Agoraphobic News' top 40 metal albums of 1998!

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1998 was a great year for metal, make no mistake! That was the time when nu metal reached its peak but, as a natural response to that phenomenon, death metal was back on track! The only genre that almost completely died out was thrash metal. From a bird perspective, 1998 was the year of groove, frequently used by both nu metal & death metal bands alike. However, there are bands who wanted nothing to do with these innovations and instead wanted to deliver an old school 80s vibe to their albums. This is our list of top 40 metal albums of 1998! Check it out!

40) Godsmack – Godsmack



The very first Godsmack album! These guys left a huge mark on nu metal. Godsmack’s self-titled debut  has some pretty neat songs. Voodoo is simply  one of Godsmack’s greatest tunes ever!  They are one of those bands that serve as a gateway to heavier stuff!  YEAH! YEAH! YEAH!

39) Entombed – Same Difference



The album cover is enough to suggest a hardcore / rock n’ roll oriented album! Despite its bad reviews, this album is actually cool to listen to!  Of course that you won’t like it if you’re still living in a death metal shell!  Bands won’t play the same stuff over and over again. Deal with it!


 38)  Deeds of Flesh  - Inbreeding of the Anthropophagi




Let the carnage begin!  Inbreeding of the Antropophagi is the 2nd album of US-based death metal veterans.  And it’s surely one of their sickest releases until this day! Prepare your ears for some brutal sonic molestation! These guys have no mercy when brutality is in question! This release is wicked from head to tail!



37) Krisiun  – Apocalyptic Revelation



Krisiun, a Death metal fury from Brazil will bring you to your knees! No matter what album is in question, these guys really know to make some face-punching death metal!  This infernal trio will take you on a journey through the seven gates of hell! Apocalyptic Revelation is a sonic hellfire, ready to purge the world!

36) Marduk – Nightwing    




 A masterful piece of art by the old guard! Marduk’s Nightwing  is an unavoidable album when we’re talking about black metal! This album is as sick as the artwork suggests!  It will surely evoke the spirits of the underworld with your every listen! Morgan Hakansson’s guitar work is just spot on. Catchy songs, great vibe, great album!


35) Slayer – Diabolus in Musica



Criminally underrated album! Slayer’s  Diabolus in Musica surely isn’t as bad as you’ve been told to over and over again!  And for the record, that’s one of the creepiest album artworks of all time! Some of the best tunes on this album are Bitter Peace, Death’s Head, Stain of Mind, In the Name of God to name a few. And as you all know, this album was influenced by  nu metal and is by far the most experimental Slayer release up to this date!



34) BorisAmplifier Worship



That moment when you stumble upon a Youtube comment stating:  „The United States Military has less drones than this.”  Amplifier Worship is by far one of the best album titles ever!  Boris really knows how to deliver noises heavier than the universe! P.S. the Yellow Frog is watching you!


33) Katatonia -  Discouraged Ones



Well, Katatonia’s 3rd  album Discouraged Ones will surely awaken your senses! Chilling atmosphere and the overall melancholy typical of Katatonia’s sound will shake you up!  Press play and surrender yourself to one hour of sonic despair! A soundtrack of winter depression!


32) Anthrax -   Volume 8 – The Threat is Real



Terribly underrated album. John Bush’s era surely gave a new life to Anthrax! Volume 8 – The Threat is Real is Thrax’s take on groove metal. These riffs are simply a blow-to-the-head for average listeners!  That was a big enough excuse for Phil Anselmo to be featured in song Killing Box while Dimebag Darrell delivered some major  fret burning on probably the biggest hit from this album – Inside Out.


31) Malevolent Creation – The Fine Art of Murder



Goddamn! Malevolent Creation’s The Fine Art of Murder is an astonishing old school death metal release to say the least! Brett Hoffmann’s vocals are irreplaceable when it comes to this band. His ghoulish growls contain unprecedented levels of brutality that par with Malevolent Creation’s in-your-face riff assaults! He will be missed! Music –wise, Malevolent guys brought one of their craziest songs on the table!  Florida Death metal at its finest!



30) Crowbar – Odd Fellows Rest



So cool!  Probably the best Crowbar albums ever! Odd Fellows Rest is an album of mastodonic proportions! Just take a listen to these meaty, sludge-oozing riffs! Kirk Windstein’s riffs weigh 500 tons!  Odd Fellows Rest has a bunch of dark atmosphere that adds a chilling effect to the whole damn thing!




29) Amon Amarth -  Once Sent from the Golden Hall 




A brilliant way to start a career!  Amon Amarth’s debut album Once sent from the Golden Hall is a kick ass release! As always, Jonah Hegg’s  deathgrowls will keep your adrenaline pumping!  The whole band sounds as if they were riding with the Valkyries!  Swedish melodic death metal at its finest! 


28) Arch Enemy - Stigmata




Remember when Arch Enemy had a male vocalist?  Johan Liiva’s crushing vocals are not to be underestimated!  No matter who’s behind the vocals, Michael and Christopher Amott  keep on delivering some tasty melodic death metal riffs! These songs are damn brutal & catchy at the same time!

27) Dying Fetus – Killing on Adrenaline



Brutal. Dirty. Slimy! Dying Fetus’s Killing on Adrenaline is an unholy combo of technical death metal and monstrous slamming grooves! You simply cannot play this album on low volume!  John Gallagher’s vocals will bite your face off!  Arpeggio-open string formula is strong in this one !  This album is the perfect way to unleash a furious killing spree upon your enemies while playing Call of Duty or something. (haha)




26) Fear Factory -  Obsolete



GO! A grandiose album by the groove/industrial gods – Fear FactoryDino Cazares’ decapitating death metal-sounding grooves will get you with every listen! Low tuning, masterful songs and Burton Bell’s recognizable vocals will make you crave for some more!  They say that the 3rd album is the best one!  This unwritten rule can be applied to this as well! Make no mistake, Fear Factory was on top of their game with Obsolete!



25) Converge-  When Forever Comes Crashing




Now that’s a dirty-sounding record!  And we have to thank Steve Austin of Today is the Day for that!  Converge’s 3rd studio release, When Forever Comes Crashing will blow you to smithereens! Converge have been messing around with some of the most wicked, sickening chords!  When Forever Comes Crashing  is  by all standards,  one of Converge’s  finest releases ! This is how metalcore should be played – without compromise! Without mercy! 


24)  Pig Destroyer -  Explosions in Ward 6



Pig Destroyer’s very first album! From the start, these guys  sounded like a a train running off the railroad, destroying everything in its path! Explosions in Ward 6 is an essential  and infallible grindcore album!  We miss the good ol’ days when PxDx was a trio with J.R. Hayes on vox, Scott Hull  on the guitar & Brian Harvey on the drums. Within less than 20 minutes, Pig Destroyer will take you through some major sonic disembowellment.   Grindcore bands, take notes!




23)  Bolt  ThrowerMercenary



Legendary release from the Birmingham-based death metal war gods! Bolt Thrower’s Mercenary was surely overshadowed by their previous and finest release, …For Victory, but still, they kept the machine going! The only flaw of this album is its weird, silent sounding mix. Other than that, it’s good old Bolt Thrower!  I guess no one can resist these melodic riff-mantras! And good luck with getting these songs out of your head!


22) Devin Townsend – Infinity



Now that’s a hilarious album cover! But music-wise, Infinity is some major interstellar domination by our lord & savior – Devin Townsend! And yeah, these songs will put a smile on your face! Infinity incorporates jazz fusion and progressive rock elements that blend perfectly with Devin Townsend’s way of dealing with metal music!  You surely won’t find anything like it, no matter which parameters are involved! Pure magic!


21) Iron Maiden – Virtual XI



The last album to feature Blaze Bayley in Iron Maiden. Well, your anticipation of this record might depend on how much you like or dislike Bruce Dickinson as a singer but without a doubt, Virtual XI is simply an underrated album. And it has the classic Iron Maiden formula! You’ll need only a second to realize what band is on the jukebox! Virtual XI features one of the greatest Iron Maiden songs ever written - The Clansman! This album deserves far more attention than it gets!



20) Korn  – Follow the Leader



Oh my!  3rd album by nu metal pioneers Korn. This one featured Korn’s classic lineup with Head and Munky on the guitars, Fieldy on the bass, John Davis on vox & David Silveria on drums!  Gotta love that clicky bass sound that’s pretty cranked up when compared to the majority of albums! And not to mention these noisy, dissonant-sounding guitars!  Songs like Freak on a Leash & Got the Life, Children of the Korn kinda overshadowed the rest of the tunes on this release. However, Follow The Leader was one of the most influential nu metal albums at that moment! And that’s a fact!

19) Sepultura – Against



The very first Sepultura album with Derrick  Green on vox.  Against is a straight forward, in-your-face release worthy of its predecessor (even though it’s clearly overshadowed by the success that Roots had.) This album also has these tribal grooves that blend perfectly with Sepultura’s hardcore edge, especially due to the exotic  sounding Japanese percussions & Xavante tribe that had its share on the release!


18) Cryptopsy – Whisper Supremacy



The apocalypse starts with hitting the play button!  Legendary Canadian death metal legends Cryptopsy  outdid themselves with Whisper Supremacy. This is the first Cryptopsy album to feature Mike DiSalvo on vocals! Flo Mounier’s gravity blasts & Jon Levasseur’s mix of dissonant & melodic riffs will give you no time for rest! Only a few bands can actually walk the same pace as Cryptopsy with their frantic & often schizophrenic vision of music! Whisper Supremacy is by far one of the strongest titles from their opus!

17) Bruce Dickinson – The Chemical Wedding



Probably one of the best Bruce Dickinson’s solo albums! It’s really amazing to see how Bruce’s voice wasn’t affected by the sands of time!  The Chemical Wedding is a definition of heavy metal. What can be said about this album? Iconic singer, iconic riffs…every song is a story of its own, Our favorite tunes are surely The Chemical Wedding, Killing Floor, The Tower, medieval sounding Jerusalem  and the biblical Trumpets of Jericho! No doubt. The Chemical Wedding outperforms Iron Maiden’s Virtual XI and that’s a fact!

16) Anal Cunt – Picnic of Love



Well….I bet you didn’t see this coming!  Who would say that Seth Putnam was a sensitive man? His vocals  on this album can be seen as an unholy combination of Herbert the Pervert and Mr Hankey!  Legend says that Anal Cunt guys were so poor at the time they couldn’t afford electric guitars…NOT!    And guess what? Picnic of Love  is the single most ironic album of all time with  which Anal Cunt’s sarcasm reached its full extent. A grindcore band talking about their feelings? ! It just can’t get any better than this!  When you hear this album you’ll want your virginity back! RIP SETH PUTNAM!


15)  King Diamond – Voodoo




Can you imagine any King Diamond album without witchcraft, spells, exorcism & ghosts? As every King Diamond album, Voodoo has plenty of face-melting leads & riffs coming from the guitars of Andy LaRocque and Herb Simonsen! (Voodoo was the last album he played on in K.D.).  Haunting keyboards really contribute to the whole thing by creating a ghastly, eerie atmosphere. Apparently, King Diamond’s vocal range can reach the stars! Voodoo is an untimely gem!


14) Opeth   - My Arms Your, Hearse



Simply breathtaking!  Opeth’s  My Arms, Your Hearse will blow you away with every listen!  These guys are sitting on the throne of Swedish death metal! In Serbian, the word opet means again. Totally fits Opeth! Over and over again, Opeth will make you lose your words! This was the first album to feature Martin Lopez  & Martin Mendez in the band ! Musical ingenuity of Mikael Åkerfeldt is unsurpassed even beyond the metal genre.

13) Mercyful fate – Dead Again



 Mercyful fate is one of those bands that simply can’t release a single bad album!  Dead Again is the pure essence of evil! But it would be damn hard to decide who’s more evil, King Diamond’s unholy voice or Hank Shermann’s riffs!    Goddamn, songs like Since Forever, The Lady Who Cries, Dead Again, Sucking your blood, Crossroads are so damn powerful!  Not to mention those jaw-dropping solos that bring this album to a whole new level!  Dead Again is a heavy metal classic whose songs stood the test of time!  This band needs to be reunited!  And yeah, Mercyful Fate> King Diamond :P

12) Tankard – Disco Destroyer



From Frankfurt to Frisco, we destroy every disco!  Even though the scene was dead at that moment, nothing stopped Tankard from delivering this immense, aggression-ridden album! Disco Destroyer was the last release to feature one of Tankard’s original guitarists Andy Boulgaropoulos (he was known for his epic moustache & yellow guitar!) The album itself has a lot of twists and turns and it shifts from catchy, punky & melodic, towards an untamed, thrashing beast!  This album also includes a remake song from the demo days – Death by Whips! So, without a doubt, Tankard was on the forefront of Teutonic Thrash metal at the time! P.S. That Manowar cover was completely unnecessary!

11) Rob Zombie – Hellbilly Deluxe



An all-time classic! Without a single doubt, the best Rob Zombie album! Hellbilly Deluxe has this amazing vibe that’ll keep you going, no matter what you are doing at the moment! Fans of Twisted Metal 4 will be struck by nostalgia after hearing the band’s biggest hit – Dragula, and another kickass tune – Minion’s Maze!   Songs Meet the Creeper, Living Dead Girl, Spookshow Baby will get you in mood for some headbanging! The songs themselves are minimalistic in nature but they’re catchy as hell! Albums like this are meant to be played at high volume only!

10)  Soulfly – Soulfly



Bring the shit! An album driven by anger, aggression and fear! Soulfly’s self-titled debut album was a fresh new start for the Brazilian legend Max Cavalera! These tribal grooves will make you want to destroy everything around you!  This album is a pure adrenaline surge! Just like in Roots, Max experimented with traditional Brazilian instruments that give this release a totally jungle tribe vibe. And in the end, Max Cavalera left huge mark on thrash, death, groove, even black metal. And now it was his turn to leave his fingerprint on the trendiest subgenre of that time (whether you like it or not) –nu metal!  RIP Dana!

9)  Napalm Death – Words from the Exit Wound




Without a single doubt, Napalm Death’s Words from the Exit Wound is a pure adrenaline surge that will make your heart beat harder than it should, but in a good way!  This one is a part of Napalm Death’s experimental  triad of masterpieces (Diatribes & Inside the Torn Apart) and Birmingham grindcore/death metal pioneers had a full circle with Words s from The Exitt Wound!   When it comes to the riffs, Mitch Harris & Jesse Pintado (RIP) were a win-win combination and when you add Barney Greenway’s gargantuan vocals & Shane Embury’s bass hammering, you get the ultimate Napalm Death  grindcore/death metal release!

8)  Nile – Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-ka




What an album title! For the first time ever, Nile was writing history! Not only that this album is overtly brutal, but it’s also pretty damn exotic for a death metal record!  Nile is (as much as SOAD, Melechesh) the prime example of how „west meets the east“ music should sound like! And that Gustav Holst’s Mars + the opening riff of Rameses the Bringer of War will get you every time! A supersonic blow to the head! Nile appeared just in time, when death metal revival was taking place!  For sure, Karl Sanders raised the bar high in the world of extreme riffing! Among the Catacombs of Nephren Ka is definitely an essential Nile album!


7)  Morbid AngelFormulas Fatal to the Flesh




The very first Morbid Angel with Steve Tucker on vocals!  Formulas Fatal to the Flesh is a death metal masterpiece that can only grow bigger and better as time passes by!  The band was really on top of its game!  When you have Trey  Azagthoth’s  guitar frenzy, Steve Tucker’s hellhoundish growls and Pete Sandoval’s  machinegun halo of double bass and blastbeats fused together , you get larger-than-life songs  that are here to stay for eternity!  Singling out songs from this release can be seen as an act of blasphemy (oh, the irony!) ‘cause they all rule! Gotta love these swarm-like sounding Morbid Angel riffs!  Formulas Fatal to the Flesh is so loud  & heavy it might awaken the Ancient ones!


6) Meshuggah - Chaosphere




Watch out! Chaosphere is one of the finest Meshuggah albums and metal albums in general! All this surreal polyrhythmic madness, merciless grooves, noisy „drunken monkey“ solos executed in Pat Matheny style which can be heard in songs such as Neurotica and Corridors of the Chameleons... It just can’t get any better than this! Apparently, Meshuggah is from Sweden, but their music is from dimension X or something!   Chaosphere changed the face of djent & extreme metal music for good and this is not an exaggeration. To say that Messhugah’s creeping, silent music revolution became ALL OUT LOUD with this album wouldn’t be far from the truth! P.S. I double dare you to headbang in sync with these riffs!


5)  Cannibal CorpseGallery of Suicide



The best Cannibal Corpse album PERIOD! With Gallery of Suicide CC guys really outdone themselves! All the evil-sounding, meat-grinding riffs and George Corpsegrinder Fisher’s terrifying growls will make you shiver. This album was the first to feature Pat O’Brien on the guitar (we’re with you buddy!). And goddamn, Sentenced to Burn will put you in a hypnotic headbanging state! Tons of soul-crushing songs on this album, but nothing beats the self-titled Gallery of Suicide, probably one of the best Cannibal Corpse songs of all time! Not to mention the jaw-dropping instrumental – From Skin to Liquid! Goddamn, these serpentine slithering riffs is what Cannibal Corpse is all about! Gallery of Suicide is an album with pretty grotesque, dark atmosphere surrounding every inch of it – from the album cover, lyrics, riffs, the production…you name it!

4) Death – The Sound of Perseverance



Damn right! This is a quite a historical album! The Sound of Perseverance was supposed to be released as the very first album of Control Denied but the Nuclear Blast guys wanted another Death record (and we should really thank them for that decision!) This album was a big middle finger Chuck Schuldiner pointed at  the emerging groove/nu metal trends supported by  (in Chuck’s words)  „corporate America“ i.e. music industry . As a man stuck in the past, he wanted to bring back heavy metal music onto its rightful path! And we’re really lucky to see all his frustrations transforming into what many dare to say is THE best Death album of all time! (And if you put 7 Death fans in a same room, you’ll get 7 different answers what their favorite Death album is).  What makes this album so astonishing is the fact that Chuck surrounded him with then pretty young and unknown local musicians (Richard Christy, Shannon Hamm, Scott Clendenin (may he rest in peace!))  And all the style changes both musically and vocally is what made such him an extraordinary musician!  RIP Chuck Schuldiner! DEATH LIVES!

3)  Motörhead Snake Bite Love




Terribly underrated album!  Snake Bite Love is by all standards, one of the best Motörhead albums of all time! Just take a listen to these songs! I mean, the 90s are a decade without a single bad Motörhead album! And they’re all classics, including Snake Bite Love! Make no mistake, Lemmy Kilmister, Phil Campbell & Mikkey Dee were the single most important trio in rock n’ roll music!  Songs like Assassin and Night Side are one of Motörhead's heaviest! When it comes to the lyrics   Take the Blame is one of Lemmy’s greatest efforts: 

Politician swine, you make me wanna puke
Waste my money, waste my time.
going by the book
Education fails no need to teach the poor
They just get in the way, until we have a war.

This album also includes a very touching ballad Dead and Gone that will send shivers down your spine every time you hear it! The beauty of this album is that some of the tunes have a cheerful rock ‘n’ roll vibe while others are full on heavy metal!  Snake version of Snaggletooth is just priceless! The world is not the same place without Lemmy! RIP!

2)  System of a Down – System of a Down




And the legend was born!  System of a Down’s self-titled debut album is one of those albums everyone had to go through! System of a Down supersedes the term nu metal ‘cause their music is simply more than that! SOAD have a genre of their own. System of a Down’s eastern sounding melodies coming from the Armenian background of the whole band incorporated in some of the heaviest metal riffs of all time, gave System of a Down a unique sonic edge! We are talking about a band with only one album out who managed to get on a world tour with Slayer and Sepultura! The greatness of SOAD was recognized by many, from the very start of their career! Daron Malakian’s head-crushing riffs and minimalistic solos which can be heard in songs like Spiders or Soil give this release jaw-dropping effect!  Not to mention Serj Tankian’s frantic growls and screams! And from the start, SOAD was raising awareness about the Armenian genocide in the song like P.L.U.C.K. (1.5 million Armenians slaughtered by the Ottomans in 1915). This struggle for recognition of the genocide gave SOAD’s lyrics a sharp political, anti-war message (such as opposition to NATO bombing of Serbia and Kosovo in the music video for the song Sugar), that distinguished them from most of the bands. Politics aside, SOAD’s debut is easily said, one of the most important albums of the 20th century! Nothing can beat the energy that Serj Tankian, Daron Malakian, Shavo Odadjijan & John Dolmayan had back then!

1)  Gorguts – Obscura


INTRA LIMPIDUS!  And yes, who would say that GorgutsObscura would be number 1 on our list? (sarcasm intended!) This album gave a momentum to a revolution called dissonant death metal and we’re plucking the fruits of this album up to this very day! The fact that Obscura was finished in Fall of 1994 shows how ahead of its time this album really was, even for the year 1998!  This album had to wait for almost 5 years to be released, due to the band’s inability to find a new record label (after being kicked out of Roadrunner Records with Fear Factory taking their place) and due to the Steve MacDonald’s decision to leave the band. The final lineup on the album was Luc Lemay and Steeve Hurdle on the guitars & vocals, legendary Steve Cloutier on the bass and Patrick Robert on the drums. Sadly, Steeve Hurdle and Steve MacDonald are no longer with us (RIP). While writing material for Obscura, Gorguts guys wanted to get rid of metal clichés such as a typical Slayer beat, or open string galloping riffs. Their musical vision was looking in another direction, into the world of avant-garde dissonance which was still unexplored in death metal. It may sound like a trainwreck by many, but try composing all this stuff!  We don’t need to go into details ‘cause we did that in a tribute article to Gorguts’ Obscura (you can read it HERE!). Luc Lemay’s and Steeve Hurdle’s double growling attacks give these tracks immense, brutal force that’s being pushed to a next level with Patrick Robert’s merciless drum fire.  And when it comes to bass lines, only a few people can do it as intense as Steve Cloutier. Gorguts’ Obsura turned the whole death metal world upside-down! And there’s no turning back!


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