10. Vampire – Vampire
Bad ass, old school metal done the right way. These guys sound like they should have been opening for the infamous Venom/Metallica tour in 1984.
9. Down – Down IV Part Two
This record is one of the biggest surprises of the year for me, personally. It’s old school and bluesy just the way a great Down record should be, and definitely a return to form.
8. Young And In The Way – When Life Comes To Death
This is a band that has definitely turned a few heads this year with their incredibly hateful black metal assault. The way they keep a blackened ash over the whole record, but still explore a few different realms of extreme metal without ever really straying from the path is pretty awesome.
7. Grand Magus – Triumph And Power
If you like lyrics about swords, sorcery and war coupled with music reminiscent of old school Judas Priest, this record is your new BFF.
6. Scythia – …Of Conquest
As of right now, this album is the best power/pagan/folk metal albums I’ve heard all year. The riffs are shreddy and creative and powerful and the lyrics are impossible to not sing along to.
5. Animals As Leaders – The Joy Of Motion
This is a band that constantly bends the rules of what prog metal really should sound like. They are constantly changing and evolving and this is definitely the best record they’ve made so far.
4. Thou – Heathen
Massive, sludgy, heartfelt doom executed to 1,000% perfection. These guys play low and slow and their sound is a perfect juxtaposition of grime and beauty.
3. Fu Manchu – Gigantoid
There isn’t a single desert rock or stoner rock band on the planet that doesn’t owe a debt of gratitude to these legends/creators of the scene. This record is both faster and rawer than their previous two records and it is a milestone in their career for sure.
2. Cynic – Kindly Bent To Free Us
This album really is absolutely glorious. It’s not necessarily the album Cynic fans expected, but with its gorgeous lyrics and melodies, it is definitely the one they deserve. This album is definitely the best progressive metal album you’ll hear all year.
1. Agalloch – The Serpent & The Sphere
The thing about Agalloch is that they’ve never really put out a bad record. Therefore, it’s really hard to say “this is their best record” or “these guys have really stepped up their game”, because they’ve done a lot of great albums in the past and they’ve never really lost a step. This record does a great job of mixing its aggressive, blackened parts with the beautiful, melodic acousic parts. Everything on this album from the memorable riffs and melodies to the heartfelt and fascinating vocals/lyrics to the crushing atmosphere is just perfect.
Check out the Top 25 Most Anticipated Albums for the rest of the year…