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So we’ve made it all the way to the top. But who’s Number 1?
So by now, you should be fully aware that in the latest issue of Rock Sound (click here to order your copy) we're counting down what we consider to be the 101 Modern Classic Albums of the last 15 years. And now it's time to find out who came out on top of the pile. We've already counted down Numbers 101 - 25 (if you missed that, click here, here and here to catch up!), so without further ado, let's round this baby off...
DON'T FORGET, we've teamed up with our good friends at Deezer for the whole feature, so using their handy embeddable players, you can stream our selection of the albums on this very page. Result! All you need to do is click the play button, at the end of the 30 second clip either log-in or sign-up for a free 15-day trial, then continue to listen to the full tracks, as well as 18 milllion others!
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24· RAMMSTEIN - ‘MUTTER’ (MOTOR MUSIC)
To smash through the language barrier takes quite some doing, yet Rammstein's crowning glory continues to defy convention even today. From the industrial stomp of the title track to the scorching riffs of 'Feuer Frei!', 'Mutter' sounds as powerful now as it did the day it was made.
23· AMERICAN NIGHTMARE ‘BACKGROUND MUSIC’ (EQUAL VISION)
Initially maligned by some of their peers, American Nightmare were a band years ahead of their scene’s curve. In 2001 they delivered 23 minutes of desperate vitriol, depressed rage and defiant loquacity, and gave anger and discontent a whole new form of expression.
22· ISIS – ‘OCEANIC’ (IPECAC RECORDINGS)
Writing about post-metal titans Isis is like staring at the sun – there’s really no point, because whenever you give up, it’ll still be there. And that’s what ‘Oceanic’ still feels like, 10 years after its release: a gargantuan slab of immovable… massiveness, at once beautiful, terrifying and boundlessly impressive.
21· BRAND NEW - ‘DEJA ENTENDU’ (SOREPOINT)
Taking a colossal leap forward from their ‘Your Favourite Weapon’ debut, Long Island’s finest become a truly great band right here. With frontman Jesse Lacey exploring ever more interesting and profound lyrical territory and the band’s musical palette expanding exponentially, they silence their critics in heart-stopping style. Life changing stuff.
20· THURSDAY - ‘FULL COLLAPSE’ (VICTORY)
Perhaps the missing link between old-school emo and its later commercialisation, Thursday prove here that indie rock’s ideals can survive in this day and age, garnishing it with hints of screamo and modern technicality to make a palpably heartfelt and immersive record.
19· BOYSETSFIRE - ‘AFTER THE EULOGY’ (VICTORY)
A thunderbolt of dissent delivered by a Delaware-based quintet at the start of this century. The band were at their best immediately before and after this record’s release, and if you’ve never screamed “Where’s your anger? Where’s your fucking rage?” you have missed a cathartic and important experience in modern hardcore.
18· GALLOWS - ‘ORCHESTRA OF WOLVES’ (IN AT THE DEEP END)
Because they're going through something of a metamorphosis, Gallows' debut feels like a relic. But whenever you put it on it sounds like it's happening right there and then, and that's the mark of a collection of songs that will never truly grow old.
17· SLIPKNOT - ‘IOWA’ (ROADRUNNER)
On the verge of collapse and during a period of intense personal trauma, the nine forge their masterpiece. Darker, heavier and just plain better than its self-titled predecessor, ‘Iowa’ also proves that the most uncompromising, extreme music can top the charts.
16· PANIC! AT THE DISCO - ‘A FEVER YOU CAN’T SWEAT OUT’ (Decaydance / Fueled By Ramen)
Released when Brendon Urie was just 18 years old, ‘A Fever…’ was the first album released on Pete Wentz’s Decaydance label back in ’05, and the spark that ignited the fire of the post-Fall Out Boy pop-punk era. Mixing the usual template with electronic and vaudeville influences, ‘A Fever…’ is wise beyond its creators’ tender years.
15· CONVERGE - ‘JANE DOE’ (EQUAL VISION)
A work of harrowing, cathartic genius, ‘Jane Doe’ distils the pain of a disintegrating relationship with unforgettable acuity. From the spasmodic opening riff of ‘Concubine’ to the emotionally devastating conclusion of the title-track this takes you on a bruising journey, one you’d need a heart of stone to survive unscathed.
14· LOSTPROPHETS - ‘START SOMETHING’ (VISIBLE NOISE)
The sound of explosive youthful talent and just the right amount of arrogance, Lostprophets’ second album isn’t just a collection of great songs, it’s a collection of great songs that perfectly encapsulates the UK scene circa 2004. ‘Burn Burn’, ‘We Are Godzilla…’ and ‘Last Train Home’ aren’t getting any less awesome, either.
13· TAKING BACK SUNDAY - ‘TELL ALL YOUR FRIENDS’ (VICTORY)
The 'Hybrid Theory' of emo. The emotive strength of ‘You’re So Last Summer’ and ‘Cute Without The E’ have been imitated thousands of times but never bettered, and that's because they sum up something elemental about rock 'n' roll: the ecstasy of being young, slightly over-sensitive and very, very excitable.
12· AVENGED SEVENFOLD - ‘WAKING THE FALLEN’ (HOPELESS)
They may have morphed into hard rocking legends-in-waiting in the years since its release, but in terms of sheer quality this is one effort Avenged Sevenfold are yet to better. A more innovative and unique offering you're unlikely to find – just ask virtually any young metal band currently doing the rounds.
11· FOO FIGHTERS ‘THE COLOUR AND THE SHAPE’ (ROSWELL RECORDS)
After the opening riff explosion of ‘Monkey Wrench’, the haunting brilliance of ‘Everlong’ and grown-up rock stomp of ‘My Hero’, their second album confirms the Foos as architects of solid-gold hits. And now, 15 years later, it still feels fresh, powerful and slightly ragged. Like Dave himself, then.
10· PARAMORE - ‘RIOT!’ (FUELED BY RAMEN)
Before the idea of Paramore got temporarily lost in the quagmires of gossip and accusations, there was this album. As surprising as it is vital and as infectious as it is monumentous, when these songs play loud, everything works perfectly for this young band.
9· MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE - ‘THE BLACK PARADE’ (REPRISE)
MCR's third album does two things. Firstly, it acts as a mainstream concept record to match Green Day’s ‘American Idiot'; secondly, it provides an escape route and belief system for people who simply don't feel like anyone gives a shit about them.
8. BRING ME THE HORIZON - ‘THERE IS A HELL...’ (VISIBLE NOISE)
An absolute bullet of brilliance: BMTH’s third album not only signposts metalcore’s exciting future but foregrounds the talents of Lee Malia, one of the UK’s most talented riff-masters. Gloriously technical but still exhilarating and deliriously frayed, ‘There Is A Hell…’ stands as perhaps the best homegrown metal album in years.
7. FALL OUT BOY ‘FROM UNDER THE CORK TREE’ (UNIVERSAL ISLAND)
Inspired by heartbreak, recorded against all odds and released to a hungry audience hooked on a live show that was without compare, ‘From Under The Cork Tree’ is the album that ushered in a new epoch of alternative bands to music’s mainstream. This is what a cultural shift sounds like.
6. DEFTONES - ‘WHITE PONY’ (MAVERICK)
Less a record and more a statement (the statement being ‘We are fucking geniuses,’) from a quintet that were far more musical, capable and inspired than so many of their turgid and flaccid peer group. Their contemporaries flounder while Deftones go from strength to strength.
5. GREEN DAY - ‘AMERICAN IDIOT’ (REPRISE)
Achieving the twin pillars of respectability of being both socially important and stuffed with stone-cold bangers, Green Day’s second crack at reinvention (after ‘Warning’ fell flat) still sounds exciting today. At the time, the Bay Area trio were a bunch of goggle-eyed jokers; today, they’re superstars. Why? Because of this.
4. AT THE DRIVE-IN - ‘RELATIONSHIP OF COMMAND’ (VIRGIN)
‘Relationship Of Command’ has a reputation for being unwieldy and too clever-clever for its own good, thanks to its Texan parents' self-imposed seriousness. But it's as irreverent as it is irresistible, and more than justifies the hype around their recent return.
3. REFUSED - ‘THE SHAPE OF PUNK TO COME’ (BURNING HEART)
Revolutionary in form and content, Refused’s caustic masterwork still fires the imagination like little else. An influence on everyone from Million Dead to Paramore this ‘chimerical bomination in 12 bursts’ stands as one of the most savage indictments of capitalism committed to tape.
2. BLINK 182 - ‘ENEMA OF THE STATE’ (MCA)
Chances are that if you’re in your early twenties, ‘Enema Of The State’ is one of the first records that got you into alternative music. ‘Enema…’ didn’t just bring pop-punk to the masses, it marked a complete shift in how music television, radio and the world at large viewed it.
1. LINKIN PARK - ‘HYBRID THEORY’ (WARNER BROS)
That LP's 25-million selling introduction claims top spot should come as no surprise. An electronic, guitar-driven firestarter that continues to shift units by the bucketload nearly 12 years on, 'Hybrid Theory' remains one of the most iconic and staggeringly successful releases of the 21st Century, the likes of which will almost certainly never be seen again.
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This feature originally appeared in Issue 167 of Rock Sound (November 2012).