Black Mark Productions (1996)
Here it is: the greatest melodeath album of all time. One song, 40 minutes long, that reveals where In Flames, At The Gates, Dark Tranquillity, Soilwork, latter Opeth, Katatonia, etc., etc. got their style(s) from. Michael Åkerfeldt worked along the metalgod Dan Swanö (the credits say he contributed vocals and solos, but c'mon, it's Åkerfeldt, does he ever do anything half-assed?) to create this absolute masterpiece.
If there was ever such a thing as a perfect metal album, this is it. This is nothing less than quintessence of metal, the very marrow of metal bone. It has everything you would possibly want from a metal record: multiple addictive melodies, growls to raise the dead, beautiful acoustic and clean vocal passages, repetition of cool parts, outfuckingstanding out of this world guitarwork, heavyass riffing that occasionally sounds like nu-metal BEFORE it boomed and divine production.
Sure, anything before this record is awesome ("Purgatory Afterglow", "Unorthodox"), but this is where these guys peaked, and the subsequent "Infernal" was merely very good, and that's probably why before the next one (same year as "Infernal"!) great Danny "left the building" and the band called quits after "Cryptic". Swanö and EOS tried to resurrect the magic on "Crimson II" without Åkerfeldt but it didn't work so they broke up again, this time for good. These facts speak for the truth: once you're reached pinnacle of your career, you better euthanize the project or, eventually, be mired in mediocrity (cough, Metallica, cough, Soilwork).
As for this record, it should be a mandatory test to see if you're a metalhead or a emo-only loving poser. Get it now! NOW, motherfucker!
Rating: ∞ (infinity number)
Composed by Dethster4life