So we have come to the end of my list. Looking over my top 5 this is the most confident of my picks I could possibly be. In my mind these albums were the absolutely tops in terms of quality and repeat listens. At the end I will discuss briefly the albums that just missed the cut as well. So let’s wrap this puppy up.
5. Communic – The Bottom Deep:
Communic is one of the most underrated and overlooked bands I have ever run across. The 3 piece unit from Norway had put together album after album of solid, dense, and fantastic albums and 2011’s The Bottom Deep is quite possibly my favorite since 2006’s Waves of Visual Decay. It has the progressive and extremely heavy passages I had come to know but then added other elements to be the most diverse album to date. If you are a Nevermore fan before they started to tank or want to hear what Rush would sound like if they were face melting and keyboardless then do yourself a favor and check out The Bottom Deep by Communic.
4. Opeth -Heritage:
In probably my least surprising area of my list is Heritage by Opeth. I’m a fanboy of Mikael Akerfeldt’s primary project and have always liked the clean aspect of Opeth’s sound. Heritage brought back the prog rock sounds of old and actually did it better then the bands it gleaned it’s inspiration from( in my opinion of course). Time will tell if I come back to this as often as I go back to Damnation but for this year amid all of the 70’s throwback music that surfaced Heritage ranks at the top and deservingly so.
3. Insomnium – One for Sorrow:
My favorite Finnish band not named Swallow the Sun or Amorphis released One for Sorrow this year and this has to be absolutely their best effort to date. Clean singing was introduced for the first time here and it only served to further enhance a collection of atmospheric, heavy, and moody tracks. There were only two albums that surpassed this effort in the ability to make aggressive death metal sound beautiful.
2. Draconian – A Rose For the Apocalypse
The ranking of Draconian’s latest effort at number 2 is bittersweet as one of the key elements of my love for this band’s music has departed. A Rose for the Apocalypse was a long time in coming but it was worth the wait as yet again Gothic doom/death was presented as near perfection. Lisa Johansson’s best vocal performance(and last) tempered Ander’s top notch growls and the songs were filled with melodic and memorable hooks and atmosphere most dense. Time will tell on how Draconian follows up on this with Lisa gone but for now ARFTA quite possibly is the crown jewel in their discography.
1. Septicflesh – The Great Mass
All year long I was hearing about another band with the word flesh in their name and what a masterpiece of symphonic death metal they put out. Wrong. Septicflesh from Greece put out the masterpiece of the year in my opinion. Christos and Sotiris spared no expense or effort in putting together a monster of an album that combined every element of death metal I love. An actual symphony, top notch death growls, and though I’m loath to use the word just an epic collection of songs. If I had initially made this list right after listening to the album I probably wouldn’t have ranked it as high as I did but repeat listenings made me discover aspects I had previously missed and The Great Mass got better for me then from my initial review.People can litter their lists with bands like Obscura and Revocation all they want and claim it’s the best in musical achievement but for me what Septicflesh put together the most complete album in metal achievement.
So there you have it. What did you think of the list? If you missed the previous entries here they are.
And now for the honorable mentions. These albums missed for various reasons which I’ll go over briefly.
Samael – Lux Mundi: Switzerland’s black metal turned industrial metal band turned out a catchy and good album but there was too many reminders of Rammstein and I felt there was better quality albums out there.
The Project Hate (bunch of Roman Numerals)- Bleeding the New Apocalypse: Contrary to Lord K’s claim that he put together the perfect album, I’m not a fan of new addition Ruby Rocques’s vocals here as it detracted from what is typically good industrial death metal. And no the feud from earlier in the year that made me regret caving into changing my words to had nothing to do with not putting them on the list. There were much better albums.
Powerwolf – Blood of the Saints: This Romanian/German group puts together the catchiest tongue in cheek yet not cheesy power metal I’ve ever heard but this album was not their best though some of the songs were my favorite by them.
Sepultura – Kairos: This was the first Sepultura album I enjoyed since Chaos A.D but it didn’t quite have the staying power for me and I felt Anthrax’s comeback album was much better. They did end up on Scott’s best of though.
Immolation – Providence: The only reason this did not make my list is because it was an E.P. I’m new to Immolation and after repeat listens this is my favorite of their works by far. Now if they had only tacked on maybe 4 more songs of equal quality.
Leaves Eyes – Meredead: I would have loved to add this to the list and it was close. The defining part of the decision is I still think the first two albums were much better and there was too much folk and not enough metal. It is good folk though.