21 Best Metal Albums of the 21st Century... So Far

#8: IN FLAMES – CLAYMAN

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We recently polled a wide array of musicians, managers, publicists, label reps, and writers from within the world of metal to find out what they thought the 21 Best Metal Albums of the 21st Century So Far have been. Eligible albums were released between January 1, 2000 and  April 1, 2009. Each panelist turned in a ballot, with their #1 album worth 21 points, their #2 album worth 20 points, and so on and so forth. The ballots are now in and we’ll be counting down one album a day until we reach #1. Today we present the #8 album, coming in with a total of 170 points…

In Flames, Clayman (Nuclear Blast, 2000)
Anders Fridén – vocals
Jesper Strömblad – Guitar
Björn Gelotte – Guitar
Peter Iwers – Bass
Daniel Svensson – Drums

Produced by Fredrik Nordström

It was my senior year of college in 1996, sitting in coffee shop, reading the latest music rag (taking a break from my Old Testament studies) when I came across a review for In Flames’ The Jester Race. Something about it caught my eye as that was the time I was getting more into of the Scandinavian metal like At The Gates and Amorphis. I picked it up and was blown away how they had made “death metal” so “melodic.” I almost denounced my religion and started a cult dedicated to this semi-new genre of metal!

A couple of years later, I get the amazing Colony record, and then in 2000, In Flames release the genius that is Clayman. From the first riff on “Bullet Ride” to the last beat on “Another Day In Quicksand,” the album became the first real example of “melodic-death-metal” perfection. Not only was it a brutal record that would   care the normal person walking down the street, but it also incorporated intricate acoustic guitar work, electronic samples and more. Now, I know in the year 2000 (well, the year 5760 on the Jewish calendar), there was nothing new about having all these elements in metal, but to have it connect so perfectly with fans, the press and even the industry as a whole – is something most bands will never get to experience.

The impact of this album can be shown with one of the band’s most popular songs of all time, “Only For The Weak.” I was lucky enough to see the band headline at CBGBs in 2000 (Nevermore and Shadows Fall also played the show, pretty amazing line-up, huh?) When before the new millennium, in the US, you saw a crowd jumping up and down instead of moshing during a Swedish metal band? Not only that, but to have Metal Hammer Germany name the song a Top 10 “death metal” song of all time along side Carcass, Death and Cannibal Corpse? This for a song with some clean vocals, samples and real production. The song was special, the album as a whole was special, and that is why, like Moses in the desert, Clayman will stand the test of time for centuries to come.

-Anton OyVey

THE LIST SO FAR:

#9 – Gojira, From Mars to Sirius

#10 – Opeth, Ghost Reveries

#11 – Deftones, White Pony

#12 – Tool, Lateralus

#13 – Mastodon, Blood Mountain

#14 – System of a Down, Toxicity

#15 – Nachtmystium, Assassins: Black Meddle, Part 1

#16 – Machine Head, The Blackening

#17 – Hatebreed, Perseverance

#18 – Lamb of God, New American Gospel

#19 – Mastodon, Remission

#20 – Shadows Fall, The War Within

#21 – Slipknot, Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses

THE PANEL OF VOTERS

Chris Adler, Lamb of God
Dan And, Bison B.C.
Ben Apatoff, Apatoff for Destruction
/Metal Injection
Jason Bittner, Shadows Fall
Tim Brennan, Ferret Music/Channel Zero Entertainment
Freddy Cai, Painkiller Magazine
Ian Christe, Bazillion Points
Reverend David J. Ciancio, Yeah! Management
Betsey Cichoracki, Relapse Records
Paul Conroy, Ferret Music/Channel Zero Entertainment
J. Costa, Thy Will Be Done
Dallas Coyle, ex-God Forbid/Coyle Media
Doc Coyle, God Forbid
CT, Rwake
Anso DF, MetalSucks/Hipsters Out of Metal!
Vince Edwards, Metal Blade Records
Charles Elliott, Abysmal Dawn/Nuclear Blast Records
Brian Fair, Shadows Fall
Leo Ferrante, Warner Music Group
D.X. Ferris, author 33 1/3: Reign in Blood/Freelance Journalist
Mike Gitter, Roadrunner Records
Nick Green, Decibel
Matt Grenier, August Burns Red
Anthony Guzzardo, Earache Records
Kevin Hufnagel, Dysrhythmia
Mark Hunter, Chimaira
Steve Joh, Century Media
EJ Johantgen, Prosthetic Records
Kim Kelly, Metal Injection
/Hails & Horns/Freelance Journalist
Josh “The J” Key, Psychostick
Jason Lekberg, Epic Records
Eyal Levi, Daath
Bob Lugowe, Relapse Records
Matt McChesney, The Autumn Offering
Jake McReynolds,
Psychostick
Marc Meltzer, The Syndicate
Josh Middleton, Sylosis
Matt Moore, Rumpelstiltskin Grinder
Vince Neilstein, MetalSucks
Sammy O’Hagar, MetalSucks
Anton OyVey, MetalSucks/Bacon Jew
Rob Pasbani, Metal Injection

Alex Preiss, Psychostick
Carlos Ramirez, NoiseCreep/Universal Music Group
Brian Rocha, Fresno Media USA
Jeremy Rosen, Roadrunner Records
Axl Rosenberg, MetalSucks
Satan Rosenbloom, MetalSucks/Cerebral Metalhead
David Bee Roth, MetalSucks
Jason Rudolph, Heavy Hitter, Inc.

Amy Sciarretto, Roadrunner Records/NoiseCreep
Carl Severson, Ferret Music/Channel Zero Entertainment
Gary Suarez, MetalSucks/No Yoko No/Brainwashed
Geoff Summers, The End Records/Crustcake
Bram Teitelman, The Syndicate/Metal Insider
Alisha Turull, Heavy Hitter, Inc.
Christopher R. Weingarten, 1000TimesYes/Freelance Journalist

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