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Favourite Metal Albums Released in 1999

Favourite Metal Albums Released in 1999

by Luxi Lahtinen

All interviews conducted by Luxi Lahtinen

As Canadian cult underground metal media site, The Metal Crypt, celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2024, we thought it would be a great idea to talk about some albums that were released in 1999. 1999 probably wasn't the greatest year for metal, but some significant metal albums were released, nonetheless. We invited several musicians to pick the three most important metal albums from that year and talk about what made these albums somehow more special.

Without further ado, here are the results...

What makes these three albums released in 1999 so special for you?

Timo Alhström (FREEDOMINATION): It is true that year wasn't the best for metal. I decided to pick three albums that I got into back in 1999 instead of picking albums like Criteria for a Black Widow, The Gathering and Dreaming Neon Black, etc. that I discovered later on.

The albums I picked are:

Danzig - Satan's Child
Type O Negative - World Coming Down
Bruce Dickinson - Scream for Me Brazil

Why are they special? Because they were a big part of my childhood growing up as a teenager. I was 13-14 years old back then and slowly building my musical identity, so to speak.

I was already very familiar with Danzig from The Misfits and Samhain and also the early Danzig albums because my big sister was really into punk. Satan's Child is a really heavy and dark record that I found very intriguing at that young age. Danzig himself is one of my all-time favorite musicians.

Type O Negative was an odd band for me, and I had heard some October Rust stuff before '99 (thanks again to big sister). World Coming Down, just like Satan's Child, is a really dark and heavy album but it's also slow as hell, so it was a bit of a challenge to a young me. This one I didn't really appreciate as much back then as a whole but I loved the atmosphere, and it was exciting to listen to it on headphones while going to school. This and Samhain's November Coming Fire were my favorites back then to put on my Walkman on those trips! And how much darker can it get than "Everyone I Love Is Dead" or "Everything Dies..."? What a dark ride.

Bruce Dickinson's Scream for Me Brazil is maybe my favorite live album. What a killer release with songs mostly from the great Chemical Wedding and Accident of Birth albums to go with two songs from Balls to Picasso. The performances are deadly good and the "Tears of the Dragon" live version on this album is mind-blowing. I've spent quite a lot of time with this live release, especially when I was younger.

Ricard (PROSCRITO): Ave, Luxi. It already feels like home, so thanks again for the invitation. Right, I'm such a mess when remembering dates and years, so I might have forgotten something truly special, but this time I'd opt for the following: Immolation — Failures for Gods, Pentagram — Review Your Choices and Disciples of Mockery — Prelude to Apocalypse. They hold a special place in my heart for different reasons, and I was exposed to them during different times when I was still a tender, young fella, so you can tell they're all embedded in my DNA. I'll work my way through different paragraphs this time, taking Wannes' lead (hey, Sindrome über alles!) We've always been the talkative kind, you know.

Okay, I've always been a feverish Immolation fan, maybe that's why a part of the Dawn of Possession artwork is etched on my right arm and Failures for Gods might suffer from the ugly duckling syndrome as happened with Suffocation's Breeding the Spawn, the albums everyone loves to hate due to the production and I love to WORSHIP and list among my favorites due to the songs but also because of the production! As one friend of mine said (hey Chris!), death metal is not supposed to sound beautiful, so both works fit like a glove, although I can understand some of the criticisms, especially with Suffocation. In the case of Immolation, those drums sound particularly BARBARIC and enhance what I tend to perceive as their most savage release, so no need to explain further why I have a soft spot for it. In some ways, I think it blends perfectly with the primitivism (if such an adjective could ever be related to that fine body of Yonkersonians) of the debut and the militaristic, belligerent approach of the following albums ("Under the Supreme," off their full-length Here in After, remains one of my favorite songs and a perfect display of what I'm after when overanalyzing this). Damn you, I just had to stop what I was listening to and play this beast for the umpteenth time, feeling the goosebumps on my face again...

Next one: Pentagram's Review Your Choices might not be deemed as canon as the S/T or Day of Reckoning to some, but I used to boast constantly about it being my favorite for several reasons. It represents a certain moment frozen in time with the band at its worst, a kind of "us against the world" threat (like Darkthrone's Moonfog era, so to speak) when no one seemed to give a fukk about the genre they were playing at the time, when doom metal was doomed indeed and not of the same cloth hipster tote bags are made of. Bobby's life was in shambles and Joe, a driving beast, attained the most vicious, testicular, ballsy, and chemical-addled guitar tone ever recorded. You can almost feel the methadone oozing out the grooves of that stunning gatefold vinyl by Black Widow Records. "Burning Rays" screams of dangerous and feral heavy metal, but when that bone-chilling remake of the classic Death Row tune "Change of Heart," infects your crypt you know you're truly fukked. For good. The sound of sadness, depression, loss, failure, and of failing and never wanting to try again, of wanting to hurt someone, to hurt oneself and giving away everything. "Crack my amps, take a stance, my god, the music's never been this loud before..." I barely can type this without a chill going down my spine. Now that's one of the best performances by the human insect. I could talk about this record for ages and never get bored. Supreme heaviness added to the already unsurpassable '70s numbers (it makes you almost forget that original watery solo in the title track), an excellent in-your-face production and riffs for ages, along with a constant spiral of dementia and disorienting tracks that do the whole a great favor. "Downhill Slope" as the title is so telling, too. I'm gonna mow ya down!!!

As for Disciples of Mockery, it's just one of the most perfect and unique death metal albums ever recorded. Great lineup (3/4 of early Incantation seemed a wet dream to this teenager who'd spun Onward to Golgotha obsessively and daily for a whole year straight, and then some), excellent layout and photography work, song titles and lyrics, a pervading sense of clinical coldness and gasmask cruelty and a sociopathic vocal performance that cannot be topped, although very different from what Craig pulled out in Incantation. Also, there's that sheer underground spirit in the entire package. I don't know how to explain it, either you get it, or you don't.

Kari Kankaanpää (SEPULCHRAL CURSE): I will explain in my further answers what makes these three 1999 albums so special and unique for me personally.

1. Runemagick – Enter the Realm of Death
2. Lake of Tears – Forever Autumn
3. Cannibal Corpse – Bloodthirst

Shaun Farrugia (IN MALICE'S WAKE): Here are my three picks (strangely all are the highlights of the bands' entire career for me, with the exception of Opeth - Ghost Reveries possibly).

1. Testament - The Gathering

So much to like about all of these but most has probably already been said. This is the heaviest the band sounded, the magic partnership with Lombardo, and great songs. The biggest influence on my own music there is.

2. Angelcorpse - The Inexorable

That insane riff magic over the intense drums and vocals is my go too for thrash/death, perfection.

3. Children of Bodom – Hatebreeder

The guitar playing on this album is just insane, the best they ever did.

Bonus mentions:

Sodom - Code Red
Opeth - Still Life

I didn't realize so many albums came out that year and missed heaps, like Cannibal Corpse, etc. Tough choice!

Ivan Lazarov (TERRAVORE): My personal favorite three releases of 1999 are:

1. Immortal - At the Heart of Winter
2. Control Denied - The Fragile Art of Existence
3. Children of Bodom - Hatebreeder

Let's start from the back with the CoB record. It's one of those releases that I was enjoying and repeating during my high school years. It is a very musical album, well composed, and an absolute melo-death classic. It was definitely one of the best releases of the band's career and for me, it has stood the test of time and still sounds fresh to me. There aren't many bands who can achieve such a good release in that specific metal genre.

Control Denied or Death or just Chuck, it's like the "Holy Trinity," haha. I believe they're all under Schuldiner's influence and control. One of the best gems of the whole metal genre. It's pretty obvious that during the years of Sound of Perseverance and The Fragile Art of Existence, Chuck was at his most mature form. You can hear it in the music, and you can also read it in his lyrics for both releases. Serious topics, fragile, emotional stuff. It touches my soul. Every musician on that record has or had (sadly) a legendary level of talent. To this day, that release still stands as unique to me. And if we keep in mind that this is the only record under the name "Control Denied," yes, it's their best. I can't compare it to the Death catalog because the only close album is Sound of Perseverance and to be honest, I think I prefer that one. It is simply so unique. The clean vocals are great. Awesome choice by Chuck to give the main vocal parts to Tim Aymar (RIP) who had an amazing voice that fit the atmosphere of that record.

My first choice is somehow sentimental to me. It's also a release that I mostly listened to during my high school years, but I also listen every winter. When I see snow outside, it's time to hear Immortal's At the Heart of Winter. The vibe that this album gives is cold but also very warm at the same time. The lyrics are simple, and the voice isn't diversified, but the music is great and on point. It has stood the test of time for sure because up to this day, I still haven't heard any band like Immortal. Abbath's voice may not be so varied, but it's unique and recognizable. The production is perfect for the whole theme of that record. This and Sons of Northern Darkness are the best records by Immortal and black metal classics for me.

Alec Damiano (VARKAN): My three albums of 1999:

Children of Bodom – Hatebreeder
Arch Enemy - Burning Bridges
Control Denied - The Fragile Art of Existence

Hatebreeder and Burning Bridges were some of my introductions to extreme metal. The first death metal song I was ever exposed to was "Bed of Razors" by Children of Bodom, thanks to a friend who was in a musician's club with me in school. I dove into the rest of the Hatebreeder album and was immediately sold on COB and melodic death metal (melodeath) in general.

Naturally, I began checking out similar bands like Arch Enemy and Death. I was first introduced to Arch Enemy with Khaos Legions, but then I began delving into their older material with Johan Liiva. Burning Bridges has some of my favorite riffs and songwriting in all of death metal.

I have always gravitated towards Death's more melodic material. The Fragile Art of Existence means a lot to me because it's a different sort of masterpiece from one of metal's greatest songwriters, Chuck Schuldiner. You can still hear Death in it, but it has its own unique identity. Some legendary players were also involved (Steve DiGiorgio, Richard Christy, Shannon Hamm). I was saddened to find out that the singer Tim Aymar passed away last year. The man was an absolute powerhouse of a vocalist.

Timo Lehtinen (KALMAH): The ones I picked up from 1999, are:

Hypocrisy - Hypocrisy
Emperor - IX Equilibrium
Control Denied - The Fragile Art of Existence

There are many left unmentioned.


1. Opeth – Still Life

The '90s are often considered the worst period for metal while the 2000s are often spoken of as the time of the heavy metal comeback. Even though 1999 might not come to one's mind first when thinking about great metal years, it had some amazing releases. First, I want to highlight Still Life by Opeth. This is the album on which Mikael Åkerfeldt and his accompanying musicians defined the classic Opeth sound, the mixture of death metal, melancholic acoustic parts and prog rock. The band would later perfect this sound on Blackwater Park, but that doesn't mean Still Life isn't worth listening to today. The opening track "The Moor" is one of the most challenging songs Opeth have ever written, "Benighted" is a wonderful piece of music, due to its great atmosphere and "Face of Melinda" is one of the most beautiful songs I've heard in my entire life. Åkerfeldt delivers some of his best vocals on that one. Still Life really holds up and should be considered an absolute classic by every fan of the more complex side of metal.

2. Slipknot – Slipknot

Not the truest band out there, but one that served as a gateway into the extreme metal world for a lot of young people such as me. Songs like "Spit It Out" or the live staple "Wait and Bleed" are nothing but hits that set every dance floor on fire to this day. In contrast to Still Life, however, Slipknot is pretty much a child of its time. I still enjoy it a lot, because it is important to me on a personal level, but the mixture of extreme metal shouts, rap parts, scratching, fast guitars, and pounding drums feel just like 1999. The subsequent Slipknot releases, Iowa and Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses, work better today, because they don't sound as much like the time they were made in. Slipknot is still worth a listen today, because it just has some real hits that never get old.

3. Rage Against the Machine – The Battle of Los Angeles

The last Rage Against the Machine album with original material is also their very best, in my opinion. While a lot of the rap metal and nu metal stuff from the '90s and 2000s sounds outdated nowadays, Rage Against the Machine still sound fresh, because they were always ahead of their time. From the first track "Testify" to the finale "War Within a Breath," Rage Against the Machine deliver an aggressive outrage against everything that's wrong in our society that rivals the musical brutality of every death metal band, just in a different way. One of the few heavy albums out there where it actually is worth paying attention to the lyrics, since Rage Against the Machine really has important things to say. The only sad thing about it is that a lot of the problems they discuss on The Battle of Los Angeles are still relevant today in one way or another.

This would be my favorite three albums from 1999, but I can't leave this without at least mentioning Bruce Dickinson's phenomenal live album, Scream for Me Brazil, the black metal behemoth At the Heart of Winter and Kreator's controversial Endorama record as well as In Flame's Colony. They are all great albums and worth rediscovering if you haven't checked them out in a while.

And congratulations to The Metal Crypt for keeping it real for 25 years! Hope to see you guys around for another 25!

Álvaro Fernandes (DEMENTIA 13):

Sepsism – Purulent Decomposition

This is a very special one for me because I listened to Sepsism for the very first time when this album first came out and I had to get my hands on it. Same thing happened with their 2009 album Distorting the Mortal Visage (although this one I only bought a few years later). To me, these are two of the best brutal death metal albums ever recorded. And I place their 2009 album side by side with other landmarks from bands like Suffocation, Pyrexia or Gorguts. Purulent Decomposition is a tremendous display of both brutal and old school death metal like if Suffocation and Autopsy had a son, so I think it's obvious that, in my opinion, it has totally stood the test of time. I'm not sure if it can be considered a classic nowadays because, to my knowledge, this is a very underrated band, and many people may not be familiar with them. If this is your kind of sound and you never listened to Sepsism, I suggest you waste no more time!

Sodom – Code Red

I see Code Red as a major comeback to the vicious thrash metal Sodom always played until the release of the 1992 album Tapping the Vein. Fortunately, they kept these same high standards on their following recording, M-16. The curious thing is that Code Red came out during a time where most thrash metal bands kept recording average albums (including Sodom) and we were witnessing the downfall of the genre, regarding popularity and a major decline on the quality of almost all legendary bands recordings at the time. Code Red hit me like a sledgehammer! Truth is that since this came out, Sodom's career has been a lot more consistent, still managing to deliver good albums nowadays. Sure, this does not represent the best they recorded during their long career, but surely brought new life to the band, so in my opinion, this can be considered a classic.

Marduk – Panzer Division Marduk

I think Marduk's career, concerning studio albums, never suffered big ups and downs, they were always consistent and faithful to their sound. However, in 1999 they released an authentic black metal panzer (the album title couldn't be more accurate) and what is, in my opinion, the most straight forward and brutal album they ever recorded. I bought the vinyl copy of Panzer Division Marduk when it first came out and I still spin this masterpiece nowadays. Of course, Nightwing and Those of the Unlight are absolute landmarks, but personally this is my favorite Marduk album, which has stood the test of time and is now considered a classic among many Marduk fans.

Honorable mentions:

Immortal - At the Heart of Winter
Necrophagist - Onset of Putrefaction
God Dethroned - Bloody Blasphemy
Control Denied - The Fragile Art of Existence

Antti Remes (DAMAGE SFP):

Slipknot – Slipknot

Brought something new to the mix of nu metal of that time. The rhythm section made an impression with their sounds and elegance.

Testament - The Gathering

After previous mixing experiments, the return of Testament. A trendsetter for modern thrash metal. When "DNR" came out of the speakers, it was go time. The album is returned to often.

Backyard Babies - Total 13

Not metal but brought back sleazy rock 'n' roll. Tight playing and good songs without unnecessary sound polishing and crunches. Tough-looking dudes with rivets and chains. Damn good beer drinking music. I still listen to this album often.

Jerry Tamminen (BARON):

1. Paysage d'Hiver - Paysage d'Hiver

Might just be the biggest true underground metal classic from 1999. Truly the closest an ambient black metal artist has ever come to the greatness of Hvis lyset tar oss and Filosofem; one could argue that it even surpasses those albums. I remember discovering this album in 2019 when I wanted to delve deeper into ambient black metal. Upon my initial listen, it didn't immediately click with me. Then the pandemic hit, and lockdowns began, and while rotting inside my home I found myself increasingly drawn to this album and Die Festung (1998) by Paysage d'Hiver. As a result, I now associate this album with the long Finnish summer nights when most people tend to associate it with winter, haha! Regardless, this is the best Paysage d'Hiver album, in my opinion, even though I do really enjoy Im Wald (2020) and the aforementioned Die Festung (1998). It has aged wonderfully; only Nvenlanëg (2020) by Trhä has come close to this from post-1999 bands.

2. Worship - Last Tape Before Doomsday

This is perhaps the most depressing and soul-crushing funeral doom metal experience out there. Even if you're not that crazy on funeral doom, this album is just a really easy one to recommend, especially for fans of black metal. Last Tape Before Doomsday serves as a masterclass in funeral doom songwriting and overall melody composition. Unlike many albums in this genre, its song parts do not become excessively repetitive. You're also a liar if you claim that the opening melody of the first song, Whispering Gloom, doesn't get stuck to your head for the rest of your life. Other than that, the standout feature of this album is the haunting vocals delivered by the singer, Fucked-Up Mad Max, who sadly took his own life in 2001. I remember hearing about this album for the first time during a period when my own life was in a very shitty place and found this album to be extremely cathartic. I'm grateful to have discovered it. Last Tape Before Doomsday not only stands the test of time as the pinnacle of Worship's discography, but also as one of the finest funeral doom albums ever made.

3. Frozen Shadows - Dans les bras des immortels

I think this album is right up there with my favorite Canadian black metal releases. In 1999, it seemed like many legendary bands exploring this style of black metal with symphonic elements were releasing lackluster albums. Emperor's IX Equilibrium is, in my opinion, the weakest Emperor album, Limbonic Art's Ad Noctum - Dynasty of Death is very forgettable, and Abigor's Channeling the Quintessence of Satan pales in comparison to their output from 1994 to 1997. Frozen Shadows put all those bands to shame with their masterful debut album Dans les bras des immortels. I discovered this album probably 2-3 years ago, and it was pure love from the first listen. What truly makes this album stand out from the rest is the drum work: plenty of blistering blast beats over crazy tremolo riffs where the drummer beats the living shit out of that snare drum. This album truly deserves more attention and should be considered a cult classic. The band released a follow-up album called Hantises in 2004 that is worthy, but I prefer the debut. Total worship!

Asbath and Cerritus (DARKESTRAH): We like your idea very much! So, we had a short discussion, and our three picks would be, in no particular order:

Samael – Eternal
Satyricon - Rebel Extravaganza
Darkthrone - Ravishing Grimness

Asbath (DARKESTRAH): [on Samael's Eternal] I must admit I'm into bombastic music and back then this album was as bombastic as it gets. Gigantic arrangements, hypnotic rhythms, overall atmosphere of cosmic grandeur.

Cerritus (DARKESTRAH): [on Satyricon's Rebel Extravaganza] I got into black metal in 1997 with Satyricon's previous album, Nemesis Divina so I was really excited when Rebel Extravaganza album came out. And when it finally came out, did I even understand it at all? Hell no!

Asbath (DARKESTRAH): [on Satyricon's Rebel Extravaganza] Same here. Back in the day it was a really hard album to digest.

Cerritus (DARKESTRAH): [on Darkthrone's Ravishing Grimness] Darkthrone disbanded after the Total Death album, or so we believed back then. A new album was a big deal for the fans, of course.

Miguel Texasranger (FUSION BOMB): Wassup, The Metal Crypt? It's Miguel from Fusion Bomb and these are my metal album picks for the year 1999:

Testament - The Gathering
Primus - Antipop
Slipknot - Slipknot

Testament's The Gathering is a significant album to me as it shows the band's unrelenting force and loyalty to its sound and genre, despite a period in heavy metal history which wasn't very good to thrash metal. They didn't back down or change their sound to go along with any trends and I respect that.

As a big Primus fan, Antipop quickly became my favorite album of this eccentric trio. Catchy songs, thunderous bass lines, cool lyrics, this album has got everything I like about Primus and is probably one of the heaviest releases of their discography.

A list of metal albums from the turn of the millennium wouldn't be complete without the mention of nu-metal and Slipknot's debut self-titled album is a must if you're into that kind of music. It's heavy, raw and unhinged... I love it!

Grob (KOLAC): First of all, hello to the readers and editorial staff of The Metal Crypt! Grob here, bass player of Serbian black metal band Kolac and on behalf of the band and myself personally, let me congratulate you on your 25th anniversary. Holy hell, persevering 25 years on a task such as metal journalism is a feat worthy of all possible accolades! The four of us in Kolac salute you!

Now, regarding the three records that, for me, made an impact in 1999, I must say that, coming from Serbia, during that year we had much more important stuff on our minds than metal. We suffered a terrible NATO bombing for two and a half months, so life was as far away from pleasant as it possibly could have been. Then again, it was as metal as it possibly can be. Being in the center of a war, witnessing the violence, buildings and bridges being torn down, running to the bomb shelter, all the things we so often hear in the lyrics. I like to believe metal music helped preserve our sanity.

Here are my top picks: Marduk's Panzer Division Marduk, Immortal's At the Heart of Winter and, strangely enough, Metallica's S&M. I'll explain that in a moment.

While the first two might be the obvious choices for a member of a black metal band, I've chosen them for two different reasons. The two records present different aspects of black metal I deem most important for a correct interpretation of the genre.

Marduk offered utter violence and blasting devastation. It's not that they weren't extreme in that regard before ("Slay the Nazarene" just the year before, for an example), but on Panzer Division Marduk they sort of went all-in. I firmly believe there never was a more aggressive opening to an album than the title track and "Baptism by Fire." Not to mention that the latter was a perfect soundtrack to the 76 days of fiery inferno that reigned over Yugoslavia.

And it doesn't end there, because most of the album sounds like a battalion of machine guns firing, supported by dark leads and the most hate-fueled voice to spew forth upon a black metal microphone. Again, a personal opinion, but I think Legion is the finest black metal vocalist that appeared so far.

Regarding the atmospheric aspect of black metal, At the Heart of Winter is the epitome. The album doesn't lack aggression, but it displays it in a more refined manner. The chill, patented sound in the early days of Darkthrone and Immortal finds its climax on this record. Not to mention the thick layer of sound that came with probably the best production of a black metal record until Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth came with the mega setups of their respective 2000s masterpieces.

Though more complex than I would necessarily like, At the Heart of Winter had only to gain from the advanced arrangements. Sucking on the marrow of both traditional black metal and melodic death metal, the album is a perfect representation of a treacherous nature of winter. As such, for me, this is the summit of Immortal recordings, though I don't mind Blizzard Beasts or Sons of Northern Darkness on occasion.

The third one is the hardest to explain, particularly from the perspective of a member of a black metal band. Metallica is my all-time favorite band. I've loved them from the moment I first heard them, and I've stayed a loyal fan to this day, regardless if people might think it almost inappropriate for a "true" metalhead. This album, though, I haven't picked only for the sake of blind fandom.

Of course, I don't think S&M is a "boldly gone where no band has gone before" type of thing. There have been attempts at that before, but this is one of the greatest bands on the planet bringing a symphony orchestra to the biggest possible screen. San Francisco Symphony Orchestra could surely never have dreamed of appearing on MTV, for instance. Unlike Deep Purple before, this thing got the needed publicity to show that heavy metal actually does belong under that revered banner of "culture." It's not just sweaty, loud, satanic psychopaths, but actual artists, musicians, and human beings. As such, I'm sure the album opened quite a few doors. Symphony powered Therion, opera inclined Nightwish, black metal orchestrations of Dimmu Borgir and many more; they were all welcomed on a much larger playing field.

All that being said, I don't find S&M just a quirky "metal meets symphony" phenomenon. It is still a great record, containing some of the greatest metal tunes enhanced with the grandeur of symphonic background. Upon seeing the setlist I was most curious about "Battery," which is more about raw and primal metal, and how they were going to go about fixing it with the orchestra. The rest seemed much more compatible. However, Michael Kamen wouldn't have been such a genius if he hadn't had an idea about that one as well.

Then again, the biggest hitters, for me, are those songs that are the most intensely developed. "The Thing That Should Not Be," "Bleeding Me," "The Outlaw Torn," "One," plus the two new tracks which were purposefully created for these concerts.

Veikko Lahtinen (WORMLORD):

1. Kalmah - Svieri Obraza (demo)

This demo included the legendary tracks "Hades" and "Blind Leader" that are iconic for me. Although they were re-released later, this got me hooked.

2. In Flames - Colony

I was ten in 1999 and was not aware of this masterpiece back then, but thankfully the In Flames hype arrived to the Finnish countryside town and I heard it via friends' requests. "Zombie Inc." was the track that got me playing guitar, the solo part especially. Instrumentals such as "Pallar Anders Visa" and "Man Made God" were also important in my training. The whole album is just pure gold!

3. Opeth - Still Life

The first album that successfully managed to extend songs over eight minutes without making them boring. "Face of Melinda" was a total nemesis for me when I tried to learn it on my $50 Landola.

Brandon Corsair (DRAGHKAR): My picks are Twisted Tower Dire's The Curse of Twisted Tower, DoomSword's DoomSword, and Immortal's At the Heart of Winter.

The Curse of Twisted Tower: Twisted Tower Dire is one of my favorite bands. As a teenager, I deeply resonated with the idea of this weird Virginia band that, when everyone else in the United States had given up on heavy metal, was trying to bring it back, and this album is their most bizarre one by far. It's their debut, and though as the band went on, they developed into a streamlined power metal machine, The Curse of Twisted Tower was a bunch of teenagers smoking pot and writing long, overly complicated songs. It sounds like actual wizard music, and it's a very charming album, warts and all. There's a lot of throwing stuff at the wall on this one and sometimes that turns out brilliantly, and the highs are very, very high. The lows are at their very worst endearing rather than bad and because of when I got into it, it's a very cozy record for me. If I'm having a bad day (or a great one), I can always toss this on and just enter a world of dark wizards, brave knights, and deep magick.

DoomSword: Though DoomSword is perhaps best known for their pounding epic heavy/doom anthems on their second and third records, this one, their debut (funny that two of my picks are heavy metal debuts from bands that are more popular for their second and third records) is significantly less militantly crushing and significantly more "personal." It's hard to put it into words. It's the same feeling you get listening to some of Warlord's songs, maybe, where you can tell that the band really means what they're singing about, and their songwriting and guitar melodies lean in a way that's aimed at the heart instead of at the muscles. If Let Battle Commence is an album of anthems that make my head and arm move, DoomSword is an album that has feeling breathing from every pore. There are not many albums that evoke that, to my ears, and that makes this one very special indeed.

At the Heart of Winter: This one is so special because it's just nonstop, unique, pounding riffs with an atmosphere that is all its own. It doesn't need gimmicks. It doesn't need posturing about Satan from band members who aren't Satanists but want to write something that fits in with the music of their peers. It doesn't need ceremonial robes. It has endless goddamn motherfucking riffs that just keep coming and coming, and it has the incredible musicianship and songwriting to make those riffs come together into masterpieces of black metal that, one and all, would individually be the best songs in a weaker album's playtime or a weaker band's discography and then they do it for more than 45 minutes. The vocals are great, the melodies are great, the song structures are very memorable and catchy, and every single riff is fucking cool- what's not to love? There's very, very little Norwegian black metal I prefer over this one.


My favorite albums from 1999 are:

1. Mercyful Fate – 9
2. Akerbeltz - Therion Rising
3. Conqueror - War Cult Supremacy

As you have mentioned, 1999 was a hard year for metal. I was very much deeply involved with the death/black/doom/grind underground scene from the early 90s and witnessed how it was changing by the end of the decade. It wasn't the same as before, but a few bands had killer albums around that time.

Mercyful Fate's 9 is my first choice, because to me, it is the best album of 1999. I was always a huge fan of MF/KD, and they were one of my main influences, especially when I formed my own band, Songe d' Enfer. Of course, the lineup with Michael Denner was unique, but Mike Wead has always done a great job. Dead Again (1998) is a killer album and so is 9 (1999). I was lucky to see Mercyful Fate live in 1998, in my hometown of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with the same lineup that recorded the album 9 (if I'm not wrong...). It was a great concert because it wasn't at a big stadium, but at a place called "Imperator" that holds around 1000 people, so the sound was great, and it was an incredible night! It was the second time I watched them live. 9 was on my playlist all the time in 1999.

Akerbeltz's Therion Rising is a classic, a hidden gem from the end of the '90s. It doesn't represent just the '80s or '90s metal, American metal, Brazilian metal, Norwegian metal, Greek metal or any labeled metal. It's a mix of several influences from what the true Satanic death/black metal underground was all about. We had the honor to play live with Akerbeltz in Rio de Janeiro at the Garage Art Cult venue just before they released Therion Rising. I think this is a true black metal album. All hail to Ron Seth!

Conqueror's War Cult Supremacy is incredible. I have worshipped every single thing Blasphemy has done and at that time in 1999, I probably already sent three letters to Blasphemy and always had the envelope returned to my home address. I wished Blasphemy was active at that time (1999), but they weren't. Conqueror released this record that represented what Blasphemy was all about, and they came from Canada, so that was very much what I needed to listen to at that time. It's a timeless classic!

Rust (HOLLOW WHISPER): In my opinion, I consider the following albums as important for us:

1. Nechrist by Nokturnal Mortum
2. Herbstleyd by Nargaroth
3. Heaven in Flames by Judas Iscariot

First, Nechrist was the first album that I considered original and at the same time amazing due to its musical development. I loved it when I listened to it for the first time.

Second, I consider Nargaroth as one of my favorite bands, and when I was a teenager, I used to listen to that album many times on the same day.

Third, I like how Judas Iscariot expresses his ideas via Heaven in Flames, and the dark production that it has, it is too sick for us. We love that.

In your opinion, do your picks represent some of the best stuff the band in question has ever written?

Timo Alhström (FREEDOMINATION): Satan's Child is some of Danzig's best work for sure. It is not as good as the first two Danzig records but to me it's somewhere very close to or at the same level as Danzig 3 and 4. Songs like "Five Finger Crawl," "The Unspeakable" or the title track are just so damn good!

Type O Negative I don't listen to so much, but for me it's some of their best work for sure.

Scream for Me Brazil is difficult because it's a live album. It's got some of Bruce's best solo material performed live! All the studio albums that the songs were picked from are some of the most important music from my childhood.

Ricard (PROSCRITO): Difficult to say. After so many years picking a favourite, I'm glad I can have them all and choose them based on my mood swings. Objectively speaking, I think both Pentagram and Immolation in their prime are such great bands that any golden era album has its own unique features, if you catch my drift, and each one can be considered the ultimate one representing the band at its peak at a given time. I don't think of Unholy Cult, for instance, as any lesser of a beast than any of the first four and, honestly, I'm not condescending. As for Disciples of Mockery, well, that one was easy.

Kari Kankaanpää (SEPULCHRAL CURSE): After thinking and researching this a bit, it was not too hard a choice really! I could have chosen the debut of DoomSword or The House of Atreus – Act I from Virgin Steele, but these aforementioned albums earned the victory this time.

Runemagick's Enter the Realm of Death represents the better side of Runemagick! To me Runemagick is in their prime with this one, Resurrection in Blood and Requiem of the Apocalypse. This was very easy choice for me! The title track rips!

Lake of Tears with almost their full discography hold very special meaning to me and Forever Autumn was definitely no different. This one is more mellow and calmer, but still has really good songs. Definitely one of their more progressive albums. "Otherwheres" is actually my all-time favorite instrumental song!

Bloodthirst is not, in my opinion, Cannibal Corpse's best album, but I really enjoy it nonetheless, as I enjoy pretty much every album they have made. Still, Bloodthirst represents what Cannibal Corpse is all about, even on this record!

Alec Damiano (VARKAN): Yes, for all three. Even though CoB's Follow the Reaper is an absolute classic, I personally prefer Hatebreeder by far. Arch Enemy's first two albums with Johan Liiva are also classics. And, well, The Fragile Art of Existence was sadly Control Denied's only album (and Chuck Schuldiner's last).

Timo Lehtinen (KALMAH): The Hypocrisy album is one of their best releases and I listened to it a lot when it was released.

Emperor's IX Equilibrium is also great. I've been listening to that a lot, too.

Control Denied's The Fragile Art of Existence was an interesting project. I used to be a really big Death fan, and, of course, I still listen to a lot of Death. Of course, I will also listen to Control Denied from time to time and it's still ear candy and full of emotions. We all know how the project turned out and it's really sad.

Antti Remes (DAMAGE SFP):

1. Slipknot – S/T

The main opener for the band's career. Maybe not the best, but it's in the top three.

2. Testament - The Gathering

Definitely a personal number one in Testament's catalog. There were also later very high-quality releases, but this is definitely the most memorable and still relevant.

3. Backyard Babies - Total 13

The band's punkest and dirtiest street rock album. Later changed to a more mainstream direction. Definitely the best Backyard Babies album in my catalog.

Asbath (DARKESTRAH): [on Eternal] Yes! One of their very best!

Cerritus (DARKESTRAH): [on Rebel Extravaganza] In retrospect I think it is among their better ones. Not the best one, but way above most of their later releases.

Asbath (DARKESTRAH): [on Rebel Extravaganza] For me it was their swan song.

Cerritus (DARKESTRAH): [on Ravishing Grimness] Here again, it is among their better records. Many Darkthrone purists don't recognize anything after 1995. I'm not one of them, I actually really like their late '90s-early 2000s output. Then again, Under a Funeral Moon it is not.

Miguel Texasranger (FUSION BOMB): I wouldn't say The Gathering by Testament is the band's best output, considering their catalog is filled with classics. However, it is definitely a respectable record with some great songs like "Down for Life" or "Legions of the Dead" and Chuck's vocal performance sounds brutal.

It's hard to choose a best album from a band that has put out so many great records and songs throughout its career, but Antipop by Primus is definitely one of those albums I pop into my car's stereo and leave it there for days on end. It's got everything I like about the band turned up to 11.

Rare are the bands that write their best music on their first try and I wouldn't say Slipknot is one of 'em. However, their debut just has that special sound and crazy vibe that I like, a certain freedom in their way of writing songs that pioneering a genre requires.

Grob (KOLAC): In this regard, I have three different answers, one for each album. Marduk, for me, is not the band that has "the best album of their career." Somehow, their records offer "something for everybody" and each individual listening to the album will pick his or her own favorites. Some like the furious devastation, some the necrotic slow burners, some the marching warmongers. So, when you view their career as a whole, there's bound to be differing "best stuff" depending on whom you ask. And the main reason, I think, they are such a black metal giant is precisely that. There's nobody that actually dislikes or hates Marduk. They just dislike certain pieces of their creativity. Me, I love them unequivocally.

At the Heart of Winter, on the other hand, is definitely the best Immortal has recorded to date. I don't think they will ever record such a great record again, especially broken up and left with just one piece of that elaborate puzzle. Their subsequent albums were very good, no doubt about it, but this one presents a peak still unrivalled.

As for Metallica, of course, S&M isn't the best they've written because these songs were written long before it, and what's written for the album was written by Michael Kamen and not Metallica themselves (aside of the two new tracks which were a joint effort). But the fusing was still a mega job and I love how they've done it.

By the way, the sequel from 2020 was just as good, with a few extra surprises that made it more than "just a sequel" or 'milking the money machine."

Veikko Lahtinen (WORMLORD): Totally. My favorites from In Flames and Kalmah are from these albums, and their songwriting was at the top level.

For Opeth, Still Life has too much nostalgic value for me to rank it without bias.

Brandon Corsair (DRAGHKAR):

The Curse of Twisted Tower: The opposite, if anything. It's Twisted Tower Dire at their most amateurish and awkward. It's still a great record, but it's totally overshadowed by how much better the two after it are. They only grew as songwriters, which you'd hope for, right? What a shame when great musicians peak right away and then just disappoint you for the rest of their career!

DoomSword: Some of it, for sure. It's not as consistent as the next couple, but the highs are some of the best they've ever done. "Sacred Metal" in particular is one of the finest songs in the style ever written, to my ears, and I have it pop into my head regularly. Just penning out the title of the song makes me think of it!

At the Heart of Winter: Not just some of it. This is by a good margin my favorite Immortal record. I love the albums before it and I like some of the material since, but they never topped it. Totally godly stuff and my favorite of the three albums I mentioned here, much as I absolutely adore the other two.

Luiz (DEVIL EYES PRODUCTIONS): Not necessarily, they were the best of 1999 to me.

Rust (HOLLOW WHISPER): Yes, all of them are some of the most important ones because as I said before, they are too original in many aspects, such as their graphic arts and sound production.

Probably the toughest couple of questions combined into one: How well have these albums stood the test of time and do you believe they enjoy classic status among metalheads these days?

Timo Alhström (FREEDOMINATION): For me all these albums have stood the test of time really well. I actually think they've grown better over time. I've started to appreciate the Danzig and Type O Negative songs that I thought were a bit boring as a teenager. Those albums to me still represent some of the darkest stuff ever.

As I'm writing this, I'm listening to Scream for Me Brazil after a long, long time. Wow...has it ever stood the test of time?! Hell yeah...!

And to me these albums should have a "classic" status for sure and I guess they do?!

Ricard (PROSCRITO): I don't really care what metalheads do or think these days, heh — in any case, those in the know already know they're cult (either in the narrowest or widest sense of the term) bona fide classics, and I'll fight tooth and hoof they haven't aged at all due to their own timelessness. All I know is that they make my blood boil like the very first time but with a slight difference: Now I have many memories attached to them and they are an inseparable part of my life. When I look at those albums on my shelves, I cannot overstate the mementos they've become, reminding me of different people, states of mind and, well, you know the drill. That one was particularly exciting to write, my friend.

Kari Kankaanpää (SEPULCHRAL CURSE): Not sure about Bloodthirst but I think that Forever Autumn and Enter the Realm of Death both hold a classic status in Lake of Tears' and Runemagick's discography and rightfully so! Even if Forever Autumn is not my personal favorite, it is still in the top 5 of albums Lake of Tears has done.

Alec Damiano (VARKAN): I think these albums have absolutely stood the test of time. Even though they may not be the first album that pops to mind when you think of those bands or musicians, I believe a lot of modern metal wouldn't have been the same without their influence, especially in melodeath and metalcore. I definitely consider them classics, and I think many other metalheads would agree.

Timo Lehtinen (KALMAH): Indeed. All three bands and records are classics that today's young people take inspiration from. Or if they don't, they should, hehe.

Antti Remes (DAMAGE SFP): Yes, Slipknot's debut album sounds a bit poor compared to contemporary Slipknot, but I think the album is a landmark in contemporary metal. Hardly, however, quite to the point of classic status, although it is a strong trendsetter for contemporary bands and its genre.

The Gathering by Testament already deserves classic status, in my opinion. It has lasted well in all aspects and was a real new start to the band's career. After that album, their track record has been really high-quality until today.

Backyard Babies' Total 13 is a timeless rock album. Maybe not a classic, but definitely the best in its field.

Asbath (DARKESTRAH): [on Eternal] Of course! Samael continues to develop those ideas to this day. It is one of my favorite albums of all time.

Cerritus (DARKESTRAH): [on Rebel Extravaganza] Kinda. In a vacuum it is a great record. But if I want to listen to some Satyricon, I spin Nemesis Divina or Dark Medieval Times.

Asbath (DARKESTRAH): [on Rebel Extravaganza] Same here.

Cerritus (DARKESTRAH): [on Ravishing Grimness] Again, kinda. It is good, but subsequent albums from Darkthrone's second black metal period were better. But then again, give me Ravishing Grimness over Arctic Thunder every day.

Miguel Texasranger (FUSION BOMB): Testament's The Gathering has a modern sound, both in its writing and production. You can still definitely hear a slight tinge of '90s influence, but it is no departure from the band's overall identity and so it does stand the test of time. Testament has a bunch of classic albums, but I wouldn't say this is one of them quite yet.

Primus is definitely a product of the '90s, but they have such a unique sound and identity that their music just feels timeless. I would count Antipop as a classic among many in their discography and everybody should give this one a listen.

Slipknot's eponymous debut album might have aged just a bit due to its production and its heavy use of the scratch effects which is more of a gimmick of its time. However, being the milestone in metal history that it is, I'd argue this record already enjoys a classic status among metalheads.

Grob (KOLAC): The tough part of this question is only in determining whether these records are confined to being the genre's classics or could they be considered timeless by a majority of metalheads around. You see, within black metal (or even extreme metal in a wider sense) circles, Panzer Division Marduk and At the Heart of Winter are surely cult releases held with high esteem. I'm not sure that's the same outside these narrow borders. In fact, Marduk is likely nowhere near the taste of metal majority, while Immortal with such a well-prepared record probably has a chance with any open-minded metalhead willing to give it a chance. Now and forever after.

On the other hand, Metallica's S&M raises more questions than it answers. Again, "true" metalheads shun the band, whatever it does after Cliff Burton died. This album, to them, is just another nail in that coffin. It is another proof of a metal band gone astray. However, to others, such as myself, and the regular music lovers, pop culture explorers, S&M is an encyclopedia-worthy moment. It's only the matter of who you trust.

And on that note, trust the unbiased metal media, such as the 25-year-old Metal Crypt! Congratulations, once again, guys and we wish you all the best in the next 25 years! Greetings from Serbia!

Veikko Lahtinen (WORMLORD): "Hades" by Kalmah is still their last song in every live show they play, deservingly so.

Colony as well belongs to the old era of In Flames that naturally has the classic status in their whole discography.

For Opeth, I haven't witnessed much noise around Still Life, maybe due to the fact the two albums that were released after Still Life, were also huge successes.

Brandon Corsair (DRAGHKAR): I think all three of them hold up quality-wise but it's not confusing why the Twisted Tower Dire one is very overshadowed by their other albums- the next two and Make It Dark are all later-era classics of American heavy metal, and The Curse of Twisted Tower is their talented but not fully formed start. The DoomSword record is in a similar boat but because of the very special nature of it and the epic highs it has, I think it's a bit better regarded- a cult classic, rather than a true one, but a classic nonetheless. At the Heart of Winter, of course, is one of the most popular and finest black metal records ever released so that one definitely is a classic, no doubt about it!

Luiz (DEVIL EYES PRODUCTIONS): That's not an easy question for sure. These albums definitely have stood the test of time, and they are classics for sure!

Rust (HOLLOW WHISPER): I believe that they are an important influence for many new bands around the world nowadays. Many bands have developed their sound, philosophy, and artwork based on their artistic structure. In my opinion, it's difficult to say they aren't relevant nowadays. They are classics and inside the black metal scene, they are legends.

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