People like to point the finger at Candlemass as being the originator of the idea of epic doom metal as being “slowed down power metal”. This isn’t entirely unfair since, y’know… they were the band who got the band rolling on the subgenre to start with. That being said, I’d argue that it’s more generally applicable to Solitude Aeturnus a bit more than the Swedish band.
When it comes to metal, you have the usual rung of classics, and then you have the albums that are epochal in nature. The works that, regardless of whether you enjoy them or not, are the ones that fundamentally altered the landscape of the genre and for everything after them, for better or worse. Candlemass’s debut is, naturally, one of these albums – an album so blatantly influential that it spawned the subgenre in its own title.
Warlord is a pretty good example of how the success of a band sometimes is entirely dependent on factors outside of the musicians’ control.
Necromantia are one of the more curious and immediately striking bands in black metal. The Hellenic BM scene was, outside of a couple outliers in the Scandinavian countries (eg Dissection, Immortal etc), the most traditional heavy metal of the bunch – after all, it is why RiG has a big ‘ol primer on the scene. Of the big bands, Necromantia is perhaps the most musically “traditional metal” of the bunch, while also being musically one of the more radical bands of their brood.
Over the last few years, there has been a small sect of bands in traditional metal that fused the muscle & melody of the genre with a sense of gothic austerity. Taking inspiration from groups like 70’s Priest and Mercyful Fate’s 80’s output, these bands took the austerity implicit in the early works of those groups (EG Sad Wings of Destiny, Melissa etc), and made it a more explicit part of their approach.
The first three Pentagram albums and the First Daze comp are essential to anybody metalhead’s collection; Day of Reckoning is no exception to the bunch. Excellent album, and at times absolutely stellar.
Fates Warning’s previous work, The Spectre Within, was a masterpiece which essentially set the standard by which most metal – almost certainly all prog metal after it – should frequently aspire to (and often never does). Following up such an album is a tall task for anybody; almost nobody could. Fates Warning weren’t like any other band in metal – not now, and sure as shit not back in the 80’s either – and as such they proved capable of following it up with something even more monumental.
Even today, despite having known it for most of my years as a metalhead, there’s an enduring brilliance about The Somberlain that endures the test of time.
Florida had a small but fairly vital collective of traditional metal bands in the 80’s, despite them being fairly different from each other. You had Nasty Savage, who were on that Slayer gone Mercyful Fate kick; the lean aggressive and bombast of Savatage, etc. There are perhaps others I’m regretfully missing off the top of my head. The point is that Crimson Glory was arguably the best of that small lot – and this album, in particular, deserves to be mentioned alongside the very best of all time.