18. Vesperia - An Olden Tale
Vesperia is a folk/melodic death metal band that features my awesome guitar teacher shredding it up on lead guitar, alongside the bassist/drummer of Crimson Shadows. I'm not usually one for folk, but this album is just awesome. It has what might be the catchiest melody I've ever heard in "The Swordsman". If there's one thing you listen to on this list, try 30 seconds of that song and you should be hooked. I'm probably a bit biased on this release, but it really is brilliant. Standouts are "The Swordsman", "Forsaken Shores", and the epic "An Olden Tale".
17. Deicide - In The Minds of Evil
This is by far the most old-school sounding Deicide album since "Serpents of the Light". While it isn't as obviously catchy as "To Hell With God", it is probably just as good. I think this one ranks so high just because it caught me by surprise. Benton sounds amazing, and it's nice to hear modern Deicide without Ralph Santolla. I did like some of Santolla's soloing, but it really didn't fit Deicide. My favourite tracks are "In The Minds of Evil", "Godkill", and "End The Wrath of God".
Once we get to this point, I have to clarify that these next releases are on another level. In any other year where I didn't go so crazy and hear everything humanly possible (though not on MPF's levels), these would make my top 10.
16. Axxion - Wild Racer
RACER! I'M A WILD RACER! That is literally the only thing that goes through my head when I think about this album because it's so brilliant. It took me a while to warm up to the vocals on this album, but now I love them. They're very much in the Skull Fist "crazy guy shouting melodically" style. Overall the album has a lot of awesome speed metal burners, but they can still slow it down when they need to. The best songs are "Wild Racer", "Stallion", and "Still Hungry".
15. Holy Grail - Ride The Void
This is one band that could have messed up badly, but luckily they managed to create something pretty good. It gets a bit misguided at certain points, but there are enough good songs to make me keep coming back to this album. They continued the emphasis on shredding, which is enough to keep me happy despite the questionable moments. The highlights are "Sleep of Virtue", "Silence The Scream", and "The Great Artifice".
4/24 - Skull Fist
5/3 - Dragonforce
5/16 - Cauldron
6/20 - Bolt Thrower
7/30-8/1 - Wacken Open Air