Enslaved - Axioma Ethica Odini
- Enslaved is fast becoming the Opeth of the black metal scene. Combining the smooth melodic elements of progressive music with the sheer ferocity and chaos of black metal is no easy feat but that is exactly what Enslaved manage to do with this album. Axioma Ethica Odini is definitely a black metal album with shrieked vocals and tremolo-picking abound but there are plenty of times where it opens up into massive riff-laden sections and guitar work that sound as inspired by David Gilmore as it does of Varg Vikernes. Definitely one of my most played and highest recommended metal albums of last year.
Iron Maiden - The Final Frontier
- It's kind of hard to believe this is the 15th Iron Maiden to date, and from what it sounds like you would almost expect it to have come out back during their Powerslave-era. This is not only one of the best Maiden albums to date but definitely one of the best metal albums of this year. Unlike some of their more recent releases this one has some serious lasting potential. It's incredible to hear an album this good from a band this old, they combine fresh takes on what they've been doing for 30 years with that same in-in-your-face thundering groove, and killer guitar harmonies that can only be Dave Murray and Adrian Smith. Only one song on this record is under five minutes long (The Alchemist) and is probably the most old-school Iron Maiden sounding track. Even that four and a half burst of speed seems to be filtered through the eyes of older wiser Maiden and is followed by a nine minute long prog-metal tour de force. This is also the fourth Iron Maiden that Steve Harris (founder and bass player) has a songwriting credit on every track and it shows but throws some huge curve-balls. It's always been rumored that Iron Maiden intended to make 15 albums and the title of this one (The Final Frontier) has had fans speculating if this is the last Maiden album, only they know and even if it is they are going out swinging.