It’s the end of the year and you know what that means, right? A whole month of pretentious bloggers telling you which albums you should have listened to. 2011 was a stand out year for metal and music in general. Because of this, coming up with a list of what I found to be the best albums of the year was not an easy task. If you haven’t heard any of these albums for some reason then you need to seriously go check them out. Continue after the jump to find out what my picks for this years top ten EP’s are.
10. Between The Buried and Me - The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues
Between The Buried and Me managed to help me overcome my recent exhaustion with genre-mashing progressive metal with the EP they released this year. I really didn’t enjoy their previous release, The Great Misdirect, but it seems that Parallax has proved that this style of music is much less boring when focused into small doses.
Favorite Track: Lunar Wilderness
09. Cynic – Carbon-Based Anatomy
Prog legends, Cynic, released their first vocorderless album this year and I’mma have to say that It was pretty rad. I figured that with the loss of the staple of their “spacey” sound and the absence of screams that the band would be moving in a different direction. However, Carbon-Based Anatomy maintains the Cynic vibe that we’ve all come to love. My only complaint with the album is that three out of the six songs come off as rushed or like filler material. Even with this slight blemish, Carbon-Based Anatomy, still outshines many of the EPs released in 2011.
Favorite Track: Carbon-Based Anatomy
08. Clinging To The Trees Of A Forest Fire – Visceral
CTTTOAF‘s Visceral was the most amply named album of year. The bands blend of dissonance, sludge, and grind riffs make for a ferocious listen. I can’t really think of too much else to say…. Other than listen to Visceral as loud as possible!
Favorite song: Lower Than Life, High As The Sky
07. Gorod - Transcendence
Gorod‘s Transcendence is the only technical death metal album good enough to make this list. This could possibly be contributed to the lack of Tech Death EPs released this year or just because of how awesome Transcendence really was. The EP is mainly Gorod‘s new take on old classic tracks, however it does have one new 15 minute epic track. I can’t figure out which I like more, the title track or the flamenco version of Earth Pus……
Favorite track: Transcendence
06. Trash Talk - Awake
Awake is the only hardcore / punk album to make the cut this year. Although there were several contenders, after a few spins it is obvious why Awake will garner more listens than the rest. The title track is as catchy as a hardcore song can get and the music video is flat-out awesome. If you are a fan of fast paced hardcore punk then this EP was made for you.
Favorite track: Awake
05. Dionaea - Still
Dionaea is a three-piece technical instrumental band that most of you have never listened to before. It’s understandable considering this is their second release but that needs to change now! These guys may be young but they compose and shred with the likes of Psyopus and Irepress. Dionaea seamlessly weaves complex melodies in with spastic dissonance. Still had potential to be the EP of the year, but sadly (not really), it came up against too many highly anticipated releases to make it.
Favorite track: Same Story (edit: they don’t have Same Story on youtube sooooo just listen to Carrier instead)
04. Glassjaw – Coloring Book
Okay, this should have been obvious… how could anyone get this far into a list of the top ten EPs and not have the new Glassjaw on there. 2011 was a great year for all of us GJ fans. Coloring Book is the first new Glassjaw release in almost a decade. The band went all out DIY and handed out physical copies for free at all of the stops on their early 2011 tour. On Coloring Book, the bands sound is different while staying unabashedly Glassjaw. The songs have a more chill atmosphere, but yet, are much heavier due to Justin Beck‘s usage of a baritone guitar.
Favorite track: Black Nurse
03. Circle Takes The Square - Decompositions Vol. 1: Chapter – Rites Of Initiation
Circle Takes The Square make their triumphant return with an excellent release this year. It’s been seven years since the release of As The Roots Undo and CTTS brings you four new songs that are slower and more focused. Screamo (aka Skramz) made a big comeback in 2011 and Rites Of Initiation was probably the genres best release.
Favorite track: Enter The Narrow Gates
02. Agoraphobic Nosebleed - Make A Joyful Noise
Grindcore superstars Agoraphobic Nosebleed return to a Frozen Corpses Stuff With Dope era sound on their christmas themed Decibel Flexi release. Make A Joyful Noise easily has the best lyrics of anything released in 2011. J. Randall’s tongue in cheek stab at current trends is not only easy to remember but outright funny. Make A Joyful Noise is four minutes of grinding intensity that you don’t wanna sleep on.
Favorite track: The whole album… It’s only four minutes, for fucks sake.
01. Death Grips - Death Grips
No artist or group in 2011 has made as big of an impression on me or gotten more plays in general as Death Grips. This hip-hop album was one of the most challenging things to listen to at first, but then suddenly clicked. It has been in constant rotation ever since. The group broke onto the scene with Zach Hill tweeting about the video for Full Moon (Death Classic). Death Grips self titled EP was just a sample of the unconventional hip-hop madness to come. Later in the year, Death Grips unleashed their first full length, Ex-Military. If you get one EP this year, make sure it is this one. LISTEN TO IT OVER AND OVER AGAIN!! #Deathgrippin
Favorite track: Face Melter (How To Do Impossible Things)
– Josh Huddleston