Part 6 of this megalodon of a list is here, which means we are almost half way through the saga. What will be up next? Only time will tell...and that time is now!
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.
So...Let's get it on!
225.) Obsidian Kingdom- A Year With No Summer (2016)
FFO- Progressive Metal, Post Metal, Experimental
Between both LPs from Obsidian Kingdom, you will hear every type of genre of heavy music you could want on an album. With the debut album, 2013's Mantiis, it deeply featured the darkest of the dark sides, with A Year With No Summer, you hear more of the abstract and atmospheric. I would not dare say either album is without the polar opposite in it's sound. In a way, both albums serve in a yin and yang sense with neither the lighter nor heavier sides being completely left out. in the latter's case, the heavier sides a done in the right amount of doses compared to the post feel that transcends the album, and makes the album so much stronger for it. Obsidian Kingdom are a masterclass of how to write what you want to write and not feeling like you have to leave any genre out. If it fits together, do it, and they do it so very, very well. Give either album a shot, but you may want this one first and go backwards.
224.) My Dying Bride- Feel The Misery (2015)
FFO- Death Metal, Doom Metal
There may not be a single band still active today that better showcases off the genre of death/doom better than My Dying Bride. Every single album that has been released has felt like they rip your heart and emotions right out of your chest and shove them back down your throat. The latest album, Feel The Misery is no exception. Quite possibly the saddest album in the band's discography so far; Feel The Misery showcases even more of the clean vocal approach that makes the band stand out amongst the rest, but is not shy to bring the growls in when called for. Plus the lyrics...if you don't choke up during at least one song on this album, you have never teared up in your life. Case in point, My Dying Bride is arguably THE best band in death/doom. There's no better place to start than the latest album, and go backwards in time.
223.) Horse The Band- A Natural Death (2007)
Much like the FFO describes it, this is metalcore with 8-bit Nintendo synths. While this is easily the biggest album from the band, it is easily their best as well. Garnering them attention from around the world and getting on some fantastic tours in the process. Of course the band went on to forge their own path around the globe in great ways, A Natural Death helped pave that wave. If you love the 8-bit sound, or you just like your music a bit on the quirky side, Horse The Band is for you, and you really dig this album.
222.) Threat Signal- Under Reprisal (2005)
FFO- Metalcore, Groove Metal
This band's debut album is one of the finest albums in metalcore and that is undeniable once you hear it. The use of melodic vocals and screams are so seamless amongst the melodic grooves, hooks, and riffs showcased. While the band has yet to hit those top tier popularity levels as some of it's peers; Threat Signal is a band that is worthy of all the love it gets and it came from this top tier album. Give this a shot and see for yourself.
221.) Shadows Fall- The Art Of Balance (2002)
FFO- New Wave Of American Heavy Metal, Metalcore, Groove Metal
I still remember hearing songs off this album for the first time on the 2nd incarnation of Headbanger's Ball and being in awe that a band like this could even be played on tv. Even with how melodic and catchy the singles were off the album, it made no sense to me how a band could be showcasing screaming on tv. That was my line of thinking back in 2003 when I first discovering bands outside of Metallica (hey, we all started somewhere). While the band is gone, the legacy lives on between this and their next album The War Within, which are two biggest achievements for the band. With the former, it showcased a level of intensity that really opened my eyes to heavy music and how it could be so melodic and crushing at the same time. Plus their cover of Pink Floyd's Welcome To The Machine is the stuff of wonders. Go back and check out both albums in question and check out the rest if you enjoy what you hear; but definitely make The Art Of Balance a priority, it helped pave the way for new music that came out 10-15 years after it's release.
220.) Akercocke- Words That Go Unspoken, Deeds That Go Undone (2006)
FFO- Blackened Death Metal, Progressive Death Metal, Progressive Death Metal
Music just doesn't get that much more evil than Akercocke. With the band's 4th album, they continued to explore even more of the band's proggier side (even hitting the over 10 minute mark with the epic, Shelter From The Sand). The great and unique blend of black death and prog metal really shines through in all faucets on this album and many consider it their best album to date. While there is a great argument to be made about the band's latest album, 2017's Reminiscence In Extremis; I gotta give it to WTGU/DTGU. This helped pave the way for a new generation to incorporate new styles of music into their satanic metal arsenals and what an amazing job it does of that!
219.) Weezer- The Blue Album (1994)
FFO- Alternative Rock, Indie Rock, Power Pop
So...to go in the almost exact opposite direction. Let's cover some Weezer! It's almost cliche to say The Blue Album (yes, I'm calling it The Blue Album) is the best Weezer album (almost as cliche as bigger fans of the band, hipsters, and those that keep getting their hearts broken say Pinkerton is the superior album) For me, this is the perfect Power Pop album from start to finish. Every song is a genuine classic and worthy of all the praise it gets (even if some songs have been more than overplayed). Even if you know the classic songs off this album, go and check out the b-sides/album tracks on this album with songs lie The World Has Turned And Left Me Here or My Name is Jonas. Especially if you are not in the know, these songs will be as infectious to you as Undone or Buddy Holly was to the rest of the world in '94.
218.) Lamb Of God- As The Palaces Burn (2003)
FFO- New Wave of American Heavy Metal, Groove Metal
Even though Devin Townsend (who produced this album) refers to the overall sound of this album as "a bag of ass" (due to production struggles and various other reasons), I absolutely love the raw authentic feel of this album from start to finish. Every track has it own unique crushing sound that pulls you in and makes you understand why the NWOAHM became so popular in the mid 00s. While so many others will say the follow up, Ashes Of The Wake is the better album, I disagree. THIS is how I love my Lamb of God! And hye, if you've never checked out this album or band, you just might as well!
217.) Terror Syndrome- Terror Syndrome (2008)
FFO- Progressive Metal, Groove Metal, Death Metal
It's only been in recent times where I've given up hope on ever hoping for a follow up to this album, so with that, I'm able to appreciate this album even more. Starting from the conception of former Devin Townsend Band/Devin Townsend Project drummer, Ryan Van Poederooyen; Terror Syndrome was meant to show off the heavier side of RVP's listening and playing habits. For that, it absolutely delivers. Whether you want full on aggression, progressive thrash goodness, or instrumental wackiness; it's all here and then some! While this album is definitely far under the radar that even some of the biggest Hevy Devy fan may not even be aware of this album's existence (especially funny given that everyone that is on this album, sans Denton Bramley, was IN the Devin Townsend band around the time) This is an underrated gem that deserves to be heard and loved in every way, shape and form. A stellar metal album.
216.) Mono- Hymn To The Immortal WInd (2009)
FFO- Post Rock
Quite possibly one of the top 3 greatest post rock albums ever recorded, Hymn To The Immortal Wind is a sheer masterpiece of songwriting and how the post rock genre works in the grand scheme of music. The art of taking songs and slowly but surely building them into some of the most bombastic sounds on record is what makes the genre so powerful and it's rare to find a band or an album who does that better than Mono's Hymn To The Immortal Wind. Reading this description doesn't give it justice. Just listen...and experience....
215.) Sevendust- Seasons (2003)
FFO- Alternative Metal, Groove Metal
Between Seasons and Animosity, this showcases Sevendust's range of diversity in their unique, heavy sound. It is rare to find that can throw in THIS much groove into heavy songs and make them so undeniably catchy. Seasons for me is the best thing they have put onto record with it's haunting ballads, mainstream accessibility and overall crushing prowess. Like I said, there's not many who can conceive how to pull this off, let alone doing it. Sevendust is a pure gem of popular heavy music.
214.) Iron Thrones- The Wretched Sun (2010)
FFO- Progressive Death Metal, Post Metal
This might be cheating again as it is technically an EP, but it's over 41 minutes long. There's 2 full LPs from bands that you could fit in this time frame. But I digress. Iron Thrones released a killer LP and EP in the mid 00s that have gone so SEVERELY under the radar that I'm glad to give them even the slightest bit of recognition. The Wretched Sun is the last release of this amazing band and it's a progressive post metal masterpiece. No matter the track length, each song feels so natural and fresh in it's sound, it's haunting production fills the unsettling void and the sheer songwriting ability that this band had is something that bands of any style need to find and help forge their own path in music. Thankfully, the sound of the band is somewhat in check with bands like Wolvhammer and in the latest album from Skeletonwitch (funny enough, Adam Clemans of Iron Thrones now fronts both bands), but Iron Thrones will always be in a class of their own in my eyes and one that lives on in two releases.
213.) World Under Blood- Tactical (2011)
FFO- Melodic Death Metal
Brutal death metal meets CKY? This is what genre bending was meant for! Deron Miller shows up on this list once again for this dangerously underrated band World Under Blood. When I listen to death metal, especially the more brutal it gets with constant blasts and just growls, I miss the melodic sides that you hear in melodeath (hell, that's why the genre got invented in the first place!) but I never before (or since heard a band take Miller's signature guitar style (and vocal approach) and put it to death metal. It's a sheer sight to behold and every track is simply mindblowing. If only all melodeath bands could pull this off. I would give anything for a sophomore album from WUB, maybe it'll happen in time, but in the meantime, we got Tactical. If that's all we get, they may go down as the best death metal band with only one release to their name.
212.) The Ocean- Pelagial (2013)
FFO- Progressive Metal, Post Metal, Doom Metal
It's amazing that this concept has never been fully explored on an album as in depth as The Ocean pulled off with Pelagial. A literal concept album about the different layers of the ocean (the actual oceans, not the band). Each level of the ocean is played musically starting with some of the happiest sounding material the band has done to this date, and as you progress through, it becomes deeper, darker, heavier to the most brutal tracks the band has done to date. A pure concept album and works so efficiently, it puts so many other concept albums to shame. While I know the band will continue to put out amazing albums over and over again; conceptually, this can never be topped!
211.) Muse- Absolution (2003)
FFO- Progressive Rock, Alternative Rock, Electronic Rock
The last great Muse album, that's right, you heard me! Everything up to and including Absolution were such great prog rock albums that had that electronic tinge to it. If Radiohead was heavy, if Nine Inch Nails wrote prog, so many other examples that could only be pipe dreams. Absolution was the last album that had rock be the focused of the band's sound before the keyboards and synths fully took over and everything progressively went to the wayside. The melodies and harmonies on this album are jaw dropping. How it can go from nearly metal to beautifully melancholic to depressingly uplifting in a ballad from song to song to song (or in the same song!). It's a complete shame that I'll probably never have that love for a Muse album again as I know they have this style of songwriting left in the band, but those days are gone and both of us have moved on.
210.) Sentenced- The Funeral Album (2005)
FFO- Gothic Metal
The final album from this legendary Finnish band is one that is hard one to get through, though in a great way. It's rough because the music is so good, you don't want it to be their last. But even 4 years before the death of Miika Tenkula, the band knew they were done and wanted to make The Funeral Album the perfect send off to the fans and a proper thank you for all the support over the years. As a band in a live setting, you always want to leave the fans wanting more; in this case, Sentenced fans will always wish they had more, but can be happy with the legacy they left. The Funeral Album is one that can tear you apart in the best way possible. Fun Fact: in the booklet for the album, this is the only time in my entire history of buying music that a piece of artwork scared me to death. One of the pieces of artwork in the liner notes has a river that flows into the shape of a coffin, that image still haunts me to this day for some reason.
209.) Napalm Death- Utilitarian (2012)
FFO- Grindcore, Death Metal
NO band has ever blended Grindcore and Death Metal better than Napalm Death. While through most of their career, it's been one of the other. Albums like Utilitarian prove that you can do both on the same album and it is a perfect culmination of sound. Everything you love about the band, and so much more (including jazz saxophone from Jorn Zorn) is on this album and it's almost as if it's a best of album with all new material. A perfect starter Napalm Death album and overall, my favorite ND album to date.
208.) Obituary- Obituary (2017)
FFO- Old School Death Metal
I'll keep this one short and sweet. The band wanted to put out their best album ever as it would be their self titled. They wanted to make it they most signature Obituary album ever. And that's EXACTLY what they achieved. Every single thing you love about the band is on this album with brand new material. It's THE obituary album.
207.) Bolt Thrower- For Victory (1994)
FFO- Death Metal
Bolt Thrower is the signature mid-paced death metal band. While they are still quite fast (and on the earliest work, there is the grindcore era of course) but for the band's signature sound, there is no one who can do death metal that is brutal without having to do blast beats or over the top fret aerobics. Oddly enough, they can be considered one of the most accessible death metal bands for a good portion of their run. 1994's For Victory is a great example of that in strides. Every song pummels you at the right pace of each song. A killer production value and of course...WAR! While the band is gone, Bolt Thrower will always be there for us and why not go with what could be, their best work ever.
206.) Sonic Syndicate- Confessions (2016)
FFO- Modern Metal, Power Pop Metal
It is not often when a band can so DRASTICALLY change their sound from their previous work and have it work out so magnificently. Sonic Syndicate proves that you need to write whats in your heart. While previously being a melodeath band, the band wrote an entirely new album, and before getting it out there, scrapped the album and said they need a change. And change they did, NO double bass rides happening here, no chance of any screaming or growling either. This is one of the closest things I've heard to modern power pop being done on a metal album. Sure, there are other bands who kinda(?) do what's been done here in the likes of latter day BRing Me Tee Horizon or Asking Alexandria, but this is an entirely different take. Rather than go for those crowds intentionally, they wrote Confessions as the band addressing they are making this change for themselves. making the songs fun, catchy, and so uplifting, which is not always done in examples listed earlier. Confessions is nothing you need to confess to liking, this should be something you are proud to enjoy, I sure as hell do!
205.) Selpultura- Chaos A.D. (1993)
FFO- Groove Metal, Death Metal, Thrash Metal
Talk about a watershed album! While Roots may have been the most drastic change in the band's sound to date, imagine being a Sepultura fan in 1993 and hearing Chaos A.D. for the first time. Hearing this much groove when you were used to hearing just thrash, death and even black metal in the band's sound. But with that change, lead to Sepultura becoming one of the biggest metal bands to ever come out of Brazil. Not just that but helping popularize groove metal as a whole and helping bring in (with bands like Faith No More and Pantera) the styles of Nu Metal that were about to forge by the end of the decade. This has one of my favorite drum sounds on record, especially the bass drum. No clicky sound to be had. just a pure bass drum sound as the metal gods intended! While the early day Sepultura albums will always rule. Chaos A.D. is the game changer of a metal album the world needed and to me, it's easily their best.
204.) Yob- Our Raw Heart (2018)
FFO- Doom Metal
There's nothing quite like possibly being on your deathbed to make you reevaluate priorities in life and what you will do next, if there is a next. That's what happened here with Yob's Mike Scheidt and his health struggles that eventually lead to writing one of the 21st centuries greatest doom metal albums, Our Raw Heart. A heart wrenching album that has you go through all the motions you think of with death and what comes from facing your own mortality. This is how you make music and ESPECIALLY on this list, it's one of the most authentic albums ever made.
203.) Armored Saint- Symbol Of Salvation (1991)
FFO- Heavy Metal
John Bush does no wrong in any band, any side project, any guest appearance he has done. Bush and Co. but out the band's finest work with Armored Saint in 91 with Symbol Of Salvation, a loving trademark of that fine line between the thrash, death, black metal fans on one side, and the glam pop metal bands of the other side in the 80s and 90s. No matter what side of the fence your on in that debate, you will find something to love about Armored Saint and they are such a band to treasure and behold. Go check out their finest work to date here and support them in any way you can.
202.) Intronaut- The Direction of Last Things (2015)
FFO- Progressive Metal, Post Metal
Considering the meanings behind both genres, you wouldn't think on paper that prog and post would meld well together. There are sooooo many examples of it working and Intronaut is one of the finest examples. Taking the ideals of post metal and making it just proggy enough, they have created a signature sound that is unparalleled. The band's latest album is the perfect culmination for the band that combines everything there is to love about the band and just makes it even better (how is that even possible). Some say you can have too much of a good thing, this album proves that is not always the case. Just a completely stellar album top to bottom from a band you should overlook no longer.
201.) Falconer- Black Moon Rising
FFO- Power Metal
Quite possibly the most authentic and exquisite power metal band ever. So much so, Falconer took it upon themselves to know when to hang it up...in the live setting. Knowing the band was not going to always be able to give 100% for every show they play for multitude of reasons, the band released this album and said they were doing one last show at 2015's ProgPower USA, which I was not only in attendance for, but also gave their last, in person (as a whole band) interview. That is not to say the band is hanging it up, far from it, just the live shows are going away and they are becoming strictly a studio band once again. With Black Moon Rising, it almost feels like these songs were intentionally written to be played live for one last set of shows before focusing on just making the best albums possible. All the more reason I was honored to be at that last show. The songs are so efficient and full of soul and one of the best vocal(ly trained) performances in metal on record. There is no better send off to the live era of Falconer than Black Moon Rising.
And that does it folks, the first 150 albums of this mammoth 350 album list. Come back tomorrow where we finish off the first half of 350 albums with That Drummer Guy's Top 350 Albums of All Time Part VII- 200-176.
- Josh Rundquist (That Drummer Guy)