The Top 66.6 Metal Albums of the Millennium


best metal albums of the millennium60. CoughRitual Abuse
(2010; Relapse)

It’s quite a thing when a band manages to describe their entire aesthetic in a name. Cough may be a little subtler than Weedeater or Bongripper, but there’s a right way and a still-good way to listen to Ritual Abuse, and that’s enough of that. This is stoner-doom at its finest (occasionally flirting with death-doom), complete with awe-inspiring solos, alternating cleans and yells, riffs, progressions and vocal chants that’ll get stuck in your head for years, and, oh yeah, a simply gorgeous guitar fill around the 5:30 mark in “Crippled Wizard” that is nothing short of, uh, breathtaking. – Ben Braunstein

best metal albums of the millennium Behemoth59. BehemothThe Satanist
(2014; Metal Blade)

A recurring motif of this list is comebacks better than anything the band had done before. So we see here, the record written prior to Nergal successfully battling leukemia. Despite the music and lyrics coming before that incredible fight, it shows Behemoth at their most alchemically bonded between black and death metal with symphonic flourishes. An instant canonical metal record; no easy feat. – Langdon Hickman

best metal albums of the millennium Alcest58. AlcestEcailles de la Lune
(2010; Prophecy)

Practically the founder of the subgenre of blackgaze, Alcest’s second LP remains a forever dreamy, anguished monolith of wavy guitar tones, blissfully black metal chord progressions and ever-escalating beauty. This is a perfect introduction to the softer side of metal. Yet that doesn’t mean that this album doesn’t hit hard, because it certainly does. That’s what makes it so damn special—it’s a wondrous examination of fanciful metal crunch and shoegaze beauty. – Brian Roesler

best metal albums of the millennium Blut Aus Nord57. Blut Aus Nord777: Cosmosophy
(2012; Debemur Morti)

The third and final act of the 777 trilogy, Cosmosophy remains, in many ways, Blut Aus Nord’s most strategic and experimental work, yielding an often introspective serving of psychedelic progressions and surprising, thumping grooves. Accented throughout with abrupt fury and intensity, this album stands as both an entry point into the discography of the mysterious French black metal maestro, Vindisval, and equally a summation of his talents and project’s scale. – Brian Roesler

best metal albums of the millennium SubRosa56. SubRosaNo Help for the Mighty Ones
(2011; Profound Lore)

Even without the string section, this would be masterful melodic doom, but the violins (even when discordant) set it apart. The most perfect moment on No Help For The Mighty Ones comes around the 9:05 moment in “Stonecarver,” as the violins rise to a climatic point and lead guitarist/vocalist Rebecca Vernon sings the title line with a backing vocalist screaming the words behind her; it is bone-chilling. In a genre sometimes devoid of real cry-your-eyes-out emotion, this is a welcome surprise. – Ben Braunstein

KEN Mode Entrench55. KEN ModeEntrench
(2013; Season of Mist)

As much a noise rock album as a metal record proper, KEN Mode’s Entrench finds the Winnipeg band balancing the brawny post-hardcore influence of The Jesus Lizard and Unwound with a ferocious, at times ornate metal sensibility. For as heavy as its most sardonically intense songs hit (“Counter Culture Complex,” “The Terror Pulse”), what’s most remarkable about Entrench is the spiral staircase of strings and piano built on top of that murky foundation. It’s some of the most elegant bruising of the past half-decade. – Jeff Terich

best metal albums of the millennium Enslaved54. EnslavedRIITIIR
(2012; Nuclear Blast)

The Norwegian black metal innovators’ 12th album found them having totally crossed over from black metal into the kind progressive metal that Opeth once played. Clean vocals took over on this one and this factored into making it their highest selling and most accessible album to date. Enslaved, even at their least blackened, manage to offer a much more interesting take on progressive rock than those that carry the torch for the old school. And to Enslaved’s credit the had some pretty dope guitar tones dialed in, so that’s a bonus for fans of wild guitar heroics. – Wil Lewellyn

best metal albums of the millennium Warning53. WarningWatching from a Distance
(2006; Miskatonic)

Watching From A Distance may very well be the saddest album on this list. This deeply poetic record stands as Warning’s peak output and for very good reason. Patrick Walker’s voice seems to reach deep within a listener and pull on the toughest of heart strings. Walker’s guitar is met by Marcus Hatfield’s bass and Stuart Springthorpe’s drums, and together the trio builds a shimmering monument to sorrowful traditional doom that can be found in many of this generation’s torchbearers. – Cody Davis

Khemmis Hunted review52. KhemmisHunted
(2016; 20 Buck Spin)

Khemmis’s sudden ascent to into metal’s spotlight is anything but a fluke. The Decibel Album of the Year honors and Nuclear Blast deal are all a product of the Denver quartet’s doomed rock formula. It is a recipe that has them primed for long-term success as well—as proven by last year’s Hunted. Their sophomore effort is a captivating display of doomed variations on the styles of Metallica, Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden that scratches an itch for classic hard rock and metal sounds. – Cody Davis

Nails You Will Never Be One Of Us51. NailsYou Will Never Be One Of Us
(2016; Nuclear Blast)

The sheer nastiness of the sound of You Will Never Be One Of Us made me forget that grindcore has never been my forte. When most grindcore bands possess limited range of dynamic expression, often coming across like they can only color with the red crayon of anger, the Southern California band paints in such vivid hues, it makes it far more worthwhile to hold on throughout their entire primal scream session. It’s the band’s best album and a high point for grindcore in the past decade. – Wil Lewellyn

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View Comments (23)
  • I am so glad you have recognized albums here that the Rolling Stone top 100 missed, especially placing Baroness Blue at number 2. WORD.

    • Make sure never to tell us what’s on it, because we might actually enjoy a fun conversation about recommending cool records we might have missed. We’d hate that.

      • Here.

        I parenthetically included albums from the same band that would be included if I weren’t limiting it to one entry per artist

        66. Deceased… – As the Weird Travel On
        65. Deathevokation – The Chalice of Ages
        64. Emptiness – Nothing But the Whole
        63. Minsk – The Ritual Fires of Abandonment
        62. Denial – Catacombs of the Grotesque
        61. Bloody Sign – Explosion of Elements
        60. Cadaver – Necrosis
        59. Mournful Congregation – The Book of Kings
        58. Incantation – Vanquish In Vengeance (Primordial Domination)
        57. Desolate Shrine – The Sanctum of Human Darkness (The Heart of the Netherworld)
        56. Mouth of the Architect – Quietly
        55. Grayceon – This Grand Show
        54. Absu – Tara
        53. Deströyer 666 – Cold Steel… For An Iron Age
        52. Summoning – Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame (Old Mornings Dawn)
        51. Arcturus – The Sham Mirrors
        50. Inquisition – Bloodshed Across the Empyrean Altar Beyond the Celestial Zenith (Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm)
        49. The Ruins of Beverast – Foulest Semen of a Sheltered Elite (Blood Vaults, Unlock the Shrine)
        48. Inverloch – Distance | Collapsed
        47. Satan – Life Sentence
        46. Sigh – Imaginary Sonicscape (Hangman’s Hymn)
        45. Enslaved – Mardraum (Monumension)
        44. Murkrat – Drudging the Mire
        43. Blood Incantation – Starspawn
        42. The Axis of Perdition – The Ichneumon Method
        41. Mortuary Drape – Tolling 13 Knell
        40. Altars – Paramnesia
        39. Varathron – Untrodden Corridors of Hades
        38. The Dying Light – Survival Guide to the Apocalypse
        37. Thorns – Thorns
        36. Predatory Light – Predatory Light
        35. Adversarial – Death, Endless Nothing, and the Black Knife of Nihilism (All Idols Fall Below the Hammer)
        34. Execration – Odes of the Occult
        33. Dead Congregation – Promulgation of the Fall (Graves of the Archangels)
        32. Phobocosm – Deprived (Bringer of Drought)
        31. Ingurgitating Oblivion – Vision Wallows in Symphonies of Light
        30. Evoken – Quietus (A Caress of the Void, Antithesis of Light)
        29. Morbid Angel – Gateways to Annihilation
        28. Avenger – Feast of Anger, Joy of Despair (Mir v Haremu Smrti)
        27. Lvcifyre – The Calling Depths
        26. Unaussprechlichen Kulten – Keziah Lilith Medea
        25. Nightbringer – Terra Damnata (Ego Dominus Tuus)
        23. Rune – The End of Nothing
        22. Mitochondrion – Archææon (Parasignosis)
        21. Blut Aus Nord – The Work Which Transforms God (Memoria Vetusta II: A Dialogue With the Stars)
        20. The Crown – Deathrace King
        19. Ulcerate – The Destroyers of All (Everything Is Fire)
        18. Helstar – Vampiro
        17. Defeated Sanity – Passages Into Deformity
        16. Nile – In Their Darkened Shrines (Annihilation of the Wicked)
        15. Chthe’ilist – La Dernier Crépuscule
        14. StarGazer – A Merging to the Boundless (The Scream That Tore the Sky, A Great Work of Ages)
        13. Anata – Under a Stone With No Inscription (The Conductor’s Departure)
        12. Blind Guardian – A Night at the Opera (Beyond the Red Mirror)
        11. !T.O.O.H.! – Pod Vladou Bice (Rad a Trest)
        10. Negura Bunget – OM (N’Crugu Bradului)
        9. Pharaoh – Be Gone (The Longest Night)
        8. Slough-Feg – Down Among the Dead Men (Traveller)
        7. Pagan Altar – Mythical & Magical (Lords of Hypocrisy)
        6. Primordial – Storm Before Calm (To the Nameless Dead, The Gathering Wilderness)
        5. Esoteric – Paragon of Dissonance (The Maniacal Vale, Subconscious Dissolution into the Continuum)
        4. The Chasm – Procession to the Infraworld (Farseeing the Paranormal Abysm, Conjuration of the Spectral Empire)
        3. Immolation – Close to a World Below (Unholy Cult)
        2. Gorguts – From Wisdom to Hate (Colored Sands)
        1. Hammers of Misfortune – The August Engine (The Bastard, Dead Revolution)

        • These are all excellent albums. We just happened to choose different ones by a process of six people voting. But hey, good couple of decades for metal, that much we can agree on.

        • I can see you’re hitting the nail on the head with your list that I feel is wrong in the list in the article . . .

          Power Metal, Progressive Metal, Melodic Rock/Metal, Black Metal, Gothic Metal, REAL Death Metal are all . “Uncool” and ignored by these fly-by-night trendhopping artblogs. They want ONLY the “cool” things. No need to pay attention to whatever comes from outside their narrow very narrow bandwidth

          • You’re correct of course, but would it make any sense for them to do otherwise? Because it’s not a metal site, it is a sampling of the more arty side from an outsider’s perspective. Want a list from lifers, get Iron Fist to do a list!

          • I wouldn’t say that we’re outsiders. The six of us that wrote the list listen to a lot of metal and have for a long time. However, Treble isn’t specifically a metal site, so maybe we’re just coming at it from a more eclectic perspective? Either way, we love metal, we love metal that’s unconventional, we love metal that’s traditional, it can all coexist.

        • Beyond the Red Mirror as Blind Guardian’s 2nd best album? You crazy. Tales, Somewhere, Imaginations, and Nightfall are all way better.

  • Needs Cobalt and more Isis and Panopticon. In fact, it needs the album Panopticon from Isis, and Autumn Eternal from Panopticon.

  • This is such a great list! Well done! Thank you, thank you, thank you for including Yob, Inter Arma, Pallbearer and Elder on your list, but especially…Kylesa. I don’t know why, but Kylesa always gets overlooked on these lists. They are, hands down, my favorite band and I love their evolution from their self titled debut through Exhausting Fire. I just hope we hear from them again. I celebrate their entire collection!

  • good list !!, but too much doom or black metal and yea… something like that, i expect more thrash or death, but as i said, it’s still good list

  • Thanks for this list, it’s been a good reference for an old man to catch up on what’s been happening in the scene for the past 17 years. Metal certainly has grown up since the 70s and 80s, although I am finding there is a LOT of “hipster shoe-gaze” in this list.

  • This is what you get when indie kids and hipsters make a metal list. Boris??? Gimme a fucken break. Most of these albums place discordant noise above all else. As another person asked: where is the power metal, the melodic death metal, the “true” metal..? Not one Amon Amarth record here. Nor Grand Magus and other titans of genuine metal craftsmanship.

    Go back to groomin yer beards ya wankers.

  • Good list. Glad to see you got High on Fire on the addendum, obvious omission by anyone’s perspective.

    I’ve only really gotten into metal in the past ~5 years, so can’t make a list of 66 amazing albums of the 21st century that’s particularly deep or representative, so instead here’s a list of my idiosyncratic faves that includes metal as well as hardcore and punk which I have a longer history of appreciating. And yes, I ranked Horse the Band over Mastodon (personal preference is just that – I’m certainly not arguing that they are a more influential, talented, or popular band lol). R.T.’s list looks awesome, so many bands there I need to check out. or whose full albums are in my bandcamp cart.

    Converge – Jane Doe – 2001
    Propagandhi – Supporting Caste – 2009
    Pig Destroyer – Phantom Limb – 2007
    Bane – Give Blood – 2001
    Tragedy – Vengeance – 2001
    Mgla – Exercises in Futility – 2015
    Majority Rule – Interviews With David Frost – 2001
    Against Me! – Searching for A Former Clarity – 2005
    Suicide File – Some Mistakes You Never Stop Paying For – 2005
    Cloud Rat – Qlipoth 2015
    Planesmistakenforstars – Up in Them Guts – 2004
    High on Fire – Snakes for the Divine – 2010
    Cobalt – Slow Forever – 2016
    Transistor Transistor – Erase All Names and Likeness – 2005
    Isis – Oceanic – 2002
    Blacklisted – No One Deserves Here to Be Here More Than Me – 2010
    Boysetsfire – After The Eulogy – 2000
    American Nightmare – Background Music – 2001
    City of Caterpillar – S/T – 2002
    Blackeyes – S/T – 2003
    Tau Cross – S/T – 2015
    Gridlink – Longhena – 2014
    Eternal Champion – The Armor of Ire – 2016
    Nux Vomica – S/T – 2014
    Capital – Homefront – 2007
    Battle of Mice – A Day of Nights – 2006
    Modern Life is War – Witness – 2005
    Leftover Crack – Fuck World Trade – 2004
    Horse the Band – R. Borax – 2003
    Agoraphobic Nosebleed – Arc – 2016
    Krallice – Hyperion – 2016
    Fucked Up – Hidden World – 2006
    Sumerlands – S/T – 2016
    Queens of the Stone Age – Songs for the Deaf – 2002
    A Wilhelm Screen – Mute Print – 2004
    Mastadon – Leviathan – 2004
    Panopticon – Kentucky – 2012
    Darkest Hour – Mark of the Judas – 2000
    Boris – Akuma – No Ata – 2001
    The Sword – Age of Winter – 2006
    From Ashes Rise – Nightmares – 2003
    Strike Anywhere – Change is a Sound
    Municipal Waste – Hazardous Mutation – 2005
    Cattle Decapitation – Monolith of Inhumanity – 2012
    Blood Brothers – Burn, Piano Island Burn – 2003
    Deafheaven – New Bermuda – 2015
    Gospel – The Moon is a Dead World – 2005
    Shai Hulud – That Within Blood Ill-Tempered – 2003
    Rwake – Voices and Omens – 2007
    pageninetynine – document #8 – 2001
    Death spell Omega – Fas – Ite, Malediction, in Ignem Aeternum – 2007
    Fuck the Facts – Desire Will Rot – 2015
    Kylesa – Spiral Shadow – 2012
    Kowloon Walled City – Container Ships – 2012
    Children of Bodom – Hate Crew Deathroll – 2003
    Discordance Axis – The Inalienable Dreamless – 2000
    3 Inches of Blood – Advance and Vanquish – 2004
    Pelican – Australasia – 2003
    Pure Disgust – S/T – 2016
    Akimbo – City of the Stars – 2004
    Hope Conspiracy – Endnote – 2001
    Immortal Bird – Empress/Abscess – 2015
    Mutoid Man – War Moans – 2017
    Oathbreaker – Rheia – 2016
    Theories – Regression – 2015
    Nightwish – Wishmaster – 2000

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