By the turn of the century, metal was truly back and this decade has provided more great metal than ever before. In 2000 solid albums like Starfire by Jorn Lande or We Are Motorhead can't crack the top 10, when they may have been Top 5 in some of the years in the 1990s.
10. HammerFall - Renegade
This was the last of the good HammerFall records. Clearly the ideas were drying up by now, but this album is well executed and worthy of inclusion with the first two releases.
9. In Flames - Clayman
Again, the last good release by this band as well. Solid Gothenburg style here, nothing really derivative from the genre this band helped define. After this record In Flames tried to be NWOAHM and abandoned their sound.
8. Persuader - The Hunter
The third Swedish band of the countdown. Persuader is a good power metal band. They may have over achieved here based on their later work, but this is a sold debut.
7. Iron Maiden - Brave New World
A more important album than it is a good album. The return of Bruce and Adrian saved Maiden and their later efforts are certainly great albums. This one is more like Virtual XII. Really I would define this as a shit sandwich. The first song and the last song are great, but the material in the middle is questionable by Maiden's standards. Still, overall a good effort.
6. Running Wild - Victory
Solid album for one of the most consistent bands in the genre. Nothing really ground breaking, but very proficient.
5. Enslaved - Mardum - Beyond the Within
A surprising pick here. Enslaved is generally heavier and less melodic that the music I typically like. Also, I rarely like Black Metal, though I think that label does not fit this record. There are several brutal sections here, but they are well placed and never ramble on endlessly, like so many albums of this genre do. Whatever you want to call it, this is a standout album from a good band.
4. Halford - Resurrection
After years of nonsense like Fight and Two, Rob Halford decided it was time to make a metal album again. He brought in a competent, but not brilliant band. He wrote some really good songs, and brought in a top producer in Roy Z. The result is a really good album and like Bruce Dickinson who made solo albums better than his former band, he forced the hand of his former band to fire their inferior singer and reunite.
3. Blaze - Silicon Messiah
Speaking of inferior singers….Really I don't get it. Blaze was bordering on incompetent with Maiden, especially live. However, despite this, he managed to create an album better than Maiden's. I still don't get it, but this album is really great, and that is all that counts.
2. Tad Morose - Undead
This is smokin'. Urban Breed is one of those singers that makes an average band extraordinary.
1. Helloween - The Dark Ride
Every now and then, an album comes from out of nowhere to knock your socks off. This album is better every time I hear it. This is probably the best Helloween album ever, and that counts all of the Kiske/Hansen efforts. I don't know why they never reached this level before, and never did again, but everything lined up right for this album.