- Hybrid Theory – Linkin Park
Linkin Park released what is considered one of the best records of all time in Hybrid Theory. Songs such as “Papercut”, “One Step Closer”, “In The End”, and “Crawling” would go on to break records as singles from the albums. The mixture of rap-infused metal at that time was lacking a bit of creativity until Linkin Park came on the scene and completely changed the whole genre by themselves. Mike Shinoda and Chester Bennington teamed up to become one of the best one-two punches in the rock/ metal music scene. This album also has proven to be one of the best commercial success ever by a non-pop artist, with the album being certified diamond by the RIAA of selling more than one billion albums. Making Linkin Park the only rock band in the 2000s to reach this mark. This album was special to me in a lot of ways as it was the first foray into the world of metal and would launch my interests in the genre as a whole, if it wasn’t for Linkin Park I don’t think I would be in a position where I would like metal and rock as much as I do now.
- Comatose – Skillet
Ah, Skillet, one of my all-time favorite artists. This album started it all for me with this band, as this was my first ever Skillet album I had ever heard. The band started in 1995 and was very limited in what markets they could play in at first, but as the band grew more and more with popularity with time they quickly gained the respect of many artists and fans alike. The release of Collide saw their popularity skyrocket as they got on tour with acts such as Korn, Three Days Grace, and Flyleaf. This would contribute a lot in their next release with Comatose, this would be one of their biggest sellers and viewed as their best album they ever put out. With the combination of string instruments such as violins and cello, that changed how people viewed rock could be played. This album would later go on and be certified platinum by the RIAA, with more than one million records sold. This band helped shape my interest in rock music as it was one of the earliest bands I can remember listening to.
- Blurryface/Vessel – Twenty One Pilots
There is a reason why two albums are listed here, that reason is that they tie on my list of all time favorites. Blurryface was my introduction to this band and it was clear from the very first song I heard that they would be one of my favorite artists. It changed the way I would think about alternative music in that they had zero guitar play in any of their songs, yet they still produced this massive energy that would rival even the most guitar-driven artists of the day. This album leads me to discover Vessel which quickly became a go-to listen anytime I wanted to listen to music. The tone of the album really set it quick and they carefully crafted a masterpiece of an album. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if they became my favorite artist with their next release.
- Don’t You Fake It – Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
This album was my first foray into the post-hardcore/screamo world of music. It would prove to be a catalyst of an album as it helped me discover the music I still love to this day. If it wasn’t for Red Jumpsuit Apparatus I probably would not have found metalcore, as it bridged the gap between hard rock bands such as Skillet to metalcore bands such as August Burns Red. The way that Ronnie Winter wrote this album spoke to me on a personal level at the time where music just kind of got stale and stagnant, it was definitely one of my most played albums during my high school years and helped navigate that time period in my life. This also is still one of RJA’s best albums they have ever recorded in all aspects.
- The Young and The Hopeless – Good Charlotte
The release of The Young and The Hopeless helped push Good Charlotte onto mainstream radio. My introduction to this band happened to come in the form of a mix CD my brother had made with the song ‘The Anthem” on it. This was the only song I had heard from them for awhile as YouTube hadn’t been invented yet and it would be years before I found the rest of the album. After hearing the rest of the album I quickly became a fan due to the ability of frontman Joel Madden to connect to the audience he is writing about. He is one of the few songwriters that isn’t shy about his past and is quite open about his early life struggles. I may not be able to relate to this album in his struggles early on, but I still think this album is powerful enough that it could be a struggle with anything and its a way of showing how to overcome it and that you can make something of yourself even facing adversity.