Best Albums of the Decade (2010-2019)

karljant

Ancient Mariner
I think Enslaved's Riitiir is not their best. I far prefer Axioma Ethica Odini, or E. Please revise your lists folks.
Axioma is by far my favorite... but I still put RIITIIR (and even In Times) way above E. Found it kinda boring (yet exceptionaly well played as always)
 
Last edited:

karljant

Ancient Mariner
As I said before I inevitably would forget some albums. First of all this couple of amazing records:
Devin Townsend: Holding Patterns (Ouch! Huge fail! Ok... It's a demo collection but it's so good it would easily be high on the list)
Sadist: Hyaena (Once again how could I forget this? Best prog death metal album in years IMO .... top half of the list for sure)

Then some other that would also appear in lower ranks:
Arctic Monkeys: AM
Myrkur: Mareridt
Garbage: Not Your Kind Of People
Samael: Hegemony
Killing Joke: Pylon
Florence And The Machine: How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
Saul Williams: Martyr Loser King
Terrorizer: Caustic Attack
Chelsea Wolfe: Abyss


And what the hell.... although I'm not mad about these albums I still listened to them a awful lot, so...
Extreme Noise Terror: Extreme Noise Terror
Iron Maiden: The Book Of Souls
Carcass: Surgical Steel
Anthrax: Worship Music
Paradise Lost: Tragic Idol
 
Last edited:

THESEVENTHMARINER

Ancient Mariner
In no particular order:

1. Iron Maiden - The Final Frontier
2. Steven Wilson - Hand. Cannot. Erase
3. Ghost - Meliora
4. Devin Townsend Project - Epicloud
5. Gojira - L'Enfant Sauvage
6. Lewis Capaldi - Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent
7. Rush - Clockwork Angels
8. Powerwolf - The Sacrament of Sin
9. Evil Invaders - Feed Me Violence
10. Ghost - Infestissumam
 

KidInTheDark666

What's yours is mine and what's mine is mine too
1 per artist

1. Hollywood Undead - Notes From the Underground
2. Iron Maiden - The Final Frontier
3. Sabaton - Coat of Arms
4. Deuce - Nine Lives
5. Avenged Sevenfold - Nightmare
6. Metallica - Hardwired to Self-Destruct
7. Megadeth - Dystopia
8. Linkin Park - Living Things
9. Judas Priest - Firepower
10. All Time Low - Future Hearts

Honorable mentions:

Powerwolf - The Sacrament of Sin
Bullet For My Valentine - Fever
Billy Talent - Dead Silence
Papa Roach - The Connection
Battle Beast - Bringer of Pain
Three Days Grace - Transit of Venus
Anthrax - For All Kings
Dream Theater - A Dramatic Turn of Events
 
Last edited:

LooseCannon

Enterprise-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
Been thinking on this one for awhile, so I will try to get the albums in here.

Honourable Mentions:

Amon Amarth -
Berserker - I'm still working on getting into Amon Amarth, but I do like this album rather a lot. I don't have more to say right now other than Crack the Sky always gets my blood pumping.
Alestorm - Sunset on the Golden Age - Easily the best Alestorm album since the debut, with some cracker tracks like Drink, Magnetic North, and 1741 (The Battle of Cartagena).
Blaze Bayley - The Infinite Entanglement Trilogy - The trilogy has too many low points to mention an individual album, but as a trio, the albums are an achievement. Blaze probably reached beyond his grasp, but he got very close to achieving what he wanted to achieve.
Fozzy - Judas - I'm a Chris Jericho mark, and the way the man has built a pretty good metal band out of what was once a joke with some friends is impressive. This album is probably his best yet.
Ghost - Opus Eponymous - The first Ghost album is also one of the more interesting, with weaker tracks, but also some tracks that will linger as a classic for the band.
Iced Earth - Plagues of Babylon - Each Stu Block album has been better than the one before, with Plagues of Babylon representing an interesting middle ground for a much more successful and enjoyable album later in the decade.
Iron Maiden - The Final Frontier - One of the weaker reunion-era albums, but still a great Iron Maiden outing with some stellar tracks on it, The Final Frontier was a lovely way to begin the decade.
Nightwish - Endless Forms Most Beautiful - This was the last album I cut. The Floor Jansen/Troy Donockley era began strong, with a series of really cool and fun tracks that showcase the beauty available in metal songs, but I'm not entirely sure the album gets as powerful as it could be. Hopefully the upcoming album builds on this one.
Sabaton - The Last Stand - The best of the three "new-era" Sabaton albums, this has some tracks guaranteed to be all-time favourites. Heroes came pretty close, as well.
Symphony X - Underworld - Symphony X hasn't been as productive as we might like (could say that about a *lot* of bands on this list) but Underworld was a really damn good album. I wish they'd get some creative momentum rolling, though.

Without further ado:

LooseCannon's Top 10 Albums of the 2010s

10. Blind Guardian - Beyond the Red Mirror (January 30, 2015)


The ninth wave
Sail on till you reach the promised land
We all wait for a new tomorrow
We'll bring a new age
Along with the final wave
The final wave

We will rise

One of the first bands I got into when I got into heavy metal was Blind Guardian. Hansi's unique voice and the driving power riffs buoyed by the progressive-style arrangements really did it for me, and Nightfall Over Middle-Earth has basically been a top 10 album for me since I've heard it. However, the band's offerings since then have emphasized that power origin a little less, every time. The albums felt like they were meandering, although there's still some great tracks.

The first thing I thought when I started listening to The Ninth Wave was "Oh, shit, Blind Guardian is back, and they've figured out the formula!" They found a way to take the progressive, symphonic sound they'd been tinkering with on and off for 15 years and power it with heavy power metal riffs. The opening song is a masterpiece. Some might consider it bloated, but I think it's amazing how it manages to remain interesting throughout a ~10 minute run time. If you want something faster, they follow it up immediately with Twilight of the Gods, which gets back to that late 90s style. Each song packs a vary of power and symphony, achieving the balance that they'd been seeking since A Twist in the Myth.

At this point, if you've been paying attention to Blind Guardian, as I have been, you start to put stuff together, and realize that this is a followup to Imaginations From the Other Side. And then you really get interested. Blind Guardian has always been a band that is interested in lore, and building their own is the next step. Five years later, I still revisit this album from time to time and spend time unpacking what is going on, and linking it back to the sort of stuff previously mentioned on other albums.

This album received universal acclaim and earned it. The Twilight Orchestra followup is not necessarily disappointing, but I would like to see proper Blind Guardian back in the studio - and soon.

Live experiences:
None (Demons & Wizards - Sept 1, Montreal, Quebec, Canada)

9. Rush - Clockwork Angels (June 12, 2012)


Clockwork angels, spread their arms and sing
Synchronized and graceful, they move like living things
Goddesses of Light, of Sea and Sky and Land

Clockwork angels, the people raise their hands - As if to fly...as if to fly.

The final outing from the Canadian masters of progressive rock & metal was one of their heaviest in years, with Geddy Lee and Neil Peart turning to a powerful series of driving rhythm movements mirrored by guitar virtuoso Alex Lifeson's riffs driving along a dark and brooding progressive masterpiece. Not only did this band put together a musical masterpiece, longtime lyricist Neil Peart came up with a stellar concept story for the band's last release, detailing the journey of a man through a steampunk and alchemical universe as he learns about the fascist Watchmaker who dominates life in this dreamscape.

When a band is making their 19th album, you have to question whether or not the band has anything new to say or do. Rush did, and that's one of the things that makes this album so spectacular. Since Rush's reunion in 2001, the band had played it fairly safe, and they seemed to decide to challenge themselves aggressively. Peart wanted to make a concept album, to tell a complete story from stem to stern, and Lifeson and Lee wanted to match that. At one point, they even switched instruments, resulting in the song The Wreckers, a truly magnificent clash of styles.

The title track, the song Caravan, Headlong Flight, and Seven Cities of Gold are particularly notable tracks. Each song has a different feeling, nothing is easily pushed together in a lump, but the entire album certainly has a signature sound. It really is a triumph for the trio from Scarborough.

This album was the best charting album in Rush history - #1 in Canada, #2 in the USA, #4 in Finland & Norway, and got good reviews - but great reviews from rock & metal outlets, who recognized it as the triumph it is, whereas mainstream outlets didn't quite seem to get what made it spectacular.

Live experiences:
July 14, 2013 - Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada - Clockwork Angels Tour

8. Gloryhammer - Tales From the Kingdom of Fife (March 29, 2013)


The forces of darkness
Are invading proud Dundee
They must find a hero

To save its destiny

This band shouldn't be as good as they are. They're the joke side project of a band by a man who runs...what is essentially a joke band. Gloryhammer is a parody of bands like Rhapsody, Rhapsody of Fire, Thundercross, Luca Turilli's Rhapsody, and Turilli / Lione Rhapsody, and yet it surpasses all the bands it riffs upon. Part of that is the absolute insanity of Christopher Bowes's imagination, a seemingly endless pit of wild madness that encompasses all upon it. Part of that is the fact that everyone in this odd band is obviously having a lot of fun, from the over-the-top riffs to the intentionally incorrect English written into the lyrics and admirably delivered by Thomas Winkler. Regardless, the damn fool thing works.

I picked the introductory album for this list as it's brought me a lot of pure joy throughout the years, even if the second half of the album isn't quite as powerful as the first half. The first half, though, has a song that is a cheese metal all-time classic, possibly the best cheese metal song of all time - The Unicorn Invasion of Dundee. This song is batshit insane, and it works, and is fun, and gets everyone happy. Angus McFife and Hail to Crail have also been played on repeat in my home, anyway, for a long time.

Each time Gloryhammer goes out on tour, their sheer joy in being silly has gathered them more and more fans, following the Alestorm path. Christopher Bowes no longer tours with the band, nor does he need to - they're not quite their own thing, they need his lunacy to guide them, but they have a high-functioning five piece that seems to love everything they do. It seems like the band will continue, with their most recent outing, Legends From Beyond the Galactic Terrorvortex, ending with a hint that the next album will come in 2022. I, for one, can't wait.

Live experiences:
July 29, 2018 - Montreal, Quebec, Canada - Heavy Montreal
Sept 22, 2018 - Toronto, Ontario, Canada - Alestorm 2018 North American Tour
June 5, 2019 - Montreal, Quebec, Canada - North American Galactic Terrortour 2019

7. Judas Priest - Firepower (March 9, 2018)


We fight this firepower - petrifies
Firepower - between the eyes
Firepower - mortifies

Firepower - man's demise

Every now and then, a legendary band releases an album that is the virtual equivalent of a wounded soldier looking a friend in the eye, asking to be put out of his misery. Redeemer of Souls was such an album, showcasing a band that had been left creatively bankrupt by the overreach of Nostradamus and the drama surrounding KK Downing's departure (as well as, possibly, being impacted by Glenn Tipton's medical issues). It's fair to say that Judas Priest hadn't been the same since Halford returned, with three albums that hadn't landed particularly well. I found myself thinking, "Boy, I wish someone would put Priest out of their misery."

Lazarus, however, has arisen.

Firepower was a genuine surprise, I remember the first time I heard that driving open riff in the title track, it caught my attention immediately and I knew there was something going on here. The album sucked me in rapidly, with those aggressive guitars leading other killer tracks, like Evil Never Dies, Children of the Sun, and Traitors Gate. While no particular song is a worldkiller on the album, every song is incredibly good, and the ones they played live worked really well live.

Rob Halford sounded great on the album. This is probably the product of carefully protecting his voice during recording as well as the production genius of Andy Sneap, but he sounded great. However, the real story is the maturation of Richie Faulkner to guitar god, his leads dominating the album from stem to stern. Sorry, KK, Richie is probably better than you ever were. Glenn Tipton was diagnosed with Parkinson's shortly after the production was complete, which makes one wonder how long it has been impacting his playing (Sneap, of course, went on tour with the band, and seems to fucking love it, and hey, I think he did good).

The album hit #1 in Czechia and Sweden, topped the US hard rock charts, was #2 in Austria, Germany, Finland, and #3 in Canada, Portugal, and Switzerland. Metacritic gives it a 77/100, but as always, dragged down by reviews from more "traditional" outlets who don't ever seem to give metal a real shake. But perhaps the highest honour done for this album is the fact that people are wondering, for the first time in a long, long time, what Judas Priest will do next.

Live experiences:
March 25, 2018 - Ottawa, Ontario, Canada - Firepower Tour

6. Ghost - Meliora Redux (September 16, 2016)


Are you on the square? Are you on the level?
Are you ready to swear right here, right now - before the devil
That you're on the square, that you're on the level
That you're ready to stand right here, right now

Right here, right now

One of my favourite things about Ghost is introducing them as "Grammy Award-winning Satanic metal band Ghost". Regretfully, one of those words has slowly faded with their more recent releases, but Meliora is still heavy metal. As others before me have done, I am choosing the edition which includes Square Hammer, because, well, Square Hammer is fucking fantastic and deserves to be considered. Easily Ghost's best album, it's also the album by which many people across the world were introduced to the band, including myself.

The reveal of Tobias Forge as the mastermind behind Ghost hasn't lessened the group's mystique at all, thankfully. The band isn't just a group of people playing music - it's an experience designed from the ground up for the live environment, to give Forge a chance to play behind his facepaint and masks and with his nameless ghouls. As a result, Meliora has been carefully crafted, top to bottom, to deliver a powerful live experience. A consistently great album is highlighted by songs such as From the Pinnacle to the Pit, Spirit, He Is, and Mummy Dust, but the centrepiece of the album is the mystical and beautiful Cirice, which has lyrics that also hint at the demonic nature of the band.

However, the addition of the aforementioned Square Hammer completes the album. It has a centrepiece, it has a heavy song, it has some instrumental pieces of note. But Square Hammer gives it that hard rock single that drives a production forward. It remains one of the best songs in Ghost's repertoire, and will take the same place in their canon as a song like Run to the Hills did for Iron Maiden (though which arc the band will follow remains up in the air).

This album got strong Metacritic reviews, with some strong reviews from all over the spectrum, and some weaker reviews from more heavy metal outlets. It charted at #1 in Finland and Sweden, and #2 in Norway and on the UK and US Rock charts, and as previously mentioned, Cirice won the Grammy for Heavy Metal/Hard Rock. Although their followup album, Prequelle, wasn't quite as heavy, it remains to be seen if this is the last truly heavy metal album for Ghost.

Live experiences:
June 15, 2017 - Chicago, Illinois, USA - Popestar Tour
July 15, 2017 - Toronto, Ontario, Canada - Popestar Tour
Dec 7, 2018 - Montreal, Quebec, Canada - A Pale Tour Named Death
Oct 18, 2019 - Ottawa, Ontario, Canada - The Ultimate Tour Named Death

5. Atlantean Kodex - The White Goddess (October 4, 2013)


There are shadows over Athens and Rome still lies in flames
In these days when need is great, there's no heroes there's no saints
But when the night is darkest, Prometheus' torch will burn

And the goddess on a white bull - though she never left - returns

Heavy metal doesn't have to have rapid riffs and blindingly fast guitar solos to be great. It doesn't have to have someone coming up with an experience based on the lyrics. What it does have to do is make a connection to the listener, and Atlantean Kodex is targeted at a specific listener (@Perun) who has the ability to wade through layers of metaphor and find what it is that they need to find within, each song driven by precision and power, each riff a weight for the listener, a cross to bear as they move forward across their emotional and logical landscape.

A combination of doom, epic, and power metal, with deeply thought provoking lyrics about the origin and future of Europe, The White Goddess is a series of songs about the potential of a shared European myth, one long forgotten in the mists of time. Spellbinding in musical construction and lyrical content from beginning to end, this is not an album for someone who does not want to be challenged by what they are listening to. I find it very difficult to listen to this album casually, even when a lone song pops up on shuffle, I find myself sucked into the webs woven therein.

The standout track on the album is Twelve Stars and an Azure Gown, about the titular White Goddess - probably Europa - and serving up a hefty inversion of Greek myth designed to remind the European people that they could be a people together, if they so chose. A deeply political message that predated the modern crisis of European unity that currently rages across the continent. Heresiarch is another monster song, about a god of death and destruction - potentially a Lovecraftian diety, like Nyarlathotep - consuming Atlantis.

I could unpeel layers from this album for days, years, even. It's a genuine masterpiece, and if you want to be challenged, delve in.

4. Iced Earth - Incorruptible (June 16, 2017)


Sons of Erin
Marching gallantly
Into a storm of lead
Forward! Clear the way!
Sons of Erin
Charging valiantly
Across that bloody space

Forward! Clear the way!

Everything I said about post-Ripper Judas Priest applies to Iced Earth. While The Glorious Burden was an up-and-down album, it at least had a masterpiece to build upon. Schaffer's followup were the two Something Wicked albums, the latter of which was so poor that even a reunion with legendary vocalist Matt Barlow couldn't bring it up to something passable. Iced Earth seemed creatively bankrupt, and when Barlow left for a second time, it wasn't hard to imagine the band folding, especially with Schaffer seeming more interested in his Sons of Liberty side project. But Schaffer probably will never stop, so he plucked a death metal singer from Vancouver from the aether - Stu Block.

The first two Stu albums were mixed. Dystopia and Plagues of Babylon had at least one great song each, but a lot of filler, and a lot of uninteresting Iced Earth dreck. With Iced Earth having failed to release a truly great album since 2001, people were concerned that the band was cooked, and had good reason to believe that. Then Incorruptible came, like a battering ram out of the abyss. Jake Dreyer and Luke Appleton as young members provided a hell of a punch alongside Schaffer, and Stu contributed on lyrics and music as well. But mostly, this is Schaffer finding his creative energies again, focusing them with the right people. Stu Block found his voice, and he no longer sounds like a Barlow clone - having taken a few years to grow into the clean vocals required of him for Iced Earth. As a result, Incorruptible is easily the best Iced Earth album since Horror Show, and potentially the best since The Dark Saga.

A killer one-two opening attack with Great Heathen Army and Black Flag greet the listener, and while the next two tracks aren't as great, they aren't filler, either. Perhaps the only song that doesn't quite get to par is Seven Headed Whore, but otherwise? The Relic is a really fun romp, Ghost Dance is a great Iced Earth instrumental in the vein of 1776, and Brothers does the standard Iced Earth sap song very, very well. But just as you're getting to the end of the album, Schaffer hits us with a true masterpiece - Clear the Way (December 13th, 1862). Sometimes it pays to go back to the well, and as he delves into the US Civil War again, Schaffer brings up a tale of bravery wasted, a charge that could never carry the target, and the sacrificial drive of the Irish Brigade to charge Marye's Heights in the Battle of Fredericksburg. The best individual Iced Earth song since the Gettysburg trilogy, Clear the Way alone would be enough to get Incorruptible on this list, but the rest of the album is incredibly strong with at least 2 other all-time Iced Earth classics on it.

This album won the 2017 Metal Storm award for best metal album, and was well reviewed. It didn't chart great, but that's a legacy of the band having some sub-par performances throughout the rest of the 2000s. This could be the beginning of a true resurgence in Iced Earth's legacy, or a swan song. The 2020s will determine that, but for now? Let's enjoy this great, great fucking album.

Live experiences:
February 22, 2018 - Indianapolis, Indiana, USA - Incorruptible World Tour

3. Sabaton - Carolus Rex (May 25, 2012)


I was chosen by heaven
Say my name when you pray
To the skies - see Carolus rise
With the lord my protector
Make them bow to my will
To the skies - see Carolus rise
To the skies - see Carolus rise


When I got into Sabaton around 2012, this was their most recent album, and the final one by the original Sabaton lineup, before the band blew up. Pår and Joakim are the heart of the band, of course, but musically this remains their most complex album, and lyrically, it remains their most ambitious one, for reasons that have only become clearer and clearer to me as I spend time in Sweden. Suffice to say, the legacy of the Swedish Empire in Sweden is quite contentious. Sweden has become progressively more and more divided between people who recognize that the Empire is dead and gone and led to a lot of death and destruction, and between people who believe that the Empire was the apex of Swedish civilization, a time when the people of the north dictated the way of the world. As a result, Karl XII, Carolus Rex, has been vilified and deified by various portions of Swedish society, with the usual blunt political arguments stripping away the intricacies of the man.

Adding to this contentiousness was Sabaton's decision to record this album with lyrics in Swedish and in English. The English lyrics have the traditional Sabaton bombast, describing the thrill of war and the poignancy of defeat with their usual style. The Swedish lyrics, however, are far more morose and gloomy, a deeper reminder to the Swedish people of the legacy of Gustaf Adolf and Karl XII. This dichotomy is easily ignored by political arguments, and the band themselves seem to have taken pains to remain a-political, to their credit. But it was the dichotomy that made this album far more interesting to me as I learned the band's back catalogue. Simply put, Sabaton is normally a band that is like candy. It sounds good and it's fun and you love it, but there doesn't seem to be much more going on that sugar. Carolus Rex belies that notion and gives a deeper suggestion. There is more going on in the minds of the masters, and while they might portray their music a bit more simply, they want you to think about what's happening.

This album is just killer track after killer track. Lion From the North, about the intervention in the 30 Years War by Gustaf Adolf; Gott Mitt Uns, about his soldiers and their great victories against superior Catholic numbers, such as the Battle of Breitenfeld; A Lifetime of War, about the generation lost to the 30 Years War; The Carolean's Prayer, about the Carolean soldiers, the best in the world; and Carolus Rex, about Karl XII himself and his supposed divine mandate. This mandate led him into Poltava, where he was defeated and almost destroyed, and eventually to his death and the destruction of Sweden as a world power.

Extremely well reviewed at the time, this album is quadruple platinum in Sweden, showcasing Sabaton's arrival as a megapower in the Nordic nation and as a mainstay of Swedish culture. Gott Mit Uns, Lion From the North, and Carolus Rex remain live mainstays to this day and the Swedish version gets play in the country. It's a spectacular album from a band that shouldn't be capable of spectacular albums, and to this day the chief critique of the subsequent Sabaton albums is that they haven't tried anything like Carolus Rex since.

Live experiences:
April 25, 2017 - Montreal, Quebec, Canada - The Last Tour
March 2, 2018 - Montreal, Quebec, Canada - North American Tour 2018
October 30, 2019 - Montreal, Quebec, Canada - The Great Tour

2. Iron Maiden - The Book of Souls (September 4, 2015)


Prophecy of sky gods, the sun and moon
Passing of old ways will come true soon
Falling of ages, forest of kings
The search for the truth, the book of souls


How does a band with this pedigree keep making great, timeless albums? You'd think by now that the band should be cooked. But even in their "nadir", Iron Maiden produced timeless tracks (you can say you don't like Virtual XI, but that's almost always accompanied by "but I love The Clansman with Bruce!"). Even the weaker reunion albums have songs among Iron Maiden's best, like Isle of Avalon and Paschendale. Somehow, The Book of Souls is anchored by three timeless tracks, including the title track, which is destined to be among the band's top songs of all times.

We've discussed this album to death on this forum, obviously, so I won't get too far into it, but If Eternity Should Fail, The Book of Souls, and Empire of the Clouds are going to be regarded for eternity as superlative tracks. The Red and the Black is interesting, Death or Glory and Speed of Light are great throwbacks to the 80s, and they even have a solid ballad in the form of Tears of a Clown. But as an experience, The Book of Souls works. Iron Maiden lives, and long may they rule.

Metacritic gives it 80/100, Classic Rock, Loudwire, and Metal Hammer called it the album of the year, #1 in 25 countries, including their 5th #1 album in the UK. Universally lauded, supported by a massive tour, and rightfully beloved. This album was going to be my #1 for the decade, but I realized there is one other album that I have to put first, an album that, as a musical piece, has brought me more individual joy...

Live experiences:
June 26, 2012 - Boston, Massachusetts, USA - Maiden England World Tour
Feb 28, 2016 - Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - The Book of Souls World Tour
April 1, 2016 - Montreal, Quebec, Canada - The Book of Souls World Tour
May 27, 2017 - London, England, UK - The Book of Souls World Tour
May 28, 2017 - London, England, UK - The Book of Souls World Tour
June 15, 2017 - Chicago, Illinois, USA - The Book of Souls World Tour
July 15, 2017 - Toronto, Ontario, Canada - The Book of Souls World Tour
August 5, 2019 - Montreal, Quebec, Canada - Legacy of the Beast World Tour
August 24, 2019 - Indianapolis, Indiana, USA - Legacy of the Beast World Tour

1. Unleash the Archers - Apex (June 2, 2017)


Fly out beyond the stars
Where the wind takes me away
And leads me through the dark
Defying gravity
Can you follow me? Follow me to apex
Can you follow me? Follow me to apex


I was introduced to this band by a work buddy, who's mostly into death metal and metalcore, and had liked this band from their early metalcore days. However, he was impressed by their evolution into a band that is more of a traditional and power metal group. Hearing this and noting the band was touring Ottawa, I decided, hey, it's only $15. In the run up to this, I listened to their discography. The band's first two albums, Behold the Devastation and Demons of the AstroWaste are pretty much standard metalcore. I don't find much of note in them, but their third album, Time Stands Still, has hints of where the band is going. Still, it's fair to say that Unleash the Archers reinvented themselves with Apex. Their lead singer, Brittney Slayes, has grown as a vocalist by leaps and bounds from where she was when the band was created, finding a full and enchanting lead metal voice to rival with the Dutch females of legend. The band's music has gotten away from pointless speed and built layered riffs and strong patterns that are best compared to Iron Maiden and classic Judas Priest. In short, Apex is a fucking triumph, and it's a tragedy it's not better known.

A concept album set in a fantasy world, Apex follows the story of the Immortal, resurrected from his place in an eternal mountain (Awakening) by The Matriarch (The Matriarch), an evil queen who needs to have her children culled (Cleanse the Bloodlines) so she might continue her reign. Immortal is dispatched to bring her sons home to their fate. He does so, despite regret, battling through armies and obstacle (Ten Thousand Against One), and in the end, he returns to the mountain, to peace (Apex). For now. Every song on this album is, bare minimum, great, with every song I listed before getting to excellent or higher.

The biggest problem about this album has nothing to do with the music itself. It's that somehow this triumph of classic metal and power metal and metalcore influences, all mixed together with a skilled singer and a grand lead guitarist, has been lost in the shuffle and you probably haven't heard it. I've been listening to it since the first time it hit my Spotify, over and over again, reminding me of how many times I spun Brave New World on my cheap CD player in my dorm room. It's not often that an album lingers that long with me, that it comes back with a vengeance after a few weeks aside, that it lingers in my mind and my being.

You aren't listening to this album, but if you're an Iron Maiden fan, you should be.

Live experiences:
September 29, 2018 - Ottawa, Ontario, Canada - Apex Tour
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
Fantastic write-up for Carolus Rex. What I’ve always liked is Sabaton’s knack for crafting catchy songs that will stick in your head while also highlighting a lot of events that often times get lost in the pages of the history books. They’ve certainly sent me on a research spree over and over again, and Carolus is the pinnacle of that (as good as The Art Of War may be). The move to release an English and a Swedish version gives two different approaches to the same material and in many ways, two great albums for the price of one.

Ditto for the TBOS review, which is a perfect example of an album that, while the individual songs are all good to fucking monumental, is made much better when listening through it in its entirety. Also agreed with Firepower, though I still prefer the catchiness of Prequelle over the hard rock edge of Meliora (I still don’t think Ghost have ever really been metal, just influenced by it), and Incorruptible is certainly one of Iced Earth’s best releases (unlike a lot of people, I really really like “Seven Headed Whore”; as far as the “Violate” rewrites have gone, it’s one of the best).

Otherwise you’ve peaked my interest with a lot of these and I’ll take note to check them out when I get a chance. Very much enjoyed reading that.
 

Collin

Chasing Ponce De Leon's Phantoms
Here we go...

1. Iron Maiden - The Book of Souls (2015) It lived up to the hype. No bad songs. This actually turned out to be my 2nd favorite Iron Maiden album. 'The Book of Souls', ' The Red and the Black', and 'Empire of the Clouds' entered my Iron Maiden Top Ten. Ranked #4, #6, and #10 respectively. The tour was just as special to me too. I managed to see them three times. This is an album for the ages! 9.8/10

2. Tool - Fear Inoculum (2019) Another album that lived up to the hype. This album continues to grow on me. Tracks like 'Descending' and 'Invincible' really dominate this album. Along with 'Pneuma', those three actually entered my Tool Top Ten. This album really showcases the growth in musicianship in Tool, as in every album they release. I haven't seen this tour live yet, but that changes on January 17th. 9.6/10

3. Iron Maiden - The Final Frontier (2010) I won't go into too much depth here, but this was the newest album when I first became a fan. It was very special album for me. 'The Talisman' and 'When the Wild Wind Blows' are among my favorites on this near perfect album. I'm still kicking myself that I never got to see this tour, because I would have went to the Seattle show and witnessed 'Paschendale.' But I was 12 at the time, so I can't get too upset. 9.6/10

4. Deftones- Koi No Yokan (2012) I only really started discovering the Deftones this year, and this actually ended up my most played album for 2019. Damn this album is fucking good. Again, no bad songs really. The Drop-E guitars featured here are really something unique too. 'Tempest' has become one of my favorite songs ever. 'Goon Squad' and 'Rosemary' are other highlights. I think what this album does very well is projecting emotion. It's sad and depressing. There is nothing happy about this album. Take a drive at midnight and listen to this album. It's perfect! Haven't seen the Deftones live yet. 9.5/10

5. Mastodon - Emperor of Sand (2017) My obsession with Mastodon started when a friend dragged me to one of their concerts in late 2017. He said it was prog metal which is the only reason I went. I had never even heard one of their songs before. Since then I have bought most of their albums and seen them two more times! A big reason is this album. Songs like 'Steambreather' and 'Jaguar God' are so unique in the metal world. I haven't heard a band quite like this. Kind of like the Deftones album, this album also does a good job of portraying emotion. 9.4/10

6. Judas Priest - Firepower (2018) This should be on everyones list. Definitely one of the biggest surprises of the decade. I never expected Judas Priest to make an album that can compete with a lot of their classic albums. Firepower does it. This album has the feel of Painkiller. The album is packed with unforgettable tracks like 'Rising From Ruins' and 'Lightning Strike.' My personal favorite is the ever emotional 'No Surrender.' I got to see this tour earlier this year in what was my first Judas Priest experience. I won't ever forget it! 9.4/10

7. Machine Head - Bloodstone and Diamonds (2014) Machine Head had an amazing string of albums starting with Through the Ashes of Empires (2005) and ending with this album. Unfortunately they ended the streak with Catharsis. However, this album was quite the way to end it. This album is probably the heaviest on my list, and it is packed with layers of beauty. 'Now We Die', 'Sail Into the Black', and 'Take Me Through the Fire' are the biggest highlights. The first track is actually one of my favorite songs of all time. I saw this tour live, my night was ruined when I was punched by a dwarf because I wouldn't give up my spot on the rail. That doesn't take anything away from the album though. 9.3/10

8. Ghost - Prequelle (2018) What an album. I think it's a bit short, but all the songs are very strong. 'Rats' and 'Dance Macabre' will be on classic metal radio (if that's still a thing) when I'm 60. I won't say too much else about the album but I was very happy to see the tour. I had a second opportunity to see the show, however I moved and was not able to go. My father who went said I didn't miss much though. It's Ghost. We know what we're getting. 9.3/10

9. Megadeth - Dystopia (2016) I think Dystopia is a very under-appreciated album. I also think it's one of the best Megadeth's albums. I really didn't expect Megadeth to release something so good after that unspeakable album that came prior. Kiko was one of the greatest decisions Dave has ever made. He has added a true virtuoso to the band, and they are better because of it! Megadeth is on a new level with this album. I'll admit it does fall off a bit after 'Conquer or Die!' but I can't complain too hard. It's still one of their most consistent albums. I saw the tour, unfortunately Megadeth was an opening band for The Scorpions. It would have been better to see that flipped. Get Better Dave! We need another album like this! 9.2/10

10. Alice in Chains - The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here (2013) I'm a pretty big Alice in Chains fan, that may be apparent to the rest of the forum. This is their second best album. It's hard to get into at first. A lot of the songs are pretty slow paced. But the atmosphere and the builds really pay off. 'Hollow' is really my favorite track. It's paints a good picture of what this album is really about. 'Breath on a Window', 'Stone', and 'Hung on a Hook', are all really strong songs too. I didn't get to see the "tour" for this album, however I have seen them twice since this album has come out. Even met all of the band! This album will also win the award for best album title of the decade. 9.2/10

Honorable Mentions:
  • Dream Theater - A Dramatic Turn of Events. This is probably interchangeable with TDPDH. So many amazing tracks like 'Breaking All Illusions' and 'Bridges in the Sky.' It's sad that this is the highest ranked DT album for me for this decade.
  • Gojira - Magma. Not their most popular album by any means, also the least heavy. The album as a whole really shines. 'Pray', 'Stranded' and the title track are my favorites.
  • Ghost - Melioria. An essential album from Ghost. Prequelle was slightly better for me.
  • Alice in Chains - Rainier Fog. A strange album from Alice in Chains. Definitely a grower! 'All I Am' makes this album worth the listen!
  • Sabaton - Heroes. I've noticed quite a bit of Carolus Rex on these lists. I can't say I'm as big of a fan of that one. I like Heroes quite a bit more.
 

karljant

Ancient Mariner
Here is a more elaborated and pondered list of 100 cool records released during the last 10 years:

  1. Tool - Fear Inoculum (Prog/ Alternative Rock)
  2. Cult Of Luna & Julie Christmas - Mariner (Post Metal)
  3. Peter Murphy - Lion (Alternative Rock)
  4. Cult Of Luna - Vertikal (Sludge/ Post Metal)
  5. Rosetta - Quintisential Epherma (Post Metal)
  6. Cult Of Luna - A Dawn To Fear (Sludge/ Post Metal)
  7. Anathema - The Optimist (Prog/ Post Rock)
  8. Nine Inch Nails - Hesitation Marks (Alternative/ Industrial Rock)
  9. Ihsahn - Ámr (Extreme Prog Metal)
  10. Devin Townsend - Epicloud (Prog Metal)
  11. Gojira - L'Enfant Sauvage (Prog Groove Metal)
  12. Devin Townsend - Empath (Prog Metal)
  13. Sepultura - The Mediator... (Death/ Groove Metal)
  14. Ulver - War Of The Roses (Art Rock/ Ambient)
  15. Gojira - Magma (Prog Groove Metal)
  16. Killing Joke - Absolute Dissent (Alternative/ Post Punk)
  17. Alice In Chains - Rainier Fog (Alternative Rock)
  18. Zeal And Ardor - Stranger Fruit (Gospel/ Black Metal)
  19. Obscure Sphinx - Anaesthetic Inhalation Ritual (Sludge/ Post Metal)
  20. Rosetta - The Anaesthete (Post Metal)
  21. Sanctuary - The Year The Sun Died (Heavy Metal)
  22. Florence And The Machine - Cerimonials (Alternative Pop Rock)
  23. Cynic - Carbon Based Anatomy (Prog Rock)
  24. Paradise Lost - Tragic Idol (Gothic Metal)
  25. Black Sabbath - 13 (70's Metal)
  26. Bizarra Locomotiva - Mortuário (Industrial Metal)
  27. The Prodigy - No Tourists (Breakbeat/ Electronic)
  28. Judas Priest - Firepower (Heavy Metal)
  29. Peter Murphy - Ninth (Alternative Rock)
  30. Ihsahn - Eremita (Extreme Prog Metal)
  31. The Cult - Choice Of Weapon (Rock)
  32. Sepultura - Kairos (Thrash/ groove Metal)
  33. Enslaved - Axioma Ethica Odini (Extreme Prog Metal)
  34. God Is An Astronaut - Age Of The Fifth Sun (Post Rock)
  35. Neurosis - Fires Within Fires (Sludge/ Post Metal)
  36. Hatebreed - The Concrete Confessionary (Death Core)
  37. Opeth - Heritage (Prog Rock)
  38. Iron Maiden - The Final Frontier (Heavy Metal)
  39. Fear Factory - The Industrialist (Industrial Metal)
  40. Alice In Chains - The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here (Alternative Rock)
  41. Sinistro - Semente (Post Metal)
  42. Samael - Hegemony (Industrial Black Metal)
  43. Fear Factory - Mechanize (Industrial Metal)
  44. Voivod - Target Earth (Prog Metal)
  45. Opeth - In Cauda Venenum (Prog Metal)
  46. Om - Advaitic Songs (Stoner Prog Rock)
  47. Wolfram - Music Of The Heathen (Alternative Rock)
  48. Rosetta - Utopioid (Post Metal)
  49. Florence And The Machine: How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful (Alternative Pop Rock)
  50. Nine Inch Nails - The Slip (Alternative/ Industrial Rock)
  51. Paradise Lost - Medusa (Doom/ Gothic Metal)
  52. Anthrax - Worship Music (Thrash Metal)
  53. Iron Maiden - The Book Of Souls (Heavy Metal)
  54. Judas Priest - Redeemer Of Souls (Heavy Metal)
  55. Killing Joke - Pylon (Alternative/ Industrial Rock)
  56. Sadist - Hyaena (Technical Death Metal)
  57. Mundo Cão - O Jogo Do Mundo (Alternative Rock)
  58. Terrorizer - Caustic Attack (Grind Core)
  59. Carcass - Surgical Steel (Melodic Death Metal)
  60. Health - Death Magic (Alternative/ Electronic/ Rock)
  61. Envy - The Atheist's Cornea (Post Metal)
  62. Voivod - The Wake (Prog Metal)
  63. Mastodon - The Hunter (Alternative Prog Metal)
  64. Paradise Lost - The Plague Within (Doom/ Gothic Metal)
  65. Sepultura - Machine Messiah (Thrash/ groove Metal)
  66. Blut Aus Nord - 777 Cosmosophy (Extreme Prog Metal)
  67. Primordial - Redemption At The Puritan's Hand (Folk / Epic Black Metal)
  68. Arctic Monkeys - AM (Alternative Rock)
  69. Brutus - Nest (Alternative/ Post Metal)
  70. Queens Of The Stone Age - Like Clockwork (Stoner Rock)
  71. Process Of Guilt - The Circle (Experimental/ Sludge)
  72. Kylesa - Spiral Shadow (Sludge/ alternative)
  73. Baroness - Purple (Alternative Prog Metal)
  74. God Is An Astronaut - Epitaph (Post Rock)
  75. Cathedral - The Last Spyre (Doom Metal)
  76. Ihsahn - Arktis (Extreme Prog Metal)
  77. Devin Townsend - Deconstruction (Prog Metal)
  78. Foals - Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost, Part 2 (Alternative/ Pop Rock)
  79. Ihsahn - After (Extreme prog metal)
  80. Metallica - Hardwired To Self Destruct (Thrash/ Heavy Metal)
  81. Mão Morta - Pesadelo Em Peluche (Alternative)
  82. Napalm Death - Apex Predator : Easy Meat (Grind Core)
  83. Laibach - Spectre (Industrial/ Electronic/ Martial)
  84. Voivod - Infini (Prog Metal)
  85. Health - Vol 4: Slaves Of Fear (Alternative/ Electronic/ Rock)
  86. Garbage - Not Your Kind Of People (Pop Rock)
  87. Saul Williams - Martyr Loser King (Alternative/ Rap)
  88. Process Of Guilt - Faemin (Sludge/ Post Metal)
  89. Chelsea Wolfe - Abyss (Folk/ Alternative)
  90. Obscure Sphinx - Epitaphs (Sludge)
  91. Enslaved - RIITIIR (Prog Black Metal)
  92. Myrkur - Mareridt (Folk/ Black Metal)
  93. Negura Bunget - ZI (Folk/ Black Metal)
  94. Jambinai - Onda (Alternative/ Post Rock)
  95. Swans - Leave Meaning (Alternative)
  96. Big Brave - A Gaze Among Them (Alternative/ Post Metal)
  97. Extreme Noise Terror - Extreme Noise Terror (Grind Core/ Crust)
  98. Candlemass - The Door To Doom (Doom Metal)
  99. Memoriam - Requiem For Mankind (Death Metal)
  100. Process Of Guilt - Black Earth (Sludge/ Post Metal)
 
Last edited:

Black Bart

Ancient Mariner
After a string of average albums, Deep Purple had come back with Now What?! in 2013. Though not as efficient, InFinite was a pretty good follow-up.
 

Cornfed Hick

Ancient Mariner
You aren't listening to this album, but if you're an Iron Maiden fan, you should be.
This is exactly the point of my "best of" threads. I definitely haven't heard everything, so getting others' favorites is a "To Be Heard" list for myself and, hopefully, others.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jer

GhostofCain

Ancient Mariner
Here is my list (not ranked) of my favourite albums from 2010-2019:

Primal Rock Rebellion - Awoken Broken
Rush - Clockwork Angels
Iron Maiden - The Book of Souls
Black Sabbath - 13
Gojira - Magma
The Temperance Movement - The Temperance Movement
Uriah Heep - Living the Dream
The Waterboys - Modern Blues
Black Star Riders - All Hell Breaks Loose
Los Suaves - Adiós, Adiós
 
Top