The early 2000s introduced a major change for metal music. The rap-rock sound was taking off faster than ever, and the previous relationship with an alternative sound was headed for a certain decline. Most radio and TV stations at this point strayed away from playing anything particularly heavy, but the newly found ability to download music through the internet made these more obscure underground acts much easier to follow. These underground acts attracted fans of a true metalcore nature that began to take over the music scene. Metal was becoming more distinct, faster-paced and much louder. New acts were constantly sprouting and creating music that was changing the genre, and a few bands in particular have released powerhouse albums that helped continue the dominance of the musical category.
Tool is a multi-talented group who has produced four albums all with strangely different sounds; however, each one has been well received by audiences. Their third, incredibly deep album Lateralus was accepted by a mainstream fan base, but never disbanded their own unmistakable sound and style. Lateralus was almost like a puzzle with multiple rock influences incorporated, it was difficult to label the exact sound. The songs “Schism,” “Parabola” and “Lateralus”challenged listeners to take on its smothering sound. Lateralus is a complex album not just in terms of sound, but by the incorporation of the Fibonacci sequence and the exploration of the natural desire to obtain a deep knowledge of all things evolving around life itself. Tool continued to expand upon the metal genre and produce an album that changed metal fans expectations for what a great album should be.
System of a Down, Toxicity
System of a Down is one of those bands that broadened my musical horizons. I remember very clearly coming home from school in 7th grade and playing my SOAD CD’s on repeat. Toxicity is the album that sent the band into super stardom and unleashed a wave of viciously heavy riffs that hooked metal heads from the very beginning. This album showed it was possible to mix metal with a foreign influence and sharp harmonies. Toxicity provided an electric track list that was manic and powerful. This album led to a greater progression of the metal genre and its evolution for years to come. Toxicity included some of the band’s most well-known hits, “Aerials,” “Toxicity” and “Chop Suey!” With a display of unique vocals and strong riffs, Toxicity shows how an original album can resonate with true metal fans and maintain long-lasting success among the most influential albums.
Leviathan is one of those albums that is undeniably great. Mastodon, whose reign also included Remission, Blood Mountain and Crack the Skye all in the first decade of the 2000s, has owned the metal genre for nearly 15 years. Every album sounds completely different as they have carved out their own musical path. Leviathan, the concept album about ‘Moby-Dick,” shows Mastodon’s ability to produce creative artwork which featured sounds and themes that are unique to the band. As each album features a variety of visuals, lyrical themes and musical styles, their composition and body of work has been a display of ambition and true heavy metal prowess that has captured fans since the release of their very first album. With songs “Blood and Thunder” “Iron Tusk” and the 13-minute epic, “Hearts Alive,” Leviathan continues to influence new sounds and solidifies its place among the heavy metal elite.