We asked all of the contributing writers here at Hellbound.ca to submit their Top 10 albums of 2011, which we then compiled into a master list, assigning points to all their choices (10 points for #1, down to 1 point for #10). After tabulating the results, we have created Hellbound.ca’s Top 20 Albums of 2011. For part one of our continuing series, here is albums #20 through 16…
20. EXHUMED – All Guts, No Glory
A lot bands reunite after years of in activity or a break up. Many of those bands put out a new album to grace the metal masses with their return, but most of those albums never reach the altitude that their best previous works have when they were in their prime. Exhumed is a rarity in this context. Releasing All Guts, No Glory this year, their return album is possibly their best one or so close to it, it’s like they never broke up. Gore Fucking Metal at its finest. Long live Exhumed… again.
19. THE ATLAS MOTH – An Ache for the Distance
The Atlas Moth‘s An Ache for the Distance shattered expectations and subverted pre-conceived notions about where this band from Chicago, Illinois, sat in relation to any specific genre. Packed with prismatic twists, and all sorts of hallucinatory peregrinations, An Ache for the Distance spilt over with serpentine, psychotropic-flavored adventurism and viscous, rolling riffs. The dual vocals of Stavros Giannopolous and David Kush overlapped and intertwined, cutting the acidity with the harmonious, adding significant chromatic depth to the album. With layer upon layer of differing sounds colliding, the reverberating, palpable result was magnificently inventive and idiosyncratic. Artistry at its finest.
18. FUCKED UP – David Comes To Life
David Comes To Life is clearly not a metal album, but it is an album that a few of our metal writers love voraciously. In fact, two writers made it their number one album of the year. It’s not a crazy as their earlier records, but this concept record is sort of like a modern day equivalent to Husker Du’s classic Zen Arcade album in that it is timeless and definitely something that an open minded metal fan could enjoy. Not an album that made my top ten, but it is one that I enjoy nonetheless.
17. FUCK THE FACTS – Die Miserable
Fuck the Facts grow and evolve with every release without losing sight of what it is they do or alienating their fanbase (which is the real trick). Allowing the ‘new’ band members to contribute to the writing and creation of this album has helped to make Die Miserable the heaviest, most diverse album of the band’s career and ‘Census Blank’ may very well be the best song they’ve ever recorded. Die Miserable is both the logical next step and a left turn for the band, making things at once familiar and exciting and this album essential.
16. ALTAR OF PLAGUES – Mammal
The second full-length release from Ireland’s Altar of Plagues is an achievement that builds upon (and surpasses) their first album in almost every way. White Tomb was (and still is) a fantastic album, but Mammal is the product of a band with a more unique identity and more matured skills.
When not out-and-out getting lost in the album’s emotional swirl, the band’s use of familiar lyrical themes of disconnection from ecological knowledge, and its consequences on many levels for our sense of selves, cements their thematic affinity with fellow black metallers Wolves In The Throne Room and other Cascadian acts. However, while there is spiritual angst found here, it’s less religious or pagan-esque in its mindset and more about the creeping intellectual realization that we are increasingly and perhaps irreversibly alienated from our own planet.
Make sure to come back on Wednesday for part two of the Top 20, which will cover albums #15 through to 11. See you then!