Definitive lists are kind of silly to me, but I ranked my 10 favorite albums of the year. I may have not spent as much time with other albums as I would've liked and maybe if I did this list would be different. But here we are. These are the 10 albums I enjoyed listening to the most this year…
10) Eyehategod – Eyehategod
This had to be a hard album for these guys to make, having lost their drummer in the middle of it. But as always, they persevered and delivered as only they could. Much like with Motorhead and AC/DC, you sort of know what you're getting with a new Eyehategod record, and I loved every second of it.
9) Revocation – Deathless
Wasn't I just writing about Revocation in my best-of list last year? Yes, I was. These prolific shredders, just can't stop, having landed a new record deal this year with Metal Blade and releasing another catchy shred fest of a record. I hope they take their time with their next release though. I feel like I didn't spend as much time with this album as I did the last one and maybe that's because I didn't miss them enough. But is that not the biggest first world problem ever? This is a great technical death metal album.
8) Opeth – Pale Communion
I feel like this album cheated! It sneaked it's way in here. Last year I felt like I was over it with Opeth. Then, their label sent me an out-of-sequence advance in preparation for an interview I had with the band. While I initially "forced" myself to listen to it, after a few spins, I willingly kept coming back to this password-protected online stream like a heroin junkie in need of another watermarked fix. I eventually decided to take a break, and then once the album was finally released, I spent another chunk of time with it. It may not be my favorite Opeth album, but it's another excellent release to add to their cannon.
7) Behemoth – The Satanist
I was a late-comer to this album. At first, it didn't really grab me, but then on an extended car ride where some intoxicants (weed) were involved, I finally "got" this album, and man is it heavy. Behemoth know how to write catchy riffs but they took things to a very evil level with this one. This was quite the comeback album for these guys.
6) Pallbearer – Foundations of Burden
From the moment the opening riff of the opening track "Worlds Apart" kicked in, I was hooked. I remember first getting the advance during the work day and hearing the riff and immediately pausing it. I knew I had to give this my full attention and the work day was not the time to do this. I saved my first full listen for that night, and I was not disappointed. I've been returning regularly to this album ever since. It absolutely crushes. Stoner doom done oh, so very right.
5) Decapitated – Blood Mantra
One of my earliest listens to this record was as I was about to get on a highway. I vividly remember the album being so intense that I started driving far above the speed limit and had to calm myself down before getting into an accident. This album makes me want to break everything around me. It's nonstop aggression. Vogg knows how to write incredibly catchy and yet very aggressive riffs and for that, I love him!
4) Mastodon – Once More Round the Sun
Mastodon's streak of making killer albums continues. I don't care how much other early fans are over them and have moved on, I'm still loving every minute of music this band produces. Live, I am over it, but I will gladly put their albums on. "The Motherload" is one of the best songs they've ever written. No, it doesn't have the bite of a "March of the Fire Ants" but it's something new and very good. I almost forgot how fun this album was until recently revisiting it for this column.
3) Emigrate – Silent So Long
I don't know what I was expecting when I first heard this record, but I was very pleasantly surprised when I hit play. Rammstein guitarist Richard Kruspe returns with a new album from his solo project, and it's almost as if he created a compilation album of his favorite artists. It's a shame there was some trouble with the record labels where he couldn't advertise the Marilyn Manson appearance, because that's clearly the strongest track on the album. I really enjoy the Peaches track and really the tracks where it's just the band. This is an album I still am not sick of.
2) At the Gates – At War With Reality
I proceeded with reserved optimism when the news broke of a new At The Gates record. I knew these guys were solid musicians but I was afraid their new music wouldn't live up to the classic material. Carcass proved you can return from an extended hiatus and deliver a solid record and I am happy to say that At The Gates exceeded my expectations on every front, and I would even dare say made a better comeback record than Carcass, but that's an almost silly statement. It's not a competition. And the best part of this At The Gates record? We get to see them perform it live next year!
1) Fallujah – The Flesh Prevails
No record caught me more by surprise than this one. I am a sucker for technical death metal, and Fallujah bring me all the elements I like. They sneak in some Pink Floydian-prog worship to kick things off and then proceed to melt my face off. I listened to this album a lot this year and will probably continue the trend into next year. I only got to see these guys for 20 minutes at Summer Slaughter and that was not nearly enough for me. I need so much more! I can't wait to see them perform a longer set next year.