It can always be a touchy subject for music fans to stumble upon a ‘top anything’ article because the very nature of music and being a fan of pretty much anything is that it is always based on opinion. Lists that claim to have the ultimate rundown of the top ten metal albums of all time will please some, annoy others, and completely miss the mark for many as well. As one Macklemore recently put it: “one man’s trash is another man’s come-up”. Then again, the same fellow also said that he’s “gunna pop some tags, only got twenty dollars in my pocket”, so it’s difficult to know who to believe. It remains a fact that opinion is inextricably linked with music taste however, so this list isn’t an attempt to try and please everyone; this is simply a collection of a few bands that have meant quite to us over the years when we were growing up. It includes some obvious choices that many can agree on, selections that will be head-scratchers for many, and even some that people would argue aren’t even Rock in the first place, but it’s our list, and we stick by it regardless of the strength of any tides of opinion that may try to wash over it.
That’s right, Linkin Park. And no, not new Linkin park that whose bland melodies and lack of most audible components that typify the rock genre, but old, pre-Jay Z Linkin Park. I’m talking about the very Linkin Park that were responsible for Hybrid Theory, which is perhaps one of the greatest debut albums ever released by any band in the history of bands. Fusing the boundaries of Rock and Metal and weaving in some incredible melodies, solid drumming, and hip-hop influences, Linkin Park truly carved out a hybrid of several genres with Hybrid Theory, though it’s been downhill ever since. Minutes to Midnight? More like Minutes to Midshi.. actually, we won’t go there: there may be children reading this.
This was a band that used to be plastered all over my hoodies and my walls before their inevitable and rapid decline. Their debut album ‘Infest’ was quite the hit with angst-filled, eyeliner-wearing nu-metal fans that were dejected and disillusioned by the whole millennium bug thing. Between Angels and Insects is a classic that I can’t help but enjoy on the rare occasion that it gets played in public, and Broken Home was also a song that bordered on poignant, whilst never quite getting there. Still, these guys still have a huge fan base, of which I used to be a member.
Though I didn’t discover The Strokes until fairly later on in my musical life (perhaps seven or so years ago now), there comes a point in everyone’s life where they either enjoy their brand of lazily-sung, telecaster-clad music or hate it. Those that don’t like The Strokes I tend to be very sceptical of, and those that do I believe are onto something and should be trusted in their musical opinions. Apart from the fact that they have some incredible past hits such as Last Night, Reptilia, and 12:51, their recent album, Comedown Machine, was enjoyable, retained their distinctive sound, and has One Way Trigger sitting proudly as the best song on there.
There can’t be a rundown of best bands without Foo Fighters featuring proudly. In fact, there shouldn’t be a list of anything without at least Dave Grohl making an appearance. The Foos are synonymous with consistently catchy songs, from the heart-wrenching Everlong from their best-ever album ‘The Color and the Shape’ to their more recent works such a Learn to Fly, One by One, and The Pretender.
System of a Down
This is yet another band that lost their way, but their first two albums, the self-titled System of a Down and Toxicity, were spectacular. Though the drummer had an unnecessarily large drum kit and an affinity for Paiste cymbals, Serj Tankian could be rather erractic, and the fact that their following albums were quite poor, the lyrics remained provocative and meaningful (if a little overly-political) and the song-writing for the first two albums is top-class, plus they are impressive live as well.
Matt Bellamy’s talent alone could be considered worthy of a mention here, but Muse continue to impress and amaze with their boundary-pushing, genre-busting style of rock underpinned with arpeggios and the classical styling of Matt’s piano talents. This band are more than just a singer with a megaphone: they are all incredibly talented musicians and deserve to be recognised as such.
Heading over to the progressive side of rock for this last choice, but there’s no shame in that. Though many prog rock bands are simply an exercise in selfish musical gratification (unnecessarily complex guitar and drum solos seem to be quite common), Dream Theater once went through a period when it was as if all members seemed to harmonise together as one sound wave before deviating in different directions later on. ‘Falling Into Infinity’ and ‘Images and Words’ are my favourite albums of theirs, with virtuoso levels of talent from all members met with some stunning song-writing to make for a memorable sound, though they lost me at ‘Train of Thought’ and sealed their own casket with the departure of drummer Mike Portnoy.