I started this site back in December 2011 for pure catharsis. I simply needed an outlet to vent my thoughts on music, honestly. It’s grown and blossomed into something cool and allowed me to grow as a writer. In honor of this, I decided to make my 100th post special, mostly because I’m shocked the site has gone on this long without me getting bored with it. The reason this site has grown into something awesome is because of the cool people that read it. Now, as a reward to you cool people, I’ve decided to arbitrarily list my 100 favorite metal albums of all time. Before you judge my list too harshly, just remember, this is completely for fun, and based solely on personal taste. I’m not egotistical enough to call these the best metal albums of all time. I just feel that each one of these albums has affected my life in some way or another and regardless of rank, every one of them holds a near and dear place in my heart. Enjoy the list, and be sure and comment below with your thoughts.
November 7, 2012 | Categories: Listomania | Tags: at the gates, autopsy, black sabbath, bolt thrower, celtic frost, converge, death, dismember, down, electric wizard, entombed, floor, iron maiden, judas priest, kyuss, living sacrifice, megadeth, meshuggah, metallica, motorhead, napalm death, nuclear assault, obituary, overkill, pantera, rwake, saint vitus, sepultura, slayer, suicidal tendencies, torche, voivod, zao | 11 Comments »
As you know, February is Black History Month. Black History Month is a time when America pays tribute to historical figures like Martin Luther King Jr, and Rosa Parks, and Comedy Central pays tribute to comedians like Eddie Murphy, Dave Chappell, and Richard Pryor. With Black History Month coming towards an end, i’ve decided to pay tribute to black history in my own way…black metal history, that is. This is a list of five of my favorite black metal albums of all time. Naturally, there’s going to be plenty of bands and albums left off the list, but these are just five that i’m a huge fan of. Let’s honor these five fantastic albums, and pay homage to a genre so awesome that Jim James decided to write a song about it. Also, if this offends you, i’m sorry, but maybe you need to be offended.
This album was released in June of 1984, when I was still practicing bicycle kicks in my mothers womb. I was not the only thing barely born when Celtic Frost’s debut album was released, however. When this incredibly monumental album dropped, thrash metal was still a toddler, black metal was still a twinkle in Quorthon’s eye, and death metal was still four years away from Death. Morbid Tales completely shattered the landscape of metal, and completely changed the thought process of what metal could really be. This album is, quite literally, a one-stop-shop of awesomeness that singlehandedly helped spawn death, black, and thrash metal…in fact, there’s even some doom thrown in for good measure. This isn’t your typical black metal album due to it’s overly-groovy riffs, and unorthodox tone, but Celtic Frost are a member of the sacred group of first-wave black metal bands, and this album is definitely their most prodigious effort.
Darkthrone – A Blaze In The Northern Sky
This is the first album on this list with a traditional black metal sound. This is Darkthrone’s second album, and their first real black metal album. Blaze came out in 1992, and is one of the most important albums of the second wave of black metal. To create the authentic Darkthrone sound, they took semi death metal riffs, and gave them a raw production value, which sounds kind of like someone driving a riding lawnmower at 100 mph, and the drums sound like they were recorded in Fenriz’s garage. Even though the production on this album is very raw, and pretty horrible, it was one of the many signatures that made this band so good. This is my favorite Darkthrone album due to the still looming swedish death metal influence on the riffs, and the uncontrollable anger with which it exudes. No good list about black metal would be complete without Darkthrone, and this album is arguably, one of the greatest black metal albums of all time.
So far, i’ve covered two of the most important sounds of early black metal, the thrashy first wave, and the rawer, more violent second wave. With the release of their second album “Frost”in 1994, Enslaved were one of the first metal bands to put a different name to their sound, it was coined “viking metal”. The sound on this album is alot like bands like Darkthrone, and Mayhem, with the raw, violent riffs and production style, but it also features a more technical style of riffing. For the best examples of this, listen to the tracks “Fenris” and “Jotunblod”. They also had a more progressive approach than their peers, the best example of this is the track “Yggdrasil” which features some weird Norwegian chants, and an instrument that sounds like a didgeridoo. Due to their more progressive, psychadelic sound these days, Enslaved are always overlooked as an actual black metal band, but with one listen to the incredibly violent, technically crushing, and astonishingly proficient riffs on this album, you’ll see why it made this list. This may not be the kind of viking metal made popular currently by bands like Amon Amarth, but thanks to a unique approach, fantastic songwriting, and a heavy dose of mead, this album leaves the majority of today’s “viking metal” bands buried under a foot of snow.
Emperor – In The Nightside Eclipse
You’ve now heard about albums that showcase the genre’s thrashy side, it’s adventurous viking-influenced side, and it’s rawer, more violent side. This album is an example of symphonic black metal, one that is it’s most popular style in this day and age. This album is, like the others i’ve mentioned, one of the genre’s crowning achievements. Like all good black metal, it’s got the ever popular, and technically superb guitar riffs, as well as vicious, throaty croaks for vocals, but most importantly, it’s got epic keyboards! Even though these songs would stand apart perfectly on their own, the keyboards add a very majestic compliment to each song on this album, and evoke powerful imagery. If you aren’t sold on this album yet, simply check out the track “I Am The Black Wizards”, and tell me it doesn’t make you want to drive 100 mph through a driving snow storm, while wielding an axe, and hunting Mastodons for dinner.
Immortal – Sons Of Northern Darkness
This album is alot different from the four albums mentioned above, due to the fact that, it came out in 2002, and features a much more modern sound. Like Immortal’s earlier albums, “Sons Of Northern Darkness” is full of angry, skin-charring riffs, however, i’d say it’s more thrash and death metal influenced than their previous albums. My favorite part about this album is Abbath’s gravel-throated battle cries and armor piercing riffs, however, the real M.V.P. here is the production of Peter Tagtgren. Without the Bloodbath/Hypocrisy mainman’s monstrous production, this album would sound like every other blackened thrash metal album out nowadays, instead of a violent, brooding, monster. If you haven’t heard this album you should buy it, along with an axe, and prepare to do some redecorating of your bedroom.