VI - Klagopsalmer immensely. Excellent cover art, too.
2. Oh man, this one has been on my list forever. Literally years. It's odd that I neglected to pick up Sodom's Tapping the Vein all this time because first impressions tell me this is one of the best thrash albums released in the '90s, bar none. It's amazing Sodom cranked the record out because other bands in the time period completely watered down or changed their sound to fit in with what the people "wanted." Tapping the Vein is vicious, diabolical, and heinous - it takes no prisoners and rips your face off. Considering the band's record of consistency, it's no surprise the album is as amazing as it is. Plus, Angelripper's vocals are downright savage. HIGHLY recommended, and a wonderful successor to Sodom's classic material, although this is arguably a classic itself.
3. After my recent [ongoing] obsession with Vader's Welcome to the Morbid Reich, I figured it was time pick up the next best thing in their discography, the well-regarded Litany. It absolutely lives up to the hype because it's every bit as devastating as the Welcome to the Morbid Reich, yet it's sprinkled with a different flavor that gives it its own unique feel, if not slightly contrasting to what I've heard of other Vader material. I adore the riffs, vocals, and songwriting, but the production could use improvement, particularly the bass drum, which wouldn't sound out of place in an electronic music song. It's much too loud, but that's a small price to pay for exceptional music.
4. Funnily enough, I had Vreid's Milorg in my Amazon cart when a friend recommended it to me. These Norwegian black metallers lean toward the melodic side of the subgenre, which is refreshing when you consider the amount of raw and abrasive black metal acts unleashing their "genius" upon the metal world. Vreid's lyrics center around Norwegian resistance to the Nazis in World War II, so my inner history nerd is automatically satisfied without hearing the music but, really, the compositions are the real meat of the record, making you want to come back for more. Much like Shining's album, this one needs more to time to sink in with me, but I definitely love what I'm hearing.
5. While every album in this haul has been satisfying to an immense degree, the actual jewel is Evocation's Dead Calm Chaos. I vividly remember watching the music video for "Tomorrow has no Sunrise" on Youtube countless times back in 2008, but when I went to purchase the album, it was grossly overpriced due to being an import. When I was surfing Amazon to buy the albums above, I remembered Dead Calm Chaos, searched it, and was thrilled to find its price down to normal levels, so I tacked it onto the group. The record hasn't let me down, and I'm spinning it at least once every couple days. Supremely heavy guitar riffs, thick vocals, and a sound bridging the gap between death metal and melodic death metal? Yes please. These Swedish metallers have it all.