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Mike Sloan Best-of 2011

By: Mike Sloan

Macabre, still slaying after all these years...

Mike Sloan Top 10 songs of 2011

Just as critical as ten albums that steal the show from all the rest, the songs contained within each album are what make or break the relevance and greatness of a release. Even more difficult to narrow down than the best albums, Blistering.com is one of the rare sites that took the painstaking steps to pick the ten best songs of 2011. Here are mine:

*Click on each songtitle to listen*

1. Absu - “Ontologically, It Became Time & Space” (from Abzu)
What an absolute beast of a song this is! While the top ten albums list was difficult to pin down and name a winner, the song list was a slaughter. This gem from Absu’s latest release is hands down the best song of the year. It’s violent, savage, perplexing, dizzying, and catchy. Perfection.

2. Crimfall - “Silver and Bones” (from The Writ of Sword)
The song that I believe should have closed out what I consider the album of the year, this majestic masterpiece is a swirling storm of emotion and beautifully-crafted music. This is the song that pushed Crimfall’s sophomore album into the top slot on my list over all the others.

3. Crimfall - “Frost Upon Their Graves” (from The Writ of Sword)
After the first two songs of Writ of Sword might lead you to believe that Crimfall has pulled back their attack just a smidge, “Frost Upon Their Graves” ceases all potential doubts. It’s essentially everything that makes this extremely underrated and overlooked band so powerful and a small dose as to why Crimfall has garnered Album of the Year status with me for their first two albums.

4. Macabre - “Mary Ann” (from Grim Scary Tales)
When talking about great songs, it’s the ones that stick in your head forever. This one from Grim Scary Tales became an instant earworm as I literally couldn’t stop singing the chorus for weeks. It’s so melodic and catchy; it’s the highlight of Macabre’s awesome new album.

5. Kvelertak - “Mjød” (from Kvelertak)
The catchiest song of one of the catchiest albums in years, “Mjød” is over almost as soon as it starts. And when it’s finished, it has to be played again. It has that awesome post-punk delivery that very few bands can pull off, and they’re not even a punk band. Absolute brilliance.

6. Cianide - “Terrorstrikes” (from Gods of Death)
The masterpiece of arguably the Chicago band’s finest hour, this song is almost four minutes of pure doomy death metal at its best. It’s fast (for Cianide) and it’s catchier than herpes. It’s one of those songs that simply cannot be played without being repeated again and again.

7. Ava Inferi - “By Candlelight and Mirrors” (from Onyx)
The highlight of an album that just missed the top ten for me, it’s an enchanting listen that is both soothing and emotive. Though the delivery is rather simple, the chorus will resonate within your mind for days on end.

8. Ghost - “Ritual” (from Opus Eponymous)
Who cares that this is so damned similar to both “Return of the Vampire” and “The Old Oak” from Mercyful Fate? This song has everything that is required to make a song so memorable: great music, a catchy chorus and hypnotizing melodies. Some claim that Ghost is a circus sideshow but that’s not the case. They just love Mercyful Fate (can you blame them?) and have delivered an album that is full of songs just like this.

9. Arkan - “Origins” (from Salam)
Though the album is one of those that is much more powerful when ingested as a whole, it’s opener “Origins” that is arguably the best track to take by itself. It’s explosive, sweeping and it ebbs and flows perfectly; a microcosm of the entire album from these Parisian masterminds.

10. Morbid Angel - “I Am Morbid” (from Illud Divinum Insanus)
Forget the fact that the song has some of the most laughable lyrics known to mankind. Just for a second, please ignore that fact. The music is crushingly heavy and it’s full of hooks. Hell, you’ll even catch yourself singing along with David Vincent’s cornball lyrics (you can’t deny you will, at least during the chorus). But the true topper is Trey Azagthoth’s brilliant guitar solo. It’s one of the best he’s ever performed.

Biggest surprise of 2011: Morbid Angel - Illud Divinum Insanus. I waited how long for this record to finally come out? It took Morbid Angel how long to actually get this damned thing finished and released? I seriously believed it was going to be a return of sorts to Covenant or something a bit more adventurous/mature. What I didn’t see coming was that the album would be a mixture of classic, brilliant Morbid Angel, hardcore techno industrial garbage, the cheesiest lyrics maybe in the history of music and some beatnik influences. What the hell happened to Morbid Angel?

Biggest disappointment of 2011: Living in Las Vegas and watching virtually every band drive their tour buses to every North American city except Las Vegas. Yeah, I go through this every single year. True, Las Vegas metalheads will occasionally be treated to Cradle of Filth or Slayer or Dimmu Borgir or some other more popular metal acts, but when it comes time for the lesser-known European bands (and even American ones) to come to town, Vegas doesn’t seem to exist. Yet Sparks, Nevada, way up next to the lousy wasteland that is Reno, has become a metal hotspot. So lame…

Best newcomer of 2011: Kvelertak: When a band comes out of nowhere and nabs a spot in the top ten for album of the year, it’s no doubt that they’ll snatch this award. They are due to start recording another record and hopefully it’ll see the light of day early in 2012 because it’s something I’m anxious to hear. Kvelertak is clearly the Rookie of the Year.

Most anticipated album for 2012: The new Cradle of Filth (proper) album: It’s a toss-up between Absu’s final peg in the Absu trilogy, the sophomore effort from Ghost, the new Nile and the yet-untitled new collection of original Cradle of Filth songs. However, since CoF are one of my all-time favorites, they’ll usually beat everybody else out in this category. Unless, of course, Atheist’s follow-up to Jupiter is finished sooner than I expect, then the new CoF album will be cast aside. I’ll take a new Atheist album any day over all other bands, but considering Cradle’s propensity to writing new material and a doubt that a Jupiter follow-up will be finished by the end of 2012, I’m going with the safe pick.

You can also contact Mike Sloan at www.facebook.com/mikesloan19


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