Here's a selection of great, highly recommended albums from an avid metalhead (and music fan in general). I've practically had these in in constant rotation lately.
Agalloch- The Mantle
Seriously- the first song on here, "A Celebration For the Death of Man.../In the Shadow of Our Pale Companion," is purely breathtaking. I sometimes question how anyone could ever feel insecure again after writing a song like this one- this whole album is such a pure and thorough trek of the outermost limits of existentialism. The spirit of this album suggests a profound triumph over all of life's suffering and highlights a beautiful, almost oceanic sort of cosmic insignificance.
Modest Mouse- The Moon and Antarctica
"The universe is shaped exactly like the Earth," Isaac Brock sings in this album's opener, "if you go straight long enough, you end up where you were." The fact that anyone can go through as much shit as Isaac Brock and still emerge on the other side as such a brilliant musician and poet is a wonderful testament to human resilience, one of my favorite traits we have. Just try out "Third Planet" or "The Stars Are Projectors." You'll see what I mean.
Between the Buried and Me- Colors
One of the most unique and inspiring bands I've ever heard, Between the Buried and Me are on a level of almost inhuman musicianship. Of all the hundreds of albums I've probably listened to, "Sun of Nothing" is my favorite reflection on and counterargument to the feelings of misanthropy the and suicidal ideations that are faced by many. The fact that anyone can play guitar this well is, all by itself, a reason to keep on living. I've never seen another band with so much to prove- and they prove it all, beyond any shadow of a doubt.
The Microphones- The Glow, Pt. 2
The Microphones/Mount Eerie are, along with Modest Mouse, some childhood favorites for me, and maybe there's a pretty big contrast between the viewpoints of Isaac Brock and Phil Elverum- they're almost like opposites, but two ends of the same spectrum. "The Glow, Pt. 2," though it is probably Phil's least philosophical, most overrated work (which is saying a lot) and I'd strongly advise digging through his whole catalogue, is a great starting point for The Microphones as well as a classic. Though it is often categorized as "lo-fi," I don't really see it that way. Rather than using the tag as an excuse for sloppy musicianship, Phil layers "lo-fi" textures and recording techniques in a manner reminiscent almost of shoegaze, creating a unique and luxurious sonic landscape of raw nostalgia and childish yearning that I could get lost in forever. Try it out sometime.
Originally posted by Hobz
The Mountain Goats - Zopilote Machine
its still so impressive how john darnielle is able to write such distinct songs with the same handful of chords.
I'll second this! I absolutely adore John Darnielle. The Mountain Goats' "All Hail West Texas" and "Tallahassee" have helped me through a ton, and really, about everything they've made is at least very good. I loved Transcendental Youth. JD is clearly a person who has been through several levels of hell, yet has somehow mustered the miraculous strength to power through to the other side. I kinda see Transcendental Youth as almost being like his "gift" to those who are in the same dark places he once was. I love that guy so much. Don't care as much for their very newest stuff, but might get into it eventually. Songs about D&D, goth culture and professional wrestling don't speak to me as much, but he's pretty much earned the license to write about whatever he damn well pleases at this point.