The 100 greatest albums of the 21st century: 84-69

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84. ATREYU - SUICIDE NOTES AND BUTTERFLY KISSES (2002)

BAND PICK: “I first heard it when I was in high school. I was more into punk, but it was when that screaming/singing style of metal started crossing over into the punk scene. It blew my head off. I was like, ‘What the fuck is this genre?!’ I fell in love. That record is why, when we started Amity, we wanted to have heavy music with that kind of singing.” - AHREN STRINGER, THE AMITY AFFLICTION

What we said: ”Could this be the band to kill off nu metal for good and inject some heavy back in to proceedings? Maybe.”

83. TURBONEGRO - SCANDINAVIAN LEATHER (2003)

Part biker-style gang, part New York Dolls-influenced glam bam shock troop, Turbonegro reformed after a four-year hiatus with one of the most vivid and liberating albums of their career. Its open-road riffs laid the groundwork for Kvelertak and a new generation of Norwegian punk rock that is still going strong today.

What we said: “Delicious, artless, scabrous, tasteless, ashtray-eyed, sallow-skinned, ill-mannered, snaggle-toothed, unwashed rock’n’roll from the pit of Hades.”

82. AIRBOURNE - RUNNIN’ WILD (2007)

How do you improve on a tried-and-tested formula? Play it harder, faster and with enough energy to power a fucking jet engine. Airbourne didn’t reinvent the wheel with their major label debut: they just drenched it in whisky, set it on fire and launched it into oblivion to craft one of the best pure rock’n’roll albums of recent times.

What we said: “A classic 1970s rock four-piece that are sporadically great (when they sound like AC/DC) and daft (when they sound like Rose Tattoo).”

81. HATEBREED - PERSEVERANCE (2002)

BAND PICK: “I was in high school, and it was a very defining album for me. It was one of the first albums that I learnt the riffs to on my guitar. Hatebreed are a hardcore band, straight up, but that album was able to help bridge that gap between them and the metal fans. It’s a really great album, and it came at a great time for metal and hardcore music.” - JJ PETERS, DEEZ NUTS

80. CULT OF LUNA - THE BEYOND (2003)

Despite coming from similar hardcore roots to Isis, with The Beyond, Cult Of Luna laid out the template for what got termed ‘post-metal’ as much as Isis did for ‘post-rock’. A fevered pilgrimage borne on lava-thick riffs, The Beyond created a vast sense of scale only to be dwarfed by it, journeying towards a moment of reckoning that inspired scores of bands in their wake.

What we said: “The future of doom music is here, and it sounds as extreme as you could possibly imagine.”

79. ASKING ALEXANDRIA - FROM DEATH TO DESTINY (2013)

It took them three records, but by beefing up their riffs, polishing a few choruses and sprinkling over some rock’n’roll swagger, Asking Alexandria finally produced an album that was worthy of the hype. From the massive melodies of The Death Of Me to the 80s-influenced emotion of The Road, it proved to be a fitting swansong for departing frontman Danny Worsnop.

What we said: “It remains to be seen whether a band can unite new and past generations of metalheads, but on strength of songs alone, AA have a real shot at it.”

78. WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM - BLACK CASCADE (2009)

The likes of Ghost Bath and Deafheaven may be taking the sound to glorious new heights now, but it was this absolute gem from the Washington mavericks that perfected black metal’s modern-day flirtations with the more ambient side of the spectrum. Four tracks, 50 minutes – and not a second of it wasted. The extreme metal scene has never been the same since.

What we said: “WITTR have never considered themselves pioneers of a new BM sound, but with this powerful, glacial dreamland they’re playing it on their own terms.”

77. ANTHRAX - WE’VE COME FOR YOU ALL (2003)

With doubts surrounding the potency of the Big 4 during nu metal’s domination, Anthrax took a sledgehammer to the idea they were finished by writing an album packed with the stomp, grit and pace to match anything in their back catalogue. Their defining work with John Bush revitalised the veterans, and introduced a new generation to the power of thrash.

WHAT WE SAID: “Anthrax ’03 are sounding as sharp, solid and on the nail as they ever have. This album only consolidates their position as a bona fide metal institution.”

76. CHILDREN OF BODOM - HATE CREW DEATHROLL (2003)

BAND PICK: “I picked Hate Crew Deathroll because it’s pretty close to my heart. It’s aggressive, and it has shitloads of fucking good songs on it. My favourite song has got to be Needled 247 – probably because I’m diabetic, so I do needles 24-7! The first time I heard this album, I was fucking ecstatic.” - SAMI HINKKA, ENSIFERUM

What we said: “The Finns turn out a consistently unique take on black metal, death metal and thrash, with technoflash guitar and cheesy tunes.”

75. ENSLAVED - ISA (2004)

Although Enslaved had already signposted their progressive tendencies, Isa proved to be an act of unfathomable, redefining magic – viking metal not as some anachronistic hoedown, but an expansive journey into the beyond. They may have refined their vision since, but this is where it first fully emerged into 360º, breathtaking splendour.

What we said: “This is a remarkable album, and all that stops it from grabbing a perfect score is that at times Enslaved can be a little bit too polished.”

74. CANCER BATS - DEAD SET ON LIVING (2012)

One of modern hardcore’s most brilliant bands raised the bar and made their greatest album yet, by dialling up the heavy and unleashing more thunderous, metallic riffage than ever before. RATS remains one of the greatest opening gambits of recent times, while the likes of Bricks And Mortar and Road Sick display a raw honesty about life in a band.

What we said: “Relentlessly brilliant, this is beyond a shadow of a doubt the finest moment in a career that has already been littered with fine moments.”

73. DREAM THEATER - SIX DEGREES OF INNER TURBULENCE (2002)

While sounding heavier than ever before, Dream Theater also pushed the prog fader firmly into the red for this remarkable double set. From towering prog metal behemoth The Glass Prison, to the 42-minute conceptual splurge of the title track – which explores the stories of six people with mental health problems – the NYC virtuosos were seriously raising the bar.

What we said: “Where Dream Theater sit in the world remains to be seen, but Six Degrees… proves that they stand in a genre of one.”

72. DRAGONFORCE - INHUMAN RAMPAGE (2006)

While power metal diehards across Europe were already gravitating towards Dragonforce’s irresistible mix of cheese-powered choruses and fret-melting shreddage, it was their third opus that took them to the world stage – partly thanks to a certain, ultra-hard Guitar Hero track, but also due to their most polished and emphatically delivered set of anthems yet.

What we said: “This is a revolutionary album. While most bands want to be bigger than Metallica, Dragonforce have the capacity to be bigger than Star Wars.”

71. KORN - UNTOUCHABLES (2002)

Rarely seen as part of Korn’s ‘golden run’ and yet absolutely teaming with killer cuts like Thoughtless, Alone I Break and the un-fuck-with-able Here To Stay, Untouchables was the last great Korn album to be delivered by their classic lineup – and 14 years later, it still merits recognition as their finest post-90s output.

What we said: “Does it sound like a million bucks? At the end of the day, this could have been made in a garage for $400 and it would doubtless still shine as brightly.”

70. MARMOZETS - THE WEIRD AND WONDERFUL MARMOZETS (2014)

Shaking off all but a hint of the snarling mathcore that littered their early works, Yorkshire scamps Marmozets decided to try out the novel idea of writing some of the greatest choruses this game has ever seen. One of the finest debuts of the 10s so far, The Weird And Wonderful Marmozets proved that you can write for radio without sacrificing your integrity.

What we said: “Coming from a mathcore background, the Yorkshire punks have turned up the accessibility rating, but kept the aggression. How could it get better?”

69. TURISAS - BATTLE METAL (2004)

Few bands can claim to have started their own subgenre, but the Finns’ audacious debut album did just that. Undaunted in its ambition, and yet self-aware enough to know not to tip the balance, it made most of their viking/folk metal peers look like they’d been pissing about in amateur dramatics when they could have hired John Boorman instead.

What we said: “Many will write this off as joke metal, but with songs like these, Turisas are having the last laugh.”

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