Inspired by That’s Not Metal’s special podcast that challenged the listener to choose an album from each year that they’ve been alive.
Thank goodness I’m twenty- that makes things a lot easier.
1997: Hatebreed, Satisfaction Is The Death Of Desire
Surely just for “Last Breath” alone- what a banger. Honourable mentions go to Machine Head’s The More Things Change, Deftones’ Around The Fur and Jungle Rot’s Slaughter The Weak.
1998: Crowbar, Odd Fellows Rest
Heavy, sludgy and melancholic in all the right ways- just look at the pairing of “Planets Collide” and “…And Suffer As One”. The next closest is Metallica’s Garage Inc., which gives you an idea as to how sparse 1998 was.
1999: Slipknot, Slipknot
An absolute scorcher from a year that was pretty barren for metal. I couldn’t even come up with an honourable mention.
2000: Decapitated, Winds Of Creation
Incredibly catchy groove-laden technical metal. It sickens me how young this band was when this was recorded. Shout outs deservedly go to Deftones’ White Pony and Dying Fetus’ Destroy The Opposition.
2001: Slipknot, Iowa
The perfectly nasty and brutal follow up to the self-titled record- why do I need to explain this inclusion? Again, another year devoid of honourable mentions.
2002: Bleeding Through, Portrait Of The Goddess
Arguably Bleeding Through’s strongest album, Portrait Of The Goddess showcased savage brutality with brilliantly dark melodies and choruses. This is in the same year as Killswitch Engage’s Alive Or Just Breathing, which just goes to show the calibre of heavy music at the start of the millennium.
2003: Lamb Of God, As The Palaces Burn
A feral slice of groove-infused NWOAHM goodness that properly started the career of one of the finest metal bands of recent times. Deserved honourable mentions go to Aborted’s Goremageddon: The Saw And The Carnage Done and The Black Dahlia Murder’s Unhallowed.
2004: Unearth, The Oncoming Storm
A really difficult choice between this, Lamb Of God’s Ashes Of The Wake and Killswitch Engage’s The End Of Heartache. But on The Oncoming Storm Unearth perfected the blend of hard hitting riffage and soaring guitar melodies, and produced the flawless metalcore anthem “Zombie Autopilot”.
2005: Trivium, Ascendancy
Undoubtedly Trivium’s crowning glory, every second of this modern day classic feels vital as thrash and metalcore meet in a potent mix. An incredibly close second place is shared amongst Devildriver’s The Fury Of Our Maker’s Hand and Parkway Drive’s Killing With A Smile.
2006: Killswitch Engage, As Daylight Dies
Whilst most KSE fans will have you believe that The End Of Heartache is the pinnacle of the Howard Jones era, I’d strongly argue that As Daylight Dies stands toe to toe with its predecessor with stone cold bangers like “My Curse” and “Reject Yourself”. Much respect is deserved to Lamb Of God’s Sacrament and Unearth’s III: In The Eyes Of Fire.
2007: Parkway Drive, Horizons
I love this album more than I love myself. Coincidence? I think not, especially when every second of this record demonstrates the band’s undisputed prowess. Listen to the first breakdown in “Boneyards” and try not to punch a wall- with your face. That’s no mean feat considering this year also produced Machine Head’s The Blackening, Municipal Waste’s The Art Of Partying and Skeletonwitch’s Beyond The Permafrost.
2008: The Ghost Inside, Fury And The Fallen Ones
Wall to wall of searing white-hot melodic hardcore. The riffs detonate like nail bombs and the guitar melodies are gloriously euphoric, encapsulated in anthems such as “Faith Or Forgiveness”, “Provoke” and “Blue And Gold”. Standout releases from 2008 also include Bring Me The Horizon’s Suicide Season and Unearth’s The March.
2009: Devildriver, Pray For Villains
Its a toss up between this and The Fury Of Our Maker’s Hand for the best Devildriver album, but the stronger melodic flourishes and gargantuan grooves just edge it for me. Wreck your neck from start to finish. Honourable mentions are in order for Lamb Of God’s Wrath (criminally underrated) and Suicide Silence’s No Time To Bleed.
2010: Kvelertak, Kvelertak
The birth of one of the greatest crossover acts. Period. Fusing black metal, hardcore and classic rock in the most exciting way possible, Kvelertak showed on their debut that they had songs strong enough to transcend the language barrier of their Norwegian mother tongue. A very close second is shared by Deftones’ Diamond Eyes, Parkway Drive’s Deep Blue, Bring Me The Horizon’s There Is A Hell, Believe Me, I’ve Seen It. There Is A Heaven, Let’s Keep It A Secret. and The Ghost Inside’s Returners.
2011: Suicide Silence, The Black Crown
Taking inspiration from nu metal, NWOAHM and death metal, and filtering it through their deathcore sensibilities, Suicide Silence crafted their ultimate album on The Black Crown. If you can’t get down with “You Only Live Once” then there is clearly no hope for you. 2011 also saw great releases from The Devil Wears Prada (Dead Throne), Warbringer (Worlds Torn Asunder) and This Is Hell (Black Mass).
2012: Parkway Drive, Atlas
The perfect metalcore album- each track has its own distinct flavour that draws upon a wealth of different sounds and styles to create a contemporary masterpiece. This is why Parkway Drive are the best modern metal band around. Worthy contenders for this year include Cancer Bats (Dead Set On Living), Whitechapel (Whitechapel) and While She Sleeps (This Is The Six).
2013: Bleed From Within, Uprising
Stellar from start to finish, courtesy of the finest band to come from Scotland. Blisteringly heavy and beautifully melodic in equal measure, Bleed From Within shed their deathcore heritage to establish themselves as proper metal heavyweights. A phenomenal year in music was rounded out with releases from Kvelertak (Meir), Killswitch Engage (Disarm The Descent), The Black Dahlia Murder (Everblack), Northlane (Singularity), Carcass (Surgical Steel), Toxic Holocaust (Chemistry Of Consciousness) and Skeletonwitch (Serpents Unleashed).
2014: Aborted, The Necrotic Manifesto
On their eighth studio album, Belgium’s Aborted combined nasty death metal riffage, grindcore fury and subtle melodicism with surgical precision to produce forty minutes of taut, tight brutality. Death metal never sounded so good. Likewise, Carnifex produced an outstanding effort (Die Without Hope) along with Texas In July (Bloodwork) and Decapitated (Blood Mantra).
2015: Parkway Drive, Ire
The band’s third entry on this list demonstrates just how solid the band’s back catalogue is (or how biased I am towards them). Opting to add variety to their blistering metalcore template saw the band incorporate massive hooks and choruses to brilliant effect, yet still retaining guttural brutality on ragers such as “Dedicated” or “Dying To Believe”. An otherwise uneventful year was greatly helped by Veil Of Maya’s Matriarch and Thy Art Is Murder’s Holy War.
2016: Carnifex, Slow Death
A difficult choice in a year chock-full of solid albums, Carnifex’s most recent offering just about clinches it for their exciting genre blending of deathcore and black metal. The other highly worthy contenders include Allegaeon’s Proponent For Sentience, Bury Tomorrow’s Earthbound, Aborted’s Retrogore, Despised Icon’s Beast and The Devil Wears Prada’s Transit Blues.
Selecting just twenty albums from twenty years worth of music is exceptionally difficult, but I think there are some great selections here if I do say so myself. It’s become quite clear to me that recently metal fans are rather spoilt for choice, as there are so many brilliant albums and artists to delve into in recent times, as well as a whole treasure trove of gems to discover from the past.
Leave in the comments below you’re best albums from each year you’ve been alive- I feel its really important to celebrate not just the new releases but also the classics that we all too easily take for granted.
I would also really encourage any rock or metal fan to check out the aforementioned That’s Not Metal podcast- they do a stellar job of creating interesting content that promotes new and exciting music in the world of rock and metal. Their regular podcasts (free on Itunes and Soundcloud), extras and premium podcasts are well worth your time.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? What albums should I review next? Feel free to leave a comment, like this blog post, like the Facebook page, follow the Pinterest page, and follow this blog for more content.