I tried to do a top 10 of 2011 metal albums, but quickly realized that there were far too many good releases for the year. Instead, I am doing a top 20 (or so) metal albums of 2011. Let me know your thoughts and your lists.
Motörhead – The World is Yours
Oh. Motorhead, my old mistress, how I always forget to give ye respect. Well, not this year. Motorhead always just seems to be there for me. I love the band and believe that they are so underrated, but their releases are never strong enough to make a top ten list. Well, this year, that all changes with The World is Yours. There are some killer tracks on here and is one of their best albums in a long time. Cheers to Lemmy and the crew for this one.
Eastern Front – Blood on Snow
I have been preaching about Eastern Front to anyone that will listen, but apparently, not many people are listening. Such a shame because this album is a killer album. Think about some hyper-aggressive war metal and mix it with some nice black metal and you have Eastern Front. They are close to a Marduk in terms of sound, but have their own sound. They simply rock. I first got the advance in 2010 actually and was talking about it then, but the actual release date was January of this year. All I have to do is pop in this CD and I instantly am reminded on how awesome it is.
Vader – Welcome to the Morbid Reich
This one is one of the more recent albums of the year, but it does not make it any less awesome. There are some absolute killer songs on this one, and it is coming in as one of my favorite Vader albums ever (which is saying a lot). They had a nice formula in place for death metal. Lord Vader is among us.
Megadeth – TH1RT3EN
I will put Th1rt3en up there with Machine Head’s Unto the Locust as having the sweetest album covers of the year. Outside of the artwork, the album simply kicks ass. There is (almost) not a weak moment on the album. It kicks ass from front to back and is one of my most listened to releases of the year. Dave Mustaine still can bring it with the best of them and Chris Broderick may well be their best guitar player yet.
Anthrax – Worship Music
I am actually amazing that Worship Music made this list. I like Anthrax, but I am not in love with them like a lot of people are. I know that (technically) they deserved a spot on The Big Four, but they are so far removed from the other bands that it is not even funny. To put them in the same conversation as Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth is just plain nuts. Also, call me silly, but I am more of a Bush fan (pun intended) than a Belladonna fan. I did not expect this album to be as good as it was and now I look like a fool. It kicks ass.
Machine Head – Unto the Locust
I have talked about Machine Head ad nauseam for years now. I just love this band. In my eyes, they can do no wrong. The Blackening was absolutely sick. In my opinion, they have never had a letdown album. Not many people will agree with me on that one though. I fully expected Unto the Locust to be my album of the year, but that is just a testament as to how good some of these other releases were. I really did dig Unto the Locust, so I am not one of the haters out there that did not get into this one because they did not clone The Blackening. I applaud them for taking that chance and it panned out nicely for them. They are one of those bands that I can never get enough of.
Lake of Tears – Illwill
Here is a head-scratcher for those of you “what the fuck were you thinking putting this in your list” people. I dig Lake of Tears. They have yet to let me down. Okay, they went off on a tangent for a little while, but they are back with a vengeance. I will go on record as saying that U.N.S.A.N.E. is one of the best songs of the year.
In Flames – Sounds of a Playground Fading
In Flames is actually one of my favorite bands out there and Sounds of a Playground Fading was a great return to form for them. I was feeling let down from A Sense of Purpose. It seemed to have no purpose (Boo. I know that was lame). I still listen to this CD a lot, which is always a good sign. I did not not think that I was going to like this as much from my first reaction. I just wish that they had not pulled out of the Mayhem Festival so that I could have caught them live this year.
Amon Amarth – Surtur Rising
This was easily my most-listened to album of the year. I still pull it out every now and again and crank the hell out of it. On top of this amazing album, Amon Amarth did that amazing tour where they played a double set with the first set being Surtur Rising in its entirety. I had a feeling that my top one and two were going to be this and Machine Head, but I figured that the Machine Head would have ended up first. Oh well, I am happy to say that Amon Amarth did not disappoint. They are one of the most steady metal bands out there these days.
Single Bullet Theory – IV
So, this is my first WTF pick for album of the year. A lot of you may have never even heard of Single Bullet Theory. They are one of my favorite bands actually. Matt (founder/vocalist/guitars) is a hell of a guy and it helps that they are a Philly band, but I swear there is no home-cooking here. They are just one hell of a band. With IV being their fourth release, you have a few albums that you must now pick up. Do it. Needless to say, this is one of the best melodic death metal bands out there these days. On top of all of that, there is simply some of the best guitar work laid down in years on here.
Here are a few more releases (in order) from how I liked them. No disrespect to any of these bands because they really brought it this year too.
Opeth – Heritage
Different, but very impressive nonetheless.
Arch Enemy – Khaos Legions
Nobody ever seems to give Arch Enemy love. I do not get it. Angela rocks. Michael shreds. What’s not to like?
Peste Noire – L’Ordure à l’état Pur
One of my guilty pleasures. Such a damned fine band.
Wolves in the Throne Room – Celestial Lineage
For some reason, I was surprised at how good this was, but I am not sure why. Wolves have been bringing it for years.
The Bronx Casket Co. – Antihero
DD Verni’s (Overkill) side band. This is their fourth release and each of them are simply awesome. Sometimes, you need some good doom/goth to get you going.
Children of Bodom – Relentless Reckless Forever
Hyper-talented band that seems to get lumped in with the wrong crowd all of the time. Relentless was a welcome return for me. They seem to have slipped off a bit until this year.
U.D.O. – Rev Raptor
Udo brings it with every release. If you have never seen him live, you are doing yourself a disservice. This release was damned good.
Onslaught – Sounds Of Violence
Another one of the early releases in the year. They have come a long way since their early days. They can still shred, but now have a violent side to them.
Burzum – Fallen
Once again, I listen to the man’s music, not the man. I agree with nothing he has done in the past. I just hope that is all behind him. Fallen is hynotic.
Isole – Born from Shadows
Sometimes, you just need some doom to level you out, and when you do, I suggest Isole. They are right up there with Candlemass and Solitude Aeturnus.
Here are the honorable mentions:
Vreid – V
Deicide – To Hell with God
Cavalera Conspiracy – Blunt Force Trauma
Warbringer – Worlds Torn Asunder
Belphegor – Blood Magick Necromance
Iced Earth – Dystopia
Turisas – Stand Up and Fight
Enslaved – The Sleeping Gods (EP)
Marduk – Iron Dawn (EP)
Sepultura – Kairos