My Favorite Albums of 2011


20 Dic 2011, 3:05

So here near the end of 2011, I want to take a moment to go over what my favorite albums of the year were. I've listed my top ten and a few honorable mentions. I've put down a brief description of each album. I also made a note that you should check out a certain release if you like a particular band(s). It's not an exact sound-alike list but contains bands that I feel capture the same type of energy in their music. Since people like orderly lists, I've tried to put them in order. But really, if it's on this list it's one of my favorites, and I could care less which number it is. I hope you enjoy it! Let me know what you think or refer me to your own lists so I can check out some new albums!

Want to think what I thought about 2010? Click here to read about my favorite albums from 2010!

1. Theocracy - As The World Bleeds

Genre: Power metal
Recommended if you like: Narnia, Harmony, Rob Rock

Theocracy's debut album Mirror of Souls was outstanding, and As the World Bleeds picks right up where it left off. Talk about epic music! Enjoyable riffs pile up on each other while soaring, catchy vocals captivate the senses. The band is all of the following adjectives and more: memorable, technical, and inspiring. The production is top notch and the lyrics are faith-based and aim at more than simply bash 'em over the head conversion. Plus, I think that the song I AM is one of the best power metal songs that has come out in a long time. Give them a listen! You won't be disappointed. If you want to read more about the album, you can check out the review that I wrote for it.

2. Hope For The Dying - Dissimulation

Genre: Metalcore
Recommended if you like: War Of Ages, Haste the Day, Oh, Sleeper

This may become my favorite metalcore album of all time. It's that good. I was impressed with their EP, but I wasn't prepared for this jaw dropper. Hope For the Dying has returned to the pioneering roots of metalcore and delivered an album that is equally technical, memorable, and melodic. While hundreds of bands are churning out the same old "I have breakdowns in my song so it must be good" format, this band simply laughs at that, settles down, and makes music. Symphonic arrangements mix with virtuoso guitar shredding, catchy (but not overdone) choruses, and extreme metal done right. The production if flawless and each song flows without break into the next. Even if you don't usually listen to metalcore, you should still give these guys a chance.

3. Becoming the Archetype - Celestial Completion

Genre: Progressive death metal
Recommended if you like: Extol, Living Sacrifice, Opeth

This is Becoming the Archetype's strangest album. They pepper their unique brand of death metal with everything from a sitar, a ska section, and even operatic vocals. Nevertheless they are still BTA at heart and deliver a whopper with Celestial Completion. The Requiem Aeternam series of songs are phenomenal and are some of the best material on the album. Fans of songs like Elegy, The Balance of Eternity, and End of the Age will love them. The band once again added clean vocals back to the mix, and even did some shrieks. There are some "core" influences on a few songs in the album, but for the most part they fit well and aren't overdone. As always, the musicianship on the album is excellent and they prove that they can compete with the best in the metal industry.

4. As Hell Retreats - Volition

Genre: Deathcore
Recommended if you like: Second Thief, In The Midst Of Lions, Trenches

Deathcore bordering on pure insanity. It's fast, heavy, and technical. And yet they don't hesitate to hold back for a moment and harbor a melodic edge that breathes life into their music. They even brought in a guest vocalist to help them in this endeavor. Their first album was solid, but Volition pleasantly surprised me. They craft their songs intelligently and it sets the band apart within their genre. There are also some djent influences, which were a nice touch. As a concept album the lyrics follow a man throughout the course of his life, and the spiritual implications of his actions. The words are poignant and even moving at times. If you like your music heavy, but are looking for something a bit outside of the mold, As Hell Retreats is for you.

5. Red - Until We Have Faces

Genre: Rock
Recommended if you like: Pillar, Skillet, Three Days Grace

Red knows how to rock. Until We Have Faces has a bit more of a mainstream sound that their past albums, but it also comes with better production overall. The catchy anthems, symphonic undertones, and underrated song writing ability of the band are all still evident in their music. The album is an emotional ride, to say the least, and will be sure to please fans of alternative to the heaviest style of metal. Many might accuse the band of treading middle ground, but their lyrics appeal to both Christians and non-Christians alike. Really, there isn't a thing not to like about this album. Except the cover art. Sorry, but it might make a list for The Worst Cover Art of 2011.

6. Sleeping Giant - Kingdom Days In An Evil Age

Genre: Hardcore
Recommended if you like: Few Left Standing, Life In Your Way, I Am Alpha and Omega

Passion. It's the only word for this band. They breathe life into every syllable that they utter, and are almost ruthless in their love for Jesus. So, steer away if you don't like that. For me, it's a wonderful breath of fresh air every time that I listen to them. I can almost hear them strengthening my faith. Kingdom Days in an Evil Age picks up where Sons of Thunder left off, with more energetic hardcore. The music recipe that they follow is fairly simple, but they manage to pull it off every time. There are even more memorable choruses on this album, and the production is better overall. Take a listen today!

7. Immortal Souls - IV: Requiem For The Art Of Death

Genre: Melodic death metal
Recommended if you like: Hilastherion, Dagon, In Grief

Fast and furious, with a hint of frostiness. Hailing from the cold north realms, Immortal Souls has been a long time at crafting enjoyable, heavy 'n' fast tunes. I feel like the band took a lot of time writing and figuring out song structures for this album, and it shows. Riffs fit concisely with and against each other, as the occasion calls for, and the death growls are top notch. From the distant tolling of church bells to the dark chorus of One Last Withering Rose, Immortal Souls delivers. The lyrics are introspective, often dealing with the nature of death, and intriguing. You owe it to yourself - put your headphones on and get a sonic blast of awesomeness!

8. Second Thief - Floodgates

Genre: Deathcore
Recommended if you like: See The Light, In The Midst Of Lions, Blood of the Martyrs

Okay, I broke a rule. Floodgates isn't a full-length, it's just an EP. But if I follow that rule, then Second Thief will never make my list (they have released 3 EPs in a row). This EP is good. I haven't had a chance to listen to it as much as I would have liked, but I think it may be my favorite deathcore release of the year. And they accomplish that with only 3 songs! The album is heavy (of course) but it's the other things that Second Thief do that makes them great. Keyboards hammering away with blast beats!?! Yes!!! Seemingly random, beautiful choruses on top of layers of belligerent growling that deliver chills down the spine!?! Awesome!!! What really saddens me is that almost no one has heard of this band. Want to read more? You can check out the review that I wrote for the album.

9. Hands - Give Me Rest

Genre: Melodic hardcore
Recommended if you like: Trenches, Sleeping Giant, Few Left Standing

This release stunned me. I wasn't terribly impressed with their last album, but this one is leaps ahead of anything that they have done so far (in my opinion). Atmospheric ambiance meshes with calculated heaviness to deliver a truly unique listening experience. The lyrics are great, too. They deal with life's weary struggles and in the end promise sanctuary. The musicianship on this album is superb. Really, I haven't ever heard anything exactly like this. So if you can't see them in the recommended artists, well, that's because I was a bit unsure of who to put. But you should go and check them out right now.

10. Oh, Sleeper - Children Of Fire

Genre: Metalcore
Recommended if you like: Hope For The Dying, August Burns Red, War Of Ages

Hush Yael is one of the best metalcore songs that I have heard in a long time. I was doubtful that the band could improve on Son of the Morning, but they certainly proved me wrong. A blistering onslaught of metal is combined with uplifting choruses to give the listener a wonderful experience. Oh, Sleeper still isn't afraid of doing strange concept albums, but so far they have made it work. They prove that metalcore isn't dead, and that new, invigorating material is only a moment of brilliance away. I haven't listened to this one as much as I would have liked, but it's still amazing.

Honorable Mentions

Onward To Olympas - The War Within Us
In The Midst Of Lions - Shadows
Blood of the Martyrs - Once More, With Feeling
Life In Your Way - Kingdom EPs

Albums I am still waiting for that were supposed to come out this year:

Ecthirion - Through My Eyes
Soul Embraced - Mythos


  • livingsacrifice

    Great list and I agree with all of them, especially the top 2. Soul Embraced isn't coming out this year, they actually started up a Kickstarter trying to gain funds to even make the album.

    21 Dic 2011, 3:08
  • PSUedonym

    I'm surprised "Until We Have Faces" is on this list. It's my least favorite of the three albums I own, but I don't disagree with your assessment. I guess it's time for me to step up and start buying more music...

    21 Dic 2011, 15:46
  • spikemobile

    Hands's give me rest is superb, and i wouldn't be in any way surprised if it ends up at the top list of my favorite records of the year. Sleeping Giant i'm sure is going to be on my list, too. and as far as the other goes, i'm not so sure. although i did like them, but i guess it's a different phase for me now. of oh, slepper is definitely also considered for the list. As Hell Retreats and In The Midst Of Lions are not quite my cup of tea. i tried to like , but it's not the same. and as for Immortal Souls and Hope For The Dying both recorded good albums, that's for sure. i'll be coming out with my favorite records of the year early next year, as i still have some listening to do. and i can't seem to find Second Thief ep, but i'll keep looking, though. i really enjoyed their full length, and i don't think any of the ep's measure up to the full length's greatness, imo.

    22 Dic 2011, 5:38
  • mrmichel0927

    @livingsacrifice Yes I know, this is the first time that Soul Embraced has actually posted a release date. I should have entitled that section "Albums that I am still waiting for..." @PSUedonym I'm not sure if it's my least favorite, but it's not my favorite either. At first I wasn't sure about [i]Until We Have Faces[/i], but now that I have listened more I really enjoy the album. Just try not to compare it to their other material (because it is definitely different) and hopefully you might enjoy it more. @spikemobile So you like Second Thief but not ITMOL or AHL? All three are deathcore! =D But yeah, Second Thief is a different band. I bought the EP from a website that they directed me to from their Facebook. But here is a link to one of the songs on YouTube: I'll try to upload the other two to my channel sometime in the future. And this EP is their best imo.

    27 Dic 2011, 14:05
  • Mars312

    Correction, Mirror of Souls was not Theocracy's debut album.

    6 Ene 2012, 7:38
  • mrmichel0927

    Whoops. You're right, a mistake on my part. They released their self-titled first. Well, I get it right in the actual review, please forgive me! =D

    6 Ene 2012, 14:41
  • lilfrier

    Personally, I see the RIYL bands for Hope for the Dying a little strange. I said on the CHB forums that I don't have an artist in my library similar, though, so I'm guessing you maybe found it a little tough to get a great comparison band as well. That said, the three you chose are a bit of a weird fit together as well, haha. Oh, Sleeper is more punishing than the others, IMO. War of Ages fits more in the Demon Hunter mold for me. Haste the Day, they're just a fantastic band. I'd probably liken them something between Underoath and Oh, Sleeper. Regardless, I was surprised at how much I liked "Vacillation." That guitar never gets old. I'm putting that record on now, and starting with that song.

    18 Ene 2012, 5:12
  • mrmichel0927

    Yes, I probably should have put an asterisk there or something. There isn't really a band that sounds exactly like Hope For the Dying that I've run across (which is a good thing). I was trying to pull a similar aspect from each of the bands. To me, the singers from HFTD and WOA have a similar style and range. HFTD does occasionally have those sing-along choruses that HTD uses. And HFTD has a keen song-writing ability (structure) akin to OS, who also knows how to construct an album that flows smoothly and brilliantly. I do think about which bands to put there, and I do think that fans of those bands will enjoy HFTD. But what is unarguable is that HFTD is one of the best up and coming bands out there =D I would also argue that the guitar playing on Dissimulation is perhaps the best in all current metalcore, period.

    18 Ene 2012, 16:02
  • lilfrier

    After listening to the album (Hope for the Dying's) on the way home from class today, I'll amend my statements a little. I can hear the War of Ages in the screams on the album. That's probably the closest comparison for their screams, so I get that. I KINd of get the Oh, Sleeper now...just a little. On "The Awakening: Dissimulation," there was some guitar work that made me think of Oh, Sleeper. As a whole, not so much with the album, but that song carried that similarity. Maybe there's more on the album like it I missed, I'm not sure. I'm still missing the Haste the Day comparison, though. Simply having a chorus is something of a vague comparison, though the more I think of it, most songs in the genre don't really have a chorus that stands out. I think there are definitely artists who use it in SOME songs, but Haste the Day might use it the most. It's a passing thought I can't say I have evidence to absolutely back up, though. Long story short, I get the Oh, Sleeper and War of Ages comparisons. I dont' REALLY get the Haste the Day one, but there is a little bit of similar song structure when you talk about implementing a chorus.

    19 Ene 2012, 1:33
  • mrmichel0927

    A slight amendment to my list - I would definitely add A Hill to Die Upon - Omens, it's a phenomenal album.

    16 Feb 2012, 19:07
Ver todos (10)
Dejar un comentario. Entra en o regístrate (es gratis).