Hall of Fame

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.”

Immortal – “At the Heart of Winter”

October 1, 2007

In 1995, Norwegian corpsepaint legends Immortal were on top of the world: With Mayhem’s Hellhammer sitting in on drums, vocalist/bassist Abbath and guitarist/lyricist Demonaz were high on the icy grimness of their own Battles in the North and opening for Morbid Angel on the European leg of the Domination tour.

Electric Wizard – “Dopethrone”

September 18, 2007

With a few coughs at the beginning of “Sweet Leaf,” Tony Iommi officially hailed cannabis as the drug of choice for the kind of people who dug Black Sabbath.

Bad Brains – “Bad Brains”

August 1, 2007

While a pretty good case could be made for inducting either Rock for Light or I Against I into our esteemed Hall, the debut full-length by DC-cum-New York’s Bad Brains deserves the coveted nod; not just for its blazing punk/hardcore, but the circumstances surrounding its creation.

Cave In – “Until Your Heart Stops”

July 18, 2007

Cave In have had many musical identities since their inception in Methuen, MA, in 1995, but the one that first established them as underground heroes was the dizzying, face-ripping metal blowout now known the world over as Until Your Heart Stops.

Quicksand – “Slip”

June 18, 2007

Quicksand are as easy to classify as any band in our ever-expanding Hall of Fame: The New York quartet was post-hardcore in every sense of the term.

Obituary – “Cause of Death”

May 1, 2007

Death metal had never sounded so guttural and primal before Obituary’s 1989 debut, Slowly We Rot, infected record stores.

Cryptic Slaughter – “Money Talks”

April 18, 2007

The word “metalcore” is so ingrained in modern extreme music, it seems unimaginable that there was a time when metal and hardcore were completely separate worlds.

Darkthrone – “A Blaze in the Northern Sky”

March 18, 2007

When Darkthrone’s monumental epic, A Blaze in the Northern Sky, hit the shelves in 1991, it was an album of hesitant firsts: the first Norwegian black metal album (Mayhem’s Live in Leipzig came out earlier but with faulty distribution); the first major second-wave black metal album, globally (Czech group Master’s Hammer had released Ritual a year prior, but with less impact); the first truly blackened death metal album; and the first to chime DM’s death knell in popularity.

Celtic Frost – “Morbid Tales”

February 18, 2007

Of all the classic albums thus far inducted into Decibel’s Hall of Fame, none has had a greater influence on the death metal and black metal that succeeded it than Celtic Frost’s Morbid Tales.

ONLY Living Witness – “Prone Mortal Form”

January 1, 2007

They were the best band you never heard of. Unless you lived in the greater Boston area between 1989 and 1995, worked at Century Media, or happened to catch them on your local college radio station (or on their 1993 European tour with the Cro-Mags), Only Living Witness were virtual unknowns.

The Dillinger Escape Plan – “Calculating Infinity”

December 18, 2006

This one’s a no-brainer. Regardless of what you think about Calculating Infinity, you can’t deny that the 11 tracks on this album revolutionized extreme music and raised the bar in terms of technicality, musicianship, speed, dynamics–even visual presentation, album photography, and design.

Meshuggah – “Destroy Erase Improve”

November 18, 2006

Everyone remembers that one episode of The Osbournes some five years back where Ozzy’s ungrateful male sprog took it upon himself to use Meshuggah’s Destroy Erase Improve as a thrust and parry in the suburban war against his Beverly Hills neighbors.

Monster Magnet – Dopes to Infinity

October 18, 2006

After Nirvana’s Nevermind tore the “alternative rock market” a seven-figure asshole, every major label with easy access to a couple of guitar-wielding longhairs was vying to shove its swollen corporate phallus into the proverbial money-ring of brown fire.

Rollins Band – “The End of Silence”

September 18, 2006

It was October 1991 and Andy Wallace was getting richer by the day. The veteran producer/engineer was reaping the financial rewards of mastering Nirvana’s recently released (and completely unexpected) commercial juggernaut Nevermind.

Brutal Truth – “Need to Control”

August 1, 2006

When New York grinders Brutal Truth released their debut, Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Responses, bassist extraordinaire Danny Lilker (Anthrax, S.O.D., Exit-13) had just severed his ties with Nuclear Assault.

Deadguy – “Fixation on a Coworker”

July 1, 2006

“Hi Kevin, I’m coming down to your office now. Um… could you please make sure that noise you’re always blasting is off by the time I get there? Thanks!”

Eyehategod – “Take as Needed for Pain”

June 19, 2006

Drugs, disease, crime, abuse, poverty, paranoia, drugs, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol: Such are the cornerstones of Eyehategod’s time-honored New Orleans aesthetic.

My Dying Bride – “Turn Loose the Swans”

May 19, 2006

In 1991 My Dying Bride already stood out from the cookie-cutter, cookie-monster death metal that was hegemonic in the underground at the time.

Morbid Angel – “Altars of Madness”

April 1, 2006

The sweltering heat and merciless humidity of mid- to late-‘80s Florida proved a fertile breeding ground for a burgeoning genre that would announce itself to the world as death metal.

Sleep – “Jerusalem”

March 19, 2006

The words “stoner epic” don’t even come close to describing the extreme riff-hypnosis that Jerusalem visited upon the red-eyed legions of heshers, grass pirates, and acid casualties who genuflected at the altar of the legendary San Jose power-trio known as Sleep.

Cathedral – “Forest of Equilibrium”

February 19, 2006

In 1989, while the extreme metal underground was bingeing on the high-speed savagery of death metal and grindcore, ex-Napalm Death vocalist Lee Dorrian and Carcass roadie Mark “Griff” Griffiths were getting ripped on British cider, brown weed, and the down-tuned Sabbathian histrionics of Trouble, St. Vitus, and Witchfinder General.

Emperor – “In the Nightside Eclipse”

December 19, 2005

In the Norwegian summer of 1993, the second wave of black metal was still in its ultra-violent infancy, and only a handful of bands were actively exploring the parameters of what was then an obscure and distinctly Scandinavian art form.

Botch – “We Are the Romans”

November 1, 2005

1999 was a transitional year for both underground music and America’s most iconic freestanding structures.

Atheist – “Unquestionable Presence”

October 1, 2005

Hearken back to when you first slapped on Calculating Infinity. Recall how completely overwhelmed you were by the Dillinger Escape Plan’s virtuosity, originality, technicality and songs seemingly designed to induce vertigo.

Carcass – “Necroticism – Descanting The Insalubrious”

September 1, 2005

Liverpudlian grind titans Carcass may not have invented grindcore with 1991’s Necroticism – Descanting the Insalubrious, but they certainly opened it up to a magnitude of previously unfathomed possibilities.

Entombed – “Left Hand Path”

August 1, 2005

Death metal was still in its infancy when Left Hand Path came roaring out of Stockholm like Satan’s official theme music—a deafening cavalcade of impossibly thick guitars, guttural vocal incantations, and gore-drenched lyrics that struck a considerable contrast—well, the guitars, anyway—to the burgeoning Floridian death-swarm (Obituary, Death, Morbid Angel) of the day.

Anthrax – “Among the Living”

July 1, 2005

1987 was a big year for coke-metal and bad hair: Def Leppard’s Hysteria, Mötley Crüe’s Girls, Girls, Girls, Whitesnake’s Whitesnake, and Guns n’ Roses’ Appetite For Destruction were all bum-rushing the charts like a pack of wild junkies tearing through Steven Tyler’s medicine cabinet at 4AM—which most of them were, anyway.

Paradise Lost – “Gothic”

June 1, 2005

Northern England, 1990. Amid the cacophony of blast beats echoing from the speed obsessed world of UK death metal and grindcore, five lads from the grim North were feverishly gathering songs and ideas for the follow up to their doom laden debut album Lost Paradise.