Best Metal Albums Of 2011

This list will expand later and the positions here will probably change a bit as well. An interesting feature is an album in top 10 from a band that's not featured on Metal Storm yet.

Created by: Risto | 04.11.2011

1. Amorphis - The Beginning Of Times
No surprises at number one this year. This time the songwriting turned out to be more vocals centered, drastically increasing the death metal influence. Guitars also give way to other instruments causing some different soundscapes than on Skyforger, but the essence remains the same. The result is yet another excellent album, here's only hoping the good ideas keep coming together.
2. Omnium Gatherum - New World Shadows
The band that stole Insomnium's thunder in the melodic death metal genre for 2011. This album was my first serious involvement with Omnium Gatherum and I was impressed how Markus Vanhala combines his influences here, ranging from the traditional Gothenburg greats to eighties stuff such as Rush and some shoegaze. And when there's the unmistakable voice of Jukka Pelkonen we have a sound that stands out of the mass.
3. MyGrain - Mygrain
When I think about good qualities in a modern Gothenburg metal band (think Soilwork and the like), all fell into place on this one. This is a refreshing album in the scene because this band had the flair to make these ambitious ideas work out. The musicianship of this band is near impeccable, especially now when the vocals up the level a notch - think about Phil Anselmo's power and a hint of Devin Townsend's technical ability in one guy.
4. Constantine - Divine Design
These guys from Jyväskylä, Finland put out a debut album that's been on heavy rotation since it's late October release. All guitar players (including bass) are blessed with a great sense of melody that offers plenty of ear candy in songs that often clock eight minutes or more, the 14-minute "The Darkest Grace" being something unmatched in the prog-power scene in a while. Constantine are a great addition to the Nordic family aside Communic and Pagan's Mind.
5. Chaos Divine - The Human Connection
Although there were a lot of pleasant surprises, this album could be called the surprise of the year. I didn't think I would like an album's worth of music so much with this kind of sound, especially the effect David Anderton's vocals give to it. Kind of an alternative metal album but not quite, hard to explain. Sounds very good anyway!
6. Leprous - Bilateral
Another kickass progressive rock/metal album! Catchy songs both rhythmically and melodically, with some twisted aggression thrown in. The vocalist has quite a personal sounding delivery as well. The fact that these guys are also Ihsahn's touring band is an interesting detail.
7. Dream Theater - A Dramatic Turn Of Events
Mike Portnoy is gone, and so is unnecessary experimentation with the sound. This is an honest album which is especially heard in James LaBrie's good vocal performance. Instrumentally it's their best since... Scenes From a Memory maybe, even though there's still the occasional pretentiousness at present. On the whole it's enjoyable and actually includes one of their best songs ever.
8. Insomnium - One For Sorrow
Not exactly a disappointment, even though the position on this list is a bit lower than I imagined. While the album is good it has a bit too much of the same between songs, sounding like it's lacking some inspiration. This would probably have changed if Sevänen contributed more in addition to writing lyrics, after all he's behind a lot of my absolute favourite stuff from the band (Friman wrote eight songs all by himself).
9. Moonsorrow - Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleiden Maassa
Pagan influenced folk metal isn't among my favourite types of music, but Moonsorrow is growing on to be a pleasant exception. Their style is doomier than many of their peers, relying mostly on strong atmosphere and very long songs. They are definitely capable of producing some massive melody lines too, as can be heard on this album.
10. Iced Earth - Dystopia
Jon Schaffer returned with a decent album, after the dismal Crucible of Man (Something Wicked Pt. 2) where songwriting was marred by Schaffer's huge personal losses at the time. Stu Block is a good fit to replace the departed Matthew Barlow as vocalist. Block has a wide vocal range and he also throws in the odd death metal scream. The guitar work reminds strongly of the late 90's heydays, but Dystopia can't quite touch those times.
11. Fair To Midland - Arrows & Anchors
Progressive Heavy
12. Devin Townsend - Deconstruction
Progressive Heavy
13. Ghost Brigade - Until Fear No Longer Defines Us
Atmospheric Sludge
14. Stratovarius - Elysium
15. Amon Amarth - Surtur Rising
Melodic Death
16. Havok - Time Is Up
17. Before The Dawn - Deathstar Rising
18. Black Sun Aeon - Blacklight Deliverance
19. Arch Enemy - Khaos Legions
Melodic Death
20. Mastodon - The Hunter
21. Communic - The Bottom Deep
22. Novembers Doom - Aphotic
Progressive Doom
23. Heavenwood - Abyss Masterpiece
24. Megadeth - Th1rt3en
25. Children of Bodom - Relentless Reckless Forever
Extreme Power
26. Trivium - In Waves
Thrash Metalcore
27. Metallica - Lulu

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


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Comments: 4   Visited by: 97 users
20.01.2012 - 20:41
The Psilosopher
Great list, Surprised u didnt check out that album from <insert fav band here>, i think it was their best in recent years.
20.01.2012 - 23:33
Well Iced Earth for me definitely.
Will the ones who live after our end
Worship the goddamn cross again?
28.01.2012 - 14:19
Great list. And I've just discovered Chaos Divine thanks to you.
28.01.2012 - 14:43
Wandering Midget
Written by Starchild on 28.01.2012 at 14:19

Great list. And I've just discovered Chaos Divine thanks to you.

Glad to hear I was helpful

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