SPECIAL

The Best Metal Albums of 2009

Written by Marko Ristić

Years behind us brought a lot of good albums. It’s impossible to describe how many of these albums have brought some nice moments to each of us. We will do our best in the series of special articles to stick up to some round-the-year anniversaries, and this series starts with metal albums released a decade ago.

MASTODON
“Crack The Skye”
Reprise Records

With their fourth studio album, the guys from Atlanta have solidified their place on the metal scene. It would be fair to say – forever. “Crack The Skye” had a lot more to offer than some of the previous albums, most notably that they showed more of their progressive and rock sides. This was also the first album where drummer and third vocalist Brann Dailor actively took the part. The title song featured none other than Scott Kelly, Neurosis frontman. The best track on the album is most certainly the song that opens it – “Oblivion”.

CONVERGE
“Axe To Fall”
Epitaph

CONVERGE can definitely be proclaimed one of the best bands in the first decade of the 21st century. “Ax To Fall” is certainly their crowning achievement. The album marked the biggest success of the band, landing on the 74th place of the Billboard 200 list in America. The album was produced by guitarist Kurt Ballou, and the front cover was made by the singer Jacob Bannon. On this album, the band also has the largest number of guests. Among them are members of Cave In and Genghis Tron, as well as Steve Von Till of Neurosis, who sang on “Cruel Bloom”. Certainly, one of the top 5 metalcore albums you have to hear from the first decade of this century.

BARONESS
“Blue Record”
Relapse

“Blue Record” is the second studio album of BARONESS that came out on October 13th, 2009. It is considered the sister album to the previous “Red Album”. A dynamic album that is full of very strong guitar riffs proving BARONESS are equally able to illustrate both the triumph and the fall. The album is packed with phenomenal details that will only reveal themselves to you if you spin this album multiple times. This is simply not an album to be consumed superficially.

RAMMSTEIN
“Liebe ist für alle da”
Universal

The sixth studio album of the German giants will be challenged by many, because of, of course, its commercial success. The album that came out in October 2009 has sold an incredible 679,500 copies worldwide by February 2010 alone. Minors were not allowed to purchase the album in Germany because of the song “Ich tu dir weh” (in translation – I hurt you) and photos in the CD sleeve depicting the guitarist Richard Kruspe spanking a naked woman. The album was, of course, re-released in Germany with a different package and design. This is not the reason for the success that this album enjoyed. Famous for their controversial video clips, Rammstein published several clips such as  “Pussy” (the full version of which still cannot be watched on YouTube.com), “Ich tu dir weh”, “Haifisch” and “Waidmanns Heil / Liebe ist for all that” each with their own “success” story. After the release of this album, we have been waiting for a full decade for this German band to overshadow it with the new album, expected in April 2019.

KYLESA
“Static Tensions”
Prosthetic Records

You can not talk about 2009 without mentioning this album. “Static Tensions” as well as its predecessor brought a fantastic mix of sludge metal combined with a two-drum set and even three singers, which brings a rather different and more energetic approach to this genre. If you are looking for some highlights of this album, it’s very difficult to nitpick a few because the entire album is very heavy with riffs, killer rhythms, and a very strong atmosphere. KYLESA is a band that is truly an excellent representative of its genre, and the album “Static Tensions” is certainly one of the best metal releases in 2009.

BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME
“The Great Misdirect”
Victory

The fifth studio album of the progressive metal band from North Carolina brought only six songs with a playing time of just an hour. This totally distorted mix of progressive metalcore, technical death metal, and avant-garde metal will leave you breathless. The album boasts a track that lasts 17 minutes and 54 seconds, so make sure you’re ready for such a long madness trip. This is especially true if you take into account the time in which we live today, where the average attention span is only an average of 15 seconds (also the average time you will likely spend reading this article). What should definitely be said to be interesting about the song “Swim to the Moon” is the message you can hear if you release the song backward (3:17-3:37) – “You will sleep with the rest of the non-believers … If you disagree you will sleep … You will sleep with the rest of the non-believers … “

HEAVEN & HELL
“The Devil You Know”
Rhino/Roadrunner

 

If you have by some wild coincidence missed this band, you should know that this is a supergroup previously known as Black Sabbath with Ronnie James Dio. This is, unfortunately, their only studio outing under that moniker. It is also the last album Ronnie James Dio recorded before he died in May 2010, a month after it came out. This is the main reason the band did not have the chance to play live as much as they planned. As a result, the album itself is slowly slipping into oblivion, even though it’s a great record certainly worth your attention. The album landed in the Top 10 after only a week after the release and debuted in the eighth spot of the Billboard 200 list with 30,000 copies sold in the first seven days of the release.

SLAYER
“World Painted Blood”
American Recordings/Sony Music

 

The eleventh studio album of thrash metal giants SLAYER was released in November 2009 by American Recordings / Sony Music. This is the only album produced by Greg Fidelman. The album has four different covers that paint the picture of “World Painted Blood” when placed next to each other. This is also the last album where you can hear the original lineup of these trash giants. As you know, Jeff Hanneman passed away four years later. At the same time, the original drummer Dave Lombardo was kicked out of the band. The album had three singles, with “Psychopathy Red”  leaking on the Internet a year before the album appeared. In addition to this track, the title track “World Painted Blood” as well as “Hate Worldwide” were featured as singles. Another interesting feature of this album is that it was written entirely in the studio, which they have never done before.

NILE
” Those Whom the Gods Detest”
Nuclear Blast

This American technical death metal band simply managed to combine all the best from their previous studio albums. This makes their sixth outing perhaps the best album in their career. This sound is far under the radar today, while only 10 years ago it was extremely popular and brought Nile a sea of new fans. Interestingly, the album was also on the Billboard 200 list at the time, which for a band like Nile is quite a success. Karl Sanders and the band were simply brilliant on this album.

ISIS
“Wavering Radiant”
Ipecac Recordings

“Wavering Radiant” is the fifth and the last studio album of the brilliant post-metal band ISIS. The band stopped working for only a year after this album came out. This album also brought some freshness into their sound, as they worked more on melodies than ever before. This did not affect the length of the songs and their very recognizable sound. That’s exactly what brought this band very positive reviews the title of best release on multiple lists that year.

REVOCATION
“Existence Is Futile”
Relapse

In our oppinion, the second album by the US technical death metal band REVOCATION was one of the last good twists of this genre. “Existence Is Futile” just destroys everything in its way. Considering the album was recorded by a trio (drum, bass, guitar, and the vocals) you have to respect what they did on these eleven songs. The outstanding production only contributed to the quality of this album overall. With many great riffs, quick rhythms and bass guitar that will shake your kidneys, it is a warm rush for anyone who did not have the opportunity to hear this release even today.

OBSCURA
“Cosmogenesis”
Relapse

As the second studio album in the family of the German death metal band OBSCURA, “Cosmogenesis” brought a lot of great stuff to them. It’s kind of hard to imagine, given the years that came, which were not exactly inclined to this kind of sound. You will be sure that this is a very high-quality edition, among other prizes, and the Death Metal Album of the Year from Loudwire. If you want to hear the true definition of formula when you combine virtuosity and brutality, then this death metal songbook in ten acts is the right thing for you.

HYPOCRISY
“A Taste of Extreme Divinity”
Nuclear Blast

The excellent production of the eleventh studio album of the band HYPOCRISY is not surprising, given that the mastermind of this band is none other than Peter Tägtgren. But excellent production is not the only good side of this album. In the opinion of many critics, this is perhaps the best performance of the band since the band emerged from the death metal into much more melodic. Fantastic guitars, great lyrics and vocals that at one moment do not become tedious to listening are some of the quality of this great board. In fact, “A Taste of Extreme Divinity” has everything a good metal album should have and is not a record that will be heard one and never again.

AMORPHIS
“Skyforger”
Nuclear Blast

“Skyforger” is one of those albums that you listen from beginning to the end. All that characterizes the later phase of the band AMORPHIS is – recognizable guitar (I would say passage) riffs, unique melodies, interesting arrangements and the very recognizable style of singing of Tomi Joutsen. It can be said that “Skyforger” is a culmination of the style through which the band evolved on the albums “Eclipse” and “Silent Waters”. What is perhaps the only drawback of this album is that after him the band too firmly held the same formula, probably inspired by the commercial success of this album. If you ignore this fact, “Skyforger” is an album you will enjoy.

LAMB OF GOD
“Wrath”
Roadrunner Records/EPIC

Although the previous album “Sacrament” was set quite high expectations, the album “Wrath” did not fail at all. The producer’s change after two great albums brought a bit more raw approach to the gig, which was greatly welcomed by this five-legged Richmond. The uncompromising riffs and the killer rhythm section can hear the eleven songs, while those that should definitely be singled out are “In Your Words”, “Fake Messiah”, “Broken Hands” and “Everything To Nothing”. This album is sold in more than 300,000 copies in North America alone for the first two years after its release. It is interesting that the whole process of recording the album could be tracked through their site that streamed the cameras directly from the studio.

DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT
“Addicted”
Hevy Devy/InsideOut

Devin Townsend is someone who, with the help of a rubber band, will easily wipe out every pattern you’re into. With the album “Addicted”, he showed that music genres are an essential illusion and will cover us, music journalist, to make us smart when we write about music. A joke aside, Devy is a dry genius who gave this album ten very powerful songs each telling a fantastic story for themselves. It would be very futile to talk about whether this is his best album, but he is certainly on the list of the best albums in 2009.

BEHEMOTH
“Evangelion”
Metal Blade

When we talk about eccentric polish band BEHEMOTH, it’s harsh to argue will they make a phenomenal album. Nergal and the team managed to completely transfer the atmosphere from the cover of this record – a very solemn, symbolic and disruptive image that will bring to you in all forms evil that is permeated through religion. A very complex approach to the black metal sound that went far from its root, but it still stands firmly on the principles of everything the genre represents. Definitely one of the better albums, at least for the extreme scene.

MEGADETH
“Endgame”
Roadrunner Records

The twelfth studio album of these thrash metal legends is certainly not among their best works, but it is impossible to place it on the list of the best of 2009. Not because there were not so many good albums, but because this album, Dave Mustaine and the team, consolidated their position as a legend of thrash metal. If we look objectively (although we all know it’s an impossible mission), MEGADETH did not have a release that we can say is a complete failure. The production on this album along with Dave was done by none other than Andy Sneap. On this album, you can hear guitarist Chris Broderick for the first time on Megadeth record, while this is the first and last edition played by James LoMenzo, since David Ellefson returned to the band only a few months after the album was released. The themes on this album come inspired by the book “Lord Of The Rings” and the financial crisis that occurred in the 2007-2008 period.

DEVIL’S BLOOD
“The Time Of No Time Evermore”
Van Records

The first album of the Dutch Occult band has simply left everyone breathless. At that time, they picked up mostly positive reviews of the fanzine, what relevant magazines, and so they managed to make a shift from the underground. This is an album that you will not find everywhere on the album lists that were celebrated in 2009, but it would be a sin that this performance is not found on our list. What made “The Time Of No Time Evermore” unique (perhaps even today) is a fantastic combination of psychedelia, metal, rock sound, and occultism.


Since we had a very difficult selection for the TOP 20 metal album for 2009, we have also selected albums that we also think are worth your attention:

KATATONIA – “Night Is the New Day” (Peaceville Records)
CATTLE DECAPITATION – “The Harvest Floor” (Metal Blade)
ARCHITECTS – “Hollow Crown” (Century Media)
OBITUARY – “Darkest Day” (Candlelight Records)

SUIDAKRA – “Crógacht” (SPV/Wacken Records)
LEPROUS – “Tall Poppy Syndrome” (Sensory Records)
ABSU – “Absu” (Candelight Records)
IMPENDING DOOM – “The Serpent Servant” (Facedown)
BRUTAL TRUTH – “Evolution Through Revolution” (Relapse)
OSI – “Blood” (InsideOut)
SUNN O))) – “Monoliths & Dimensions” (Southern Lord)
DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT – “Ki” (HevyDevy)
MARILYN MANSON – “The High End of Low” (Interscope)
DREAM THEATER – “Black Clouds & Silver Linings” (Roadrunner Records)
PARADISE LOST – “Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us” (Century Media)
ARKONA – “Goi, Rode, Goi!” (Napalm Records)

About the author

Marko Ristić

Editor-in-Chief

Contact
marko@hardwiredmagazine.com