I've found myself in a bass playing position in a metal band. I'm a very competent player who has played in nearly every genre, including metal, but I'm unsatisfied with my own understanding of metal and all its sub-genres.

Naturally, as a working musician, my time is limited and I don't have time to slog through forum flame-wars regarding "best" metal albums nor do I wish to instigate such a brouhaha.

Recommend me quintessential modern metal albums that can quickly bring me up to speed in understanding this great genre. 5 at the most, 2 will suffice. The time period I'm looking for is post 1991. You may choose any sub-genre of metal you think is sufficient. I'm simply looking for a signpost to direct, as it were.

Thanks! Appreciate it. Apparently Death is supposed to be pretty good? Any thoughts?
The Blackening by Machine Head. Listen to it i think its the best metal album in the past few years.
Modern metal..... let's see:

Death "The Sound of Perseverence" (technical metal/death metal)
Cynic "Focus" (prog metal... metal fusion... however ya wanna dress it)
Exhorder "The Law" ('groove' metal/'post thrash')
Acid Bath "when the kite string pops" (most refer to it as sludge metal)
You'd be extremely hard pressed to round out all of the subgenres of metal in five albums, particularily modern death/black metal.

Sweden is primarily known for being a proponent of death metal and now melodic death metal, in particular the three cornerstones of melodic death metal: In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, and At the Gates.
If you want a summary of melodic death metal to date, the album you're looking for, in my opinion, is In Flames' Whoracle. Dark Tranquillity's The Gallery is a wonderful album as well.
People writing songs that voices never shared
No one dared
Disturb the Sound of Silence
This is exactly the kind of stuff I needed. My gratitude to all of you! Thank you.
The Blackening - Machine Head (Thrash Metal)
This critically acclaimed album compares to the likes of Metallica's Master of Puppets.

Visions - Stratovarius (Neo-Classical Metal/Power Metal)
I just really like this album a lot, check out the songs Black Diamond and Visions.
Quote by stumtk
The Blackening by Machine Head. Listen to it i think its the best metal album in the past few years.

And also check out Opeth, everything from them is awesome but if your looking for diversity check out the albums My Arms you Hearse and up.