In 1996, heavy metal was all over the place! With the genre ballooning over the last ten years to incorporate a wealth of different sounds and styles, bands were beginning to mix and match. Pulling aspects from their favorite artists, bands took the melody of the screaming twin guitar attack of traditional metal, weaving it into the fabric of death metal. Thrash acts were pummeling away with a newfound affection for groove while some bands managed to stay the course without adapting their music to the current trends.

The year certainly had something for everyone, though sticklers of the previous decade had much less to choose from as newer acts began to dominate what metal meant in the mid-90s. Tool were truly coming into their own, crafting mind-bending progressive tunes that were embraced by the mainstream, while Opeth were doing the same for death metal in the underground. Type O Negative defined gothic metal and Pantera continued to push their own boundaries with their most aggressive effort yet.

Count down the 10 Best Metal Albums of 1996 in the gallery above.

Also, Check Out Our List of the 10 Best Hard Rock Albums of 1996: