I haven't been the most active poster as of late. No excuses but life seems to get in the way of extra curricular activities. With that being said I'll defiantly make more of an effort in the new year.
Kudos to Verity for the idea (according to _id) of the Loadown contributors to compile there top 10 albums of 2011. So here goes my top 10 for 2011:
**Honorable Mention** Shangren - Warriors Of Devastation -- (320kbps mp3)
This could very well be one of the most epic (figuratively and literally) demos I've had the pleasure of listening to. The production values are high and it's odd when a bands demo comes out quite so polished. I'm loving the growls and the Chinese setting in which Shangren's music operates in. I figured I'd stick with albums for the top 10, so this is just a honorable mention.
Dalriada is filled with individuals that play there background instrumentals with a technical proficiency that makes there music just flow. Granted it's not crushing but there is a certain amount of head nodding going on whenever I listen to them. The Hungarian lyrics offer something new and the gravity by which they are belted out make this one of the very few female fronted metal band I can take seriously these days.
9. Vanir - Særimners Kød -- (v0 mp3)
Vanir kinda reminds me of a more directed and coherent Trollfest. It carries some grandiose energy though more often than not it lacks variety. For me personally it was hard to differentiate what is going on throughout the album and then I came to realization that I was simply thinking to much. This album handles much better with alcohol as the album cover would suggest.
8. Blackguard - Firefight -- (v0 mp3)
Blackguard previously known as Profugus Mortis, is straight out of the Quebec metal scene which as of late has been gracing us with a plethora of bands. This album was a huge step in the right direction for the band as there previous albums kinda felt uninspired ("This Rounds On Me" gets a pass). Simply put this album would not exist without the die-hard fans. Songs like "Firefight" and "Wastelands" give credence to the die-hards.
7. Trollband - In The Shadow Of A Mountain -- (320kbps mp3)
Trollband is a band from Vancouver that as of late has gained some notoriety in the local metal scene there. Unfortunately this album is plagued with an issue that countless other bands face on their debut album, mixing and production. I was quick to move past this because of the quality of songwriting and arrangement of the grand orchestrations. Everything really comes together with the help of the snarly vocals.
6. Valknacht - Chants De Guerre -- (v0 mp3)
Another little something from the Quebecois metal scene. Valknacht continues to serve up another memorable and dark album. They always struck me as one of the more eclectic metal acts which works with their black metal overtones. If nothing else there formula for great tunage works.
5. Gernotshagen - Weltenbrand -- (320kbps mp3)
Gernotshagen has been around for a while and there sound is dreary and iconic. They are certainly one of the more darker metal acts in the genre and this, their third album doesn't disappoint. The album has a certain amount of depth throughout the passages and the music really shines when the melody allows it to. It carries a fair bit of a symphonic sound with it, which give it a dark and dreary feel, but the melodic parts carry you through when needed.
4. Brymir - Breathe Fire To The Sun -- (v0 mp3)
Finnish folk metal has become a little bit of a redundancy as of late. Happily to say Brymir destroys every bit of this stigma with only there first album. It is a breath of fresh air because it revives a genre that has been swamped in cash grabs as of late. This album has depth and meaning which translates to the listener. Brymir in a word is talented.
3. Abinchova - Versteckte Pfade -- (v0 mp3)
Another Swiss metal act that doesn't disappoint. This is certainly more polished than there EP released about two years ago. Much was the downfall of the EP was the production values and that has been remedied. There technical proficiency and talent was never questioned but there one downfall has been remedied.
2. Draugr - De Ferrro Italico -- (v0 mp3)
I'm so happy that Draugr changed up there sound. Personally I thought the first album was pretty good and "War Is My God" and "Furore Pagano" as of late have became personal favourite's of mine. The follow up however, is simply put, a masterpiece. This album is perfect from start to finish. The Italian vocals are pitch perfect and play very well off of the bands epic atmosphere.
1. Nothgard - Warhorns Of Midgard -- (320kbps mp3)
This is, in my opinion the standout album of the year. It's comprised of awesome instrumentals and some very idyllic melodic death/black metal. I'm a big fan of the melodic black metal backdrop and I think that kinda makes there music in the same vein as Månegarm. This is a definite standout for the genre and I can't wait for their followup.