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 #10 album, coming in with a total of 163 points…

Opeth, Ghost Reveries (Roadrunner, 2005)
Mikael Åkerfeldt – Vocals/Guitars
Peter Lindgren – Guitars
Per Wiberg – Keys
Martin Mendez – Bass
Martin Lopez – Drums
Produced by Jens Bogren

To Opeth, Ghost Reveries might have just been another album, an opportunity to take its forcecful sound one step further. To me, it’s more like a full-length spell that has been put upon my head. This is one of those very rare albums of which I just can’t easily rid myself, like an ex you just can’t get out of your head.

Ghost Reveries is mostly a  concept album (Did I mention that those very rare albums of which I just can’t easily rid myself all happen to be concept albums?). Seven of the eight tracks on this record tell a story with tone that might best be desribed as “absolutely insane.” See, there are tons of extreme metal bands out there constantly dealing with something like “undead zombies chewing poor bastards’ brains in the graveyard” or “psychopath chopping the whole neighborhood up with or without a wicked smile,” etc. And that’s cool, but I mean, seriously, I don’t think there has ever been an album before  of such pure evil on such a mental level – the story of how a crazy Norman-Bates-type-of-guy is spiritually tortured after slaying his own mother. And when those first seven tracks are finished, the band finishes off the album with a song called “Isolation Years.” It doesn’t belong to this son-killing-mother part, but this slow burn masterpiece is still thrilling.

Music-wise, Ghost Reveries can be perfectly described as “paranoid.” As the band’s main composer, Mikael Åkerfeldt successfully managed to transfer his dark emotions into all those twisted solos, surrounded then by wall of even thicker riffs. Ghost Reveries is the most solid and progressive metal album I’ve heard this decade – yes, you can headbang to it, but it also requires time to be fully absorbed. And the thing with Ghost Reveries is, by the time you realize that you absolutely must get it out of your mind, you’ve been possessed long enough for it to make you one of its many hosts. And that is exactly what makes this album so essential.

-Freddy Cai

Download Ghost Reveries from Amazon!


#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


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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