Before a bunch of kids decided to name them “djent,” Meshuggah started playing a hybrid between technical thrash and progressive metal in a similar vein as Anacrusis or Coroner and was referred as simply that before creating the sound they’re known for today. For many die-hard fans, Contradictions Collapse was the record that brought them to the band as the incorporation of complex phrasing and jazz elements was not as used as it is now and a refreshing style welcomed by those wanting something more.
Another band hailing from the old school New York death metal scene, Suffocation is regarded as the pioneers of modern death metal with a more intricate and technical execution than their peers in the scene. Effigy of the Forgotten created the path towards this aggressive and technical style, making it the stepping stone to what we know as brutal death metal today.
You may be familiar with the Swedish symphonic/gothic band Therion, famous for using operatic elements into their music by including several classical singers into their composition, making them one of the most notable bands in that genre; but before that ever happened, Therion used to be a meat-and-potatoes Death Metal, popular during those years. While their music wasn’t groundbreaking or anything special at the time, their composition was solid and perfectly executed, even by today’s standards, making it one of the most underrated releases in the genre.
Monster Magnet, Spine of God
In retrospect, 1991 was a pretty solid year for stoner rock. Along with Kyuss, Red Bank, NJ’s Monster Magnet released their first full-length. A drug-addled mix of Sabbath, Hawkwind, and general psychedelia, frontman Dave Wyndorf was able to concoct a unique sound since forming in 1989. Several EPs led to the band signing with Caroline Records, who released Spine of God, the band’s proper full length debut. This is spacier and more psychedelic than the band’s subsequent releases. The band signed to A&M following t his, and seven years later, had their first (and only) gold album with Powertrip.
This is probably the least essential of the albums on this list, but it’s definitely the most star-studded. Suicidal Tendencies were in a weird place in the early ’90s. Having gone from the hardcore and punk sound that defined their first album to crossover thrash metal on Join the Army, they then signed to Epic Records, and were at the height of their career as a straight up metal band. So why shouldn’t Mike Muir have a funk/metal side project? Muir’s project, which also featured future ST/Ozzy bassist Robert Trujillo and Jane’s Addiction drummer Stephen Perkins, featured a bunch of skits from an alter ego, a “reptilian lover” named Aladdin Sarsippius Sulemenagic Jackson the Third. Ozzy Osbourne also shows up for a song called “Therapy.” It’s aged about as well as you might think, given that it’s out of print now, but it seems to have gotten Trujillo a job with Suicidal, so it served it’s purpose.