I think they're a good idea.
Rather, I've realized that I'm an elitist -- I prefer quality/reality over quantity/sociability -- and thus I tend to like paring down to essentials, and really getting to know those.
I don't want to pick up third-string bands because they're interesting examples of that fertile transition period between classic Swedish OSDM and the melodic variant, etc. Or because they use a flute. That's hipster jive.
What I think matters is not form, but the unity of form and content. Together they make a voice. When separated, content becomes ranting and form becomes surface. When together, an object is made that unites the idea of the time with its outcome.
Thus I think it's important to have "best of" lists otherwise known as "best practices" listening lists -- if you want to really enjoy the genre, and not get bogged down in the forgettables the hipsters enjoy, try these.
I'm looking at Jim Necroslaughter's micro-list now:
His Majesty at the Swamp / Black Arts Lead to Everlasting Sins / Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism / Oath of Black Blood / Privilege of Evil / Dawn of Possession / In Battle There is No Law / Thousand Swords / To Mega Therion
Can't think of any I disagree with here:
* Varathron - His Majesty at the Swamp
* Necromantia - Black Arts Lead to Everlasting Sins
* Immortal - Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism
* Beherit - Oath of Black Blood
* Amorphis - Privilege of Evil
* Immolation - Dawn of Possession
* Bolt Thrower - In Battle There is No Law
* Graveland - Thousand Swords
* Celtic Frost - To Mega Therion
However, if I were making a list, it would turn out differently.
I'd point people to Drawing Down the Moon
before Oath of Black Blood
I actually would point them to the first Immortal album, but only after they've heard Blood Fire Death
and The Return
, which are the two influences they hybridized to make it.
Immolation? Other than the carnage of the last three releases, which are just embarrassing, I'd point toward Here In After
. It's more together.
Hard to limit oneself to such a short list! For example, I'd throw in Morbid Tales/Emperor's Return
to go with To Mega Therion
(and if someone ever edits the cruft out of the album following it, that too).
Ah well, you see how hard it is. And yet, how easy. Because you're selecting the things that really exemplify what you enjoy. Then all is purity.