Part II has arrived! With all of the great love Part I has already received, I can't wait to keep going with this. Let's just right on to it shall we?
Here's How The Rules 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.
325.) Exhorder- Slaughter in The Vatican (1990)
FFO- Groove Metal, Thrash Metal
Thankfully, our prayers have been answered and not only has Exhorder reformed, but we are getting a new album from the band! But before that, the two album legacy the band gave us are filled to the brim to what would be taken and transformed into other forms of thrash and groove in metal in the forms of Pantera, Machine Head, and many others. But this is where it all started. The debut album paved the way for the heavy side of heavy metal once again for the 90s and that future, while underground at the time, was shining bright. When you listen to it now, it sounds as fresh as ever and I can't wait to see what nearly 30 years difference makes with the new album.
324.) Solstafir- Köld (2009)
FFO- Post Metal, Progressive Metal, Alternative Metal
This Icelandic band has evolved in many ways like the band, Ulver, where they are unrecognizable from their black metal roots. By this time, they heaviness was still around, but was fading. Everything after this album became much more focused on post rock and atmosphere, In a sense, Köld is the perfect gateway to the band, if you like the heaviness shown off, go towards the albums that came before it. If you like the post atmosphere, go towards the albums after it through today. TO me, the band can do no wrong and they are following their hearts. Köld was a great album that really showed off the bands past, present, and future.
323.) Egypt Central- Egypt Central (2008)
FFO- Hard Rock, Alternative Metal
This band had all the potential in the world when this debut album came out in 2005. The singles, You Make Me Sick and Taking You Down, made the Top 40 charts and the band was getting some real recognition. That continued with their next album, White Rabbit, but sadly the band didn't go on much longer after. Basically, this band is a band that should have taken the world by storm with it's songwriting, catchy hooks and fantastic abilities, but the two albums we got was a great showcase of what they could give us.
*EDIT* Shortly after writing this up, I discovered the band has released new music 5 days ago and it's incredible stuff!
322.) The Exies- A Modern Way Of Living The Truth (2007)
FFO- Hard Rock Alternative Metal
The final album from The Exies is a solid album of radio hits after radio hits, but the good kind of earworms, not the force fed catchy songs you hear several times a day on FM radio. Just songs that deserve your attention and give you a reason to listen. If you want a great showcase of what 00s hard rock radio should have beem, pick this album up.
321.) Cephalic Carnage- Anomalies (2005)
FFO- Technical Death Metal, Progressive Death Metal, Deathgrind
This band is capable of playing anything any this album truly shows it. While most of the album showcases the technical, death metal, grindcore that makes up a majority of ti's sound. I do find their satirical take on metalcore, the song "Dying Will Be The Death of Me", to be the best thing they have done. They are a band that rip you apart and still make you give you a smile with a track or two off each album making fun of a genre of metal. Anomalies, in particular is the perfect album to get your feet wet with the band and show off what they band really can do.
320.) Fear My Thoughts- The Great Collapse (2004)
FFO- Melodic Death Metal, Metalcore
A severely underrated melodeath band, the band really came into it's own with The Great Collapse. A great blend of melodeath and metalcore that makes it some of the most catchy and forward thinking melodeath of it's era. Fear My THoughts is a band that deserves your love, even after they are gone. Start with this album and go from there.
319.) Izah- Sistre (2015)
FFO- Sludge Metal, Post Metal, Doom Metal, Atmospheric
This band's debut (so far, only) LP is a sheer masterpiece. It's such a great combination of sludgy doom metal, atmospheric post metal, and some hardcore thrown in for good measure. While at only 4 tracks, they are 4 phenomenal tracks all over the 10 minute mark (the title track being over 31 minutes). I really hope the band comes back soon with another killer album to decimate all that's in it's way. Till then, pick this monster up!
318.) Judgement Day- Peacocks/Pink Monsters
FFO- Orchestral/String Metal
This three piece was a thing of beauty. A violin, a standup bass, and a drum set; making some of the heaviest music that has ever come out of those three lone instruments. I had the gracious opportunity to see them once opening for dredg and they blew my mind, I bought their whole discography they had at the merch table. Not long after came this album and it was everything I wanted it to be. A fun, heavy, insightful instrumental album that showcased all of the band members perfectly. If you want a band like Apocalyptica, but not doing covers nor doing radio rock, Judgement Day is the band for you. Go check out ALL of their stuff (and the various projects they do now).
317.) The 11th Hour- Burden of Grief (2009)
FFO- Doom Metal, Death Metal
This sorrow filled band coming from musician mastermind Ed Warby, released their debut album 10 years ago. A Concept album about a man's final days/hours living with cancer. It pulls on your heartstrings, brings you down to the depths of hell and yet, you never want to escape it. The music is extraordinary, the theme can hit anyone emotionally, and the overall vibe is something you want to see to the bitter end. We need some more music from The 11th Hour at some point, we really, really do.
316.) The Kris Norris Projekt- Icons of the Illogical (2009)
FFO- Mainly Instrumental Metal, Progressive Metal, Metalcore
Not long after Norris left the band Darkest Hour, came this fantastic solo album that really features off his writing style and everything is capable of creating. With so many great nods to different styles shown off and of course absurdly great guitar playing, this album is underappreciated and deserves some great love. It is not a full on instrumental album, Randy Blythe of Lamb of God lends his vocals on two tracks to add even more variety to this album. I love it to death, and you may as well.
315.) Primal Rock Rebellion- Awoken Broken
FFO- Hard Rock, Heavy Metal
Combining the talents of SikTh and Iron Maiden sounds absurd on paper, but the execution is brilliant. Mikee W. Goodman of SikTh and Adrian Smith of Iron Maiden created this (so far) lone album and it's one for the ages; showing off both musicians in the best ways possible. It's a proggy, heavy, melodic rock and metal album that would fit right at home if I had a top 40 rock station. While both guys are extremely busy, I really hope in the future that wee will get another Primal Rock Rebellion album in the future, the world truly needs it.
314.) Wolves In The Throne Room- Celestial Lineage (2011)
FFO- Atmospheric Black Metal, Post Metal
Wolves In The Throne Room is a true watershed band. Bands that came before it explored or hinted at atmospheric elements at times. Bands that came after really started exploring the post rock, post metal sides of what black metal can do. WITTR is still that fine line between black metal and atmospheric post metal and this is heavily demonstrated with Celestial Lineage. It's a very grandiose album that they even made a 2nd album, Celestite, to be played along with this album to add more synths, style, and atmosphere. It's one of the most dense black metal albums you will ever find and a true gem in the genre.
313.) OSI- Free (2006)
FFO- Progressive Metal, Industrial Metal
From brainchild, Kevin Moore, this album features guests from all over the prog landscape, though not nearly as many as the debut album. This album features more on song structure and feel rather than exploring everything it did before and after Free. So with that its the most commercial(?) of it's catalog and I have no idea if the project will come back in any form, but I love(d) what they have done and Free is a great discovery album for the band.
312.) Gridlink- Longhena (2014)
FFO- Grindcore, Progressive Metal
Grindcore with song structures? Surely you jest? I jest not! This is one of my favorite grindcore albums ever made and for good reason, this final album from Gridlink shows off the band at it's proggiest, yet never losing the grindcore touch at all. It's an absolutely insane album and it deserves any and all love you can give it.
311.) Goes Cube- Another Day Has Passed (2009)
FFO- Post Hardcore, Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Post Rock
When I discovered the band Torche, I was looking to see if I could find any band that did similar, as I love that sound. Goes Cube is the closest I could find (back in 2009) and I was not disappointed. a great mix of all the genres listed above gives the band it's own distinct flair and it's something that is sadly missed with the band being put to rest a few years back. Give this album a shot if you want an album with so many twists and turns that feels like an emotional roller coaster in the best way.
310.) Hella- Hold Your Horse Is (2002)
FFO- Experimental, instrumental
Back before Zach Hill was known for staring the experimental hip hop duo, Death Grips, he was the drummer of one of the most spontaneous, genre defying, and insane technical abilities I've ever heard in a band with, Hella. Hold Your Horse Is is the duo at it's most creative and death defying. I've never heard a drummer who could pull off septuplets on a bass drum with one foot before, but it's here. The music is not for the faint at heart. It's courageous, wacky, and completely insane; yet, musical. Words can't really describe it, you would just have to listen for yourself.
309.) Red Fang- Whales and Leeches (2013)
FFO- Sludge Metal, Hard Rock
The album that brought me to the beer drinking party is still my favorite from the band after all this time. This is such a ridiculously fun album from start to finish. Whether you want fast songs, slow songs, mellow songs, crunchy songs, they are all here and more. The band is just unadulterated fun and this just a great example to start off your adventures with Red Fang.
308.) Miss May I- At Heart (2012)
This is the generation of American metalcore I missed while I was discovering other bands, so not many of the bands ever really grabbed my attention. Miss May I on the other hand...what a great band that really shows the powerful of writing a good catchy song while keeping metal attached to it all. While they are not everyone's cup of tea (most people refuse to listen for the band name alone), if you go past your preconceived notions, there is so much to enjoy here, and why not start off with this fantastic album (then jump immediately to their latest album Shadows Inside, which is arguably their best, but I went with what brought me to the band).
307.) Spiral Architect- A Sceptic's Universe (2000)
FFO- Progressive Metal
I've talked so much so far about final albums or only albums from bands and projects. This band/album is no exception. If Cynic was inspired by Black Sabbath and Candlemass, you get Spiral Architect. This lost gem is mandatory listening if you are a prog fan. It's an album that stretches your creative imagination to the brink and it's worth every single second.
306.) Hate Eternal- Upon Desolate Sands (2018)
FFO- Death Metal, Technical Death Metal
Anyone can say what they want, but when it comes to American technical death metal, no one does it better than Hate Eternal. Only getting more ferocious with every new album, the band's latest album showcases this in strides. The production is top notch, the musicianship is mindblowing, and the songs the kind of brutality that you just want to keep in your life. Hate Eternal rules and there is no end in sight. I can't wait to see what's next.
305.) Earshot- Two (2004)
FFO- Hard Rock, Alternative Metal
What a great band Earshot was when they came out in the 2000s and by the time of their sophomore LP, Two, they really showed the world what they were capable of. Every release from the band is such a joy to listen to, but I go back to Two the most as it just really captures what the band had in store, but with what they had before this and everything that came after. So catchy, hooky, heavy, and sadly missed on modern airwaves. I hope they come back and make the best album they've ever made.
304.) From Autumn To Ashes- Abandon Your Friends (2005)
FFO- Post Hardcore, Emo
I love every single album these guys have done and it's a shame that the band has had it's ups and downs the way they have. Abandon Your Friends really showed off the band in the perfect musical light. Everything you could possibly want in this band is shown off here and done to perfection. This is about as far as I really go down the post hardcore, emo rabbit hole, but the adventure every time I hear them is absolutely worth it.
303.) Mercenary- The Hours That Remain (2006)
FFO- Melodic Death Metal, Progressive Power Metal
There is no bad Mercenary album and it's so hard to choose my favorite, but again, I chose the one that brought me to the dance. This album showcases that perfect blend of In Flames, Nevermore, and Dream Theater that I wish bands would have done to even greater heights. Such an underrated band and they need a comeback, like yesterday! You can't go wrong with any Mercenary album, like mentioned, but hey, give The Hours That Remain a chance you may fall in love with them the way I did.
302.) D.R.I.- Danger Zone (1989)
FFO- Crossover Thrash, Punk, Heavy Metal
D.R.I. are such a fantastic abnd that is still going strong to this day. But back in the day, they wrote albums for the generation, most particularly 4 of a Kind and Danger Zone. The latter in question is what I love about the band. So many great ragers, killer riffs, and relateable lyrics. D.R.I. has it all and if you missed out on them so far, it's not too late to get on the bus before you get trapped, down, BENEATH THE WHEEL!!!
301.) Mercyful Fate- Melissa (1983)
FFO- Heavy Metal, Early Black Metal
What can I possibly say about this album that hasn't been covered already? It's one of the most groundbreaking albums in extreme metal. It inspired Metallica in so many ways, a whole genre was helped inspired by this album (and of course the bands Venom and Hellhammer/Celtic Frost) in Black Metal, and of course, KING DIAMOND!!! It's a landmark album in heavy metal history and it should be required listening for any metal fan. There's a reason why you don't hear people talk much crap about Mercyful Fate nor King Diamond; Melissa is such a prime example.
And there we go, folks. 2 parts down, 50 albums covered. 300 more albums to go (what have I done to myself???) I hope you are enjoying this so far and if you haven't found what you've been looking for, my personal favorites are yet to come!
- Josh Rundquist (That Drummer Guy)
Part 1: 350-326