In the weeks leading up to the end of 2012and our top 10 list of the year, we’re giving credit to the past couple years as well. 2011 was a landmark year for music, making this list the hardest to construct so far. Without further adieu, here are the top ten albums of 2011, no shits given about whiny elitist opinions. Also check out our top 10 of 2009 and 2010.
UNEVEN STRUCTURE – FEBRUUS
TESSERACT – ONE
Tesseract’s debut full-length “One” is easily one of the best records to drop in 2011. Actually almost the best. With genius level songwriting and the magical vocal work of Daniel Tompkins (now ex-Tesseract), this record excelled in every way. From the huge amounts of deep groove to the fascinating use of atmosphere within the music. All the tracks coalesce into a haunting, modern masterpiece. Ones such as “Lament”, “Nascent”, “April”, “Eden”, and the six phenomenal parts of “Concealing Fate” stand out especially. After giving this album a good listen it’s hard to resist the urge to listen again… and again.
TEXTURES – DUALISM
EVER FORTHRIGHT – SELF TITLED
Yet another modern masterpiece comes from New York City’s Ever Forthright. Their self-titled debut feels far ahead of it’s time. It is a technical mind fuck with serious musicality to boot. There’s a very unique, ambitious feel to this record with the inclusion of jazzy segments and mind bending, chaotic, shreddy composition. Chris Baretto (ex-Periphery) even whips out the sax at points when he’s not singing / screaming his lungs out. This album has a very addictive quality to it. For example, “All Eyes on Earth”, “The Little Albert Experiment”, and “Screen Scenarios” will have you hooked. Add it all together and BOOM! You have a classic.
THE HUMAN ABSTRACT – DIGITAL VEIL
Neo-classical titans, The Human Abstract, came back stronger than ever with their third studio full-length, “Digital Veil”. One of the biggest game changers with this record was the return of the classically trained, genius guitar virtuoso A.J. Minette. With his influence, this record took that classical influence and blended it with a very modern, technical sound, making for some insanely good music. “Digital Veil” is filled with aural pleasures and mind bending composition. “Complex Terms”, “Digital Veil”, “Horizon To Zenith”, “Faust”, and “Holographic Sight” are some great examples. All in all, “Digital Veil” is a must listen.
VILDHJARTA – Måsstaden
To start with… THALL. Needed to get that out of my system. Hailing from Sweden, Vildhjarta’s full-length debut “Måsstaden” was one of the most evil, heaviest, strangest metal records ever conceived \m/ It is one helluva experience to say the least. Packing in coldly calculated musical segments with a deadly edge, the sensation of just being surrounded by this unnaturally heavy music is an experience within itself. Some highly recommended tracks include the lethal “Dagger”, updated “Traces”, heavy edged “All These Feelings”, and eeevil “Benblåst”. If you managed to miss out on “Måsstaden”, you need to get some thall in your life… now.
FALLUJAH – THE HARVEST WOMBS
Californian Death Metal innovators Fallujah were a must for this list with their legendary record, “The Harvest Wombs”. This extreme metal experience is easily one of the best to come out in 2011 with it’s face smashing edge and impressive display of musical command. Fallujah has the ability to seamlessly transition from heavy as hell Death Metal segments into an explosion of utterly beautiful, inspiring music. There are several “holy shit!” moments on this one. A couple examples can be found in the tracks “Alpha Incipient”, “Cerebral Hybridization”, “The Flame Surreal”, and “Assemblage of Wolves”. Highly recommended \m/
ANIMALS AS LEADERS – WEIGHTLESS
After the godly Animals As Leaders debut, the band took a side step that almost no one expected in “Weightless”. This album is an experimental tour de force which moved away from their original “djent” influence and brought out amazing results. It’s hard to imagine this music was actually written by human beings as it offers a virtuosic detour into previously unexplored grounds of extreme technicality, fusion, and out of the box songwriting. “An Infinite Regression”, “Odessa”, “Do Not Go Gently”, “Isolated Incidents”, “Cylindrical Sea”, and “Weightless” are just a few of the incredible experiences on this album.
PROTEST THE HERO – SCURRILOUS
Protest The Hero is a god damn insane band. The high level of talent here is hard to believe. And just like the massive “Fortress”, “Scurrilous” delivers on so many fronts. From the seemingly constant shredding and next level musical command from the instrumental corps to the Dio-esque vocals and damn near limitless range of Rody Walker, this record is a mind shattering experience. Among many greats, some favorites include the shreddy “C’est La Vie”, “Hair-Trigger”, “Sex Tapes”, and “Tongue Slipper” with it’s hilarious outro (Speak! Ohhh yeeaaah). If you’re jonesing for some shred heavy goods, Protest The Hero is sure to satisfy.
BORN OF OSIRIS – THE DISCOVERY
The third and longest full-length album from Born of Osiris may also be their best to date. “The Discovery” is a heavy, punishing listening experience filled with shreddy goods and acute technical flair. Not to mention it also has some awesome album artwork! The collision of minds between Lee McKinney, Cameron Losch, and Jason Richardson (ex-Born of Osiris) was a HUGE one. They displayed much growth in their songwriting and execution, cranking out greats such as the visualized perfection of “Recreate”, hard hitting “Two Worlds of Design”, directional “Follow The Signs”, and massive closer “Behold”. Follow the signs to The Discovery.