Personal Top 21 of 2009, annotated

Thumbs up: +1
Here we go... I'd rate this year a 9 for the unusual quality of album releases! Qué impressionante! \m/

Created by: beyondtehdarksun | 29.12.2010

1. Mastodon - Crack The Skye
From the very first notes, you can hear this is something special. Mastodon lifts off from their sludge-y root. Literally. Make sure to pay attention to follow their etheral journey, and mind the silver chord!
2. Amorphis - Skyforger
How can Amorphis be explained without listening to it? While other bands try their best to tear the world tree down, Amorphis build it up all anew, out of guitars, beautiful melodies, and the unique voice of Tomi Joutsen. Eclipse with lots of sugar on top.
3. Suidakra - Crógacht
And I thought they would never learn how to write memorable songs. OMG I was wrong. This album is full of catchy parts, blastbeats, epic tales and bagpipes (yes, bagpipes ARE metal!). Check out the backstory to fully enjoy this one!
4. Ensiferum - From Afar
Take Ensiferum's Viking-Melodic-Whatever-Metal, add a whole lot of orchestration, and you get something... HUGE. Give it a try, and you will surely reconsider the meaning of the word "epicness".
5. Alestorm - Black Sails At Midnight
Hoist the colors! One of the best Heavy Metal album I've listened to in years, and it's got it all: Classic riffs, epic orchestrations, catchy orchestrations, instrumentals, and even the ridiculously folky "Keelhauled". The only question is: why is the rum gone??
6. Be'lakor - Stone's Reach
What if Insomnium, Opeth and Amon Amarth wrote an album together? Well, Stone's Reach is not THAT great, but it has some really impressive moments. "Countless Skies", anyone?
7. Sirenia - The 13th Floor
What an enjoyful suprise after the shallow and unimaginative work that was "Nine Destinies...". Not entirely back to form, still poppy, but the growls and choirs are back, and there are again those melodies that make me shiver. Not even talking about the surprise that is the final song.
8. Forest Stream - The Crown Of Winter
Icy landscapes, as far as the eye can reach, above some fragile melodies and keyboards clinking like icicles. Metal rarely sounded so... FROZEN, but not dead and eerie, rather warm and beautiful. Contradiction? Indeed.
9. Kreator - Hordes Of Chaos
The most variety I've noticed in a thrash album, without losing any aggression. Old-School, Groovy, Melodic... this one got it all.
10. Epica - Design Your Universe
To name your band "Epica", you probably need balls almost as huge as to call you album "Battle Metal". A ridonkulously hot readhead singer is a good excuse, however. You might even add some true epicness and it might turn out like this album - quite awesome.
11. Scar Symmetry - Dark Matter Dimensions
Though generally disliked against the highly-praised Holographic Universe, to me this is a great Melodeath with modern touches. Regression? So what about the polyrithmic moments and the harsh vocal duels?
12. Secrets Of The Moon - Privilegivm
Who says Black Metal has to be fast? SOTM's mid-tempo riffs makes this one darker than a nordic forest in the polar night. Oh, and enough experimental stuff to stay interesting.
13. Samael - Above
Samael return to their roots... NOT. The result is somewhat like "Disco Black Metal". If you can afford with losing all your "truness", check this out!
14. Sunn O))) - Monoliths & Dimensions
I can't say I really 'like' it, I won't claim it's 'music', but... whooooooooooooah! Maybe the fascination is about the fact that it's the only kind of music that can actually create FEAR. And that's just what this album does when the church bells start to toll.
15. Dark Age - Acedia
Still a very underrated band, even here in Germany. I hope this has changed a bit with this album. While not as strong as their previous works, this one shows a lot of progression. Modern metal with a lot of atmosphere and without sounding anything like -core or whatever.
16. Obscura - Cosmogenesis
Beware, technical death metal is on the rise. THIS IS THE ANTI-, THE ANTI-COSMIC OVERLOAD...!!!
17. The Agonist - Lullabies For The Dormant Mind
Hot blue-haired girl sings the blues and the swan lake, but most of the time growls as if she wanted to tear some buildings down with her voice. Cool? Yep. Really.
18. Devin Townsend - Addicted
Devin just can't go wrong... I expected something rather different from his 'metal pop' album, but it totally grows. +1 for covering himself from the marvellous Ziltoid album!
19. Heaven And Hell - The Devil You Know
Now this is some great Black Sabbath worshipping... oh... wait.
20. Anaal Nathrakh - In The Constellation Of The Black Widow
Somewhat more controlled, but still insane enough, AA conjure the Endzeit once again! Their best work to date, though I might be the only one with this opinion...
21. Megadeth - Endgame
Ok, well done, Dave. Now everyone be happy.
22. ~~~ LETDOWN OF THE YEAR: ~~~
23. Amoral - Show Your Colors
Take a promising melodic death band. Take away everything that makes metal great. Here you are! ... Epic fail.

Disclaimer: All top lists are unofficial and do not represent the point of view of the MS Staff.
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