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The Best Records by Year: The 1990s

I've been keeping track of this long enough to split it into two separate sections. This here covers the albums released in the decade in which I really grew up! See below for my lists, some are outdated and unformatted.


I compiled my favorite records of 1999 when I worked at WCDB. These were my top 10 records as I presented them on air in December of '99.
  1. Testament - The Gathering
  2. Opeth - Still Life
  3. Children of Bodom - Hatebreeder
  4. Emperor - IX Equilibrium
  5. October Tide - Grey Dawn
  6. Arch Enemy - Burning Bridges
  7. Morgion - Solinari
  8. Hypocrisy - Hypocrisy
  9. Neurosis - Times of Grace

My opininions may have changed much since then. It's surprising to see Opeth at #2, when I really hated that record and it is still my least favorite album by the band.

I don't know how Anathema's Judgement and My Dying Bride's The Light at the End of the World were excluded from that list...I'd probably take off the last 2 and replace them w/ these songs if I had to choose again.

Sinergy: Beware the Heavens
Korn: Issues
NIN: The Fragile
In Flames: Colony
Godflesh: Us & Them
Mercyful Fate: 9 
James Murphy: Feeding the Machine
Megadeth: Risk
S.O.D.: Bigger than the Devil
Agalloch: Pale Folklore
Children of Bodom: Tokyo Warhearts

Amorphis:			Tuonela
Dimmu Borgir:		Spiritual Black Dimensions
Overkill:			Necroshine
Dark Tranquillity:		Projector
Anathema:			Judgement
In the Woods:		Strange in Stereo
My Dying Bride:		The Light at the End of the World
Vintersorg:			Ödemarkens Son


If 1997 was the real turnaround in terms of metal, 1998 only helped it along. Another fantastic year filled with a number of unforgettable records. I did a radio show for my favorite records when I had a prime-time slot at the radio station (running the metal department helped secure this!). The show was done on the 15th of December, 1998 and has my top 10, in order, as:

Top 10 (@ the time)
Opeth My Arms, Your Hearse
Diabolical Masquerade Nightwork
Slayer Diabolus in Musica
Bruce Dickinson Chemical Wedding
Mithotyn King of the Distant Forest
Death Sound of Perserverance
In Ruins Four Seasons of Grey
King Diamond Voodoo
Cradle of Filth Cruelty and the Beast
Witchery Restless & Dead

This list has definitely changed since then. Albums such as the Amon Amarth, Blind Guardian (the album that got me into them, and one based on the best piece of literature ever written) and particularly October Tide have since come to usurp those in my top-10, but I find it interesting to see what I listed as the best at the time. The fact that Chemical Wedding was #4 shocks me, and even I am surprised that Slayer's record appeared on this list. However, while half of the album doesn't do it for me, the other half is killer.

Opeth had been stating that these songs were more straightforward and shorter than Morningrise and I equated this with selling out. The moment I put on the record, I was in utter disbelief. Incredibly fast, this was precisely the opposite of what I had been expecting. One of the greatest jaw-dropping moments in my metal career!

Onward with good records, and the list as of the time of writing (almost 7 years later)...

Les Meilleurs
Opeth My Arms, Your Hearse
Bruce Dickinson Chemical Wedding
Amon Amarth Once Sent from the Golden Hall
Blind Guardian Nightfall in Middle Earth
Cradle of Filth Cruelty and the Beast
Death Sound of Perserverance
Diabolical Masquerade Nightwork
Dimmu Borgir Godless Savage Garden
Dream Theater Once in a Livetime
Hammerfall Legacy of Kings
In Ruins Four Seasons of Grey
King Diamond Voodoo
Korn Follow the Leader
Mithotyn King of the Distant Forest
October Tide Grey Dawn
Old Man's Child Ill Natured Spiritual Invasion
Rapoon The Fires of the Borderlands
Joe Satriani Ceremony
Slayer Diabolus in Musica
Dan Swanö Moontower
Vintersorg Hedniskhjärtad
Vintersorg Till Fjälls
Witchery Restless & Dead
Anathema Alternative 4
My Dying Bride 34.788% Complete...
Mercyful Fate Dead Again


The top 4 records of 1997 stand out as some of the best metal recordings of all time. I could never decide which should be #s 1 and 2!

Dimmu Borgir		Enthrone Darkness Triumphant
Emperor			Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk
Bruce Dickinson		Accident of Birth
Dark Tranquillity		The Mind's I

Pantera			101 Proof Live
Testament			Demonic
Overkill			From the Underground and Below
Katatonia			Sounds of Decay
Katatonia			Brave Murder Day?
Old Man's Child		The Pagan Prosperity
In Flames			Whoracle / Black Ash Inheritance
In the Woods			Omnio
Arcturus			La Masquerade Infernale
Deceased			Fearless Undead Machines
Forbidden			Green
Cradle of Filth		Dusk and Her Embrace
October Tide			Rain Without End
Enslaved			Eld
Megadeth			Cryptic Writings


Opeth			Morningrise
In Flames			The Jester Race
Dimmu Borgir		Stormblast
Dissection		Storm of the Light's Bane

James Murphy		Convergence
My Dying Bride		Like Gods of the Sun
Slayer			Undisputed Attitude
Tool			Aenima
Mercyful Fate		Into the Unknown
Enigma			Le Roi est Mort, Vive le Roi


At the Gates		Slaughter of the Soul
In the Woods		Heart of the Ages
Grip Inc.			Power of Inner Strength
Death:			Symbolic
Testament			Live at the Fillmore

My Dying Bride		The Angel and the Dark River
Overkill			Wrecking Your Neck-Live
Overkill			The Killing Kind
Souls at Zero		A Taste of the Perverse
Carcass			Swansong
Anathema			Pentecost III
Anathema			The Silent Enigma


Things didn't change much from the prior year. The state of metal was weak, particularly in the US, but the European black metal movement was forming. This was a bad time of my life anyways, so my list here is kinda

Godflesh Selfless
Slayer Diving Intervention
Testament Low
Pantera Far Beyond Driven
Mercyful Fate Time
NIN The Downward Spiral
Overkill WFO
Machine Head Burn My Eyes
Queensryche Promised Land
Megadeth Youthanasia
Dream Theater Awake
The Cranberries No Need to Argue
Sinead O'Connor Universal Mother
Tori Amos Under the Pink
Beastie Boys Ill Communication
Pink Floyd The Division Bell


American music continued its spiral downward and European metal began the ascent. Unfortunately this was one of many dark years in which I have little good to say. The number of excellent records is few. Album of the year is likely Dissection's The Somberlain.

Album D'Année
Dissection The Somberlain

Katatonia Dance of December Souls
Sarah McLachlan Fumbling Towards Ecstacy
My Dying Bride Turn Loose the Swans
Sepultura Chaos A.D.
Mercyful Fate In the Shadows
Tool Undertow

Overkill I Hear Black
Anthrax Sound of White Noise