Thursday, December 22, 2011
In my case, you could justifiably label my Top 10 as "too metal." It's no secret that I'm a metalhead first and foremost, but it's hardly the only style of music I listen to. Over the years, I've shown plenty of love to non-metal releases in my year-end Top 10 lists, but this year just seemed to be a really good year for metal (or maybe just a down year for hip-hop, indie rock, etc.). Outside of a pair of country albums, this list is all metal. Hell, even the two country acts on my list have metal albums to their credit.
But you know what? So be it. Maybe I'm just getting old and set in my ways, but these are the 10 albums that moved me the most this year. Throwing in a token nod to Fleet Foxes, White Denim or the Black Keys just didn't seem right in a year that featured so many great heavy releases. So feel free to leave a comment below lambasting my picks. I've developed some thivk skin over the past few years, and it just wouldn't feel like a proper Top 10 list without disgruntled commentary.
10. Hemoptysis - Misanthropic Slaughter
9. Gentlemens Pistols - At Her Majesty's Pleasure
8. Ryan Adams - Ashes & Fire
7. Fair to Midland - Arrows & Anchors
6. The Atomic Bitchwax - The Local Fuzz
5. Hank3 - Ghost to a Ghost / Guttertown
4. Mastodon - The Hunter
my 2009 Top 10 list with their epic concept album Crack the Skye. The follow-up, The Hunter, is the band's first non-concept album since their 2002 debut, Remission, and their first album not based on one of the four classical elements (Fire, Water, Earth and Air). That's not to say that it's lacking in scope or ambition. The songs might be shorter and the hooks might be, well, hookier, but Mastodon still retain their title as the Thinking Man's Metal Band.
3. 40 Watt Sun - The Inside Room
2. Anthrax - Worship Music
25-year-old thrash metal albums, it's hard not to get a little nostalgic. But what makes Worship Music -- Anthrax's first album with vocalist Joey Belladonna in more than 20 years -- so wonderful is that it's completely devoid of nostalgia. This is not a "throwback" record, but a thoroughly modern metal album featuring some of the best music that any of thrash metal's "old guard" have released in decades. Read my full review here.
1. Elder - Dead Roots Stirring
original review a couple months ago, but suffice it to say, this album still blows me away. Dead Roots Stirring is not only the best album of 2011, but one of the best hard rock/metal albums I've had the pleasure of reviewing in my five-plus years of writing about music.