Well it is now time for part 3. Some of the best is yet to come.
1.) Blackfield- Welcome To My DNA
I do like Blackfield, the side project of Porcupine Tree frontman, Steven Wilson.. They have written some of the most beautiful music that's ever happened in music. But at the same time. They have written 3 of the exact same albums. The only real difference is the song, Go To Hell, which has really turned out to be a real love/hate song among fans. The lyrics are juvenile, but that is the point of the song. If you have heard the first 2 Blackfield albums, you are absolutely not missing anything on Welcome To My DNA. If you have yet to check out Blackfield, This would be a great introduction to the band.
2.) Long Distance Calling- Long Distance Calling
Long Distance Calling's previous album, Avoid The Light, is one of my favorite albums of all time. SO I was really excited to hear that they have released their new self titled album. To my almost dismay, it's just not the same. None of the real memorable hooks Avoid The Light had. The one song I truely do love is the song, Middleville featuyring John Bush of Anthrax/Armored Saint fame.It reminds me of what would have happened if Anthrax kept up the Alternative feel they had going with John Bush in the early-mid 90s. Not to say the other songs on the album are bad, but compared to Avoid The Light, it's just not as good. It feels like something big is missing. I still consider it among my top 20 of 2011 so far, but at the same time, I know it could have been so much higher.
3.) Havok- Time Is Up
I will love Thrash until the day I die. That will never change. Havok is a big reason why I still do. They are a big part of the Thrash Metal Revival that is still desperately needed. Time Is Up is a revival of the great 80's thrash scene, reminding me of a mix between Exodus and Death Angel. Like Most thrash metal of today, there is nothing groundbreaking, or innovative on this album, just pure ass kicking Thrash, That's all I ask for in Thrash Metal.
4.) Lazarus A.D.- Black Rivers Flow
Wisconsin based Thrashers, Lazarus took a complete left turn on their new album. Their debut album, appropriately title, The Onslaught, was exactly that., An Onslaught of Thrash. Black Rivers Flow, is about half the tempo of The Onslaught, and focusing much more on Melody and Groove. Which is a welcoming change to me. A lot of Tr00 fans will hate this album because it's not just an audio attack of Metal. It is a much more focused album that has better song writing and better overall songs. The best way I can describe it, is a much more Melodic Megadeth. I really dig this album, if you need a bit of a change from standard Thrash Metal, this is an album for you.
5.) Emmanuel And The Fear- Hands
This is an EP from a great Indie Rock band that needs to be known, Emmanuel And The Fear. These guys do something that is a welcoming change in the Indie Rock scene, write original sounding music. Musically, Hands goes everywhere. From heavy to Political, to bluesy, to the indie Rock sound. Hands appears to me a much angrier album, especially lyrically. then their debut album from last year. WHile I typically don't add EPs on my top of lists (unless I make a separate EP list) But in terms of Non Metal music, this will rank very high in my favorite releases of the year.
6.) Goes Cube- In Tides and Drifts
Goes Cube is a favorite discovery for me in 2009. A much more Hardcore version of Torche. Thier style of fast driven Hardcore Sludge Metal is something I love to listen to. It also has a Math Rock/Math Metal feel in some spots, but almost always in 4/4. Amongst all the chaos, there are odd moments of slow beauty. It's not too often on the album, but it hits you pretty damn hard. This album goes by very fast. And definitely worth giving a shot.
7.) Darkest Hour- The Human Romance
Darkest hour is one of the forefront bands in the Metalcore scene. I originally gave up on ever liking Darkest hour when I heard guitarist Kris Norris left the band, their last album left me wanting so much more, and I realize now, the band felt the same way. So what did they do about. They wrote one of the best albums of 2011. The Human Romance. Every song has what a Metal fan would want. Melodicness, Brutality, non-shitty breakdowns where needed. They finally wrote and album that I love all the way through. I gotta hand it to them, I didn't that that was ever going to happen. If this album doesn't get them the recognition they deserve, nothing will.
8.) Panzerchrist- Regiment Ragnarok
How these guys are not the biggest Death metal band in the world right now is beyond be. It has everything a lot of Death Metal bands are missing right now. Absolutely brutality, the greatest blast beats on record, excellent songwriting. They are a Death Metal band, that breaks from the stereotype and creates absolutely, listenable chaos.
9.) Boris- Klatter
This album is more of the Boris that I've remembered from years gone by. Very Doomy and experimental. But unlike the original Boris of just pure noise, there is actual structure to these songs rather then just, make noise when you feel like it. It's almost like 70's Hard Rock meets Doom, or to be more relative to the times, if The Sword made an Experimental Black Sabbath album. While it is good overall, it is a mood album. Make sure you are in the mood for something different, then this should be right up your alley.
10.) DevilDriver- Beast
DevilDriver is a band who constantly gets better and better musically and songwriting wise. I always give these guys a chance, but there is something about them that just never seems to click with me. Bands like Chimaira are the same way. Absolutely excellent, but just not for me. That said, Best is very badass and easily the best DevilDriver album to date. Technical, Melodic, and heavy as hell. It still isn't clicking with me enough to really like DevilDriver, but after a few more real listens, Beast just might change mind on these guys.
11.) Shining- VII- Fodd Forlorare
No this isn't the shining that Love more, the Norwegian Shining, but rather the Swedish Death metal Shining. The Swedish Shining is band that I discovered a couple months ago and I'm starting to get into their back catalog. But VII is a good start for me. It reminds if Opeth would have went more into a Blackened Death Metal route. I do agree with others that this album doesn't live up to their past work, but this album is still damn good, and when you need something more out of Death Metal, check these guys out.
12.) Pestilence- Doctrine
I'll keep this one short and sweet, Amazing music, shitty almost unbearable vocals.
13.) Novembers Doom- Aphotic
Simply the greatest Doom/Death Metal album of 2011. There is as much beauty as their is despair on this album. The music is top notch and the vocals are the best they have ever been. It constantly changes like Opeth from Death Metal heavy to acoustic beauty., but all in it's own way. To me, it's a Masterpiece. Novembers Doom's finest work!
14.) Amon Amarth- Sutur Rising
It's funny how all the Death metal albums are getting lumped together in this list. Amon Amarth put out an album that doesn't sound like the rest of their songs, granted there are similarities, but Sutur Rising adds something different that hasn't been there before. It's hard to describe. Also to note this marks the first time there is clean vocals on an Amon Amarth album, for the System Of Down cover of Arials. Later down the line this will be noted as one of their finest albums.
15.) Daniel Jakubovic- Elef Kirot
This will be going down in my top 5, if not higher, albums of 2011. This album has absolutely everything I want in an album...expect vocals in English. But even though the lyrics are in Hebrew, It makes me sing a long to every word. The music constantly goes from Proggy to Poppy to Rockin' to Acoustic. All instruments done by the man himself. This is what Progressive Music needs to be, just hopefully next time in English.
16.) Destruction- Day of Reckoning
Germany's finest Thrash Metal band is back. While once again pointing out it is just straight up Thrash Metal, It is so damn good. It makes you want to bang your head on every song. The musicianship is spectacular, while sometimes the lyrics can be taken as cheesy, I don't pay attention to that. When it comes to Thrash, the music comes first, and these guys pull it off.
17.) Blackguard- Firefight
I first heard these guys opening for Nevermore on Halloween night. They are the other 2 Pirate Metal bands around besides Alestorm (Swashbuckle being the other, at least in in notoriety). Blackguard is a much more Thrash orientated Metalcore band. While the album does feature a lot of great songs, live it does not come out the same, due to the lack of Synths, which is heavily featured on the album. To me, it feels a lot lacking on the album. Nothing too much sticks out to me, other then just the overall style. It's worth checking out, but I prefer Alestorm.
18.) Primordial- Redemption At The Puritan's Hands
I can't believe I didn't discover these guys until this year. This is the perfect epic Metal. Irish Folk Battle Metal with a vocal style similar to Blind Guardian, with the occasional scream. The album is perfection from start to finish musically. And the vocals, holy shit the vocals are amazing. This is one of the bands I hope to one day see, despite the lack of U.S. touring. Maybe one day.
19.) Water And Bodies- Light Year
Water and Bodies is a great band that came form the dissolution of the Progressive Rock band, Kaddisfly. The music is a bit more alternative, then Kaddisfly but in a way, it is very similar. It is very catchy and enjoyable all the way through. While I one day hope for the return of Kaddisfly, Water And Bodies will more then hold my interest. for a break from the Metal, this is an album that will sooth the soul.
20.) Red Fang- Murder The Mountains
The return of Kyuss, with entirely different members and a different name. Red Fang is single handedly going to bring back Stoner Metal to the forefront on the upcoming Mayhem Festival. Their second album is chalk full of memorable Kyuss style riffs and the Stoner Metal style that left the mainstream and went into the doom Metal vein. Once again pointing it out, if you miss Kyuss, check out Red Fang, you won't be disappointed.
That should be it for now, tomorrow will bring part 4
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