By Brandon Ringo

50. Slayer – Repentless
49. Crypt Sermon – Out Of The Garden
48. Weedeater – Goliathan
47. Ilsa – The Felon’s Claw
46. Monolord – Vaenir
45. Antigama – The Insolent
44. Grave – Out Of Respect For The Dead
43. Kadavar – Berlin
42. Disgrace – True Enemy
41. My Dying Bride – Feel The Misery
40. Leviathan – Scar Sighted
39. Ritual Killer – Exterminance
38. Tsjuder – Antiliv
37. Hate Eternal – Infernus
36. Gruesome – Savage Land
35. Black Breath – Slaves Beyond Death
34. Cryptopsy – The Book Of Suffering Tome 1
33. Vastum – Hole Below
32. Vhol – Deeper Than Sky
31. Bell Witch – Four Phantoms
30. The Sword – High Country
29. Karyn Crisis’ Gospel Of The Witches – Salem’s Wounds
28. Graveyard – Innocence and Decadence
27. Unleashed – Dawn Of The Nine
26. Arcturus – Arcturian
25. Sumac – The Deal
24. Nile – What Should Not Be Unearthed
23. Torche – Restarter
22. Paradise Lost – The Plague Within
21. Maruta – Remain Dystopian
20. Cattle Decapitation – The Anthropocene Extinction
19. Hooded Menace – Darkness Drips Forth
18. Tribulation – The Children Of The Night
17. Christian Mistress – To Your Death
16. Valkyrie – Shadows
15. Harms Way – Rust
14. Ken Mode – Success
13. Failure – The Heart Is A Monster
12. Motörhead – Bad Magic
11. Iron Maiden – The Book Of Souls
10. Noisem – Blossoming Decay
9. Clutch – Psychic Warfare
8. With The Dead – With The Dead
7. Napalm Death – Apex Predator/Easy Meat
6. High On Fire – Luminiferous

5. Intronaut – The Direction Of Last Things

Since their inception this band has been incredibly special and unique in the world of extreme metal. On Direction Of Last Things, they have taken their unique, signature sound and tweaked it to 100% perfection. The clean vocals are balanced to perfection, the heavy parts are substantially heavier, the technical and progressive parts are amplified and it’s the exact album I have been hoping to get from them for a long time.

Intronaut - The Direction Of Last Things cover

4. Baroness – Purple

On their last album Yellow & Green, the band went off in 100 different directions and almost none of them were very heavy. Fortunately, the band has come back with 2 new members, a new lease on life and a newfound devotion to bringing back the riffing from albums like Red and Blue. There aren’t a lot of bands that are able to survive a horrific bus crash, let alone come back after such an event with an album with some of their best songs of their career.

Baroness - Purple cover

3. Enslaved – In Times

In terms of extreme metal, Enslaved have always been fascinating. It takes  a lot of guts and talent to mix in the elements of progressive metal in with their monolithic style of black metal, but at this point in their career, it has been their style for a while and is something they have completely perfected. The great thing about In Times, and what separates it from even their last few albums is how the quality of their clean and harsh vocals has continued to improve. In fact, the juxtaposition of dark and light is one that makes itself obvious and incredibly enjoyable throughout this album. It’s heavy enough to make you bang your head, but also incredibly accessible and relaxing.

Enslaved - In Times cover

2. Between The Buried And Me – Coma Ecliptic

Throughout their career Between The Buried And Me is a band that has been a lot of different things to a lot of people. Some still see their name and think of them as metalcore. Others consider them the gods of progressive metal. Still others write them off completely due to the fact that they use synth and clean vocals as an integral part of their sound. On Coma Ecliptic, I feel the band have created an album that is as special and perfect as anything they’ve ever done. The concept of the record is weird and sci-fi and interesting, it’s full of songs that are so catchy that they stay stuck in your head for weeks and like a lot of other albums released by bigger bands this year, it features their potential fully actualized.

Between The Buried And Me - Coma Ecliptic cover

1. Horrendous – Anareta

In terms of death metal, it’s kind of a difficult genre to truly appreciate in all its majesty these days. One reason is because the vast majority of bands in the genre, even the greats, all sound almost identical. Then, when you separate the ones who have something unique about them, they are often veterans from the early 90’s with very little fire left in their bellies. Therefore, when a band like Horrendous comes along, they are impossible to ignore. They are still very young, they are voraciously hungry, and they have created a style of death metal that is 100% their own, a style that is a gigantic breath of fresh air in a genre so void of it. The best part about Anareta though, is not really the music necessarily, it’s the fact that coming one year after Ecdysis, the band’s master-stroke, the album not only exceeds its predecessor, it fully accelerates all of the things that made that album so good. Anareta also adds on several new dimensions to the sound from Ecdysis that give the album the perfect flavoring of brutal death metal and something accessible, enjoyable and worth listening to over and over to catch anything you might have missed before.

Horrendous - Anareta cover

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