And next up in our series of Year End Polls, we have our resident Thrash-Master Christian’s Top 10. Christian explains that it was a tough time compiling the list and needed to give the following an honorable mention:
- Sister – “Disguised Vultures”
- Carnifex – “Die Without Hope”
- Lost Society – “Terror Hungry”
- Iron Reagan – “Tyranny of Will” and Madrost – “Into the Aquatic Sector”
And so, without further-ado, the Top 10 proper…
10) Behemoth – The Satanist
The latest album from the Polish blackened-death metal titans was easily one of the most hyped releases of this year. However the hype was matched by quality extreme metal. It’s one of the first Behemoth albums where I can hear Orion’s bass in the mix without concentrating too hard and his tone is perfect for the album. Massive production, massive songwriting, massive results.
9) Cannibal Corpse – A Skeletal Domain
Wow. Wow wow wow. As one of the few death metal bands who earn a paycheck from solely playing death metal, there’s a lot of pressure for Cannibal Corpse to write good music. “A Skeletal Domain” is a strong testament to their legacy of brutality; exactly what a modern death metal album should sound like.
8) Exodus – Blood In Blood Out
Rob Dukes is a fuckin’ dick. A tasteless imbecile who’s brought degenerate white trash into one of the greatest thrash bands. However, his departure saw the return of longtime frontman Steve “Zetro” Souza. Though “Blood In Blood Out’s” style seems more geared towards a Dukes-era album, it was long overdue to have Zetro reinstated in Exodus. It’s the band’s first record with Zetro since 2004’s “Tempo of the Damned” and is a solid work that features the impeccable Gary Holt guitar riff and signature Tom Hunting drumming.
7) Septicflesh – Titan
Prosthetic has been on their A-game this year. With other great releases from Noctem and Marty Friedman (not listed), the new record from Greek metallers is nothing short of great. Honestly, if more symphonic elements in metal sounded like THIS I wouldn’t roll my eyes so much hearing synthesizers and keyboards in heavy metal. “Titan” blends interesting abstract elements, fresh time changes, and liquid smooth production. Job well done guys.
6) Tankard – R.I.B
German alcohol thrashers continue their legacy with an album affectionately titled “Rest In Beer.” Great for longtime thrash fans and great for metalheads looking for a solid thrash album in a market that’s drawing towards weirder sounds. A huge improvement from their last album “A Girl Called Cerveza.”
5) Vader – Tibi Et Igni
While the band could’ve picked a better album name (it just doesn’t have a nice ring to it nor does it roll off the tongue), the cover and music more than make up for it. Vader has definitely stepped up their game and incorporated vigorous songwriting and brutal instrumentation that sets “Tibi Et Igni” apart from the year’s generic death metal releases.
4) Exmortus – Slave to the Sword
When you blend neo-classical shred and fierce heavy metal, the product is So Cal’s Exmortus. The band has been a longtime staple of the southern California metal scene and is rapidly gaining national and international success from nonstop touring and a solid deal with Prosthetic Records. Guitarists Conan and David have chops that’ll make Malmsteen sweat, while drummer Mario adds a powerful presence behind the kit and adds tasteful fills and chokes that liven up the music. New fans will be hooked, and old-school fans will still find the “Axes of War” type shredding that put them on the map.
3) Obituary – Inked In Blood
Consistency is a difficult game in heavy metal. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. “Fans” will criticize you for releasing the same old album over and over again or incite a flame war for “selling out” and changing styles. So where does that leave Florida’s Obituary? Well, probably right where you think it does. The swamp quintet does an excellent job maintaining their trademark grizzly death metal while adding some modern vibes. It’s Obituary’s first album with bassist Terry Butler (Death/Massacre/Six Feet Under) and the Tardy brothers can still bring the heat.
2) Hirax – Immortal Legacy
The kings of underground thrash metal. What started as a hundred-mile-an-hour crossover act from the 80s has evolved into a vibrant, powerful thrash band. Immortal Legacy is a perfect example of the full-circle the band has made since their first full-length album in 1985. With savage drumbeats from the Brazilian Dave Lombardo that is Fabricio Ravelli and intricate guitarwork from brothers Lance and Steve Harrison, “Immortal Legacy” is loaded with catchy riffs and banshee howls from El Diablo Negro Katon W. De Pena. Play it loud!
1) Abysmal Dawn – Obsolescence
So much to say about this, but I’ll try to be brief. If the haunting cover isn’t enough to draw you in, then the catchy brutality on the singles “Inanimate” and “Laborem Libera Te” will surely do the trick. Charles Elliot’s violent vocals express much more range than previous releases, and the chilling songwriting and wild musicianship on “Obsolescence” is horrifyingly alluring.