2011: Of a demon in my view…

ARCHIVES This post is an archived “Best of the Year” list from another website where I spent about seven years documenting my listening habits. After a break from the site in 2018 and a total exodus in 2019 these lists were collected, saved, and are now presented largely untouched. I have edited out about three instances of “butt stuff” and/or inside joke humor for the sake of the internet. Please note that these thoughts, opinions, and general comments were not only written ten years ago but largely to a small audience of friends and record collectors. They are not complete, not retrospective, a little bit too self-conscious and not at all intended to be professional in voice. The re-posting of these lists are by the request of a small circle of online friends and should not be taken seriously as criticism.

After several revisions this, my first timely best of the year list is more or less cleaned up. I’m not going to add links to the albums, though it was such a great year for releases. 2011 had several amazing albums from what are some of my favorite bands, most of which have iterated since… except Absu…”

TITLE:Praying For Absolution
LABEL(S):Nuclear War Now! Productions

“Though this album is a dimly lit blur of dense black/death metal, some underlying melody amidst the cacophony reminds me of groups like Aeternus and The Ruins of Beverast without all the fuss. Definitely not a classic album, but a good one which shows they can evolve past war metal mania.”

TITLE:Towards the Megalith
LABEL(S):Profound Lore Records

“This was the year of friggin’ Incantation clones coming out of every possible orifice. Lucky for Disma they’ve finally arrived with a slaughterhouse of an album. This one skates by on atmosphere rather than riffs and the Finnish death influences seem to still crop up when it counts. Was not expecting to prefer the demo material over this but it is still great stuff.”

TITLE:In the Flesh
LABEL(S):Season of Mist

“The all-star boy band of the decade. Completely manufactured and [REDACTED] concept BUT the music rules. Consider this the new Morbid Angel album, because you know that [REDACTED] abomination. Formulas Fatal to the Flesh Part Deux.”

LABEL(S):Indie Recordings

“Though I’m not wild about Vreid‘s discography as a whole, this album hit the right nerve for me. The thrash and black metal aesthetics roll along nicely for the duration of the album, creating a sort of textural listen that works as both background and active listening. Some of the regal touches of Windir are here in this band’s repertoire but they’ve managed their own style by now. It reeks of a ‘one off’ great album from a relatively dull band for me, still, it is strong enough material to hold my interest.”

TITLE:The Sorrowful Sun

“Psych’d out Sabbathian doom/stoner thickness. Laid back, atmospheric, trance inducing… Kind of like Electric Wizard but more stoned and no satanic panicked sourness.”

LABEL(S):Dethroned Productions

“Oddball Finnish doom with some death metal elements. I really enjoyed this one for it’s style, which I wanted to call Reverend Bizarre meets death metal but eh, not exactly.”

LABEL(S):Century Media

Sonne Adam popped up out of nowhere last March, not much hype for being released on Century Media and an underrated record in my opinion. The music is orthodox dark death/doom metal in the vein of Incantation with clear production and some harrowing atmosphere. The slower riffing can be really jarring and offers up some of the heavier transitions within songs. I’m curious to see this band carve an identity over time.”

TITLE:Deceased to Exist
LABEL(S):Soulseller Records

“A late 2011 discovery. Solid death metal from members of Morbus Chron and it resembles that first album a bit but with a more typical emphasis on Autopsy style riffs.”

LABEL(S):Scion A/V

“I was not the biggest fan of Majesty and Decay for quite some time, but after recently rethinking this it was time to give Providence a chance. The music here echoes the previous album but tweaks the production in a more organic direction. This is Immolation back at the top of the heap, consistently dark and twisted guitar work. Easily the best EP of the year.”

TITLE:Noregs Vaapen
LABEL(S):Svartekunst Produksjoner

“Banjo player extraordinaire Hoest is here to crush you with his twanging skills. All kidding aside this is one of the most accessible, beautiful pieces of black metal ever made. Can’t deny this guy’s ability and the quality of the recording.”

TITLE:For the Diabolical Ages
LABEL(S):Kuravilú Productions

“Penis metal for life! 666 tons of black/thrash/death from Chile.”

LABEL(S):Agonia Records

“(Probably) named after a Bolt Thrower song and just as focused on hammering out clean, well structured death metal as their name would suggest. Though this has more in common with Nox than it does Bolt Thrower due to some of the same type of Angelcorpse-esque blasting + twisted gnarly riffing. Awesome album.”

LABEL(S):Profound Lore Records

Parasignosis endlessly vexes me, like a caveman-doing-physics. The atmosphere carries the listener on a slick death metal ride that plays as a nigh continuously flowing listen. I’m not sure what any of it means, but it makes me uncomfortable enough to keep coming back for another listen. Kind of like getting your [REDACTED] — Sure, it feels wrong, but there’s a lot of right going on at the same time.”

TITLE:Boldly Stride the Doomed
LABEL(S):Cruz Del Sur Music

“One of the best heavy metal records this year. A memorable and melodramatic doom metal influenced band with the vocalist from Penance‘s later years. As his vocals have refined, so has his backing band. The lyrics are pure metal cheese with songs about magic swords and stuff, all of it magnificent, but the music is thoughtfully done and cathartic enough to remain memorable.”

TITLE:Essence of Nine
LABEL(S):Eyes Like Snow

“Often labeled as doom metal, this band is actually some kind of black/folk/doom/rock jam that ends up being pretty awesome. As trendy and modern as their sound is, the actual music is epic and kinda pretty at times. Try it out if you don’t mind the idea of epic doom taking on some shoegaze/post-rock/neofolk influences.”

TITLE:Menra Eneidalen
LABEL(S):Stygian Crypt

“For true elves only. If you’re not an elf, you won’t fuckin’ get it. Don’t even try, orc… fuck off goblins. Elven grace, beauty and heaviness is bestowed only upon those gifted with the mother tongue. This one is really impossible to sum up, symphonic death-ish… well I dunno. Very catchy and memorable, beautifully done.”

TITLE:A Deadly Call From the Stars
LABEL(S):LuxInframundis Productions

“Released on a record label from the guys in The Chasm, this classic cult Mexican black/death band was once vicious and ripping blackened death/thrash influenced mayhem. Now they sorta resemble The Chasm circa 2004, which is a really great thing. Once I stopped wanting this to sound like “The Kinglike Celebration Part II” I started to enjoy it. The riffing is pleasantly twisted and often isn’t “obvious” for a metal record, not that it is such genius or even outside the confines of metal, but Shub Niggurath use subtlety and restraint in places they hadn’t previously.”

TITLE:Blasphemers’ Maledictions
LABEL(S):Witching Hour Productions

“Forget this band’s previous discography, this is by far the best thing they’ve done. Essentially a side project among members of Polish groups Thunderbolt and Behemoth. The music has a certain heaviness and energy that recalls those bands, but also ties in some memorable groove metal elements now and then. Songs have hooks, scramble ass guitar solos, and are almost always interesting riff fests.”

LABEL(S):Prophecy Productions

“The only folk metal band that is good. Probably the most listenable, redeeming piece of heavy music put out this year.”


“Spacey psychedelic rock influenced black metal… or is it black metal influenced psych rock? Either way these astronauts do a hell of a job making one of the coolest black metal related things in recent history. The songs are a bit more structured than the previous album and seem to point in a more rock influenced direction for the band. A band to watch that could easily screw up their sound and go soft too quickly.”


TITLE:Sleepers in the Rift
LABEL(S):Pulverized Records

Sleepers in the Rift is a wild, sometimes unpredictable ride that touches upon some of my favorite Swedish musical traditions. Punkish, thrashing Swedish death metal with hints of everything from Nihilist and Merciless to crust punk influenced breaks.”

TITLE:Suspended in the Brume of Eos
LABEL(S):Bindrune Recordings

“Excellent melodic black metal with some folk metal leanings. This is the kind of music I can just put on repeat for hours at a time and it remains interesting and highly musical. The melodies are lead by guitars that just… shimmer across the ear like the sun across wet sand. Obsequiae is absolutely remarkable in their ability to make black/folk metal that never feels abrasive or amateur but rather takes the listener on a medieval journey through castles and shires ad infinitum.”

TITLE:Outer Isolation
LABEL(S):Earache Records

“Sure, it isn’t a fun as the first album. I’d say they matured a little too fast, even. But this is nonetheless one of the best things released this year. It’s kinda like if Hellwitch, Absu, Obliveon and Voivod got in a car wreck and decided to form a band from the members who didn’t die.”

LABEL(S):Candlelight Records

Absu have refined their process and captured all of the best intensity and furor of previous albums. Though it doesn’t entirely compete with Tara it does come extremely close. For all of the black/thrash bands that are out there these days, none are nearly as unique and professional as Absu… and few are so ostentatiously presented. The depth of magick and occult musings found in the booklet and lyrics is incredible and the lore Proscriptor has running in his head is actually arranged with mystifying sense. When I purchased this CD I got the t-shirt with it in a package deal, the t-shirt never came and Candlelight never responded to my complaint. I won’t be purchasing the follow up album because of this as a result, but I will without a doubt listen and enjoy the hell out of it if it is anything like this album.”

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