Top 50 releases of 2009


Dez 27 2009, 22h02

Honorable mentions: Altar of Plagues, Astra, Atrium Carceri, Augury, Clutch, Devin Townsend, Deaf Center, Dysrhythmia, Ghost Brigade, Goatwhore, Greymachine, Jesu, Krallice, Lustmord, Nicole, Om, Riverside, Swallow the Sun, The Red Chord, Tim Hecker, Totalt Jävla Mörker, Urfaust, Voivod, Weedeater, Zoroaster

A year later: I'm dissapointed by the huge amount of great albums I missed completely last year, and decided to make an expanded remake of the list.

The Remake:

50. Demonical - Hellsworn
49. Crucifist - Demon-Haunted World
48. Portal - Swarth
47. Wormrot - Abuse
46. dälek - Gutter Tactics
45. Shrinebuilder - Shrinebuilder
44. Grave Miasma - Exalted Emanation
43. Skeletonwitch - Breathing the Fire
42. Nazxul - Iconoclast
41. Isis - Wavering Radiant
40. Secrets of the Moon - Privilegivm
39. Drudkh - Microcosmos
38. Doomriders - Darkness Come Alive
37. Porcupine Tree - The Incident
36. Asphyx - Death... The Brutal Way
35. Dinosaur Jr. - Farm
34. Ajattara - Noitumaa
33. Marduk - Wormwood
32. Gallows - Grey Britain
31. Absu - Absu
30. SUNN O))) - Monoliths & Dimensions
29. The Mars Volta - Octahedron
28. Between the Buried and Me - The Great Misdirect
27. Church of Misery - Houses of the Unholy
26. Wolves in the Throne Room - Malevolent Grain & Black Cascade
25. The Chasm - Farseeing The Paranormal Abysm
24. Lightning Bolt - Earthly Delights
23. Agoraphobic Nosebleed - Agorapocalypse
22. Nile - Those Whom the Gods Detest
21. The Ruins of Beverast - The Foulest Semen of a Sheltered Elite
20. Boris/Torche - Chapter Ahead Being Fake split
19. Kylesa - Static Tensions
18. The Devil's Blood - The Time of No Time Evermore
17. Mastodon - Crack the Skye
16. The Black Dahlia Murder - Deflorate
15. Napalm Death - Time Waits for No Slave
14. Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue with the Stars
13. Arckanum - ÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞ
12. Beherit - Engram
11. Deströyer 666 - Defiance
10. Tuomas Henrikin Jeesuksen Kristuksen Bändi - Vade Retro Satanus I
9. Vektor - Black Future
8. Japandroids - Post-Nothing
7. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
6. Oranssi Pazuzu - Muukalainen Puhuu
5. Sólstafir - Köld
4. Baroness - Blue Record
3. Amesoeurs - Amesoeurs
2. The Flaming Lips - Embryonic
1. Converge - Axe to Fall

The Original:

30. Napalm Death - Time Waits For No Slave

Genre: Grindcore
Highlight track: Time Waits For No Slave

To be honest, I didn't expect an album this good. It took Napalm Death a surprisingly long time of 3 years to get this album out, and it truly shows - Time Waits for No Slave proves that Barney & co. can still grind their asses off, and create songs that sound fresh in these times of horrible plastic music.

29. Karl Sanders - Saurian Exorcisms

Genre: Dark ambient
Highlight track: Shira Gula Pazu

Nile's Karl Sanders' anticipated second solo album proved worthy of the five-year wait. Saurian Exorcisms is nothing more or less than quality dark ambient from the beginning to the last sample.

28. Temple of Baal - Lightslaying Rituals

Genre: Black metal
Highlight track: Piercing the Veils of Slumber

Fact: Lightslaying Rituals is the angriest, most ruthless album I've heard all year. Maybe even too angry at times, as it seems like this French machine sometimes tends to forget innovation and variation, and just settles for destroying everything in their way, which is fine least for a couple of listens.

27. Skeletonwitch - Breathing the Fire

Genre: Thrash metal
Highlight track: Where the Light Has Failed

A rare gem in the sea of mediocre 21st century thrash. Not as good an album as its predecessor Beyond the Permafrost, but still a powerful thrash assault with A LOT of great riffs.

26. Drudkh - Microcosmos

Genre: Atmospheric Black metal
Highlight track: Distant Cries of Cranes

While it's definitely not the Ukrainians' best release, Microcosmos is still a damn great album with all the things you can expect from a solid Drudkh album: Slavic mythology, pure emotion, and beautiful soundscapes.

25. Cobalt - Gin

Genre: Experimental black metal
Highlight track: Arsonry

Propably one of the most interesting bands in the rapidly growing scene of psychedelic American black metal, but there's still something that prevents me from enjoying this album full-heartedly. Maybe a few more listens will enlighten me to Cobalt's ways, but until then Gin shall stay at 25. in this list.

24. Isis - Wavering Radiant

Genre: Post-metal
Highlight track: 20 Minutes / 40 Years

The second straight non-memorable album by arguably post-metal's biggest name. Wavering Radiant is best described as "dissapointing, but still good".

23. Black Cobra - Chronomega

Genre: Sludge metal
Highlight track: Chronosphere

Dark, sludgy, heavy, and nasty= another great sludge metal album by Black Cobra.

22. Porcupine Tree - The Incident

Genre: Progressive rock/progressive metal
Highlight track: Time Flies

The album is massive with its two cds and 75 minutes worth of material, but Steven Wilson still somehow managed to keep things in order. The Incident is definitely a grower, but I still feel that there's just too many fillers to justify it a higher ranking.

21. Sunn O))) - Monoliths & Dimensions

Genre: Drone
Highlight track: Aghartha

Another massive album by the masters of drone doom, and yet another showcase of how powerful the practise of minimalism can be. Attila Csihar provides, once again, some of the creepiest vocals mankind has ever encountered. Another day at the office.

20. Wolves in the Throne Room - Malevolent Grain + Black Cascade

Genre: Black metal
Highlight track: Ahrimanic Trance

Pure psychedelic black metal madness. Some say that Wolves in the Throne Room are losing their edge, but that's total bullshit. Black Cascade might not be WitTR's best work, but it's still a respectable addition to their discography. Note: Malevolent Grain EP acts as a great intro to Black Cascade.

19. Lightning Bolt - Earthly Delights

Genre: Noise rock
Highlight track: Transmissionary

Brian Chippendale and Brian Gibson show once again why they rule the noise rock scene supremely. The beauty of the organized chaos this duo creates album after album is beyond comprehension, and Earthly Delights is no aberration to the familiar pattern. Earthly Delights is a lovely album filled with content not so delightful for any sane listener's ears.

18. Kylesa - Static Tensions

Genre: Sludge metal
Highlight track: Scapegoat

Static Tensions is a great album by a (formerly) average band, and also one of this year's biggest surprises for me. Although resembling Baroness' Red Album, Kylesa still come of clean from being copycats as Static Tensions is sludge metal at its best. The opening song "Scapegoat" is a noteworthy contender for this year's best song.

17. Ajattara - Noitumaa

Genre: Acoustic black metal
Highlight track: Kielletyn sanat

This is an album that you just can't call "ok". You either like Ajattara's acoustic black metal masterpiece, or you don't. It's that simple. I find Noitumaa a truly interesting album. Beneath the mentally sick and occultist lyrics and music is just something that makes this album work for me. Hard to explain, but just take a listen and judge Noitumaa yourself.

16. Between the Buried and Me - The Great Misdirect

Genre: Progressive metal/metalcore
Highlight track: Obfuscation

About what was to be expected, and just a little more. My favourite work to date by them, and yes, I prefer The Great Misdirect over the almighty Colors.

15. Hacride - Lazarus

Genre: Progressive death metal
Highlight track: To walk among them

Lazarus has to be my #1 choice for the most pleasant surprise of 09. I'm still shocked that a band this mediocre can come up with something as good as Lazarus. In a more quiet year Lazarus could've easily made the top 10, or heck, even top 5.

14. The Axis of Perdition - Urfe

Genre: Dark ambient/Spoken word
Highlight track: Grief of the Unclean VI

Actually this is more of a horror soundbook than a proper album, as most of the 90 minutes are spoken word with an ambient background and there's only a few metallish parts. The story and storytelling are magnificent and truly bring the listener to the edge of his/her seat. The alternating and playing with feelings of disgust, anxiety, pure horror and ultimately relief, is so brilliantly done that there isn't a single moment when you lose concentration. In addition, the ending minutes of the first cd are some of the most intense I've ever experienced.

13. Nile - Those Whom the Gods Detest

Genre: Death metal
Highlight track: Iskander Dhul Karnon

I didn't really expect too much of this album after the massive dissapointment caused by Ithyphallic, but Nile is back! Those Whom the Gods Detest is pure Nile in the vein of In Their Darkened Shrines and Annihilation of the Wicked. The lyrical content is still a bit dull (compared to the first few albums), but this is, nevertheless, a damn great album.

12. Harvestman - In a Dark Tongue

Genre: Ambient/folk
Highlight track: By Wind and Sun

Steve von Till and his endless Holy Grail of awesomeness have once again awarded us with an epic album. Nothing more to add.

11. Mastodon - Crack the Skye

Genre: Progressive metal
Highlight track: Crack the Skye

The endless evolution of Mastodon continues to...prog rock/metal? If this lighter approach is what the band always wanted to sound like, like Brent Hinds mentioned in an interview, I wonder what their next masterpiece will sound like.

10. Baroness - Blue Record

Genre: Progressive metal
Highlight track: The Sweetest Curse

It was clear that Baroness couldn't possibly make a record better than Red Album, but they came close. At first I had mixed feelings about Blue Record's more "poppish" sound and lo-fi production, like most Baroness fans, but it turned out to be a great album.

9. Doomriders - Darkness Come Alive

Genre: -
Highlight track: Come Alive

The first album by this supergroup already promised a bright future, but their new one tops the expectations easily. Darkness Come Alive is some of the most fresh sounding metal released in quite a while.

8. The Ruins of Beverast - Foulest Semen of a Sheltered Elite

Genre: Atmospheric Black metal
Highlight track: Blood Vaults (II: Our Despots Cleanse the Levant)

After two pretty good albums Alexander von Meilenwald has created something that will never be forgotten by fans of experimental black metal. Foulest Semen of a Sheltered Elite is a pure showcase of what black metal sounds like at its best.

7. Agoraphobic Nosebleed - Agorapocalypse

Genre: Grindcore/Cybergrind
Highlight track: Agorapocalypse Now

Rarely does an album's cover art represent so perfectly what you're about to hear. Scott Hull's latest creation is just as chaotic and freakishly composed as you can assume from what you see above, and also has some of the most genius and hilarious lyrics I've encountered in a long time.

6. Sólstafir - Köld

Genre: Rock/progressive metal
Highlight track: Love Is the Devil (And I Am in Love)

Looks like these Icelandic cowboys have finally discovered their identity with Köld. After a few good, but not too great, albums they have created something truly unique.

5. Amesoeurs - Amesoeurs

Genre: Shoegaze/post-rock/post-punk
Highlight track: La Reine Trayeuse

Neige delivers again with yet another atmospheric masterpiece, and is becoming a true household name in the French music scene. The first, and last, Amesoeurs album is at times beautiful and subtle, at times heavy and raw, but always awe-inspiring.

4. Oranssi Pazuzu - Muukalainen puhuu

Genre: Experimental black metal
Highlight track: Kangastus 1968

I have no idea where these guys came from, but their combination of black metal, psychedelic rock, and even dub, is something I fell in love with immediately. I felt sad when Kuolleet Intiaanit announced a break, but if Juho Vanhanen and Oranssi Pazuzu continue to make records like this I can't complain.

3. Blut aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta II - Dialogue with the Stars

Genre: Atmospheric Black metal
Highlight track: The Formless Sphere (Beyond the Reason)

The fourth French album in this list... these baguette biters are truly raising the French flag high on the mountain of modern metal. Blut Aus Nord is arguably the most praised French black metal band, so it's not a surprise that people expected an epic album when the follow-up for 1996's Memoria Vetusta I: Fathers of the Icy Age was announced. I don't think that anyone expected something this epic, though. Memoria Vetusta II is pretty close to a perfect album in my books. The fact that this one is ranked only third shows what a great year this was for music.

2. Deströyer 666 - Defiance

Genre: Thrash metal/black metal
Highlight track: Human All Too Human

Another one that took me by surprise. Although as great a band as Deströyer 666 is I never believed that something this tight was on its way. Defiance was close of being named as my album of the year, but is still, in my opinion, topped by one release.

1. Converge - Axe to Fall

Genre: Chaotic hardcore/metalcore
Highlight track: Dark Horse

Axe to Fall is one hell of an album. Although any of the albums listed in my top 6 could have made it to the top spot, I still decided to go with Converge's newest one for obvious reasons. The alternating between pure chaos and atmospheric parts, and Jacob Bannon's intense and sincerely emotional vocal attack make Axe to Fall easily their best release since 2004, and that's a lot said.


  • nassuttaja2

    Endless oceans of grammar mistakes.

    Dez 27 2009, 22h09
  • x-1-alpha

    Nice list (but come on, the other Hacride albums are awesome too, listen to Treshold of Death, Fate... rah !!!)

    Dez 28 2009, 19h42
  • nassuttaja2

    Well, I might've been a little too hard on Hacride, but there's still something in their first two albums that just doesn't quite do it for me.

    Dez 29 2009, 16h06
  • xx_inge_xx

    Great list!

    Dez 29 2009, 18h00
  • KillingMachinee

    Hyviä valintoja, pitänee tsekata noita joita en oo kuullu

    Jan 6 2010, 21h04
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