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20 Metal Albums Old Enough To Die for Their Country but Still Can’t Buy a Beer

2004 was a totally normal time where nothing weird ever happened. Donald Trump wasn’t a threat to democracy, Iraq was liberated thanks to America’s heroic quest for oil, Martha Stewart was in jail, and Afghanistan was there, too! In 2004, the Super Bowl showed 100% more nipple, and literally anyone could get a mortgage. Since no year will ever be as great as ‘04 was, we’re going to sit on this couch and count down the top 20 metal albums turning 20 this year or masturbate until we fall asleep. Whichever comes first. And yes, we get it, we are posers for bunching these albums under the umbrella of metal when they can all be broken out into hyper-specific sub-genres, you seem like a lot of fun.

Three Inches of Blood “Advance and Vanquish”

Have you ever needed an album that would be perfect for chugging beers AND fistfighting your uncle? Well, look no further than the auditory ankle monitor that is “Advance and Vanquish”. It sounds like a bunch of denim-clad barbarians burned down a high school and threw a kegger in the ashes. The album is a blast, but don’t play it in public unless you’re at a hog roast. You can imagine why.


Zao “Funeral of God”

Christian hardcore was at its annoying peak in the early aughts. “The Funeral of God” had the quintessential hallmarks of a quality Christian hardcore except the title sounded juuuust atheist enough you wouldn’t be teased mercilessly by your friends for liking it. Legend says that if you put your ear up to a youth pastor’s forearm tattoos, you can still hear “The Funeral of God” in its entirety.


DragonForce “Sonic Firestorm”

In 2003, your roommate was all-in on tech metal. He couldn’t go a single day without mentioning the time he saw Into the Moat or showing off his Ion Dissonance vinyl. Then 2004 happened. At first, Zeke liked DragonForce ironically, but after months of playing “Sonic Firestorm” 24/7, he magically had hair down to his ass. Relisten to this album with caution because Zeke was right. 20 years later, DragonForce’s brand of glamorous power metal is still too infectious to resist.

Glass Casket “We Are Gathered Here Today”

This technical metalcore album is awesome because they sound exactly like BTBAM without any of the, “In this house, it’s okay for men to have emotions other than horny or pants-shitting anger.” But since you’re older and want to become your municipality’s next comptroller, consider using “Between the Sheets” in your campaign to court the all-important Millennial former scene kid vote. You’ll lose by a landslide!


Premonitions of War “Left in Kowloon”

Premonitions of War’s “Left in Kowloon” was featured in a mid-2000s teen comedy about a plucky bunch of nerds trying to score drugs so they could hook up with their sexy high school guidance counselor. The band–playing a bunch of drug dealers–reveal they only sell narcotics to finance their dream of becoming a hardcore band. In the final scene, Premonitions of War plays a rockin’ house show while high school students mule methamphetamine into a wealthy suburban neighborhood. This album is the reason the scene loves Judd Apatow!

Arsis “A Celebration of Guilt”

This album thrashes so hard, it’ll make you suspicious of the American government. The picking is fast and clean and really makes the listener wonder how long it would take to build a badass bunker in the woods. This newfound paranoia will go perfectly with your all-camo shorts wardrobe. Uncle Sam can’t kill you if he can’t see your thighs!


Suffocation “Souls To Deny”

This album sounds the way a hangover feels. The only way to deal with the pain of hearing Suffocation’s blistering death metal is to eat biscuits and gravy and drink beer until you pass back out. In every way, “Souls To Deny” will ruin you. Don’t listen to this album unless you have the next day off.


Tower of Rome “All Is Lost…All Is Lost…All Is Yet To Be Found”

Who said EPs don’t count on an album of the year list? I don’t remember specifying that.

This chaotic-ass piece of audio perfectly represents the mid-aughts because it’s fun, heavy, has all its hair, and its wife Cheryl isn’t cybering with some guy she met on a work trip to Philadelphia. “All is Lost…” knows how to party. And how to get the boys together to do a bunch of problematic things. This album probably posted a bunch of that edgelord shit online and got away with it because MySpace indiscretions have a statute of limitations.

Cattle Decapitation “Humanure”

Fun fact: Cattle Decap almost released “Humanure” with a scratch-and-sniff cover. Mercifully, the FDA, CIA, and Comics Code Authority declined to authorize the release of a product that smelled like the band’s fan base.



Necrophagist “Epitaph”

This is the kind of music you kill your favorite goat to. It sucks you have to dismember your son’s best friend to feed your family, but… it’s kinda fuckin’ awesome when you get that first hit of arterial spray, right? YAAAAAHHHHH!!! Pete was cool as fuck, but now that Necrophagist is blowing out the barn speakers, all bets are off. “THE BEEEEAAAAST WILL BE WIIIIIIIIIISE, FEEEEEAAAAAST: AN EYE FOR AN EEEEEEEYYYYYYYYYEEEEEEE!!!!”

The Chariot “Everything Is Alive, Everything Is Breathing, Nothing Is Dead, and Nothing Is Bleeding”

The best part of this record is how it sounds like everyone making the album had radiation poisoning. It’s weird that an album that sounds so objectively bad is so goddamn good. “Everything Is Alive…” is a classic, but I’m guessing the band is still disappointed no songs were featured in the 2004 cinematic masterpiece “The Incredibles.”


Pig Destroyer “Terrifyer”

“Terrifyer” is special because you can play almost the entire 21-song album in a 30-minute lunch break at your dental office. If there is a band people mostly associate with dentists, it’s Pig Destroyer. And if you need another reason to blast grindcore at work, a study I just conducted proves that listening to Pig Destroyer while you pull teeth is very fucking awesome.


Fear before the March of Flames “Art Damage”

I don’t get this one. “Art Damage” sounds like somebody killed the wrong Blood Brother and thought we wouldn’t notice. Truthfully, this album is only on the list because I can’t afford to lose another MySpace friend. There are so few left!



Behemoth “Demigod”

Does listening to this band automatically make you a feminist? Not immediately. But the more I listen to Behemoth, the more I love doing makeup and shopping for cute leather outfits. Since “Demigod” came into my life, my hair, makeup, and skin are fiercer than they’ve ever been! Becoming a ravenous, permanently-online Behemoth fan has truly given me my best life!


Mastodon “Leviathan”

According to the Mastodon subreddit, listening to “Leviathan” 150 times will automatically grant you the English department chair position at any university. Academia could use more professors with weird body smells and infected toes, so jam this album about a sexually-charged whale hunt as loud and as often as you can. The superiority of American academics depends on you!


Unearth “The Oncoming Storm”

Were you bullied for wearing a white studded belt, girl jeans, and a size Youth Large shirt that barely covered your belly button in 2004? If so, your favorite band was probably Unearth, and the person making fun of you was most likely a 42-year-old white man with SLAYER carved into his forehead. The 2000s were a confusing time, but this album isn’t. “The Oncoming Storm” has gnarly breakdowns, a tornado destroying Des Moines, IA on the cover, and it like barely, sort-of, completely plagiarizes “Slaughter of the Soul”.

Converge “You Fail Me”

Jacob Bannon killed someone and got away with it. Hear me out. In 2001, Converge released “Jane Doe” with a decapitated woman’s head on the cover. And just when the sick thrill of putting a murder victim’s face on merch wore off, Bannon put her severed hand on the cover of the next album. You really think two consecutive albums with dismembered body parts was an artistic choice and not some sort of sick human trophy case? Mark my words, Jacob Bannon is a cold-blooded killer.

Isis “Panopticon”

If this album had a job, it would run a junkyard. Or be the GM of a very chill Midwest cat cafe franchise. But running a junkyard full of old guitars, tattoo guns, and BMX bikes sounds kinda kickass, right? “Panopticon” goes from heavy to dreamy which is exactly how it felt when I got tetanus working in the Hydra Head junkyard. Looking back, that was a really dangerous job, and I’m pretty sure the only reason Isis broke up had something to do with their OSHA repeat-offender status. So don’t listen to this album unless you’ve had a Tdap booster in the last decade.

The Dillinger Escape Plan “Miss Machine”

This throat punch of electronica-infused tech metal unleashed Greg Puciato on the masses. This thick-veined, pit bull of a man washed over the scene with a savagery unseen since the Ultimate Warrior wrestled Hulk Hogan for the Heavyweight title. “Miss Machine” may not have been able to wear bedazzled spandex around its barely-covered steroid nuts, but it absolutely body slammed me out of a few K holes. I had a frightening lack of responsibilities in 2004, okay? You’re canceled if you judge me. Doctors say ketamine is good for you now!

The Acacia Strain “3750”

This album is so heavy it briefly makes you forget how utterly fucked humanity is–a true artistic breakthrough! Early aughts arts and culture were homosapien’s apex, and I say that knowing “3750” was recorded in a trash can by a bunch of feral dogs. Sure, in 2004 America was an invading force in multiple countries, but don’t Arrested Development and Michael Phelps’s 8 medals count for something? If those cultural touchstones don’t make you long for a time that’s been overly-simplified and reduced to its best parts, this greasy, 11-gigaton bomb of an album will surely remind you it was all downhill from there.