34 Songs To Remember How Good 2003 Was For Metal

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Two decades have passed since 2003 and a lot has changed in the world of heavy metal. That being said, there are loads of albums worth revisiting from yesteryear and we’re doing just that today! So go get your headphones and prepare for a pretty serious nostalgia trip.

Arch Enemy – “We Will Rise”

Anthems Of Rebellion was Arch Enemy‘s second record with then-vocalist Angela Gossow, which produced the live staple “We Will Rise.” The rest of the record is solid as well, but “We Will Rise” is a cut above.

Avenged Sevenfold – “Chapter Four”

I know. “Unholy Confessions” has the riff, but “Chapter Four” was straight up melodic death metal worship and it rules. Say what you will about Avenged Sevenfold‘s cleaner, modern material, but no metal fan should deny Waking The Fallen.

Between The Buried And Me – “Mordecai”

The Silent Circus was Between The Buried And Me‘s first effort on Victory Records, and whose first two songs spawned the band’s long-running Parallax concept. That being said, “Mordecai” is mosh riffs forever and everyone knows it.

The Black Dahlia Murder – “Funeral Thirst”

Where it all began for The Black Dahlia MurderUnhallowed, their debut for their long-running record label Metal Blade Records. After a brief intro track, “Funeral Thirst” makes it clear that these then-upstarts meant business.

Children Of Bodom – “Needled 24/7”

Alexi Laiho will go down as one of metal’s guitar greats, with “Needled 24/7” being one of the many examples why. From driving bass drums to full-band gallops, down to impossible solo sections, Hatecrew Deathroll is untouchable.

Chimaira – “Pure Hatred”

Andols Herrick does one hell of a job letting you know that after the intro is over, you’re in a quickly-moving moshpit. The Impossibility Of Reason is yet another example of why it’d be great for Chimaira to do another record.

Cradle Of Filth – “The Promise Of Fever”

Orchestration from the one hundred-piece Budapest Film Orchestra and the forty-piece Budapest Film Choir? A story based loosely on John Milton‘s Paradise Lost? Sign us right up, even if it’s 20 years later.

Dimmu Borgir – “Progenies of the Great Apocalypse”

You knew it was coming, because really – what song better defines Dimmu Borgir‘s entire sound better than “Progenies of the Great Apocalypse”? It’s nothing short gargantuan and remains as powerful as ever to this day.

Dream Theater – “As I Am”

Train Of Thought is easily one of Dream Theater‘s best and heaviest records, all of which is kicked off by the chunky “As I Am.” Just try to ignore James LaBrie‘s rapping on “Honor Thy Father” later in the record. It was the 2000s and things happened.

Enslaved – “Havenless”

There should be a book on how good a songwriter Ivar Bjørnson is. Below The Lights is a textbook on how to marry viking, black, and progressive metal, “Havenless” is one of seven examples across the album on why that songwriting book should exist.

Every Time I Die – “Floater”

If you ever saw Every Time I Die when they were still a band, then you knew “Floater.” Or you knew all the moshing that came along with “Floater” as you fought off loads of spin kicks. Maybe give it another spin below. We’re not gonna hurt you.

Gojira – “The Link”

Listening to Gojira at any point in their career makes you wonder if they ever faltered. The answer is “no.” Sure, Gojira was still trying to find their sound a little bit on The Link, but it still blows loads of other metal out of the water.

Hatebreed – “Live For This”

It’s Hatebreed. You know what you’re getting. Shouted vocals backed by gang chants, lyrics that’ll keep you driven, and riffs that’ll force you to fight at least one person today. The Rise Of Brutality should be on everyone’s gym playlist.

Horse The Band – “Cutsman”

The birth of Nintendocore! R. Borlax was one of those uniquely strange records that only could’ve come out in the early 2000s, and still remains pretty popular today. Or at least popular enough to be featured in this year’s Record Store Day.

Iron Maiden – “Rainmaker”

The god-awful CGI artwork usually overshadows how good an album Dance Of Death actually is. No, it’s not the typical fare from Iron Maiden if you’re looking for that classic sound, but it’s a solid-as-hell rock-leaning metal album that deserves a revisit.

Ion Dissonance – “The Bud Dwyer Effect”

Ion Dissonance came out of the gate hot with their 2003 debut album Breathing Is Irrelevant, and its longest song “The Bud Dwyer Effect” is nothing short of an elongated beating. Maybe don’t go watching any videos of Bud Dwyer, though.

Katatonia – “Evidence”

Amazing to think that Katatonia has been consistently releasing perfectly gloomy records for 30 years now. And what better way to look at the start of their second decade than with their classic “Evidence” from Viva Emptiness?

King Diamond – “The Puppet Master”

Who doesn’t need a concept album about a young couple that gets turned into puppets by a maniac puppeteer? It’s the perfect Christmas album! It’s not, but it’s King Diamond‘s best album of the 2000s for sure.

Korn – “Right Now”

Take A Look In The Mirror is certainly not the best Korn record, but it’s got three solid singles that still make the band’s shows – the bounce-heavy (and best of the three) “Right Now,” “Did My Time,” and the hilariously nü-metal “Y’all Want A Single.”

Lamb Of God – “11th Hour”

There is now a single second of “11th Hour” that won’t make you want to throw a car. It’ll give you that kind of strength. Especially when things get especially insane around the 2:15 mark… and then again with the panic chord breakdown.

Linkin Park – “Numb”

Linkin Park‘s “Numb” single-handed laid out the blueprint for radio-friendly metal that’s still being followed to this day. If you don’t think Meteora has a place in the metal conversation, you should probably listen closer.

Machine Head – “Imperium”

Machine Head really hit their stride with Through The Ashes Of Empires, whose opening assault is none other than “Imperium.” In fact, the album was so good that Roadrunner Records immediately resigned the band.

Morbid Angel – “Enshrined By Grace”

“Curse The Flesh” is one of the few Heretic tracks that got regular rotation in Morbid Angel‘s live sets, but “Enshrined by Grace” kicked enough ass to get featured on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre soundtrack.

Mushroomhead – “Sun Doesn’t Rise”

Yeah, it’s the song from the Freddy vs. Jason soundtrack. Mushroomhead‘s 2003 record XIII feels lost to time in terms of public appreciation, but was pretty damn good! Plus Jens Kidman of Meshuggah guested on the song “The Dream Is Over.”

Nevermore – “I Voyager”

Enemies Of Reality was accused of not being as heavy as its predecessors, but anyone with ears could tell you that it doesn’t matter. Enemies Of Reality is loaded with bangers, “I, Voyager” being a shining example.

The Number Twelve Looks Like You – “Jesus And Tori”

The Number Twelve Looks Like You is one of the most underrated bands of the 2000s. Their strange brew of mathcore and clean-heavy screamo still stands out as unique today, and Put On Your Rosy Red Glasses was only the start.

Old Man’s Child – “Black Seeds On Virgin Soil”

Hey look, it’s Galder from Dimmu Borgir and his project Old Man’s Child! What a shame that this project just kinda stopped after Slaves Of The World in 2009. At least we got classics like “Black Seeds On Virgin Soil,” right?

Opeth – “Windowpane”

After a string of heavier records, including the wildly progressive Deliverance in 2002, Opeth calmed all the the way down with Damnation. “Windowpane” is the album’s opener and it’s easily one of the band’s most identifiable, classic riffs.

Soilwork – “Distortion Sleep”

One year removed from Natural Born Chaos and Soilwork was already back with Figure Number Five. “Distortion Sleep” captures that era of the band really well – it’s catchy as hell with a big hook and it has riffs for days. Typical Soilwork.

Sevendust – “Enemy”

Sevendust seems to be left out of the modern nü-metal conversation and I have no why. You listen to “Enemy” right now and tell me that doesn’t rule. Bounce riffs? Check. Great playing? Check. Earworm chorus? A thousand checks.

Static-X – “The Only”

Let’s just get this out of the way – “The Only” is the best Korn song that Korn never wrote. While some might remember Static-X as the “Push It” band, others know that they were cranking out bangers well into the 2000s.

Strapping Young Lad – “Aftermath”

Strapping Young Lad‘s 2003 album SYL was the first one to not be written entirely by Devin Townsend, making “Aftermath” nearly seven minutes of prog-tinged annihilation from a handful of metal minds. All hail Strapping Young Lad.

Trivium – “Ember To Inferno”

Before they owned an airplane hanger and were international stars, Trivium were a bunch of teenagers writing melodic death metal-influenced thrash. Ember To Inferno is a great debut album that stood the test of time.

Type O Negative – “I Don’t Wanna Be Me”

“I Don’t Wanna Be Me” is an outright punk rager made all the gloomier by Peter Steele‘s realization that he was getting sick of life. On the bright side, the music video features the hilarious Dan Fogler.

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