The 100 greatest albums of the 21st century: 100-85
We polled a huge panel of writers, bands, industry experts and readers to put together the definitive countdown of the best albums of the 21st century. Here, we reveal entries 100-85
Fact: the 21st century has ruled for heavy music. Fact: we also love punishing ourselves. So, to give the Hammer office a few dozen sleepless nights and furious debates that will roll until the end of time, we polled a huge panel made up of writers, bands, industry experts and readers to put together the definitive countdown of the albums that have been smashing expectations and blowing our tiny minds since the year 2000. Let’s get to it.
THE MEANING OF GREATEST
We asked our panel to choose the albums in this list based on merit of lasting impact, influence and generally kicking ass.
ONE ALBUM PER BAND
Look, this shit has been keeping us up at night as it is without making it more difficult for ourselves. No exceptions.
NO ALBUMS FROM 2016
This year has been killer for heavy music, but to make an all-time- great list, you need a bit more distance. 2015-backwards only!
NO LIVES OR COMPILATIONS
That's basically cheating. Though we've acknowledged some great 21st century live albums as a bonus because we're nice.
100. HALESTORM - INTO THE WILD LIFE (2015)
Building on the momentum of 2012’s The Curious Case Of..., Halestorm delivered a war chest stacked with style, sheen, swagger and buckets of arena-ready anthems. With her ear-splitting screams and fearsome licks, Into The Wild Life cemented Lzzy Hale as one of the scene’s finest frontwomen, and Halestorm as one of 21st century rock’s most exciting names.
What we said: ”The quartet have come of age spectacularly. World domination seems inevitable.”
99. QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE - SONGS FOR THE DEAF (2002)
BAND PICK: “It’s so brave, with such out-of-the box thinking. It shows you can play hard music and still be super melodic. There’s borderline death metal on there, there’s minstrel campfire music, pop, rock… it’s very, very inspiring. I’d definitely say that that record has shaped a lot of things coming after it – ourselves included.”- A NAMELESS GHOUL, GHOST
What we said: “Queens Of The Stone Age’s Songs For The Deaf is being hailed as the feel good album of the summer.”
98. SABATON - THE ART OF WAR (2008)
If anyone was still left thinking that Sabaton were a novelty act, fourth album The Art Of War took such cynical beliefs, loaded them into a panzer and fired them into the sun. Brimming with soon-to-be setlist staples and teetering on concept-album territory with a look at General Sun Tzu’s military tome of the same name, it solidified Sabaton as big players.
What we said: “The profile of the war-obsessed Swedes has been growing as fast as any metal band on Earth.”
97. ORANGE GOBLIN - A EULOGY FOR THE DAMNED (2012)
Proud upholders of the British heavy metal code, Orange Goblin have never been more enthralling than on their seventh album. Every single song, from the rampaging Red Tide Rising to the mesmerising, epic title track, is an absolute cast-iron belter, furiously running riot across the ears like a horde of zombie bikers on the windswept ride of their lives.
What we said: “This is Orange Goblin at their defiant, ribald, boisterous best. They simply don’t put a foot wrong from start to finish.”
96. OF MICE & MEN - THE FLOOD (2011)
For a band that could have so easily become also-rans of the scene, Of Mice & Men stood up when it mattered, melding infectious melodies with crushing heaviness to produce one of the best modern age metalcore albums. OG Loko remains the Cali crew’s defining anthem, while Austin Carlile silenced any doubts over his decision to leave Attack Attack! behind.
What we said: “It may not be reinventing the wheel, but when you have choruses as catchy as these, does it really matter?”