18. Decapitated - Winds of Creation
JD got it right.
Poland's Decapitated are certainly one of the biggest names in the technical death metal genre right now. After recovering from a tragic accident that ended the life of their very talented drummer, Vitek, the band is now bigger than ever, even going so far as to headline the annual Summer Slaughter Tour, and with a new album under their belt, they are still going strong. However, for me, their finest hour came from the start of their career.
One thing that is amazing about this album is the age of the band members. Sauron, Vogg, Vitek, and Rygiel all average to be about 17. I found it astonishing that such technical, brutal, and well written music was written by a band who was probably still in high school at the time! This album personifies a definitive modern tech-death record. The real standout on this album is Vogg's guitar playing. His guitar tone on this record has a nice, fat crunch to it, which is a nice change from some of the more clean and clinical sounding guitar of other tech-death bands. This album is chock FULL of riffs. Vogg's signature style of swift, choppy riffs can be heard on every song here, and every song here will give you ample chances to headbang to crunchy, catchy, and technically proficient riffage that will leave you with a sore neck. His solos aren't too shabby here either, though they just tend to be standard death metal solos, but they most certainly fit in with the insane riffs. The other highlight is the late Vitek's drumming. It's nice to see a drummer in a death metal band who has this much skill that ISN'T worried about playing as fast as he can. In fact, a lot of times you'll catch him playing some very concentrated beats that focus on keeping a catchy, stomping pace (a good example is album highlight "Blessed"). Topping it all off is Sauron, the only vocalist the band has ever had who actually sounds like he belongs in a death metal band. He mostly sticks to a low growl here, and while there isn't much that really stands out about his vocals, he does a competent job.
If you want to hear Decapitated before the Meshuggah-isms (not that I don't like their later material, but it's nothing compared to this), definitely check it out.
The First Damned
The Eye of Horus