[If you don’t remember the name, it’s okay! We’d like to re-introduce former co-editor and occasional contributor of the trve and grim Mitch “Dethcaek” West as he counts down his top 20 albums of 2011, a list that is more unique than any other list you’ll read on the site. Enjoy obscure doom, death, and black metal? This list is for you! – JR]

This sure was a year for new releases. I mean, some stuff came out. Wow! Modern technology sure is crazy. I wasn’t terribly impressed with the quality of doom released this year but I’m also sure a lot passed me by. I skipped out on honorable mentions to give a more strict and focused post containing the best of the best. As the odd man out on this site as far as taste goes, get ready for a thrill ride of stuff you won’t enjoy!

20. Arkham Witch – On Crom’s Mountain

19. Silent Stream of Godless Elegy – Návaz

18. Dopethrone – Dark Foil

17. Herder – Herder

16. Ghoul – Transmission Zero

15. Hammers of Misfortune – 17th Street

14. YOB – Atma

13. Burzum – Fallen

12. Autopsy – Macabre Eternal

11. Blasphemophagher – The III Command of the Absolute Chaos

10. Necros Christos – Doom of the Occult

Doom of the Occult is an atmospheric, dark, and gloomy trudge through the other side of death metal by the masters of the game. It may not top 2007’s Triune Impurity Rites but is a damn fair contender.

9. Blaspherian – Infernal Warriors of Death

Blaspherian are an old school thrill ride through Satan’s layer of awesome riff filled death metal with more fun than you can handle. Certainly nothing new here but some times that’s what needs to be done.

8. Disma – Towards the Megalith

WOW. This album is one of the best death metal albums to come out in a long time. Taking the depths of New York’s death metal scene like Morpheus Descends and Incantation and making it get together with their Stockholm friends gives this album a brutal yet fairly atmospheric feel to it that truly sounds like zombies shambling out of crypts. Look at that damn over art!

7. Cormorant – Dwellings

You should know what this is by now. If you don’t, go listen to it and experience it for yourself. Dwellings provides a more aggressive delivery than their previous release, Metazoa, while being slightly more focused yet just as experimental.

6. 40 Watt Sun – The Inside Room

The Inside Room is the follow up to the cult classic depressive doom metal release Watching From a Distance by Warning. People like myself couldn’t get enough and demanded more. We were given this, and by god is it good. The Inside Room isn’t quite as good as Watching From a Distance, but is by no measure a bad release as I’ve indicated with this high place on my list.

5. Ruined – 맞불놀이

Ruined, or 폐허, are an atmospheric black metal band from somewhere in South Korea. This album is very much early Norwegian goodness. It’s bleak, it’s haunting, and its production is abysmal in the best way possible. Their previous efforts are hard to listen to and messy but this is a gem of an album in a time where SUPER SHINY DIGITAL PRODUCTION ONLY reigns supreme and thanks to the only member, Pyha, we have this awesome piece of ambient ear sex.

4. Witch Mountain – South of Salem

A female fronted delight of traditional doom riffing and a lot of purposefully empty space. This album has such character, I couldn’t resist it.

3. Hades Archer – For the Diabolical Ages

For the Diabolical Ages is the debut album from a band with an EP called “Penis Metal.” Just take that in for a second. Even with the ridiculous aura already surrounding them, Hades Archer are brutal and insane top tier Blasphemy worshiping, aggressive, and hard hitting black metal.

2. Midnight – Satanic Royalty

A trad metal and black metal hybrid with punk sensibilities; Satanic Royalty is awesome music for awesome people who know how to be awesome and partake in lust, filth, and sleaze. This is the feel good version of black metal, and it’s so god damn awesome.

1. Antichrist – Sacrament of Blood

As the title and band name suggest, this album is pure evil. It is Satan’s musical embodiment. It is sacrificing virgins at the altar and drinking their blood. It is glorious. Sacrament of Blood is some of the best metal to come out in years, and definitely one of the best bestial black metal/war metal albums since the inception of the sub-genre with Blasphemy‘s Blood Upon the Altar demo. Like the majority of war metal, this titan comes out of the frostbitten north that is Canada. The album was recorded 16 years ago, and it somewhat shows. For an underground black metal album recorded 16 years ago and mastered and released this year it sounds great. This release is both rifftastic, heavy, not heavy, and insanely evil.  Slap on as many bullet belts, bandoliers, spiked gauntlets, inverted crosses, and gas masks as you can. 2011 is going to war.

– Mitch West


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