1996 was a very distinct year for metal. The year was full of bands experimenting with their sound and is known for some infamously bad releases from acts such as Metallica and Carcass, but we also had many good ideas from several bands including many evolving into a style that would be what they are known for. Here in no order are the the ten best albums from that year.
Type O negative – October Rust
Released 3 years after the band’s platinum selling album, Bloody Tears, October Rust futhers the band’s transition from doom metal to a more gothic influenced sound, foreshadowed on the last release. This record features some of Steele’s best vocal work and lyrics to date. It also features an awesome cover of the Neil Young classic,”Cinnamon Girl”.
Ministry – Filth Pig
Originally a sales and critical failure, this 5th helping from Ministry is now seen as an overlooked gem, and for good reasons. This album is Ministry’s darkest and most humorless effort to date. The band takes on a sludge metal influenced style with less electronics than their other releases. While no Land of Rape and Honey, Filth Pig is still a must listen for any Ministry fan.
Filosofem is the best album by everyone’s favorite murderer, Varg Vikernes. On this record he experiments with elements of ambient music and minimalism, mixing it into his classic black metal sound. This would be a staple of Burzum’s sound on later releases.
Acid Bath – Pagan Terrorist Tactics
Acid Bath’s second and final album takes the band’s signature lyric style, and makes it more poetic, showcasing vocalist, Dax Riggs style of humor. Elements of black metal and drone were added to the band’s already diverse sound making an amazing final release for a legendary act.
Eyehategod – Dopesick
This third full length by New Orlean’s sludge legends continues the band’s usual style of punky,in your face sludge metal and is the band’s 2nd best release only being topped by Take as Need for Pain.
In Flames – Jester Race
Ever since the early 2000s, In Flames has been an infamous name in the metal world, due to the downhill spiral they future go down on each release. This should not make us forget that their was a time when the band put out top quality melodeath. Jester Race is In Flame’s best album to date with great melodies and guitar playing. This is also the first time we saw the band’s mascot, the Jester Head.
Edge of Sanity – The Crimson
In a world where mankind can no longer bare children, a young girl is born to a king and queen. After the Queen dies, the King is left to raise her by himself. The girl eveuntally grows up and gains magical powers which she uses to rule the land with an iron fist. This is the story of this epic album which is one song divided into eight parts. The album also features guest vocals by Opeth frontman, Mikeal Akerfeldt who was also featured on…
Katatonia – Brave Murder Day
1996 was a good for Akerfeldt year as he was also featured on Katatonia’s best release, Brave Murder Day. A gothy,bleak atmosphere floods this records sound and makes it a good introduction to the death/doom subgenre.
Immolation – Here and After
This second effort by Yonkers death metal giants, Immolation is one of the best releases from the NYDM scene. Here the band shows their great technical skill mixed with haunting vibes and well crafted songwritting, something that would be very common on albums released after this one.
Cryptopsy – None So Vile
Canada has always been known as a good place for tech- death and this album is the best example of why by a long shot. On this masterpiece of an album,we are given everything one would want from a death metal album including distinct vocals, perfect balance between brutality and musicianship, dark feeling, poetic lyrics, insane drumming and random jazz breaks. This insane combo and sound became more common in the genre years later, making this record way ahead of it’s time. Every track stands out as this album contains no filler. This is a must hear for any death metal listener who for some reason hasn’t heard it yet as well as anyone who wishes to get into the genre.
Iced Earth – The Dark Saga
Pantera – The Great Southern Trendkill
C.O.C – Wiseblood
Opeth – Morningrise
Hypocrisy – Abducted