|Metal: Cult Classics Pt. XVIII|
Alright, I'm gonna drop another 10 for a new installment.
While European power metal generally isn't one of my favorite styles - largely because of the epic symphonic orchestral elements that don't really gel with me - there are notable exceptions. One of them being Grave Digger's artistic peak, Rheingold. Apparently the story for this record is based on Wagner's Nibelungenlied, which is pretty sweet, I guess, if not for the fact that there's a certain thing I care about more: RIFFS. And this record has plenty of them. Yes, it's got some "epic" and choir effects, but those are thankfully kept to a minimum which puts the gritty vocals and the balls-to-the-wall heavy riffs (that have just that adequate dose of "meathead" to them) to the forefront.
The Treasures Within
Speaking of riffs, this second record by riffmeisters Merciless, unsurprisingly, has tons of them. Merciless' three classic records are a textbook showcase of riff-craft and venomous viciousness in metal. This album is another testament to that.
1.3.8. - code for grave robbery
Devourment are regarded as the innovators of slam and this compilation features the best they got to offer: the classic slam song "Babykiller" as well as the classic record "Molesting the Decapitated". The music is utterly moronic, but at the same time has this thick atmosphere of vileness and wrongness. You'll either smirk at the stupidity of it all or you'll feel kinda unnerved.
Featuring a killer vocal performance by Warrel Dane, Refuge Denied is a heavy USPM release that was already a superb indicator of further greatness to come with the follow-up or the Nevermore catalogue.
Splenium For Nyktophobia
One of the 25,000 "obscure death metal underground classics from the 90's" this Swedeath relic is nonetheless one that's definitely worth looking into; if not only for the excellent performance by Fredrik Norrman. Tying the record together with well-placed hardcore-influenced riffs and hypnotic leads, Norrman once again proves to be one of the most underrated guitar players in Swedish metal.
She Lay Gutted
Another slam classic, Disgorge arguably don't have the "I just watched the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre on a beat-up VHS copy" vibe of colleagues Devourment. What they do have on this album is what's probably the greatest gurgler in this particular style in Matti Way as well as the more thought-out songwriting, speeding up or bringing it all to a brief crawl when it's called for.
Life and Death
One of Paul Chain's finest. Old school doom at its weirdest and most messed up with resident weirdo Paolo's signature guitar playing and warbling wordless vocal work.
|8||Church of Misery|
Master of Brutality
The first full length by the Japanese stoner doomsters sounds remarkably American. Matter of fact, I don't think it's possible to sound more American than this record for any band anywhere, including the USA itself.
Featuring a different vocalist who sounds eerily close to Matt Pike, this album (like the follow-up) features some of the greatest blues-metal riffs in the business.
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: Part II
Part 2 of Virgin Steele's peak trilogy. Brilliant songwriting and a masterful vocal performance by what was once one of the greatest vocalists in heavy metal.
In the Maze of Kadath
Just look at that fucking cover. While nothing comes close to the nightmarish vision of finding yourself lost in the middle of the ocean while suddenly Cthulhu itself rises out of the water, there are times when the music itself comes eerily close. Especially when the creeping keys suddenly doom over the rumbling guitars (that in terms of texture seem to carry a distinct black metal influence as well) and the abyssic vocals.
One of the most interesting EP's in old school death metal.