Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Best Albums Of 2011!

Well it's about that time of year. 99% of the releases this year have come out so I figured I'd tally up what worked best for me this year. Maybe you'll agree, maybe not. But check it out, and leave a comment if you want. Here are my top 15 releases.

(On an aside, blogger has an atrocious way of handling multiple images, and it would not let me put the images to the left and right of each block of text without having some stupid problem here or there that ruined everything. So it's all centered. Sorry if it bugs you.)

15. Obscura – Omnivium

Obscura is one of those bands that know how to kill it musically speaking. They know their way around their instruments and have proven themselves to be technically amazing. Omnivium just continues that legacy for them. I haven’t listened to their catalog enough to determine a favorite album from them yet, but Omnivium is well worth your time.

14. I Declare War – I Declare War

Malevolence was a good deathcore album, but it wasn't anything hugely impressive. It wasn’t bad and definitely got a few spins from me, but it’s not likely to get a ton more plays from me. Their new self titled album though is worlds better. They've found themselves so to speak. This album has focus, and fantastic production. It’s even got a few hooks. You can see my review here.

13. Blood Red Throne – Brutalitarian Regime

I found these guys because of this album. I still need to listen to their older work, but every time I click on them on Spotify, I have the hardest time not clicking Brutalitarian Regime. This is brutal death metal done right. You’ll struggle to not head bang.

12. Darkest Hour – The Human Romance

Darkest Hour has a problem. People cannot seem to let go of Deliver Us, which granted is a fantastic album, and probably their best, but that being said, many people just shoved The Human Romance Aside saying these guys peaked a while ago, which is unfortunate because this album has some great songs on it. I found myself laying the album for almost a week straight when I got it.

11. Molotov Solution – Insurrection

I never really paid attention to Molotov Solution, and the week this released I was more looking forward to Carnifex's new album. But I’m glad I gave this one a listen on Spotify, because it’s one of the best deathcore albums this year. The government conspiracies concept works really well, and I've had the lyrics to ‘The Final Hour’ stuck in my head a lot lately. Really good stuff. You can find my review here.

10. All Shall Perish – This Is Where It Ends

Awaken The Dreamers is one of the best deathcore albums of all time. That being said This Is Where It Ends is not the best All Shall Perish album. It is however, a great album. It’s got great instrumental work overall and is just plain fun to listen to. Some people were happy they dropped the interludes from Awaken The Dreamers, although I personally liked those, and looked forward to hearing something in the vein of ‘Memories of a Glass Sanctuary' but alas, it was absent. This album is well worth your attention though.

9. Decapitated – Carnival Is Forever

Decapitated has had quite a rough career, and due to an accident, they lost all but one original member, Vogg the guitarist, which means that this album has a new vocalist, bass player, and drummer. Carnival Is Forever is awesome though. Even though it’ll never be as good as “Insert older album title here” according to many people, because they new vocalist is not as good as Covan or Sauron, or what have you. But who cares? This album is great.

8. Becoming The Archetype – Celestial Completion

Dichotomy was a fantastic album. It was a good mix of progressive death metal and metalcore. Plus Jason Wisdom has a fantastic beard. Then I heard Celestial Completion was coming out and that it would have even more progressive influences. Sign me up! What you’ll find in Celestial Completion is an almost crazy variety of music, ranging from blackened death metal, similar to Behemoth, and then ska. And somehow it all works incredibly well.

7. The Haunted – Unseen
The Haunted are a band unafraid of experimenting. Unseen sounds to me like a Haunted album if Maynard James from Tool co wrote it. It’s got this weird creepy atmosphere to it that just works so well. It’s not their heaviest, it’s not their most technical, but it is a standout album. People need to get over Revolver. It’s a great album, but it’s better they experiment than produce the same thing over and over. Anyhow, check out ‘Done’, it’s both my favorite from the album and one of my favorite songs by the band as a whole.

6. The Black Dahlia Murder – Ritual

I hated these guys at first. I could not stand Trevor’s mid-high vocals for some reason. But everyone raved Ritual, and one day at best buy, I had a gift card and decided for the price of free, they can’t be that bad. So I picked up the album and have been happily listening to it then. I don’t know what changed for me, but these guys are awesome in my book now. Ritual is technical, well thought out and fast. Awesome stuff.

5. Vader – Welcome To The Morbid Reich

Vader is another band I didn’t find until this year. Around February I stumbled across the song ‘Devilizer’ and immediately got a hold of Necropolis. Followed by the rest of their discography, and I think in a matter of two weeks they became one of the top bands on my These guys are awesome. Welcome To The Morbid Reich just further proves that. It’s not a technical masterpiece, but it’s a shining example of how straight up death metal should be.

4. Born Of Osiris – The Discovery

Born Of Osiris is another band I had listened to a few times before, but never had much resonance. A Higher Place was good, but not hugely impressive. The Discovery was BoO’s stepping up to the plate moment. They upped their game in every department, and made a fantastic 15 track progressive deathcore album. One of the best deathcore albums in a long time.

3. Oh, Sleeper – Children Of Fire
This album really surprised me. I had listened to Son Of The Morning a few times, but Oh, Sleeper never really made it that high on my list. This album changed that all. It’s an unrelenting barrage of metalcore that is so well crafted it makes anyone who says the genre is dried up look stupid. See my review here.

2. Fleshgod Apocalypse – Agony

I didn’t find Fleshgod Apocalypse until this year, and it was because of Agony. When I first heard the album, I was practically floored. Although it seemed to polarize many fans, the combination of tech death metal and symphonics worked incredibly well in my opinion. The segue between 'The Deceit' and 'The Violation' is one of my favorite portions of the album.

1. August Burns Red – Leveler

August Burns Red are one of my personal favorite bands. They had a great first release and have gotten better and better with each new release. Constellations was one of the best metalcore albums in my opinion, and while I’m not sure Leveler tops it, Leveler definitely brings new stuff to the table. More progressive influences, and a tighter sound overall. Giving them number one is a bit biased on my behalf, I’ll be honest, but it is my list after all.

Best Non Metal Album Of The Year – Bon Iver – Bon Iver

For Emma, Forever Ago is one of the best albums of all time if you ask me. It’s honest, heartfelt, and genius all at the same time. It has the ability to speak to you. Bon Iver’s self title album tries out new things, and mixes in styles from the first album, while sounding like its own album. It’s got great ambiance, and fantastic writing. I love this album, and you should too. Not everything has to be brutal and 300 bpm.

Soundtrack Of The Year – The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross

When Ghosts released, I had a feeling Trent Reznor was going to move into film scores, and I am very glad he did. He and Atticus Ross had done great work together so far. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a 39 track, 3 disc, 3 hour long piece of work containing a very creepy but awesome cover of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Immigrant Song’. The score as a whole is also very creepy and I imagine it’ll fit the film fantastically. (I can’t wait to see the film.)

(On a side note, I'll be making a best films of the year list later. I'm still waiting to see TGWTDT, War Horse, Hugo, Sherlock Holmes, and The Adventures Of Tin Tin. I've got a lot to see still.)

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