THERE ARE RULES TO THIS TYPE OF THING.
Rule #1: Some bands are basically glorified solo outfits.
The bands on this list are group efforts. This means any musical collection that has a definite 'face' member will not be included. Said line-up must also have two or more original members throughout their career.
This rule excludes bands such as: Nick Cave and the Bad Seed; Sun Kil Moon; Tame Impala; Iron Maiden; Queens Of The Stone Age; Brian Jonestown Massacre; Guns n Roses; Cradle of Filth; The Cure; Of Montreal (which is a shame, because they were one of the main influences for this article); The Drones (also a massive shame); Nine Inch Nails, Xiu Xiu; Marilyn Manson; The Residents (??); Pile; GWAR; Ulver; Opeth; Bon Iver; Devin Townsend; Alcest; Cymbals Eat Guitars; LCD Soundsystem; Behemoth; and Napalm Death (who have no original members, lol).
Note: If this rule upsets you, do not fear, because I once wrote an article similar to this one called The 30 Greatest Music Legends Of Our Time. Maybe you'll find what you're looking for there.
Rule #2: Any breakups or hiatuses are no good.
Obviously any band that has broken up does not apply, because they are not in the world right now. This criteria also applies to bands that have had an extended break in their career or with a gap between records longer than 10 years.
This rule excludes bands such as: Portishead; My Bloody Valentine; Swans; The Pixies; Dillinger Escape Plan (pretty much); Blur; Megadeath; Godspeed You! Black Emperor; Killing Joke; Fleetwood Mac; Sonic Youth; Black Sabbath; The Stooges; Sleater-Kinney; Faith No More; Fugazi; Tool; Septicflesh; and The Rolling Stones.
Rule #3: New bands have a lot of room to fuck it up.
To ensure some level of security, bands with less than four albums were not considered.
This rule excludes bands such as: Vampire Weekend; The Hotelier; La Dispute; Ice Age; Ghost; Glassjaw; Everything Everything; Ought; MGMT; alt-J; Deafheaven; Wardruna; and Japandroids.
Rule #4: The word "band" has a definition.
Call me old fashioned, but if you don't play instruments, you are not a band.
This rule excludes groups such as: Death Grips; Wu-Tang Clan; Daft Punk; The Roots (even if they almost apply in recent years); and OutKast.
Rule #5: This is not a personal list, and critical consistency is key.
To help us distinguish which careers are good enough for some general concurrence, no bands with a Metacritic score of 66 or less were allowed in. I'm sorry, but it was the best solution I could come up with.
This rule excludes groups such as: Metallica; Korn; Kiss; Placebo; Aerosmith; Bloodhound Gang; and Blondie.
Rule #6: Ok, so this is kind of a personal list after all.
At the end of the day, I made this list, and so I have to be happy above anyone else. Which means there are certain massive bands that really should be here, except I don't actually like them that much (even if I do still like them somewhat maybe).
This rule excludes groups such as: U2; AC/DC; Green Day; Foo Fighters; The Strokes; System of a Down; Linkin Park; Arctic Monkeys; Cloud Nothings; Deerhunter; and Muse.
Rule #7: I can't write an endless list here, I'm busy.
Finally, there were bands I really really love and who obeyed my guidelines perfectly and deserved to be here, but were left out for one reason or another. 24 is a nice number. I couldn't please everyone.
This rule painfully excludes groups such as: Deerhoof; OK Go; and Rolo Tomassi.
If this is ok with you, it's ok with me, sort of.
24. The Flaming LipsActive Since 1983
17 Studio Albums
74% Metacritic Average
I have an awkward relationship with The Flaming Lips. On the (bigger) hand, I adore their lush psychedelic spaciness, as their cupid's arrow laced with LCD introduces the perfect love affair between electro doodlings and indie organics, well deserving of their three Grammy Awards and the dedicated cult following attached to their balloons for decades now. This mass approval comes up particularly strong when discussing 1999’s The Soft Bulletin (an album Pitchfork called the third best of the 90s with a rare perfect 10/10 score) and 2002’s Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (my personal favourite, which was Rolling Stone's 27th and Uncut's 11th best albums of the the noughties). But then, my other hand taps me on the shoulder and reminds me that The Lips have probably taken far too many drugs as time has gone on, and their art has suffered as a result, often falling a bit far over the 'weird line' for me, please allow me to explain. Exhibit A and B would be their absolute rape of classic albums by covering The Dark Side of the Moon and Sgt Pepper, both of which were such a complete mess that they even made me rethink my love for a lot of this band's other pretentious projects. Like 1997's Zaireeka, a record consisting of four separate CDs intended to be played simultaneously on four different stereos to produce a one album experience. Or like 2011's Gummy Song Skull, a gummy shaped skull with a gummy shaped brain hidden inside of it with a USB of music hidden inside of that. Or like 2012's vinyl version of The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends, which was pressed with many of the contributor's blood in between the grooves. Which I guess is pretty cool, after all. Perhaps the truth for my uncertainty is for more personal reasons, if I'm honest. For you see, I am currently blocked from commenting on any of The Flaming Lips' Facebook posts, due to my persistent compulsion to remind them of their 2011 song called Is David Bowie Dying?, a track which became extra tasteless when the man actually did die. Oh well, it doesn't matter, I spend too much time on Facebook, and either way, they’re a pretty heavyweight swing to smack things off here, so we’re starting off well, I thought.
23. elbowActive Since 1997
7 Studio Albums
79% Metacritic Average
You know, interestingly enough, it was rock band Elbow’s very recently wonderful 2017 release, Little Fictions, which convinced me of their dependable genius, and I can only blame myself for such negligence. Admittedly, I’ve been very behind when it comes to this outfit, having only first come into contact with them via 2011’s Mercury Prize nominated record Build a Rocket Boys!, which made an instant fan out of me, just add water, stir twice, call me in the morning. Only after this fact I ventured deeper into their back catalogue, surprised to discover 2008's The Seldom Seen Kid, their oft go-to 'greatest work', called the 17th (by NME) and the 8th (by Q) best album of that year, as well as winning the Mercury Prize back then, which was like pouring cement around their bodies and making permanent statues of their presence within my mind. Oh, ok, I get it now! That's why each of their seven studio albums have hit the UK top 15! That's why seven of their singles hit the UK top 40! That's why they won the 2009 Brit Award for Best British Group! That's why they were chosen to write the BBC’s 2012 Summer Olympics theme tune! Because they are a great band! One of the greatest! In the world! Right now!
22. Depeche ModeActive Since 1980
14 Studio Albums
68% Metacritic Average
You've probably heard of Depeche Mode, right? One of the 50 bands that changed the world, so says Q Magazine? The 98th Greatest Artists of All Time, so says VH1? The 2nd Greatest Artists of electronic music, so says Electronic Music Realm? The band who made Violator? The 342nd Greatest Album of all time, and 57th Best Album of the 90s, so says Rolling Stone? That group with five Grammy nominations and over 100 million records sold worldwide? One of the only 11 UK acts to have an album (Songs of Faith and Devotion) hit #1 in the UK and the US at the same time? 50 songs in the UK Singles Chart? 13 top 10 albums in the UK chart? You know? Depeche Mode?
21. WilcoActive Since 1994
10 Studio Albums
81% Metacritic Average
Like most hipster music, Pitchfork knew of alternative rock band Wilco before you did. They called 1996’s Being There the 88th best of the decade, and 1999’s Summerteeth the 31st, foreshadowing the moment when the rest of the world woke up and went 'shit!'. Said collective 'shit!' came with 2001’s monumental Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, which has an interesting backstory too, if you have a minute. Basically, their label Reprise Records rejected the release and then dropped Wilco in the same breath, so untroubled with their decision that they even allowed the act to keep the rights of the album for free. Nonesuch Records snapped them up shortly after, released the record, and before anyone knew what happened, they had a modern day classic on their hands. It was called the 4th, 3rd, and 2nd best album of the decade by Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, and Paste respectively, while Q readers rated it the 100th best album ever. Such a massive fuckup on Reprise's part prompted critics to use this very story as a key example to prove how ignorant the current music industry is, whilst Wilco themselves just laughed all the way into the critical acclaimed treasure chest. Granted, they never quite lived up to the Yankee hype afterwards, but they came pretty close with 2004’s A Ghost is Born which won two Grammys, and 2007’s Sky Blue Sky which was nominated for one, while Billboard, Paste, Uncut, and The A.V. Club all dubbed it in the top 10 of that year (Rolling Stone going one step further and calling it the 97th best album of the whole decade). Their subsequent releases have never been too far off various publications’ win lists, and that is why they have been called 'one of America's most consistently interesting bands' and 'America's foremost rock impressionists' by Rolling Stone, eventually earning them the reputation as the 'American Radiohead' by others. And Radiohead are huge!
20. Melt-BananaActive Since 1992
9 Studio Albums
80% Metacritic Average
If you’ve never heard of Melt-Banana, don't worry, because there is an understandable reason for this. Said reason is because the male/female Japanese duo make quite the abrasive type of music, rushing down an experimental pop-electronic racetrack with their feet flat on the grindcore pedal, Ichirou Agata imitating sirens and laser effects by using his guitar alone whilst Yasuko Onuki blasts her high pitched Engrish raps at great speeds, freaking your heart into palpitations without any regards to health and safety. Just take their 1994 25-track album Speak Squeak Creak, for example, which ends with an untitled song made up from all the other 24 tracks played simultaneously, and then you may begin to understand how such an underground act caught the attention of one equally weird Mike Patton, the God of versatility himself. After their Jim O'Rourke recorded/Steve Albini produced Scratch or Stitch album in 1995, Master Patton took them out on tour with his band Mr. Bungle, a move which may have resulted in much confusion and hostility from the crowds, but did wonders for their career, now considered one of the most vital punk outfits Japan has ever offered. They were even asked to record a song for Cartoon Network's Perfect Hair Forever, which is like, the best cartoon ever made!
19. Future IslandsActive Since 2006
5 Studio Albums
78% Metacritic Average
Like any good synthpop band (or any good band in general, really), a lot of weight from Future Islands’ accomplishments ride on top of the vocalist’s ability to stand out from the herd, and very few artists on this list can boast such a recognisable tone as that of Samuel T. Herring. His baritone depths with occasional growls and barks rough up the new wave indietronica melodics like a melancholic nail to splinter this genre's trademark glossy instrumentation, which is why the trend radars have been going mad for these guys during the last decade. 2011’s On the Water peaking at #12 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart aside, it was mainly their (excellently deceptively titled) Singles album which blew the big holes into the end-of-year critic’s lists. To name a few, it was called one of the best records of 2014 by Pitchfork (22), Amazon (16), Gigwise (12), BBC Radio 6 Music (11), NME (11), The Telegraph (10), Q Magazine (9), SPIN (7), and Time Out New York (4), all the while hitting #11 and #10 on the US Top Alternative Albums and Top Rock Albums respectively. Verdict is still open on The Far Field which came out earlier this month, but initial reaction has been: it’s also great! What a relief!
18. Pearl JamActive Since 1990
10 Studio Albums
75% Metacritic Average
Pearl Jam may have been one of the essential four messengers of the 90s Seattle grunge movement, but they are the only ones who have never gone on hiatus or have had a lead singer die on them. Due to this commitment, over time, they have outsold all of their contemporaries (except Nirvana, of course) with a colossal 60 million copies worldwide, and were voted the greatest American rock band of all time by a USA Today reader poll. Their 1991 fancy debut album Ten caused the greatest amount of noise, taking its sweet time to be appreciated, but eventually hitting #2 on the Billboard 200 chart over a year after its inital release, now 13 times platinum, the 15th greatest guitar album ever (according to Guitar World), either the 42nd or the 20th best album of all time (depending who you speak to, Q Magazine or Rolling Stone Germany), and the greatest debut of all time (according to Rolling Stone readers). But the fact that they’ve released nine generally respected albums since that point isn’t what makes the Jam so interesting, but rather their non-traditional approach to promotion, refusing to make proper music videos, rejecting all interview requests, and once even boycotting Ticketmaster, compelling Rolling Stone Magazine to report that the band have 'spent much of the past decade deliberately tearing apart their own fame.' It’s no wonder, then, that they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this month, on their very first year of eligibility, because they are a very special gift for all of us to enjoy and cherish.
17. mewithoutYouActive Since 2000
6 Studio Albums
82% Metacritic Average
Considering every entry within this article, none are as hard to defend as mewithoutYou. This is because I included them for one reason and one reason only: I like them a lot. It's purely personal, me myself alone, adoring this band as something way up there with the best of them, due to their offbeat album concepts (like 2006’s Brother, Sister's attempt at tying symbolism to animals, or 2009’s It's All Crazy! It's All False! It's All a Dream! It's Alright focusing on the spiritual love of God, or 2012’s Ten Stories relaying the incident of some traveling circus train crash) all of which are delivered by one of the most recognisable voices in the rock scene, thanks to Aaron Weiss’ dynamic spoken word/mumble/shouty range. Such love for the underrated outfit may not come with the sales or prizes to put any weight behind my punch, because these things don't exist, but let me assure you that everything is fine and well in my head and I will sleep even better tonight just by letting them take a seat here. Maybe this is just me doing my part? Maybe one day someone will reference me for a change? 'mewithoutYou are the 15th greatest band in the world right now, according to the Juice Nothing blog', wouldn't that be neat? I agree!
16. NOFXActive Since 1983
13 Studio Albums
71% Metacritic Average
NOFX are the embodiment of punk rock self-sufficiency and integrity. Having sold over 8 million records worldwide, they are one of the most successful independent bands of all time, with their 1994 record Punk in Drublic in particular standing as one the greatest (6th, according to Kerrang!) and most essential (4th, according to Rock Sound) pop punk albums ever made. Additional props must always be blessed towards bassist and lead vocalist Fat Mike, as his wisdom extends beyond his already impressive lyrical content (which covers such an important range of topics such as social inequalities, drug abuse, and sexual deviancy) and goes onto his foundation and ownership of one of the largest independent labels in North America, Fat Wreck Chords, who have boasted punk rock royalty to the likes of Rancid, Lagwagon, Leftöver Crack, Anti-Flag, Nerf Herder, Rise Against, Propagandhi, and Sick of It All in their time. He is also the bassist for supergroup cover band Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, the once temporary bassist for Against Me!, and organised that whole Rock Against Bush campaign, a project which unified like-minded musicians against George W. Bush’s policies. But even if none of this impresses you (???), or even if this sounds like an exclusive Fat Mike dick-suck, simply read the band’s autobiography NOFX: The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories, which not only proves the group's debaucherous punk ethics, but also came with a free bath towel (depending on which edition you manage to get hold of).
15. Manic Street PreachersActive Since 1986
12 Studio Albums
76% Metacritic Average
There is a fair amount of criticism working against the Manics for ultimately being one frustratingly inconsistent outfit, and this is a fair judgement. However, I am an optimist, and where some see dips, I see rises, considering the band to have an almost impossible amount of comeback records, routinely rising from the dead without any indication of retiring just yet, whilst even their worst records are not that bad. I mean, 10 million albums sold, 11 NME Awards, 8 Q Awards, 4 BRIT awards, and reaching the UK #1 three times doesn't lie, a decent collection of wins that stem largely from a solid 90s run of championed releases, which includes: 1994’s masterpiece The Holy Bible (called Q’s 18th, Melody Maker’s 15th, Kerrang!’s 10th, and a BBC Newsnight’s NUMBER ONE greatest album in the world, as well as NME’s Darkest Album Ever Made); 1996’s Everything Must Go (NME/Kerrang!’s #2 and Melody Maker/Vox #1 album of the year, as well as Q’s 11th of all time); and 1998’s This is My Truth (NME’s 24th and Kerrang!’s 14th of the year). They spent the following few albums hiccupping a bit, but then nine years later, they rediscovered themselves with Send Away the Tigers (Q’s 16th of 2007), then Journal for Plagued Lovers (Mojo’s 20th, NME’s 14th, The Guardian’s 11th, Q’s 5th, and Drowned in Sound’s 4th of 2009), and then, finally, Futurology (Mojo’s 20th, XFM’s 11th, and Q’s 4th of 2014) all of which adds up to a monster assemblage of records over three decades, a feat most bands would sell their rhythm guitarist for. Which may or may not be what happened, actually, as member Richey Edwards' 1995 disappearance is still a major part of their folklore, without a doubt one of the most fascinating anorexic drug-addicted self-harming presumably-dead heroes from the 27 club of recent times. His story is worth the read alone.
14. GojiraActive Since 1996
6 Studio Albums
77% Metacritic Average
Gojira have been climbing the success ladder rather rapidly in recent years. It appears that per each release, theses French dudes shove their progressive metal into our faces, working only to lift the group further up as one of the most impressive new-ish bands that this genre is providing. Their fourth album, 2008’s The Way of All Flesh, was already causing some fuss with PopMatters and Metal Hammer calling it the 8th and 5th greatest of the year respectively, but when my favourite Gojira release, L'Enfant Sauvage, came out in 2012, there was no denying that they were the real deal, with The A.V. Club, Entertainment Weekly, Loudwire, and PopMatters all happily honouring the record in that year’s top 10. This momentum has shown no intentions of dawdling either, as even last year’s much calmer Magma album elbowed its way straight to the top as the greatest metal album 2016 had to offer, according to the likes of WhatCulture, Ghost Cult Magazine, and the mighty Metal Hammer once again. Even the suits at the Grammys noticed, nominating said record for the Best Rock Album, but they lost to Cage the Elephant—which is fine. Way more acceptable than losing to Blink-182 or Panic! At the Disco anyway, which could have happened.
13. SlayerActive Since 1981
12 Studio Albums
75% Metacritic Average
Credited as one of the largest influential metal groups of all time, Slayer are probably the most impressive cog in the 'big four' thrash metal band machine, partially because they never went soft (Metallica *cough*), but primarily because of 1986’s insanely violent album Reign in Blood, an instant classic which Kerrang! called the 27th greatest heavy metal record of all time (as well as the heaviest album of all), Metal Hammer called the best metal album of the last 20 years, and critic Chad Bowar argued as potentially the best thrash album ever recorded—a statement I am wholeheartedly willing to sell my soul for (terms and conditions apply). But their five Grammy nominations, two Grammy wins, and 4.9 million albums sold worldwide are nothing compared to their controversial subject matter; an onslaught of topics featuring necrophilia, genocide, Satanism, Nazism, and terrorism, all of which have caused album delays, album bans, lawsuits, and general upset from the whole of our precious society. Perfect! They were even once accused as a predominant catalyst for the rape and murder of 15 year old girl Elyse Pahle, a crime from the hands of Jacob Delashmutt, Joseph Fiorella, and Royce Casey, who claimed they received detailed instructions from the Slayer songs Postmortem and Dead Skin Mask to carry out the deed. The band actually got sued due to these killers' confessions, but they ultimately won the case because, thankfully, the judge in charge noted the stupidity of blaming musicians for the acts of blatantly mentally troubled individuals, and everything was peaceful in the community once again. Thank God and enter to the realm of Satan!
12. SpoonActive Since 1993
9 Studio Albums
83% Metacritic Average
What I’d like to talk about when it comes to experimental indie art rock band Spoon, is Metacritic itself, a website which aggregates critical reviews into a nice overall score per an outfit’s album, ensuring we get a lovely round average figure without all the noise of individual opinion confusing the issue between. Unfortunately, this group’s 1998 release A Series of Sneaks predated said site's practice, which is a shame, because when several publications called it one of the best albums of the 90s (Pitchfork at 54, and Treble at 9), you know it would have scored high. But no matter, let's move on, and our story truly begins with 2001’s Girls Can Tell, Pitchfork’s 96th favourite album of the 2000s, with the total Metacritic score of 85. Now look over here, at 2002’s Kill the Moonlight, Rolling Stone’s 51st, Pitchfork’s 19th, and Rhapsody’s 5th greatest album of the decade, with the total Metacritic score of 88. Next up, we have 2005’s Gimme Fiction, Rhapsody’s 19th best album of the decade, with the total Metacritic score of 84, followed by 2007’s Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, Rolling Stone’s 10th, Tiny Mix Tapes’ 9th, and Pitchfork’s 7th best album of the year, as well as Q’s 66th and Pitchforks 35th best album of the decade, with a total Metacritic score of 84. Rolling Stone’s 22nd and Exclaim!'s 9th best album of 2010, Transference, got a Metacritic 80, whilst 2014’s They Want My Soul, (The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop 9th best album of the year), hit a Metacritic of 81. Which is why I held my breath when Hot Thoughts was released last month, shooing away my threatening panic attacks which suggested that the album might wreck this entries' entire point with a subpar release, except, of course, this is Spoon, and they did it again with an 82 Metacritic score this time, thankfully fastening my overall gist nice and firm. Basically, if you don't get where I'm going here, allow me to break it down for you: any Metascore above 80 is known as being Universally Acclaimed, the best of the best, and in all my years I have never seen a group on that site with such a clear run of consistency over so many releases, truly the kings of this kudos, higher than anyone else you may find in this article, super rad and ultra nice. But wait! Here’s the real kicker: they still aren’t even that famous! How is this possible! Is it your fault? Maybe it's your fault! You better go listen to Spoon right now, buddy.
11. TV on the RadioActive Since 2001
5 Studio Albums
83% Metacritic Average
Despite 2006’s Return to Cookie Mountain standing as easily my favourite TVOTR record ever (as well as Spin’s album of that year) it was this American indie band’s third album Dear Science which really captured critics tastebuds, being labelled 2008’s Album of the Year by Rolling Stone, Guardian, Spin, A.V. Club, MTV, and Entertainment Weekly, as well as a Pitchfork Media’s readers poll. Pretty solid worship right there! Unforutnately, as things tend to do, the accolades have dwindled slightly per every following (still great!) release since that time, but the multi-talented members (who each play more than one instrumental role, by the way) extend well beyond their own work, members having collaborated with the likes of such heavyweight artists as David Bowie, Mike Patton, NiN, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Scarlett Johansson, Foals, Bat for Lashes, Oh Land, Kelis, Santigold, Liars, and MF DOOM (owed massively in part to guitarist Dave Sitek’s impressive list of studio work). Sadly, and I'd hate to end on a downer note, but the TVOTR brotherhood has only ever had one member change, being that of Gerard Smith who died in 2011 from lung cancer. They admirably chose to never replace him, keeping their bloodline as pure as it ever was despite injury. Actually, wait, let's end on a happy note after all, did I ever tell you about the time I went backstage after one of their shows and met some of them? Because I did!
10. Red Hot Chili PeppersActive Since 1983
11 Studio Albums
68% Metacritic Average
Oh, believe me, I feel the resistant roll of many eyeballs at the very mentions of this outdated mainstream hypersexed waffly funky-junk jam American rock band, but the facts boom louder than any of our unified opinions, and we cannot hide from their 80 million records sold worldwide, or their six out of sixteen nominated Grammy wins, or their 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, or their 'most successful group in alternative rock radio history' status, with more number-one singles (13), more cumulative weeks at number one (85), and more top-ten songs (25) on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart than anyone EVER. And while their lesser-than (read: generally hated) releases are well documented, they have still survived through severe drug addictions and excessively high member losses (even once due to a heroin-related overdose death) without any dip in persistence, continuing to reign as one exceptionally active musical entity, their joyous success bouncing upon the highest magnitude of rockstar royalty, already of a legendary historical importance, preaching love and friendship driven by a telepathic connection between some of the most naturally gifted members available on our Earth. Oh, and remember when John Frusciante was in the band? Jeeeeesus Chriiiiiisttt.
09. MeshuggahActive Since 1987
8 Studio Albums
81% Metacritic Average
Swedishy experimantelly thrashy jazzy progressivey deathy metal band, Meshuggah, are fucking insane. With such complex time signatures, hyper-speed tempos, and coarse vocal savagery, they have been called one of the ten most important hard rock and heavy metal bands by Rolling Stone, as well as the most important metal band right now by Alternative Press. But while they basically invented Djent, making them one of the most significantly copied acts in the underground, any mainstream appeal has mostly eluded them, which might be unfair, but at least keeps the elitists happy. That said, their attention is flourishing, with 1995’s Destroy Erase Improve rated the 42nd Greatest Prog Rock Album of All Time according to Rolling Stone, and 2012’s excellent Koloss debuting at #17 in the United States charts. 2016’s The Violent Sleep Of Reason did even better, with PopMatters and Rolling Stone calling it the 2nd best metal album of the year, and Revolver calling it the 4th best album overall, but none of this impresses me much. What impresses me, is a paragraph like this one, shamelessly copied and pasted directly from Wikipedia:
“In polymeters typically used by Meshuggah, the guitars might play in odd meters such as 5/16 or 17/16, while drums play in 4/4. One particular example of [drummer] Haake's use of polymeter is 4/4 against 23/16 bimeter, in which he keeps the hi-hat and ride cymbal in 4/4 time but uses the snare and double bass drums in 23/16 time. On Rational Gaze (from Nothing), Haake plays simple 4/4 time, hitting the snare on each third beat, for 16 bars. At the same time, the guitars and bass are playing same quarter notes, albeit in a different time signature; eventually both sides meet up again at the 64th beat.”
Yip, that’ll do it!
08. Sigur RósActive Since 1994
7 Studio Albums
78% Metacritic Average
The majority of the public's Sigur Rós love falls upon their 1999 sophomore album Ágætis byrjun, which was called the 27th most Cosmic Rock Album by Q and Mojo, and one of the best albums of the whole 2000s according to Rolling Stone and Pitchfork (29 and 8 respectively). But, as we all know, it takes more than just one exceptional record to solidify a career as something supernatural, and thankfully these Icelandic heroes have maintained an aura of ethereal coherence from inception to present-day, with a sound so unique that it exclusively follows their own self-penned text(ured)book, unlike anything else on the market, consuming me until I get visions of snow angels who are falling in love with the air which surrounds the burden of human emotions. I mean, the guys sing in their own made up language, for fucksake! They called it Vonlenska (translation: Hopelandic, bless!) and it's so beautiful that I jump out of the window without ever hitting the ground. Maybe you'll disagree with all of this, but personally, I consider them to be in a category so special that no other artist has even found that box yet.
07. Animal CollectiveActive Since 2003
10 Studio Albums (Together)
77% Metacritic Average
With their experimental pop jammings and druggy Beach Boys love, the lo-fi messiness that is Animal Collective has recruited quite a cult (and mainstream) following over the last decade, but no album has quite captured audience adoration like 2009’s Merriweather Post Pavilion. It was the Album of the Year according to Pitchfork, Clash, Spin Magazine, and Entertainment Weekly, as well as Pitchfork’s 14th best album of the decade, which is all very nice and impressive, especially once you discover that I myself called it the 5th best album of the 00s too. However, it is truly the members' solo work which has proven their individual genius, with Avey Tare releasing a few decent offerings over his time, while Deakin provided my 43rd personal favourite album of 2016. However, none of them can compare to Panda Bear and his 2007 release Person Pitch, which was called the Album of the Year by Pitchfork and Tiny Mix Tapes, eventually hailed as the 7th best of the year from review aggregate website Acclaimed Music, as well as the 349th best album of all time from the same place. All of which adds up to one of the most exciting bands on the planet, no arguments accept, all enemies drowned in multicoloured mud, having a quick spazz out, then dying in bliss.
06. ConvergeActive Since 1990
8 Studio Albums
82% Metacritic Average
Converge are one the very first metalcore bands on the planet, and are frequently lauded as the greatest, which is fucking right. Make no mistake, each one of their albums will fuck you up in one way or another, but there are a select few that truly fight the test of Satan above the others. The first one that comes full swing into everyone's mind, is their fourth effort, 2001’s Jane Doe, as its vicious influence has only seems to grow over time, having been called Sputnikmusic's and Decibel’s very best, MetalSucks’ 5th best, Loudwire’s 10th best album of that decade, and eventually honoured with an induction into the Rock Sound's Hall of Fame as 'a gamechanger in the entire realm of heavy music'. Once again, fucking right. However, they didn't stop there, several of their following albums coming dangerously close to such honours, in particular 2009’s Axe To Fall (hailed as one of the best of the year by Stereogum [#1]; Rock Sound [#2]; Decibel [#2]; and Revolver [#4]) and 2011’s All The Love We Leave Behind (hailed as one of the best of the year by Decibel [#1] and Pitchfork [#2]; as well as Metacritic announcing it to be the 5th best reviewed album of the whole year). And if nothing else, it's perfect music to punch your loved ones to, if you're into that sort of thing, fucking right indeed, fuck.
05. Arcade FireActive Since 2001
4 Studio Albums
86% Metacritic Average
In most ways, the indie power that is Arcade Fire stands fairly undefeated so far, in that 'modern day band with a perfect run' type of fashion, consistently hypothesised as the latest in the bloodstream of Beatles/Radiohead/Whatever royalty—and when you observe their four-album catalogue, it checks out. Just look: 2004’s Funeral, Grammy nominated for Best Alternative Album, named as one of the best albums of the decade (NME’s 7th, Rolling Stone’s 6th, Pitchfork's and Consequence of Sound’s 2nd) as well as Rolling Stone’s 151st and NME’s 13th BEST ALBUM OF ALL TIME. 2007’s Neon Bible, debuted on the Billboard 200 at #2, called the 4th best album of the year by Rolling Stone/NME, the 2nd best by Blender/Billboard/Spin, and the very best by Q/The Onion A.V. Club. 2010’s The Suburbs, debuted at #1 on the Irish, UK, US Billboard, and Canadian album chart, won the Album of the Year Grammy, and was called the 4th best album of the year by MTV/Rolling Stone, 3rd by Spin, 2nd by Billboard/NME/Stereogum/Time, and #1 by BBC 6/Clash/Exclaim!/Q. 2013’s Reflektor, on the other hand, was well wanky in my opinion, but people still lifted it up as the 10th (Stereogum/Pitchfork), 7th (NME/Consequence of Sound), and 5th (Rolling Stone) best album of the year, so not a fail by any stretch of any band's achievements. The thing for me personally, though, is that their pretentious self-loving does stroke me backwards a bit, but I can't falter their overall importance, which is so undeniable that it’s almost blasphemous that they aren’t at the top of this list. Oops! My own taste got in the way, sorry guys! You’re great, really! Hello?
04. MastodonActive Since 2000
7 Studio Albums
77% Metacritic Average
The sludgy stoner alternative metal band known as Mastodon have never released a crap studio album (read: ignore the live ones, for the love of God). Rather, if you stack each one of their highly conceptual records on top of one another, you may find you've accidentally built a stone wall monster, supported by each member who not only all play their instruments with an inventive flair, but also all share the vocal duties, ensuring no two songs sound identical yet all of them fighting courageously to balance an arty imagination with a vicious attack, penetrating deep into the depths of their heaviest core and your soft pathetic unberlly. We could try separate the individual recorded entities, and remind readers that Revolver, Kerrang!, and Terrorizer called Leviathan the #1 album of 2004, while MetalSucks crowned it the best metal album of the 21st century... twice. Perhaps you’re interested in Total Guitar magazine and Metal Hammer dubbing Blood Mountain as 2006’s album of the year, or how Crack the Skye was considered 2009's greatest (according to Rock Sound and Metal Hammer, as well as coming in as Time’s third). But whatever you're looking for, the critics will tell you it's here, mad props all around from the likes of from Allmusic ('[Mastodon are] one of the preeminent metal acts of the early 21st century'), BBC ('[Mastodon] are the most ambitious, most fearless, most fun heavy metal band to have breached the mainstream'), Alternative Press ('Mastodon are one of the all-time great hard-rock groups'), and Rolling Stone ('[Mastodon] have become the most important new band in metal'). Hell, even non-metalheads swear by it, so if you're scared, don't worry too much, you may have a chance still.
03. The NationalActive Since 1999
6 Studio Albums
83% Metacritic Average
Let's talk about how four of indie rock band The National's albums were included on NME's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Alligator was the second best album of 2005, according to Uncut and Planet Sound (and 40th according to Pitchfork). 2007’s Boxer was the album of the year according to Paste (and 17th according to Pitchfork). High Violet debuted at #3 on the US Billboard 200, won the Q award for the best album of the year, was called the 4th greatest album of 2010 by Time, and the 7th by Exclaim! (and 28th according to Pitchfork). 2013’s Trouble Will Find Me debuted at #3, and was called the 8th best by Rolling Stone and the 12th best by Paste of the year (and 43rd according to Pitchfork), which was less than what came before, but still, wtf, have you heard how incredible that album is? However, these are just good numbers, and while good numbers are good, there is an element to The National which goes way deeper for me, deeper than almost everything on offer here, bleaking out my emotional fundamentals and welcoming me into a safe zone where I can be emo within the comfort of miserable company. It's embarrassing to admit out loud, but I can't deny these personal reasons, and because of that, I had to place them in the top three of my own list. I just had to. It's a good number. And good numbers are good.
02. DeftonesActive Since 1988
8 Studio Albums
77% Metacritic Average
Sometimes we shouldn’t measure success by whether a band has won a Grammy (they have), or by how many albums they’ve sold (10 million), but rather by their overall influence on the genre surrounding them. Alternative metal band Deftones were once one of the original nü-metal forerunners, helping shape the early incarnations of the style with their first two albums, and then jumping overboard just before the ship sank, perhaps the only true survivors of the style to tell the tale. Said jump was done in 2000 with their third offering White Pony, and that record changed the game and my entire musical education by constructing an atmospheric bridge away from metal and revealing to me that there were other places to go. Luckily, I was not alone, as Alternative Press called it the 2nd most influential album of the year, and Consequence of Sound said it 'helped usher the popularity of complex structure meets MTV audience'. However, that is not to say the pony stopped galloping here, as this band have from-the-bottom-of-my-heart swear-to-your-God never released a bad album (2010’s Diamond Eyes called the rock album of the year by the iTunes Store, and 2012’s Koi No Yokan called the album of the year by Revolver, for example) as undoubtedly one of the most consistent bands of our time, evidently unable to set a hoof wrong in their three decade career even if they wanted to (although I doubt they do, who would?). But what I owe to Deftones above all of this, is their unusual selections of cover songs, these interpretations single handedly introducing me to (or at least getting me into) such incredible outfits as The Smiths, Duran Duran, Cocteau Twins, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and even the Cardigans. Wait, so you mean Deftones helped me escape the metal trap and acquainted me with The Fucking Smiths?? That's just about as important as you can get! Just about...
01. RadioheadActive Since 1985
9 Studio Albums
79% Metacritic Average
Ugh! So typical! Such a tasteless topper! So painfully obvious! Be that as it may, the arguments in favour of 'rock' (to put it lightly) band Radiohead ranking as our greatest heroes right now are so dense that it’s impossible to list them all in any reasonable timeframe. So, instead, here are some of the highlights: 1995’s The Bends was called the second best album of all time according to Virgin (behind only The Beatles’ Revolver) and Q agreed (except they put it only behind the band's own OK Computer, lol). Speaking of 1997’s OK Computer, that little record was called the best album of the whole 90s by Paste and Pitchfork, as well as winning the Best Alternative Music Album Grammy for that year. 2000’s (initially slated) Kid A was dubbed the best album of the decade by Rolling Stone, The Times and Pitchfork, as well as me. 2007’s In Rainbows fucked the whole music industry with its 'pay what you want' model, which already made it a legendary release without being called the best album of the year by Billboard, Mojo, Popmatters, and NME, as well as one of the decade’s best by NME (#10) and Newsweek (#5). But what makes these accolades more impressive, is that these heroes show no signs of slowing down, even as recent as last year's A Moon Shaped Pool, which Exclaim!, Slant, and The Sunday Times called the very best thing out in 2016. Take all of this with their 30 million copies sold worldwide, and it would have been a larger statement to not place them at the top of this list. Instead, I had to be honest, and I surrendered them right here, as the best band in the world right now, already a huge factor of musical history no matter which part of your meal you eat first, and I'm willing to stab you for it.