Guaporense top 100 albums (2019 edition)


======================= Halfway through! =======================

The first half of this top 100 had a fair diversity of genres given my biased music tastes. However, the second half if much more genre consistent: it goes all the way into the gates of hell to select the best metal.

50. Iron Maiden - Live After Death (1985)

The Number of the Beast was not Iron Maiden's last appearance on this list. This is the first live album to show up on this list and what a live album, what a setlist. This is nirvana indeed, it is not even higher on this list mainly because the quality of the recording leaves a little bit desired.

Some nice video footage from the tour:

49. Helloween - The Time of the Oath (1996)

The Time of the Oath represents the re-emergence of Helloween from the abyss that they fell into after the band broke up. And what a comeback! This is the real deal, the best of modern Helloween playing at 100%.

48. Judas Priest - Sin After Sin*(1977)

Sin After Sin was a weird inclusion on this list. It is not a super-consistent album, in fact it is a rather incredible one in the sense that it features a mix of songs varying from a super light pop-rock (Last Rose in Summer) to bone-crushing heavy metal (Dissident Aggressor, later covered by Slayer although the original version is superior). It is major development for heavy metal and represents the consolidation of the classic heavy metal sound after the pioneering efforts of Black Sabbath.

47. Black Sabbath - Heaven and Hell (1980)

Heaven and Hell represents Black Sabbath at the peak of their powers. They removed their weakest member(the rather untalented but charismatic singer Ozzy) and substituted it with the great Dio, who was able to fully extract all the potential out of Black Sabbath's. While this is a mature album in the sense that it was Black Sabbath's 8th studio album it felt like a debut in a sense since the band's style had evolved greatly.

46. Gamma Ray - Somewhere Out in Space (1997)

The much maligned Gamma Ray, since they are the most "cheesy" of all power metal bands. Well, f*ck em, this is great stuff, specially Shine On!

Shine On!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

45. Virgin Steele - Invictus (1998)

That is the real deal bois! Virgin Steele is the world's most underrated band. While I previously said that the best traditional heavy metal albums from the Americas are W.A.S.P's albums I actually should correct that, Virgin Steele's Invictus should be categorized as a "heavy metal opera", not quite pure traditional heavy metal but also it is certainly not "power metal" as the genre is traditionally classified. All around excellent, this album possesses an eerie atmosphere that I find very attractive.

44. Candlemass - Epicus Doomicus Metallicus (1986)

Doom metal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Finally, the genre shows up in this top 100. I have to admit, I am rather ignorant of it but of the little I know about it is that Epicus Doomicus Metallicus beats Black Sabbath's doom metal records (such as Master of Reality or Sabotage) at their own game.

43. Blind Guardian - Somewhere Far Beyond

With Somewhere Far Beyond Blind Guardian evolved from a basic speed metal band into a sophisticated power metal act that took power metal to the highest level of quality and sophistication. Easily one of the best melodic metal albums of all time: it is absolutely essential for any metalhead.

Interview with the crew regarding the impact of the album on the band:

42. Slayer - South of Heaven (1988)

South of Heaven represents a massive turn for Slayer. From Show no Mercy to Reign in Blood their style was to play progressively faster and more aggressive thrash metal, peaking in Reign in Blood when their songwriting had to sacrifice coherence/harmony. Instead, in the following up album, South of Heaven is still heavy as hell but they decided to slow down and focus on improving the melody. It was win-win situation as they produced a masterpiece of thrash metal and what is perhaps their most memorable album.

41. Ensiferum - From Afar (2009)

Hah, Ensiferum, the best underground metal band of all time. What I mean by that is that among the bands that I list as my favorites they are indeed the least well known. I only discovered them much later than other bands (it took me about 10 years from becoming a metalhead to finding out about Ensiferum). The reason it took so long to discover then is that I was obsessed with traditional/thrash metal and bands closely related to the more traditional sound and I had bad experiences with more folkish bands (like the popular Amon Amarth).

Ensiferum, however, is a different kind of beast than any other folk metal band. Ensiferum is first and foremost a heavy metal band that has incorporated Finnish folk melodies into their riff-driven metal music. However, they are, as a musical artist, more firmly inside heavy metal genre than any other "folkish" band out there. From Afar is Ensiferum at the top of their game, featuring a wide array of diverse songs, some super long epics (Heathen Throne) others are lighter and smaller songs (such as the highly entertaining Stone Cold Metal).

40. Kreator - Coma of Souls (1990)

Coma of Souls represents thrash metal at its purest and catchiest form. While it might not be as apocalyptic sounding as South of Heaven, it surpasses it in terms of technical riffing: hundreds upon hundreds of riffs fill up the band's sound. All around perfect, it is an excellent introduction to the thrash metal genre and essential for anybody who wishes to understand heavy metal.

39. Metallica - Ride the Lightning(1984)

Ride the Lightning, 'Tallica's best album and a triumph of thrash metal. Back from 1984 when 'Tallica was a great band. By the way, the fall in quality between Ride the Lightning in 1984 and the Load/Re-Load albums in the 1990s remains something so outlandish that it makes my head hurt just when I try to evaluate such a decline. How is that possible? They showed a level of talent here comparable to Iron Maiden and Helloween and after 15 years we got some pedestrian pop-rock? It is as if the band died and was replaced by replicas.

38. Running Wild - Death or Glory (1989)

While metal was pretty much invented in Britain it really flourished in Germany. Running Wild is one of the best more traditional/speed metal bands in the world and perhaps my favorite traditional metal from Germany (some people classify this album as "power metal" but if you hear this and then put some Judas Priest or some Stratovarius it is obvious which one this one sounds closer too). A speed metal masterpiece, the songs are heavy, powerful and highly melodic and catchy, this album has the best of both worlds!

37. Kamelot - Karma (2001)

Kamelot, the best flower metal band of all time and IMO the most pleasant and entertaining band from the Americas. Karma is perhaps their quintessential album, between their straightforward early power metal albums and their more pompous later symphonic albums.

36. Iron Maiden - Somewhere in Time (1986)

Somewhere in Time is perhaps Iron Maiden's most underrated album. Has some of the best songwriting the band has ever done combined with first-rate production. This is just Iron Maiden at the peak of their powers.

35. Dark Angel - Darkness Descends (1986)

Brilliant, just brilliant! Total chaotic mayhem! This is it bois, the real spirit of extreme metal in its immense heaviness.

34. Hibria - Defying the Rules (2004)

My favorite Brazilian music album of all time: it is 100% non-stop speed metal glory delivered with great technicality and no dull moments.

It has zero influence of Brazilian folk music (which is actually an issue I have with Brazilian metal since, different from Scandinavian folk, the lighter sounding Brazilian folk does not mix well with the particular dark spirituality of metal). Instead, it is a display of technical virtuosity of the highest caliber combined with extremely inspired and highly melodic songwriting.

33. Kreator - Terrible Certainty (1987)

Thrash metal at its best: technical and aggressive. It strikes a perfect balance between the early super aggressive Kreator from 1985-1986 and the more melodic "neclassical" guitar style that Kreator developed from 1989-1990 (yes, thrash bands tended to evolve super-quickly back in the day, Kreator is my favorite thrash metal band of all time because they managed to evolve into something artistically more accomplished than Metallica and Slayer who degenerated into pop-rock in the 1990s).

The riffing on display here is some of the best ever and the songwriting is amazing because it feels like being hit in the head with bricks from unexpected directions: instead of the more "constant" barrage of typical thrash here with the constant tempo changes the songs take unexpected turns.

32. Joe Hisaishi - Spirited Away OTS (2001)

It had to be Spirited Away, my favorite OST of all time. Hisaishi really pulled no punches here, as it is varied and incredibly beautiful at the same time. It is his masterpiece mainly because of the higher variety which allows this OST to stand as on its own as a masterpiece of instrumental music.