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The Best Metal Of This Decade

Let the disagreements begin.
Blackwater Park

Not only is this my favorite metal album of the decade, it?s also my favorite metal album of all time. Opeth?s combination of brutal death metal with the beautiful atmospheres and stylings of progressive rock is best displayed on Blackwater Park and features seven of the band?s best songs in their time as a band. ?The Leper Affinity? is without a doubt my favorite song by any band ever, and ?Bleak? certainly comes damn close too. Songs like ?Harvest? and ?Patterns in the Ivy I? showcase the band?s beauty, and ?Blackwater Park? and ?Dirge for November? simply crush. As clich? as this choice may have been for a sputnik metal list, it?s really worth ALL of the hyperbolic claims it receives.

Five years after the legendary Aenima, Tool remind us that they?re one of the most important bands of their time. Lateralus is shrouded in mystery, chock-full of catchy and atmospheric riffs, and lets Danny Carey and Maynard James Keenan remind the listener that they?re some of the best musicians at their respective craft. Plus, the title track plays around with the Fibonacci sequence. It?s the tits.
3Between the Buried and Me

Still the band?s most cohesive and impressive effort to date, Colors really shattered all previous expectations I had from this band. It?s a 65 minute concept piece featuring more experimentation, shredding, and diversity than ever before in a BTBAM record, but never stays undeniably rooted in the band?s already well-established sound. ?Ants of the Sky? and ?White Walls? are frequently cited as the band?s best and most epic songs to date. And you know what? They?re completely right.
Jane Doe

What hasn?t already been said about this album? It?s the best metalcore album of this decade, no contest. Jacob Bannon?s vocals are animalistic, brutal, and terrifying throughgout. Ballou?s riffs absolutely slaughter. Koller?s drums completely dominate the speakers. And the diversity found on here is almost impossible to match by any other band in the genre. You know you?ve reached a new level of intensity when the only metal album that can match you is None So Vile. Congrats, Converge.
L.D. 50

Leaps and bounds above every other nu-metal album in history and one of the finest examples of a band combining catchiness and accessibility with progressive and technical tendencies. I can?t think of any other album that I loved when I was fourteen and can still love today; a true sign of a metal classic. Ryan Martinie?s bass performance on here remains to be one of the most tasteful I?ve ever heard in a metal record, and Chad Grey?s vocals here are the best they?ve ever been. It?s a shame the band went so far downhill after this album, but L.D. 50 will always hold a special place in my heart.
A Celebration of Guilt

It?s melodic, it?s technical, it?s too layered, blahblahblah. This is the album that got me into death metal in general, and still remains to be one of the best I?ve ever heard. James Malone?s knack for combining hooks with blazing fretboard acrobatics is simply in perfect form here. It?s never overly showy like the band?s later releases and has some of the best tracklists any death metal album can contain. Check out ?The Face of my Innocence?, ?The Sadistic Motives Behind Bereavement Letters?, and ?Wholly Night?, if you don?t mind hearing melodic death metal classics like Heartwork and Slaughter of the Soul being put to shame.

An epic concept album about Moby Dick from a bunch of burly dudes from Atlanta. Mastodon?s second LP is frequently cited as the band?s magnum opus, and I?m not about to disagree. It?s got the most focused sound in the band?s history, and showcases some of the greatest riffs of this decade. Split your lungs with Blood and Thunder, anyone?
Traced in Air

One of the 90s most amazing prog/death metal bands returned for their first album in fifteen years, and yielded mindblowingly good results. While not being vastly different from Focus, the band?s first and only full-length release, it just shows the group, particularly Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinert, growing as musicians and people. It?s not as showy as before, but shows a stronger sense of melody than before and Masvidal?s most tasteful solos in his career. This is Cynic for the new age, and I couldn?t be happier.
9The Dillinger Escape Plan
Miss Machine

After releasing the revolutionary Calculating Infinity and the bizarre EP Irony is a Dead Scene with Mike Patton, TDEP returned with their most accessible album to date. But don?t get me wrong, this album is still textbook Dillinger, showcased in songs like ?Panasonic Youth?, ?We Are the Storm? and ?Sunshine the Werewolf? perfectly. There?s just more diversity on Miss Machine than ever before, some notable tracks being the subdued, creepy ?Phone Home?, the sing-along stylings of ?Setting Fire to Sleeping Giants?, and the pop sensibilities of ?Unretrofied?. Simply an amazing record.
Back to Times of Splendor

It?s proggy, it?s melodic, it?s heavy as balls, and it?s German. Disillusion?s first full length remains to be their best effort by leaps and bounds to this day, and for good reason. Each song on Back to Times of Splendor is incredibly unique and offers something previously untouched on the record. Whether it?s the unique and melodic vocals from Vurtox, the dominating drums on ?And the Mirror Cracked? or the closing stacked melodies on ?The Sleep of Restless Hours?, this album should keep the hairs on the back of your neck raised for listen after listen.
11Protest the Hero

Fortress maintained the catchiness of Kezia while taking the band?s level of technicality to even further heights. Rody Walker?s vocals are now better than ever, now showcasing his growls and screams much more than on Kezia, while still retaining his incredible range and sense of melody on Kezia. Guitarists Luke and Tim should be cited as some of the most impressive shredders in the genre, and bassist Arif still remains to be one of the most underlooked musicians in the genre. Tear her fucking head from her goddamn shoulders!
12Edge of Sanity
Crimson II

The first Crimson is arguably my favorite death metal album at times, and this one is a more than worthy sequel. Dan Swano, after completely taking back control of his most interesting project, introduces more melody and keyboards than on the previous record, while never forsaking the original sounds and riffs that made Crimson such a special and memorable 90s metal album. Hell, you?ll even get a few riffs from Crimson on here too.
An Anthology of Dead Ends

The only EP to make this list. Botch had more to say in just over twenty minutes than almost any other metalcore band could in a full album. The production here is crystal clear (something Botch fans hadn?t had the chance of experiencing until now), while never sacrificing any of the band?s hardcore roots and DIY attitude. If you want more of the same ass-kicking technical metalcore, you?ve got three tracks of that, as well as the band?s two most experimental moments in their career in the final two tracks. An Anthology of Dead Ends was certainly one hell of a way for Botch to end their career as metalcore's finest.

Jari was wise to keep pursuing this project instead of Ensiferum; this is one of the coolest albums to ever come out of Finland?s metal scene ever. The songs continue to get more epic and expansive throughout the record, ending in the Wintersun?s most incredible song, ?Sadness and Hate?. Wintersun combines the speed of thrash and death metal, the atmosphere of black metal (courtesy of Jari?s vocals), a few power-metal-esque hooks, and folk instrumentation to keep the fan?s reminded of how great Jari was in Ensiferum. A great, GREAT example of 21st century European metal.
15Orphaned Land
Mabool (The Story of the Three Sons...)

Epic as fuck, there isn?t really any other way of putting it. Mabool?s concept spans three religions, a score of languages, and more ethnic instruments than I can count, and always keeps you rooted in an incredible melo-death record. Plus, the guitar solos are consistently the most tasteful and well-crafted that I?ve heard in just about any metal record.
V: Havitetty

Easily the band?s most epic and ambitious project to date, and also their best. This album is just shy of an hour in length and is only two songs long. While it?s not entirely too different from their previous record, Veriasakeet, it?s just a more polished and refined version of an already great and unique sound that Moonsorrow had carved out for themselves. It?s got loads of black metal, even more folk, and a few progressive tendencies, and should already be in your list of favorite metal albums. The album?s first track is also one of the best metal songs I?ve ever heard in my life.
17Wolves in the Throne Room
Two Hunters

Just when I was about to give up on modern black metal altogether, Wolves in the Throne Room came along and reminded me how much power the genre is still capable of. This album is primitive, melodic, raw, and beautiful throughout. WITTR?s liking for post-rock and ambient music is also showcased on Two Hunter?s more than ever, balancing the band?s fury and beauty seamlessly. Any fan of this genre should already have this album, and if not, make it to a record store as quickly as possible.
18maudlin of the Well

Out of every album on this list, I?d say this is about as weird and as far from metal as you can get. Bath is experimental as hell, as every song basically takes on an entirely new sound than the one before it, while never straying from a core sound the band has seemed to dig out for themselves. Toby Driver?s vocals are schizophrenic, beautiful, and crushing, depending on the track you?re on at the time. While this album might be a bit too much to swallow on the first listen, it?s still one of the most ?out-there? metal releases of this decade and worth any fan of progressive music?s attention.
19The Ocean

It?s a double album spanning 90 minutes and features well over twenty musicians. If that isn?t enough to make you check Precambrian out, then I?m deeply concerned. This project, while almost seeming too ambitious, is executed almost flawlessly by this up-and-coming German prog-metal outfit. Here?s hoping they can match this with their two upcoming releases due next year.
20The Red Chord
Fused Together in Revolving Doors

The Red Chord really set the standards for themselves high early with Fused, frequently cited as the band?s best album (and I?m not about to disagree). Chock full of insanity, time-signature and tempo changes on a dime, and more Suffocation-esque breakdowns than you can shake a stick at, this is an album that should surely be cited as one of the crown jewels of American metal. Plus, Guy Kozowyk?s lyrics absolutely rule.
The Eye of Every Storm

My personal favorite of the band?s catalog. While it may not be as heavy as Through Silver in Blood, it makes up for it with an equally incredible atmosphere and Scott Kelly?s best vocal performance in the band?s history. Check out ?Burn? for one of the most terrifying screams I?ve ever had the pleasure of listening to, and ?A Season in the Sky? for some purely sick riffs.
22Hacksaw to the Throat

If you haven?t heard this yet, you better find it quick. Hacksaw?s second (and sadly, final) album is an amazing expansion on the melodic death metal scene, adding loads of prog-metal tendencies (the title track and Whisper Perfect Lies), doom-metal sections (Cascading Down) and an entire piano/orchestral interlude (Obsidian Sun). Oh, and did I forget to mention that the riffs never stop kicking ass?
23Electric Wizard

Dopethrone shouldn?t be taken lightly. In fact, it probably should be taken with a few bong rips and an open mind. This album is messy, incredibly loud, and devastating for the album?s lengthy run time. This British four-piece is simply here to kick ass with their lengthy sections of drawn-out and simplistic riffs, and never straying too far from their original ideas. One of the crown jewels of the stoner-metal genre.
24The Faceless

Technical death metal, deathcore?call it what you will, Akeldama straight rules. The Faceless? first album remains to be one of the impressive debuts from any American metal band in recent memory. Featuring Michael Keene?s incredibly diverse and brutal array of death metal stylings and dominating performances from four different drummers, this really isn?t a metal album you should miss. It?s a fresh take on the genre while still paying homage to death metal greats like Cynic and Spawn of Possession.
Lost in the Sound of Separation

Underoath?s previous record, Define the Great Line, was a landmark album in the band?s discography. After sacrificing their poppier sensibilities for a much more abrasive and ass-kicking sound, the band continued to delve into this with Lost in the Sound of Separation. LITSOS is an even more focused version of the band?s previous effort and showcases both Spencer Chamberlain?s and Aaron Gillespie?s best vocal performances to date. One of the best metalcore albums of this decade.
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