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Top 25 Metal Albums of the 2010s

on November 08, 2019, 1:33pm
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05. Ghost – Meliora (2015)

Ghost - Meliora

Originally a one-off studio project credited to a single nameless ghoul, Swedish wunderkind Tobias Forge made his name (with a helpful endorsement from Darkthrone’s Fenriz) as Ghost with 2010’s Opus Eponymous. A lively mix of Blue Öyster Cult with King Diamond-ish vocals, the rock-solid debut gave way to pop-leaning experimentation on Infestissumam before reaching full power on Meliora. With much-improved vocals and rock-solid riffs (dig that ballistic bass riff in “From the Pinnacle to the Pit”), the third Ghost record completed Forge’s transformation from a solitary metal hobbyist in Linkoping to Papa Emeritus III, global metal dandy. Props to Tobias for packing satanism and socialism with so many hooks. No new metal act this decade has navigated success so well — nor brought sweet unadulterated blasphemy to the homes of so many. –Joseph Schafer

04. Power Trip – Nightmare Logic (2017)

Power Trip- Nightmare Logic
Power Trip’s aesthetic of throwing every one of their influences against a wall and seeing how it splats and festers and molds and rots was presented in its purest form on the Texas group’s second full-length, Nightmare Logic. A bit of zonked out electronic f*ckery courtesy of Dominick Fernow (aka Prurient) stitched onto a knuckle-dragging thrash tune? Hardcore punk rhythms met with a guitar solo that squealed so loudly it could crack glass? A fist-pumping ode to cutting off someone’s head with an axe? Yes, yes, and yes again. If it felt good, then by golly, Power Trip were damn-well gonna do it, no matter what kind of mess they left behind. Just don’t worry about the smell. You’ll get used to it eventually. —Robert Ham

03. Deafheaven – Sunbather (2013)

Deafheaven - Sunbather
Arguably the biggest crossover success of any metal album of the 2010s, Sunbather effectively bridged the gap between black metal and shoegaze. Thus, the genre was dubbed “blackgaze,” entreating indie-rock fans who may have once scoffed at heavy metal to dabble in the genre and Deafheaven’s influences. The Sunbather effect went both ways, however, as hardcore black metal fans saw Deafheaven — with their short hair and clean black button-ups — as an invasive threat of co-opted sonic appropriation and poserism. Those debates were silly back then and they’re even more arbitrary now. When approached on its own terms, the music on Sunbather is often beautiful and adventurous. It stands as a pinnacle black metal album for the very open-mindedness that incited its backlash. —Jon Hadusek

02. Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage (2012)

Gojira - L'Enfant Sauvage

There are few bands that craft progressive and brutal music like Gojira. The French metal act released two masterful albums in the 2010s — 2012’s L’Enfant Sauvage and 2016’s Magma, but we’re giving the former the slight edge. With touches of death and groove metal, the band use bombastic instrumentation to deliver devastating and intricate technicality on L’Enfant Sauvage. Thanks to their skillful songwriting, the band presents various compositional structures and styles to keep each track engaging. At the same time, Gojira infuse their music pulse-pounding adrenaline, providing forward-thinking thrills. The balance that Gojira maintain throughout the record is impressive; for a band to deliver such ferocious instrumentation and keep each technical element fresh is astonishing. It goes without saying that L’Enfant Sauvage is an absolute beast of a record and a fantastic work of progressive metal. –Michael Pementel

01. Behemoth – The Satanist (2014)

Behemoth - The Satanist
When, on the opening track of Behemoth’s 2014 masterpiece The Satanist, frontman Nergal growls out the line, “Hail my return,” he’s singing as much about the subject matter at hand (the destruction of mankind through Armageddon, natch) as he is himself. The Polish death metal band’s 10th album was the first burst of sound from Nergal since being diagnosed with — and successfully fighting — leukemia. That brush with the beyond set the trio’s collective jaw and inspired the most vicious and unrelenting release in their abundant discography. Behemoth’s lyrical concerns have stayed true with plenty of blasphemous fury and shout outs to the dark lord, but on The Satanist, the music is a steady assault, as forceful and foreboding as an army of the dead appearing on the horizon. —Robert Ham

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