New Year's Eve is upon us, and it's time to look back on the year that was 2007. In particular, let's look at the world of heavy metal.
Because let's face it... 2007 was an absolutely bad-ass year for metal!! :D If you're a metalhead and you didn't find anything to listen to over the past year, then you've got some serious problems. :P
So let's get on with the show already!! The following is a list of my top 10 favorite metal albums to come out in 2007, as well as any thoughts I have about them. I tried to get ahold of as many albums that came out this year as I could, so I had a lot of stuff to go through in getting to a final 10. Needless to say, I've been listening to a lot of good music this year. :)
#10: The Way of the Fist by Five Finger Death Punch - I wonder how many metalheads out there would include this album in their "best of" lists? With a bunch of high-profile releases in '07 from the likes of Behemoth, Machine Head, and the likes, I think that a lot of people probably looked over this release. Regardless of whether people noticed it or not, I found the debut release from Ivan Moody's (formerly of Motograter) new band to be a rather enjoyable listen. If you like modern groove metal, then you should enjoy this album. None of the ten tracks are bad, and even the lead single "The Bleeding" is pretty good.
#9: Dark Passion Play by Nightwish - I really got into Nightwish earlier this year, and despite learning that the band was without longtime vocalist Tarja Turunen, I was still excited for their latest album to come out. I know that peoples' opinions are going to be quite varied on new vocalist Anette Olzon, , but I think that this Finnish symphonic metal band's latest studio offering is just as good as their last album, the awesome Once. I think that Dark Passion Play succeeds because, despite a vocalist change, the key songwriting force in the band, keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen, is still in Nightwish. So if you enjoyed Once, then chances are you'll enjoy Dark Passion Play.
#8: Bleed the Fifth by Divine Heresy - I must say, this album took some time to grow on me. When I picked it up on its release day, I didn't really think much of it. In fact, I probably wouldn't have even considered it to be a contender for this list then. My, how things have changed. If you're a metalhead, then you probably know the name Dino Cazares (if not, you've got some serious catching up to do :P ). Divine Heresy is the former Fear Factory founder/guitarist's newest band. I read in a review once that much of this album sounds like it could pass off as Fear Factory stuff; perhaps that's why I ended up liking Bleed the Fifth so much. I really listened to this one a lot as the year went on, thus earning it a spot in my Top 10.
#7: Passenger by Mnemic - I'll come right out front and say it: I really like this album, and I'm not quite sure why. There's just something inherently addictive about Mnemic's sound, and I found myself listening to Passenger a lot over the course of the year. So, despite not being able to really explain why I like it, the album gets spot #7 in my list. Or perhaps, that's the whole reason its here...
#6: Road to Bloodshed by Sanctity - If you had talked to me earlier in the year, this album would have been somewhere around #3 or #4 on this list. Well, that's certainly changed. But that doesn't mean I like the album any less now then I did then. The first track I ever heard from Road to Bloodshed was the album opened "Beneath the Machine," and I had to look at my satellite radio receiver because my brain thought it was hearing Testament. I got around to downloading the album, and only listened to it once before I went out and bought the CD. I was quite impressed with Sanctity's modern thrash/groove metal. A very enjoyable listen from start to finish, placing it at #6.
Here we are, moving into the top 5...
#5: Icons of Evil by Vital Remains - Arguably the most brutal album on my Top 10 list. I was officially introduced to Vital remains one night after work when I heard the song "Hammer Down the Nails" on the radio in my car. I was pretty much instantly hooked on this wicked sick death metal stuff. Icons of Evil boasts the absolute fastest double bass drum work I have ever heard in my life; seriously, it sounds like the minigun from your favorite shooter going full force. Dave Suzuki sure can pound those things... With songs that rival stuff by Dragonforce in length (thus leading me to call it "epic death metal"), there's plenty of ridiculous drum work to go around, as well as superbly awesome musicianship from the other instruments. And Glen Benton, of Deicide fame and one of my favorite metal vocalists, is here on vocal duty. So I really really like this album.
#4: The Apostasy by Behemoth - I will admit, this was an impulse buy for me. I saw The Apostasy on sale for $10 at FYE while shopping one day, and decided to pick it up to get a feel for Behemoth since they were going to be on Ozzfest this year. Unfortunately, I missed out on Behemoth's show this summer, which is a damn shame... Because I have absolutely fallen in love with this album. This Polish band's blackened death is relentlessly brutal, and features some of the sickest drum work found anywhere in the metal spectrum. Just listen to the first minute or so of "Arcana Hereticae and you'll know what I'm talking about. If you like heavy music, get this album. If you don't, you're seriously missing out on something amazing.
Seven down, only three to go...
#3: The Last Kind Words by Devildriver - I've been into Devildriver for a little while, and I can say that if you listen to the band's three album's back to back to back, you can definitely hear an evolution in their sound. With their first album the band had a very groovy sound to their metal; great music to get up and move around to. Their second album took a turn towards a more technical st-yle with fancier guitar work. With The Last Kind Words Devildriver seems to have struck a middle ground between technicality and groove; and I'll be damned if it isn't a resounding success! Devildriver's third album is without a doubt their best so far, with plenty of catch riffs to headbang to and good guitar work to boot. One person I had in my car when driving out to Ozzfest this summer seemed somewhat surprised to hear soloing on a Devildriver album. Every song on this album is catchy and will stick in your head, and there isn't a bad track in the bunch. Devildriver has found a sound for themselves, and I think I'd still love them if they made three more albums like this one.
#2: The Blackening by Machine Head - Machine Head's latest studio album is probably going to be on top of a lot of metalheads' end-of-the-year lists. Hell, for most of the year it was almost guaranteed to be #1 on mine. The Blackening is the definition of how a metal band in this day and age should make an album. As soon as opening track "Clenching the Fists of Dissent" starts with its slow acoustic guitar part, this album proceeds to grab you by the neck and kick your ass, and it doesn't let up until closer "A Farewell to Arms," ending just as slowly and quietly as it began. In between you are treated to a collection of amazing songs, with even the weakest track ("Now I Lay Thee Down") managing to come out good. The highlight of the album, though, comes from the nine-minute masterpiece "Halo," which I guarantee you will have in your head for a while after hearing it. There's only one problem with The Blackening being so damned good... How in the hell is Machine Head going to top it for their next album?
So The Blackening got #2 in my list, eh? What could possibly have booted it down from the #1 spot that it help for so much of the year? Read on...
#1: Rise of the Tyrant by Arch Enemy - Wow. What. An. Album. As much as I like all of Arch Enemy's albums with vocalist Angela Gossow, Wages of Sin has always been my favorite. There's just something about the writing on that album that makes it so awesome. With their latest release, this Swedish melodic death metal group has done the one thing could make me infinitely happy with them; write another album in the same st-yle as Wages of Sin. Not just a Wages... Pt.2, though... Rise of the Tyrant is something all of its own. If the air raid siren that sounds at the start of opening track "Blood on your Hands" is any indicator, this is going to be one hell of an assault on your ears. Every song on this album is awesome; there isn't a weak moment to be found anywhere. Trying to decide which album would get the top spot on my list, between Rise of the Tyrant and Machine Head's The Blackening, was a difficult matter indeed. There was one deciding factor, though: Machine Head's album took a little bit of time to strike me with all it's awesomeness. Arch Enemy, on the other hand, beat me over the head with a steel rod the instant I put it in my CD player. And that is why Rise of the Tyrant is my #1 metal album of 2007.
So there you have it. My 10 favorite metal releases of the past year. I have spent so much money on music this year it's not even funny, but it was so worth it. But wait! There's more! These may be my top 10, but there were other metal albums that came out this year that I greatly enjoyed as well. Just... not as much as the above ten...
Resurrection by Chimaira
The Hinderers by Daath
The Dethalbum by Dethklok
War of Attrition by Dying Fetus
Hellyeah by Hellyeah
Red, White, and Screwed by M.O.D.
United Abominations by Megadeth
The Art of Partying by Municipal Waste
Black Rain by Ozzy Osbourne
Temptation Come My Way by The Showdown
Cannibal by Static-X
2007 was a great year for metal all over. 2008 is looking to be a good one too. Happy New Year, metalheads!! \m/ :twisted: \m/