5. Zu - Carboniferous
Really strange, heavy, and inventive mix of metal, jazz, and electronica. Mostly instrumental, but with a guest appearance by Mike Patton. Badass stuff.
4. Ankla - Persistence
I have become a sucker for strong and novel fusions between modern metal or punk and regional traditional musics. I went out looking for good latino metal infused with salsa and flamenco sounds, and didn't have much luck until a couple of people here at metalsetlists directed me to Puya and Ankla. Ankla's Persistence
is a thrilling concoction, with the best and strongest latin influence I've heard in any metal recording. The beats are there in every song, along with occasional salsa melodies or singing styles and flamenco picking. The final song, "No Te Detengas," is an all-out salsa tune, and catchy as hell -- possibly the best track on the disc. The singer reminds me a little of John Bush.
3. Suspended - Prelude to Indignance
Three female Native American teenagers from Albuquerque. Who better to put out the best thrash set I've heard in a long time? This stuff is technically proficient, intelligent, and fierce. Just completely fucking badass.
2. Grandmother Is Dead - Trust Christ Today
This Czech outfit is self-described as "scenic doom music"; they blend metal with flamenco with found sounds to create a genuinely chilling album about the birth of the nuclear age. For all the satanic posturing of various metal acts, none of them can really match lines like "the defense department suggests we may have to destroy five or six more cities before the enemy believes we possess such a weapon" -- delivered with perfect earnestness by a news commentator immediately following the destruction of Hiroshima -- for inspiring actual terror. Having such clips play out against the somber musical backdrop is a unique experience, equal parts thought-provoking and gut-wrenching. It's not an album I want to listen to a lot, but it's an album you can hear once and be changed.
1. Dalriada - Arany-album
Not much to say except that this is the best folk metal I've heard, and I've never seen their name mentioned anywhere. Apparently they have a new album coming in 2011. I'll be watching for it.
How 'bout y'all? Were there any outstanding 2009 albums that slipped under your radar until this year?