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I consider myself an openminded metalhead (check my collection and you will see that I own albums of very different styles). I listen to almost everything within the metal field (just a bit of electronic/industrial metal, I can listen to it, but will never be a favourite). If I had to choose a few favourite genres I would say black (including black/gothic, melodic black, atmospheric black, pagan, and folk black), death (old school, death/doom, technical, progressive, brutal...), power metal (epic, melodic, symphonic, any) and epic heavy metal.
I don't hate core (except mallcore) but I prefer my metal 100% core-free.
I listen to other kinds of music too such as rock, jazz, blues, folk, movie soundtracks, and classical music.
I don't consider mallcore (also wrongly known as nu metal) as metal and I don't like when others consider it that way. Mallcore is not metal, neither good music for the most part, with very few exceptions.
I'm not new to metal as I've been listening to it for more than 13 years. I hope I will be able to contribute to this great Web resource as it has been really useful for me during all this years.
I will write reviews about my favourite bands and albums, some of them are pretty obvious, but I will also try to review albums with few or none reviews. My desire is to support the music that I love and to help new listeners to avoid the crap and to listen to quality music.
Here is a list of some of my favourite metal albums of any genre with some comments below each one (still working on it). There are many other albums that I love but these I consider masterpieces and are really special to me:
· IRON MAIDEN - Seventh Son of a Seventh Son.
[Everybody knows this band and everybody should love this band. All Maiden's albums of the 80's are great, but this is my favourite as all the songs are extremely memorable with really good songwriting. A true classic of the NWOBHM]
· JUDAS PRIEST - Painkiller.
[What to say about this legendary band? Most of their albums are very good but I'd say that it was with Painkiller where they peaked. British heavy/speed metal at its best]
· BLIND GUARDIAN - Nightfall in Middle-Earth.
[To make it short, this is one of the best (if not the best) concept metal albums of all time and Blind Guardian is one of the best bands in the whole metal field. My counsel, get their whole catalogue if you want epic, strong and complex power metal performed flawlessly]
· AVALANCH - El Ángel Caído.
[Probably the best spanish power metal album ever, with a great vocalist and superb guitar leads both emotional and highly technical at the same time. Excelent songwriting too]
· THE STORMRIDER - Criseida.
[Another pretty unique spanish power metal album. This one creates a really epic and dark atmosphere and the music is full of majestic neoclassical influences. Epic riffing, complex leads and solos and gloomy keyboards, the vocalist could have been better though]
· KAMELOT - Karma.
[One of the true masterpieces of melodic power metal from one of the best bands in that field. "Karma's" sound is smooth but both bass and guitars are very energetic offering some really memorable leads and emotional soloing. The songwriting is outstanding but for one song which is not bad but is not at the same level of the rest of the album. The mixture of epic and exotic melodies in this album is absolutely memorable. "Karma" is my personal favourite, maybe because it was my first Kamelot album, but "Epica" and "The Black Halo" are just as good and also essential. You might want to give "The Fourth Legacy" a chance too]
· DARK MOOR - The Gates of Oblivion.
[More spanish power metal and of the very best quality. This album kicks ass in every fucking aspect. Epic and more dreamy and ethereal melodies bound together for the best outcome. Plenty of complex neoclassical guitar leads, baroque keyboardwork, fast doublebass drum sections accompanied by Elisa's charismatic accented vocals. This album is on par with the best Rhapsody's albums and is one of the best Spanish metal albums you can get]
· LABYRINTH - Return to Heaven Denied.
[I think that Labyrinth is a very underrated band and a pretty unknown one. I can't understand why. "Return to Heaven Denied" is one of the best power metal albums of all time. In my opinion it's superior to many better known bands as Edguy, Dragonforce or Freedom Call. Fast power metal with a progressive edge and a romantic, dreamy feel. The songwriting is flawless and every single track amazing. The musicians are really good in every derpartment. Superb vocals, awesome riffing, technical and emotional leads, everything on this album is just perfect. The follow-up "Sons of Thunder" is also highly recommended if you like this one]
· ANGRA - Rebirth.
· METALLICA - Kill 'Em All.
[One of the first metal albums I listened to and probably the one that got me into speed/thrash. Excellent songs filled with aggresion, speed and explosive riffing and soloing, even though James' voice would improve in later realeases]
· KREATOR - Pleasure to Kill.
[Evil and frenetic german thrash. This album was a huge influence in the scandinavian black metal scene of the early 90's and for good reasons, loads of furious, filthy riffs, twisted vocals, and destructive speed. May take a few spins to get into this album. Their next albums up to and including "Coma of souls" are also essential thrash classics]
· OBITUARY - Cause of Death.
· ENTOMBED - Left Hand Path.
[The fathers of that killer swedish tone. Left Hand Path is one of the most important death metal releases ever, the proof is that even today new bands still trying to emulate its sound. It's sad that the band changed their style so soon after this album. If you haven't listened to this, and you claim to be minimally interested in death metal, do it NOW]
· GRAVE - Into the Grave.
[Grave should be acknowledged as one of the darkest and most brutal initiators of the old school swedish death metal. Into the Grave, their debut, is a great display of heavy, crushing and sick death metal. Is darker, heavier and more oppressive than Entombed and one of the best death metal albums ever hands down]
· SUFFOCATION - Effigy of the Forgotten.
· NECROPHAGIST - Epitaph.
· SPAWN OF POSSESSION - Incurso.
[A very new album, but it has managed to become a personal favourite just with a few listens. Extremely technical and pretty brutal death metal (with some hints of progressive) that will leave you wordless. The musical skill of all the band members is beyond the top, musical wizardy indeed, but also this album is not pointless wankery, as the songs are well structured and written, with a lot of dynamism within them]
· CHILDREN OF BODOM - Follow the Reaper.
[One of the most interesting metal mixtures out there. In their early albums (and also fortunately in their new one "Halo of Blood") these guys achieved to successfully blend melodic death, with thrash, speed, power and heavy metal elements. The outcome is highly complex and detailed music with neoclassical elements and astounding guitarwork and keyboards performed by really skilled musicians. Their two first albums are also recommended]
· WINTERSUN - Wintersun.
[A fucking masterpiece this one. A proyect of former Ensiferum memeber Jari Maenpaa. What we got here is an unforgettable blend of technical melodic death and epic power metal with some other extreme metal influences. The mixture works really well creating a balance between fast and mid paced songs. The album's atmosphere flows magically from epic fury to a wintry despair to more stellar landscapes. Great harsh and clean vocals and technical and emotional guitarwork]
· ENSIFERUM - Ensiferum.
[Another truly favourite, I just can't resist an amalgam of melodic death, epic power metal, folk music and pagan atmospheres when it is done so damn right. This is a more pagan/folkish affair than Wintersun but it's just as good. Epic guitar leads, glorious choirs, folk instruments and Jari's excelent vocals provide a good variety of songs, some explosive ones, other epic midpaced and a few ballads. Astounding album, check also their sophomore "Iron"]
· DANSE MACABRE - Eva.
· MOONSPELL - Wolfheart.
[One of the most original and diverse metal albums I've ever heard. Outstanding Portuguese gothic metal with black, death and folk influences combined to form a very unique entity. Every aspect of this album is remarkable, from the superb vocalist, to the original and "southern folk" flavoured melodies to the dark and passionate atmospheres. Great songwriting and lyrics too. They have changed their style several times along their career but most of their albums are very good]
· CRADLE OF FILTH - Dusk... and Her Embrace.
[I know this band is commercial, that they aren't a black metal band, that a lot of brainless goth kids worship them and all that kind of shit. But to be honest, they recorded many great albums in the past (everything until Midan including it). I don't care if they are not a "true" black metal band, call it symphonic gothic metal with melodic black metal elements if you want. The fact is that this is a very well crafted album, both aggressive and romantic (in a dark vampirical way), varied and with excelent musicians involved in spite of Dani Filth's annoying vocals. At least he is a great lyricist]
· EMBRACED - Amorous Anathema.
[Another really atypical record. A mixture of melodic death with symphonic melodic black and gothic metal. Elegant and complex keyboards mingled with powerful riffing all wraped in a romantic atmophere that will bewitch you]
· NAGLFAR - Vittra.
[Excellent Swedish melodic black metal. Lots of aggressive blasting sections but also melodic tremolo riffs, mid paced moments and a melancholic mysterious atmosphere. It's like a mixture of rage, despair and unsettling nocturnal beauty. A full of emotion and fantastic album]
· DISSECTION - Storm of the Light's Bane.
[I can't tell how much I love this album. The tone this band achieved is incredible. Aggressive, grim, furious and evil melodic black/death metal but also melodic, evocative and with a lot of depth. Varied songwriting, insane riffing, haunting leads and evil and disturbed vocals. Do you need anything else to check this out?]
· SATYRICON - Dark Medieval Times.
[Pure icy and grim norwegian black metal with an atmospheric edge and medieval aesthetics, alternating fast and intense bursts with haunting midpaced parts and acoustic sections that will transport you to the dark castle in the deep forest. Simply brilliant]
· EMPEROR - In the Nightside Eclipse.
[Probably the most influential pioneers of symphonic black metal. The keyboards fit the whole music perfectly, they are not very complex but they are very effective, somber, sinister, spectral and even cosmical at times, producing an intriguing, disturbing and fucking scary atmosphere. The use of keyboards doesn't soften the album at all, the music is twisted, hostile and very evil due to the raw production, the dynamic and pretty intricate riffing, the furious blastbeats and the malevolent shrieks. All this is embodied in a roster of incredibly well written songs. A must have for anyone minimally interested in black metal]
· ULVER - Nattens madrigal - Aatte hymne til ulven i manden.
[Raw beauty, this is the simplest way I can think to describe what this album is about. Unforgettable feral and evocative black metal with a great and very suitable lyrical concept. Might take several listens to truly appreciate this piece of art. Their first album "Bergtatt - Et Eeventyr I 5 Capitler" is also a must have]
· SETHERIAL - Nord.
[Pretty underrated debut of this swedes. "Nord" is one of the best black metal albums I've ever listened to. It has that intense, sharp, cold and wintry sound but also some sort of epic dark atmosphere, all wraped in dynamic and interesting songrwriting. Flawless. I think that this album is much better than most of the stuff made by more famous swedish black metal bands like Marduk or Dark Funeral]
· FROSTMOON - Tordenkrig.
[This one is not an album but a compilation of several band's material. And what a material this is. Solemn and warlike norwegian black metal with pagan and epic aesthetics and atmospheres. Thick riffs full of atmosphere while retaining that classical norwegian tone, tastefully used keyboards and mindblowing clean vocals and choirs, like a group of fierce vikings singing before a battle or while saying farewell to a fallen brother who starts his journey to Valhalla guided by the valkyries. Awesome stuff]
· MANEGARM - Nordstjärnans Tidsålder.
[Top notch pagan folk black metal. That is what you will find in this record. The freezing speed and fury of swedish black metal is perfectly mixed with a more epic, solemn and pagan aesthetics and folk instruments, retaining this way the best of both worlds. This is mandatory. The rest of their albums are also very recommended]
· KRODA - Поплач Мені, Річко... (Cry to Me, River...).
· MOONSORROW - Voimasta Ja Kunniasta.
· FINNTROLL - Jaktens Tid.
[Maybe not a very serious band and album but for that reason this is a tremendously funny experience. A melodic black/death basis enriched by folkish guitarwork, pagan atmospheres and chants, mouth harps, epic keyboards and humppa-polka melodies. Yes you read well, polka melodies. Very interesting album with a good roster of songs. Definitely worth hearing]