An now for my other passion - Death Metal! I never mixed the two lists up though. I just find it impossible to compare and contrast my two passions in metal together and come up with one definitive list. It's better this way as both styles get their spot in the limelight. However melodic music will always be my first love.
In reverse order:
50. The Body Beneath - Compelled To Suffer
Newcomer death metallers. Pretty solid and with some technique. Bodes well for a future album of clinical brutality.
49. Aborted - Slaughter and Apparatus
Belgian ex Carcass worshippers now entering new territories. Actually a disappointment but still makes the list because the sound is huge and there are good parts.
48. Corpus Mortale – A New Species of Deviant
Brutal, straight-ahead death metal. Decent and tight riffage throughout with no frills brutality and some catchiness.
47. Cadaveryne - Fathering the Apocalypse
Newcomer debut semi-widdly death metal with some blistering leadwork as I recall. Makes an entry solely for the reason of astounding guitar playing alone. They need to get better at songwriting.
46. Lay Down Rotten - Reconquering the Pit
Midpaced, steamrollering death metal with groove ala Bolt thrower. Actually this is not as good as their previous cd but still good.
45. Obituary - Xecutioner's Return
The music is quite cool and catchy here, but the sound is truly abysmal. Maybe they intended it that way but this would rank in the 20s with a better, cleaner sound as I really enjoy the many simple Obituary standard grooves on offer.
44. Human Rejection - Torture of Decimation
Totally sick and heavy death metal with perverse frog burp vocals. The riffs are mammoth like stompathons. When in the mood for some sick shit then Human Rejection is the soundtrack you need.
43. Dark Tranquillity – Fiction
I thought I better squeeze DT in somewhere. I like the album, its solid DT material, perhaps could have been higher.
42. Ontogeny - Pillars of Perversion
Brutal and semi technical jarring death metal. Not bad stuff at all, needs work but cool.
41. Debauchery - Back in blood
The new Six Feet Under. Rock’n’roll based heavy death with some melody. Catchy simplistic death grooves with a huge warm sound.
40. Disavowed - Stagnated Existence
Brutal US styled death metal but from Holland. For Deeds of Flesh and Suffocation fans. One-dimensional listen but still pretty damn chaotic and cool.
39. Soulbreach - My Dividing Line
Tight and thrashy death metal with a thick sound and coo playing. Enjoyable.
38. Sickening Horror - When landscapes bleed backwards
Interesting if ultimately flawed death metal with actually great basswork being the best thing about it IMO. A bit weird for my taste but still a pretty cool death metal beast with something a little different about it to lift it above the norm.
37. Job for a Cowboy - Genesis
These ex deathcore boys thankfully left that scene more or less and morphed into a straight semi-tech death machine. Tight and groovy with a nice heavy sound too. The next album could be their defining moment, because this one shows their intention to make a name for themselves as a top class brutal death band.
36. Human Bloodfeast - She Cums Gutted
The type of release that appeals to few, but is actually pretty damn catchy. I love groove and a touch of melody and also a bit of technique. Human Bloodfeast apes Cannibal Corpse and does a good job, so therefore I like it.
35. Immortal Souls - Wintereich
Actually not a great year for melodeath was it? But this one is one of the best in that style. Catchy and thrashy with loads of melody and good death screams. Enjoyable indeed.
34. Illogicist - The Insight Eye
I really liked the last one and this one is a little different. It’s less heavy and more technical and a little harder for me to get into at first. But slowly I managed to make some headway with this release. Decent melodic and technical death, but I guess they still haven’t really managed to make that really killer album that I know they have in them. Maybe next time for these Italians.
33. Darkest Hour - Deliver Us
I think Darkest Hour have made their best album yet. It’s a little bit more melodeath than core now which is a good thing for me obviously. The songs are strong and the playing and melodies are memorable.
32. Violence Unleashed - Spawned to Kill
It’s all about the groove with these guys. They are totally unknown but they have that groove thang nailed. Their death metal is nothing out of the ordinary music wise, but they have the required level of quality to get this old bastard moving his head!
31. Kalisia - Cybion I and II
Sci-fi melodic deathfest with some moody and epic soundscapes made into two long songs. Epic, bizarre and fairly unique.
30. Demiurg - Breath of the demiurg
Dan Swano produced and contributed to this old school deathgroove project. Heavy sound and cool tunes with groovalicious riffing. Enjoyable for the old school early 90s Swedish death fan.
29. Psyopus - Our Puzzling Encounters Considered
Some of the most incredible OTT technical guitarjams ever on this disk. Unfortunately some of the most atrocious screaming vocals ever too! Still, if I look past the vocals, the musicianship is just astounding and is perhaps some of the craziest shit ever recorded by any tech metal band ever.
28. Sphere - Damned Souls Ritual
Totally unknown band to me before I heard this album. These Polish warriors are from the Decapitated school of death metal. Good sound and groove, catchy songs make for an enjoyable thrashy death metal animal.
27. Dimension Zero - He Who Shall Not Bleed
A surprising entry. Never got into their very heavy thrashy death before but this album blew me away the first time. Blazing rifferama with fierce drumming. Very thrashy and with a venomous bite to it too. Top class thrashy death.
26. Impaled - The Last Gasp
Simplistic Carcass worshipers. They are more much lo-fi though and not pristine or slick, but man do they have some catchy tunes. They know how to write a death metal ditty that gets under your skin with simplistic catchy riffs that you can bob along to.
25. Insision – Ikon
These guys were also-rans to me before but their new album is high precision level brutal death with a clinical cold approach. Very tight and fast with a lethal sense of destruction in the riffage, bulldozing all in their path. Solid!
24. Paths of Possession - The End of the Hour
I expected this to be pretty crappy but Corpsegrinder’s second album is really damn good. It’s a million miles better than the mediocre debut. It’s much more melodic and less brutal than his day job in CC. The riffs are pretty cool and Corpsegrinder himself does a great job on the vox.
23. Defloration - The Bone Collection
Corpse worshippers return with another really solid offering. Their last one made my list too and the new one once again makes a highish entry. These guys are really solid pros at this death metal game. Good stuff!
22. Fleshcrawl - Structures of Death
One of the best, if not the best old school death band going. They have the sound of the Sunlight studios down pat and they know how to make catchy melodic riffage. Hearing that guitar buzz is like travelling back in time. Not as good as their previous album but you can rely on these Germans to always deliver something groovy, headbangable after a few beers!
21. Nightrage - A New Disease is Born
A vast improvement for them IMO. Melodic, thrashy death at the top end of the spectrum with some clean vocals too. Great sound and cool tunes.
20. Dead Syndicate - The Carrion Creed
Brutal and sick underground death metal stompathon with heavy sound. Lots of fabulous lurching grooves ala Morbid Angel and some awesome guitar riffs to enjoy. Solid underground death metal brutality.
19. Soulless - Forever Defiant
Less Death-infused than before but some awesome angry melodic riffage with no little technique. Enjoyable and catchy. Nice sound too.
18. Mors Principium Est - Liberation = Termination
Similar to Nightrage in many ways, but a touch better for me. Melodic, catchy and thrashy with slick sound. Perhaps maybe not even as good as their previous effort but a real solid offering.
17. The Ordher – Weaponize
Uniqueleader band so you know what you’re getting. One-dimensional hate machine with frenzied double kick attack and tight riffs galore. For a debut the band shows a lot of potential and can make a name for themselves in the brutal death metal field.
16. Kronos - The Hellenic Terror
French semi-technical brutal death metallers are true pros at this game. Death metal mastery with slick sound and instrumental skills unbound.
15. Nox – Ixaxaar
Surprise high entry from underground Dutch Morbid Angel worshippers. Especially MA on the fast songs cause these boys are absolutely amazingly quick. They play so fast they have that backwards sounding feel to the riffage. Blazing death metal and really quite catchy in amongst all that speed.
14. Severe Torture - Sworn Vengeance
The best Cannibal Corpse copy band probably. Really solid and enjoyable effort but perhaps a little less catchy than I was expecting, but the quality is so high that it still makes a pretty high entry in the top 50.
13. De Liriums Order – Diagnosis
Tight and brutal death metal with a cold clinical sound ala early Decapitated. Catchy and professional.
12. Sotajumala – Teloitus
Finnish death metal mastery. They used to be a bit thrashier and now they just play tight and heavy death metal influenced by Morbid Angel, Decapitated and Cannibal Corpse. At the top of their game.
11. Dying Fetus - War of attrition
A massive surprise! I never expected the DF disk to kick so hard as this. There are some great riffs to be enjoyed too. Dying Fetus are an underestimated band IMO. This is easily their best album IMO.
10. Element - Aeons past
Brutal and tight death metal with some technical aspects. The riffing goes by like a whirlwind of notes and is really damn heavy and cool. There is room for improvement sure but for a debut, they definitely did their homework and delivered an album that cannot be taken lightly in death metal circles.
09. Sadist – St
Easily the best Sadist album. Melodic and technical with an ethnic flavour at times. Influences from Atheist and Death are of course prevalent and that's a good thing. The playing level is super high and shows that the band was right in making a comeback disk.
08. Aeon - Rise to Dominate
Some of the catchiest vocal patterns ever in a death metal album. These satanic death metal bruisers always make me laugh. I’m not sure how serious they are, as their lyrics seem to be a little jokey. But joking aside, the music is ferociously slick death metal with superb drumming and tight as hell riffing. Top class death metal mastery and catchy to boot.
07. Beneath The Massacre - Mechanics of Dysfunction
Highly technical death metal with some elements of core such as the odd breakdown riff and the core screams. But all in all, the skill level on display is magnificent and shows that the band has a very high level instrumentally speaking. They can improve sure, but this still kicks a hell of a lot of ass.
06. 8 Foot Sativa - Poison of Ages
Woah.. out of the blue come some of the best thrashy death albums I’ve heard in ages. The riffing is marvellous on this one. Aggressive and catchy as bad rash. Loads of At The Gatesisms everywhere. Raspy and waspish vocals also reminding one of ATG. They never seem to run out of killer riffs either from song to song. A huge production as well, possibly the best band ever out of New Zealand?
05. Neaera – Armamentarium
A massive and marked improvement from a former death core mob. Now they are sounding like the mighty and glorious Amon Amarth! They still have the odd core leaning with a breakdown chug or a rant but all in all they have some mighty heavy and melodic riffing that shakes the foundations. This one surprised and rocked the hell out of me!
04. Mithras - Behind the Shadows Lie Madness
Totally unique and moving death metal by these UK chaps. Their previous showed potential but failed but the new one delivers big time. Spacy, atmospheric, strange, epic, grand, bizarre, sci-fi and colossal are some of the words that spring to mind when trying to describe this. The best thing about it is the amazing leads used. They sound almost ethereal and otherworldly. Like they have been written for another dimension!
03. Deadborn - Stigma Eternal
The band born out of Necrophagist. A polarising album it seems. I am firmly of the belief that the album is just plain awesome. I have listened many times now and there are literally tons of killer riffing to be enjoyed. Played with amazing precision and skill. Maybe not as technical as the amazing Necrophagist but still a really tight offering.
And for the number one spot I cannot separate these two. So tied in first place we have…..
Odious Mortem - Cryptic Implosion and Inveracity - Extermination of Millions.
I listened to both albums again once to compare and contrast and it is hard to separate them. They are both at the very top end of the death metal scale for me. They both contain all the ingredients that makes death metal appealing to me. Perhaps the Odeous Mortem has the slightly better and cleaner sound and the higher level of music skill, however the Inveracity has some amazingly catchy riffage which never fails to ignite furious levels of power and brutality. Both albums show that the members are clinical death metal experts. Both tick all the right boxes for me. However in order to make my man John Frank happy I will shade it for Odeous Mortem! So if you twist my arm I will say they shade it due to the slightly better sound, but I think I have listened to Inveracity much more than Odeous this year overall.
Overall not a massively great year for death metal with even the best being not massively great or anything, but in the end it wasn’t so bad. Death Metal is just a hard-headed son of a bitch that plain refuses to go away!