It’s List time here at Metalholic. The end of another year has quickly crept upon us once more. 2011 was an amazing year for hard rock and metal music. It seems our beloved genre is reaching full recovery from the near death experience brought upon by grunge in the 90s.
More and more bands have begun making albums worthy of being called “albums” it what has become an instant gratification digital download society. While there are still many band’s breathing fresh life into a rooted 70s sound, 2010 and 2011 have also seen a massive resurgence of 80s influence. In an era of such extreme metal genres, it’s sometimes hard to imagine that some of the bands we once considered metal are now borderline hard rock. Still, those bands are part of our metal family, and to some extent will be represented on this list.
This year’s list, though massive, became one of the hardest to whittle down. The metal landscape has become so vast, and the new band’s and myriad of new releases made this an arduous yet enticing affair to create.
As with all lists, no one will agree with many of the choices that follow. Some excluded bands will be hailed as brilliant, and unforgivable lapses on our part, while some inclusive of this list will be picked apart, and our journalistic credentials vilified. Remember, in the end, this is all opinion, and undoubtedly with the morass of albums released in 2011 we undoubtedly overlooked a handful that might have made the list had we heard them.
What you will not find on this list are greatest hits entries, covers or live albums. Loathe as we are to include EPs, a couple were so good this year they simply could not be denied at least an honorable mention. So without further ado…
Absolutely incredible EPs both deserving of spots somewhere in this list.
Between The Buried and Me ~ The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues (Metal Blade)
BTBAM did a spectacular job with this one. Turning a mere 30 minutes into a voluminous sonic journey. Schizophrenic and aggressive, this EP is better than most bad’s full lengths. This is a top 25 affair.
Blotted Science ~ The Animation Of Entomology (Eclectic Electric)
The bastard brainchild of Rob Jarzombek, this EP finds the band dipping into the creepy crawlies slithering into our open mouths and unprotected ears. Joyously humorous and undeniably captivating. This is a technical gorefest that would fall on the full-length list about midway.
50. Red Fang ~ Murder The Mountains (Relapse)
A blunt worthy slab of stoner metal from Oregon’s upstart beer and bong faction. Among this corner of the metal world, Red Fang arguably nailed it better than anyone. Those who caught the guys on this year’s Mayhem tour caught the buzz and understand just how genuine these guys are. This record is an easy triple nerd score.
49. Opeth ~ Heritage (Roadrunner)
Opeth fans can begin screeching now. 49th? WTF? Heritage was one of the most anticipated album’s of the year, and it is easy to see the broad spectrum of feedback on this record given its divergence from extreme metal, which Åkerfeldt has recently called “boring”. Bottom line here is Opeth continues to stretch its own boundaries, and fans of rock and metal music should rejoice. For those who are confined to a certain view of how a band must be then Heritage may not fit that window. Then again most Opeth fans fell in love with the band for the simple fact that it sets no limits. While this is a great album, it would be disingenuously fanboyish of us to rank it higher.
48. Lazarus A.D. ~ Black Rivers Flow (Metal Blade)
This is the second album on Metal Blade for this Wisconsin outfit. Black River Flows is a slab of modern thrash, groove metal, and belted vocals combine with sculpted atmosphere to create a true masterpiece. The guitar work by Dan Gapen and Alex Lackner sounds particularly inspired here, and Gapen’s clean vocals add a nice touch. Skinsmen Ryan Shutler delivers a beat down throughout. The metal scene needs more bands like this.
47. Krisiun ~ The Great Execution (Century Media)
This marks the eighth studio effort for the Brazilian tech-death metal outfit. The trio of brothers, Alex Camargo (bass, vocals) Moyses Kolesne (guitars) and Max Kolesne (drums) play to their strengths, never getting so technical that they dilute the material. The album in intricate yet brutal, with Moyses playing like a man possessed. The album title is an apt descriptor of what listeners can expect.
46. In Flames ~ Sounds Of A Playground Fading (Century Media)
One of the most notable elements of this record is the immense span of auditory variety. There’s simply no way to get bored listening to this record. The tempo and flavor changes in almost every track, and from song to song. In Flames are not breaking any significant new ground here, more so they are solidifying their hold on the foundation they built and cultivated for themselves and the numerous band’s their sound has spawned. While not their most epic work it is perhaps the one that most captures all the elements of who In Flames were and have evolved into.
45. Riot ~ Immortal Soul (SPV/Steamhammer)
Mark Reale and Riot are still here 35 years later. Immortal Soul is easily one of the best Riot albums in a quarter century. They have returned triumphant, with an extraordinary effort full of memorable songs, deft lyrics, and amazing musicianship. “Nothing changes, nothing stays the same.” A perfect statement of rock and roll. The musical landscape has transformed in the last three plus decades, but what makes a great record has not. Immortal Soul reminds us of what made hard rock and metal so engaging and Riot have reignited our passion for more.
44. Scar Symmetry ~ The Unseen Empire (Nuclear Blast)
This album is about The Illuminati, and the New World Order. Or as drummer Henrik Ohlsson describes it, “the elite bloodline pulling the strings of mankind in order to manifest their agenda.” The Unseen Empire, takes a step in a slightly new direction while still maintaining the heart of the band’s own unique style. There are a few moments where the songs sound a touch, ‘gasp’, formulaic, but like a cold beer on a hot day, it still tastes damn good. The album is packed with a heavy dose of shredding guitar work over chugging rhythms and blended with powerful clean vocals enmeshed with tasty death growls. There’s a bit of everything we love about metal on this record.
43. Born of Osiris ~ The Discovery (Sumerian)
The Djent-style progressive metalcore unit out of Illinois returned with its second full-length effort. A 15 song journey that is at once chaotic and exhilarating. It would be an oversimplification to say these guys feel like Between The Buried and Me with some curves thrown in, but it gets you close. There is so much going on here it’s like a sonic maze. Try finding your way out…
42. Wolves In The Throne Room ~ Celestial Lineage (Southern Lord)
West Coast ambient black metal at its best. The Weaver brothers are back. Good thing too, with no Agalloch record this year. Celestial Lineage takes the guys back to their 2007 album Two Hunters is style and feel. While there isn’t much progression here, there is much to like. This album, according to the brothers, completes a trilogy of albums conceptually linked and may be the last we hear of the band in this form. Time will tell, but until then, enjoy some incredible astral blackness.
41. Kittie ~ I’ve Failed You (E1 Music)
This is Kittie’s most diverse, cohesive, and emotionally resonating record to date. The connection between the band members and producer Siggy Meier comes through in the continuity of the album. Where In The Black showed the band’s return to a more raw dynamic, I’ve Failed You takes that organic base and expands Kittie‘s sonic palette. Whomever the band feels they have failed personally, this CD is a testament that they have not failed their listeners. Most band’s hope to make each record better than the last, and Kittie has achieved that with I’ve Failed You.
40. The Famine ~ The Architects of Guilt (Solid State Records)
One of Metalholic’s early favorites in 2011, and a melancholy one as well. Vocalist Nick Nowell spoke openly about the state of the band and how this album came about. The record is largely different from their debut album; more focused, and certainly more corrosive in its delivery. From the ominous opening of “the New Hell,” to the sludgy and doomish closer, “To The Teeth,” The Famine have taken their game to the next level. The Architects of Guilt seethes with a raw caustic beauty. Sadly, just two months after the album’s release the Texas death metal outfit called it quits.
39. Straight Line Stitch ~ The Fight of Our Lives (E1 Music)
The Knoxville quintet finally came into their own with this Johnny K produced record. New guitarist Kris Norris add a much-needed six-string punch alongside Seth Thacker, and metalcore goddess Alexis Brown delivered her best work to date. Drummer Kanky Lora and bassist Jason White are one of the most impressive rhythm sections in metal. The album is a testament to their collective resolve as a band.
38. Voodoo Circle ~ Broken Heart Syndrome (AFM Records)
While the rest of the hard rock/metal community is drooling over Whitesnake’s Forevermore, those in the know will be hailing Voodoo Circle’s sophomore album, Broken Heart Syndrome. The brainchild of neo-classical guitar shredder Alex Beyrodt (Silent Force), Voodoo Circle boasts some of Europe’s most notable talents, including bassist Mat Sinner (Sinner, Primal Fear) and David Readman (Pink Cream 69). On Broken Heart Syndrome, Voodoo Circle once again tap into neo-classical performances with an inspired bluesy edge. Think Rainbow meets Whitesnake, with a solid dose of Yngwie Malmsteen.
37. Blut Aus Nord ~ 777: Sect(s) and 777: The Desanctification (Debemur Morti)
The French industrial black metal masters returned in 2011 with the first two parts of a trilogy (the third due out in 2012). We’ll include both here as they are connected. All of the tracks on these albums are listed as “Epitome I – XIII” (keeps song titles simple, I guess). The musicianship and production are excellent here, and there exists a cold beauty to the process of the music. You might call is blackscape, a feeling of euphoric angst. The Desanctification is the slightly better of the two albums.
36. Cormorant ~ Dwellings (Self Released)
These guys are unsigned, which is a crime unto itself. Dwellings is a brilliant album highly deserving of serious recognition from fans, critics and record labels. Inspired and lyrically engaging, these guys thread progressive and black metal with elements of folk to tell incredible sonic tales. Wake the hell up people, you don’t know what you’re missing!!!
35. Rhapsody of Fire ~ From Chaos To Eternity (Nuclear Blast)
This album has been 14 long years in the making, and is the closing salvo in the band’s epic tale “The Chronicles Of Algalord”, aka “The Emerald Sword”, aka “The Dark Secret Saga”. Yes, even the name of this beast is massive. With this last valiant chapter in the saga, Rhapsody Of Fire have gone out in a cyclone of auditory inspiration. They’ve pulled in all the elements of metal music they are known for and an eclectic mix of other styles to build their most expansive and dynamic record yet. When the final notes ring out the listener is left to gaze out across the bucolic horizon as our hero fades away, a whimsical smile on our lips and a haunting melancholy in our hearts.
34. Five Finger Death Punch ~ American Capitalist (Prospect Park)
Love ’em or hate ’em, 5FDP have their own signature niche. They are a metal band that plays catchy, accessible rock, thus making them suspect outcasts among most metal enthusiasts. In short, they’re wannabe sellouts according to the naysayers. American Capitalist offers a thick slab of highly melodic, anger fueled, kick-ass rock and metal. The haters can call them sell-outs, but Five Finger Death Punch is a reminder that you can be metal without forfeiting solid song structure, hooky choruses, or your balls.
33. Arch Enemy ~ Khaos Legions (Century Media)
Angela Gossow and company came back with a fury in 2011. On Khaos Legions the band is once again igniting the flame and blistering our faces. While this is not its seminal album or most notable work, it will stand up to anything in the band’s catalog. The death metal flag continues to wave proudly under blackened skies. Khaos Legions rises to the challenge, and does not disappoint.
32. Devin Townsend Project ~ Ghost and Deconstruction (Inside Out)
Townsend makes the first of two entries on this year’s list with the fourth of his conceptual opus. Deftly written and superbly cloying in its melancholy embrace, Ghost is keenly poignant and beautiful. This is the “yang” to Decontruction‘s “yin”. Ghost has to be recognized for the emotive genius it conveys. Deconstruction is the chaos which precedes the calm of Ghost. Humorous and ineffable, this marks some of Townsend’s most intriguing work. Quirky and aggressive, Devin releases his rage all over this decidedly bent twist on a man’s quest for answers. Multiple listens required for full effect.
31. Arch/Matheos ~ Sympathetic Resonance (Metal Blade)
As we all know by now, Arch/Matheos is really early Fates Warning reformed with John Arch and Jim Matheos. Along with current FW members, Armored Saint bassist Joey Vera, guitarist Frank Aresti, and drummer Bobby Jarzombek (Halford, Riot, Sebastian Bach). This is classic progressive power metal at its finest. Old Fates Warning fans can rejoice, but this is still very fresh and modern, and deserving of new fans as well.
30. SuidAkrA ~ Book Of Dowth (AFM Records)
This is arguably the German blackened folk metal trio’s most diverse work to date. A far cry beyond the band’s pedestrian predecessor, Book of Dowth combines all the elements we love about this band with an epic flourish that is ingratiating to the ears. While there may be little new ground broken here, the band stands solid on its sonic soil here. It took a few listens for this album to truly stake a claim on this list, but its entry here is certainly deserving.
29. Omnium Gatherum ~ New World Shadows (Lifeforce)
Melodic death metal from Finland. Where have we heard that before? Don’t assume it to be pedestrian though. This is a very soulful album with some excellent guitar work, poignant melancholy movements, and beautiful melodic interludes that contrast with very well against the dark guttural growling vocals. Lots of intensity, rage, and sorrow.
28. Novembers Doom ~ Aphotic (The End)
The Chicago death/doom trust has made its eighth effort an album with a feel that harks back to the band’s earlier records, but perhaps a touch more aggressive. Aphotic means “having no light” and this album lives up to the name. Dark and dreary, it gives you the sense there is no light left anywhere in the world. Aphotic brings Novembers Doom back to its roots a bit, without surrendering the growth the band’s made over the last couple of records. The album is superbly produced. The dark lyrics are well-written and Paul Kuhr’s vocals are better than ever. The emotion runs high as is to be expected. One of their best albums yet, absolutely a masterpiece!
27. Amon Amarth ~ Surtur Rising (Metal Blade)
Surtur Rising is among Amon Amarth’s best works; brutal and aggressive, with excellent riffage and the dark bellowing we have come to expect from Johan Hegg. The guys throw in some new twists and turns to keep it all fresh, and more guitar solos then we’ve heard from them in a long while.
26. Dream Theater ~ A Dramatic Turn of Events (Roadrunner)
Call this the Portnoy-chip-on-the-shoulder effect, but Dream Theater with Mike Mangini feels rejuvenated and inspired. While many fans anxiously feared a spiraling catastrophe, the 4 J’s proved that they remain a force in progressive rock and metal without Portnoy’s presence. The album title is perhaps tongue-in-cheek, but record is a soaring testament to the band’s talents.
25. Hammers of Misfortune ~ 17th Street (Metal Blade)
The Bay Area progressive metal outfit returned this fall with its fifth album. 17th Street has one of those kitchen sink feels, with elements of everything thrown in, but layered quite intricately. Both male and female vocal parts. There exists a broody and haunting beauty to this record. Hammers of Misfortune have delivered an ineffable triumph.
24. Leaves’ Eyes ~ Meredead (Napalm)
Meredead is epic and sweeping, making use of traditional and non-traditional instrumentation, as well as multiple languages on the vocals. In all ways this album is superior to the band’s previous outputs and is now the cornerstone by which they will measure all future works. The album is lyrically stunning, and the music speaks for itself from first note to last.
23. Septic Flesh~ The Great Mass (Season of Mist)
Symphonic death metal from Greece. Not what you’d expect from the band name, but there it is. The Great Mass has been one of the most hyped records of the year. Perhaps overly so. Still it is a brilliant album of haunting atmosphere, with grand peaks and brutal valleys. From the opening notes you feel as if you’re part of a film or stage production which comes to life, er death. Everyone should be thankful for the band’s reunification.
22. Insomnium ~ One For Sorrow (Century Media)
Death, bereavement and loss. That journey is what Insomnium aimed to convey on its new record. Finland has long been home to some of the darkest, most brutal yet sad and poignantly mesmerizing melodic death metal, and this record is no exception. Insomnium takes the listener into the eye of grief on the lush yet caustic, One For Sorrow. Just when you think you cannot bear another moment, you start the CD over again.
21. The Black Dahlia Murder ~ Ritual (Metal Blade)
Ritual is packed with thick meaty riffs, pummeling blast beats, chunky bass lines, and Strnad’s brutish vocal arsenal. There’s no filler on this album, nothing irrelevant, and no reason for Black Dahlia Murder fans to find disappointment. More than that, Ritual is The Black Dahlia Murder‘s watershed opus. They have not only created a defining album, but have set a new standard for their future creations.
20. Skeletonwitch ~ Forever Abomination (Prosthetic)
The Athens, Ohio blackened thrash quintet dropped its fourth studio effort this fall on an unsuspecting metal alliance. Sure we expected some kick ass, grab-you-by-the-throat tuneage. But the guys really amp’d it up on this record, as one can see by the ubiquitous Best of lists they’ve landed on this year. Skeletonwitch is quickly sneaking up the ranks and for very good reason.
19. Mr. Big ~ What If… (Frontiers)
One of the most intrinsic elements essential to creating brilliant records with timeless accessibility is chemistry. When the four individuals that make up Mr. Big brought their immense and unquestioned talents together in 1988, the dynamic was so complete that the band created one of the all-time epic debut hard rock albums. Fast forward to 2011 and the original line-up has reunited on What If… Vocalist Eric Martin’s voice sounds as engaging as ever, and the undeniable chops of bassist Billy Sheehan and guitarist Paul Gilbert, are in full force. And it’s all held together by the rock steady beat from Pat Torpey. You can feel the vibe has returned between the four legendary musicians. What If… fits right in with the band’s first two dynamic releases from the late 80s.
18. Ghost ~ Opus Eponymous (Rise Above/Metal Blade)
Technically this came out at the end of 2010 in Europe, but did not hit America until January or Japan until April, so… This is the debut album for this retro-metal group from Sweden. The album combines elements of classic 70s metal with some doom and psychedelic touches. Lots of groove and chunky guitars. The album will resonate with old and new metal fans. The band plays it with an underlying sense of humor which makes for an engaging album.
17. Amorphis ~ The Beginning of Times (Nuclear Blast)
Finland’s Amorphis has created one of the year’s more diverse and eclectic albums. The Beginning of Times is a concept album which taps into many sub-genres of metal to create a vast yet cohesive work of epic scope. With the band’s tenth album they simply continue to do what they do best, which is create memorable albums that resonate with haunting beauty and incredible melodies.
16. Havok ~ Time Is Up (Candlelight)
Denver’s old school, new guard, thrash outfit have unleashed jaw-jarring sophomore album. While many band’s attempt to recreate the sound they grew up with, most end up heaving it up like a bad night of binge drinking. Havok however don’t care for posturing or conventional wisdom in their thrash. They bring it straight from the groin and hit you like a jackhammer upside the head. If you haven’t caught wind of these guys yet, despite the album’s title, there’s still time for an aural ass-kicking.
15. Symphony X ~ Iconoclast (Nuclear Blast)
If this isn’t group’s best record to date, then it’s certainly equal to anything else they have recorded up till now. Iconoclast is masterful and brilliant in the epic manner we have come to expect from Michael Romeo and Symphony X! A near act of sonic perfection. Time will tell if it continues to grow in power and stature with repeated listens, but I believe Iconoclast will prove to be a signature album for the band.
14. Fair To Midland ~ Arrows & Anchors (E1 Music)
Easily one of the year’s most unheralded gems. Track by track the album is an amazingly complex and dramatic event for the ears. Frontman Darroh Sudderth’s lyrics are divine to pick apart and ruminate on, while his vocals take on even broader range and tones with Arrows & Anchors. This collection of songs is his finest work vocally. Keyboardist Matt Langley may be the silent hero on this record as he fills the entire album with richness and visceral ambiance. Discover this band if you haven’t already!
13. Fleshgod Apocalypse ~ Agony (Nuclear Blast)
These Italian symphonic technical death metallers really shook the scene this year with their sophomore effort. Packed with atmospheric symphonic elements, breakneck blastbeats, and thick guitar tones. Great death metal vocals and even some operatic moments. An impressive behemoth of a record.
12. Anthrax ~ Worship Music (Megaforce/Nuclearblast)
At first listen this album hit me as a solid return to the Anthrax of old. Then a few weeks went by and I kept finding riff after riff stuck in my cranium and realized this is prime Anthrax like we haven’t heard before. Sure Joey Belladonna’s back, but never has he sounded so free and unhinged. Let’s hope this line-up stays together to usher in a new decade of Anthrax, because Worship Music is a shot in the arm that metal needed.
11. Nightwish ~ Imaginaerum (Roadrunner)
The highly anticipated return of Nightwish has in part, come to fruition. Imaginaerum has already seen the light of day in Europe but will not hit North American shores until 2012. This takes what the band did with Dark Passion Play to another level. Anette Olzon shows she truly is the new voice of the band, and her touch can be felt throughout the album. Conceptually playful and darkly twisted, Imaginaerum is atmospheric, haunting and at times simply disturbing. It’s a glorious return of one of symphonic metal’s true masters.
10. Primordial ~ Redemption At The Puritan’s Hand (Metal Blade)
The Celtic, black metallers return (thank God for that) with their seventh album, a record of death. The band has continued into the darker realms of its sound on this record. Redemption At The Puritan’s Hand is a massive album and arguably the band’s best to date. Metal’s pagan iconoclasts have created another auspicious aural triumph.
9. Within Temptation ~ The Unforgiving (Roadrunner)
The famed Dutch symphonic metal act surprised fans this year with an album less metal and more 80s oriented in style and sound. For this reason the metal community has overlooked this more melodic and accessible release. Tragic for them, because once again, Within Temptation crafted a masterpiece, grand in scope and epic in sound and style. A brilliant mixture of darkness and poignant lightness, with a powerful atmosphere of haunting angst. There exist no weaknesses on this The Unforgiving, no filler tracks. For fans of symphonic metal, or fans of 80s hard rock, this is a must own record.
8. Autopsy ~ Macabre Eternal (Peaceville)
I am happy to report that the rumors of Chris Reifert’s untimely demise are completely true. His vocals remain, as ever, like the guttural disembodied rasps of 1000 rotting cadavers. His drumsticks most certainly the bones of those same corpses, his snare covered in the flesh of the damned. Welcome home old friend, how we’ve missed you. Macabre Eternal is a disturbingly inviting nightmare from which we have no desire to wake.
7. Pop Evil ~ War Of Angels (E1 Music)
This pick is sure to draw the ire of many, but simply put, no other band of this ilk released an album in 2011 so stacked with memorable fist pumping rockers and Bic lighter ballads. This is a perfect example of 80s hair metal combined with modern edginess, with more hooks than a fishing trawler. There are no weak filler tracks. This is just damn fine, arena-ready hard rock/metal for a new generation. War Of Angels is a serious dose of Viagra for the ears.
6. Mastodon ~ The Hunter (Reprise/Roadrunner)
After taking fans on a sideways journey with 2009’s Crack The Skye, the Georgia quartet journeys closer to its roots with the band’s fifth studio effort. Each track on The Hunter stands tall on its own merits, but threaded together, they create a majestic tapestry of aural brilliance. From blistering riffage to moments of stark beauty, this record combines all of Mastodon‘s finest elements, and re-invents them with an overtone of powerful melancholy.
5. Obscura ~ Omnivium (Relapse)
Guitarist/vocalist Steffen Kummerer’s side project, Thulcandra just missed this year’s list, but he makes up for it with his day job. Omnivium is the band’s third studio effort and its best so far. Complex and intricate, but only to serve the music and not the ego. The band builds on the brilliance of its previous effort, Cosmogenesis, and furthers the band’s sonic cause. This is the technical death metal album of 2011.
4. Moonsorrow ~ Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleiden Maassa (Spinefarm)
While pronouncing the title of the album, or many of its seven tracks is near impossible, the music is enthralling. Roughly translated the title means As Shadows We Walk In The Land of The Dead. This marks the sixth full-length studio effort from the Finnish Pagan metal masters. At just over an hour in length, the “epic heathen metal” troupe have once again created a divine blend of black and folk metal elements into a convincing opus.
3. Megadeth ~ TH1RT3EN (Roadrunner)
The Dave’s (Mustaine and Ellefson) returned to the studio for the first time together in years and the culmination of that is the band’s best album since Countdown To Extinction. TH1RT3EN is a beastly and crushing, brutal whirlwind of heavy thrash and killer solos. It is all that we have come to expect from a Megadeth album. We are not disappointed! Let the naysayers go jerk their collective joints, while we break out the air guitars, throw on our grimaces and crank it up.
2. While Heaven Wept ~ Fear of Infinity (Nuclear Blast)
Virginia’s gloom and doom metal heroes returned with one of the year’s unexpected acts of sonic brilliance. The seven songs that make up this new aural journey are dark, often angsty passages, through which we all must pass to discover our core. Main man, Tom Phillips has a gift for touching upon our inner anguish by allowing his soul own to bleed out through his music. The terms epic and masterpiece will be tossed about with this record.
1. Machine Head ~ Unto The Locust (Roadrunner)
Upon first listen to this one, there seemed no doubt it would make the top five on this year’s list. Four years between albums, the band had a good amount of time to cull the seven tracks that would be the follow-up to its masterful The Blackening album. Our own Craig Evans had this to say:
“The word “masterpiece” is thrown around an awful lot in recent years, but in the true, classic sense of the word, Unto The Locust is a masterpiece. Writing this review was a huge task itself because it has been such a long time since I have heard an album and been blown away to that point where I’m stuck for words. I spent a lot of time listening to this in front of a blank screen, battling the urge to paste “holy fuck” continuously in order to fill the page. This is truly a case of “you need to buy this, and buy it now” because my words just don’t cut the cake here.
Machine Head have given us a remarkable selection of records in their time, but it was The Blackening that propelled the Bay Area quartet to legendary status. Four years worth of touring later, they have returned with an album that annihilates its predecessor, at the same time as embracing it. Unto The Locust is the best metal album you’ll have heard in a very long time.”
It should be noted that the Deluxe Edition cements this pick as the number metal album of the year. \m/
If your favorite album did not make the cut then sound off below. Who did we miss in your opinion? What did we include that you found to be utter rubbish?