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Top 10 Albums of Any Given Year


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The Time Traveller's Dilemma is on my list, and E definitely belongs there as well - the more I listen to it the more I like it. The other ones from my list that I think you'd really like are the Suffering Hour and Cavernlight albums that I've already mentioned; you might also dig Sutrah's "Dunes", it may be a little new-school for you but they have something cool going on. Canadian tech death with a good ear for melody and strong riffing skills. Also try Fen and Dodecahedron if you haven't heard them.


Sutrah is the only one of those I haven't heard of, thanks for the heads up!

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  • 3 weeks later...
Did you ever get to it? I was just interested in hearing your thoughts since it isn't a usual genre for you. 
Your message her just reminded me about them. I played a track and found it less fruity than I remembered from their self-titled album that I sold at the record store back in the day, and it was significantly less renaissance fair sounding than Rhapsody. It kind of reminded me of Dream Theater mixed with how Kamelot should sound, as opposed to how they actually sound. I could see myself enjoying this, even though I doubt it would ever occupy a top 10 spot for me. As you said, it's not my usual flavor, but I can see more clearly now than before why you would include it.

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  • 9 months later...

It's nearly been two years since I last posted a list here, and I have covered every year from 1992-2016 in this thread. My 2017 and 2018 lists are in their own threads. I really want to look back further and move into the 80s to see what I can come up with. Without second wave black metal and gothic doom I have a feeling we'll be seeing a bit of hair metal...

So here we go again: 

Requiem's Top 10 Albums of 1991

10. Dismember - 'Like an Ever Flowing Stream'

This is the era where death metal reigned, and I'm not the hugest fan of death metal. Nevertheless, this classic is a special album, with great production and a real sense of authenticity. I play this album all the time. Epic album artwork. 

9. Carcass - 'Necroticism - Descanting the Insalubrious' 

This tends to be as rough as I go with Carcass, and I think they got the balance pretty right here. Those British medical voiceovers, the great guitar riffs and the songmanship all make this an enjoyable listen, especially when I'm feeling like severing a few limbs....  Unusual and imaginative album cover. 

8. Bathory - 'Twilight of the Idols'

I definitely prefer 'Hammerheart' to this, but dammit there's something so engaging about Quorthon's vocals and that big epic sound of his. The last song proper, confusingly called 'Hammerheart', reminds me too much of a hymn we sang at school, 'I Vow to Thee My Country' but apparently they're both based on a Holst work, so I guess it's ok. Suitably viking album cover. 

7. Cathedral - 'Forest of Equilibrium'

I don't love this as much as the hardcore fans out there, and sometimes I find it a bit dull, but overall this is a special moment in time that I do enjoy quite a lot when I'm in the right mood. Brilliant Dave Patchett artwork. 

6. Type O Negative - 'Slow Deep and Hard'

I'm a late convert to this album, and I think it generally performs well in a weaker year for my personal musical taste. Still, there's no arguing with the foundation of the great Type O sounds of the future. I'm still not a huge fan of the humour. Foolish album cover. 

5. Darkthrone - 'Soulside Journey'

Bloody great album, this. Obviously more death metal than black, this still nevertheless exudes the vibe that really resonates with me, and it's basically just a really cool album. The album cover is strange but excellent - I really love it. 

4. Skid Row - 'Slave to the Grind'

Lifelong classic in Castle Requiem, I still remember the first time I heard it back in 1991 as an 11 year old. I still feel that same thrill today, 28 years later. Sebastian Bach's voice is off the charts on songs like 'Monkey Business' and 'Quicksand Jesus'. Weird album cover but I'm used to it - apparently a painting by Sebastian's father. 

3. Guns n Roses - 'Use Your Illusion II'

I'm not listening to this every day, but this album is an out and out classic. I don't rate the first 'Use Your Illusion' anywhere near this masterpiece, as tracks like 'You Could Be Mine', 'Locomotive', 'Estranged' and 'Pretty Tied Up' are just next level. They should have released the best songs from this plus 'November Rain' and made it a single album. But no... Album covers for these are pretty dumb, even though they come from a Raphael masterpiece. 

2. Paradise Lost - 'Gothic'

A monolithic album that created a genre (more or less). This is a special album that contains an atmosphere that would really shape my listening habits throughout my life. Morose riffs, gothic atmosphere, some female vocals, all laying down the archetypes. Again, strange album cover but it's very effective. 

1. Ozzy Osbourne - 'No More Tears'

Ah Ozzy. It's no secret that I'm an Ozzy tragic and this would be up in my top three or four of his albums. I've sort of overplayed this over the years, but it's one classy album that has become a full on classic. The title track alone is worthy of placing this at number 1. Brilliant album cover of classy Ozzy. 

 

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There are a plethora of metal classics released in 1990, many that I am unfortunately not an authority on or that don't gel with me personally. I'm getting deja vu writing this list and may have done it elsewhere before. Anyway, here are ten that I feel some degree of affection for. 

Requiem's Top 10 Albums of 1990

10. Entombed - 'Left Hand Path'

This is another one of those time and place type of albums. It just represents the dawn of a pretty significant movement in the Swedish death metal scene, and the sound of that guitar pedal has a lot to answer for. I'm not getting this tattooed on me, but it's a good listen and I respect it as much as admire the tunes. Nice old school album cover. 

9. Pantera - 'Cowboys from Hell'

This is a pretty happening album, and the first major label foray for these formally spandex bandits. The title track and 'Cemetery Gates' are classics. Nice riffing and drums, of course. Awesome album cover, and I remember as a 12 year old being pretty impressed with the bar room scene. Still am. 

8. Slayer - 'Seasons in the Abyss'

I like this more melodic version of Slayer. I can't say I listen to this very often - I don't even actually own it - but I nod my head appreciatively when it comes on somewhere. 'War Ensemble' and 'Dead Skin Mask' are killer songs. Album cover is a bit shit, but I guess it's now part of the landscape so it's ok. 

7. Paradise Lost - 'Lost Paradise'

Am I really being objective about my love for this album? Possibly. The Paradise Lost name and the guys who play on this album are like a warm comfort blanket, so before I've even heard the riffs I like this album. There are definitely great moments here and the birth of the Peaceville doom sound is taking place. Wacky album cover. 

6. Iron Maiden - 'No Prayer for the Dying'

This album is awesome and it tends to get a hard time from some people. I think it still has some really killer songs like 'Hooks in You' and 'Mother Russia' and each song has something to offer me personally and it's just a good-time Maiden album. The album cover's awesome with Eddie emerging from a grave (again). 

5. Warrant - 'Cherry Pie'

Shut up, this is metal. A cracking album from the talented Jani Lane, with some of hair metal's greatest songs - yes, including the title track. Attractive album cover with Lane's future wife Bobbi Brown. Warrant 4 lyf. 

4. Judas Priest - 'Painkiller'

I still don't own this, but I'm at the cusp of making the purchase. I've never been the biggest Priest fan, and in fact I've never actually owned a full album from these guys, which seems really odd. This is a great album though, obviously. I need it explore it more and become one with it. Man and CD. United in glory. 

3. Black Sabbath - 'Tyr'

Smashing album. Tony Martin's vocals here are brilliant, with Iommi's riffs fat and juicy with a great 80s vibe lingering across the glossy product. Opening track 'Anno Mundi' is a masterpiece. Hail Tony Martin. Hail Tony Iommi. Brilliant viking themed album cover. 

2. Bathory - 'Hammerheart'

Speaking of which. 'Hammerheart' is a milestone and the first true viking metal album. This is where it all comes together best for Quorthon, with 'One Rode to Asa Bay' and 'Father to Son' raising the hair on the back of my northern European neck. Brilliant vocals. Brilliant atmosphere, and one of the greatest metal album covers of all time. 

1. Megadeth - 'Rust in Peace'

As much as I love 'Hammerheart', I just can't go past this. This is a freakish album. Let's list the masterpieces within: 'Holy Wars', 'Hangar 18, 'Tornado of Souls', 'Rust in Peace... Polaris'. I also can't get enough of the original production and mix (fuck the remixes) that just sounds so great. Excellent alien conspiracy album cover. Every song is a classic. Easily the best album of 1990 for me. 

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Hail the 80s! I can't keep this posting pace up for too long, but here's another list. 1989 was the year and era of thrash and those first few proper death metal albums, which I admire but don't find myself loving. I blame my teenage years and that I have a soft spot for songs about girls and the Sunset Strip. 

Requiem's Top 10 Albums of 1989

10. Candlemass - 'Tales of Creation'

Not my favourite Candlemass album, but this - Messiah's last at the time - is still a solid slab of doom. It's funny, I was listening to it today and it was more Sabbath than Sabbath were at this stage. Some of this plods a bit and I find myself wishing I was listening to 'Epicus...'. Beautiful album cover as usual. 

9. Morbid Angel - 'Altars of Madness'

If it wasn't for all those damn catchy hair metal albums that came out this year, this album would be a lot higher up the list. Crystal production for 1989, don't know what's going on there but it's amazing. I love that Morbid Angel style with the original three guys and I have a real soft spot for the first four albums. Interesting album cover. I like it a fair bit. 

8. Blind Guardian - 'Follow the Blind'

I've always neglected old Blind Guardian, which is a pity, because these old albums are great. The choruses on songs like 'Banish From Sanctuary' and 'Valhalla' are to/die/for. Hansi's voice is amazing on any music, so this album really stands out from the crass thrash morass of 1989. Terrible but funny/cool album cover of... what... goblins?

7. Alice Cooper - 'Trash

For me this is by faaaar the best Alice Cooper album, and I'm surprised at how weak-sauce the albums both before and after this one happen to be. Led by 80s anthem 'Poison', which I maintain is one of rock's greatest songs, there are plenty of other cracking tracks that make this a winner. Cool cover of Alice looking cool. 

6. Aerosmith - 'Pump'

Speaking of cracking tracks. Another 70s act that made it bigger than ever in the 80s, 'Pump' is their best album and went 7x platinum. 'Janie's Got a Gun' is great but a bit serious, so I'm more into party rock anthems like 'Love in an Elevator' and 'F.I.N.E'. Steven Tyler's voice is to/die/for. Dodgy album cover but funny and cool for the 80s. Trucks having sex hur hur hur. 

5. Warrant 'Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich'

Is this really better than 'Pump'? It has an innocent frivolity about it that just kicks it into number 5. Look at the band photos, my god. This is girl-metal of the highest order, with barnstormers like '32 Pennies' and a simply awesome title track. See, most of you are listening to Kreator and Terrorizer... I'm listening to Warrant and considering putting my wife's lipstick on. Awesome album cover of fat rich man. 

4. Whitesnake - 'Slip of the Tongue' 

The follow-up to '1987' was never going to measure up, and this doesn't, but it's still a fantastic album. Steve Vai on guitar playing Adrian Vandenberg's riffs, with David Coverdale at his puerile best. Just ridiculous lyrics, but that's half the fun. Album art is a rip-off of their previous album and isn't as good, but still cool. Miss John Sykes though.

3. Black Sabbath - 'Headless Cross' 

The first Tony Martin album is probably the best of Martin Sabbath, and throw in good old Cozy Powell on drums and you've got a great version of Black Sabbath that sounds and looks nothing like the 70s - and proper - version. Excellent gothic doom lyrics by Martin and all the 80s glory metal you could want. Dark heavy riffs that presage the gothic metal movement. Excellent gothic artwork. 

2. Skid Row - 'Skid Row'

The debut, this was and remains a huge album. Classic tracks like 'Big Guns', 'Youth Gone Wild', '18 and Life' and 'I Remember You' make this hair metal heaven for the Sunset Strip set. I tell you what, those New Jersey lads were lucky to find young Canadian Sebastian Bach. Without him they're nothing. Still waiting for the reunion... Great cover. 

1. Motley Crue - 'Dr Feelgood'

And the best album of 1989 comes from these four Sunset Strip stooges: Vince, Nikki, Mick and Tommy. When I first heard this in 1990 I was 10 years old and I-could-not-believe it. I had Motley Crue posters all over my juvenile bedroom walls. I still love this album and have two copies on CD, one permanently in my car and one in the mansion. Huge Bob Rock production, 'Kickstart My Heart', 'Dr Feelgood'. Look at these tracks. Wonderful green album cover. This just works. Bit worried about 'The Dirt' movie though...

 

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Well, it's clear that 1989 was a strange year that was dominated by hair metal and hard rock for me. Let's check out 1988 where the proper metal stands up and shouts. 

Requiem's Top 10 Albums of 1988

10. Running Wild - 'Port Royal'

I've barely heard this band and I certainly haven't listened to this album in its entirety, but it takes the number 10 spot in honour of my brother @True Belief, who is a fan. Hail. Great 80s style pirates (the band)-in-a-tavern cover. I should actually listen to this at some point. 

9. Candlemass - 'Ancient Dreams'

Candlemass are always worthy of a listen, and this album has some nice moments. I really need to spend more time with it. Strange sort of fantasy novel cover, but it's cool as always. Candlemass will never be my favourite band but they're always respectable. 

8. Bathory - 'Blood Fire Death'

This is where Quorthon shifts his modus operandi from black metal to viking, and this album is the halfway mark. It's a bit rougher than things would become with 'Hammerheart', but it does the business with songs leaning towards the epic. I have a cheap re-release that lacks proper liner notes and lyrics, and I need a proper version. Stunning album art of valkyries in flight. 

7. Slayer - 'South of Heaven'

This and 'God Hates Us All' are probably my favourite Slayer albums, and I find this a lot more listenable and engaging than 'Reign in Blood' due to the slower pace and greater emphasis on melody, which I think actually adds to the menace rather than detracts. 'Mandatory Suicide' is mandatory listening and I remember playing this on drums back in high school in the 90s. Fitting album artwork. 

6. Cinderella - 'Long Cold Winter'

The worst thing this band ever did was give themselves such a limp band name, as Cinderella are actually pretty ballsy for a hair metal band. With Brian Johnson style vocals and a heavy blues vibe, this album is brilliant. The songwriting is just amazing. Of course, come 1991 no band called Cinderella could ever stand a chance. Boring all white cover. 

5. Megadeth - 'So Far So Good So What'

This is a strange album from Megadeth, probably because the production is so thick and the album cover is so alien. There are amazing songs on this release, such as the brilliant 1, 2 opening volley and of course 'In My Darkest Hour'. 'Mary Jane' is also a great haunting song. For some reason a kid at school chopped up a CD booklet and made it into a butchered cassette cover, which I had for years and frustratingly could only read half of the lyrics due to the scissor cuts. Strange what we remember from our youth...

4. Manowar - 'Kings of Metal'

What an amazing album this is. 1987/1988 Manowar is some of the best and most fun metal I've heard, from the drama of 'The Warrior's Prayer' to untouchable epics like 'The Crown and the Ring'. For years I had underestimated this band, thinking they were just a corny Spinal Tap sort of thing, but no, they're the real deal. Brillant warrior album art. 

3. Iron Maiden - 'Seventh Son of a Seventh Son'

The classic light blue album from Maiden. The addition of those guitar synths, or whatever they are, give this a fantastical vibe that works really well, and the concept album message is pretty good although a little vague. The band are on fire, however, especially Bruce on songs like the title track and 'Infinite Dreams'. You can't deny them that this is a great album. Awesome cover of Eddie with the icebergs. 

2. Metallica - 'And Justice for All'

Yes, there's no bass and it's weird, but as a kid I had no idea anything was missing and I just loved this for what it was. Listening to it now, this album is simply stunning. The songs are epic, the drums click and clack and those guitars just soar. Listen to those twin guitars in the intro of 'Blackened'. Pure chills. Metallica are more like cartoon characters these days, but they once hit heights of perfection. Very impressive album cover that has sort of become an icon of 80s metal. 

1. Ozzy Osbourne - 'No Rest for the Wicked'

Compared with the genius of Metallica, this pulls up short, but for enjoyment factor this is it. Zakk Wylde's first album with the Ozman is a bit more serious than 'The Ultimate Sin', with Bob Daisley's lyrics emphasising the darker side of life, 'Crazy Babies' notwithstanding. The production is phat with 80s babies, 'Miracle Man' is catchy and Ozzy and Bob, this time with Zakk, produce the album of 1988 for Requiem Corp. 

 

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True Belief's favorite albums of 1988

10. Riot: Thundersteel

The previous two releases sucked quite frankly, but a brand new lineup  pushed this into a more European speed metal sound  and that's a good thing. New vocalist Tony Moore's vocals are a standout as is the unapologetic speed metal approach. Starts off with the powerhouse coupling of "Thundersteel" and "Fight or Fall" and seldom relents. The galop of "Flight of the Warrior" (later covered very well by Hammerfall)  and the Accept-like riffage of "On Wings of the Eagle" other standouts. I recall being blown away with the speed and intensity of the thing at the time. Thank god they ditched that absurd half man-half seal mascot thing. Today they exist as Riot V and are absolutely worthy of your attention.

9. Death: Leprosy

Picks itself this one, its just a matter of where in the 10 it sits. I wasn't a huge DM fan back then but taste's change so it sits up quite high at #9 for me. Bludgeoning production, deliciously thick riffs..."Leprosy", "Forgotten Past", "Left to Die", "Pull the Plug", "Open Casket", "Born Dead"...Rick Rozz's powerhouse riffing sitting perfectly alongside Chuck's shredding and a more mature songwriting approach (especially lyrically). A death metal masterpiece that showcased Death's growing musical sensibilities.

8. Running Wild: Port Royal

My first Running Wild album and damn if I didn't love it to death. I wasn't really taken by the whole Pirate thing but the songwriting was just irresistible. Probably the greatest power metal band of all time with an 8-album run of perfection from the preceding year's Under Jolly Roger  to 1998's "The Rivalry". Rolf's vocals were a bit of a weak link back then but he had such an ear for melody and an incredible ability to pull riffs out of the air. 8 minute epic closer  "Calico Jack" is brilliant. Shit the bed unfortunately and are pretty much a solo act nowadays. They've never recovered from the Angelo Sasso scandal hah ha!

7. Iron Maiden: Seventh Son

Its funny how you evaluate things differently in the fullness of time. If I'd compiled this list 10-15 years ago there's no way this would have featured in my favorite 50 let alone favorite 10. In fact after I bought the lead single "Can I Play with Madness" I half considered not grabbing the album proper when it landed. To me the changes evident on the (admittingly incredible) "Somewhere in Time" were further solidified here and at the time my friends and I were really worried. Nowadays in the context of their whole career I can look back and enjoy it for what it was - not fear it for what I thought was a sign of the band shitting the bed for good. There's some filler and the cover sucks but this is really good music.

6. Ozzy: No Rest for the Wicked

Damn this is underrated. Ozzy's first with Zakk Wylde and there's a massive change in sound from the lightweight, thin and squeaky clean "Ultimate Sin". Much heavier with a real focus on thick riffs and groove, I would concede the production is little muddy but that doesn't matter because there are some absolutely smoking tracks on this. "Miracle Man", "Bloodbath in Paradise", "Demon Alcohol", "Tattooed Dancer" and the amazing "Breaking all the Rules" which rolls along on such a simple yet brilliant riff and a massive bottom end. Truth be told I enjoy this album more than "No More Tears'.

5. Coroner: Punishment for Decadence

Bit of a transition album this one imo, Coroner branching out a little in terms of the incorporation of more technical and experimental moments which would culminate in sheer brilliance on the follow-up to this. However theres no doubting the brains and technical proficiency here. Quite chaotic yet totally coherent all at the same time. "Absored" is a fantastic opener showcasing all the timing changes, progressiveness and Celtic Frost inspired thrash we'd expect (and get) throughout. Coroner were so underrated; nowadays their name seems to get dropped by people courting respect in the metal world  but I'm glad I was there from (almost) the start. Tommy Vetterli take a bow. You are a monster.  {Note: Full disclosure, I did wear my "Punishment.." shirt to the Dee Snider concert last week and I got plenty of respect, people getting out of my way as I headed to the bar...nodding as I walked by.}

4. King Diamond: Them

As a kid growing up the whole Mercyful Fate/King Diamond thing was just so damn confusing.  Being down in Australia I think the MF hiatus after 1984 didn't really reach me. I got lost in what the hell was going on. I probably overlooked KD releases (hard to believe you'd overlook Abigail!), thinking it was a 'temporary' thing - hard to explain. Fatal Portrait sounded 'ok' but it wasn't anywhere near the magnificence of "Don't Break the Oath", "Melissa" or the s/t EP. Anyway, "Them" changed things for me and while its not my favorite King Diamond album, its impeccably constructed and performed.  My musical pallet was opening up around this time too and I started to warm to King's theatrics. Musicianship on this album is flawless. Andy La Rocque, Pete Blakk and Hal Patino deserve all the credit and respect they get. Mikkey Dee's final album with KD. 

3. Sabbat: History of a Time to Come

I want everyone to take note: "History..." is one of the most blistering, complex and musically brilliant thrash albums of all time. Andy Sneap (yes....THAT Andy Sneap) producing an absolute factory of riffs; Martin Walkyier's raspy almost Jeff Walker-like vocals and a subtle yet noticeable pagan influence standing this so far apart from the standard commercial US thrash sound. After a brief intro..."A Cautionary Tale" blasts out of the speakers and make no mistake this is serious business. Cracking song, cracking album. Handle with care - absolutely razor sharp. Thrash metal royalty. Could easily have landed this at #2. 

2. Metallica: And Justice for All (except Jason)

When I think of this album I think of us going to the record store upon release and one of my friends picking up the double-gatefold version and walking out with a copy under his jacket. We then got (ran to) the bus and went home drooling over the thing..wondering what the hell was inside. These were the days when record stores kept the wax inside the cover so you could pick it up and walk out with it. Things changed pretty quickly. Flaws aside, this is James' best vocal performance by a mile; the guitar tone is godly and similar to old mate Requiem, at the time I thought it was a bit 'dry' sounding but didn't notice all the fuss about the missing bass. "Dyers Eve" is a bona fide classic, although I'm a bit tired of it given its 30 years old "One" still contains moments of face melting goodness and the brooding "Harvester of Sorrow" is criminally overlooked. Not really sure where the band had to go after this....

1. Queensryche: Operation Mindcrime

Hands down the single greatest collection of 'songs' complied to form a single album that I own. Yes it was all bound in a brilliant storyline and yes it was woven together by some wonderfully emotive and thoughtful instrumental interludes (for example hear how 'Waiting for 22' bleeds into 'My Empty Room' which explodes  into the single most monumental album closer  of all time "Eyes of a Stranger"). And yes Geoff Tate & Chris DeGarmo can never be replaced (unlike drummer Scott Rockenfield, new singer Todd La Torre laying down all drum tracks for the upcoming album.)…..

Album highlights are too many to mention but I will anyway "Revolution Calling", "Operation Mindcrime with the brilliant telephone conversation intro...the melodic, gothic master play of "The Mission"... Pamela Moore's appearance as "Sister Mary". The commercial 1-2 of "I Don't Believe in Love" and "Breaking the Silence"....the speedy Helloween-inspired "The Needle Never Lies". I remember buying this form a little store called "Metal for Melbourne" here in (funnily enough) Melbourne while my dad was holding a talk at the National Gallery of Victoria over the river. Funny how you recall these little moments.

No band has ever been able to perfectly weave the phrase 'raison d'etre' into a song like Geoff Tate.

Buy this album folks. 

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50 minutes ago, True Belief said:

 

5. Coroner: Punishment for Decadence

  {Note: Full disclosure, I did wear my "Punishment.." shirt to the Dee Snider concert last week and I got plenty of respect, people getting out of my way as I headed to the bar...nodding as I walked by.}

 

This had nothing to do with your Coroner shirt. You receive respect and tribute wherever you go. 

Nice list by the way and it reminds me I have some listening to do. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

 Looking through my collection, below are my 'Favorite albums of 1989'....

10. Coroner: No More Colour

I’ve professed my love for Coroner previously (1988) and its ‘No More Colour’ where I truly fell for them.  Everything I wrote about 'Punishment' is amplified here. They were smart, technical, complex, heavy and individual. What they were not however, was charismatic, marketable, or fashionable. I don’t know exactly what it was, but they should have been huge. I consider myself smarter than the average bear for having been on board Coroner’s progressive thrash, and I demand to be respected for it. If anyone on this forum has not listened to album opener “Die by My Hand”, please do so now and thank me later.

 

9. Metal Church: Blessing in Disguise

My favourite ‘Church’ album bar none. Mike Howe elevating this, his first album, with some anthemic offerings (Anthem to the Estranged) that wouldn’t have worked with Dave Wayne (RIP). Musically I found this more progressive and refined than the previous two albums.  Mike Howe’s vocals were highly intelligent - he really let’s go at the medical profession with brilliant opener “Fake Healer” – and I love it. Blessing was the first of 3 superb Mike Howe-era albums, all delivered with current day band leader/songwriter/guitarist Kurt Vanderhoof stepping aside (but re-joining to guide the ship later on). “The Spell Can’t Be Broken”, “Cannot Tell a Lie” and “It’s a Secret” are all power metal standouts.  “Fake Healer” and career highlight “Badlands” are worth the price of entry alone.

 

8. Kreator: Extreme Aggression

At school, my best mate and I used to draw all our favourite band logos over our text books. He had this thing for European metal – Venom, Destruction, Celtic Frost, Coroner, Sodom, the mighty Kreator; and it's he who gave me this tape. Didn’t really enjoy any prior Kreator releases but the seas parted for Extreme Aggression. Recently bought the remastered version of this and was reminded how angry songs like “No Reason to Exist”, “Love Us or Hate Us” and the fucking awesome “Betrayer” were. Skid Row may have been the ‘Youth’s Gone Wild” but this was seriously pissed off. And it clicked.

(Note: there was even a metal shop here in Melbourne called Extreme Aggression in the 90s).

7. Faster Pussycat: Wake Me When It’s Over

Unlucky these guys. Similar to LA Guns, they released their highly regarded, ultra-sleazy debut a few years earlier and dropped this ripper a year after Appetite for Destruction landed, so they got lost, everything paling in comparison to the Axl & Slash show. However, what we’ve got here is a magnificent slab of sleazy yet hard-edged rock that barely gets above street-level.  Most songs centring on sexual debauchery and perversion, and Cathouse part-owner Taime Downe’s scratchy, whisky soaked vocals were perfect. This always reminded me of a rougher sounding Guns n Roses with songs like “Where There’s a Whip There’s a Way”, “Slip of the Tongue”, “Aint No Way Around it” and “Pulling Weeds” pulling more punch than looks would suggest. MTV hit “House of Pain” a surprisingly mature and heartfelt song.  Better than the highly regarded debut if you ask me.

6. Overkill: The Years of Decay

I remember first hearing this in the days when you could walk into a record store, put headphones on and listen to an album from the rack for a few tracks before buying it (or not). I recall putting this back thinking “this is just too heavy for me”. Crazy. Like he did with “Cowboys From Hell”, Terry Date produced the heaviest bottom-end sound I’d heard on tape (at the time). It was like a ton of bricks being dropped on you in those headphones. Including Overkill’s finest line-up, timeless classics “Time to Kill, “Elimination”, and I Hate” make the first half a monster.  The whole thing concludes with “Evil Never Dies”, Overkill’s attempt to replicate “Damage Inc”.  but who were they kidding.  ‘Horroscope’ expended their sound slightly with the addition of two (new) guitarists so this is the end of the classic Overkill sound in my book. Did I mention the production...?

5. King Diamond: Conspiracy

This is my absolute favourite King Diamond album. An insane release, incredible performances (again), exquisite production and a guest solo from KK Downing to boot. Andy LaRocque and the King dominate on a release that produced a number of staples in the band’s set to this day - “Sleepless Nights”, “A Visit from the Dead”, “Amon Belongs to Them” - all instantly appealing and brilliantly constructed. I had the t-shirt and for some inexplicable reason I got rid of it. Conversations about ‘top KD albums’ usually circle back to Abigail, Fatal Portrait and even The Eye but take it from me, Conspiracy is THE shit.

4. WASP: The Headless Children

WASP’s heaviest album yet. Steve Riley left for LA Guns and in stepped Frankie Banali for the first of seven albums.  The last to feature Chris “Shitting Bricks” Holmes for next to a decade; both he and Blackie laying down some no frills, belligerent riffing not heard since the debut. A change in direction lyrically too, saw this as more of a dark, brooding ode to the woes of mankind than anything they’d served up prior. Some bona fide classics here – the title track, Neutron Bomber, Mean Man, Thunderhead and a wonderfully emotive ballad in Forever Free.

3. Motley Crue: Dr. Feelgood

After Nikki survived a heroin overdose and Mick a near drowning, the Crue got clean and focussed on their song writing, searching to redeem themselves after the woeful Girls, Girls, Girls (great video however). In came Bob Rock and out came a booming bottom-end production, Lars' dream drum sound and the band’s most focused album in years (their career?). Truth be told, the band needed this to remain relevant. My mates and I used to talk about getting the front cover dagger thing tattooed on our arms back in the day. Funnily enough none of us ever did. As good as it is, I still place Feelgood behind Shout at the Devil in their catalogue. Many incorrectly argue this is #1 (yes, I am looking at you Requiem).

 

2. Running Wild: Death or Glory

Arguably the finest Running Wild release – and that’s saying something given the QUALITY that these guys were delivering for almost 12 years straight. Rolf just had the knack for delivering power metal with a fine sense of melody in a way Helloween, Gamma Ray and countless other power/speed metal luminaries couldn’t always match. Too many album highlights, especially on the first half – “Bad to the Bone”, “Riding the Storm”, “Marooned” …but it’s the masterpiece “Running Blood’, that elevates this album to greatness.

 

 

1.  Skid Row: Self-Titled

Gee these guys arrived late. Its 1989 - the moment was almost done. Despite a pretty-boy-image and slick, thin, MTV-ready production which the band hated (and fixed with the blistering follow-up), the quality of songs cannot be denied. After toiling for a few years, their star rose with the addition of short-lived Madam X front man Sebastian Bach, a guy who can only be described as a one-in-million talent. The ultimate front man, he had it all and boy didn’t he let everyone know about it. Everyone I knew went batshit crazy over “18 and Life”, “Youth Gone Wild” and “I Remember You” but its “Big Guns’, “Sweet Little Sister”, “Piece of Me” and “Makin’ a Mess” which bring the metal to the donkey show. If only this had been given the ‘Slave to the Grind’ treatment we’d be talking about bone fide heavy metal classic. 

 

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Have I already done this year? This was a formative time for me in music. I was 7 years old and just starting to hear rock music for the first time. Many of these releases were, of course, discovered by me as I grew. Let's see if I can rustle up ten albums from 1987, a year which I consider to be the finest in relation to hard rock and hair metal. 

Requiem's Top 10 Albums of 1987

10. KISS - 'Crazy Nights'

@True Belief will have his doubts, but I really like this underrated gem. The title track itself is worth a place in the top 10. This is very easy listening but oh so catchy and warm. And we've all had our fair share of crazy nights, am I right? Pretty cool four corner album cover that actually rips off Poison. 

9. Motley Crue - 'Girls Girls Girls'

Pretty dodgy by the Crue's standards, with Nikki in the midst of heroin hell and the other guys all battling their demons which they saw as high living. Motley's new track 'The Dirt' sums it up best, "Give me what I want until it hurts". Nevertheless this is a fun album, with the title track and of course 'Wild Side' bringing the goods. I just can't get over the fact that this went four times platinum. What's wrong with people? I've had two copies in my lifetime, so I guess I'm the problem. Great cover of the dudes on motorbikes looking badass. 

8. Manowar - 'Fighting the World'

A rousing batch of battle hymns, this is so ahead of its time, yet strangely of its time. The catchiness of 'Carry On' and the atmosphere of 'Defender', with Orson Wells providing guest narration(!) make this a brilliant album. The older I get the more I feel Manowar are underrated. Brilliant yet corny cover of Conan style warriors. Oh wait, that's the band...

7. Candlemass - 'Nightfall'

The second best Candlemass album sounds great, looks great (what an album cover), and just works as an epic doom masterpiece. Messiah Marcolin's first album with the band, this just works. The Chopin funeral march is capital E Epic. Beautiful album cover that set the doom template. 

6. Bathory - 'Under the Sign of the Black Mark'

As a leading world expert, I consider this the first true black metal album ever made, at least in relation to what the second wave would use as their template. To think that it predated the Norwegian second wave by about 4 years is pretty amazing. It's fresh, it's hellish. The album cover is kvlt and apparently taken with a bodybuilder in a theatre. What a decade...

5. Black Sabbath - 'The Eternal Idol'

The first Tony Martin album is a huge barnstormer of gothic darkness and heroic vocals from metal's most underrated singer. This is the only Sabbath album to feature my personal saviour Bob Daisley, who plays bass and writes a chunk of the lyrics. Tony Iommi seems to have loved the 80s sound and it's a pity he looked like your dodgy uncle in the porno shop during this period because he really rocked this decade. Fabulous album cover that recreates the Rodin sculpture. 

4. Mayhem - 'Deathcrush'

I really wanted to put this at number one, because I love it dearly, but I have to be realistic. This first mini-album from the master of black metal Euronymous gets better with age, like a fine wine. Have I done 1987 before, because I'm getting deja vu. Haunting intro, perfect vocals from Maniac, riffs riffs riffs. Extreme and stella cover. 

3. Def Leppard - 'Hysteria'

Ah Mutt Lange, you miracle amongst men. You take dozens of takes of the same riff, you spend weeks cutting and splicing tape together, your patience and genius is unparalleled in 80s production. Yes, you married Shania Twain, and she's hot for sure, but her music is bad. But overall you deserve so much credit. High five, bro. High five. Awesome futuristic (for the 80s) album cover. 

2. Whitesnake - '1987'

David Coverdale was only 37 when this came out, which is younger than I am now, but with the foolish 80s obsession with youth (like our own era) he was seen as an elder statesman already when this came out. John Sykes kills it on guitar and every song here is a hit. Possibly the best guitar production of all time. Simple but classic and stylish album cover. Tawny Kitaen  in the music videos. Damn, everything about this rules. 

1. Guns n Roses - 'Appetite for Destruction'

You have to be realistic here. Everyone in the world has jumped on the bandwagon, but at the end of the day, this is a brilliant, unparalleled album of hard rock. Izzy, Slash, Duff, Steven and some psycho from the mid-west called Axl had chemistry and songwriting far beyond their years and experience. Look at the structure of songs like 'Mr Brownstone' and 'Sweet Child O' Mine'. I'm adamant that 'Sweet Child' is as good as any commercial rock song ever written. It's amazing. The album cover is kind of dorky when you think about it too much, but it's cool if you just go with it. 

 

 

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Limps back into the thread after a 18 month hiatus...

MacabreEternal's Top Ten Albums of 2006

We are now getting close to when I started paying proper attention to metal again after a slight detachment in the early noughties.  Still not the best year but at least I managed to find 10 releases this year.

10. Deicide "The Stench of Redemption"

Whilst I find this lacking in comparison with the earlier Deicide material it still remains a step up from "Scars of the Crucifix" and is better still than "Incineratehymn" and "In Torment In Hell" combined together (even if that bundle cam with a bar of gold I would return it to sender).  In a list that will prove to be evenly split between Death Metal and Black Metal it by no means is the strongest DM release of 2006 - hence the low placement - but it stands up well enough as a strong year for Deicide and a slight return to form for them.

9. Satyricon "Now, Diabolical"

First Satyricon album I ever heard.  True story me!  Not their best by any means but I enjoyed the grimness in the aesthetic even if the delivery was slightly off.  It is memorable enough to satisfy the odd itch now and again but it doesn't get as much attention as their first three albums.  A good gateway record for me.

8. Cretin "Freakery"

My first experience of Cretin was during a CD swap we did years ago on another forum I frequented.  I found them a little too much for me at that stage if I am honest.  The whole sound and delivery just a little too overwhelming for Macabre"Snowflake"Eternal.  Years later I would hear "Stranger" and dive right in and purchase without quibble, waver or doubt.  Since picking up "Stranger", I have found "Freakery" to be an absolute fucking blast(beat).  Thirty minutes or so of fucking frenzied death metal/grindcore is been a welcome enema for the ear holes.

7. Cannibal Corpse "Kill"

This is a fun DM album.  It reinvents no wheels - in fact it sort of just puts more durable DM tyres on them - and it doesn't fucking need to.  Perfect album to come home and throw on whilst you go about your pointless chores and snap your fucking neck to it around the house!

6. Wolves in the Throne Room "A Diadem of 12 Stars"

Atmospheric USBM that is both authentic and genuine at the same time.  I conjure up all manner of picturesque landscapes when listening to this as it truly takes my mind places every time I play it.  A bit of a struggle if I am not in the mood but needs to be treated as more than just background music.

5. Hesper Payne "Dreamer in the Deep" (EP)

"Who?"  I hear an exasperated forum cry! UK doomsters Hesper Payne write doom metal full of dark magical concepts and tell stories of doomed (pun intended) sea faring vessels and their crews.  A discovery from an internet acquaintance on another forum that has proved to provide many an hour of dark and menacing entertainment over the years.  BAN enjoyed them to when i shared some of their stuff with him.

4. Enslaved "Ruun"

Progressive and raw(ish) probably best describes "Ruun".  Following up "Isa was always going to be a struggle but I think this punches well enough to standout in the year as a whole.  If I were putting together an Enslaved "best of" list "Ruun" would make the middle part of the rankings for sure.

3. Repugnant "Epitome of Darkness"

The album title says it all really.  Morbid Death Metal with freakish horror stylings and a fair old amount of Possessed style thrashings decorating the side dishes.  The best DM release of the year by far and although it was the debut full-length it was also their swansong too.

2. Drudkh "Blood In Our Wells"

I recall few albums that I fall in love with after one listen, but Drudkh's 2006 album was one such release.  Taking the melodic espousing of "The Swan Road" and molding more folk and BM elements into the sound, "Blood In Our Wells" rings echoes throughout my head every time I play it.

1. Blut Aus Nord "MoRT"

The dissonance of "MoRT" is the chaotic maelstrom that captures my attention throughout.  I find it a record that focuses me really well as I track the dissonance through the textures of each track.  Less scathing than previous offerings but somehow no less punishing.

 

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  • 10 months later...

It's been quite some time since I made a contribution to this thread and I've decided to expand my criteria since last I posted. These days it's anything I either own or plan to own one day with the caveat that I'll only put forward years where I have at least 15 albums/eps on that list. So without further delay here's the first cab off the ranks with my new criteria.

 

RelentlessOblivion's Top 10 Albums of 1983

10. Culprit - Guilty As Charged

A solid heavy metal outing to get us started. Guilty as Charged is energetic and features some great riffs but is marred by less then stellar production which makes it challenging to make out exactly what's happening at times. Still it's an album well worth adding to the collection for any fan of traditional heavy metal.

 

9. Savage - Loose 'n' Lethal

This album kicks off with a raucos and energetic number As a whole there's much to like for heavy metal fans although Savage don't quite manage to sustain the energy across the entire album. However when it's good this record is very good indeed.

 

8. Exciter - Heavy Metal Maniac

It's no surprise a band named after what was Judas Priest's fastest and among their heaviest songs at the time would play high speed, high energy, heavy metal. There's a slight lull around the mid-point of the album but on the whole fans of heavy metal should expect a rocking good time with this one.

 

7. Saxon - Power and the Glory

Saxon were on a winning streak at the time this record was released, their previous three albums will surely be remembered as iconic albums in the NWOBHM scene, classic heavy metal albums all of them. In my opinion Power and the Glory isn't quite as impactful but is still loaded with rockin' tracks full of energy that will bring a smile to your face.

 

6. Slayer - Show No Mercy

The debut album from Slayer is a frenzy of fast and furious riffs. Show No Mercy is among the heaviest early thrash records and gives off an almost evil vibe at times.

 

5. Oz - Fire in the Brain

An energetic heavy metal outing from Finland of all places. Great riffs abound and there's just a hint of the Finnish weirdness that would be a hallmark of their death metal scene years later, a fun listen through and through.

 

4. Dio - Holy Diver

This album is a classic, perhaps a slightly over-rated one, but classic nonetheless. There are a couple of weaker tracks around the mid-point but songs like Stand Up and Shout, Don't Talk to Strangers, Rainbow in the Dark, and of course the title track more then make up for this.

 

3. Satan - Court in the Act

This was, at the time, about as fast as heavy metal got. Fast paced and powerful with great riffs and memorable melodies Satan smashed it out of the park with this album, need more convincing? Go listen to Trial By Fire and you'll see why Court in the Act is simply a must own album.

 

2. Savatage - Sirens

From the fastest heavy metal got to the heaviest. Sirens  is a landmark record, the riffs sound huge, the vocals are intense, there's so much to love about this record so do yourself a favour and listen to it.

 

1. Mercyful Fate - Melissa

What needs to be said about this album really? You have one of the most iconic pairings in metal on guitars. Denner and Shermann craft some masterful riffs and memorable melodies here. Add King Diamonds creepy and haunting vocals to the mix, the result is a classic album that every metal fan should hear.

 

Well this was a hard list mostly due to a lack of options but overall I think it's a solid start.

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RelentlessOblivion's Top 10 Albums of 1984

10. Venom - At War With Satan

Venom's third album isn't quite as impactful as their previous outings. That being said it's still full of evil sounding vocals and menacing riffs. If you're a fan of first wave black metal you owe it to yourself to hear this.

 

9. Omen - Battle Cry

For a debut this album is solid, memorable riffs more then make up for the thinner vocals. On the whole this is a solid heavy metal album.

 

8. Running Wild - Gates to Purgatory

Speaking of debuts Running Wild's is a riff heavy outing with catchy choruses on many songs. If you like your heavy/power metal with a tinge of black metal then this album is for you.

 

7. Queensryche - The Warning

Phenomenal vocals, catchy riffs, epic songwriting. This record has it all in spades. The Warning is a phenomenal album often overlooked for later work by Queensryche.

 

6. Mercyful Fate - Don't Break the Oath

Mercyful Fate's sophmore album is full of great melodies and King Diamond's haunting vocals. All in all a fantastic follow-up to Melissa and an album you really should hear.

 

5. Judas Priest - Defenders of the Faith

By far the best Priest album of the eighties. The riffs are great, Rob Halford's vocals are on top form, if you haven't heard this album go do it, now!

 

4. Metal Church - Metal Church

This album has incredible riffs, solid vocals, and great songwriting. For a heavy/thrash metal debut this is top shelf stuff.

 

3. Armored Saint - March of the Saint

This is an outstanding heavy metal album. The riffs are great, the vocals are energetic, everything about this screams classic.

 

2. Jag Panzer - Ample Destruction

A heavy metal masterpiece. Heavy riffs that get stuck in your head, energetic vocals performed wonderfully well, fantastic songwriting. If you haven't heard this album you're missing out.

 

1. Trouble - Psalm 9

I'm a sucker for doom metal and it doesn't get much better then this. The riffs are crushingly heavy, the vocals are drawing heavily on Ozzy Osbourne inspired. Listen to this album and do it right now!

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2 hours ago, RelentlessOblivion said:

RelentlessOblivion's Top 10 Albums of 1984

10. Venom - At War With Satan

Venom's third album isn't quite as impactful as their previous outings. That being said it's still full of evil sounding vocals and menacing riffs. If you're a fan of first wave black metal you owe it to yourself to hear this.

 

9. Omen - Battle Cry

For a debut this album is solid, memorable riffs more then make up for the thinner vocals. On the whole this is a solid heavy metal album.

 

8. Running Wild - Gates to Purgatory

Speaking of debuts Running Wild's is a riff heavy outing with catchy choruses on many songs. If you like your heavy/power metal with a tinge of black metal then this album is for you.

 

7. Queensryche - The Warning

Phenomenal vocals, catchy riffs, epic songwriting. This record has it all in spades. The Warning is a phenomenal album often overlooked for later work by Queensryche.

 

6. Mercyful Fate - Don't Break the Oath

Mercyful Fate's sophmore album is full of great melodies and King Diamond's haunting vocals. All in all a fantastic follow-up to Melissa and an album you really should hear.

 

5. Judas Priest - Defenders of the Faith

By far the best Priest album of the eighties. The riffs are great, Rob Halford's vocals are on top form, if you haven't heard this album go do it, now!

 

4. Metal Church - Metal Church

This album has incredible riffs, solid vocals, and great songwriting. For a heavy/thrash metal debut this is top shelf stuff.

 

3. Armored Saint - March of the Saint

This is an outstanding heavy metal album. The riffs are great, the vocals are energetic, everything about this screams classic.

 

2. Jag Panzer - Ample Destruction

A heavy metal masterpiece. Heavy riffs that get stuck in your head, energetic vocals performed wonderfully well, fantastic songwriting. If you haven't heard this album you're missing out.

 

1. Trouble - Psalm 9

I'm a sucker for doom metal and it doesn't get much better then this. The riffs are crushingly heavy, the vocals are drawing heavily on Ozzy Osbourne inspired. Listen to this album and do it right now!

Its your list I guess but there's some massive albums missing here old mate. Could possibly pull together a few "Best of '84" lists.

Ride the Lightning;  Powerslave; Stay Hungry; The Last in Line: W.A.S.P.'s debut, Van Halen 1984, Wrathchild UK 'Stakk Attakk' (just joking..goggle these guys and shake your head. I have the picture disc, lol).

 

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5 hours ago, True Belief said:

Its your list I guess but there's some massive albums missing here old mate. Could possibly pull together a few "Best of '84" lists.

Ride the Lightning;  Powerslave; Stay Hungry; The Last in Line: W.A.S.P.'s debut, Van Halen 1984, Wrathchild UK 'Stakk Attakk' (just joking..goggle these guys and shake your head. I have the picture disc, lol).

 

Yeah didn't make my cut I didn't forget about them. Well nothing glam is making one of my lists anyway (spoilers)

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RelentlessOblivion's Top 19 Albums of 1985

10. Blind Fury - Out of Reach

Memorable melodies, fantastic vocals, solid songwriting. This album is a fine example of heavy metal and if you like the style then this album is for you.

9. Omen - Warning of Danger

Omen's sophmore album steps up the melodic elements and songwriting, the vocals are an improvement beetter fitting the melodic heavy metal on display. Battle Cry was a great debut album but Warning of Danger is a great album period.

8. Carnivore - Carnivore

Have you ever wondered what a thrash metal album with doom elements would sound like? Well this is it. Great riffs, punky vocals courtesy of Pete Steele, outstanding songwriting this has it all.

 

7. Razor - Evil Invaders

Heavy riffs, nasty vocals, great songwriting. This is a phenomenal thrash album that really should be heard.

6. Slayer - Hell Awaits

This is, in my opinion, Slayer's best album. Great evil sounding riffs, menacing vocals, great songwriting Hell Awaits has them all in spades. Go listen to it.

5. Chastain - Mystery of Illusion

This is a fantastic heavy metal album. The riffs are fantastic and heavy, the vocals are great and not the norm for a female fronted band, there's so much to love about this record.

4. Possessed - Seven Churches

You ccould call this a proto-death metal album. It's intense and evil sounding from start to finish and the riffs will get you banging your head. A hugely important album in the extreme metal genres.

3. S.O.D - Speak English or Die

The lyrics are tongue-in-cheek, the vocals are punky and intense, the riffs are fast and furious. If you haven't heard this yet do yourself a favour and check it out.

2. Bathory - The Return...

Bathory's sophmore album is evil sounding first wave black metal at its finest. Evil sounding riffs, nasty vocals, great songwriting This is an amazing record.

1. Celtic Frost - To Mega Therion

This album is perfect first wave black metal. The riffs are menacing, the atmosphere is evil, the vocals are intense and the songwriting is top notch. Listen to it right NOW!!!

 

This was a tough year to settle on. There were some great albums that I couldn't squeeze into my list. On the whole I'm happy with this.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

RelentlessOblivion's Top 10 Albums of 1986

10. Manilla Road - The Deluge

This album features impressive song writing and fantastic heavyriffs. The only thing which keepsit from featuring more prominently on my list is the vocals which are, in my opinion, extremely week and hold the album back to a degree. Still if you're a fan of traditional heavymetal this is wellworth the listen.

9.Sepultura-MorbidVisions

Every knowsthe Brazilian Thrashers these days and rightly so they've released some iconic albums in their time. Their debut however is a raucous mix of first wave black metal and thrash with menacing riffs and fantastic drumming. Check it out because this is awesome stuff

8. Voivod - Rrröööaaarrr

This is a pretty unique thrash record especially for the time. It's full of weird passages with a progressive tinge, interspersed with punkier sections, really just a chaotic mix that's good fun to hear. If that sounds like your kind of thing then go listen to Rrröööaaarrr right now.

7. Destruction - Eternal Devastation

The teutonic terros Destruction are well knownbythrash fans as are their German countrymen Sodom and Kreator. With albums like this though it's no wonder they're considered one of German Thrash's best bands. The riffs are fast and furious tinged with black metal, the vocals are just nasty, and the songwriting itself is great. If you've never heard of Destruction this is a great place to start, and if you have well listen to this again anyway.

6. Fates Warning - Awaken the Guardian

This prog/power masterpiece is truly epic. The songwriting is first class, the riffs are melodic, memorable, but far from dull, and the vocals while not always perfect fit well with the music to craft a stunning soundscape which simply must be heard.

5. Onslaught - The Force

I'm honestly no fan of the UK thrash scene and Onslaught themselves are fairly inconsistent but on this album they are in top form. The riffs are fun andpack a real energy. The other instruments are solid and this record never fails to put me in a good mood. This is the fun side of thrashand onestly it's great.

4. Flotsam and Jetsam - Doomsday for the Deceiver

This is a more melodic thrash record both in the vocals and riffs. That doesn't mean it hits anysofter, there's a real energy on display here and phenomenal songwritingpaired withtop notchriffs.Once again it's thrash that falls on the fun side of the genre andwell worth hearing.

 

3. Saint Vitus - Born Too Late

Yep it's my bias for all things doom metal that sees Born Too Late in the top three for which I make no apologies. Slow and crunchy riffs taking cues from Black Sabbath? Check. Pained vocals which perfectly fit with the gloomy aesthetic of the songs? Check. If you're a traditional doom fan no doubt you know who these guys are and if not well golisten to this album right nowand do yourself ahugefavour.

 

2. Kreator -Pleasure to Kill

Dark, furious, German thrash at its finest. Without a doubt Kreator's best album and imo the best teutonic thrash album period. The riffs are heavy and evil, the vocals nasty, every track is punishing and it is glorious.

 

1. Dark Angel - Darkness Descends

So what can top Pleasure to Kill? Only a masterpiece from Dark Angel. As with above the riffs are dark, evil, and played at the speed of light. You can feel the fury dripping off thisalbum when you play itand it is thrashperfection.

 

Well this was a hard list because I honestly think there were a lot of solidalbums this year but few real classics. On another day the order from tenth to third could look totally different.

 

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At the risk of this thread devolving into endless lists by yours truly I'll be stopping once I'm done with the eighties. Now on to the part no one asked for it's...

 

RelentlessOblivion's Top 10 Albums of 1987

10. Pentagram - Day of Reckoning

This doom metal classic is full of everything I love about traditional doom. Crunchy Black Sabbath inspired riffs, vocals perfectly suited to the music being crafted, Pentagram were on song with this recordandif you're a traditional doom fan youought to hear it.

9. Trouble - Run to the Light

Perhapsnot as heavyas Psalm 9 this record still doesn't lack for punch. On top of the heavytone though isa stronger melodic element whichsets Run to the Light apart. The typical Ozzy inspired vocals ofTrouble are on full display here and it works so well with their sound. Not my favourite of their albums but it'sstill pretty damned good.

8.Napalm Death - Scum

What can Isay about this record? It'sa grindcore staple, blink andyou'll miss half the record type stuff the genre is known for.The productionisgrimy,the vocalsnasty, the drumming furious and the riffsfull of energy. This isn't for everyone but boy will you know if Napalm Death are a band for you.

7. Melvins - Gluey Porch Treatments

I know, I know, weird fucking title right? Welldon't let that stop you from checking this recordout. I guess you'dcallMelvins a sort of Doom/proto-sludge band. The riffs here are pretty damned heavy and there'splentyofthat hateful atmosphere Sludgewouldcome to be known for.Thiscanbe abrasive at times but that's part of thecharm if youaskme.

6. Running Wild - Under Jolly Roger

Oh boy is this a fun listen. The title track alone is enough to put a smile on my face and is sure to do the same for anyone else who loves the fun side of metal. Memorable songs with some choruses you can sing along to, great riffs, andlyrics that will make you wish you could unleash your inner pirate. What's not to love

5. Sepultura - Schizophrenia

This is easily my favourite Sepultura album The riffs are fast and furious, there's a relentless pummeling feel to this album that just gets me. Schizophrenia will have you banging your head so hard you get whiplash so kudos to these Brazilian thrashers for putting out an album which their peers would surely have been envious of.

4. Sarcofago - I.N.R.I

Another entry from Brazil, this time first wave black metal. Everything about this record is nasty from the riffs, to the vocals, to the production and I love it There's a reason this record isconsidered a classic so go listen to it.

3. Bathory - Under the Sign of the Black Mark

When it comes to their blackmetal albums thisis Bathory at their best. Great riffs, evil atmosphere, menacing vocals, and great songwriting. No blackmetal fan should overlook this masterpiece.

2. Candlemass - Nightfall

This is, quite simply, Candlemass' best album. The vocals are performed brilliantly, the riffs are heavyandepic, the songs themselvesare often sprawlingbutneveroverstay their welcome. Whenit comes to traditional/epicdoom thisisperhaps the best example of thegenreandit'sashame the banddidn't quitemanage tosustainsuchquality.

1. HolyMoses - Finished with the Dogs

The top spotat lastand there was nocontestsofar as I'm concerned. This is an albumof vicious riffs, sick vocals, everythingyoucould ever want from a thrash album. Nothing else to say really just listen to it and do it right now.

 

What a year this was and it's my bias for doom that decided a few spots hereso honourablementions are inorder:First to Death's 'Scream BloodyGore'

 for beingone of the first true death metal records and boasting some truly depravedvocals from Chuckandsome pretty sickriffs, Destruction's 'Release From Agony' for being phenomenal German thrash which would make the list most any other year, Sodom's 'Persecution Mania' for being their best album andanother classic of German thrash, and Morbid's 'December Moon' for being possibly thebest blackmetal demo ever missing out only because I'm not including demos or EPs on my lists.

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  • 1 month later...

Well its list time again so here's

 

RelentlessOblivion's Top 10 Albums of 1988

10. Sanctuary - Refuge Denied

A fantastic debut with tons of energy. Memorable fast paced riffs, solid songwriting, and Warrel Dane's soaring vocals are a true highlight. If you like heavy/power metal this album should be right up your alley.

9. Holy Terror - Mind Wars

Energetic is the first word that springs to mind when I think of this album. The riffs come fast and furious with great songwriting and a solid vocal perfoetal should sound.

 

8. Armoros - Pieces

The eighties seems to be teeming with under-rated/overlooked thrash bands and this is one of them. Heavy riffs come thick and fast with no let up. If you're a thrash fan you need to check this out.

 

7. Razor - Violent Restitution

Intense, furious, you know what you'regetting from Razor. A sublime follow-up to the excellent Evil Invaders. Just listen to it.

 

6. Queensryche - Operation: Mindcrime

By far Queensryche's best album. This is a classic Prog metal album with stellar songwriting, incredible vocals, sure the thme of the album is silly but don't let that stop you from enjoying the masterpiece that is Operation Mindcrime.

 

5. Sabbat - History of a Time to Come

Most people familiar with Sabbat will point to Dreamweaver as their best work and while I agree with them this album is still excellent. Great riffs, impressive songwriting, its everything you'd expect of the band just a little less refined.

4. Crimson Glory - Transcendance

This is a true classic of Power/Prog Metal. Memorable melodies, top-notch musicianship, awesome vocals what more do you need? If that doesn't appeal to you then there's something wrong.

 

3. Hobbs Angel of Death - Hobbs Angel of Death

Hailing from the land down under Hoa put out a masterful debut. This is brutally heavy and in your face thrash metal. A shame these guys seem to fly under the radar because this album is truly awesome.

 

2. Sadus - Illusions

Speaking of punishing thrash here's Sadus. This album is brutal. If you like your thrash metal to be punishing this is the album for you so check it out already.

 

1. Coroner - Punishment for Decadence

No doubt the best record of the year. This is incredibly well performed thrash. Is technical, somewhat progressive, and vicious. Listen to it, that's an order!

 

Honourable mentions to: Iron Maiden's Seventh Son of a Seventh Son for being their best album since Beast, Death's Leprosy for being an early benchmark for quality Death Metal, Rigor Mortis for a stellar thrash debut, Realm for a masterful melodic thrash record.

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Ok, I am starting again on my lists going from the year I first got into metal.  Why?  Well, lockdown and time off work.
 
MacabreEternal's Top Ten Albums from 1989
 
 
 
Number Ten - Skid Row - self titled
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The list starts with two records that hold massive nostalgia for me personally and also two releases that still get rotation play some thirty years later.  Skid Row were every mother's nightmare and every school girl's dream.  Five long haired, full-bloodied young men singing about tits, broken hearts, prison sentences, romantic nostalgia and partying was absolute sustenance to a generation of youth unable to be satiated by the likes of more mature acts such as Aerosmith and the Scorpions and unimpressed by the softer proclivities of the Bon Jovi's of the time.
 
This was hard rock with a real metal edge that had no reliance on make up and hairspray like Poison or Motley Crue to sell the gimmick.  The debut album from Skid Row grabbed hold of you by the collar with both hands and shook the living shit out of you.  When you weren't drenched in it's rampant hooks or being left breathless by the sultry tones of Sebastian Bach you were virtually drowning in your levels of adrenaline, stimulated to the point of flat-lining on the sheer energy of the record.
 
Hit singles like Piece of Me, Youth Gone Wild, I Remember You and 18 & Life had the band a household name setting them up for their eventual number one position on the billboard chart with their sophomore release some two years later.  They never topped this release for me though and although I steadily drifted away from the band over subsequent releases, I still come back to this record to this day.
 
Number Nine - Motley Crue - Dr Feelgood
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One of the first albums I ever owned on vinyl (sadly long since gone) was the fifth release from glam rockers Motley Crue.  There was nowhere to hide here from the sleazy allure of the endless stream of hit singles like the title track, Kickstart My Heart, Without You, Same Ol' Situation and Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away) as the tracklisting as a whole just buried it's hooks in you and clung on for dear life.
 
You can feel it on a record when a band is in the zone.  When they are hitting all the markers with effortless precision (which considering all the shit in the veins of the members was no mean feat), when they are delivering without breaking a sweat, where they just serve the years of experience onto a smoking hot platter with sufficient garnish and sauce to make the taste linger in your mouth for years.  Vince, Mick, Tommy and Nikki did exactly all of the above, flying out of the traps from the opening of the record and making sure the dust wasn't going to settle too soon before they headed back.
 
Another record that for me has never been topped by the band and actually the only record of theirs that I still own to this day.  Nothing else before or after this release had the same level of impact, the same immediacy or equal presence.  A quick look back at the Honorable Mentions part at the start of this section should tell you that the competition this year was tough, but the Crue shone through brilliantly.
 
Number Eight - Macabre - Gloom
 
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Yep from hard rock to death thrashing grindcore and the disturbing and morbid fascination with murder of Illinois' Macabre.
 
All bets are off on this record as to just what the fuck you are going to get next on this twenty four and a half minute fest of spazzing, jerking and convulsing "murder metal" as it blasts its way through nineteen tracks of serial killer related lyrical gibberish.
 
Humour aside, there's almost a lazy intelligence to this record that borders on genius.  The shock value of taking some of history's most notorious serial killers and writing two minutes (max) songs about their exploits is niche I grant you.  But to be able to expand on that by utlising some of the most simplistic lyrics adds an almost layman like style to proceedings that you just can't fail to be enamored by. Case in point, on track two Trampled to Death (a song about the death of 11 fans at a Who concert in the 70s):
 
"You went to see the Who
And the people there trampled you
You were underneath their shoes
There was nothing you could do"
 
As laughable as it is, there's still very clear contrast between the baseness of the lyrics and the unpredictable nature of the music that serve as an excellent combination to give real dimension to proceedings.  You see, this isn't just a few immature kids writing music to upset their parents, whether planned or not there is a striking juxtapose in the songwriting here that adds weight to the appeal of the record beyond just its lyrical or musical content in singularity.
 
We got treated to more of the same in a slightly more structured way on the follow up to this release, Sinister Slaughter, which further cemented the band as a force to be reckoned with.  However, the importance of the debut to both death metal and more specifically grindcore at the time is of massive importance, over and above even the World Downfall or Horrified's from the same year.
 
Number Seven - Faith No More - The Real Thing
 
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Occupying a more eclectic spot on the list for this year is the third album from alternative/avant-garde rock/metal's most revered exponents, Faith No More.
 
I will be honest, this was a late addition to the list after I revisited it when the list was almost complete.  The memory nodes that this review listen triggered in my brain went into overdrive more or less immediately and I soon found myself predicting the next riff or lyric like I had never been away from this record.
 
What occured to me when looking at this album was that at the time of its release it didn't really make any significant waves in my world.  I was fucking pissed off at the time with the song Epic as the music video was on virtually everytime I switched the TV on and although I enjoyed the album it was not an instant standout until some years later and this feeling was confirmed upon revisit. Bear in mind that this came out before grunge ever became a thing or nu-metal sometime later and for its time this record made that connection between having enough metal to be considered acceptable but also creating that bridge over into more mainstream tastes also.
 
Its brand of sometimes funk, sometimes rock, sometimes ballad and sometimes lounge music was something you would expect historically from a Frank Zappa record.  It oozed cross-disciplinary music style and still had a catchiness most pop artists would kill for.  The balance within the individual instruments was really well set too.  You could hear Big Jim's riffs alongside Bottum's keys and hear Patton's nasal and sneering vocals just as well as Boden's drums and Gould's funky bass.
 
This was the first album to feature Mike on vocals and he took just two weeks to write all the lyrics for the already fully written album.  Not bad for an album that went on to be certified platinum in the US and gold in the UK. 
 
Number Six - Autopsy - Severed Survival
 
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Two years after Reifert was one half of the duo that created the whole death metal genre with Scream Bloody Gore, he partook in the release of a real lumbering beast of a record that sacrificed any form of burnished delivery, opting instead to go for a clumsy and lurching approach to death metal.
 
If Scream Bloody Gore was the college football symbol figure of death metal then Severed Survival was it's estranged, butt-fuck ugly brother with a murderous intent coupled with a truly sick imagination.  The guy who ate roadkill without even cooking it.
 
With its first press artwork banned, the debut release was off to a real flyer in terms of cult status on the underground, and with song titles like Disembowel, Ridden with Disease and Embalmed the album was full of horrific promise to appeal to the average death metal consumer of the time.
Severed Survival was sticky in a seedy and grimy way in the sense that it stuck in your brain because the riffs were almost slapped out onto the vinyl and they left the same mess on your memory banks once you span the record.  The looming threat of the instrumentation, coupled with the demented ramblings of Reifert made for a truly ghastly experience.  Unapologetic in its delivery and unwaivering in its momentum the album sounded like your mate's death metal band that practised in someone's garage but didn't care to refine anything and just took it into the studio raw and then sacked the producer for any attempt to clean any of the recorded output up.
 
Take a look at what else was out there at this time in the world of death metal and you will quickly see that there was a uniqueness to Autopsy that was absent virtually everywhere else in the scene.  The debut isn't their best release but it is still massively important.
 
Number Five - Sodom - Agent Orange
 
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Sodom's progression from their dark and dank first couple of releases to a more refined and accessible sound on Persecution Mania was a taste of what to expect come on their third full-length.
 
By now their blackened roots were all but a memory and the focus had shifted to retaining the aggression but deploying sufficient levels of melody to really open them up to the wider market.  Songs like Remember The Fallen pushed the more melodic riffing throughout the whole song whilst the more frenzied pace was exemplified on the title track.  There was even more of the punk vibe continued from Bombenhagel on the previous album with the single Ausgebombt (which also included the cover of Tank's Don't Walk Away which made into onto the two disc, 2010 digpak release of Agent Orange).
 
Whilst less technical than fellow Germans Kreator, the more immediate nature of the Sodom sound simply made the album more entertaining than Extreme Aggression which had tried that more full-frontal assault approach to less effect the same year.  Arguably it was too simplistic for some and has seen many reviews stating that Agent Orange is overrated in the grander scheme of things.
 
I find that true to some extent as there is nothing groundbreaking on this album yet when you measure its significance in the overall discography of the band it is a vital release, one that shows maturity as a band without needing to reinvent the wheel.  Sodom had mastered their art form to some degree here and had retained enough of their character to not sound like a sell out.
 
My exploration of the back-catalogue to date has not gleaned anything in there to top this release (I haven't heard every Sodom release but there aren't many left)and it still gets rotation play to this day, preserving a deserved mid-list spot well.
 
Number Four - Pestilence - Consuming Impulse
 
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The rabid death/thrash sound of the debut album from Pestilence Malleus Maleficarum was replaced by a more straight forward death metal sound.  Still a massively riffy affair, Consuming Impulse was the sound of extreme music delivered skillfully.
 
Patrick Mameli's dexterity on guitar knows no bounds on the band's sophomore release.  He took simple riffing and elevated into a frenzied intensity that still had enough in the way of catchiness to make them memorable and repeatable, either in your head or on your own six string. On the same record there were still more complex passages that showed his range yet still they gave space to Van Drunen who set about his trademark unhinged, deranged and crazed vocal style to great effect on what was to be his final release with the band (very much a big loss as it turned out to be).
 
This was all from a band several thousand of miles away from the developing US death metal scene, yet the Dutch band from Enschede, Overijssel dropped an album of such magnitude and presence that it could trade blows with the Morbid Angel's and Obituary's of the time and only narrowly lose out on points.
 
In a rapidly developing scene the release of Consuming Impulse showed just how the spread of death metal could infect the European market as it went on to infect the world.  This album acted like a super-spreader, taking all the good elements of the debut and marrying them up with an enhanced arsenal of riffs and howls.  The rabid thrashing of the debut became the threat of greater devastation from a slightly more measured delivery.
 
Number Three - Sepultura - Beneath The Remains
 
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I am a big fan of what I term to be "golden runs" of albums.  A series of albums by the same band that show continued development and progress on each release, often taking what starts as a very raw and primitive sound that can rely on little more than attitude to carry it through a debut release and then watch that grow into a more refined yet by no means less threatening prospect.
 
An example of such a band is Sepultura.  Their releases from 1985 through 1991 are a consistent and incremental improvement with each release.  From the crudity and vulgarity of Bestial Devastation to the rabid and and yet systematic assault of Arise, the band's sound, stature and reputation grew steadily.  By the time 1989 rolled around they had a record deal, a fledgling Scott Burns sat in the producer's chair and a hastily written album to deliver.
 
They missed their first recording deadline for this record.  They simply did not have enough material written by the time Roadrunner had signed off on the deal.  Despite years of waiting for the big contract to become a reality, Sepultura weren't actually ready when the time came.
 
This could so easily have been a disaster.  Running late on the timeline, with a producer who had never done the job solo before (let alone outside of Morrisound Studios back home in Florida) all with a language barrier to overcome to boot.  The fact that anything got recorded at all is a real feat in itself.
 
Beneath The Remains sent Sepultura into the upper stratosphere of not just thrash metal but metal in general.  Hailed as a rival to Reign In Blood at the time (it isn't to my ears btw) the raw brutality of the riffing style of the band came alive in the hands of a good producer in a decent studio.  The fury and range of the vocal and rhythmic abilities of the Cavalera brothers were captured superbly and the excellence of their songwriting shone for the first time.
 
The essence of many albums on this list is that they not only represent landmark releases for the year for me but also landmark releases for the bands also.  Sepultura had one more trick up their sleeve when they released Arise some two years later, an album which was the very pinnacle of their powers.  But Beneath The Remains wiped the floor with all other thrash releases in 1989 and was a release from a band truly hitting their stride.
Number Two - Morbid Angel - Altars of Madness
 
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"One man's insanity is another man's genius and from these altars of madness the heretic rejoices in things unseen"
 
According to Trey Azagthoth there was no more fitting a title for their debut album than Altars of Madness.  Anyone who has heard it would be hard pushed to disagree.  The classic line-up of the aforementioned Azagthoth, fellow guitarist Richard Brunelle (R.I.P 2019), drummer Pete Sandoval and bassist/vocalist David Vincent conjured a mind-bending and horrific opus back in 1989 that to this day retains every last drop of the nefarious intent behind its commital to tape.
 
Altars of Madness is a timeless release.  It will still be as relevant in 60 years time as it is at just over 30 years.  The true essence of death metal sits within the very grooves of the vinyl that sits on my shelf today.  It is extreme, it is full of menace and shock and yet is skillfully balanced as a full-length.  The intensity it generates never rages out of control, even in the more horrorific moments, due in no small part to the proficiency of guitarists to cast sonic spells in the midst of tempestuous and violent tides of riffs that temper and add depth at the same time.
 
The riffs on opener Immortal Rites mine the very depths of the earth via the speakers from which their hellish sound emits.  The sonics score and scorch the air around them as they fire as brief licks that stoke the flames.
 
By his own admission, Trey's non-conformity with certain keys or scales made this the music of pure chaos in the face of known foundational order.  The album was his opportunity to challenge the norms he so despised and to commit this distaste to record regardless of the confusion that it spread as a result.
 
The performance of Pete Sandoval is a masterclass in blastbeats, a show stopping performance in hyperspeed rhythms and calculated auditory punishment.  David Vincent meanwhile sits astride of the engine, reving it with his ghastly vocals, dropping in guttural frequency that could reverberate from the bowels of hades themselves.
 
Morbid Angel's debut is a complete experience.  It is replete with the finest death metal you could hope to hear and is firmly sat in the top ten death metal albums of all time.  It is only beaten to the top spot on this list due to sheer nostalgia for the album that occupies the top slot.  For two albums though, Morbid Angel were untouchable.  Unique in their sound with that cavernous edge to the riffs that seemed to defy the laws of distance and space and utterly devoted to their task of delivering piercing and racking death metal.
 
Number One - Obituary - Slowly We Rot
 
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There's a story here so bearwith.  I had never heard any death metal when I bought this album.  I had read about it in magazines and fallen madly in love with the idea of what sounded evil just by it's description of "death metal".  I bought Slowly We Rot completely blind/deaf for two reasons therefore.  Firstly, because I wanted to be an edgy little fucker who owned some of that death metal stuff that would scare people and secondly because of that FUCKING ALBUM ARTWORK!
 
There is nothing to not like about that album cover when you are thirteen and trying to be the Prince of Darkness in a village in the North West of England in the late eighties armed with a bus pass and a Music Zone carrier bag that you are not going to use because you want everyone to see what a menacing fucker you are with your blood-soaked record under your arm and a million zits on your face!  Seriously though, that logo!  The font for the title! The seedy and grimy imagery of a youth decaying in a gutter spoke volumes to me.
 
Back then my father worked night shifts and so playing the record at home in the middle of the day wasn't an option.  Luckily for me, my grandparents lived down the street and my grandfather had a cool as fuck hi-fi/sound system in their lounge.  The speakers in there were used to having Don Williams and Foster & Allan soothing the air around them so they were in for a real treat.
 
I remember my grandfather being in the room when I put the record on.  His face a mask of utter confusion as he attempted to stop the record because he thought that either it or his much loved and well maintained hi-fi was faulty.  For a brief moment I wasn't sure either, I mean I hadn't heard this music before so was hardly the expert.  I convinced him that it was supposed to sound like that and that the garden probably needed more attention from him than Obituary's debut release did.
 
With the room to myself I spent the next few hours playing the record over and over again, getting lost in it's dark and looming atmospheres, recoiling with mouth-agape at the abrasive riffs of Allen West and Trevor Peres, cowering in the corner of the room at John Tardy's spewing vocals that covered me head to toe in their marauding horror, vaguely aware that some drums and probably a bass were in there too.  This was what death metal sounded like and I fucking loved it.
 
Here in 2020, forty-four year old me listens to Slowly We Rot with a slightly more critical ear.  I mean, now I have heard Cause of Death and so I know the debut isn't the best album the band ever made.  I have also now heard probably every other death metal band out there (well probably not every death metal band) and have hundreds of releases littered around the place in various formats so I know more about the genre than thirteen year old me ever could have hoped to.  But I know that I bought one of the greatest ever death metal albums from 1989, one that for me at least will have a timelessness associated with it for the introduction it gave me to the genre, without which most of the aforementioned hundreds of releases that I now own might not be here.  Slowly We Rot is my gateway album into death metal and for the rest of my time on this shithole planet it will have my eternal gratitude.
 
Did I mention that FUCKING ALBUM ARTWORK???
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