We've heard all the chatter about metal and the '90s, but now that the decade is well behind us, reflection also brings quite a bit of clarity. In retrospect, it was considered a down decade considering the genre's supernova-like explosion in the '80s, but with 1997 as an indicator, heavy metal was still roaring, rather than letting out a deflated whimper.

Those craving the melodic highs of bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest still had plenty to seek out in 1997 with power metal having a banner year. As melodic death metal was still on the upswing, those iconic solo battles of yesteryear found a new summit on Children of Bodom's theatrical debut, Something Wild as a teenage Alexi Laiho swiftly caught the ears of fans and established shredders alike.

Is melody not your thing? That's fine because Rammstein delivered their surprisingly successful sophomore slab of industrial on Sehnsucht. Smashing the language barrier with their lugged-sole boots, their simple and imitable refrains sung entirely in German caught on quickly and were entirely too catchy to be ignored.

The gothic crowd typically finds favor with industrial, but those looking for the dark romanticism of Type O Negative filtered through a different lens latched on to HIM's Greatest Love Songs Vol. 666 debut, an album lined with hit songs sung in the cavernous baritone of frontman Ville Valo.

We told you the '90s were better than you remembered! For more reasons why, scroll through the gallery at the top of the page as we count down the 10 Best Metal Albums of 1997!

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