40. Equilibrium - Rekreatur
I can't stand the word epic. Maybe that makes me an outcast in my age group, but it's true. However, Equilibrium made the term "epic" really fit their music with Rekreatur. Most other bands like Equilibrium can't really keep my attention because I'm just no fan of keys, but they made them work for me. Maybe it's the deep growls that reminded me of death metal, or the guitar tone they got that made it more accessible to me. But most importantly, the way Equilibrium used the keys on this album makes me a lot more interested to check them out extensively.
39. Unleashed - As Yggdrasil Trembles
I fucking had this album at #48 on Thursday. I was writing my review for it while listening and went, "y'know, this is better than I thought it was," and made a very appropriate adjustment. I don't know what I was listening to the first time around. Unleashed really bring the heavy with Yggdrasil but write a few really good hooks and some killer melodic riffs along the way.
38. Finntroll - Nifelvind
I look at Finntroll a lot like I look at RC cola. It's fantastic for a change of pace, but it's not something you want to have all the time. I really like the whole blackened folk sound they have going on, and since this album is fairly consistent at giving you those type of tunes, it's worth a fairly good spot. They bring the viking ish sort of sound with the chants in songs like Solsagan and an element that has since become cliched, but still welcome. A fine album.
37. Howl - Full of Hell
I fell asleep to this album the first time I heard it, feeling as if it wasn't too different from the Black Tusks of the world. I was assured that this was a good album, so I gave it another shot. I was thinking, "This is alright, sort of good." when I was going through the first few tracks, but then I heard something in Jezebel that made me think I should just start over again. I really liked it. Howl are a band that wear their influences on their sleeves but still make it work. They grab the chunky riffs that Taste the Sin had and brought some more variety into the equation. Full of Hell is What Taste the Sin was trying to be.
36. Nevermore - The Obsidian Conspiracy
There is a demand for an accessible metal band like Nevermore. Something that can bring the heavy riffs and can still be easy on the ears and have soaring clean vocals. The Obsidian Conspiracy joins its predecessor, This Godless Endeavor, at the right hand of the throne in this regard. With possible exception to the aforementioned This Godless Endeavor, Loomis and Dane give their best performances on their respective instruments. Loomis acheives an incredible tone on this album. I wish I enjoyed this style of music more, because the work on this album is really something to be loved.
35. Nachtmystium - Addicts: Black Meddle Part II
Nachtmystium are a band that fascinates me. They have the ability to create your occasional awesome song and at the exact same time manage to have some really shitty ones as well. Brad once described some of their songs as "her der lets put a saxophone here" sort of work. I somewhat agree, but I believe that Addicts has a few better parts than their previous albums. Not something that I would play frequently, but it was a really cool listen those first few times.
34. Cardiac Arrest - Haven for the Insane
Ever since I noticed a difference in sound between Bloodbath's Resurrection Through Carnage and Nightmares Made Flesh, I've been looking for a band who can recreate that feeling. Haven For the Insane really made me know that I have found an admirable replacement. They have that chainsaw tone that Resurrection made me love and the connections could go on forever. This album had a small production issue with the way the drums sounded in my opinion, but outside of that, this is some of the best Bloodbath worship I've heard.
33. Overkill - Ironbound
It wouldn't be a year of metal without one album from that band that was good a long time ago that has sort of sucked but now is good again. In the era of re-thrash, we began to forget that some older bands were still waving the flag. Megadeth with Endgame is a prime example and Overkill with Ironbound is a fine runner up. The riffs aren't special, but they're fresh enough to keep the genre alive. The tone that Overkill achieves on this album is stellar and Blitz puts on his best vocal performance in a long time. An album that will go underrated for some time but that will not deteriorate its value.
32. Kalmah - 12 Gauge
This album had a similar path as the new Unleashed. It sat for some time in the back part of my list, yet upon final examination, yielded a very fine result. I first heard of Kalmah maybe a year and a half ago and expected them to be an Insomnium-esque band. While the melodeath side certainly is strong, I did not expect them to be so heavy. 12 Gauge was a continuation of a fantastic sort of heavy branded melodic death metal. The album tears through consistently and at a relentless rate. Really an album to behold.
31. Hail of Bullets - On Divine Winds
For an album that received a ton of flak for not being up to par with its predecessor, this is a damn fine album. I would have been blown away if Hail of Bullets had made a masterpiece like Of Frost and War, and truthfully was quite surprised at how good Warsaw Rising was. I've heard so much complaining about On Divine Winds that people forget how similar to Warsaw Rising it really is. There is no great departure from sound on this album, and is an album chock full of heavy buzzsaw riffs that made Of Frost and War so awesome. Van Drunen delivers a vocal performance inferior to his past work yet not to the point where it detracts from the album's total value. Fine work from the Dutch supergroup.