I have to admit I’m kind of cheating with this one. Retribution was technically released in Europe in December of last year, but it didn’t get its US release until January so that’s enough for me to include it. This is the first album from the band since 2007, and it was a killer return. The band sounds more cohesive than ever before, and their prog-rock roots are beginning to show through more in their writing. In terms of songwriting and production, I think that Nightingale has put out the best album of their career.
Recommended tracks: “On Stolen Wings”
This thing dropped back in July and I still find myself coming back to this album more often than not. Seven albums in and Lamb of God still sounds fresh, and Sturm Und Drang features some of my favorite songs to come from the band. Given all of the struggles that the band went through since their last release, this album feels genuinely inspired. Seeing them on the Summer’s Last Stand Tour definitely didn’t hurt their place on this list.
Recommended track: “Delusion Pandemic” (listen for the monologue & breakdown)
To me, this is the perfect blend of folk, death, and progressive metal. There is something about this record that expands on the sound that Amorphis is known for, with more depth to their compositions, and some of the best production work of their career. After discovering the band following the release of their previous album ‘Circle’ this was my most anticipated album of the year, and I was not disappointed in the least.
Key track: “Dark Path” or “The Four Wise Ones”
As of writing this, only three songs from Purple have been released: “Morning Star,” “Shock Me,” and “Chlorine & Wine.” All three are excellent and I could totally see this making my top 10 if I had a chance to listen to and digest it for a month or two.
What is this, a producer making it only a list of Top 10 Albums? Yes it is, because this dude had one hell of a year. He worked on such albums such as Amorphis’ Under the Red Cloud, Angra’s Secret Garden, Symphony X’s Underworld, Between the Buried and Me’s Coma Ecliptic, and many more.
Leprous, The Congregation
This one was fighting for that 10th place spot, and was damn close to making it.