Happy Metal Day! \m/ In honor of today, I want to do a more personal blog on my favorite metal bands. Newer, more modern metal wouldn't be here if it weren't for past bands and musicians, but the metal of today also deserves to be recognized. After all, some of today's better metal bands could go down in history just like the old school ones have, and create a continuous cycle of metal that gets handed down to each generation. Here are my top five metal bands. Rock out!

1. All That Remains

Together since 1998, this Springfield, Massachusetts co-ed quintet has been winning over metal heads hearts everywhere for over a decade now. All That Remains is composed of original and founding members vocalist Phil Labonte and guitarist Oli Herbert, and newer members guitarist Mike Martin, bassist Jeanne Sagan and drummer Jason Costa.

Together, the band have released five studio albums and a live CD/DVD- Behind Silence and Solitude (2002), This Darkened Heart (2004), The Fall of Ideals (2006), Overcome (2008) and For We are Many (2010). With these albums came a dozen singles, all which have corresponding music videos that are simple in nature, but metal-tastic- they don't need a fake story to them because they are amazing all on their own- just them playing and shredding is purely poetic.

I have seen ATR many times, as they come to the area two to three times a year usually, and each time I see them is better than the last. Their music is simply amazing- powerful lyrics, shredding breakdowns and melodic sounds, all brought together by the pure but brutal voice of Phil. He has the ability to sound soft and fragile, but in an instant can go right to his metal voice and scream. I've met the band before and they're awesome, genuine people who love metal and their fans. Every time they perform Phil either points to me or we simultaneously give each other our horns, and Jeanne handed me a pic last time, which I was glowing over of course. They are truly amazing in every way and if you haven't heard their music yet than you're severely missing out.

Check out the video for "This Calling," off of my favorite ATR album, Fall of Ideals:

2. Parkway Drive

Australian metal quintet Parkway Drive is my next favorite band. They've only been around for nine years, but in that short time they have produced three full-length studio albums: Killing with a Smile (2005), Horizons (2007) and Deep Blue (2010), an EP in 2004 titled Don't Close Your Eyes (2004), a DVD and two split albums. I was won over with Horizons single "Carrion," and have loved the band ever since. I have seen them twice so far, and they're sick on stage!

Parkway Drive consists of vocalist Winston McCall, drummer Ben Gordon, guitarists Luke Kilpatrick and Jeff Ling and bassist Jia O'Connor. Together, the boys are a symphony of metal that is very pleasing and entertaining to the ear and mind. They're musical geniuses that have a way of of combining singing and screaming metaphorical lyrics with harmonic and differing tempos of music that just give you chills. If you don't like them, then I don't like you! Haha I'm just kidding but really check them out!

Here is a video for my favorite Parkway Drive song, "Carrion." There's no video but all you need is the song to get the point of why I love them:

3. Norma Jean

Currently a trio, Norma Jean (whose name is in reference to Marilyn Monroe) hail from Douglasville, Georgia and have been together since 1997. Having gone through many member changes and almost becoming a whole new band, guitarist Chris Day kept it all together and formed the Norma Jean we know today, which also includes Cory Brandan Putnam as frontman and Jake Schultz on bass. The band have touring members as well.

To date, Norma Jean have released five studio albums: Bless the Martyr and Kiss the Child (2002), O God, the Aftermath (2005), Redeemer (2006), The Anti-Mother (2008) and Meridional (2010). In addition, the band has released an EP as well two compilation records.

Their raw sound is what stands Norma Jean apart from other metal bands. It's as though all of their instruments were marinated in battery acid, giving them a sharp, squeaky, nail-on-a-chalkboard sound, but it's the best, most torturous musical beauty you'll ever witness. Other songs, mostly the newer ones are more in-tune and melodic, but the band know how the balance the two out. I've seen them live twice and am lucky, because they don't hit the area much- I had to travel to Massachusetts the first time, but it was worth it.

Watch the video for "Bastardizer" off of Meridional:

4. All Shall Perish

Oakland, California quintet All Shall Perish have also been around for nine years, and have also gone through a number of members, but have been set in stone with their group of five for over a year now: Vocalist Eddie Hermida, guitarists Francesco Artusato and Ben Orum, bassist Mike Tiner and drummer Adam Pierce.

The band have released four full-length studio albums, including 2003's Hate Malice, Revenge, 2006's The Price of Existance, 2008's Awaken the Dreamers and most recently, 2011's This is Where it Ends.

I have yet to see All Shall Perish live, but I can't wait until I do! Their music is loud, fast and in your face metal. They want you to listen to their words and emotions or not listen at all. Double bass is prominent in their music, and the frontman's voice is mostly deep, demonic and melodic, accompanied by hardcore breakdowns and shredding guitars. They sing about what makes them mad- war, the government and politics and governmental control, which is perhaps why their style is the way it is. They have good words that need to be heard, so listen to them!

Below is the video for my favorite ASP song, "Black Gold Reign," off of Awaken the Dreamers:

5. Oh, Sleeper

You probably aren't too familiar with the Fortworth, Texas quintet, since they've only been around for six years, but believe me when I tell you that they're simply inspirational. I've been a fan since day one, when I heard their beginning songs on their MySpace page when I was in high school. They have come such a long way and I am so proud of the band they have grown and matured into.

Oh, Sleeper is made up of vocalists and guitarists Micah Kinard and Shane Blay, as well as guitarist James Erwin, bassist Nate Grady and drummer Zac Mayfield. The band have four official music videos that derived from three studio albums: 2007's When I Am God, 2009's Son of the Mourning and 2011's Children of Fire, as well as an EP titled The Armored March, which released in 2006.

Oh, Sleeper's music has changed a bit since the beginning, but it's all good. At first, their music was a bit more scattered and choppy and the vocalist pretty much only yelled, but now, they're more evolved, and their songs follow a musical pattern and tell a story, while still sounding incredible. There is now singing and screaming the inspirational lyrics, my favorite line ever being: "and to the girls, you see your body as beauty, but your pulse is worth more," which comes from "Vices Like Vipers" which is part of When I Am God. The instrumentals and back-up vocals are very complimentary and give you a sense of positive darkness. I have yet to see them as well, but know the wait is far worth it!

Listen to "Vices Like Vipers," one of my favorites from the band:

I also want to pay homage to some of my other metal favorites: Lamb of God, Darkest Hour, In This Moment, In Flames, As I Lay Dying, Winds of Plague, This or the Apocalypse Mendeed, Unearth and The Devil Wears Prada. I also want to recognize the bands of the past few decades that, had they not existed, we would not have half the music we do today: Alice Cooper, Ozzy Osbourne, Rod Stewart, Roy Orbinson, Jerry Lee Lewis, David Bowie, Freddy Mercury, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and all of the old school metal bands that would take me forever to type. Thank you to everyone of these people who have helped shape the good music of today, and let's hope that it only continues to be passed down and listened to and appreciated by all of those who will be here after we're gone. Heavy metal forever!

Who is your favorite metal band? How did you celebrate National Metal Day?