Well my fellow metal heads, it’s that time of year again. No, I’m not talking about Christmas or Hanukkah or any other “controversial” holiday. I’m talking about the top ten albums of the year. Specifically, those of the headbanging kind. I’ve listed my first 5 choices below. You’ll have to wait in eager anticipation for the top 5, which will be up on December 23rd. First, here are the honorable mentions:
Machine Head – The Locust
Children of Bodom – Relentless Reckless Forever
Textures – Dualism
Cynic – Carbon-Based Anatomy
Amogh Symphony – Quantum Hack Code
If you know your music like the back of your penis like I do, then you’ll notice that Quantum Hack Code actually came out last year. But it was so close to 2011 (December 25th) and so awesomely djent that I decided to put it up anyway. Because I don’t give a fuck and that’s how I roll. Now, without further ado, here are my 10th to 6th favorite albums of the year.
10. Opeth – Heritage [Tracks: 2, 5, 6, 7, 8] One of Opeth’s most ambitious, and risky, albums to date. It’s also the one that has gained the most respect from me. Heritage shows that they want to make the music they want, not what their fans what. Because of this, Heritage has become a very polarizing album, but I’m sure, just like Damnation, it’ll be regarded as an Opeth classic 5 years from now.
9. Obscura – Omnivium [Tracks: 1, 2, 4, 6, 8] Christian Muenzner said it perfectly when I spoke to him at their show in San Francisco: Everyone’s got musical chops, but only a few can actually execute it to perfection. Obscura is the definition of Technical Death Metal, and Omnivium showcases their musical talent to near-perfection.
8. Scale the Summit – The Collective [Tracks: 2, 5, 6, 9] Saw these guys play with Cynic and 3, and while Cynic was awesome, Scale the Summit stole the show. They sounded phenomenal live, which is even more impressive considering just how much thought and effort their music takes to play. Also, Chris Letchford is one of my favorite 8-string guitarists. There. I said it.
7. Unexpect – Fables of the Sleepless Empire [Tracks: 1, 3, 5, 8] Unfortunately, Unexpect is probably the most obscure band on this list. Since they’ve mainly released their albums independently, they don’t get too much publicity. However, don’t let that fact stray you from their music. These guys are awesome. If you listened to their last album, know this: this album is still sporadic but in a more focused fashion as opposed to In a Flesh Aquarium. If you’re into avant-garde extreme metal, or 9-stringed basses, listen to this album now. Dammit.
6. Mastodon – The Hunter [Tracks: 2, 3, 4, 7, 11, 13] Following an album as big as Crack the Skye is definitely a worthy task, but Mastodon pulled it off. While I was a bit disappointed that The Hunter didn’t feature any new epics (their longest song is just over 5 and a half minutes), that doesn’t mean the songs don’t have any depth. Also, The Sparrow is by far the best outro of the year.
Credit goes to my man James Marchetti for the awesome artwork above