Here it is New Year's Eve and it is time for that annual douchebag move that every music geek loves: the best album of the year list. I feel like a dick, but can't help myself.
10. Gigan- The Order of the False Eye
Take pummeling death metal then spice it up with bizarre song writing and super weird futuristic sci-fi style noise and you have Gigan. This debut is awesome and proves that death metal is not stale. It sounds like Hate Eternal mixed up with a japanese psychedelic space adventure. Yeah.
9. Nachtmystium- Assassins: Black Meddle, Pt. 1
This album is truly one of the critical darlings of 2008 and it deserves to be. It is probably the 2008 metal album most likely to pop up in the collection of an adventerous non-metalhead. As for the sound: mostly black metal with a crusty punk vibe at times and a good dose of Pink Floydian prog. One of America's most interesting metal bands.
8. Origin- The Aftermath
Now, this album will never appear in the collection of someone who isn't diehard into metal. These guys are the most amazing technical death metal band I've ever heard. Every song is jampacked with 200,000 notes and 500,000 beats. The ear can barely comprehend the thick viciousness of this. But there are also hooks and songs hidden in there. If I could listen to this audio massacre more than once a day, this would be number 1 on the list. They should be given an award from Juliard or some high fallutin' orchestra because these grimy death metallers are more talented than 98% of professional orchestral musicians.
7. Metallica- Death Magnetic
You don't need an explantion or a link to their Myspace. You know the sound, you know the band. And if like metal, then you liked Metallica at some point, and this record is head and shoulders above anything I expected at this point. Bad-ass.
6. Torche- Meanderthal
I liked their first album a little better than this, but that one got kinda overlooked. Oh well, now it looks like every music critic on earth (metal or non) is lining up to provide them with oral favors. They are pretty awesome. If you like heavy Melvins style thickness, but wrestled into radio friendly almost pop style (think Nirvana or Foo Fighters), then they are for you. They are definitely for me.
5. Gojira- The Way of All Flesh
These french eco-metallers are back with their blend of death and thrash metal with a flavor that is all their own. If you listen to Gojira than you know the sound and no one else has that sound. Like Torche, I liked Gojira's last record (From Mars to Sirius) better, but this one is amazing also. "Vacuity" is a masterpiece of simple pounding metal. One of the world's most important metal bands.
4. Of Montreal- Skeletal Lamping
OK, I know what you are thinking. You think I am just throwing a curveball in here to show you how eclectic I am. Wrong. I hate those reviewers with Top Ten lists that include rock, jazz, hip-hop, and country in one. I do not believe anyone really has tastes so broad that they can love the cream from all the big genres. I really don't; I think people fool themselves into liking things they think they should like.
Anyway, this my girlfriend's favorite band and from the start I hated them. But I kept listening and now I am sold. The sound is that of disco, mixed with the Beatles, mixed with David Bowie, mixed with indie rock, mixed with terrible club dance music. The best word word for it is gay. Not homosexual (well it's a little that too), but gay. But fuck it. I think the dude writes totally cool music that is never predictable and always keeps you guessing. I guess I am gay.
3. Misery Index- Traitors
This is death metal/grindcore/super tough punk. These guys are just amazing. One of the best kept secrets in extreme metal. I am continually amazed at how underappreciated they are. Oh well, for myself and their legion of devotees, they are one of the best in the game. This is the most crushing album on the list. They are just sledgehammering your face and jackhammering your brain. This is brutalness for people who like headaches and bruises.
2. Enslaved- Vertebrae
If you want an indepth review of this record, look down about 5 posts. I don't need to reiterate the greatness of this band. It is time they break out bigger. Like Opeth size. I like Opeth a lot, but think Enslaved are much better. Let's hope the public agrees at some point.
1. Trap Them- Seizures in Barren Praise
Like the last entry, I have an in depth review of this record just a few posts down. This band is really making a strong push to become one of the best young bands on the scene. The future for them is very bright and I fully expect to be listing them again in my best of 2009 list. Can't wait to see them at Maryland Deathfest 2009.