Part 1 of this series detailed the first four albums that put me on the path. I will calmly discuss 4 more albums with you now.
CYNIC - Focus (1993) Roadrunner Records
"Veil of Maya"
I didn't discover Cynic until 1997, but their impact on my tastes in metal were profound. Profound I say! Cynic was the first metal band I listened to that helped expand my mind beyond the growling vocals and blast-beats that I thought were the only things that made metal great. Cynic opened my mind to the possibilities of listening to something other than metal for a change. Believe me, that was a terrifying notion for a 16-year-old metalhead with a huge chip on his shoulder!
I was introduced to Cynic by two older friends I had at a local grocery store I worked at in high school. These fellows shall remain nameless, but they wound up being the best friends I had while in high school. They got me through a lot of tough times, and Cynic's Focus was often playing in the background. A brilliant band and a brilliant album. I suggest anyone reading this to explore beyond the song I linked in above.
EMPEROR - Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk (1997) Century Media Records
"Thus Spake the Nightspirit"
If memory serves correct, this was the first black metal album I ever saw at a Best Buy. I remember being jealous of a friend of mine in 10th grade Biology class who had gotten a copy of the Emperor/Enslaved Split CD at Best Buy after we discovered this mysterious genre of music (due to an infamous Spin Magazine article). When I saw this album in 1997, I instantly bought it. Inside I found the mailorder catalogue that not only got me going on ordering metal via mailorder, but also opened the door for that Nordic Metal compilation mentioned in Part 1 of See You In Hell My Friend to arrive at my doorstep.
Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk has always been my favorite Emperor album, and I still don't know what the hell a "welkin" is supposed to be. Many metalheads will claim foul at that and say that In the Nightside Eclipse was their defining album. I don't care. This was the first one I got and its the one I've listened to the most.
MORBID ANGEL - Domination (1995) Giant/Warner Brothers Records
If I had to take a wild stab in the dark, I'd have to say that Morbid Angel's Domination was one of the first death metal albums I ever checked out. It was a somewhat divisive album when released in 1995. For starters, it was one of the first death metal albums released by a major record label (which was blasphemy to many). It also featured a more "understandable" vocal style from Dave Vincent and a lot of ethereal interlude tracks. I bought this album on a whim, based on the advertisement and accompanying interview with lead "singer" Dave Vincent. While I didn't really like this album at the time, it grew on me over the years. I never got into the post-Vincent era of Morbid Angel, but their first 4 albums are classic.
After 16 years, there is another Morbid Angel album with Dave Vincent on vocals. 2011's Illud Divinum Insanus has proven to be even MORE divisive than Domination was, as it features a very cold production and many industrial elements. I happen to like it, but I can see why many Morbid Angel fans are calling foul on Dave Vincent. The way I look at it, the seeds for Illud Divinum Insanus are easily found on Domination. Illud Divinum Insanus should have been expected by everyone.
DIMMU BORGIR - Enthrone Darkness Triumphant (1997) Nuclear Blast Records
The final album I'd like to share for today's installment is Dimmu Borgir's Enthrone Darkness Triumphant. I bought this CD roughly around the same time I did Emperor's Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk. Not only did I wonder why black metal bands had such long album titles, but I also looked into this band based solely on their look and interview in Metal Maniacs magazine. Can you sense a trend?
I don't count Dimmu Borgir as one of my favorite black metal bands in the slightest, but there's no denying this albums' influence on my metal tastes. Dimmu Borgir were the first black metal band I heard that used symphonics and had vocal screams that I could actually understand. They opened the door for the theatrical black metal bands (such as Cradle of Filth, Limbonic Art, etc.) that I grew to like during this era. As a youth I enjoyed black metal much more than death metal, which is in contrast to me liking death metal a bit more than black metal today. Strange.
That's it for this installment of See You In Hell My Friend. Join me next time where I'll go over the last 4 albums that corrupted my soul. Until then, take it away "Morbid Angel"!
Morbid Angel - Illud Divinum Insanus (2011) Season of Mist Records