form album. The convincing authenticity of the first four albums would never be gazed upon again but nevertheless I certainly won't dis MDB albums of this high a caliber. 

 

5. Akercocke - Rape of the Bastard Nazarene

Satan's choicest acolytes were conceived under a sophisticated simian banner just in time to see to the end of days and wreak havoc upon the earth with pummeling death metal savagery wreathed in exotic twists and crazed idiosyncracies. The devil rides out here!  

 

4. Agalloch - Pale Folklore

Fields of the Nephilim join the likes of Ulver and friends in spirit to create a woodsy, folky blend of emotive metal that contains the warmth of campfires and the stark atmospheric of nature without ever being too saccharine.      

 

3. Theatres des Vampires - The Vampire Chronicles

The addition of Frater Necros and a line-up of competent fledglings meant that Lord Vampyr could look beyond the austere rudiments of melodic black metal and aspire to something more. Although the band would not reach their peak for a couple of years, the nascent beginnings of something brilliant were still inchoate in this unique vampiric union of deathrock, black metal, Italian horror and King Diamond eccentricity! 

 

2. Satyricon - Rebel Extravaganza

There's no shortage of ideas and energy in this Thornsy, balls-out black metal extravaganza. In fact, I think Tied in Bronze Chains alone has more riffs and ideas than the last four Satyricon albums combined! (I wish I was joking!) A prime example of a band changing course without taking a backwards step. 

 

1. Dimmu Borgir – Spiritual Black Dimensions

The seeds of something darker were planted in the godless savage garden a year earlier and came to fruition under perpetual night skies, mirrored hate paintings, and unbridled gothic majesty. Rougher in production than its crystal clean predecessor but evermore graceful and enticing with brilliant performances all around.  

 

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8 hours ago, Vampyrique said:

Top 10 Metal Albums (of 1999) once again with brief summaries. 

 

10. Darkthrone - Ravishing Grimness

Much like the overlooked and underappreciated Plaguewielder and Total Death, this is another solid entry into what became a vasty chasm of grim obfuscated gemmary known as Darkthrone’s mid-era. The hunger was still there even if it wasn’t Transilvanian and the band proved they could produce quality albums reflexively. Ravishing indeed!  

 

9. Moonspell - The Butterfly Effect

I wrote about this one in the Moonspell thread and best described it as "a moth to some, a butterfly to others." I've always enjoyed this ever-interesting detour of quasi-industrial goth metal.  

 

8. Ancient - The Halls of Eternity

Oh, there's goes my kvlt credit again! A very theatrical approach to melodic black metal with a gothic touch and plenty of Halloween fun! 

 

7. Nevermore - Dreaming Neon Black

Once upon a time I didn't like clean vocals in metal. I made exceptions for a few bands that used them sparingly but it wasn't until I heard Nevermore that I began to change my mind. Warrel didn't sound like the common power nelly and his aggressive snarl really gave him a worthy dynamic and edge that even full-on harsh vocalists couldn't contend with. The music hits hard and yet still possesses enough emotion and atmosphere.

 

6. My Dying Bride - The Light at the End of the World

After an odd but interesting year-long acid trip the band saw the light, sobered up proper, realized they weren't tapping into commercial success nor were they fully committed to echoing Paradise Lost's journey away from the shores of metal and instead released a solid return-to-form album. The convincing authenticity of the first four albums would never be gazed upon again but nevertheless I certainly won't dis MDB albums of this high a caliber. 

 

5. Akercocke - Rape of the Bastard Nazarene

Satan's choicest acolytes were conceived under a sophisticated simian banner just in time to see to the end of days and wreak havoc upon the earth with pummeling death metal savagery wreathed in exotic twists and crazed idiosyncracies. The devil rides out here!  

 

4. Agalloch - Pale Folklore

Fields of the Nephilim join the likes of Ulver and friends in spirit to create a woodsy, folky blend of emotive metal that contains the warmth of campfires and the stark atmospheric of nature without ever being too saccharine.      

 

3. Theatres des Vampires - The Vampire Chronicles

The addition of Frater Necros and a line-up of competent fledglings meant that Lord Vampyr could look beyond the austere rudiments of melodic black metal and aspire to something more. Although the band would not reach their peak for a couple of years, the nascent beginnings of something brilliant were still inchoate in this unique vampiric union of deathrock, black metal, Italian horror and King Diamond eccentricity! 

 

2. Satyricon - Rebel Extravaganza

There's no shortage of ideas and energy in this Thornsy, balls-out black metal extravaganza. In fact, I think Tied in Bronze Chains alone has more riffs and ideas than the last four Satyricon albums combined! (I wish I was joking!) A prime example of a band changing course without taking a backwards step. 

 

1. Dimmu Borgir – Spiritual Black Dimensions

The seeds of something darker were planted in the godless savage garden a year earlier and came to fruition under perpetual night skies, mirrored hate paintings, and unbridled gothic majesty. Rougher in production than its crystal clean predecessor but evermore graceful and enticing with brilliant performances all around.  

 

Cool list yet again. The MDB and Dimmu inclusions are particularly good calls. 'The Light at the End of the World' is actually one of my favourite MDB albums. I think you're placing Satyricon a touch high (and calling it Thornsy is cheeky considering Snorre basically ripped this sound off for his 2001 album), and the Theatres des Vampires entry has new meaning for me as I'm exposing myself to the band right at this moment. 

I'm going to check what I put in my 99 list. If you haven't seen my lists they begin about page 12 (on a computer - phones are different I think) and go from about page 12-14. 

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7 hours ago, Requiem said:

Cool list yet again. The MDB and Dimmu inclusions are particularly good calls. 'The Light at the End of the World' is actually one of my favourite MDB albums. I think you're placing Satyricon a touch high (and calling it Thornsy is cheeky considering Snorre basically ripped this sound off for his 2001 album), and the Theatres des Vampires entry has new meaning for me as I'm exposing myself to the band right at this moment. 

I'm going to check what I put in my 99 list. If you haven't seen my lists they begin about page 12 (on a computer - phones are different I think) and go from about page 12-14. 

The My Dying Bride album actually took some time to grow on me but now I consider it to be one of their best, at least in their top 6.

I know you were disappointed by Rebel Extravaganza but I'm a huge fan of it. My posts are often intended to be 'cheeky' but I'm not sure Snorre ripped off Satyricon's style. Snorre was already well known for his odd, mechanical riffs but they were obviously collaborating so I'm sure they influenced each other and both albums were on the go around the same time. I think Thorns' album took a lot longer to come out because Snorre is slow.... the world is still waiting for that second album that he promised how many years ago? Of course, you've got to throw 666 International into the mix as well, moreso associated with Thorns' level of strange. 

I think I have a read a couple of your lists but I'll do a search and see what else I can find. I enjoy reading these types of lists. 

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1 hour ago, Vampyrique said:

The My Dying Bride album actually took some time to grow on me but now I consider it to be one of their best, at least in their top 6.

I know you were disappointed by Rebel Extravaganza but I'm a huge fan of it. My posts are often intended to be 'cheeky' but I'm not sure Snorre ripped off Satyricon's style. Snorre was already well known for his odd, mechanical riffs but they were obviously collaborating so I'm sure they influenced each other and both albums were on the go around the same time. I think Thorns' album took a lot longer to come out because Snorre is slow.... the world is still waiting for that second album that he promised how many years ago? Of course, you've got to throw 666 International into the mix as well, moreso associated with Thorns' level of strange. 

I think I have a read a couple of your lists but I'll do a search and see what else I can find. I enjoy reading these types of lists. 

Well yeah, the old Thorns demo is pretty mechanical sounding and had a huge influence on the scene. I don't know how old you are, but I'm assuming a little younger than my 37 years because if you were around at the time it was no secret that the Thorns album, produced by Satyr, and coming out two years later, used the Rebel template to some extent. They all admitted it in interviews. Credit where it's due.

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13 hours ago, Requiem said:

Well yeah, the old Thorns demo is pretty mechanical sounding and had a huge influence on the scene. I don't know how old you are, but I'm assuming a little younger than my 37 years because if you were around at the time it was no secret that the Thorns album, produced by Satyr, and coming out two years later, used the Rebel template to some extent. They all admitted it in interviews. Credit where it's due.

I wasn't into the scene then but I wasn't aware that Rebel was a template of sorts for Thorns. I'm not saying you're wrong but I assumed that Satyr's main role/influence was getting Snorre into the studio to actually write and record something because if not for Satyr (and friends) pushing Snorre, he wouldn't have bothered. Snorre has always struck me as a shy loner type who wasn't very confident or driven, also probably not much of a 'metalhead'.  Satyr was probably more excited for the idea of a new Thorns album than Snorre was! Of course they had cameos on each other's albums and helped one another but the impression I've always gotten is that the Norwegian scene was very intertwined with bands constantly sharing ideas and influencing each other. Writing/recording for the Thorns album began in '98 which would place it in a similar time frame with Rebel Extravaganza despite coming much out later. I've always thought Rebel Extravaganza was an oddity in Satyricon's catalogue. Aside from Satyricon's general idiosyncrasies it doesn't really contain much of the more melodic, folk/medieval atmospheres of the first three albums nor does it resemble the more stripped down rock-ish sound of the last few. I've always thought it paired better with the Thorns album. Collectively though, what an interesting time for Norwegian black metal.  

 

ps. Don't feel too embarrassed about HIM! I do like some of their stuff too. Actually, I really like the first two albums. The albums after are kinda hit and miss with me. I'll make a post with my thoughts about select lists/albums you've ranked in your lists when I get the chance.   

 

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Ecthelion's Top Ten Metal Albums of 1997

1. Symphony X - The Divine Wings of Tragedy 

Things were looking better for Symphony X after the release of their tighter sophomore album, The Damnation Game. However, what came after was unprecedented in its scope, ambition and craftsmanship. The band had officially hit their stride with the band sounding better than ever and Russell Allen truly coming into form as one of the greatest vocalists in the genre. From the ominous opening to the impeccable Of Sins and Shadows to the closing moments of Candlelight Fantasia and everything inbetween (including the 20-minute self-titled epic that shows the fruits of their years of refinement), a consistently superb masterclass of progressive power metal is displayed for any and all who listen. 

2. Martyr - Hopeless Hopes

I remember finding this album just when I was getting into death metal and technical thrash. This band, in general, still remains as one of my favorite bands as far as technical death metal is concerned. This debut is an intricate yet endlessly engaging album that becomes more and more rewarding with each listening. If only much of the subgenre somewhat resembled this band in terms of songwriting.

3. Gamma Ray - Somewhere in Space

This album was practically guaranteed to be on this list, especially due to the sheer boldness of Kai Hansen to follow up the classic Land of the Free with an even more epic undertaking that is yet another monolith to the amount of talent he possesses. An incredibly addictive space-faring journey that never fails to impress. 

4. Nokturnal Mortum - Goat Horns

This Ukrainian black metal outfit made their official debut full-length with Goat Horns after the release of several fantastic EPs and demos. The dual keyboard attack of this band along with their epic compositions that would make Summoning blush come together to form a black metal record that is not only really memorable but just an absolute joy to listen to. Frankly, the Slavic folk elements present here are so ingeniously integrated that it gives it an extra layer of originality to it which edges it out over many other releases during this decade. If you haven't heard much of their work prior to the lauded The Voice of Steel, this is a fantastic place to start. 

5. Stratovarius - Visions 

Stratovarius continue their classic era with Visions, an album that continues the excellence set by Episode. The chemistry between Timo Tolkki and Jens Johannsen bears more fruit on this album as it forms into yet another example of gorgeous neoclassical power metal that never loses its luster. This quality is supported by a fantastic rhythm section and Timo Kotipelto expertly executed vocals. These guys will not be losing this level of greatness for a while.

6. Rhapsody - Legendary Tales

With legendary tales come legendary figures. Rhapsody made their presence known for good with this debut and showed how well-made and wondrously realized their bombastic approach to power metal truly was. Guitarist Luca Turilli, keyboardist Alessandro Staropoli and vocalist Fabio Lione form together to spearhead the beginning of a musical saga that few could embark upon. However, they could and did. Cheesy? Sure. Unfashionable? Undoubtedly. Epic as hell? You bet your fucking ass it is. 

7. Deströyer 666 - Unchain the Wolves 

Simply some of the most savagely evil and utterly badass black metal ever committed to tape. There is such an uncommonly seamless fusion of styles here given the consistent tone and compositional coherency that there is simply no way I can exclude it from this list. Thrilling stuff, mates.

8. Domine - Champion Eternal 

Ah, but bombast was not the only thing to emerge from Italy that year. Power metal act, Domine, also released their debut full-length that year but despite having several epics of its own, it could not have been more different. Focusing on badass riffs, a grim atmosphere to match their lyrical influences (i.e. Moorcock and dark fantasy in general), Champion Eternal becomes a relentless trad-influenced power metal assault that they'd been perfecting since '83. With superb guitarwork from the Enrico and Riccardo Paoli, the crushing percussive barrage of Mimmo Palmiotta (of Death S.S. fame) and the uniquely mournful yet grandiose vocals of Alfredo Morviducci, a star in Italy's metallic hall of fame is born. 

9. Hypocrisy - The Final Chapter 

Despite its somewhat anticlimactic opening track, this album is death metal mastery. If this band isn't in my lists, they're most likely in my honorable mentions because the songwriting on much of their work is great. I like a lot of the lyricism on this one as well. Just something I've noticed whilst listening to this album again as I've focused on the melodies and structure quite a bit already. 

10. Mortuary Drape - Secret Sudaria 

A fantastic black/death metal album that totally deserves the hype it receives. It is expertly crafted, exciting and is not pedestrian in any way. A worthy entry to an exceptional year. 

 

Hey, guys. I've been busy with university as well but I'm glad that I can get back into the swing of things with these lists. I really enjoy making them and I look forward to hearing your opinions on this one. It was difficult to make, that's for sure. Could've made a top 30 with material ranging from essential to great, in my opinion. 

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