The year 2004 was a good metal year and choosing the nominees was a very tough job. Many awesome albums didn't make it to the polls, not because they are any worse, but just because we had to choose.

The voting took place on the forum - we gave the registered members one month time to vote and in the end got 300-600 votes for each category, which allowed to single out a winner quite accurately. We also held another voting just between the Staff members and Staff picks are presented here as well - sometimes corresponding with member choices, sometimes not.

This year we also present two special Awards, which we chose ourselves. One to honor the memory of two great deceased musicians - another for the greatest drama the world of Metal has witnessed.

Our congratulations to the winners. Others - better luck next time
Best albums by genre

Other awards

Special award

The Best Alternative Metal Album

1. Mastodon - Leviathan 84
2. Ministry - Houses Of The Molé 69
3. The Dillinger Escape Plan - Miss Machine 37
4. Neurosis - The Eye Of Every Storm 24
5. Therapy? - Never Apologise Never Explain 12

The Best Black Metal Album

1. Enslaved - Isa 116
2. Anorexia Nervosa - Redemption Process 93
3. Leviathan - Tentacles of Whorror 34
4. Nehëmah - Requiem Tenebrae 12
  Krohm - A World Through Dead Eyes 12

The Best Death Metal Album

1. Behemoth - Demigod 122
2. Hypocrisy - The Arrival 108
3. Bloodbath - Nightmares Made Flesh 80
4. Vader - The Beast 68
5. The Chasm - The Spell Of Retribution 19

The Best Doom Metal Album

1. My Dying Bride - Songs Of Darkness, Words Of Light 177
2. Morgion - Cloaked by Ages, Crowned In Earth 28
3. Shape Of Despair - Illusion's Play 22
4. Mar De Grises - The Tatterdemalion Express 20
5. Esoteric - Subconscious Dissolution Into The Continuum 6

The Best Folk Metal Album

1. Finntroll - Nattfödd 158
2. Ensiferum - Iron 101
3. Orphaned Land - Mabool 73
4. Elvenking - Wyrd 27
5. Cruachan - Pagan 15

The Best Gothic Metal Album

1. Lake of Tears - Black Brick Road 77
2. Crematory - Revolution 65
3. Entwine - DiEversity 41
4. Lilitu - The Delores Lesion 33
5. Negative - Sweet & Deceitful 18

The Best Heavy Metal Album

1. Therion - Lemuria 191
2. Dream Evil - The Book Of Heavy Metal 74
3. Motörhead - Inferno 71
4. Black Label Society - Hangover Music Vol VI 43
5. Saxon - Lionheart 29

The Best Melodeath/Gothenburg Album

1. Amon Amarth - Fate Of Norns 182
2. In Flames - Soundtrack To Your Escape 116
3. Norther - Death Unlimited 92
4. Insomnium - Since The Day It All Came Down 42
5. Omnium Gatherum - Years In Waste 12

The Best Power Metal Album

1. Nightwish - Once 238
2. Sonata Arctica - Reckoning Night 120
3. Edguy - Hellfire Club 87
4. Angra - Temple Of Shadows 80
5. Celesty - Legacy Of Hate 11

The Best Progressive Metal Album

1. Ayreon - The Human Eqation 130
2. Evergrey - The Inner Circle 97
3. Into Eternity - Buried In Oblivion 52
4. Pain Of Salvation - BE 47
5. Threshold - Subsurface 14

The Best Thrash Metal Album

1. Megadeth - The System Has Failed 149
2. Exodus - Tempo Of The Damned 93
3. The Haunted - rEVOLVEr 59
4. Death Angel - The Art Of Dying 43
5. Infernäl Mäjesty - One Who Points To Death 14

The Best Album Cover Art

1. Deadsoul Tribe - The January Tree 158
2. Sonata Arctica - Reckoning Night 102
3. Megadeth - The System Has Failed 58
4. Orphaned Land - Mabool 53
5. Mastodon - Leviathan 46
6. Evergrey - The Inner Circle 36
7. Empyrean Sky - The Snow White Rose Of Paradise 31
8. Mar de Grises - The Tatterdemalion Express 6

The Best Cover Song

1. Nightwish - Symphony Of Destruction (Megadeth) 128
2. Fear Factory - School (Nirvana) 65
3. Sonata Arctica - The World In My Eyes (Depeche Mode) 49
4. Orphaned Land - Mercy (Paradise Lost) 40
5. Lullacry - L.O.V.E. Machine (WASP) 13

The Best Debut Album

1. Wintersun - Wintersun 118
2. Empyrean Sky - The Snow White Rose Of Paradise 40
3. Mar De Grises - The Tatterdemalion Express 28
4. Vox Tempus - In The Eye Of Time 23
5. Pyramaze - Melancholy Beast 18
  Slumber - Fallout 18

The Best Demo

1. Kania - Remorse 50
2. Empyrean Sky - The Snow White Rose Of Paradise 49
3. Passage - Passage 29
4. Skiltron - Gathering The Clans 16
5. Reclusiam - Reclusiam 6

The Best DVD

1. Blind Guardian - Imaginations Through The Looking Glass 98
2. Iron Maiden - The History Of Iron Maiden - Part 1: The Early Days 73
3. Dream Theater - Live at Budokan 71
4. Slayer - Reign In Blood Live: Still Reigning 68
5. Behemoth - Crush.Fukk.Create - Requiem For Generation Armageddon 33

The Best Video

1. Nightwish - Nemo 95
2. Rammstein - Amerika 78
3. Finntroll - Trollhammaren 74
4. Cradle Of Filth - Nymphetamine 55
5. My Dying Bride - The Prize Of Beauty 33
6. Evergrey - A Touch Of Blessing 22
7. Within Temptation - Stand My Ground 13
8. Throes Of Dawn - Vertigo 7

The Biggest Letdown

1. In Flames - Soundtrack To Your Escape 158
2. Iced Earth - The Glorious Burden 102
3. Nightwish - Once 70
4. Within Temptation - The Silent Force 58
5. Kotipelto - Coldness 32
6. After Forever - Invisible Circles 22

Honorary Award

When we think of '90s heavy metal and hard rock Pantera is one of these seminal bands. They have influenced many bands now a days and not least because of their amazing and very talented guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott.

After many disagreements inside Pantera Dimebag Darrell and his brother, drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott left Pantera and produced Damageplan's debut album "New Found Power".

Just when everything seemed to be back on tracks, all the Pantera mess was left behind and Damageplan was enjoying of touring the tragedy happened. Dimebag Darrell was fatally shot during a performance by a lunatic Pantera fan at the Alrosa Villa nightclub in Columbus, Ohio on December 8, 2004.

The Angels fall first, that is how it happened with Dimebag also. He was 38 years old.

We will never forget Dimebag Darrell's exceptional guitar playing, not only technically but also the feeling he gave to the music, Dimebag was a huge fan of rock music, he loved to play and it can be heard from his music.

Where ever you are playing at the moment Dimebag, we just want to let you know that we will never forget you! Rock on dude!

Honorary Award

Tomas 'Quorthon' Forsberg, founding member of seminal Metal band Bathory, was found dead on 7th June 2004, at the age of 39. Although at times he was aided by other musicians for certain albums, Quorthon was the mastermind behind Bathory, and the true core of the band.

The first 4 Bathory albums are widely regarded as masterpieces, and were hugely influential on the Black Metal genre - Quorthon's rasped vocal style and apparent disregard for 'clean production values' spawned legions of long-haired, black-hearted imitators worldwide, seeking to replicate the sinister, 'necro' sound he'd crafted. Later albums had an equally big impact on the Metal scene, with Bathory changing to an epic style of 'Viking Metal' - melodic vocals, grandoise song structures and tales of battle, Odin and Valhalla.

Quorthon may be gone, but I'm sure I can speak on behalf of all Bathory enthusiasts and supporters when I say he will be sorely missed, and through his timeless music, never forgotten.

The Best Drama

Guys and gals, please grab some popcorn, take your sits and enjoy the weekly installation of the Stratodrama, episode 665! Previously on Stratodrama:

Timo Tolkki and Timo Kotipelto get really pissed at each other and use their lawers as a communication device.

Timo Tolkki: "The band is mine!... My own!... My precioussss!... Also, fuck off!"

Timo Tolkki: "Jens may stay... everyone else - get the hell out! For those who didn't get it: fuck off! Again: FUCK OFF! Thanks for showing me the way idiots!!!" (yes, our show is not PG rated, and yes, Timo doesn't hold his fans in very high esteem)

Tolkki goes completely nuts and mumbles about red Kabbalah ribbons and how when he was reading Madonna's biography he felt warm waves all over his body and that the spirit of Jesus entered him.

Despite the two bodyguards hired earlier, Tolkki gets assaulted with a knife in Spain - apparently by someone who thought that it was Tolkki who should've quit the band instead. Stratovarius have some really dedicated fans.

Jens pisses on Tolkki's leg while the band performs Forever on Spain's Piorno Rock festival. Apparently, that's his way of expressing his loyalty to Tolkki.

Tolkki finds some chick, who's very good at looking pathetically evil and likes to cover herself in cranberry jam. Apparently, she was also supposed to be a singer, but that was never confirmed.

Tolkki is hospitalized due to suicidal feelings and chronic depression.

Jens Johansson: "So far I have: a singer I never met, a drummer who's not in the band, a bass player who is on another planet, and the main songwriter and producer went to a psychiatric hospital last week. I know all this looks very bad, but at least no one steals my beer anymore."

Tolkki, while being sober for the first time in years, realizes everything he has done, quickly gives the boot to the pathetically evil singer chick and talks the rest of the band into reuniting, by promising them to be nice from now on.

Happy end? You will find that after the Stratodrama continues later this year!