Do you know what’s a really good way of procrastinating? Turns out, making a list of your top 50 albums of the last decade. Yesterday we had 50-41, so let’s crack on, shall we?
DISCLAIMER: These choices are presented as exactly that. I am not claiming this to be the definitive list of the 50 best albums of the decade. Although, you know, they are. If you disagree, please let me know below the line, on one of those social media channels, or go howl into the wind. Thanks.
40. Oathbreaker – Rheia: Even being a fan of their earlier work couldn’t prepare me for the first time I heard Rheia. All the ingredients were there, from the pummelling blackened post-metal hybrid sounds to Caro Tanghe’s strangled vocals. What I wasn’t expecting was the absolutely harrowing howl the album was, like an open wound, all exposed sinew and bone. Caro’s clean vocals are like a dagger to the heart, but when she opens up, by Christ it doesn’t sound like anything else. Possibly the vocal performance of the decade, up there with Julie Christmas’s work with Cult of Luna.
39. Touché Amoré – Stage Four: Post Hardcore can be a homogenous beast sometimes, with plenty of bands making great albums, most of which sound roughly in the same wheelhouse as each other. Not so Touché Amoré, who sound like nobody but themselves, their music closer to the raucous college indie scene than hardcore, possessed of a deft touch with melody and grandiose themes, all pulled together under Jeremy Bolm’s caustic, abrasive howl. This album deals with the death of Bolm’s mother but transcends the grief of that event to be an album of insightful brilliance.
38. Boss Keloid – Melted on the Inch: One of the reasons I believe British metal has stepped out of the shadow of its more confident American counterparts in recent years is that it stopped giving a damn about sounding like the Americans do. In the case of Boss Keloid, they’ve gone a step further and gone with not sounding like anything else of God’s green earth. I mean, it’s clearly a sludgy doom album, but it’s also prog as. But then it’s also almost operatic. It bludgeons, but then it makes you laugh out loud with its audacious tricksyness. It’s been out a year and a half now, and I still don’t know what to make of it, except that I bloody love it.
37. Allfather – And All Will Be Desolation: Allfather, on the other hand, sit at the other end of the spectrum. They do one thing, and they do it really bloody well. In the great tradition of Iron Monkey, Orange Goblin, and Raging Speedhorn, all they’re really interested in is beating you to death with the sheer weight of their riffs. It might be only one trick, but it’s the absolute Granddad of tricks, which is why this has become my all-time go-to album for when I just want someone to kick my face off with riffs.
36. Deftones – Gore: Easily the strongest album the Radiohead of Metal released in this decade, it’s yet another chapter in a career where every chapter turns out to be a different book in a different genre, possibly with a different author. Gore somehow manages to discard all my favourite elements of early Deftones albums but manages to remain every bit as brilliant as most of them.
35. Chelsea Wolfe – Hiss Spun: I once saw Chelsea Wolfe described as Lana Del Ray for metalheads and couldn’t agree more, but this is a cracking album of gloomy pop, bolstered by the random appearance of Aaron Turner’s ferocious bellow midway through the hushed whispered vocals for no apparent reason.
34. City of Ships – Ultraliminal: If you’re in the market for some great post-hardcore tinged with grunge vocals and a bit of a Deep Elm emo vibe, you’d do a lot worse than this excellent album, which seemingly appeared and disappeared from everyone’s radar a few years back. A real shame, because this is great.
33. Defeater – Letters Home: I’ve put Letters Home as the selection because it’s arguably the best in their run of excellent albums, but in reality, their entire output this decade – each a new chapter in the ongoing saga of a family torn apart in the wake of war – deserves special mention. Not many bands have the guts to attempt not just a concept album but a concept career, but the fact that Defeater not just attempt it but pull it off is nothing short of a miracle. But it’s not just the lyrical content that impresses, their blue-collar Springsteen-tinged melodic hardcore is absolutely sensational.
32. Elder – Lore: Doom meets prog. I know the two of them have met before, met well, and met elsewhere, but if you say ‘doom meets prog’ to me I will shout ‘Elder!’ back at you with such ferocity that you’ll regret doing so. I absolutely adore this album, it’s absolutely MASSIVE.
31. Dead Meadow – The Nothing They Need: They may have the sleepiest sound of any stoner band in existence, but they’re damn hard workers, with this their seventh album of the decade, and the best. Drawing extensively from the roots of stone rock like Blue Cheer and Mountain, as well as tinges of the druggy blissed-out sound of Pink Floyd and Jefferson Airplane, they’re one of the many reasons the stone rock scene continues to be in such good shape.
There you go, twenty down, thirty to go. Come back tomorrow for more hot list action.
Paul Stephenson is an author and blogger. His first series, the post-apocalyptic thriller trilogy Blood on the Motorway, is available now in ebook and print from Amazon, and free to read for Kindle Unlimited members. Get Short Sharp Shocks, a collection of three exclusive free short stories when you join the reader’s group. Subscribe to the blog to get a weekly roundup of all posts sent directly to your inbox. Also you can share using the buttons below, or why not buy Paul a coffee?