Metal bands don’t always write metal albums. In these 10 cases, acts who historically fell into the metal category broke out with a softer or more rock-based sound, finding success and praise despite their stylistic curveball.

So far, 2018 has been the year of Ghost. With their fourth studio album, Prequelle, Ghost secured their spot as the definitive metal band of the 2010s, but did so with their most radio friendly record to date. Though Prequelle starts out fairly heavy with “Rats” and “Faith,” the remainder of the accomplished album is straight-up Broadway and ’80s cheese pop. “Dance Macabre” is the most succinct example of this, and it’s perhaps the biggest “earworm” track of Ghost’s career.

Devin Townsend has made some brutal music in his years, but the Devin Townsend Project has taken more twists and turns than any modern metal group. The Project’s softest effort is certainly is certainly 2011’s Ghost, which is 72 minutes of the most mellow music you’ll ever experience. Though the ambient and heavily acoustic record doesn’t crush, the fans and critics still showered the album with praise.

We’d be remiss to leave Opeth off this list, since the Swedish progressive death metallers made one of the most extreme decrescendos in history with Damnation. Having just released the devastatingly heavy Blackwater Park and Deliverance albums, Mikael Akerfeldt and co. made an album so beautiful that it couldn’t be ignored. Damnation is just beautiful from start to finish, sticking to Opeth’s prog sensibilities without even hinting toward aggression.

Check out our picks for the Top 10 Non-Metal Albums by Metal Bands in the Loud List above.

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