1. At the Gates - With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness: I may get a lot of shit for this because everyone is going to say it should be Slaughter of the Soul, but in all honesty, I think With Fear... is a better record. One may say that the production value is poor; yes, the production isn't top notch, but the songwriting and uniqueness is. And I think the production makes it that much better.
2. In Flames - The Jester Race: I am sure a lot of fans of the genre from past to present will agree that this is a melodic death metal classic. As In Flames went on, they progressed into more of nu swedish death influence. However, I would say that I enjoyed them up until after Reroute to Remain where I feel it was the beginning of the end...for me at least.
3. Soilwork - Natural Born Chaos: When clean vocals came into melodic death metal, many didn't take a liking to it. However, Speed's clean vocals aren't annoying and the songwriting is top notch. Plus, when Devin Townsend records a band, he usually makes the band shine in a major way. There is a great balance on this record and it really is one of a kind.
4. Ebony Tears - A Handful of Nothing: Here is a melodic death metal band that not many people know about, but man, these guys are so heavy. This album is relentless, fast, and just in your face. I recommend everyone to check it out.
5. Dark Tranquility - The Gallery: There is a lot of classical mixed with the melodic death metal genre, but DT insinuates their influences ten fold on this record. Michael Stanne has a ferocious attack, and the guitars in sync like you would not believe!
6. Edge of Sanity - Purgatory Afterglow: Here is a band that I don't think gets enough credit in the melodic death metal scene. You have lovers, you have haters. But like Soilwork, Dan Swano (with a impressive catalog in his own right) does some clean vocals, but in a different fashion. The brand that EoS brings is unique and unlike the other bands of the genre.
7. Hypocrisy - Abducted: To me, I have dealt with people who love Peter Tantgren, but not Dan Swano and vice versa. However, I think both men bring quality production and songwriting to the table. This is around the time Peter started getting obsessed with aliens, as he feels he was abducted. But with songs like "Killing Art" and "Roswell 47" ....come on.
8. Dissection - Storm of the Light's Bane: Ok, so this record has some black metal influence, but deep down, it is a melodic death metal album, and a stellar one at that! it is unfortunate that Jon had to kill a gay guy and then go to jail because their comeback after his sentence was not good, and then he ended up offing himself. But this album is quality and I could imagine what they would have done after this record.
9. Carcass - Heartwork: Another arguable debate, yes, Carcass started as a grind band, but you can't tell me this isn't a melodic death metal album. Now, if you want to get technical, I would also pick Arch Enemy - Burning Bridges...if it really upsets. I mean, it is Michael Amott on guitar, the guitarwork is melodic, the vocals angry, and the songwriting badass. Either way, I like both.
10. Darkest Hour - In the Hands of a Saddist Nation: Folks be hating on these guys saying they are metalcore, but they are melodic death metal and they proved it on this record. Went to Sweden, recorded at Studio Fredman, and had guest appearances with the likes of Tompa from ATG and Peter Wichers of Soilwork. And I think these guys really proved their worth in the scene.