8. Chimaira - The Infection. This album rises like a zombie, the violence and darkness that came with their rise from the dead has turned them into an angry, vicious monstrosity that is ready to infect anyone in the vicinity with its mix of metalcore, hardcore, death, industrial, groove, and sludge metal. No two albums from this band sound quite the same, each one chronicles growth, change, and maturity in their creation. The album is slower than past releases, but still houses plenty of brutal metal. It shows the next step in their evolution with the instrumental "The Heart of It All" acting as the perfect centerpiece. Turn it up and bang your head!
9. Kylesa - Static Tensions. Fascinating album. This band is rather experimental in their technically proficient, jam-band like metal excursions. In some ways they are reminiscent of Mastodon. Static Tensions is not a passive album. Sure, you can toss it on for interesting background music, but that will only last so long. At some point a riff, a chord progression, a vocal yowl, a drum fill, something will get your attention. At this stage you are trapped. It may take one song, or three, or five, but it's bound to happen. Once hooked you will be on for the ride. It begs for multiple listens as the open compositions and diabolical rhythms toy with your head.
10. La Coka Nostra - A Brand You Can Trust. At the same time this album is like meeting up with old friends and listening to something completely fresh. There is a familiarity there that does not breed contempt, it is built on something that brings nothing but happy thoughts. It is that high school reunion where you meet up with your old buds and see how they have changed and the successes they have had. They are the same people you know but they are different.
La Coka Nostra is something of a House of Pain reunion as it features Everlast and DJ Lethal. The difference is that this House of Pain has gone back to the streets, the beats are rougher, the raps edgier, yet still catchy and easy to get into. I am not the biggest fan or most knowledgeable when it comes to hip hop, but I know what I like, and I really like this.
Other notable albums that are worth taking a peek at:
Hellsongs - Hymns in the Key of 666. This is a fascinating album of metal cover tunes that have been deconstructed and rebuilt in mellow acoustic driven fashion. It is really quite good.