Top 10 of 2011

Below are 10 albums released in the past year that I've listened to far more than any other. There are probably many albums I've missed that you feel might be worthy of the list, however, these are all in my opinion. If there are some you haven't personally listened to, I suggest you do so right away.

1. Öxxö Xööx - Rëvëürt
Though Öxxö Xööx is a rather unpopular band with a genre that is almost unrecognisable, I've found myself playing this album over and over quite recently. I first came across the French trio almost a year ago on ReverbNation and have been anticipating their first release ever since. Their mix of what seems to be doom with plenty of gothic elements has kept me gripped for the past few months since it came out.

2. 40 Watt Sun - The Inside Room
Most of you have probably heard about 40 Watt Sun due to the split of Warning, and while some of you mourn the loss, others will appreciate the progress they've gone through. While the soppy lyrics, droning vocals and bass-fueled riffs remain, it seems to have a lighter note than their usual work. Though you can't find 'The Inside Room' on Astral Collapse, 40 Watt Sun are still one of few UK bands to be proud of, and they'll be one to look out for in the future.

3. Wormrot - Dirge
Wormrot have always been a favourite of most grind fans and they thanked them this year by releasing this excellent album for free. It's their usual unrelenting dose of grind with some nice elements of death thrown in there to finish it off. Even if it is a rather short listen, like many albums in the genre, the small bursts of aggression are exactly what I love about it. If you didn't catch them on their Dirge UK tour, then you probably should have.

4. Peste Noire- L’Ordure A L’etat Pur
Yet another album tremendously difficult to stick a label to, Peste Noire continued to be the band none other can be compared to. L’Ordure A L’etat Pur brings together black metal dubstep beats and yet more machine gun samples. The hilariously anti-French lyrics add more to their unique style and the end result is an album that stands out by far from the rest. Until their next cynically experimental release, I intend to enjoy this for some time.

5. Les Chants De Nihil - Propagande Erogene
The third French band to make the top ten list. Propagande Erogene is a massive improvement upon La Liberte Guidant le Fer, and is an excellent example of how far they've come in just the past three years. With four full lengths and an EP to their name, they've finally hit the spot with the most recent album. The symphonic influences have vastly advanced and we should anticipate more to come in the near future.

6. Silence of the Old Man - Carencia de Ausencia
Certainly one of the lesser heard of bands among the list, Silence of the Old Man has impressed me far more than the other nine bands here. This Chilean post-black metal band is just one man on all instruments, yet he's somehow managed to produce a sound that is not just on par with others in the genre, but far beyond the expected. The entire album brings together elements of many different genres and results in one hell of an EP.

7. Light Bearer - Lapsus
For those of you who've listened to Light Bearer in the past, this entry won't come as a surprise. They've displayed their blend of atmospheric post-rock with doom influences perfectly and it's been an album to listen to many times over since March. The future looks good for Light Bearer, as 2011 has seen Lapsus, their first full length album, and a one-track EP released, much to the fan's excitement.

8. Dornenreich - Flammentriebe
Dornenreich never fails to show great musicianship and this is just another example. The ever present violin is back again, and adds to the high level of class and professionalism the Austrians excel in. They continue to be completely distinct from the many other folk infused peers and have honed their own unique sound for some time now. I've always been a fan of typically classical instruments used in metal, and because of this, among others, Dornenreich has stood out from the crowd.

9. An Autumn For Crippled Children - Everything
While their first full length album introduced us to their own sound, 'Everything' has built upon it. While the introduction somewhat lacks in flavour, and seems too busy for their original atmospheric aura, the rest of the album resonates elegance. An Autumn For Crippled Children have always appealed to people with more of an acquired taste for post-rock influences in depressive black metal, but it's exactly what I'm looking for in music.

. Forteresse - Crépuscule d'Octobre
So maybe I've been favouring the French a little much this year, but you can forgive that Forteresse are another excellent black metal band from Quebec. Crépuscule d'Octobre is another great old school black metal installment by Forteresse keeping to their usual path. While some have claimed that it lacks variation in the riffs, I rather enjoy the guitar work it offers. In my opinion, Forteresse can never make a bad album.

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