Well I must agree with Robby on this one, year 2008 was a pretty un-stellar year in the world of metal/hardcore/punk. With few notable releases it truly made the good stand out and the bad completely suck. My top ten is comprised of a few different genres and all of which did stand out to me. Unfortunately, last year the list was tough to choose from the many, this year it was hard to make a list of 10.
10. Paint it Black – New Lexicon
This little gem of a release pretty much stayed under the radar of everyone. Paint it Black is a melodic hardcore punk band from Pennsylvania. New Lexicon, released on Jade Tree is a pure example of good music with real heart. It is raw and powerful. With 15 tracks and most under 2 minutes, this is an album you shouldn’t miss out on.
09. Bleeding Through – Declaration
What can I say about this release. Well aside from awaiting for it to show up so I could slam it the first time I heard it, nothing. The Truth was one of the worst conversions I have ever heard a band do (right up their with Avenged Sevenfold going pop). Let me tell you how surprised I was when I heard Declaration. The completely 180’d and pretty much released the best ever recovery album I have ever heard. Raw, aggressive and brutal, this is a great CD. The album seems more like a bridge between Portrait of a Goddess and This Is Love, This Is Murderous than anything remotely close to The Truth. Without a doubt this is Bleeding Through’s masterpiece and I look forward to hearing more once again!
08. Esoteric – The Maniacal Vale
Esoteric have been tearing up the Doom/Experimental metal world for about 16 years now. The Maniacal Vale is their first release in about 4 years and man was it a killer. 2 discs, 100 minutes and 7 songs, pretty much the exact format you want for a doom album. Season of Mist has found a true keeper and the Esoteric are not backing down any time soon. I have listened to them for about 8 years now and have watched them grow through each release into one of the best doom bands out their.
07. Protest the Hero – Fortress
Screamo/Post-Hardcore whatever the hell you want to call that terrible genre taking over the world, Protest the Hero should be at the forefront. Combining elements of bands like old Every Time I Die (Logic days), Converge, and Chiodos they have found a niche. I am not a fan of the scene, but Protest the Hero’s work is to hard to ignore. Live they are every bit amazing as well. Fortress gave me the same chills down my back as the first time I popped in Converge’s “Jane Doe.”
06. The Sword – Gods of the Earth
Gods of the Earth was probably the best doom album released this year. In short, it shows a tremendous amount of growth from Age of Winters (although that was a solid album) and is definitely a doom/stoner metal fans dream. Some of the guitar work on this album is priceless.
05. Medeia – Cult
Medeia release of Cult truly opened my eyes back into the death metal scene. This album isn’t perfect, but its blends of punk and alternative make this a really unique experience. Cult is fun and scary at the same time, something you wouldn’t assume would be good but works out magically.
04. Cynic – Traced in Air
What happens when a ground breaking band on the early 90’s waits 15 years to release a new album? Well pretty much more ground breaking material. Cynic’s first release since 1993 is one of the best albums of the year and something that will hopefully help keep the technical death metal/progressive metal genre alive and kicking through the Deathcore shit storm. Without a doubt there is some amazing stuff happening here.
03. The Banner – Frailty
This is the number one emo album ever released. On a more serious note, this is not only the most depressing album I can think of in recent memory but a hard look at life in a punk/hardcore/metal way. This album is raw enough to give you a true expression and actually sit back and feel with The Banner. Frailty is a step up from their last album (lyrically and musically) and a masterpiece in the waiting. This isn’t for the faint of heart.
02. Disfear – Live The Storm
Disfear have been rocking out for about 15 years now, and have grown tremendously since the early 90’s. They are a d-beat (discore/hardcore punk) band from Sweden. Being their sixth studio album, and my personal favorite since Everyday Slaughter, Live The Storm a a powerful album full of excellent guitar work, heavy drums and crusty vocals. The album never lets up and is why it is #2 on my list.
01. Amon Amarth – Twilight of the Thunder God
I never thought this would be the case. Personally I have never really liked Amon Amarth. The whole viking death metal thing never peeked my interest. I respected them but never liked them. Twilight of the Thunder God has completely changed that. The guitar work on this album is in a class of its own, the drums are spot on, never missing a beat and the vocal work is excellent. This is definitely their best effort and a reason for people who don’t like them to try it out.