Friday, February 05, 2010

The Top 50 Albums of the Last Decade: 2005

Once again, the ground rules: 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, 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.

On to the list for 2005.

Candlemass: Candlemass

These Swedes practically invented doom metal, and though they released a lot of less impressive albums in the late 80's and the 90's, they reunited with early day vocalist Messiah Marcolin to release their best album since 1986's Epicus Doomicus Metallicus. (It's only too bad he left the band soon after, and they proceeded to record lackluster material again.) This is epic doom at its finest, as evidenced by such dramatic tracks as opener "Black Dwarf," the "War Pigs"-like "Copernicus," and most especially the brilliant "The Day and the Night."

DevilDriver: The Fury of Our Maker's Hand

Though he started with nu metal band Coal Chamber, and this band's first album sounded mostly like more of the same, Dez Fafara had come a long way by 2005. Specializing in the heavier, faster melodic death-inspired groove metal favored by many groups of the new wave of American heavy metal (see, e.g., Machine Head and Lamb of God), these guys stand out from the crowd. Dez still has all the energy and charisma he always had, but now he has a much heavier, more credible band to match it (though I have always liked Coal Chamber, one of the heavier nu metal bands of its time). The obvious stand-out track is "Hold Back the Day."

Soilwork: Stabbing the Drama

And speaking of melodic death metal, and Swedes, Soilwork also makes the list with their most innovative and experimental album (at least up through 2005). Allmusic's Eduardo Rivadavia explains:
Extreme enough to convince some of the genre's more suspicious fans of their authenticity to the cause, they've also excelled at flirting with its more mainstream sensibilities, and, like every release before it, 2005's Stabbing the Drama is no different. Like a hyper-efficient assembly line, its songs connect components of the band's hometown melodic death metal to elements of neo-thrash velocity, to metalcore's innate simplicity, to even -- gasp! -- sketchy nu-metal devices (see "Weapon of Vanity," "Distance") in order to construct a well-lubricated driving machine that's ever compact and economical.
As always, be sure to add your picks for the other two top metal albums of 2005, and check back next Friday for 2006. When they're all posted, you can see the whole list by clicking here.

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