00s Essentials – Volume Nine

If you are the type of metalhead that just likes to thrash, mosh, and ‘bang until the sun comes up, then Volume 9 is your neck-wrecking menu. Extremely tasty traditional-ish metal combines with just about every variety of death metal known to mankind to form the ultimate metal party mixtape. As for the morning hangover and what-the-fuck-happened reflections? Be Warned.


Even in a world populated by D666 and The Chasm, Deathrace King stands out as one of the most unabashedly metal-as-fuck records in history. A 300 MPH blast furnace of freewheeling deathrash fury, this is the most fun a human can have with guitar solos and Satan. Violent, empowering party anthems like “Rebel Angel” and “Killing Star (Superbia Luxuria XXX)” are fueled by pure adrenaline, while “Devil Gate Ride” and “Total Satan” push the limits of throat-ripping absurdity. This King‘s crown remains unchallenged. [Metal Blade, 2000]

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Everything old is new again; that is the story of the decade. The Swedish death metal revival, in particular, began with Bloodbath. Bloodbath itself started as some drunken fun in the studio amongst some big names in Swedish metal, and ended up as death metal’s first supergroup. With the infamous rusty chainsaw guitar tone that is a hallmark of the Sunlight Studio sound and some positively demonic vocals from Mikael Akerfeldt, Bloodbath rampages through ten tracks of the catchiest death metal of the decade.  [Century Media, 2002]

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Ask any long-time Slough Feg fan their favorite album and most often they’ll come back with either Down Among the Deadmen or Traveller, with the defining element often being as simple as which record they happened upon first. It’s a tough choice, really, as both records prominently display the band’s penchant for blazing with intensely melodic twin-axe flair. In the end, it’s Traveller‘s bizarre nod to the ancient Sci-fi roleplaying game of the same name that wins it by a Vargr’s nose. [Dragonheart, 2003]

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If there was a sub-genre called epic death metal, The Chasm would be its kings. This long running act finally got a deal on a big metal label and made the most of the opportunity.  A sprawling 60 minute opus, The Spell of Retribution is a varied and multilayered affair that wanders far–both musically and emotionally–without diluting its metal purity. Crafted more like a symphony than a metal record, The Spell of Retribution is death metal as high art.  [Wicked World, 2004]

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Brushed off by elitists as only constant wankery, Necrophagist are in reality a well-oiled machine of incredibly infectious and well-written tech death. More clinical than a full season of Nip/TuckEpitaph is 33 minutes of delightfully over the top drumming, gore-obsessed vocals, and ludicrous guitar work (riffs, licks, chugs, shreds, and some very classy soloing). Think of it as a way to scare your Dragonforce-loving little cousin, while at the same time introducing him to the flesh-devouring beast known as death metal.  [Relapse, 2004]

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An emotional affair, indeed. Decapitated release their finest thirty-two minutes ever, and then flip a bus. And the course of extreme technical DM is forever haunted, and yet tainted while countless others immediately attempt to replace what cannot be. New vocalist, Covan, knows the art of syllable placement beyond his predecessor, Sauron, and brings the voice forth as an instrument, all tied up in Vogg and Vitek’s (R.I.P.) riff-shifts. Advanced in the art of bashery. [Earache, 2006]

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Shedding a fair amount of the gloomy pallor that haunted their first two albums, Insomnium came out swinging in the third round. A multi-dimensional, richly layered work, Above the Weeping World was a phenomenal melodic death metal record in a climate that had harvested few. Stadium-esque corkers like “The Killjoy” firmly established the band as Europe’s leading purveyors of the style–no mean feat considering the genre’s storied history. This fan favorite set the bar at an impressive height. [Candlelight, 2006]

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Many have fallen into the trap of describing music as “depressive,” “oppressive,” or “emotionally-driven.” Watching From A Distance is the record that makes everything referred to as such seem trite and manufactured. So human, so honest, so vulnerable are the strains of this doom landmark; mere words cannot properly convey its transcendence. A single listen to the heart-wrenching strains of “Footprints” should be proof enough of the band’s raw, naked power. Fittingly, this is the band’s swansong; attempting to match one of the greatest albums in the history of doom would be almost futile. [The Miskationic Foundation, 2007]

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Slog through the rather lengthy intro to Graves of the Archangels and you’ll quickly discover whether or not this Greek troupe’s style of loathsome death metal is meant for you. Everything about this record–the artwork, the packaging and, obviously, the wickedness wafting from your speakers–bleeds the dark, corrupted blood of early Incantation and Immolation into a hellish chalice poised for a wicked Communion. Not only was Graves of the Archangels one of the most putrid offerings of ’08, but it’s a true classic amongst many in terms of hellish, smoldering death metal. [Nuclear War Now!, 2008]

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The buzz on Grand Magus’ fourth LP was that, once heard, it could not be unheard. Of course, this is a very good thing. The infectious awesomeness of Iron Will comes as a function of immaculately crafted songs centered on endless doomy riffs as well as the uncommonly spirited vocals of frontman JB–all delivered with powerful verve. Every element of this album–from the masterful riffs to foundation shaking drums to powerful, eloquent vocals–is honestly conceived and expertly crafted. [Rise Above, 2008]

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Only ten albums remain in our countdown of the 100 Most Essential Albums of the Decade. Click here to read the final installment.

Posted by Last Rites


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