It’s a cliche in music, but also the truth, that a band has their whole lives to create their first album, and only a year or two to write their second. So while a lot of sophomore albums find artists trying to recapture the magic of their first albums, or conversely, trying to mold themselves into something that makes them more marketable, in a relatively short time period. And while many times that results in a lackluster album framed by a good song or two, some albums have been released that not only deliver on the promise of their debut albums, but blow them out of the water. With that in mind, here are some of the best metal sophomore albums that have been released. This is really just a jumping off point. There’s tons of places we could go with this. Note, we’re not including Black Sabbath’s Paranoid in here, because as great of an album as it was, it follows up the band’s debut, which birthed heavy metal.
5) Deafheaven, Sunbather
This is almost an honorable mention, because the band only have two albums out. Deafheaven wasn’t the first band to meld shoegaze with black metal, but Sunbather perfected it. The band’s first album, Roads to Judah, was relatively well-received, but the duo of George Clarke and Kerry McCoy upped the ante in every way, and while it’s still undeniably black metal due to George Clarke’s vocals, the waves of guitars and reverb and melodic segments balance out the blastbeats and shrieking in such a matter that indie rock fans and metal elitists alike heralded the 2013 album. It’ll be interesting to see what they come up with for album no. 3.