Adam Cathedral - The Garden of Unearthly Delights Nevermore - This Godless Endeavor Green Carnation - The Quiet Offspring Primordial - The Gathering Wilderness Nile - Annihilation of the Wicked Exodus - Shovel Headed Killing Machine Judas Priest - Angel of Retribution Bruce Dickinson - Tyrrany of Souls Frantic Bleep - The Sense Apparatus Gojira - From Mars to Sirius Amanda a.k.a. The Metal Chick 1. Kamelot - The Black Halo 2. Opeth - Ghost Reveries 3. Allen-Lande - The Battle 4. Zero Hour - A Fragile Mind 5. Pagan's Mind - Enigmatic: Calling 6. Circus Maximus - The 1st Chapter 7. Russell Allen - Atomic Soul 8. James LaBrie - Elements of Persuasion 9. Warcry - Donde Esta La Luz 10. Nevermore - This Godless Endeavor Jason a.k.a. circus_brimstone 1. Buried Inside – Chronoclast 2. Ephel Duath – Pain Necessary to Know 3. Pelican – The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw 4. Red Sparowes – At the Soundless Dawn 5. Rosetta – The Galilean Satellites 6. Crowpath – Son of Sulphur 7. Watchmaker – Erased from the Memory of Man 8. Crimson Moonlight – Veil of Remembrance 9. Frantic Bleep – The Sense Apparatus 10. Novembers Doom – The Pale Haunt Departure 11. Yob – The Unreal Never Lived 12. Deathspell Omega – Kénôse 13. Meshuggah – Catch Thirty Three 14. Witchcraft – Firewood 15. Norma Jean – O God, the Aftermath 16. Sunn O))) – Black One 17. Minsk – Out of a Center Which is Neither Dead Nor Alive 18. Twilight – Twilight 19. Solefald – Red for Fire: An Icelandic Odyssey Part I 20. Circle of Dead Children – Zero Comfort Margin 21. Slough Feg - Atavism 22. Gojira - From Mars to Sirius 23. August Burns Red – Thrill Seeker 24. Symphony in Peril – The Whore’s Trophy 25. Losa – The Perfect Moment About my picks: I listened to over 220 albums (ones released in 2005 only), and came up with diverse results. If your picks didn't end up gracing my list, it's because I either didn't hear them or didn't like them. But it's most likely the former because I have an ever-present review queue, so I don't have much time to seek out what I don't receive. About my selection methods: Narrowing the list down was easy. I just went through it, and chose what stood out at first glance. Surprisingly, the final positioning was easy too. I worked backwards this time, starting at 25 and gradually moving up to 1. About my number one pick: Buried Inside - Chronoclast. I was taken aback that the latest from Buried Inside edged out the other competitors. Chronoclast was a sleeper hit, but I can't get over just how stunning it is. Perfect blend of serenity and chaos rolled into a whole, which captures me every single time I listen to it. Overall, though, 2005 was a strong year for metal. Josh a.k.a. Opeth17 1. The Project Hate MCMXCIX – Armageddon March Eternal (Symphonies of Slit Wrists) The Project Hate returns in 2005 with an album that only confirms that they are pretty much the best band on the planet. Every album is different than what came before it, but just as good, and AME is no exception. The most groovy riffs imaginable flow consistently, accompanied by beautiful melodic leads. Insane death metal vocals by way of Jorgen Sandstrom (Grave, Entombed) and angelic female vocals courtesy of Jo Enckell create a truly apocalyptic sound to match their blasphemous lyrics. Keyboards used like a grand piano and bits of industrial thrown in for fun. Creates a startling, wicked atmosphere and transfers into melancholy passages to leave you caught in a reverie. As good as it fucking gets. 2. Opeth – Ghost Reveries To me, this is quite possibly the best Opeth has ever put out. Despite the criticisms and disappointments of others, this album strikes me as the record that the band has been trying to create since 2001. Honestly, for as good a metal riff as this band can write and as mean as Akerfeldt’s vocals are, Opeth is a better prog band than they are a metal band. It’s the soft passages, the beautiful sounds that make Opeth so good. It’s “Atonement” and “Hours of Wealth” and the stirring chants of “Ghost of Perdition.” The extreme metal, thrown into the mix, keeps things interesting and creates the offset that this kind of music needs, and Opeth do it very well, but the heart and soul of their music lies elsewhere. Amazing album where Opeth have found their true sound, hit their stride and stunned me with what is perhaps their best album EVER. Akerfeldt’s vocals are stunning in both realms and Opeth have finally created a warm album with an enchanting atmosphere that strikes me as close to perfect. Congratulations. 3. Blood Red Throne – Altered Genesis Blood Red Throne IS the best death metal band on the planet right now, no questions asked. They mix brutality with the mid-paced, headbanging grooves that create the perfect extreme metal formula. As fun as full-throttle brutality can be, it tends to not leave the lasting impression that a band with either a lot of groove or a lot of emotion can. Well, BRT have a whole lotta groove and as they break it down in each song, I can’t help but smile. There is not a single bad track on this album, it’s just pure heavy fucking metal domination. 4. Falkenbach – Heralding the Fireblade A surprisingly amazing album. My first experience with Falkenbach and I can say gladly that I’m hooked. The perfect pagan atmosphere shines through on this record and the high use of clean vocals surprised me, but works better than growled vocals ever could for this band. Absolutely everything that viking metal should be. The incredible “Havamal” sums up entirely why this is such a great album, as it simply embodies what bands of this type should aspire to be. 5. Oathean – Fading Away into the Grave of Nothingness My Korean brothers! What an album this is. A mixture of black and folk metal in a completely different way. Whereas the majority of folk influences we hear in metal come from Scandinavia or Europe in general, Oathean gives us a taste of the Far East. Excellent black metal that becomes amazing when the band breaks into an enthralling folk session. “Wandering Soul” the second track on the album shows the band’s blackened side while mixing in their other elements and “Road To…,” with its pure traditional sound, is like traveling the road to home. 6. Deathspell Omega – Kénôse As if having the best death metal band on the planet release an album this year wasn’t enough, we got this long EP from the best black metal band on the planet to accompany it. Though made up of only three songs, the EP clocks in at over 36 minutes, longer than many “full” albums though short for a Deathspell Omega release, considering their last album clocked in at over 77 minutes. Kénôse still retains many of the charms that made Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice great, including the haunting minimalism and dark atmosphere that dots their work. The unique vocals, powerful production and black metal brutality all remain as well, and all I can do is wish for more. The fact that half a DsO album can grace my list this highly is testament to how great a band they are. 7. Yyrkoon – Occult Medicine Best album of the year that NOBODY knows about. Death metal that is a sort of mix of Behemoth and Blood Red Throne but with a focus on doing nothing but creating the most ridiculously grooving fucking riffs imaginable. Talented musicians who can craft a great song. If your neck doesn’t just about snap at some point listening to this album, you suck. Great melodic solos thrown in on occasion make for a catchy album that eclipses most music I’ve heard this year. 8. 1349 – Hellfire 1349 really surprised me with Hellfire. I had liked Liberation, but had never given it too many spins, but Hellfire hit me like a ton of bricks. For all the blazing, hellish intensity, this is actually a really catchy, memorable album as well. Beneath the surface there are a lot of great melodies and they are of course blanketed with a wall of intense battering that is extremely fun to listen to. This album has a lot hidden beneath the surface and this band epitomizes extreme metal. 9. Taake – Hordaland Doedskvad Taake surprise the hell out of me everytime I listen to them. Not only because it’s a great band, but because I end up concentrating on how great the guitar work is, which just seems odd for a black metal band. I mean some of this stuff just flat out rocks. Listen to the second song, where the hell does that riff (you know which one) come from? Just as the opening riff of Nattestid hooks me everytime, Doedskvad had me from to beginning to end and shows exactly how amazing black metal is and can be. 10. Nokturnal Mortum – Weltanschauung/Mirovozzrenie This is the best Nokturnal Mortum album outside of Goat Horns, yet it is completely different from that album. Whereas Goat Horns has this dark, majestic aura, Weltanschauung has a bright, almost sunny day type atmosphere on display at many times and I personally thought the cover art was a wise choice and great fit for the music on the album. Less black metal, more folk elements, this is the soundtrack to a crazed renaissance fair, and it fucking owns. 11. Asguard – Dreamslave 12. Coram Lethe - The Gates of Oblivion 13. Cryptopsy – Once Was Not 14. Kaamos - Lucifer Rising 15. Moonsorrow – Verisakeet 16. Primordial – The Gathering Wilderness 17. Hate – Anaclasis 18. Grimfist – Ten Steps to Hell 19. Beheaded - Ominous Bloodline 20. Vreid - Kraft 21. Six Feet Under - 13 22. Ondskapt – Dodens Evangelium 23. Ingurgitating Oblivion – Voyage Towards Abhorrence 24. Vile – The New Age of Chaos 25. Domination Through Impurity - Essence of Brutality *List created using U.S. release dates. Nathan a.k.a. Nate The Great 1. Meshuggah – Catch Thirty Three 2. Akercocke - Words That Go Unspoken, Deeds That Go Undone 3. Thralldom - Black Sun Resistance: Six Strain Ceremony 4. Gojira - From Mars to Sirius 5. Watchmaker – Erased from the Memory of Man 6. Arcturus - Sideshow Symphonies 7. Pelican – The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw 8. Swarm of the Lotus - The Sirens of Silence 9. Crowpath – Son of Sulphur 10. Nevermore - This Godless Endeavor 11. Primordial - The Gathering Wilderness 12. Red Sparowes – At the Soundless Dawn 13. Twilight - Twilight 14. Jesu - Jesu 15. Buried Inside – Chronoclast 16. Deathspell Omega – Kénôse 17. Cursed - II 18. Earth - HEX: Or Printing in the Infernal Method 19. 1349 - Hellfire 20. Opeth - Ghost Reveries 21. Ulver - Blood Inside 22. Deadbird - The Head and the Heart 23. Green Carnation - The Quiet Offspring 24. Sunn O))) – Black One 25. Ion Dissonance - Solace Phil a.k.a. dill_the_devil: 1. Akercocke - Words That Go Unspoken, Deeds That Go Undone 2. God Forbid - IV: Constitution Of Treason 3. Hate Eternal - I, Monarch 4. Mistress - In Disgust We Trust 5. Between the Buried and Me - Alaska 6. Pelican - The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw 7. Candlemass - Candlemass 8. All Shall Perish - Hate.Malice.Revenge 9. Napalm Death - The Code is Red...Long Live the Code 10. With Passion - In the Midst of Blooldied Soil Rodrigo 1. Moonsorrow - Verisakeet 2. Taake - Doedskvad 3. Sigh - Gallows Gallery 4. Akercocke - Words that go Unspoken, Deeds that go Undone 5. Circus Maximus - The 1st Chapter 6. Nokturnal Mortum - Weltanschauung/Mirovozzrenie 7. High on Fire - Blessed Black Wings 8. Red Sparowes - At the Soundless Dawn 9. Crowpath - Son of Sulphur 10. Ephel Duath - Pain Necessary to Know 11. Pelican - The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw 12. Deathspell Omega - Kénôse 13. Cryptopsy - Once Was Not 14. Twilight - Twilight 15. Drudkh - The Swan Road 16. Ulver - Blood Inside 17. Nevermore - This Godless Endeavor 18. Cephalic Carnage - Anomalies 19. Darkane - Layers of Lies 20. Anthony Curtis - The Book of the Key 21. Bruce Dickinson - Tyranny of Souls 22. Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force - Unleash the Fury 23. Nile - Annihilation of the Wicked 24. Municipal Waste - Hazardous Mutation 25. Rob Rock - Holy Hell Russell Top ten in no particular order: Opeth – Ghost Reveries Ulver – Blood Inside Between the Buried and Me – Alaska Kekal - Acidity Carnival in Coal – Collection Prestige The Waking Cold – Doorways of a Fading Heart Lazarus Blackstar – Revelations Aphotic/Dusk - To Find New Darkness/The Slumber Split Pushmeunder - The Day Lacks Colour, The Night Lacks Promise Necrophagia – Harvest Ritual Vol. I Spiritual Beggars - Demons Honourable mentions: Shellshock – Injected into the Hive To-Mera – Demo (although the fat bassist put me off a bit) Yob – The Unreal Never Lived Ephel Duath – Pain Necessary to Know The Secret Chief’s Three - Book of Horizons Stuff that I only got into this year so I’m putting in anyway: Godspeed You Black Emperor! – F#a#Oo Cry Cry Cry – Cry Cry Cry Void of Silence – Human Antithesis Covenant – Northern Lights Apoptygma Berserk - Welcome to Earth A Perfect Circle - Mer de Noms Finntroll – Nattfödd Mono - Walking Cloud and Deep Red Sky, Flag Fluttered and the Sun Shined John Frusciante - Shadows Collide with People Sam a.k.a. Hopkins-WitchfinderGeneral In no particular order: Frantic Bleep - The Sense Appartus Porcupine Tree - Deadwing Rotten Sound - Exit Bohren and der Club of Gore - Geisterfaust Burst - Origo The Project Hate MCMXCIX - Armageddon March Eternal (Symphonies of Slit Wrists) Dark Tranquillity - Character Shining - IV: The Eerie Cold Meshuggah - Catch Thirty Three Clutch - Robot Hive/Exodus Nevermore - This Godless Endeavor When Day Descends - Transcend Adrian Belew - Side One Peccatum - The Moribund People Rosetta - The Galilean Satellites Darkane - Layers of Lies Earth - HEX: Or Printing in the Infernal Method Gojira - From Mars to Sirius Corrosion of Conformity - In the Arms of God Larsen - Play More lists to appear soon!