I'm cutting out the next two parts of my list (surprises and disappointments) and getting right to the list. It's been expanded to 15 albums. I will say that I either haven't listened to the following albums enough or I don't have them:
Diamond Plate - Generation Why?
Fullforce - One
Invection - Facet of Aberration (this one would certainly make the top 8)
Skull Fist - Head of the Pack
Vektor - Outer Isolation
Starting with #15:
15. Glen Drover - Metalusion
Maybe I'm biased because I took guitar lessons from Drover for a while, but I love this album. It's a lot more interesting than your typical instrumental shred album (which I do love). It was surprising to find out that so many of these songs were covers, but I hadn't heard any of them before, so it was all new material to me.
Recommended Track: Ground Zero
14. Alcoholator - Coma
I've been following this band since their release of "Drunker Than Thou" last year and this really just improves on it. It's pretty standard thrash, but all of the tracks are memorable and have great riffing. The Exciter cover was a bit of a dud, but the rest of the album is awesome. Full review here: http://www.metal-archives.com/review...r/Coma/317273/
Recommended Track: Abduction
13. Rhapsody of Fire - From Chaos to Eternity
This was the third Rhapsody/Rhapsody of Fire album I picked up and it's far superior to the other two I have. Unlike the others, this has more than one amazing track, and it also has a lengthy track that doesn't overstay its welcome. This is really nothing you wouldn't expect from this band, they just did it better than I've ever heard. I'm not sure where they'll go from here, but I wouldn't have minded if they went out on this album.
Recommended Tracks: From Chaos to Eternity
& the epic Heroes of the Waterfalls' Kingdom