14. Phantom - The Powers That Be
Toronto's traditional heavy metal scene is currently the best in the world, bar none. Phantom may appear to be newcomers, but they're actually the result of Ash Lee Blade breaking up. This first EP from the group is seriously one of the best things I've ever heard. The first three tracks in particular are so undeniably catchy that I always have them randomly popping into my head. While this band sounds nothing like Skull Fist or Cauldron, fans of both bands should definitely enjoy them. Standout tracks are "The Powers That Be", "In Metal", and "Keepers of the Flame".
13. Ghost - Infestissumam
Trendy pick #1 on my list, but this album deserves it. I was certain Ghost would buy into their own hype from the last album, and when I first heard "Secular Haze" and "Year Zero", I was convinced that happened. I decided to give the album a shot anyways when I got an HMV gift card for my birthday and it was a great choice. This record is far better than the first one. It's simplistic, but catchy. The zaniness of the both singles ended up growing on me, and the bouncy "Jigolo Har Megiddo" became in the running for song of the year for me. There's so much that is great about this album to say, but it's really something everyone needs to hear if they haven't. My favourites are "Secular Haze", "Jigolo Har Megiddo", and "Monstrance Clock".
12. Hatchet - Dawn of the End
It's no secret that I was a huge fan of Hatchet's first album. It was a modern thrash masterpiece, and that's probably why this album took a bit to grow on me, but now I enjoy "Dawn of the End" even more than the debut. The production is perfect for a thrash record, with one of the crunchiest tones ever (best noticed on the mid-paced title track). Once again, Jules' signature lead guitar style is really noticeable, despite a bit of a shift in the style of the riffs. There's even some Iron Maiden influence in "Fall From Grace". As you saw from earlier in the list, this was by far the best thrash album of the year by a mile, until another contender arrived. Nonetheless, it will go down as one of the great retro thrash records of all time. The best songs are "Fall From Grace", "Dawn of the End", and "Vanishing Point".
11. Satan - Life Sentence
This is the second and last trendy pick of my list, but, again, this is quite deserving. I actually got to hear this album well before it leaked/was released, and I knew immediately it was something special. I don't think there has ever been a release in the last decade that has sounded so convincingly old-school. I honestly don't think I can say anything about this album that hasn't been said by anyone else, so I'll just ended it here. My favourites are "Twenty Twenty Five", "Siege Mentality", and the best song of all: "Testimony".
1/13 - Enforcer, Warbringer, Cauldron, Exmortus
3/31 - Sonata Arctica
Last edited by Spiner202; 12-28-2013 at 06:08 AM.