Arcturus, Astronaut, Big Fat Box Of Shit, Birdflesh, Blackwater Park, Brutal Death Metal, Close To A World Below, Cosmic Genesis, Crotchduster, Dahmer, Death Metal, Dechristianize, Deconstruction, Devin Townsend, Enslaved, Feel The Steel, Frank Zappa, Glam Metal, grindcore, Heavy Metal, Immolation, Impaled, Leo Particle, Macabre, metal, Metalheads, Mondo Medicale, Mongo Medicale, Monumension, Mr. Bungle, Negura Bunget, Om, Opeth, Rap, Riffs, Spaceflight, Steel Panther, Techno, The Dead Shall Dead Remain, The Sham Mirrors, Top 5 Albums, Vintersorg, Vital Remains
My Five Favorite Metal Albums Since The Year 2000
Like many metalheads who’ve been into the music since the 80′s, I’m old and jaded. I don’t completely rule out newer albums having quality out of hand, but I usually assume that I will be somewhat disappointed with them. Maybe it’s because the music all sounds too clean these days with more emphasis being put on production. Maybe it’s because I’ve heard all those riffs before, albeit in a different order. Maybe, like most I’m still stuck on the music that got me through high school. At least I’m being honest. However, there have definitely been some diamonds in the rough the last 12 years. These albums might be classified as my favorites because they are the ones I’ve listened to the most, yet haven’t become bored with them. When “Blackwater Park” by Opeth was released, I thought it was going to go to the grave with me as an all-time favorite. Same with “Cosmic Genesis” by Vintersorg and “Dechristianize” by Vital Remains. Yet as time went on, it became that I rarely wanted to hear any of those records. Not to discount their greatness, they just didn’t hold up as well. These five albums have all held up though. Everyone of them I got soon after their release, and all of them still sound as fresh as the first of the hundreds of listens I’ve given them. Here they are in reverse countdown order:
(Honorable mentions: NEGURA BUNGET – “Om”, MACABRE – “Dahmer”, ENSLAVED – “Monumension”, IMPALED – “The Dead Shall Dead Remain”, IMMOLATION – “Close To A World Below”, DEVIN TOWNSEND – “Deconstruction”)
5. STEEL PANTHER – “Feel The Steel” – A novelty album? Sure, go ahead and say that but you are depriving yourself of some excellent musicianship. Of course they were making a joke with the backdrop of a long dead (and often reviled) version of heavy metal, but they did it with excellence. The songs are all great and the comedy just adds to the longevity of the album. The blatant mockery of the excess and the fashion of 80′s glam metal should give it enough that even the biggest of glam haters would at least smile at this album, yet that isn’t the case. The band have their haters, most likely due to the old metal standard that they built a large fanbase.
4. BIRDFLESH – “Mongo Musicale” – To me, Birdflesh are by far the best of the contemporary grindcore bands. The music is direct, fun, and doesn’t stick around long enough to get stale. You could make a case for any of their albums being on this list, but to me “Mongo…” is the best of the best. This band holds their own against any of the ancient grandfathers of grind.
3. CROTCHDUSTER – “Big Fat Box Of Shit” – Really man, another novelty album?? Sure, if that’s what you want to call it, but Crotchduster have made what is perhaps the ultimate tripped out venture into extreme sound. Bands are blatantly parodied and styles ranging from brutal death metal to rap to techno and everything in between are pasted into this monster. It is simply one of the most creative things ever. This is as close to a Mr. Bungle album as you can get besides the real thing. If Frank Zappa were a metalhead, this is what he would’ve created.
2. ARCTURUS – “The Sham Mirrors” – Ever dream of being an astronaut as a child? Well, if you never made it into the space program, this album might be the next closest thing to manned spaceflight. Elegant, daring, and otherworldly, this record is unlike anything else you’ve ever heard. There are elements of other styles of music, but it really is its own subgenre (continued on their follow-up album with almost the same level of greatness). I’d love to describe it more, but sometimes words fail…
1. IMPALED – “Mondo Medicale” – The best death metal albums ever written all came out between the late 80′s and mid-90′s. By that point, the style was becoming massively redundant and stale to a degree. I still loved it, but many fans just fell off. However, to me, “Mondo Medicale” was the one death metal album from the last decade that stands up very strongly against the classics. The songs are very well written. It possessed just the right amounts of groove, technicality, melody, and brutality to appeal to most. Somehow, these gore wizards came out of the lab (or hospital as it were) with the perfect creature. Frankenstein couldn’t have been as lucky.. errrr… good.
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