#10. SYMPHONY X – Iconoclast (2011): Striking the balance between complexity and catchiness is an often unattainable task when it comes to creating music, but ProgPower stalwarts Symphony X have mastered this art over the years. This quality is none more evident than on their eighth studio album, the 2011 release Iconoclast. Decorated in equal parts by the guitar wizardry of Michael Romeo and the Dio-esque powerful vocals of Russell Allen, both built on the pillars of an exemplarily brilliant rhythm section, Iconoclast is the heartiest dosage of ProgPower this decade has treated us with.
#9. BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME – The Parallax II: Future Sequence (2012): One of the truly great bands of modern times is Raleigh, North Carolina group Between The Buried And Me. Their sixth full-length release, the concept album The Parallax II: Future Sequence is a journey unto itself, of the mind-bending lyrical concept as well as of the band’s eclectic range of musical influences and inspirations, from ’70s prog to technical death metal and everything in between. It is not uncommon for bands to be influenced by a broad range of musical styles, but it sure is rare for a band to be able to encapsulate and express their repertoire as astutely as BTBAM succeed in doing on this one. Beyond being a mere album,The Parallax II is a 72-minute experience that boggles the mind.
#8. GOATWHORE – Constricting Rage of the Merciless (2014): Even the most extreme forms of heavy metal have their roots in rock ‘n roll, and this is best embodied by longstanding New Orleans group Goatwhore. While their earlier work exhibited more of their black metal tendencies, the band’s sixth album Constricting Rage of the Merciless delved deeper into the aforementioned rock ‘n roll influences. The album is as much Judas Priest and Motörhead as it is black, thrash and death metal, which is what makes it a real standout amidst everything released throughout this decade. This one gets fists pumping, heads banging and blood pumping like no other.
#7. DEATH ANGEL – Relentless Retribution (2010): Enduring a lengthy hiatus and numerous personnel changes through the ’90s and 2000s, San Francisco Bay Area thrash veterans Death Angel settled upon a five-member lineup in 2009 and the first album this group of musicians collectively came up with was the 2010 release, Relentless Retribution. Hugely significant to this band’s history, this album solidified Death Angel’s lineup and kickstarted the 2010s into making it the most prolific decade of their career, something even their core original members would have never imagined. Relentless Retribution emphatically establishes Death Angel’s brand of thrash as largely distinct from that of their contemporaries and fully demonstrates the main reason behind the band’s modern-day success: thrash that stays true to its classic roots but equally carries modern elements to gain relevance in the present day.
#6. DREAM THEATER – A Dramatic Turn Of Events (2011): Moving on after the departure of a founding member can be extremely difficult, particularly for a hard rock / heavy metal band, in a world where most fans invariably get more attached to the personnel than the music itself. No band was under more tremendous pressure than Dream Theater, when they decided to carry on after parting ways with drummer Mike Portnoy. Their 2011 release A Dramatic Turn Of Events marked their first sans Portnoy. Through this effort, Dream Theater came out with flying colors, with a set of songs that offer just about everything a fan of Dream Theater and prog could ask for. The sheer brilliance of the music alone makes this one of the best albums of the decade, but the circumstances under which it was released makes it all the more powerful.
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