The first decade of the new millennium was a big one for me, and also for the metal community. After the nu-metal craze and all the hoopla about grunge music, many metal acts began to feel disjointed, releasing boring or bad albums that stagnated them instead of letting them progress further. But metal always prevails, and in these first ten years it has seen a resurgence of bands that are the future. Some bands on this article are not “metal”, but are a type of rock music that is heavy in it’s message and lyrics, and not necessarily guitar tone. This list is dedicated to what I think are the most important albums of that first decade, and I hope you enjoy!
01. KARNIVOOL – SOUND AWAKE
When it came down to it, I was torn. Both the #2 and #1 choice were still up for grabs, and I was wrestling with two releases. On one hand you have the ever almighty BTBAM, and on the other you have Karnivool, and Australian quintet that are arguably the biggest Australian band since AC/DC came around. But, the bottom line is, I had to go not only by which album I listened to more, but which album carried a greater meaning to me. And ladies and gents, Karnivool are the victor, and now that I think about it, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
This album is one of the best, simply put, because of how much it achieves. It has every type of song. From some songs that are more upbeat, faster songs like ‘Set Fire To The Hive‘ and ‘Illumine’, to the more toned-down prog influenced songs like ‘Umbra’ and ‘The Caudal Lure‘. It mixes their earlier alternative-metal style with a more centered prog-metal or even prog/rock style that really works well for them. There really is not a bad song on this album; even the interlude ‘The Medicine Wears Off‘ is a fun song to just kind of vibe to, singing the lyrics aloud and just relaxing.
This album shows what Ian Kenny can do as both a lyricist and vocalist. He has an uncanny ability to write heartfelt, abstract lyrics but make them relevant to you whether you understand them or not. The rest of the band are also beyond talented, but y favorite part about the record is the drumming. Steve Judd is one of the best drummers I have ever heard. He is groovy, fun, and doesn’t play with the groove, but around it. He does a delicate dance around the standard beat that makes me fall in love with this record even more.
This record also closes with my favorite ‘Vool song, ‘Change’. This is THE song, to me. I show this to anyone appreciative of good progressive rock or metal, because this song has everything. Heavy parts, melodic parts, off-time stuff, heartfelt lyrics, and even a sick drum outro. Karnivool just have this gift that not any people have, that with each song the write, it gets better and better. Though the song is 10+ minutes, it has never felt that way; it just feels like an experience.
Bottom line is this: this album is a masterpiece. Sure, you ay not agree, and sure, there will probably be another album I like better over the next 10 years, but I do know one thing for certain. In 2009, Karnivool released what is, as far as I’m concerned, their opus, an album that nobody was able to surpass while Karnivool were just getting started. This band is still young and has many more years of making music ahead of them, and I’m sure it will not disappoint. But this album will always remain as one of the best albums I have ever heard, and as one of the greatest progressive albums of all time.