20 metal bands with no bad albums


Leprous’ first two albums were showcases of elaborate yet exciting progressive metal. Later, from 2013’s Coal, the Norwegians switched to a more song-orientated standpoint, leading to infectious offerings like From The Flame and The Price. 10 years on, the band are still slinging out a series of impressively distinct anthems.


After Mastodon’s debut album, Remission, bludgeoned with an armada of ferocious riffs, the Atlantan band gradually grew more progressive. That direction peaked with the conceptual and psychedelic Crack The Skye, with followup The Hunter trimming their songs back to tightly wrought arena-metal. Every evolution has, impressively, been met with a rapturous response.

Rage Against The Machine

Rage Against The Machine only released a trilogy of albums, but it remains one of the most hallowed trinities in metal. Their self-titled debut both shaped nu metal and spawned the career-defining hit Killing In The Name. Then, its two followups continued the band’s incensed, rap-driven tirades against injustice.

Russian Circles

Since 2006, Russian Circles have perfected a formula for top-shelf post-metal. Despite the band only having three members, they use pedals to patiently build immense walls of sound. The result has been eight increasingly heavy albums – not to mention some of the most cacophonously loud gigs you’ll ever attend.


Soundgarden’s Superunknown is rightfully celebrated as one of the best alt-metal albums ever, but there’s much more to their back-catalogue. From the raw noise of Ultramega OK to the refined yet bluesy riffing of finale King Animal, any dive into Chris Cornell and company’s history is guaranteed to be a good time.

Strapping Young Lad

Devin Townsend’s fury over how cynically L.A. bigwigs treat music inspired the raw fury of Strapping Young Lad. Between 1995 and 2006, Strapping released five albums of untempered, industrial-tinged wildness. It was a pentalogy so good that fans still clamour for the band’s reunion almost two decades on.


In 2008, metalcore was the dominant force in UK metal, and Sylosis’ debut stood against the trend. Conclusion Of An Age’s emphasis on standard tuning and zero breakdowns was refreshing to many, as was its more experimental successor Edge Of The Earth. Nowadays the band are tightening their songwriting, making death metal bangers like Deadwood.

System Of A Down

System Of A Down are frequently lumped into “nu metal”, but that descriptor undersells their vision. The Armenian-Americans’ five albums are all erratic displays, yet each of them also contains a plethora of well-honed songs. Chop Suey!, Spiders, Hypnotize – you can’t argue with so many hits from so few releases.


Tesseract’s debut, One, instantly announced the Brits as one of the freshest voices in prog. Acle Kahney’s contrast of muscular djent riffs against ambient, post-rock guitar leads made the band a fast standout. They’ve since remained relevant thanks to a diverse body of work, from the atmospheric Altered State to the razor-sharp Sonder.


Initially, with debut album Undertow, Tool introduced themselves as part of the nascent alt-metal sound. However, later albums demonstrated the true extent of their ambitions. The Californians’ music only escalated in scope and complexity, to the point that 2019’s Fear Inoculum was worth the 13-year wait. (But never take that long again, please.)

Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.