I recently mentioned that I had money to burn when I first started working after law school. One of the things that I did was to buy some large lots of CDs off of ebay and pick up one of the Century Media Grab Bags in order to get a bunch of undiscovered metal. Well this left me with some albums by bands that I probably would not have discovered on my own.
Here are some of my favorite albums that I probably would not have picked up myself:
ANDROMEDA: EXTENSION OF THE WISH
Progressive/power metal to me is kind of a hit or miss genre with a lot more misses. Symphony X, Queensryche, Dream Theater, and Fates Warning are all great, but then there are a ton of other groups out there that really do not have anything interesting out there. Andromeda though lurks under the radar and consistently puts out decent albums. This is the band's debut that I got in a Century Media Grab Bag.
CROWN OF THORNS: THE BURNING
Another debut album, this is actually the early version of the Swedish thrash band The Crown. However, in my opinion, this album puts all of The Crown albums to shame. It's faster and more relentlessly intense than any of the future band's albums but it also has more of a melodic death metal overall sound to it. Crown of Thorns released one more album under that name but then changed to The Crown.
DIABOLICAL MASQUERADE: DEATH'S DESIGN
According to main member Blakkheim, this album was supposed to be the soundtrack to a horror film with a plot seemingly very much like the Final Destination series. The album is made up of 61 tracks, going for a total of about 44 minutes, so you can imagine how long the tracks are. But there are obvious groups of tracks that form a song, so this can be listened to like any other album. The music is a bizarre avant-garde take on black metal and it is definitely cinematic. I wish the soundtrack story were true, this would have been much better than the original Final Destination.
I SHALT BECOME: WANDERINGS
I am not ordinarily a big fan of atmospheric/depressive black metal, but this album is definitely an interesting one. It's extremely slow and lulls the listener into an almost hypnotic state with its constantly repeating riffs and swirling melodies. I was a little apprehensive about this due to some labeling it as NSBM, but I cannot find any reason behind this label. It sounds like a mix of Burzum and Judas Iscariot.
RAISE HELL: HOLY TARGET
One of many bands that took Dissection's sound off of Storm of the Light's Bane and ran with it. This album is particularly impressive because the members were very young when they recorded it. The album is fast and aggressive with a bit more of a thrashier sound than Dissection. The lyrics were a little laughable, but these were just kids at the time. They were extremely impressive musicians and songwriters for their age.