THE BEST METAL ALBUMS OF 2011, AS CHOSEN BY METAL MUSICIANS THEMSELVES — PART VIII
FEATURING MEMBERS OF KYLESA, INSOMNIUM, ABORTED, MNEMIC, MARUTA, EAST OF THE WALL, BLOODIEST, BROKEN HOPE, AND IN DE GOOT ENTERTAINMENT
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 have graciously contributed lists to MS, and we’ll be running them in groups of nine to ten musicians at a time two to three times a day for the whole week.
After the jump, check out the next group… we hope you enjoy seeing what some of metal’s heaviest hitters were into this year as much as we have!
PHILLIP COPE, KYLESA
1. Cynic, Carbon-Based Anatomy
2. SubRosa, No Help for the Mighty Ones
3. Septicflesh, The Great Mass
4. 40 Watt Sun, The Inside Room
5. Insomnium, One for Sorrow
6. The Atlas Moth, An Ache for the Distance
7. Rwake, Rest
8. Disma, Towards the Megalith
9. Machine Head, Unto the Locust
10. Capsule, No Ghost
VILLE FRIMAN, INSOMNIUM
1. Ghost Brigade, Until Fear No Longer Defines Us — One of the best Finnish bands out there; perfectly combines sludge, metal, rock, post-rock. The band’s main man, Wille Naukkarinen, designed covers for the two latest Insomnium releases. Good friends and great musicians.
2. Unkind, Harhakuvat — A great Finnish hardcore/punk/crust outfit. A very dark and dirty sounding band, which reminds me melodically at times of the magnificent At The Gates.
3. Architects, The Here and Now — I’m not ashamed of admitting that some of these new “emo-metal” bands makes really good music. Personally, I don’t care what style bands call their music. As long as it’s good, I really could not care a less.
4. Moonsorrow, Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleiden Maassa — Again, Finnish band, but with a folk metal perspective. Normally I cannot stand folk metal, but this band is something different. I think it’s because Moonsorrow is much darker, and they’re not afraid to occasionally flirt with black metal influences. Moonsorrow = Epic.
5. Mogwai, Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will — Post-rock or instrumental music. Whatever you like to call it, a really good band and a really good album. Went to see them live early this year in Oxford, and it was probably the best live show I’ve seen thus far.
6. Opeth, Heritage — I’m one of those people that don’t like the two previous Opeth releases that much. However, I’m a huge fan of older Opeth albums, and somehow this newer, musically-different approach had a similar impact on me. I’m still not quite sure if I understand this album, but somehow it seems to keep its grip from the beginning to the end, time after time. I guess that means I like it.
7. Lantlos, Agape — Really liked the previous album, Neon, a lot. Weird mixture of post-rock, black metal, jazz and I don’t even know what. Very atmospheric and dark. Neige from Alcest doing vocals. Great band, just check it out.
8. TesseracT, One — Polyrhythms done epicly. I really like the way this band uses clean melodic guitars to create ambience behind djenting guitars– and overlay everything with incredible vocal lines. Thall!
9. Tenhi, Saivo — This album is not even released yet. As a matter a fact, I haven’t even heard it yet. But I know that it will be a masterpiece, like all of their previous work. If you want to know what Finnish nature sounds like, you need to check out this band. It’s often described as neo-folk, acoustic, instrumental music. Hard to categorize, they just sound Tenhi. If you like Ulver’s Kveldsanger, you will like this as well.
10. M83, Hurry up, We’re Dreaming — Just to demonstrate how fucked-up my taste in music really is, I need to include this album in the list. Very happy music and gets the party started.
SVEN DE CAULWÉ, ABORTED/SYSTEM DIVIDE
1. Benighted, Asylum Cave
2. Mastodon, The Hunter
3. The Black Dahlia Murder, Ritual
4. Revocation, Chaos of Forms
5. Suicide Silence, The Black Crown
6. Septicflesh, The Great Mass
7. Textures, Dualism
8. Sonne Adam, Transformation
9. Exhumed, All Guts, No Glory
MIRCEA GABRIEL EFTEMIE, MNEMIC
1. The Haunted, Unseen
2. Morbid Angel, Illud Divinum Insanus
3. Opeth, Heritage
4. TesseracT, One
5. Hate Eternal, Phoenix Amongst The Ashes
6. Anaal Nathrakh, Passion
7. Exhumed, All Guts, No Glory
8. Chimaira, The Age of Hell
9. Periphery, Icarus Lives
10. Machine Head, Unto the Locust
MITCHELL LUNA, MARUTA
1. Noisear, Subvert the Dominant Paradigm — My absolute favorite album this year. Dorian (guitar) writes some of the coolest meth induced sounding grindcore riffs ever. His veins pop out of his arms when he shreds, you can even hear it on the recording. Trust me. Listen harder next time.
2. Psudoku, Space Grind — When I listen to Space Grind it makes me want to crank the volume knob to it’s loudest potential, take halucinogens, then sit in my room and watch 80-90’s era David Cronenburg films until my eyes melt off. Yeap. This is a great album indeed.
3. Electro Quarterstaff, Aykroyd — This record is so good, that it doesn’t need vocals. Plus, it’s made in Canada… not sure if that makes it better or worse, but I’ll take it! Drew should express mail me some poutine, simply because I mentioned them on this crappy list. Poutine is delicious.
4. Weekend Nachos, Worthless — Jon’s lack of wardrobe in the layout for this alone makes this one worthy enough to be on my list. Not sure what the hell is up with the John Lennon/Yoko Ono spoof, but It made me laugh pretty hard. Did I mention it’s a good album, too? ‘Cause it is.
5. Sulaco, Build and Burn — Even though Brutal Truth is Erik Burke’s main gig nowadays, its with Sulaco where his songwriting abilities truly shine. This album is an amazing display of innovative riffs. Sulaco is so criminally under rated that it makes my stomach churn. Shame on the world. Seriously, go pick this bastard up. Also, it is a great record to drink beer to.
6. Wormrot, Dirge — I am biased as hell on this one, considering I toured with these delightful brown-skinned Asians in Europe for five weeks. I love these guys. Dirge is a great record, but it does not do the band justice in comparison to their live show. Go watch them live if you ever get the chance. They fucking kill it, Pumper style… even though they have smelly feet.
7. Putridity, Degenerating Anthropophagical Euphoria — I am usually not a big fan of 90% of tech-death metal, but these guys do it right. It sounds DIRTY. NASTY. GROSS. and I mean that in the best way possible. No clean proggy wankery to be found here, just punishing brutal death metal done right!
8. Brainoil, Death of this Dry Season — I am glad as hell these guys finally got around to recording another album. I played the shit out of the self titled album (which sounds extra crushing if you play it on 33 rpm instead of 45). Also, this is a good record to drink beer to as well.
9. Gridlink, Orphan — Look at that, Brian Fajardo(drums, also see Noisear) ended up on my list twice… stop being such a drum whore, Fajardo. Jon Chang sounds like a female Pterodactyl, but thats perfectly fine. Chang, females, and pterodactyls are all ok in my book. Also, Ted Patterson’s white beard is awesome looking. The world needs more white beards.
10. Morbid Angel, Illuvid Divinum Insanus — Where do I even begin? Destructos V.S. The Earth? Too Extreme? Radikult? I will not say whether I think this was a good or bad album, but I will say It did what little albums do for me as of late: it brought me countless hours of laughter and entertainment. So in its own way, it succeeded on some strange level for me. Seriously, so many “What the fuck?” moments on this masterpiece. Just for that, it ends up on my top ten. I am morbidly curious to see what the band does if and when they get around to recording a follow-up.
KEVIN CONWAY, EAST OF THE WALL
In alphabetical order because I’m too indecisive to actually rank them…
Baring Teeth, Atrophy — These guys were a late addition to the list. We played with them in Dallas about a week ago and I’ve never been floored as hard by a band we’ve played with. Incredible technicality, well-composed songs and a flawless live delivery. Baring Teeth is the real deal. Check them out now so you can tell your friends you were into them before they were huge.
Decapitated, Carnival is Forever — This is truly a triumphant return for these guys. After everything they’ve been through, Decapitated stepped up to the plate with one of the fiercest records of the year. If you can listen to the beginning of “Homo Sum” and resist the urge to start punching everyone within a ten foot radius, you might want to check your pulse.
Engineer, Crooked Voices — The Dregs has been one of my favorite records of the last few years, so I was eagerly anticipating Crooked Voices. It did not disappoint. While they certainly didn’t reinvent themselves on this record, the wider breadth of guitar tones on this record gives Engineer some much-appreciated dynamic range.
Goes Cube, In Tides and Drifts — Goes Cube is a band that I always have a hard time describing to people. They walk a lot of thin lines in arriving at their finished product, making it difficult to characterize what they do. Descriptions aside, what’s important is that they are extremely great, and their newest record is no exception. In Tides and Drifts takes their sound to its next logical step. Please check out “Year of the Human” as a reference point.
Hull, Beyond the Lightless Sky — Hull is one of the best live bands you will ever see. With Beyond the Lightless Sky, they finally have a record that really captures that. Genres are useless when talking about Hull. The only word you need to know is “epic.” Coincidentally, “Earth From Water” is one of the best beginnings to a record I’ve heard in a while.
Krallice, Diotima — The hipsterization of black metal is one of the more disappointing trends of the past few years. Luckily for us, we have bands like Krallice still churning out fresh jams at an astonishing rate. The genius of this band lies in the densely layered melodies. If you don’t believe me, check out the title track. The guitar break at 5:35 is one of the most brilliant things I’ve ever heard.
Red Fang, Murder the Mountains — This record is just fun as hell. In one song, Red Fang will evoke the Melvins, Southern stoner rock and Jack White-style garage rock. “Wires” and “Hank Is Dead” are the standouts for me. After beating myself to death with a lot of bands that play a lot of notes, it’s nice to loosen the tie, so to speak, and put on Murder the Mountains.
Revocation, Chaos of Forms — While I’ve always been a big Revocation fan, Chaos of Forms is a huge step for these guys. It reminds me of everything I loved about metal when I was a kid just learning about it, and it satisfies every techy, progressive itch I have today. It’s fun and it’s serious business. I’m glad people are starting to notice these guys on a larger scale because not only are they making amazing music, but they’re some of the coolest, most hard-working dudes you will meet.
Smother Party, Casa Limon — Smother Party is not a metal band, so you’ll have to excuse me. But I’d like to think that some of the readers of this fine site will appreciate what’s going on here. Two guitars tuned in microtones, backed up by some supremely creative drumming. Good luck figuring out if it’s the ugliest or most beautiful thing you’ve ever heard.
Young Widows, In and Out of Youth and Lightness — I’m still not entirely sure if I like this record more or less than Old Wounds, but I do know that I like it a hell of a lot either way. The production has tons of character and tone for days. Young Widows never seem to be in a rush to get where they’re going, and they let their songs unfold in a really organic way. A lot of bands could take a page from their book.
ERIC CHALEFF, BLOODIEST
1. Anatomy of Habit
2. The Body, All the waters of the earth turn into blood
3. Ga’an, Captcha
4. Indian, Guiltless
5. The Eternals, Approaching the energy field
6. Dead Rider, The RawDents
7. Brooklyn Rider, Glass: String Quartets No 1-5
8. Nachtmystium, Live at Roadburn 2010
9. The Entrance Band, I Love You .45
10. Todays The Day, Will Power — This one might be cheating on many levels… end of 2010 and a Relapse reissue. But It Fucking RULES on so many levels!!!
JEREMY WAGNER, BROKEN HOPE/LUPARA, AUTHOR OF THE ARMAGEDDON CHORD
1. Macabre, Grim Scary Tales
2. Deicide, To Hell With God
3. Autopsy, Macabre Eternal
4. Dirge Within, Absolution
5. The Black Dahlia Murder, Ritual
6. Dying Fetus, History Repeats
7. Diamond Plate, Generation Why
8. Charred Walls of the Damned, Cold Winds On Timeless Days
9. Immolation, Providence
10. Vader, Welcome to the Morbid Reich
BAMBINO, IN DE GOOT ENTERTAINMENT
1. Foo Fighters, Wasting Light
2. Anthrax, Worship Music
3. Protest the Hero, Scurrilous
4. PJ Harvey, Let England Shake
5. Machine Head, Unto the Locust
6. Cave In, White Silence
7. Radiohead, The King of Limbs
8. Textures, Dualism
9. Mastodon, The Hunter
10. August Burns Red