As I mentioned yesterday, melodeath was a bit of a gateway for me into international metal. I became aware of it through an issue of Metal Hammer that had reviews of Dark Tranquillity and other bands, which ultimately lead me to start listening to some of the groups therein. Melodeath is a gateway to a lot of people, and many of them abandon the genre some time later. I never really did, although I am not as into it as I was.
DARK TRANQUILLITY: SKYDANCER/OF CHAOS AND ETERNAL NIGHT
I mentioned yesterday that this was my first melodeath album. I found it oddly in the University Bookstore, and it was the combined album and EP. Unfortunately, this is the only Dark Tranquillity album that really sounds like this. All the rest of their material has taken on a fuller sound, with little of the tremolo riffing that I enjoyed so much from this release. Initially when I picked up my next Dark Tranquillity album, the change in sound disappointed me quite a bit, though I grew to appreciate it over time. The different vocalists kind of surprised me, but I found myself enjoying the different styles each singer used. This is still one of my favorite albums from the genre.
SOILWORK: FIGURE NUMBER FIVE
This was the album that started the real downward turn in Soilwork's career. Although I really had no idea because I had never really heard the band before. Being somewhat into nu-metal and other mainstream styles of metal at the time I heard this, I thought the mix of alternative metal and melodic death metal was rather impressive. The songs are definitely infectious on this release. At this time, the more mainstream sound worked and Soilwork actually crafted a decent album. Although they would falter later. Soilwork was never a band I cared much for beyond this album. I do have one of their other albums, but did not get that until melodeath was not as big of a deal to me. I would have probably liked it quite a bit more otherwise.
IN FLAMES: REROUTE TO REMAIN
I picked this one up the day before I went on a family vacation to Colorado, the summer before I went to law school. I always used to like to buy a couple of albums before vacations and listen to them in the car for the first time. I remember being quite impressed with In Flames on this album, even though this is a much-hated album in their discography. Like the Soilwork release, I was rather impressed with the blend of melodic death metal and alternative metal. Also, like the Soilwork album, I had nothing to compare it to. I had no other albums by In Flames and, at the time, I was not aware of their connection to Dark Tranquillity.