Repulsion – “Horrified”

August 18, 2008

It’s both Repulsion’s genre-sparking album and the way enlightened metal fans will look at you should you admit ignorance of the fact—which is very well possible, seeing as Repulsion has always been a band that your favorite bands worshipped, but were somehow otherwise criminally unheard of.

Down – “NOLA”

July 1, 2008

If there’s just one person in the world who’ll never forget the exact date NOLA came out, it’s Eyehategod guitarist/Down drummer Jimmy Bower.

Cannibal Corpse – “Tomb of the Mutilated”

June 1, 2008

“To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women,” so said Arnold Schwarzenegger as Conan in 1982’s Conan the Barbarian when asked, “What is best in life?”

Napalm Death – “Scum”

May 1, 2008

Without Napalm Death’s Scum, you probably wouldn’t be holding this magazine. This album—essentially a split LP between two almost completely different lineups—defined grindcore with its growled vocals, whirring, hardcore-influenced riffs and faster-than-a-locomotive blast beats.

Mastodon – “Remission”

April 18, 2008

While it’ll never be regarded as the kind of breakthrough record Leviathan became, thanks to universal acclaim (indie rock critics and all) and its inclusion on not one but three video game soundtracks (Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Project Gotham Racing 3, Saints Row), Mastodon’s Remission LP is much more important in the scheme of the band’s history and modern metal itself.

Coalesce – “0:12 Revolution in Just Listening”

March 18, 2008

Of all of their bizarrely captivating feats, the fact that Coalesce managed to create arguably their most important album after they had ceased to be a band has to rank near the top of the list.

Opeth – “Orchid”

February 1, 2008

Opeth’s Orchid existed among tape traders for almost a full year, either as a partial or full album with the songs cut in random places, before Candlelight unfurled it upon an unsuspecting public in May 1995.

Converge – “Jane Doe”

January 1, 2008

Call it the face that launched a thousand metalcore graphic designers (into a rat-race of feverish mimicry).

Diamond Head – “Lightning to the Nations”

December 1, 2007

It’s a stretch to call Diamond Head’s 1980 debut, Lightning to the Nations, “extreme” metal. In their era, the über-influential New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Diamond Head—four teenage mates from Stourbridge, England—were well-respected practitioners of a burgeoning new form of metal that was brash, raw and relatively fast.

Katatonia – “Brave Murder Day”

November 18, 2007

Katatonia’s initial incarnation as a black doom outfit—replete with corpsepaint, weapons, stage names like Lord Seth and Blackheim, and song titles “Without God” and “Palace of Frost”—probably caught as many Darkthrone acolytes off guard as it did followers of England’s doom metal “big three.”