40. True Widow – Circumambulation
To be honest, I’m not completely sure how to describe this album. It has a pretty unique sound, especially for being on a major metal label. Its main ingredient is an incredibly fuzzy, doomy guitar tone, but stylistically it sounds like some kind of ’90s alternative/indie rock. Regardless of the description, this is a great chill out record.
39. Black Star Riders – All Hell Breaks Loose
This album is more of a hard rock record than anything, but I love it. It features Scott Gorham of Thin Lizzy and a few of the guys that toured as Thin Lizzy over the last few years. It’s super catchy, memorable rock n’ roll done perfect.
38. Batillus – Concrete Sustain
On their last album, Batillus churned out pretty awesome slow, sludgy doom. On Concrete Sustain, however, they shortened up the songs and made them a lot more accessible and with a ton more groove. This could easily serve as the soundtrack to a
37. October Tide – Tunnel Of No Light
This is European doom metal done correctly. Not too melodic, not too sludgy. Thanks to ex-members of Katatonia, these dudes know how to bring the bummer just right.
36. Nails – Abandon All Life
I feel like Nails is one of the most underrated bands in underground music. One reason is because they are difficult to compartmentalize into one genre, due to their ability to perfectly execute thrash, doom, death, black metal and hardcore.
35. Suffocation – Pinnacle Of Bedlam
Pinnacle Of Bedlam is a pretty simple album. It features one of the best death metal bands in the game doing exactly what they do best. Making the most brutal, genital-smashing death metal possible.
34. Kylesa – Ultraviolet
Kylesa is a band that never ever seems to stop tweaking their sound. On Ultraviolet, they’ve managed to take it to a completely different level, one that’s soaked in psychedelia, but also features tons of the bone-crushing riffs that they’ve been known for.
33. Jucifer – За Волгой для нас земли нет
If you’ve ever seen Jucifer live, then you have a pretty good idea of what they’re capable of, even if you can barely hear anymore. On their new record that’s conceptually based on the Russian battle of Stalingrad, they have taken their sound to incredible new and louder than ever heights. There aren’t many bands on the planet that do doom metal quite like this amazing husband and wife duo.
32. Church Of Misery – Thy Kingdom Scum
Jap Sabbath has done it again! I’m not sure this album will be as memorable as House Of The Unholy in hindisght, but it’s definitely a fantastic showcase of their talent. Few bands do the stoner metal/rock sound better than these guys.
31. Intronaut – Habitual Levitations
Musically, Intronaut have upped the ante in terms of technicality of their music, but thanks to the newfound clean-singing throughout the album, they’ve elevated their sound to a different plane completely.
30. Toxic Holocaust – Chemistry Of Consciousness
I’m not sure why, but for some reason I just never liked this band…until now. There was something about their past albums that just didn’t interest me at all, so I was skeptical at best about Chemistry of Consciousness. After giving this album a few spins, I’m very glad I did, because it is definitely one of the best thrash albums I’ve heard all year. Something about the way they mix in elements of black metal and crust punk/hardcore with gut-churning thrash metal makes this the perfect soundtrack to a night of heavy drinking and debauchery.
29. Orchid – Mouths Of Madness
The first time I heard this album, I wrote it off as Black Sabbath tribute tomfoolery. Boy was I stupid. Though they do have a heavy dose of Sabbath influence in their sound, this album is definitely a finely tuned, rock n’ roll killing machine. The tone from the title track alone is said to have caused six volcanic eruptions alone on the day it was laid to tape.
28. Red Fang – Whales and Leeches
On their last album Murder The Mountains, these Portland, Or rock n’ roll warriors showed a lot of incredible potential. On their sophomore release for Relapse, they have taken that potential and really made it come out in spades. This record is an absolute monster. It perfectly showcases their talented style of rock n’ roll fury, but mixed in a very steady punk rock influence to give it a much more unique vibe that absolutely kills.
Cover of Issue #5! Get it here.
27. Lost Society – Fast Loud Death
Easily one of the best thrash albums of the year. Even though the members of Lost Society are all in their teens, they still crank out thrash that’s incredibly reminiscent of much older bands New York thrash bands like Nuclear Assault, Overkill and old school Anthrax.
26. Dillinger Escape Plan – One Of Us Is The Killer
This definitely seems like it’s their fastest album in a while. When it gets heavy, it gets HEAVY and even when they try to be weird and quirky, it never loses sight of the goal.
Cover of Issue #2. Get it here.
25. Anciients – Heart Of Oak
These guys have mastered the art of manuevering through different styles of metal without really losing focus. There are a lot of styles at play on this album, but the most obvious are black metal and sludgey, Mastodon-esque rock n’ roll.
24. Coliseum – Sister Faith
They upped the punk-quotient on this album and gave it a gothier feel. Feels like the record Ryan Patterson has wanted to make his entire career.
This is a record that caught me completely off guard. They managed to make the perfect mashup of incredibly heavy hard rock riffs, with gorgeous, catchy melodies that stay stuck in your head all day. A lot of bands these days are trying their hand at playing old school, bluesy rock n’ roll, but very few manage to conjure up the same passion and fury of these North Carolina veterans.
22. Hypocrisy – End Of Disclosure
Peter Tagtgren’s voice is one of my favorite heavy metal voices of all time. On Disclosure, they have once again released a rock solid collection of bludgeoning Swedish Death Metal full of both impossibly heavy riffs, as well as sugary sweet choruses and melodies.
21. Iron Tongue – The Dogs Have Barked, The Birds Have Flown
These folks from Little Rock, AR clearly understand the art of slow, doomy, depressing classic rock. They feature Rwake vocalist C.T. whose vocals aren’t screamed, but they are just as depressing and violent. The combination of C.T’s amazing vocals with perfectly executed, old school hard rock definitely makes for one of the more interesting hard rock albums you’ll hear all year.