This is not a "best of" list. I have come to the decision that I cannot have possibly listened to enough to make any sort of definitive list. As it is, I feel my list of reviewed albums for this year is woefully short. No matter how much I do it never seems to be enough. Still, I did get exposed to a lot of fantastic albums from familiar artists and those I have never heard of before. I also cheated a little bit, a couple of my favorites from early in the year are actually 2009 releases, but I don't care. Well, enough of this preamble, let's get down to it, shall we?
The first few are at the top of the pile and then they are in random order.
Twiztid - Heartbroken & Homicidal. There is absolutely no doubt that this is my favorite album of the year. Since I have gotten it I have found it hard to stop listening to. This album is filled with great beats, great rhymes, and a dark, emotional content that really drew me in. I daresay this may be their most personal album yet. There is a lot anger and darkness unloaded over the course of the record's 45-minutes. At the same time there is emotional catharsis achieved by the time "All the Rest" closes everything out. No doubt about this one being in regular rotation for years to come.
Hypno5e - Des Deux L'une Est L'autre. This is dark, heavy, brutal, and very challenging. You have to pay attention if you don't want to be left behind. Hypno5e employ odd time signatures, syncopated riffing, and bipolar mood swings as they combine death metal, electronica, progressive, hardcore and ambient styles into one cohesive unit. I know, it sounds impossible, but give them a listen and be surprised by how well their wide ranging experimentation comes together.
Barren Earth - Curse of the Red River. Wow. Here is an album that makes you sit up and take notice. Barren Earth with their first full length release have crafted an album that stands out from the crowd. The metal album crosses genre lines with ease, never settling down in one, rather it effortlessly transcends them. Curse of the Red River is a progressive epic that draws you in and holds you be the head while it transitions through atmospheric, brutal, melodic passages that massage the ear and punch the gut. If they do nothing else in their career, the Barren Earth collective has made a mark on the music scene that I hope will be remembered for years to come.