BY BRIAN CAMPBELL
It’s hard to believe that the year 2000 was 20 years ago, but here we are in 2020. Back then, I was heavily immersed in the nu metal scene and damn proud of it. I had little responsibility, more disposable income, and was attending multiple shows weekly. To be honest, it’s a time in my life I reminisce about quite frequently. I had tons of friends in bands (Slaves on Dope, Flaw, Dope, Stereomud, Drowning Pool, etc.), saw the same awesome people at every show, excellent albums were being released seemingly weekly, and it was just a great time to be a heavy music fan.
Fast-forward to today, and it’s even harder to believe that those albums I listened to on cassette in my 1987 Chevrolet Cavalier station wagon are turning 20 this year. I literally wore out my tape of Primer 55’s An Introduction to Mayhem after my grandmother passed away, Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory changed my perception of what music could be, and albums from Eighteen Visions and Killswitch Engage were introducing me to metalcore.
It’s insane that so many of these albums I hold so near and dear to my heart are almost old enough to drink. Even as wild as that sounds, I’d be more than happy to pick up the tab, buy these albums a shot, and raise a pint to them in thanks for everything they have meant to me, for helping me battle depression and for getting me though some very tough times in my life. From the bottom of my heart, to these artists and their music, thank you.
With that being said, here is a list of the Top 10 (plus 35 more) hard rock and metal albums turning 20 this year.
1. LINKIN PARK – Hybrid Theory
What more needs to be said about Linkin Park’s seminal release? Hybrid Theory was certified 11x platinum, reached the top 10 in 15 countries, has sold 30 million copies worldwide, it’s the bestselling debut album since Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction, and is the bestselling rock album of the 21st century. Enough said. RIP Chester—thank you for this record.
2. DEFTONES – White Pony
The argument could be made that the Deftones dropped their best album ever in 2000 with White Pony. All of the accolades are there. It’s Deftones’ highest selling album to date, it’s certified platinum, with singles like “Change (In the House of Flies)” and “Back to School (Mini Maggit)”—“Passenger” with Maynard James Keenan also kicks ass—and a Grammy Award for “Elite.”
3. PANTERA – Reinventing the Steel
Aside from memorable tracks like “Revolution Is My Name” and “Yesterday Don’t Mean Shit,” Reinventing the Steel will always be best remembered as Pantera’s final full-length release. Regardless, the record hit No. 2 on the Billboard Top 200 and garnered a Grammy nod. So, it’s noteworthy for a couple of reasons.
4. IRON MAIDEN – Brave New World
If you didn’t know, Brave New World is perhaps the most important release in the Iron Maiden canon because it is the record that saw venerable frontman Bruce Dickinson and guitarist Adrian Smith return to the fold after seven and 10 years away, respectively. Plus, “The Wicker Man” and “Blood Brothers” are freaking awesome.
5. KILLSWITCH ENGAGE – Killswitch Engage
While it would be Alive or Just Breathing two short years later that catapulted Killswitch Engage to stardom, and the fact that they would go on to release a second (and pretty forgettable) eponymous record in 2009, Killswitch Engage’s OG self-titled release was a fire breathing monster. “Temple from the Within” and “Vide Infra” are absolute beasts. Plus, this was one of the records that helped get me into real heavy music.
6. H.I.M. – Razorblade Romance
H.I.M.’s sophomore album Razorblade Romance is a gothic work of art, a clinic in emotional songwriting and powerful delivery. It charted around the world, went double platinum, triple gold and gold globally, and won a number of awards in a number of countries. I challenge you to go listen to “Join Me in Death” and not be moved.
7. GLASSJAW – Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Silence
While the lore of Glassjaw’s Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Silence is wrought with controversy, including the band reportedly imploring their fans not to buy it and instead download it illegally, the album has become required listening. “Pretty Lush” and “Siberian Kiss” are badass.
8. MARILYN MANSON – Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death)
Written as Marilyn Manson’s response to accusations that his music fueled the tragic Columbine school shootings in 1999, Holy Wood houses a number of memorable tracks, including “The Fight Song,” “Disposable Teens,” and “The Nobodies.” Manson even went so far as to call this album a “declaration of war.”
9. GODSMACK – Awake
Not only was Awake the album that propelled Godsmack into the stratosphere, this was a selfish pick for me as it is one of my all-time favorite rock records. Tons of memorable songs, riffs, and hooks, a Grammy nomination (“Vampires”), and, oh yeah, it also has sold nearly three million copies to date.
10. SOULFLY – Back to the Primitive
Soulfly’s second release Back to the Primitive is littered with amazing guest appearances, including Corey Taylor (“Jumpdafuckup”), Chino Moreno (“Pain”), Sean Lennon (“Son Song”), and Tom Araya (“Terrorist”). The album also spans the spectrum of sound, from chugging Sepultura agg (“Back to the Primitive”) to rap (“In Memory Of…) and world music (“Soulfly II”).
35 OTHER ALBUMS TURNING 20 THIS YEAR:
1. Nothingface – Violence
2. Primer 55 – An Introduction to Mayhem
3. Slaves on Dope – Inches From the Mainline
4. Cold – 13 Ways to Bleed Onstage
5. The Deadlights – The Deadlights
6. Full Devil Jacket – Full Devil Jacket
7. Mudvayne – L.D. 50
8. Disturbed – The Sickness
9. Union Underground – An Education in Rebellion
10. Finger Eleven – The Greyest of Blue Skies
11. Orgy – Vapor Transmissions
12. Papa Roach – Infest
13. Taproot – Gift
14. Lamb of God – New American Gospel
15. In Flames – Clayman
16. Spineshank – The Height of Callousness
17. Nonpoint – Statement
18. Snot – Strait Up
19. Rage Against the Machine – Renegades
20. Kittie – Spit
21. Pitchshifter – Deviant
22. A Perfect Circle – Mer De Noms
23. Amen – We Have Come for Your Parents
24. Hed PE – Broke
25. Eighteen Visions – Until the Ink Runs Out
26. Halford – Resurrection
27. Electric Wizard – Dopethrone
28. Immolation – Close to a World Below
29. The Crown – Deathrace King
30. Haunted – Made Me Do It
31. Children of Bodom – Follow the Reaper
32. Black Label Society – Stronger Than Death
33. Immortal – Damned in Black
34. Napalm Death – Enemy of the Business
35. Every Time I Die – Burial Plot Bidding War