Saturday, December 31, 2011

BBF's Top 10 Albums of 2011

I wanted to get something up before we roll the calendar over to 2012.  Everybody seems to like putting up their picks for albums of the year, so I thought I'd jump on that bandwagon.  I decided to limit it to albums I actually bought, which will keep the list nice and tight.  I don't consume gigs of new music every year.  I tend to pick a few and really wear them out.  So here we go:

There is no 10th album.

I didn't buy ten albums this year, which I can hardly believe.  So I guess that means no one gets the bottom spot.  Instead I'll use it to give Sylosis an honorable mention.  I didn't get one of their albums, but I did buy a t-shirt at the show.  I'll pick up an album this year guys, I promise.


Machine Head - Unto the Locust

Putting Machine Head at #9 will probably earn me some contemptuous ridicule from my friends, but somebody has to go here.  I like it well enough, but I don't have a lot of history with Machine Head. I did see them at Mayhem this summer, and they put on a good live show.  I have tickets to see them early in 2012, so who knows. Maybe they'll creep up on the list next time around.  The album itself is solid, and has some old school metal covers if you're in to that kind of thing.


In Flames - Sounds of a Playground Fading

I was really looking forward to seeing In Flames at Mayhem Festival this summer, but they ended up canceling their tour because of a family emergency.  Like Machine Head, I have tickets to see In Flames in early 2012.  I usually prep for a show by putting new albums on my iPod short list, so I'll be giving this album a second chance real soon.  My initial impression was that it was a good album, but there was nothing riveting about it after just a listen or two.


Arch Enemy - Chaos Legions

I thought this album wasn't great the first time I went through it, but it turned out to be a really rockin' collection of tunes.  I like concept albums, and while it might be a stretch to call Khaos Legions a concept album, it definitely has a coherent theme.  I like Arch Enemy's brand of metal and vocal stylings as well, so it's winner.  Not the big winner, but a winner nonetheless.


Iwrestledabearonce - Ruining It For Everyone

IWABO.  I love 'em.  Can't really explain it.  This latest album sounds more polished, but no less like iwrestledabearonce, which is quite an accomplishment.  I can see whatever I like about them being produced away if they aren't vigilant about maintaining what makes them interesting.  Got to see them live this year.  Krysta was apparently sick as a dog and still managed to scream her lungs out.


Red Fang - Murder the Mountains

Red Fang was my new band discovery for the year.  I have really started to appreciate that sometimes less can be more.  They have a kind of back-looking sound but a modern metal sensibility to them. A meat and potatoes drum kit coupled with sludgy riffage makes for some really great tunes.  I saw them twice last year, and they are great live.  On top of all that, their videos are genius.  Check them out.


Beastie Boys - Hot Sauce Committee Part Two

Old school and contemporary at the same time.  I don't know how they do it.  I listened to this dozens of times when it first came out and it got better every time.  It was also great going back in to their catalog and reminiscing.  Because of this album, I now have every Beastie Boys album back on my iPod.


Primus - Green Naugahyde

Like the Beastie Boys, Primus returned with an album last year after a very long hiatus.  Every time I got a new Primus album in the past, my initial impression was "I don't think I like this as much as their last album."  Then I go back and listen to it a few more times and wonder what the heck I was thinking.  It is great front to back.  I don't think it dethroned Sailing the Seas of Cheese as my favorite Primus album, but it is probably right up there with Pork Soda and Frizzle Fry.  Got to see them live, and they never disappoint.  In reality, this album should probably share the #2 slot with Amon, but that's cheating.


Amon Amarth - Surtur Rising

Amon Amarth.  Every album they put out is excellent.  There isn't a song you can point at on any album that you can't like.  Surtur Rising continues that tradition of excellence.  Excellence borne on the backs of viking longships, no doubt sailing somewhere to kill people with battle axes and spears, recount tales of valor worthy of an eternity in Valhalla and other feats of Nordic mythology and/or ass-kickery.  I saw them once last year, and I wish I had gone and seen them again.  How long can they keep creating this awesome music?  I hope for a long time.  


Mastodon - The Hunter

After gushing about Amon, I still have to give the top slot to The Hunter, which surprises even me.  I really liked Leviathan, and because of that album I followed Mastodon for the past however many years its been.  I would say they've been firmly in my top ten bands during that time.  But The Hunter is just amazing.  Saw Mastodon in concert this past year, and they are a solid live show. When I get a new album, I usually listen to it once or twice and then get back to shuffling everything up on my iPod.  I keep coming back to The Hunter as an album over and over.  And over.  Perhaps they have figured out how to mix crack in with mp3s.  Maybe if The Hunter had come out in March, and Surtur Rising was the more recent album, Surtur Rising would have the top spot.  Hard to say.

At any rate, that is a capsule review of my musical consumption for 2011.  It was a good year.