We’ve shown you what Raz and Hugh’s albums of the year are, but they’re not the only ones responsible for the Thrash Hits Top 20 Albums of 2011. Oh no. We’ve got a whole load of contributors – writers, photographers, and miscellaneous behind-the-scenes types – that help keep Thrash Hits running smoothly, and the albums they loved the most from 2011 matter just as much as those favoured by the boss men.
Alex Andrews is one of the new writers who started with us in 2011. In addition to being part of the Thrash Hits gang, you can find his work over on Sabotage Times. His bio over there says he “spends too much money on records and beer”, so we knew he’d fit in here just fine.
1. Touché Amoré – Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me
Why Parting the Sea Between Brightness And Me is his album of 2011: It’s rare for a band to improve so much between their first and second albums, but on Parting The Sea…, Touché Amoré have done exactly that. Recorded live to capture the band’s true intensity; the decision to team up with producer Ed Rose turned out to be inspired. His crystal clear production showcases the band’s melodic capabilities in a glorious new light – just listen to the guitars play off each other on the album’s opener. But it’s Jeremy Bolm’s throat shredding vocals and poetic vision which make this record so engaging. His melodramatic confessions and deadpan delivery has inevitably seen naysayers circle hungrily overhead, but not since Give Up The Ghost has a hardcore band sounded so convincing.
2. Joyce Manor – Joyce Manor
3. Our Time Down Here – Last Light
4. Tiger Tail – Demo
5. Drake – Take Care
6. Real Estate – Days
7. Fucked Up – David Comes to Life
8. Basement – I Wish I Could Stay Here
9. Los Campesinos! – Hello Sadness
10. Jay-Z & Kanye West – Watch the Throne
Andy Parker can usually found lurking in the South Coast of England, occasionally with a camera in hand. He’s also the man we turn to when something goes horribly, horribly wrong with the internal technical stuff here at Thrash Hits. He’s a bit of a hero.
1. The James Cleaver Quintet – That Was Then, This Is Now
Why That Was Then, This Is Now is his album of 2011: Sneaking in on the tail end of the year, finally a full album from the south east’s greatest evolutionary tale of the past few years. Already hitting critical acclaim with the press these boys bash out some serious noise live a diverse assault that is perfectly embodied in this debut. One of the only balls out good old fashion heavy rock albums of the last decade. (Click here to read the Thrash Hits review of That Was Then, This Is Now)
2. Palehorse – Soft As Butter; Hard As Ice
3. Heart In Hand – Only Memories
4. iwrestledabearonce – Ruining It For Everybody
5. Veils – Our Enlightenment Is Dead
6. We Came Out Like Tigers – We Came Out Like Tigers
7. This Is Hell – Black Mass
8. Turbowolf – Turbowolf
9. Longshot – III
10. Nazca Lines – Nazca Lines
Ben Gibson managed to escape the clutches of his hometown, Hartlepool, and now takes photos for Thrash Hits and a number of other publications down here in London. Those that follow him on Twitter will know that his greatest achievements are the amount of chicken nuggets he can eat in a single sitting, and just how much his beard can grow now he’s all grown-up.
1. Mastodon – The Hunter
Why The Hunter is his album of 2011: Well, my record of the year is from a band I have never claimed to have liked nor have ever given a proper listen to before (yes I know I am a dick, but we knew that anyway). Anyway, as an album, The Hunter is just stupidly good, full of big bad riffs and enough shouting, but still contains enough hooks and catchy bits to make it just that extra bit memorable. Besides this, the more I listen to it, the faster my beard grows. Mastodon = bigger better beards. (Click here to read the Thrash Hits review of The Hunter)
2. Trap Them – Darker Handcraft
3. Bastions – Hospital Corners
4. Foo Fighters – Wasting Light
5. City and Colour – Little Hell
6. Cult Cinema – Iscariot
7. We Are The Ocean – Go Now and Live
8. This Is Hell – Black Mass
9. Don Broco – Big Fat Smile
10. Dweller – Dweller
David Keevill is another of the new guys we’ve recruited in 2011. By day, he does something complicated and technical regarding music metadata, and by night he scribbles for us here at Thrash Hits, those van-flip aficionados Lambgoat, and those chaps over at Classic Rock Presents Prog.
1. Machine Head – Unto the Locust
Why Unto the Locust is his album of 2011: There was huge anticipation for this release, and it smashed the fuck out of every expectation. Heavy, inventive and often introspective, Unto the Locust broadened Machine Head’s gaze beyond the maelstrom of The Blackening and into more reflective pastures, without losing a shred of intensity. This is an outstanding summation of their craft. (Click here to read the Thrash Hits review of Unto the Locust)
2. Rise Against – Endgame
3. Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows – D.R.U.G.S.
4. Turbowolf – Turbowolf
5. Mastodon – The Hunter
6. Fair to Midland – Arrows & Anchors
7. Opeth – Heritage
8. Black Stone Cherry – Beyond the Deep Blue Sea
9. Rival Sons – Pressure & Time
10. The Answer – Revival
Jon Kerr used to write for us here at Thrash Hits for a long time, but then he stopped and went away because real life got in the way. Then earlier this year, he dropped us an email letting us know he wanted to come back to us, and all was well again. We like stories with happy endings.
1. Amplifier – The Octopus
Why The Octopus is his album of 2011: Extraordinary, special, brave, unrelenting, masterful. The Octopus is nothing if not ambitious: a double album of head-stomping, prog-rock which everyone from Porcupine Tree to Tool, Pink Floyd to Muse, Dream Theatre to Opeth would be proud of – and all of this with no label support (or limitations). The fact that Amplifier even managed to make this album at all stunned me…and this leviathan has been stunning me ever since. (Click here to read the Thrash Hits review of The Octopus)
2. Foo Fighters – Wasting Light
3. And So I Watch You From Afar – Gangs
4. Mastodon – The Hunter
5. Puscifier – Conditions of My Parole
6. ††† – EP †
7. Bastions – Hospital Corners
8. Evile – Five Serpent’s Teeth
9. Chimaira – The Age of Hell
10. Trivium – In Waves
Matt Thomas takes photos for us in the dark and terrifying wasteland that is “The North of England”. Matt likes to take breaks from this land of horror by doing stuff like driving all the way to Mongolia in aid of the charity, Breakthrough Breast Cancer. It’s things like that as to why we let him off when he only nominated five albums for his Best of 2011 list.
1. Trap Them – Darker Handcraft
Why Darker Handcraft is his album of 2011: No question, the most brutal metal album I’ve heard in ages. (Click here to read the Thrash Hits review of Darker Handcraft)
Paul Caudell can usually be found walking about on London’s Holloway Road, marvelling at how impressive his quiff is. He’s also one half of Fount PR, and even nominated one of the acts he PRs for in his Top 10. Normally we’d accuse him of blatant nepotism, but Cyvoid are kickass enough to earn a place on anyone’s Top 10 list regardless.
1. Bastions – Hospital Corners
Why Hospital Corners is his album of 2011: Anyone who has seen Bastions live will tell you of their explosive nature, Hospital Corners captures that perfectly holding all of emotion of their vocalist, Jamie Burne, and their unique guitar sound. (Click here to read the Thrash Hits review of Hospital Corners)
2. Goodtime Boys – Are We Now, Or Have We Ever Been
3. Will Haven – Voir Dire
4. Slabdragger – Regress
5. Wolves Like Us – Late Love
6. Cyvoid – Cyvoid
7. Tom Waits – Bad As Me
8. Trap Them – Darker Handcraft
9. Mastodon – The Hunter
10. Necro Deathmort – Music of Bleak Origin
Ruth Booth is another contributor who started writing for Thrash Hits in 2011. She used to run Rock Midgets but now she uses Thrash Hits as her main outlet to gush about Devin Townsend and James Maynard Keenan to wider audiences everywhere.
1. The Devin Townsend Project – Ghost
Why Ghost is her album of 2011: Out of all the releases due in 2011, my most anticipated had be the two part conclusion to the Devin Townsend Project – and not just for that satisfying rumble in my completionist belly, or the fact I’ve dug the message since his return to music. The idea of releasing a mad-as-two-cats dense record alongside an album of mellow country and ambient tunes is not just what marketeers call “a brave move”. It is, on the surface, a very difficult pair of records to pull off without compromising on one to save the other. That both records are as brilliant as they are is testament to Townsend’s determination and creative instinct, as well as that of those around him. Having been raised on a diet of stage musicals, Pink Floyd, Stravinsky, Enya and Dire Straits, it could have easily been Deconstruction that topped it. It’s a stunning record. However, when it came to choosing between the two, it was no contest. ‘Ghost’ wins hands down. It can wake me up in the morning, help me sleep at night. Yes it’s a mellow record, but it goes to dark places and doesn’t back down. I could pretend, but truth is, from that first siren call of Kat Epple’s flute, my heart was gone. As anyone who caught the live show at the Islington Chapel will confirm, it really is the most beautiful, awe-inspiring record he’s ever produced.
2. The Devin Townsend Project – Deconstruction
3. Kate Bush – 50 Words For Snow
4. Primus – Green Naugahyde
5. Puscifer – Conditions of my Parole
6. Thursday – No Devolución
7. …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead – Tao of the Dead
8. Textures – Dualism
9. Mastodon – The Hunter
10. Ancients – Constellations EP
Tom Dare used to write an awful lot for us here at Thrash Hits – until Terrorizer Magazine picked up on his talents and hired him as their News and Web Editor. It was with a heavy heart that we wished Tom a fond-farewell to a workplace where his power metal tendencies were celebrated, rather than cruelly mocked. However, by our own rules, his contributions to us at the start of the year means he qualifies to spout his opinions here one last time!
1. Altar Of Plagues – Mammal
Why Mammal is his album of 2011: One of the most powerful, honest and grimly hopeless records I’ve ever had the privilege to hear, Mammal is monolithic in its might. It’s bleak, dark, inventive and wonderful, and marks Altar Of Plagues as a voice in extreme music that demands attention. (Click here to read the Thrash Hits review of Mammal)
2. Nightwish – Imaginaerum
3. Primordial – Redemption At The Puritan’s Hand
4. Sólstafir – Svartir Sandar
5. Mastodon – The Hunter
6. Fleshgod Apocalypse – Agony
7. Symphony X – Iconoclast
8. Xerath – II
9. Myrath – Tales Of The Sands
10. Cormorant – Dwellings
Tomas Doyle is the other half of Fount PR, and is the perennially-beardless punk kid whose review of Lower Than Atlantis’ debut album here on Thrash Hits caused an avalanche of butthurt in their fanbase. It even brought about the threat of a headbutt from the band’s frontman, Mike Duce. Don’t worry, they’ve kissed and made-up since then.
1. Defeater – Empty Days and Sleepless Nights
Why Empty Days and Sleepless Nights is his album of 2011: The wave bands have been relentlessly successful this year, producing some of the best records and playing some of the best shows of 2011 and each of them doing so in a ferociously intelligent manner and with powerful integrity. Defeater just pip fellow ‘wavers Pianos Become The Teeth for the top spot this year with an album of muscular yet emotive hardcore offset with four acoustic tracks to soothe a raging heart. It is conceptually wondrous, rich with an overarching narrative that I shan’t spoil here (listen to it to find out!) and is as beautifully conceived as any album of this, or any other year, could hope to be. In a time where so much mediocre hardcore prevails, get this in your ears for a true sense of what this sort of music can mean. A brilliant, brilliant record.
2. Pianos Become the Teeth – The Lack Long After
3. Thrice – Major/Minor
4. Title Fight – Shed
5. Will Haven – Voir Dire
6. The Black Dahlia Murder – Ritual
7. Bastions – Hospital Corners
8. Bangers – Small Pleasures
9. Basement – I Wish I Could Stay Here
10. Lower Than Atlantis – World Record
Tom Gibbons might not be the most recognisable name among our contributors, but he’s a vital cog in the Thrash Hits machine. Without him, none of the sexy videos you see on Thrash Hits would be possible. Imagine a world where you’d never seen Raz have cocks drawn all over his face by Black Veil Brides. Just imagine it.
1. Amplifier – The Octopus
Why The Octopus is his album of 2011: Huge space-prog packed with atmosphere, monster rock riffs, great vocal melodies and superb production. Almost perfect. Goooooooood shit. (Click here to read the Thrash Hits review of The Octopus)
2. Mastodon – The Hunter
3. Sylosis – Edge of the Earth
4. Astrohenge – II
5. Abysmal Dawn – Levelling the Plan of Existence
6. TesseracT – One
7. Anaal Nathrakh – Passion
8. Machine Head – Unto The Locust
9. Origin – Entity
10. Bastions – Hospital Corners