This is list #4 of the 5 that I am doing this year. These are the Top 20 Heavy Metal and Thrash CD’s of the year. Many of these were featured on my radio show, The Mental Metal Trivia Show. I also interviewed a number of these artists on the show.
Again, as with the other lists, this list was compiled from airplay received on my show, listener requests, and other reviews that I’ve seen. The most important factor, though, is just how much I’ve personally played and loved the CD this year. Each of these are CD’s that I thought just stood above all others in this genre.
Starting at #20 and counting down…
20) Raunchy – Vices.Virtues.Visions
Mixing heavy thrash with some progressive edges and symphonic elements, this release is a sonic blast of awesome.
19) Threshold – For The Journey
If you know what Threshold does, then you know what to expect here. If you’re new to their music, it’s progressive metal done as only they do it. Another home run for them.
18) Viathyn – Cynosure
This band came to me via Asher Media. Delivering high octane, power metal in the vein of Dragon Force, this is a great debut for the band.
17) Scar Symmetry – The Singularity (Phase 1 – Neohumanity)
The first part of a trilogy record dealing with the concept of Artificial Intelligence and Trans-humanism. It’s the band most ambitious to date and they’ve really hit a grand slam here. I’m very eager to hear the rest of the story.
16) Judas Priest – Redeemer Of Souls
Priest returns with this monster record featuring the debut of new guitarist Richie Faulkner. This is classic Priest on every level.
15) Mastodon – Once More ‘Round The Sun
Is it possible for this band to deliver anything short of amazing? Another masterpiece.
14) Sinbreed – Shadows
One monster Power metal record, on any given year this might have ranked Top 5. The field this year was just THAT good. A flawless masterpiece on any level.
13) Avatar – Hail The Apocalypse
I’ll admit, I didn’t like this band at first. They’ve definitely grown on me though and by this, their 5th record, they’ve really mastered what they do. It’s like an unholy circus of sounds brought forth in an almost Opeth style reverie. The production is pretty amazing on this thing.
12) Pitch Black Forecast – As The World Burns
Combining the vocal talents of Mushroomhead’s singer and Strapping Young Lad’s drummer, this is one beastly sounds record. Not for the faint of heart, this is definitely one to block the roof off the place.
11) Panopticon – Roads To The North
What do you get when you mix screaming black metal with Kentucky style Bluegrass? You get the unholiness that is Panopticon. Cold, Dark, and unrelenting as it comes. This is for those that REALLY like punishment!
10) At The Gates – At War With Reality
Picking up right where they left off decades ago, At The Gates have roared back with a massive sounding record that is guaranteed to rattle your head.
9) Amaranthe – Massive Addictive
Everything about this band and record screams MASSIVE. They’ve taken the Nightwish formula and put it on a steroid diet of awesome vocals, massive drums, and killer grooves. Not a bad note on this thing.
8) Ronny Munroe – Electric Wake
I have to admit I was pretty sad when Ronny announced his departure from Metal Church this year but this bad mf’er of a record definitely made up for it. Another mainstay in my car, this is great for blasting out with the windows down!
7) Kolony – Sledge
I had the chance to interview vocalist Reno Benoit about the record this year. It’s a killer concept record that really delivers on a ton of levels. It’s a huge debut and should position them for great things in the future.
6) Exodus – Blood In, Blood Out
This record sees the return of Steve Souza to the fold and immediately makes this a classic Exodus record. It’s big, bold, brash, and furious, everything you expect from these thrash titans!
5) Expain – Just The Tip
This Canadian band was another that came courtesy of Asher Media. They deliver a super, solid slab of furious thrash tunes here with lots of progressive elements and a rhythm section that just thumps!
4) Anti-Mortem – New Southern
If Pantera and Black Label Society had a love child, this would be it! These Oklahoma natives deliver a roundhouse right to the mouth with this. Someone called this “redneck metal” and I can agree with that. It’s absolutely for get your hands dirty, bust your ass for a living type of crowd.
3) Triphon – Awaken
Triphon return with another blast of classical influenced melodic metal. This one is LOUD! My neighbors hate it, which means it must be great because they have terrible taste in music. They also get bonus points for the most metal version of A-ha you will ever hear!
2) Demon Hunter – Extremist
Another band that I haven’t always been a huge fan of that really hit a grand slam. The band really nails it here with a sonic landscape that is just hard to ignore. A superb record on every level.
And that leads us to the number 1 spot for the year.
1) Promise Land – Harmony In Ruins
If you’ve listened to my radio show or seen my Facebook this past year, I don’t think this should come as any surprise. Hands down, the SINGLE most listened to record that I own. I had the honor of interviewing David and Rod from the band for my show in what turned out to be my best interview to date.
Every level of this record screams to be played loud. From the instrumental interludes to the single, Hiding Place, this is as close to perfection as you get in modern metal. This is a masterpiece, You simply have to hear it for yourself.