79. Spock’s Beard – The Light (1995)
What a great debut album. Featuring four tracks with three of them over twelve minutes, The Light is a prog rocker’s delight. Introducing musical heavy hitters Neal Morse and Nick D’Virgilio, along with Neal’s brother Alan and bassist Dave Meros, The Light is a sonically bright album. While the lengths of songs may be daunting, each one features variation to excite the listener and keep them drawn in. I love the feeling of this album and find it great to regularly revisit.
78. Cynic – Kindly Bent to Free Us (2014)
Although starting off in the progressive death metal realm, Cynic’s Kindly Bent to Free Us shifted away entirely and is an honest and modern-feeling progressive metal album. Featuring the usual Paul Masvidal, and the now-late Sean Reinert and late Sean Malone, Kindly Bent to Free Us will forever be close to the vest for me. The band and their brilliant musicianship will be forever honoured with this album.
77. Amon Amarth – With Oden on Our Side (2006)
What may be argued as the last great Amon Amarth album (although some of you Versus the World folk may disagree), this Viking death metal album features some great melodies and catchy riffs which threw the band into the limelight – and arguably forced the band to make their music a bit too polished afterwards. The catchy riffs never faltered as songs like Runes to my Memory and Under the Northern Star drive the album front to back with excellence.
76. Anneke van Giersbergen – Everything is Changing (2012)
There’s something about how this album feels that has always stuck with me. I’m not sure what happened in production or whether Daniel Cardoso’s (Anathema) co-writing has anything to do with it, but Everything is Changing stands out as a great alternative rock album. Anneke’s lyrics, much like the music, is true and humble. Feeling stronger than her previous albums, and sounding different that later ones (including this year’s The Darkest Skies are the Brightest) there’s some sort of emotional resonance that sticks with me on this album. I haven’t been quite able to figure it out, which I suppose is another reason why I enjoy the album so much.
75. Blood Incantation – Hidden History of the Human Race (2019)
This more recent release makes my list because it reminds me of Gorguts’ Obscura. It’s innovative, feels like it’s breaking new ground, and all the while still giving nods to bands prior to it – such as Gorguts, Death, Entombed, and Morbid Angel. The album offers a huge variety of death metal in its four-track length, making it truly awe-inspiring.
74. Fates Warning – A Pleasant Shade of Gray (1997)
Twenty years ago, this album would’ve been in my Top 20, maybe even my Top 10. APSoG holds a special place in my heart due to the fact it has been through a lot of my life – both good and bad. APSoG is a definitive album in my musical development. But what makes this album so great is how it is essentially what it says it is: a pleasant shade of gray. It’s moody, depressive, but uplifting in many moments. The album FEELS gray, which is simply a feat onto itself.
73. Tomb Mold – Planetary Clairvoyance (2019)
Another newcomer – which absolutely stunned me first seeing them open for Pig Destroyer a few years ago – Tomb Mold’s Planetary Clairvoyance is an awesome sounding death metal album, harkening back to the genre’s first emergence in the early 90s. Planetary Clairvoyance does what so few albums do – take simple riffs and make them feel so much bigger. With great catches and grooves, this album will probably grow further down the list for years to come.
72. Black Sabbath – Heaven and Hell (1980)
One of the first songs I learned to play by ear on my bass guitar was the title track. I spent a good chunk of my teenage years playing it over and over, learning Geezer Butler’s bass lines and feeling the monumental vocals of Ronnie James Dio. As I grew to love the album, I became more impressed with the shift in song style from Ozzy-era Sabbath songs. It was a familiar but different Black Sabbath – one I truly appreciate.
71. Morbid Angel – Covenant (1993)
This album though. Angel of Disease, Pain Divine, God of Emptiness – hugely influential songs for me. Listening to past or future Morbid Angel albums – nothing really compares to the intensity and impact Covenant had. There was something magical with the album which blends memorable songs with the crushing impact of Pete Sandoval’s drums.
70. Moonsorrow – Suden uni (2001)
Kuin ikuinen, 1065: Aika, and Pakanajukla were songs on repeat in my household. Aside from the band Waylander, I had never really heard folk/Celtic metal – let alone something mixed with black metal. I learned of Moonsorrow with their debut, Suden uni, and have been forever impressed upon by the epic nature of the band’s scope. Everything they have done is outstanding since (and I really debated replacing Suden uni with Kivenkantaja), but Suden uni will be one of those albums I’ll always remember where I was went I first heard it.