Top 10(ish) of 2009

Well, everyone else under the sun has been releasing their Top 10 lists, and for those of you faithful readers out there I’m sure you’re also interested in what I’m going to say about the best records of 2009. First, let me say that for the first half of this year I was not indeed Angry Metal Guy, but instead, I was just a normal guy buying my metal and hoping that it was going to be fucking awesome. Now, I’m a bitter critic. As a bitter critic I hear a lot more, but this year has still been characterized by some of the biggest bands on the scene for me. Mainly, Amorphis, who in my opinion have released the finest album of the year, if not the finest album of their very distinguished career. But, let me get to that later. There have been some great records this year, but there has been a lot of mediocre shit. Think of this list as being two-tiered, top 10 and then top 20. The top 10 are the records that I think were really awesome, elite albums, the second 10 are records that I think are great and worth your time and effort. Note that I haven’t heard certain albums that I’d like to hear due to that whole poverty not being offset by stealing music thing. With this, I hope to launch into the new year on a new note: one where bands suck less.

#1: Amorphis // SkyforgerAmorphis is cooler than your favorite band. Honestly, they just fucking are. They have somehow managed to keep themselves excellent and relevant after all these years by producing some of the finest mainstream metal that the world has ever scene. Not only that, but their new vocalist has brought a life and energy to this band that after Tuonela I, frankly, had never expected to see again. Honestly, more power to these guys. They are a truly fantastic band on a roll. I look forward to new material from them in the future.
#2: Obscura // Cosmogenesis – Yeah, sure, everyone can say that it sounds like a bit of a blend of a Cynic/Necrophagist rip-off, but I honestly don’t give a shit. These guys are fucking phenomenal musicians who make really convincing and awesome metal and I have listened to this record way more than I was anticipating when I first got it. I am especially moved by the bass on this album which is just seriously awesome, a trait that many metal bands just, frankly, suck at. This album is balls-to-the-wall and awesome.
#3: Fleshgod Apocalypse // Oracles – Seriously some of the best tech death metal I’ve ever heard. What I love about this album is how good it is at being deliciously melodic and really subtle about it. Honestly, these guys are so much better than your average tech death metal band. I have trouble seeing why they haven’t gone over better, but I know that there’s another one of those ripoff memes out there about these guys. Anyway, this album totally ripped my goddamn face off and I totally loved it. They need a real drummer, though.
#4: Guilt Machine // On This Perfect Day – I’m going to be listening to this album for years. Partially it’s just that the vocals of this record keep drawing me back, but it really is one of the few albums that really drew me back over and over again this year. Super awesome melodies, amazing vocals and just perfectly composed. I might not be a huge fan of Ayreon, but I’m never going to insult the Dutch mastermind behind all these projects because Guilt Machine is an epic masterpiece of progressive rock/metal.
#5: Megadeth // Endgame – Oh man. This record is not a record I ever expected to end up on my top 10 list. It was so much fucking better than I expected and I hate myself for saying that because Dave Mustaine is the planet’s biggest douchebag. But man, this record is great. Easily among the best records for the year. Though, it’s getting close.
#6: Riverside // Anno Domini High Definition – Polish prog that really does something me. It’s a good blending of progressive metal and modern rock and has some amazing stuff in it. I love the sort of Opeth-y parts, of course, but everything about this record screams “listen to me again and again and again!”… and I did.
#7: The 11th Hour // Burden of Grief – Great fucking Dutch/Swedish doom. Honestly this is one of those records that I wish would’ve gotten more play, as I think it’s actually on the up side of bands that have gotten a ton of play this year (mainly Ahab) from the underground metal guys, but I honestly think that this is the best doom to be released this year. The vocals are fantastic, the writing is amazing and all-in-all I’m pleased with this album.
#8: Indukti // Idmen – More excellent Polish prog that totally kicked my ass. This band is really fucking interesting and the songs on this album are well-crafted, fun to listen to and just all-in-all worth a spin or two. I think it will definitely be one of the albums that stands out for me from 2009 because it was something I’d never heard before and I was really, really impressed with it. Well, shit, I still am impressed!
#9: Ghost Brigade // Isolation Songs – Another album that I had to get on my own, but wow was it worth it. This record is basically like Katatonia meets.. well, sludge. They do all of those things that Sólstafir, Hanging Garden, etc., are trying to do, but they do them with tact, grace and a smart pop sense that those bands totally fucking lack.
#10: Scar Symmetry
// Dark Matter Dimensions – I’m almost embarrassed to write this. This album totally jumped out and kicked my ass. Honestly, the new vocalists make them great and the new material is fantastic. The songs are very, very good and the catchiness kept drawing me back. I feel like a sucker because this stuff is so fucking commercial I can hardly help myself. If death metal could be gummy pop, it would be Scar Symmetry. But man… Oh man.

Honorable Mentions:

Fejd // Storm
// Absorbed in the Nether Void
Black Sun Aeon
// Darkness Walks Beside Me
// Stone’s Reach
Cobalt // Gin
Ulcerate // Everything is Fire
Marduk // Wormwood
Havok // Burn
Gorod // Process of a New Decline
The Chasm // Farseeing the Paranormal Abysm

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