Killswitch Engage — Top 15 New Wave Of American Heavy Metal Albums
Tue, 30 Jun 2015 16:29:23
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These are the albums that defined the aughts.
The '00s were quite a fertile period for heavy music. So much so that the press and fans anointed the era "The New Wave of American Heavy Metal" or "The New Wave of American Metal." Same difference. MTV resurrected Headbanger's Ball, with Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed installed as the host. Late night TV shows, like Jimmy Kimmel Live!, were booking the bands of the era to perform with increasing frequency throughout the decade. Yes, those firebreathing noise merchants in The Dillinger Escape Plan played Conan and things were never, ever the same.
If you require more proof that the public and media hungered for metal equally, well, think about how Ozzfest ballooned, inviting heavier bands to play both the main and the side stages. The annual heavy metal summer camp was eventually immobilized and replaced by The Rock Star Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, which also grew exponentially and played sheds.
Most impressive were the sales numbers of these bands. Albums repeatedly went platinum and gold, with the likes of Slipknot, Killswitch Engage, Lamb of God and Atreyu notching RIAA certifications and awards for achieving monster sales. More notable was the fact that you could turn on the radio and hear these same bands on the dial and not always after midnight on specialty shows.
Do we even need to mention the Grammy nominations? It made us realize that people with their ears to the underground and in possession of a keen knowledge of the aggressive music scene were influencing the balloting, since extreme bands were notching noms. It wasn't as though this was further atonement for the Jethro Tull gaffe that still haunts the metal category today; it was an institution recognizing and supporting a movement!
Hands down—the '00s were a legit and rich era for heavy metal. These are the albums that defined the period.
9. Killswitch Engage - The End of Heartache
The End of Heartache was undeniably and absolutely definitive for KsE. It was a watershed moment for both the band and the genre. Strikingly, the band had lost its frontman when Jesse Leach decided to leave in the middle of a tour. But instead of stopping all forward momentum, he was quickly replaced by Howard Jones during the tour cycle for TEOH's predecessor Alive or Just Breathing.
It was a quick transition and it worked because it had to.
So when it came time for the recorded debut of Jones, who had fronted Blood Has Been Shed, another absolutely crushing metalcore band from New England, all ears were on KsE. Could they top their debut, which continues to be elevated in status and reverence, and has certainly achieved neo-classic status?
The answer was "yes," they matched their previous effort in size and scope, and lost absolutely no progress despite such a huge change.
The melodics and riffery were a perfect combo of European and American metal styles, but KsE combined them into their own unique blend. Their songs were the catchiest of their peers, and as a result, they enjoyed the most radio airplay and commercial success. But even as the band began to grow and gain more fans outside of the metal world, its feet remains firmly planted in the moshpit and KsE never lifted pressure off the gas pedal in that realm.
Plus, guitarist and producer Adam D.'s stage antics remained as ridiculously hilarious ever, making sure that KsE continued to pledge their allegiance to all things metallic, even though they were insanely melodic, too.
Watch "The End of Heartache" from Killswitch Engage:
'The End of Heartache' from Killswitch Engage is available on Roadrunner Records.
See the other artists and albums on our Top Top 15 New Wave of American Heavy Metal Albums feature!