5.) Amnis Nihili- Christological Escalation
Already topping my best EP's of 2011, Christological Escalation also brings up the back end of my top Black Metal albums of 2011. This album is just a tour-de-force of dissonant, complex Black Metal. A brilliant EP, and a sign of things to come.
4.) The Best Of The Apocalypse- Henosis
Static choked and slithering to an fro like The Serpent Himself, Henosis takes the well trodden formula of mid-tempo, Doom-y Bestial Black Metal in the vein of Archgoat and Beherit and adds even more layers of inaccessible blasphemy to it, until it becomes too dense to see through. Like a thick fog, Henosis clouds your vision and dampens your senses. It engulfs you in it's misty waves of Satanic splendor.
If you judged this album based solely on it's aesthetic, you might think this is another straight-forward Blasphemy/Revenge worship band. You would be wrong. Goatpenis have put a lot of effort into making themselves stand-out in a crowded Bestial Black Metal scene through inventive songwriting. Sure, they can Blasphemy-worship as well as the next band, and sometimes do. But it's the little details that make Depleted Ammunition special. Sudden bits of melody, complex guitar interplay, sudden tempo shifts. This album takes the Bestial Black Metal formula and does something different with it, and uncommon occurrence in today's scene.
2.) Nightbringer- Hierophany of the Open Grave
Listening to these guys mature over three albums into a force of Orthodox Black Metal, and in my opinion the best Black Metal band in the US today, has been a wild and bloody ride. From the depths of the Colorado wilderness, Hierophany of the Open Grave comes crawling forth, spreading disease and sorrow in it's wake. Dissonant does not even begin to describe this album, and the guitar acrobatics on display are nothing short of astounding. Essential.
1.) Cloak of Altering- The Night Comes Illuminated With Death
Jarring. Haunting. Unhinged. Beautiful. Just a few words that fail to do justice to this masterpiece. This is the Best Metal Album of 2011, hands down. A fully realized concept in hopeful misanthropy. Metal just doesn't get better than this.