Down — Nola
At the time it came out, it was completely different than everything that was popular at that time. It came at a time when mixing styles was generally viewed as negative. But this album really didn’t give a shit. It was loaded with great songs that had lyrical depth, phenomenal guitar work, and appeal to fans of different genres. I listened to this album continuously, I wore out the cassette…and the CD.
At The Gates — Slaughter of the Soul
I first saw the video for “Blinded by Fear” on an underground metal public access cable channel called “Raw Power.” At the time, my older brother was really into them and took me to a show in Fort Lauderdale. After seeing them live and buying the CD, I couldn’t stop listening to it. Every song was amazing and it is one of those rare albums I could listen to back to back. I’d heard generic Thrash, Death, and Black before but never anything like this. It was my introduction to melodic death metal. I still listen to the album fairly regularly.
Burzum — Aske
I heard this album on cassette while the tape trades were still fairly popular. It blew me away. Without a doubt the most extreme thing I’d ever heard. After hearing it, I was determined to find it and since Underground Metal still hadn’t made its way into Specs, I found some small distro in Metal Maniacs that was selling it on CD. It took me about a month, but I finally got it and have it still today. Barely any song on that CD will play all the way through without skipping, but I hold onto that album as a reminder of the drive I had to find that album.
Slayer — Divine Intervention
I heard of this album through 1-800-Music Now which was the only way to hear of and sample new bands. You used to call that number and they would play you clips from any album you wanted to hear. Obviously this came WAY before the Internet. And I had to get my older sister to buy the album for me because of the parental label and the artwork. When I heard it, I listened to it religiously. I would write the lyrics down all over my notebooks in class and drew the cover as a final art project in the sixth grade. This album was amazing to me. This is another album I can listen to all the songs off of without skipping tracks. This Slayer album is when I noticed them really begin to change. Vocally as well as song composing.
…And Oceans — The Symmetry of I, The Circle of O
I heard of this album from Tom Stevens (Nokturnel) when he was still doing his Nokturnel Eclipse Distro. He knew I was into melodic Death, Black, and weird off the wall shit. So he recommended this one and I’m so glad he did. This album is amazing to trip or smoke to. It has a bizarre aesthetic to it that is enticing to the fan of obscure underground music. The lush sound of the keys blended well with the thick distorted guitars. And the lyrical theme is bat shit crazy which is probably my favorite aspect of the album. I can listen to this album from beginning to end as well without skipping tracks.