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






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 #14 album, coming in with a total of 124 points…

System of a Down, Toxicity (American, 2001)

Serj Tankian — Vocals, Keyboards
Daron Malakian — Guitars, Vocals
Shavo Odadjian — Bass

John Dolmayan — Drums
Produced by Rick Rubin, Daron Malakian and Serj Tankian

You know how certain songs or albums trigger memories for you? Well, System of A Down’s sophmore release, Toxicity, definitely brings me back to the late summer/early Fall of 2001. I immediately remember being drunk, joy riding with friends and screaming the chorus to “Deer Dance” at the top of my lungs. I remember the day we got the advanced copy of the CD at my college radio station and how I couldn’t believe how heavy this album was. I remember listening to it non-stop for literally three months straight. I have never done that with an album before or since.

These songs got stuck your head. The band knows how to write hooks. Serj Tankian also happens to have an incredible voice. I always joked that he sounds like a rabbi from hell (that is if Jews believed in hell.) He can yell one second, skat the next second and then bring out the clean vocal to settle you down. Look no further than the lead single “Chop Suey” or “Shimmy” for proof. Oh and the riffs! They were so thick. This CD has something for every fan of rock music.

Compared to their first record, the production was more polished and the composition was far less all over the place. They took the sound from the first record and expanded on it, made it bigger. I’m sure mega-producer Rick Rubin (you know, the dude who also signed/produced Slayer) also had something to do with the added polish.

In an era of bands like Adema an Orgy, SOAD definitely stood out as something more, something bigger than just nu-metal, and Toxicity showed that they weren’t just a one trick pony. They were capable of epic yet accessible hard-rock songs with a pinch of humor. That’s why when going back to listen to this CD again, it was just as awesome as the first time I heard it.

-Rob Pasbani

Download Toxicity from Amazon or iTunes!


#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


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,
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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