The 100 greatest metal albums of the 21st century

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.”

68) Strapping Young Lad – Alien (2005)

Band Pick: “I just loved how crazy it was and how emotional Alien was. One thing for me that I need in vocalists is to believe that what they are saying is real, and I think Devin does a really great job of giving absolute authenticity to his performance. And I loved that he was able to meld that honesty with such insanity on that album.” – Alissa White-Gluz, Arch Enemy

What We Said: ”A thunderous clash of riffs, melody and the mad genius of Devin Townsend, this could be Strapping Young Lad’s best album yet.”

67) Slayer – God Hates Us All (2001)

Band Pick: “That was a big, heavy change for Slayer – when they started doing the drop-tuning, there was a lot more to the guitars, and it was a different pace and sound than what I’m used to for them. And those songs are great songs. To me, that was the new, improved Slayer. The heaviness of Disciple is just awesome. The riff and everything about it stands out.” – Chuck Billy, Testament

What We Said:Ross Robinson was mooted to produce this, but instead of adding breakbeats and string sections, Slayer gave us an album that replicates their live sound.”

66) Steel Panther – Feel The Steel (2009)

While The Darkness blurred the lines between parody and pre-eminence, Panther shamelessly ripped the piss out of their glam-metal heroes while writing an album that outshone anything the originals had put out in decades. Asian Hooker, Fat Girl, Eatin’ Ain’t Cheatin’… PC this most definitely wasn’t, but in terms of pure song power? Feel The Steel remains an iron-cast classic.

What We Said: “This is the sort of album that Mötley Crüe dreamt of getting away with in the mid-1980s, with lyrics so explicit they could make Ron Jeremy blush.”

65) Five Finger Death Punch – The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell, Volume 1 (2013)

Reader Pick: “I like everything Five Finger Death Punch have done, but The Wrong Side Of Heaven… is their masterpiece. I like both halves of this album but if I had to choose, I’d pick Volume 1, mainly because it just has bigger songs overall – and you really can’t fuck with Rob Halford, the Metal God! Horns up!” – Rob Parton, Reader

What We Said: ”Slightly baffling, totally over the top, but with so much swagger and conviction that you can’t help but be joyously swept along.”

64) Cannibal Corpse – Kill (2006)

Death metal’s biggest band seldom stray far from a path of outright brutality, but Kill was something special. Nastier and much more musically twisted than any of their previous nine albums, songs like Make Them Suffer and Necrosadistic Warning reaffirmed Cannibal Corpse’s legendary status and ongoing relevance.

What We Said: “The Cannibals are back prowling, growling and howling with their best album to feature George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher on vocals.”

63) The Darkness – Permission To Land (2003)

Was it a joke? Was it legit? Who fucking cares when you can roll out a debut that stands up to most rock legends’ greatest hits albums? The Darkness would ultimately be broken by the weight of their own expectations, but song for song, Permission To Land remains one of the greatest debut albums of all time. Just find a line you don’t know off by heart. Go on.

What We Said: “Every influence you hear is a band that has been sneered at for being overblown, but Permission To Land is very nearly a perfect stadium rock album.”

62) The Black Dahlia Murder – Ritual

It remains an enduring mystery as to why The Black Dahlia Murder – surely the 21st century’s greatest melodeath band – aren’t 10 times bigger than they are. In Ritual, they produced a colossal, riff-fuelled goliath that would comfortably go toe-to-toe with any classic from their Gothenburg forefathers.

What We Said: “With dual guitars, galloping drums and thunderous bass runs, Ritual is as fine an example of contemporary extremity as you’re likely to hear.”

61) In Flames – Come Clarity (2006)

Band Pick: “I first heard this album at school – I remember jamming Take This Life and thinking, ‘This is just next level.’ It’s just melody after melody; it came at a time where Killswitch and As I Lay Dying and those bands were getting massive, and I think In Flames made a conscious decision to go with that. It’s my favourite album by them.” – Dani Winter-Bates, Bury Tomorrow

What We Said: “Whether or not the old In Flames fans will return is immaterial, this is an album to establish the band as a world-class metal act.”

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