There’s been a meme going around on Facebook where you share 10 albums that deeply impacted you. So, we figured it could be fun to do something like that too!
#1: Nightwish – Wishmaster
This was the album that started it all for us! A single random Youtube video, a fan-made music video combining The Kinslayer and Final Fantasy 8, opened the door to metal and legitimately changed the course of our lives. The power metal aspects of this album are honestly something we still miss from modern Nightwish today, and it’s a spirit we try to keep alive with some of our music.
#2: Shade Empire – Sinthetic
The other half of our introduction! Because of Marco Hietala’s guest vocals on one of the tracks on this album, iTunes told us we might like it since we liked Wish I Had An Angel. This album fused black metal and keyboards in a way Dimmu Borgir could only DREAM of doing! With its techno/industrial leanings as well as synth-led symphonic elements, and its decidedly Finnish melodic sensibilities, there’s something truly unique about this album that we’ve never heard anywhere else.
#3: Children of Bodom – Follow the Reaper
From Shade Empire, we’d developed a taste for Finnish melodeath – and who better to scratch that itch than the undisputed kings of the genre? The epic melodies, simultaneously upbeat and sorrowful in that trademark Finnish way; Alexi Laiho’s guitar pyrotechnics made Kevin and Chris aspire to shred, and the way Alexi and Janne trade solos back and forth inspired our “solo duel” approach as well.
#4: Sinergy – To Hell And Back
Fascinating. A supergroup featuring Alexi Laiho AND Marco Hietala? With female vocals? Yes. Apparently Sinergy actually toured with Nightwish quite a bit back during the Wishmaster days. It’s always been interesting to us how all these Finnish metal masters know each other.
#5: Nightwish – Dark Passion Play
Alright, hear us out, we know this one’s controversial. But in our opinion, if you look past the change in vocals, Dark Passion Play is the peak of the “classic” Nightwish sound, at least in terms of instrumentation. The orchestra is top-notch, the production is arguably the best they’ve ever had, the music is the heaviest and darkest it’s ever been. The tragic undercurrent beneath most of these songs is palpable and moving in a way that doesn’t seem to have been replicated in any of their other works, and even Annette struggling with some of theses songs that are a little too high for her, creates a sense of desperation that really tugs the heartstrings. The way her voice breaks on some lines really feels like a sob, and that’s something Adrienne uses intentionally to get the same effect sometimes.
#6: Shade Empire – Intoxicate O.S.
Similar to Nigthwish’s transition from Wishmaster to Century Child, Shade Empire also got heavier, lower and slower with this album. The growling style went from high black metal rasps to a low roar, and Adrienne sought to emulate this sound with her own growls. The fantastic keyboard work is still present on this album – in some ways it was the only example we’ve ever featuring this combination of raw heaviness and melodic-ness (that’s a word now, deal with it!).
#7: Dragonforce – Inhuman Rampage
Ah, Guitar Hero. Through the Fire and Flames is probably the longest-living internet meme of them all. The blistering speed, ridiculous drums, soaring vocals, videogame-influenced stylings, and above all, the infectiously catchy choruses are all things that influence us to this day.
#8: Scar Symmetry – Holographic Universe
Melodeath, prog, phenomenal singing, brutal growls – anyone who wants to make music featuring both clean singing and death metal vocals should consider this album essential listening. It taught us so much about balancing those two extremes.
#9: Symphony X – Paradise Lost
THE RIFFS! This album represents some of the craziest rhythm guitar playing we’d ever heard, and STILL heard to this day. It’s like taking a lead player’s approach to rhythm, and it’s almost single-handedly responsible for why our riff work is so complex. Almost, that is, except for one more album…
#10: Periphery – Select Difficulty
Hey look, an album that’s less than ten years old! Bet you weren’t expecting to see THAT on this list! Djent, love it or hate it, revolutionized metal guitar playing, and seems to have permanently changed the landscape of metal production. This band is single-handedly responsible for the shift toward mid-heavy guitar tones and larger-than-life drums. And the polymeters, frenetic string-skipping riffs and weird melodic chord lines that djent introduced is something we enthusiastically incorporated into our debut album, The Unheard Warning.
If any single one of these albums didn’t exist, our sound wouldn’t exist like it does today either. If you enjoy our music and there are albums on this list you haven’t heard, definitely consider heading over to Spotify or something and checking them out! And as always, if you like what we do and want to support us, consider joining our Backstage Experience on Patreon or picking up some music or merch from our shop.
And if you feel like sharing, leave a comment below and tell us which albums deeply impacted you! We’d love to hear.