BTDS's Album Roundup Of 2011 (annotated)

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Welcome, no matter if you're a long-term MS member or an Avenged Sevenfold listener. Don't know what to vote for? Here's ANOTHER yearly best-of list for you to go through, or, more likely, for the usual tl;dr. But, wait - what makes this one different: 1) unqualified and totally subjective two-line reviews, 2) conscious restriction to the litte-more-than-20 most impressive albums, 3) an aversion against the much too generic thrash & power metal genres and anything without recall value.

Created by: beyondtehdarksun | 15.06.2011

1. Amaranthe - Amaranthe
Welcome maybe the first real album of the 2010's. Amaranthe are heavy. Amaranthe are melodic. Amaranthe are shamelessly 'poppy'. And every, and I mean EVERY chorus hits your long time memory cortex like lightning from a cloudless sky. One word: more!
2. Alestorm - Back Through Time
Piracy. That's what I is all about. Pure, unadulterated, nasty, rum-oozing piracy. And Alestorm deliver. They know how to write epic pirate songs. They know how to write folky pirate songs. They know how to write pirate drinking songs. They can write all that at the same time ("The Sunk'n Norwegian"). And how awesome is that black metal pirate song?
3. Thy Catafalque - Rengeteg
This year, awesomeness comes when least expected. Remember that last BM album that was described as so over-the-top majestic, foggy, and forest-y? Forget that. Reng-whatever does not SOUND like a rainy day in the fir forest, the chunky riffs ARE the forest and the beautiful electronic sugar IS the rain. A hypnotic masterpiece.
4. Fair To Midland - Arrows & Anchors
Finally: a light-hearted, yet rocking album you can enjoy everywhere and with everyone. I'd like to describe the style, but it would yield in something like "Angel Blake (remember Angel Blake??) writing about Neige's faryland on Maynard's vineyeard"... to put it short, if you don't like this one, you simply don't like music. Go listen to some hardcore.
5. The Devil's Blood - The Thousandfold Epicentre
Damn, this album is addictive. And it's not even metal. Let's call it "retro rock drenched in liquid gold", to talk a little synesthetic. And now altogether: I call you naaame.... DEVIL!
6. Amorphis - The Beginning Of Times
These guys have come to hit a songwriting level that is almost scary. While not exactly a killer album in Amorphis terms, this one is their most consistent since Eclipse, and there is not one song that is anyway near boring. Buy and enjoy the Skyforger's melodies merged with earlier days' melancholy!
7. Machine Head - Unto The Locust
HEAVY. Like "The Blackening", this album has the discretion of a steam roller driven by the original Fear Factory members, only that this time it is somewhat more focused. I admit it, I never made it through the whole "Blackening" due to increasing boredom. But this one? This one rocks.
8. Within Temptation - The Unforgiving
Ever had a secret passion for female fronted 80's rock - Pat Benetar, anyone? Ever though WT is way too soft and cheesy? Here's YOUR album, and your excuse to finally like this band.
9. Euphoreon - Euphoreon
I know, the the term "melodic death" is overused, the genre repetitive, the ideas depleted. But I challenge you: find another band that does the happy-meets-extreme thing so passionate and well like Euphoreon on their debut! Fans of Norther's "Endless War" and Wintersun, beware!
10. SubRosa - No Help For The Mighty Ones
Like a midwinter's nightmare, there's an underlying eeriness in this female-fronted, intentionally skewed sludge epic that haunts you though the first sensation is still the warmth of your blanket. If you look too deep into the abyss, you might find yourself where SubRosa has been, and you might even like it.
11. Moonsorrow - Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleiden Maassa
The Endzeit! Endless wastelands, where hours pass like minutes for the desparate survivors roaming the earth, making epic 16 minute songs seem even too short! My proposal: time should no more be measured in minutes, but in "Huutos" - the perfect interval for about everything. And for pressing the "repeat" button.
12. Children Of Bodom - Relentless Reckless Forever
Like the benign (or should I rather say "vicious") twin of the boredom-inducing "Blooddrunk" [insert unnecessary play on words here], Bodom's latest fuses mid-tempo grooves and - again - powerful songwriting, sometimes actually wielding the scythe again. Bodom haters, check out "Shovel Knockout" or "Ugly"!
13. Leprous - Bilateral
"Boring, " I thought, and almost put this one away for good. Thank god/satan I randomly saw these guys' awesome live show, teaching me how it's supposed to sound. Imagine your average prog band occasionally taking DEEP breaths from Mirai Kawashima's personal bong. The one that reads "Curse Of Izanagi". And there go the strange harmonies... :D
14. Blood Stain Child - εpsilon
Fusing metal and techno has been extensively tried, but never achieved... wait, I mean, never tried but extensively achieved NAO! O RLY?? C urself! Put on "Stargazer" (the symbiosis gets perfect here), jump around and annoy the kvlt metal neighbor of your choice. Iff (computer scientist equivalence if!!) you can stand S.O.P.H.I.A.'s voice, that is.
15. Glorior Belli - The Great Southern Darkness
Darkness - mkay. But, southern? Wait... indeed, no error. This is one of the most unusual black metal I've heard - Cthulhu worship in the swamps of Louisiana, anyone? - changing from fast to groovy and back without effort. If Alestorm's is the rum album, this one is surely the Whiskey album. Cheers.
16. Shadowside - Inner Monster Out
Imagine modern, hard rock infused power metal with actually good choruses. Wait, that would be too much wishful thinking. Imagine Symphony X without the wankery... no, that's probably heresy. Oh, whatever, just call it great, solid heavy metal. And to spoil the surprise: the singer's a chick, but you won't notice. Or someone's trying to hoax me.
17. Continuo Renacer - The Great Escape
High. Degree. Mindfuck. The best instrumental album I've heard in years... and I may be tempted to drop these last two words.
18. Havok - Time Is Up
I can't remember the last time when I found thrash to be so entertaining. This album takes the best from both modern and classic thrash and puts it together to an astonishing Best-Of.
19. Before The Dawn - Deathstar Rising
Once again, Mr. Saukkonen presents Before The Dawn by numbers, only that this time it works surprisingly well. Though more on the melodeath side, that unique atmosphere has returned (debatable, I know), and even Lars' clean vox fit better than ever ("Sanctuary").
20. Chthonic - Takasago Army
Original. Atmospheric. Cool eastern melodies. Or for the superficial contemporaries: they're taiwanese (imagine it's almost as cool as being japanese) and, and they've got a hot girl in the band. Convinced?
21. Scar Symmetry - The Unseen Empire
Slowly, very slowly, this fifth opus of complex, time and space bending modern metal grows on you and reveals its hidden gems. A very solid album - still, please anyone explain to me what makes it so much better than the much criticized Dark Matter Dimensions?!
22. MyGrain - MyGrain
Tired of Scar Symmetry with all their twists and turns? Here's a little more relaxed, slightly proggy modern metal journey to enjoy. Be sure not to miss the hidden highlight, "Xenomorphic"! A songs I've spun almost too much this year (Yeah, "spun". I learnt that today, and I hope it keeps people from having nightmares of this list ;)).
23. Obscura - Omnivium
Nope, I don't understand this musical chunk of quantum entangled plasma to the slightest degree. But I know two things: a) It takes a lot of skill to write such stuff, and b) a car + an empty highway + "Septuagint" = lots of awesomeness.
24. Lord Vicar - Signs Of Osiris
As a Reverend Bizzare fanboy, I can't let this one go unnoticed. In need of a fix of good old school doom? Not the slow motion doom of Mr. Witchfinder, more the cool heavy midtempo style. Here you are.
25. Insomnium - One For Sorrow
Some albums deserve their praise, some don't. Insomnium's sprawling melodeath soundscapes have caught a lot of attention since the beginning, but this time they seem to have hit their peak instead of the common taste. Now put your copy of New World Shadows away FINALLY, cause THIS is how you do it.

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


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Comments: 5   Visited by: 30 users
16.10.2011 - 02:18
Learning To "X"
I upped this I like the fact you appreciate catchiness. It's so underappreciated in metal these days.
"There comes a time when you look into the mirror and you realize that what you see is all that you will ever be. And then you accept it. Or you kill yourself. Or you stop looking in mirrors."
16.10.2011 - 03:56
Troy Killjoy
Written by Milena on 16.10.2011 at 02:18
I upped this I like the fact you appreciate catchiness. It's so underappreciated in metal these days.

I think people confuse catchy with accessible.

RavenKing and I had a discussion about this once in a Darkthrone album thread...

Some people find extreme metal catchy. Not in that you sit there and compare it to the likes of flower power metal, but because it appeases your tastes you find it catchy to listen to. But the people who don't understand that are afraid of being judged by others for listening to such "easy" music.

I mean this applies to modern metal as well. There's good, catchy melodic metal and there's banal, plastic modern melodic metal.

And then you break those two down (catchy/plastic) and you can find good and bad in either - depending of course on your tastes.
Prettier than BloodTears.
16.10.2011 - 05:09
Account deleted
This also applied to nu-metal and metalcore etc. all of which can be appreciated without pride.
16.10.2011 - 12:04
Learning To "X"
Written by Troy Killjoy on 16.10.2011 at 03:56

But the people who don't understand that are afraid of being judged by others for listening to such "easy" music.

Yeah, and I hate that. Life's not a competition in 'eliteness', everyone should listen to whatever the fuck they like, really
"There comes a time when you look into the mirror and you realize that what you see is all that you will ever be. And then you accept it. Or you kill yourself. Or you stop looking in mirrors."
25.01.2012 - 13:21
Short remark: I heavily revised the list and am quite satisfied with it now. Hope people can draw some inspiration from it; I didn't realize there were SO many "best of 2011"-lists though.
"We are blind to the world within us, waiting to be born"

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