So...the long countdown starts...
50. Arsis - Starve for the Devil
It feels so wrong to put this album this low, and if you had asked me where this would place before it was released, I'd have said top 20. Unfortunately, it deserves to be here. I think technical death metal can be pulled off with some focus, something bands like Brain Drill just can't do, and is what made Celebration of Guilt fucking awesome and We Are the Nightmare just okay. Arsis put some focus back in there, but not to the point to make me jump for joy. It makes me sad to see such fantastic artists put out some so-so at best work.
49. Annihilator - Annihilator
Let it be known that I am a huge admirer of Jeff Waters. His work on Alison Hell is brilliant and he never is mentioned enough in the "lol who is the best metal guitarist lol" conversation. But just like Arsis lack focus, Annihilator's latest work just lacks something interesting. I could always find something nice to say about Metal and some of the other later Annihilator, but I can't bring myself to do it this time.
48. October Falls - A Collapse of Faith
There are a ton of people I know that will swear by this album. They consider it to be genius. I however, see this as just a dude making some bland as shit metal. It seems as if there are like four riffs throughout the whole album, and no matter what anyone says, without variance or any type of change, I'm going to be bored. I feel like there was an aesthetic here that Lehto was trying to hit but fell short.
47. Orphaned Land - The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR
Here's the part where albums break the meh to slightly good barrier. Slightly good is exactly how I'd describe this album to somebody. It's pretty damn simple, it's got some cool influences, and it won't blow your mind. I think some parts sound like they're skipping due to over-repeating, but in the end, Orphaned Land didn't do anything bad with this album. With that said, they're capable of a lot more.
46. Darkthrone - Circle the Wagons
I'm generally in the camp of people that are attracted to a punkish Darkthrone in concept, but not really in practice. It shocks me that this is the same band that made Transilvanian Hunger. Circle the Wagons is a cool album, but not a cool Darkthrone album. If they were a fresh new band on the scene, maybe I could get behind it a bit more, but Darkthrone is forever doomed to be judged like Darkthrone.
45. Coffinworm - When All Became None
Here's an album that was completely off of my radar going into the year. Brad recommended it to me, and unlike everything else he likes (
) it was pretty good. I thought the writing was mighty dandy and I thought that the album as a whole was fairly well done, but I just couldn't get behind the production. The drums just sounded sickening (in a bad way). The guitar sound is the noise equivalent of some undercooked scrambled eggs. The whole album sounded completely off to me. I feel like with a mighty good production job this album could have jumped up a dozen spots or so.
44. Trident - World Destruction
This album came to me through a rec I got online, and once I heard Trident had Necrophobic and Dissection members, I was sold. I was thinking I'd get a totally gnarly blackened death album, but I was a little disappointed. They seemed to trade off ripping off all of their old bands, which actually isn't a dreadful idea, but the whole album seemed stale. This is probably the only time in my entire life that I will say that a Necrophobic/Dissection mix wouldn't be a good thing, but that's what World Destruction is.
43. Black Tusk - Taste the Sin
Sludge band with some chunky ass riffs? I'm down. However, execution is again not this band's specialty. I think Black Tusk came really close with Taste the Sin, and played a Kylesa-ish band role very well. They get a really awesome sound a few songs in, but like Kylesa, they don't have a ton of versatility. Still, a great album to rock every now and then.
42. Warbeast - Krush the Enemy
As a non-fan of Pantera, it would be very easy for me to dismiss a lot of the bands that the Anselmo lovers like to check out. However, I was assured that the new Warbeast was a damn good album and fortunately they were correct. They bring in some awesome slower thrash riffs here and there. Also, although it's weird because of how coarse they sound, Bruce Corbitt's vocals are quite refreshing. Warbeast aren't a band like Vektor. They won't reinvent the wheel any time soon. I know there are a ton of bands like that, but I think there's room for one more.
41. Svarti Loghin - Drifting Through the Void
Here we go! Our first really good album of the year. Svarti Loghin have a really awesome atmosphere about them and their sound is truly unique. They have a spacey black metalish sound that reminds of Alcest at parts but never strays into the shoegaze territory that Alcest does. Without the dragging and muddy sections of the middle and a continuation of some of the better parts of the album, this could be a top 15 album. I'll be watching their future with a ton of interest.
These reviews will get longer when I have more nice things to say