And so the countdown continues!
Today we unveil the next ten albums in the Roadrunner Records Album of the 21st Century – voted for by you with a mammoth 30,000 votes – and already stirring up a debate on our official Facebook page. Make sure you let us know your views on the list so far too!
Below, we present #20 down to #11 (you can check out #30 – #21 by clicking here). Check back for the top ten countdown over the next few days.
Oakland bruisers Machine Head eschewed the nu-metal leanings of their two previous albums ‘The Burning Red’ and ‘Supercharger’ to return to their more traditional metal roots on this, their fifth album. Notably, the album features the debut of current six-stringer Phil Demmel (in a recording if not a songwriting capacity), and paved the way for the band to further explore more intricate arrangements which have become a staple of Machine Head’s music ever since.
Megadeth’s ‘Endgame’ – their twelfth studio album and tenth to enter the Billboard top 10 – was an artistic and critical success, delivering on promises from their crunching Roadrunner debut ‘United Abominations’ and turning the heat up even further. As with anything in which Dave Mustaine involves himself, the fretwork is faster than Chris Rock’s wit, the vocals are at their snarling best and the subject matter is as gloriously dark as ever. A true MegaClassic.
The fans say… “‘Shogun’ changed my views on music forever, it was the first album that I got introduced to by Trivium and that in return introduced me to many more heavier bands.” Luuk Derksen
With frontman Matt Heafy further opening the door of the band’s studio to his Japanese heritage, ‘Shogun’ represented a major step forward for Trivium, with the band openly stating at the time their intention to explore new ideas – underlined by their switch to a new producer in Nick Raskulinecz (Deftones, Foo Fighters, Marilyn Manson). Fans and critics recognised the album’s more accomplished songwriting, further confirming the band as one of American metal’s big hitters.
The fans say…
“There isn’t a song on that album that I like less than any other song on that album. I can listen through the whole album without feeling “God, I’ve heard this song so many times and I don’t feel like listening to it again”. What I like about the album is that it has the heaviness of ’30/30-150′ and the sweetness of ‘Through Glass’.” Felix Westerblom
When Slipknot’s Corey Taylor and Jim Root decided to resurrect their pre-Slipknot outfit Stone Sour, fans were understandably intrigued, even a little dubious. After a solid debut, the band made huge artistic advances, seemingly finding their feet in an arguably more mature songwriting environment, and coming up with an album of real variety. From the metallic thunder of ’30/30-150′ to the gloriously epic ‘Bother’, ‘Come What(ever) May’ hushed the doubters and put more fuel in the tank of Corey Taylor’s drive to superstardom.
The fans say…
“I discovered Trivium in August at Wacken and from the first second of “In Waves” – their first song on stage – I knew this would change my world.” Daniela Vogel
If writing a fifth album could be considered a bull, Trivium not only grabbed it by the horns – they swung it round their heads, kicked it in the ass and danced round its corpse. ‘In Waves’ was the result – and while it has not been available to fans for long, it has been received with such ferocious positivity it’s clear the band got this one just right. With new approaches to writing and vocal delivery, a strong visual concept and a new drummer in Nick Augusto, Matt Heafy’s men are looking towards a very strong future indeed.
The fans say…
“It means a lot to mean when a band like Opeth creates something like this. It’s a very personable album, they really went out on a limb and did something they feel passionate about, and they shared it with all of us.” Darrin King
Taking the brave step of dropping the growls – and pretty much all the metal – from their previously growl-heavy prog metal, Swedish legends Opeth were left with just the prog bit. But what a bit it is. An album of such depth and innovation – and yet somehow feeling like the soundtrack to the best 70s heist movie you’ve never seen – ‘Heritage’ turned fans’ expectations upside down, reminding all of us not to get too comfortable – this is one band that refuses to rest on its laurels.
Staind’s second album for Roadrunner – and seventh in a career that has outlasted many of their peers, borne as much from their dogged insistence to avoid pigeonholing as it is from their rabid fanbase – ‘Staind’ is a return to the band’s heavier early days, and an artistic triumph. Blasting out the blocks with ‘Eyes Wide Open’, stopping off at the nu-metal anthem that is ‘Wannabe’ and rounding out with a raw acoustic number, the album is testament to Aaron Lewis’ toweringly soulful voice and to the staying power of one of America’s hardiest rock bands.
Just months before the release of ‘A Dramatic Turn of Events’, it wouldn’t have taken too much pessimism to be concerned for Dream Theater’s future, following the well documented exit of drummer and founding member Mike Portnoy – but fans needn’t have worried. Signing up New Yoik drummer Mike Mangini, the band knuckled down to some good hard graft and put together one of the best albums of their long and storied career – making a stop in the UK top 20 and US top 10 for good measure.
The fans say… “Because it’s an album that showcases a band that can evolve their sound. They keep getting better and better and “Fear of a Blank Planet” has so much emotion and musicianship it is astounding.” Kristoffer Witt
The fans say… “One of the best examples of modern Progressive metal to come around in a few years beautiful concept great flow.” Justin Emond
Based around the twin themes of coming to terms with information technology and racial discrimination in the modern world, Porcupine Tree’s ‘Fear of a Blank Planet’ – with its nod to Public Enemy’s album of almost the same name – was the band’s most successful to date when it hit stores in 2007. With a focus on the band’s trademark songwriting style and thought-provoking lyrical content, the album charted well internationally, with Steven Wilson’s men heralded from all corners of the music press and the album featured as one of the best of the year by dozens of magazines and websites.
The fans say… “It just kicks ass. Progressive, melodic, heavy as fuck. It’s got it all.” Dean Philip Kirkman
The fans say… “The darkest, most powerful record I’ve ever heard in my life. Every beat of Axe’s drumming is brilliant and flawless, and Mikael’s vocals are darker and and more moving than in anything else. It’s one of those albums you can listen to from start to finish and feel like you’ve just partaken on an epic journey, and loved every single bit of it.” Braden Whitaker
Before this year’s ‘Heritage’, Opeth were – make no mistake – very much a prog metal band. With ‘Watershed’, the band debuted guitarist Fredrik Akesson and drummer Martin Axenrot to devastating effect, with Mikael Akerfeldt conducting his orchestra of delightfully twisted progression, giving fans an album that remains revered. Perhaps nowhere was the respect afforded to ‘Watershed’ more apparent than by a review in the hallowed pages of the New York Times, and a silver medal in Metal Hammer’s Critic’s Choice Top 50 for 2008. If ever there was an apt title for an album, this must be it.