Saturday, December 26, 2009

Who Decides: Top 10 Albums of the Year

Ok, so another year is coming to an end, so here is my top 10 metal albums of the year. I will try to keep it to ten, unlike last year. This year started off very slow for me. Nothing really caught my eye, until around June or so. I talked about it back then, and I said I doubt if any of those albums would make my final top 10...and well let's see.

Before we get to the list, I took out Arch Enemy's Root of All Evil (even though it is a great album) because it was just re-recording old songs with a new singer. If I could have 11 albums, I would have probably thrown in The Sorrow's Origin of the Storm. That was a classic metalcore album in the same vein as Killswitch Engage. Onto the list;

#10 - Threat Signal: Vigilance; much better than the Arkaea project which was Fear Factory light. This album has lost a lot of the FF influence and has gone for more of a straight thrash approach. The solos on this album as killer, check out The Beginning of the End for a sample.

# 9 - DevilDriver: Pray for Villains; a big let down overall from The Last Kind Words. I talke about this earlier in the year as well. A lot of solid songs, but overall just doesn't pack that punch that The Last Kind Words had. Check out Waiting for November, Bitter Pill, Teach Me to Whisper, and the title track.

# 8 - Evita: Minutes & Miles; the surprise of the year for me. Evita plays some crazy progressive metalcore music not unlike Protest the Hero. It's very good and deserved to be on this list. All of their songs are good, but if you check out one listen to Willing to Wake it's a good sample of the album.

# 7 - Dirge Within: Force Fed Lies; when I first hear this album I thought it was DevilDriver. Seriously, at times the lead singer sounds so similar it's eerie. Anyway, if DD would have put out this album DD would be higher up on the list. Musically, you know what you are getting. They pull out some nice solos especially on Complacency (2+ minutes of trading off solos).

# 6 - Nightrage: Wearing a Martyr's Crown; I listened to this album I didn't think it would make my top 10. It was lacking something for me, but over the last few months it has caught on big time. Descent into Chaos was a classic for me and evern though this doesn't beat that album it is solid. The guitar work is unmistakably Nightrage and the new singer does a fine job. He doesn't stand out like Tompa or Jimmie, but he works. Check out A Grim Struggle or the title track for a good feel of the album.

# 5 - Animals As Leaders: Animals As Leaders; did I say Evita was my surprise of the year? This is. First off, it's instrumental (something I really don't like). The guitarist, Tosin Abasi, is great. The music goes from thrash to metalcore to eletronic to acoustic. It is a wild ride to be sure. Check out CAFO.

# 4 - Megadeth: Endgame; it's Megadeth, it's better than their last album, and dare I say better than Death Magnetic? Mustaine brought his A game this time and wrote some killer riffs for this album. So why isn't it higher? Probably because his vocals are wearing on me. I can't explain it, but Dave's singing has gone downhill a bit. This Day We Fight and Headcrusher could have easily been on R.I.P. check them out.

# 3 - Susperia - Attitude; once again Susperia releases an album that is heavy, catchy, and has great musicianship. I can't add anything else, if you liked Carved in Stone or Unlimited you will like this one. All the songs are great. Check out The Urge, Sick Bastard (with Dimmu Borgir vocalist Shagrath), or Live My Dreams (with Testament vocalist Chuck Billy).

# 2 - Killswitch Engage: Killswitch Engage; I have already talked about this one and Shadows Fall's latest albums awhile ago. So I won't add anything else to this. Check out the entire album, definitely worth it.

# 1 - Shadows Fall: Retribution; like KsE I already talked about it, so I won't repeat anything. This album renewed my faith in SF. The guitar work is top notch and memorable. I can't find anything to complain about on this album.

So why is SF #1 and KsE #2? The difference is minimal. I would probably say the solos put Shadows Fall #1, even though KsE has better choruses. I was very happy to see two of my favorite bands rebound from sub-par albums and step up.

That's it. I want to try and do weekly postings next year. So let's see how that goes. I want to talk about the new Scrubs, The Middle, and some movie talk. Cross your fingers for a fun 2010.

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