Tuesday Ten – Top Ten of 2011 – 12/27/2011

Another year has come and gone, 2011 is just about behind us. For me personally, I am welcoming 2012 with open arms, whether it’s for a new start on things or a Mayan apocalypse. Either way, it’s gonna be a good year. 2011 had a lot of downs for me, but also had a lot of ups, like some great music and the birth of Heavy Uber Alles.


This is my Top Ten for 2011, in no particular order, with some very notable Honorable Mentions to follow.


1. Anthrax – Worship Music

Worship Music was by far my most anticipated release of 2011. Anthrax has been one of my favorite metal bands through the years, dating back to Among The Living. This was Joey Belladonna’s grand return to the Anthrax fold, and it does not disappoint. excellent writing, powerful songs, and Joey in superb form. All of that carried over to their live show, where they performed with a renewed energy that was infectuous, the crowd hailing not only the classics but the new songs as well (Read my live review here)


2. Red Fang – Murder the Mountains

Portland, Oregon’s Red Fang released their follow-up to 2009’s self-titled debut in April, and are really hitting their stride. Keeping their stripped-down stoner sound, but adding a more slightly more polished approach, the heaviness churns out on such tunes as “Wires” and Hank Is Dead”. Red Fang followed up the album by hitting the road, first on the Metalliance tour (alongside Howl, Kylesa, Crowbar, Saint Vitus and Helmet), and ended the year supporting Dillinger Escape Plan and Mastodon. Don’t pass these guys by.


3. Foo Fighters – Wasting Light

Virginia’s prodigal son has returned, and Mr. Grohl and company have released one of their best albums to date (in my book, you just can’t top their first album). They even had a little help from old friends Bob Mould and Krist Novoselic. I especially love the song “Arlandria”, mostly because people outside of the NOVA/DC area have no idea what or where Arlandria really is.


4. Mastodon – The Hunter

While some Mastodon purists (i.e., “old-school fans”) are chiding The Hunter, dismissing some songs as “too commercial” – primarily referring to “Curl of the Burl”, easily their most accessible song to date – I love the direction they have taken on The Hunter. While still hitting all points of the musical compass as far as musical style goes, this album has a more focused, cohesive sound, vastly improved vocals, and is beautifully produced. The video above is the opener of the album (and my favorite track), “Black Tongue”. Give this one a few listens – don’t stop at just one.


5. Amon Amarth – Surtur Rising

The viking horde from Norway have returned to rape and pillage our eardrums! Not much new ground on this one, but it is one hell of an album, doing what Amon Amarth does best. Furious guitars, nonstop double-bass, and that unmistakeable growl from singer Johan Hegg, this album kicked my ass from the first listen. The tour for this album was a real treat – they did 2 sets, the first set being the whole Surtur Rising album, the second an assortment of previous tunes.


6. Pentagram – Last Rites

The Virginia doom-metallers are back, heavier than ever and completely re-invigorated. Between the one-two punch of Bobbly Liebling’s vocals and Victor griffin’s guitar tone, and the rhythm section of Greg Turley and Tim Thomaselli holdin down the big low end,  Last Rites is a contender for Comeback of the Year.


7. Machine Head – Unto The Locust

Machine head started their career strong, charging out of the gates at full steam. Trying to keep up with current musical trends, their popularity waned. Then, in 2007, they shocked the whole metal world with The Blackening, a monumental opus that (deservedly) won Album of the Year all over the place. Many worried that they wouldn’t be able to follow up such a huge album, but rather than try to change again, they stuck with what worked on 2011’s Unto The Locust. Very similar in style to The Blackening, Machine head have definitely hit their stride and made people take notice. Definitely looking forward to their headlining tour in 2012!


8. Social Distortion – Hard Times & Nursery Rhymes

After a loooong break between albums, (7 years!) Social D are back, and sounding better than ever. Stylistically, Hard Times… covers the usual Social D bases, save for the fact that it’s less rockabilly and more straightforward rock n’ roll. Also worth hearing is one of the bonus tracks, a countryfied version of Down Here With The Rest Of Us.


9. Skeletonwitch – Forever Abomination

The blackened thrash crew from Ohio returned in 2011 with their finest effort yet. Hard-chugging thrash riffs mixed with machine-gun drumming and some seriously fast picking all comes together like a syncopated machine of metal. Singer Chance Garnette alternates betweeen gutteral growls and a higher-pitched snarl, with each used at the perfect time to fit the moment of the song. Expect much more from these thrashers in the future.


10. Kvelertak – Kvelertak

This one definitely took me by surprise. I had never even heard the name before until my buddy Metal Chris couldn’t say enough good things about them, especially after seeing them live. It doesn’t even matter that you can’t understand a damn word they are saying (the vocals are in their native Norweigian). Kvelertak rocks, and rocks hard.


The following didn’t make my own top 10, but came damn close:

Crowbar – Sever The Wicked Hand

Black Tusk – Set the Dial

Graveyard – Hisengen Blues

Megadeth – Th1rt3en

Dropkick Murphys – Going Out In Style

Borracho – Splitting Sky

Kyng – Trails In Veins


The following are albums that came out in 2011, are on my radar, but I haven’t devoted time to give them a good listen. I will, I swear.

Arch Enemy – Khaos Legions

Darkest Hour – Human Romance

Chickenfoot – III

Alice Cooper – Welcome 2 My Nightmare

Electric Wizard – Black Masses

Black Country Communion – 2

The Gates of Slumber – The Wretch

Devin Townsend Project – Deconstruction/Ghost

Yob – Atma

The Haunted – Unseen

Maylene & the Sons of Disaster – Sons of Disaster: IV

Weedeater – Jason…The Dragon

40 Watt Sun – The Inside Room

Chuck Ragan – Covering Ground

The Roots – Undun

The Black Keys – El Camino

Iced Earth – Dystopia

Earth – Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light Part 1


One Response to “Tuesday Ten – Top Ten of 2011 – 12/27/2011”

  1. W. Stuart "Dick Fingers" McGee Says:

    What, no Justin Bieber? For shame, for shame….

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