150 Albums To Become An Adult To: 2010-2019

I began this decade in my final year of high school, in the early phases of my metal journey (Mastodon, Machine Head, Dream Theater, Pantera and Avenged Sevenfold were still recent discoveries). One Masters degree and one PhD later, I'm now a tax-paying Londonian, and have ploughed through what must be comfortably over 2000 new releases during the previous ten years. To commemorate the end of a turbulent decade, I've put together a list of the albums that have stuck with me throughout this decade - I wouldn't consider this to be a 'best albums' list, as there have been some truly ingenious works released in more avant-garde territories, but ultimately these are the albums that have ended up dominating my listening habits, or otherwise making a sufficient impression to make this list.

Created by: musclassia | 27.12.2019

1. Sylosis - Monolith
[2012 - UK - Thrash / Melodeath - Song pick: The River] - The top 2 from my half-decade list remain the same, but the order has flipped. Honestly, it's a thankless task trying to separate Monolith and its predecessor, Edge Of The Earth, but this particular album arguably has more variety and, for lack of a better word, maturity. Out From Below, The River, Paradox, A Dying Vine and Enshrined all make strong cases for the best song, and the acoustic hidden track makes for a lovely ending. A spellbinding mix of thrash, melodeath, and hints of metalcore, post-metal and more.
2. Sylosis - Edge Of The Earth
[2011 - UK - Thrash / Melodeath - Song pick: Kingdom Of Solitude] - When this was released, the band's debut album, Conclusion Of An Age, was my favourite album, per the Top 100 list I made when I first joined the website. After Edge Of The Earth dropped, it not only replaced that album, but lessened its standings in my eyes - despite its merits, it couldn't hold up to the aggression, hooks and gut-punches of this effort, which have held up nearly 9 years on.
3. Amorphis - Under The Red Cloud
[2015 - Finland - Melodeath / Progressive / Folk - Song pick: The Four Wise Ones] - I've hugely enjoyed every rendition of modern Amorphis's particular blend of melodeath, prog, folk and other elements since Tomi Joutsen joined the band, but Under The Red Cloud is arguably the pinnacle of their recent discography. Building on the aggression of the likes of Nightbird's Song and Enchanted By The Moon from Circle, extreme vocals are far more prominent here, as are buzzsaw riffs such as those on Dark Path and The Four Wise Ones, yet the melodic side remains firmly intact on the single Sacrifice, folky Tree Of Ages and melancholic duet White Night.
4. Be'lakor - Of Breath And Bone
[2012 - Australia - Melodeath - Song pick: In Parting] - The best Finnish melodeath album is by an Australian group. Taking the melancholy of the likes of Insomnium and Noumena, and adding an intense urgency to the likes of Abeyance and The Dream Of The Waking, Of Breath And Bone is outstanding from first minute to last, and is capped by the quite incredible In Parting.
5. Cult Of Luna - Vertikal
[2013 - Sweden - Post-Metal - Song pick: In Awe Of] - This 9-track album is dominated by 3 songs; however, those 3 songs do make up nearly 2/3 of the runtime. I: The Weapon, the lengthy journey Vicarious Redemption and stone-cold modern post-metal classic In Awe Of are the finest demonstrations of the Metropolis-inspired atmosphere that Vertikal is intended to convey, particularly with the exemplary use of electronics and mechanical undercurrent that the album possesses. The closing track Passing Through is also the best soft song that band has produced, a haunting ending to what may be the band's defining album.
6. Rolo Tomassi - Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It
[2018 - UK - Mathcore / Progressive / Avant-Garde] - It's rare for a band to take such a huge step forward several albums deep into their career, but the fifth album by Rolo Tomassi took every good element from their previous album, improved them substantially, and threw a whole load more in, including the misleading ambient/dream pop opening duo of tracks that ill prepare the listener for the combination of aggression, beauty and complex songwriting that comprises the remainder of the album. The long songs, particularly The Hollow Hour and A Flood Of Light, are the highlights, but the album is pretty flawless throughout.
7. Between The Buried And Me - The Parallax II: Future Sequence
[2012 - USA - Extreme Progressive - Song pick: Telos] - The last of the 'golden age' of BTBAM, their subsequent efforts have been solid (and appear on this list), but Parallax II built on the strengths of Colors and The Great Misdirect, fantastic albums in their own right, and added a touch more accessibility, plus curved balls like the surf rock of Bloom or the circus music elements in Lay Your Ghosts To Rest. Silent Flight Parliament is up their with their best works, but Telos may just be my favourite from here, with its incredible midsection.
8. Enslaved - Axioma Ethica Odini
[2010 - Norway - Progressive / Black - Song pick: Lightening] - A bit heavier and more black metal-oriented than the 'Black Floyd' of Vertebrae, AEO includes both many of the best clean sections of 2010s Enslaved (the outro of Ethica Odini, the chorus of Giants, much of Lightening) and some of the best extreme sections from them this decade. I also have a soft spot for Singular; the first few seconds of the song suggest this might finally be the point where the quality dips a bit, before that fantastic first clean vocal line dispels any notion of filler on this great record.
9. The Contortionist - Clairvoyant
[2017 - USA - Progressive - Song pick: The Center] - A substantial departure from the deathcore of their early years, this ended up gripping me emotionally in a way few albums this decade have been come close to. The Center is a chillingly beautiful centrepiece for this album, but the title track, Return To Earth and Monochrome (Pensieve) are also imbued with such pathos, and this album, which I approached with some scepticism due to my previous mixed feelings towards the band, completely converted me into a fan.
10. Monuments - The Amanuensis
[2014 - UK - Djent / Metalcore / Progressive - Song pick: The Alchemist] - I discovered this album in 2015, but it was only when I revisited it in 2017 that it really clicked. Now, the excellent vocals and dizzying array of brilliant grooves of different styles throughout makes this an easy choice whenever I want aggressive-yet-hooky music for the gym or elsewhere. The juggernaut that is The Alchemist stands out for me, alongside the bounce of Origin Of Escape and Atlas, the outro of Horcrux, and the menace of I, The Destroyer.
11. Weedpecker - Weedpecker
[2013 - Poland - Stoner - Song pick: Berenjena Pipe] - Just missing out on the top 10, the short runtime and rough edges of Kraken slightly hinder it, but this is a real gem, taking a truly relaxing, unrushed approach to the stoner metal genre that allows you to just lay back and zone out. The lengthy songs, Don't Trust Your Elephant and Sativa Landscapes, are both excellent, but the riff that dominates the second half of Berenjena Pipe is the quintessential Weedpecker moment for me.
12. Persefone - Spiritual Migration
[2013 - Andorra - Progressive / Melodeath - Song pick: Spiritual Migration] - Shedding the rough edges of Shin-Ken, the production, vocals (clean and extreme) and songwriting took a giant leap forward on this magnificent record, filled with impressive instrumentation, sumptuous songwriting and memorable clean vocal hooks.
13. Nero Di Marte - Derivae
[2014 - Italy - Progressive / Death / Post-Metal - Song pick: Simulacra] - The combination of sinister atmosphere, dissonant guitar work and semi-clean vocals really makes Nero Di Marte's sound on Derivae unique, and they back it up with excellent songs. I could do without the chorus on Pulsar, but otherwise this is an engrossing record, particularly on the final three tracks. After a long gap, I'm hoping their early 2020 release can match up to this.
14. Killswitch Engage - Disarm The Descent
[2013 - USA - Metalcore - Song pick: Turning Point] - I'm not sure I've listened to any album more than Disarm The Descent since its release. It's straight-up melodic metalcore, which is a sound I love provided the songs bring the hooks, which is rarely consistently the case across a full album apart from a KsE album, in which it's usually the norm. Disarm The Descent brings everything I want from an album like this - short punchy songs with ripping verses and anthemic choruses that consistently energize me, such as on Tribute To The Fallen, Turning Point and The Call.
15. Moonsorrow - Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleiden Maassa
[2011 - Finland - Folk / Black - Song pick: Huuto] - A typically epic venture from this pagan black metal outfit, the majestic melodies that dominate Huuto, the soul-stirring outro of Kuolleiden Maa and the playfulness of Tähdetön are just some of the treats on this fantastic record.
16. Subsignal - Touchstones
[2011 - Germany - Progressive - Song pick: The Size Of Light On Earth] - This album can bring the metal, but is typically a gentle, soothing journey full of lush guitar work and vocal melodies, and peaceful songwriting. It's easy listening in prog-metal form, but done in the best possible way, and at a level that they have failed to subsequently match.
17. Cult Of Luna - Mariner [Collaboration]
[2016 - Sweden - Post-Metal - Song pick: Cygnus] - A hugely successful collaboration between Cult Of Luna and Julie Christmas, the two take turns dominating songs, whether it's Julie-only (Wreck Of S.S. Needle), band-only (Approaching Transitions) or a mix of the two (Chevron, Cygnus). Regardless of who's turn it is to shine, the quality level remains typically high throughout, peaking on Chevron, with its gnarly bass, and Cygnus, with its colossal, layered outro.
18. Anathema - Weather Systems
[2012 - UK - Atmospheric Rock - Song pick: Untouchable] - This has come a long way from reaching 131 on my 2012 list. Over time, the beauty of songs such as Untouchable, Gathering Of The Clouds and Lightning Song has revealed itself to me, and now I consider this far and away the best thing the group has put out. The sad yet uplifting melodies of the aforementioned songs is undeniable, and even tracks that I'm not always entirely convinced by have stellar moments, such as the string-dominated climax of The Storm Before The Calm.
19. Cult Of Luna - A Dawn To Fear
[2019 - Sweden - Post-Metal - Song pick: Lights On The Hill] - A third top 20 appearance for Cult of Luna, and what a sorry display it would be from 2019 in this list without them. A near-80-minute leviathan packed with instant classics such as The Silent Man, Lights On The Hill and The Fall, a more 'organic' feel compared to the synth-dominated vibes of Vertikal and Mariner further elevates the record.
20. The Dear Hunter - Act IV: Rebirth In Reprise
[2015 - USA - Progressive Rock / Indie - Song pick: A Night On The Town] - I discovered the Act series of The Dear Hunter all at the same time, but Act IV instantly stood out and became my favourite (although Act II runs it close). I could live without the disco of King Of Swords, but whether it's the lush indie of Waves, the delicate acoustics of The Line, the mid-tempo chug of Wait or the symphonic cacophony of A Night On The Town, the rest of the record delivers quality in spades.
21. Orphaned Land - The Never Ending Way Of ORwarriOR
[2010 - Israel - Extreme Progressive / Folk - Song pick: From Broken Vessels] - Another lengthy extreme prog album already on this list, this one perhaps suffers from a slightly underwhelming midsection compared to other albums, but the tracks at the beginning (Sapari, From Broken Vessels, The Path) and end (In Thy Never Ending Way) elevate this to levels approaching, if not quite matching, Mabool.
22. New Keepers Of The Water Towers - The Cosmic Child
[2013 - Sweden - Progressive / Stoner / Doom - Song pick: Visions Of Death] - A shame they went more psychedelic on Infernal Machine, the particular blend of stoner metal on this record is distinctive and satisfying, whether it's the plodding of The Great Leveler, the rousing closing minutes of Pyre For The Red Sage, or the Crack The Skye vibes of Lapse, although the delicate opening acoustics and emphatic main riff of Visions Of Death make that particular song the standout cut.
23. Mar De Grises - Streams Inwards
[2010 - Chile - Extreme Doom / Post-Metal - Song pick: The Bell And The Solar Gust] - A highly distinctive sound, Streams Inwards was a perfect swansong for this band. The opening 3 songs are so striking that it's taken a long time for me to fully appreciate the merits of other quality tracks such as Catatonic North and Knotted Delirium, but Starmaker, Shining Human Skin and The Bell And The Solar Gust remain one of the most emphatic opening trios to a metal album, potentially ever.
24. Process Of Guilt - Fæmin
[2012 - Portugal - Post-Metal / Doom - Song pick: Fæmin] - A stark departure from the extreme doom of Erosion, this is far more post-metal-dominated, and thus ended up more in my sphere of interest. It took a while to fully grip me, but these days, the relentless trudge of these sludgy, doomy, murky songs fully draws me in, particularly the slow burn builds of Empire and Cleanse, and the punishing closing 6 minutes of the title track, in which a single riff is de- and reconstructed to the sound of civilization collapsing.
25. Amorphis - The Beginning Of Times
[2011 - Finland - Melodeath / Progressive / Folk - Song pick: Mermaid] - I used to consider this the weakest modern Amorphis album, and it may still be the case, but I think based on sheer runtime, it manages to edge out Circle, which has similarly minor inconsistencies but less stellar tracks to compensate. The first 3 songs, Song Of The Sage, Soothsayer and Beginning Of Time in particular are outstanding songs on this reliably enjoyable record.
26. The Ocean - Pelagial
[2013 - Germany - Post-Metal / Progressive - Song pick: Hadopelagic II: Let Them Believe] - Similar to Rolo Tomassi, The Ocean took a frankly staggering jump forward on this album from their already impressive work prior to it. This journey into the depths is varied but consistently excellent, whether living on the melodies of Into The Uncanny, the Mastodon-esque leads and rampaging of the Bathyalpelagic tracks or the increasingly intense final few lengthy tracks. This was originally written as an instrumental effort, which blows my mind, as the singer is the MVP here, and arguably the best singer in post-metal.
27. Periphery - Periphery II: This Time It's Personal
[2012 - USA - Djent / Metalcore / Progressive - Song pick: Ragnarok] - Inspired by my success revisiting Monuments, I gave Periphery another try in 2017 and finally was won over, mainly due to this album, and the Somewhere In Time trilogy of songs in particular. It's very long, but I'm not sure what you would cut - even Facepalm Mute and Froggin' Bullfish, probably the lead candidates in my book, have great moments, and then the rest of the album is chock full of great song after great song, particularly around the middle.
28. Protest The Hero - Volition
[2013 - Canada - Progressive / Metalcore - Song pick: Drumhead Trial] - Perhaps PTH aren't quite dominating my current listening as they used to, but their new album next year may revise that. As it is, this remains a great album, full of epic vocal hooks, such as in the climaxes of Drumhead Trial, Tilting Against Windmills and Mist, and Skies is a sensational closing statement.
29. Dirge - Hyperion
[2014 - France - Post-Metal - Song pick: Remanentie] - Even beyond the monochrome cover, this carries some similarities to Vertikal, particularly on huge closer Remanentie, yet this retains its own distinctive identity. Sadly this decade saw the end of Dirge, but thankfully they released great efforts such as this and Lost Empyrean before they wrapped things up. The slightly cold, mechanical touch seems to work well with post-metal, yet there's still a warm base underneath it all here.
30. Soilwork - The Ride Majestic
[2015 - Sweden - Gothenburg - Song pick: The Phantom] - I'm not sure where this came from - Soilwork have had good moments in the past, but out of nowhere they put out arguably the Gothenburg album of the decade, a record packed with sick hooks both instrumentally and vocally on almost every track. Extensive replays have not diminished my opinion on it, so I can only hope there will be more of the same in future, as Verkligheten did not really reach this level.
31. Amorphis - Circle
[2013 - Finland - Melodeath / Progressive / Folk - Song pick: Enchanted By The Moon] - As mentioned before, this is shorter and slightly more inconsistent than some of their albums, particularly with the underwhelming Hopeless Days, which has somehow become the one live fixture from the album. Why they would go with that instead of the folky Narrow Path, almost black metal Nightbird's Song or doomy Enchanted By The Moon, all amongst the best as far as modern Amorphis songs go, is beyond me.
32. Sleep - The Sciences
[2018 - USA - Stoner / Doom - Song pick: Antarcticans Thawed] - Suitably dropped out of nowhere on 4/20, this picks up where Dopesmoker left off, which some Om influence in there as well. The riffs are huge and loud, and the sheer force of Sleep has not been diminished by time, but there's the odd surprise, such as the hypermelodic, lead guitar-dominated The Botanist. Antarcticans Thawed, a truly huge song years in the making, is my pick of the bunch on a consistently powerful record.
33. Heretoir - The Circle
[2017 - Germany - Metalgaze / Black / Post-Metal - Song pick: Fading With The Grey] - This one isn't easy to describe - there's hints of post-metal songwriting and black metal influences, but also a delicate metalgaze sheen to a lot of the tracks. In amongst all this, you have some stellar writing that sustains interest across its extensive runtime, carried by the emphatic climax of The White, the evocative force of Inhale/Exhale, and the relentless power of Fading With The Grey, as well as a surprisingly adept softer song in Golden Dust.
34. Passages - Lucid
[2017 - UK - Doom / Post-Metal / Metalgaze - Song pick: Trance] - Again, I'm not sure how best to describe the sound of this Josh Middleton side project, with the trudging doom of Eternal Solar Flare, the melancholy of Ghost Psalm, and the uplifting lead guitars of Portal. The songwriting does occasionally feel slightly rough, but the consistently gripping build and climaxes of the songs more than makes up for this, making this record arguably superior to the preceding Sylosis album, Dormant Heart. It's a shame its digital release was so limited, as it deserves to be heard by so many more people.
35. Fallujah - The Flesh Prevails
[2014 - USA - Tech-Death / Progressive / Ambient - Song pick: Sapphire] - A Pelagial-esque leap forward occurring at a more usual stage of a band's career, Fallujah took the tech-deathcore of their debut and revolutionized it, retaining the relentless drumming and aggression, and infusing progressive writing, ambient soundscapes and a keen ear for melody to conjure up a quite unique sound. At any time, all elements are present - the drums power underneath ambient stretches and blasts of death metal and still tinged with melody. To pull it off this successfully on the first try was particularly impressive - the final three songs, and the title track are all testament to great writing, which unfortunately deserted them on this year's effort.
36. Amorphis - Queen Of Time
[2018 - Finland - Melodeath / Progressive / Folk - Song pick: Heart Of The Giant] - Building on the success of Under The Red Cloud, Amorphis delivered another compelling effort, whilst adding some new elements to the mix, including choirs/symphonics, greater Eastern melodic influences, and an effective duet with Anneke van Giersbergen on Amongst Stars. Not quite at the level of its predecessor, but the mid-album stretch from The Golden Elk to Grain Of Sand is excellent.
37. Skuggsjá - A Piece For Mind & Mirror
[2016 - Norway - Neofolk / Ambient / Black - Song pick: Skuggsjá] - The first collaboration between Einar Selvik of Wardruna and Ivar Bjornson of Enslaved brought the best from both bands and delivered in spades. I'm not quite as keen on the more black metal-oriented songs (Makta Og Vanæra, For All Tid and Skuggeslåtten), but the Wardruna-esque tracks more than make up for it, with Skuggsjá, Kvervandi and Vitkispá in particular standing out.
38. Abigail Williams - Becoming
[2012 - USA - Atmospheric Black - Song pick: Beyond The Veil] - The first atmos-black album from this chameleonic band was far more successful than expected, with intelligent implementation of strings, most notably on the unbelievably fantastic closer, Beyond The Veil, which is one of the finest songs under the atmos-black umbrella for my money.
39. Riverside - Shrine Of New Generation Slaves
[2013 - Poland - Progressive - Song pick: Escalator Shrine] - For me, the last great Riverside album (and whether there will be another without Piotr Grudniewski remains to be seen), the rich melancholy of The Depth Of Self-Delusion and We Got Used To Us, and the composed progression of Escalator Shrine, whilst not quite matching their 2000s peaks, still deliver much of what makes Riverside so great for me.
40. Kongh - Sole Creation
[2013 - Sweden - Sludge / Doom - Song pick: Tamed Brute] - Thunderous sludge doom comprised of punishing riffs, murky atmosphere and an enthralling sense of hopelessness.
41. Sylosis - Dormant Heart
[2015 - UK - Thrash / Melodeath / Metalcore - Song pick: Harm] - Below the best of EOTE/Monolith, and with a few more middling songs (Servitude, Leech), this still possesses much of what makes Sylosis so great for me, particularly on To Build A Tomb, Overthrown and Harm. Additionally, Quiescent was an impressively successful attempt at a long, softer, proggy track.
42. Dvne - Asheran
[2017 - UK - Stoner / Progressive / Sludge - Song pick: Thirst] - A more aggressive take on the prog-stoner sound, this was a highly accomplished debut, with a great sound, intelligent songwriting and ample hooks.
43. Moonsorrow - Jumalten Aika
[2016 - Finland - Black / Folk - Song pick: Ihmisen Aika (Kurramus Pimeyteen)] - Lengthier than Varjoina, this can drag at times, but the highlights more than make up for it, with some truly stirring moments on the title track, Ruttolehto and Ihmisen Aika (Kurramus Pimeyteen).
44. Abigail Williams - In The Absence Of Light
[2011 - USA - Meloblack - Song pick: Final Destiny Of The Gods] - AW's brief stop in the meloblack pen, not everyone was a fan, but I found the riffs consistently memorable, and nothing else in the subgenre has match the euphoria of the closing arpeggios of Final Destiny Of The Gods.
45. Polaris - The Mortal Coil
[2017 - Australia - Metalcore - Song pick: Consume] - Straight-up melodic metalcore, but the only album that has come close to matching Killswitch this decade in terms of reliable hype, every song delivers a genuinely memorable chorus hook, and there's a solid level of variety as well.
46. Ingrina - Etter Lys
[2018 - France - Post-Metal / Metalgaze - Song pick: Coil] - Thanks to Teamster for highlighting this hidden post-metal gem, an engrossing effort with great guitar work, vocals and song development. Coil and Leeway are probably the most instantly memorable, but the album is excellent from front to back.
47. Sunpocrisy - Eyegasm, Hallelujah!
[2015 - Italy - Post-Metal / Progressive - Song pick: Gravis Vociferatur] - A band and album name, and cover art like this cannot come with mediocrity; thankfully this was excellent rather than terrible. A particularly prog-oriented take on post-metal, the instrumental work is impressive and engaging throughout; this album has a light, celestial vibe to the sound, with uplifting guitar work throughout to contrast the heavy riffs and vocals. It's complex for such a lengthy album, but retains enough charm to sustain its appeal across its runtime.
48. Tycho - Dive
[2011 - USA - Electronic / Ambient - Song pick: Dive] - Metal-exclusive listeners, turn away now; this is just a soothing, uplifting ambient electronic album that makes for perfect summer listening. There's similar artists that I enjoy, but nothing quite matches the soothing appeal of this particular album.
49. Nero Di Marte - Nero Di Marte
[2013 - Italy - Progressive / Death / Post-Metal - Song pick: Resilient] - The (quality) prototype for the excellent Derivae, this is slightly less consistently excellent, but still delivers a number of great songs and moments, such as the gnarly outro of Convergence, the unusual hookiness of Time Dissolves for such a dissonant track, and the malevolent power of Resilient.
50. Marriages - Salome
[2015 - USA - Alternative / Atmospheric Rock - Song pick: Southern Eye] - I've liked Emma Ruth Rundle's solo work, but this band, and particularly this album, is where I've most appreciated her sound, with the semi-mumbled, husky vocals combining to great effect with the noisy riffs, light lead guitar melodies, and overall alt-rock approach.
51. Ne Obliviscaris - Citadel
[2014 - Australia - Extreme Progressive - Song pick: Painters Of The Tempest] - More compact than Portal Of I and with a more modern production, this effectively only has 3 lengthy songs, all of which I enjoy greatly. The extreme prog combines technicality, intensity and melody to great effect, and the strings are implemented tastefully, although others on the website may disagree.
52. Triosphere - The Heart Of The Matter
[2014 - Norway - Power - Song pick: The Sphere] - One of very few consistently enjoyable power metal albums front-to-back from this decade, this has racked up far more plays than almost any other band, thanks to the quality riffs, vocal melodies and vocal performance.
53. Omnium Gatherum - Beyond
[2013 - Finland - Melodeath - Song pick: Nightwalkers] - The quartet of Luoto, Nightwalkers, The Unknowing and White Palace dominate this album, but the other tracks are solid enough to not detract from those excellent songs. This is a more uplifting album than most Finnish melodeath albums, and just consistently puts a smile on my face. Also, Nightwalkers and White Palace emphasize what a shame it is that the band has moved away from such long songs.
54. Between The Buried And Me - The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues
[2011 - USA - Extreme Progressive - Song pick: Specular Reflection] - The preamble to Future Sequence, it doesn't contain music to match the best of that album, but the three songs here are jam-packed with quality moments.
55. Leprous - Coal
[2013 - Norway - Progressive - Song pick: Echo] - It took me longer to like Coal than any other Leprous album (bar Pitfalls), but ultimately it's had the most lasting appeal to me, thanks to the likes of Foe, The Valley and particularly the serenely moody Echo. It is less exuberant than Bilateral, but is the last album of theirs with consistent extreme moments.
56. Zeal & Ardor - Devil Is Fine
[2016 - USA - Black / Avant-Garde - Song pick: Children's Summon] - Virtually an EP length-wise and rough around the edges, but utterly unique and backed up with great songs, with a surprising amount of diversity that its successor didn't quite manage to deliver across its more extended tracklist. It's unlikely another band will be able to try the black metal plus spirituals combination now that Z&A have written the first and last word of this particular book.
57. Nadja - Sv
[2016 - Canada - Drone / Ambient / Doom - Song pick: Sievert] - A 40-minute, one-song musical timelapse - the patient development of this song is extremely impressive, and the contents are compelling enough that the subtle changes in the sound almost slip by unnoticed. Comfortably my favourite 'drone'-tagged album.
58. Schammasch - Triangle
[2016 - Switzerland - Black / Ambient - Song pick: Satori] - Three discs enabling an extensive exploration into the ritualistic depths of their sound, from black metal to dark ambient. Each aspect has arguably been further enhanced in subsequent releases, but this is a colossal undertaking and may end up being the band's finest hour.
59. Weedpecker - III
[2018 - Poland - Stoner / Psychedelic / Progressive - Song pick: From Mars To Mercury] - Weedpecker lightened up and picked up the speed on III compared with its predecessors, and whilst it's a shame to see the band leave the territory of the debut behind, they're equally compelling playing more psychedelic rock-oriented music, as displayed on the likes of Embrace, Liquid Sky and From Mars To Mercury.
60. Omnium Gatherum - New World Shadows
[2011 - Finland - Melodeath - Song pick: New World Shadows] - Possibly more consistent than Beyond, with more memorable shorter tracks to complement still top-notch longer efforts, I do slightly prefer the tone of Beyond but both are excellent records.
61. Protest The Hero - Scurrilous
[2011 - Canada - Progressive - Song pick: Sex-Tapes] - I'm less keen on this album than I was 5 years ago, but the likes of C'est La Vie, Hair-Trigger, Dunsel and Sex-Tapes still make for exciting listening, with the messier compositional elements compensated for by the great guitar and vocal work.
62. Alcest - Écailles De Lune
[2010 - France - Black / Metalgaze - Song pick: Écailles De Lune - Part 2] - The definitive blackgaze album for my money, it's a tad front-loaded with the two-part title track and Percées De Lumière, but as a complete package there's not really anything in the genre that has managed to personally rival it, although Deafheaven fans may agree. The quiet bookending sections of Part 2, the explosive tremolo climax of Percées De Lumière and the serene tranquillity of Sur L'océan Couleur De Fer have lost none of their charm after a decade.
63. Mastodon - Cold Dark Place
[2017 - USA - Stoner / Progressive - Song pick: North Side Star] - A slightly damning indictment of Mastodon in the 2010s that their highest spot is down in the 60s, given that any of their 2000s albums would comfortably crack the top 20 of this list, but this EP managed to offer a more melancholy, earthly vibe than the at-times blandness of Emperor Of Sand. Clearly, Brent Hinds needs to write more songs for the band.
64. Ortega - Sacred States
[2016 - Netherlands - Sludge / Doom / Post-Metal - Song pick: Crows] - Coming out 2 years after Crows had already blown me away, my opinion of this album is dominated by that song, but the huge, lengthy, dynamic sludge doom of Sacred States carries significant appeal outside of that particular song.
65. Obscure Sphinx - Void Mother
[2013 - Poland - Post-Metal / Sludge - Song pick: The Presence Of Goddess] - A rawer, harsher take on post-metal than many bands, the murky riffs, pounding drumming and emotionally raw vocals really help this album stand out from the crowd. The Presence Of Goddess is an unusually epic and grandiose conclusion to an otherwise more menacing listen, but is pulled off impressively by the band.
66. Wayfarer - World's Blood
[2018 - USA - Atmospheric Black - Song pick: On Horseback They Carried Thunder] - A somewhat unassuming album on first listen that I found myself repeatedly returning to last year, World's Blood doesn't reinvent the atmos-black formula but pulls it off impressively, with a great earthly production that complements the epic vibe of the music nicely. A Nation Of Immigrants makes for a nice conclusion to the record, with is acoustic campfire jam sound.
67. Elder - Lore
[2015 - USA - Stoner / Progressive - Song pick: Lore] - The Mastodon-style guitar leads in the opening moments pave the way for an expansive venture filled with nice fuzzy stoner riffs, hazy vocals, and some lush guitar instrumentation, particularly in the second half of the title track. Conversely, the rampaging riff at the end of the Spirit At Aphelion makes for a powerful conclusion to the record.
68. Moanaa - Descent
[2014 - Poland - Post-Metal - Song pick: Lost In The Noise] - The second Polish post-metal album in this list, this is more 'conventional' than Obscure Sphinx, with warmer guitar tones and more typical post-metal vocals, but the quality is comparably excellent.
69. Protest The Hero - Pacific Myth
[2016 - Canada - Progressive - Song pick: Cold Water] - Initially released song-by-song on a monthly basis, the songs produced under these 'once a month' writing conditions were fairly consistent in quality, with the direct Ragged Tooth, more chilled Cold Water, intense Harbinger and expansive Caravan standing out.
70. In The Silence - A Fair Dream Gone Mad
[2012 - USA - Progressive / Atmospheric Rock - Song pick: Serenity] - I feel like this is what Katatona fans hear when they listen to that band; the lush, melancholy instrumentation and soulful vocals here are far more evocative than anything I've heard from that band.
71. Regarde Les Hommes Tomber - Exile
[2015 - France - Sludge / Black / Post-Metal - Song pick: The Incandescent March] - An improvement on the already-solid debut, the intense, murky, black-tinged riffs and volcanic atmosphere make for the most compelling interpretation of 'blackened sludge' I've encountered this decade.
72. Agalloch - Marrow Of The Spirit
[2010 - USA - Atmospheric Black - Song pick: The Watcher's Monolith] - After the acoustic delights of The Mantle and richer sounds of Ashes Against The Grain, Agalloch returned to the more lo-fi atmos-black of their debut, with some doom thrown in too (Black Lake Nidstang). It's not the equal of its two predecessors, but was still another strong addition to their discog.
73. Enslaved - In Times
[2015 - Norway - Progressive / Black - Song pick: Thurisaz Dreaming] - Not quite matching up to Axioma Ethica Odini, In Times is more consistent than E and more satisfying than RIITIIR, with Thurisaz Dreaming and One Thousand Years Of Rain standing out.
74. Rishloo - Living As Ghosts With Buildings As Teeth
[2014 - USA - Progressive / Alternative - Song pick: Dark Charade] - This has its oddball moments, with a sound that feels both slightly Tool-ish and slightly Mars Volta-esque, but with its own unique identity. I feel like there's a notable gap between the best tracks (Landmines, Dark Charade, Just A Ride) and the rest, but the complete package still makes for great listening.
75. Tribulation - The Formulas Of Death
[2013 - Sweden - Death / Progressive / Gothic - Song pick: Apparitions] - Some people seems to like all Tribulation output near-equally, but I can't vibe with the more Gothic approach on Children Of The Night/Down Below in the way that I can with the more extreme metal on The Formulas Of Death, which I find more dynamic, expansive and exciting, particularly with the longer songs and Rånda.
76. Neurotech - Infra Versus Ultra
[2014 - Slovenia - Electronic / Industrial - Song pick: Ultra (Us)] - The sweet spot of Neurotech's journey for me, the songs here are highly memorable, with this lush richness to the sound and vocals, and this almost melancholic-yet-upbeat tone, exemplified on The Act Of Forgiveness and Ultra (Us).
77. Mastodon - The Hunter
[2011 - USA - Stoner / Progressive - Song pick: Stargasm] - A somewhat scattered and inconsistent effort, particularly following the stellar Crack The Skye, I could do without the likes of Thickening and Creature Lives, but there's a number of tracks I hugely enjoy here, and I find The Hunter vastly more charming than Emperor Of Sand.
78. Spaceslug - Time Travel Dilemma
[2017 - Poland - Stoner / Doom - Song pick: Time Travel Dilemma] - The best of this prolific band's efforts to date, this exemplifies their laid-back, foggy, doom-y stoner sound, carried by the plodding riffs and distant, lazy vocal tone.
79. Ortega - The Serpent Stirs
[2012 - Netherlands - Sludge / Doom - Song pick: The Serpent Stirs] - A single 18-minute song-EP, The Serpent Stirs possesses many of the traits that would make Crows and Sacred States such outstanding releases, with its dark atmosphere, forceful riffs and well-judged song progression.
80. Blindead - Affliction XXIX II MXMVI
[2010 - Poland - Post-Metal / Progressive - Song pick: Affliction XXVII II MMIV] - A fairly distinct-sounding album in the post-metal scene, this is at times harsh, at times a bit weird, but always compelling and works highly effectively as a singular piece, particularly with the sounding outro of the title track.
81. Persefone - Aathma
[2017 - Andorra - Progressive / Melodeath - Song pick: Prison Skin] - This isn't as consistently excellent as Spiritual Migration, with the standout tracks more obvious on this record (Prison Skin, Living Waves and the 4-part title track), but Aathma acts as a further demonstration of the excellent musicianship and compositional abilities of this transcendental prog-melodeath group.
82. Dirge - Lost Empyrean
[2018 - France - Post-Metal - Song pick: Lost Empyrean] - Similar in style and quality to Hyperion, Dirge's swansong makes for a fitting end to the post-metal act's career.
83. Abigail Williams - Walk Beyond The Dark
[2019 - USA - Atmospheric Black - Song pick: Black Waves] - Potentially the sound of Abigail Williams finally solidifying their musical approach, this draws on elements of Becoming (particularly with the strings incorporation and the Beyond The Veil-esque closing track) whilst adding new aspects to their sound, with clean vocals remarkably well utilized on the likes of Moon And Sun and Black Waves in particular.
84. Leprous - The Congregation
[2015 - Norway - Progressive - Song pick: The Flood] - Leprous's longest album to date, you do feel the length a bit, but it's not clear which song could be lost, as the quality is consistent throughout. However, potentially the band's two final songs with extreme vocals, Rewind and Slave, join The Flood as the strongest songs on The Congregation.
85. When Icarus Falls - Circles
[2014 - Switzerland - Post-Metal - Song pick: Erechtheion] - Aside from the strained harsh vocals (which get a chance to shine/disgust in the intro to The Great North), this is quite a warm-sounding and serene post-metal EP, and never rushing its journey.
86. Fen - Carrion Skies
[2014 - UK - Atmospheric Black - Song pick: Menhir - Supplicant] - If any end of decade lists contain only a single Fen album, I feel like most of those lists would not pick Carrion Skies. However, although I've enjoyed most of their albums, this one is the only one that has really grabbed me on first listen and inspired semi-regular revisits. I just find it to possess an emotional pull that the others don't quite pull off, particularly in moments such as the closing minutes of Menhir - Supplicant.
87. Schammasch - Hearts Of No Light
[2019 - Switzerland - Black - Song pick: Qadmon's Heir] - A solidification of the ritualistic, tom-heavy black metal sound from the first two discs of Triangle, with a Goth rock curveball thrown in by way of A Paradigm Of Beauty.
88. Ouroboros - Glorification Of A Myth
[2011 - Australia - Death / Thrash - Song pick: Dissolve] - The symphonic follow-up to this album was a big letdown, abandoning the riff-tastic onslaught of deathrash that made Glorification Of A Myth such a juggernaut, right from the first seconds of Black Hole Generator.
89. Between The Buried And Me - Coma Ecliptic
[2015 - USA - Progressive - Song pick: Life In Velvet] - A drop-off from the Colors-to-Parallax golden period, Coma Ecliptic has some slightly iffy moments, but more than enough great moments to compensate. The greater focus on melodic parts didn't quite deliver parts at the level of the melodic moments on the preceding albums, but The Coma Machine, Rapid Calm and the final three tracks in particular have their fair share of memorable moments.
90. A Forest Of Stars - Beware The Sword You Cannot See
[2015 - UK - Black / Avant-Garde - Song pick: Pawn On The Universal Chessboard] - The finest moment for these Victorian violin-and-black metal avant-garde Brits to date for me, capped by the 20+-minute 6-part closing epic, Pawn On The Universal Chessboard.
91. Schammasch - The Maldoror Chants: Hermaphrodite
[2017 - Switzerland - Black / Dark Ambient - Song: May His Illusion Last Until Dawn's Awakening] - An impressive cohesion of the black metal and dark ambient parts of Triangle, this is draped in sinister atmosphere that gradually builds until the black metal outburst of Chimerical Hope, and is nicely wrapped up by Do Not Close Your Eyes. It will be interesting to see if this approach gets a revisit next decade.
92. Samsara Blues Experiment - One With The Universe
[2017 - Germany - Stoner / Progressive / Psychedelic - Song pick: One With The Universe] - A lively, proggy psychedelic-stoner odyssey with some vibrant vocals, exquisitie musicianship and enjoyable lengthy jams.
93. Periphery - Periphery III: Select Difficulty
[2016 - USA - Djent / Metalcore / Progressive - Song pick: Absolomb] - A bit awkwardly paced (starts with two fast, heavy songs and then rarely revisits that sound), and a couple of songs have lost a bit of appeal with repeated listens (most notably Remain Indoors), but the likes of Flatline, Absolomb and Habitual Line-Stepper lift this album above Periphery IV in my eyes.
94. Iamthemorning - Lighthouse
[2016 - Russia - Atmospheric Rock / Chamber Pop - Song pick: Too Many Years] - A far quieter record than most on this list, the atmospheric piano-dominated chamber pop vibe on here makes for some excellent easy listening music, whether it's the more melancholic I Came Before The Water and Too Many Years, or some of the more upbeat, bouncier tracks. Additionally, the guest vocal appearance by Mariusz Duda of Riverside fame on the title track is one of my favourite vocal cameos I can remember hearing.
95. Iced Earth - Dystopia
[2011 - USA - Power / Heavy - Song pick: Iron Will] - A lone success story in the somewhat insipid last couple of decades for Iced Earth, Stu Block came storming out the gates on Dystopia, backed up by a litany of ripping riffs, extending to the solid bonus tracks Soylent Green and Iron Will.
96. When Icarus Falls - Resilience
[2017 - Switzerland - Post-Metal - Song pick: A Blue Light] - More instrumental-focused than Circles, and featuring what I think may be a hammered dulcimer (?) adding an extra element to the songs here, this is another great effort that hopefully helps to solidify When Icarus Falls as a band worthy of greater attention in the post-metal world.
97. Weedpecker - II
[2015 - Poland - Stoner - Song pick: Reality Fades] - Closer to the laid-back self-titled debut than the more up-tempo III, II rounds out an outstanding first trio of albums by this Polish stoner outfit.
98. Tacoma Narrows Bridge Disaster - Exegesis
[2012 - UK - Post-Metal / Post-Rock - Song pick: Wake] - The delightfully melancholy closing track Wake shines above the rest of Exegesis, but the other tracks here, whether instrumental-only or featuring vocals, offer up sufficiently great post-rock/metal to help this album crack the top 100.
99. Intronaut - Habitual Levitations (Instilling Words With Tones)
[2013 - USA - Progressive / Sludge / Post-Metal - Song pick: Milk Leg] - A softer album than Valley Of Smoke or The Direction Of Last Things, this still features much of the slightly oddball charm of Intronaut's proggy sludge sound, and demonstrates their talents at writing both heavy and more measured music.
100. In Vain - Ænigma
[2013 - Norway - Progressive / Melodeath - Song pick: Against The Grain] - Rounding out the top 100, Ænigma is opened by the force of nature that is Against The Grain, displaying the memorable riffs, rich vocal melodies and undeniable energy that makes the whole album a treat to listen to. In Vain hint at greatness on their other albums, but Ænigma is the only one that consistently delights.
101. Wardruna - Runaljod - Ragnarok
[2016 - Norway - Neofolk / Ambient - Song pick: Odal] - Wardruna are arguably the most prominent purveyors of this Nordic neofolk sound, Runaljod - Ragnarok is the most consistently effective and moving release from them to date. There's not quite anything here as iconic as Helvegen, but it makes for soul-stirring listening pretty much throughout.
102. Lunatic Soul - Walking On A Flashlight Beam
[2014 - Poland - Progressive / Atmospheric Rock - Song pick: Walking On A Flashlight Beam] - Up there with anything from Duda's main band Riverside this decade, Walking On A Flashlight Beam is moody and emotive, but this can vary from the chillout rock of Gutter to the melancholic, vocal-dominated title track.
103. Agalloch - The Serpent & The Sphere
[2014 - USA - Atmospheric Black - Song pick: Plateau Of The Ages] - Not quite as distinctive as Marrow Of The Spirit, this still made for an effective swansong from a great band.
104. Fallujah - Dreamless
[2016 - USA - Tech-Death / Progressive / Ambient - Song pick: The Void Alone] - A 'maturation' of the sound they first offered on The Flesh Prevails, this is a lengthier effort, allowing them more attempts at instrumental songs and calmer music, notably on the title track and Les Silences, as well as throwing in another couple of new elements, notably the female vocals on the instantly memorable The Void Alone. Ultimately, I don't think this is quite as memorable as its predecessor, but towers over Undying Light, and will likely be the last we hear of this great and unique sound.
105. Leprous - Bilateral
[2011 - Norway - Progressive / Avant-Garde - Song pick: Forced Entry] - A wilder and more chaotic effort than anything else from Leprous this decade, I don't enjoy all of it, but the best moments (Forced Entry, Restless, Painful Detour) rank among their best songs.
106. Blood Stain Child - εpsilon
[2011 - Japan - Extreme Power / Electropop - Song pick: Unlimited Alchemist] - This has lost a certain degree of the charm that placed it in the top 20 of my half-decade list, but it's still a wildly fun guilty pleasure of an album, with arguably more conviction and heart than The Nexus by Amaranthe, an album I enjoy similarly that just missed out on this list.
107. Enslaved - RIITIIR
[2012 - Norway - Progressive / Black - Song pick: Roots Of The Mountain] - There's a few songs on here that have still failed to really make a mark after nearly a decade (particularly Veilburner, Materal and Forsaken), but the best moments, including opener Thoughts Like Hammers and the live staple Roots Of The Mountain, possess all of the charm that had made Enslaved such a reliably great band.
108. The Faceless - Autotheism
[2012 - USA - Progressive / Death - Song pick: Autotheist Movement] - I owe a lot of my listens to this album to my enjoyment of parts I and II of the Autotheist Movement, but the frenetic prog-death on the remainder of the album is still hugely entertaining, including the Devin-isms on Accelerated Evolution.
109. Mastodon - Once More 'Round The Sun
[2014 - USA - Stoner / Progressive - Song pick: Diamond In The Witch House] - Possessing one of the best Mastodon/Kelly collabs in the slow, moody Diamond In The Witch House, the rest of the album is quite playful, with The Motherload and Halloween very entertaining cuts, and despite a couple of duds, particularly High Road, this is overall a highly enjoyable album, if a clear step down from the 2000s efforts.
110. Slugdge - Dim & Slimeridden Kingdoms
[2015 - UK - Death / Black / Progressive - Song pick: Unchained Malady] - Slug-themed metal, the impressive conviction in their distinctive brand of extreme metal renders this far more than a gimmick, and the impressive use of sinister clean vocals in these oppressive songs adds another dimension to an already exciting sound.
111. Ne Obliviscaris - Urn
[2017 - Australia - Extreme Progressive - Song pick: Eyrie] - A worthy, if slightly inferior, successor to Citadel, with some extended violin work on the likes of Eyrie, and some instantly memorable riffs, including the main one from opener Libera.
112. Dordeduh - Dar De Duh
[2012 - Romania - Atmospheric Black / Folk - Song pick: Jind De Tronuri] - The partial successor to Negura Bunget, I enjoy this more than anything I've heard from that band; Dar De Duh is a highly accomplished atmospheric black album with unique implementation of folk elements and instrumentation.
113. Year Of No Light - Ausserwelt
[2010 - France - Post-Metal - Song pick: Hierophante] - A huge-sounding post-metal effort, it took me a while to realize it was instrumental-only, as I expected music this heavy to be accompanied by fierce growls. In reality, it doesn't need vocals to land some killer blows, with the four lengthy tracks more than making themselves noticed.
114. Elder - Reflections Of A Floating World
[2017 - USA - Stoner / Progressive - Song pick: Blind] - More of the same after Lore, with lengthy, fuzzy, semi-jam songs that still contain memorable hooks and a degree of pathos.
115. Disillusion - The Liberation
[2019 - Germany - Progressive / Melodeath / Folk - Song pick: Wintertide] - An intriguing return after a lengthy absence, with more of a Nordic folk vibe in some songs, it's by no means a repeat of Back to The Times Of Splendour, but whilst it's not quite at that level, it's a more than worthy comeback effort.
116. Enslaved - E
[2017 - Norway - Progressive / Black / Folk - Song pick: Sacred Horse] - The Skuggsja-inspired climax of Sacred Horse is the highlight, but the linear Storm Son also makes for great listening, as does Hiindsiight.
117. Torchbearer - Death Meditations
[2011 - Sweden - Melodeath / Black - Song pick: Death Meditations] - A surprisingly enduring album, featuring some frantic yet memorable riffs, such as on the opening track, the title track and The Aphotic Depths. The smoother electronic primary motif on To Takao River adds a nice change of pace too.
118. Bees Made Honey In The Vein Tree - Grandmother
[2019 - Germany - Stoner / Doom - Song pick: Grandmother] - The name comes from Earth, but the music here is far heavier than anything that band has done recently, with plodding, dense stoner doom occasionally punctuated by moments of brevity, such as towards the end of Cinitus or the entirety of Craving, more of a stoner rock jam.
119. Rintrah - Salt Of The Earth
[2014 - USA - Stoner / Doom / Progressive - Song pick: Salt Of The Earth] - With booming vocals, punchy riffs and a keen sense of melody, this just crept into my half-decade list but has continued to endure whilst higher entries on that list lost some of their appeal.
120. Amenra - Mass VI
[2017 - Belgium - Post-Metal - Song pick: A Solitary Reign] - A Solitary Reign is likely to be Amenra's crowning achievement, but the remainder of Mass VI contains more of the great dichotomic post-metal the Belgians are renowned for, with ponderous quiet sections and neckbreaking heavy parts.
121. Mouth Of The Architect - Path Of Eight
[2016 - USA - Post-Metal - Song pick: Fever Dream] - A major deviation from their previous efforts, this has a fairly unique sound and atmosphere for a post-metal album, and the way the album feels like it progressively intensifies further adds to its appeal.
122. Infestus - The Reflecting Void
[2014 - Germany - Atmospheric Black - Song pick: Constant Soul Corrosion] - My interest in Infestus has substantially faded over the last few years, but the quality of their intense, sinister atmos-black, particularly on this album, remains undeniable.
123. Tool - Fear Inoculum
[2019 - USA - Progressive / Alternative - Song pick: Pneuma] - The most anticipated of comeback albums ends up being a solid listen, but one that pales in comparison to their best work.
124. Om - Advaitic Songs
[2012 - USA - Stoner / Folk / Ambient - Song pick: Haqq al-Yaqin] - Om further delved into this softer, more meditative approach that had partially emerged on God Is Good, with only State Of Non-Return really channelling the bass-heavy stoner doom metal of earlier albums. The likes of Gethsemane, Sinai and Haqq al-Yaqin make for great chillout jams.
125. Rodrigo y Gabriela - Area 52
[2012 - Latin Virtuoso - Song pick: Santo Domingo] - Taking already fine songs from 11:11 and the self-titled debut, and then adding a Cuban orchestra, elevates Area 52 above their other works. This is just such a lively, jovial listen, and songs such as Santo Domingo clearly benefit from the added arrangements.
126. Dark Buddha Rising - Inversum
[2015 - Finland - Drone / Doom / Dark Ambient - Song pick: E X O] - The eerie, disorienting sound channelled on Inversum makes for a great backdrop for the gradual progression of songs, as the noisy, almost dissonant guitars emerge and morph, and the drums power these lengthy jams along to their conclusions, ratcheting up the tension, like on E X O, which builds towards a thunderous riff climax
127. Between The Buried And Me - Automata
[2018 - USA - Extreme Progressive - Song pick: Condemned To The Gallows] - The double-album approach was stupid (Automata I and II combined are shorter than The Parallax II), so I'm counting them as a single effort here. The material here, back towards heavier territory after Coma Ecliptic, isn't as stellar as their best work, but underlines the undeniable quality of BTBAM.
128. Steven Wilson - The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories)
[2013 - UK - Progressive Rock - Song pick: Drive Home] - The most classic prog-oriented of Wilson's solo efforts, particularly on the likes of Luminol and The Watchmaker, this album shines in its softer, calmer moments, such as the stripped-down title track and rich, melancholic Drive Home.
129. Rivers Of Nihil - Where Owls Know My Name
[2018 - USA - Progressive / Death - Song pick: Hollow] - I seem to remember Monarchy being a tech-death record, but Where The Owls… is definitely more of a prog-death sound, with the use of saxophone, softer stretches on songs such as the title track, and memorable clean vocal moments, such as the chorus of Hollow. Nevertheless, the heavier parts still absolutely rip, such as on The Silent Life and Death Is Real.
130. Primordial - Redemption At The Puritan's Hand
[2011 - Ireland - Black / Folk - Song pick: No Grave Deep Enough] - A notable drop down from The Gathering Wilderness and To The Nameless Dead, the quality of songs such as the intensely gripping No Grave Deep Enough and historic Death Of The Gods lifts this above other Primordal albums from this decade.
131. Be'lakor - Vessels
[2016 - Australia - Melodeath - Song pick: An Ember's Arc] - This hasn't ensnared me in the way Of Breath And Bone has, but whilst there's no songs at the level of In Parting or The Dream and The Waking here, Be'lakor deliver more of the high-quality melancholy-yet-driven melodeath they're renowned for.
132. Sleepmakeswaves - sleepmakeswaves
[2012 - Australia - Post-Rock - Song pick: Keep Your Splendid Silent Sun] - A nice 6-song collection of some of the finest moments of this Aussie post-rock group, particularly the first two tracks and One Day You Will Teach Me To Let Go Of My Fears, all of which highlight their mastery of delicate guitar work and implementation of heavier moments.
133. Intronaut - The Direction Of Last Things
[2015 - USA - Progressive / Sludge / Post-Metal - Song pick: Digital Gerrymandering] - A return to heavier territory after Habitual Levitations, there's more aggressive, sludgy moments on this record, but the sense of melody and tasteful displays of technicality remain intact, such as during the latter stretches of Digital Gerrymandering.
134. Melechesh - The Epigenesis
[2010 - Israel - Black - Song pick: The Epigenesis] - Melechesh slowed things down slightly after Emissaries and upped the melodic inclinations a tad, making mid-tempo juggernauts such as Ghouls Of Niveneh and the title track magnetic in their appeal.
135. Slugdge - Esoteric Malacology
[2018 - UK - Death / Black / Progressive - Song pick: War Squids] - More of the same with minor modifications, I feel this album lacks some of the memorability of Dim And Slimeridden Kingdoms, but retains much of its charm.
136. Monolithe - Monolithe IV
[2013 - France - Extreme Doom - Song pick: Monolithe IV] - A near-hour-long single track album, this was Monolithe's last attempt at such a feat before they began to break their albums into more digestible song lengths. The sound here approaches funeral doom levels of pace, but with a tad more forward direction, and the combination of dramatic synths/choirs, relentlessly plodding riffs and welcome changes in pace at key points sustain interest throughout this monolithic effort.
137. Progenie Terrestre Pura - U​.​M​.​A.
[2013 - Italy - Black / Space Ambient - Song pick: Sovrarobotizzazione] - The distinctive combination of a futuristic sheen to the sound, blistering black metal and ambient stretches helped U.M.A. to stand out, but so did the quality of the underlying compositions. The lengthy electronic centrepiece, La Terra Rossa Di Marte, was also pulled off deftly.
138. Ufomammut - ORO - Opus Primum
[2012 - Italy - Stoner / Doom - Song pick: Aureum] - Arguably the pick of a solid 5-album haul from Ufomammut this decade, their twisted, thickly distorted psychedelic stoner doom sound is on prime display here, with the gradual build-up of Empireum giving way to the pounding of Aureum and the following songs.
139. Coheed And Cambria - Vaxis - Act I: The Unheavenly Creatures
[2018 - USA - Progressive Rock - Song pick: The Dark Sentencer] - The strongest C&C album since No World For Tomorrow (despite the adoration many give the Afterman albums, bar a couple of songs I'm indifferent), this is a hugely long album, but although the strongest tracks (particularly The Dark Sentencer and Black Sunday) are a clear cut above the rest, it's a consistently enjoyable listen throughout. No Keeping Secrets or Good Apollo, but a welcome return to form.
140. Thy Catafalque - Rengeteg
[2011 - Hungary - Avant-Garde / Folk / Black - Song pick: Fekete Mezők] - Seemingly something of an oddball release in the Thy Catafalque catalogue, as nothing else I've heard from them is nearly as enjoyable. There's a weird mix of folk-y writing (particularly on Kel Keleti Szél), dramatic songs such as Fekete Mezők, playful tracks such as Trilobita and more. The early songs are the clear highlights for me, but it's enjoyable throughout.
141. Oranssi Pazuzu - Värähtelijä
[2016 - Finland - Black / Psychedelic - Song pick: Vasemman Käden Hierarkia] - The most personally enjoyable rendition of their twisted psychedelic black metal sound on record to date, the disorienting guitars, off-kilter songwriting and lengthy explorations make for quite the hypnotic listening experience.
142. The Ocean - Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic
[2018 - Germany - Post-Metal / Progressive - Song pick: Permian: The Great Dying] - Sustaining the momentum from their great leap forward on Pelagial, it's not as essential a listening experience as its predecessor, but the likes of Permian: The Great Dying and the more melancholy Katatonia collaboration Devonian: Nascent are similarly enchanting.
143. Blind Guardian - At The Edge Of Time
[2010 - Germany - Power - Song pick: Sacred Worlds] - Bookended by its standout tracks, the lengthy Sacred Worlds and Wheel Of Time, the remaining tracks don't rank among their best, but possess that irresistible signature Blind Guardian dramatic flair and multi-layered vocals.
144. Perturbator - The Uncanny Valley
[2016 - France - Synthwave - Song pick: Neo Tokyo] - Electronic music that almost feels designed to appeal to metal listeners, the pulsating energy of Neo Tokyo and the Akira-inspired cyberpunk vibe that pervades the entire album is infectious.
145. Death Grips - Bottomless Pit
[2016 - USA - Hip-Hop - Song pick: Ring A Bell] - Again, hip-hop that almost feels designed to appeal to metal listeners, particularly with the Ministry-esque opening riff to Giving Bad People Good Ideas, the savage energy on the likes of Hot Head, Bubbles Buried In The Jungle and Ring A Bell is full-on mosh-worthy. The more playful songs such as Eh and Trash are similarly entertaining.
146. Arctic Sleep - Passage Of Gaia
[2014 - USA - Post-Metal / Metalgaze - Song pick: Hyperion] - Imbued with a sedate grandeur, the ponderous, shimmering riffs and calm vocals conjure up a unique sound. Hyperion makes for a nice change of pace midway through the album, with its more driven, faster riffs.
147. Amenra - Mass V
[2012 - Belgium - Post-Metal - Song pick: Boden] - The opening chimes to Boden would've made for as great an album opener as they do concert openers, but the song still makes for great listening at place 2 on the tracklist. A Scott Kelly cameo at the end aside, the album follows the conventional Amenra template, with all the high quality one would expect to come with that.
148. Horrendous - Ecdysis
[2014 - USA - Death - Song pick: The Stranger] - OSDM for a modern age, this has the gnarly production, sharp riffs and dirty gutturals of the classic death metal bands, but an added sense of melody to go with it, demonstrated keenly with the extended solo section of opener The Stranger.
149. Cattle Decapitation - Monolith Of Inhumanity
[2012 - USA - Death / Grind - Song pick: Kingdom Of Tyrants] - About as close to grindcore as I can get whilst enjoying it, this album saw the sickly Travis Ryan cleans employed album-wide to great effect. The Anthropocene Extinction is probably a more enjoyable listen throughout for me, but the individual highlights of A Living Breathing Piece, Lifestalker, Your Disposal and Kingdom Of Tyrants means Monolith Of Inhumanity just edges it out.
150. Periphery - Periphery IV: HAIL STAN
[2019 - USA - Djent / Metalcore / Progressive - Song pick: Reptile] - Rounding off the list, I spent a long time debating whether an album as uneven as this was worthy of a place, as I still don't particularly care for CHVRCH BURNER, It's Only Smiles or Follow Your Ghost, but the likes of Blood Eagle and Crush are consistently enjoyable, and nothing outside of Cult Of Luna has satisfied me the way Reptile, Garden In The Bones and the second half of Satellites have in 2019, so on balance it probably just about merits a place.

Disclaimer: All top lists are unofficial and do not represent the point of view of the MS Staff.
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Comments: 12   Visited by: 91 users
27.12.2019 - 22:39
I worked out some 'stats' for this list, because I have nothing better to do with my time apparently:

I gave points for each album, with album number 1 with 150 points down to 1 point for album number 150. The scores for the years are as follows:
2010 - 810 points (10 albums)
2011 - 1277 points (16 albums)
2012 - 1361 points (19 albums)
2013 - 1895 points (20 albums)
2014 - 1290 points (18 albums)
2015 - 1285 points (16 albums)
2016 - 1092 points (17 albums)
2017 - 1140 points (15 albums)
2018 - 813 points (12 albums)
2019 - 362 points (7 albums)

This matches up with the feeling that I had that a lot of albums I felt strongly positive towards came out in 2012-2014, which tailed off towards the end of the decade, with 2019 being a particularly underwhelming year - it may be that with more time, more albums will make impacts, but I also feel that some of the albums I did include from this year (Schammasch, Bees Made Honey, Disilluion and Tool) were partly on the expectation that I can see myself warming to them with more time, whilst they may even end up falling down in my estimation.

Top 10 countries:
1. USA (42 albums)
2. UK (14 albums)
3. Norway (11 albums)
4. Finland (10 albums)
5. Poland (9 albums - higher positioned top ranked album in this list with Weedpecker - Weedpecker)
6. Germany (9 albums)
7. Sweden (8 albums - higher positioned top ranked album in this list with Cult Of Luna - Vertikal)
8. France (8 albums)
9. Australia (7 albums)
10. Switzerland (6 albums)

Top 5 sub-genres (pretty much what I expected given how I rank my relative preferences):
1. Progressive
2. Black
3. Post-Metal
4. Melodeath
5. Stoner

Bands with multiple appearances:
4 albums - Amorphis, Between The Buried And Me, Enslaved
3 albums - Sylosis, Cult Of Luna, Weedpecker, Periphery, Protest The Hero, Abigail Williams, Leprous, Schammasch, Mastodon
2 albums - Be'lakor, Persefone, Nero Di Marte, Moonsorrow, The Ocean, Dirge, Fallujah, Ne Obliviscaris, Omnium Gatherum, Ortega, Elder, Agalloch, When Icarus Falls, Intronaut, Slugdge, Amenra
This means there are 107 unique artists on this list according to my calculations.

Finally, a comparison with my half-decade top 100.
Albums from my 2010-2014 half-decade list in the top 100 of this list: 45
Albums from between 2010-2014 in the top 100 of this list that weren't on the half-decade list: 5 (Monuments - The Amanuensis; Anathema - Weather Systems; Triosphere - The Heart Of The Matter; Leprous - Coal; Obscure Sphinx - Void Mother)
27.12.2019 - 23:57
Mad props for the huge effort put into this list (and the accompanying stats,) I can't imagine myself writing descriptions for every album on my potentially upcoming list.

Enslaved - RIITIIR
Song pick: Roots Of The Mountain

You're god damn right. I would have been disappointed had you picked any other song (even though I think it's a solid album overall and have come to really love it recently, almost as much as Axioma)
And the tears that we will weep today
Will all be washed away
By the tears that we will weep again tomorrow
28.12.2019 - 00:08
Honestly, you wanted to do a 100 albums list but you couldn't bring yourself to exclude the next 50?
Jusqu'ici, tout va bien...

2021 goodies
28.12.2019 - 00:57
Written by Zap on 27.12.2019 at 23:57

Mad props for the huge effort put into this list (and the accompanying stats,) I can't imagine myself writing descriptions for every album on my potentially upcoming list.

I was beginning to regret it around album number 50, but persevered for completionist's sake.

Written by Zap on 27.12.2019 at 23:57

Enslaved - RIITIIR
Song pick: Roots Of The Mountain

You're god damn right. I would have been disappointed had you picked any other song (even though I think it's a solid album overall and have come to really love it recently, almost as much as Axioma)

I was vaguely considering Thoughts Like Hammers, but realistically Roots Of The Mountain was the only real option. It seems to have been the main song from that album to become a live staple based on the times I've seen them, which is nice.
28.12.2019 - 00:59
Written by RaduP on 28.12.2019 at 00:08

Honestly, you wanted to do a 100 albums list but you couldn't bring yourself to exclude the next 50?

Naturally - I was going to make it a top 125 cos I couldn't narrow it down to 100, and then decided to round it out to 150. There's probably a few towards the end that are a bit unnecessary to include but at least I feel I've given credit to every album I think deserves it.
28.12.2019 - 14:24
Written by musclassia on 28.12.2019 at 00:57

I was vaguely considering Thoughts Like Hammers, but realistically Roots Of The Mountain was the only real option. It seems to have been the main song from that album to become a live staple based on the times I've seen them, which is nice.

They never played it when I saw them live
And the tears that we will weep today
Will all be washed away
By the tears that we will weep again tomorrow
28.12.2019 - 17:35
Written by Zap on 28.12.2019 at 14:24

Written by musclassia on 28.12.2019 at 00:57

I was vaguely considering Thoughts Like Hammers, but realistically Roots Of The Mountain was the only real option. It seems to have been the main song from that album to become a live staple based on the times I've seen them, which is nice.

They never played it when I saw them live

Ah really? I think I've seen it 4 times now
03.01.2020 - 22:41
Account deleted
Written by musclassia on 27.12.2019 at 22:39

I worked out some 'stats' for this list, because I have nothing better to do with my time apparently:

How about gender? Seems to be lots of men here.
03.01.2020 - 22:58
Written by Guest on 03.01.2020 at 22:41

Written by musclassia on 27.12.2019 at 22:39

I worked out some 'stats' for this list, because I have nothing better to do with my time apparently:

How about gender? Seems to be lots of men here.

I count at least 11 women (one member from 6, 17, 18, 50, 52, 57, 65, 90, 94, 106 and 125), in addition to backing singers (e.g. Skuggsja), guest appearances (e.g. on one of the songs on Path Of Eight), and members that I don't know (I don't know every member of every band). If there's 150 albums here, and probably an average of about 5 members in a band, we're looking at (11/750=) ~1.5% of the musicians who made this list being female. Given that it's >90% metal, I guess it would be interesting to see how that percentage compares with the overall gender split of musicians in metal bands - based on my experiences of going to gigs, it's probably not all that far off.

Edit: Actually, there's 150 albums, but 107 bands, accounting for band member changes, let's say there's the equivalent of 115 bands, it's closer to ~1.9%, a huge increase.
03.01.2020 - 23:11
Account deleted
Written by musclassia on 03.01.2020 at 22:58

Written by Guest on 03.01.2020 at 22:41

Written by musclassia on 27.12.2019 at 22:39

I worked out some 'stats' for this list, because I have nothing better to do with my time apparently:

How about gender? Seems to be lots of men here.

I count at least 11 women (one member from 6, 17, 18, 50, 52, 57, 65, 90, 94, 106 and 125), in addition to backing singers (e.g. Skuggsja), guest appearances (e.g. on one of the songs on Path Of Eight), and members that I don't know (I don't know every member of every band). If there's 150 albums here, and probably an average of about 5 members in a band, we're looking at (11/750=) ~1.5% of the musicians who made this list being female. Given that it's >90% metal, I guess it would be interesting to see how that percentage compares with the overall gender split of musicians in metal bands - based on my experiences of going to gigs, it's probably not all that far off.

Thats not bad. But you should have put Lingua Ignota in here as they are 100% female that would have been 0,75% just in one band and things had then looked a bit better. Maybe the title should be "more manly", instead of adult? I actually think thats a very cool title "150 Albums To Become More Manly To".
15.05.2020 - 17:45
No Meshuggah or did I just missed 'em ?

Otherwise a pretty impressive list, although I'm not that much into melodeath myself. Some nice post and atmo black choices I picked up.
Avantgarde / Oriental Black; Psychedelic / Stoner; Post / Sludge; Djent / Prog; Jazz Rock / Metal / Fusion / Cool Jazz; Ambient / Ambient Techno
15.05.2020 - 18:51
Written by Witchslayer on 15.05.2020 at 17:45

No Meshuggah or did I just missed 'em ?

Otherwise a pretty impressive list, although I'm not that much into melodeath myself. Some nice post and atmo black choices I picked up.

I'll be honest, Meshuggah are impressive but not quite my thing - I like Bleed and Rational Gaze, and a few songs outside of those, but I don't listen to them regularly, and I don't listen to Koloss or The Violent Sleep Of Reason at all really (Demiurge once in a blue moon I guess). I've seen them twice live and had a kickass time both times, so they're more of a live band for me.

Yeah there's a decent melodeath presence here, but it's a moderately varied list so hopefully there should be a few enjoyable things to discover in there, glad it sounds like you found a couple of good discoveries.

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