CHILDREN OF BODOM: HATEBREEDER
On Children of Bodom's second album, the band found their own sound, a sound they would develop over the next few albums. A combination of traditional heavy metal, power metal, and black metal, the album was something that was a lot different than anything else at the time. COB utilized a lot of ultra fast riffs and some keyboard flourishes in order to fill out their sound. Lots of other bands came up afterwards that took the COB formula and ran with it, such as Norther and Kalmah.
IN FLAMES: COLONY
The fourth album from In Flames was their last great one. Far more geared towards typical Gothenburg melodeath than anything the band had done previously, the album featured some great, catchy songs and terrific riffwork. The album is faster-paced and more intense than their previous albums. Unfortunately it was all basically down hill from here.
MOONSPELL: THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT
Moonspell's fourth album was influenced by chaos theory, as can be guessed by the album's name. The album is more experimental than the band's prior albums that were more straightforward gothic/black metal. The first couple of songs on this album are insanely creepy. "Soulsick" features some terrifying vocals and the title track's last section is extremely unnerving. The rest of the album is not quite as good, but this is a strong release by the Portuguese band.
OPETH: STILL LIFE
Opeth also released their fourth album in 1999. This is the first album I had heard from Opeth and it impressed me immediately. Featuring some of the band's best combinations of melodic death metal and progressive elements, this is one of the most beautiful and brilliant albums the band has released. From the crunchy riffs beginning in "The Moor" to the elegantly melodic "Face of Melinda" to strong album closer "White Cluster", this is an amazing album.
TESTAMENT: THE GATHERING
After the band's experimentation with a more death metal-influenced sound on their prior album, Demonic, Testament returned to a heavy thrash sound on their eighth album. Some of the death metal elements were still present, as death metal veterans James Murphy, Steve DiGiorgio, and former Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo all appeared on the album as members of the band. Chuck Billy's voice was still closer to death metal than his prior thrash metal vocals, but the music was faster paced and heavier. The lyrical themes were a hell of a lot more evil too. This is still one of my favorite Testament albums.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Control Denied: The Fragile Art of Existence; Immortal: At the Heart of Winter; Lacuna Coil: In a Reverie; Metallica: S&M.
BANDS THAT FORMED IN 1999: Battlelore, Bloodbath, Bleeding Through, Dragonforce, Dream Evil, Kalmah, Killswitch Engage, Lamb of God, Mastodon, Mors Principium Est, Trivium.