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idrinkwine732
12-29-2011, 09:55 AM
♫ Oh it's the most wonderful time of the year ♫

So, this is hands down one of my favorite times of the year as a frequent poster on various blogs, metal forums, etc. I love just sitting down with raw opinion and sorting through the differences from my own, stimulating discussion and anger alike each and every year. However, what happens every year at New Years on Metalsetlists is something special, we argue a lot less and end up with a lot more compliments year end and year out than insults. And to that, I'd like to say kudos to each and every one of you that make this community awesome.

Now, the mushy stuff's all over, so onto 2011. 2011 was a massive overhaul for me, I went to college and found the most kick ass girlfriend, I got a really cool job and I found a great circle of friends to call my own. My 2011 in metal was a constant, however, with my year end result in taste and appreciation similar to 2010. Still, I am a massive fan of the material released this year, and with a stark contrast in each album in my top 10, it just sunk in to me how awesome this year really was.

So, onto what I'll be doing here. I'll be doing a quick top 50 with blurbs of increasing size over the course of the next week, while also sharing my opinions on the best EP, Album Arts, Surprises, Letdowns, a few honorable mentions, and of course the best shows I attended in 2011. So stick with me, the year end list month of metalsetlists is almost over, but I want to throw my hat in the ring.

street_burial
12-29-2011, 10:03 AM
inb4cormorant,vektor,andgiantsquid

idrinkwine732
12-29-2011, 10:19 AM
inb4cormorant,vektor,andgiantsquid

I think there's going to be some relative surprise with all of those albums.

idrinkwine732
12-29-2011, 02:19 PM
Before I get this started, I listened to a total of 124 albums this year, and my top 50 is representative of how killer everything was. Just because 50 is all the way down at 50 doesn't mean that it isn't a kick ass album. In fact, it was above the upper half of the albums I listened to. Also, keep in mind that the difference between 38 and 44 isn't very large, considering the volume. So turn that frown upside down and let's get started.

http://www.metalkingdom.net/album/cover/d82/42255_origin_entity.jpg

50. Origin - Entity

Throughout my relatively short time as an avid listener of death metal, I realized that its technical counterpart walks a very very fine line throughout the genre. You have your mindless "wankery" of a band like Brain Drill and you have your "technical" bands like the Faceless whose occasional sweep apparently makes their material technical. I've always considered Origin to be more on the less technical side of the tech death spectrum, but their 2011 release Entity starts out with a nauseating series of scales and sweeps that were immediately frustrating. However, throughout the course of this 36 minute beast, Origin display their brand of vocally and instrumentally varied death metal that reminded me that there is still a lot of use in this genre.


http://userserve-ak.last.fm/serve/300x300/58266097.jpg

49. 417.3 - _(-_-)_

Yeah. You read that right. I know it's a sickening amount of numbers, but this band really puts themselves together as a post-rock outfit. As one of the sixty million post-rock bands from Russia, it's very easy to listen to 417.3 and discard them as a more cookie cutter group, but they intrigued me early on with a minimalist mood that brought me back to listening to more of a Yo-Yo Ma type outfit. The cello's intertwining notes with the light guitar picking in songs like 5 are a soothing mixture that many other cello based post rock bands turn into a runny eggs-esque sound. Sure, it's the basic crescendoing and spiraling upward, but god damnit this band just does it better than everyone else.

http://wickedchannel.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Miasmal-300x300.jpg

48. Miasmal - Miasmal

As I staggered away from their MDF performance, I made a mental note to check out the new record of 4 Swedish kids that I just saw tear up the stage. Clocking in at just over an hour, Miasmal's self titled really sets itself apart from the pack, creating a longer and more sustained death/thrash attack than their counterparts in the genre. Just when you think a guitar part is going to speed up, it slows down and just when you think that thrash break is going to end, it keeps on kicking. For a four piece out of Gothenburg, I went into this album thinking I knew every turn that it was going to make, but Miasmal created an effort that takes a series of left turns where every other death metal band went the other way.

http://www.sweetslyrics.com/poze/Septicflesh_-_The_Great_Mass_18.04.2011.jpg

47. Septic Flesh - The Great Mass

After having my eardrums blown off by 2008's Communion, the new album from Greek death metallers Septic Flesh was one of my most anticipated albums of 2011. The Great Mass continues in the same vein that Communion did, with its symphonic undertone keeping me feeling like I was listening to death metal made for a thriller movie. However, there was a creeping realization that made me feel very old throughout the album. The riffs just weren't as good as the last one. I sat listening to Communion thinking "how didn't anyone else think of that before?" back when I was just a wee little metal listener, and I sat listening to the Great Mass thinking "They thought of that before." This album is probably the first in a series of albums that I really wanted to like a lot more than I did.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51y8NPzs2NL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

46. Foo Fighters - Wasting Light

How I felt about Foo Fighters going into the year was a really weird feeling for me. I wanted to be behind Grohl and Co. a lot more than their music was making me be. I always liked their self titled and the massively popular The Colour and the Shape, but Dave Grohl's awesomeness really made me want him to release an album that I loved. The Foo Fighters came pretty damn close with Wasting Light. The cutting and catchy main riff in White Limo, coupled with the unorthodox vocal production made my foot irresistible to tapping. Rope, a song much more in Foo Fighter's main vein, also provided the enjoyable piece that made me feel like I was actually sort of getting what everyone was saying about this album. Definitely one of the more fun albums out of the year.

http://i25.lulzimg.com/c4888e.jpg

45. Bloodiest - Descent

As much as I love getting my hands on a totally weird album, Illinois' Bloodiest's debut Descent, might have been a little bit too out of left field for me. With a sterling recommendation from Illuminatus, I was quick to check this one out, and its tremolo picking out of the gate made me begin to gush. My gushing quickly turned to a little bit of a question mark around Coh, where I felt like I was listening to the musical equivalent of a square peg going into a round hole. The Billy Anderson-esque production style coupled with the crowing call of vocalist Bruce Lamont made me feel like this is an album to be sipped like a fine wine. I still haven't wrapped my mind around it almost 5 months later, but there is no denying the oddity of Descent.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-hfO_olEdBwM/TYv_cpmBS_I/AAAAAAAAASM/USHi7Mvd2FA/s1600/cover_748141022011_r.jpg

44. Grayceon - All We Destroy

Along with the Great Mass, cello metallers Grayceon's follow up to 2008's stunning This Grand Show was a heavily anticipated album. Being one of the two San Francisco gems I truly regret not seeing before I departed the fine area, the excellence of this album really took a toll on me. As I started hearing the peculiar eastern influences in the beginning of Shellmounds and the spine shivering gang vocals featured on We Can, I realized that they had topped one of my favorite local efforts, the aforementioned This Grand Show, with All We Destroy. With the Jackie Perez Gratz delivering the rarely seen excellent vocal performance, Grayceon created an album that rightly should place them near the top of the bursting-with-excellence San Francisco metal scene.

http://www.rocksound.tv/images/uploads/thiswilldestoryyou2011cd300.jpg

43. This Will Destroy You - Tunnel Blanket

I don't think I've ever seen a fanbase turn against a band like This Will Destroy You after they released Tunnel Blanket. Highly anticipated after their self titled, Tunnel Blanket disappointed many with a departure from their focused style of heavier post-rock. I believe I'm in the minority when I say that Tunnel Blanket is a great album, and the 12 minute epic of an opener, Little Smoke, absolutely blew my socks off on first listen. I immediately anointed it my favorite album of 2011 thus far, and considered it to be their best work. I was drawn to its ethereal and minimalist production style, while still being equally as massive although much more atmospheric. As the album sunk in though, I realized that its substance was based around a drawn out and failed attempt at an aesthetic I couldn't quite put my finger on. It began to feel like it has the traits of a failed effort instead of an intentional foray into something new. Still, it puts on a show unlike most post-rock albums managed to this year.

http://www.angrymetalguy.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Assaulter-Boundless.jpg

42. Assaulter - Boundless!

I'm going to be honest. I checked this album out purely because it was listed as Death/Thrash and it had an exclamation point in the title. The combination of the two were enough to raise my eyebrow for me to take it on and boy am I glad. Boundless! is the Australian baby of a black/thrash band with a traditional heavy metal curve to it that brings out a very fun feeling. It has the thrash edge that makes you want to drink and sing along with your buddies and the black edge reminiscent of Aura Noir. For such a unique attempt at a sound, Boundless! is much more of a success than it will get credit for.

http://metalholic.co/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Primordial-Redemption-300x300.jpg

41. Primordial - Redemption at the Puritan's Hand

I've never played Skyrim or any of the Elder Scrolls games before, but every time I see it, I think "man, I really wanna listen to Primordial and play that game." Let's cut the bullshit, you knew what you were getting with this album. You knew you were going to get that folky black metal album that made your Irish roots, whether you have them or not, jump with joy inside of you. Nemtheanga sounds as if he recorded this album inside a castle in a fuckin' castle in Dublin, and the band's roots to traditional Celtic music are as pure as always. I feel like it cheats other albums, having this listed on the top 50, because in reality, it should be assumed that Primordial are going to release one of the better albums of the year.

Also, if you say you didn't sing along to at least one part of this album throughout a listen, then you're a god damn liar.

slapguitarer
12-29-2011, 02:30 PM
You've got Grayceon and Bloodiest too low. Also, if I remember correctly you had Scurrilous and Lapsus below the Origin album in one of your early installments of your 2011 list, so either they moved up, or I have some ass kicking to do...

Natrlhi
12-29-2011, 02:45 PM
You've got Grayceon and Bloodiest too low

...and thus...

I have some ass kicking to do

hb420
12-29-2011, 06:18 PM
http://wickedchannel.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Miasmal-300x300.jpg

48. Miasmal - Miasmal

As I staggered away from their MDF performance, I made a mental note to check out the new record of 4 Swedish kids that I just saw tear up the stage. Clocking in at just over an hour, Miasmal's self titled really sets itself apart from the pack, creating a longer and more sustained death/thrash attack than their counterparts in the genre. Just when you think a guitar part is going to speed up, it slows down and just when you think that thrash break is going to end, it keeps on kicking. For a four piece out of Gothenburg, I went into this album thinking I knew every turn that it was going to make, but Miasmal created an effort that takes a series of left turns where every other death metal band went the other way.


Great pick, awesome death metal.

idrinkwine732
12-29-2011, 10:09 PM
You've got Grayceon and Bloodiest too low. Also, if I remember correctly you had Scurrilous and Lapsus below the Origin album in one of your early installments of your 2011 list, so either they moved up, or I have some ass kicking to do...
Ahem...
Before I get this started, I listened to a total of 124 albums this year, and my top 50 is representative of how killer everything was. Just because 50 is all the way down at 50 doesn't mean that it isn't a kick ass album. In fact, it was above the upper half of the albums I listened to. Also, keep in mind that the difference between 38 and 44 isn't very large, considering the volume. So turn that frown upside down and let's get started.

illuminatus917
12-29-2011, 10:09 PM
I can understand Bloodiest being this low on the list. I feel I liked the album more than I should've, for whatever reason.


My gushing quickly turned to a little bit of a question mark around Coh, where I felt like I was listening to the musical equivalent of a square peg going into a round hole.

Funny, that's when I went from "meh" to "holy shit this is incredible." Coh > Pastures is what really first caused me to flip out over this album. I thought the first track was easily the weakest on the album, but from then on the rest was gold.

slapguitarer
12-29-2011, 11:24 PM
Ahem...

So in other words Nat and I have some ass kicking to do.

brutal_descent
12-30-2011, 06:17 AM
So in other words Nat and I have some ass kicking to do.

http://www.mobygames.com/images/shots/l/488728-mortal-kombat-gold-dreamcast-screenshot-fight-s.jpg

idrinkwine732
01-03-2012, 12:29 PM
http://www.metalkingdom.net/album/cover/d91/41472_necros_christos_doom_of_the_occult.jpg

40. Necros Christos - Doom of the Occult

I was immediately taken aback by the 23 song tracklist on Doom of the Occult, thinking that this album was going to be very convoluted in structure, as I can't name an album that I've enjoyed with so many tracks. However, Necros Christos create an odd atmosphere with the instrumental series, Temple and Gates. With this being my first exposure to Necros Christos after a glowing review from Illuminatus, I wasn't a huge fan. The death metal that I loved in it was so cut back by the changes in mood and unnecessary warps to other influences and genre types that I couldn't see this album finishing out the year on my list. But like so many other albums this year, it just clicked. The lyrics are musings upon various pagan gods, etc, and I had a ball reading through all of them. I began to notice the little connections in lyrical content and similarities in the instrumentals that made the whole album seem so cohesive and fun for such an occult release.

http://www.metalkingdom.net/album/cover/d51/38957_braveyoung_we_are_lonely_animals.jpg

39. Braveyoung - We are Lonely Animals

I began the year trying out the daunting task of rating every release that was posted on the excellent post-rock site postrockxchange.com. Although I didn't complete it, because they have now posted well over 150 albums on that site this year, I did find myself with a dozen of excellent gems, such as the aforementioned 417.3. One of the more impressive ones I found was Braveyoung and their release We Are Lonely Animals. There wasn't an album released this year that combined the post-rock experience with so much melancholy. Similar to another metal release this year, I felt like I had to have a really fucking good day before I listened to this album, because it winds its way around such an emotional ambiance that it can really affect you after listening. This album has a lot more in common with ambient post-rock bands than your more straightforward post-rock, but it connected to me in a way no other album did this year.

http://www.metalkingdom.net/album/cover/d91/30483_woods_of_desolation_torn_beyond_reason.jpg

38. Woods of Desolation - Torn Beyond Reason

As bans like Alcest gain more and more traction in the growing black metal landscape, there are a myriad of bands that just can't keep the excellence going. Woods of Desolation is an album a lot more in the Écailles de Lune vein than many of its fans would like to admit, but it still differentiates itself by not fucking around with its song structure. The title track immediately begins with a riff echoing the second part of Écailles De Lune's title track, and it keeps going in a similar vein the whole way through. Torn Beyond Reason however is much more of a black metal album than any of Alcest's two, with a noticeable lack of clean vocals and slower despondent parts. For willingly being included in a new genre that is gaining detractors as quickly as it is fans, Torn Beyond Reason isn't an album that is easily discarded.

http://www.angrymetalguy.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/novembers_doom_aphotic.jpg

37. Novembers Doom - Aphotic

For an album that I saw catch a lot of flak before I heard it, I was amazed about how much I enjoyed Aphotic. Novembers Doom has been one of those bands that always shows up on my last.fm and despite their insistence that I would love the hell out of them, I never quite got it. But much like Evangelion and Wavering Radiant before it, Aphotic really sent me the memo. I was really drawn by the heavy as balls production that shined its way through on the Dark Host and Of Age and Origin. What kept this album from flying higher, however, was that I couldn't help but feel that this band had too many shades of later Katatonia in it and it gave me a slightly ill feeling, although my love for Forsaker should be documented. Still, Aphotic really opened my eyes to what I was missing with Novembers Doom

http://www.revolvermag.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Skeletonwitch-Forever-Abomination.jpg?9d7bd4

36. Skeletonwitch - Forever Abomination

"I'm only about two minutes into the new Skeletonwitch and it's already insane." Was my reaction on first listen to listening to the Ohio thrasher's third album, and with it, they established themselves as a bastion of consistency in the metal landscape. I'm starting to wonder if these guys ever run out of riffs to play, because their tendency to just pull another riff out of nowhere is out of this world. Although Chance Garnette didn't deliver his most crushing vocal performance like on Beyond the Permafrost, his performance still cuts through your vocal cords like a hot knife through butter. With a little bit of death metal thrown into their previous two concoctions of black and thrash metal, Skeletonwitch really continued their trend of releasing killer metal for the masses to enjoy.

http://funkysouls.com/img/Light_Bearer-Lapsus.jpg

35. Light Bearer - Lapsus

I want to like this album so much more than I do. That's the truth. This British atmospheric sludge act came heavily recommended to me by a certain Santa Rosa area Mexican whose immigration status is still in the air. For a band that draws influences from bands like Isis and meandering post-rock bands, this album should be an album of the year contender, but it's not. Its songs like Primum Movens entice the listener with a siren like clean riff call, before dropping into the Scylla and Charybdis (know your Odysseus before you read my shit) of sludge riffs and Aaron Turner esque barks for the next ten minutes. However, its riffing becomes very noticeably similar throughout, which is so frustrating because everything else is just on point. The instruments are mixed perfectly for a sludge album, with its vocals sitting buoyantly above the guitars and cymbals, sounding absolutely perfect. However it begins to hear like the Aeolian era The Ocean album that Staps and co. decided not to make by the time Prelapsus hits you. Still, another Aeolian era The Ocean album is always welcomed in my book, but this album is not as good as it could have been.

http://metalodyssey.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/rotten-sound-cursed-large-promo-album-pic.jpg

34. Rotten Sound - Cursed

Wow, what an experience. After being tossed around by Rotten Sound at the Finntroll and Ensiferum show I went to earlier in the year, I realized that I really fucked up by not making sure I knew all there was to know about this act before I went. Their 27 minute beast Cursed is a death metal hole punched type of grindcore that goes and never stops going, with no time to catch your breath or think about what you're listening to. The production is a little out of left field for a grindcore album, with its guitars and drums rather clear in the mix, but what it allows for is a much more accessible release than a lot of purists would like. Still, its an album that reminds of Anaal Nathrakh's intensity that by the time the third track hits, the album is an unstoppable force traveling through your ears.

http://www.nepalunderground.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/vader-welcome-to-the-morbid-reich-download.jpg

33. Vader - Welcome to the Morbid Reich

As a pretty big Vader fan, I was a little disappointed with the Polish dudes' 2009 release Necropolis, and I really wanted their 2011 release to pick it up. I really didn't want one of the more consistent death metal acts since the 90's to drop off like I thought they were. However, where Necropolis was afraid to change pace in fear of being called soft, Welcome to the Morbid Reich diversified the Vader sound that was starting to sound stagnant. With Piotr busting out his usual throaty yelling sort of vocals, Vader created an album that displays their old sound of De Profundis with a refreshed and smoother feel than I thought you could get out of Vader this late into their career.

http://media.prefixmag.com/site_media/uploads/images/review/r/russian-circles/russian_circles-empros_jpg_300x300_crop-smart_q85.jpg

32. Russian Circles - Empros

Probably the album that took me out to a nice seafood dinner the most in 2009 was Russian Circles' Geneva, and after a long love affair with Geneva and its title track, I decided it was time to move on. However, that was luckily only a few months ago, and Russian Circles were just about to release their fourth album, Empros. Nat made the very appropriate comment that I think should be restated here with an addition. Enter = Station = Geneva = Empros. This band just doesn't give up on making cool album after cool album. The opening track 309 has a quicker tempo than most Russian Circles albums display, and Mládek displays a lighter side to the band than I thought was there while still dipping into the sort of heaviness that you expect from the band. The whole album seems to slope into a more ethereal ambient kind of sound, that takes you down from the high created by 309 and Mládek, ending the album in style with the classy Praise be Man. This is a band that will always give you what you need every two years, and I'm counting on them doing it again in 2013.

http://www.metalkingdom.net/album/cover/d98/36385_krallice_diotima.jpg

31. Krallice - Diotima

Similarly to Torn Beyond Reason, Krallice are one of the bands that are growing the black metal sound to encompass a much more progressive side to the genre's landscape. Although the sound catches a lot of hate, I think it adds depth to the black metal brand. In contrast to their previous self titled effort, Diotima displays a lot more of a Weakling sort of sound and a collection of better riffs that wasn't their on their earlier attempts at progressing the black metal sound. Krallice are often mentioned in the same breath as Liturgy, and their lyrics were pointed out to me as a little snobby and pretentious, however it seems to me that Diotima features a lot more of attempts at cool stanzas than pretentious lyrics. Still, Diotima is an album that's not easily breathed in all at once, and is one that even the most taken aback listener should give a few tries before discarding it as easily as an album such as Aesthetica.

slapguitarer
01-03-2012, 04:45 PM
http://www.metalkingdom.net/album/cover/d91/30483_woods_of_desolation_torn_beyond_reason.jpg[/IMG]

Nice! :rocker:

This British atmospheric sludge act came heavily recommended to me by a certain Santa Rosa area Mexican whose immigration status is still in the air.

:lol:


http://funkysouls.com/img/Light_Bearer-Lapsus.jpg

35. Light Bearer - Lapsus

I want to like this album so much more than I do. That's the truth. This British atmospheric sludge act came heavily recommended to me by a certain Santa Rosa area Mexican whose immigration status is still in the air. For a band that draws influences from bands like Isis and meandering post-rock bands, this album should be an album of the year contender, but it's not. Its songs like Primum Movens entice the listener with a siren like clean riff call, before dropping into the Scylla and Charybdis (know your Odysseus before you read my shit) of sludge riffs and Aaron Turner esque barks for the next ten minutes. However, its riffing becomes very noticeably similar throughout, which is so frustrating because everything else is just on point. The instruments are mixed perfectly for a sludge album, with its vocals sitting buoyantly above the guitars and cymbals, sounding absolutely perfect. However it begins to hear like the Aeolian era The Ocean album that Staps and co. decided not to make by the time Prelapsus hits you. Still, another Aeolian era The Ocean album is always welcomed in my book, but this album is not as good as it could have been.


While I disagree, I can catch your drift. Some of the riffs in different songs do sound similar, but I like it when albums return to previous ideas sometimes. It works in cases like Lapsus and Descent.

idrinkwine732
01-03-2012, 06:43 PM
Since EP's can't make it on my list because I think it's unfair to judge them based on a compilation of longer material, I thought I'd make an EP list. However, there weren't more than maybe five or six EP's that I really enjoyed this year, so I thought I'd single out the best Extended Play of 2011.

http://i853.photobucket.com/albums/ab91/idrinkwine732/images.jpg

Best EP: Industries of the Blind - Chapter 1: Had We Known Better

I know I'm breaking the Giant Squid blood brothers bond by now naming their fantastic release, Cenotes, the second best EP of 2011, but hear me out. This is one of the best post-rock releases I have ever heard. This little known group out of Brooklyn released their first work completely free on their website earlier this year and I haven't been able to keep it out of my head since. They take the sad feeling of another pro-bono artist, Colour For A Rebel and add in a Sophie Trudeau (of GY!BE and A Silver Mt. Zion fame) sort of instrumentation and plop in the crescendo and decrescendos that make post-rock what it is. There are only three songs that comprise this EP, but it totals out to 31 mins of a violin making your heart ache. By the time "I just wanted to make you something beautiful" expanded, I couldn't help but physically begin to feel it all. Truly an EP that has had no one talk about it, and I can't think of a release that deserves it more. I think I will freak out if I don't hear this band expand on what it's done with Had We Known Better in the future.

Check it out for free here: http://www.industriesoftheblindmusic.com/

slapguitarer
01-03-2012, 07:37 PM
That is a great EP, I didn't realize it was from 2011.

illuminatus917
01-03-2012, 08:04 PM
While I disagree, I can catch your drift. Some of the riffs in different songs do sound similar, but I like it when albums return to previous ideas sometimes. It works in cases like Lapsus and Descent.

I think it's more effective when it's more obvious, and intentional (reprises). Like what The Beatles did on Abbey Road or what Arcade Fire did on The Suburbs. It's different when the riffs sound similar but aren't necessarily intended to. That's an interesting comparison between those two albums, though. I never thought of it that way. I will say, though, there seemed to be a circular motion in the way Bloodiest wrote their record, which kind of binded it together. Somehow it was very effective... I don't know how else to explain it. I didn't think there was anything circular about Lapsus.

And great choice on the EP. If I'd liked all three of those tracks as much as the first one it would've been way the hell further up on my list.

slapguitarer
01-03-2012, 08:12 PM
Yeah, Descent was definitely more circular than Lapsus. With Lapsus, it's really only the chord progression at the beginning of Primum Movens that sounds like the chord progression that ends Lapsus.

idrinkwine732
01-09-2012, 11:52 AM
http://www.metalkingdom.net/album/cover/d81/33047_fen_epoch.jpg

30. Fen - Epoch

In the post-Agalloch love time that I had at the beginning of the year, I was afraid that the atmospheric metal like my favorite Oregon black metallers would die out for a year. However, I knew there was a lot of hope after I saw that Fen were releasing their follow up to 2009's excellent The Malediction Fields. With Agalloch making the pain in brilliant albums like Ashes Against the Grain sound emotional, Fen make the pain in their music sound physically tortuous. In the 8 minute epic that kicks off the first climax of the album, vocalist "The Watcher" kicks his vocals into a gear sounding akin to a medieval torture chamber.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-OXjVLOqju0g/TkAzttR0F-I/AAAAAAAAASY/qAiRGN5K-Fo/s320/redga.jpg

29. Red Fang - Murder the Mountains

Listening to Red Fang is pretty much what I think would happen if a band had a jar of various riffs labeled Sleep, Isis, Crowbar and Electric Wizard and just grabbed a collection from each and wrote an album with those riffs. The chunky and fun Murder the Mountains puts a lot of Pikean riffs on display, that makes you want to just grow a beard and sing a long. This is an album that I'd had fluttering around the mid fifties for a while, but after seeing this quarted live with Mastodon, it deserved a revisit. I was reminded of the days of truly entertaining stoner metal, and Red Fang brought it to me on a silver platter.

http://metalholic.co/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/The-Black-Dahlia-Murder-Ritual-300x300.jpg

28. The Black Dahlia Murder - Ritual

Probably the only album on here that will make me blush a little bit. Yeah, I fucking love this band, and their brand of death metal is one that isn't brought together without some interesting elements. For every person that will call this band deathcore or metalcore, they could be right, but if they are, they aren't the same as everyone else. With Ritual, the band take another evolutionary step by fooling around with some symphonic elements in Blood in the Ink and A Shrine to Madness, while they open their arms to a more blackened sound on songs like Stirring Seas... and Carbonized in Cruciform. Basically, this is an album that I would love to hate on, but it's too heavy, the riffs are too good and Strnad sounds too awesome for me to place this any lower than it is on this list.

http://images.musicdl.org/2012/01/Falloch-Where_Distant_Spirits_Remain-2011-OMA.jpg

27. Falloch - Where Distant Spirits Remain

Probably the first of a few 2011 crushes that I just couldn't take my hands off of all year. Falloch are one of the myriad of Agalloch impersonators, but with this album, they strike closer to The Mantle than any band ever has. With a majority of the album clean sung and the acoustic guitar sticking around the whole album, listening to this album reminded me of being a young'un and listening to the first notes of A Celebration for the Death of Man. They fool around with some really cool guitar distortion around the end of the album and fly towards an ambient influenced sound while still bringing in a sad tone with the acoustic guitar. Definitely a surprise this year.

http://www.metal-archives.com/images/2/9/7/7/297782.jpg

26. Deafheaven - Roads to Judah

I first saw Deafheaven in my favorite dive bar in SF opening for Marduk with Bosse de Nage, and I fell in love with their ferocity, intensity and strangely enough, their clean cut look. I zoomed back home and checked out their self titled demo and found out they expected to release a new album just that next year. Around came April and I had Roads to Judah in my hand, and it blew me away. I was used to the Deafheaven that was releasing Libertine Dissolves, a gritty black metal track that was then followed by the flowery and acoustic Bedrooms, but Roads to Judah fit the self titled demo package into a tighter and more interesting release. Vocalist George Clark's live intensity doesn't quite shine through on the album, but his sound at the end of Language Games is stellar. The aforementioned track and Tunnel of Trees are both brittle black metal tracks that have the organized discord of a band like Anaal Nathrakh and the perpetual motion sound of early Immortal. This is an album that we'll be talking about for a while, and with any luck, the band should have the same success with their second album.

http://www.angrymetalguy.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Amorphis_-_The_Beginning_Of_Times_artwork-300x300.jpg

25. Amorphis - The Beginning of Times

There aren't very many metal bands who are doing what Amorphis are doing right now. Along with Primordial, they are releasing some of their best material very late in their career. Although Amorphis have undergone a big change in sound since Tales from the Thousand Lakes, they still maintain enough of their death/doom elements to keep the old folks around. By the time the end of the year rolled around, I was surprised to not see this on many year end lists or even in honorable mentions, but this band still has it. With the Adrian Smith esque leads in Mermaid and the catchy You I Need, I couldn't help but have this album wind up beginning my top 25.

http://www.angrymetalguy.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/loss_despond.jpg

24. Loss - Despond

Holy shit. What a downer. This album began making a lot of buzz and once I saw Aesop Dekker call it one of the best albums he'd heard in years, I knew I had to sit down with it. But man, I didn't know I'd be running into shit with lyrics like this

"You sat alone
You sat so long
Your words make very private scars
You suffered down low
And you saw no light
Made knots of your fingers
While weathering the blight"

The lyrics of the album became a focal point for me after reading these lyrics to the album opener, Weathering the Blight. I had to have a really nice day before I started Despond, because otherwise I knew I'd just read the lyrics and sit in bed with some Cookie Dough ice cream and just waste the day away. Despond, musically, is just as ambitious as its lyrical content is, with its meaty death/doom riffs tearing away with more melodic and melancholic leads making the album seem as if its a soundtrack to a funeral. Definitely a heart-wrencher of an album, and if I had sat listening to it much more, it would have been in my top ten. However, I probably wouldn't have lived to post it.

http://www.progarchives.com/progressive_rock_discography_covers/3812/cover_585532612011_r.jpg

23. Long Distance Calling - Long Distance Calling

I got this album from postrockxchange as well, and it was one of the first ones that I listened to. I noticed the last song had a cameo from John Bush of Anthrax, and this album's intrigue only grew. I knew of its predecessor, Avoid the Light, but I hadn't heard it and I didn't care to hear another of the same post-rock band, because that's what it seemed like to me. But then, I heard the sample of The Day the Earth Stood Still that hailed in Into the Black Wide Open and I knew this band and I should be friends. The whole album consists of slow and melodic noodling riffs, but not that tech death sort of noodle. Invisible Giants ends on a twisting and incredibly catchy series of scales and a heavy post-metal sort of chord progression that you don't hear a ton in post-rock. The Figrin D'an Boogie is a song that demands an Elvis vocal part in the middle, but then jumps into an Area-51 sort of sounding riff that made me shiver with delight. It's cool that bands are still making music that appeals to a sci-fi sort of listener like me, with no lyrics sung the entire time.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-M9V4CmR66T4/Tm61QnPCfwI/AAAAAAAAHCE/it7wxzyLno0/s320/cover_58612482011_r.jpg

22. Wolves in the Throne Room - Celestial Lineage

There are a few albums that came out after I was in college that really got a little shafted, now that I think about it. Celestial Lineage is one of those albums, and considering that the three previous to it are some of my favorite metal records of the last decade, it shouldn't have been that way. The Weaver duet combine some shoegazey kind of elements with their atmospheric black metal that I hadn't really noticed before, and toy around with some female guest vocals in the opening track, as well as Woodland Cathedral. As always, they bring a varied set of instrumentals to the screamed-from-hell black metal vocals that Nathan offers, with an organ making its voice heard in Woodland Cathedral. Although it's the least "out there" track on the album, Astral Blood stood out the most to me, with its galloping pace and steamrolling effect that isn't present in Wolves in the Throne Room's other albums. This is a band that has come a long way since Diadem of 12 Stars, and Celestial Lineage could go down as their best, with Two Hunters right at its heels.

http://www.angrymetalguy.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/autopsy_macabre_eternal.jpg

21. Autopsy - Macabre Eternal

It's really not fair what Autopsy did these last few years. They release undisputed classics at the beginning of their career, and subsequently the not up to par of their predecessors Acts of the Unspeakable and Shitfun, leave the metal landscape for 15 years and jump right back into it with their best since Mental Funeral. I don't know how I didn't see this album coming, since The Tomb Within was awesome as well, but Macabre Eternal is a surgically recreation of the good ol' days of Autopsy, with each track reminding of a Mental Funeral or Severed Survival. Perhaps my only gripe with the album is its length, which makes a tired listener by the time the 11 minute and a half minute epic, Sadistic Gratification, starts. Still, you'll be hard pressed to find another band who have achieved as much as Autopsy have in their career, and if this album is any indication, they aren't done yet.

-----------------------------
Alright, it's time for an In N Out break then I'm gonna get writing the rest of this. I'll finish this up by Wednesday.

illuminatus917
01-09-2012, 01:55 PM
It took about four or five listens for me to really fall in love with Despond. I think what Dekker said about it is totally accurate.

I just saw it was his #1 album of the year. :lovedup:

slapguitarer
01-09-2012, 03:17 PM
http://www.metalkingdom.net/album/cover/d81/33047_fen_epoch.jpg

30. Fen - Epoch


29. Red Fang - Murder the Mountains

26. Deafheaven - Roads to Judah

24. Loss - Despond

23. Long Distance Calling - Long Distance Calling

21. Autopsy - Macabre Eternal


Nice :rocker:

The_jman
01-09-2012, 06:21 PM
I said it last year and I'll say it again, your passion for music shows in your writing. I thoroughly enjoy reading your reviews, and there's a few albums I want to check out. amorphis would have been very high on my list, if not album of the year, but I didn't hear too much this year at least as compared to you, lol.

NecroRob
01-09-2012, 07:09 PM
I first saw Deafheaven in my favorite dive bar in SF opening for Marduk with Bosse de Nage

:drool::finger2:

idrinkwine732
01-10-2012, 02:05 AM
So tomorrow I'm going to officially move my parents into their place in New York City, leaving CA behind for good. Sort of. Kinda. Big day. So, I'll be wrapping this up until the top 10 which will be placed at the end of the day on Wednesday. There's still some cool stuff to come though if anyone's actually interested in it.

http://www.metalkingdom.net/album/cover/d36/33398_the_project_hate_mcmxcix_bleeding_the_new_ap ocalypse.jpg

20. The Project Hate MCMXCIX - Bleeding the New Apocalypse (Cum Victriciis In Manibus Armis)

Project Hate were a band that I'd known I'd like for a long time, but never got enough time to really check them out in the way that I now know they deserve. But holy shit is this band an animal or what? With an industrial but not quite industrial edge to their progressive death metal, this band could remind of Meshuggah, Autopsy, Dark Tranquillity and Epica during the same 9 minute chunk of an album. Upon review of their back catalog, this band didn't even release their best with Bleeding the New Apocalypse, after losing an essential member, Jonna Enckell. However, Bleeding the New Apocalypse features a more polished production style than its predecessors and with its hearty stock of ambitious songwriting, influence varied solos and good ol' death metal fury, it has to be discussed as one of the finer death metal releases of 2011.

http://nsa25.casimages.com/img/2011/02/21//110221075202269144.jpg

19. Moonsorrow - Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleiden Maassa

After becoming very familiar with their dynamite EP Tulimyrsky, Moonsorrow's newest became a very anticipated record for me, and during the time of its release, I was in a particular mindset for an epic Pagan metal album. With their previous records all being of the same high quality, they had a lot to live up to, and they delivered well, considering both the pressure and my high expectations. Although never really having a breakneck pace, Moonsorrow seemed to have mellowed out on...this album, reminding more of a calmer and blackier Ensiferum. When the band decide to break down their folk instrumental breaks with a heavy riff section, the production gets ironclad and the contrast is enticing. The opener, Tahdeton, is a fine representation of the sound that is achieved throughout, with the Finnish quintet creating an epic piece filled to the brim with folk charm and metal spirit.

http://www.angrymetalguy.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Subrosa-No-Help-300x300.jpg

18. Subrosa - No Help For the Mighty Ones

As some will tell you, this is an album that warmed up to me since the period where I started keeping my opinions on some albums on the hush, hoping to surprise some people come year end. Before I start though, chalk up another one for Profound Lore. In 2011 they released 7 albums that ended up in this top 50, with all of them being standouts from the rest of the bunch. There isn't a finer metal label in the game today. No band proves what Profound Lore have achieved more than Utahean (Utahist? Utahos?) doom metal band Subrosa and their sophomore release. What stands out more to me on this album than the thundering doom riffs that populate this album or the saddening vocals is the production. The guitars and bass hover around a distortion based sound that creates a really cool fuzzy feeling the whole album. Another thing that sticks out from this album is its soul, which is portrayed best in the clean spoken sections and the late folk track, House Carpenter. For an album that I thought wouldn't be jammin' in my top 40, I listened to this album a lot and enjoyed it far too much for me to keep it there.

http://highwiredaze.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Falls-of-Rauros_Cover_LoRes-300x300.jpg

17. Falls of Rauros - The Light that Dwells in the Rotten Wood

Well, this was a late as fuck addition, considering I only listened to it the first time a few weeks ago when I saw it on another list, and boy am I glad that this was on that list. As black metal continues to be twisted and changed by the shoegaze and post world, its changes on the folk metal landscape aren't very widely noticed and the permeation of folk metal into its ranks is less and less of a noticed trend. The acoustic guitars of Falls of Ruaros' third release hail in a more jazzy and improvised feel to the introduction of the album that quickly get brushed aside with the black metal filled beginning of the second track, Banished. Its riffs and vocal intensity immediately reminded me of Deafheaven, and the cave-produced vocal sound sent shivers down my spine. As the riffs coagulate throughout this album, it seems to be more and more of an achievement. I really wish I got my hands on this sooner, because I couldn't justify putting it higher, but maybe it should have been.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-EPOA3KpOEwM/Tto4Q8i2OdI/AAAAAAAAAZc/eoWhwmlQNlE/s1600/elder-dead-roots-stirring-300x300.jpg

16. Elder - Dead Roots Stirring

For as much as I'll talk about quality, originality and excellence of artistic work in this list, I think I sometimes overlook something, and that is what my damn favorite album is. Although Elder's Dead Roots Stirring isn't it, it deserves more than a #16 placement, because it is a sludge/doom metal classic in its own right. Its first track, Gemini, is a steamroller of an album with a riff that makes you think "oh, this again" until the southern twist of a few chords redefines the whole track. Frontman Nick DiSalvo's Jim Beam soaked vocals cap off a collection of awesome southern tinged Stoner metal tracks that aren't afraid to pack a whollop as well as a nice joint smoking atmosphere. Just as this band finds itself playing one too many Sabbath or Sleep riffs, they pull something new out and just when you want to feel like Iommi is crushing your head again, they drop into it. I don't think I've ever heard a doom metal album that hits all of the right spots at every time quite like this one. This is a band that could blow up metal in the next 4 years.

http://www.irsus.com/thumb_200/200_Insomnium%20-%20One%20For%20Sorrow.jpg

15. Insomnium - One For Sorrow

You know what you're going to get with Insomnium. Just like Moonsorrow, just like Amorphis, just like Primordial. There haven't been many bands more consistent than them. With that said, however, their previous release, Across the Dark, was my favorite of theirs because it brought back the clean singing element as well as a more keyboard heavy sound, which made me feel like they were trying to differentiate themselves from their admittedly repetitive past releases. Inertia kicks off the album in a way similar to how I felt Amorphis did, with their slow lead building into a much heavier representation of what they wanted the rest of the album to be. This album pounds through in a similar manner to Across the Dark, with Songs of the Blackest Bird and Through the Shadows immediately standing out as particularly catchy with that classic Insomnium sound. Yeah, perhaps they made the same album three times before changing, but now they're starting to grow into a more varied group. For a band that has been so consistently great and fun over the years, this band deserves a lot more from the melodic death community.

http://www.blackscaped.de/images/product_images/original_images/46293_0.jpg

14. Wolvhammer - The Obsidian Plains

I remember finishing this album and feeling slightly sweaty, as I felt like I had just heard the grittiest album of 2011. There aren't many more albums as raw as Minneapolis black metal plus some sludgy twang whatever act Wolvhammer's The Obsidian Plains. It isn't normal for me to think that both a black metal act like Darkthrone and a band like Kylesa would both be proud of this group after hearing this effort, but I think it's true. The snare is snappy, but the whole album has a dark feel to it that made me feel like I was hearing an occult swedish black metal act, but it all had this home-rooted sensation to it. This isn't an album really easily described, because its so defined by its raw and crude production and atmosphere created by the soul crushing vocals. Truly an out of nowhere album.

http://www.primaryignition.com/wp-content/uploads/Shels-Plains-of-the-Purple-Buffalo-300x300.jpg

13. *Shels - Plains of the Purple Buffalo

This was an album that I didn't know was as good as it is for a long time. I had it sitting around for a little bit, having spun it here and there a few times, but something about waiting at a Honduran airport for about an hour made it all make sense to me. After forming mainly out of the ashes of British hardcore band Mahumodo, *shels went in a different direction and formed in a manner similar to A Silver Mt. Zion, with no solid lineup and built around vocalist/guitarist Mehdi Safa and drummer Tom Harriman. Their second release, Plains of the Purple Buffalo, is a walk down the line of a hardcore tinged post-rock that is best expressed in my favorite part, the second part of the title track. After entering with a (no doubt intentional) circular riff intertwined with a violin and Safa's soaringly high vocals, the song, and arguably the album, reaches a zenith with a horn piece playing a scale to a beat, with a guitar joining in on the scale, then a choir, then Safa providing a beautiful counter-melody to the scale. The second part that I particularly enjoyed was the beautiful Butterflies on Luci's Way, which stood out to me because it made me feel so damn good. I just couldn't really be a grouch when Safa was saying "as long as I have you, I don't feel so bad." Immediately following is the intense "Crown of Eagle Feathers," which features Safa's hardcore screams and the horn's resurgence, another high point of the album. Basically, this is an album that is a four course meal that isn't really easily enjoyed with one huge mouthful, and over time, I think I'll enjoy it a lot more than the enormous amount I did this year.

http://freeversepress.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/draggedintosunlight_1_0.jpg

12. Dragged into Sunlight - Hatred for Mankind

I don't think there's any album that could better be described by the word "experience." That's exactly what this band created with Hatred For Mankind, as it is such a theatrical collection of artistic representation. Starting with the soundbites chosen by the band to fill the background of their gratuitously dark and brutal tracks, it immediately reminded me of Impaled's Death After Life, with each sample getting a sensical reaction from me, with To Hieron's "You're an inhumane bunch of fucking living bastards and bitches and you're gonna get your asses nuked in the end," being the most revolting. Then the slow and skin crawling riffs in Volcanic Birth that make me feel like I'm slowly getting eaten second by second was truly the part in the album where I started enjoying every sick and twisted turn in the album, so much that to the point where I get to the excessively violent "Lashed to the Grinder and Stoned to Death," I find myself wanting a more and more violent result, as I didn't think music got this disgusting. Where Despond is depressing, Hatred for Mankind is sickening, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

http://img.chan4chan.com/img/2009-02-18/1234939183048.jpg

11. Wintersun - Time

Well this is awkward. I had my #9 and my #11 on this list twice and I didn't notice it till just now. I can't believe this. I guess this is a top 49.

Rocco44
01-10-2012, 08:54 AM
Great list so far. I look forward to the top ten.

GarageMetal468
01-10-2012, 10:10 AM
While Hatred For Mankind is an AWESOME album, it was actually released in 2009. It got released in 2011 and then started getting more attention then. Either way, I love that album and they're one of the bands I'm most looking forward to seeing at MDF this year.

idrinkwine732
01-10-2012, 12:59 PM
While Hatred For Mankind is an AWESOME album, it was actually released in 2009. It got released in 2011 and then started getting more attention then. Either way, I love that album and they're one of the bands I'm most looking forward to seeing at MDF this year.

US Release 2011

illuminatus917
01-10-2012, 03:58 PM
US Release 2011

If I'd known Hatred For Mankind was "allowed" on 2011 lists, it would've made my top 10.

EDIT: This is a freakin' awesome list. It's really nice to see Falls of Rauros on a list other than mine, and at a fairly high position... :drool::party:
When you finish the top 10 I'm going to go back and count how many of the same albums showed up on both of our lists. At this point the number seems to be pretty high.

slapguitarer
01-10-2012, 04:06 PM
I prefered 30-21 over this batch. Although Moonsorrow and Subrosa are both excellent records!

illuminatus917
01-10-2012, 04:08 PM
I prefered 30-21 over this batch. Although Moonsorrow and Subrosa are both excellent records!

:nonono: This batch is waaay better.

idrinkwine732
01-10-2012, 05:37 PM
I prefered 30-21 over this batch. Although Moonsorrow and Subrosa are both excellent records!

Make it sound like Plains of the Purple Buffalo and and Dead Roots Stirring are not right up your alley one more time.

slapguitarer
01-10-2012, 06:06 PM
Make it sound like Plains of the Purple Buffalo and and Dead Roots Stirring are not right up your alley one more time.

They are, sort of. Dead Roots Stirring didn't click with me 'til like the 4th time I listened to it and by then I didn't want to alter my list any further because I had already started it.

Purple Buffalo was a pretty mediocre release. I could predict the whole album after the two title tracks. Every song was the same thing. "Oh hey guys, I got a chord progression. Oh hey, my chord progression is getting louder. And louder. AND LOUDER. Now it's done."

It sits at 51 on my list.

illuminatus917
01-10-2012, 06:13 PM
Purple Buffalo was a pretty mediocre release. I could predict the whole album after the two title tracks. Every song was the same thing.

I've never disagreed with you more.

GarageMetal468
01-10-2012, 09:15 PM
US Release 2011

Ah. Didn't know that.

If I'd known Hatred For Mankind was "allowed" on 2011 lists, it would've made my top 10.

Yeah no kidding, definitely #2 for me.

idrinkwine732
01-11-2012, 06:20 AM
I've never disagreed with you more.

Seriously.

Natrlhi
01-11-2012, 08:13 AM
Great list so far. I look forward to the top ten.This.

Purple Buffalo was a pretty mediocre release. I could predict the whole album after the two title tracks. Every song was the same thing.:eek: r u srs? :eek:

Here is a Q-tip. Please clean the poop out of your ears and try again.

I've never disagreed with you more.Seriously.

Seriously.Hey, I already said that.

slapguitarer
01-11-2012, 03:10 PM
Sorry guys. You win some and you lose some. And you guys lost.

Natrlhi
01-11-2012, 03:16 PM
No...we heard the awesomeness and appreciated it. You had poop in your ears.

YOU LOST.

slapguitarer
01-11-2012, 03:37 PM
There was definitely good musicianship and the trumpets and vocals were defintely great. Song-writing was lacking though. It's not bad, just not good.

Natrlhi
01-11-2012, 03:39 PM
Yeah, I can't hear a word of what you're saying.

illuminatus917
01-11-2012, 05:24 PM
I could predict the whole album after the two title tracks.


Every song was the same thing.


Song-writing was lacking though. It's not bad, just not good.

Slap, I think you need to listen to the album again. I feel I know you well enough by now to know what you like and appreciate and whatnot, and I feel pretty confident in saying you'd like this album if you gave it a fair shot, which, if your remarks serve as any indication, you didn't.

slapguitarer
01-11-2012, 05:29 PM
Slap, I think you need to listen to the album again. I feel I know you well enough by now to know what you like and appreciate and whatnot, and I feel pretty confident in saying you'd like this album if you gave it a fair shot, which, if your remarks serve as any indication, you didn't.

:tp: Fine I'll listen to it again, even though I already listened to it twice trying to love it as much as possible both times.

hb420
01-12-2012, 12:59 AM
18. Subrosa - No Help For the Mighty Ones
17. Falls of Rauros - The Light that Dwells in the Rotten Wood
16. Elder - Dead Roots Stirring
14. Wolvhammer - The Obsidian Plains


Really great picks man :party: Can't wait to see what else you have in store for us. Your summary of Elder was perfect couldn't agree more.

Natrlhi
01-12-2012, 05:54 AM
I didn't hear "Falls" or "Elder". :eyes: :bawling:

2011 = TOO MUCH AWESOME SHIT

idrinkwine732
01-12-2012, 06:35 PM
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-PxYXLjAgzZc/TX3mjeOJF4I/AAAAAAAABFo/upspnYR8Tvw/s1600/folder.jpg

10. The Seven Mile Journey - Notes for the Synthesis

I found The Seven Mile Journey only a little bit of time after I had first seen Godspeed You! Black Emperor and I was really enthralled by the experience, so I really was looking for a band that filled the GY!BE void, as they weren't releasing new music.* I knew I'd found something worth keeping once I heard the screwdriver intro to Departures, which immediately reminded of Moya, my favorite Godspeed song.* The Seven Mile Journey are clearly influenced a ton by GY!BE, and it's seen a lot in their ambient climaxes in songs like The Alter Ego Autopsies.* I'm particularly a fan of the second part in The Alter Ego Autopsies, which I felt was a really big suspenseful piece of the album that indicated to me that this was a top caliber post-rock release.* Definitely my other favorite part of the album is the transcendent and beautiful The Etiology Diaries, which scurries along a lot more in the vein of Mono.* Notes for the Synthesis is a really diverse collection of emotion filled post-rock that serves as the biannual reminder that someone is doing something great with the genre.

http://reigninart.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Disma-Towards-The-Megalith-300x300.jpg

9. Disma - Towards the Megalith

Oh boy, I don't think I've heard a death metal album released post-2005 or so that's made me react to it like this.* Concocting a brew based mainly out of Incantation, Towards the Megalith is a massive,heavy and extremely dirty old school death metal album.* With Craig Pillard handeling the vocals as perfectly as his Onward to Golgotha performance, Towards the Megalth really feels like a throwback to the old Incantation days.* Perhaps a little bit too much so, as the main backlash that I heard to this album was its lack of ingenuity and creativeness.* However, borrowing Funebrarum members Shawn Eldridge and Daryl Kahan really packed a punch in the creativity department, with enough new riffs to make it seem refreshing.* But still, Towards the Megalith is a release that should have the death metal purists goozing from the ears with happiness, because the relative lack of activity from Incantation had a bunch of people nervous.* A killer offering from people who we knew were going to kill it.

http://new.assets.thequietus.com/images/articles/7520/YOB-Atma_1322848948_crop_300x300.jpg

8.* Yob - Atma

I hadn't really heard the Yob release that really clicked with me before Atma, and after my first listen I wasn't convinced this new slab of stoner metal was it either.* Sure, it was heavy, sure, it had some cool ass vocals, but I just wasn't as floored as everyone else was.* Sometime around October though, I kept moving it up above albums I liked until I realized it was in my top 30 and I thought, wow, this is way to high for it.* But then I listened to it one more time and the hair standing up on my arms as vocalist Mike Scheidt delivered the chorus to Prepare the Ground, I realized I was way too low on it.* As many of their stoner metal colleagues become content with delivering a similar sound throughout an album (hey, sometimes it works, look at Elder), it seemed important to Yob to create a diverse sounding album.* Scheidts vocals sound like an Ozzy Osbourne with a little bit more throat to him, and it makes for a hell of a vocalist to accompany such enormous riffs.* Definitely one of the heaviest and best releases of the year.

http://new.assets.thequietus.com/images/articles/6487/mammal_1309139184_crop_300x300.jpg

7.* Altar of Plagues - Mammal

For all of the "hipster black metal" that I've included on this list, I don't think very much of it has the hateful and furious edge that Altar of Plagues has.* Most of their contemporaries are a lot more serene in their vocal sound and lyrical content, but not Altar of Plagues and definitely not on Mammal.* The production is clean but still underproduced enough to give the snare and toms a standout sound.* Vocalist James Kelly's labored and intense black metal screams and shouts combine well with the riffs that are very unique for the black metal aesthetic, with the chorus in Neptune is Dead being the most notable.* It still has an abundance in the blast beats and riffs that* make black metal what it is, but the changes in ambiance and mood are extremely rare.* The enormously heavy Feather and Bone is perhaps the most straightforward track on the album, and its sound is the most representative of what Altar of Plagues do best.* Of all of the albums that came out in 2011 to add depth to the now bursting black metal scene, Altar of Plagues demonstrated themselves as leader of the new pack with Mammal.

http://www.metalsucks.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/outer-isolation.jpg

6.* Vektor - Outer Isolation

After having witnessed Vektor's rapid ascent to the top of the nu-thrash pack, I thought that the high anticipation for their third release could doom the young sci fi act in the long run.* They were set up for a lot of disappointment, and to some, that's what they got, but Vektor's latest hunk of space metal contains a lot of what made its predecessor, Black Future, so awesome.* It has the speeding sweeps and the tumbling tremolos that made songs like Hunger for Violence and Black Future so excellent.* Why isn't it higher then?* Black Future is pretty much the best thrash album since forever, what gives?* Well, I think I myself was disappointed slightly in what they had achieved, but that was because I think I overrated this group.* They overachieved with Black Future, writing riffs that were appropriately out of this world, and Outer Isolation doesn't achieve in the same way.* However, it still is a fantastic thrash album in its own right.* David DiSanto's Schmier-esque vocals are still some of the best in modern thrash, and the sci-fi atmosphere in the riffing is still radical.* It's a hard album to analyze, because it was expected to be so much, and it's hard to know if I got it or not.

http://www.mp3crank.com/cover-album/Moonlit-Sailor-Colors-In-Stereo-300x300.jpg

5.* Moonlit Sailor - Colors in Stereo

It's so hard being a frequent metal listener sometimes because the subject matter that you become accustomed to is so dark and depressing that you need a pace changer that makes you feel fantastic.* I was recommended Moonlit Sailor a few years ago by an awesome forumer and it's been one of the better recs I've ever gotten.* I fell in love with their EP, Footprint of Feelings, which is still one of my favorite post-rock releases and their debut So Close to Life is also excellent, if not a little but underwhelming after Footprint of Feelings.* Their brand of post-rock still has all of the cliched emotion of post-rock but it's so positive sounding upbeat that it's downright infectious.* Their sophomore album, Colors in Stereo is happiness concentrated into a musical sound, and it's a must-have for the often depressed in the world.* After the intro to Kodac Moment, the upbeat feeling is immediately permeating.* If music is all about making an effect on you, then Moonlit Sailor created their best work with Colors in Stereo. *

http://www.angrymetalguy.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/CANDLE171CD-300x297.jpg

4. Anaal Nathrakh - Passion

For everything that Moonlit Sailor achieves in happiness, Anaal Nathrakh achieves in fury.* From the first note, this band creates an all out assault, in true grindcore fashion, that does not let up until it's over.* Vocalist Dave Hunt is still an absolute animal on the mic, and he delivered one of his better vocal performances since The Codex Necro on Passion.* Nobody does their job in the same way that he does.* You can hear this man scream like he's being tortured one moment, deliver soaring clean vocals another, and then deliver a haunting death grunt the next.* Mick Kenney's instrumental writing on Passion continues his trend of writing some of the best metal fusion writing in extreme metal history, and he takes a little bit more out of the black metal and grindcore coffers with this release than the industrial ones he's done in the past.* Perhaps the most clutch part of this album is the guest spot from Rainer Landfermann on Tod Huetet Uebel, which is probably one of the scariest tracks that Anaan Nathrakh has recorded.* It's also a special treat, as it's the only track that Anaal Nathrakh has released the lyrics for.* Anaal Nathrakh are the yin to Moonlit Sailor's yang, and made another extreme metal work of perfection with Passion.* They never stop coming with some of extreme metal's best.

http://media.prefixmag.com/site_media/uploads/images/reviews/m/mastodon/mastodon-the-hunter_jpg_300x300_crop-smart_q85.jpg

3. Mastodon - The Hunter

I'll let the collective groan pass for a moment.* Sure, it's not what a lot of people thought it was going to be when the band outed that it was a lot more of a Leviathan sounding effort, but Mastodon hit it out of the park for the fifth time in a row.* They found a bit of heaviness that was certainly lost on Crack the Skye and faded a little bit on Blood Mountain, and they still are a very progressive bunch.* Some songs like Stargasm are standouts in that they had the Crack the Skye atmosphere and feel, but were a little bit on the tougher side and weren't as dragged down by the progressiveness.* All the Heavy Lifting is another standout track that has a little bit of a Remission feel to it, but then breaks into a very Blood Mountain fitting verse, and really demonstrates Sanders' ability to take over a track with his vocals.* However, my favorite track on the album has to be the album closer, the Sparrow, which is mainly instrumental with the exception of the one lyric "pursue happiness with diligence."* It starts out with a soft acoustic backing to one of Hinds' progressive riffs, that then jumps into a very Pink Floyd sounding song, and it winds its way through heaviness, ambience, and emotion, and I think it's one of the best songs the group has ever done.* The Hunter is an album that won't win a few of the old school Mastodon die hards back, but it's works excellently as an amalgamation of the group's catalog, and stands out as another fantastic album from the consistent four piece.

http://echoesanddust.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/sleepmakeswaves-300x300.png

2.* sleepmakeswaves - ...and so we destroyed everything

One of post-rock's constant struggles as a genre has been to remain memorable in sound to a larger audience, who, frankly, find it very drawn out and unfocused.* Hell, I can't even blame them.* Bands like Mono, Mogwai and 65daysofstatic are all very dense, and difficult to enjoy at first.* For my first two years or so of really getting to know the genre, I began to think it was sort of like metal.* Either you get it or you don't.* However, sleepmakeswaves' debut ...and so we destroyed everything totally changed the way I saw the genre.* Their first EP, In Today Already Walks Tomorrow, was an awesome slab of post-rock, which was as melancholic as the rest, but their debut full length is something else entirely.* The band sat down and focused their songwriting over the course of a few years and made probably my favorite post-rock album since Sigur Rós' Takk or even as far back as the latest Godspeed You! Black Emperor.* This album is the most focused but still lengthy, emotional but still cohesive, atmospheric but still concentrated effort that post rock has seen.* The first track, to you they are birds but to me they are voices in the forest, builds in a manner focused around the playful interaction between the tremolo picking and drumming, dies down a little bit with a xylophone and other percussion, then jumps straight into an enormous climax that plays with a ton of synths.* Probably my favorite track on the album is the title track, which resembles a straightforward rock song after about 3 minutes, is a collection of fun riffs that can bring you back to bands as different as Tortoise to Isis.* If you ask me, I haven't ever heard an album like this before, and I nearly bumped it back up to #1, but I was just too lovestruck by my favorite album of the year to move it down at all.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-fsZpUCwr-Sk/TnD94msmbPI/AAAAAAAAAEc/ibCaGsZ1odw/s1600/Cormorant+Dwellings+artwork+FINAL.jpg

1.* Cormorant - Dwellings

I went into this year knowing that Cormorant were going to release a new album and it would probably be freaking awesome, and I really didn't want to be that guy who always puts his favorite band's album at #1 every time, but I just had to.* I may deserve a little flak, but I have to say, they did it again.* Metazoa was an enormous accomplishment in metal because it was probably the first synthesis of both metal and non-metal's best qualities that actually worked.* It was the first album that I'd heard that would bring Tom Waits, Darkthrone and The Beatles all under one roof and didn't make me feel seasick.* * Dwellings is an equal accomplishment, in that it showed that Cormorant would be able to have a very distinct change in sound, while still maintaining a massive umbrella of influences.* The First Man is the most black metal track that the band has ever produced, but you still hear all of the blues that come out during the second verse's riffs, right before they steamroll right into a riff that wouldn't be out of place on Sons of Northern Darkness.* But then you jump into another track, Funambulist, most resembling Metazoa's track, Hanging Gardens, which dwells around guitarist Matt Solis' incredible clean vocals that made tracks like Sky Burial perfect.* Vocalist/Bassist Arthur Von Nagel is the best lyricist in metal, creating thought provoking narratives on topics like imperialism, Phillipe Petit and the Guinean revolt in 2009.* You could write about what's incredible on this album till the cows come home.* The beautiful and groundbreaking artwork, the lyrics, the production, the songwriting.* A lot of people cap off their album of the year track by saying there's nothing bad about an album, but in the case of Dwellings, you can't find something that isn't perfect.

slapguitarer
01-12-2012, 07:40 PM
Good shit bro. :rocker:

I disagree with that very last sentence your wrote though.

idrinkwine732
01-13-2012, 06:02 AM
I mean, it's a hyperbole, but in a lot of ways, I mean it.

masterguy49
01-13-2012, 09:23 PM
http://reigninart.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Disma-Towards-The-Megalith-300x300.jpg

9. Disma - Towards the Megalith

Oh boy, I don't think I've heard a death metal album released post-2005 or so that's made me react to it like this.* Concocting a brew based mainly out of Incantation, Towards the Megalith is a massive,heavy and extremely dirty old school death metal album.* With Craig Pillard handeling the vocals as perfectly as his Onward to Golgotha performance, Towards the Megalth really feels like a throwback to the old Incantation days.* Perhaps a little bit too much so, as the main backlash that I heard to this album was its lack of ingenuity and creativeness.* However, borrowing Funebrarum members Shawn Eldridge and Daryl Kahan really packed a punch in the creativity department, with enough new riffs to make it seem refreshing.* But still, Towards the Megalith is a release that should have the death metal purists goozing from the ears with happiness, because the relative lack of activity from Incantation had a bunch of people nervous.* A killer offering from people who we knew were going to kill it.

:lovedup: Someone else who had this in their top 10! :D

GarageMetal468
01-13-2012, 09:37 PM
:lovedup: Someone else who had this in their top 10! :D

I did too, such a sick album!

masterguy49
01-13-2012, 09:43 PM
I did too, such a sick album!

Oh shit, you did! We are some of the few have though, sad, this album deserves way more love :rocker:

GarageMetal468
01-13-2012, 09:45 PM
Oh shit, you did! We are some of the few have though, sad, this album deserves way more love :rocker:

Hell yeah. Can't wait to see them at MDF too!

masterguy49
01-13-2012, 09:55 PM
Hell yeah. Can't wait to see them at MDF too!

Same here! I can't imagine how heavy they would be live :drool:

GarageMetal468
01-13-2012, 09:56 PM
Same here! I can't imagine how heavy they would be live :drool:

Yeah, they fit in perfectly with the rest of the lineup on the last day! Man... that's gonna be an experience seeing all those bands in the same day.

illuminatus917
01-14-2012, 10:14 PM
sleepmakeswaves at #2... Wow. Biggest surprise of your top 10, though now that I think about it I don't know why I didn't see it coming.

Nice list :fist:

hb420
01-15-2012, 12:07 AM
Fantastic list, great final ten. really nice that you gave Atma some love. :fist:

idrinkwine732
01-15-2012, 04:59 AM
Fantastic list, great final ten. really nice that you gave Atma some love. :fist:

I wish I fell in love with it sooner. That's a hell of an album.

masterguy49
01-15-2012, 11:06 AM
Yeah, they fit in perfectly with the rest of the lineup on the last day! Man... that's gonna be an experience seeing all those bands in the same day.
I won't be able to live after being crushed by all those insanely heavy riffs.