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


Educated Fool
Thrash metal:

Sodom - Agent orange
Destruction - Infernal overkill
Celtic frost - To mega therion
Voivod - Killing technology
Exodus - Bonded by blood
Metallica - Ride the lightning
Slayer - Seasons in the abyss
Sanctuary - Refuge denied
Exhorder - Slaughter in the vatican
Aura noir - The merciless

Still feels like I have forgotten someone..


Out of the Silent Planet
I'm not sure if I will participate for all genres, but I can't miss this since it is a real fun. The first genre is one of my favorites...

Power Metal (in no particular order):

Helloween - Keeper Of The Seven Keys: Part I (1987): I could have picked Part 2 or the self-titled albums, but this album is emblematic. It's just 6 songs, but what a songs!

Bloodbound - Nosferatu (2005): One of the best debut albums ever imo. Fantastic singer, melodies and old school sound. Only 1 filler from 11 songs!

Gamma Ray - Somewhere Out In Space (1997): You can't go wrong with Kai Hansen! All songs are very good, the album cover too and I like the theme of the lyrics a lot. Classic power metal!

HammerFall - Crimson Thunder (2002): One of my favorite bands. The album is all killer, no filler with several classics for the band. Joacim is one of my favorite vocalists. I always viewed their style as a mix between Helloween and Accept and maybe that's why I like them so much. Melodic greatness!

Manowar - Kings Of Metal (1988): They helped the genre with the theme of their lyrics. Eric Adams voice is incredibly powerful. This is their best album with no weak songs... classic album with classic songs!

Grave Digger - Knights Of The Cross (1998): Crushing riffs and choruses. I'm a big fan of their albums with Middle Ages/Ancient topics and this album is one of them. Some killer stuff on it!

Sabaton - The Great War (2019): I like their style a lot - melodic metal with big choruses. There is not a single bad song in this album.

Stratovarius - Destiny (1998): High vocals, superb melodies and keyboards - what's not to like? The title track, ''S.O.S.'', ''4000 Rainy Nights'', ''Playing With Fire'' are all great (the bonus song too).

Edguy - Mandrake (2001): Tobias has a perfect voice for power metal. This is a really cool album. ''Tears Of A Mandrake'' and ''Pharaoh'' are one of the best power metal songs of all time imo.

Freedom Call - Crystal Empire (2001): The hidden treasure of the power metal albums.

-> honourable mention: Running Wild - Victory (2000)

And btw, I consider Nightwish a symphonic metal.


Ancient Mariner
I recall @Forostar saying in the "Big Four" thread that he is more of a Slayer fan than a thrash fan. If you replace Slayer with Megadeth then the same applies to me. Most of the other albums that sprang to mind are probably more accurately described as various spinoff subgenres and would upset thrash fans if I listed them here.


Ancient Mariner
Thrash metal:

Metallica - Ride the Lightning (1984)

Sepultura - Bestial Devastation (1985)

Slayer - South of Heaven (1988)

Metal Church - Blessing in Disguise (1989)

Pantera - Cowboys from Hell (1990)

Iced Earth - Night of the Stormrider (1991)

Body Count - Born Dead (1994)

Grip Inc. - Nemesis (1997)

The Haunted - Made Me Do It (2000)

Eidolon - Hallowed Apparition (2001)
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Ancient Mariner
Thrash Metal (In No particular Order)

Nuclear Assault - Game Over (1986)
Metallica - Ride the Lightning (1984)
Anthrax - Persistence of Time (1990)
Megadeth - Rust in Peace (1990)
Slayer - South of Heaven (1988)
Testament - The New Order (1988)
Over Kill - Horrorscope (1991)
Kreator - Coma of Souls (1990)
Sodom - Agent Orange (1989)
Sabbat - History of a Time to Come (1988)


Ancient Mariner
Next I'll go with a well known genre and one I bet most of us love several records (me included). None other than Traditional Heavy Metal:


Black Sabbath - Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973): Let me begin with the band that started it all and my favorite album from their catalogue (Paranoid is a close second). Sabbath's fifth album brings some new elements like some prog and orchestral twitches (it even features some arrangements by Rick Wakeman) with Spiral Architect being the best example of these new condiments. But it's songs like the electrifying heaviness of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, A National Acrobat's melodic yet doomy stomp, the eerie and dark ambiance on Who Are You?, Killing Yourself To Live's crushing refrain that make out of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath's arguably the band's heaviest album of the 70's. I think it's somewhat ahead of its time and the fact it presents us with so many sides of the band (some of them new) and lacks a single bad song always made me look at it as my number one Sabbath album and one of Heavy Metal's most influential cornerstones.


Dio - The Last In Line (1984): Speaking of Sabbath next is the legendary Ronnie James Dio (RIP). A best of list regarding traditional Heavy Metal seems odd if Dio isn't mentioned and man this record reinforces that feeling. We Rock starts the hostilities at full speed in a stellar fashion. There are other great songs that follow that molde with full effect (I Speed At Night, Evil Eyes) but IMO it's the title track that takes the prize: simply put one of the best composed themes of all times within the genre. Breathless is also a really great rocker and the album closes with a seven minute excellent epic tune in Egypt (The Chains Are On). The rest of the album is a bit meh but the aforementioned six tunes are so good they're more than enough to make a classic out of The Last In Line.


King Diamond - Fatal Portrait (1986): Now several times I've said how Conspiracy is my favorite King Diamond album but some months ago I started to hum a melody I couldn't pin point and after some days with this rock on my shoe I finally got it. It was none other than Dressed In White. That made me come back to the album (I hadn't listen to in decades) and man... I really was sleeping on this one. Besides Dressed In White and the mandatory Halloween this damn thing is filled with top notch stuff. The Candle and its glorious overture is the perfect opener, The Jonah's ghastly ambiance, the blistering pace of The Portrait (still showing lots of Mercyful Fate influences) and the excellent combo of Voices From The Past and Haunted. Plus LaRoque is absolutely on fire throughout this whole damn thing. Sorry Conspiracy... but move over.


Iron Maiden - Somewhere In Time (1986): Look, there's no need to talk much about SIT: when a record starts with a five song sequence with each one being near perfect on my book and the remaining three coming just a few steps behind it's assured this is nothing short of a masterpiece. Of course Powerslave features my two favorite songs by the band in Aces High and Rime Of The Ancient Mariner with the title track being also near perfect but in part due to sentimental attachment (Wasted Years was song that got me into the band and this was among the first albums I got recorded) but mostly regarding every song is absurdly good, Somewhere In Time gets my vote without hesitation.


Sanctuary - Refuge Denied (1988): Before Warrel Dane (RIP) formed Nevermore there was this act called Sanctuary that released two amazing Heavy Metal records. Truth be told after Nevermore ended the band made a final album and if you ask me the last one is probably my favorite but I'll stick with their debut since The Year The Sun Died is much heavier (almost a mid term between Sanctuary and Nevermore) while Refuge Denied is 100% traditional Heavy Metal. And when a band can pull tracks like Battle Angels, Die For My Sins, Ascension To Destiny, The Third War or make such a powerful cover of Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit one can only come to the conclusion Sanctuary's debut has classic written all over it.


WASP - The Headless Children (1989): After several years of being labeled as one of the most outrageous bands in the world while playing a mix of shock/ cock rock and visceral Heavy Metal (that nonetheless still produced some really good songs) backed by shocking antics, main man Blackie Lawless decided it was time to mature, leave the shock rock masquerade and up the band's game. And what came out was a stellar dark and serious album, addressing several dire aspects of the human race. Recruiting drummer extraordinaire Frankie Banali (RIP) the album shows this new WASP in its full glory with tunes such as The Heretic (The Lost Child), Thunderhead, Neutron Bomber, rebel In The FDG and the title track . There was still room for two cool rockers in Mean Man and Maneater and a superb cover of The Who's The Real Me. And while I truly love albums like The Crimson Idol and KFD The Headless Children still is my get to album when it comes to the band.


V12 - V12 (1989): Hailing from Portugal nearby Lisboa and making use of the excellent voice of Jorge Martins and superb guitar playing of Rui Fingers, V12's debut album (and unfortunately their last) birth labor was a long and harsh one. When the band signed with multinational Polydor the were understandably excited but it turned out to be a poisoned gift. First they demanded the lyrics by then written in English were to be all sang in Portuguese (not that they lost any of it's strength with this) and you can imagine the work it was to redo all lyrical content on the eve of recording. Then they gave the band very limited budget regarding recording expenses so the production is really poor. But the upside would be the promotion only a multinational can offer, right? Wrong. In the end the band was totally ignored and ripped off. And despite all this I listened to the damn thing when I was a teenager like a maniac and still enjoy it the same way 31 years after. you have truly epic stuff like Sinais Dos Tempos, Invocação, Sol Da Lua, Causa Perdida, an excellent advance single in Claustrofobia, even a medieval like tune in Negócio Das Almas and the immersive Rota Da Fé closes the album. This gem is long due a properly remixed version but legal rights always ruined those plans. Other than that an excellent record and a strong influence in my early Heavy Metal steps and it remains pretty much untouched.


Judas Priest - Painkiller (1990): Now Painkiller is tied with Sad Wings Of Destiny as my favorite Priest album but not by a second I hesitated to put it in this list instead of the band's sophomore. Why? Simply because if someone who never listened to Heavy Metal and was curious to know what the thing was all about this would be without shadow of doubt the album I would quote. The epic and yet aggressive flavor, the absence of any kind of filler make out of this monster the most emblematic record of the entire genre in my book. Every song is amazing but tunes like the title track, Hell Patrol, A Touch Of Evil or All Guns Blazing prove Rob and company were on a level little to none can achieve on this beast. To sum it up this is THE Heavy Metal album.


Bruce Dickinson - The Chemical Wedding (1998): After leaving Iron Maiden and penning two great albums (especially Accident Of Birth) Bruce once again alongside long time Maiden comrade Adrian Smith and Roy Z decided to bring things to a whole new dimension while writing this William Blake inspired masterpiece. And be it by sheer heaviness in King In Crimson, Machine Men and Killing Floor or by glorious traditional metal anthems in Book Of Thel, The Tower, Trumpets of Jericho and the title track or even by more melodic approaches like Gates Of Urizen and the interpretation of Jerusalem, I think The Chemical is arguably one of the best Heavy Metal records of all times.


Halford - Crucible (2002): After an already blasting debut solo album, the metal god was determined to give a proper continuation to Resurrection. Now most fans look at Crucible as a step back. Not my case though. This album IMO is more varied and heavy than its predecessor and the quality level is as good (if not better). After an intro the title track slowly grinds you under its heavy riffs and then we're off to total classic heavy metal ground with One Will. And what can I say about the jaw dropping Betrayal other than it could easily go shoulder to shoulder with any song on Painkiller? Handing Out Bullets is a gorgeous machine gun riffing heavy metal tune and so are Wrath Of God and the bonus track Rock The World Forever. Speaking of bonus tracks In The Morning is simply one of the most beautiful acoustic tracks ever done while Heretic and Golgotha's riffs work as vicious bone breaking engines. This album is truly something and in my opinion deserves a place among the best within its genre.

Honorable Mentions: of course some great acts/ records had to be left outside. In my case I immediately can point out classics like Motorhead's Overkill, Ozzy Osbourne's The Ultimate Sin, any one of Mercyful Fate's first two records, Diamond Head's Lightning To The Nations, Heaven And Hell's The Devil You Know or Armored Saint's Raising Fear.
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Ancient Mariner
Traditional Heavy Metal (In No particular Order except Maiden of course)

Iron Maiden - Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (1988)
Black Sabbath - Mob Rules (1981)
Dio - Holy Diver (1983)
Judas Priest - Stained Class (1978)
Bruce Dickinson - The Chemical Wedding (1998)
W.A.S.P. - The Crimson Idol (1992)
Manowar - Kings of Metal (1988)
Saxon - Wheels of Steel (1980)
Ozzy Osbourne - Blizzard of Ozz (1980)
Queensrÿche - Operation Mindcrime (1988)
Mercyful Fate - Don't Break the Oath (1984)

Honorable Mentions:
Scorpions - Blackout (1982)
Accept - Metal Heart (1985)


Educated Fool
Heavy metal:

Iron maiden - Somewhere in time
Yngwie Malmsteen - Trilogy
Queensryche - Empire
Savatage - Streets
Crimson glory - Transendence
Sebastian Bach - Angel down
Judas priest - British steel
Megadeth - Countdown to exctintion
Saxon - Wheels of steel
Scorpions - Blackout


Ancient Mariner
My 10 picks for traditional heavy metal. The first half is going to be obvious fare; for the second half I'm going to interpret the genre fairly loosely:

Iron Maiden - The Book Of Souls

Not a popular pick for favourite Maiden album but I stand by it. At its worst, the album is extremely listenable, and at its best we get the likes of Empire of the Clouds and the title track. It helps that some of the less popular tracks are amongst my favourites; especially Shadows of the Valley.

Judas Priest - Painkiller

One of the best heavy metal albums ever made; near enough perfect from start to finish. Even the bonus track (Living Bad Dreams) would be a standout on most other albums.

Scorpions - Humanity: Hour 1

A wonderful album I picked out in part because it feels tremendously underrated. The title tracks, Humanity and Hour 1, are standouts, but I honestly don't think there's a bad track here.

Dio - Holy Diver

I don't listen to a ton of Sabbath or Rainbow, so I know far less Dio than most here. What I do know is that this album is amazing. Don't Talk To Strangers, Rainbow In The Dark and of course the title track are great but again, nothing bad on here.

Black Sabbath - Paranoid

Continuing on from the earlier album, I have a confession: when I listen to Black Sabbath it is mostly for the hits. The same is true for Ozzy Osbourne's solo stuff, and Nonetheless, I would feel remiss not mentioning them in some way, and what better album to include than the one containing arguably their biggest two?

Alice Cooper - Trash
I've seen this listed as glam metal but frankly, I don't care. It's just amazing from start to finish. Poison is one of the biggest songs from this era ever, and justifiably so, but the biggest shame is that some of the other phenomenal tracks, like Bed Of Nails, House Of Fire, Spark In The Dark and Hell Is Living Without You, are unknown in comparison.

Europe - Wings Of Tomorrow

Before you tell me that Europe isn't a metal band, at least listen to the title track and Scream of Anger. Truth be told, I love Europe before, during, and after their glam phase, but this album feels best suited here.

Ghost - Prequelle

This is probably taking another liberty, but oh well. Ghost is one of my favourite metal bands right now and I wanted to include them. This album in particular is a wonderful showcase, and I can't wait for the Sequelle...

Avenged Sevenfold - Nightmare

Yes, I'm counting this too. I'm not a hardcore fan of A7X (neither do I shudder at their mention like some people) but I think this album is an incredibly high quality one with a lot of great songs. Special shoutouts to Buried Alive as my favourite track.

Black Tide - Light From Above
This band are probably the most disappointing in recent years. Their debut album, included above, is fantastic. Unfortunately, it was a one hit wonder. The band evolved into something closer to Bullet For My Valentine before calling it quits altogether. Still, we will always have this album.


The Angel Of The Odd
Albums that I am strongly attached to. No particular order.

Iron Maiden -A Mater of Life and Death (2006)
One of the best sounding Iron Maiden albums and well and one of their best overall! Brighten than a thousands Suns plus the last 3 are out of this world. All the band is at the top of their game and Nicko the man of the match.

Judas Priest - Painkiller (1990)
What a beast! From start to finish there's a constant atmosphere and sound the guitar work out of this planet, Scott Travis do his best work ever and Rob's performance is breathtaking. I'm listening to this album from start to finish very often and it never seems to fade.

Savatage -Gutter Ballet (1989)
There are many contenders for best Savatage album; some say Streets, others Mountain King, for me this is the one. The turning point when Savatage became more more piano oriented and the seed that gave birth to the masterpiece of Streets. While all songs are good, I'm more attached to When the Crowds are Gone, Summer Rain, Unholy and title track.

Warlord -And the Canons of Destruction have Begun (1984)
If I had to chose one group and one album to represent metal genre, this would be it. Tremendous musicianship, very melodic compositions, one of the best drummers in Metal History and lyrics from the melancholic perspective of epic and heroism.
Each of he songs serves as a time capsule to deliver us to a magic world that never existed and it's always there waiting.
Black Mass especially, it captures perfectly Warlord's magic, one of my most beloved songs ever.

Metallica -Metallica (1991)
With the years I came to admire and love the sonic achievement of this album. Prime example how important music production can be. As I often tell to my friends production is first and above all the band's job not the producers. It takes guts to let yourself to somebody else's hands, be open to the new and eventually change.
Sure, there are better Metallica albums per se, but each one from here is like a condensed sonic punch and 30 years later still sounds modern and relative. It reminds me The Dark Side of the Moon, also a sonic exercise, also not the best of Floyd but the one that boosted their career to the Stratosphere. And also a black themed cover.

Black Sabbath -Black Sabbath (1970)
There are plenty of Black Sabbath albums that I like, many of them not featuring Ozzy, but in my opinion, none can match the doom atmosphere of the first one. The historical importance of this album is not to be underestimated and overall I enjoy this album as Sabbath's greatest achievement.

Queensrÿche -Operation: Mindcrime (1998)
Without any doubt the best album of the 80s second half, it set a new standard of how witty this music could be. A rock opera extremely easy to follow and a great musical achievement.

Bruce Dickinson -The Chemical Wedding (1998)
Bruce Dickinson, Roy Z & Adrian Smith meet William Blake and the best Metal Record of the 90s is born. Powerful, fresh sounding music forged with poetry and some of the best lyrics Bruce ever wrote. Songs like The Book of Thel or Jerusalem, elevated the genre to new heights.

Iced Each -Horror Show (2001)
I've chosen this one over many beloved Iced Earth works due to its consistency and unified theme and atmosphere which make it the most special IE album until the Something Wicked series. While the album is great from start to finish the last 2 are the songs that absolutely get me.

Rainbow -Rising (1976)
This is the highest peak in Ronnie James Dio's career. Here we have essentially a super-band. Blackmore, Dio, Cozy Powell, Tony Carey. One of the earliest 'dungeons & dragons' records in Metal, it produced two absolute tour de power songs, Stargazer & Light in the Black. The solo of Stargazer alone would be enough to earn a place among this list.
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Out of the Silent Planet
It's time for the best genre...

Heavy Metal (in no particular order):

Iron Maiden - Brave New World (2000): The best Maiden album imo. All songs are classics.

Judas Priest - Painkiller (1990): Epochal album. Brutally good songs, vocals, guitar solos, drumming and speed.

DIO - The Last In Line (1984): Eternal classic in the heavy metal!

Accept - Balls To The Wall (1983): Only one weak song and a lot of classics for the band.

Saxon - Unleash The Beast (1997): This is a true metal album from them. Heavy and melodic with great choruses. A gem.

Bruce Dickinson - Tyranny Of Souls (2005): The most consistent solo album of Bruce with amazing songs. One of my favorite albums to listen to from start to finish.

W.A.S.P. - WASP (1984): Blackie is one of my favorite vocalists and this is their best album. The spirit of the 80's lives on.

Black Sabbath - Headless Cross (1989): Tony Martin is a fantastic vocalist. I like all songs.

U.D.O. - Faceless World (1990): Udo knows how to make quality heavy metal. Not a single bad song.

Yngwie Malmsteen - Odyssey (1988): I could have picked his albums from 1986 or 1985, but in this album I like all songs.
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Ancient Mariner
Added Tierra Santa to power metal. Removed Stratovarius which may return in another category.
Added Jacob's Dream to power metal. Removed Virgin Steele which will appear in another category.
Changed a Gamma Ray album in power metal. "Changessssss.."

Added Mithotyn to black metal. Removed Immortal.
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Ancient Mariner
Heavy metal:

White Spirit - White Spirit (1980)

Manowar - Battle Hymns (1982)

Dio - The Last in Line (1984)

Iron Maiden - Powerslave (1984)

Black Sabbath - Headless Cross (1989)

Judas Priest - Painkiller (1990)

Killers - Murder One (1992)

Virgin Steele - The Marriage of Heaven and Hell Part II (1996)

Bruce Dickinson - Accident of Birth (1997)

Blaze - Blood and Belief (2004)
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Ancient Mariner
The next genre is Doom Metal. Here are my picks:


Trouble - Live (1983): Hey you may call it cheating since this is a demo tape. And I could easily pick Trouble's debut Psalm 9 but the mere fact they left such an amazing song like The Last Judgement out is simply enraging. So, with this gem, not only we can get to listen to that monster of a track and other early material (Death Wish - parts 1 and 2) but also the best takes from their first two records like Revelation (Life Or Death), Endtime, Victim Of The Insane, Wickedness Of Man or Fear No Evil. Plus we get as a bonus Eric Wagner (RIP) and his compadres pulling a couple of superb covers of Angel Witch and Accept. Absolute classic.


Candlemass - Epicus Doomicus Metallicus (1986): Next is the monumental Candlemass debut and let's get real here: if it's a fact Black Sabbath draw the first sketches and bands such as Trouble, Pentagram, Witchfinder General or St. Vitus brought them the 80's with little adjustments, this is the album that established Doom Metal as a genre. Slow as hell, heavy, dark, bleak yet full of epic flavor masterpieces such as Solitude, Demon's Gate, Black Stone Wielder and A Sorcerer's Pledge served ever since as the blueprint as much as Sabbath when it comes to Doom Metal. Mandatory!


Confessor - Condemned (1991): Now these North Americans created some really peculiar sound within the genre. While the tempo is slow and the guitar section is 100% heavy as hell Doom Metal, these dudes dive deep in unorthodox time signatures full of break beats anchored by the amazing work of drummer Steve Shelton in a fashion much more common in a style like Prog Metal. On top of all this Steve Jeffrey's vocals are pure Heavy/ Power Metal high pitch like, something that adds an even more unique flavor to Confessor. So this is far from an easy listening but once you get the taste for tunes like the title track, Prepare Yourself, Collapse Into Despair, Eve Of Salvation or Alone this record reveals itself to be as addictive as fascinating.


Paradise Lost - Shades Of God (1992): Paradise Lost are truly one of my favorite bands. And while this is not my #1 album of their catalogue and they already had two Death Doom records in their pocket by now (with the sophomore Gothic also establishing the foundations of the Gothic Metal sound the band would later perfect) this is by far my favorite Paradise Lost when it comes to doomy soundscapes. The boys kinda stripped the whole thing of keyboards and arrangements and while Greg's leads always have tons of 80's Goth Rock in it and Nick's vocals are still deeply rooted in death metal, everything else is 100% Doom Metal. And what a monster this is! Of course there are a couple of songs that are a bit more Goth like (namely Crying For Eternity or the anthemic As I Die) but either by long crushing mammoths like Your Hand In Mine, No Forgiveness or by faster stuff like Daylight Torn and Pity The Sadness (another of the band's staples) this record is class incarnated. As a curiosity this was the first CD I bought (back in the day) and of course I still own it. A classic of all sorts.


Pyogenesis - Ignis Creatio (1992): Speaking of Paradise Lost, it's more than evident that this German quartet took some notes from Gothic while recording their debut. Nevertheless even recurring to some of the gimmicks the northern Englishman did on their sophomore (female vocals, keyboards) Pyogenesis pulled a sound of their own that never stopped evolving ever since. Still Burns In Fire starts i a somewhat copycat like way but once the song goes uptempo reveals itself to be as original as exciting without losing its doom brand. The second half of Like Tears In The Dust is another highlight with once again the growling of Tim working perfectly alongside Flo's clean singing. On Soulwings is another excellent Doom/ Death tune and Underneath Orion's Sword pounding rhythm backed up by a layer of keyboards is nothing short of impressive for a low budget debut. Overall Pyogenesis managed to do a lot with the little means and experience they had. And by a lot I mean nothing more nothing less than contributing strongly to an emerging sub genre with an hell of a record.


Anathema - Serenades (1993): Some may not be aware but Prog rockers Anathema began as a Doom Death act like their friends Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride. And a really excellent one to be fair as their debut album prove so. Brothers Cavanaugh were by then only taking charge of the six strings with the roaring voice of Darren White echoing through slow dirges like Sweet Tears, Sleep In sanity or They Always Die. The only exception is Sleepless where Vincent shares vocal duties in a track that, alongside J'ai Fait Une Promesse and its female vocalizations a la Into The Pandemonium pull the veil on what would be Anathema's direction on the following album. As for Serenades it deserves all the praise it had back then (alongside the early EPs) working as a huge stepping stone on the genre.


My Dying Bride - Turn Lose The Swans (1994): As I mentioned before once you mention early Doom/ Death there are 3 bands you immediately think of. One is Anathema, the other Paradise Lost and the the third their Yorkshire fellas My Dying Bride. By 1993 the band had already released two Eps and a full length that established their sound: absurdly slow and dire long tunes peppered with Martin Powell's violin and Aaron Stainthorpe's deep growls. But this time the band was determined to up their game in a jaw dropping fashion. It all starts with some sort of continuation of their debut's opener, properly titled Sear Me MCMXCIII presenting nothing else than Aaron's new found clean vocals alongside Martin's keyboards and violin in a absurdly amazing display of musical beauty. Your River follows and this is by far one of tyhe band's best compositions ever exploiting new and old elements. And while there's not a single song here I'd rate below excellent I must also give special attention to The Songless Bird's upper tempo, the dark yet involving ambiance of Black God but especially the masterpiece that is The Crown Of Sympathy. So there you have it. To give you a snapshot of what I think about Turn Lose The Swans not only I consider it to be the band's best work and one of Doom metal's best hours, I simply view it as one of the best records in metal history.


Tiamat - Wildhoney (1994): For their fourth album Tiamat made a record that could be entitled "what if Pink Floyd made Doom Metal". And while tracks like Do You Dream Of Me, Pocket Sized Sun and Planets are almost entirely within Pink Floyd's scope the remainder of the album explores the aforementioned mixing of genres in a masterful fashion. Either by heavier and more intense tunes like Whatever That Hurts and The Ar or by much lighter and melodic approaches on Gaia or Visionaire, Wildhoney is an impressive and unique album, that confirms Johan Edlund and Johnny Hagel as one of the most creative duos of the early 90's and that when made in Sweden, Doom Metal is to be taken seriously.


Cathedral - The Carnival Bizarre (1995): Up to more classic Doom with Cathedral's third album. Now I was tempted to go with their debut Forrest Of Equilibrium since it's one of their slowest and heaviest as well as one of the first Doom/ Death albums (and the only full length the band did regarding that sub-genre of Doom) but in the end this album is too good and varied not to be picked. You get absolute retro 70's Sabbath vibes on blasters like Vampire Sun, Hopkins or Electric Grave or slow grinding yet groovy tunes such as Palace Of Fallen Majesty, Fangalactic Supergoria and Night Of The Seagulls. Some may find Lee Dorrian's voice annoying but fortunately that's not my case. Other than that this album is astonishing (and to be fair almost the entirety of their catalogue is but this one is probably my favorite) cementing Cathedral as the masters of retro Doom in the 90's.


Process Of Guilt - Erosion (2009): My last pick goes to what I consider to be one of the best records made in my country. I already knew their work since their demo EP and indeed it was excellent material (as was their debut full length). But nothing could prepare me for Process Of Guilt's state of the art sophomore. Hailing from the beautiful town of Évora lost among the country's torrid inland plains, P.O.G. absolutely blew my mind with the conceptual masterpiece that is Erosion. Bathing their Death Doom with some Post Metal elements here and there this record is simply massive, desolate and yet strangely beautiful. Tracks like Corrosion and Abandon are absolute top notch and to a certain point innovative material while The Circle is an instrumental that ventures a deep further into experimentation. But I have to single out Waves... simply put one of the best Doom Death songs I've ever listened to. The emotional charge and riff power on this thing is gigantic, intimidating yet melodic as few others managed to achieve. On their following albums the band would go for a more Sludge/ Post Metal style and while still releasing quality stuff nothing they did since compares to the monument that is Erosion.

Honorable mentions: As always there are excellent bands/records that didn't made it. Stuff like Saint Vitus' debut, Evoken's Quietus or Winter's Into Darkness come immediatelly to mind.

So, what are your choices when it comes to doom and gloom?
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Educated Fool

Tiamat - Wildhoney
My dying bride - The angel and the dark river
Candlemass - Epicus foomicus metallicus
3rd and the mortal - Tears laid in earth

Thats about it…


Ancient Mariner
Let's stick with the brutality meets melody motive and carry this thing on with some Melodic Death Metal:


Carcass - Heartwork (1993): There isn't much more I can say about Heartwork that hasn't already been said. Along with At The Gates' sophomore and Dark Tranquillity's debut this is arguably one of foundations of the sub-genre and a masterpiece in all aspects. Be it by the melodic guitar harmonies of Steer and Amott on the title track, This Mortal Coil, Blind Leading The Blind and Death Certificate or by groovy cuts like No Love Lost, Doctrinal Expletives and Embodiment fact is the immense praise the quartet from Liverpool got for this record is 100% deserved.


Desultory - Bitterness (1994): While not as famous as other Swedish Melodic Death Metal acts, Desultory sure did play an important role in the definition of the genre and I think the band's sophomore is an absolute example of what the whole thing is all about when it reaches top tier level. Opening with the mid paced pounding yet beautiful Life Shatters this album is for many a hidden gem that's more than worth discovering. Songs like Left Behind , Taste Of Tragedy, Cold Bitterness and Enslaved are superb displays of heaviness and astonishing guitar melodies while slower tracks such as Bleeding and A Closing Eye prove once again that when it comes to this genre Sweden is the country to look out for.


At The Gates - Slaughter Of The Soul (1995): For the majority of people (dare I say) this the album that embodies of the whole genre. While not agreeing 100% (it's pretty damn close but it's not the best Melodic Death Metal album in my book) there's no one can deny its stratospheric quality and impact. Plus At The Gates were perhaps the first band that dove deeply in certain traits that defined the genre. And that gives them a comfort while writing this kind of material others kind of struggle to achieve. Blinded By Fear comes storming in setting the tone with absurdly grandiose guitar harmonies played at break neck speed. And there's not much sense talking too much about each song: Cold, Under A Serpent Sun, Need and Suicide Nation show Bjorler and Larson's guitar intertwining giving the moto to state of the art tunes. But I must single out the title track... Man is that thing perfect! So there you go. Another monster of a record that absolutely lives up to the hype put upon it. A classic for the ages.


Dark Tranquillity - The Gallery (1995): Now this is THE Melodic Death Metal album as far as I'm concerned. Once again the amazing guitar work of Sundin and Johansson is the driving force behind the five piece from Gothenburg. There's not a single filler here and if that's true slower songs like Silence And The Firmament Withdrew, Of Melancholy Burning and Lethe are amazing songs it's when Dark Tranquillity hit the gas that this thing really leaves me in awe. Punish My Heaven, The Dividing Line, The Emptiness From Which I Fed and Midway Into Infinity are nothing short of masterpieces, making out of the band's sophomore the first of many great records within the genre but still unmatched (either by any of their own catalogue or by other bands). Utter perfection.


Hypocrisy - Abducted (1996): Well, we're still in Swedish soil (and it's no surprise that many of my picks come from said country) with another iconic name from Sweden's Death Metal early years: Peter Tagtgren's Hypocrisy. Now this record is way more all over the place with some tunes still being deeply rooted into Swedish traditional Death metal (like early Entombed and Dismember) and even some ambiental songs but Roswell 1947, Craved Up, Point Of No Return Killing Art and Paradox being great examples of how brutality and melodic guitar leads make an excellent combination when things are done properly.


In Flames - Whoracle (1997): Now I know many people consider either Clayman or The Jester Race to be the band's finnest records. And while loving both I have go with the band's third record. To begin with the first three songs are easily among my top 10 (and dare I say top 5?) all time In Flames songs: Food For The Gods, Jotun and the stunning Gyroscope. When it comes to pure guitar harmony beauty the last two of the aforementioned tracks are two of the best things I ever listened to while Food For The Gods is one of the few uptempo songs here much in the vein of fellow Gothenburg later At The Gates. Morphing Into Primal is yet another great fast tune while tunes such as Jester Script Transfigured and the title track combine acoustic guitars with the band's signature sound with superb effect. To sum it up a superb record from a band that never stopped changing. With the 2000's they became way more accessible but still released quality songs. Unfortunately IMO the next decade meant a nosedive for In Flames and up till today the band never managed to recover at least the quality of their 2000's releases and are miles away regarding what they achieved in Whoracle.


Children Of Bodom - Follow The Reaper (2000): Finally leaving Sweden to nearby Finland I must confess I'm not the greatest Children Of Bodom fan but I must confess their early albums presenting this mix of Melodic Death Metal with Symphonic Power Metal were really inventive and refreshing and my favorite is their third full length. The title track comes thrashing in with pomp and although nowadays I rarely listen to it, back in the day the compositions of Alexi Laiho (RIP) on this one sounded exciting, well penned and addictive. Children Of Decadence and Northern Comfort are also great songs but it's the much more accessible Hate Me that marks what I consider one of the biggest highlights here. Not that it's a masterpiece of any sort but Follow The Reaper sure is a great album.


Night In Gales - Necrodynamic (2001): Now off to Germany and although Nailwork is much more rooted into the genre we're dealing with, the following album (Necrodynamic) is just a blast! Opener Last Living Song mixes the band's Melodic Death with the thrashing groove of a band like Anthrax and man is this pure adrenaline! Doomdrugged seems to rotate at an even higher pace reinforcing what this album is all about: great riffage, excellent clean/ screaming voice combinations with lots of groove always going at full speed from the first the last song. Deadmouth Daisies, Counting Flies, Song Of Something and The Zeronaut make out of Necrodynamic a record that any fan of Melodic Death Metal and Crossover Thrash will surely love.


Dimension Zero - Silent Night Fever (2002): Another Swedish act, Dimension Zero's sophomore is little more than half an hour of utterly fast and intense Melo-Death with every track being full speed bursts of absurdly addictive guitar harmonies (with the exception of the epilogue like closer Slow Silence). Seriously... If you At The Gates or like early Dark Tranquillity and In Flames fast tunes you'll adore this record. The title track sets the tone and defines the tone for the rest of the songs: short compositions and while being straight to the point the guitar work is absurdly well composed. Besides it my highlights go for The Murder Inn, Through The Virgin Sky (with a old school In Flames like chorus), and They Are Waiting To Take Us. The best thing I can say about Silent Night Fever is that I'm not seeing any fan of albums like The Gallery, Slaughter Of The Soul or The Jester Race disliking this. Yes, it's that good. *


Arch Enemy - Anthems Of Rebellion (2003): Now I could go with Burning Bridges and I must admit overall it's a better album. But while being much more straight forward, Anthems Of Rebellion is a ton of fun. On songs like Silent Wars, We Will Rise, End Of The Line and Leader Of The Rats Amott compensates what they lack a bit into musicality with huge doses of energy. Plus this is the second album with Angela in a time when female fronted growlers were a rare thing and she surely delivered the goods. Allas the next album would be a disapointment for me and as far as I'm concerned this was the last really exciting thing the band released. Much like Follow The Reaper this is not a masterpiece but indeed it was an important release when it comes to the genre and it's always a great time spent while listening to it.

* I had to edit the list and replace Scepticflesh's Communion with this gem by Dimension Zero since Communion will be useful and much more fitting in another place.
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Ancient Mariner
You're going too fast @karljant :--)

I'll think of doom first. Most of my favourite death metal(ish) albums are melodic. The borders between these sub-sub genres are not easy to define.
But I'll be a profiteer and spread some albums by the same band over several categories.
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Ancient Mariner
These are two more genres that are very difficult for me. I will shout out Amon Amarth as the only death metal band I actively follow though, and single out Jomsviking as an album I particularly enjoy.


Ancient Mariner
Doom metal:

Candlemass - Ancient Dreams (1988)

Solitude Aeturnus - Into the Depths of Sorrow (1991)

The Gathering - Always (1992)

My Dying Bride - Turn Loose the Swans (1993)

The 3rd and the Mortal - Tears Laid in Earth (1994)

Thergothon - Stream from the Heavens (1994)

Anathema - The Silent Enigma (1995)

Draconian - Where Lovers Mourn (2003)

Ahab - The Call of the Wretched Sea (2006)

Celestial Season - The Secret Teachings (2020)
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Ancient Mariner
These are two more genres that are very difficult for me. I will shout out Amon Amarth as the only death metal band I actively follow though, and single out Jomsviking as an album I particularly enjoy.
Fair enough... you only have to go along with the genres you love. A little bird told me Hard Rock is next, so... :) ;)