Blistering.com Staff Picks For 2009 - Part Deux
By: Blistering Staff
Top 10 of 2009 Ė Matt Coe
For as many albums that I receive due to reviewing, I feel like I spent a lot of time combing the local Newbury Comics bins and online mail order companies going on spending binges for my favorite CDís of the year. Iím a believer in the fact that metal in 2009 still fires up my body and mind, although I think the European acts hit the auditory channels much better than the American acts. Be it doom, power, progressive, thrash, melodic, death, technical, traditional or anything in between - I took in a lot of great albums and feel a growing disparity from the top echelon of bands versus the mediocre and useless groups coming down the pike.
1. Ghost Brigade - Isolation Songs (Season of Mist)
Only on their second album, this Finnish group set the bar very high with the follow-up to Guided By Fire. They channel the embers of Sentenced, the brilliance of Katatonia and also add their own twist of death and alternative/ electric sounds to their sonic power. Gives me the kick in the head I need to live and breathe every day.
2. Redemption - Snowfall on Judgment Day (Inside Out)
Since Jim Matheos appears to take forever to get out new material for Fates Warning, Redemption gains through the power and progressive brilliance of vocalist Ray Alder. Snowfall on Judgment Day contains everything I desire in a progressive metal album: musicianship of the highest caliber, arrangements that make me seek out something new with every subsequent listen and a singer who conveys emotional strength and moxie.
3. Candlemass - Death Magic Doom (Nuclear Blast)
I didnít know if Robert Lowe would be the right fit for these veteran Swedes, but on Death Magic Doom, he makes you think that losing Messiah may not have been such a bad thing. Whether playing at mid-tempo, slightly fast or their normal gloomy pacings, Candlemass illustrate their mastery time and again.
4. Anubis Gate - The Detached
Danish progressive metal group with super-producer Jacob Hansen as vocalist. Conceptually brilliant, forward-thinking and catchy - a double-edged rarity in this genre.
5. Crown the Lost - Blind Faith Loyalty (Cruz del Sur)
Probably my favorite American power/thrash release this year. Riff after riff that just pummel my brain, and forceful clean vocals that separate the band from 99% of their competiton.
6. The Gates of Slumber - Hymns of Blood and Thunder (Rise Above)
Raw 70ís influenced metal that pays homage to the times without merely ripping off the works of the masters.
7. The Poodles - Clash of the Elements
Swedish melodic hard rock, very classy and memorable - youíll feel like you are reliving the 80ís heydays with this one.
8. Hypocrisy - A Taste of Extreme Divinity (Nuclear Blast)
I donít care if it takes Peter and the boys another four years for their next studio album - if they keep pummeling brains like this one, Iíll be a very happy Swede-death maven.
9. Gotthard - Need to Believe (Nuclear Blast)
Theyíve been compared to the Swiss version of Bon Jovi - they are so much more. Classic hard rock with a stellar vocalist, Gotthard in a just society would be multi-platinum in every country.
10. Augury - Fragmentary Evidence (Nuclear Blast)
Canadian tech/ progressive death metal that will astound you with not just the fleet of finger guitar work, but the mind-numbing bass parts.