Nov 292011

I have a feeling that not many of our readers spend much time at Pitchfork. Extreme metal isn’t exactly Pitchfork’s main brand affiliation. BUT, well-credentialed metal writer Brandon Stosuy has recently revived a monthly metal column at Pitchfork called Show No Mercy, and yesterday he posted his list of “The Top 40 Metal Albums of 2011”. I thought it was a fine, diverse list, and so I’m reprinting it here.

I haven’t heard all the albums on the list, but I’ve heard the majority of them, and if I had the energy and the mental clarity to make a Top 40 list of my own, I think many of the titles on Brandon’s list would be on mine, though not necessarily in the same order (of course). His list is also missing some albums I’ve liked a lot this year — for example, the 2011 releases by Krisiun, Vallenfyre, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Taake, Esoteric, Kroda, Thy Catafalque, Vader, Insomnium, The Devin Townsend Project (Deconstruction), Decaying, Decapitated, Entrails, Ghost Brigade, Xerath, Solstafir, Revocation, Alghazanth, Flourishing, Septic Flesh, Byfrost, Origin, The Black Dahlia Murder, Noctem, The Konsortium, Shining, Acephalix, Kartikeya, Infestus, Anaal Nathrakh, Rudra, Moonsorrow, Puteraeon — and there are more. I’m not saying I’d put all these albums in place of a like number on Brandon’s list, but there would certainly be some replacements. Still, I do like his list.

After the jump, take a gander at the Pitchfork Top 40 — but you should also visit the page where the list appears at Pitchfork because it includes well-done brief descriptions for each of the top 26 albums on the list, plus tracks to stream for each of those. You can get there via this link.

One more thing — that Tombs album that made it to the top of DECIBEL’s year-end-best list (as we reported yesterday) finishes very fucking high on this list, but not at the top spot. That honor goes to . . . well, you’ll see.

40. Weekend Nachos: Worthless [Relapse]

39. Skeletonwitch: Forever Abomination [Prosthetic]

38. Peste Noire: L’Ordure à l’État Pur[Transcendental Creations/Tour De Garde]

37. Absu: Abzu [Candlelight]

36. Machine Head: Unto the Locust [Roadrunner]

35. Mournful Congregation: The Book of Kings [20 Buck Spin]

34. Vanhelgd: Church of Death [Nuclear War Now!]

33. Negative Plane: Stained Glass Revelations [Ajna Offensive]

32. Rwake: Rest [Relapse]

31. Sonne Adam: Transformation [Century Media]

30. Mitochondrion: Parasignosis [Profound Lore]

29. Gridlink: Orphan [Hydra Head]

28. Loss: Despond [Profound Lore]

27. Drugs of Faith: Corroded [Selfmadegod]

26. Atlas MothAn Ache for the Distance

25. AtriarchForever the End

24. Necros ChristosDoom of the Occult

23. IndianGuiltless

22. DeafheavenRoads to Judah

21. ThouThe Archer & the Owle EP

20. SubRosaNo Help for the Mighty Ones

19. VastumCarnal Law

18. Altar of PlaguesMammal

17. KralliceDiotima

16. Trap ThemDarker Handcraft

15. Ash BorerAsh Borer

14. AutopsyMacabre Eternal

13. MorneAsylum

12. Hammers of Misfortune17th Street

11. ExhumedAll Guts No Glory

10. PrimordialRedemption at the Puritan’s Hand

09.  In SolitudeThe World, the Flesh, the Devil

08. YobAtma

07. Circle of OuroborusEleven Fingers

06. Wolves in the Throne RoomCelestial Lineage

05. DismaTowards the Megalith

04.  40 Watt SunThe Inside Room

03. UlcerateThe Destroyers of All

02. TombsPath of Totality

01. Blut Aus Nord: 777: Sect(s)The Desanctification


  1. Not a comment on the actual bands listed, but I just have to say this….

    Hipster blog is hipster.

  2. “His list is also missing some albums I’ve liked a lot this year — for example, the 2011 releases by… Fleshgod Apocalypse, Vader, Insomnium, The Devin Townsend Project (Deconstruction), Decapitated, Ghost Brigade, Xerath, Solstafir, Septic Flesh, The Black Dahlia Murder, Noctem, Moonsorrow…”

    Just singling those albums out but if I were being uncharitable I’d say that they were omitted for reasons of being “too popular”, or “too European”, for Pitchfork’s notably narrow remit of what’s “in”.

    However, confounding that is the fact that this year has been a very good year for dirtier, more old-school death metal inflected records, which is not my personal forte, and hence it hasn’t been as good a year for me as last year was.

    Oh, and there’s one album on that list that is also appearing high on everyone else’s list that I REALLY don’t get what people see in it, hence it’s (flame-worthy) inclusion on my own “Disappointing” list.

    • Yob? I’m just saying that because they’re high on the list and I haven’t heard them and I like the other albums in his Top 10.

    • “this year has been a very good year for dirtier, more old-school death metal inflected records” — yes it has, which is one reason I’ve been very happy this year. 🙂

      • Nope, not heard “Yob”.

        Although it IS in the top 10. That’s all the clues you’re getting.

        • Don’t tell me you’re going to slam WITTR?!? (you didn’t really think I was going to leave this along, did you?)

          • I thought you might leave it alone. But I never think you’ll leave anything along.

            • Also, jsut to clarify, there’s going to be no “slamming” at all. That’s not my style.

              Nor is it the point of the “Disappointing” list. Some of the albums I’ve chosen are “Good” but should have been better, tot he extent that listening to them is a bitter-sweet experience.

              The specific album in question is being widely praised yet I find it average at best, barring 2/3 excellent songs.

  3. First, I’m gonna start off with: WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?! and secondly: I SMELL HIPSTERS, RRAAAAGHHH! (I have a extreme hat of hipsters, some deep rooted hatred of college hipsters I’ve come into contact with)

  4. Hating hipsters is like recycling old cans.

    It`s good for the environment, it makes you feel better, and nothing of real value gets damaged.

  5. All I’ve got to say is there’s no fuckin way that 38 albums are better than Forever Abomination! NO. WAY.

  6. Isn’t it cheating to name two albums as #1, granted I might agree both of them are worthy, just saying.

    • Good point. Granted, “777” is supposed to be a trilogy, 3 parts of a united whole, but that doesn’t seem to be an adequate explanation, because then wouldn’t you need to wait for the third album to call “the whole” a single album?

  7. Maruta ?

  8. It’s actually not that bad of a list. I would have sprinkled in some Cavus, Hate Eternal and Origin over Drugs of Faith and Weekend Nachos, but hey, the world isn’t perfect now is it?

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