10 favorite records from each metal genre (one per band).

karljant

Ancient Mariner
Self explanatory. Going to start this one with genres I am not too much attached. Let's kick it with Power Metal:

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Helloween - Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part 1 (1987): First and foremost obviously Helloween since a) they're arguably the creators of the entire thing b) are by far the genre's band I like the most. Sure I only like their first 4 albums (plus the EP's) and one of those has little Power Metal (Pink Bubbles Go Ape). It was a battle between Keeper Part 1 and Walls of Jericho and it really saddens me leaving their debut out but I think I like the sophomore a tad bit more: tons of energy, melody and yet preserving some of the early punch with a quartet of amazing musicians (RIP Ingo) fronted by a out of this world singer preforming all time classics like I'm Alive, Future World, Halloween or A Little Time.


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Running Wild - Under Jolly Roger (1987): Still in Germany (and we'll be staying here for a while) and man was early Power Metal well crafted in these lands (in this case seas). Early Running Wild was really cool, rough and energetic stuff. It was the first time the band went on creating epic yet furious tales of piracy (something that would remain for the next albums) and these dudes mean business. The title track is simply a metal hymn but there's also room for other great tunes like Merciless Game or the slow paced Land Of Ice. It was also tough to leave Death Or Glory out but I had to give it to the band's third album.


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Scanner - Hypertrace (1988): While not on the echelon of their Teutonic brothers Scanner still delivered one hell of a punch with its mix of Power and Speed Metal. Not that it's a masterpiece or anything close but the band's debut has some exciting stuff indeed. Cuts like Warp 7, RMU, Wizard Force and Terrion sure grant a great listening to every early Power/ Speed metal fan out there. If you like Helloween's records with Kai Hansen singing or early Running Wild then this is certainly for you!


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Crimson Glory - Transcendence (1988): Now we're out to the United States and man... do I love this record! It even has some shards of Prog spread throughout the title track, In Dark Places and Burning Bridges. But if you're into Power Metal pomp and speed just listen to blasters like Red Sharks, Eternal World, Masks Of The Red Death or the epic Where Dragon Rule. Crazy good musicians with a out of this world vocalist (RIP Midnight). Hugely underrated and a mandatory record.


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Blind Guardian - Follow The Blind (1989): Yes I know most people prefer their later more melodic stuff but IMO Follow The Blind is as great as Power Metal can get. Here the guys managed to find the perfect equilibrium between their almost speed metal like sound and the following records. Hansi's voice takes a huge leap in quality. absolutely unique style and ever since remained one of my favorite singers in the whole genre. Banished From Sanctuary is a strong contender for my favorite Power Metal song ever and then we have the title track, Damned For All Time, Fast To Madness and (of course) Valhalla. Stellar.


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Gamma Ray - Sigh No More (1991): After his departure from Helloween Kai Hansen took the bull by the horns and alongside ultra gifted singer Ralph Scheepers released an already impressive debut for his new project. But I think Sigh No More is more mature and after some spins becomes even more catchy than its predecessor. Rich And Famous sticks to your head from the get go but songs like the slower Changes (with its refrain's homage to Priest) are slow growers, the mood changes of Dreamhealer are truly well penned while Start Running and As Time Goes By are sure shots for every fan of the genre.


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Manowar - The Triumph Of Steel (1992): Now I really dislike the majority of Manowar's stuff and their cheesiness. Yeah, they always managed to pull some good songs here and there during the 80's but nothing solid enough in a single album IMO. Well, this bad boy here is something completely different. Not that it's devoid of cheese but overall I consider it to be a really great record. It starts with an almost half an hour long (!) track based on Homer's Illiad by the name of Achilles: Agony And Ecstasy In Eight Parts. And if it's true that some of the album's best moments are present in this tune (the opening and Hector Storms The Wall are stunning) it's also true it contains some truly bad stuff in form of the soloing parts (Armor Of The Gods and both parts of The Desecration Of Hector's Body). Other than that Metal Warriors is also a filler but credit where credit's due: everything else is top notch. Stuff like Ride The Dragon, Spirit Horse Of The Cherokee, Burning and especially The Power Of My Sword are crazy good.


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Angra - Holy Land (1996): Despite containing some songs I'm not at all into (to be more precise the "ballad like" stuff) this damn thing has much more going around here and I think it's a near unique record. It's like if someone took some DNA out of Brazilian indigenous music, Batucada and added it to a cross between Helloween and Dream Theater. If you want to experience it just check the Carolina IV, Holy land and The Shaman sequence. On the other hand ZITO is a more straight forward Symphonic Power Metal tune (and a cool one) but the high point on this conceptual album about the growing of Brazil after the Portuguese colonization is (IMO by far) Nothing To Say. Wow! What a masterpiece of a track and what way to begin an album with! Extremely well played and diverse record (RIP André Matos).


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Virgin Steele - The House of Atreus Act I (1999): Lets address the elephant on the room... these guys sure picked some ideas from a certain record I've already mentioned here, especially the concept (ancient Greek literature, this time the Oresteia) but to a certain point one can argument that Virgin Steele achieved an overall more cohesive body of work. Kingdom Of The Fearless is utterly perfect and tunes like Through The Ring Of Fire, Great Sword Of Flame, Return Of The King and The Fire God are also really impressive. Overall a extremely well put together conceptual album that doesn't bores you despite its many interludes and lacks a single bad tune.


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Attick Demons - Let's Raise Hell (2016): Speaking of Portuguese here are Attick Demons. Now do these guys make anything new... no, not really. Have I put 'em on this list because I'm a long time friend of Artur, Luís and Nuno? Yes, in part... I must confess. But fact is this record is much more sharp and aggressive than Attick Demons' previous work, while still mingling stuff like Maiden, Manowar and Helloween with a hard to find old school aftertaste combined with the great talent of its performers. So it truly raises hell and also some eyebrows. Either be it by throwing speedsters like Circle Of Light, Adamastor and Ghost or slower and heavier tunes like Dark Angel or Endless Game, fact is Nuno, Artur "Bizas", Luís "Slash" and the rest of the crew deserve huge props for this one.

So here are my ten bands/ records when it comes to a particular genre (in this case Power Metal). Pick your genre and let me know your list.
 
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Sth2112

Educated Fool
My favorite genre! I have just picked one from each band, even if some of them have other great albums as well

Angra - Holy land
Avantasia - Metal opera I
Battle beast - Battle beast
Edguy - Theater of salvation
Gamma ray - Powerplant
Helloween - Keeper of the seven keys II
Nightwish - Century child
Rhapsody - Power of the dragonflame
Sonata arctica - Ecliptica
Stratovarius - Visions
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Power metal:

Helloween - Walls of Jericho (1985)
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Running Wild - Death or Glory (1989)
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Gamma ray - Sigh No More (1991)
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Edguy - Kingdom of Madness (1997)
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Grave Digger - Knights of the Cross (1998)
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Iron Savior - Unification (1999)
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Nightwish - Wishmaster (2000)
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Brainstorm - Ambiguity (2000)
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Jacob's Dream - Jacob's Dream (2000)
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Tierra Santa - Sangre de Reyes (2001)
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God bless power metal, God bless German bands. Especially a big part of the soundtrack of my life in the nineties and early current century, but I still like to spin records from these bands these days. Especially Running Wild.
 
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Perun

Περούν Παντοκράτωρ
Staff member
I disagree with you that Manowar, Virgin Steele and Crimson Glory are power metal, I think they have significant stylistic differences from the other bands you included.

Having said that, I'm quite interested in this thread and hope it will pick up. I'll start out with my own power metal picks, but are we free to choose our own genres later on?

This is not a ranking, I'm tossing them in no particular order; also, I'm not claiming these are "my top ten", just the ten that come to mind without thinking about it too hard; also, I'm not too much of a power metal fan, so don't go analysing this, they're just ten albums I like. I would be far more passionate about other genres.

Also, power metal is probably the most overused genre label in metal, and people tend to lump all kinds of classic, doom, epic, folk and other kinds of bands into the "power" label. I know a lot of people who call anything with clean vocals "power metal". So any kind of list of albums or bands is going to be subjective in their categorisation. To me, bands like Iced Earth, Warlord or Cirith Ungol aren't power metal, to others they are. So take this with a grain of salt.


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Blind Guardian - Imaginations from the Other Side (1995)
Probably the best purebred power metal album there is. It's grandiose without being overboarding and detailed without being nerdy, things Blind Guardian very quickly forgot how to be. There is just the right mix of bombast, melody, catchiness and complexity in this.

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Dark at Dawn - Dark at Dawn (2006)
I can't really tell why this band always flew under the radar, but the best explanation I can give is that they were just the one German power metal band too many. It's a shame really, because they have an excellent sense of melody and a rough edge that makes you (or me) think "this should sound crappy, but it doesn't". There is a very heavy quality to it that is in your face and down to earth.

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Grave Digger - Knights of the Cross (1998)
I'm including this although I used to think of Grave Digger more as a classic heavy metal band than a power metal one. But this is really borderline for me, so whatever. Objectively speaking, it's maybe a bit odd for me to include it, because this album has quite a bit of filler and some very poor creative choices. And yes, Chris Boltendahl sounds like a German cookie monster on meth. However, if there is only one reason why I return to it all the time, it's these gorgeous melodies and choruses. How could I not want to sing along to The Curse of Jacques, Baphomet, Lionheart or Heroes of this Time? Grave Digger really puzzle me. They're like chimps: Usually they just throw shit around but sometimes they wow you with what they are capable of.

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Rebellion - Miklagard - The History of the Vikings Volume II (2007)
This band basically is Grave Digger with a good singer and greater songwriting consistency. This is far from the only concept album about Vikings sailing down the Dnepr and becoming Varangians in Constantinople (yes, I mean it: far from the only one), but there is a lot assembled in this album to make it great. Tasteful bombast, great melodic choruses, lots of headbanging material. Like every concept album in power metal there's a lot of filler here too, but that's not really bothersome all in all.

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Running Wild - Death or Glory (1989)
I refuse to say anything about why I like this. If you listen to it and don't get it, you don't deserve to have ears.

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Rage - XIII (1998)
What is there to say about Rage? One of the most uniquely sounding bands out there, and this is the album that - uh - I don't want to say "got me into them" because I don't think I'm really "into them", but it's the one that got me saying this is an excellent band. Well, that's a stupid blurb. Just listen to the record.

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Tierra Santa - Tierras de Leyenda (2000)
I remember getting this on a whim some twenty years ago because somebody told me they sound like Maiden. I can't really say I agree, but I listened the shit out of this album back then. It reminds me of a very different time in my life now, and I can't help but chuckle thinking how seriously I took this overblown cheesiness back then. Still a fun record, though.

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Primitai - Overdrive (2018)
I'm not saying this is an immortal classic or should be on any canonic power metal lists, but I discovered it by accident a couple of years ago, was pleasantly surprised and I have been listening and enjoying it repeatedly ever since. Maybe it's not the Koh-i Noor, but it's a gem nevertheless, in my book.

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Pyramaze - Immortal (2008)
The album that brought back Barlow. And worthy of it, too. Again, I listened the crap out of this when it came out, and I think it aged quite well, too. There is a certain presence of a singer like Matt Barlow, it's like watching a film that would probably be unremarkable but is turned into a classic by the fact that it has Charlton Heston in it. Is Barlow the Charlton Heston of metal? Maybe? Perun, what the fuck are you even talking about...

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Helloween - Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II (1988)
Everyone who knows me knows that I have a very difficult relationship with the whole Helloray/Gammaween universe, that I really kind of absolutely hate Michael Kiske both as a singer and a person, and that despite growing a bit milder on them with age, I will never think of them as a favourite band of mine. With that said, I have never denied them their canonic position in power metal, and I will also never pretend that I don't like the title track of this album. So yeah, by merit of that alone I guess this album needs to go on my list, and I can enjoy some of the other songs on it.
 

DJMayes

Ancient Mariner
I'll give it a go, but I find it hard to tell which bands go where at times. Is Nightwish power metal? I'd certainly include Endless Forms Most Beautiful if that's the case, but I always thought of them as a different genre (symphonic). I have similar doubts about Amaranthe and Avantasia, but I'm going to include them as I don't think either have a particularly obvious alternative.

Amaranthe - The Nexus
Avantasia - Moonglow
Battle Beast - No More Hollywood Endings
Bloodbound - Nosferatu
Dragonforce - Sonic Firestorm
Firewind - The Premonition
Iron Savior - Battering Ram
Sonata Arctica - Ecliptica
Stratovarius - Nemesis
Unleash The Archers - Abyss
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
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Tierra Santa - Tierras de Leyenda (2000)
I remember getting this on a whim some twenty years ago because somebody told me they sound like Maiden. I can't really say I agree, but I listened the shit out of this album back then. It reminds me of a very different time in my life now, and I can't help but chuckle thinking how seriously I took this overblown cheesiness back then. Still a fun record, though.
Ai, I did not think about Tierra Santa. Sangre de Reyes is probably my fav record of theirs.
Perhaps I'll replace one of my 10 with this one.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
@karljant which other genres will you do? E.g. also "heavy metal" or "symphonic metal"?
Perhaps I'll remove one or two power metals album and use them in (an)other genre(s).
 
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karljant

Ancient Mariner
Next genre is on the opposite pole of the metal spectrum. Another one I'm not that much into either but also gave us some crazy good records: Black Metal. Here are my picks:

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Bathory - Blood Fire Death (1988): Let's face it... Bathory (namely Quorthon - RIP) invented almost the entirety of the whole genre. And while The Return Of Darkness And Evil is IMO the first 100% Black Metal album Blood Fire Death takes this one because a) it's an improvement when it comes composition and variety and b) it paved the way to Viking Metal (later solidified with Hammerheart a close #2 on my list). The relentless attack of tracks such as The Golden Walls Of Heaven, Pace Till Death alongside the epic masterpieces that are the title track and perhaps the best thing ever done in the entire genre in the glorious combo of Odin's Ride Over Nordland/ A Fine Day To Day makes out of this album a true legend.


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Ulver - Bergtatt (1995): Ulver are a unique band. And fact is they were from the beginning. Now while I truly love Bergtatt I'm more into their experimental stuff like War Of The Roses, Blood Inside or the folk like Kveldssanger. But none of those records are related to this genre so I'll go with my favorite Black Metal album of their catalogue and that alone shows how great Ulver is: not only their 4th or 5th placed on my rank is more than enough to stand shoulder to shoulder to the best Black Metal records but also this was a debut album made by then really young dudes. Bergtatt is a testimony on Norwegian culture both by its concept and by its sonority strongly rooted in Norse Folklore. This record is indeed a voyage wrapping us in a dreamlike mystic ambiance. But beware this trip also has its tribulations here and there and when the boys hit the gas it sounds absolutely thundering. Dramatic and really rich this is a truly eclectic body of work. And I must give special props Rygg's beautiful vocal work.


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Emperor - Prometheus: The Discipline Of Fire & Demise (2001): Many people pick Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk or In The Nightside Eclipse as their favorites when it comes to Emperor. Fact is while acknowledging the band's composition skills it never rang with me until IX Equilibrium came out with a handful of tracks that raised my eyebrow. But it wasn't until I listened to this Prog Black Metal masterpiece called The Tongue Of Fire that I was completely sold. And the remainder of the album comes with other brilliant stuff such as Empty, The Prophet, In The Wordless Chamber, Grey and Thorns On My Grave. Besides the brilliant composition and performance, the outside the box soundscapes (while still being really heavy and fast) and top tier orchestrations, there's the unique and ingenious touch of Ihsahn. If you like Opeth's Morningrise or Still Life give this one a try. Monster of a record.


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Melechesh - Emissaries (2006): Do you like fast riffage Black Metal with several variations bathed in addictive middle eastern melodies? Look no further since these Israeli are masters when it comes to that department. Add to this a lore based in ancient Sumeria and you'll get a truly unique ambiance. Actually I like every single album from Ashmedi and company but monster tracks such as Return Of The Nemesis, Ladders To Sumeria, Gyroscope, Leper Jerusalem or Emissaries And The MYsterium Magnum make out of Emissaries a record as astonishing as unique and a must have in my opinion.


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Primordial - To The Nameless Dead (2007): Ah Primordial! What to say about the rare case of a band that haven't made a single album I didn't like? Since Imrama these Irish dudes showed they were special with their mix of pagan folk tunes and Black Metal riffs. And if it's true that in the beginning those genres were easy to pin point within each song quickly they mixed it all up, creating a unique sound. And although Spirit The Earth Aflame, the Gathering Wilderness, Redemption At The Puritans Hands or Exile Amongst The Ruins are all strong candidates in my opinion To The Nameless Dead is the apex of Primordial. Either by tunes drenched in dramatic flavor like Gallows Hymn and As Rome Burns, the almost 100% Folk sounding Heathen Tribes, the more traditional sounding Traitors Gate or huge epic hymns like No Nation On This Earth or the absolute perfection that is Empire Falls, everything here is flawless poetry guided by Mr. Nemtheanga's eloquent vocals.


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Samael - Above (2009): Now as a long time Samael fan no matter what genre they play it would be logic to pick Ceremony Of Opposites (and it hurts me to have to chose one from these two records). But Above? wow! Just woooow! It was meant to be a side project (more into BM and heavier than the spree of Industrial Dark Metal these guys were in since Passage) but Vorph, Xy and the boys decided it had all the ingredients of a Samael album. And I have to thank them for that decision since IMO was the right one. Indeed Above is everything the band is about but loaded in steroids and excess (like if they were on the same stuff Devin was while creating SYL) . Ultra fast and aggressive while preserving the band's orchestral and classical melodies songs like Black Hole, Virtual Wars, Under One Flag or Illumination are simply jaw dropping. Amazing and brutally underrated.


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Enslaved - Axioma Ethica Odini (2010): Back to Black Metal filled with Prog Rock and what can I say about this one? Of course some people will say Enslaved's prime was Eld or Vikingligr Veldi but tough luck... this is my list so screw it. Up till this jewel the band already made some truly stellar Prog/ Experimental albums like Ruun and Isa. However the variety of ambiances Axioma offers us in songs like Raidho, Giants, Night Sight, Lightening or the breath taking Ethica Odini really puts this album on a higher echelon on my book. Extremely well played and imaginative once again if you like Prog Metal and don't mind bursts of fury poured all around listen to this damn thing. it's unbelievably great!


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Névoa - Re-Un (2016): Heading now to Portugal and to a more outside the box approach with Porto's Névoa and their Avant Garde Black Metal. These (by then) two young dudes somehow composed one of the most imaginative records in the entire genre. Either be it by atmospheric and more quiet passages or by cranking up the volume, Re-Un uncomfortable landscapes make you sit upon the edge of your chair during its entirety. Sometimes it gets a bit into Sludge territory like on Communion while others like Contemplation (while also featuring some Sludge) and Conflict are built upon chaotic and dissonant weird time signatures, growing into a schizo-psychedelic effect. Closure and its slow stomping funeral march closes a record much people should be listening to.


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Negura Bunget - Zi (2016): Staying within Avant Garde Black Metal domains we take a trip to Romania and their Gypsy folk approach of the sub genre. Zi is one of the less Black metal like albums by the band with the folk and ambiental elements being prominent in enchanting tunes like Marea Cea Marea, Tul-Ni-Ca-Rind or Stanciu Gruiul. But every now and then the band's heavier roots show like on Baciu Mosneag, the grandiose and gorgeous blast beat part of Gradina Stelelor or the heavy and fast as hell yet utterly beautiful Brazda Da Foc. overall another unique band and a absolutely fantastic album (RIP Negru).


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Zeal & Ardor - Stranger Fruit (2018): Finally I can't help but feel I'll offend some of the "Trve Cvlt" elitists with this one but I don't give a damn. Fact is I love this album and it's among my favorite ones from the previous decade. And the craziest part is that this project came out of an online bad taste post when Manuel Gagneux asked on 4chan what distinct genres of music should he mix and some douche answered "Black Metal mixed with n****er music". Well that alone is not nice per se and the fact that Manuel isn't white makes the whole thing even uglier. But instead of resenting the low blow he made the unthinkable and had the sweetest revenge: took the idea and made a success out of it. Mixing black metal with slave chants, some gospel and some blues the debut album was already promising but the sophomore is where things really escalated. Tunes such as Row Row, Servants, Don't You Dare, Ships On Fire and We Can't Be Found show the genius this Swiss dude is while making the impossible: creating a perfect harmony between such distinct types of music while building immediate addictive songs filled with hooks and intensity. If you don't know this album please make yourself a favour and listen to it. You won't regret.
 
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Sth2112

Educated Fool
For black metal. Another genre with many classic, great albums.

Bathory - Under the sign of the black mark
Darkthrone - Under a funeral moon
Immortal - Battles in the north
Burzum - Hvis lyset tar oss
Emperor - In the nightside eclipse
Mayhem - Chimera
Satyricon - Dark medieval times
Arcturus - Aspera hiems symfonia
Dissection - The somberlain
Marduk - Panzer division marduk
 

The_7th_one

Ancient Mariner
I have to say that I stopped to listen 'power metal' in the mid 90's with all the new wave of bands like Stratovarius, that kind of bands with songs with full of layers of guitars, keyboards, operatic vocals, harmonies…too much exaggerated and the genre came to be very ridiculous to me even funny.

To me 'Power Metal' born in Germany and it's a mixture of traditional Heavy Metal and Speed Metal with main influences like Maiden, Priest, Accept or Scorpions and many classical music on it and fantasy lyrics as subject of the songs.

@karljant and @Perun said the main bands of the genre. I would include Accept like the forerunners.

Helloween - Keeper of the Seven Keys part I. Keeper of the Seven Keys part I & II are essentials. I would define Walls of Jericho as Speed Metal.
Scanner - Hypertrace
Gamma Ray - Sigh No More. Sigh No More and Heading for Tomorrow. Those two first albums are awesome
Running Wild - Death or Glory. Port Royal and Death or Glory are my favorite albums of this band
Blind Guardian - Lost in the Twilight World. The first 4 albums are awesome. Since then they turned very operatic, with keys, orchestrations, layers and layers of instruments. They turned into cliche with The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit themes.

I can't say any band more.
 

DJMayes

Ancient Mariner
I have to say that I stopped to listen 'power metal' in the mid 90's with all the new wave of bands like Stratovarius, that kind of bands with songs with full of layers of guitars, keyboards, operatic vocals, harmonies…too much exaggerated and the genre came to be very ridiculous to me even funny.
This can certainly be the case, but is it a bad thing? For me, the purpose of music is to entertain and a fun silly song does exactly that.

On that note, whilst I'm sure a lot of black metal is impressive on a technical level I've never found myself enjoying it and have nothing to contribute. I'm willing to take suggestions from the thread but I find even thrash abrasive much of the time.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Black metal:

Nectomantia - Crossing the Fiery Path (1993)
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Ancient - Svartalvheim (1994)
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Absu - The Sun of Tiphareth (1995)
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Summoning - Minas Morgul (1995)
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Dimmu Borgir - Stormblåst (1996)
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Sear Bliss - Phantoms (1996)
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Deviser - Unspeakable Cults (1996)
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Satyricon - Nemesis Divina (1996)
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Mithotyn - In the Sign of the Ravens (1997)
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Enthral - The Mirror's Opposite End (1998)
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Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
Is Nightwish power metal? I'd certainly include Endless Forms Most Beautiful if that's the case, but I always thought of them as a different genre (symphonic).
Symphonic metal can branch into other genres or be them simultaneously (Symphony X’s V, for instance, is prog / power / symphonic metal). I’d consider Oceanborn and Wishmaster to be power metal albums but beyond them probably not the rest.
 

karljant

Ancient Mariner
Now here's a genre I like a ton of bands and albums... none other than Thrash Metal:

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Slayer - Reign In Blood (1986): Now I often say while both Show No Mercy and Kill 'Em All already had sparkles of Thrash on it they are essentially Speed Metal records IMO. So I consider 1984 the year zero for Thrash Metal with records such as Voivod's War And Pain, Metallica's Ride The Lightning, Destruction's Sentence Of Death and Slayer's famous EP Haunting The Chapel. Well by then these dudes had evolved into a way darker and heavier version than their debut well portrayed on the 3 new songs (Chemical warfare, Captor Of Sin and the title track). Next full length released roughly one year later (Hell Awaits) was even darker, heavier and faster so one could see a trend here. But I believe no one was prepared for what Slayer created after. In 1988 when I first listened to this beast I was utterly blown away. The absurd heaviness, aggression, fast pace was far above anything I've ever listened by then. The guitars are like a out of control buzz saw slashing through a crowd while still delivering superb harmonies. Even after 33 years of listening to really extreme music I am of the opinion nothing matches the intensity of Reign In Blood and quality wise songs like Angel Of Death, Altar Of Sacrifice, Jesus Saves, Criminally Insane, Post Mortem or Raining Blood are simply perfect. Absolutely pivotal while serving as template of what would later become Death Metal and a monument in metal and rock music.


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Voivod - Killing Technology (1987): Another band I consider to come out of the very inception of the genre. After a really aggressive and well thought debut and an equally aggressive yet quite dumb and samey sophomore, Voivod took a huge leap with Killing Technology, especially thanks to the absolute game changer that was the guitar playing by Piggy (RIP) on this mind blowing record. Intricate and dissonant like nothing ever seen before in metal (let alone Thrash) these Canadians let their 70's Prog and Psychedelic background merge in a perfect fashion with their Sci-Fi themed heavy and fast riffing and the result was unique sounding influenced classics such as Tornado, Forgotten In Space, Ravenous Medicine, This Is Not An Exercise or the jaw dropping Overreaction. This thing alone proved to influence a ton of bands (many of them outside of Thrash Metal) and really started catching the specialized media's attention. Despite considering the album nearly perfect I like Dimension Hatross and Phobos as much as I do Killing Technology (if not even more). But fact is Phobos is quite outside Thrash Metal scope while in Dimension Hatross the Thrashy elements are way more diluted so I went with the band's third LP and it's more than a worthy ambassador. And while being recognized by many I can't help but feel this album still deserves to be rated much higher.


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Sabbat - History Of A Time To Come (1988): Speaking of underrated... Sabbat's debut (as well as their sophomore) is without shadow of doubt one of the most criminally ignored albums of all time regarding this genre. Sabbat's take on Thrash Metal is truly unique: hugely epic while based in the fast and imaginative guitar compositions of nowadays well known Andy Sneap backed up by the unique voice of Martin Walkyer. This (by then) quartet created a uncanny array of masterful tracks on this one. Perhaps it was because they were English (hailing from a land where Thrash was not so much ingrained like other places in Europe or North America) but even when it came to the lyrical concept these dudes were a game of their own versing about paganism and the abuses of the church and especially the inquisition. It baffles me how stuff like A Cautionary Tale, Hosanna In Excelsis, Horned Is The Hunter, For Those Who Died and The Church Bizarre aren't revered as the truly majestic anthems they are. the following record Dreamweaver is also crazy awesome but there's something in History Of A Time To Come that pushes it a tad bit above the band's second album.


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Metallica - ...And Justice For All (1988): Hey! Another band that was deeply rooted in the genre since the very beginning. There's nothing I can say about Metallica you don't already know so I'll explain why I picked this album instead of the other two legendary works from these guys (don't fool yourself... we all know I'm talking about Ride The Lightning and Master Of Puppets). And from the get go there are two cons regarding 'Tallica's 4th album: a) it was the first album without Burton's amazing bass lines (RIP) and b) speaking of bass one can hardly listen to rookie Jason Newsted playing it on the mix. But there's where the downsides end. When your song you adore the least from the album is as good as Eye Of The Beholder that says a lot. Then almost the entirety of the record is on my top 20 'Tallica songs of all time (the title track, Harvester Of Sorrow, Shortest Straw, Frayed Ends Of Sanity and Dyers Eve) while One is on my top 5 and Blackened is none other than my favorite all time song by the band. Then this is by far the most complex yet heavier record ever by the band and that leads us to something we tend to criticize in following Metallica albums and that's Lars's drumming. Man... this guy is firing at all cylinders here! By far my favorite Metallica album in that department. So despite the two issues I early mentioned the up sides of this amazing classic are more than enough to make it my undisputed favorite in their catalogue.


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Kreator - Coma Of Souls (1990): What would be a best of Thrash Metal list without a German band and especially what I consider to be the best of them? Indeed Kreator were already one of the leaders of the entire scene after releasing classics such as Pleasure To Kill and Extreme Aggression but in my opinion Coma Of Souls is on an even higher level. While changing their Lyrical approach to social problems, the band presented a more varied and technical side yet retaining the edge and intensity only Kreator can deliver. Opening track When the Sun Burns Red is simply put my favorite track by the band. Then check this sequence: the title track, People Of The Lie, World Beyond and Terror Zone. All different and yet all top notch. And that's not everything Petrozza and friends offer us here: Material World Paranoia, Hidden Dictator and Mental Slavery are also great tunes making out of this album a monument in Thrash Metal's pantheon. Their huge comeback Violent Revolution was also a strong contender but I believe Coma Of Souls really encapsulates what Kreator was at the peak of its game.


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Megadeth - Rust In Peace (1990): What can I say about this album that hasn't already been said? After Mustaine got kicked out of Metallica he swore revenge and made three superb records (each one better than the previous IMO) but I wasn't expecting something this amazing on the fourth album. To begin with the least achieved tracks here are IMO great tunes to say the least. Then there's classics like Holy Wars, Hangar 18 and Tornado Of Souls and absolute mind blowing thrashers in Take No Prisoners, Poison (Was The Cure) and Polaris. This bad boy is nothing short of a masterpiece. And it's worth mentioning that recruiting Menza and Friedman was pivotal while composing such a intricate, corrosive yet at the same time state of the art album that to many stands as the number one record within its genre. I must thank Lars and Hetfield for firing Dave. Seriously. Without that decision this near perfect album would have never existed.


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Anthrax - Persistence Of Time (1990): In my book this album is tied with Among The Living and Sound Of White Noise as my favorites but since SOWN is more into groove and Among The Living is less diversified I'll go with the band's fifth album. And before anything else I think the concept of Anthrax being the little brother of the so called Big 4 is absolute BS. IMO they're as big of a band with a catalogue as good (if not even better and more solid) than the other three. That being said Anthrax started to build more complex stuff in the late 80's (namely State Of Euphoria) like many other Thrash Metal bands did by then. But it wasn't until their fifth album came out that they 100% prooved to the world they mastered that aspect. Time opens the record with a bang (one of my favorite 'Thrax songs) and one can already notice a much less straight forward approach yet without losing an inch of intensity. But it's dark, elaborate stuff like Blood, In My World, Intro To Reality, Belly Of The Beast, H8 Red and One Man Stands that showed how this band could build dire, serious and lyrically deep tracks (and in that regard let's not forget Keep It In The Family). Then we still have time for two blistering thrashers in Gridlock and Discharge and an excellent Joe Jackson cover. Amazing material in another classic where the least achieved songs are by all means still great.


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Sepultura - Arise (1991): After Sepultura made their name known to the world with Beneath The Remains and its ensuing tour , the Brazilian quartet wasted no time and two years later were back in the studio recording the band's fourth album. And while its predecessor had undeniable high quality it was still a bit derivative here and there relating to other thrash bands. With Arise Sepultura finally built their own signature of Thrash Metal, sparkled with some Death Metal tones here and there. It was also with Arise that the first snippets of Igor's tribal drumming appeared as well as Andreas' dissonant guitars. Tunes such as Dead Embryonic Cells, Altered State, Meaningless Movements, Desperate Cry and Under Siege are proper displays of the evolution while adrenaline filled thrashers like Arise or Infected Voice still satisfied the fans that were more into full speed ahead Sepultura. In my book I like Arise as much as I do Chaos AD (with The Mediator... being a close number 3) and it was with Chaos AD that the band established his signature sound. But Chaos is as much Hardcore, Tribal, Industrial and Groove metal as it is Thrash. And when it comes to Sepultura Thrash era the monster named Arise is my pick any day of the week.


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Testament - Low (1994): With the departure of (especially) guitarrist extraordinaire Alex Skolnick and drummer Louie Clemente after a somewhat meh album like The Ritual I feared Testament was dead in the water. Well... did these guys proved me wrong! In came ex White Zombie John Tempesta and globe throther James Murphy and man what a monster of an album the guys from the bay area pulled here! From the get go this was by far the band's heavier record to date. Stuff like Legions In Hiding, Hail Mary, PC, All I Could Bleed and Ride are well penned yet brutal as hell ear piercing tracks that sometimes borderline Death Metal (even Chuck Billy starts venturing more and more into growling vocals) while Dog Faced Gods takes this brutality increment to a whole new level. There's still some songs that could easily be in early albums like Shades Of War and All I Could Bleed and even time for a typical semi acoustic Testament seperb cut like Trail Of Tears as well as a couple of cool instrumentals. But it's the heavier stuff that makes out of this record the win hands down it truly is and in that regard I have to single out the masterpiece that is the title track (man I can listen to it for hours even today). Albums like The New Order, The Gathering or even The Legacy come close but at the end there's no doubt Low is my favorite among all these stunning Testament releases.


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The Haunted - rEVOLVEr (2004): In a time Thrash metal was still reassembling for the second wave of bands we know today The Haunted didn't give a damn and went for it anyway (and they also showed they were to be taken seriously in past releases, especially the debut album). Born in Sweden from the ashes of At The Gates it's a fact their sound has some Groove Metal bits here and there but the overall business here is bashing your skull with visceral Thrash Metal. Stuff like No Compromise, 99, Sabotage, Sweet Relief and Liquid Burns are utterly vicious throes of rage screamed with 100% intensity by Dolving's upon Jensen and Bjorler ridiculously heavy dual guitar onslaught. On the other hand the frontman also shows his versatility while singing clean on creepy as hell growers like Abysmal and Burnt To A Shell. To sum it up this was the record that I wasn't seeing coming especially when we think what the early 2000's heavier metal was all about. But these dudes made it anyway and I am hugely grateful for it: a violent burst of energy that kicks some serious behind like I haven't listened to in ages.


Honorable Mentions: Damn there are so many great records left out... can't help but to at least mention Overkill's The Years Of Decay, Sodom's Agent Orange, Xentrix's Shattered Existence, Shrine's Perspective, Nuclear Assault's Handle With Care, Annihilator's Alice In Hell or Coroner's Mental Vortex among others. It's the least I can do.
 
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karljant

Ancient Mariner
Mayhem - Chimera
Arcturus - Aspera hiems symfonia
Dissection - The somberlain
Three great picks... especially Chimera. I dislike all other Mayhem albums but Chimera has something. Regarding Dissection it was left out by a thread and as much as I like The Somberlain I would go with Storm Of The Light's Bane.
 
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