View Full Version : 2011 Album of the Year

12-26-2011, 05:48 PM
It's that time again, let's get to it:

10 - Five Finger Death Punch "American Capitalist"

I know this may get me attacked if I ever said it loud enough for "real" metal fans to hear, because they're basically the anti-christ to alot of metal fans, myself included in the past, but this CD they did something kind of interesting that got me on their side. Everyone always complains about them being sell-outs and "mall metal", and with this entire CD from the name on down, they basically embraced that fact and said "the hell with the haters", which I kind of like. It's kind of a less complex, less good version of Soilwork who I love, but there are songs here that I still can't get enough of(namely, the first single "Under and Over It" which is a great track and also showcases what I was saying about the mentality of the CD: "Did you hear the one about me playing the game?/ Selling my soul and changing my name?/ Did you hear the one about me being a prick?/ Did you know I don't care? You can suck my.../ Did you hear the one about me trying to die?/ Fist in the air and finger to the sky/ Do I care if you hate me? Do you wanna know the truth?/ C'est la vie, adios, good riddance, fuck you" At the end of the day, it's still just a very good metal CD.

Five Finger Death Punch - Under And Over It - YouTube

9 - Primordial "Redemption at the Puritan's Hand"

And since I'd be pissing off the masses if the masses were reading this already with that pick, let me piss them off just a bit more with this one. Primordial got a huge amount of attention from the masterful "To The Nameless Dead", which is a brilliant album, and the letdown of not being able to follow it up has led to alot of people just immediately dismissing this as terrible, when in reality it's not at all, it's pretty great. No, it's not TTND, but in reality, think of how many times a great band has been able to live up to it's own hype after releasing a real masterpeice. Very rarely(more on that later in this writeup). So, taking this as it's own work, it's another very strong output from an incredibly reliable and enjoyable band.

Primordial - Lain With The Wolf - YouTube

8 - Trivium "In Waves"

I know it sounds a little silly to say, but in some ways I find Trivium as one of the most interesting metal bands in the world right now. Every time out they come with something completely different. No, nothing they've done has matched the brilliance of "Ascendancy", but I liked the different tone and style of everything that's followed. Now with another change-up to the style again, they find another CD that I enjoy more than most. Some of the tracks on here, specifically "Black" and "Caustic Are The Ties That Bind" are deffinitely worth the price of admission. They keep "rediscovering" themselves from CD to CD, and I keep enjoying what they find.


7 - Mastodon "The Hunter"

I should get this out of the way, there are metal fans who live and breathe this band, and I'm not one of those guys. I really enjoy everything they've done so far, but don't get some of the added hype that's followed them around. They're a great band, but they aren't the most "must-hear" metal band in the world that many people treat them to be. That said, it takes about 7 minutes for anyone to hear that this is one of the CD's of the year. The lead track "Black Tongue" is fantastic, and "Curl of the Burl", the first single, is so astonishingly catchy I can't stop listening to it still.

Mastodon: Curl Of The Burl [Official Video] - YouTube

6 - Dream Theater "A Dramatic Turn of Events"

So one of the gigantic question marks surrounding most metal fans is what was going to happen with Dream Theater sans Mike Portnoy, one of the main songwriters, and the single best drummer that currently walks on the face of this earth. The answer was what, credit to Kyle, he had predicted it would be, a return to form. Portnoy has kind of shown himself since the split to be someone who dreams of being something he's not. He's a world-class, brilliant progressive music drummer and writer. This is the guy that was one of the main pieces behind early Dream Theater(Images and Words/Scenes From a Memory). But he wanted to become a more "metal" drummer, and it led to this split, and also led to the pile of trash he released with Russell Allen on the Adrenaline Mob EP. There's a give and take with this CD, three ballads are unwelcome in my eyes, and Portnoy(I assume) wouldn't have allowed that. But the return of Rudess and Petrucci playing off each other through everything, as well as no more Portnoy "growl vocals" is all very welcome. Dream Theater found themselves again, but there's still something very noticably missing from the CD, and it's Portnoy. Whether it was a matter of circumstance or not, Mike Mangini makes little to no impression on the album, which compared to what DT was at one time is a very notable thing that needs to change going forward. Still, the return to form was very welcome.

Dream Theater-Bridges In The Sky - Dream Theater Full song HD 2011 with lyrics - YouTube

5 - Voyager "The Meaning of I"

If you've never heard of Voyager before, and you're a fan of progressive metal in any way, you can thank me later for including this CD on this list so you've got an introduction to them, because you're really missing out. A truly spectacular Australian progressive metal band, that is pushing the envelope and the genre to somewhere else, and avoiding the trappings of trying to sound too much like Dream Theater that alot of current progressive bands are falling into. Insanely melodic, insanely brilliantly constructed, and beautifully sung at every stage by Daniel Estrin. One of the bands I'm most excited to see what comes next from...because they keep getting better every time out, and they've only been at it for a short while now.

VOYAGER - Seize the day (preview song from new album out on 11 October 2011 - YouTube

4 - Anthrax "Worship Music"

From the intro song "Worship" alone, you can tell that this is a band with a completely renewed focus. Coming off the hugely successful "Big 4" tour, Metallica and Megadeth both released either duds(Th1rt33n) or absolute atroscities on humanity(Lulu). Anthrax got to release a real CD, and a real fucking good one at that. There are songs that are either "merely" very good Anthrax songs, or at best, some of the finest crafted songs that have ever been released in the entire history of the band("In The End" and "Judas Priest"). With Joey Belladonna back infront of the band, where he has always belonged, and with a brilliant performance from the entire rest of the band, this is a great effort from a legendary band in the world of heavy metal.

Anthrax - In The End.wmv - YouTube

3 - While Heaven Wept "Fear of Infinity"

One of my favourite bands working right now, and it's another highlight from the band. To anyone who hasn't heard them, they're basically a combo "doom" and prog-metal band, there's some outstanding elements from both incorporated throughout the CD, to make one hell of a strong listen. I don't really know what to say about this, it's not a big departure, or a big question mark, they've been putting out stellar music for quite a while now, this is a slight step forward from that level, and there's everything to like and nothing to dislike about it. The riffs from Tom Phillips and Scott Loose are heavy as hell and crunching at every level, and the play off each other is outstanding, and Rain Irving sings the shit out of every single word on this CD, all of which are written brilliantly.

While Heaven Wept - Saturn And Sacrifice - YouTube

2 - Symphony X "Iconoclast"

They've really taken the mantle from Dream Theater as the best prog band in the world right now in my opinion. The last few CD's they've released, "The Odyssey", "Paradise Lost" and now this massive double-disc behemoth have put them above and beyond what DT has done recently. It just seems that the guys in Symphony X have a much better understanding of what it is that has people tuning in these days. While DT relentlessly struggles with people clamoring for more of the "old" DT, Symphony X has people praising them disc-to-disc for taking another step forward and improving upon their sound. "Paradise Lost" was the big step forward for them, starting to incoporate these epic sounding choir sections, and anthemic chorus' really gives any prog fan what they're looking for. And it took all of 3 seconds for them to again go back there and improve upon it by using them even more, and making it even grander, even bigger, and even more epic sounding for the opening track of "Iconoclast". There's an exceptional balled("When All is Lost"), several great metal songs that don't feature as much instrumental masturbation as Dream Theater suffers from(The End of Innocence, Dehumanized, Electric Messiah), and the closing track for the CD, "Reign in Madness" is one of the most brilliant closing songs I can remember in a long while, bringing an end to the epic concept CD about the end of humanity thanks to machines with some of the most bleak, and dark lyrics imaginable to bring it home, "Bow your heads and abandon hope/We're the Gods of pain/Raise your hands if you'll join with us/And let the madness reign."

Symphony X - Iconoclast (title track) - YouTube

1 - Machine Head "Unto The Locust"

I'm going to say this as simply as I possibly can be expected to say it, and I will accept no argument on this fact. Today, Machine Head is the best heavy metal band in the world. Period. It's been one hell of a weird career getting to this point, they debuted in 1994 with "Burn My Eyes", which was a brilliant debut CD that showed all the promise in the world, and still features a few favourite concert classics like "Old" and "Davidian". After that, to go back to the Dream Theater blurb, from the outside looking it, it seems like one of the members really corrupted the band. Ahrue Lester is widely believed to have "corrupted" the band from inside, and subsequently "The Burning Red" and "Supercharger" came out, and to put it bluntly, are two god awful hideous albums by a great band. The he left and Phil Demmell stepped in, and 2004's "Through The Ashes of Empires" showed a glimpse of the promise "Burn My Eyes" had shown. They were back on track, with a very strong CD. What followed is where they earned the first sentance of this blurb. 2007's "The Blackening", I say this with all the sincerity in the world, might just be the best metal CD of all time, and if it's not, it's deffinitely in the conversation. Kerrang's Album of the Decade...my album of the decade, just pure brilliance. Which leads us to "Unto The Locust". It should be impossible to live up to the expectations I had for them after "The Blackening", but somehow they did it. If you can listen to the first song on the CD, "I Am Hell(Sonata in C#)" and think that this CD belongs anywhere but here...then we can no longer be friends. "Locust", "This Is The End", "Darkness Within", "Who We Are", they're all so exceptionally crafted there's really no end in sight. To top off a brilliant(but slightly short) 7 song CD, they add in exceptional covers of Judas Priest's "The Sentinal" and RUSH's "Witch Hunt" on the deluxe edition. I was worried "The Blackening" would be a flash in the pan, instead, Machine Head proved with "Unto The Locust" that they are the new kings of metal, and put everyone that listens on notice that whatever they do next simply cannot be missed.

Machine Head-I Am Hell (Sonata In C#) High Quality - YouTube

01-02-2012, 05:33 PM
Finally got around to making my list for 2011. I won't be as wordy as Cayuga, though... and I suspect there won't be much overlap between the two. ;)

1) Wilco - The Whole Love

Wilco's best album in nearly a decade. Love everything about this one - from the funky, fuzzy & noisy 7 minute opener "Art of Almost" to the sprawling, quiet and beautiful 14 minute closer "One Sunday Morning" and just a ton of great stuff in between. Nothing could better demonstrate the incredible range this band has, and Jeff Tweedy's songwriting is as strong as it's ever been.
Wilco - Art Of Almost - YouTube
WILCO - "Born Alone" - YouTube
WILCO - One Sunday Morning (Song for Jane Smiley's Boyfriend) (Audio HQ) - YouTube

2) Middle Brother - Middle Brother

I've been a fan of Delta Spirit for a couple years now, so when I heard that Matt Vasquez was joining an indie "super group" with members of Dawes and Deer Tick I was intrigued to say the least. The result is a band that clicks on so many levels, featuring 3 of the best young songwriters working today.
"Me Me Me" - Middle Brother - YouTube

3) Bon Iver - Bon Iver

Not nearly as stunning to me as their debut "For Emma…" yet it still hits much more than it misses. One of those albums/artists that puts you into a mood, no matter what's going on in your life.
Bon Iver - Holocene - YouTube

4) Glossary - Long Live All Of Us

A virtually unknown band out of Tennessee that really deserves a lot more attention.
Glossary | The Flood - YouTube

5) Deer Tick - Divine Providence

Got turned on to these guys from the Middle Brother album above. If there's a band out there that channels the Replacements better than Deer Tick, I'd like to see/hear them… because that's about all I can think about when I see them play. Helps that they often do 'mats covers at their shows. This album is sometimes a little raucous and immature… but that's what's great about it, too.
Deer Tick - Let's All Go To The Bar - YouTube
Deer Tick - Miss K - YouTube

6) Dawes - Nothing is Wrong

Like Deer Tick, found out about these guys thanks to the Middle Brother connection. Generally laid-back LA rock, but the songwriting is for the most part exceptional.
Dawes - If I Wanted Someone - YouTube

7) Drive By Truckers - Go-Go Boots

I loved this album a lot when it first came out, but I haven't played it in a while. Listening to it again right now - a solid top-to-bottom effort, but their standout track is this Eddie Hinton cover.
Drive-By Truckers- Everybody Needs Love - YouTube

8) Tommy Stinson - One Man Mutiny

The former Replacements and current Guns & Roses bassist's 2nd solo album isn't as strong as his debut "Village Gorilla Head" yet it's a nice collection of songs, and a reminder that he really should be leading a band again.
Tommy Stinson - One man mutiny - YouTube

9) Frank Turner - England Keep My Bones

This man sings with such passion it's hard to not love every note. I sometimes find his albums a little too polished at times; he really excels in a live setting… yet this was a very good album.
Frank Turner - If Ever I Stray [Official HD Video] - YouTube

10) Glen Campbell - Ghost on the Canvas

Huge surprise that I liked this album as much as I did. I bought it solely because Campbell was covering a couple of Westerberg tunes… but it's a very well put together album of some very poignant songs about getting older and accepting fate (Campbell was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and this is his final album).
Glen Campbell - A Better Place - YouTube

Biggest Disappointment of the Year:

TV on The Radio - Nine Types of Light

I really tried to get into this album, but it was too much of a chore. The magic that I felt with "Dear Science" and "Return to Cookie Mountain" did not come to me on this one. Hopefully, their next album will click with me again, 'cause I really want to like this band.

01-05-2012, 05:19 PM
wow... i don't know one band from ih8's list...

here are my top ten albums... not sure about the ranking - so I am doing the alphabetical order ;)

Amorphis - The Beginning Of Times
Dream Theater - A Dramatic Turn Of Events
Edguy - Age Of The Joker
Iron Savior - The Landing
Krisiun - The Great Execution
Machine Head - Unto The Locust
Nightwish - Imaginaerum
Pagan's Mind - Heavenly Ecstasy
Symphony X - Iconocalst
Theocracy - As The World Bleeds

01-05-2012, 05:36 PM
wow... i don't know one band from ih8's list...
:) not a surprise. I'm only familiar w/ Dream Theater, Mastodon & Anthrax from your & cayuga's lists.

Actually, a bit surprised that you haven't at least heard about Bon Iver, as they've gotten a ton of press lately and are likely to win a grammy this year (not that that necessarily means anything). but no biggie - we all live in our own little bubbles of sorts, by design. :D

01-06-2012, 12:20 AM
Nice list, ih8. Just listened to a couple of the songs you linked to and they introduced me to a bunch of bands I haven't heard of or never really got around to listening to. Especially liked Wilco, Middle Brother, and Frank Turner... always meant to give Wilco a shot but had never heard of the latter 2. I'll have to grab the albums sometime.

Havent heard of a single band from Cayuga's or Cornholio's lists (except Dream Theater/Anthrax)

I'll give a quick list of my favs from 2011:
1. Bon Iver - Bon Iver: I get chills listening to this album. "Calgary" is one of my favorite songs ever. Its extra awesome 'cause thats where I live, haha.
2. Watch the Throne - Jay-Z and Kanye
3. M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
4. Beirut - The Rip Tide
5. The Antlers - Burst Apart
6. The Black Keys - El Camino
7. James Blake - James Blake
8. Red Hot Chili Peppers - I'm With You
9. The Roots - Undun
10. Panda Bear - Tomboy

01-06-2012, 01:09 AM
Nice list, ih8. Just listened to a couple of the songs you linked to and they introduced me to a bunch of bands I haven't heard of or never really got around to listening to. Especially liked Wilco, Middle Brother, and Frank Turner... always meant to give Wilco a shot but had never heard of the latter 2. I'll have to grab the albums sometime.

:yes: awesome. If you wind up liking the Middle Brother album, you should definitely try Delta Spirit (and Dawes & Deer Tick, in the list above). They're far from identical bands, but their styles compliment each other very well... which is why the MB album works so well.

6. The Black Keys - El Camino
8. Red Hot Chili Peppers - I'm With You

Pissed at myself for not getting around to picking these up this year. Correcting that error now... :D

03-02-2012, 07:02 PM
Top three (the other 7 albums aren't relevant)

3.) RHCP - I'm with you
2.) Black Veil Brides - Set the World on Fire
1.) Hollywood Undead - American Tragedy Deluxe Edition

03-03-2012, 01:51 PM
I guess I should chime in, huh...... I mean we're into March already.

STOP THE PRESSES!!!! Nobody mentioned that frog terd album called Lulu created by what are considered geniuses of the industry??? For shame! Hahaha...

Let's see... of 2011, what can be honored in this category??? The top CD of 2011, I'd say is a toss between Symphony X and Machine Head. I had high hopes for the Anthrax album, which is a solid release, not #1 worthy though. I had higher hopes for Megadeth's Th1rte3n, but that failed to nail the top spot. Some pieces that deserve discussion: Michael Monroe - Sensory Overdrive; Anvil - Juggernaut of Justice... But two I have to give credit to are:

Steel Panther - Balls Out and Seven Witches - Call Upon the Wicked

Steel Panther started out as a cover band, then turned into a novelty type of act. They released an album that surprised many. When it was mentioned that a second album was coming out, I was kinda concerned. Was it going to stand up to the previous one? Will the novelty where off? By novelty, I mean... They embraced the whole '80s hair metal to a tee. Would that survive in today's day and age? It has. ...and surprisingly, the sophomore release from Steel Panther, IMO, not only stood up to the previous album, but it surpassed it. As for Seven Witches. Just a solid, solid effort from Jack Frost and the gang. A power/thrash band that flies just below the radar. Worth a hear.

03-03-2012, 01:52 PM
Oh, by the way.... Bon Iver either just recently played in town, or are here pretty soon. I was listening to one of the rock radio stations here and the guy on air mentioned the show.