Number 10: Devin Townsend – Z²
What can be said about Heavy Devy that hasn’t been said before? This year he also released Casualties of Cool, which wasn’t far off making this list itself, but it is in Z² that you can see the pure genius of the man. Big, brash and so incredibly camp and over the top that it wouldn’t look out-of-place in the gayest of nightclubs, Z² is everything that we have come to love from Townsend. The first CD follows on from where Epicloud left off, with its big sweeping rock and roll efforts. But it’s on the second CD that you get a true look inside the man’s mind. Following on the story of Ziltoid, it’s a bonkers rock musical that is hilariously good fun. Another year and yet more proof that Devin Townsend truly is the man.
Number 9: Machine Head – Bloodstone and Diamonds
Have I mentioned that Machine Head have had one hell of a year? Because they have. Bloodstone and Diamonds was the album that many Machine Heads fans wanted to follow The Blackening. It’s big, it’s heavy and there are no children singing anywhere on it. Tracks like “Now We Die” are huge and the epic “Sail into the Black” is captivating. Machine Head are still one of the best heavy metal bands on the planet and for that we can give thanks.
Number 8: Feed the Rhino – The Sorrow and the Sound
It is no secret that I am a huge Feed the Rhino fan. I adore these guys and The Sorrow and the Sound is their best album yet. Always a little bit hardcore, a little bit rock and all topped off with a bit of that groove that makes them so heavy and such a devastating live force, Feed the Rhino still sound great. The fact this band aren’t huge is a tragedy, but for those of us who have figured it out, The Sorrow and the Sound was yet more proof that out of the recent UK music scene, not many stand taller than the Rhino.
Number 7: Behemoth – The Satanist
Behemoth are one of a kind. Even taking the music out of it, the fact Nergal has only recently recovered from leukemia is miraculous enough, but throw in all the legal trouble and it has been a bloody busy few years for these guys. Thankfully, out of all the chaos, they have dropped one of the best albums of the year and one which you can’t help but admire. The Satanist sounds huge and it takes all that anger and that fury and it pushes it together and makes something special. Behemoth are one of the most vital metal bands on the planet right now and this album is a major reason for that.
Number 6: Mastodon – Once More ‘Round the Sun
Mastodon’s fame seems to grow year by year despite, on paper at least, being a very progressive and heavy band. This years Once More ‘Round the Sun in many ways saw them embracing that fame and focusing on a sound that began on The Hunter with “Curl of the Burl” and may now have found its zenith on this release. Mastodon are still heavy and if you look at their contemporaries they are still more progressive than most, this isn’t radio rock, but now the songs pack big choruses as well and it’s a sound that we can get behind. Tracks like “Motherload”, despite it’s rather dodgy video, are some of the best metal songs released this year and it looks like the rise of the Mastodon isn’t going to be halted anytime soon.