Best of 2006!
1. Unearth: III: In the Eyes of Fire (Metal Blade)
All those naysayers plaguing message boards prior to this release have all gone silent. Unearth is the real deal, and this is the most brutal, head banging-worthy album of the year.
2. Trivium: The Crusade (Roadrunner)
Leave it to a bunch of dudes in their early 20’s to resurrect the metal of old. An obvious tribute to Metallica in many ways (vocalist Matt Heafy sounds so much like James Hetfield it’s scary), Trivium have placed themselves nicely in the circle of the truly appreciated.
3. In Flames: Come Clarity (Ferret)
They’ve been at it longer than most, but In Flames consistently releases high quality, imaginative, and savagely heavy records. This release sees them a bit more mainstream-friendly, but it is nevertheless an amazing effort.
4. Mastodon: Blood Mountain (Reprise)
Arguably the most musically talented band on this list, Mastodon answered critics big-time with this, their major label debut. Experimental, often beautiful, and massively heavy, this is an album we will be talking about for years to come.
5. Tool: 10,000 Days (Volcano)
As if anyone thought Tool would lay an egg. 10,000 Days further cements the mystique of Tool but also offers up some of the best riffs of the year.
6. All That Remains: The Fall of Ideals (Razor & Tie)
On the surface it would seem like All That Remains is a standard-issue metalcore band, but The Fall of Ideals should easily place them in the upper echelon of the genre. Fearless and endlessly alluring, this is well worth your time.
7. Killswitch Engage: As Daylight Dies (Roadrunner)
I’m still debating whether or not I like this more than The End of Heartache, but either way Killswitch Engage continues to pave the way in a somewhat evolving metalcore genre. Vocalist Howard Jones is nothing short of a beast and the rest of the band has made significant progressions musically.
8. Thursday: A City by the Light Divided (Island)
Yeah, “Counting 5-4-3-2-1” is ridiculously catchy and is likely to turn off Thursday enthusiasts, but the rest of the album is masterful. It is their best effort to date.
9. Stone Sour: Come What(ever) May (Roadrunner)
The “Slipknot side project” is no longer a side project as far as I’m concerned. Sure, they’ve duped the public with a few ballads, but at its core this is one brutal band. This is the album that proves they are no vanity project.
10. Lacuna Coil: Karmacode (Century Media)
By far their most mainstream effort, but don’t write them off. Karmacode is a great listen and the band can crank it when they feel like it. Plus, Cristina Scabbia’s angelic voice can open the soft spot in any guy’s heart.