Dimmu Borgir - "Death Cult Armageddon"

Dimmu Borgir - "Death Cult Armageddon"

dB HoF No. 147

Label: Nuclear Blast
Release date: September 8, 2003
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If there's one black metal album that changed black metal—in almost every respect—it’s Dimmu Borgir’s Death Cult Armageddon. The Norwegians had battled through the genre’s idyllic early years, where everything but the music was important—when image and the controversies of select individuals reigned supreme. But fast forward a few years, and it’s clear the Oslonians, principally on the strength of the Stormblåst full-length, were gearing up for something greater. When Enthrone Darkness Triumphant landed in the spring of ’97, suddenly black metal wasn’t predicated on ultra-fast and infernally fiery volleys of speed and distortion with no-fi productions. Musicality and a grander scene of sonic picture were placed—wittingly—on a genre all-too unready to accept progress on Dimmu Borgir’s scale. Heralded by the press and the record-buying public, the Norwegians pressed on as if the scorn from atavists mattered not.

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Saxon - "Wheels of Steel"

Saxon - "Wheels of Steel"

dB HoF No. 146

Label: Carrere
Release date: May 5, 1980
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The New Wave of British Heavy Metal wasn’t a movement. Until it was a movement. Early on, bands—mostly categorized as hard rock—merely created music the only way they knew how. They were heavy, hard and thunderous, but heavy metal they were not. Not yet at least. Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, UFO, Uriah Heep and Led Zeppelin weren’t terribly keen on being labeled something that they felt they were not. Nevertheless, metallic forces, large and small, started to impart a new vocabulary on the next generation of British riffmasters and loudness purveyors. It didn’t happen at once, but was gradually summoned and curated—informally and organically—over years, from the mid-’70s through the early ’80s.

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Hellhammer - "Apocalyptic Raids"

Hellhammer - "Apocalyptic Raids"

dB HoF No. 145

Label: Noise Records
Release date: March 7, 1984
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At the onset of metal's second decade, kult was not a choice. Kult was the by-product of poverty, desperation and isolation. The elusive quality sought after by today’s black metal musicians, one that speaks of darkness and conviction, does not come from choice. It comes from hardship. In the case of Hellhammer, that hardship involved abusive childhoods, scorn and a music industry that described them as terrible, noise, shit and worse.

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Entombed - "Clandestine"

Entombed - "Clandestine"

dB HoF No. 144

Label: Earache
Release date: November 12, 1991
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No one has ever said, “Entombed, there’s a band that doesn’t confuse me.” Trying to follow the Swedish death metal institution’s lineup throughout the years takes more brain cells than anyone who has spent most of their life listening to Swedish death metal has left, so it’s a particularly gnarly conundrum. But you gotta do something while listening to their first two albums for the millionth time in your life, so you just keep trying. It’s a noble cause, and we’re glad that you just admitted to listening to Clandestine one million times in your life, because it’s as good as Swedish death metal can possibly get. 

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The Locust - "Plague Soundscapes"

The Locust - "Plague Soundscapes"

dB HoF No. 143

Label: Anti-
Release date: June 24, 2003

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If any band has endured and persevered through extreme music’s potential for divisive conservatism and pedantic nit-picking, it’s the Locust. The every-genre-and-more San Diegan noise-niks may have started as a proto-powerviolence/hardcore outfit in 1994, but quickly utilized everything at their fingertips in order to expand upon and shatter every barrier imaginable to create a unique shade of red-lining chaos. And equal numbers of the public loved and hated the double-middle finger they gave tropes and conventions. However, those who hated the Locust fucking hated the Locust. Often finding themselves on the receiving end of everything from self-righteous fanzine editorials and baseless accusations of elitism to slashed van tires and physical assaults, the Locust wouldn’t have been faulted for giving in to pressure in the name of self-preservation and not wanting to deal with the hassle. 

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