Like many important independent metal labels, Century Media Records was born not in the U.S. but in Europe — specifically, in the far west German city of Dortmund, in 1988. So it might not be a shock that the company’s specialty, in a lot of ways, is a certain kind of European metal. Bands such as Holland’s The Gathering, Finland’s Sentenced, Portugal’s Moonspell, England’s Paradise Lost, Sweden’s Tiamat and Opeth (the latter of whom put out a couple early records on the black metal subsidiary imprint Century Black), and Century Media best-sellers Lacuna Coil from Italy all traffic — or at least did traffic, once upon a time — in the frequently lovely sort of gothic grandiose concoction briefly known, around the turn of the millennium, as “dark metal.”

But gothic is far from the only metal game Century Media has played over the years. As this playlist demonstrates, the roster has represented substyles across the spectrum: trad power metal (Iced Earth, Jag Panzer, Kotipelto, and lately 3 Inches of Blood); progginess in many forms (Voivod, Intronaut, ICS Vortex); stoner rock (Nebula, Fu Manchu, Fireball Ministry); death metal with Middle Eastern side dishes (Orphaned Land) or without (Grave); thrash revivalism (Warbringer); folk metal (Finntroll); grindcore (Napalm Death); Southern sludge (Eyehategod); Southern rapcore (Stuck Mojo); biracial metalcore (God Forbid); metal that tries to be industrial when it feels like it (Samael, Strapping Young Lad); and bands featuring Tom G. Warrior (Celtic Frost, Triptykon). So whatever metal you’re hungry for, you will probably find it here somewhere. — Chuck Eddy