Hard rock and heavy metal in the 21st century is the most diverse of any decade. While legacy acts from the '70s and '80s and '90s all continued to release new material, the turn of the millennium has given rise to a whole new crop of artists. Classic artists like Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and Rush continued to make big splashes in the 2000s and grunge and extreme metal acts from the previous decade continued their dominance. Throw in nu-metal, metalcore and more and you're firmly entrenched in the 21st century.

The onset of the Internet also spurred a radical shift in the music industry's climate, causing a rapid increase in the amount of signed acts, thus, resulting in a whole lot more rock and metal! Fans now have instant access to thousands upon thousands of bands and albums, giving popularity to a wide array of acts as well as making it more difficult for them to break through the never-ending sea of like-minded musicians.

With a wealth of albums to take into consideration over span between 2000 and the current day, there was a large number of discs to sort from. You'll find the best from huge bands like Slipknot, Tool and Disturbed alongside critically acclaimed releases from underground acts.

Click through the gallery above to see our picks for the Top 100 Hard Rock + Metal Albums of the 21st Century!