TOP TEN OF 2011
1. ORIGIN – ENTITY
It doesn’t happen much, but I have grown to really except a lot of death and black metal this year. From the moment I hit play on this album I was sucked in. American death metal from Kansas? Surely not! Oh but it is. The grooves, the blasts, the vocals, the guitar works, just everything about this album has made it my favorite of 2011 and probably for a few years to come.
2. Anthrax – Worship Music
I thought long and hard whether or not I wanted to put this so high on the list. It wasn’t easy but I love this album. The return of Joey Belladonna and seeing them live really solidified this album for me. From start to finish it’s a modern thrash metal masterpiece and one that any band of the genre, past or present, needs to check out.
3. Machine Head – Unto The Locust
It’s always been a love/hate for me and Machine Head but now the time has come for me to give them what they deserve. This might be the best thrash metal release this year. Robb Flynn sounds pissed off as he growls and amazing when he sings. The entire band sounds absolutely amazing, it might be the best album of their career.
4. Mystic Prophecy – Ravenlord
The opening track basically punched me in the face. “Ravenlord” opens up with a Dickinson-like note that some people can only dream of. Combining elements of thrash metal and power metal with soaring vocals and timely growls, it deserves to be in the top five on every year end list.
5. Isole – Born From Shadows
Something else that I have found myself really getting into this year has been doom metal. This album is one hell of an epic journey. I love when I can hear clean vocals and growls in doom and doom that can pick up the pace and isn’t just 5BPM. Start to finish you can sit back, relax, and imagine yourself being taken elsewhere while listening to this album.
6. Kyng – Trampled Sun
Combining the powerful sounds of Mastodon with vocals that would be found in Alice In Chains or Soundgarden, Kyng’s debut album hit me like a ton of bricks. From the first time I heard “Falling Down” on Sirius radio until the day the album released I was hooked on this band and I have been ever since.
7. Trivium – In Waves
It’s no secret that Trivium is one of my favorite bands, but I feel this is a justified spot for them. “In Waves” might be the best Trivium album yet and the first with new drummer Nick Augusto. He brought a more melodic style and a more metal style to the band and it shows. So many different sounds on the album from the band, something for everybody.
8. The Misfits – The Devils Rain
Probably the biggest surprise on the list from me…The Misfits. I have really come to enjoy them in the past year and this album is a huge reason for that. I’ve listened to it start to finish so many times I can’t even tell you. Sure, I don’t think Jerry Only is as good as past singers but he does a good job and the album is true to what The Misfits are.
9. Chthonic – Takasago Army
From all over the cultural instruments(Erhu), to super hot Doris Yeh(haha), the the best part, the damn music! It took me awhile to get into this album, but when I did I was listening to it for weeks and then coming back to it again and again. It’s extreme, yes, but it also has so many elements of other genres of metal that it’s hard to classify it as one.
10. Black Veil Brides – Set The World on Fire
In what some people will look at as the worst on my list, I’m here to stand by and defend it. Look, this album is pretty damn good. The songs are catchy as hell if you can look past the bands appearance. I’ve listened to it so many times this year and defended them. They are one of the most talented young bands to come out in a few years and they have A LOT of potential. I saw them at Rock On the Range this year and they absolutely tore it DOWN.
But now let’s take a look at what barely didn’t make it and what didn’t stand a chance.
Megadeth – Th1rt3en
Amon Amarth – Surtur Rising
Across The Sun – Before the Night
Powerwolf – Blood of The Saints
Top 5 WORST Albums of 2011
1. Metallica and Lou Reed – LuLu
2. Emmure – Children of Cybertron
3. Black Tide – Post Mortem
4. Suicide Silence – The Black Crown
5. Of Mice and Men – The Flood
What am I excited for in 2012? That is a very good question. I haven’t really looked much into the coming year. Obviously we know that the end of the world will be coming in about a month by the time most of you read this article. Right at the beginning of the year I see releases from two bands I always give a listen to: Abigail Williams and Lamb of God. We have Rush, Testament, Death Angel, Overkill, 3 Inches of Blood, Shadows Fall, Killswitch Engage, Down, Bleeding Through, and so many more to look forward to.