Rob's Favorite Albums of 2009
by Robert Pasbani
There are only so many synonyms for "brutal" when describing records. Normally, I hate doing reviews, but since this was such an amazing year for metal, I had to pick my ten favorite. I only wish I had another month with some of these releases so I could really let them all sink in. If you haven't checked out any of these releases, they come with my highest recommendation. Let's begin shall we…
10. GOROD – Process of a New Decline
Gojira isn't the only band from France that can bring it. Program-death masters Gorod got a new drummer and delivered a solid album. These guys are right up there with Necrophagist in terms of technicality with a sense of melody. They write really catchy shred parts, and catchy songs in general. This album is great beginning to end. They are also one of the main reasons I am extremely excited for Maryland Deathfest next summer.
9. DÅÅTH – The Concealers
One catchy record! This is trule one of the most underrated bands in the scene right now. Each member of the band excels at their instrument, they write infectious songs and they're heavy as fuck. These guys are straight up metal for the masses, with just enough quirky parts to keep me intrigued. This album was constantly in my rotation during the Spring.
8. THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER – Deflorate
There was concern when John Kempainen left the band that things may not be the same for the band, but this new record seems like a more evolved and mature sound. They have fully realized their sound and took it to a new level in terms of speed, solos and insane drumming. This band consistently puts out great material and pulls it off live. Another great record from one of this decade's most important bands.
7. MASTODON – Crack The Skye
I almost considered not including this record because of how overexposed this band is. At the beginning of the year, this was definitely in the lead for my favorite record of the year, but going back to it now it seems like it's lost some of it's luster. This may have to do with the fact that they can't pull off a lot of the clean vocals live, which was a huge disappointment. While I may not like it now as much as I did when I first got into it, it's still a very solid record and it certainly makes me excited to hear what they have in store for the Jonah Hex score.
6. MAGRUDERGRIND – Magrudergrind
A true surprise. I remember getting this promo in the mail, intrigued by the band name, I put it on and again instantly fell in love. I have no idea how they produced some of the noise on this record. This was a record I constantly went back to. I can't wait to see these guys live. They are a band I foresee becoming huge very soon.
5. BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME – The Great Misdirect
Truthfully, it took a while to determine where the placement of this album would be for me. I love this record a lot. To me, this has far more repeat-listenability than Colors. These guys just write amazing opuses. In the end though, I feel like I spent so much more time with the records higher on this list, that I haven't fully absorbed The Great Misdirect as much as I should have. Every time I listen to this record, I like it more and more. If I had another month or two with this CD, it may have ended up number one on my list.
4. REVOCATION – Existence Is Futile
Everybody I knew couldn't stop talking about this band. Then, I happened to catch them live and was so blown away that I went home and listened to this album and must've had this record on repeat for at least a week. These guys are everything that is right with the scene right now. The songs have very thrashy elements but the also have great hardcore elements to them as well. Throw in a quirky solor here and there and you've got me as a fan! They are just a fun quirky metal band. Much like with Magrudagrind, I predict this band will be huge in five years.
3. DOOMRIDERS – Darkenss Comes Alive
This album does not try to reinvent the wheel. Rather it pays homage to the masters who came before them. Two parts Thin Lizzy, One part Danzig and one part Black Flag, Darkness Comes Alive provides incredibly infectious and dark tunes which I couldn't help but bang my head to. Of all the records that came out this year, my anticipation was greatest for this release and it totally came through.
2. THE RED CHORD – Fed Through The Teeth Machine
Ok, we can't shut up about how much we love The Red Chord here, and with good reason. Besides being awesome dudes, they consistently put out quality records. While I enjoyed their last album, Prey for Eyes, it never had the replay value that their two stellar previous releases did. Fed Through The Teeth Machine, however, was a giant step forward. I would even go as far to say this is the most death metal Red Chord record to date. A great record from beginning to end.
1. CONVERGE – Axe to Fall
Either you really like this album or you just haven't heard it yet. Before Axe to Fall, I didn't really care about Converge. I respected what they did, I would just never go out of my way to listen to it. Yet, from the moment I put this album on, I couldn't stop listening to it. I was hooked. The drums just never relented. The song structures were mind boggling. Vocalist Jacob Bannon's barks played like the band's fifth instrument. Kurt Bellou, guitarist, also contributed some great vocal lines. I didn't listen to any album more than this one this year.
Psyopus – Odd Senses
Skeletonwitch – Breathing The Fire
Agoraphobic Nosebleed – Agorapocolypse
Horse the Band – Desperate Living
Obscura – Cosmogenisis
Animals As Leaders – Animals As Leaders
Megadeth – Endgame