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Alex Newton
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My Genre-Defining Albums

Controversial? Obviously. But these are my picks for the albums that perfected a sound that eluded the hordes of bands who tried to copy it. Mind you, these are MY genre-defining albums. Feel free to share your views on it.
1Mastodon
Leviathan


Progressive Metal (Sludgy kind) - 2004 - Key Song: Seabeast - Though they've since moved on from the sound on Leviathan, Mastodon were the kings of crushing and unstoppable grooves from around 2002-2006. Leviathan represents their peak in terms of raw power and storytelling through music.
2Opeth
Blackwater Park


Progressive Metal (Death kind) - 2001 - Key Track: The Drapery Falls - Masterminded by Mike Akerfeldt, Opeth has written some of the most breathtaking music in metal, with not one, but two albums regarded as among the greatest ever in their field of work.
3Gamma Ray
Land of the Free


Power Metal - 1995 - Key Track: Rebellion in Dreamland - Between Land of the Free and Somwhere Out In Space, Kai Hansen and Gamma Ray got their sound absolutely right and took a tiring genre to new heights. Filled with memorable riffs and terrific technical ability, Land of the Free - specifically it's tour de force Rebellion in Dreamland - represents the pinnacle of Power Metal. You just can't do it any better than this.
4Slayer
Reign in Blood


Thrash Metal - 1986 - Key Track: Angel of Death - I really don't like Slayer. They keep winning the goddamned Best Metal Performance instead of the bands I want to win. But by God, they've done some great music.
5Deep Purple
Machine Head


Hard Rock - 1972 - Key Track: Highway Star - From the chugging attack of Highway Star (boasting one of the greatest soloing duels ever) to by all accounts the most enduring riff in rock history (Smoke on the Water), Deep Purple's Machine Head got everything right while pushing the boundaries of hard rock at the time. The 7-minute jam Lazy is a perfect example of how the dual attack of Jon Lord's organ and Blackmore's guitar could make a classic out of a piece that most bands wouldn't bother even trying.
6Death
Symbolic


Death Metal - 1991 - Key Track: Suicide Machine - Come on, the genre is named after them. With Symbolic, Death took a leap forward in musicianship and songwriting, and what they produced is still regarded as a masterpiece of death metal. Introspective, dark and unforgettable, Human is a must-listen if you ever dabble in the genre.
7Judas Priest
Screaming for Vengeance


Heavy Metal - 1982 - Key Track: Electric Eye - It was a toss-up between this and Iron Maiden's Powerslave, but Priest did it first so they the nod. From the opening chords of The Hellion, Screaming for Vengeance lives up to its title and blows the listener away with searing riffs and Rob Halford's incredible vocal abilites. You try singing "Riding on the Wind". Now try doing it for 40 years. That's what makes a legend.
8Emperor
In the Nightside Eclipse


Black Metal - 1994 - Key Track: I Am the Black Wizards - Everybody tried to copy it. Only Emperor succeeded.
9Cynic
Focus


Fusion Metal - 1993 - Key Track: Textures - Paul Masvidal is a genius, and Focus proved it. Combining genres in a way no band bad before (though Atheist was close), Cynic paved the way for Metal's expansion into new territories in every direction with this landmark release. (And as if that wasn't enough, they did it again with 2008's Traced in Air.)
10Converge
Jane Doe


Hardcore Metal - 2001 - Key Track: Jane Doe - Brutal, powerful, emotional and unrelenting...Jane Doe is a piece that every band would love to create, but only a select few, such as Converge, have been able to forge into a full album's worth of unforgettable music.
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