Happy New Year! It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for, my top 15 albums of 2008!
- Amon Amarth – Twilight of the Thunder Gods
Last year I said European Death Metal was dead? Think again.
Not since Opeth’s Blackwater Park in 2001 has there been such a runaway race. This album crushes everything in its path. Brutal rhythm and the concert was one of the best I’ve ever been to. These guys are the real deal.
- Death Angel – Killing Season The old school rebellious thrash masters are back with a dominating album that will leave you in pain. You know that any album with a song whose lyrics are “screw your countries and fuck your states” is going to sit well with me.
- Testament – The Formation of Damnation
Chuck Billy recovers from freaking cancer, Alex Skolnick re-joins the band for the first time since 1992, and the gods of Thrash put out some of the best weightlifting music you’ll hear anytime soon.
This band is as old as I am, but 500 times more badass. When are some young bands going to step up?
- Opeth – Watershed Anytime Opeth puts out a new album and it’s not my #1, it’s a disappointment. The fact that this album has two, maybe three of their best songs ever, but still isn’t in the top 2 tells you how boring the rest of the album is. I’d celebrate a Top 5 album from anyone else. But sorry Opeth, this one gets minimal praises. Time to bring back Steven Wilson?
- Danko Jones – Never Too Loud Good ol’ rock and roll from a band I’d never heard of until this year. These guys, despite their cheesedick lyrics, have the riffiest hooks of any band I’ve never heard. Every song has an original catchy rhythm with such consistency that even the best musicians are impressed. Danko Jones is my ultimate surfing warm-up music as I’m driving to the surf spot. Danko fans hate this album.
- Steven Wilson – Insurgentes It is now quite clear to me that Steven Wilson is the greatest all-around musician on this earth. Here’s a guy who goes to a church in Mexico, sits down at the piano, and writes possibly the most beautiful song I’ve ever heard… out of thin air.
- Metallica – Death Magnetic Who would have expected Metallica to put out good music? I didn’t, and despite Larz Ulrich’s garbage drumming, this album rocks! I am happily surprised after the past few duds they’ve put out. Congrats to Metallica!
- Warrel Dane – Praises to the War Machine You can consider this “Nevermore Lite”. Warrel Dane’s first solo album doesn’t stray too far from his other music, but it’s a formula that works and 10 times better than anything Nevermore’s done lately. The cover of Lucretia My Reflection is phenomenal.
- Sordal – In Fort Knox With a Penny Sordal is the first one to put out some good music after the very, very unfortunate breakup of Green Carnation. This is a beautiful album, but a bit long. It’s even better when you drop track 11 – that song is horrible. Looking forward to more from Sordal!
- Firewind – The Premonition Finally a great prog metal album! Good hooks, solid vocals, and a perfect speed. They even cover Michael Sembello’s She’s a Maniac – LOL!
- Tiamat – Amanethes All of my favorite songs are at the end of the album. One day I was listening, and the album died into the background. Then all of the sudden, the 9th track was on, and I realized that this was awesome music! Compare the ending it to Agalloch.
- Hammers of Misfortune – Fields / Church of Broken Glass Why isn’t this higher? I’m not sure. It’s just not doing it for me this time… Hammers needs Scalzi back. But it’s a double-disc and there’s some sweet music on it. I like the Fields album best.
- Goldfrapp – Seventh Tree Soft, unique music with female vocals. There’s no way to describe it, it’s a bit weird but completely original and catchy. Check out a few clips.
- Mötley Crüe – Saints of Los Angeles The Crüe is back! After Nikki Sixx’s awesome performance of 2007 (my #1 album, which I still agree with), this is catchy, fun music and should be higher on my list, but I forgot to buy it until too recently. Welcome back Mötley Crüe!!!!
- The Haunted – Versus Any number of albums could have gone in this spot. But just like last year, the #15 album goes to the one that provided some solid weightlifting sessions. This is good, but not great death metal.
- The Hellacopters – Head Off It’s a cover album, but it’s the same good ol’ reliable music we’ve come to expect from The Hellacopters. This is their final album, kind of a gift to all of their fans. You guys will be missed!!! :(
- The Pineapple Thief – Tightly Unwound – Very interesting…
- Avantasia – The Scarecrow – The song The Scarecrow is phenomenal
- Hate – Morphosis – Whoa this will get you going
- The Company Band – Sign Here, Here & Here – Kind of like a mini-Clutch EP!
- Trivium – Shogun
- In Mourning – Shrouded Devine
- Jon Oliva’s Pain – Global Warning
Biggest Disappointments Iced Earth and In Flames. It’s getting to the point where we’re no longer surprised and should retire them from the disappointment list.
A ton of great albums! What a good year! And 2009 should be bringing us a new Iron Maiden album, so get ready to rock!