Type O Negative – Bloody Kisses
Roadrunner Records’ first album to receive platinum certification, Bloody Kisses saw Type O Negative break away from the thrash / crossover roots Peter Steele had bestowed upon their debut (as well as his output with Carnivore) and find themselves a distinctive niche in the Gothic metal market. Not that those early influences are completely eschewed, as evident on “Kill All the White People” and “We Hate Everyone”, but the real strength is in atmospheric, gloomy dirges like “Christian Woman”, “Black No. 1” and Seals & Crofts cover “Summer Breeze”, as well as experimental numbers such as the sublime, sitar led closer “Can’t Lose You”. Whilst Steele tends to take much of the plaudits, the value of Kenny Hickey’s melodic sensibilities and coarse voice (a perfect foil for Steele’s deep croon), Sal Abruscato’s to-the-point drumming and Josh Silver’s haunting, ethereal keys cannot be understated. The second entry in a flawless discography cruelly cut short by Steele’s death in 2010, Bloody Kisses endures as one of the definitive Gothic metal albums.
Carcass – Heartwork
Alongside the group of records causing a stir in Sweden’s much heralded ‘Gothenburg scene’, Heartwork helped spearhead the melodic death metal movement in the early ‘90s. The fourth step in the evolution of Merseyside extreme metallers Carcass, the album sees the band further refine their songwriting, combining cold, concise riff sets with smouldering melodies and searing leads across ten tightly wrought compositions. Jeff Walker’s gritty sneer is now the sole source of vocal disharmony, with Bill Steer stepping back to trade shots with fellow six stringer Michael Amott (now leader of melodeath favourites Arch Enemy). There’s an incredibly clean, clinical quality to the record, from Colin Richardson’s sleek production to HR Giger’s distinctive cover art. Make no mistake though, the music is razor sharp and cuts with merciless precision. Along with predecessor Necroticism, Heartwork helped cement Carcass’ place in death metal folklore, with their much heralded comeback Surgical Steel ensuring new generations of fans can enjoy their wares in the flesh.