39. Lamb of God - As the Palaces Burn
In the metal revival, there are few bands striking the limelight who produced a genuine future artifact like Lamb of God did on their way up the totem with As the Palaces Burn. This is one of the most agitated, alarming and beautifully maniacal albums of the modern age.
38. Sigh - Imaginary Sonicscape
Asia is red-hot with metal and punk acts. Gonin-Ish, Boris, Chthonic and Balzac are a few standout groups, while Sigh are on another planet altogether. Mostly considered a black-death hybrid, Sigh is equal to the speed of Chthonic yet are even more inventive when the urges strike. Imaginary Sonicscopes is an album that would bury less-capable groups with its 'round the bend mood changes and lunatic genre blends. By the final note, you've been subjected to one of the most intelligent tunnels of excavation you're going to stumble into.
37. Amorphis - Tales From the Thousand Lakes
Amorphis deserves credit, if for nothing else, their fearlessness in discovering a voice. That voice is subject to change in this group and each album is a suspenseful query prior to its release date. In a couple cases, Amorphis' bravado to change up their identity has hurt them, yet they maintain a loyal fan base and much of it stems from their early-on windswept speed-death metal odyssey, Tales From the Thousand Lakes.
36. Fear Factory - Demanufacture
Is there any other band outside of Slayer and Pantera who young artists wish to emulate more than this one? Raymond Herrera redefined metal drumming after Dave Lombardo, and his signature blast beat has been mimicked and modified by would-be double-bass crushers from all walks of life. On top of it, Fear Factory married metallic grooves with sequencers and electronica to create one of the deadliest, most ambient sounds out there.
35. Queensryche - Operation Mindcrime
Often referred to as "the thinking man's heavy metal," Queensryche penned an Orwellian masterpiece which will never be topped, even by themselves. Only Pink Floyd's The Wall is a more haunted rock dystopia, yet Queensryche (still with Chris DeGarmo in the fold) created a heaving, soaring and ultimately tragic caveat about mind control and violence that is still a magnificent story to submit yourself to--pun intended.
34. AC/DC - Let There Be Rock
Everyone has a favorite AC/DC album and it's usually Back in Black or Highway to Hell. Both are crucial albums by the band that accepted their roles as scruffy heathens and played them up to the max. Dirty Deeds and High Voltage are likewise mandatory, but for the ultimate ear-blasting, sonic clout upon your thrashing noodle, it's Let There Be Rock or bust.
33. Overkill - Horrorscope
One of the most endurant metal bands in history, Overkill has seldom let anyone down on their albums, even if only Blitz and DD Verni represent the halcyon lineup, bisected by the time Horrorscope was released in 1991. That being said, Horrorscope is still one of Overkill's biggest triumphs. Nobody then would've considered the follow-up to the ravenous The Years of Decay to be this good without Bobby Gustafson, but it sure as hell was.
32. Slayer - Hell Awaits
One of the most frightening metal albums ever recorded. The legacy of Slayer was imprinted upon metal with Reign in Blood, but it was already forged beforehand. Still capable of rattling your spine.
31. Judas Priest - Sad Wings of Destiny
If I wanted to, I could dot this list with a huge bulk of Priest's catalog, since Defenders of the Faith, Screaming for Vengeance, Stained Class, Point of Entry and even Painkiller deserve to make the cut. However, it must be said that Judas Priest's long standing in the music community is best served due to their earlier works of metal impressionism. Sad Wings of Destiny is a somewhat hazy verve of rough 'n ready exploration that by now should be considered high art.
30. Prong - Beg to Differ
Cleansing put Prong on the map and Prove You Wrong might be their finest bit of songwriting, while Rude Awakening had a lot of balls for its grooves and experimenting, but for me, it's all about Beg to Differ. One of the heaviest trios outside of Motorhead, Prong delivered a series of metalhead classics beginning with this one that had slivers of "Lost and Found" and "For Dear Life" hoisted onto the original Headbangers Ball for commercial break purposes after S.O.D. had ruled it. Put up against Nirvana at the time Prong started getting hot, the mass population would obviously go with Cobain and company, but we knew the truth.
Friday, September 09, 2011
39. Lamb of God - As the Palaces Burn