Best Albums of the Decade (2010-2019)

Cornfed Hick

Ancient Mariner
The new-millennium Roaring Twenties are just around the corner, and it is the time when a bunch of publications list their top albums of the decade. This is a forum for you to do the same. Give us your TEN (10) best albums of the decade. If you need to make a longer list, no one is stopping you. Give it some thought. I am not ready to do my own list yet, but will try to get to it over the Thanksgiving holiday. In the meantime, I have curated a few published lists for your edification and entertainment. Feel free to make snarky comments. Some of these lists are pretty much critic-darling pop music that aren't really in this forum's wheelhouse, but I have also tried to find a few hard rock and metal lists, as those would presumably be of greater interest here.

I also am using this opportunity to plug the woefully under-appreciated and under-utilized "Best New Music of 2019" thread, in which you can share your favorite releases this year. It's a good resource for gifts for your friends and loved ones!

Here are links to the published lists:

Mainstream Lists
Time Magazine (Top 10) (Top 100 -- I have to say, I am pleasantly surprised by their completely awesome choice at #4)
Billboard (Top 100)
Consequence of Sound (Top 100)
Pitchfork (Top 200 -- come on, Pitchfork, show some editorial restraint!)
Rolling Stone (Top 100)
NME (Top 100)

Hard Rock/Metal Lists
AllMusic - Metal
Loudwire - Metal (Top 66)
Loudwire - Rock (Top 66)
Metalsucks (Top 25)
Consequence of Sound - Metal (Top 25)
Metal Storm (Top 100)
DigitalDreamDoor (Best 10 in each year)

I reserve the right to amend this post to add more lists as they pop up. If you find additional good lists, feel free to send me the links, or just post them below. But more interested in your own lists, preferably with brief explanations if they are lesser-known releases (i.e., not by Maiden, Metallica, Priest, etc.).

Happy Holidays,
Cornfed Hick
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Educated Fool
No live albums or compilations. Just one album per band.

1: Pain of Salvation - In the passing light of day
Perfect album and a mighy comeback by this brilliant Swedish band. The title track, On a Tuesday, Meaningless, Full throttle tribe...fantastic songs! Great production. Love everything this band has done, but this is their best since BE.

2. Battle Beast - Battle Beast
Heavy power metal done perfect. Its brilliant. Great band, but the s/t is my favorite.

3. Wintersun - Time I
High expectations for this one before it came out. A bit short and I miss part II, but the first is very, very good.

4. Edguy - Age of the joker
Solid album after a slighty different Tinnitus sanctus. Toby sings really good, and is has fast songs, rockin' songs, a nice ballad, doom, melodic. Space police was very good, but this one a bit better I think.

5.Stratovarius - Nemesis
a classic just like Episode and Visions. The third album without Tolkki, and finally they found their new sound. I really like the songs Fantasy, Castles in the air and Unbreakable.

6. Cain’s Offering - Stormcrow
Another Kotipelto album, but this one is one of the best from the 2010's. Not as good as the debut, but Jani Liimatainen have become a more experienced writer and performer.

7. Ayreon - The source
Arjen is brilliant as always, superb production and great performances. But there are actually a bit too much vocals I think...

8.Sabaton - Carolus Rex
Good band, and this is their best album. The title track is king. Great Abyss production yet again!

9.Star One - Victims of the modern world
A much better follow up to Space metal. Downtuned seven strings guitars, crazy Hammond organs, powerful vocals. Ed Warby' best performance in years

10. Steven Wilson - The raven that refused to sing
Mr Wilson have become a great storyteller for once. Nice to hear some prog again. Luminol is one of my favorite songs during the last years. Nice Mellotron work on this album


Ancient Mariner
TEN albums?! I'm not sure I could name that many albums from the last decade.. Well I could, but honestly the last years I rarely listen to full albums by any artist or band so making a list is impossible.

Off the top of my head these five albums are really strong.

Accept - Blood of the Nations
Iron Maiden - The Book of Souls
Judas Priest - Firepower
Sabaton - Carolus Rex
Taylor Swift - 1989


Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
Yea, isn’t Iron Maiden that band of dinosaurs that has been riding Raven Age’s coattails recently?

Edit: I have been working on a list the past few days. Picking ten for the whole decade is hard! Going to try and do one per year.


Dominus et deus
Staff member
I'll write a blurb for these later, but here's my preliminary list. Just to keep it interesting, I stuck with one album per artist.

10. Visigoth - The Revenant King (2015)
9. Nocturnal Breed - Napalm Nights (2014)
8. Iced Earth - Incorruptible (2017)
7. Alter Bridge - Fortress (2013)
6. Enforcer - From Beyond (2015)
5. Grand Magus - Triumph and Power (2014)
4. Primordial - Where Greater Men Have Fallen (2014)
3. Iron Maiden - The Book of Souls (2015)
2. Moonsorrow - Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleiden Maassa (2011)
1. Atlantean Kodex - The White Goddess (2013)

Just to be sure, this is not the result of an objective evaluation of all 135,271 albums released in the last ten years, but purely the first ten that sprung to mind as the ones I enjoyed and listened to the most.


Pica Serdica
Off the top of my head, one album per band, and realizing I haven't really listened to much new music this decade:

Negură Bunget - Măiestrit (2010) (not sure it qualifies but a great album anyway)*
Dordeduh - Dar De Duh (2012)
Enslaved - RIITIR (2012)
My Dying Bride - A Map Of All Our Failures (2012)
Ahab - The Giant (2012)
Triptykon - Melana Chasmata (2014)
Dark Millenium - Midnight In The Void (2016)
V1 - Armageddon: End Of The Beginning (2017)
Primordial - Exile Among The Ruins (2018)
Darkthrone - Old Star (2019)

* In case it doesn't: Venom Inc. - Avé (2017)


My sins are many
I’d have to spend a lot of time relistening in order to rank these, so I’ll just share my top 10 in order of release.

Mekong Delta - Wanderer On The Edge Of Time (2010): An eclectic whirlwind of progressive rock and metal that manages to be both chaotic and coherent. Copious musical interludes run the gamut from solo acoustic pieces to crushing riffs played with mechanical precision. Every song sounds a bit different, bouncing between 70s Genesis, Dream Theater, progressive thrash, and more. On paper it sounds like it would be a mess, but it totally works. I love it.

Primal Rock Rebellion - Awoken Broken (2012): Adrian Smith’s collaboration with Mikee Goodman of Sikth is both brutal and deeply melodic, and is likely Adrian’s best work as a solo artist. Consistently surprising and satisfying, and an essential listen if the vocals don’t turn you off.

Rush - Clockwork Angels (2012): The final studio offering from this legendary progressive rock band is a great concept album with an interesting story. I‘m still in denial over the band calling it quits, but if they had to bow out, this was a fitting swan song.

Powerwolf - Preachers Of The Night (2013): While I prefer the gothic trad-metal stylings of Lupus Dei, I think that Preachers Of The Night is by far the best album in the band’s power metal style. Consistently catchy with great performances all around.

Sweet & Lynch - Only To Rise (2015): George Lynch of Dokken and Michael Sweet of Stryper come together to deliver the closest thing I’ve heard to the classic Dokken / Lynch Mob sound since the early 1990s. Lynch delivers the goods here, and Sweet can still hit the high notes. Great stuff if you enjoy this style of music.

Iron Maiden - The Book Of Souls (2015): The second-best album of the reunion era, brimming with good-to-great tracks.

Metallica - Hardwired...To Self-Destruct (2016): Thank god Kirk Hammett lost his phone, because when Hetfield writes all the songs we get the band’s best album since ...And Justice For All. I think this is the first Metallica album to find the right balance between the black album’s simplistic power and the classic era’s brutality and intricacy. While the album could stand to trim a couple of weaker tracks, most of it is a great return to form that actually feels honest, unlike Death Magnetic which felt forced to me.

Ball Noir - Lost Serenades (2017): The sophomore album from this Dutch folk metal band strikes the perfect balance between folk and metal, incorporating harp, hurdy-gurdy, and bass clarinet alongside the electric guitars. The vocals are almost entirely clean, and the music is consistently haunting and catchy.

LEAH - The Quest (2018): Lush symphonic folk metal with a Celtic twist (think Enya meets Evanescence). The songs aren’t afraid to go soft, but they’re also not afraid to break into blistering guitar solos. The entire album is great, and definitely the best of LEAH’s offerings to date.

Queensrÿche - The Verdict (2019): By far the best album from the Todd LaTorre era of the band, featuring great songwriting and performances throughout. I’m actually excited about this band again.

Honorable mentions:

Ratt - Infestation (2010): Their best album since Out Of The Cellar. “Last Call” and “Eat Me Up Alive” are particularly great.

Operation: Mindcrime - The Key (2015): Geoff Tate’s best album since leaving Queensrÿche. It has a few weaker tracks, but the story is compelling and there’s a lot of strong material here.

Megadeth - Dystopia (2016): The lyrics make you feel like you’re listening to the worst of Fox News, but the music is pretty great. Their best album since Endgame.

Skyclad - Forward Into The Past (2017): The original folk metal band delivers the best of their post-Walkyier albums.

Sons Of Apollo - Psychotic Symphony (2017): The debut of yet another Mike Portnoy band was actually pretty special this time, featuring top shelf progressive musicianship and great vocals from Jeff Scott Soto. Looking forward to the follow-up in 2020.

Judas Priest - Firepower (2018): This one missed my top 10 by just a hair. Great songs, great production, and only a few weaker tracks. Definitely their best since Nostradamus, and possibly their best since Painkiller.

Aegonia - The Forgotten Song (2019): This melancholy folk metal band from Bulgaria delivers a thoughtful, well-crafted concept album for their debut. There’s a mix of extreme and clean vocals, but the extreme vocals aren’t abrasive (they’re more like a husky whisper). Lots of extended musical interludes create a great atmosphere.

Black Wizard

Pleb Hunter
What's up with people having to add honourable mentions to every list they make? Be more decisive people.

I don't have time to think about my favourite albums of the decade right now, but these are my top 10 most listened to artists on Spotify since I signed up in 2015:

Alter Bridge
Within Temptation
Beyond the Black
Cellar Darling
Killswitch Engage

Not great for gender equality. Only three male-fronted bands. :nonono:


My sins are many
What's up with people having to add honourable mentions to every list they make? Be more decisive people.
Well, chopping it down to 10 was being decisive. Just sharing the other ones that were still in contention at the end...

The Flash

Dennis Wilcock did 9/11
Most of the time I spend listening to new albums goes to exploring the past, rather than keeping up with the current. I am therefore choosing from a relatively smaller pool of albums here. I'm impressed by how stylistically diverse this list turned out to be, it wasn't by intention.

1. Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp a Butterfly (2015)

It's surprising to me that a hiphop record takes the crown as my favorite album of the decade, but no other album from this decade that I've heard offers the sonic and lyrical experience this album does. Kendrick pours clever lyrics, a compelling theme and passionate performances onto a sonic background of jazz, funk and hiphop influences, crafting one of the greatest hiphop albums of all-time. I would also credit this album -along with Wu-Tang Clan's 36 Chambers- for solidifying hiphop's status for me as a music listener, as discovering them pushed me towards checking out more stuff.

2. Opeth - Heritage (2011)

Heritage is a very divisive record. It's not just because it initiated the band's transition to a retro 70s prog/hard rock sound, but also because it stands out as different even among the albums of the Newpeth era. Heritage had just come out when I was first discovering Opeth and I had fallen in love with the band before arriving at Heritage. I thought it was a great record then, and I still do now. It's quieter, more subtle, but has so many exciting moments and well-crafted, flowing tunes. I maintain that it's the best album of the Newpeth era.

3. Iron Maiden - The Final Frontier (2010)

The Final Frontier was the first Iron Maiden album to come out after I had become an Iron Maiden fan, and really, more passionate about music overall, it also happens to be the first album I bought a physical copy of upon its release. I was blown away by it when it came out, and it ranked as one of my favorites from the band overall. While it failed to hold on to its ranking in the discography over the years due to it being a bit overlong, its spacey atmosphere, proggier tunes and delicate melodies make it a special one nonetheless.

4. Lorde - Pure Heroine (2013)

A pop album by a 17 year old is clearly not something to be dismissed in prejudice. Pure Heroine is a diamond in the rough of pop music with its fresh brand of minimalism combining atmospheric electronic sounds with Lorde's dark voice and lyricism. The album doesn't turn into a filler-fest like many pop albums do, goes beyond its excellent singles and offers a cohesive, memorable experience throughout. One of the more impressive debuts for a young artist out there, not just for this decade but in general.

5. Opeth - Pale Communion (2014)

Pale Communion was the first Opeth album to come out after they had become one of my favorite bands. My current opinion of it is similar to my initial reception: Very good but not as good as Heritage. It maintains the sound that appeared on Heritage but takes it to a more Opethian direction, there's greater sentimentality on this one than on its predecessor and there's less subtlety. The jazz fusion of Heritage is mostly diminished and replaced with more emphasis on retro 70s prog. Its strengths are similar though, well-crafted tunes and great playing.

6. Primal Rock Rebellion - Awoken Broken (2012)

This collaborative effort went criminally under the radar and failed to gain the attention it deserved even among the fans of the collaborators' respective bands, Iron Maiden and SikTh. Many Maiden fans were turned off by Mikee Goodman's unique vocals, and many SikTh fans were turned off by the melodic element Adrian Smith brought to the table. For me, it was an excellent clash of contrasting styles that produced a powerful, catchy and atmospheric alternative metal record. I do wonder how it would be received if it wasn't a one-off side-project.

7. Kendrick Lamar - Good Kid, M.A.A.D City (2012)

This album was the predecessor to To Pimp a Butterfly, but I checked it out long after I had heard its successor. It's an entirely different experience, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City has a more direct approach and is more in-tune with modern hiphop sensibilities. Its instrumentals are simple but atmospheric, punchy and effective. Kendrick delivers excellent lyricism on this one as well, while also manipulating his voice to let his lyrics take on different characters. Also, if you're looking for catchiness in hiphop, this one delivers the goods.

8. Meshuggah - Koloss (2012)

Meshuggah is a truly unique and impressive band. I've enjoyed most of the stuff they've done, though finding a stand-out album is quite difficult. Out of the two albums they put out in this decade, Koloss is the one I prefer, due to its greater emphasis on catchy grooves and primal brutality. It's an album that truly punches you in the face, except it feels good. I do appreciate it when Meshuggah lives up to the band's name and goes for craziness, but it is when they find the right balance between that craziness and hard-hitting catchiness that they are at their best.

9. Animals as Leaders - The Joy of Motion (2014)

Animals as Leaders has a unique sound, one many would be dismissive of. They don't have lyrics and many times they don't have a lot going in the way of hooks and their compositions play like controlled chaos. The Joy of Motion is the best display of their strengths as a band, it doesn't compromise from craziness but it's also not lacking in catchy moments. It features the funkier side of the band to a great extent, which I appreciate quite a bit. Tosin Abasi thumping away on his many-stringed guitars backed up by excellent drumming is a joy to listen to.

10. Alcest - Les Voyages de l'Âme (2012)

Les Voyages de l'Âme features a blend of three of the most atmospheric genres music has to offer: Black metal, shoegaze and post-rock. Naturally, the result is a very atmospheric album, but that isn't all it has to offer. The album features some excellent melodic riffs, haunting clean and harsh vocals and well-flowing compositions. It features many interludes and transitions, but they are executed very well. The dynamics work well, though the album generally more on the melodic side than heavy. The lyrics are in French, and I haven't bothered to check their translations.


Out of the Silent Planet
I tried one album per band, but I couldn't find 10 albums, so here's my list:

Iron Maiden - The Final Frontier (2010)
Underrated album. Has some really amazing songs on it.

Iron Maiden - The Book Of Souls (2015)
Great album from start to finish. No fillers. One of the best reunion albums from the band.

Judas Priest - Redeemer Of Souls (2014)
Half of the songs are good songs, but the others are top-notch Priest material - ''Halls Of Valhalla'' and ''Battle Cry'' are classics. The 5 bonus songs are also very good. Overall, it's a great album covering all the styles of the past albums of the band.

Judas Priest - Firepower (2018)
Amazing album. No fillers. Their best since Painkiller.

Accept - Blind Rage (2014)
The best album with Mark Tornillo. Only 2 fillers from 11 songs! Classic Accept.

Saxon - Sacrifice (2013)
Great modern day Saxon album. Well balanced. Heavy but at the same time melodic with great riffs.

HammerFall - (r)Evolution (2014)
Probably the most underrated album from them. ''Return to form'' album for the band. Only 2 fillers from 11 songs! The bonus song ''Demonized'' is top-notch as well.

Blaze Bayley - Endure And Survive (Infinite Entanglement Part II) (2017)
The best album from his ''Trilogy''. The first part was also great, but this one has more strong songs.

U.D.O. - Steelfactory (2018)
I love the huge Accept feel to this album. Classic heavy metal! Only 2 fillers from 13 songs! Best solo album from Udo.

Sabaton - The Great War (2019)
Good album. All songs are good-to-great. The title track is awesome.

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
I was gonna write up something about each but the forum deleted it so fuck it. As best as I can tell, this is my Top 10:

10. Inhumano - Torturas de almas oscuras (2014)
9. Metallica - Hardwired... To Self-Destruct (2016)
8. Rammstein - Untitled (2019)
7. Blaze Bayley - Infinite Entanglement (2016)
6. Alestorm - Sunset On The Golden Age (2014)
5. Judas Priest - Firepower (2018)
4. Ahab - The Boats Of The Glen Carrig (2015)
3. Ghost - Prequelle (2018)
2. Iron Maiden - The Book Of Souls (2015)
1. Sabaton - Carolus Rex (2012)

Cornfed Hick

Ancient Mariner
Thanks to all who have posted so far, some of these titles are new to me, will check them out! I also edited my original post to add a few more links to published lists.

Here is my personal list. It took me longer than I thought it would for me to get to it. Goes without saying, but "best" here pretty much means "my favorite," which therefore means mostly rock and metal (with one exception, at #4), so sorry to the hip-hop artists who released critically-acclaimed albums -- not my thing. Only restriction I put on myself is, full-length studio albums of new music only. No "one album per band" restriction, not sure why that's a good idea. I actually came up with 11 favorites, but couldn't bring myself to drop one, so I chickened out and declared a tie at #10.

t10. Blind Guardian - At the Edge of Time
Not consistent throughout, but the highs are awesome. "Sacred Worlds" is one of my favorite metal tracks of all time.

t10. Iron Maiden – The Book of Souls
Should be higher, but too many of the songs are unnecessarily too long. "Empire of the Clouds" and "The Red and the Black" are the worst offenders, but it is a problem throughout. A double-album that didn't need to be one. Still, there are some great moments.

9. Judas Priest - Firepower
Shouldn't be a surprise. Nothing ground-breaking, and not at the level of their late 70s/early 80s masterpieces, but hugely satisfying and lots of fun.

8. Opeth - Pale Communion
Their most consistently excellent album since Ghost Reveries. Akerfelt is a musical genius.

7. Kvelertak - Meir
Party-hard rock with black metal vocals. This is just a fun listen. If it's not heavy enough for you, check out their debut instead. Both albums feature cool cover art from Jon Dyer Baisley of...

6. Baroness - Yellow & Green
They follow Opeth's footsteps and evolve from heavy metal to prog-rock on this terrific double-album. Mature, interesting songwriting, both on the heavy stuff and the softer stuff. (Gray & Gold might have made this list, but I haven't had as much time with it as I would like yet.) As noted, Baisley is not only a great songwriter, he does really cool cover art.

5. Ghost - Prequelle
Ghost is THE rock band of the decade. "Fun" is a theme of my list, and this is their most fun album. You all know "Rats" and "Dance Macabre," but "Life Eternal" is my fave, it's gorgeous.

4. Chvrches - Every Open Eye
Catchy electronic indie pop. According to iTunes, "Keep You On My Side" is my second-most-played song of all-time (#1 is the "Mob Rules" demo version by Sabbath). This is not an error.

3. Kvelertak - Nattesferd
Goddammit, this is too much fun. I play this record a LOT. Gave serious thought to putting it at #1. Best riff-writers out there right now. Seriously, the beginning of this track sounds like Iommi and Geezer:

2. Power Trip - Nightmare Logic
A throwback hybrid of old-school thrash and hardcore punk, this is the album I turn to when I want something really loud and angry (e.g. "Executioner's Tax"). And, oh yeah...FUN!

1. Ghost - Meliora (Deluxe Edition)
Cheating a little here, because "Square Hammer" wasn't on the original studio album, showing up later on the "Popestar" EP. But Ghost got wise and started releasing them together in a deluxe package. "Square Hammer" is brilliantly catchy and overtly satanic, which is hilarious. "Cirice" is the other landmark track, with a heavy riff. Don't sleep on the guitar solos on "He Is," either (linked video is NSFW at the end).

Honorable mention to Metallica, Queens of the Stone Age, Sky Ferreira, Mitzki, Grimes and Wolf Alice. Also, Maiden, Opeth, Ghost and Baroness had other strong releases this decade. Special shout-out to the never-before-released archival material dropped by The Replacements in the last couple years, very very highly recommended.
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Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
Nice call with the Chvrches. I prefer the first album (definitely a top ten contender) but they’re both very good.

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
Don't have a lot of albums from this decade but here are my top 10 based on my ratings. Also Myles Kennedy is really represented here.
  1. Rush - Clockwork Angels
  2. W.A.S.P. - ReIdolized The Soundrack To The Crimson Idol
  3. Alter Bridge - Walk The Sky
  4. Alter Bridge - ABIII
  5. Alter Bridge - Fortress
  6. Iron Maiden - The Book Of Souls
  7. W.A.S.P. - Golgotha
  8. Slash ft Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators - Living The Dream
  9. Alter Bridge - The Last Hero
  10. Slash ft Myles Kennedy And The Conspirators - World On Fire


Ancient Mariner
2010 - Death Angel: Relentless Retribution
2011 - Dream Theater: A Dramatic Turn of Events
2012 - Kreator: Phantom Antichrist
2013 - Alice in Chains: The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here
2014 - Rigor Mortis: Slaves to the Grave
2015 - Iron Maiden: Book of Souls
2016 - Metallica: Self Destruct
2017 - Sons of Apollo: Psychotic Symphony
2018 - Judas Priest : Firepower
2019 - Dream Theater: Distance Over Time