2001 was a year of upheaval, both in the world as well as popular trends in the music scene. The 9/11 terror attacks profoundly changed the way the world travels via aircraft, the expansion Diamondbacks won a World Series in their fourth year of existence on a bloop single by a power hitter, and Apple launched their first iPod – which changed the way people consume digital music forever.
The music scene experienced plenty of monumental albums and changing trends, too. The success of Linkin Park’s 2000 album Hybrid Theory signaled a rush of labels looking to sign nu-metal’s next big thing, yet another pop-punk boom was happening at the turn of the new millennium, and metalcore bands were rising out of the underground to eventually replace nu-metal as one of metal’s most commercially viable genres. And that’s just scratching the surface. Without further ado, here’s 25 albums from 2001 that are more than worth your time.
Sonic Excess In Its Purest Form (Crowbar)
A strong contender for the band’s best album, Crowbar’s penchant for doom and sludge metal is one that has remained virtually unchanged since their 1991 debut album, yet Sonic Excess is consistent across the board with no real filler to be found.
Terria (Devin Townsend)
Released during a lull in his work fronting Strapping Young Lad, Terria is a calmer, softer side to Devin Townsend’s work that was more apparent in his solo material. That doesn’t mean it’s not heavy in parts – but songs like “Deep Peace” will certainly comfort the listener like a warm blanket. The ambient soundscapes and calmer moments within are impeccable as well.
300 Percent Density (Candiria)
Candiria’s blend of rap, hip-hop, metal, mathcore, and jazz fusion was way ahead of its time, and on 300 Percent Density, the band deserved a much wider audience. The band’s most accessible record up to that point, tracks like “Without Water” are rife with skilled hip-hop rhymes courtesy of Carley Coma, and a rhythm section that knows when to accelerate.
Take Off Your Pants And Jacket (Blink-182)
Released at the height of another of pop-punk’s commercial heights, TOYPAJ was Blink-182’s most mature album to date. Kind of a midway point between their boundary-breaking self-titled album and their 1999 breakout record Enema Of The State, it’s got some of the band’s biggest pop-punk songs like album opener “Anthem Part 2”, but also conveys emotion well on “Stay Together For The Kids”.
Jhazmyne’s Lullaby (7 Angels 7 Plagues)
while they only existed a few short years, 7 Angels 7 Plagues had a massive impact on modern metalcore with their heavy riffs interspersed with bright melodies. When you open an album with a song title like “A Farewell To A Perfect Score”, you’d better be ready to deliver the grandiose goods – and they certainly did here. Their music would continue on in the form of Misery Signals – who Ryan Morgan and Kyle Johnson went on to form with members of Hamartia and Compromise.
Certainly one of the most grandiose metal albums to ever top the Billboard charts, Tool’s Lateralus is, at its core, a drum clinic from Danny Carey. Dude, it’s the Fibonacci sequence.
Stay What You Are (Saves The Day)
A certified emo/pop-punk classic, Saves The Day’s Stay What You Are saw the band dialing back the more pop-punk aspects of their sound for darker vibes. The success of the record eventually saw the band touring with Green Day, Jimmy Eat World, and Blink-182 as part of the huge Pop Disaster tour.
Bleed American (Jimmy Eat World)
Produced by former Drive Like Jehu drummer Mark Trombino, Bleed American was Jimmy Eat World’s commercial breakthrough. Stacked with hit after hit (the anthemic “The Middle” was inescapable on the radio for years, and still is), it packs more hooks than a tackle box even into the non-singles on the album, especially “Get It Faster” and “The Authority Song”. Essential.
Released on the same day of the 9/11 terror attacks, P.O.D. delivered a concoction of reggae, hip-hop, metal, and faith in a way that hadn’t really existed previously. Full of passion and life, Satellite touches on tough subjects like the Columbine shootings and losing family, without approaching cliche status.
The Egg (Shiner)
An extremely overlooked alt-rock band that deserved a much bigger audience, this was the band’s last album until their Schadenfreude comeback record released last year.
Full Collapse (Thursday)
A post-hardcore classic, Thursday’s sophomore full-length didn’t play it same – with iconic tracks like “Cross Out The Eyes” and “Understanding In A Car Crash”, it helped bring post-hardcore to the mainstream.
Leave Here A Stranger (Starflyer 59)
Chill, underrated indie rock/dream pop from one of the very first bands to sign with Tooth And Nail Records.
Animosity is Sevendust’s third full-length album, and boy does it pack a punch. The synergy between Lajon Witherspoon’s soulful vocals and Morgan Rose’s aggressive ones – plus some of the punchiest riffs to hit alt-metal in years – cemented the band as a band that would indeed buck trends.
Morning View (Incubus)
Morning View certainly dialed things back for Incubus, but it’s probably the kind of album you’d hear on an island somewhere – with Brandon Boyd’s voice soothing you.
Before her untimely passing just a month after this album was released, Aaliyah was poised to become one of R&B’s biggest stars of the era – and her final, self-titled album showcased an artist really coming into her own.
Blackwater Park (Opeth)
Opeth’s magnum opus, Blackwater Park is one of progressive death metal’s finest moments – bridging the gap between their earlier work and their most celebrated material.
STILLmatic is one of hip-hop’s greatest comebacks, as Nas just bodies Jay-Z with “Ether”.
Jane Doe (Converge)
Can metalcore/hardcore punk be poetic? Absolutely, just listen to Converge’s “Concubine”.
Invitation To The Dance (40 Below Summer)
Latin-flavored alt-metal that deserved a wider audience, 40 Below Summer nonetheless released a record here that was melodic yet heavy, and punchy yet not cliched.
Toxicity (System Of A Down)
They’re trying to build a prison.
Just when you think Slipknot couldn’t top their self-titled debut album in terms of heaviness, they did.
A Predator’s Portrait (Soilwork)
With vastly improved production and improved vocals from Bjorn “Speed” Strid, Soilwork entered their classic period on this album.
Last Night In Town (Every Time I Die)
Last Night In Town is Every Time I Die’s debut full-length, and it’s just as chaotic as you’d expect.
Those Who Tell The Truth… (Explosions In The Sky)
One of post-rock’s finest albums.
No Wings To Speak Of (Hopesfall)
Hopesfall’s 2001 EP is just 4 songs and 20 minutes long, but it packs a real melodic metalcore punch. Much like their 2002 album The Satellite Years, it directly inspired bands like Erra years later.