I really procrastinated on making this list because it was really hard to decide what my true 10 favorites of the year are. There were SO MANY releases this year, it was almost a little hard to keep up with all of them, and even spend any decent amount of time with albums. I have a lot of honorable mentions because I couldn't fit them all in, but these are without question the albums I listened to the most and enjoyed the most this year…
10) Danza – Danza IIII (The Alpha, The Omega)
It's very upsetting that this is the band's last album, but what a way to go out. Just. So. Unbelievably. Heavy. The vocals, the riffs, the breakdowns. This is just a great fun math metal record.
Highlight Track: Rudy x 3
9) Pallbearer – Sorrow And Extinction
When a smoking buddy recommended this one to me, only if I took a few bong rips beforehand, I was skeptical. But he was right, this is an amazing album to get stoned to. This is an amazing album to travel through the Rocky Mountains to. This is just an awesome epic album.
Highlight track: Devoid of Redemption
8) Spawn of Possession – Incurso
Are you kidding me? Does anybody even need a Necrophagist album at this point. Last year, Obscura crushed it and this year Spawn absolutely brought technical death metal to new heights with their awesome new album.
Highlight track: Where Angels Go Demons Follow
7) Cattle Decapitation – Monolith of Inhumanity
I never expected to hear clean vocals on a Cattle Decapitation song, but I am totally with it. "A Living, Breathing Piece of Defecating Meat" was stuck in my head for two months. That alone ensures this album a place in this list.
Highlight track: A Living, Breathing Piece of Defecating Meat
6) Psycroptic – The Inherited Repression
What a gem! These Tasmanian metal heads are making the rest of the world look bad. I love the tasteful and melodic guitar work and incredibly memorable melodies that resulted in an active rotation in my yearly mix.
Highlight track: Carriers Of The Plague
5) Converge – All We Love We Leave Behind
Converge have reached the level where they could do no wrong. Their last album, Axe To Fall was my album of the year in 2009 and while this album did not grab me as much as the last one, it's still an absolute crusher.
Highlight track: Trespasses
4) Pig Destroyer – Book Burner
Needless to say, there is a little bias due to the band playing our CMJ showcase. But I can tell you I was as giddy as a school girl when this was all locked down. Grind is not an easy genre for an untrained ear to get into, but I feel like PxDx bring a level of accessibility not seen with other grind bands, all while maintaining those siqq riffs.
Highlight track: The Diplomat
3) Testament – Dark Roots of Earth
This is an album made for festivals such as Wacken. Right from the anthemic opener, "Rise Up," I wished I was sloshed in some German field with thousands of other unshowered members of the Testament legion. These songs are catchy, they're groovy and they are quite memorable. The biggest surprise comes with the title track, which is teetering on power ballad territory but still being able to pull off sounding incredibly crushing.
Highlight track: True American Hate
2) Gojira – L'Enfant Sauvage
When I got the advance of this album, it was a stream with an unfavorable mix. I listened to it all the way through, but decided at that point, I decided to wait it out. Later that day, when I was running errands, the spaghetti western inspired riffs were stuck in my head. I came home, and played the stream again. I didn't care, it was too good not to listen to. I knew this would be near the top of my list since that very point.
Highlight track: Explosia
1) Meshuggah – Koloss
Without question, this was the album I listened to the most this year. When people ask me what my favorite metal band is I do not hesitate to say Meshuggah. They just know how to bring the groove. In a year when everybody tries to play faster than the last guy, I loved that they decided to slow it down on this record and focus on their best trait, riding the groove. Also, the album is incredibly rich in sound, expertly produced. You can hear every layer of music clearly, and then when you take a step back, and listen to it as a whole, it's even better. This album has no faults, and much repeat value.
Highlight track: Marrow
Best Non-Metal Album of the Year
Justice – Audio, Video, Disco
Lamb of God – Resolution
Veil of Maya – Eclipse
The Faceless – Autotheism
Black Breath – Sentenced To Life
Periphery – Periphery II: This Time It's Personal
Overkill – Electric Rattlesnake
Cryptopsy – Cryptopsy
Gaza – No Absolutes In Human Suffering
Between The Buried and Me – Parallax II
Revocation – Teratogenesis
Album I Need To Listen To More
Neurosis – Honor Found In Decay