I have been compiling this list for what seems like forever… 2009 was the year I re-found my love of music, for the past few years I had all but forgotten what music really meant to me! It is in no small part thanks to my sister that my flame has been rekindled! I was lucky enough to have been bought a ticket to Download 2009 as a gift and from that moment I haven’t looked back…
So, there I am, with a new found enthusiasm for music, in the year that has seen so much amazing new music it is no wonder that it has taken me this long to narrow down the list to a Top 10. In a year that has seen me buy over 50 albums and see almost 100 live bands I have finally arrived on my Top 10 Albums of 2009:
1) Hatebreed – Hatebreed
I love this band, there is no confusion… You get what you get and you fucking like it! East Coast Hardcore at its very, very best! From the very moment “Become the Fuse” starts, through to when “Pollution of the Soul” ends, you are on your feet, high kicking and throwing fists whether you want to or not. Hatebreed have come of age with this record! This is not just a genre defining record but a record that defines a decade…
2) Alice in Chains – Black Gives Way to Blue
Having grown up listening to alternative music in the late 80’s/ early 90’s I couldn’t ignore bands such as Faith No More, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and, of course, Alice in Chains. “Dirt” and “Jar of Flies” were two of the best albums of the 90’s but I never got to see AIC live, due to Layne Staley’s death I never thought I would… until this year that is! “Black Gives Way to Blue” was released and the tour followed. The album is as strong as those before without lessening Staley’s legacy, Willaim DuVall has delivered a freshness, revitalising wave that is so in tune with Jerry Cantrell’s song writing that it almost feels as though Stayley is still with the band…
3) Killswitch Engage – Killswitch Engage
One of the bands that I had listened to years ago that have slapped me in the face this year and woken me up… Their Download performance blew me away as did their show at the O2 Academy, Birmingham later this year. This album is not stop metal, “Starting Over” is a stand-out track as is “The Forgotten” and “Reckoning” but the track of the album is “Take Me Away”, hardcore metal to melodic and back again! That is unless you have the deluxe version of the album and have the live track “Holy Diver”… One of the best metal covers ever…
4) Megadeth – Endgame
Another band from my youth, loved them but lost them… But hearing “Dialectic Chaos” made my groin tense up and start to vibrate… Tell me that’s not the best start to a metal album ever!!! It doesn’t stop their either, “This Day We Fight” and “44 Minutes” are just as ferocious! “1320′” is just insanely Speed Metal it could have been lifted from ‘Peace Sells…’ or ‘Rust in Peace’ . The album then takes a darker turn with “Bodies”, “Endgame” and the monumental “Head Crusher”. Dave Mustaine may have his critics but he sure knows how to write a metal album… If the rumours of the ‘Big Four’ hitting the UK shores are true then get your ass there..
5) Evile – Infected Nations
Pioneers of the UK Thrash revival, “Enter the Grave” was a phenomenal album but “Infected Nations” leaves that in it’s wake… With tracks like “Nosphoros”, “Now Demolition” and the immense title track “Infected Nation” and the Metallicaesque “Plague to End All Plagues” puts Evile right amongst the best current Thrash Metal bands around! Rest in Peace Mike Alexander, a true metalhead whose life was cruelly cut short this year at the tender age of 32!
6) Billy Talent – Billy Talent III
Not everyone’s cup of tea but I love this band! One of the few that I have stuck with over the wilderness years… Seeing them at Download 2009 was a highlight but their show at Rock City, Nottingham with “Cancer Bats” was a stand-out show of the year! Every song on the album gets you moving and singing along with the chorus! “Devil on my Shoulder”, “Saint Veronika”, “Tears into Wine”, “Diamond on a Landmine” and “Definition of Destiny” are stand-out tracks. A band I seriously hope I get to see live again in 2010!
7) Slayer – World Painted Blood
What can you say about Slayer that hasn’t already been said a thousand times… Legends of Thrash, creators of some of the all-time best metal tunes! “World painted Blood” is no different. From the title track “World Painted Blood” through “Unit 731” you get pushed against the wall by the throat, by the time the disturbing “Snuff” grabs you by the balls you realise that Slayer have lost none of their edge and, in fact, by “Americon” and “Playing With Dolls” are more menacing than ever before…
8 ) Sylosis – Conclusion of an Age
Sylosis, part of the British Melodic Death Metal scene. Hailing from Reading, Sylosis have cemented their place in the UK metal scene. “Conclusion of an Age”, their debut full-length release, builds on the previously released “Casting Shadows” and “The Supreme Oppressor” EP’s.
9) Fornost Arnor – Escaping The Abyss
The opening song “I Am Misery” is an onslaught of melodic black metal heavily influenced by the pioneers of the genre, “Opeth”. The album continues in the same vein with “A Trance of Madness” and “If The Trees Could Only Speak…”. The fourth track “Her Face in the Water” is a slower paced, haunting, acoustic track complete with vocal harmonies and soaring lead breaks that gives a modicum of respite from the ferocious opening tracks. “Gravity Defied” returns to the trademark ferocity and the growl of Greg Chivers. “Strength of the Heart” – This track perfectly displays Fornost Arnor’s writing qualities, a melodic progressive sound with the menacing black metal shadow ready to burst in at any moment! “Falling Into the Arms of Sorrow” – A short, sharp burst of melodia that eases you gently into the vicious beginning of “The Tragedy of Delusion”. Another great progressive track ranging from the raucous to the melodic and back again with more vocal harmonies to be found sitting hand in hand with the brutal growls.
10) Alexisonfire – Old Crows/Young Cardinals
Another band that I have listened to for the last few years. Despite what Nickelback have done for music in Canada there are shoots of green coming from the desolation. Billy Talent I have already mentioned but Alexisonfire are another band that have fought the right to be heard and they deliver their message well! The fourth full-length release from the Ontario, Post-Hardcore outfit is full of signature tunes, such as “Old Crows”, “Sons of Privilege”, “Born and Raised”, “Midnight Regulations”, “Accept Crime” and “No Rest”.
There are so many albums that I could have and wanted to include in my Top 10 but couldn’t so here are a few that missed out by the skin o’ my teeth:
DevilDriver – Pray For Villians
Behemoth – Evangelion
Converge – Axe to Fall
Five Finger Death Punch – War Is The Answer
Every Time I Die – New Junk Aesthetic
Mastadon – Crack The Skye
Dirge Within – Force Fed Lies
Malefice – Dawn of Reprisal
Lamb of God – Wrath
Here’s hoping 2010 is as good as 2009!