Album that changed my life:
"Follow the Reaper" by Children of Bodom
In the wake of discovering In Flames and Opeth, I went crazy searching for new metal. It wasn't too long before this entry by Children of Bodom emerged from the rest of the new material I had acquired and established themselves amongst my new favorites. Growing up I always liked guitar and guitar soloing, so the extensive displays of technical virtuosity here were one of the really big elements that stood out to me. Prompted primarily by this album, I went on a brief foray into more power and progressive metal, listening to bands like Sonata Arctica and Yngwie Malmsteen. That didn't last terribly long, but for a short while it was a major factor in my musical listening, so I think it's still notable in discussing the evolution of my metal tastes. Besides, despite Children of Bodom's generally lackluster material over recent years, Follow the Reaper remains extremely enjoyable today.