Looking back to the 25 Best Metal Albums of 2001, it has the making of one of the most unique years in the genre's history, defined by comebacks, evolution and reinvention.

The rumblings of metalcore's eventual breakout were felt through both landmark releases in the genre in addition to early, raw records by bands who would later help define what was branded as the New Wave of American Heavy Metal (caveat: Avenged Sevenfold and As I Lay Dying's debuts did not make this list).

Elsewhere, two German thrash juggernauts and an American staple (SLAAAAAYEERRRRR!!!) roared back with new millennium classics, black metal's ambitions grew increasingly progressive and experimental and artsy prog was ballooning.

Oh, and then there's Slipknot and System of a Down who each put out career bests and established themselves as the next gigantic forces in heavy metal.

But enough teasing, let's get right to it!

The 25 Best Metal Albums of 2001