Guest Column: Five Albums That Will Change You By Agiel’s James Taylor



A long time ago, we asked a bunch of bands to submit columns on the following topic: Five Albums That Will Change Your Life. Today, we bring you an entry provided by Agiel’s James Taylor.

Behemoth’s Zos Kia Cultus
These guys are true artists and this album is definitely one of their masterpieces. If you ever have the opportunity to see them live — take it. Zos Kia Cultus was released over a decade ago in 2002, but it hasn’t aged a day. The sheer intensity and ferocity of this album will change the way you see extreme metal forever. What’s even more impressive is knowing how close their live performance of these songs gets to the album. This album impresses me to this day and opened my eyes to just how far this genre could be pushed. Simply incredible.

Meshuggah’s Destroy Erase Improve
This album was a genre defining moment and has to be recognized as something truly unique in the history of metal. Destroy Erase Improve was published in 1995, yet it still sounds cutting edge. Listening to this album was a life-changing event for me. It’s one of the catalyst albums that made me want to start creating music of my own. The mix of off-kilter timing changes, impossibly low guitar riffs, aggressive vocal style and imagination is unbeatable. This is one of those CDs that you listen to again and again; each time through you’ll notice more and more detail. It’s been almost 20 years since its release and I think it will still sound ahead of its time in another 20.

Emperor’s Prometheus: The Discipline of Fire & Demise
Emperor’s 2001 release, Prometheus was their fourth and final album. It was also arguably one of their greatest. The album envelops you in a wonderfully melancholy sense of introspection. I am a huge fan of all the band’s albums, but this one has a mystique about it that is hard to quantify. Maybe it had something to do with knowing that this was the final opus that makes listening to it seem like a privilege. The complexity of the musical arrangements is truly inspiring. That’s what I brought away from my first listening of the album — inspiration. It created a burning desire in me to create masterpieces of my own.

Dimmu Borgir’s Death Cult Armageddon
The band’s 2003 juggernaut release has been a critical and commercial success, but it was also an amazingly refined expression of the black metal genre. It was a shocking departure from the bands 2001 release, Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia in both style and substance. They retained the core Dimmu Borgir sound while also taking the band in a completely unprecedented direction. After hearing it I was amazed at how powerful each of the tracks on the CD sounded. The writing and arranging was so refined and mature, raising the bar for everyone and altering the landscape of black metal forever.

Morbid Angel’s Domination
Released in 1995, Morbid Angel’s fourth full length release was aptly titled Domination. This CD is just that – pure, overbearing death metal at its best. This album was my introduction to death metal and its will be forever branded into my mind. The songs are overflowing with aggression an attitude. Though some are not very fond of it, I love the vocal style that was achieved on this release. The performances on each of the songs are flawlessly executed. At the time I remember that the only word I had to describe their sound was “evil,” but it fits the atmosphere of the recording so well. This album greatly affected me as a musician and I highly recommend listening to it.

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