The 100 Greatest Metal Songs of the 21st Century
The metal after 2000 has experienced a fascinating journey, from the conquest of the planet in the early 2000s to its expansion and evolution more than ever in recent years. Who could have predicted that Limp Bizkit would become the biggest band in the world for a while, or that three young Japanese girls named Babymetal would become the biggest metal band in a generation?
More than anything else, however, 21st century metal has provided us with a ton of incredible anthems that define the genre. Two decades after the turn of the century, we thought we were trying to give ourselves a headache by counting the 100 greatest songs of the past 21 years. The only rules? One song per group, songs from 2000 only. That’s it. So, without further ado, here is the best playlist you’ll see this year – as we picked it, you guys and some of the biggest and best names in metal…
100. Atreyu Bleeding Mascara (2004)
“Goooooooooooooooooo!” raged Alex Varkatzas on a screaming guitar, opening the love / hate song that captured a moment. American metalcore was invading Britain and exiting nu metal, and Orange County’s Atreyu served up just the right amount of Gothic lyricism in addition to a friendly melodic chorus.
99. Solstafir – Ótta (2014)
‘Banjo Destroyed Metalheads’ wasn’t the most predictable track of 2014. Emerging from a tapestry of lush guitars and spotlights, this desperate orbital riff rose and fell as if it had been abandoned by time immemorial . But he has woven the most magical and transformative experience of the year, imprinting himself in the deepest crevices of the heart.
98. Electrical assistant – Funeralopolis (2000)
“The song slowly gains strength and intensifies like a storm. From despair to rage and destruction. He gave me a lot of meaning in his nihilism and very faithfully reflects my darkest feelings towards our society. The climax is definitely the final part where you can literally hear an electromagnetic pulse caused by nuclear warheads passing through the group. Jun-His, Oranssi Pazuzu
97. Nine Inch Nails – The Feeding Hand (2000)
Trent Reznor was no longer in rehab and was going to… disco? His first new music after delicate and distorted Nine Inch Nails The Fragile Might have been a surprise, but this upbeat industrial dancefloor filler – complete with a synth solo – became his biggest hit, leading to the fertile second act of his career.
96. Twin Temple – Sexual Magic (2018)
Sex magic was the irresistibly alluring centerpiece of one of the most unlikely albums of the decade. A subversive, dreamy bop built around the hypnotic vocals of Alexandra James, Twin Temple proved that A) The Devil really does have the best tracks and B) Doo-wop could be metal like shit.
95. Sikth – Bland Street Bloom (2006)
How tall would Sikth be if they had released Death of a dead day in 2016 instead of 2006? We’ll never know, but one of the most influential bands in 21st century British metal did secure their moment in the sun, not least thanks to this scattered and frenzied banger that mixes genres. It still seems huge.
94. Body Count – No Lives Matter (2017)
Preceded by a passionate monologue from Ice T, No life matters offered incisive interpretations of issues of racism, police brutality and civil unrest. Of course, the lyrics were aided by some really monstrous riffs, proving Body Count was still sitting at the top of the rap metal pile.
93. Kvelertak – Blodtørst (2010)
“Blodtørst showcases Kvelertak’s explosive ferocity, combining 100% Scandinavian metal, huge classical rock backing vocals and the energy of an out of control party. It’s inspiring for Norway to see Kvelertak succeed internationally while singing most of the songs in Norwegian. They scored a winning goal on the first album and they kept scoring. ” Jo Fleischer, Metal Hammer reader
92. Dimmu Borgir – Progenies of the great apocalypse (2013)
“Sven and Galder’s thundering and riffling madness mixed with the orchestral score and distinctive voice of Shagrath got you to pay attention right away; they shaped the future of today’s symphonic death metal bands and more. The video was a first of its kind with a high budget and complex cinematography, which influenced a multitude of bands to follow suit. Not to mention the crazy ending of the song: “ONCE AND FOR AAAALL! Progenies … is a real classic! Maurizio Iacono, Kataklysm
91. Arch Enemy – We Will Rise (2003)
While Arch Enemy had already established itself as one of the strongest names in melodic death metal, the arrival of Angela Gossow in 2000, replacing departing singer Johan Liiva, undoubtedly pushed them higher in the proverbial scale of metal. His first album with the band, 2001 Wages of sin, was an ambitious step forward, mixing catchy, jagged death metal with arena-sized hooks, all led by Angela’s throaty roar. This brought in the group’s legions of new fans – and created instant pressure for a follow-up.
“When Angela joined the group to Wages of sin, it had a big impact and a huge difference from what we were doing, ”recalls guitarist and band founder Michael Amott. “We had a busy touring schedule for the first time in our career, so it was a shock when management told us we had to start thinking about making a new album. We were like “OK… we don’t have any songs!” We wrote during the breaks between tours – this is where We will rise entered.
In 2003, Arch Enemy was on the verge of an unlikely breakthrough into the upper levels of metal. As they began to write the follow-up to Wages of sin, they needed a song that would plant their flag firmly and strong for the next era. Plus, as the crowds grew, they needed an anthem that would be guaranteed to be live stream.
“When you go out on tour and play a lot of shows, you start to notice what’s going well and what isn’t, so we wanted an anthem that would be a good track for the set,” notes Michael. “Chris [Amott, Michael’s brother and former Arch Enemy guitarist] introduced the basic riff, the main theme of the song, as well as a few other riffs. I added a few songs and we all arranged it together. It seemed pretty sparse and very simple, but we were very interested in doing something like this because we had a lot of busy tracks. Busiest songs didn’t go down as well as mid-tempo anthemic songs, so We will rise was perfect. “
Unusual fact for Michael – whose mix of flaming melodies and searing neck shredding made him one of extreme metal guitar’s greatest heroes – We will rise represented a learning curve in how to exercise restraint to get the most out of a great song.
“We had a lot more confidence in ourselves after so many tours, and especially with Angela in the group. We were excited to do something new and We will rise was just that. There was a little more air in the song. There was a lot more dynamic than we had before. We had always been completely full before! We always hid behind the all-out attack, playing a parcel, All the time. You are more vulnerable when you stop and let the song breathe. For half of the verse We will rise, I really don’t play anything!
Despite the song’s bold new structure, the band’s label was confident in We will risepotential for great things, releasing it as the first single from Hymns of the rebellion. His video, featuring hordes of metalheads sprinting across a beach, flags in hand, made a huge impact, regularly receiving shows on top rock channels like Scuzz, MTV and Kerrang! TV, and be featured on the relaunch Headbangers ball show on MTV2 (it was also included in a Headbangers ball compilation album later this year). While the catchy and (relatively) simplistic nature of the song made it just the perfect fodder to start with, its lyrics, portraying ideals of oneness, rebellion, and fighting oppression, obviously struck a chord with metal lovers in the world. whole world.
“They’re pretty anthemic, aren’t they?” Michael admits. “To be honest, my words are still the same. I’ve been writing the same song for 25 years! Hahaha! These are just variations on how I feel about things. I just nailed it to that one, a little better than some of the others. It’s one of those songs, it brings everyone in the room together. The song is about being an outsider so it resonates and I think it applies to metalheads or any kind of subculture. Guess we’re stuck with this now!
The track paved the way for Hymns of the rebellion to gain Arch Enemy a new level of achievement. It gave the group’s label, Century Media, its then-highest US SoundScan sales of the first week, ultimately becoming one of the label’s 10 best-selling albums. Although the group has enjoyed even more success since then, We will rise still lasts as one of their all-time classic anthems – and, in fact, one of the all-time classic hymns.
“I don’t think we’ve played a show without playing it since we did Hymns, and I don’t think we’ll ever do it, ”says Michael. “We played it all over the world. Sometimes we’ll play it somewhere like China and it seems really powerful because some countries don’t have the same kind of freedoms that we do. From the stage I can see the people delivering the lyrics and that obviously means a lot to people.