Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Who Decides: albums of the year

So with 2009 quickly approaching its final quarter the question of album of the year starts to loom even more. I have made it quiet clear that this year has been a little disappointing for me. Maybe it's a natural let down from the awesome year that was 2008...who knows.

Here's what I do know. September will give us new Shadows Fall and Megadeth records. October was supposed to give us the new Anthrax, but they fired their new singer so that album is up in the air. And I really don't know of any other albums that are supposed to be released this year.

So what does that mean for my top 10? Well as of right now, I would probably give the album of the year to either Susperia, DevilDriver, or Nightrage. Now, some might be thinking ... ok those are good albums so what's the problem? Well the problem isn't in the albums, they are solid, but they aren't as good as their last albums. Attitude is a catchy and heavy affair from Susperia ... but is it better than Cut From Stone? No. Same goes for Devildriver, Pray For Villains is good, but it's not better than The Last Kind Words. The Last Kind Words built upon The Fury of Our Maker's Hand. It took was a nice step from really good to great. But Nightrage is probably the biggest offender. I love every Nightrage album. Tompa's vocals on the first two albums plus the guitar work of Gus G. & Marios made those At The Gates-like. With A New Disease is Born, everything was raised to a new level. Tompa was gone, but Jimmie Strimell did an excellent job of singing (not just screaming) on the album. I was totally ready for another Nightrage release. But something happened on the way to their latest, Wearing a Martyr's Crown, they got a new vocalist. I don't think he is bad, just not as dynamic as Jimmie or original as Tompa. The guitar work is still memorable and top notch, but the vocals are....eh. Now I know that those were released in 2007 and it shouldn't affect 2009, but it does. After a great album, I guess I just expect more from a band.

So there are a bunch of new artists that have released really solid debut or second albums. Bands like Dirge Within (defintely for fans of Sanctity), Animals as Leaders (instrumental), The Sorrow, Arkaea (Fear Factory meets Threat Signal), and Evita (great metalcore) could make a run for that top stop.

Then there are some bands that have totally bounced back from disappointing albums. It Dies Today ditched the whole emo sound and went back to more of an original sound with Lividity. The new stuff they have released so far sound really promising. The other is The Autumn Offering. Fear Will Cast No Shadow was boring and unoriginal...and that's being nice. Throw in a new vocalist and you quickly forgot that The Autumn Offering was once a great band mixing modern thrash with some metalcore breakdowns in for good measure. Well, Requiem took me by surprise. It's a ton better than FWCNS, but it's not Embrace the Gutter. It still has it's emo moments, but they are defintely back on track.

The top spot is really wide open. There are a bunch of good to really good albums out there this year, but nothing great. Hopefully, Shadows Fall and Megadeth can change that.

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