Alleageon – Proponent for Sentience
Picking a #1 in anything is hard, well this one wasn’t. Proponent is just that good. The first track to be released, (also my favorite) “Gray Matter Mechanics” completely blew me away; flamenco guitar in technical death metal?!?! Thrashy riffing and shredding, yes sir! They also do a kick-ass cover of Rush’s “Subdivisions” as a bonus on here.
Meshiaak – Alliance of Thieves
I’ve been following these guys for what seems like forever on social media because they are somewhat of a super-group in the world of semi-underground metal, and super-groups always demand attention despite the fact that too often they don’t live up to their hype. Well, this is definitely not the case with Meshiaak. Tough to pick a best track, but “At the Edge of the World” encompasses all that makes this album/band great.
Gojira – Magma
These French brothers don’t know how to put out bad music. This album is a slight shift in lyrical styles (going to primarily cleaner singing), but is no less bad-ass as previous releases. Tough to pick a favorite song, but “Silvera” is probably it.
Devin Townsend Project – Transcendence
Devin Townsend is just a mastermind on the level of Frank Zappa, yeah he is that good. This is another tough album to pick a favorite track from, but although maybe not the best, “Stormbending” is probably just that attention getter track on this album that touches on all of what makes Devin Townsend a genius.
Metallica – Hardwired to Self-Destruct
If you would have told me I’d pick the next Metallica for any spot on the next “Albums of the Year” list, I’d be a serious doubter. Well, thankfully these guys are as back as back can be. Yeah, there will never be another Puppets, Lightening or Justice but this is finally an album we’ve been waiting for to acknowledge what made them great, rather than try stuff that just doesn’t work. Granted a few tracks I could do without, but overall this is a very strong album. Favorite song would have to be “Spit out the Bone”.
Anthrax – For All Kings
With the return of original vocalist Joey Belladonna, Anthrax seems to have gone through a resurrection of sorts and done nothing but put out 2 solid albums as a result. Again, a lot of great tracks, but the favorite has to be the lengthy “Blood Eagle Wings”.
Opeth – Sorceress
Not a return to the progressive death metal roots that made their name, but definitely more metal than anything since Watershed. Best track IMO has to be the title track “Sorceress”. The chugging, pounding riffing in this song and the dark lyrics just stick with you and you catch yourself singing along all the time.