The best metal albums of 2009 were a pretty hard year to determine. Unlike 2008, the music was relatively good. Although the deathcore/metalcore/whatevercore genres strongly took a nose dive, 2009 saw a huge growth in solid releases in the more typical genres of metal (black, death, power, straight up heavy metal). This list was tough, but I think I have found my favorite releases of 2009. One thing I was completely pleased with was the amount of great albums from bands that having been releasing music for 10+ years. Please comment on your thoughts of your top releases and what you think of mine.
11. Suffocation “Blood Oath”
Genre: Technical Death Metal
This was the first Suffocation album I have enjoyed thoroughly since 1995’s “Pierced From Within.” Although albums released between ’95 and ’06 were not bad, Suffocation definitely hasn’t had as much determination in their music since then. After 3 years, “Blood Oath” is pretty much everything you want in a Technical Death Metal release. This is a must for fans of Suffocation and metal heads around the globe!
10. Asking Alexandria “Stand Up And Scream”
Editor Note: I had to bump off Suffocation because, well I completely forgot about one of my favorite albums of the year. This should be higher, but since I didn’t want to destroy the entire list (and well its probably not as technically sound as most of the below), I will give it the 10 spot. The debut album from Asking Alexandria is nothing short than one of the best metalcore albums in recent memory. The add in various beats, some techno (not over down), fun/violent lyrics and some brutal breakdowns. Plus the band is just fucking amazing. Kudos, and sorry Suffocation, I Will make this a top 11 and add you back.
9. Baroness “Blue Record”
Genre: Sludge/Progressive Metal
To be honest, I pretty much hate the sludge scene. I don’t like the music (I know the talent is there), but it just bores me to tears. Along came Baroness in 2007 with “Red Album.” Baroness definitely took me into a world of sludge that I did not know exists, so it was much anticipated when I heard of the release of “Blue Record”, the 2009 follow-up. Sludge has never, and in my eyes will never feel so good. John Dyer Baizley and Peter Adams guitar work are through the roof. This album is a must have for anyone who appreciated musical talent when you hear it.
8. Immortal “All Shall Fall”
Genre: Black Metal
Ah yes, black metal. I don’t think I have loved a black metal album as much as this since, well I can’t think of any. The music is extremely tight (it is their 8th studio album), the vocals are as good as black metal gets and the lyrical content is great. Immortal have been doing it for awhile, but this was the first release from them for 7 years. 7 years of a hiatus/writing/jamming period can either kill or help a band out, and it definitely did the latter. They have, in my eyes reclaimed the throne they helped cornerstone, black metal.
7. The Black Dahlia Murder “Deflorate”
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
“Deflorate” came along pretty much at a perfect time, since I was getting tired of 2007’s “Nocturnal.” The Black Dahlia Murder is a heavy hitting melodic death metal act, with a lot of spastic moments in their sound. “Deflorate” shows even more progression with the band, in fact each release has shown high growth levels only raising the bar higher on them and higher on the death metal scene. “Christ Deformed” is one of the best songs written.
6. Burnt by the Sun “Heart of Darkness”
Burnt by the Sun have released 3 amazing albums to help set the scene for the expanding metal/metalcore scene. We waited 6 years for “Heart of Darkness” and it was everything I could have dreamed of. The album is fast and tight, powerful and beautiful and just one of the best albums. Although “Soundtrack to the Personal Revolution” is my favorite BBTS album, “Heart of Darkness” is pretty damn close. This is a must own, especially for all the new scenesters that don’t know who BBTS is.
5. Converge “Axe to Fall”
Genre: Metalcore/Hardcore Punk/Progressive Metal
I don’t think I need to say much about Converge. They have released 7 albums, all of which have ranged from good to amazing. “Axe to Fall” 3rd on my Converge list, only behind “Jane Doe” and “When Forever Comes Crashing.” This is more of the same, chaotic yet structured beauty. This is some of the best music you will find in the genre, so don’t expect anything worse. For people who stopped listening to them since “Jane Doe”, this album I feel is as heavy and chaotic as “Jane Doe” was, but probably not as groundbreaking.
4. Paradise Lost “Faith Divides Us, Death Unites Us”
Genre: Doom Metal/Gothic Metal/Synth Rock
Paradise Lost has been doing this for a long time. Their first album came out in 1990, and “Faith Divides Us, Death Unites Us” is their 12th studio album. The album is a mixture of the various sounds Paradise Lost has had throughout the years, although predominately I would say Gothic metal is what “Faith Divides Us, Death Unites Us” gives you. Musically, they sound like a group that has been together for 20+ years and, well that is a great thing. The title track is my favorite song on the album, probably more because I liked the music video so much, but I also like the clean vocals provided by Nick Holmes, which I feel do not show up quite enough throughout the entire album. Even that said, this is hands down a must for fans of metal.
3. Between the Buried and Me “The Great Misdirect”
Genre: Progressive Metal
To be honest, the first time I popped this in I wasn’t very impressed, which probably fell more into the “nothing can compare to Colors or The Silent Circus” thought. The more I listened to it though, the more I realized this is the true calling of BTBAM. “The Great Misdirect” is the album I think they were trying to make when they made “Colors.” Basically this band cannot let you down. 6 studio albums, which have only gotten better with each one (with the exception of “Alaska” for me) is no small task. To see a band continually grow like this is a blessing in disguise. It makes you only want more and more. This is probably the most talented “core” genre band around, if not the most talented North American metal act.
2. Isis “Wavering Radiant”
Genre: Post-metal/Progressive Metal
Isis has been creating unique music for almost 10 years now, and “Wavering Radiant” is nothing different from that. Isis is a tough band to categorize as well, I use post-metal/progressive metal just because there really isn’t a category to put Isis in. Each track is amazing, reminding me of the first time I put in dredg’s “Leitmotif.” Just stunning.
1. Nile “Those Whom the Gods Detest”
Genre: Death Metal
Fast, powerful and angry. This sums up what Nile brings you. I have always been a fan of Nile, but “Those Whom the Gods Detest” is the first album from the Greensville, SC band that has just smacked me to the ground until it finished. If you like anger, powerful guitars, fast drums and violent growls, this is something to pick up. This album is perfect in every way. It’s not as technical as “The Great Misdirect” or as beautiful as “Wavering Radiant” but is a perfect example of what a band can create when everything aligns properly.