I'm still catching up on 2011 while putting together my 2012 list. Here's what I've heard from 2011. This is bound to change a bit as I re-listen to these albums with a more critical ear and discover albums I missed entirely.
Deafheaven - Roads To Judah (9.5) (Blackgaze) A breath of fresh air into the often stuffy black metal genre. Ambient sections lull you into a sense of comfort while harsher sections remind why I love black metal to begin with.
Cormorant - Dwellings (9.5) (Blackened Progressive) Take an epic journey through the psyche of mankind with Cormorant. An epic follow-up to 2009's Metazoa, this album in part comments on the absurdity of wanting to leave a legacy here on earth. Love me or fear me but please, think I'm special.
Sleestak - The Fall of Altrusia (9) (Psychedelic Sludge) The first track lures you in with crushing sludge riffs and sheer headbangability. The rest of the album mesmerizes you into doing the bidding of the forgotten empire of the Sleestak. The last ten minutes of this album - which include 7 minutes of reverb and a shaman chant - kept this album from a perfect score. In this case, less would have been more.
Elder - Dead Roots Stirring (8.5) (Stoner Doom) Influenced by Black Sabbath, Sleep and Electric Wizard, this trio's second full-length lives up to their inspiration without feeling completely derivative. An excellent album all-around.