Mr. Ross came up with a fun idea: to write about our top 5 most influential albums from the 2000’s. So thinking back through it all, most of my metal growth and interest (and knowledge I suppose) came from this decade. Sure there were a lot of back catalogs of music to indulge in but there were some key releases that got me interested in more genres and heavier music. In the year 2000, I was only a sophomore in high school. 2010? I was working a welding job and having a child. A lot happened in between that time frame but I think I can manage to pick only 5 albums that were most influential to me. It all started on August 28th 2001…
I was already a fan of the Slipknot’s previous/debut release but nothing compared to Iowa. Commercially successful while maintaining dark lyrics, heavy musicianship and freaking blast beats! Slipknot’s Iowa was something special to me and easily the heaviest thing my 16 year old self had ever heard at the time. It was this album that got me interested in death metal as I desired to hear what other bands had to offer. Yes, Slipknot got me into death metal.
Soon after graduating high school (2003) I was using a program called Kazaa, a P2P program where you can illegally download music for free. I know, I am a total scumbag! However, using this program got me into a new band and a new style of music altogether. Dimmu Borgir’s Death Cult Armageddon was just then recently released and I witnessed their new music video “Progenies of the Great Apocalypse” on Kazaa. Man was that life changing experience. I loved the vocal remedies, black metal guitar attack and the use of the symphonic compositions! It really stood out and I now own Dimmu’s entire discography on disc. I have Dimmu to thank for getting me into black metal.
Still searching for the highest quality of music, I kept buying albums and eventually got a sampler from Hot Topic when I was buying a shirt. Within this sampler was a Polish band called Behemoth with the single “Slaves Shall Serve”. It was the 6th song on the disc and once that song started I was hooked. I listened to that song 10 times in a row, showed my friend, he loved it and I took my ass to CD Warehouse to buy Demigod. What a great idea this was as the blackened death metal trip made me an instant fan. Demigod inspired me to continue looking for more thought provoking music with insane song writing and even faster drumming. Demigod also inspired me to make my first big guitar purchase: the ESP ltd Viper 400 that Seth is using in the “Conquer All” music video!
After engorging on Demigod for months, I was curious to find the fastest drummer in existence at the time. After listening to Orion’s double bass speeds, I just wondered who could top that. Well this led me to finding out about a Greek drummer called George Kollias and his incredible drumming on Annihilation of the Wicked. A new album dropped by a little band known as Nile! This ended up being one of the biggest influential albums of my life, period. Egyptian mythology brought on by sheer devastation of brutality on all fronts. AotW is still one of my favorite albums to date and I still get chills listening to this masterpiece of an album. You want the best death metal album ever written? Listen to this album.
After finding Demigod and Annihilation of the Wicked, I thought nothing else would ever matter or even top that. Both albums are filled with rich musicianship, expansive mythologies and endearing vocal work. What could I else could move me in a way that those do? Well in 2007, my friend showed me this music video on the Music on Demand channel that we had an a video for Amon Amarth’s “Runes Carved to my Memory” just so happened to be on there. The headbanging was awesome, the vocals were aggressive and the guitars were so heavy and melodic! Bringing this style of music in and bringing another mythology to the mix, Nordic/Viking mythology, Amon Amarth left a lasting impression on me and still remains to be one of my favorite bands to this day.
So there you have it. Slipknot getting me into heavier music. Dimmu Borgir introducing me to black metal. Behemoth blending genres and being masterful musicians. Nile for their incredible musicianship while adding middle eastern ideologies to the compositions and Amon Amarth for being melodic death metal vikings! These 5 albums still mean the world to me and helped influence the man I am today.