MetalMattLongo's BEST OF 2011 …With Categories, Bitches!

I’ve seen year-end Metal lists prefaced by people claiming that it will “probably piss you off” or some such shit …and this is one of those lists. Whew, good to get that out of the way! I have a good reason to guess this, dudes—categories. So that means quibbling and eyebrow-raising and harrumphing, yesyesyes, but it’s also a hint toward a new site feature for Mind over Metal in 2012. Something awesome surfaced last year, involved and affected many of us scribes, then disappeared. We can rebuild it. We have the technology. We can make it better than it was. I fucking hope.

We lost some good ones in 2011, including David Gold from Woods of Ypres just a week ago, Cory Smoot/Flattus Maximus (Gwar), Jonas Bergqvist/Nattdal/B (Lifelover), Phil Vane (Extreme Noise Terror), Seth Putnam (Anal Cunt), Jani Lane (Warrant), and Michael ‘Würzel’ Burston (Motörhead). Plus Macho Man, dudes—Randy fucking Savage; I definitely shed the most tears for one of my favorite wrestlers, and watched a lot of old matches. The IC battle with Steamboat at Wrestlemania III is the work of legends.

Mind over Metal continues to grow, and for that I am grateful. Muchas gracias to all the bands we cover and the peeps that pimp them to us, especially Liz & Dave/Earsplit Compound, Scott & Ryan/Clawhammer PR, Grim Kim/Catharsis PR, Nathan T. Birk, Munsey & Ralph/Skateboard Marketing, and Bram at The Syndicate. Also gotta shout out to my blogger brethren, so here’s looking at Josh Haun at That’s How Kids Die, Atanamar Sunyata at Mindful of Metal, Angry Metal Guy & Steel Druhm, the Heavy Blog is Heavy dudes, and really anyone spilling digital ink for the good of the Metalverse. And obviously, there are people out there reading this thing—more than ever, recently. (Hell, we had our heaviest traffic just yesterday!) Thank you for your continued infernal patronage, from the bottom of my bloody heart. There will be lots of changes and additions to the site throughout 2012, and all signs point to kickass.

The first band in each list are my main picks. I’m not numbering, because the rest vary from descending favorites to second-place ties. But if you must, I guess just count the first ones in each category, and this becomes a Top 12 (or 11 if you exclude “Biggest Let-Down”). I’m not gonna wax nostalgic too much over these; a complete sentence at most to recap. Because how many of the damned things do we read each year?


BLACK METAL
Cormorant – Dwellings (Album of the Year)
Never has a band branched so bravely from blackened roots, AND the cover art replaced Baroness‘s Blue Album on my desktop.

Wolves in the Throne Room – Celestial Lineage
Probably the most consistently-loved band on this site in 2011.

Inquisition – Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm
More outer space black metal, thank you.

Anaal Nathrakh – Passion
A devastating din from the dynamic duo; glad I got to ask questions.


CLASSIC/TRADITIONAL METAL
Hammers of Misfortune – 17th Street
SOUND-OFF: Lizzy! Tull! Floyd! Mac! Sabbath! All present and accounted for!

Ghost – Opus Eponymous
Satanism never sounded so sweet.

Satan’s Host – By the Hands of the Devil
Welcome back, Conklin.

Benedictum – Dominion
Love the ladies who bring the darkness—we need more like Veronica Freeman.


DEATH METAL
Bones – Bones
A twisted torsion made more infectious by pervasive grime.

Amon Amarth – Surtur Rising
Yup, I never get sick of this band, either; Willow even wrote them our first “thank you” letter.

Decapitated – Carnival is Forever 
Your adversity is shit compared to this band.

Cannabis Corpse – Beneath Grow Lights Thou Shalt Rise
The best-running one-joke premise I’ve ever heard.


PROGRESSIVE METAL
TesseracT – One 
Not sure how the new vocalist will work out, but my first 5/5 of 2011 still holds up.

uneXpect – Fables of the Sleepless Empire
Still in awe of a quirky avant-garde metal septet that’s this much fun.

Gigan – Quasi-Hallucinogenic Sonic Landscapes 
Good thing Eric Hersemann gave us a track-by-track breakdown—it’s quite complicated!

Obscura – Omnivium 
Reaching past extremes to achieve the impossible.


SLUDGE/DOOM
YOB – Atma 
Holy hell, so Mike Scheidt can really keep getting heavier; watch out, Tool fans!

Tombs – Path of Totality 
Genres? Where we’re going, we don’t need genres.

Crowbar – Sever the Wicked Hand 
I had a joke about The Evil Dead, but it’s gone—sorry, do you need a reason to listen to Crowbar?

Black Cobra – Invernal 
Antarctica: it’s not just for Gwar anymore.


THRASH
Skeletonwitch – Forever Abomination
The Ohio troupe has always been about more than just thrash; this proves it.

Machine Head – Unto the Locust
Honestly? Can I say it? It’s their best album, barring (and maybe even including) Burn My Eyes.

Havok – Time is Up 
Beyond re-thrash; the best of its breed. Hear what David Sanchez himself thinks of all this.

Untimely Demise – City of Steel 
This kept me sated until Skeletonwitch dropped—find out why!


EPs
Immolation – Providence 
OH. MY. FUCK. It’s so heavy! And you just wanna keep playing it! Aaaaaahhh!

Cynic – Carbon-Based Anatomy 
Soooooo, Re-Traced never happened, right?

Mithras – Time Never Lasts
Excellent stopgap; the new full-length can’t come fast enough. That’s what she said?

USX – The Valley Path
Did as they please, not a fuck was given, one amazing track resulted. We yakked at length about it here.


BIGGEST LET-DOWNS
Morbid Angel – Illud Divinum Insanus
What more can you say that hasn’t been beaten to death again and again?

Killing Joke – Live at Hammersmith Apollo 16.10.2010
My favorite album of last year fell victim to a terrible live recording session.

Opeth – Heritage
Maybe you’re into it. I approached with open ears and mind, but Heritage just doesn’t resonate with me.


SWEETEST SURPRISES
Anthrax – Worship Music
I was pretty much prepared to hate this, denied the hype, and then ate a bunch of crow.

HeadCat – Walk the Walk…Talk the Talk
Anything that involves Lemmy these days turns to gold.

Motörhead – The Wörld is Yours
Like I said.

Morkobot – Morbo 
Nothing bad from the Supernatural Cat folks thus far!


NON-METAL LOVES
Tom Waits – Bad as Me
My favorite since Alice. I probably played the preview stream at least twenty times.

Earth – Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1
Willie did a great review and spoke with Dylan, but only my interview is on the site (for now).

Fair to Midland – Arrows & Anchors 
By far the most poppy music I enjoyed in 2011, it also helped keep me alive once.

Junius – Reports from the Threshold of Death 
While heavily played since release, it’s still not reviewed, which brings us to our next category.


BEST STUFF WE NEVER REVIEWED
The Living Fields – Running Out of Daylight
Revocation – Chaos of Forms
Absu – Abzu
Glorior Belli – The Great Southern Darkness
Exhumed – All Guts, No Glory
ChrystPhantasmaChronica


FAVORITE REISSUES
Death Human and The Sound of Perseverence
Discharge Desensitise/War Is Hell
Coalesce Give Them Rope
sunn 0))) øø Void
Neurosis  Souls at Zero and Sovereign EP
Winter Into Darkness
Augury – Concealed


Because compiling these lists feels like beating Contra w/o the Konami Code. See ya in 2012, fuckers!

~MetalMattLongo

2 thoughts on “MetalMattLongo's BEST OF 2011 …With Categories, Bitches!

    • Thanks back, Josh! Hey, I never commented on YOUR awesome list. Umm… I totally meant to, so does this kinda count? Man, I can feel your seething resentment already ;)

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