In our ongoing series of guest columns, we’ve asked a bunch of metal’s heaviest hitters to provide us with a list of five albums they think will change you — either for the better or worse. Today’s list comes compliments of Matt Harvey of the almighty Exhumed.
Repulsion — Horrified
The fact that this album was recorded in 1986 cements it’s place as light years ahead of every other death metal or grind band at the time. The blueprint for Carcass, Napalm Death, Terrorizer, and so much more is all right here. Filthy distorted bass, out of control blast beats, post-Death / Possessed / Slayer riffs colliding headlong into the proto grind HC style riffing to cement the style that would forevermore be known as grindcore. This album defines Death Metal and Grindcore when both genres were in their infancy, an unadulterated classic.
Voivod — Dimension Hatross
When most thrash bands were playing the inevitably futile “catch up to Metallica” game in the late ’80s, these forward-thinking Quebecois were melding King Crimson, Die Kruezen, Killing Joke, and their beer-soaked post-NWOBHM origins. One of the only thrash bands not named Slayer, Exodus, or Metallica to be totally, boldly original. Snake’s quirky post-Biafra punk vocals provide a creepy narrative for this science-fiction tale of creation, destruction and everything in between. Progressive and technical without being flashy, putting songs first while defying the cliches of 80s thrash – this is the sound of a band at the absolute top of their game.
Celtic Frost — Morbid Tales
The heaviest record ever recorded. Period. Without relying on detuning, crawl-speed tempos or anything resembling technical proficiency, three pretentious dudes with black eye-makeup and cartoonish pseudonyms from Switzerland cranked out the darkest, most harrowing death metal album ever made. Delivering on the promise of Hellhammer’s shockingly heavy Apocalyptic Raids EP, the reinvented, reinvigorated trio created a deathless masterpiece that stands even taller today than it did in 1985.
Possessed — Seven Churches
I know people will argue with me about this until we’re all in some sort of underground metal retirement home, but this album is the absolute blueprint for American Death Metal. Death, Morbid Angel, Deicide, Obituary (at least the parts that aren’t Celtic Frost ripoffs) and every other 1st generation US death metal act owe a huge debt to this bunch of high-school aged Pinole maniacs. Beccera’s tortured howl is the origin point for Chuck Schuldiner, David Vincent, Martin Van Drunen and just about every other non-guttural death metal vocalist. Taking “Show No Mercy” and “Black Metal” to their logical endpoints and creating an underground sub-genre that endures to this day in the process, Seven Churches is THE ultimate death metal album.
Discharge — Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing
Distilling the anger of punk rock into it’s purest, most vicious form, Discharge upped the ante on extremity and took punk into a bleak, monochromatic world that made the Sex Pistols sound like the musically inept, glorified boy band that they were. Dischage took the three chord formula to new depths of harrowing intensity, leaving any punk band before or since simply in the dust. Paving the way for everything from Crust, D-beat, Thrash Metal, NYHC, Crossver, and a myriad of other genres, this record is absolutely essential.
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