Friday, January 01, 2010

The Top 50 Albums of the Last Decade: 2000

Yes, I am aware that the decade doesn't technically end until a year from now, but with music people tend to think of decades as being, for example, 1970-1979. So, for your pleasure, I will be discussing the top 50 metal albums of the last ten years.

The 2000's were a great decade for metal. They saw the ascent of sludge metal, the maturation of black metal, the genesis of post metal, the veritable arms race toward the most technical of death metal, and (for good or ill) the decline of nu metal.

Here are the ground rules I set up: each band can only be on the list once. Each year is allotted five albums, i.e., 5 for 2000, 5 for 2001, and so on. I do not attempt to rank them from 1 to 50, or even 1 to 5 within a year, because they are all excellent. Ranking them would be a pointless endeavor.

Also, instead of filling out all 50 slots, I actually have only picked 3 for each year (for a total of 30, for you English literature types), because, as I learned with my last top X list, I don't know everything about metal (though I do know a lot more than I did then). I probably am unaware of at least two other great metal albums in each of these years, and I want to encourage you to add the rest by commenting.

So, without further ado, on to the list.

Nevermore: Dead Heart in a Dead World

This album is a true triumph of pure heavy metal. The vocals and guitar are both superb on nearly every track. Highlights include opener "Narcosynthesis" with its catchy chorus, the title track, the very interesting cover of Simon and Garfunkel's "The Sound of Silence," and, well, just about every other track on the album. My personal favorite is the shredding "The River Dragon Has Come," with its numerous guitar embellishments.

Mudvayne: L.D. 50

I'm sure I will probably catch some flak for including a nu metal album on this list (it isn't the only one, either), but this album is truly brilliant. Mudvayne has never been able to match their debut in terms of rawness or heart. The bass guitar is the real star on this one, driving every track through this seamless opus which explores human nature and evolution along with madness and drug abuse. The best track is "Nothing to Gein," which explores the thought processes, sexual frustrations, and mommy issues of murderer/grave robber Ed Gein, has brutal and funk/metal passages and lyrics which somehow manage to be both sensitive and sensational at the same time. Other standouts include "Dig" and "Death Blooms."

King Diamond: House of God

A concept album which both tells a story and manages to keep the music interesting throughout, this album is everything it was intended to be. Even great bands can be hit and miss when it comes to them, but King and the rest have over two decades of experience consistently making great concept albums. The story is told in vivid detail, scene by scene, with appropriate music accompanying--but the music obviously comes first. King's vocals go from scary falsetto to scary growl, and could be the focus of the album if the guitars didn't have such a great, loping rhythm and excellent solos. The best track is the title track, but other standouts are "Follow the Wolf" and "Black Devil."

As I noted above, I've only picked three out of the five best albums for 2000. I encourage you to comment and add the other two. And be sure to drop back in next Friday for 2001. When they're all posted, you can see the whole list by clicking here.

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