00s Essentials – Volume Seven

Volume Seven shoves its way into the latter half our list with authority. This edition contains some of the most cathartic albums of the decade, for wildly varying reasons. Whether you prefer to drown your sorrows with a pint, bring your misanthropy to a boil, or pummel your worries with massive doses of riffery, the classics of Volume Seven give you serious options. Choose your weapons wisely.


While Immolation’s entire discography is utterly essential for death metal fans, Close To A World Below is when the band really made their indelible mark on metal history. An epic, destructive masterpiece, Close To A World Below introduced an intelligent spin on death metal songwriting that few have rivaled since. Ross Dolan’s vocals are morbid and engrossing, Alex Hernandez’s drumming is ruthlessly inventive, and the guitars sound like they are churning from the bowels of Hell itself. As evocative and dynamic as it is mercilessly brutal, Close To A World Below is truly the connoisseur’s death metal album. [Metal Blade, 2000]

• • • •


For those who already followed the works of Absu, the all-around intensifying of their established, wispier style of unconventional black/thrash metal was like a sledgehammer hit to the orbital bone. A clinic in constant rhythmic motion, each track plays out in truly epic, tightly-riffed fashion, and showcases the incredible talents of drummer/vocalist, Proscriptor. Albums like Tara make metalheads proud, and nearly a decade later, it still rips. [Osmose, 2001]

• • • •


Named after a Robert Johnson classic, Last Fair Deal Gone Down might be how the blues would have evolved in Scandinavia: through melancholy, chilling and desperate melodies, and a strange sense of distant hope. Katatonia overflowed their masterpiece with echoing guitars and sorrowful lyrics, the latter delivered by the incomparable Jonas Renske. It’s almost as if The Cure went metal, only far more infectious and emotionally ambiguous. You will weep with Katatonia, and although you’ll be joyous in your tears, they won’t be tears of joy. [Peaceville, 2001]

• • • •


A stunning combination of megaton brutality and classic catchiness, Shadows & Dust is the complete package–the capitalization of the promise found on Epic‘s style-shift, and the lightning-in-a-bottle that they’ve since struggled to recapture. Driven by Maurizio Iacono’s distinctive vocal tradeoffs (morphing wildly from domineering beatdown artist into Gollum–trapped in a vat of boiling piss) and backboned by an seemingly inhuman wrecking crew, this is Kataklysm at their creative and destructive peak. [Nuclear Blast, 2002]

• • • •


Mastodon have become one of the most successful metal acts of the new millennium, but you’d never know it listening to 2002’s Remission. Though this monster of a rock album foreshadows the band’s progressive tendencies, it spends the bulk of its time bludgeoning the listener with vast, resin-coated cudgels that somehow double as hummable riffs. Loaded with instrumental fireworks and emotional gravitas, Remission laid the groundwork for Mastodon’s meteoric ascent. [Relapse, 2002]

• • • •


When Assyrian black/thrashers Melechesh relocated from Israel to the Netherlands sans drummer, the band conscripted Proscriptor McGovern of Texas occult metal masters Absu to man the kit. Sphynx, the second album of this Middle East meets West collaboration, is a swirling dust devil of serpentine melodies, odd metered beats and razor sharp black/thrash. Rather than sounding like a chaotic mess, this amalgamation of styles is seamlessly integrated into a sound that is exotic, hypnotic, and thrashtastic.  [Osmose, 2003]

• • • •


If you can bring yourself to forgive Jari Maenpaa for abandoning Ensiferum and the ridiculous delays for the release of Time, than you should be able to appreciate Wintersun as a remarkable slab of epic melodic death metal. Though many naysayers dismiss this album as another overly-dramatic Children of Bodom clone, Wintersun take this style to entirely new heights of emotion and complexity. The grandeur of tracks like “Death and the Healing” contrast beautifully with the more extreme nature of songs like “Winter Madness,” and Jari’s multifaceted vocal approach and awe-inspiring guitar work is supported beautifully by Kai Hahto’s utter brilliance behind the drum kit. [Nuclear Blast, 2004]

• • • •


When the Duplantier brothers dropped this megaton concept album about flying whales and the salvation of the human race, the heavy metal world embraced it and Gojira haven’t looked back. Built largely on austere, bone-bruising riffs and accented with progressive ideas, the greatest strength of this record lies in its contrast of suffocating heaviness with bright, creative melody and harmony. From Mars to Sirius validated Gojira as a legitimate global metal force. [Listenable/Mon Slip, 2005]

• • • •


Ripping solos aside, Santolla and Owen pressed the refresh button on Benton and Asheim’s Deicide and everybody came out salivating. The malicious melody under Stench‘s wraps could rename 2004’s Scars Of The Crucifix as Hands Full Of Trail Mix, as that was a mixed bag, and this is definitely not. Nowhere near the brainless output that is much of the Deicide back-catalog, and much, much smarter than last year’s Til Death Do Us Part, making this their most diabolical of the decade. [Earache, 2006]

• • • •


Maryland’s Revelation returns under this name after a protracted absence (in the interim having released a slew of records under their other moniker, Against Nature).  And what better way to make a comeback than this staggering slab of emotional and contemplative doom, with the requisite dirge-y riffage amidst drifting dreamy passages and the entire affair featuring some truly tasteful and brilliant guitar leads. Nods to prog and a superb instrumental interplay help lift this one to the level of true morose-metal mastery.  Here’s hoping for a follow-up this decade. [Leaf Hound, 2008]

• • • •


There you have it: ten more albums you need to hear before the door closes on the 00’s. Click here for the next group of ten…

Posted by Last Rites


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.