Back to it, then.
10. Mudvayne - The New Game
This is another album of many on this list that I did not expect to like. I'll probably get no love for this one, hehe. This wasn't even on my "to hear" list until recently, when I was relistening to previous Mudvayne albums (despite not quite being my style of band anymore, I still have a soft spot for them)... needless to say I ended up chancing on it. I was pleasantly surprised, as I like this a lot more than 2005's "Lost and Found," which was pretty much ...geh. "The New Game" has some elements of older, technical Mudvayne sound, with many new, softer elements (this time done right), and thankfully - it doesn't fucking sound like Hellyeah. Highlights: "Never Enough," "A New Game"
9. Eluveitie - Slania
I didn't even hear of this band until early on this year. They're fucking great. Folk metal rockin' ass-kicking melodic bullshit fuabrnhj. <- That's how awesome it is, my sentence didn't make sense. I mean. It's about time there was a good fucking metal album with a Hurdygurdy on it, right? Fucking right. Highlight: "Inis Mona," "Gray Sublime Archon"
8. In Flames - A Sense Of Purpose
This is a pretty shitty album cover, and I don't really like blowing it up here, but whatever. This album is In Flames finally getting comfortable with their new style. "Come Clarity" made me feel like I could possibly trust In Flames again after the two abominations that came before that, and I feel like this album solidifies them as a decent force again. No they are not (and never will be) the same genius music as Whoracle again (hence them not being like, 5 places ahead
), but yes this is good music. Anders' singing doesn't fucking suck anymore, and this is just a ..well, good album. I like it, that's about it. Highlights: "Alias," "The Chosen Pessimist"
7. Judas Priest - Nostradamus
I think everyone and their mother has heard this double album by now and has almost the same opinion of it. I feel like this is a good album, held down by and abundance of overly dramatic orchestration (that is amazing in some parts, lame in others) and segues (again, some
are pretty cool). And, honestly, I think the production is kind of flaccid. Now... this could have made a pretty excellent single-album, huh? Highlights: "Pestilence and Plague," "Persecution"
6. Motorhead - Motorizer
Another album I can't say much about. It's fucking Motorhead! This album doesn't deviate much from your standard Motorhead album, and that's actually a fucking plus, because (in stark contrast to "Nostradamus") this shit rules! Do you like Motorhead? You will like "Motorizer". 'Nuff said. Highlights: "Rock Out," "The Thousand Names of God"
5. Metallica - Death Magnetic
(Sigh, another album everyone has an opinion on already.) What more can I say about this? This album sparks countless debates, and I can't really say much more than I think it's pretty fucking good, and this is where I rank it.
4. Dir en grey - Uroboros
I've been a fan of Japan's Dir en grey for a while now, but I honestly did not expect to like this album that much. I was in no hurry to hear it, but when I did, I was surprised to find that it was their best output in years. If I could describe the albums simply: Fucking ADHD. This is both a positive and negative, as the album jumps around from place to place, most sounding pretty awesome, and other times freaking blissful, only to hear the occasional moment of "ugh what is this." The funny part about this album is that it's half in English, but still practically undecipherable, to the point that when you hear something in English that you recognize, like "Why, oh why" in Red Soil, it's actually kinda fucking funny. Highlights: "Ware, Yami Tote...," "Doukoku To Sarinu"
3. Nine Inch Nails - Ghosts I-IV
I may have mentioned I was disappointed with "The Slip," but I was not fucking disappointed with NIN this year. This is a double album of very varying instrumental work. It plays flawlessly from quiet ambience, to electronic beats, to absolute chaos with a tinge of Belew (not just style either, Adrian Belew fucking plays on the album). I didn't really like this album at first, but it turned out to be exactly what I wanted to hear. ...I must also mention that despite it being a Nine Inch Nails record, this album sounds incredibly organic. It's almost the complete opposite of The Slip. Not to mention 13 Ghosts II is one of the most hauntingly beautiful pieces I've heard this year. Highlights: "13 Ghosts II" (obviously), "28 Ghosts IV"
2. Boris - Smile
Here's another album that's just a complete fucking journey (last japanese band- I swear!
). To me, this album is even hard to describe. Boris have quite a few styles they excel in, and most are featured on this album. They have soft -> noise epics, short ass-kicking fuzz-rockers, and one nameless droney masterpiece. Highlights: "You Were Holding An Umbrella," "Statement," "Untitled"
1. Opeth - Watershed
Oh, how I feared that this album would suck. After 2005's somewhat mediocre Ghost Reveries
, and a replacement of two of the bands key members, it seemed as if Opeth's downfall had come. Watershed
sets out to prove all of this wrong. This album is pretty colossal and Opeth-y and treads new ground as well. It opens with a surprisingly short song, and closes with... well, I just wouldn't expect it to close an Opeth album. Not to mention the absolutely absurd and hilarious ending to Burden, and the blastbeats in The Lotus Eater. It contains more clean singing than your average Opeth album (even though Heir Apparent is entirely growled), which is a good thing because Mikael Akerfeldt has really gotten quite good at it! This album was truly a grower... nowhere near my number one the first time I heard it... but now here it is. My album of the year. Damn. Highlights: "Heir Apparent," "The Lotus Eater," "Burden"
And that's that. Further thoughts possibly to come.