THE BEST METAL ALBUMS OF 2011, AS CHOSEN BY METAL MUSICIANS THEMSELVES — PART I
FEATURING MEMBERS OF LACUNA COIL, TRAPPED UNDER ICE, ALLEGAEON, CULTED, MILLIONS, BIRTH A.D., AND NIGHTFALL
Every year year, MetalSucks asks musicians from across the vast spectrum of the metalsphere (or, in a few cases, the almost-metalsphere) what their favorite albums of the year have been. Death metallers, thrash metallers, black metallers, stoners, grinders, and djenters alike graciously contributed lists to MS, and we’ll be running them in groups of nine to ten musicians at a time twice a day for the whole week.
After the jump, check out the first group… we hope you enjoy seeing what some of metal’s heaviest hitters were into this year as much as we have!
ANDREA FERRO, LACUNA COIL
1. Mastodon, The Hunter
2. Machine Head, Unto the Locust
3. Opeth, Heritage
4. Art of Dying, Vices and Virtues
5. Foo Fighters, Wasting Light
6. Sixx: A.M., This is Gonna Hurt
7. Seether, Holding on to Strings Better Left to Fray
8. DevilDriver, Beast
9. Anthrax, Worship Music
10. Five Finger Death Punch, American Capitalist
JUSTICE TRIPP, TRAPPED UNDER ICE
1. Harm’s Way, Isolation
Harm’s Way took a lot of different metal and hardcore influences and balled them into one to make a sound of their own. This record is the peak of their evolution. The outcome is highly motivating. It motivates me to want to jump through a wall.
2. Rotting Out, Street Prowl
Rotting Out is combining the more recent hardcore bands that they love with the sounds of West Coast punk that they grew up on. To my knowledge, nobody else is doing anything quite like it. For a very long time now, I haven’t seen many circle pits on the East Coast. I have a feeling that’s going to change when these guys come through.
3. New Found Glory, Radio Surgery
New Found Glory influenced literally hundreds of bands with their earlier efforts. With so many bands now sharing a similar sound to them, it was time that they switched it up. That’s exactly what they did. This record is a new approach on the sound that defined the band. They took it back to the roots of catchy punk rock while keeping the strong hooks that keep this band stuck in your head.
4. Backtrack, Darker Half
Darker Half is backtrack’s first full length. It is everything that makes Backtrack cool, but better, packed into one LP. “Too Close” is my top favorite hit. I can’t wait to get in the pit to this.
5. Title Fight, Shed
Again, another band that did what they do, but better. There are those songs that kids will stage dive and act like absolute nuts too, but also they have a few songs that are a little more laid back and really round out what I think an LP needs to be. Title Fight is going to take over the world.
6. War Hungry, S/T
I like this record a lot because it’s so out there it’s hard for me to pick apart and put into a few words. While some influences are obvious, this record leaves me wondering “What the fuck was War Hungry doing/smoking/listening to when they wrote this record?”
7. Xibalba, Madre Mia Gracias Por Los Dias
Nobody sounds like Xibalba. especially in the modern world of hardcore/metal/punk rock. Everything they have done, and most likely will do, has a special brand on it. Madre Mia Gracias Por Los Dias is a great example of their trademark sound and style. They make me wish that I lived in california and spoke Spanish.
8. Foo Fighters, Wasting Light
These guys are so cool. I don’t think I have to say much about this record. Y’all already know.
9. Dead End Path, Blind Faith
This is a band that came out of left field in the world of music that I’m involved in. I never met any of these people before, I never heard of any of the individuals or bands that they’ve played in. They weren’t “cool”; they just came out of nowhere making huge music that nobody could refuse. As a band, Dead End Path has quickly earned a special place in my heart. In their short time as a band, they’ve already released a full length that people will remember. This is the third band on my list from Wilkes-Barre, PA. Something in the water?
10. Fireworks, Gospel
When I initially heard people describe fireworks, I thought it wasn’t for me. After hearing them I realized something very important; people are dumb and hardly know what they are talking about anyways. Yes, fireworks is “poppy.” However, they are not at all cheesy, or cheap. They are sweet. Gospel is the best release of theirs to date. Check it the fuck out.
GREG BURGESS, ALLEGAEON
1. Scar Symmetry, The Unseen Empire
This band consistently amazes me. When people we’re all butt hurt about Christian leaving, I admit I had my doubts, but I loved Dark Matter Dimensions. Thought, “Wow, these new dudes are just as awesome, and now that they have two guys they can do all this vocal layering.” Well, The Unseen Empire takes what they accomplished with Dark Matter, and ups the ante! This record hasn’t left my CD player yet, and I see no light at the end of that road. The vocals are awesome, and, as usual, Per and Jonas destroy everything!!
2. The Devin Townsend Project, Deconstruction, Ghost
People that know me know I’m a Devin Townsend freak, in Strapping Young Lad and especially when it comes to his solo material. The dude put out not one but two records this year, and I’m blown away by both. Deconstruction has it’s Strapping Young Lad moments, and Ghost has his folksy acoustic stuff hitting the mark. With these records the Dev has encompassed the whole range of emotional spectrum, and makes you laugh your ass off as well. GOOD LORD IT’S A CHEESEBURGER!!
3. Machine Head, Unto the Locust
Rob and co. have done it again. Unto the Locust takes what they’ve accomplished with Through the Ashes of Empires and The Blackening and gone even further with it. Choirs, awesome solos, and even the risky track “Darkness Within” the band just seem to get better and better to me. I never understood why they aren’t bigger here in the U.S. like they are overseas, but I’ve been following close since Burn My Eyes, and it’s been a fun ride to watch.
4. Anthrax, Worship Music
Well, I’ll be the first to admit it, I love John Bush!! So when Joey came back to the band, I was one of many that kind of mourned it. I mean, I realize Joey is probably the majority of fans image of Anthrax’s singer, but to me I just never thought he fit. Worship Music put my fears to rest, as it seems they took all the thrashy bits from their old school sound, and blended it perfectly with their Sound of White Noise through We’ve Come For You All-era groovy catchy song writing. Joey’s voice, which kind of irked me from the earlier records, sounds better than ever, and really mixes well with the music. Always been a fan of Anthrax, through the old Joey era, Bush era, and now the return of Joey. Eight years of waiting, well spent by the boys!
MATTHEW FRIESEN, CULTED
1. Jesu, Ascension
2. Shining (Sweden), VII: Fodd Forlorare
3. Lock Up, Necropolis Transparent
4. YOB, Atma
5. Opeth, Heritage
6. Decapitated, Carnival is Forever
7. Belphegor, Blood Magick Necromance
8. Zombi, Escape Velocity
9. Exhumed, All Guts, No Glory
10. Enslaved, Thorn
MICHAEL KLASSEN, CULTED
1. Swans, We Rose From Your Bed with the Sun In Our Head
2. Craft, Void
3. Aluk Todolo/Der Blutharsch and the Infinite Church of the Leading Hand, Collaboration LP
4. Gnaw Their Tongues, Per Flagellum Sanguemque, Tenebras Veneramus
5. Aluk Todolo, Ordre
6. Blut Aus Nord, 777 Sect(s)
7. Avichi, The Devil’s Fractal
8. Saturnalia Temple, Aion o Drakon
9. The Devil’s Blood, The Thousandfold Epicentre
10. Odz Manouk/Tukaaria, split cassette
DANIEL JANSSON, CULTED
1. Ulver, Wars of the Roses
2. Social Distortion, Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes
3. Samael, Lux Mundi
4. Prurient, Bermuda Drain
5. Vomitory, Opus Mortis VIII
6. Dropkick Murphys, Going Out in Style
7. Genocide Organ, Under-Kontrakt
8. Mastodon, The Hunter
9. Burzum, Fallen
10. Osman Arabi, Beast Mutation Rituals
SCOTT FLASTER, MILLIONS
1. Alaric, S/T
2. Deathcharge, Love Was Born To An Early Death
3. Seeing the Rorschach reunion show in PDX
4. Rabbits, Lower Forms
5. Today Is The Day, Pain is a Warning
6. Seeing Neurosis live at MusicFestNW
7. The Atlas Moth, An Ache for the Distance
8. YOB, Atma
9. Rwake, Rest
10. Skinny Puppy, hanDover
JEFF TANDY, BIRTH A.D.
1. Disma, Towards the Megalith — New Jersey metal veterans floor it to 88 miles per hour and take us back to the best days of American death metal.
2. Autopsy, Macabre Eternal — Bare-knuckled, no frills sickness from Reifert and company. More polished than previous releases, but they were due for it.
3. Craft, Void — Swedish black metal outfit wields filthy grooves that work a lot better than you might imagine.
4. Absu, Abzu — The Texas warlocks are back off the leash with this 100-yard dash of maniac occult metal.
5. Goreaphobia, Apocalyptic Necromancy — A steady grower of an album with a weird but engaging sensibility. Death metal for Venom fans.
6. Death Strike, Fuckin’ Death (reissue) — Good the first time around, and even better now. The definitive death metal template on gold wax? Yes!
7. Ravencult, Morbid Blood — Sounds like E Watain fronting Aura Noir, but from Greece. Sold!
8. Blaspherian, Infernal Warriors of Death — Classic New York death metal by way of Texas, these guys rode shotgun on Disma’s time travel excursions.
9. Immolation, Providence – A flash mob beating in EP form, featuring their best production ever.
10. Cianide, Gods of Death — Burly and lurching Celtic Frost worship is a perennial favorite.
Honorable Mention: Morbid Angel, Illud Divinum Insanus — This insulting piece of shit reminds us why all the above releases deserve support.
EVAN HENSLEY, NIGHTFALL
1. Mastodon, The Hunter — A great shift in direction for the band, and it works perfectly. I see this album as a great compliment to the more progressive attitude of Crack the Skye.
2. Children of Bodom, Relentless, Reckless Forever — Another change of pace, like Mastodon’s latest, but they keep writing great songs with great musicianship.
3. Stratovarius, Elysium — This record rocks. Lots of awesome keyboard and guitar work! Everyone sounds on top of their game.
4. Amon Amarth, Surtur Rising — I really like the single, “War of the Gods.”
5. Arch Enemy, Khaos Legions — More solid work here.
6. Opeth, Heritage — Probably the biggest change in direction on this list! No death vocals, but it really sounds nice. After Watershed, this was easily the most logical step.
7. In Flames, Sounds of a Playground Fading — I really thought the songwriting was very focused on this one, with great performances all around.
8. Dream Theater, A Dramatic Turn of Events — Mike Mangini sounds awesome.
9. Mr. Big, What If…?, I mean, how can you deny Paul Gilbert and Billy Sheehan… seriously…
10. Amorphis, The Beginning of Times — This is a very smooth record. Everything flows together really well, with good production.