With the nu metal invasion finally becoming saturated with clones and glam metal seemingly on the back burner, metal in the last year has been getting better and better. It has been a year of highs and lows for metal. We have seen the comeback of two giants of trash and tragically the senseless murder of Darrell “Dimebag” Abbot. As the editor of TotalRock.Net I have had the opportunity to listen to dozens of metal CDs this year and overall have been very impressed. Indeed I have not seen metal this popular or varied since the glory days of the N.W.O.B.H.M. and I have great expectations for 2005.

10) Probot – Probot Ex Nirvana Drummer Dave Grohl has always been heavily influenced by metal and displays this with this collaboration album. Yes, it’s a bit of an ego trip but the result is very worthwhile.

9) Mastodon - Leviathan This album has been a firm fan favourite and reached number one on a number of internet lists. While I don’t agree with that, it is a fantastic album a lot more polished and technical than their debut.

8) Shadows Fall – The War Within A massive improvement on their earlier work and a healthy mix of new and old school influences.

7) Anthrax – The Greater Of Two Evils At number seven is Anthrax’s greatest hits with a twist. The band had the fans vote on their favourite songs of 1984-1990 and re-recorded the top 14 in a two day period! A nice slice of Metal history.

6) Amon Amarth - Fate Of Norns No metal list would be complete with at least one representation of extreme metal so I included Amon Amarth’s latest offering. Intense, brutal, no frills Scandinavian metal the way it should be.

5) Nightwish - Once Once is Nightwish’s heaviest and most ambitious album yet and the new sound pays off. Tarja lends her beautiful voice to the intricate powerful melodies.

4) WASP – The Neon God: The Demise The second instalment of their epic Neon God series. The album bleeds intense emotion as the monumental story draws to a close.

3) Megadeth – The System has Failed After Dave Mustaine’s injury of 2002 the band are back bigger and better than ever. Chris Poland from the first two albums also makes a welcome return and the bands sound is a welcome change to their earlier days.

2) Exodus – Tempo of the damned Fast, brutal, intense, this album may be just what the band need to come out of the shadows.

And at number one…

1) Iced Earth – The Glorious Burden This album is amazing and despite the high standard of metal this year it doesn’t really have any competition for the top spot. The guitar-work is intricate and simply beautiful and Tim Owens vocals are emotional and intense. The album is a masterpiece and It will be interesting to see where the band go next!