Decibel’s Top 100 Albums of the Decade

by Cosmo Lee

Decibel’s “The Top 100 Greatest Metal Albums of the Decade” may be the best $5.99 you’ll ever spend. I don’t say that because I write for Decibel, or because I agree with the list. In fact, I disagree with most of it. At least 15% of the list isn’t metal, and only one record in the top 10 would I put there myself.

But that’s the beauty of it. Lists are meant to cause disagreement. If everyone’s list were the same, the world would be intensely boring. Ask 30+ people to pick 100 (actually, we each voted for 40) out of the 36,248 albums (more if we count not-metal, ahem) that came out this decade, and it’s a miracle there’s any overlap.

There was, though, and it’s fun to observe. The list has a spread of blue-chip dinosaurs and forward-thinking hybrids. The latter are the story of the ’00s. This was the decade of -core. Mathcore infiltrated metal (Converge & co.), as did straight-up hardcore (Hatebreed & co.). So-called metalcore eventually morphed into deathcore. Even the post-metal trend (Isis & co.) had roots in hardcore; Neurosis started out as a hardcore band.

Little of this stuff is actually like hardcore. True hardcore is Black Flag and NYHC (pre-metal) and Bridge Nine and so on: punk with a capital P. That scene is probably dealing with similar hybridization. (See the fuss in the ’90s when hardcore bands got “too metal.”) It’s weird to see Kreator mentioned on Lambgoat. But that’s what happens when scenes evolve on the Internet instead of in real life. Behind your screen, no one can tell if you have long or short hair. You’re free to like what you like.

That’s evident in the Top 100 list. There’s hipster stuff, tr00 stuff, and stuff that’s WTF. It’s all over the map, and it’ll drive purists crazy. Hell, it drives me crazy. I cannot believe what some of my colleagues voted for. But they write well about it, and that matters more. It’s fun to write about bad music, but it’s even more fun to write about good music. This list is proof of that.