Metalmance’s Top 20 Albums of the Decade

20 of the best albums from 2010-2019.

Album of the Year lists aren’t enough this year. 2019 heralds the end of one of the best decades of metal. Emerging genres have really come to the fore in the past ten years (blackgaze anyone?) whereas we’re all surprised at how metalcore has survived and evolved. With technology advancing, the decade has also seen different consumer habits as well as advances in music technology as a whole. But that’s enough faff and chat. Without further ado, behold my Top 20 Albums of the Decade!


 

20. ORPHANED LANDAll Is One. Release date: 24 June 2013.

I’ve always enjoyed oriental music but hearing it in a metal context was a phenomenal concept to me. When I finally checked out Israel’s ORPHANED LAND I fell in love immediately. To me, they’re still the best ‘oriental metal’ band out there. They mix traditional instruments, metal elements and heartfelt messages so seamlessly it’s hard not to fall under their spell. All Is One is a superb example of the epic anthems they create to help reunite people of all faiths, race and genders. Tracks such as the title track, Freedom and Children emphasise their mission, all the while keeping tracks catchy and heavy. A must-listen for all.


 

19. SLEEPING WITH SIRENSFeel. Release date: 4 June 2013.

Now before you close this post and avoid my blog forever, hear me out here. Every track on SLEEPING WITH SIREN’s Feel is absolute gold. There’s a song for every occasion and emotion and it beckoned the start of their retreat from poisonous emo-pop-punk to the boring rock music they create today. With Feel they get it just right. Personally for me, this album dropped at a huge transitional period of my life so tracks such as Free Now, Congratulations and Satellites became anthems of this time. It’s not only teenagers who relate to Kellin Quinn and co. and their lyrics are more honest and relatable than many of their peers (FALLING IN REVERSE I’m looking at you).


 

18. TESSERACTOne. Release date: 22 March 2011.

I just had to include something by TESSERACT in this list. It was a tough choice between One and Polaris, but I chose One in the end as it was unlike anything I had heard in the metal world. Yeah there was PERIPHERY as well but for me, TESSERACT had a little something extra…mainly the vocal expertise of Daniel Tompkins. The first track I heard was The Impossible – Concealing Fate Part. 3 and I will never forget its melodies, djent and overwhelming atmosphere. In a way One signifies the innocence of the beginning of the djent genre before it became oversaturated by awful bands and copycats. Today it’s evolved into a whole new progressive metal beast but it’s good to look back on One and see how far metal has come.


 

17. AVASTMother Culture. Release date: 26 October 2018.

This decade saw the rise of blackgaze as a genre and it is one of the best things to have ever happened for metal. Mixing black metal and shoegaze to create highly emotive extreme metal is a dream come true. Only a handful of bands are getting the formula right and Norway’s AVAST is one of those bands. Last year’s debut album Mother Culture is a superb example of the heavier end of the genre. Tracks such as the title track and The Birth Of Man show some of the best that AVAST have to offer, but their instrumental tracks also trigger a strong emotional response. Powerful, climatic and devastating, Mother Culture is an important album.


 

16. MOTIONLESS IN WHITEReincarnate. Release date: 15 September 2014.

reincarnate

Metalcore is alive and well and MOTIONLESS IN WHITE have helped the survival of the gothic strain of it. Reincarnate saw the band at their most industrial, experimental and arguably…their catchiest. The guest features on this album are spot on, with the likes of Dani Filth, Maria Brink and Tim Skold making Reincarnate a goth’s wet dream. There is absolutely no filler on this album like a lot of their others, with tracks Break The Cycle and Wasp being some of the best keyboard-led metalcore for years. Now if only MOTIONLESS IN WHITE took the blueprint for The Final Dictvm for the latest albums…


 

15. TIMES OF GRACEHymn of a Broken Man. Release date: 18 January 2011.

I am one of those fans who think the new Jesse Leach-era KILLSWICTH ENGAGE has never surpassed what Leach and Adam D achieved with Hymn of a Broken Man. Yes, TIMES OF GRACE was always meant to be a more melodic and honest project, and remember Howard Jones was still in KILLSWITCH ENGAGE at this point, but Hymn of a Broken Man is one of the most beautiful albums created this decade and few have surpassed its melodic prowess. Live in Love, Where The Spirit Leads Me and Willing are some of the most stirring metal tracks this decade has seen. It’s just a shame the duo decided to lead the album with one of the weaker tracks, Strength in Numbers. Let’s hope they release a new album next year.


 

14. 65DAYSOFSTATICWe Were Exploding Anyway. Release date: 26 April 2010.

65dos

We Were Exploding Anyway was everything I wanted from 65DAYSOFSTATIC. The Sheffield post-rockers have always pushed the boundaries of the genre and have created the most phenomenal sounds. With this album, the band were their most ‘dancey’ and it even saw the inclusion of vocals on Come to Me, but they were very cleverly sliced and used as samples. Mountainhead, Crash Tactics and Piano Fights are some of the most genius songs 65DOS have written and the album as a whole is a delight from start to finish.


 

13. BLEEDING THROUGHThe Great Fire. Release date: 31 January 2012.

The Great Fire

Before the Orange County crew split up in 2014 (and reformed in 2018) the metalcore darlings dropped one of their finest albums to date, The Great Fire. This glorious slab of brutality incorporates every genre that BLEEDING THROUGH can execute so well, metalcore, hardcore, punk, black metal, melodic death metal…tracks like Goodbye To Death and Everything You Love Is Gone are perfect examples of their melting pot of styles. No metalcore band have achieved this again.


 

12. ABORTEDRetrogore. Release date: 22 April 2016.

retrogore

I must admit I was a bit late to the ABORTED fandom, but once I finally got there I was besotted. Retrogore was my first exposure to the Belgian death metallers and it’s still my favourite. Everything just seems to gel on this record and the blackened elements which play a big part on 2018’s Terrorvision come to the fore on this record. Termination Redux and Divine Impediment are brutal gems, dark death metal at its best. The band aren’t showing any signs of slowing down, constantly evolving to remain one of the most terrifying bands out there.


 

11. NORDIC GIANTSA Séance of Dark Delusions. Release date: 20 April 2015.

nordic giants

NORDIC GIANTS are always best to experience live, but 2015’s masterpiece A Séance of Dark Delusions brilliantly captures the intense material this post-rock duo create. The guest vocalists on this album are all outstanding with standout tracks being Dissolve (with SATURDAY SUN), Rapture (with Beth Cannon) and the superb Futures Dark (with Nadine Wild-Palmer). Each tracks tells its own story and every track with vocals could easily be a radio hit, making NORDIC GIANTS your favourite secret.


 

10. EIGHTEEN VISIONSXVIII. Release date: 2 June 2017.

XVIII

C’mon you knew EIGHTEEN VISIONS were going to make an appearance. This was the comeback of the decade for me. In true 18V fashion, their comeback album XVIII sounded unlike anything they have recorded before. The throwback references to earlier material (film samples, insects buzzing and the objects in the artwork) create a nostalgic record which still bludgeons you with modern, crunchy metal. Songs such as Oath and Live Again are the perfect tributes to the band’s roots and their late bassist Mick Morris (RIP). This is definitely an album for the loyal fans, but any lover of heavy, crushing metal will equally enjoy this album.


 

9. SOILWORKThe Ride Majestic. Release date: 28 August 2015.

soilwork

The kings of melodic death metal, SOILWORK seem to get better with age. The Ride Majestic is a sublime album by the modern version of SOILWORK. This is an absolute belter from start to finish. Some old school fans look down on it for not being Natural Born Chaos 2.0, but this album is the full package. The vocals, lyrics, instrumentation, flow of the album are outstanding. When their peers are crashing and burning, SOILWORK have evolved and grown to be the melodic death metal darlings they are today. The title track, Death In General and the stirring finale Father and Son, Watching the World Go Down are some of my favourite songs of the decade. The fact that the band are still going strong is a blessing.


 

8. BLACK CROWN INITIATE Selves We Cannot Forgive. Release date: 22 July 2016.

blackcrowninitiateselves

Selves We Cannot Forgive was my first ever Album of the Year when I started this blog back in 2016. It has stood the test of time and cemented itself as one of my favourite progressive death metal records of all time. There has been a surge of progressive death metal bands in the past few years and BLACK CROWN INITIATE remain one of the best. This album exhibits the best aspects of the genre, with tracks such as Belie The Machine and For Red Cloud providing the brutality, and the title track and Again providing the soaring melodies. This album has it all.


 

7. DYSCARNATEAnd So It Came To Pass. Release date: 27 February 2012.

and so it came to pass

DYSCARNATE’s last album With All Their Might topped my AOTY list back in 2017, but I couldn’t have two of their albums in my top 20 of the decade so I’ve opted for their phenomenal second album And So It Came To Pass. If you’re still unfamiliar with this death metal trio (yes, they’re a trio and still heavier than most bands) then you are seriously missing a trick here. A band haven’t been this brutally groovy since…well…forever. And So It Came To Pass is a tremendous example of this, with The Promethean, In The Face of Armageddon and A Drone In The Hive bringing the hardest bangers of the album. Fingers crossed there will be a new album in the new year!


 

6. DREAMSHADEThe Gift of Life. Release date: 25 January 2013. 

gift of life

DREAMSHADE are always such a treat. These Swiss metalcore lovelies are still relatively unknown yet every album is an absolute blinder. 2013’s album The Gift of Life saw the band hit their stride. Photographs, Your Voice and Consumed Future are some of the best metalcore tracks you haven’t heard yet. Not only do DREAMSHADE write catchy songs but somehow their riffs are hella catchy too. A super slick and polished beast, DREAMSHADE are currently working on a new album and it promises to be another stellar effort.


 

5. DISTORTED HARMONYChain Reaction. Release date: 9 July 2014.

chain reaction

Discovering DISTORTED HARMONY was one of the best things I did in the past few years. Their progressive metal is fuelled by melodies and heart. Their second album Chain Reaction has just the right amount of technicality and melody to make it a beautifully balanced record. The charm and passion oozes out of this record with tracks such as Every Time She Smiles, Hollow and Natural Selection being some of the most stirring. With the ever-growing prog metal scene it takes something special to standout from the rest of the pack these days, these guys have got it.


 

4. MAYBESHEWILLI Was Here For A Moment, Then I Was Gone. Release date: 30 May 2011. 

maybeshewill

So this is my third and final post-rock album in this list. I Was Here For A Moment, Then I Was Gone is my favourite of them all, for a number of reasons. The main one being, the album triggers the biggest emotional response of any album without vocals. It demonstrates the sheer, emotional power that rock instruments have. The melodies and climaxes are sublime, there’s no other post-rock albums quite like this one. Another reason why this ranks so highly is because MAYBESHEWILL were one of the pioneers of British post-rock and they are very sorely missed by fans. Just listen to the song Accolades, Critical Distance and Red Paper Lanterns and you’ll see what I mean.


 

3. EARTHSIDEA Dream In Static. Release date: 23 October 2015.

earthside

There are few bands who make a huge impact with their debut album like EARTHSIDE have. This is modern prog rock at its finest. But the thing that EARTHSIDE has that sets them apart from the rest is their expert musicianship. Each member is an incredibly talented musician and this talent can be heard in the ambition of their tracks. They execute their brilliance without any pretentious fluff and they scored some of the best vocalists in the business to elevate their tracks to new levels (see: Crater, the title track and Mob Mentality). With a new album being recorded as we speak, we can expect big things from the rising proggers.


 

2. MØLJord. Release date: 13 April 2018.

mol

It’s probably no surprise MØL have ranked so highly on this list, considering they were my Album of the Year last year. It’s been warming to see Jord resonating with other people so strongly. Songs such as Storm, Bruma and Penumbra are some of the most striking blackgaze tracks of the past decade. Their shoegaze riffs, black metal vocals and chilling melodies add up to a spectacular album. I’ve already written so many words about this album but I never run out of praise to say about it. Emotion and soul drip from every note and syllable screamed. A phenomenal album by one of the most promising acts around.


 

1 . ANAAL NATHRAKHVanitas. Release date: 23 October 2012.

vanitas

Behold, my album of the decade! ANAAL NATHRAKH have always been one of the best extreme metal acts from Britain, but 2012’s Vanitas shows the band at their most ambitious and polished. These songs are huge! I honestly don’t know where to start with this album. A lot of their albums prior (and after) have a few standout tracks and the rest are forgettable. Vanitas has banger after banger, with every track being its own individual beast you’ll remember for a long time to come. Yes, Forging Towards The Sunset and To Spite The Face are incredible, but can we just talk about album finale A Metaphor For The Dead? With one of the most climatic choruses the band have ever written, along with some of the most devastating riffs, it has gone down in history as my favourite album closer of all time. A strong statement I know but once you hear it for yourself, you may agree! Every great album needs a powerful closer and Vanitas concludes in such a roaring fashion, you feel compelled to start over again. After seven years no album has topped this for me.

Metalmance Monster Hits Part 2

Unlike most Halloween sequels, this is actually hella good…

Back for more weird and wonderful metal videos? Good.

MATCHBOOK ROMANCE – Monsters

What do you mean, do I mean MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE?! Nope! You can have more than one romance you know (Metalmance anyone?). Anyway, this isn’t a Valentines Day post but a Halloween one, so back to business. In this video for the Halloween-appropriate song Monsters, things get a little dark and strange. Think of that bit in Home Alone with the tar and feathers and you’re along the right lines…

 

IN THIS MOMENT – Sex Metal Barbie

This video looks like when you show up to a Halloween party at the Student Union and you realise you’re not showing enough leg. In all seriousness though, Maria Brink and co always have an incredible aesthetic which doesn’t distract from the music, but instead adds another dimension to it. This band have style AND substance, and with a catchy song as this, this video is a winner.

 

MORTIIS – The Shining Lamp of God

Ah, everyone’s favourite Norwegian troll – sans mask, serves up a delicious Frankenstein inspired treat here. MORTIIS gets his Mary Shelley on here in a gothic laboratory setting. Avoid this if you don’t like snakes, blood and stitches in skin. Do watch if you’re a fan of things in jars and bloody good industrial metal.

 

MOTIONLESS IN WHITE – Break The Cycle

This band were made for Halloween with their kohl eyes and black leather. We’ve already seen Chris Motionless with NEW YEAR’S DAY in Part 1, but MIW more than hold their own in a ridiculously gothic video, with candles and apparitions aplenty. Watch out for a cameo by Mick Kenney from ANAAL NATHRAKH as the devil. Just don’t be afraid of looking in the mirror after this…

 

BLOODBATH – Church of Vastitas

A creepy church is mandatory for a night like Halloween and luckily, this video by the mighty BLOODBATH provides the chills and black and white thrills. Sounding more black metal here than their usual death metal, vocalist Old Nick is clad in a black cloak while he growls and shouts over scenes of an abandoned graveyard and desolate church. This is one for the old school Halloween fans here.

 

 

Metalmance Monster Hits Part 1

5 fiendishly good metal videos to get you in the mood for all things undead and delicious

Halloween is almost upon us! Enjoy the first part of Metalmance’s list of spooktacular band videos to rattle your bones to.

NEW YEAR’S DAY – Angel Eyes

It just wouldn’t be Halloween without Ash Costello and the frontman of MOTIONLESS IN WHITE, getting all freaky in this NEW YEAR’S DAY video which gets fans all hot under their tattoo chokers. All goth girls probably wish they can catch Chris Motionless’ eye across a masquerade ballroom floor. He sure does steal hearts in this video…ahem…

 

ENGERICA – The Smell

Nowadays the scariest thing to come out of Essex is the cast of TOWIE, but 10 years ago this gloriously old school horror video by Essex band ENGERICA gave everyone the creeps. Stylishly shot in black and white, ‘the smell’ is cast in a ghoulish green and terrorises a whole city. The band’s catchy and fun rock songs are sorely missed but it’s gems like this video that remind us what a [trick or] treat the band were.

 

MY VITRIOL – Nightcall

Will the new MY VITRIOL album finally see the light in 2017??? Here’s hoping, but until then, feast your eyes on this hella-creepy video for their cover of KAVINSKY’s Nightcall. Frontman Som Wardner sports a pair of fangs and white contacts in this video to accompany the narrative of a terrifying masked stalker (think Michael Myers crossed with Team America). It involves woods, lots of blood and a disturbing twist…

 

BLEEDING THROUGH – Kill to Believe

Now, I’ve been a bit cheeky here and included BLEEDING THROUGH twice in this list, but bear with me. Both videos connect, with this video for Kill to Believe being first in the running order. Frontman Brandan Schieppati pulls up to a roadside diner with his new bride, but the locals are not exactly hospitable. Things soon start to get tense and violent and you might want to reconsider using the loo at the next diner you visit…

 

BLEEDING THROUGH – Love in Slow Motion

Things ramp up in this ‘sequel’ to the previous video. To avoid spoiling the other plot, I’ll just say Schieppati gets his revenge here. Stylistically the video definitely feels a bit Texas Chainsaw Massacre with the characters seen in Kill to Believe (including the band themselves) receiving their violent punishments. The brutal imagery here suits the absolutely lethal metal which BLEEDING THROUGH were best known and missed for.

 

Check in later in the week for more monstrous gems!

Weekly Roundup #5

5 weeks, 5 bands to check out…

5 weeks, 5 bands to check out…

Band to watch: ANNISOKAY. German metal bands. You either have your CALIBANs or your RAMMSTEINs, but now you have your ANNISOKAYs (Annisokies?). Their second album Devil May Care is out 11th November and last week they released their second single Loud from the forthcoming album, along with a new video to boot. Sounding more intense than ever, they’re a cross between PARKWAY DRIVE and MOTIONLESS IN WHITE, with nods to other metalcore influences. But don’t let that tag put you off (if that ain’t your bag) because ANNISOKAY pack a fresh punch, pulling a modern melodic metal sound kicking and screaming into what is left of 2016. They have youth on their side and a UK tour already under their belt, things can only get bigger and better for this lot. So make sure you catch them when they next roll into town!

Video to watch: WARDRUNA. You’re probably already familiar with WARDRUNA’s warblings (series 2 of Vikings anyone?) but they released a new video last week and it will probably be the most majestic thing you’ll see for a while. New album Runaljod – Ragnarok is due to be released October 21st and this new video for the track Raido should keep you going until then. These pagan pioneers still know how to treat the senses with a truly spectacular video to accompany the haunting, spine-tingling song which erupts into such a rich texture of sound you will want to grab your sticks, rope and the nearest horse and make your way to Bergen…

Still in the stereo: PORT NOIR. Second album Any Way The Wind Carries by PORT NOIR was released way back in April can you believe, but the Swedes’ songs are so ridiculously delicious and catchy it is hard not to return to them. A lot of influences are thrown into the mix. If you listen to Black From The Ink you hear a bit of CULT OF LUNA, if you listen to Earth you might think you accidently tuned into the radio, but chill, you haven’t. The level of melodic goodness doesn’t detract from the heaviness on the album, instead you feel like you’re listening to all of your favourite genres as they are all sprinkled into one tasty package. It is hard to avoid comparing them to LEPROUS, with the clean vocals high in the mix here, but it is hard to pigeonhole this exciting band as they bring so much to the table. They are on the rise in the melodic scene so give the album a listen before you get left behind!

Band to rediscover: JUROJIN. With this current influx of forward thinking neo-prog bombarding our senses (am not complaining!) it seems JUROJIN were ahead of their time! Poetic lyrics, powerfully charged vocals, polished production with a fiercely independent work ethic – and to top it all off – a tabla player… Yes, you read that correctly. It really brought something fresh and unique to the scene, but it was done in a way it was not suffocating. It was subtly used in their first and only release The Living Measure of Time (2010), but it stole the show during some tracks especially Proem. The band disappeared into obscurity which is such a shame as they were compared to bands such as KARNIVOOLand TOOL, and if your band is considered to be similar to the greats then you know you’re onto a good thing! Before disappearing into the void, they were known to play frequent acoustic shows around London which garnered as much praise as their album did. If you listen to one song, let it be The Winter and thank me later.

https://www.facebook.com/jurojinband/

Band yet to listen to: CARIGULA’S HORSE. I keep hearing snippets of this Australian band, yet to delve into a complete album.