Current Top 100, 5 Years On


Back when I joined the site in 2011, I did a customary top 100 album list. Every year since then, when I've looked back at it it's become increasingly unrecognisable from my own tastes. Seeing bands I once listened to daily vanish from my playlists, new bands emerge as favourites, and bands even come and go in my reckonings during that time period (Iced Earth, Alcest, even Pain Of Salvation and more certainly peaked in my listening habits around 2011-12 to slowly vanish into obscurity). Now that it's just gone 5 years since I did that list, I thought I might do an updated list just to see how much my tastes have shifted. Whilst compiling the list, I pretty much worked on gut instinct, which was weird as I found myself almost disregarding albums I know I like whilst promoting albums I'm honestly undecided on - it almost seemed to veer away from album quality at times to embracing a subconscious effect the albums have had. Anyway, here it is, plus some honorable mentions that I was surprised missed out.

I plan to slowly edit in descriptions of my feelings towards each album slowly over the new week or so

Created by: musclassia | 23.03.2016



1. Dream Theater - Images And Words
1992 [Previous list: 6] - Since about 5 years ago I've always mentally considered this to be my favourite album. When making this list I tried to consider alternatives, but ultimately found the only albums I was satisfied considering as competition for the top crown were the two Sylosis albums, and neither of those had a song as truly brilliant as Learning To Live. On top of that phenomenal closer, the likes of Surrounded, Another Day and Under A Glass Moon make this album a joy to behold, and set a bar that nothing that followed it really approaches on an emotional level.
2. Sylosis - Monolith
2012 [New] - Choosing one of this or Edge Of The Earth over the other is pretty damn difficult. Probably the best justification I can make for this is that it arguably has a couple more standout songs - the whole run from What Dwells Within to A Dying Vine (excluding the title track) is just phenomenal. Add to that an outstanding closing song in Enshrined, followed by a surprisingly effective acoustic bonus track at the end really rounds the album off sumptuously.
3. Sylosis - Edge Of The Earth
2011 [4] - Before this album, Conclusion Of An Age was my favourite album. After this was released, Conclusion just began to fade in lustre a little; that was a great thrashy metalcore album, but this was on a whole new level musically to pretty much anything I'd heard at the time. And ever since I'm yet to encounter an album by another band which can compete with the mix of thrash with melodeath on here into an explosive yet really emotional album.
4. Agalloch - The Mantle
2002 [New] - Pretty much the sound of a sparse and freezing wilderness, but of the beauty of such a landscape rather than its bleakness. I can imagine a wooden shack with no other human life around for miles, and only a lush, snowy wilderness for company, and it's a beautiful vision. In The Shadow Of Our Pale Companion is a masterpiece by itself, and The Hawthorne Passage is a bit overwhelming at times too. Not really a fan of Desolation Song, but given how great everything before it is, I can tolerate it as a denouement to a majestic record.
5. Protest The Hero - Kezia
2005 [New] - Even when I found their sound overly chaotic, I could tell there was something within the sound of this band that I really liked. The mix of technicality, frantic songwriting with highly imaginative lyrics and really passionate vocals left and continues to leave a real impact on me, and then the grandstand finishes of the likes of Nautical, Blindfolds Aside and Turn Soonest To The Sea never fail to energise me. Still sad the 10th Year anniversary tour didn't make it outside of Canada.
6. Opeth - Ghost Reveries
2005 [67] - My top 3 Opeth albums has consistently changed in the 6 years since I had their albums dumped on me to explore, but Ghost Reveries has been a constant member of that top 3 throughout. Pretty much in the perfect place for me as far as balancing long songs, progressive playing, extreme tendencies and lush evocative emotional passages goes. A song like Harlequin Forest covers a lot of ground but does it in such a smooth and natural fashion, and steadily builds towards and earns its emotional climaxes that blow me away.
7. Alice In Chains - Dirt
1992 [7] - Clearly the standout album of the grunge movement, a very imaginative and varied album that mixes a range of songwriting approaches in tone, from angry to despairing to cocky to sorrowful to desolate, all brought together by a consistently fantastic set of riffs and the unfailingly powerful harmonies of Jerry and Layne, who at this point still had the strength in his voice to match its incomparable anguish.
8. Riverside - Second Life Syndrome
2005 [New] - Hard to distinguish between their albums as far as the strongest one goes, this one perhaps was the one that really pushed me into fully appreciating the band through a series of repeated listens over a shortish period of time. In between the droning bookending tracks, we have two brilliant extended epic tracks, as well as two extremely evocative emotional tracks. Artificial Smile isn't their greatest song, but isn't too bad as to bring down the rest of the album.
9. Isis - Wavering Radiant
2009 [New] - Like Riverside, deciding a top Isis record is a major challenge, due to their ever-evolving sound and the consistency with which their incredible songwriting talent kept up which these evolutions. However, when I hear people claim it was good Isis went out before they went bad, I still wish they could've carried on beyond this record, because what I hear here is a band in the form of its life, and with plenty more to offer together creatively. Arguably their most varied album, pretty much every song is a stone cold winner.
10. Protest The Hero - Fortress
2008 [New] There was a time when pretty much every listen to this album converted another song into one that I liked. As it is, that transition has yet to fully happen for Limb From Limb or Goddess Bound, but there's still plenty to like in both those songs, and as far as the rest of the album goes it's incredibly strong from front to back, with so much going on creatively. There isn't really anything else like it out there, a musical milestone really.
11. Riverside - Out Of Myself
2003 [New] - I would say this is probably a more moving album than Second Life Syndrome - The Same River, Loose Heart, I Believe, The Curtain Falls, these are all very moving tracks carried by the lush guitar playing of the sadly departed Piotr Grudzinski. Two instrumentals is a bit much, and my relationship with In Two Minds really does depend on my current mood, but overall it's a pretty stunning album.
12. Mercyful Fate - Don't Break The Oath
1984 [58] - Melissa was my introduction to the band, and was the easier album to love. However, I gradually realised that this was their finest album, with some truly outstanding material, particularly in the first half of the album. Probably the best vocal performance by King Diamond, and with a neverending supply of great riffs and interesting songwriting choices, it blows away pretty much everything else in the heavy metal genre.
13. Between The Buried And Me - Colors
2007 [New] - The moment at which the band's extremely heavy metalcore sound probably assimilated with their progressive tendencies into a monumental collision of extreme progressive metal. Full of furious blastbeats, growls and pummelling riffs, but at the same time delivering an array of memorable clean vocal and instrumental moments. Ants Of The Sky, Sun Of Nothing and White Walls by themselves make up about 40 minutes of non-stop incredible music, and the rest of the album is more than good enough to match that.
14. Mastodon - Remission
2002 [New] - Having gone through pretty much all of their albums (at least from the 00s) as my favourite at some point, I'm ultimately landed on Remission, purely due to the fact that whilst the other albums have lost a bit of their magic with time and many listens, this one sounds just as vital today as the first time I heard it. The 2-minute atom bomb that is Crusher Destroyer never ceases to knock me out and leave me with a grin on my face with that rockabilly solo out of nowhere, and it never really slows down after that, and even the slower songs are pretty damn crushing, like Trainwreck and Trilobite. Incendiary.
15. Orphaned Land - Mabool
2004 [New] - It's difficult to think of many albums at all that sound similar to this, and certainly none that came before it. In addition to its impressive originality, it delivers a consistently very high level of quality in its song, with almost every single one having multiple great moments within them. Top picks would probably be the anthemic and bouncy Norra El Norra, the delightful Ocean Land, and the mesmerizing climactic The Storm Still Rages Inside, full of outstanding lead guitar playing.
16. Rush - Moving Pictures
1981 [New] - The best Rush album is tough, but this one probably takes the prize for never letting up in quality. Seven songs, the first 4 stone cold classics, followed by the outstanding prog classic The Camera Eye and two very intriguing closers.
17. Agalloch - Ashes Against The Grain
2006 [16] - Difficult to compare to The Mantle just due to their very different styles, this one is arguably just a tad lesser due to being slightly less consistent. Nevertheless, a song like Limbs is an astonishing display of creativity and passion, and the likes of Falling Snow, Not Unlike The Waves and Bloodbirds continue to show off a band in prime form combining many influences into one highly impactful mesh of black metal, as well as doom, Gothic and neofolk influences.
18. Down - Nola
1995 [57] - An album that just delivers memorable song after memorable song, with a great balance between aggression and hookiness. A laid-back groovy song like Rehab, followed by a savage ode to weed in Hail The Leaf displays the full musical range on display here, and every other song (aside from the desolate, soft Jail) operates somewhere on this range, typically every effectively.
19. Karnivool - Sound Awake
2009 [New] - Starting off with a muted, groovy, moody opener in Simple Boy, the album slowly develops in scope whilst traversing a number of different moods to ultimately land at the final two songs, epics full of both emotion and sorrow in the form of Deadman, and hope and vitality in Change. These two songs by themselves could make a crap album good, but in this case they make a fine album truly excellent.
20. Isis - Panopticon
2004 [New] - The album that probably first got me into Isis, So Did We is pretty much the perfect encapsulation of the post-metal sound in 7 minutes, and epics such as In Fiction and Syndic Calls are just undeniable displays of the strengths of this incredible genre.
21. Mastodon - Leviathan
2004 [51] - As far as album tracks from this band goes, the likes of Island, Aqua Dementia and the first half of Megalodon are, great as they are, some of my less popular Mastodon songs; however, the rest of the album is packed with really great stuff, from the anthemic Blood And Thunder, the lush Seabeast, and the truly out of this world Hearts Alive, one of the pinnacles of the prog metal genre.
22. Protest The Hero - Volition
2013 [New] - A confirmation that PTH can survive on more than just change-a-second songwriting, this album shows typically more relaxed and conventional song structures, whilst still maintaining the technicality and vocal power of previous albums. With an interesting range, from the somewhat hardcore Underbite, to the thrashy Yellow Teeth, the slightly pop-punky Mist, and the truly epic prog metal voyage Skies, this album never lacks for creativity or great songs.
23. Opeth - Still Life
1999 [New] - Possibly the strongest album from these guys, every song is brilliant, whether you're considering the extreme prog epics that make up most of the album, the soft longing of Benighted or the incredible development of Face Of Melinda from jazzy, acoustic intro to huge metal climax. The Moor is one of the band's finest songs and encapsulates all they're about on this album, with patient development, real heavy extreme parts, great clean vocal segments, and real beauty underpinning it.
24. Faith No More - Angel Dust
1992 [New] - A highly imaginative and varied album, from the straightforward alt rock of Midlife Crisis, to the pummelling alt metal of Caffeine, the laid-back caravan hillbilly ditty RV, the funky Land Of Sunshine, the smooth Crack Hitler, the anthemic A Small Victory, the bouncy and evocative Everything's Ruined or the lush Kindergarten, it really doesn't let up much at all. Not personally much of a fan of Malpractice or Jizzlobber, but those are forgivable mistakes on such an eclectic record with so many real hits.
25. King Diamond - Abigail
1987 [12] - Looking forward to seeing this done in full in the summer, regardless of how King's vocals are holding up these days. A really imaginative record with a delightful creepy Gothic sound, some quality riffs and guitar solos, and the incomparable vocals of King Diamond in his prime, telling a creepy story in a really fun album. The 7th Day Of July 1777, with a garbled title like that could've been hokey, but when you've heard that 'duh-dih-duh-dih-duh....' lead guitar riff you know you've got a winner on your hand, and by the time King is screaming "On the 7th, DAYYY of JULLLYYYYY", you cannot resist that wave of pleasure.
26. Mastodon - Crack The Skye
2009 [33] - Mastodon really don't have too albums that sound alike, and this is their most conventionally progressive album. Such an interesting album, I don't always love it but there's so much to like about songs such as The Czar, Ghost Of Karelia and The Last Baron that it's tough to say all that much negative about it.
27. Cult Of Luna - Somewhere Along The Highway
2006 [New] - Very looking forward to seeing this done twice in full in April, a real post-metal landmark, with the colossal Dark City Dead Man, intriguing Finland and unparalleled brilliance of Dim, with its steady march from post-rock jingle to mammoth outro. Probably the pinnacle of Cult Of Luna's sound, even considering the strong work they've come up with since.
28. Amorphis - Silent Waters
2007 [29] - My first intro to Amorphis, which probably earned it their highest entry on this list, I'm not sure if it's their best but there's so much to like about it. Songs like A Servant, Towards And Against, Enigma, Shaman and Black River have a real diversity between them, and yet come together to project the feeling given off by the cover, of a dark yet beautiful secluded part of a mystical forest.
29. Becoming The Archetype - The Physics Of Fire
2007 [81] - Not necessarily a great album, but one that I have consistently come back to ever since I've heard it. Epoch Of War is the perfect opener, going from creepy harpsichord to driving pummeling metal to grandstand climactic clean vocals, it wins me over instantly every time I hear the album, and then the following range of different riffs never let up in quality, culminating in the emphatic Endure and grand closer The Balance Of Eternity.
30. Tool - Lateralus
2001 [New] - A truly incredible album, the sound of a band without peers. From those first drums in The Grudge you can tell they've brought their A-game, and from then on, in between accessible classics like Schism and Parabola, you get the venom of Ticks & Leeches, the grand mind exploration of Lateralus and the amazing slow burn of Reflection, resulting in an album capable of balancing technical skill, musical adventurousness and emotional resonance throughout a huge running time.
31. Alice In Chains - Jar Of Flies
1994 [63] - An imperfect yet unique record, with 7 very distinctive songs that go from lush sorrow to quiet contemplation, onto creepy euphoria and cheery resignation and finally joyful fucked-upness. A nice counterpoint to the bleakness of their full-lengths, despite the sense of pain still clearly present on this album there's a relaxation and sense of happiness that gives it an unparalleled tone.
32. In Flames - The Jester Race
1996 [5] - An album that would rank much higher just a couple of years ago, it doesn't quite have the same impact it used to but is still clearly an excellent album with an array of delightful different approaches to the fledgling Gothenburg sound of the time. Moonshield, Artifacts Of The Black Rain and Lord Hypnos all rank amongst the best songs to arise from the genre, and Wayfaerer is a truly joyful instrumental.
33. Queensrÿche - Operation: Mindcrime
1988 [100] - This record doesn't insist upon itself, and feels quite unassuming, to the extent that it only dawned on me a year or two ago just how much I like it. I used to just consider it an album of songs that I liked, but when Eyes Of A Stranger, Suite Sister Mary, The Mission, Breaking The Silence, Spreading The Disease and more come from the same album, maybe it's just a fine album overall.
34. Be'lakor - Of Breath And Bone
2012 [New] - The best thing to come out of the melodeath genre since the 90s, this is the culmination of the work of all these bands operating within the sorrowful, melancholy Finnish melodeath sound, even if these guys are Australian. A first half filled with 4 very adept songs that yet do not really reach classic status is separated by a brief interlude from a second half comprised of 3 utterly phenomenal songs, most notably the constantly epic In Parting, a song that beings with a real sense of menace and which never dips in quality throughout.
35. Kamelot - The Black Halo
2005 [New] - 2-3 years ago and this would easily be top 5 material; however with time I've cooled ever so slightly towards it. The music is still great, but I don't find the material to be quite so consistently brilliant as I used to. Nevertheless, the overwhelming power metal of When The Lights Go Down, the Gothic majesty of Somewhere In Time and the grandiose nature of Memento Mori is still excellent to this day, and this really is the best thing to come out of both the power and symphonic metal genres.
36. Dark Tranquillity - Character
2005 [New] - A statement of what can be done within the Gothenburg genre which hasn't really been matched. 11 songs that deliver a constant array of great riffs, lush keyboard lines and captivating lead guitar melodies and solos at a rate that never lets up, a highly consistent record without any real weak parts, and strong parts that include songs as great as Out Of Nothing, Am I 1?, One Thought and the glorious Lost To Apathy.
37. Mother Love Bone - Apple
1990 [New] - I remember playing this quite regularly without really thinking I was all that keen on it, but eventually I realised that you don't listen to an album THAT much if you don't at least somewhat like it. A much funner album that others from the grunge scene due to its somewhat glam nature, the songs are consistently memorable and full of joy, surprising given how much the lead singer must've been suffering during the recording what with the heroin addiction that offed him before this ever made it out to the public, a real shame.
38. Amorphis - Under The Red Cloud
2015 [New] - The best album of 2015 and possibly the best album of the Tomi Joutsen era of Amorphis, 10 songs with not a weak one amongst them, even the accessible easy song Sacrifice is of a similar level to comparable songs such as You I Need and Silent Waters, and everything else offers a pretty comprehensive display of all this band has to offer, with some real heavy moments, but also lovely guitar leads, anthemic choruses, folky delights, and proggy exploration, and even a slight psychedelic tone at times. Even the bonus songs are strong, and as a package this really showed that the Joutsen train has no intention of slowing down or losing momentum.
39. Suicidal Tendencies - How Will I Laugh Tomorrow... When I Can't Even Smile Today
1988 [New] - Like Apple, it took a while for me to mentally transfer regular playtime into a real positive opinion of the album, but this is one of my favourite thrash albums, and certainly one of the most fun, with so much unhinged energy and joy throughout, even on serious songs such as If I Don't Wake Up. It doesn't let up from first minute to last, and goofy songs such as Pledge Your Allegiance and Surf N' Slam are just as likeable as thrashy balls of energy like Sorry?!? and The Feeling's Back.
40. Amorphis - Circle
2013 [New] - Not necessarily the most consistent Amorphis album (I'm still not all that fond of Hopeless Days), but from the delightful Mission, the huge bridge of Shades Of Gray, the folk of Narrow Path, the doomy power of Enchanted By The Moon and the savagery of Nightbird's Song, it's a highly varied and really wonderful album that dispelled any concerns of staleness developing after the good but slightly uninspired at times The Beginning Of Times.
41. Sabbat - History Of A Time To Come
1988 [99] - My favourite thrash album, from the fury of A Cautionary Tale to the epic Horned Is The Hunter and the tongue in cheek menace of The Church Bizarre, this delivers on all fronts, instrumentally, vocally and lyrically, throughout.
42. Enslaved - Axioma Ethica Odini
2010 [New] - Isa and Below The Lights are both incredible albums, but this is something else even compared to those albums. An outstanding balance of harsh vocals and wonderful cleans vocals with consistently brilliant vocal lines, and a magnificent balance of black and progressive metal produces a collection of songs in which every one is great and has its own distinctive charm. Not a weak moment in sight, but the bookending songs in particular are on another level to most music out there.
43. Between The Buried And Me - The Great Misdirect
2009 [New] - A weirder album than both Colors and Future Sequence, from the circus feeling of Fossil Mountain and some of the sonic choices on Obfuscation, but this has so many frigging epic moments on all the long songs, and the quiet songs add some great tonal balance to the album. Swim To The Moon is jawdropping.
44. Primordial - To The Nameless Dead
2007 [New] - I'd initially had this lower in the list as I hadn't heard it in a while and had forgotten just how consistently great it is throughout. I'll always know just how good the likes of Empire Falls and As Rome Burns are, but I hadn't appreciated on first re-appraisal just how strong the likes of the solemn Gallows Hymn, atmospheric Heathen Tribes of black metal powerhouse Traitor's Gate are, or what a monumental closer No Nation On This Earth is. Just outdoes The Gathering Wilderness for their best album.
45. Decapitated - Winds Of Creation
2000 [New] - My favourite pure death metal album, with Nine Steps offering a convenient summary of everything I like about it in one go; tasty production accentuates unbelievable drumming, cavernous growls, consistently fantastic riffs of all styles and a sensational solo with an incredible deceleration at the end that drags it into real murkiness.
46. Amorphis - Eclipse
2006 [New] - The Smoke, House Of Sleep, Brother Moon, Perkele, this album offers up folk, intensity, anthems and more in a range of different songs that brought this band from it's late 90s/early 00s blip right back into form, albeit in a very different style to how it was at the beginning. This album revitalised the group and gave it the momentum to release the fantastic string of records that followed, but is really great in its own right.
47. Between The Buried And Me - The Parallax II: Future Sequence
2012 [New] - Following fast on the heels of the very promising Parallax EP (with the truly special Specular Reflection on it), this offered a more classic prog sound than the likes of Colors and The Great Misdirect but was still not lacking in intensity in the slightest; it just game vocals, keys and more a bigger chance to shine. The fun of Astral Body and the greatness of Lay Your Ghosts To Rest and Silent Flight Parliament let this album match up to what was already a stellar string of releases.
48. Amorphis - Elegy
1996 [New] - Very different to what the band is now, this is nevertheless a fantastic album, a very distinctive album in the early melodeath genre with its folk, prog and doom influences, and the likes of On Rich And Poor, My Kantele and the title track offer up a sound that hasn't really been replicated, or at least not as successfully, before or since.
49. Isis - Oceanic
2002 [New] - Perhaps slightly less consistently brilliant than Panopticon, there is still an unbelieveable amount of brilliant music on here, from opener The Beginning and The End, the brooding to savage Carry, the grand From Sinking and the incredible Weight, with its mother of slow burns and really tasteful use of female cleans to make a quite extraordinary song.
50. Riverside - Anno Domini High Definition
2009 [New] - Slightly less successful throughout than the first two albums, nevertheless Egoist Hedonist is a sublime display of progressive inventiveness, and Left Out is one of the most moving songs I've ever heard, even with is prog-fest in the final third. "One day we could've won, without taking away, someone else's pride..."
51. Riverside - Shrine Of New Generation Slaves
2013 [New] - A shift away from metal towards a more song-oriented prog rock sound, this album was similarly great to what came before from this fine band, with even a 70s prog tribute such as Celebrity Touch beating out similar replicative attempts from the likes of Opeth, and the quiet delight of Feel Like Falling and dainty beauty of We Got Used To Us amongst the band's finest work, and with a fantastic grandstand closer in Escalator Shrine as well.
52. Sylosis - Conclusion Of An Age
2008 [1] - This album got me through half a hundred workout sessions a few years ago. However, the band's immense progression has somewhat removed some of the shine from this album. It is more standard than what came after, but it's still a really solid thrash/metalcore album with some hooky choruses, vocals that really manage to balance enunciation and intensity, and some really good songs. Regardless of what has followed it, The Blackest Skyline, Withered and Oath Of Silence will always remain great songs.
53. Gojira - From Mars To Sirius
2005 [New] - In a barrage of mean heavy riffs, pinch harmonics and furious barks, this whale metal album offers a surprising range, with bruisers like Backbone and The Heaviest Matter in The Universe matched by ponderous epics such as Flying Whales, World To Come and Where Dragons Dwell, big tasty riff-fests such as From The Sky and In The Wilderness, and an arpeggio-fest in sensational closer Global Warming.
54. Nightwish - Century Child
2002 [New] - Bookended by its two best songs, the regal opener Bless The Child and multi-faceted epic Beauty Of The Beast, there's still several other fine songs in the intervening runtime, such as Dead To The World, live favourite Ever Dream and the extremely moving Ocean Soul.
55. Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moon
1973 [New] - What more can be said about this album that hasn't been said in the previous 40 years? A cultural icon, filled with wonderful patient, atmospheric prog rock and wonderful vocal work, as well as some great instrumental stuff, most notably the unparalleled solo on Time.
56. Massive Attack - Mezzanine
1998 [New] - One of the sexiest albums ever, with a dark undercurrent pulsing through its trip-hop style. Angel, Inertia Creeps and particularly Group Four really are the sonic equivalent of bitter yet passionate lovemaking.
57. Metallica - S&M
1999 [New] - More as an accumulation of all the different aspects of Metallica in one collection, this offers up a unique way for me to relive my early love for Metallica, even if that passion has moved into my background and almost been replaced by nostalgia. Metallica were once my favourite band, and whilst that's no longer the case I have a precious place in my heart for them, and both the collection and arrangement of songs on this really allow me to reconnect nicely with that love.
58. Cynic - Focus
1993 [New] - What a dazzling and unique sound this has! From that distinctive guitar sound, to those vocodor vocals, to songs that really have no comparison, this album forged a sound that has never been successfully matched and, even if it's not the most emotional of albums, it's madcap wonder is incredibly easy to both admire and love.
59. Green Carnation - Light Of Day, Day Of Darkness
2001 [72] - Aside from that bizarre scat singing and saxophone interlude in the middle (which I presume is birth), this is such a moody and dark yet somehow slightly hopeful odyssey into the wonders of life, birth and death.
60. Opeth - Deliverance
2002 [New] - THAT outro to the title track. Martin Lopez just slays and I wish he'd never left the band. This, whilst more serious and less fun than something like Ghost Reveries, has a multitude of great songs, particularly Wreath, the title track and stomper Master's Apprentices, with that phenomenal soft part in the middle.
61. Blood Stain Child - εpsilon
2011 [New] - Just sugar-coated joy, extreme power metal meets electropop in a ball of unbridled fun. I've lost some of my enthusiasm for it compared to its heyday but it's still a delightful listen.
62. Mastodon - The Hunter
2011 [New] - Much like Fortress, this is an album that reveals itself a little more with each listen. Not that it's a complicated album, but both the variety between songs and the departure from the 00s sound of the band made getting into it a bit tricky at first. However, I gradually came to appreciate each song one by one, and now tracks like Blasteroid, Stargasm and Bedazzled Fingernails are amongst my favourites from the band.
63. Alice In Chains - Alice In Chains
1995 [New] - A wildly imperfect album, several songs on here are not great. But damn if it isn't an unbelievably raw demonstration of the imperfect nature of the band. Sludge Factory, Head Creeps and Shame In You all deserve mentions, but the closing two of Frogs, a depiction of pure despondent resignation to doom, followed by the relatively uplifting farewell ode Over Now, is quite staggering. Frogs in particular is really incomparable to any other song; the bravery of Layne Staley to bare his soul and demons so nakedly really is just staggering.
64. Moonsorrow - Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleiden Maassa
2011 [New] - Huuto repeats its central motif at least a dozen times, but I could hear that motif over a hundred times. A truly delightful song in the middle of an imperfect but hugely likeable album, with the playfulness of Tahdeton to the epicness of Kuolleiden Maa, I'm not sure it's Moonsorrow's best (that's probably either Kivenkantaja or Voimasta Ja Kunniasta, but this is undoubtedly my personal favourite.
65. Amorphis - Tales From The Thousand Lakes
1994 [New] - Being used to the Joutsen sound, it took me a while to fully appreciate this album, but I can now see it as the staggeringly unique and imaginative album as it is. From the desolate cry into the lonely night that is The Castaway, the melancholy of Forgotten Sunrise and Black Winter Day, the shocking clean vocals of In The Beginning and the mindblowing keyboard freakout on Magic And Mayhem, there is so much exploration in this genre-less album, and whilst it might not be my favourite Amorphis album, it's certainly the best, and one of the finest achievements of Finnish metal.
66. Kamelot - Karma
2001 [New] - A really great power metal album, the likes of Forever, Wings Of Despair, the title track and Fall From Grace have that perfect blend of energy, hookiness and emotion that makes great power metal great. Don't You Cry is a little trite and a couple of songs lag below the others, but there's so much great stuff on this album there's not all that much to hold against it.
67. Iron Maiden - Somewhere In Time
1986 [66] - The title of best Maiden album is pretty much impossible to give considering the outrageous quality of their 80s output, but this is the album I remain most fond of, even if The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner is a bit of a messy song. The title track is memorable, Wasted Years and Sea Of Madness are powerful, Stranger In A Strange Land is excellent and Alexander The Great, despite being a list of dates, is a fine closer.
68. Blind Guardian - Somewhere Far Beyond
1992 [New] - As my opinions of Imaginations From The Other Side and A Night At The Opera have fluctuated up and down, I have remained consistently fond of this venture, with a good balance of full-out speed metal in songs like Journey Through The Dark and Time What Is Time, with real ambitious songwriting such as the title track and Theater Of Pain, and of course the instantly memorable Bard's Song, which as twee as it is, is still very likeable.
69. Moonsorrow - Kivenkantaja
2003 [New] - Voimasta... is of very similar quality to this, but Kivenkantaja makes it onto here simply due to myself being more familiar with this album. Compared to the 4 very long songs on Varjoina..., only the epic Raunouilla runs over 10 minutes here, and the compactness does work in its favour, as it delivers a subsequent 4 tracks of mid-long length, all of which containing highly memorable folk melodies with a song that is somewhat softer here than on some of their harsher material (case in point this year's new album). And it all gets rounded out with a very pleasant folk ditty at the end. Sagas is a fantastic album, but I think Moonsorrow is the real leader in the Nordic folk metal pack and Kivenkantaja might be their crowning achievement.
70. Nightwish - Oceanborn
1998 [New] - An album that is very front-heavy quality-wise, Stargazers through to Passion And The Opera is a non-stop run of the greatest hits from Nightwish's career, which unfortunately is not matched up to by the decent second half. Nevertheless, any album with Gethsemane and Sacrament Of Wilderness is going to be great purely based on those songs, and this is a fine listen even with the imbalance.
71. Guns N' Roses - Appetite For Destruction
1987 [26] - Think About You and Anything Goes both aren't great, and I am utterly sick of Sweet Child O' Mine, but the rest of the album is non-stop great hits, with It's So Easy, Nightrain, Out Ta Get Me, My Michelle, Mr Brownstone and particulary Rocket Queen all phenomenal songs, and Welcome To The Jungle and Paradise City great anthems.
72. Equilibrium - Sagas
2008 [New] - The perfect endpoint for the European extreme folk metal genre, the unrivalled catchiness, fun and creativity on this album leaves a milestone none of their competitors, or themselves, can really hope to match. Unbesiegt, Blut Im Auge and more are great songs by themselves, but topping off a near-80 minute album with something as utterly incredible as Mana is a way to leave a real definitive statement.
73. Subsignal - Touchstones
2011 [New] - Another one in the line of albums that consistent replays led me to believe I probably like the album quite a bit. It's hard to list individual songs on this that are fantastic, but just the real light and lush feel of this album throughout is just so pleasant to listen to again and again, and particularly songs like My Sanctuary, The Size Of Light On Earth and more just make me feel happy and light inside.
74. Pain Of Salvation - The Perfect Element, Part I
2000 [New] - I've found with time that the love I had for the great parts of Pain Of Salvation's music on this album and Remedy Lane has been slowly overtaken by mild irritation with the more imperfect moments in their music, such as some of the more strangulated and overdramatic vocals and weird songwriting choices; however this album has less of those moments and more of those great parts that made me fall in love with the band, such as on In The Flesh, King Of Loss and the closing song. Imperfect but quite staggering.
75. Jane's Addiction - Ritual De Lo Habitual
1990 [New] - I've blasted a load of money on tickets to see them in June so it better be good, but given they're doing this album in full it really should be. The main problem the album has is that Three Days, in following 5 very fun and original songs. is such a tremendous musical journey that the three songs that follow it, all decent but not great songs, really have no hope of living up to it and the momentum dissipates. Maybe Three Days should've closed the album, as a song that utterly incredible is difficult for anything to follow; it would be like having Learning to Live in the middle of Images and Words. As it is, songs such as Stop!, Ain't No Right and Obvious leave such a huge grin on your face that anything that happens after Three Days feels academic to overall sentiments towards the album.
76. Gojira - The Way Of All Flesh
2008 [New] - A slightly less consistent album than From Mars To Sirius, however songs such as Ouroboros, Toxic Garbage Island, Vacuity, Esoteric Surgery, and the huge The Art Of Dying and title track are all contenders for their best song. The emotional power of Esoteric Surgery, the stomptastic nature of Vacuity and the overwhelming journey of The Art Of Dying are all staggering testaments to this band's quality.
77. Edge Of Sanity - Crimson
1996 [79] - I almost forgot to stick this one in, not quite as fond of this album-song as Light Of Day, Day Of Darkness, but it's a pretty great record with some punchy heavy parts, some cool melodeath moments, quality use of repeated motifs and brilliant slowed-down creepy clean vocal parts, all put together in a fashion that feels natural rather than spliced. Crimson II is also excellent, but this one just about pips it.
78. Opeth - Blackwater Park
2001 [9] - My first Opeth album, I'm still very fond of it but I do find it ever so slightly lacking in some unknown factor compared to the couple of albums I've listed above it on this list. Still, Bleak, Harvest, The Drapery Falls and Blackwater Park are all stunning songs and so different from each other.
79. Metallica - Ride The Lightning
1984 [8] - A one-time favourite album of mine, I almost left it off of here due to my mental disregard of Metallica in my daily listening habits. However, I found myself passionately defending it the other day, and I realised maybe even if it's not something I listen to all that much these days, it was such an important part of my developing musical tastes that it would be crass to just disregard it.
80. Megadeth - Rust In Peace
1990 [23] - Similar to the entry above it, I don't listen to this much, if at all, any more, but the sheer amount of times I've spun it in the past and the last affection I have for it drags it kicking and screaming onto this list. The classic songs from it are obviously brilliant, but songs such as Five Magics and Lucretia are so distinctive for an album in this style, that kind of uniqueness is what made Megadeth and this album so great. Too many of the current day retro-thrash bands just like that kind of mental innovation to come up with something so unorthodox compared to past expectations, Five Magics just goes all over the place with complete abandon, and is wonderful for it.
81. Mastodon - Blood Mountain
2006 [18] - My first Mastodon album, not quite as good as the albums that came before but it's an incredibly imaginative album, and a real distinctive piece of work. There's such range within and between The Wolf Is Loose, Sleeping Giant, Colony Of Birchmen, This Mortal Soil and Siberian Divide that it covers the weaker moments of the album to the point that they become hardly noticeable. Add into that the sheer madcap lunacy of Pendulous Skin and flipping Bladecatcher, a song it still blows my mind is a live regular, and which shows just how much fun these guys like to have, and you have a real remarkable collection of music on your hands.
82. Kongh - Sole Creation
2013 [New] - It really surprised me that this made the list, but I found myself unwilling to leave it out. I don't know if I'd call it a great album, but from those first few seconds of Sole Creation I am hooked on this journey of driving, murky sludge, with so many catchy riffs and just a general pace that leaves me sitting back and enjoying the pounding it gives me.
83. Nero di Marte - Derivae
2014 [New] - Slightly less catchy than the S/T, but equally as good and arguably slightly more proficient. There's a couple of moments here and there that irritate me (mainly the clean vocals in Dite), but for the most part this is a stunning mix of dissonance and atmosphere in this delectable post-death sound.
84. Killswitch Engage - As Daylight Dies
2006 [New] - Acting more as a summation of my collective like of several songs on many Killswitch Engage albums, this one lags quite a bit in the middle but has really good songs at the beginning and a couple of great tracks in Break The Silence and Reject Yourself at the end. KSE's music is not deep or overly ambitious, but when done right it really hits a primal spot within me, and this album is arguably the best at doing that to me, although The End Of Heartache and Disarm The Descent both come close.
85. Coheed & Cambria - In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3
2003 [New] - Slowly becoming my favourite C&C album ahead of the Good Apollo records, it's not great all the way through, but I have such strong feelings towards the title track, Three Evils, The Crowing, Faint Of Heart, A Favor House Atlantic and The Light And The Glass that the weaker parts just kinda pass me by whilst I wait for the next great moment of emo prog.
86. Cult Of Luna - Vertikal
2013 [New] - Not as consistently brilliant as Somewhere Along The Highway, but the mechanical, cold nature of this album is an interesting move to take for the band's sound and fits well with the Metropolis theme. I, The Weapon and In Awe Of are both emphatic songs, and Vicarious Redemption is a staggering sonic exploration that manages to sustain itself across all of its 18 minutes. It's interesting the atmosphere of this album seems to be getting carried over to new album Mariner, although it might be nice for them to explore other sounds on any further full-lengths.
87. Daylight Dies - Dismantling Devotion
2006 [New] - My first death/doom album, and whilst I acknowledge it's not the best the genre has to offer, nothing else has consistently pleased me in the way this album does. A really nice mesh of melodies, intensity and songcrafting, it delivers throughout a really satisfying feel that hits just the right spot for me.
88. Pure Reason Revolution - The Dark Third
2006 [New] - Such a delightful journey this album goes on, with that unique atmosphere throughout, and such a great use of those soft female and male vocals alongside all the various songwriting and instrumental tools it has at its disposal. Apprentice Of The Universe is bloody brilliant.
89. Protest The Hero - Scurrilous
2011 [New] - Once my top PTH album, I now consider it, along with many other people, as their weakest - whilst once a favourite of mine, I can see these days Tandem is a bit messy, and Tapestry has never really done it for me. However the big songs on this (C'est La Vie, Hair-Trigger, Sex-Tapes) are all fantastic, and I really dig many other album tracks, such as Moonlight, Dunsel and Tongue-Splitter. Hey, even below-par PTH is above most other bands.
90. Amorphis - Skyforger
2009 [New] - Another front-dominated album, but the imbalance isn't quite so obvious, as the title track and Course Of Fate are both of a similar level to those fantastic songs at the beginning. This album overall doesn't quite match up to the couple before and after it, but Sampo, Silver Bride, Sky Is Mine and more are all fantastic Amorphis songs and show the range of the band, with the direct poppy nature of Silver Bride matched by that light, playful nature of Sky Is Mine and the grand wonder of Sampo.
91. Atheist - Unquestionable Presence
1991 [56] - The definitive tech-metal album, with so much going on but without going overboard, the instrumentation across the board is sublime and the creativity is outstanding. Mother Man is a staggering song and the album rarely loses momentum or innovation beyond that point. A bit dry perhaps but then again it's not an album designed to make you weep.
92. Orphaned Land - The Never Ending Way Of ORwarriOR
2010 [New] - Less consistent than Mabool, but Sapari is a delightful opener, and From Broken Vessels and In Thy Neverending Way are right up with the best from that album. My interest in this album has been reignited with the recent cover of From Broken Vessels by Moran Magal and Kobi Farhi, a really delightful piano piece that shows the beauty of that song so clearly.
93. Nero Di Marte - Nero Di Marte
2013 [New] - This band is a real revelation, some kind of mix of post-metal, prog and real nasty dissonant extreme metal, it's somewhat similar to Ulcerate but far more to my liking. A real unique atmosphere, and some really interesting song structuring brings together the atmospheric and extreme tendencies of this band into a beautiful descent into hell.
94. Mar De Grises - Streams Inwards
2010 [New] - One of the strongest album openings of all time, Starmaker, Shining Human Skin and The Bell And The Solar Gust is a phenomenal opening trio of songs that show off the full range of the band. The rest of the album just can't quite live up to that opening, which is a shame because a full album at that quality would be one of the greatest of all time. As it is, the rest of the music is good enough to just about avoid letting down those first three songs, which by themselves have cemented a place for Mar De Grises in my affections, which makes it very disappointing that they broke up.
95. Soundgarden - Superunknown
1994 [New] - Can't say I like some songs on here, such as Mailman and Limo Wreck, but in between My Wave, Superunknown, Spoonman, Fresh Tendrils and Like Suicide, it's a pretty varied and quite exciting album and another example of just how inventive and intriguing music within the grunge genre could be, even with Nirvana pumping out straightforward songs the way they did.
96. Isis - In The Absence Of Truth
2006 [New] - The most imperfect of the Isis albums beyond Celestial, there's a couple of songs here that don't live up to their legacy. At the same time, between Wrists of Kings, Dulcinea, Holy Tears and Garden Of Light, there's more than enough here to make this an album worthy of the Isis name.
97. W.A.S.P. - The Crimson Idol
1992 [New] - At one time a real top 10 albums thing, it's gone down in my estimations but I still admire the sheer intense emotion in every word from Blackie Lawless on this album, and even with the overuse of the motifs on this album, there's so many great moments, particularly on the likes of Chainsaw Charlie and I Am One.
98. Wintersun - Wintersun
2004 [95] - Even with the joke this band has become, the debut was still a fantastic achievement. The ever-increasing song length was an interesting style choice that worked, and the journey included so many great songs, particularly Sleeping Stars, Death and the Healing and album standout Starchild, that it almost feels like it deserves the fanatical devotion the band has acquired despite its notorious inactivity since.
99. Nevermore - This Godless Endeavor
2005 [60] - Nevermore are another band who's position in my favourite bands list has increasingly fallen with the passage of time; however, this, my first introduction to them, is still an extremely strong album that will always leave me longing for Jeff Loomis to stop pissing around with his guitar wanking solo music and get back into a band where his talents can be restrained and used tastefully. The title track remains a monumental effort - "the sky has openedddddd!"
100. Process Of Guilt - Fæmin
2012 [New] - Like Kongh, I was bemused when I found I just couldn't leave this album out. It might not be Process Of Guilt's best album, as Erosion is clearly superior, but all the things that might be complained about it I like, apart from the fact that the sound could probably be a bit heavier. I like the monotony of Empire, even though it took a while to get on board with, I love the repetitive march of it. Blindfolds has such an awesome riff, and Harvest is a savage beast. Not a great album but one that I've really come to like more than I expected.
101. ----Honorable Mentions----
102. Abigail Williams - Becoming
2012 [New]
103. Arcturus - The Sham Mirrors
2002 [New]
104. Be'lakor - Stone's Reach
2009 [New]
105. Behemoth - Demigod
2004 [New]
106. Blind Guardian - Imaginations From The Other Side
1995 [New]
107. Blind Guardian - A Night At The Opera
2002 [New]
108. Born Of Osiris - A Higher Place
2009 [New]
109. Dan Swanö - Moontower
1999 [New]
110. Electric Six - Fire
2003 [New]
111. Faith No More - King For A Day... Fool For A Lifetime
1995 [New]
112. Firewind - The Premonition
2008 [New]
113. Iced Earth - Dystopia
2011 [New]
114. Kalisia - Cybion
2009 [New]
115. Lamb Of God - Ashes Of The Wake
2004 [New]
116. Machine Head - The Blackening
2007 [2]
117. Megadeth - Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good!
1985 [36]
118. Metallica - Kill 'Em All
1983 [22]
119. Metallica - Load
1996 [64]
120. Moonsorrow - Kivenkantaja
2003 [New]
121. Necrophobic - Hrimthursum
2006 [New]
122. Neurosis - Souls At Zero
1992 [New]
123. Opeth - Damnation
2003 [71]
124. Opeth - Morningrise
1996 [85]
125. Opeth - Watershed
2008 [New]
126. Pain Of Salvation - Remedy Lane
2002 [New]
127. Persefone - Shin-Ken
2009 [New]
128. Persefone - Spiritual Migration
2013 [New]
129. Riverside - Rapid Eye Movement
2007 [New]
130. Tool - 10,000 Days
2006 [New]
131. Trivium - Ascendancy
2005 [13]



Disclaimer: All top lists are unofficial and do not represent the point of view of the MS Staff.
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Comments

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Comments: 4   Visited by: 38 users
26.03.2016 - 14:18
musclassia
Finally pumped out opinions on each of the listed albums, took longer to write than expected
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26.03.2016 - 15:17
slim pickings
Account deleted
A lot a great albums here, sure I don't care for some, but still, great list!
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11.09.2016 - 15:22
Paź
ex-News Man
Man, this list deserves more recognition...
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12.09.2016 - 12:44
musclassia
Written by Paź on 11.09.2016 at 15:22

Man, this list deserves more recognition...


Thanks man!
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