Thumbs up: +32
Thanks for the recommendations and the thumbs, peeps. Makes a guy feel lurved.

Created by: The Galactican | 25.05.2011



1. Sylosis - Edge Of The Earth
My first metal love from a stylistic perspective was thrash; Edge Of The Earth sounds to me like the true evolution of the sound. Sylosis' vocals did not do it for me initially so the barrier to entry was high given this album's length and general density. I stuck with it though and I'm extremely happy that I did. Great riffs, great sound, great album. After listening to this many more times than anything else on my list it seemed only right that it be moved to the top slot.
2. Omnium Gatherum - New World Shadows
A positively gorgeous melodic death record from start to finish. The playing is top notch, but what really sets this release apart is the songwriting. One listen or two and the melodies just drill themselves right into your brain in the best way possible.
3. Moonsorrow - Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleiden Maassa
Moonsorrow make exceptional folk metal that never sounds too over the top, never sounds contrived, and at least for me never disappoints. Their latest is darker than previous efforts with fantastic results. All the way from songwriting to performance they just make it sound too easy.
4. Blut Aus Nord - 777 - The Desanctification
Determining which of this year's Blut Aus Nord records is the favorite is like having to choose between your two hideously disfigured children from the blackest pits of hell. Very difficult indeed, but if pressed I must say this one.
5. Fair to Midland - Arrows & Anchors
Whoa, what the heck just happened to my ears and my brains?! I never heard of these guys before this record but I will definitely be paying attention henceforth. Technical, progressive, yet really different and original. Excellent songwriting abounds. This is one of those albums that will likely become an all time favorite for many (myself included).
6. Heavenwood - Abyss Masterpiece
Gothic death metal that made the top batch on the strength of the epic scope and the songwriting. Fantastic variety here in the vocals and the arrangements. It's just a very deep and very ambitious record that succeeds on pretty much every level.
7. Blut Aus Nord - 777 - Sect(s)
If Godflesh and Throbbing Gristle had a black metal baby, they'd probably sound like Blut Aus Nord. I fucking love this band and I fucking love this record.
8. Torchbearer - Death Meditations
Epic but heavy but black but death but progressive but melodic but but but...YES! This album makes me want to shut off the lights, lie in the middle of the floor, turn the speakers up to 11, and scream my bloody guts out. \m/
9. Born Of Osiris - The Discovery
I must confess, I'm new to BoS and at first I had trouble enjoying this record because of the vocal style. After a couple of listens though I let go and found an album that I just couldn't stop playing. Their approach to keyboards at times reminds me of the genius of Frontline Assembly, yet mixed with great riffs that, while extremely technical, never overtake the songs and never feel like they're complicated just for the sake of being complicated.
10. Skeletonwitch - Forever Abomination
Melodic black thrashy awesomeness. Forever Abomination is just insanely good in every respect, and after very many listens keeps charging up the ol' list here.
11. Obscura - Omnivium
While I enjoyed Obscura's previous release I didn't love it. That being stated, whatever it was that was lacking for me they totally found in spades with Omnivium. This is technical death metal of the absolute highest quality, where super mathy riffs never overshadow fantastic and original songs. Listening to this record for the first time made me feel the same way I felt when I first heard Cynic's Focus. These guys are operating on a different level.
12. Anterior - Echoes of the Fallen
I am admittedly a sucker for tight melodic thrash and death, something Anterior excels at. Songwriting wise this album is reminiscent of a lot of other records already written; there's enough talent, minor differentiation, and catchy tunes that I really don't care.
13. Revocation - Chaos of Forms
Revocation is fast becoming one of my favorite bands. They have such an interesting, creative, and--for lack of a better word--FUN mix of thrash and death. I'm not sure how they pull it off, but the extra roots rock, jazz, and wackier arrangements always sound more wildly creative to my mind than silly or contrived. Bottom line: if they record it, I acquire it--no questions asked.
14. Aenaon - Cendres et Sang
Avant-guard is a term that gets thrown around a lot as a sort of catch all for bands that aren't afraid to give things a try and aren't easily classifiable. Aenaon is most certain in that camp, though they manage it with such a strong song-craft that it somehow feels wrong to simply lump them in with the rest of the experimental caste. Totally apart from any of their Greek contemporaries, this debut full-length is a very listenable and enjoyable record, one that's full of suprises and wholly unlike anything else you'll find on this list.
15. Vektor - Outer Isolation
2011 is completely winning for thrash metal! If Voivod were a bit more manic and had Destruction's Schmier on vocals ('80s style, of course) then you'd aaaaaalmost be there. Even a touch of the mighty Coroner to be found in this extremely talented USA group. Holy crow, did I just mention three of my all time favorite bands? Vektor is the real deal.
16. Esoteric - Paragon of Dissonance
Gloomy doom done very right and very well. This album crawls up under your skin and sets up shop. Great for late nights in a dimly lit room.
17. Thurisaz - The Cimmerian Years
Thurisaz's latest is definitely an album best served by multiple listens. Sometime black, sometimes melodic death, sometimes gothy, sometime folk--they run a wide range here. Nothing flashy or overly technical on this album, just great songs with a lot of focus on feel and emotion.
18. Arch/Matheos - Sympathetic Resonance
If you go back to John Arch's 2003 solo EP then I've been waiting on this for 8 years, and if you take it from Fates Warning's Awaken the Guardian it's more like 25. Either way, this release is kind of a dream come true. Arch, who continues to be my favorite vocalist in metal, has somehow managed not to lose any of his power or sound in all the years, nor has his voice appreciably changed register in any way (which is more than can be said of some other long-time vocal virtuosos). When he and Matheos write, the result is truly greater than the sum of those individually amazing parts. Sympathetic Resonance is a fantastic piece of work; heavy, complex, tasteful and restrained at the right points, and a great reminder of just how damn good progressive metal can be when it's done right.
19. Before The Dawn - Deathstar Rising
Before The Dawn puts out consistently great melodic death in my opinion and this record may be my favorite. Again, like all the best albums this year it's the songwriting that puts this one squarely on the list. I positively love the vocal style they have too, and think amongst the bazillion bands that do the heavy growl to clean sound they excel.
20. Mastodon - The Hunter
Wow. Can't say as I expected to like the latest Mastodon as much as I did, not because I didn't love Crack the Skye, but because I really didn't think they'd follow it up with anything quite as epic and well-written. This latest effort sounds like a natural next step in the band's evolution, with grand tunes that shoot you right to outer space sitting alongside more rocking ones that simply get your head to bobbing. In spite of those variations in tempo and sound The Hunter feels like one hugely awesome cohesive experience.
21. Havok - Time Is Up
I say this with nothing but love: Havok makes thrash records that sound like they were created sometime between 1985 and 1990. Excellent songs, riffs, solos, and guitar harmonies. I'm a huge sucker for the lot of it.
22. Ghost Brigade - Until Fear No Longer Defines Us
The latest from the dramatic sludge masters continues to be, in my humble opinion, top notch work. It didn't leave my player for two weeks straight.
23. Haken - Visions
One of the handful of prog records this year that I thoroughly enjoyed (as not much of a hardcore prog fan these days). Great dramatic hooks in these tunes that provide a real nice balance to the standard, "Look how mathy we can be when we wanna!" +10 points for the video game section at the 2:45 mark of Insomnia.
24. Cormorant - Dwellings
The word that comes to mind as I listen to the latest by Cormorant is "depth". There is a lot happening on Dwellings, making it an excellent listening experience and also one that's difficult to pin down stylistically. Melodic emo death prog? Whatever you label it this is a damn fine piece of work.
25. Scar Symmetry - The Unseen Empire
I like what Scar Symmetry does and I think they're doing it better than ever here. They somehow manage to simultaneously scratch the itch for progressive, power, and melodic death metal. I think I'm going to have to move to Sweden and drink whatever the hell is in their water. That or Finland's water. Drinking both would probably overwhelm me with too much awesome.
26. Fleshgod Apocalypse - Agony
What a year for symphonic death metal! The playing, songwriting, and overall arrangements on Agony are downright dizzying. A must buy if you love the orchestral drama in your death.
27. Mournful Congregation - The Book of Kings
Book of Kings is my first exposure to Mournful Congregation and I've definitely heard enough to know I want much more. Between this year's releases from Esoteric, Colosseum, Ixion, and these guys, you could turn a single evening into a fabulously slow, heavy, doom-laden audio experience.
28. Colosseum - Chapter 3: Parasomnia
Otherworldly doom. Amazing work, quite sad for the loss of a driving force.
29. Novembers Doom - Aphotic
I'm actually new to November's Doom though I've been aware of them for some time. This sounds to me like a band that's right at the very top of their game here. Great songs well executed with a good amount of variety throughout.
30. Deceased - Surreal Overdose
The latest Deceased is nothing new, and it's definitely not as good as As The Weird Travel On, but it's still a more than worthy pickup. This is a tried and true heavy listen with excellent riffs and a classic style that just works. It wasn't broke so they didn't fix it.
31. Ixion - To The Void
A very atmospheric doom record with a fair number of surprises, especially in the keyboards and the vocals. Sit back, turn out the lights, and take a little trip to the deepest reaches of space.
32. Anthrax - Worship Music
When I first added Worship Music to my list I said it made it mainly on the strength of Joey's return. After multiple listens though I've come to really enjoy this record on its own merits. Sure, it's no Persistence of Time or anything, but the tunes definitely grow on you. Hell, I'd stick this in the middle of the list if for no other reason than In the End, which is a downright brilliant piece of music.
33. Destruction - Day Of Reckoning
I've been a Destruction fan for nearly 25 years now (holy shit), and to my ears Day of Reckoning sounds a lot more like pre-reunion materal than post. For long-time fans like me that's a great big batch of awesome. For the discerning modern metal listener though? This may not be your cup of tea--it's a sound that harkens back to a bit of a different era. Long live old-school German thrash though, and more power to you if it ain't your bag. It's a big broad world of metal these days.
34. Insomnium - One For Sorrow
There was no insta-like with the latest Insomnium. Call it mood or what not, and I'm as surprised as anyone, but many months after release I'm finally enjoying this record and can hearing what everyone else seemed to hear instantly. Eh, I'm a little slow sometimes.
35. Wolves In The Throne Room - Celestial Lineage
Excellent atmospheric black metal from glorious Washington state in the Pacific Northwest--a place I call home. This is another record I suspect could jump up the list before the year's end.
36. Hate Eternal - Phoenix Amongst The Ashes
Brutal. Heavy. Crushing. No muss, no fuss. This is in your face, tough as hell death metal that's pure as the bloodied snow. \m/
37. Dwellers of the Twilight - Sycophant
Great straight forward black stuff of blackness with the blackitude. I'm pretty sure I have a French black metal fetish.
38. Septicflesh - The Great Mass
Like I said above, it's been quite the year for symphonic death. Septicflesh have crafted a brilliant record here that deserves every bit of praise it has received.
39. Anaal Nathrakh - Passion
Extreme, heavy, utterly devoid of anything remotely uplifting, expertly produced. Anaal Nathrakh's latest is just...sick (in the real good way).
40. Demonical - Death Infernal
Good straight-forward death metal with a bit of a hardcore edge to the songwriting. The guitars sound like they were tracked on top of each other about 8 times too, which is rarely a bad thing. Nothing groundbreak or new here, just a solid and highly listenable album.
41. Amorphis - The Beginning of Times
My first impression of the latest Amorphis was something along the lines of, "Good god this is cheesy!" I came back to it though because of all the positive reviews and I'm happy that I did. Yep, it's syrupy sweet folk metal with extremely corny lyrics at times, but it's also a damn fine piece of work and definitely more than worthy when I'm in the mood. Let's face it, I really just needed to put this on in the background while playing World of Warcraft. Works perfect in that context.
42. Pagan's Mind - Heavenly Ecstasy
In general I'm not always the biggest fan of pure progressive metal, especially with super clean vocals, but for whatever reason Pagan's Mind hits the spot. They are pretty hokey at times, particularly as it pertains to lyrical content (so, so, so corny), but man can't live on darkness alone--especially in Seattle, Washington.
43. Suidakra - Book Of Dowth
Excellent folk metal from a German band that clearly knows exactly what they're doing. This is the kind of record I want to listen to while slaying dragons and riding eagles. Don't listen to Biróg's Oath more than once; it'll be harder to get out of your head than Girl From Ipanema.
44. Amon Amarth - Surtur Rising
My first exposure to this record was live during their most recent tour, and while enjoyable, even with the live energy these songs haven't grabbed me as much as the songs on Twilight and WOOOS (with maybe the exception of Slaves of Fear). This isn't a bad album though by any means, and even a so-so Amon Amarth release is still better than 90% of everything else that's out there.



Disclaimer: All top lists are unofficial and do not represent the point of view of the MS Staff.
[ More lists by The Galactican ]



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Garth Vader - 13.09.2011 at 07:51  
Nice list!
The Galactican - 15.09.2011 at 18:26  
Written by Garth Vader on 13.09.2011 at 07:51

Nice list!



Appreciate the kind words, Garth!
Mattybu - 20.09.2011 at 01:14  
Awesome list man, and glad to see Obscura on there, probably my first technical death album and when Septuagint really gets going I was just blown away!
The Galactican - 22.09.2011 at 07:15  
Written by Mattybu on 20.09.2011 at 01:14

Awesome list man, and glad to see Obscura on there, probably my first technical death album and when Septuagint really gets going I was just blown away!



Thank you, sir. Damn straight on Obscura!
MechanisT - 04.11.2011 at 12:41  
Boss list. 'Nuff said.
Dangerboner - 04.11.2011 at 19:02  
Nice to see a list that had some thought put into it
Doc Godin - 05.11.2011 at 12:08  
Aside from that Arch/Matheos, which still strikes me as an incredibly mediocre album, this is a nice list.
The Galactican - 10.11.2011 at 17:43  
Written by Doc Godin on 05.11.2011 at 12:08

Aside from that Arch/Matheos, which still strikes me as an incredibly mediocre album, this is a nice list.


Thanks, Doc. I freely and fully admit I probably have no shortage of bias based on a longtime love of John Arch's voice.
The Galactican - 10.11.2011 at 17:46  
Written by MechanisT on 04.11.2011 at 12:41

Boss list. 'Nuff said.


Muchos gracias, amigo. \m/
Doc Godin - 10.11.2011 at 17:51  
Written by The Galactican on 10.11.2011 at 17:43

Written by Doc Godin on 05.11.2011 at 12:08

Aside from that Arch/Matheos, which still strikes me as an incredibly mediocre album, this is a nice list.


Thanks, Doc. I freely and fully admit I probably have no shortage of bias based on a longtime love of John Arch's voice.

Maybe it's my bias against most prog. Most people seem to agree with you on the quality of this album, I still don't get the big hype over it.
Chobo_jokeR - 04.12.2011 at 20:42  
You got Esoteric on the list twice (15 and 24), but other than that I like the list (especially the WITTR, Esoteric and Amon Amarth mentions)
Troy Killjoy - 04.12.2011 at 21:40  
Written by Chobo_jokeR on 04.12.2011 at 20:42
You got Esoteric on the list twice (15 and 24)

Ya, because it's that good.
Chobo_jokeR - 04.12.2011 at 22:07  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 04.12.2011 at 21:40

Written by Chobo_jokeR on 04.12.2011 at 20:42
You got Esoteric on the list twice (15 and 24)

Ya, because it's that good.


Ha ha, yeah I'm quite a fan of it. Esoteric's and Mournful Congregation's releases are two gems from this year.
The Galactican - 05.12.2011 at 20:11  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 04.12.2011 at 21:40

Written by Chobo_jokeR on 04.12.2011 at 20:42
You got Esoteric on the list twice (15 and 24)

Ya, because it's that good.


Now that is too funny. I think I'll just go ahead and leave it that way.
The Galactican - 16.12.2011 at 19:49  
Written by Chobo_jokeR on 04.12.2011 at 22:07

Written by Troy Killjoy on 04.12.2011 at 21:40

Written by Chobo_jokeR on 04.12.2011 at 20:42
You got Esoteric on the list twice (15 and 24)

Ya, because it's that good.


Ha ha, yeah I'm quite a fan of it. Esoteric's and Mournful Congregation's releases are two gems from this year.


Damn that Mournful Congregation is good--thanks for the recommendation. I've added it to the list.
Chobo_jokeR - 17.12.2011 at 00:43  
Written by The Galactican on 16.12.2011 at 19:49

Written by Chobo_jokeR on 04.12.2011 at 22:07

Written by Troy Killjoy on 04.12.2011 at 21:40

Written by Chobo_jokeR on 04.12.2011 at 20:42
You got Esoteric on the list twice (15 and 24)

Ya, because it's that good.


Ha ha, yeah I'm quite a fan of it. Esoteric's and Mournful Congregation's releases are two gems from this year.


Damn that Mournful Congregation is good--thanks for the recommendation. I've added it to the list.


Ha ha no problem. Definitely check out their other releases. The June Frost is pretty damn awesome too.
Oaken - 17.07.2012 at 15:06  
Amazing list that needs one more album: Benighted's Asylum Cave.

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