The 100 greatest metal albums of the 21st century

30) Limp Bizkit – Chocolate Sarfish And The Hotdog Flavored Water (2000)

That red baseball cap. The Rollin’, steering-wheel dance. Those 48 fucks in Hot Dog. With this album, Fred Durst and co came crashing into our scene and skidded into the mainstream. Their rhymes may have been puerile, but their riffs kicked monumental amounts of ass, turning a digi generation on to the possibilities of heavy music.

What We Said: “It will be interesting to see how long Limp Bizkit run with their formula, but for the time being they have realised that dumbing it up sells records.”

29) Satyricon – Volcano (2002)

Satyricon weren’t the first black metal band to attempt to storm the mainstream, but Volcano was the first album of its kind to get signed to a major label. Having helped usher in a new, clinically industrial era, this was another leap forward into grim, masses-rallying misanthropy, with Fuel For Hatred destined to become a stone-cold classic.

What We Said: “Concluding with the 14-minute epic Black Lava, Volcano is an awesome piece of work. It’s still black metal, Jim. Just not as we know it…”

28) Clutch – Blast Tyrant (2004)

Clutch were already cult heroes when they released sixth album Blast Tyrant, but it cemented their legendary status via the finest songs they had ever released. From the rampaging rumble of The Mob Goes Wild, to the uneasy haze of the semi-acoustic Ghost, it was a rich and rambunctious celebration of balls-out rock.

What We Said:Blast Tyrant bumps along America’s most picturesque backroads, viewing their world through a technicolour lens.”

27) Poison The Well – You Come Before You (2003)

Poison The Well were already darlings of the metallic hardcore scene by the time they released You Come Before You, their defining opus, but when they signed to a major label, polished up their production and wrote songs as big as For A Bandaged Iris, it laid the groundwork for the metalcore boom that was to come.

What We Said: “With a broad musical vision, this quintet have slogged it out since the late 1990s, and YCBY may well be a dry run for more ambitious future works.”

26) Ghost – Meliora (2015)

Third album Meliora saw Ghost sounding more commanding than ever, yet with a litany of memorable melodies. Produced by Klas Åhlund, best known for songwriting collaborations with the likes of Britney Spears and Madonna, songs such as Cirice and He Is boast an uplifting mysticism that boosted their mission to convert the masses.

What We Said: “If The Beach Boys or the Mamas And Papas did Maiden, it might come close to summarising this band.”

25) Bullet For My Valentine – The Poison (2005)

As the New Wave Of American Heavy Metal began to pick up pace, the UK was left begging for a young metal band to rise up and be noticed. In 2004, that call was answered when a young group of lads from Bridgend, South Wales, released a self-titled EP that’d set the underground alight. As frontman Matt Tuck explains today, the momentum that would then carry Bullet For My Valentine into the studio to record a full-length follow-up was so fast that they could barely keep up with it.

“The whole process of making that record, and the aftermath of it, is a bit of a blur, really!” he laughs. “We ended up in a studio with Colin [Richardson, producer], and at that point we only had five songs!” Wait, five songs?! “Yeah, we had to think on our feet and write a lot of the album while we were recording it. It was a high-pressure situation, but everyone was so buzzing that we just took it with both hands and fucking ran!”

And the rest, as they say, is history. In October 2005, Bullet would release The Poison, and metal would never be the same again.

“That album just captures something magic, you know? It just connected. It was a case of right place, right time, right songs, right era. As soon as it came out, all hell broke loose, and we haven’t really stopped since!”

What We Said: “Cocky, arrogant, big-headed… whatever. This is pop metal, in the best possible way, and at its most exhilarating and fantastic.”

24) Celtic Frost – Monotheist (2006)

Not just an act of atonement but a momentous entity in its own right, Celtic Frost’s first album in 16 years finally slayed the ghost of the misjudged Cold Lake, while bringing Tom G Warrior’s biblically imposing muse back into full, earth-shattering effect. It would prove to be a fitting swan song for a band whose influence on extreme metal remains immeasurable.

What We Said: “The atmosphere is as dark as Satan’s privy, the riffs monstrous, and Fischer chucks in some death grunts.”

23) Architects – Lost Forever // Lost Together (2014)

Band Pick: “We toured with them in Australia, and when I saw them perform, I was like, ‘Dude, I gotta get that record.’ It’s aggressive, and it’s super-heavy. I love how raw it sounds, and Sam’s singing voice is really good, but you can tell in his screams that he really means it. I instantly clung to that record, and they’re just such cool guys.” – Jake Luhrs, August Burns Red

What We Said:Lost Forever… deserves to be cherished, but given the path Architects have had to tread, it’s nothing short of a genuine triumph.”

22) Opeth – Blackwater Park (2001)

Band Pick:Blackwater Park is just massive. Getting Steven Wilson in to produce changed things, and there’s definitely a notable difference in the kind of progressive they were doing. It’s more classic prog; there’s more 70s vibes and more Mellotron and that kinda stuff, so it’s got more of a classic sound. It was ballsy, but it works so well.” – Josh Middleton, Sylosis

What We Said: “The album retains a certain cachet and charisma, introducing clean vocals to a genre so dominated by the obsession with growling and snarling.”

21) Dimmu Borgir – Death Cult Armageddon (2003)

Not only was Death Cult Armageddon Dimmu’s most thrillingly grandiose album yet, it smashed Norway’s black metal renegades into an unsuspecting mainstream as its towering, symphonically enhanced standout track, Progenies Of The Great Apocalypse, swept through the trailers for both Hellboy and Stardust like an avenging comet.

What We Said: “Listening to Death Cult Armageddon is like walking into a Star Wars movie. It succeeds in moving the bar higher than anyone dared imagine.”

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