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The best of 2006 - 2014

GD's verdicts - Best of 2011

31/12/11  ||  Global Domination

Vomitory: Opus mortis VIII 1. Vomitory: Opus mortis VIII

Lord K Philipson (In Fucken Charge):

It should come as no surprise that if Vomitory releases an album, it’ll be the winner for me (unless Blümchen or Alice DeeJay resurrects themselves they very same year). “Opus” is yet another perfect display of how this style is supposed to sound. To actually be able to have an own identity in such a small genre like death metal is an achievement. Vomitory’s got that. I hope that these guys stick around for another 20 years, keeping themselves at this high a level until the end. That the Swedes aren’t mentioned in the same breath as Entombed, Grave, Unleashed etc is just wrong. They are hardly followers. Vomitory are leaders.

2: Melissa Horn: Innan jag kände dig

Sweden’s finest is back with another masterpiece of melancholy, sadness and beauty. Embrace the goddess.

3: Xerath: II

“I” is better”, but “II” is still a mighty fine show-off when it comes to pushing the limits and claim bragging rights to technical musicianship and clever arrangements.

4: The Haunted: Unseen

Are people still not getting the greatness that is “Unseen”? Your loss, asshole.

5: In Flames: Sounds of a playground fading

Still going strong and exploring some new, fresh ground with their latest piece. You who think early In Flames was a better band – wake up, idiots.

Major disappointment of 2011:

Morbid Angel’s “Ins-Anus” disaster, Vanessa Carlton’s “Rabbits on the run” and every album released by a “retro” thrash band. No, I’m not even mentioning that latest offering from the creators of “Master of puppets”.

Close but no cigar:
Amon Amarth: Surtur rising
Volturyon: Coordinated mutilation

Shining: VII – Född förlorare 1. Shining: VII – Född förlorare

CadenZ (writer/in charge of the vibrator supply):

Depression, despair and desolation dressed in deftly devised dismal darkness. It’s hard to sound sophisticated, malignant and raw at the same time, but Shining do it like it’s the only way they can do things. Maybe it is. Works for me.

2: Ulcerate: The Destroyers of All

Heavily hammering the heavens with hateful hostility, hell heaves and Harmageddon harkens; hence homos hike in Hugh Hefner’s harem, hitting hairy hummus holes. Uncompromising crushery of all that is holy by way of mountains that sound like riffs. Or the other way around. In any case, crushed you shall be.

3: Pain of Salvation: Road Salt Two

Pompous, pretentious prog powered by prodigal pipes and a push for perfection and pioneerism. The fact that Gildenlöw & co clearly have no boundaries makes this journey through a multitude of genres and atmospheres a creative wonderland. Man, that sounded gay.

4: Rotten Sound: Cursed

Aggression and animosity absorb any anti-advocates’ anxious appliances at aidance and annihilate all assfuckers. Shit, people are groaning so loudly at these alliterations my fiancée just came in and asked if I could turn down the porn. Rotten Sound have unleashed a gem here, total uninhibited fucken slaughter is what this is.

5: Opeth: Heritage

Ho ho ho, Santa Claus is a ho ho ho mo. Didn’t have it in me to complete the circle of shit so I went with a Holidays rhyme. You’re welcome. Opeth’s first full-fledged prog album shows that Åkerfeldt’s genius doesn’t need the sound of metal to manifest itself. The next piece will probably be a complete masterpiece. Fingers have been crossed. In an inverted fashion. You know. Satan.

Major disappointment of 2011:

Mastodon: The Hunter

Certainly not the worst record of the year (Loulou Reed/Melollica and Alice Cooper compete for that title), but since Mastodon are as hyped as Paris Hilton’s latest sex video, this mediocre bash of riffery just cements their position as The World’s Most Over-Rated Band Right Now. I’m disappointed in you, Mastodon, for not shoving my face full of catchy and heavy bad-assery. “The Hunter” merely pats me on the back, looks down bashfully and intones: “You were right. We are not worthy.”

Close but no cigar:
Xerath: II
Novembers Doom: Aphotic
Vader: Welcome to the Morbid Reich
Graveyard: Hisingen Blues
Isole: Born from Shadows
Krux: III – He Who Sleeps Amongst the Stars
Symphony X: Iconoclast
The Haunted: Unseen

Ulcerate-The-Destroyers-Of-All.jpg 1. Ulcerate: The destroyers of all

The Duff (writer/cross-dresser):

This was going to be my disappointment of the year, would you believe. “Everything is Fire”, see, had a shit-tonne more riffs while being equally atmospheric, but ultimately the bleaker melodies, the multitude of layering on “Destroyers of All” steadily all wormed its way into my head to the point “Everything is Fire” appears almost simple by comparison, and that’s speaking about one of my top ten death metal albums of all time. Really, despite running against some amazing contemporaries, none do it better than Ulcerate.

2: Putridity: Anthropophagical degenerating euphoria

A brutal death metal record for the ages. So heavy, with that “wtf” Defeated Sanity-factor to the arrangements but without the jazziness, just straight-up face-molestation. One of my favourite bands at the moment and one of the most promising outfits to arrive on the brutal death metal scene, the next effort should be absolutely devastating.

3: Decapitated: Carnival is forever

I really thought this one would fail to reach the top five this year, but in the end they’re my favourite band, and despite a bit of a lull with the track “United”, time has only strengthened this album’s virtues. I’m so happy that Decapitated stuck it through, I’m jizzing absolutely everywhere.

4: Mitochondrion: Parasignosis

The thinking man’s Portal? Who knows. This one just recently clicked with me and sent my best-of list tits up. The band has a real natural grasp for creatively layering sound to create very effective atmospheric torrents. As a GD forumer said, some of the leads are buried in the mix, and there’s ten minutes of unnecessary ambiance at the very end, yet “Parasignosis” is still a very special record indeed and the reason I try not to download.

5: Maruta: Forward into regression

Not sure whether this belongs here in place of Rotten Sound’s “Cursed”; both are grind albums of utmost quality, but Maruta have more of an original edge to them. This band recently split up, which is a big shame as its debut was a fine record only to be bettered to a mastery of heavy and catchy on “Forward into Regression”.

Disappointment of the year:

Morbid Angel: I is for INYOURASS!

I’m far in the minority here. Morbid Angel’s latest was a disappointment. Are your sides shitting? I’m in the minority because MA have released nothing but gems since their debut, the legendary “A” album. There were some questionable tracks on “Heretic”, but goddamnit I was looking forward to this album from one of my favourite death metal bands. Some tracks on this record are fucking awesome, making me weep all the more. Also, Season Of Mist did sweet fuck all for the booklet, making me grateful I never purchased the fucker. I’ll probably one day purchase the fucker. I love you Morbid Anal.

Vader: Welcome to the Morbid Reich 1. Vader: Welcome to the Morbid Reich

Habakuk (writer/pounder of cock):

I’ll have to go with Vader for this one. If a band everybody has heard a million times manages to kick such a surprising amount of ass at such a late point in their career, they have done something (read: a lot) right. A clear winner.

Full review.

2: Dephosphorus: Axiom

After forumer Ryan Samuel’s (and others’) constant whoring, I finally checked out “Axiom”, and it’s definitely some of the best shit this year. Their mix of weird Ulcerations with a boomy, filthy Autopsy sound and catchy moments is made even better by the constant grind orientation.

3: Ulcerate: The destroyers of all

If you’re looking for a twisted, mesmerizing death metal experience, this is your year’s pick of 2011. Just devote a bit of time.

Full review.

4: Wormrot: Dirge

With now two ultra strong albums on their track record, these guys are on the best way to establish themselves as a true grind institution.

Full review.

5: ICS Vortex: Storm Seeker

There are some bland tracks, but also some of my favorite tunes of last year on this black metal sound meets accessible songwriting album (“Aces”, “The Blackmobile”). Those are where the clean vocals don’t cross the line to overdoing things. All in all an inclusion due to the interesting formula, despite some inconsistency.

Major disappointment of 2011:

Japanische Kampfhörspiele: Kaputte nackte affen

Definitely expected more of their official “deunion” album, especially after the bad-ass predecessor, “Bilder fressen strom”. But oh well, with no-one to complain to anymore, it isn’t half as fun. I guess after years of alternating their album sound back and forth between awesome and unremarkable, it simply was time to hang it up.

Close but no cigar:
Samael: Lux Mundi
Essence: Lost in violence
Portrait: Crimen laesae majestatis divinae
Graveyard: Hisingen blues
Blaspherian: Infernal warriors of death
Prophecy: Don’t fuckin’ mess with Texas

Weird, positive surprises of the year (thanks, Audio Autopsy!)
Within Temptation (!!): The Unforgiving
Magnum (!!!): The Visitation
In Flames: Sounds of a playground fading
Iced Earth: Dystopia

Abysmal Dawn: Leveling the Plane of Existence 1. Abysmal Dawn: Leveling the plane of existence

InquisitorGeneralis (writer/princess):

This record has clearly dominated 2011 for me. I reviewed, I recommended it for AA, and I forced it down former staffer UGS throat… just like I forced my cock down his throat. “Leveling…” has everything you want and need from a modern death metal record; technical precision, great production, groove, and interesting songs. With record and new, solidified line-up, 2012 should be a winner of a year for L.A’s finest metal export since Enuff Z’nuff.

2: Origin: Entity

It’s too fast, too brutal, and too extreme… and I love every minute of it. It took three albums to do it, but “Entity” has made me a solid fan of the mid-west’s most insane death metal masters. “Saliga” and “Consequence of solution” are fucking unbelievable songs. Now, time to finally get “Antithesis”…

3: Mastodon: The hunter

It’s a heavy, catchy, and full of varied and tasty delights. The spacey shit from “Crack the Skye” is still here, but “Curl of the Burl” and “Black Tongue” bring back some of the old, bitchin’ Mastodon we all know and love.

4: Obscura: Omnivium

It took me a while to come around to “Omnivium”, and Obscura in general, but now I see the light. And it is technical and progressive. “Septuagint” and “Ocean gateways” are total domination. Necrophagist can suck, Obscura rule the German techdeath pool… for now.

5: Vektor: Outer isolation

Vektor is thrash for people who smoke speed and dream of traveling the cosmos on a spaceship made from old Voivod records and Ray Bradbury paperbacks. And it’s also completely fucking awesome. “Outer Isolation” is a bit more accessible than previous Vektor albums, and is just the right thing to get these cosmonauts the attention they deserve.

Major disappointment of 2011:

“Lulu” sucked a dick. But, a lot of things sucked dicks this year so it is hard to point out a clear, deep throat champion. Just got back and look at 75% of this year’s Audio Autopsies.

Close but no cigar:
“Welcome to the Morbid Reich” by Vader was pretty good, but not good enough to make my top five. Definitely the best Vader record in quite some time. Ulcerate’s newest was solid too.

Essence: Lost in Violence 1. Essence: Lost in Violence

Revenant (writer/foreskin warmer):

Anyone who has visited this site on a more than regular basis should know by now that thrash is my genre of choice, so it really shouldn’t come as any surprise that the best thrash release of 2011 is also my favourite album of 2011. Essence. Fuck, what a flash of brilliance these guys are. By showing more creativity in their debut album than the rest of the new wave thrash movement combined, they’ve not just released the best thrash album of 2011, but the best thrash album in… well, a long fucken time. “Lost in Violence” is a fantastic release, filled with great thrashing anthems, fast moshers, mid paced catchy numbers, terrific musicianship (special mention to the bass work as well, nice and loud in the mix with great playing) and all with not a single moment of filler. “Lost in Violence” is, for mine, the best release to come out of the neo-thrash movement to date, and I’ve no doubt if Essence continue to produce albums of this quality in the future, they will be the new kings of thrash.

Want to read more? See how I cupped the balls and worked the shaft of this great band in the full review.

2: Vader: Welcome to the Morbid Reich

Vader, wow, who saw this coming? After what many saw as a disappointing release in “Necropolis”, Vader return with an album that simply fucking kills. Brutal, fast and catchy as hell, “Welcome to the Morbid Reich” is another example of Vader nailing their sound. From the moment I heard the first sneak peak (“Come and see my sacrifice”) I was excited about this album, and it sure fucking fulfilled it’s promise. It’s a testament to the band that after so many years in the business they are still able to produce such a fantastic slab of uncompromising death metal to bang your head to. How do they keep doing it? Only hell knows.

Need to know more? See Hab give Vader some more lovin’ in his full review.

3: Vomitory: Opus Mortis VIII

“Opus Mortis VIII” may not be as fast or as brutal as some of Vomitory’s earlier releases, but damn me to hell if it doesn’t have the most infectiously groovy riffs of 2011. It goes to show that as veterans of the death metal scene they know how to write a great fucken tune. And that’s what you get here: ten greatly composed tracks. Looking at the play count in iTunes, this album was the album I listened to most in 2011. And why not? This one is more addictive than pussy.

To read more arse kissing of this great album, check out the full review.

4: Assaulter: Boundless!

By now it should be reasonably well known how much I absolutely fucking loathe modern metal, with it’s over produced sound, awful clean poppy choruses and dull groove driven riffs. So for an album that is the complete polar opposite of what I hate to appear here seems like the most natural thing in the world to me. And what an album “Boundless!” is. Raw, filthy production, vicious snarled vocals, razor sharp riffs, drums rolling like thunder, tremendous melodic leads and truly epic songs, it’s hard not to like what Assaulter have produced here. Mandatory listening for anyone who likes modern metal: wake up, this is what real metal is supposed to sound like.

Did this snippet arouse your interest? See how aroused I was about this album in the full review.

5: Necromorph: Grinding Black Zero

If you had said to me at the start of the year I’d put a grind album into my top 5 for 2011, I would have laughed you out of the room. I guess the joke’s on me now, eh? I still don’t dig grind too much, but for whatever reason Necromorph appeals to me. Perhaps it’s the fantastic guitar tone, the grooves, the frantic pace… fuck, I’m not going to spend too much time pondering it, it’s just damn enjoyable and that’s all that matters. This 30 minute slab of music is a wild roller-coaster ride and, as I said in my review, is a riot of fun.

Further Necromorph coverage can be found in the full review.

Major disappointment of 2011:

Amorphis: The beginning of times

There’s one word to describe what happened here: stagnation. Coming from the band that has in recent years re-found their form, this album unfortunately reeks of a band playing it safe by delivering more of the same. Sure, Morbid Angel and The Haunted pissed off a lot of people with experimentation, but I find this sort of stagnation worse.

Full review

Close but no cigar:
Ourobouros: Glorification of a myth
Samael: Lux Mundi
Abysmal Dawn: Leveling the plain of existence

Machine Head: Unto the locust 1. Machine Head: Unto the locust

Smalley (writer/licker of asses):

Tighter songwriting, excellent guitarwork, some unexpectedly ambitious surprises, and the sheer underlying passion all-around easily makes “locust” the best thing Machine Head’s done in well over a decade.

2: Insomnium: One for sorrow

This one really came out of nowhere for me, but I’m finding that Insomnium’s brand of melodeath is like Shakira spliced with Mikael Åkerfeldt; it has beauty and balls. Me likee lots. Don’t listen to CadenZ!

3: Yggdrasil: Irrbloss

Being a bunch of dorky, folk instrument-lovin’, chantin’ metallers never sounded so infectious. Listening to some of the melodies here is almost like a religious experience, whatever that means exactly.

4: Esoteric: Paragon of dissonance

Funeral doom almost always makes me wanna die (haha?), especially when there’s 97 minutes of it, but with this crushing, flowing, and, most importantly, emotional massive slab of a record, these British doom/death metallers have shown me the light. Er, or is that dark?

5: Septicflesh: The great mass

Fusing death metal with symphony instruments/choir vocals never sounded so badass (“redundant”…? Fudge you). I’ma need to check out the rest of their stuff ASAP now.

Disappointment of the year:

Lou Reed and Metallica: Lulu

I’ve already written more than enough on this abomination in my review & AA section, so I really don’t feel like anymore. Just know that Metallica made this spot even after setting such a low previous bar with “St. Anger”, and is actually in danger of making people forget they were ever awesome.

Close, but no cigar:
Torchbearer: Death meditations
Primordial: Redemption at the puritan’s hand
Forgotten Tomb: Under Saturn retrograde
Ulver: Wars of the roses
Decapitated: Carnival is forever

Scapegoat of the year:

Morbid Angel: Illud divinum insanus

I do agree that half of “IDI” is obnoxious, egotistical, wannabe techno/industrial c0ckpuke, but for the other half, I gotta go with CadenZ (yes, you can listen to him now); the stuff that’s more traditional death metal is satisfying, and if MA had put those tunes on a short EP, we’d be hearing a lot more praise. No way in Hell is this a bigger disappointment than “Heretic”. Alas, a lot of metalheads seem to take this glass whole-empty attitude and succumb to group think here, so they’ll have another record to whine about, and the upcoming remixes will just provide another excuse. Fine then, their loss.

Mournful Congregation: The book of bings 1. Mournful Congregation: The book of kings

gk (writer/slave of the dikk):

Australian doom metal giants Mournful Congregation are at the top of their game on “The Book of Kings”. All comparisons to other bands and even to their own strong back catalogue are rendered superfluous in comparison to the four songs on offer here. This music has left me in awe with the moods it creates and the myriad emotions it invokes. This is rich, multi faceted music that will leave the listener completely entranced by its power.

2: Ulcerate: The destroyers of all

“The Destroyers of All” is a lot more than simply technical death metal. What we have here is a band that is unafraid to mix things up as death metal, dissonant black metal of the French persuasion and post metal ala Isis meet headlong and battle for supremacy. The winner as it turns out is Ulcerate who manage to hold these disparate influences together and come up with an album that is truly greater than the sum of its parts.

3: Orthodox: Baal

Orthodox has outdone themselves on “Baal”. The 5 songs here bring the bands diverse influences together and makes for one captivating listen as the band expand the horizons of the doom metal genre with some jaw dropping creativity and panache. While Orthodox have always been a band to challenge preconceived notions here they manage to do it in a manner that makes for great songs and an album that is frightening in its cohesiveness and depth in songwriting. “Baal” is Orthodox at its best and while it may not necessarily appeal to everyone, the band deserves to be heard.

4: Deceased: Surreal overdose

Each song is crammed with killer riffs and change ups and the album requires a few listens to fully comprehend. “Surreal Overdose” doesn’t have the filler material that plagued “As The Weird Travel On” and it is the bands most consistent release since “Fearless Undead Machines”. This is Deceased as good as they’ve ever been. Executing killer riff after killer riff and not giving a damn about anything else.

5: Saturnalia Temple: Aion of Drakon

Casual listeners will probably not get past the first song and the music is self indulgent and owes a fair bit to Electric Wizard, Sleep, Farflung, progressive and kraut rock while always maintaining a strong sense of identity. In a genre that’s increasingly over populated with mediocrity and a slavish trend to follow the masters it’s refreshing to come across an album that is more than just the sum of its influences. “Aion of Drakon” is self indulgent music for stoners, but it’s also very very good.

Close but no cigar:
Dephosphorus: Axiom

Fantastic blend of grind, death and vaguely black metal type sounds. Debut album from this Greek band and it’s a legal and free download off their website. Essential stuff.

God Ox: Abyssal Gigantism

This was a strange album with a bizarre concept that somehow wormed its way into my head and is one of my most played albums this year. I suppose this is stoner doom but it’s also a lot more with a truly fearless vocalist and some accomplished song writing.

Defiled: In crisis 1. Defiled: In crisis

BamaHammer (writer/penis prowler):

This was the most pleasant surprise of the year for me. A truly killer and unorthodox sounding album out of Japan that filled with grooves and brutality. And it possesses the most ridiculously obnoxious bass sound since “Saltrubbed eyes”. This album gets better every time I hear it.

2: Vomitory: Opus mortis VIII

The question remains: can Vomitory ever release a bad album. No. They cannot. While “Opus” didn’t have the production of “TBS” or the catchiness of “Carnage”, it still delivered a wonderfully brutal beat down.

3: Vader: Welcome to the morbid reich

This album is more infectious than herpes. Peter turned over the rest of the band completely since the last album, and Vader didn’t miss a beat. In a musical era where very few bands are reliable any longer, you can always count on Vader to deliver the goods. Like your crack dealer.

4: Abysmal Dawn: Leveling the plane of existence

This band is one of the very few good things about the US metal scene these days. Abysmal Dawn is the total package. They’re misanthropic, brutal, technical, and catchy as all hell. Plus they’re only getting better at what they do.

5: Nader Sadek: In the flesh

Steve Tucker > David Vincent. Nowadays anyway. Game over.

Major disappointment of 2011:

Decapitated’s “Carnival is forever” & Vile’s “Metamorphosis”

Both of these albums are major disappointments for the same reason; because I know both of these bands are capable of producing much, much better music. Decapitated was almost crowned the new kings of Polish death metal? Swing and a miss. Vile’s “effort” just sounds lazy. No way this is generally the same band that released “Depopulate”.

Close but no cigar:
Hate Eternal: Phoenix amongst the ashes
Krisiun: The great execution
Amon Amarth: Surtur rising