Dec 062011

While trying to do other things that we actually create ourselves here at NCS, I’m still keeping one eye out for the “Best of 2011” lists being generated by heavily-trafficked web sites and zines. Yesterday I spotted the “Best Metal Albums of 2011” published by Noisecreep, which is the hard rock and metal web site of AOL.

You may not be a daily Noisecreep visitor, but a fuckload of other people are, so I was curious about what they’re touting. AOL may seem like last century to most metalheads, but the Noisecreep demographic must still have something going for it, because they premiere a lot of songs by a lot of good metal bands, and even though I’m too fuckin lazy to research the quantitative achievements of their site traffic, metal labels sure as hell do.

Looking at their list, after looking at the lists by other big-platform sites like Pitchfork and NPR, I’m beginning to notice a trend:  Whoever is putting these lists together has got at least one finger on the pulse of the underground, even if their other fingers are lovingly wrapped around the genitalia of their readers. In other words, the Noisecreep list includes some surprisingly “fuck yeah!” albums, as well as some “what the fuck, are you serious?” albums. Check out the list after the jump, along with some editorial comments by me.

Here’s the Noisecreep countdown (which you can see, with Noisecreep’s explanations and sample songs, at this place):

11.  Insomnium: One For Sorrow [FUCK YEAH!]

10.  Vektor: Outer Isolation [FUCK YEAH!]

9.   Times of Grace: The Hymn of Broken Man [WHAT THE FUCK?]

8.   August Burns Red: Leveller [NOT BAD, BUT TOP 11?  UNH UNH]

7.   Ulcerate: The Destroyers of All [FUCK YEAH!]

6.   Mastodon: The Hunter [NOT TOP 11 ON MY LIST, IF I HAD A LIST]

5.   Trap Them: Darker Handcraft [FUCK YEAH! AND WTF IS THIS DOING ON NOISECREEP?]

4.   The Devil’s Blood: The Thousandfold Epicentre [HUH??? I DON’T KNOW THIS BAND.]

3.   Junius: Reports From the Threshold of Death [WHAT THE FUCK?]

2.   Krallice: Diotima [FUCK YEAH!]


Seriously, in a million years, did you see Craft coming at Numero Uno?? If you say you did, then I sayin you lie.

Please let me explain that reach-around and golden-shower comment. I’m not sayin that Void is the album of the year. I haven’t even listened to the whole thing. I’m just fuckin big-eyeballed chuffed that something this razored and bloody made the top of the Noisecreep list.

Is Craft worth checking out? Yes, they definitely are. I found out about them late (because I am lame) by seeing their name on other “Best of 2011” lists, and I’m really glad I did.  And isn’t that the best reason to have Best of the Year lists?

Here’s Noisecreep’s explanation of the choice. This is an exact quote. See if you can detect the difference between Noisecreep and NO CLEAN SINGING:

“Besides boasting some of the best song titles of the year (‘I Want to Commit Murder,’ ‘Succumb to Sin’), ‘Void’ lands a spot on our list for its no-nonsense take on brute black metal. Reminding us of Darkthrone in many moments, Craft also show off a penchant for punk-styled riffs throughout ‘Void.’ That aspect of the Swedish group’s sound is what makes the album hooky in many moments. It might have taken them six years to follow up their ‘F— the Universe’ album, but if they’re going to release records as great as ‘Void,’ we’ll give Craft all the time they need.”

P.S. I don’t know why this list is a Top 11 instead of a Top 10.  Maybe they had a tie for 10th. Or maybe they just wanted to be anarchic. In an arithmetic way.


  1. #4 The Devils Blood – they are part of that whole retro-heavy-occult-rock movement (think Ghost, Graveyard, etc etc). Starting to really gain a following, and not undeservedly, although they don’t belong on a “metal” list.

    • Thanks. Now I don’t have to listen to them. 🙂

      If I’m going to listen to hard rock, it should probably be Graveyard. Hisingen Blues was #11 on the DECIBEL list. DECIBEL called it the best hard rock album of 2011.

      • Hey, at least this list is pretty metal-centric.

        Over at MetalSucks i’m starting to wonder how difficult it is for some of the artists they picked to contribute to understand the term “Best Metal Albums”.

        • You mean Radiohead isnt metal?

          Thats still not as bad as seeing the new Morbid Angel pop up on at least two of those lists

          • Angela Gossow’s was suitably metal, apart from that horrible choice at number 1.

            I mean, yes I expect her to listen to nothing but death metal, but I didn’t expect her to think THAT was the best death metal album released this year. Piss poor is more like it.

            • Well she is German…they love that techno, industrial shit (stereotypes…are they ever not funny)

              Honestly though, if that was her favorite metal album of the year she needs to re-up her subscription to Metal Hammer because that album should have been aborted before conception

              • Which is worse — Angela picking Morbid Angel as No. 1 or Dale Crover of the Melvins picking “Lulu” as No. 1?

                • As shitty as Illid Divinum Insanus was, theres a couple of almost okay tracks on there. As for Lulu..well Dale Crover must hate music, thats my only explanation.

      • That album is just awesome if youre into the retro thing. Picked it up on vinyl for shits and grins, and its
        been in heavy rotation since.

      • I love Hisingsen Blues. Definitely check that one out if you feel like hard rock. I’d have to agree with the lads over at DECIBEL that it’s the best hard rock album of 2011.

  2. I think the only album Ive even heard off of this list is “Void”

    • I’ve heard 3. That’s how awesome and eclectic my tastes are.

    • Wait…not Insomnium???

      That`s the only album I`ve heard from the list, and I only know about it because of this site…

      • I like Insomnium, but I never got around to hearing the new one. The rest of those arent really in my wheel house

    • I’ve heard 7 of them, and when I finish “Void”, it will be 8. I don’t know what this means. I guess it means that, like Andy said, the list is more metal-centric than others I’ve posted at NCS so far, since I’ve pretty much sworn off any music that isn’t metal.

  3. Besides Lulu and Morbid Angel…anyone have any least favorite albums this year?

    • This seems to be an unpopular opinion, but I found the new Cynic to verge on unlistenable, the entire thing. I don’t know about worst-of-the-year, but I really hated that one.

    • I am tempted to say “Gold Cobra” by Limp Bizkit — except I didn’t listen to it. 🙂

      Lots of people trashed “Doctrine” by Pestilence, but I liked it. I have to think more about this question.

      • Funny you mention that. I listened to it out of curiousity. It’s pretty forgettable. And thats about it. It’s not good, but you’d expect that. But it really aint entirely bad (there are drums that stay in rythm, guitar chords in discernable patterns, words that rhyme; technically music), which you probably weren’t expecting.

        Consider the insanity of this: If I told you last year that Limp Bizkit and Metallica will be releasing albums in 2011. One of them would be a gigantic steaming incoherent crapfest that will go down as one of the worst musical disasters in history. The other will be somehting that serious metalheads probably wont care about and while not bad, probably wouldnt make your top 10. WHICH ONE WOULD YOU THINK IS WHICH??

        • I`d assume it was a trick, because I thought that Limp Bizkit had committed ritual suicide to appease the shit gods of brohood.

          Then both of the albums would be by Metallica.

  4. Why top 11? Because they like to go one step beyond.

  5. I haven’t listened to any of the albums on the list. That’s how much money I need. Honestly though, I only have 1 album on this list that I’m seriously thinking of getting, which is “Diotima.” I have the new Mastodon album on my list of to-gets but I need to check out a track from it; based on my reaction to the last time I heard a track from it, I won’t be picking it up. However, I might consider getting Craft’s “Void,” because what I heard when I listened to it yesterday, or the other day or something (it was posted on here) was pretty good. And I know I should be ashamed for saying this, but I haven’t listened to Insomnium as far as I can recall… I think it’s the name… pretty names like Skeletonwitch and Cattle Decapitatioin attract my attention. Oh, and who is this “Junius?” If that is their real name…

  6. Great line, “Or maybe they just wanted to be anarchic. In an arithmetic way.”

    I just finished the Craft cd myself and would put that on my own year end list as well. I’m not one for black metal either. Funny, I thought Agalloch’s cd was a top conteder last year as well.

    • There are qualities in the music of both those bands that I think cross beyond the boundaries of “traditional” black metal, though I would guess that Craft has more appeal to fans of traditional BM than Agalloch. Regardless, I’m falling pretty hard for the Craft cd myself. A very nice year-end discovery.

  7. Times of Grace really grew on me…my 2nd favorite metalcore album this year behind Unearth. It is the album KSE should have released instead of the horribly uninspired, watered down Killswitch II.

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