We’re into the top 80 in a look at the 300 albums metal albums that grace my iPod. We’ve still got a few weeks until we reach those elusive perfect albums but all of these below would get 4 1/2 out of 5 stars if rankings were my thing (wait a minute…)
80. Toxic Holocaust, Evil Never Dies (2003)
Toxic Holocaust are my favorite current band without a shred of doubt. Although this is the first time you are seeing them in this list, it won’t be the last. They play blackened thrash which is a genre I love. I prefer my records thrashier with some blackness mixed in rather than the other way around and that’s what Toxic Holocaust is all about.
Evil Never Dies was the debut record from them, which at the time was just a “him.” It was a one man project of mastermind Joel Grind who has played with bands in pretty much every genre you can think of but has never put out anything quite like this. He’s this blond haired dude that looks like he should be in a hair metal cover band, but shouts out these gritty black metal vocals that are unbelievable. Evil Never Dies is the rawest and crustiest of their three records but it works almost perfectly.
79. Amen Corner, Lucification (2007)
This is the reason I love doing lists like this. I can say the 79th best metal album I’ve ever heard is a by a relatively unknown Brazillian black metal group.
The main theme to the album is Satanism (maybe the album title or track called “Kill For Satan” gives that away) and when the singer calls himself Lokiam Satanas War Comander, I’m inclined to think they believe their message. The reason I like this album so much is that it takes the best of the darker elements of black metal but speeds it up a bit and adds some real riffing to it. It’s not just downtuning for the sake of downtuning.
78. Deicide, Insineratehymn (2000)
No matter whether we’re talking about metal, 80’s music or whatever style, I know my tastes tend to be different than others. So just in case any real big Deicide fans make their way over here by chance, you will find that the two albums that the majority of fans think are their worst are my favorites. I just wanted to warn you on that one.
Deicide changed their sound on this one. They when from 100% brutal to 99.8% brutal. Fuckin’ balls, man. The Hoffman brothers added elements of groove metal into their sound and slowed some parts down. Something like “Forever Hate You” feels like it’s going to come to a crawling stop. This is kind of what Cannibal Corpse did after a few records, adding the groove into their sound as well. However, they didn’t receive the backlash about it that Deicide did.
Bands fucking change. Bands try new shit out. Deicide fans seem to want them to put out the same record every time. Just throw out the most brutal riffs and fastest things you can play and we’ll love it. Fuck that. Insineratehymn took the brutality and mixed in something very different for them which is the first time something from Benton and co. truly stood out from the rest of the material. That’s the reason I love it. To each his own though.
77. Deathwish, Demon Preacher (1989)
Deathwish is a band that I have to let the music stand on its own because I know almost nothing about them. They were a British band that formed in 1983 and disbanded in 1990 after Demon Preacher. It’s a complete shame about that too, as both their albums (At the Edge of Damnation, 1987 was the first) are killer pieces of thrash metal. This album is produced much better than the first and the overall sound improved on their sophomore effort as well. Technically this is almost a flawless thrash record. Sonically it sounds a little tinny at times but that’s the only complaint on what is a headbanging record for sure.
76. Mad Capsule Markets, Osc-Dis (2001)
Standing for Oscillator in Distortion, it was the Mad Capsule Markets ninth album and first to be released in the U.S. It’s the album that got me into these Japanese metalheads and is by far their best and most accessible. Their early records were punk, then they moved to a groovy metal sound and by 1999 they were incorporating a lot of electronic elements into their music. For Osc-Dis though, they did everything from blistering rockers like “Tribe,” ska-punk on “Island” to straight pop on “All the Time In Sunny Beach.” Make no mistake though, even with the industrial tinge and escapes outside of the genre, this is definitely a killer metal album.
75. Candlemass, Candlemass (2005)
For all purposes, Candlemass had broken up after their last record in 1999 but when they announced in 2005 they were putting out a new record and with Messiah Marcolin on vocals nonetheless, I almost creamed in my pants. And then I listened to it and definitely needed to do some wash.
This is quite possibly the heaviest Candlemass record to date. Marcolin’s vocals are perfect and Leif Edling’s riffs alternate between doomy and skull crushing.
74. Black Sabbath, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973)
Why so high on the list? The main riff in “A National Acrobat” and the oddball “Who Are You,” of course. In fact, in a slew of brilliance from Sabbath in their early years it really was “Who Are You” that made this disc stand out from the rest, especially since it doesn’t have any songs on it that you hear regularly on radio.
73. Savatage, Hall of the Mountain King (1987)
Savatage’s Hall of the Mountain King is one of those records that prog metal bands will say influenced them tremendously and yet even with such a great album, they never really broke through to the mainstream. The strength of the album is in Jon Oliva’s vocals. Savatage has played heavy, power and progressive metal over the years and I’ve always thought Oliva’s vocals were great with the prog-ish stuff more so than any other style. Savatage’s catalog is all over the map and hard to digest at times and I’m happy to start and end here.
72. Tool, Undertow (1993)
How about being a 17 year-old kid and your first introduction to a band is a song called “Prison Sex.” I’m assuming even at 17, my Mom wouldn’t have let me listen to this record if she had known. But then Mom didn’t know 90% of the music I brought into the house or listened to on the 20 minute walk to my high-school.
The funny thing was, I was a total dork in all other aspects my life. I think I was playing volleyball at the time and maybe a little baseball. But my days in the honor society and as a “mathlete” didn’t scream out “I listen to Tool everybody!” But so many days were spent walking up and down the halls listening to “Sober” and “Bottom” and then nights at home in my recliner falling asleep during 60 tracks of silence, then getting startled when “Disgustipated” began at track 69, falling asleep again during the seven minutes of crickets and then being scared shitless when the answering machine message came on at the end. Those are my memories of Undertow. Love those days.
71. Queensrÿche, Operation: Mindcrime (1988)
Great timing on this album as we just talked about it over at Bottom Feeders. (And if you are reading this DK, I got some umlaut’s for you!) I’m really not much of a Queensrÿche fan to be honest but this album is almost universally loved by metalheads. A rock opera about a dude that joins a pack of people ready to assassinate political leaders, it’s almost perfect from start to finish. The riffs are heavy, yet accessible. The strings lend themselves beautifully to the overall concept and Geoff Tate is at his peak here. At the time it was a bold move for a group that had put out two albums that hadn’t done much at all so even if you don’t like the record, they get my respect for doing something so ballsy at the time.