I went on a technical death metal kick a couple of years back, and this was one of my favorite albums thats I discovered. This was the third album from Pestilence, a Dutch band that started out thrash and then progressed to tech death. By this album, the band had already replaced a couple of early members and needed a bassist, so they got Tony Choy (who at the time was in Cynic, and later was in Atheist). Death metal was sort of the last type of metal I came to enjoy, mostly because I was familiar with more modern brutal death metal types, bigger names like Cannibal Corpse, and I wasn't too into it. I found death metal to be too abrasive, too compressed, and too same-y. So it took me awhile to discover that I actually really enjoy early death metal, which still has a lot of thrash in its DNA (later I would discover that I even enjoy more modern and harsh death metal). Early death metal sounds dirty and nasty, like there is a layer of mud covering the amps and phlegm coating the vocalist's throat. I like to think about the transition from thrash, which was a little more fun-loving and party-ready, to death metal, thrash's dirtbag cousin. Anyway, this is still in the early era of death, but at a time when death metal musicians were getting more into pushing the limits of their musicianship and adding synths. Basically, it was the prog era of death. And Pestilence are one of the finest examples of this sound, along with Death, Atheist, and Cynic. Apparently, Pestilence went more jazz-fusion on their next album, which I have yet to hear (this doesn't surprise me, as that seems to be a common progression: thrash-> death -> prog/tech death -> jazz-fusion death). One of the more interesting things about this album is how it is sequenced; between every raw and thrashy metal song is a short ambient track. Personally I like this a lot, it makes the album stand out more than some of its contemporaries. I've even made a playlist of just the ambient interludes, which makes for an interesting listening experience.
Pestilence - Testimony
Pestilence - Soulless