So here we are in 2019. The past decade since the last time I did a definitive top albums list has been quite a decade of growth for me personally and musically. I joined so many bands that eventually failed, I have had my life torn apart in every conceivable way, I've made what I thought were true friends that turned out to be incredibly terrible people, but there has been one gigantic upside to it all. I started what has become known as That Drummer Guy on August 2nd, 2011. Since then I have done over 600 interviews, endless reviews at the end of every year, so many grand experiences that no one else would get to have and so much more that I know that I am forgetting. With all that, my musical tastes have grown,l I've discovered so much new music and I have been able to put my stamp in the rock and metal world, even if it is still a small stamp. And a decade later, I wanna bring back what has made me known online to begin with, my favorite albums of all times list, but, with a twist!
Here's how it will all go down:
1.) 14 Lists of 25 albums a piece, counting down from 350 to 1.
2.) No more than one album per project, otherwise this list would be in the 1,000s.
3.) This list is as close of order as I could get it and be somewhat happy. If I overthink it, I could easily rewrite this whole list in a new order over and over again. Right now, I'm happy with it enough to write it down for the world to see.
4.) If there is an album/band/artist missing from this list that doesn't fit the criteria above (mainly number 2) it is because I either didn't hear it enough, didn't like it as much, it's too new to me to be fair to add to the list, or it just isn't my bag...baby!
5.) My list isn't your list. Your favorite band might not be on here, it might be too low for you, a band you hate might be too high for you. Just remember, it's just my opinion.
6.) The goal of this gigantic list is to show off my roots, what I love in the past, and now, and most importantly, to show YOU something that you may not be familiar with that you may enjoy. If you can't find something to enjoy within these 350 albums, we are just not going to click musically. Different Strokes...
7.) Yes, I enjoy every single album here. Every album I can enjoy front to back, not wanting to skip a track. Not a single album on here is just thrown in to fill out the list, nor is there a single album that I feel is weak. To me, it's all killer and no filler.
So how about we get started...eh?
350.) My Chemical Romance- Welcome To The Black Parade (2006)
FFO- Pop Rock, Alternative Rock, Emo
How's that for a shocker?!?! Yes, I very much enjoy this album from start to finish. IN all honesty, it's the only one that I ever really got into. I love that it's a dark concept album, which outside of Green Day's '00s albums, you just never saw that in mainstream music at the time. It's very proggy for that and I truly appreciate it for that. Wish they would have kept that in mind for everything after this, but hey, at least I got one album I enjoy out of them, can't complain too much.
349.) Metallica- Ride The Lightning (1984)
FFO- Thrash Metal, Heavy Metal
Yes, Metallica is this low. Why? Frankly, I burned myself out on the band in 2003 and the love never truly came back. It's the only band that ever had that effect on me. Mainly it's because of Metallica it's been my mission to go out and search for new music so I never burn myself out on one band, style, etc. RTL though it their best album. Best album cover, best Metallica logo, best Metallica instrumental, and the best track order from start to finish. While many will disagree and say it's Master of Puppets or even the past version me would say it's ...And Justice For All; but as I've grown up, Ride The Lightning just does it best for me and what a great album for it to happen with.
348.) Rishloo- Eidolon (2007)
FFO- Tool meets Fair To Midland
That's the best way I can describe this sadly underrated band. A great mix of the prog, heavy, quirky, and experimental sides of both of the aforementioned bands, but still a great example of taking influences and creating something new with it. Introduced to me from a friend I sadly don't really talk to anymore, this was a fantastic recommendation from them and I'm so thankful I got to check them out as I would have missed them had I not been shown the band. Eidolon showcases the band's strengths in the best ways and you just can't help but feel a great chill down your spine at some of it's highest moments. Well worth a listen.
347.) Mew- No More Stories... (2009)
FFO- Progressive Rock, Dream Pop, Alternative Rock
Mew are a shining example of how to forge your own sound and making the music you want to make. WIth that, Mew carved out their finest work to date with No More Stories... a perfect blend of dancey, proggy, angelic, and blissful music that makes you feel like you are floating through through the clouds over the most beautiful landscapes. This album/band won't be for everyone reading this list, but if you need something that's not heavy in the slightest and want a break from the world, No More Stories... is the album to make that happen.
346.) Sons of Aeon- Sons of Aeon (2013)
FFO- Melodic Death Metal
Unless they somehow reform and put out another album, this is one of my favorite one album bands ever. I've often said this album is what I would imagine if Pain of Salvation would ever put out a melodeath album. The melodies, the harmonies, the overall sense of darkness, it's a flourishing and brilliant album from start to finish and it's an absolute shame that there is no follow up to this debut album. Maybe my prayers will be answered and we'll get album two, but if not, we got this untouchable, meldodeath album of awesomeness.
345.) Vital Remains- Dechristianize (2003)
FFO- Death Metal
Vital Remains is that definition of a raw, heavy, satanic death Metal band. Dechristianize is their pinnacle of brilliance with it's epic title track showcasing everything the band is capable of. It's brutal and oddly, so melodic at the same time. If you've never ventured into true satanic death metal, you may as well start with an album that's title gives you exactly that...Dechristianize!
344.) Peeping Tom- Peeping Tom (2006)
FFO- Trip Hop, Pop, Alternative
It's still strange to know that a lot of people will still only know Mike Patton for his work with Faith No More, when he has done so...SO much more. From scary as hell metal with Fantomas to absurdly quirky and catchy stuff with Mr. Bungle to too many projects, collaborations and one offs to count. This stand alone album is what Patton considers his version of pop music and it really, really works. It can get heavy to trippy to poppy to laid back all at the turn of a dime. There's something for everyone on this album and it's well worth your time checking out.
343.) Burning Inside- Apparation (2001)
FFO- Progressive Death Metal
The work of Richard Christy is nothing short of brilliant. No matter if he's making prank calls on the Howard Stern show, or sharing the stage with Death. The man has done no wrong so far. This dangerously underrated album from 2001 is a worthy album to follow his stint with Death, showcasing his phenomenal drumming along with some brilliant songwriting, ferocious vocals and brutal production; it's a death metal album that is worthy of any and all praise it gets.
342.) Wilton & Akerstache- Storm Corrosion
FFO- 80s Pop, Progressive Rock
Quite possibly the greatest prog parody album ever made. SADLY, I have no idea where to ever find it again. It was available for free through the band's YouTube channel and it disappeared, so if you have it...you know! If it's out there, share that stuff! But anyways, one man took it upon himself to ask himself what he thought a collaboration between Steven Wilson and Mikael Akerstache would sound like. If you ever heard the actual one off project Storm Corrosion, then you know it was a sinister, dark soundscape album. This however is the warped mix of Miami Vice, Genesis, and the best over the top and hysterical vocals you'll ever hear. Seriously, if it's out there, go find it and enjoy, it's worth every single second.
341.) Dave Brockie Experience- Diarrhea of a Madman
FFO- Comedy Punk Rock
If you love the idea of GWAR but not the theatrics, DBX may be what you've been looking for. It's a 3 piece band of Dave Brockie and CO making simple punk rock and some hilarious songs to go with it. Some of my favorite bass riffs ever on this album (I'm serious). I would have loved to have seen these guys live but will sadly never get the chance. Brockie ruled at everything he did and between both DBX albums, there is so much to enjoy before you get back into GWAR.
340.) Widowmaker- Blood And Bullets (1992)
FFO- Heavy Metal
DId you know that Dee Snider had a heavy metal band. No I don't mean Twisted Sister, I mean something much heavier. Ok, no I don't mean his new solo album which is really, REALLY heavy all things considered. I mean back in the late 80s, early 90s; Snider created Widowmaker, a heavy as hell album that showcased his love for heavy metal. It's fast, it's catchy, it's two fantastic albums. WIdowmaker's sophomore album Blood and Bullets, much like Skid Row's Slave To The Grind, showed the band get even heavier and more fun. THis is such a fun album to listen to and I highly recommend you check it out as well.
339.) Karnivool- Sound Awake (2009)
FFO- Progressive Metal, Tool
Karnivool is still the front runners of the Australian Tool-esque prog metal bands that came out of the 21st century and really blew the doors off the house. Sound Awake is when things exploded for the band and they became the worldwide band that prog fans have been asking for. Super catchy, so many great twists and turns, plus a great sense of musical songwriting that really makes the bands stand out. If you're a prog fan and have yet to hear Karnivool, you are in for a real treat.
338.) Vertigo Steps- Surface/Light (2012)
FFO- Melodic Metal, Alternative Rock
A band that I feel like never got the love they truly deserved and I sadly discovered them too late. The band's final album showcased some of the greatest melancholic & melodic rock, alternative, and Metal riffs put to record of it's style and I love every second of it. It's hauntingly beautiful and an album that when you discover it, you may just fall in love as well.
337.) 1349- Demonoir (2010)
FFO- Black Metal
1349 has been around for 22 years now and every album seems to crush on such a great, consistent way. My turning on point of the band was Demonoir and what a great record to start with. The production just raw and polished enough, the songs are so evil and has some of their most memorable songs to date on it. If you wanna heat what the 3rd/4th generation of Scandinavian Black Metal has to offer the world, what's a better place to start than the band who named themselves after the black plague?
336.) Shai Hulud- Misanthropy Pure (2008)
FFO- Hardcore Punk, Mathcore
This band is one that I wish would make a return from hiatus and take over the world again. At least to date, the band's last album, Misanthropy Pure is that perfect blend of hardcore, punk rock, and touches of mathcore that just grabs your attention and makes you pay attention. A short, sweet, brutal, 42 minute display of what can be done with creative minds.
335.) Burst- Lazarus Bird (2008)
FFO- Progressive Metal, Sludge Metal (Mastodon, Baroness, early day Torche)
Man, I have a lot of final albums on this so far don't I? Didn't realize it till now. Anyways, Burst was an unsung inspiring band for me that really showcased what could be done in heavier progressive metal. Sadly, the final album was the last great display this band had to offer and boy, they really gave it their all on this one. I dare say they were there along with bands like Today is the Day that really showcased what bands like Mastodon would carve out and make their own later in time. And by this time, those types of bands were exploding and Burst gave a proper farewell. All of it's great twists and turns, heavy riffs and overalls sense of wonder hits you from beginning to end and it leaves you wanting more. Sadly, that's how it looks to be...leaving us wanting more. Seriously, go check them out if you have not done so.
334.) Pelican- City of Echoes (2007)
FFO- Instrumental, Post Metal, Post Rock
Pelican are one of greatest instrumental post bands to ever exist and they prove it with every single album. City of Echoes, in particular, just does it for me with it's heaviness on top of it's proggy landscapes and dark atmospheres. Any Pelican album is a great place to start, but if you wanna start where I did, go City of Echoes, it's an awesome trip!
333.) Twelve Foot Ninja- Silent Machine (2012)
FFO- Progressive Metal, Alternative Rock (Meshuggah meets Mike Patton)
It's heavy, it's quirky, it's just a fun album from start to finish. This Australian band shows that not every prog band needs to be inspired by Tool to make an impact, and they did it perfectly. Silent Machine is the perfect gateway album into this band that puts on such a great atmosphere that y ou will expect upon your first listen. Meshuggah riffs going into reggae into pop? Oh, that's there and so much more!
332.) Acid Bath- When The Kite String Pops (1994)
FFO- Doom Metal, Sludge Metal
When you hear the name acid bath, you just automatically think it's some brutal grindgore or brutal death metal band right? Acid Bath is far from that. They took new directions of sludge, doom and southern gothic and really created a style that many have tried to duplicate, but could only imitate. Dax Riggs and Co really made an amazing impact in the world and while all parties when on to form create music, from blues in Dax's solo material to Goatwhore; the musicians involved created incredible music and despite it's tragic end, it's great to see their passions live on.
331.) Thrice- The Artist In The Ambulance (2003)
FFO- Post Hardcore, Pop Rock
Thrice is a band that instantly grabbed my attention when I was discovering new bands in 2003. It was a great mix of radio friendly hooks but nearly metal at times, something that I was very interested in at the time. The Artist In The Ambulance still stands out as the band's biggest album and for good reason. While every album after this goes into much deeper territory thematically, conceptually and musically, this album was that shining album for me that reminded me that not everything that is popular is bad. A rule I genuinely live by now (though it took a while), don't judge a band by it's trend; judge it by it's music. And what a great album Thrice released 16 years ago.
330.) Mr. Bungle- Mr. Bungle (1991)
Putting a pure label on Mr. Bungle is meaningless. There isn't two Bungle songs that sound the same, let alone albums. It's Mike Patton's band before Faith No More, but oddly got going after Faith No More broke out (possibly one of only two instances where a musician joins a bigger band and says "Don't worry guys, I'm not forgetting about you. After things get rolling here, I'll come back and bring this band with." the other being Corey Taylor with Stone Sour) I chose the S/T album because it has the most metal moments that come out of nowhere, but it's so funky, quirky, danceable and bat guano insane (though that last part you could LITERALLY say that about any of the albums). Mr. Bungle is not for the faint of heart, but worth your time if you dare.
329.) Levi/Werstler- Avalanche of Worms (2010)
FFO- Instrumental Metal
Eyal Levi, Emil Werstler, and Sean Reinert....seriously what else do I need to say? This is a perfect instrumental album that showcases all of the band's phenomenal skills in production, songwriting and chops. This one off band needs love after nearly a decade away and you should really give it your time if you dig instrumental metal. I can't fathom how you would be disappointed.
328.) Kaddisfly- Set Sail to Prairie (2006)
FFO- Alternative Rock, Experimental Rock
For the longest time, this was the band's final album, but in 2015, they came back with a killer reunion album, Horses Galloping on Sailboats. But this album is a fantastic concept album focusing on a different month in a different spot in the northern hemisphere starting from June and ending in May. It ranges from so many emotions and musical territories that is well worth your time if you're adventurous.
327.) Portal- Vexovoid
FFO- Blackened Death Metal, Extreme Metal, Avant Garde
Challenge Time! Get this album, stay up till you go to bed, turn off all the lights, light a candle or two. Put this album on and see how long you can last before you start to feel terrified. Vexovoid in particular is one of the scariest albums put out to date and it completely messes with your senses. The sheer brutality, the noise affects, the haunting vocals, everything about this band is horrendously scary, but in the best way possible. Another album and band not for the faint of heart, but if you can survive this album, you can survive any band ever.
326.) Goo Goo Dolls- Dizzy Up The Girl
FFO- Alternative Rock, Pop Rock
Unless you are of those few that remember my original Top Albums list back on the old Dream Theater and Mike Portnoy forums, there's no way you saw this album coming did you? I honestly love this album and I feel Black Balloon is one of the greatest pop rock ballads ever made (FIGHT ME, JERKS!). It's funny how a band that started off on Metal Blade Records became one of the biggest 90s bands with the band's main single, Iris. I still enjoy the song to this day, but the rest of the album showcases some killer songwriting and so many songs that never got the time of day. That tends to happen when one song skyrockets you to stardom. But anyways, the older, heavier, more punkish days of the band disappeared on this album, and everything that came after this album never really did anything for me. This was the case of the right album at the right time and yeah, I really love it.
And there you go folks, the first 25 of my humongous top 350 albums of all time list. 325 albums to go and I feel like I've barely scratched the surface. But I have shown off a broad taste of music from the most brutal of blackened death metal to the most radio friendly pop rock the 90s had to offer.
Next time, Part II: 325-301
- Josh Rundquist