These albums are the most important ones. They influenced my taste, my attitude and my life! (Chris Blackwood)
Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath
This is were it all began. I love everything of the Birmingham Boys. They have not one weak album (No, not even Forbidden is bad at all). Their influence for our beloved music is incalculable. Doom Metal, Epic Doom and even the term “Heavy Metal” itself have all been forged by them. Of course, they were not the only one. But look closely at the other bands that started at the same time: Led Zeppelin? Yes, they got a lot of power too. But they were more artsy and intellectual. Deep Purple? Very good, but much psychedelic, jazz and classic influences. Blue Öyster Cult? They came close, but they lack that nihilistic and sinister atmosphere. So it´s no wonder that I like Black Sabbath‘s debut the most. There might be better albums by them, but no other band at that time came with such a well-crafted vision. Everything is fitting here: The haunting and mysterious cover art. The lyrics, which draw heavily from occult themes and horror literature. And of course that powerful sound. Still rooted in the blues and jam rock, but with a much more aggressive and darker tone. An absolute masterpiece!
Iron Maiden – Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
What else should I say about Maiden? Everyone knows them, almost everyone loves them. They‘re the ultimate Heavy Metal Band right behind Black Sabbath. And it‘s very interesting, how they changed and improved their sound over the years. The rough beginnings with a Punk vibe, the classical NWOBHM albums or their newer, more progressive recordings – Everything is great! Personally, I like their seventh album the most. I got that on tape, and played it over and over again on my cheap walkman when I was 12 years old. The album takes you on an incredible, magical and mysterious journey!
Motörhead – Kiss of Death
We‘re Motörhead and we play Rock n Roll! And that’s definitely the truth. Lemmy never cared about genres or trends. Call it Hard Rock, Punk, Metal or whatever. Motörhead always sounded like Lemmy. And Lemmy sounded like Lemmy. I easily could have picked one of the classic albums. But to be honest, I think that their later period is much stronger. The music got more powerful with every year that Lemmy got older. He would have laughed about that himself. Kiss of Death is a smack in your face. With rock n rollers, a haunting ballad (“God was never on your side”) and dark, sinister metal songs (“Kingdom of the worm”!!!) I still love that album, along with the others…
Therapy? – High Anxiety
I always loved those Irish boys. They’re one of the few bands that can perfectly combine Punk Rock and Metal. Andy was always the Punk and Noise Rock fan, while Michael is a Metal nerd. To meet them at a concert in Munich was a very inspiring moment! They’re very nice and relaxed. And I learned a lot from their records. To mention the most important: 1. Always put a nice melody in your songs. You can do a lot of feedback and chaos, but put at least one melodic hook in it. 2. Be honest in your attitude and lyrics. You can write about everything, but never pretend to be anyone else than yourself. 3. Don’t be too serious. A little dose of humour can be very refreshing. (Just read song titles like “Hey Satan, you rock”, “Die like a motherfucker” or “He‘s not that kind of girl”)
Genesis – A Trick of the Tail
My father introduced me to a lot of Progressive and Psychedelic Rock from the 70s. I love Pink Floyd, Rush and Jethro Tull, but it‘s still Genesis that move me the most. It might be surprising that I choose this album and not one of their glorious records with Peter Gabriel. But A Trick of the Tail has such a fantastic, dreamy and fairytale atmosphere! When the first notes of “Dance on a Volcano” dances in, I am ultimately drawn into a strange, but beautiful fantasy world. That’s art in its highest quality! And Phil Collins is great. He‘s not yet a pop star on this record. Just an amazing drummer and mysterious vocalist. Like Gandalf or Merlin, who leads you through this landscape of sounds.
Since Black Metal and Doom is so important for me, I have to mention my most important albums of that sub genres too:
Naglfar – Diabolical
It took me a long time to get into Black Metal. That harsh sound, the screamings and the satanic themes was all too much for me. But then I stumbled over Naglfar. They were extreme like all the other Black Metal bands, but they got a good sense for melody. It was the first time that I heard this mixture. And what I liked even more: The songs on Diabolical are complex and progressive. This isn’t the kind of Black Metal where a riff is repeated over 8 minutes, while some Hellhound is screaming. The songs are twisted and you have to work your way through the album. Since then I kept on searching for complex and melodic Black Metal. Thank Satan that there is enough of it…
Triptykon – Eparistera Daimones
In 2010 I was very bored of Heavy Metal. Too much bands, that sound the same, too much keyboards, too much Death Metal, too much of everything. I realised later, that everyone has such moments, and that you have to be patient. Sooner or later the fire will burn again. This album came and crushed me and my boredom like an insect. I know, it‘s not truly Black Metal. But it is completely filled with the two most important things of that genre: nihilism and aggression! I’ve never heard such pitch black songs again. Not even by Tom G Warrior himself, although I like the other Triptykon stuff very much.
Blut aus Nord – Memoria Vetusta III (Saturnian Poetry)
This french one man band might be one of the most interesting Black Metal artists that I know. He processed and combined everything in his music. Dark and mechanical soundscapes, Industrial, Ambient, Black Metal and Avantgarde. This record is one of his more accessible. There’s a lot of melody in here, but also a dark and imaginative atmosphere. That might be one of the Black Metal records that epic fans would like. Just look at the cover art: The music sound exactly like that.
Candlemass – Tales of Creation
The ultimate Doom Band. Definitely. And I think that their fourth album is the best. You just have to hear it from start to finish, because every song fits to the next. And then there is the variety: It‘s got the classical doom songs like “Dark Reflections” or “Under the Oak” (I always preferred this version). But there’s although a weird, amazing and almost maidenesque instrumental. And songs that got more tempo, where you want to bang your head. Not to forget about the spiritual lyrics. An absolute masterpiece!
Lord Vicar – Signs of Osiris
Of all the Doom bands with strong 70s retro influences, Lord Vicar are the best. Cathedral come close, but they don’t exist anymore. Signs of Osiris starts with a soft acoustic guitar Intro, before exploding into a hell of a doom song. Kimi has found a perfect guitar tone: well-balanced, powerful and characteristic. And Christian is such a great singer. He transports a lot of grief and desperation in his voice, but there’s always a glimmer of hope in it. The slow and powerful “Child Witness” might be the best Black Sabbath song that has never been written by Tony Iommi. And the 15 Minute long epic “Signs of Osiris Risen” is one of the best Doom songs of all time!
My Dying Bride – The Angel and the Dark River
The opening epic “The Cry of Mankind” is like an emotional earthquake! When I first heard it, I was mentally and physically exhausted! It takes you to the deepest swamp of your soul. That place where all your darkest feelings crawl. A lot of people say that Doom Metal is carthatic. That‘s true, and nothing more true than on this record. Songs like “Black Voyage” and “Two Winters Only” are funeral processions. When they‘re passing over, you will cry and shake. But after all you have to pick up your misery and accept it as a part of you. True Doom. Majestic.