2009 Records of the Year: Honourable Mentions

December 9, 2009

The top ten are coming soon, but first I wanted to post some other records that didn’t make the cut for whatever reason. These are in alphabetical order, so don’t look into the listing too much.
Algernon Cadwallader – Hot Green

One of the reasons this is just an honourable mention is because it’s only three songs, just an EP. Clocking in at just eight minutes in length, Hot Green captures Algernon’s sound perfectly, clearly born out of inspiration by the Kinsella clan. If you’re a fan of Cap’n Jazz, and that noodly indie/emo-punk sound, this is definitely something you’d enjoy. Hopefully another full length is on its way.
Note: The title of this thing is confusing me, as sometimes it’s referred to as “Fun”, others as “Hot Green”, so take that for what it’s worth.
Alice in Chains – Black Gives Way to Blue

This was one of the most pleasant surprises of the year for me. After not releasing a new studio album since the death of lead singer Layne Staley, I was a bit worried at how this one would turn out. I think Jerry Cantrell really proves that he is the heart of this band, as this record is full of great songs, including some moments that recall earlier era tracks. The new singer fits in perfectly, and the trademark harmonies are in full force. We’ve waited 14 years for a new studio album, but unlike Axl Rose, Alice in Chains delivers.
Azarath – Praise the Beast

What is it about Poland that lends itself to great brutal death metal? From the land of Behemoth come Azarath, another band who play an extreme satanic (cries of “Hail Lucifer!” included), brutal brand of death metal. This thing is heavy, with punishing drums and scizophrenic guitars that jump from pounding riffs to high pitched squeals. The only downside to this style is that it can get kind of hard to endure after awhile, but aside from that, it’s a quality death metal release that some people might have missed, so I feel the need to mention it.
Devin Townsend Project – Ki

I’ll start out by saying I really enjoyed this album. In fact, I might have put it in the top 10, but I feel it’s unfair putting two albums by the same guy in the top (foreshadowing!). That being said, Devin Townsend is two things, a musical genius and a very generous man. He’s currently in the process of releasing a string of four albums, the first two of which came out this year, the third on it’s way. Ki is a unique turn for the man so associated with loud, angry music like his Strapping Young Lad output. This instead is almost a controlled rage, with some nice mellow pieces interlaced with occasional outbursts that show the other side is still there.
Immortal – All Shall Fall

Ridiculous music videos aside, Immortal are probably one of the most consistent black metal acts still going today. Consistency is what All Shall Fall is all about, continuing in the vein of the previous record Sons of Northern Darkness. This album further explores the more thrashy side, and this time throws in lots of frenetic solos. One can only assume Abbath is channeling Venom here. The only reason I keep this as an honourable mention is due to the fact that it lacks the great memorable riffs that I found on Sons.
Mastodon – Crack the Skye

Mastodon have always exhibited some prog elements to their style of metal, but with Crack the Skye it takes precedence over anything else. There’s complex, winding songs with mostly clean vocals, a far cry from some of the agressive tones of previous albums. I can’t say I was a massive fan initially, but after relistening to it I am definitely enjoying it much more.
mc chris – Part Six

With the release of three EPs this year and a compilation of remixes, mc chris is anything but lazy. What I’ve dubbed Part Six includes three “parts”, short EPs with seven songs each. Each one contains some quality songs, including the joyfully vulgar Part One with “Awesome Fucker” and “006”. I still think “Japanese Maid” from Part Two would be a huge hit in dance clubs, and all three albums are tied together with the skits we’ve come to expect on an mc release. All of this seems to be leading to a full length release in 2010, and if these parts are any indication we should be in for a treat.
Snowing – Fuck Your Emotional Bullshit

Formed from members the now dead Street Smart Cyclist (also an awesome band) Snowing employ the noodly guitar work like Algernon Cadwallader, but have a more focused punk edge. The vocals are rough and ragged, and the subject matter a bit more depressing compared to the fairly upbeat Street Smart songs that preceded this. Still, this EP is a great dose of energetic, raw emo influenced punk, and I look forward to a full length release.

Well there you go. My final top ten list, complete with numbers and everything will be posted eventually, as I feel eventually is the best time to do everything.

– D

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