Once the rock music community was staggering into the 2000's, the whiff of the 90's was still heavy in the air. The cultural force of earlier genres like grunge and nu metal were still major forces on the airwaves, but that didn't mean that new things weren't on the horizon.
Without being tied to a specific genre, artists found new ways to toy with their sound that didn't have to fit into the confines of what the "90's sound" was. The new genres of garage rock and pop-punk were still heavy in the rock consciousness, but the real artistry was what bands were doing to circumvent genre labels and create something wholly unique.
Guitars were tuned down lower, the production opportunities opened up, and now there was a more enhanced musical palette for hard rock musicians to draw from when it came time to hone their craft. Some of these bands were so off-the-wall that their music ended up kickstarting a genre of its own. Whether you were a rocker or a metalhead, the dawn of the millennium was a turning point for the hard rock genre, with a musical scope that seemed absolutely endless. Bang your head and see for yourself.
10. 30 Seconds To Mars - Self Titled
Regardless of Jared Leto's pedigree as an actor, there's no denying that the man has some serious musical chops. Given that this band's debut came out when he was starring in movies like Fight Club and American Psycho, 30 Seconds to Mars hit the ground running with one of the more adventurous releases to come out of the decade.
There are certainly some elements that are more in tune with the nu metal side of the spectrum like the detuned guitars and broad chord voicings, but the way the band incorporates synths makes the sonic landscape feel incredibly vast. Along with bands like Muse, Leto and co. were developing what would be known as modern day space rock with some of these tunes like the pummeling "Capricorn" and the borderline cinematic "Buddha for Mary." While the instrumentation draws parallels to prog and metal, the real signarture of the band is Leto's vocal delivery, which has a perfectly clean shriek over the chaos below.
Once you give this record a listen, you start to realize where later space rock bands like Angels and Airwaves got their initial ideas from. Leto may be far from the best Joker, but his musical ventures are anything but laughable.