Monday, December 26, 2011

TMHTimes Top 50 Albums of 2011: Part 2

I know you couldn't sleep last night because of how excited you were to see part 2. This is probably going to be a rough week for everyone. Finally we can start to move into some of the better records of this awful year in metal we call... 2011.

50) The Bunny The Bear - If You Don't Have Anything Nice To Say (June 28th, 2011 via Victory Records)
49) Suicide Silence - The Black Crown (July 12th, 2011 via Century Media Records)
48) Periphery - Periphery (April 20th, 2011 via Sumerian Records)
47) The Devil Wears Prada - Dead Throne (September 13th, 2011 via Ferret Music)
46) August Burns Red - Leveler (June 21st, 2011 via Solid State Records)
45) Big Business - Quadruple Single (2011 via Gold Metal Records)
44) The Browning - Burn This World (October 4th, 2011 via Earache Records)
43) Tonight Alive - "Little Lion Man" (Single from Pop Goes Punk 4 via Fearless Records)
42) In The Midst Of Lions - Shadows (November 22nd, 2011 via Facedown Records
41) Thomas Giles - Pulse (February 1st, 2011 via Metal Blade Records)

Part 2:
40) Chelsea Grin - My Damnation (July 19th via Artery Records)

Chelsea Grin have never been considered innovators of the genre but the relatively young band has been able to strive as one of the top bands in the deathcore scene. My Damnation is a sophomore release that you would expect from a young band. The are elements of technicality mixed with chugging breakdowns and blast beats riffs. However, the final mix is as tight and heavy as it should be. Vocalist Alex Koehler has one of the widest vocal ranges in the business and he is truly the standout performer on this album (as well as the last). A mature well put together release for a fairly young band. I especially like the guest vocals of Phil Bosman (Whitechapel) on the final track.

39) Lower Than Atlantis - World Record (April 25th, 2011 via Sumerian Records)

Four-piece melodic punk/hardcore band Lower Than Atlantis burst onto the scene this year with their newest release World Record. This record is full of punky riffing and drumming that is remiscent with the metal and hardcore scene but brings that pop punky edge to it. Despite the light hearted tunes and the happy hardcore feel, this record is in its own way heavy because it shows how a pop punk band can use metal elements without adding mindless breakdowns and senseless chugging. The songs sound like catchy summer anthems with a mix of upbeat and some rather sad sounding tunes as well. Perfect for chilling on the dock with some friends and a brew.

38) Gallows - "True Colours" (Single)

Clocking in at a quick 39 seconds, this is one of the angriest tunes I've heard in awhile. While this was released eventually with Gallows 4 song EP later this fall, it was originally put online at the end of the summer when guitarist/vocalist Wade MacNeil joined the group after the demise of his band Alexisonfire in early August. This proved to fans that MacNeil wasn't here to ligthen up Gallows sound but make it 10x heavier. His voice sounds like perfect combination of years of whisky and cigarettes. The guitars are faster and more furious than ever before, employing a darker and heavier sound into Gallows music. It seems like they are also moving away from more "emotional" songs and taking a political stance with their music. Can't wait to hear more from this band in 2012.

37) Betrayal - Abandonment (April 26th, 2011 via Mediaskare Records)

With Abandonment we saw a young band move on from the generic run-of-the-mill metalcore sound and find their own niche within the genre. Betrayal is back and the riffs are fast and heavy enough to snap necks and melt faces. Tony's vocals (19 years old) sound like the guy is pulling all of the energy he can muster out of his gut and expelling it in a ferocious hardcore growl. While this is for the most part as I understand an 'edge' band, the lyrics don't come off as preachy and focus more on living life in a positive way. Tracks like "The Good Die Young" feature tons of group vocals and "bro-singing" which make for great live tunes. Betrayal is continuing to cement themselves a place within the scene as one of youngest and most in your face bands out there.

36) Monsters - Monsters (s/t) (January 11th, 2011 via False Prophet Records)

This record got tons of hate when it came out. First, haters love to hate on the vocalist using "rap" in some parts and two, the record came out on Frankie Palmeri's (Emmure) label. But fuck that, this record is good, really good. Yes, there are elements of rap in some parts of the vocals but that's just a part of this bands sound and makes the record a hell of a lot more interesting. I also particularly like the guitar work on this album. I would say the guitar riffs and drumming on this album are better than average, utilizing some cool and original sounds. Yes, the lyrics are pretty bad in some spots but sometimes you just need some metal and some cheese, and this record is a metal cheese platter!

35) As Blood Runs Black - Instinct (March 15th, 2011 via Mediaskare Records)

It only took them about 5 years, a shit load of members, and tons of drama to release their sophomore release Instinct earlier this year. It was well worth the wait! I doubted for a long time that this album would ever be released. ABRB has two new guitarists, a new vocalist, and their old drummer back, so it's only 2/5 of what Allegiance was. This record is in some ways the same but with more mature song writing and much better vocals. The vocals are more clear and the lyrics are pretty good. While it might not have the same wow factor as their older material, this is in a lot of ways an improvement. It seems like ABRB is finally back on track to make 2012 an epic year for themselves.

34) Wormrot - Dirge (May 3rd, 2011 via Earache Records)

GRIND!!! This record is ridiculous and fun! Containing a whopping 25 songs, it still only clocks in at a mere 18 minutes, but that's a grindcore record for ya. Every time one of these tunes comes on my iTunes, a little shit eating grin comes across my face and I'll never skip the track, hell it's probably only 8 seconds long anyways. I love the musicianship and the raw energy behind the band but after listening to this album for about  half a year I can only pick out about 3 distinct songs... However, this is still a grindcore record and I have to keep reminding myself that. This band has a few music videos to check out. So for this band I'm going to post 2 videos.

33) The Plot In You - First Born (April 19th, 2011 via Rise Records)

"Hello" "I'm pregnant." "RAWRR!!" Lol. If you've heard this record then you know exactly what I'm taking about here. But it's not really a laughing matter I suppose. This is a concept album about a young child who is a victim of abuse. The quality of the lyrics and vocal work on the album helped it become a surprise hit to me this year. Usually I can't stand singing in music like this but the dual singing vocalists come off as authentic and not whiny or over produced. There are some stand out tracks on this album as well some complete filler. The band could work a bit on the flow of the album. "Miscarriage" is from their old EP and is stuck in the middle of the album.. the band also strangely chose it as their only single from their "concept" album.

32) The Human Abstract - Digital Veil (March 8th, 2011 via eOne Music)

Here's an album that I really was expecting to be much higher on my Top 50 list. Released earlier this year, we have a new and reunited version of The Human Abstract. AJ Minnette rejoined the band and they recruited Travis Ritcher from From First to Last to be their new vocalist. The record is extremely technical and well put together. The guitar riffing is innovative and it's by far the best drumming they've ever had on a record. But the record is only a disappointing 8 songs that aren't really that long in length either. They also fired their 3rd guitarist, Canadian Andrew Tapley, and then were dropped from their label due to poor album sales. In the end this record kind of left a bad taste in my mouth.

31) Emmure - Speaker of the Dead (February 15th, 2011 via Victory Records)

There are days when I want to delete my Emmure discography and there are days when I listen to their albums beginning to end. It's safe to say I spun Speaker of the Dead less than any Emmure album before it. Some of the tracks on this album like "Area 64", "Drug Dealer Friend", and "Word of Intulo" are brain-dead chugging disasters that are boring beyond belief. This record also contains some of the better songs  Emmure has put out since what I consider to be their best album, Goodbye to the Gallows (2006). While I can be a hater at times I admit that I find it to be "easy listening" in some weird way and I'm a sucker. I got a good laugh out of the "Children of Cybertron" video too.

Stay tuned for Part 3 tomorrow! I wrote this one after having a few Christmas beers last night. Don't forget to like us on Facebook!

Check out Emmett Morris's top 10 Records of 2011 below.

War Hungry - S/T
Trapped Under Ice - Big Kiss Goodnight
Disengage - Expressions
Foundation - When The Smoke Clears
Harms Way - Isolation
Take Offense - Tables Have Turned
Trash Talk - Awake
Weekend Nachos - Worthless
All Pigs Must Die - God Is War
Mammoth Grinder/Hatred Surge split

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