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The Best Metal Albums of 2011 List

Best Rock Albums 2011 List

By: Zeezee Dawson

Well, I have to say that 2011 was easily one of the best years for metal music in general in a long time. Awesome prog from bands like DREAM THEATER, VOYAGER and WHILE HEAVEN WEPT, great thrash from stalwarts like MACHINE HEAD, ANTHRAX and MEGADETH, interesting power metal releases from ICED EARTH, STRATOVARIUS and POWER QUEST, and some really, really good heavier stuff from ARCH ENEMY, DEICIDE, SCAR SYMMETRY and PRIMORDIAL. Phew, and that’s just from the top twenty or so, not to mention a whole heap of other great shit too!!


Fear of Infinity

While Heaven Wept

Fear of Infinity (2011)

Words cannot describe just how much this album impacted me personally. The music is a perfect combination of slow and brooding doom metal with traditional metal elements and power metal/progressive metal vocals. The lyrics are intriguing and genuinely chilling, the musicianship is stellar and the overall sound of the album can only be described as EPIC!! I’m as surprised as anybody to find this one on the top of my 2011 metal list, but what can I say…It’s brilliant.

The Meaning of I


The Meaning of I (2011)

VOYAGER have for a long time, been close to my favorite Aussie prog band, but now with the release of the simply stunning THE MEANING OF I they have gone straight to number one. This is one of the best and most unique progressive metal albums I’ve heard in a long time and deserves to be right up in the top are of this list.

Unto the Locust

Machine Head

Unto the Locust (2011)

I really didn’t expect much from MACHINE HEAD after THE BLACKENING. Yes, they are one of my favorite bands but I was pretty sure that it would have been impossible to successfully follow an album like that, but you know what, with UNTO THE LOCUST they bloody pulled it off….those brilliant bastards!!


Iced Earth

Dystopia (2011)

How could this album possibly NOT end up in my tep ten this year!!!!!  After yet another member change, and the second-time loss of Matt Barlow, ICED EARTH simply shouldn’t still be this good…. But for some reason they have managed to craft one of the best albums of their entire career…..Put it this way…. It’s in my top 3 ICED EARTH albums!

Back Through Time


Back Through Time (2011)

Yeah that’s right…So What!!  I really don’t care how much flack these guys cop from the general metal listening public, I think they are a great band with a great gimmick and they write some of the most fun and enjoyable tunes I’ve ever heard. I thought their previous album was a bit of a let-down, but happy to say that BACK THROUGH TIME finds them in fine, fine form!

A Dramatic Turn of Events

Dream Theater

A Dramatic Turn of Events (2011)

How easy it could have been from DREAM THEATER to simply disappear into oblivion after the ugly departure of Mike Portnoy, but instead they regrouped, hired an awesome drummer in Mike Mangini and have released one of their most enjoyable albums on over a decade. A bit less heavy than the last few but much more melody and some truly great prog rock songs!


Astral Doors

Jerusalem (2011)

I really wish I could have found a higher spot on this list for JERUSALEM, in truth it really is top ten material. Regardless of that though, ASTRAL DOORS have released one of THE essential shopping list items for Traditional Metal fans this year and all who are interested in the genre should certainly be getting their hands on a copy pronto….Go on then what are ya waiting for?….

Redemption at the Puritan's Hand


Redemption at the Puritan’s Hand (2011)

PRIMORDIAL are one of those bands that just demand attention every time they release a new album. REDEMPTION may just be their best ans most complete effort yet and it’s epic soundscapes are perfect for a session with headphones. The black metal elements are toned down a bit more again this time around and the band just sound better for it.

Outer Isolation


Outer Isolation (2011)

Okay, so OUTER ISOLATION didn’t quite have as much impact on me as VEKTOR’S previous masterpiece BLACK FUTURE, but still, this has to be one of the best Thrash Metal related releases of 2011 by a long way! Maybe it’s because I miss VOIVOD so much and these guys seem to fill that gap just perfectly.



Th1rt3en (2011)

Okay, so I guess this album could have been better, made evident by Mustain’s ability to still craft triple A albums like THE SYSTEM HAS FAILED and ENDGAME, but let’s just be grateful that these guys are still pumping out fully listenable metal and not releasing ass-dripping like METALLICA’S latest effort LULU.

American Capitalist

Five Finger Death Punch

American Capitalist (2011)

Yep, Modern Metal, Groove Metal, Mall Metal…….Call it whatever ya bloody well want, AMERICAN CAPITALIST is simply a great metal album that deserves some serious recognition. The melodic side of 5FDP is much improved this time around and the lyrics are some of the best the genre has ever seen. Well done!!!

Khaos Legions

Arch Enemy

Khaos Legions (2011)

I’ve been a fan of these guys for a fair while now and always expect for their albums to be amazing. KHAOS LEGIONS doesn’t disappoint and is yet another highlight album in their career. I liked this one a tiny bit less than the slightly more melodic previous album, but still….This is one of the best death metal releases of the year easily.

The Unseen Empire

Scar Symmetry

The Unseen Empire (2011)

If for some reason you are yet to hear this modern day masterpiece, drop what you’re doing right now and go and get yourself a copy. This is the band’s best work to date and had enough to keep all metal fans happy. i’m sure there’s still some amazing releases set for 2011, but for the time being I find it unlikely that an album will come along and push this one off top spot.



Elysium (2011)

A great return to form by a band that a lot of people had written off due to the 2009 release POLARIS. Whilst that album wasn’t terrible it surely didn’t meet the standard expected from STRATOVARIUS. ELYSIUM rights everything that was wrong and is truly a stellar power metal album in all regards and worthy of a very high placing on this list.  Also, how cool is that cover artwork!?!


Protest the Hero

Scurrilous (2011)

Yeah I know haters are gonna hate and all that crap, but you know what, I don’t give a damn!!! This is one of the most interesting albums I’ve heard in years and one that truly deserves it’s high placing on my list. As the band have gone on they have shed the metalcore elements and now have a very unique sound that merges alternative rock and progressive metal. Recommended to any and all…



Mahayuga (2011)

MAHAYUGA is one of the most interesting death metal albums I’ve heard in a long time and certainly deserves a place very high up on this list! A perfect mix of brutality, melody, technicality and class. Fans of bands like ORPHANED LAND should check this one out right away….

To Hell With God


To Hell With God (2011)

finally DEICIDE release an album worthy of the legacy of their earlier stuff. I know a lot of people don’t like this band and think that their lyrics and song subject matter are too cheesy, but i’m old-school and have waited a long time for another awesome DEICIDE album, and TO HELL WITH GOD is their best release in over a decade.

Never Be Tamed


Never Be Tamed (2011)

Absolutely friggen’ brilliant!!!! The way these guys manage to take SYMPHONY X and DREAM THEATER type progressive metal and then infuse elements of melodic metal, power metal, traditional heavy metal and NWOBHM is amazing. This is progressive metal music that still remembers to aim for the MUSIC side of things first then add the impressive PROGRESSIVE elements.

Blood Alliance

Power Quest

Blood Alliance (2011)

How good is it to finally have a Power Quest album up in the top section of a best of list for once. We all know that this band just never quite had the goods to be great, but now with a whole new slew of band members, and keyboardist Steve Williams realizing that the guitars need to be more prominent everything had finally fallen into place. Some really awesome songs to be found here and one of my favorites for 2011 for sure. Also, check out that mad-ass artwork!!!

Age of the Joker


Age of the Joker (2011)

I feel sorry for the old-school EDGUY fans that refuse to listen to their newer material, the fact is that AGE OF THE JOKER is a great album and is close to the best thing they have ever released. Plenty of variation to the melodic metal formula, just enough tongue-in-cheek humor and some of the best vocals Tobias Sammet has ever thrown down a microphone..

Eye on the Sky


Eye on the Sky (2011)

What a surprisingly awesome release this one is. Featuring members from BURNING POINT, POISON BLACK and MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP, STARGAZERY are a true super-group of European metal. A very traditional metal sounding album with just enough symphonic metal, power metal and melodic rock to make a very interesting concoction and one of the true highlights of 2011.



The End of All You Know (2011)

This is hands down the best album the boys from Aussie metallers FRANKENBOK have ever come up with. Earlier attempts tried to throw a slight layer of cheese and humor to ill effect, but now they have a great meaty groove metal backbone and a though as all shit vocal sound that has a alight Aussie accent too….Awesome!!



MyGrain (2011)

A very good take on the modern Gothenburg melodeath style. Nothing really new here but what is here is catchy and brutal at the same time. One of the better albums in the style that i’ve heard for quite a while and one that will stay in my rotation for a while yet…

Stand Up and Fight


Stand Up and Fight (2011)

STAND UP AND FIGHT is officially the single most finest release to ever come out of the whole BATTLE METAL sub-genre and clearly the best TURISAS album so far. This is going to be one of my favorite albums of the year because each song is a killer and from start to stop it’s a very fun experience.

Day of Reckoning


Day of Reckoning (2011)

The best DESTRUCTION album in about fifteen years and a real reminded of why they were so popular in days gone by. I found six or seven real keepers here, and for a genre like thrash metal that’s a pretty fair amount of keepers from one album, a lot of thrash bands are lucky to have six or seven songs in their whole discography that a true keepers. Well done DESTRUCTION, what address should i send the doctor’s bill for my snapped neck to?

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