Clutch - Earth Rocker
This album rocked and grooved as what you would expect from a regular Clutch album, which is already fucking awesome. The production was also very heavy and large, but the album felt like it lacked consistency. Not all the songs were as good as the others, and "Gone Cold", although it was a great tune, was totally misplaced. Neil's vocals were fun, but his lyrics were weak when compared to his previous stuff.
It was a very enjoyable album, but not good enough to make my list.
Phoenix - Bankrupt!
One of the catchiest "pop" albums of the year. On this one, the french alt-rockers switched to a more synthpop/new wave influenced sound, with, obviously, more predominant keyboards. The hooks and general songwriting are not as perfect as on the previous album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, but they are still great.
Something I found better about this one is the denser sonic textures present on songs like "Entertainment". Sadly, some of the songs got slightly annoying after being listened to many times.
Boards of Canada - Tomorrow's Harvest
The Scottish electronic duo did it again with this release. Ethereal ambiances and eerie electronic sounds that sound like they've been taken from old documentary films. They didn't change their formula, but still made an excellent album. However, every time I've listened to it, I was either studying or sleeping, so I've still not managed to get a real grip on it.
Katatonia - Dethroned & Uncrowned
Not actually an original full-length, but a remake of their last masterpiece, Dead End Kings. I had to mention it, since these guys are one of my favourite bands ever.
On this one they took out the heavy downtuned guitar and pounding polyrhythmic drum beats and replaced them with more acoustic guitars and keyboards. It gives the album a soothing, almost neo-classical feel. I can't say I enjoy it as much as the original version, but it's still a very interesting listen.
Iceage - You're Nothing
I have to say I prefer their debut album, New Brigade, but the Danish post-punk rising stars surely made something great on their sophomore release. They kept the rawness and aggression of the first one, removed a bit of the catchiness, and added a wall of shoegaze-inspired whammy-ed out sound. It's not an easy listen, but it's really good.
I could go on like this for a while, so I think I'm going to go on with the EPs.
12/18 - Neutral Milk Hotel
12/19 - GY!BE/Neurosis
12/25 - Tribunal (my band)