2011 has been a really difficult period for humanity worldwide and especially here in Greece. The financial crisis is expanding all over the world and we may say that we live a financial war. However, although the world is like a real chaos and everything looks pessimistic, it’s music that breathes out optimism. It’s music that unites us. It’s music that makes us feel better and keeps us strong. 2011 was a really intresting and productive year in general and in this tribute we present you the best 20 albums of 2011 according to Metalpaths’ editors. The final list you’ll find below is consisted of the 20 albums that gained the most points according to the lists of each editor. I’m pretty sure that you’ll disagree with a few, agree with a lot and get surprised with others. So here you are!

No. 20: Nader Sadek – In The Flesh

Nader Sadek is new formed Death Metal band which is constituted by very skilled and experienced musicians. Steve Tucker (ex-Morbid Angel) on vocals, Rune “Blasphemer” Eriksen (Aura Noir, Ava Inferi, ex-Mayhem) on guitar, Flo Mounier (Cryptopsy) on drums and Novy Nowak (ex-Vader, ex-Behemoth) on bass are forming a supergroup by the guidance of an experienced enough musician and the mastermind of the band Nader Sadek. Even the album is no more than thirty minutes; I’m quite sure that as soon as you press “play” you will understand why that album has to be on best albums of 2011 Even our expectations wouldn’t be so high, but this team collaborated perfectly and gave a strong message on death metal community that this band if it keeps up the great job may be one of the best.

Manos Spanos.

No. 19: Textures – Dualism

Insane riffology, weird structuring of music themes, melodic guitars, downbeats, weird beats, death riffs, huge sounds, death grunts and melodic vocals, everything always reaching top performance. After three past releases and some major line-up changes Textures’ come back is out. Gather round your stereo and admire this huge kick in the face of everyone and everything ‘cause my friends “Dualism” is all about history in the making!

Andrew Koran.

No. 18: Orchid – Capricorn

Stongly influenced by Black Sabbath, Orchid brought us the same style with a fresh air. “Capricorn” may have the sound of a 70s band but in a totally modern way making them way ahead any retro band. Basicaly their first album following an also great EP you will certainly enjoy the doomy sounds like in “Black Funeral” and “Electric Father”, the awesome rythmics of “Masters Of It All” and not to forget psychedelic trip with “Albatross”. From the vocals to the guitar riffs or the rythmic section, the sound is strong and tight combining in a doom-progressive ritual. From the begginning to the end an eargasm, like hearing “Master of the Universe” or “Vol. 5” for the first time.

Logan Chevet.

No. 17: Opeth – Heritage

There is no doubt that “Heritage” is an album that divided the fans. The total absence of Mikael Akerfeldt’s ferocious growls drove many away, back to the previous albums. Yes, Opeth’s tenth observation is far from their typical sound, and a bit closer to “Damnation”. They abolished all limits and they let themselves free to experiment. The result is altogether captivating. Instead of progressive death metal, we are dealing with progressive rock, mixed with some heavy arrangements and with some jazzier compositions. Here there might not be the trademark altering between brutal and clean vocals, but the clean ones definitely highlight the eerie music and the mystical soundscapes that Opeth have created. The clue is this· you never know what to expect from Opeth, but until now they have managed to surprise us in the best way.

Stella Papaspyropoulou.

No. 16: Ravencult – Morbid Blood

Greece has a very good black metal scene, that consists of bands that play great and pure black metal. One of these bands is Ravencult and their new record is a proof that this band is here to stay. “Morbid Blood” is an aggressive, furious and energetic album that sticks you to the wall by the time you press the “play” button. Old school black metal at its finest, played as it should be. With passion and purity. The album releases a very rotten atmosphere, which is perfect for this music. You will also find a couple of thrash moments in this record that make it sound even better. I also liked a lot the sound of the album that is dirty and old school. In a few words I would say that “Morbid Blood” is a great album from a band that teaches lessons about how this music should be played.

Panos “Thrasher” Bantzis

No. 15: Graveyard – Hisingen Blues

Obviously inspired by bands such as Black Sabbath, Deep Purple or even Blue Cheer, Graveyard grab you from the present and draw you back in 70’s. “Hisingen Blues” is a blues-rock anthem with a heavy dose of doom elements coming from the heart of the Swedes. Flooded by feelings and retro-vintage attitudes, the awesome production is the hidden ace that makes this record sound so perfect. Songs like “Siren”, “No Good, Mr. Holden”, “Uncomfortably Numb” and the homonym “Hisingen Blues” are my personal favorites of the album. For the fans of 70’s, rocking, dirty, heavy doom sounds, Graveyard is exactly what you are searching for. “I was captive on a slave boat rowing through the swamp they threw me off into the lake of alligators”…yes, “Hisingen Blues” is still on the repeat-mode of my cd-player…

Karagiannidis Panagiotis.

No. 14: Iced Earth – Dystopia

An new era has started for Iced Earth with “Dystopia”. With a new singer in their line up, Iced Earth have finally moved from the standstill they’ve been at for the past years. Stu Block has literally breathed new life in the band. He is an amazing singer and a versatile one, as he can perform perfectly Mat Barlow’s parts as well as Tim Owens’ screams. “Dystopia” is your typical Iced Earth album, and the first two songs could seem as if taken from the “Dark Saga”. Solid sound, catchy tunes and the classic mid-tempo rhythm throughout the album give “Dystopia” its shape, but here and there we can find a few more aggressive parts, as well as a more mellow ballad. All in all, it is a very satisfying album. It’s not a masterpiece and it’s not the best Iced Earth release, but it makes a promise for the future of this great band.

Stella Papaspyropoulou.

No. 13: Leprous – Bilateral

After Leprous’ first full length “Tall Poppy Syndrome” a couple of years ago, “Bilateral” seems to place them in the so called Champions League of progressive rock/metal music genre. In a more relaxed and boundary free enviroment where the less brutal Death metal parts have given space to melodic, rhythmic, intense, theatrical and full of “coloured” and “spicy-flavoured” music that I guess deserves to be heard as one of the most interesting and transcedental albums of the year 2011.

Andrew Koran

No. 12: Ulcerate – The Destroyers of All

Are you bored of listening shitty repetitive releases? Do you want to listen something new fresh and innovative? Surely, your solution to that is Ulcerate! After the devastating “Everthing Is Fire” the New Zealander’s returned unleashing one of the finest musical releases in the extreme sound called “The Destroyers Of All”. Even from the first second you can feel the avant garde paths that the band follows within the album. Obscure aesthetics, chaos oriented rhythms drown every single listener to unknown thoughts and situations for about fifty two minutes of undeniable awesomeness. In this album you can hear some of most clever experimental compositions ever tried in the metal scene. No fucking plastic solos and riffs and monotonous drumming. In fact everything is combined so perfect proving the hard work done. By creating this album, Ulcerate gave birth a whole new chapter in history of the Death Metal scene without loosing one of the most important things ever in music: IDENTITY! So if you aren’t convinced yet with what you’ve read, the only thing remained to do is listening to it because “Actions speak louder than words”!

Vasilis “Lifer” Savvoglou.

No. 11: Symphony X – Iconoclast

I was so sure that ”Iconoclast” will be one off the best albums of 2011, it was evaluated in this tribute . This album will be still in my playlist for longer that I thought. Symphony- x make us love the symphonic progressive metal after a double album full of riffs and melodies and some great choruses which are not forgotten. I think they did the best album of their career in the community of metal, they make us feel the vibe of their album with songs such “When All Is Lost”, full of melodies and harmonies, or full of power like ”Electric Messiah” and “Bastards Of The Machine”, counting also in the incredible solo of ”Dehumanized“.

Marios Arkoulis.

No. 10: Mastodon – The Hunter

I’ve said it all about Mastodon numerous times again and again… I don’t know if there is anything more to say. Mastodon is probably the only band that has not made a bad or even mediocre album so far and the same happens with “The Hunter”. The successor of “Crack The Skye” is a wonderful record which includes all the elements we loved in Mastodon’s music. I’ll copy exactly what I said on my review a few months ago: “Catchy riffs, progressive influences, rock mood, 70’s feeling, psychedelic elements, harsh screams, clean vocals but mostly this veil of mysticism that hypnotizes and travels you to undefined directions.” That’s “The Hunter” !

Karagiannidis Panagiotis.

No. 09: Origin – Entity

Tech-death behemoths Origin create a plethora of crushing riffs, bombarding blast beats, and furious guitar leads. Their fifth full-length album Entity is 11 tracks of fierce technical death metal. Beyond any of this, what truly makes Origin great is that they have their own unique sound, and of course they have their new vocalist. I was shocked when I heard songs like “Saliga” and “Purgatory”, perfects riffs and sound like dynamite, the album targets for all the metalheads of extreme death metal and not only. If you’re in the mood to get battered with some brutal tech-death metal, then Entity will do the trick. An amazing album for all the collections of metal.

Marios Arkoulis

No. 08: Autopsy – Macabre Eternal

Autopsy is back. Real Death Metal is back, too. After 16 years the American extreme Metalers produced an album in a time that crapy Death Metal music comes out or some Death Metal bands have split up. Autopsy did an awesome reunion album, with all the power and brutality that the band members kept all these years, so it is more than respectful for “Macabre Eternal” be in the top albums of the year. Even it is not one of the band’s best albums, it has the same old-school brutality as the band used. “Macabre Eternal” is build upon the previous albums, with all the band’s experience and with a production so clear as it deserves to great Brutal music. It is definitely a killer album, and the fans should be thankful that it kept 2011 brutal. If there is any worry that good Death Metal music is dead, fear not. Autopsy have returned.

Stathis “Sethianus” Ntailianas.

No. 07: Dream Theater – A Dramatic Turn Of Events

This is what I call a hit under the belt. Dream Theater managed this time to close the mouth to any dispute concerning their status as one of the greatest bands of all time. You all know what happened before the album was created. Entering Mike Mangini as their new drummer, they didn’t lose time and they created their best album since ”Train Of Thought” in 2003, maintening the tradition that their first album in each decade is a masterpiece. For me personally, this album was the best of 2011, only behind ”The Destroyers Of All” by Ulcerate. But what is without doubt is that ”Build Me Up, Brake Me Down” was the top song of the year for sure. Dream Theater had to prove this time to theirselves and their fans that they can surpass every obstacle in their way. Not only they did it, but they look willing for much better things in the future. At the current moment, time works in their favour.

Aggelos “Redneck” Katsouras.

No. 06: Amon Amarth – Surtur Rising

3 years after their previous masterpiece, “Twillight Of The Thunder God”, Amon Amarth released their 8th studio album, “Surtur Rising”, an album that will blow your head off! “Surtur Rising” is an album that can be described as a kick in the face. The band has done great work, and they achieved to create a record that contains only killer songs. Amazing riffs, solos and melodies, great rhythm section, and of course Johan Hegg is the usual beast in the vocals, doing great work once again. The album is very heavy, it is full of energy, and Amon Amarth play as there is no tomorrow. Of course the lyrics of the album deal with Norse Mythology. Let me put it this way: “Surtur Rising” makes you wanna go back a lot of years, in the Viking ages, grab your axe, fight until you die, and then feast in Valhalla!

Panos “Thrasher” Bantzis.

No. 05: SepticFlesh – The Great Mass

Three years passed since the latest release “Communion” and Greek death metal gods SepticFlesh are back with an extreme and almost complex full length album. The latest release raised our expectations about what we have to expect and the result was in that high standards. Dark music, mystical lyrics, dynamic riffs, fast blast beats, the perfection of symphonic music merges with the grooved guitar sound and the perfect combination of brutal with clean vocals are composing a spectacular album and for sure one of the best of 2011. As an addition the Philharmonic Orchestra of Prague is back again like in Communion giving a much more uncanny and spooky feeling. Finally, in the artwork Seth Siro Anton presents us a self-destructing God who’s demolished by his own creation, Human. Eventually, “Does God wants to die?”

Manos Spanos.

No. 04: Obscura – Omnivium

The shock after 2009’s “Cosmogenesis” maybe was not enough for everybody, “Omnivium” vanished every single small doubt about how BIG they can really get in 2011.Are you disappointed with the new Morbid Angel crap loosing all your faith for some really good Death Metal? If yes the only thing remaining to do is checking out the song “Ocean Gateways” and you will understand exactly why. For the opened minded ones, in this album you can distinguish happily the band being influenced from huge BEASTS of the Death Metal scene, but not be astonished to if you find sounds the music word from Dream Theater to Meshuggah. The rhythm section of one more time perfect proving how much talented musicians they are and also the ability to combine all this innovative ideas and rhythms. The production is as clear as it can ever be giving the chance to every single instrument to be heard even the HUGE complicity and difficulty of the songs.Based on Friedrich Schelling’s ”On Nature’s Connection To The Spirit World” Obscura offered the best Death Metal achievable in 2011 so CHECK IT OUT!

Vasilis “Lifer” Savvoglou

No. 03: Primordial – Redemption at the Puritan’s Hand

Easily the most unique metal band out there, Primordial are a genre on their own. No other band can produce music that is so simplistic yet possesses such depth and feeling and always manage with each subsequent release to offer something no less than excellent without repeating themselves. “Redemption at the Puritan’s Hand” is of course no exception, and although it is not quite on par with the bands previous masterpieces “The Gathering Wilderness” and “To the Nameless Dead”, the fact that it is a Primordial album automatically makes it priceless. Anthems such as “No Grave Deep Enough” and “Bloodied Yet Unbowed” are definite proof to this, and are here to remind us that really powerful music is not simply about unrelenting brutality or sheer technicality, but about pure heartfelt and honest emotion.

Alexandros Kalfakis.

No. 02: Vader – Welcome to the Morbid Reich

The Polish death metallers come back with possibly their greatest album since 2000’s classic “Litany”. The quality of the band is well known to everybody, and “Welcome to the Morbid Reich” finds Vader at their most technically accomplished and balanced. Musically it is a continuation of the style found on their previous record “Necropolis”, with many groovy riffs and prominent use of keyboards to create a majestic atmosphere. There aren’t many surprises to be found on this album, just plain skull crushing death metal with enough diversity to not make it sound monotonous from a band that has been a driving force in the genre for many, many years.

Alexandros Kalfakis.

No. 01: Machine Head – Unto The Locust (2001)

Four and a half years after a crushing album like ”The Blackening”, Machine Head showed the whole world what it means to have guts. They didn’t fall in the trap of repeating themselves and they created an album that looks its predecessor in the eyes and takes them a step further. On the seven songs of ”Unto The Locust”, you will find the renewed Machine Head of the new decade and seven crushing songs that will keep your neck working its circular way non-stop. They got really late this time but it was definitely worth the wait. Robb Flynn is more mature than ever in his singing and his rest three companions reach a great level of musicianship that redefines what heavy and metal means. Surely an album that will set the standards for the future of this music. Who dares looking Machine Head in the eyes? Not much I guess. Otherwise, they will smash their faces in a massive wall of concrete.

Aggelos “Redneck” Katsouras.

Alexandros Kalfakis
01. Primordial – Redemption at the Puritan’s Hand
02. Vader – Welcome to the Morbid Reich
03. Iced Earth – Dystopia
04. Krisiun – The Great Execution
05. Moonsorrow – Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleiden Maassa
06. Septic Flesh – The Great Mass
07. Amon Amarth – Surtur Rising
08. Machine Head – Unto the Locust
09. Belphegor – Blood Magick Necromance
10. Anaal Nathrakh – Passion
11. Wolves in the Throne Room – Celestial Lineage
12. Thulcandra – Under a Frozen Sun
13. Ulcerate – The Destroyers of All
14. Mournful Congregation – The Book of Kings
15. Chthonic – Takasago Army
16. Ravencult – Morbid Blood
17. Megadeth – Thirteen
18. Origin – Entity
19. Hate Eternal – Phoenix Amongst the Ashes
20. Morbid Angel – Illud Divinum Insanus

Aggelos “Redneck” Katsouras
01. Ulcerate – The Destroyers Of All
02. Dream Theater – A Dramatic Turn Of Events
03. Obscura – Omnivium
04. Vader – Welcome To The Morbid Reich
05. Redemption – This Mortal Coil
06. Septicflesh – ”The Great Mass
07. Origin – Entity
08. Lock Up – ‘Necropolis Transparent
09. Arch/Matheos Sympathetic Resonance
10. Ravencult – Morbid Blood
11. Wino – Adrift
12. Machine Head – Unto The Locust
13. Mastodon – The Hunter
14. Riot – Immortal Soul
15. Leprous – Bilateral
16. Abysmal Dawn – Leveling The Plane Of Existence
17. Symphony X – Iconoclast
18. Autopsy – Macabre Eternal
19. Iced Earth – Dystopia
20. While Heaven Wept – Fear Of Infinity

Stella Papaspyropoulou
01. Dream Theater – A Dramatic Turn Of Events
02. Symphony X – Iconoclast
03. Opeth – Heritage
04. Primordial – Redemption At The Puritan’s Hand
05. Machine Head – Unto The Locust
06. Mayan – Quarterpast
07. Vader – Welcome To The Morbid Reich
08. Ghost Brigade – Until Fear No Longer Defines Us
09. Septicflesh – The Great Mass
10. Pentagram – Last Rites
11. Vallenfyre – A Fragile King
12. Blood Ceremony – Living With The Ancients
13. Leprous – Bilateral
14. Wolves In The Throne Room – Celestial Lineage
15. Ravencult – Morbid Blood
16. Hell – Human Remains
17. Mastodon – The Hunter
18. Wolverine – Communication Lost
19. Iced Earth – Dystopia
20. Arch Enemy – Khaos Legions

Marios Arkoulis
01. Machine Head – Into the locust
02.  Autopsy –  ”Macabre Eternal”
03. Symphony X – Iconoclast
04. Dream Theater – A dramatic turn of events
05. Vektor – Outer isalotion
06.  Havok -Time is up
07. Obscura – Omnivium
08. Iced Earth – Dystopia
09. Amon Amarth – Surtur rising
10. Opeth – Heritage
11. Origin – Entity
12. Megadeth – Thirteen
13. Arch  Matheos  – Sympathetic resonance
14. Legion of the Damned – Descent into chaos
15. Ghost – Opus eponymous
16. Burzum – Fallen
17. Mortal Sin – Psychology of death
18. Enslaved – Axioma  ethica odini
19. Blotted Science –  Animation of entomology
20. Septic  Flesh – The great mass

Panagiotis Karagiannidis
01. Machine Head – Unto The Locust
02. Mastodon – The Hunter
03. Graveyard – Hisingen Blues
04. Primordial – Redemption At The Puritans Hand
05. Leprous – Bilateral
06. The Haunted – Unseen
07. Obscura – Omnivium
08. Ulcerate – The Destroyers Of All
09. Textures – Dualism
10. Shining – VII: Fodd Forlorare
11. Wolves In The Throne Room – Two Hunters
12. Opeth – Heritage
13. Planet Of Zeus – Macho Libre
14. Doomsword – Eternal Battle
15. Solstafir – Svartir Sandar
16. While Heaven Wept – Fear Of Infinity
17. Iced Earth – Dystopia
18. Amon Amarth – Surtur Rising
19. Megadeth – Th1rt3en
20. Cavalera Conspiracy – Blunt Force Trauma

Panos “Thraser” Bantzis
01. Amon Amarth – Surtur Rising
02. Korpiklaani – Ukon Wacka
03. Doomsword – The Eternal Battle
04. Agnostic Front – My Life My Way
05. Manilla Road – Playground Of The Damned
06. Destruction – Day Of Reckoning
07. Megadeth – Th1rt3en
08. Saxon – Call To Arms
09. Hate Eternal – Phoenix Amongst The Ashes
10. Havok – Time Is Up
11. Vader – Welcome To The Morbid Reich
12. Artillery – My Blood
13. Toxic Holocaust – Conjure And Command
14. Alestorm – Back Through Time
15. Onslaught – Sounds Of Violence
16. Ravencult – Morbid Blood
17. Burzum – Fallen
18. Crowbar – Sever The Wicked Hand
19. Hell – Human Remains
20. Lock Up – Necropolis Transparent

Andrew Koran
01. Textures – Duality
02. Obscura – Omnivium
03. Orchid – Capricorn
04. Graveyard – Hisingen Blues
05. Septicflesh – The Great Mass
06. Mastodon – The Hunter
07. Anaal Nathrakh – Passion
08. Ghost brigade – Until Fear No Longer Defines Us
09. Leprous – Bilateral
10. Symphony X – Iconoclast
11. TesseracT – One
12. The Devin Townsend Project – Deconstruction
13. The Haunted – Unseen
14. Fleshgod Apocalypse – Agony
15. Between The Buried And Me – Parallax
16. My Dying Bride – The Barghest O’ Whitby
17. Primus – Green Naugahyde
18. Machine Head – Unto The Locust
19. Portrait – Crimen Laesae Majestatis Divinae
20. Steven Wilson – Grace For Drowning

Logan Chevet
01. Samsara Blues Experiment – Revelation & Mystery
02. Orchid – Capricorn
03. Scott Weinrich – Adrift
04. Karma To Burn – V
05. Graveyard – Hisingen Blues
06. The Bliss – Gabbatha
07. Mastodon – The Hunter
08. Machine Head – Unto the Locust
09. The Atomic Bitchwax – The Local Fuzz
10. Long Distance Calling – Long Distance Calling
11. Lord 13 – 2013
12. The Cosmic Dead – Psychonaut
13. Black Tusk – Set The Dial
14. Premonition 13 – 13
15. Pentagram – Last Rites
16. Dopethrone – Dark Foil
17. Crowbar – Sever the Wicked Hand
18. Yob – Atma
19. Primordial – Redemption At The Puritans Hand
20. Earth – Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light I

Vasilis “Lifer” Savvoglou
01. Ulcerate – The Destroyers Of All
02. Autopsy – Macabre Eternal
03. Obscura – Omnivium
04. Lock Up – Necropolis Transparent
04. Origin – Entity
05. Decapitated – Carnival is Forever
06. Vader – Welcome To The Morbid Reich
07. Septicflesh – The Great Mass
08. Nader Sadek – In The Flesh
09. Mitochondrion – Parasignosis
10. Blut Aus Nord – The Desanctification
11. Ravencult – Morbid Blood
12. Primordial – Redemption At The Puritans Hand
13. Sarabante – Remnants
14. Morne – Asylum
15. Machine Head – Locust
16. Textures – Dualism
17. Mastodon – The Hunter
18. Yob – Atma
19. Vomitory – Opus Mortis VIII
20. Amon Amarth – Surtur Rising

Stathis “Sethianus” Ntailianas
01. Primordial – Redemption At the Puritan’s Hand –
02. Taake – Noregs Vaapen
03. Machine Head – Locust –
04. Tsjuder – Legion Helvete
05. Iced Earth – Dystopia –
06. Insomnium – One For Sorrow
07. Kampfar – Mare
08. Amon Amarth – Surtur Rising –
09. Vreid – V
10. Legion Of The Damned – Descent Into Chaos
11. Vader – Welcome To The Morbid Reich –
12. Autopsy – Macabre Eternal
13. Lake Of Tears – Illwill
14. Belphegor – Blood Magick Necromance
15. Decapitated – Carnival Is Forever
16. Wolves In The Throne Room – Celestial Lineage
17. Krisiun – The Great Execution
18. Septic Flesh – The Great Mass –
19. Before The Dawn – Deathstar Rising
20. Amorphis – The Beginning Of Times

Manos Spanos
01. Primordial – Redemption At the Puritan’s Hand
02. Leprous – Bilateral
03. Machine Head – Locust
04. Obscura – Omnivium
05. Dream Theater – A Dramatic Turn Of Events
06. Origin – Entity
07. Septic Flesh – The Great Mass
08. Vader – Welcome To The Morbid Reich
09. Amon Amarth – Surtur Rising
10. Symphony X – Iconoclast
11. Ravencult – Morbid Blood
12. Mayan – Quarterpast
13. Wolves In The Throne Room – Celestial Lineage
14. Belphegor – Blood Magick Necromance
15. Nader Sadek – In The Flesh
16. Necrophagia – Deathtrip 69
17. Believer – Transhuman
18. Wolverine – Communication Lost
19. Shining – Fodd Forlorare
20. The Haunted – Unseen