working on my top ten, and there’s no easy list… as if it would even be remotely possible to try and whittle this down, the bigger question is what did I miss that was supposed to be on here? Having left the music industry a year ago to experiment in other arenas for marketing the exposure to new material (be it metal/punk or otherwise) diminished greatly, however, when I was able to read about and stream something new online, get out to a show, buy a record or if someone was kind enough to send me a promotional copy or trade me tunes for tunes I managed a few good listens. By no means is what I’ve come up with the most accurate representation of what came out this year that I might have liked, though, as I get older the stodgy jaded ears of a critic get just a bit more ‘been there, done that, now, lets hear you actually wow me…” that being said, here’s what did:
Oh Seven in Listening Heaven
Possible three way tie for number one
Becoming the Archetype The Physics of Fire Solid State Records
the Dillinger Escape Plan IreWorks Relapse Records
the End Elementry Relapse Records
of course, to throw a little commentary at the fire, yes, two Relapse Records in the top would seem like a lot, save for the fact that this was a HUGE year for the label music wise and there are even more… as you’ll see. BTA was an early favorite for #1 as they grew so much on this record and that opening is epic. DEP was an obvious pick and after my initial review of the record (it is like being run over by a fully loaded 18-wheeler, ask me for the explanation) was confirmed by subsequent listens it is still easy to see how the dynamic diversity deserves a spot. The End was one of the surprise records of the year. I always knew they were good but never really clung to them, that was until three songs into this record where it was so aparant they were going to dominate my listening.
As for the rest, I broke the list up into a couple of pieces to make it easier for me to follow
Cephalic Carnage Xenosapian Relapse Records
Between the Burried and Me Colors Victory Records
Everytime I Die the Big Dirty Ferret Recordings
the Number Twelve Looks Like You Mongrel Eyeball Records
the Red Chord Prey for Eyes MetalBlade
Tech and Grind is an amalgamation of the death and hardcore genres more extreme sides. Most all of these records could easily have found a home in the top ten, had there but been more places to put them. Easy spots for the first three with BTBAM really being a surprise for me because I never listened to their records much despite enjoying the live shows, but Colors changed that. I find as I’m getting older the more it does what Cephalic Carnage does the more I want it…
As I lay Dying an Ocean Between Us MetalBlade Records
Soilwork Sworn to a Great Divide Century Media
Fear my Thoughts Volcanus Century Media
Machine Head the Blackening Roadrunner
Chimeria Resurrection Ferret Recordings
Nodes of Ranvier Defined by Struggle Victory
Ah thrash metal, my home away from home. Decent haul of heavy releases again this year apart from the ones I’ve so neetly carved off into a list here. No surprises and there were several others that might warrant mention in doing the five-and-ten year reunions to this list. The AILD is probably their best work to day and really found them getting away from the cookie cutter mold they were trapped in, while Soilwork makes a triumphant return to the sound that really made them special to begin with.
High on Fire Death is this Communication Relapse Records
Signal to Noise Kodiak Eyeball Records
Neurosis Given to the Rising Neurot Recordings
Down III: Over the Under Warner
the Unsane Visqueen
Mmmmmmm nothing like some kick you in the nads sludge to remind you how much rock can be bastardized. High on Fire found yet another way to put little cracks in my walls and Neurosis found yet another way to push their sonic scope into a new stratosphere with what could be the most brutally beautiful record they’ve expunged.
Porcupine Tree Fear of a Black Planet Roadrunner / Atlantic
Dream Theatre Systematic Chaos Roadrunner
Ok, so I still have a soft spot for prog, or, perhaps just for a handful of bands that still hold a special place in my heart, no way these two would be left out, you knew that. Not the most stunning for either band, but then again, they are so good at what they do, why argue with success.
Poison the Well versions Ferret Recordings
Thrice the Alchemy Index Vargant
Not really sure what to do with this. It’s so bad it’s good, it’s so good it’s bad. PTW keep making me shake my head because they just keep going, I don’t know where but it’s somewhere, sometimes beautiful, sometimes progressive, sometimes angry, sometimes chaotic and sometimes just downright ugly.
What I’m still rocking from 06:
Rise Against the Sufferer & the Witness Geffen
Killswitch Engage As Daylight Dies Roadrunner
Scar Symmetry Pitch Black Progress Century Media
Zao the Fear is What Keeps us Here Ferret Recordings
and the mighty
Norma Jean Redeemer Solid State Records
Five Years Ago, 2002 revisited
Bleeding Through Portrait of a Godess
Living Sacrifice Conceived in Fire Solid State Records
Porcupine Tree in Absentia Lava / Atlantic
Meshuggah Nothing Nuclear Blast America
and the mighty
Soilwork Natural Born Chaos Nuclear Blast America
Can you believe it’s really been five years since these records came out. What I find more curious is looking at the playlists I’m still making and what shows up on the most played on the different players is that these are such heavy rotation still.
Ten Year Anniversary 97 revisited
Helmet Aftertaste Interscope
Machine Head the More Things Change Roadrunner
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones Let’s Face It A&M
Radiohead OK Computer Capital
the Deftones Around the Fur
Wow, am I really list “alternative” in my spare time? Seriously, this is what I hit play on most often from that era. Ok, it could be because Radiohead and Machine Head had new records out this year but how do you explain the rest? The Unsane made me bust out the old Helmet stuff, the Bosstones are because my (ex)roommate is a huge fan and actually reintroduced me to them recently so I’m doing some long overdue catchup listening.