What most of us hack metal bloggers hate about putting together our own year-end lists is all the bands that we really want to mention or include but just don’t have the room. Trying to put together a list of all the great albums of 2011 in a particular order can be quite mind-wracking. Now I’m sure there are a ton of bands that I didn’t get to hear this year that probably released honorable albums, but I’m only human and I can only make so much time to listen to so many albums. I have to pick and choose those that have my interest within the first few listens or bands that I have known for some time and anticipate their releases. If I downloaded everything that was offered from PRs, I would engulf myself in an overwhelming amount of music that only a single person with no job or life could have time to listen to and absorb. So, without further adieu, here is my list of honorable mentions and some best of’s in particular categories for 2011.
Honorable Mentions of 2011:
- Amon Amarth – Surtur Rising : I’m still trying to fathom the awesomeness of With Oden On Our Side. I keep coming back to that but Surtur Rising is still a very stellar Amon Amarth album.
- Ana Kefr – The Burial Tree : I hate that I haven’t had enough time to fully listen to this album; however, the time I have spent listening has been enjoyable, but I just haven’t been able to listen enough to put them on any other list.
- Before The Dawn – Deathstar Rising : This album is all about the construction of the Death Star from the Star Wars trilogy. No, really it’s not. What it is is an abundance of Finnish melodic death metal that sounds great as I await another Barren Earth album. Not enough listening time, but a very solid, deserving album.
- Bruce Lamont – Feral Songs For the Epic Decline : This album was hit and miss between songs for me. While every other song made me happy…you know, down there, every song in between had me wanting to hear the one after that. Not to take anything away from Bruce’s incredible talent, I expected much more from this album.
- Charred Walls of the Damned – Cold Winds of Timesless Days : When you release a self-titled album of epic proportions, it makes it difficult to even think about what is next on your agenda. Cold Winds’ didn’t hit has hard as their first effort, but it is still worth an honorable mention.
- Cormorant – Dwellings : I think, given more time, Cormorant’s Dwellings could have made my top ten. Seeing how it was released so recently, it just didn’t have a chance to make my cut and truly be appreciated. it will get some more attention and mentions going forward though. if you want to read a great review on this album, visit Heavy Blog Is Heavy.
- Havok – Time Is Up : Have you been looking for that next neo-thrash band to bring back memories of denim vests and fat-tongued Nike Air sneakers? Look no further. Havok bring the business with Time Is Up.
- Myrath – Tales of the Sand : Arabic sounds mixed with power metal is always an interesting concept.
- YOB – Atma : Sludge, sludge, sludge. I love sludge.
- 40 Watt Sun – The Inside Room : While a very cool album, the songs just seemed a bit too drawn out to keep my attention.
- USX – The Valley Path : A 39 minute album of a single song sounds like an interesting concept at first, but it can become cumbersome trying to listen to unless you’re making a roadtrip and can truly appreciate it. A good album/song, but didn’t make me say “play is again, Sam.”
- Scale the Summit – The Collective : instrumentals rarely make any top ten list of mine. The sheer talent of STS is beyond deserving though.
Best One-Man-Acts of 2011
- Mark Hawkins – Grandpa’s Guitar : If you are looking for talent, diversity in talent
- Bloodsoaked – The Death Of Hope : R.I.P, hope.
- Tre Watsom – Death Of A Monarch : Oh, you Djent know?
These are in no particular order; however, if I had to chose my favorite, it would be Mark Hawkins’ Grandpa’s Guitar. Simply amazing.
“Great Death Metal Albums of 2011 that deserve a lot more attention, but I haven’t really been in to death metal this year” albums of 2011
- Nader Sadek – In the Flesh : I really wasn’t in the Death Metal mood this year. Maybe it is me getting older or just the fact that there was more other more interesting metal to listen to this year, but Nader Sadek’s in The Flesh was a fucking amazing death metal album and perhaps the best of the year, in my opinion. If you wanted a really good Morbid Angel album but didn’t get it, listen to In The Flesh.
- Bloodsoaked – The Death Of Hope : Falling in to two categories on this list, the one man killing machine shows maturity in songwriting and skill on the new album. Plus he’s a local act that has seemed to gain recognistion all over the world. Oh, and if you ever meet him (Peter), you’ll quickly find out that he is one hell of a nice guy and that goes a long way in a world of shitty personalities.
- Krisiun – The Great Execution : You didn’t expect Krisiun to put out a shitty album, did you?
- Requiem – Within Darkened Disorder : Keeping things simple and straight forward, Requiem keep things fast and brutal.
Best Black Metal, “because I really don’t listen to much black metal”, Album of 2011 (with absolutely no elaboration whatsoever)
- Falls of Rauros – The Light that Dwells In Rotten Wood
- Dragged into Sunlight – Hatred For Mankind
- Demonaz – March of the Norse
- Wormrot – Dirge
- Rotten Sound – Cursed
- Trap Them – Darker handcraft
- Sourvein – Black Fangs
- Hail!Hornet – Disperse the Curse
- Hull – Beyond The Lightless Sky
- Dark Castle – Surrender To All Life Beyond Form
Best Compilation of 2011
- Iron Maiden – From Fear to Eternity : I was so happy when I found out that this was not going to be your typical Iron Maiden Compilation. A great mix of albums from Prayer For the Dying (even though it says from FEAR, which one would assume would be 1993’s Fear of the Dark) to their latest release, The Final Frontier. Fuck it. By now I think we have all come to the conclusion that even when Iron Maiden sucks…they still kick ass.
- Red Hot Chili Peppers – Road Trippin’ Through Time : I’ve always been one of those casual RHCP fans. So this album is perfect for me.
- Black Label Society – The Song Remains Not The Same : While this could be or could not be considered a compilation album, TSRNTS is a nice mix of re-recordings of songs into unplugged format as well as good covers of some classic rock songs.
Quite possibly worst albums of 2011:
- Morbid Angel – Illud Divinum Insanus : Need I really elaborate?
- Misfits – The Devil’s Rain : Perhaps I should have known what I was getting into with this Jerry Only blasphemous rendition of The Misfits, but I went ahead and spent the money on it anyway and was completely underwhelmed.
- Machine Head – Unto the Locust : From what I have heard the few times that I have listened to Unto The Locust, I still haven’t had the time to let it fully sink in and enjoy. I’m positive that it is no The Blackening, but I’m sure it is a solid recording from the band. I really hate to leave them on this level, but I can’t bring myself to even put it on an honorable mention at this point. Sorry, MH.