So this list was complied by shifting through the albums at the top spots of all the other top ten lists. These are the albums that are the best regardless of the genre. I will probably do a top 10 list for just metal. Anyway in most cases this just came down to what I listened to more. I can review albums and dissect them, but at the end of the day the deciding factor is what stands the test of time and begs to be listened to over and over again. This year I also offered brief explanations as to why each album placed where they did and how it is they beat out the album beneath them.
10- Igorrr- Savage Sinusoid
This project from France is collective that would like be beyond categorization, and while they can be broken down to the death metal sum of their parts they progress beyond metal and throw a collage of electronics and operatic vocals at you.
9- Ride- "Weather Diaries "
Robert Smith once refused to play a festival unless this band was added to the bill, so that has to factor into why they took the number one spot. I mean lets face it they are one of the forefathers of shoe gaze, they proved to be more versatile than other bands in the genre.The guitar tones on this album are incredible. The breathy vocals you are used to hearing on shoe gaze albums, come in but stronger than some of the breathy moans as they are able to harmonize and ride the groove with confidence. They beat out Igorrr by just being an album that commanded more plays over the course of the year so basically defaulted to Last Fm.
8- Tombs- the Grand Annihilation"
Any questions regarding Tombs legitimacy as black metal is cleared the fuck up right from the first few notes. The guitar tone peels your faces off and leaves you a bloody stain on the all behind you. Mike Hill's growl has a Neurosis like rasp to it when they song slows down as the lyrics are articulated. The songs are all respectable lengths rarely venturing over the seven minute mark.This is a more metallic effort than "All Empires Fall". The chords sometimes dip into the shadows , but darkness is not as pervading. If you thought the more post-punk elements were diluting the more metallic properties the front end of the album is up in you as metal as it gets. Then if your tastes fall more on the dark side as mine do than you have to hang on and your get that too. It beat out Ride as it is more of a fitting soundtrack to the apocalypse to come.
7-Morbid Angel-"Kingdoms Disdained"
This shows you that my initial response and review of an album sometimes needs time to soak in the full scope of what an album is about. With this one I had to get past the fact that this is not the classic line-up, but a line up that has made a new classic. While I have yet to go back and give the other Steve Tucker album's a second chance, I would find it hard to believe that they could come close to picking up where this album which is more bombastic than "Domination" picks up the torch. The post- "Domination" out put to me was hard to wrap my head around as being Morbid Angel, this album is clearly Morbid Angel, so when one of your favorite bands that your grew up with re-kindles the flame and takes you back to place in time, thus the sense of nostalgia beats out Tombs best effort.
6-Gwar - "Blood of Gods"
The elephant in the room becomes their strength. Blothar the new singer, is the old Beefcake the Mighty taking on a new mantel. So they promoted from within. I can deal with this better than if it was some new guy they just brought in.The new sound took getting used to even though, he did handle the vocals on the song "Nice Place to Park". So his voice is not totally alien. He has a more Blackie Lawless like metal quality. This album needed a few listens before I could connect the changes. It with a much more straight ahead metal feel in the vein of mid 80s thrash. Each listen connected the dots a little more making it catchier than Morbid Angel.
5- Halsey-Hopeless Fountain Kingdom
Another album like Gucci that I did not review for the blog, but got a ton of play on the ole iPod. I did write up something for it on Treblezine, in their top 50 songs of the year for the song "Eyes Closed" and I did reference the fact when I reviewed Taylor Swift.I think the grooves on this album are more on point and she has some interesting perspectives lyrically, which put it over the dumb barbarian odes of Gwar.
4- Converge- "The Dusk In Us"
20 years ago I got into this band called Converge. Someone told me they were like Sunny Day Real estate if they were a hard core band. In the 20 years that passed they haven't let me down, though things have changed. Guitarist Kurt Ballou is now an experienced producer. With the guitarist behind the mixing board , the guitars are warm and organic sitting in the mix with every thing else. The band's punk side is more invigorated here, yet this album does have a great deal of experimentation and sonic diversity. The sonic power of this album overcame Halsey's pop hooks.
3- Young Thug - Beautiful Thugger Girls
I never actually reviewed this album for this blog. It's not only a lot of fun with great declarations like how he is Bill Gates step-son or that he is the black Christian Gray and has 50 shades of Bae, but it is musical. There is real guitar on this. Does he mumble? yes. He also sings.Not the greatest voice ever and it's aided by auto tune, but he makes an effort to write songs that stand out from his peers. He made fools of Future, Gucci and 2Chainz who re-heated the same old same old.Why did it beat out Converge? The dumb fun of this album made me listen to it more than Converge.
2-KMFDM- "Hell Yeah"
The legendary act who walks the line between electro and industrial returns like a drug against war, stronger than maybe not ever before, but certainly more powerful than most of the albums since Tohuvabohu. I am glad the guitar is receiving more focus on this album which makes songs like the opening track sound more like their classic work. The vocals work really well over the groove and the guitar accents the chorus. It's not until the more dancey Lucia track " Freak Flag" that we begin getting mixed messages from the band who was just telling us only the tough with survive. They begin wanting you to embrace individuality. This would not be a problem if their name didn't mean "no pity for the majority". This is the band that once instructed us to free our hate. Aside from this is pretty much a flawless album that earns repeat listens with ease and stands right behind their classic material. When KMFDM is on their A-game they prove even better than Young Thugs best hooks.
1- Queens of the Stoneage- "Villians"
. I needed them to quit playing around and rock out. While they did not return to the kind of aggression that kicks you face, they do rock out in more of a coked out 70s manner. In interviews Homme has called what they do a rock version of electronic music and I can hear that in some of the grooves n this album. It's clear years in the vocal booth have improved Homme's singing . He has always had a pleasant voice, but showcases his croon to a fuller extent on this one. The album grew on me to earn it's place here. Brand New could have been in this place to, I defaulting to Last Fm on this one to break the tie.