15 great albums from 2004 | Revolver

15 great albums from 2004

Lamb of God, Mastodon, Slipknot and more
slipknot live GETTY 2004, George De Sota/Redferns
Slipknot, 2004
photograph by George De Sota/Redferns

In 2004, Mark Zuckerburg launched Facebook, The Incredibles was released in theaters and the Red Sox finally lifted the "Curse of the Bambino" with a World Series title. And oh yeah, a fuck-ton of awesome heavy albums emerged into the world.

Slipknot, Lamb of God and Mastodon released some of their best records. Metalcore had a breakout year. Dave Grohl went full-on metal. And much more.

20 years onward, we looked back on 15 awesome albums that defined heavy music in 2004.

A Perfect Circle - eMOTIVe

After two instant-classic albums, 2000's Mer de Noms and 2003's Thirteenth Step, A Perfect Circle polarized fans and critics with the politically charged covers album, eMOTIVe. The record features adventurous takes on mostly anti-war songs — by everyone from John Lennon to Bay Area punks Crucifix — and was released on November 2nd, 2004, to coincide with the U.S. presidential election.

It was a daring move, and while not every cover is a success, APC's ambition is impressive. The album's real winner is the sinuous "Passive," one of two original songs on the LP, which was co-written by Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor for his unreleased Tapeworm supergroup project.

Atreyu - The Curse

The sound of metalcore changed drastically in 2004, and Atreyu's The Curse played a big role in that overhaul.

On their sophomore album, the California band played up the most colorful elements of 2002's Suicide Notes and Butterfly Kisses, magnifying the huge rock hooks, glammy solos and lipstick-smeared drama that was weaved throughout their shrieky, shreddy metalcore rippers.

Atreyu's O.C. peers in Avenged Sevenfold and Eighteen Visions adopted a similar tact at this time, but The Curse stands out for its singular, over-the-top bite. "Bleeding Mascara" alone is an all-timer.

Chevelle - This Type of Thinking (Could Do Us In)

Returning two years after their breakthrough album, Wonder What's Next, Chevelle doubled down on the crunching nu-metal sound of that LP for their follow-up. This Type of Thinking (Could Do Us In) debuted at No. 8 on the Billboard 200 chart, an even higher mark than its predecessor, and delivered enduring live staples including "Vitamin R" and "The Clincher."

Notably, the 2004 album also marked the end of an era, as one of Chevelle's three Loeffler brothers, bassist Joe, would split with the band the following year.

Converge - You Fail Me

Converge had every eye in hardcore on them going into their follow-up to Jane Doe, an undeniable landmark that changed the course of heavy music. You Fail Me didn't have quite the same level of genre-shifting impact, but it was a brilliantly frantic album that marked their second bona fide knockout.

While the album's sound is slightly less slashing and convulsive than its predecessor, it has songs like "Eagles Become Vultures," "Last Night" and its title track: all-timer Converge cuts that captured the band's refined approach to bone-chipping aggression.

The Dillinger Escape Plan - Miss Machine

The Dillinger Escape Plan took five years — and cycled through two more vocalists — before following up their game-changing mathcore debut, Calculating Infinity. On Miss Machine, they proved their neuron-singeing powers weren't a mere fluke.

The album is a skronker's delight that tears down heavy-music conventions with a destructive glee. Meanwhile, new frontman Greg Puciato delivers his first bang-up vocal performance, screeching and wailing like a madman to launch what would become his ongoing run of balcony-diving greatness.

Killswitch Engage - The End of Heartache

Metalcore was never the same after The End of Heartache. On their third album, and first with then-new vocalist Howard Jones, Killswitch Engage seamlessly integrated towering rock melodies into their booming metalcore cuts, tweaking the genre's sonic DNA in a way that's still felt (now more than ever) two decades onward.

The pounding "Rose of Sharyn" and the tear-jerking "The End of Heartache" were of course the standouts, the latter earning Killswitch their first Grammy nomination that year. But the whole album is a masterclass in simultaneous thrashing, crooning and crushing.

Lamb of God - Ashes of the Wake

Lamb of God mastered their signature sound on Ashes of the Wake. Elevating their blistering groove-metal attack to stadium sizes, the Virginia band's third (and best) album launched them into heavy music's upper echelon — where they remain today as one of that tier's most ferocious bands.

"Omerta," "Now You've Got Something to Die For" and "Laid to Rest" are the obvious standouts, but Ashes of the Wake deserves to be consumed in all of its clobbering, hollering glory.

Mastodon - Leviathan

Following the rambunctious sludge-metal of 2002's Remission, Mastodon ballooned into a proggy, riff-slinging colossus on their whale of a sophomore album, Leviathan.

Breaking out biblical guitar parts ("Blood and Thunder"), ballistic drum fills ("Iron Tusk"), one of the best album-closers in metal history and a sprawling thematic throughline loosely based on the epic tale of Moby Dick, Mastodon swung for the hills with Leviathan. Two decades onward, this album is still a beast.

My Chemical Romance - Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge

Yes, it spawned the anthemic singles "Helena," "I'm Not Okay" and "The Ghost of You" that made them posterboys of mainstream emo. But Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge is a gnarly fuckin' album.

Tracks like "You Know What They Do to Guys Like Us in Prison" and "Thank You for the Venom" are laced with jagged metal guitars and fierce screams, and the whole record is played with a whiplash intensity that makes it feel like it could fall apart at any moment.

Whether you dropped off with the operatic Black Parade or doubled-down on your fandom even harder, there's no denying the adrenaline-fueled savagery of Three Cheers.

Probot - Probot

We metalheads had a feeling that Dave Grohl was one of us, but he proved it and then some with one-album-wonder all-star project Probot.

Featuring a murderer's row of heavy-metal vocalists — Motörhead's Lemmy Kilmister, Sepultura's Max Cavalera, Mercyful Fate's King Diamond, Celtic Frost's Tom G. Warrior and many more — the 12-track Probot steamrolls the eardrums like the great mixtape your denim-vested older cousin was too stoned to remember to give you.

Grohl recorded all the instrumentation, underlining his versatile talent as well as his headbanging bona fides.

Shadows Fall - The War Within

Metalcore successfully splintered in many different directions in 2004, and on their fourth and best album, The War Within, Shadows Fall took ownership of the metal elements of the increasingly rock-driven subgenre.

Thrashy riffs, acrobatic guitar soloing, bludgeoning blast beats and vocalist Brian Fair's throat-scraping hollers are what make songs like "The Light That Blinds" and "What Drives the Weak" so goddamn powerful. This is hesher metalcore.

Slipknot - Vol 3: The Subliminal Verses

Slipknot became the new (masked) faces of metal by making some of the heaviest, angriest music possible. It's hard to imagine how the band could've gotten more apoplectic than Iowa, so they swung the opposite direction on Vol. 3, letting eerie melodies flood their sound without hijacking the feral animosity.

The gambit worked. "Duality" and "Before I Forget" became their two biggest songs, laundering Slipknot's horrifying imagery and ear-mashing sonics into the mainstream at a time when pop culture desperately needed a dose of the Knot's noxiousness.

Terror - One With the Underdogs

Coming out of the youth crew resurgence that dominated early 2000s hardcore, Terror brought back the NYHC attitude on One With the Underdogs.

Heavy and mean without tipping into metalcore, chanty and memorable without a whiff of cheese, Scott Vogel and Co.'s debut was treated like an instant classic upon release, and still holds that pedigree today.

The guest spots from Hatebreed's Jamey Jasta and Madball's Freddy Cricien are tight, but it's moments like the one-two punch of the title track into "Keep Your Mouth Shut" and the chugging refrain of "Overcome" that made Terror the mighty force they still are.

Underoath - They're Only Chasing Safety

Underoath truly became Underoath on They're Only Chasing Safety.

With newly appointed screamer Spencer Chamberlain behind the mic and drummer-singer Aaron Gillespie flexing his clean voice, the Florida band crafted a sleek, heartfelt hybrid of metalcore and emo that stands as one of the era's most influential albums.

Millions have cathartically screamed along to "A Boy Brushed Red Living in Black and White" and "Reinventing Your Exit," and even though Underoath have had a long, fruitful career in the years since, They're Only Chasing Safety has a very special place in their catalog — and in the wave of bands who'd use this record's sound as a career launchpad.

Velvet Revolver - Contraband

Spearheaded by Guns N' Roses' Slash, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum, the band that would become Velvet Revolver was fated for greatness. When, after an exhaustive vocalist search documented by VH1, they landed Stone Temple Pilots' Scott Weiland as their frontman, that destiny was locked and loaded.

The first and better of the short-lived supergroup's two albums, Velvet Revolver's debut, Contraband, perfectly captures their sleaze-soaked sound typified by the Grammy-winning anthem "Slither."