This year has been a pretty decent one for metal so far quality-wise, quantity-wise there haven’t been as many major stand out records so far, however, if the release schedule for September and October are any indication, things are about to get alot more interesting. This months record reviews column features my favorite albums to come out in August. Check them out because if you like metal, they are all certainly worth your time.
The Faceless are a band that I’ve seen go from relatively unheard of in 2006 when their debut “Akeldama” was released, to one of the more popular American technical death metal bands in the scene 6 years later. From the very get-go they’ve always done things a little different than their contemporaries and on their third album “Autotheism” they’ve undergone a major overhaul in both band members and style and they may have very well created their greatest album yet.
When you listen to their last album “Planetary Duality”, you are greeted by the immense brutality of the vocals courtesy of Derek Rydquist as well as a pretty standard-yet-unique approach to technical death metal, but very little melody. On their third album, The Faceless now have a new bassist in Evan Brewer of Animosity/Reflux as well as a new guitarist, Wes Hauch, and a new vocalist, Geoff Ficco, and the addition of these new members has added quite a few new elements to their sound.The album starts out with a three part trilogy called “Autotheist Movement” and from the very beginning with the string arrangement and the following intro guitar riff you can tell things are much different this time around, especially when Geoff Ficco’s clean singing comes in and is eventually greeted with incredibly brutal growled vocals that give the track an intesne, Opethian vibe. After you get path the trilogy, the album begins to sound more like past Faceless albums, but when you hear songs like “Eidolon Reality” which features quite a bit of clean singing from Ficco again matched with Opethian death growls, you can tell this is definitely not the same band that recorded “Akeldama”, however, I feel like Ficco’s vocals, particularly in the chorus of “Eidolon” really adds a cool, catchy element to the whole album that carries through to the fantastic finisher “In Solitude”.
Fans of The Faceless come to expect a certain level of quality from Michael Keene and on this third album, despite dealing with constant lineup changes over the years, as well as immense pressure to come up with a solid follow-up to “Planetary Duality”, I’d say he has come through yet again. Overall, this record is still a vicious slab of incredibly technical death metal, but there is a ton of melody added to this album thanks to their new vocalist, and I feel that it definitely added to the quality of the album and makes it much more enjoyable than previous efforts.
Grave are a legendary Swedish death metal band that I’m very fond of, so when I heard they were putting out a new album this year I got excited and it shot to the top of my most anticipated albums of the year list. Though Grave are one of the more underrated death metal bands of all time, they are still legendary in their own right, in fact, “Into The Grave” was even named as one of my 13 favorite death metal albums of all time, so with the release of their tenth studio album, they have shown that they are still as violent as ever, if not more so.
When listening to this album, one thing that should stand out immediately is their old school approach to death metal. Most death metal bands these days use triggers and autotune to make themselves sound as “brutal” as possible, but Grave are certainly not one of those bands, you can hear every single noted pounded out on drums and it’s got a very human feel to it which is comforting, but it’s also got an incredibly heavy production to it that gives that brutal Swedish guitar tone a little more ballsy feel to it. Though the album is uncompromisingly heavy the entire time, the album does have a few stand out tracks, particularly the albums incredibly violent opener “Amongst Marble and the Dread”, but the heaviest song on the album has to be “Winds Of Chains”, particularly because of the old school riffing, but also because of how fast the drummer Ronnie Bergerståhl is able to move without using blast beats.
This album is an absolute monster start to finish and though though Ola Lindgren is the only remaining member of the “Into The Grave” era of the band, they have maintained an incredibly uncompromising approach to death metal and I certainly have to applaud them for continuing to wave the flag. If you are a fan of Grave, or if you want to get your face kicked in by awesome, fast, violent death metal, “EPOS” is definitely worth purchasing for sure.
As far as metal bands go, Katatonia are certainly not your average metal band, they have super catchy alt-rock riffs, their singer Jonas Renkse sings almost exclusively clean vocals, and at times they remind me alot of Chevelle. With that said, Katatonia are definitely one of the most important doom metal bands ever because of their incredibly catchy riffs and Jonas Renkse’s beautifully sung vocals. “Dead End Kings” is their ninth full length album and it is proof that they are still incredibly relevant in 2012.
When I first began listening to this album, I didn’t really expect much from it because I assumed that it would be kind of boring, but from the minute “The Parting” opened with Jonas Renkse’s beautiful voice accompanied by incredibly heavy riffs, I was hooked in. Something about the way they mix super heavy riffs with incredibly melodic passages and the way Renkse’s voice sounds perfect over both just really blows my mind and it speaks volumes for the chemistry he and Anders Nystrom still have after forming the band 21 years ago. It’s hard to really call this album doom, despite the fact that it has some bummer moments for sure, but it’s also hard to all it alternative metal despite the fact that some of their riffs, particularly on the track “Dead Letters” which features an opening riff that sounds JUST like something Tool or Chevelle would do. The entire album is filled with moments of incredibly heavy riffs that eventually give way to beautiful melodic riffs that rollercoaster about very similarly to Opeth, in fact, given the choice between 2012 Opeth and 2012 Katatonia…I’d pick Renkse and Nystrom over the boring shell of a band Opeth has become any day.
I have been listening to this album alot lately because it’s incredibly catchy and fun and merits multiple listens thanks to the wonderful duo of Nystrom and Renkse who are also joined by Per “Sodomizer” Eriksson on guitar which is ironic because those three are also the main members of the current lineup of Bloodbath. If you are a fan of Opeth, Tool, Porcupine Tree, or incredibly catchy metal with easily accessible vocals, this album is right up your alley, but I also recommend their second album “Brave Murder Day” an absolute doom metal masterpiece which coincidentally features Mikael Akerfeldt’s screaming vocals.
Murder Construct are a band that many would consider a death/grind supergroup. In their ranks they feature high profile members like Travis Ryan from Cattle Decapitation on vocals, Leon Del Muerte of Exhumed/Phobia/Intronaut/Impaled on guitar/vocals, Danny Walker of Exhumed/Phobia/Intronaut/Uphill Battle/Jesu on drums. “Results” is their first full length album despite the fact that the band formed in 2001. Usually super groups don’t necessarily work out, but when their only mission is to peel your skin off one blast beat at a time, Success is imminent.
The album starts out with the track “Red All Over” which features a slowly building intro for about 30 seconds and from there all hell breaks loose. One of the things you notice automatically is how unabashedly heavy the riffs are, but the other thing that stands out alot on this album is the incredibly intense drumming of Danny Walker, the dude is a legend in the grind community and this album is a 30 minute showcase of how fast and ridiculously talented the dude is. Another cool thing on this album is the unique vocal trade-off between Leon Del Muerte and Travis Ryan, in fact, Travis Ryan even uses his signature “rotten corpse howling through a megaphone” singing style a few times which adds an extra creepy environment to an album already impossibly brutal.
This album is literally a one-stop-shop for people who like their music fast, massively heavy, and almost impossible to headbang along to with any kind of rhythm. If you have incredibly annoying neighbors and you want to give them a soundtrack to punch themselves in the face to, crank up “Results” and leave your house for a bit and let Leon and the boys handle your dirty work for you.
I know you’re wondering why i’m reviewing albums from the last two weeks of April in mid June, but the thing is, I got incredibly behind and am just now beginning to catch up on my reviews in time to do a “best of 2012 so far” list next week, so this post is what I consider the first step towards progress. Be sure and check out these albums if you haven’t already, and stay tuned for reviews from the entire month of May later this week.
Chances are, if you aren’t a fan of Dragonforce’s music, you have at least played their song “Through the Fire and Flames” on Guitar Hero III and had a moderate amount of fun. With the release of “The Power Within”, Dragonforce are back to make every person who’s ever picked up a guitar feel hopeless again, and whether or not you’re a fan, you have to admit that these guys shred. When I first put this album on, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but when I heard songs like “Die By The Sword”, “Fallen World”, and “Cry Thunder”, I knew that not only had Dragonforce released a solid record, but it’s actually one of the best albums in their discography. Gone are former vocalist Zp Theart’s overly dramatic vocals, and in their place, new singer Marc Hudson actually sounds like a real power metal vocalist and gives the album a ton of credibility. I’m very glad to see that Dragonforce were able to regroup after Theart’s departure and put together a solid album. The rhythms and solo’s on this album are just as fast as ever, but there is alot more substance to these songs, and if you are a fan of Dragonforce, or power metal in general, this album is most certainly worth your time.
If you aren’t familiar with the band 16, all you really need to know is that these guys are what it would sound like if you mixed the musicianship and anger of bands like Unsane and Helmet, combined them with what it would sound like to overdose on meth, and add on ten pounds of toxic sludge. The first thing you’ll notice that all the songs on this album have in common is that the riffs are all very catchy and incredibly heavy, and their lyrics are incredibly deperessing. You can tell all of the songs on this album are taken from personal experiences, specifically drug overdoses and possibly domestic violence due to song titles like “Theme From ‘Pilpopper’”, “Her Little “Accident”", and “Ants In My Bloodstream”. This album definitely isn’t a feel good hit of the summer, but if you’re looking for something super heavy and incredibly entertaining, “Deep Cuts From Dark Clouds” is definitely worth a shot.
Bereft are a supergroup of sorts featuring Sacha Dunable of Intronaut/Graviton, Charles Elliott of Abysmal Dawn, Derek Rydquist of The Faceless/The Taste Of Blood, and Derek Donley of National Sunday Law/Graviton. When I first heard about this band, I was very excited, but unsure what genre they were going to gravitate towards…as it turns out, they turned towards the heaviest, sludgiest, most depressing style possible. This album is very short, however, it is certainly full of some of the heaviest riffs you’ll hear all year, specifically on songs like “The Coldest Orchestra” and “Withered Efflorescence”. There are many qualities about this album that make it a fantastic listen, but I would say one of it’s strongest weapons are the death metal-twinged vocals of Charles Elliott bellowed over riffs that are just as heavy and crushing as his vocals. If you are a fan of doom metal, this album is ESSENTIAL listening and will be widely considered one of the best albums of the year when it’s all said and done.
Paradise Lost are a legendary gothic/doom metal band and though they’ve been more gothic than doom lately, with the release of their 13th studio album “Tragic Idol”, they have revisited some old tricks and shown they are just as relevant as ever. The thing about this album that I noticed immediately is that the sound is much doomier than they’ve sounded in quite a while. You can tell that Gregor Mackintosh’s time with Vallenfyre helped ignite his fire for playing super heavy riffs because they are all over this album. Thanks to songs like “Fear Of Impending Hell”, “Honesty In Death” and “In This We Dwell”, Paradise Lost have managed to craft an incredibly heavy, yet super catchy slab of doom that works perfectly along the other albums in their discography. Also, if you’ve never heard Paradise Lost before, this album is definitely worth checking out for it’s huge, doomy riffs, and it’s creative songwriting, but you’d still be better off listening to “Gothic” first.
Prong are one of the few bands who managed to be relevant in both the thrash metal scene of the 80′s as well as the grunge rock scene of the 90′s. Thanks to the excellent guitar playing of Tommy victor, Prong has always had a very unique sound that has heavily featured bonecrushing groove and transceneded both genres, and managed to perfectly mix them together. With the release of “Carved Into Stone”, Prong have unleashed a bloodthirsty slab of thrashy, groove-oriented songs, in fact, songs like “Eternal Heat”, and “Revenge Best Served Cold” are two of the best songs of the bands career, particularly “Revenge” which is the catchiest song i’ve heard all year and would fit perfectly on “Cleansing” right after “Whose Fist Is This Anyway?”. This album is very cool and it’s not one that you merely put on one time and then never listen to again because it’s incredibly heavy like a good hard rock album should be, but it’s also completely infectious, and impossible to stop listening to with songs that stay stuck in your head for days.
Torche are one of those bands that come along every once in a while who are able to constantly change styles and evolve with each new album, yet never ever issue a letdown. With the release of “Harmonicraft”, their first album for Volcom, Torche have once again approached their craft from a new angle and managed to knock it out of the park again. Like their last full length album, “Meanderthal”, this album is full of incredibly fuzzy guitars and a style that has been called “thunder pop” for it’s fast-paced speed and incredibly fuzzed out guitar sound, specifically on the song “Kicking”. One cool thing about this album is that it’s also incredibly adventurous and daring, specifically on tracks with pop punk swagger like “Walk It Off” and “Letting Go”, as well as the southern rock boogie of “Reverse Inverted” and whatever the hell genre you’d consider “Snakes Are Charmed” to fall under. One of the band’s real secret weapons is their new lead guitarist Andrew Elstner whose influence really shines on songs like “Snakes Are Charmed”, “Sky Trials”, and “Harmonicraft”, all of which feature breathtaking guitar acrobatics. I really think “Harmonicraft” is one of the best albums to be released this year, and honestly, it sets a great example for other bands that you can branch out from your comfort zone without selling out and making awful music.
Man, this album is the winner for eeriest album of the year, seriously. With the release of the 5th Woods Of Ypres album, founding member David Gold managed to craft an epic monster of an album that leans less on black metal and more on genre’s like viking and doom metal as well as a bit of progressive metal thrown in for good measure. The album also features many songs with lyrics that focus on death, specifically tracks like “Keeper Of The Ledger”, and “Kiss My Ashes (Goodbye)”. The thing that makes this album so eerie is the fact that David Gold died in a car wreck in Canada four or five months before the release of this album. Though it’s incredibly sad that David Gold died right before releasing his best album, I feel that he left behind a wonderful musical legacy, and the lyrical theme of this album makes it hit home much harder than many other albums that deal with the same topics. If you’re at all interested in hearing someone who’s passed away singing about death over incredibly heavy, doomy riffs, this album is definitely worth checking out and it’s very unique to say the least.
2011 was an incredible year for metal, without question. The best part is, 2012 is also shaping up to be a monumental year for metal. 2011 was a year full of releses from fantastic new bands like Atriarch, Disma, and Vallenfyre, but 2012 will be the year that some of the genre’s best put out new albums. This list i’m making is completely ridiculous because it’s based solely on predictions by both myself and record labels and even other magazines.
*UPDATE*: I have included links to my reviews for all of the albums on this list, so check them out if you are wanting a better idea of what some of these records sound like. Also, for more information on awesome upcoming releases, check out my Facebook page.
The first part of this list are all the albums coming out in the next few months with already confirmed street dates, that i will definitely be listening to.
The legendary goregrinders are back with a new record and i have a feeling it’s going to be a monster. Will have guest appearances from members of Black Dahlia Murder, Misery Index, Rotten Sound, and Benighted
This band has gotten more and more boring over the years as they’ve become bigger and bigger, but i have a feeling this album will be pretty decent at least. They benefit from dropping it at a time with no other big records dropping. No offense to Aborted, of course.
Super progressive grind album from Matt Widener of Cretin. First song i heard had a swedish death metal type tone and seems like it’ll be a solid album.
I don’t like technical death metal near as much as i did when i was younger, but if i did i’d be stoked to hear a new Psycroptic album. I’ll definitely give it a listenthough.
This is a band i haven’t listened to alot, but Martin Va Drunen is a legend in the death/doom community and with a limited amount of albums distracting from it, it has potential to gain alot of attention.
This will be their eigth album, and first with the Animosity era lineup in a really long time. I have a feeling this album is going to either be incredibly mediocre, or it’s going to absolutely rule, there’s not much grey area when a band goes from crossover to southern metal and attempts to go back to it’s crossover lineup and recreate magic.
I will guarantee you that i’ll be purchasing this album and listening to it non-stop upon it’s release. It seems that every single Napalm album gets better than the one before it, and judging by how good “Time Waits For No Slave” was, this album is going to be a monster.
This album is basically a re-recording of all of Autopsy’s random demo’s they’ve recorded over the years. There could be some terrible songs on there, but more than likely it’s going to sound alot like Macabre Eternal and it’ll completely kill.
Already pre-ordered this album. Old school metal aesthetic played with a classic rock tone. This album is recommended for anyone who likes Heart, Motorhead, or awesome hard rock/heavy metal.
Saint Vitus – Lillie: F-65 (north american release date delayed)
I have no idea what this album title is in reference to, and I really don’t care. So glad they are finally scheduled to release this album, they played a new song when i saw them in New Orleans and it was fantastic. Wino’s voice sounds awesome on record these days so this album will be one of the best of the year, I truly believe.
Testament – The Dark Roots Of Earth 4/27/2012
One of the greatest thrash metal bands of all time. This is the followup to their last album which blew the doors off of their back catalogue and this album will do the same. Also some guy named Gene Hoglan did drums on this album, not sure if he’s any good, but I think this record will rule.
The second part of my most anticipated list are bands who’ve either been advertised to put out a new album, or who i’ve heard rumored to be putting something out this year. A few of these are just rumors, some are being recorded as we speak, but if even a few of them actually put out records like they’re supposed to, 2012 will be another epic year for metal.
Admittedly, I sort of hate the guitar tone Slayer has taken on over the last 20 years, but i’d be lying if i said i’m not excited to hear them put out new music, specifically more stuff that sounds like “Psycopathy Red”.
I have a feeling that if they release a new record this year, it’s going to sound completely different from anything they’ve done before, which may or may not be a good thing. I can definitely say that it’s going to be worth listening to for sure.
Unlike the first 2 bands in this list, there is not a single doubt in my mind that if their new album is released this year…it will char the skin off of all who get in it’s way. So ready to hear new material from PxDx.
If Axe To Fall is any indication on where these guys are headed, they are going to release another unquestionable album of the year candidate.
High On Fire
Snakes For The Divine was a landmark release by Matt Pike and co, but I think that if they can build on the formula they started with that album, that the new one that’s being recorded right now will be just as deadly, if not moreso.
Supposedly they are going to do part 3 in the Black Meddle series, but i could really care less, i’m ready to hear anything Blake Judd is ready to unleash.
I have a feeling there will definitely be a new Voivod album next year, and they have their original bassist back, plus a fantastic guitarist named Dan Mongrain, therefore I think their new album will run circles around their last 2 decades worth of material.
It seems that, with every new album these guys release, they reinvent themselves completely. Considering how awesome ObZen was, that fact alone means that whatever they put out this year will be purchased by me immediately upon it’s release.
This band also features Danny Walker from Exhumed/Murder Construct, but instead of playing death metal, they are more similar to bands like Isis, but they aren’t just another Cult of Neurisis band by any means and i’m sure guitarist/vocalist Sacha Dunable has more than a couple tricks up his sleeve that’ll make this album their best yet.
Neurosis is recoring an album right this very second with Steve Albini. No reason in wasting anymore words on this one. Very stoked.
Supposedly they are going to put out a new record 1 ep at a time until they’ve done 5. To me, it sounds like a waste of time not putting all of those songs on one disc, but they are good enough musicians, that i think it’ll be worth the wait.
I heard they were supposed to put out a new album in 2011, but nothing ever came of it. I’m really hoping they release the follow up to Watershed this year so that they can finally prove they are still an awesome death metal band and not a bunch of folk rock wannabes like people claimed Mikael Akerfeldt was trying to turn them into.
Other albums supposed to be coming out in 2012 i’m looking forward to:
Kyuss Lives! (not really metal, but still amazing)
A couple of days ago, I posted my list of the 10 albums that didn’t make it onto my top 25 favorite metal albums of the year list, but who should have. Today i’m posted part 1 of that top 25 list. If you feel the need to listen to any of these bands based on my description, i’ve included my favorite song from each record to give you a reference point.
Part 2 of this list, featuring my ten favorite metal albums of the year will be released on new years day, and it will also be in the January issue of the Spazzine, which should be on newsstands around the first week or two of January.
Please enjoy, and if you think i’m stupid for ranking something too low, too high, or not at all, please comment.
11. Absu – Abzu
This album is a full on black metal assault. Traditional black metal riffs and rhythms are abound, but it has a little something extra, namely a king diamondesque howl on the first track, and a barrage of skin-charring riffs that make it my favorite black metal album of the year. Favorite song: Earth Ripper.
12. Havok – Time Is Up
I don’t usually like thrash revival bands because there’s no sense in re-inventing a perfect wheel, however, Havok have released one of my favorite thrash albums i’ve ever heard, and that’s saying alot. This album is full of bonecrushing thrash riffs, and solo’s and songwriting ability that would make Dave Mustaine smile. Favorite song: Fatal Intervention.
13. Crowbar – Sever The Wicked Hand
An incredible sludge machine from the creators of the new orleans sludge sound. Plenty of awesome signature Crowbar moments on this album that will make you want to break everything you own and then re-think your entire life. Favorite song: Cemetary Angels.
14. Helms Alee – Weatherhead
This album is beautiful. Lots of shoegazey parts and a crushing guitar/bass tone courtesy of amps made by their guitarist Ben Verellen. Definitely one of the best albums put out by Hydra Head in a while. Favorite song: 8/16.
15. Exhumed – All Guts, No Glory
I love death metal with gory lyrics and this album brings that by the boatload. Matt Harvey is a fantastic guitarist and this album absolutely crushes. There are more than a handful of memorable riffs and lyrics on this album and it is definitely more than just a comeback album. Favorite song: Your Funeral, My Feast.
16. Burzum – Fallen
Very weird album full of non-traditional black metal elements, but this album it also has some amazing signature buzzsaw black metal guitar riffs that completely rule. Favorite song: Jeg Faller.
17. Craft – Void
Very angry, anti-social black metal with a bit of thrash and death thrown in to make it sound even nastier. Very crusty black metal album and perfect for jamming on a bad day. Favorite song: I Want To Commit Murder.
18. Hate Eternal – Phoenix Among Ashes
Erik Rutan returns with another solid, brutal as hell death metal album. Most death metal bands these days get boring after 5 or 6 songs but not this album, it has enough flavor to keep every song fresh and awesome. Favorite song: The Art Of Redemption
19. Vallenfyre – A Fragile King
Members of Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, and At The Gates created a masterpiece that perfectly mixes doom with swedish death metal. My favorite guitar tone ever. Favorite song: Cathedrals Of Dread
20. Dark Castle – Surrender To All Life Beyond Form
This album is a smorgasbord of atmosphere and crushing riffs with a bit of a doom flavor. Even more amazing is that this band is only 2 people. Favorite song: Surrender to all life beyond form.
21. Macabre – Grim Scary Tales
Death metal songs about serial killers sung with hooks ripped straight out of nursery rhymes. This album is terribly sick and twisted, but the vocal hooks are so infectious that they stay stuck in your head forever, particularly their renditions of “The Big Bad Wolf” and Venom’s “Countess Bathory”. Favorite song: The Dark Knight
22. Looking For An Answer – Eterno Treblinka
Incredible spanish grind in the vein of Napalm Death or Brutal Truth. My favorite part of this album is when the singer growls and it sounds like he’s making fart noises with his mouth and growling at the same time. Favorite song: Campo De Exterminio(but listen to the song before it for the sweet growls leading up to this song).
23. Batillus – Furnace
Super doomy and droney. This album is full of incredibly heavy riffs, but also has some Isis-esque post-metal swing at times. Favorite song: …And the World is as Night to Them.
24. Haemorrhage – Hospital Carnage
Spanish goregrind songs about death in a hospital. Best songtitles ever and the dude growls with a pitchshifter at times so it sounds like a demon growling about flesh devouring pandemia. Many very memorable and catchy riffs on this album make it certainly standout amongst most other death metal albums this year. Favorite song: 911 (emergency slaughter).
25. Wormrot – Dirge
These Singapore grind warriors completely destroy. 25 songs and most all of them are a minute or less. Incredibly mean record with many testicle-shattering riffs. Favorite song: Compulsive Disposition
If there is one thing in the world i love, it’s making lists of stuff, it’s fun to force yourself to narrow things down to a single list. It’s even more fun when it’s about music, particularly at the end of the year when you’re looking back on your favorite albums from the past 12 months. I’m going to be going VERY in depth with my favorite albums, shows, and random stuff of 2011 in the next few days, but before i take a look at this year, i’ve decided to take a look back at 2010 and recall some of my favorite albums from last year. Granted, 2010 wasn’t a great year for music, but some incredible albums came out. If you see any glaring exceptions from this list, please feel free to comment.
1. Deftones – Diamond Eyes
I’ve always been a huge fan of this band, but the first time i heard “Rocket Skates”, “Diamond Eyes”, and “You’ve Seen The Butcher” i knew they hit a bottom of the 14th inning game 7 of the world series grand slam. This album is easily their best since White Pony, and that’s saying ALOT. Favorite song: Diamond Eyes
2. Agalloch – Marrow Of The Spirit
This album is seriously breathtaking. The mix of throat-smashing black metal with some of the sharpest riffing you’ll ever hear with absolutely gorgeous atmosphere and scenery on this album is just unbelievable. It literally makes you feel like you are at peace in the forest one minute, and ripping off your skin and burning the forest down the next. Favorite song: Ghosts of the Midwinter Fires.
3. Kylesa – Spiral Shadow
This album was hot on the heals of their best record ever, so the bar was set high, and they nailed it. It is a little more…dare i say “90′s rock” oriented with songs like “Don’t Look Back” but this album is an absolute masterpiece. Favorite song: Tired Climb.
4. The Dead Weather – Sea Of Cowards
Everything Jack White touches turns to gold. This album has some of the sickest guitar riffs, and songs i’ve ever heard. Songs like “I’m Mad” and “Die By The Drop” make me love this album even more than their debut. It’s like psychadelic indie blues on speedballs. Favorite song: Die By The Drop.
5. Kings Destroy – And The Rest Will Surely Perish
This band is easily one of the most pleasant surprises i’ve ever heard. Pretty traditional doom metal mixed with bad ass Alice in Chains inspired vocals. I never thought i would heard doom metal and grunge mixed together, but they make for an absolutely amazing record. Favorite song: Planet XXY
6. High On Fire – Snakes For The Divine
Matt Pike and the boys achieved, what i believe to be their most ridiculous album to date. Songs like “Frost Hammer”, “Snakes For The Divine”, and “Bastard Samurai” all have their own little atmosphere and the tone on this album is absolutely killer. They managed to take their already amazing style of metal, and give it the swagger of a serial killer on meth. Favorite song: Bastard Samurai.
7. Intronaut – Valley Of Smoke
This band is so talented it’s stupid. They have a very heavy guitar tone, a bassist trained in jazz and classical music, and one of the best grind/death metal drummers of all time. There is such a smorgasbord of influences going on in this band that it meshes to make an absolute monster of a record. Favorite song: Elegy.
8. Nachtmystium – Addicts: Black Meddle Pt II
Nachtmystium are definitely one of the best black metal bands to come from the us for sure, but on this album they took their unbelievably razor sharp psychadelic black metal sound and added some elements of goth and industrial and this album is just as good as, if not better than Assasins. Favorite song: Nightfall.
9. Christian Mistress – Agony & Opium
I usually don’t like female vocalists, but Christine Davis is definitely on the short list of the ones i do like. Her haunting vocals mixed with the super old school metal/classic rock vibe is just amazing. It’s like if you took kill em all era metallica and asked them to play songs that sound like sad wings era judas priest and deep purple with a cute female singer. Favorite song: Desert Rose.
10. Enslaved – Axioma Ethica Odini
This is by far one of the best albums Enslaved has ever put out. It’s got their signature psychadelic black metal sound, but the vocals on this album are the best they’ve ever had, particularly the Mikael Akerfeldtian crooning on “Ethica Odini”. This album is a very high point in an already stunningly impressive discography. Favorite song: Ethica Odini.
11. Coliseum – House With A Curse
Really awesome punk/hardcore/classic rock sound on this album. Very haunting, scathing, beer drinking monster of a record. Favorite song: Blind In One Eye.
12. Nails – Unsilent Death
An aboslutely incredible mix of grindcore/hardcore with a swedish death metal delivery. Very short, but very very nasty record. Favorite song: Scum Will Rise
13. Helmet – Seeing Eye Dog
Ole Page has done it again. Another album full of awesomely heavy riffs and terribly bitter lyrics. Very awesome cover of “And Your Bird Can Sing”. Favorite song: So Long.
14. Haarp – The Filth
Absolute bone-crushing New Orleans sludge metal done exactly the way it should be done. Huge riffs come one after the other with no relent. Favorite song: Here In The Dark.
15. Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier
Another classic album in the Iron Maiden catalogue. The boys prove once again they are one of the best metal bands ever. Very heavy riffs and killer melodies as usual. Favorite song: Satellite 15…The Final Frontier.
16. Monster Magnet – Mastermind
Incredibly heavy riffs on this album that rip through like a cannonball with a part punk rock, part old school classic rock pace. Killer album. Favorite song: Dig That Hole.
17. October Tide – A Thin Shell
Fantastically awesome Swedish doom album featuring former member of Katatonia. I like this much better than the new Katatonia because it’s got bals…big, depressing balls. Favorite song: Deplorable Request.
18. Misery Index – Heirs To Thievery
Incredibly brutal death/grind with drums that put even the best drummer to shame. Great, angry album to listen to when you wanna smash stuff with a hammer. Favorite song: Fed To The Wolves.
19. Wino – Adrift
Probably the most menacing acoustic album i’ve ever heard. Wino just kills it with his bluesy, angry style of acoustic guitar on this album. Also, the cover of Iron Horse/Born To Lose is absolutely killer because you can tell he means every word he says when he sings that song. Favorite song: Iron Horse/Born To Lose.
20. Sleigh Bells – Treats
Indie dance pop isn’t really my thing, like ever, except when they incorporate very, very heavy guitar tone and some very abrasive guitar playing which is something this album does that has me completely sold. Favorite song: Tell ‘Em.