We are nearing the end of 2019, and what we are experiencing together is a moment that will be remembered in the distant future as significant in music history. Why so? Because it brings to an end the decade of the 2010s, and what a glorious decade of hard rock and heavy metal it has been. Without further ado, here are the editor’s picks for the top 20 metal albums of the decade (2010-19).
#20. RIOT V – Unleash The Fire (2014): It is not easy for any band to battle against its own past, but Riot V, the modern-day incarnation of legendary US classic/power metal band Riot, has done just that through the latter half of this decade, doing full justice to the band’s musical repertoire and legacy. The Riot V moniker was officially born in 2012, and this group’s journey began in earnest with the 2014 album, Unleash The Fire. Filled to the brim with one instant classic after another, this feel-good set of tunes is as good a power metal album as any that surfaced in the 2010s.
#19. HOLY GRAIL – Crisis in Utopia (2010): Los Angeles’ own Holy Grail emerged as part of the New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal with their 2009 debut EP Improper Burial, but elevated themselves far and above to a whole other level with their 2010 debut LP. Retaining the old-school metal roots but simultaneously infusing several other elements and sub-genres, Holy Grail burst onto the scene with Crisis In Utopia, one of the most energetic, powerful and well-rounded albums of the decade without any doubt.
#18. ANTHRAX – Worship Music (2011): Most of the so-called “Big Four” bands of our world have released disappointing and underwhelming albums throughout this decade, but one undeniable exception is Anthrax, with the 2011 release, Worship Music. It certainly proved their doubters wrong, marking a true return to form for these thrash metal giants. This release catapulted them back into prominence, and the band has hardly looked back ever since. It took Anthrax several years to write, record and release Worship Music, but as their best album since the early ’90s, it clearly turned out to be worth the wait and then some.
#17. THE SWORD – Warp Riders (2010): By the time the world arrived at the turn of the decade from the 2000s to the 2010s, Austin, Texas stoner metal champs The Sword had already made quite a name for themselves with two stellar albums, Age Of Winters (2006) and Gods Of The Earth (2008). and a tour with Metallica to help matters further. The follow-up album simply had to live up to expectations, or else they might well have faded away into obscurity like so many bands did after a promising start. With memorable riffs, grooves, melodies and harmonies galore, this one’s a banger from start to finish. Warp Riders gave listeners plenty to cheer about, and firmly established this band as one of the finest of modern times.
#16. MUTOID MAN – War Moans (2017): Side-projects and supergroups are, more often than not, overhyped and overrated, but members of Cave In and Converge proved this notion completely wrong when they came together to form Mutoid Man in 2012. While the trio’s debut EP Helium Head (2013) and first LP Bleeder are both fantastic, the 2017 sophomore album is where Mutoid Man expressed itself to the fullest. By far the best album of that year, and one of the finest of this decade, the incredibly intense and unabatedly insane War Moans is impossible to categorize into any existing sub-genre and simply defines Mutoin Man as its own unique sound.
Which albums made #15 to #11? All revealed on Page 2 …