Mastodon — Top 15 Alternative Albums of This Decade
Wed, 17 Jun 2015 14:19:40
We countdown the best alternative albums of the past 10 years and explore the meaning of the genre...
The word "Alternative" has been passed down through multiple generations of music now, and it's continuously changed. In the most classic sense, we think of it as the Generation X grunge forbearers like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Nirvana, and everybody else from the iconic Seattle scene. At the same time, Pixies were alternative, and they came from Boston—same thing with Jane's Addiction and Red Hot Chili Peppers, both hailing from Los Angeles. Of course, we can't forget Melvins from Washington even though they sounded different from the general scene associated with their home state. Nowadays, what is alternative? Radio and the industry will tell you it's the folk pop we typically hear on "Alternative" stations. However, where are the guitars?
Truth be told, they haven't gone anywhere. Moreover, there have been some truly monumental "Alternative" albums this past decade—even this year. Most of these will even be widely regarded as classics someday. We wanted to highlight and countdown the Top 15 Alternative Albums of this Decade. They've got the hallmarks of the genre's timeless work, which we all still crank today. Some of these will be from quite recognizable names and others will be from people who still aren't afraid to keep a guitar handy when they're breaking the mold. The point is that Alternative music in the classic sense is stilling being made, and we wanted to spotlight that—even with some gems out this year! As a note, we are counting albums releases since June 2005 to keep in line with the exact decade.
3. Mastodon – Crack The Skye
Mastodon breathed new life into alternative music with Crack The Skye in 2009. It's a sprawling concept album that redefines what an epic is and can be for this generation. Over the course of just seven songs, the Atlanta quartet—Troy Sanders [bass, vocals], Brent Hinds [guitar, vocals], Brann Dailor [drums, vocals], and Bill Kelliher [guitar]—engage an aural trip through astral planes, facing life, death, love, and loss head-on. Its heavy introspection is only bolstered by the entrancing, crushing distortion and intricate leads. However, the songs themselves all possess a distinct framework that elevates the larger whole.
"Oblivion" opens up the gateway with its ominous tones before "Divinations" casts a progressively thrash-y spell that's as hypnotic as it is heavy. "Quintessence" floats off to uncharted musical nether regions that scorch and soar, and the centerpiece "The Czar" stands out as over nine minutes of musical mastery that's equally unpredictable and undeniable.
See the other artists and albums on our Top 15 Alternative Albums of This Decade feature!