Saturday, June 04, 2011

Who Decides: Mid-Albums of the Year 2011

This will probably be the hardest year for me putting together a Top 10 list.  If this list isn't already packed, I have Trivium, In Flames, Sepultura, Dead by April, Blood Stain Child, Unearth, Anthrax and who knows what else.  It's an awesome year for metal music, so let's get started;

1(tie).  Mercenary - Metamorphosis: I talked about this album HERE already.  And there isn't much I can add.  It's near perfection. Each song is heavy & catchy with killer vocals.  I'm not sure what else you could ask for in a metal album.

1(tie).  Times of Grace - Times of Grace: Reviewed HERE.  This isn't a more "metal" album than Mercenary, but it is a more complete album.  You have some acoustic tracks, some doom-like tracks, and some classic metal tracks.  It's a great album.  The worst part for both of these albums is that they might not end up number 1 at the end of the year.

3.  Cavalera Conspiracy - Blunt Force Trauma:  I was not a fan of Infliked or the last two Soulfly albums, but this one hits the spot for me.  It is very light on the whole "tribal metal", but Marc Rizzo definitely makes up for it with his guitar work.  For some reason I feel like I am listening to some NWOBHM with harsh vocals thrown on top of it.  Right now, this is my surprise album of the year.

From here on out, these albums can change from day to day.  It's not like they aren't good, they are so good it's difficult to put them in order.

4.  Before the Fall - Antibody: brutal modern industrial style metal.  I have always had a soft spot for bands like Fear Factory, Strapping Young Lad, and Divine Hersey, and Before the Fall are in that same vein.  Don't hold your breath waiting for that clean chorus...cause it ain't coming.

5.  Lazarus A.D. - Black Rivers Flow: a more mature Lazarus A.D. shows up this time around.  Still thrash-oriented, but they aren't afraid to slow it down and push the envelope.  Some real solid metal here for classic metal fans.

6.  Sylosis - Edge of the Earth: this one reminds me a little of Machine Head's The Blackening.  It is a long album and takes some time to digest.  Musically it sounds a lot like Metallica's classic albums of MoP, RtL, and AJFA.  Vocally, mainly harsh screams.  It works, but I think the lack of variety hurts this just a bit.

7.  Deadlock - Bizzaro World:  I talked about it HERE.  It's solid, nothing new, but nothing bad if you liked their last 3 albums.  I said they were going into that KsE path of writing the same music over and over again.  I'm not sure another album like this will work.

8.  Soul Cycle - Soul Cycle: Soul Cycle play instrumental classic thrash metal.  It's good.  I talked about the high amount of solid instrumental albums HERE earlier.  If you like thrash and don't need vocals to enjoy the music...this is a must.

9.  Amaranthe - Amaranthe: I talked about them last year and finally the album is here.  This is pop metal at its best.  Female, clean male, and harsh male vocals really works well here.  If you don't mind keyboards playing a big part of the music, then try this.

10. Tyrant of Death - Dark Space: another instrumental album.  Think SYL meets Fear Factory without the vocals.  It's great heavy metal...the guitars and drumming are insane.

This can change any day because bands like DevilDriver, The Haunted, Protest the Hero, The Human Abstract, Inside It Grows, Titans Eve, Degradead, Arch Enemy, Izegrim, Artas, Circles, and Mygrain have all released solid albums.  Each one of the bands mentioned could easily end up in the top 10.

But just do some quick math, there are 10 above, plus the 12 that barely missed out, and the 7 known albums that haven't been released.  That's 29 albums I am looking at trying to narrow to 10.  good luck to me.

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