Dec 012011

Listmania season is in full swing. So far, we’ve reprinted the Best Metal of 2011 lists from Pitchfork and NPR, not because they have deep credibility in the scene but because they’re heavily trafficked web sites and because I thought the lists were better than expected. But today we’ve got a list from a source that unquestionably does have credibility.

Yes, the current issue of DECIBEL magazine (the only print metal magazine we read at NCS) arrived at the NCS Island in yesterday’s mail, and that issue includes the magazine’s list of the Top 40 Extreme Albums of 2011. Some of the names on that list have already surfaced on the internet — including the band whose album DECIBEL named the best of the year (Tombs) — because record labels and bands who made the list have been posting about it. But I didn’t know the full list until greedily opening the mag last night. And of course, I can’t resist providing that list for your amusement after the jump.

You’re going to see some of the same band names that have already appeared on both the Pitchfork and NPR lists. Fifteen bands appeared on both of those lists, and 13 of those 15 are also on the DECIBEL list — Tombs, YOB, Hammers of Misfortune, deafheaven, Ulcerate, Krallice, Negative Plane, 40 Watt Sun, Trap Them, Mournful Congregation, Disma, Autopsy, and Exhumed. (Altar of Plagues and Ash Borer were on the other two lists but not DECIBEL‘s).

You will also see names that weren’t on the other lists. For example, technical death metal rears its head through the appearance of Origin and Obscura, and old-school death-doom is represented through the welcome appearance of Vallenfyre. I was also happy to see Revocation highly placed on the DECIBEL list, and surprisingly — though not without justification — Inquisition, Hate Eternal, and Brutal Truth are in the Top 10. You definitely weren’t going to see those names at Pitchfork or NPR.

On the other hand, wait ’til you see who DECIBEL names for the No. 2 and No. 3 albums of the year. They’re certainly not my picks for those spots; they wouldn’t even be in my Top 20. But what the fuck, half the fun of Listmania is the generation of controversy.

And speaking of controversy, DECIBEL (like Pitchfork and NPR) found no place on their list for albums we really liked here at NCS, though the DECIBEL list includes more of our favorites than the other two. To name some of the bands whose well-liked albums are missing from the honor roll: Fleshgod Apocalypse, Vader, Insomnium, Anaal Nathrakh, EntrailsThe Devin Townsend Project, DecapitatedGhost Brigade, Hull, Xerath, Solstafir, Septic Flesh, Shining, Textures, Lock Up, The Black Dahlia Murder, Noctem, Moonsorrow.

And we got Junius at No. 10, but Amon Amarth’s Surtur Rising wasn’t deemed good enough even to be named No. 40?  Go figure.

And finally, because this list was compiled approximately two months before 2011 comes to an end, it’s missing recent releases such as Dwellings by Cormorant. Sigh.

Here’s the list:

40. Graf Orlock, Doombox

39. Rwake, Rest

38. Krallice, Diotima

37. Hammers of Misfortune, 17th Street

36. deafheaven, Roads To Judah

35. Darkest Era, The Last Caress of Light

34. Origin, Entity

33. Negative Plane, Stained Glass Revelation

32. Absu, Abzu

31. Machine Head, Unto the Locust

30. Mournful Congregation, The Book of Kings

29. Crowbar, Sever the Wicked Hand

28. Vallenfyre, A Fragile King

27. Skeletonwitch, Forever Abomination

26. Gridlink, Orphan

25. Moab, Ab Ovo

24. Disma, Towards the Megalith

23. Atriarch, Forever the End

22. Fucked Up, David Comes To Life

21. Ulcerate, The Destroyers of All

20. Subrosa, No Help For the Mighty Ones

19. Drugs of Faith, Corroded

18. Obscura, Omnivium

17. Trap Them, Darker Handcraft

16. Revocation, Chaos of Forms

15. Autopsy, Macabre Eternal

14. False, False

13. Exhumed, All Guts, No Glory

12. Primordial, Redemption at the Puritan’s Hand

11. Graveyard, Hisingen Blues

10. Junius, Reports From the Threshold of Death

9. Inquisition, Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm

8. 40 Watt Sun, The Inside Room

7. YOB, Atma

6. Hate Eternal, Phoenix Amongst the Ashes

5. Brutal Truth, End Time

4. In Solitude, The World, The Flesh, The Devil

3. Mastodon, The Hunter

2. Opeth, Heritage

1. Tombs, Path of Totality


  1. Awesome to see Inquisition make the list. Im not surprised about Amon Amarth though. Theyre one of my favorite bands, but as solid as that new album was it had way too much filler

      • curmudgeon rhymes with cum pigeon…kinda…

        • Also, cum muncher.

          • Or cum launcher?

            Probably not.

            • I’m afraid I don’t have much objectivity when it comes to Amon Amarth to begin with. While it’s true that you always know what you’re going to get from that band (which makes me perfectly happy), the music on Surtur Rising was more varied than I was expecting.

              Also, Junius??

              • So true. They have reached this impeccable level of consistency, that they are now being
                criticized for “sounding the same” and not “mixing things up”. Surtur Rising delivered immediately It was a slight step up from Twilight IMO and ranks in their top 3 albums (1. WOoOS, 2. VtW, 3. SR)

      • What can I say…Curmudgeon is part of my job description. On Surter Rising the songs I liked..I really liked a lot. I think “For Victory or Death” is one of my favorite songs by them. Songs like “Tocks Taunt” drag it down for me though

  2. I think I’m gonna make a list.

    And just write “your favorite band sucks” twenty times.

    But I’ll include pictures of boobs. So everyone will love it.

    Also, everything that was released before July seems like it was last year…….let’s boycott time.

    The Spitting Slinky commands and its dribbling will be done.

    • From Andrew Bonazelli’s intro to the DECIBEL list: “For real, this list makes nobody happy. . . . We release the list into the wild, infuriating writers we’ve shot down for freelance work, our own devoted, hardworking staff, half of our subscription base and casual readers (hopefully not the ones residing in correctional facilities across America).”

      Also, check the new blog sub-header.

      • Bwahahaha!
        I’m like Google translate!

        I can appreciate what Decibel man is saying. I think “metal” is such a big genre that a best in show list is particularly difficult.

        Mine would mostly include death, brutal death, grind, and a nice, sticky glaze of power metal.

  3. I kinda have to disagree with 1, 2, & 3, I wasnt inpressed by either of those.

    However I am glad to see that Vallenfyre made it on that list with only being out for a few weeks.

  4. I guess I’ll have to pick this issue up somewhere before I get my subscription (if I get my subscription… *crosses fingers and hopes he will get it for Christmas*).

  5. While I don’t agree entirely with Decibel’s year end list (which is hardly a surprise) I gotta say it’s surprisingly solid. It’s about a thousand times better than the “Top 100 Metal Albums of the Decade” list they put out a while back where Queens of the Stone Age placed at number 7, beating out Dying Fetus, Nile, Watain, Decapitated, Gojira, Immortal, Electric Wizard, and a bunch of other bands that are, you know, actually metal.

    • Oh gawd, I’d forgotten about that top 100 of the decade list and the Queens of the Stone Age appearance. I thought DECIBEL was about to morph into Revolver. Nothing nearly that embarrassing on this list. Despite the omissions of many of my favorites (which by necessity will be true for just about everyone), I also think it’s a solid list.

  6. Given the usual coverage that Decibel gives, I was surprised to see Opeth so high on the list. Now, I can see why they’d induct an album like Operation: Mindcrime into its HOF, despite not being “extreme” metal, but Opeth’s latest offering near the top in a best of the year list made up of death metal albums…. meh. I like what I’ve heard from the album (I still haven’t had a chance to hear all of Heritage yet), but I don’t think it’s top 20 material for Decibel’s usual offerings and I have a feeling that it’s going to get the nod for other lists because simply because its Opeth, Not that it’s a bad album, but it’s not the kind of album that says “best of the year” to me, considering what else is out there.

    • “Heritage” is NOT making most best-of-2011 lists I’m seeing. Like you, I don’t think it’s deserving of a place on a Top 20 or even Top 40 list. I’m really surprised it’s on the DECIBEL list, and especially ranked No. 2. If they didn’t know it was Opeth that made the album, does anyone think it would be on the list at that spot?

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