100. Avenged Sevenfold, 'City of Evil' (2005)
Avenged Sevenfold's third full-length was an intentional move away from their OC metalcore roots, and yet nothing about it sounded forced or calculated. Rather, the band's decision to embrace classic metal tropes resulted in the most fun and freewheeling effort of their career. Leadoff track "Beast and the Harlot," a goth-glam-speed-power-metal romp replete with ridiculously over-the-top imagery and a singsong-y chorus ornamented with pop-classical guitar arpeggios, was the standout, but the entire album was a blast from beginning to end, all rollercoaster riffing, tumbling drums and warp-speed shredding. And there was nary a scream from frontman M. Shadows, who took that whole "lead singer" thing literally. At the time, this sort of wholehearted celebration of bombastic metal conventions was a musical taboo. Now, it's not hard to notice Avenged Sevenfold's look and sound in scores of proudly glammed-up, guitar-shredding modern melodo-metal acts like Black Veil Brides. As for Avenged themselves, City of Evil became the first in what would be a string of platinum-selling efforts. But back in 2005 that success was hardly a certainty. "Some people thought we sold out, but more people liked it," Shadows recalled. "But you know what? If the record had failed, we still would have been happy with it because it's exactly what we wanted to do." R.B.