A feature roughly six months in the making, Rock Sins’ albums of the decade brought over a dozen of our team together to work out collectively our favourite albums of the decade over which this site came to life and has since thrived. initially delayed by some work commitments and then further by the COVID-19 outbreak, the outbreak has now provided time to get this feature finished, and here we are.
How did we come to our conclusions? Quite simply. Each writer who took part was asked to submit their top 20 albums of the decade, and a scoring system was applied. An album had to be shortlisted by at least two people to make the cut, and after the initial submissions of over eighty albums, the rules were applied, the scores were tallied and the winners were revealed.
So, without further ado, here is the first half of Rock Sins top 20 albums of the decade from the world of heavy music, for the years 2010 – 2019!
20) Kreator – Phantom Antichrist (32 points)
The teutonic German giants of thrash positively outdid themselves in 2012; Metallica may place higher on this list but for the thrash purists looking at this list, Kreator’s Phantom Antichrist is the pick of the bunch. The most consistent, captivating and downright balls out album Kreator had released in years, if not decades, combines thrash with a healthy dose of melodic death metal ala Insomnium and Jester Race era In Flames. In an album full of anthems, the aggressive and downright angry title track is the pick of the bunch; Mille Petroza is on fine vocal form and he and Sami Yli-Sirniö shred like their lives are on the line. A wonderful way to kick off our twenty best albums of the decade. JG
19) Bring Me The Horizon – There Is A Hell Believe Me I’ve Seen It, There Is A Heaven, Lets Keep It A Secret (32 points)
Bring Me The Horizon were the band that was the punchline to every scene joke for the longest time. Then they dropped There Is A Hell Believe Me I’ve Seen It, There Is A Heaven, Lets Keep It A Secret and suddenly everyone stopped laughing. This is the album that changed everything, not only for them, but the entire UK metal scene. By adding a layer of glitched and chopped electronics to the band’s most caustic and anxiety ridden album created a nightmarish vision of a band on the edge, but little did we know at the time, that edge they were balancing on was the one that lead to greatness. The record that truly started BMTH on their journey to the arena headliners they are today. SC
18) Metallica – Hardwired…To Self Destruct (34 points)
Eight years had passed since Metallica released Death Magnetic by the time Hardwired..To Self Destruct was unleashed back in 2016. Nerves were frayed as to whether the album would live up to expectations and the huge wait. Thankfully for all members of the Metallica Famileh, it was an overwhelming success. The album opening title track is one of the shortest, sharpest bursts of Metallica of the 21st century, while the likes of Atlas Rise, Dream No More and the James Hetfield led Halo On Fire all take their place as some of the best songs of the second half of Metallica’s career. It’s not without the odd missteps, a couple of the tracks from disc 2 could have been omitted for a more streamlined release, but this is a minor issue. In Spit Out The Bone and especially Moth Into Flame, Metallica released two of the best songs they had put out in twenty five years. Hardwired To Self Destruct very much showed Metallica still have it, lets just hope it’s not another eight years until the follow up. JG
17) Against Me – Transgender Dysphoria Blues (35 points)
Transgender Dysphoria Blues felt like such a landmark album for Against Me when it came out. It was clearly a hugely personal album for vocalist Laura Jane Grace and was one that resonated with so many others. The album is an unflinching look at gender dysphoria, struggling with it and eventually coming to terms with it. Yet his wouldn’t mean as much if the songs on this album weren’t absolutely brilliant and Transgender Dysphoria Blues is Against Me at their very best. Whether it’s the hugely anthemic True Trans Soul rebel or the extremely pissed off Black Me Out, every song here is absolutely brilliant and it’s not surprising how many of these have remained fan favourites in Against Me’s live set over the last few years. SD
16) Rolo Tomassi – Time Will Die & Love Will Bury It (36 points)
Anything that comes out on Holy Roar is more than worth your time. In fact, Holy Roar have probably had the most consistently bulletproof slew of releases across the 2010s. The apex of their releases in the Rock Sins writers’ opinion is the fifth studio album by Sheffield’s finest, Rolo Tomassi, who with Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It pushed their sound into daring and more bombastic new frontiers. The balance of dark and light, the shades with which the band experiment and the juxtaposition of the likes of Aftermath and Alma Mater showcase a band at the top of their creative game. Ugliness and beauty lie alongside one another on this bold, uncompromising record often intertwining and coalescing into stunning grey matter. This is a must listen. SS
15) Deafheaven – Sunbather (37 points)
While they may not have created the genre, there is no doubt that Deafheaven popularised blackgaze. With 2013’s Sunbather, the San Franciscans made a global impact even earning themselves a rare glowing review from Pitchfork and putting blackgaze firmly in the mainstream. The cross of shoegaze and black metal is an inspired creation and on the likes of the gorgeous Dream House, Deafheaven come close to perfecting the juxtaposing sub-genre. Near perfect and the world en masse’s first exposure to a daring new frontier, Sunbather remains one of the most important records of the 2010s. Anything that irritates black metal fans as much as this album should be cherished. SS
14) While She Sleeps – You Are We (38 points)
Brainwashed brought While She Sleeps to many people’s attention for the first time. You Are We ensured that Sleeps were here to say. The only band to achieve two entries in this list shows the impact that While She Sleeps had on the UK metal scene in the last decade. Balancing their obvious desires to maintain their metalcore roots with a more polished sound, few bands manage to achieve this balance as well as While She Sleeps did on You Are We. Almost every song on this album was a potential single, with the run of Empire Of Silence, Wide Awake and Silence Speaks (featuring an impressive guest appearance from Oli Sykes) one of the best three track runs of any album on this list. This album was rightly at the top of many, many album of the year lists in 2017, and very much deserves its place in our albums of the decade. JG
13) letlive. – Fake History (39 points)
The genre fusing neutron bomb of the late post-hardcore heroes letlive. cannot be over-praised. Fake History is as close to a perfect Glassjaw album as we have got since Worship and Tribute and is eleven tracks (fourteen on the re-release) of sheer bliss. Combining a punk aesthetic with soulful flair and hip hop sensibilities songs like the explosive The Sick, Sick 6.8 Billion and the tender, heart-breaking Muther stand as testament to letlive.’s unparalleled abilities to combine seemingly disparate ideas. Jason Butler is the mid-point between James Brown and Henry Rollins and is the firebrand frontman that makes every incendiary moment that much more impactful. SS
12) While She Sleeps – Brainwashed (41 points)
The album that truly made people realise While She Sleeps were at the time the most powerful rising force in UK metal, Brainwashed was a ferocious assault of focused anger wrapped in a Sherman tank sized collection of riffs and breakdowns. New World Torture is one of the most impactful album kick off tracks of any album on this list. When you can couple that with the power of Brainwashed’s title track, the incredible one-two of Our Legacy and Four Walls and tracks as good as Trophies Of Violence deep into the album, the evidence that the Sheffield quintet had created something very special was overwhelming. Looking back at it five years later, it seems even more so. JG
11) The Wonder Years – The Greatest Generation (45 points)
The Greatest Generation is an album is so good, it basically made the rest of its genre irrelevant. No pop-punk band since has come close to doing what The Wonder Years managed here. A mature and forward thinking take on a genre that has never exactly been the most creative. The albums true brilliance lies in Dan “Soupy” Campbell’s vocal performance and story telling. Lyrically it still touches on some themes other pop-punk bands do but it’s all done with a level of maturity absent from the rest of the genre. And closing track I Just Wanna Sell Out my Funeral is one the most ambitious pop-punk tracks ever, recapping the album over the course of 7 minutes it is the perfect way to close the album out. It’s not surprising that The Wonder Years completely moves away from pop-punk after this. SD
Ten albums that we hope you all think were worth the wait. If you’re not familiar with any of the above, we’d recommend you check them out. The second half of this list will be available very soon as we reveal what the Rock Sins’ staff collectively voted their ten favourite rock and metal albums of the last decade!
*Update* – The second part of our albums of the decade is now available. You can check out the top ten Rock Sins albums of the decade here.
Words by Jamie Giberti (JG), Sam Dignon (SD), Sam Savigny (SS) and Simon Crampton (SC).