When musicians reconvene, it can often be as unpredictable as a high school reunion, but at least when band dudes get back together or merely rediscover their original inspiration, it's something to look forward to rather than dread. Keep reading for a rundown of the ten best metal reunion/rivitalization efforts.
See also: The ten geekiest metal bands
10. Alice in Chains - Black Gives Way to Blue Despite the band's immediate association with grunge, Alice In Chains still bares much of its metal roots. While the band will probably never reach the high caliber of Lane Staley, who possessed subtleties that frontman William DuVall could never emulate, finding DuVall was like replacing Bon Scott from AC/DC with Brian Johnson, who ultimately proved to be a damn good replacement.
9. Voivod - Voivod Vocalist Denis Bélanger returned to the fold after ten years for this self-titled album in 2003. This album continued where 1993's The Outer Limits -- his last recording with the band -- left off, as if the two previous albums with a different lead singer didn't even exist. Voivod was a highly anticipated album, and for the most part, it was as powerful as older albums, even though it was jumbled in with a few duds.
8. Testament - The Formation of Damnation After nine long years, The Formation of Damnation was the first album Testament let loose with new material since The Gathering in 1999. This album brought back original guitarist Alex Skolnick, who last played on 1992's The Ritual, along with bassist Greg Christian from 1994's Low. This album wasn't the necessarily the group's best effort, but its presence was definitely welcomed, and the production was cleaner production than previous albums.
7. Death Angel - The Art of Dying The Art of Dying was Death Angel's first album with original material since 1990's Act III. With so many reformed thrash metal albums coming out with better production albums around this time, The Art of Dying was tentatively anticipated by '80s metal fans, but the record arrived like a beast in the shadow of its former glory, a skilled yet modernized amalgamation of thrash metal. Despite being away from the recording studio for so many years, Death Angel still put out a great record that deserves more than one listen through.
6. Slayer - Christ Illusion In 2006, Christ Illusion was Slayer's first studio album with original drummer Dave Lombardo since 1990s Seasons in the Abyss, and contained "Final Six" and "Eyes of the Insane" which became Grammy winning songs. Christ Illusion isn't one of Slayer's better albums -- though one of their more controversial albums -- but it showed the outfit in good health with a better-suited drummer for its trash style, lending two hands that returned them to more of their old sound. This year, the original lineup of Slayer unexpectedly crumbled to rubble when Lambardo was dumped from the band and then Hanneman died from liver failure.
5. Exodus - Tempo of the Damned Unlike many other bands here, this album wasn't a reunion of band members, but rather an extensive waiting game for original songs. Tempo of the Damned in 2004 was Exodus's first record full of new material since 1992's Force of Habit. Exodus has gone through several lineup changes over the past three decades, so much so that it would bore you if it were detailed here. Tempo of the Damned is pure unadulterated thrash metal at its finest -- fuel fumes metal maniacs live to breathe that power them to headbang and mosh.
4. Black Sabbath - 13 13 is a fan-fucking-tastic return to Sabbath's doom and gloom metal epicness, pulling the listener in with an "Iron Man"-esque intro made to please the fans it birthed from Satan so long ago. The album then mixes it up with moments of a more modern sound bordering on radio friendly, yet far and away from Ozzy's new tunes and far from tainting Sabbath's metal holiness. Ozzy walks on water in a sea of Iommi's free flowing solos. Despite reforming and playing concerts across the world, the ouftit hadn't released a full length album with Butler, Osbourne, and Iommi in 35 years. Yeah, Ward isn't on drums, so this isn't a true reunion, but it was kickass enough to be recognized, especially since so many of these greats aren't around anymore.
3. Judas Priest - Angel of Retribution This was the reunion album metalheads wanted, needed and received after Iron Maiden's Brave New World in 2000. The 2005 album Angel of Retribution featured the arrival of original Judas Priest operatic vocalist Rob Halford after a lengthy departure from the band. Returning from a stint in Fight, Halford and company gave fans a heavier sound mixed with songs reminiscent of their '70s and '80s era. Priest knew it had to deliver a killer album encapsulating elements of their illustrious career, and it did just that with this piping hot album.
2. Anthrax - Among the Living Reunion Tour Although far removed from its heyday, the classic lineup of Anthrax performed its killer breakthrough fan favorite Among the Living in its entirety for much of this reunion tour, marking the first time this whole album was played live. Unfortunately, the reunion was only in concert and short lived. There were hopes of working on a new album until Joey Belladonna decided to skedaddle. This reunion was short but sweet, like a munchkin from the lollipop guild, and as once-in-a-lifetime as buying your first car and putting an Anthrax bumper sticker on it with vivid red lettering.
1. Iron Maiden - Brave New World If Eddie ever left--or decomposed--from the band there would be riots in the streets and then another black plague, but it was Smith and Dickinson that caused an upheaval in the early 90s by leaving Maiden. Brave New World brought them back to the lineup of Maiden in 2000. This reunion hooked in the three musketeers of Harris, Dickinson, and sometimes Smith back to the writing process and pulled off great lyrics in songs like "The Thin Line Between Love and Hate," "Ghost of the Navigator," and "Blood Brothers." Dickinson's vocal power-punch, along with Smith back as one of the dual lead guitars that gave Maiden its signature big sound, is cause for a reunion of the ages for Maiden fans. This also led to three more albums within ten years.
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