Welcome to the last week of showing off my favorite albums of all time. We've finally hit part ten and only 4 parts to go after this. I hope if you've been reading so far, or checking out the Spotify playlist, that you found some great new (to you) music to enjoy. Let's get right into it with albums 125-101!
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!
125.) Lantlôs- Melting Sun (2014)
FFO- Post Rock, Post Metal, Shoegaze
Lantlôs is a band that completely reinvented themselves in 2014. From being a completely raw, atmospheric black metal band to embracing the new resurgence of shoegaze, post rock, and the tiniest bits of metal left in their sound. The band's latest effort is a concept album separated into 6 parts is a mesmerizing piece of music that fills you with a sense of colored wonder, every song, bringing in a different color. WHile it's been 5 years since this album, let's hope the band comes back in 2020 and shows the world that they are stronger than ever.
124.) Primordial- Redemption At The Puritan's Hands (2011)
FFO- Celtic Metal, Black Metal
I've always found a good description of this band (especially in the 2nd half of their career so far) is to think if Blind Guardian made black metal. There is no finer example of that description than this album. Combing the best elements of their black metal roots, continuing on with the Celtic influence, and really making clean vocals/screams as majestic/ferocious as possible. If you love your folk/Celtic music more evil or if you want your black metal with more originality, Primordial is the band for you!
123.) Deafheaven- Roads To Judah (2011)
Arguably the most recognized band to use blackgaze is Deafheaven. A Band that mixed black metal and shoegaze to utter perfection on 2011's Roads To Judah. With that, starting a revolution of sound to what is possible in more indie music and metal music. While some say they have gone too far in the indie side of things with every subsequent album, Roads To Judah is the band at their darkest. The black metal shown off here is superb and it adds the right amount of the shoegaze flavor to separate it from it's peers (at the time). While many people actually believe the band started with the album, Sunbather; they are missing out on their most metal album to date, and it's an excellent showcase of songwriting and how to create something original in music.
122.) Shining- Blackjazz (2010)
Just like the FFO proclaims, this is blackjazz, black metal and jazz fused together in a bombastic, insane display or genre bending. Only a band that started off in jazz and wanted to move into a new direction could have pulled this off in such an incredible way. This album is a perfect midway album into the band, everything before this was jazz, everything that came after gets more and more commercial rock/industrial sounding. If you can withstand the power and insanity that this album brings, you can take on the world, because this album goes completely bonkers in the best ways possible. Though if it's not for you, their are the other sides of the band to check out, so don't be scared off completely. Shining is an ever evolving band and they absolutely deserve to be.
121.) CKY- Infiltrate.Destroy.Rebuild (2002)
FFO- Alternative Metal, Heavy Metal, Punk
I can't believe this album is 17 years old this year. 2003 brought out a lot of things for me musically, and when I finally discovered CKY, I was behind by nearly a year on this album. Between it's slick production, catchy as all get go riffs, and phenomenal songwriting; this is what I wish mainstream radio would have strived for instead of what happened in the 2000s, but that's all in the past now. With CKY they put on some of their finest work in the early stages and it still lives up to this day. Go check this out and find out why.
120.) The Faceless- Autotheism (2012)
FFO- Technical Death Metal, Progressive Metal
It's quite hard to talk about this band in whole, so I'll just leave it up to you to look up if you want to explore what Michael Keane has done with the band, so I'm just going to talk purely music here. Autotheism is an album that mix of tech death and prog that really showed that there is a difference between the two genres. Before this album, the prog was hinted at, but here it's on full display amongst the chaos being played. Many diehard fans hated this album, for ones like me, it brought me to enjoy the band more. While other things made me less interested in the band as years have gone by, I can't deny the power and glory that is Autotheism. You just may enjoy it as well.
119.) Revocation- The Outer Ones (2018)
FFO- Death Metal, Thrash Metal, Progressive Metal
Modern day saviors of death metal, Revocation out out their most brutal and death metal album last year with The Outer Ones, a loving tribute to the work of H.P. Lovecraft and the horror he brought to fiction and literature as a whole. The album is the perfect soundtrack to his work and fills you with a sense of dread and despair, but it's done in one of the best ways. While previous albums from the band explored so many different territories from prog to fuck to thrash to death metal, The Outer Ones sticks closest to just one style and in this case, it made the album as strong as it could possibly be. Not that I am against experimenting on subsequent album, but here, it was the perfect album at the perfect time. Go check out Revocation!
118.) Sum 41- Chuck (2004)
FFO- Heavy Metal, Punk Rock, Pop Punk
At the time, this was the heaviest album Sum 41 ever put out and it held that moniker till their latest album came out just a week or two ago. But with that, they didn't lose the pop punk, punk rock elements that made the band known. They just started embracing the heavy side that people always wanted to see in the band. While this was a polarizing album for the band with many fans not liking metal in the slightest, it made me a bigger fan of the band and this is an album I constantly spin all the time. Even if you think Sum 41 isn't your thing, Just try giving Chuck a chance, it may change your mind.
117.) Atheist- Unquestionable Presence (1991)
FFO- Progressive Death Metal, Technical Death Metal, Jazz Metal
Atheist is one of the lesser known bands in the US tech death scene of the early 90s. Most people think of Death, or Cynic. Others travel over to the Netherlands to think of a band like Pestilence. But Atheist released of the most seminal album in metal in the late 80s/early 90s and this sophomore album is a thing of beauty. WHile embracing the sides that was brought from the beginning of the band, but going even further with their jazz influences. This is a musician's band. There is so much to appreciate from everyone in this band and on each album and Unquestionable Presence may be the greatest showcase of talent the band ever put out to date.
116.) Scar Symmetry- Pitch Black Progress (2006)
FFO- Melodic Death Metal
Scary Symmetry is one of the most underrated bands in melodeath and I will never understand why. This seminal piece of melodeath has beent eh benchmark for what melodeath can be in the 21st century. The most brutal growls you will ever hear in the genre mixed with the most beautiful vocals you'll hear in melodeath (both provided by Christian Alvestam) and of course the amazing music. This is one of the best metal albums around for a reason, it's about time you hear it and understand why.
115.) Kyng- Trampled Sun (2011)
FFO- Stoner Metal, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal
Kyng is another example of a band that's flying way too far under the radar. With 3 fantastic albums to the band's name so far. The band's debut will always have the most sentimental meaning to me. For my own thoughts, Trampled Sun is what I feel commercial rock radio could be if given the chance. It's not afraid to be fast and heavy, it's not afraid to be fun and catchy, it's not afraid to slow things down and bring some cool vibes. Kyng plays what they want to play and are unafraid of how they will sound. They make the music they want to play and I love them for it. Go check out this and the other two albums to see exactly what I mean.
114.) Stolen Babies- Naught (2012)
FFO- Experimental, Avant Garde, Metal
Stolen Babies is a true treasure to behold. Combining such great theatrics with insane musicianship, soaring vocals, hellacious screams, and genre bending on the turn of a dime. Stolen Babies does it all and so much more. WHile there is very little in the band's discography so far, I'm hoping that will change in the future, if nothing else, a good excuse to play live again as they put on an amazing show! If you like your music quirky, twisted, and insane, check out either album from the band, but possibly start with Naught, it's a bit more accessible and easier to find.
113.) Amorphis- Skyforger (2009)
FFO- Melodic Death Metal, Folk Metal
Amorphis went from being a straight up death metal band to one of the most majestic Finnish melodeath bands in the world. Skyforger was my introduction to the band and I was immediately hooked from it's majestic vocals, killer songwriting and the right amounts of melodeath, folk and rock elements to make this band completely stand out. There is no bad era of Amorphis, but a great starting point for someone like me is Skyforger, so I can't recommend it enough.
112.) Demians- Building An Empire (2008)
FFO- Progressive Rock, Alternative Rock, Pop Rock
Quite possibly one of the greatest debut albums ever made. Demians is a one man project where the one man literally does it all (except live). The beginning of this underground empire began in 2008 with Building An Empire. It's a unique blend of prog, pop, and alternative rock. It's like a mix of King's X and Goo Goo Dolls. SOunds odd on paper, but it truly works. All 4 albums are fantastic, but this album is complete and utter brilliance. Listen and let the music take over you.
111.) While Heaven Wept- Fear Of Infinity (2011)
FFO- Progressive Metal, Power Metal, Epic Metal, Doom Metal
The penultimate from this band was nothing short of a masterpiece. Showcasing the power, prog, doom, and simply epic moments of this band in one album is almost too much to take in one listen, but the more you give it a chance, the more you start to understand everything going on and you really feel the power of what this band was about. WHile ever release from the band is something that is worthy of your time. There is something about Fear Of Infinity that sticks out as their best work to my ears and it very well could be for you as well. With that, it is a my sheer disappointment I will never get to see this band live.
110.) Alcest- Les Voyages De L'Âme (2012)
FFO- Blackgaze, Post Black Metal
For many of Alcest fans, this is either 2nd or 3rd place in the overall grand scheme of their discography. For me, it's been number one since I picked it up day one. The reason is simple. Every Alcest album has a palette of heavy, clean, heavy, clean, etc. Except this one. This is the one album that feels like a best of Alcest with all original music. Whether you like the all clean sun shoegaze era, the fierce raw black metal era, or the band expanding into strange territories like japanese culture in the latest Kodama, Les Voyages De L'Âme has it there and more. Plus this album has the finest use of blast beats ever used in the song, Faiseurs De Mondes. THAT is how you use blasts for a purpose! Anyways, go check out Alcest and all of the emotional power they hold!
109.) Textures- Drawing Circles (2006)
FFO- Progressive Death Metal, Metalcore, Ambient
The band's sophomore album is one that got my attention and it's something I still love to this day. It's such a unique blend of prog, metalcore, and ambient music. While that letter genre is more focused on the debut album, Polars, on Drawing Circles, it's used in the perfect doses to offset the more metal vibe that really takes hold. Not many bands ever got to match metal and ambience as well as Textures did and it's a shame we not longer get to hear new material from the band, but on the upside, this fantastic album is still around for the world to enjoy!
108.) Cannibal Corpse- Kill (2006)
FFO- Death Metal
It's not too often that you get to say that a band put out their most memorable album 16 years and 10 albums into their career, but that's exactly what happened with Kill. While the rivalry continues on between who was better Barnes or Corpsegrinder, I gotta give the edge to Corpsegrinder for his pure power on every CC album he has ever been on. The production is just clear and raw enough on this album, and the absolute greatest part of this album is the songs. Every single song is a sheer brutal attack be it fast or slow or mid paced. It's everything you want from Cannibal Corpse, sans the artwork (being the only CC album that just shows the band name and logo and nothing else). Seriously it's a death metal masterpiece!
107.) Dog Fashion Disco- Adultery (2006)
FFO- Avant Garde Metal, Alternative Metal, Progressive Metal
For a good long time, this was to be the final album from DFD, and they really left things with a bang. The heaviest album in the band's career (at the time), thier sheer quirkiness, sinister lyrics, and genre shifting is jaw dropping to say the least. If you enjoyed me talking about Polkadot Cadaver before and liked what you heard, you will LOVE what you hear from Dog Fashion Disco. Thankfully, the band is back and put out a few album since coming back, including completely replayed albums from the band's discography (I hope they go all the way through, I love the idea).
106.) Dark Tranquillity- Character (2006)
FFO- Melodic Death Metal
Dark Tranquillity is the unsung heroes of Swedish melodeath. Well, not completely unsung as they are still around today and consistently get better and better, but in the grand scheme of it all, they are not as well known as bands such as In Flames or At The Gates in melodeath. CHaracter is a prime example of why this is a shame. They take the melodeath formula and make it their own with their great sense of keyboard overtones, chaotic riffs and melodic riffs that is just so pleasing to listen to. Dark Tranquillity is still one of the tightest band's I've ever seen live and they show those skills off right in the studio. Go check them out and start with Character.
105.) Head With Wings- From Worry To Shame (2018)
FFO- Progressive Rock, Post Rock, Alternative Rock
An album so good, I had to name my mental health podcast after a song on the album (Somewhere, Something Gives). I'm not really sure how to sell you on this album besides saying it is one of the finest emotional roller coasters of an album you may ever experiences. Taking an overall story arc and being able to relate to so much of it it something that is complete tear jerking. From production to musicianship to songwriting to the soaring vocals, this band is going to only keep getting better and better as time goes on, get on the hype train now before it leaves the station. I'm serious!
104.) Darkest Hour- Undoing Ruin (2005)
Melodic Metalcore, Hardcore
Between Undoing and Deliver Us, this was another coin toss I had to make to pick out the best album from Darkest Hour. Undoing Ruin won and it's indeed worthy. Produced by Devin Townsend, the band's 4th album is such a great departure of metalcore you were hearing in the early to mid 00s, their unique sense of melodies and hardcore over the metalcore sound makes the band stand out even to this day. It's just an overall grand sense of musicianship and songwriting on this album that you need to hear if you are into 00s metalcore. You may have been sleeping on one of the genre's best bands.
103.) Scale The Summit- The Collective (2011)
FFO- Instrumental Progressive Metal
The band's 3rd album is easily their darkest album to date and it came out at the perfect time. The collective that an instrumental band doesn't need to just be bright and shimmering all the time and they can indeed focus their attention on darker scales and tones to create a beautiful yet chaotic world. WHile the band has had many ups and downs since the release of this album; The Collective brings things back to 2011, where things felt like they were going to get better overall in life and if this was the darkest we had to deal with, life would be ok. I still remind myself of that every time I listen, I still think we can be ok. SO can STS, so can the world.
102.) Emperor- Prometheus-The Discipline Of Fire & Demise (2001)
FFO- Symphonic Black Metal
Let's call a spade a spade here. This is essentially Ihsahn's first solo album before the band broke up and he really did go solo. That's not a knock in any way, shape or form (as you'll see later in this list), but this album is a grand departure from Emperor's first 4 albums. It's very symphonic, it hits new territory for the band, a bit avant garde really, and it's easily my favorite Emperor album for the fact that it is almost eh perfect send off to the band. In hindsight, you can see this album as the band truly saying goodbye (to new music) and they will go their different ways to do what they love. Emperor may be one of if not my favorite black metal band. Start here and go backwards in their catalog to see why.
101.) Necromancing The Stone- Jewel Of The Vile (2016)
FFO- Speed Metal, Heavy Metal, Melodic Death Metal (but all clean vocals)
If this is the only full LP we get from the band (and I hope that's not the case), it could go down as one of the greatest albums from a one album only band ever. This seriously has everything I love about metal in one album. The lyrics, the vocals, the production style, proof that you can write some of the sickest heaviest riffs ever and it doesn't need to be screamed over it. This is how you make an original metal album in 2010s and it needs to be appreciated by everyone and anyone that is willing to give it a fair shot. You'll love it!
And there we go folks! 250 albums down and only 100 more to go. THe rest should be a breeze right? I'll just pretend it will get easier from here on out! TUne in tomorrow for Part XI: 100-76!
- Josh Rundquist (That Drummer Guy)