Over the course of the 2000’s, Metal made a prominent resurgence. Some bands thrived, others didn’t. With the help of Ozzfest and MTV(Shocking!), some albums became classics. This list represents not only what I think are ten of the most important records of that time, but also some of my favorites. A few of these still even hold up quite well. Today I give you the Top Ten Metal Albums of the 2000’s. Enjoy, and reminisce
10. HATEBREED, PERSEVERANCE
During the good old Ozzfest years, one band became bigger than anyone else had expected. That band, Hatebreed, had been underground hardcore favorites for awhile before this record arrived. Number Ten on the Top ten Metal albums of the 2000’s, the 2002 major label debut from Hatebreed has everything you could’ve wanted. Jasta’s throaty growl of “Perseverance” and honesty bellowed out into the consciousness of metal kids everywhere, and before long they were getting the attention they had been seeking and deserved. Although one of my favorite albums back then, I’ve long been unimpressed with where they went as a band, but from a retrospective standpoint, this record really did help me a lot at the time, and for that, Hatebreed gets a spot on the list.
9. CONVERGE, YOU FAIL ME
We previously have discussed the importance of this band, but to not mention this album on it’s own merit is almost blasphemy to me. The album soars, pulls at the strings of emotions holding your heart together, and in song after song delivers powerful moments that make it impossible to resists. They’ve long been an insanely important metal band, but “You Fail Me” showcased that they were truly not a one trick pony, and they honestly still haven’t made a bad record. There’s a reason you get over some bands while others stay with you. Converge for me is a lifetime thing. I'll Probably always like them, and as long as Bannon, Ballou and company keep making cathartic, profoundly heavy music, they'll be a band that's deserving of my time.
8. NORMA JEAN, BLESS THE MARTYR AND KISS THE CHILD
When I first saw this band I had no idea what to expect, but the opening set of a Converge/ Hatebreed show presented me with an album that is still relevant and in my eyes a masterpiece. Norma Jean arrived at the precise time for an album like this, and this record lead them to a pretty decent career in this genre. They’ve since made some good records, some alright records, but it’s “Bless the Martyr and Kiss the Child” that led them down this heavy, emotional, sometimes righteous journey. The metalcore tinges on the album are just as good as the utterly hardcore elements, and you can tell they all have a working knowledge of what makes a good record. I just wished more of their records were this great.
7. MESHUGGAH, NOTHING
Still one of my favorite bands period, this 2002 classic was one of the first times American audiences had been exposed to them, and it’s mostly all because of Jack and Sharon Osbourne. Once they were booked on Ozzfest, and featured on MTV, things changed for these Swedish pioneers of sonically heavy sounds. Everything about this band has always worked, and on our countdown of the best Metal albums of the 2000’s, it finds its way to Number seven. The drums of the untouchable Tomas Haake, the vocals of Kidman, and everything in between are fucking amazing. Seriously still the one band that evokes the coming apocalypse in a gloriously evil way. Honestly, if you’re a fan of this genre and you don’t know Meshuggah, look them up and change your life.
6. DIMMU BORGIR, DEATH CULT ARMAGEDDON
Of all the black metal bands that found their way to our shores in the early aughts, one of those are still larger, and more evil than all of the other ones. That band, Norways Dimmu Borgir had all the elements that you might like in your Black Metal. Symphonic elements, Satanic imagery, and killer drum beats persist throughout the entirety of the record.By this time the band had been going strong for nearly a decade, but it’s “Death Cult” that really saw the band take off stateside.
5. KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, THE END OF HEARTACHE
Most bands wouldn’t survive what this band embraced and thieved from. They lose their singer, and somehow pick up the pieces, find someone who many consider better, and make an album that’s light years stronger than their previous efforts. At number five of the Top Ten Metal albums of the 2000’s, “The End of Heartache” brings endless riffs and joy through the speakers. Some people don’t like their metal with positivity, but sometimes it’s a good thing. Track after track has that KSE instrumentation you love, but the soaring voice of Howard Jones really shines light on everything positive and uplifting in the band. You just don’t find this kind of intricate emotional in the genre everyday, and everytime you do, you need to embrace it. As the title of the song goes, Killswitch Engage did indeed “Breathe Life” into the world of modern metal.
4. PIG DESTROYER, TERRIFYER
We’ve talked about this chaotic group before, but for my money there’s no better grindcore band of the last fifteen years. If you wanted to call “Terrifyer” their breakout you can, but the band is still pretty much unknown, even in more common metal circles. Maybe it’s the veracity of the albums, but they’re almost a band that should be stayed away from. Like, it has some good song structures, but where they really shine is in their unbridled violence of noise. The themes of the album are also twisted and brutal, but that’s what you should want in an explicitly heavy album like this. I’ve always been a fan of this band, but upon hearing this I was completely sold on the merit of Pig Destroyer. Run for you like, or pull up a chair and enjoy the carnage..
3. LAMB OF GOD, AS THE PALACES BURN
On our countdown of the Top Ten Metal albums, number three finds us at the point in which Lamb of God makes its presence. They’re likely the biggest metal band of the last decade, and upon hearing this record it’s not too hard to see why. Every song has a blistering power to it, and even beyond that certain tracks stand out. “11th Hour” lives up to its name in every way possible, while “As the Palaces Burn” starts at 90 miles per hour and doesn’t let up the entire length of the song. They may be a very well known band, but that doesn’t diminish the importance they have in the genre. These Virgini boys worked their asses off, toured relentlessly, and paid their dues, and now they dominate crowds the world over. There’s a very real chance that wouldn’t have happened if not for this punishingly brilliant album, but thank the dark lord, because this album does in fact exist.
2. CONVERGE, JANE DOE
It was difficult trying to figure out if two albums from a band should occupy spots on the same list. I had the same discussion with the number one band, but alas, at the end of the day that award belongs to Converge. This is the album that many, many people deem of the utmost importance of that decade, and while it only climbs to number two on the Top Ten Metal albums of the 2000’s, it’s still a extremely important record. To say the least, this album changed everything. Released the week before 9-11, “Jane Doe” has more spirit and fight in it than most bands entire careers, and it shows through on all the albums tracks. “Concubine” is the brutal start to a brutal record, but there’s a depth and compassion in the lyrics you don’t find all the time. Quite simply, Converge is an important band in this realm, and hopefully they keep making albums even half as brilliant as “Jane Doe.”
1. MASTODON, LEVIATHAN
Finally, the number one on our list. No band covered more ground and got bigger this decade quicker than Mastodon. From album one on they were gradually building their sound, but it’s on “Leviathan” that they really brought their A game, and also began a series of brilliant composed concept albums. I mean, how can a album about Moby Dick not be the best metal record of the decade? The album isn’t always right in your face, but it has a grandiose feel to it, and thats what sets it apart from the rest of the list. It’s a much more retro metal album than the others also, which if its your thing you should get this record. It also exceeds because the band is full of incredibly talented members, who are capable of doing almost anything they want musically. There’s not really much more you can say about this amazing band, so I won’t even try. The very deserving winner of the Top Ten Metal albums of the 2000’s, Mastodon sea worthy epic, “Leviathan.” Thank for reading, see you Wednesday
Landon Murray is a published writer and an avid lover of music, books and films. He's also a lover of the New Orleans Saints. He was born in 1982 and has a chainsaw tattoo on his arm.
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