Willie
Trey Spencer
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Last Active 04-16-14 6:06 am
Joined 07-09-07

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 Lists
04.03.14 Willie's Q1 Listens 11.26.13 Willie's Top 50 Of 2013
11.09.11 Willie's Top 50 Of 2011 07.09.11 Willie Turns 4
02.21.11 Willie's Essentials 01.21.11 Users' Best Of The Decade
12.13.10 Willie's 2010 - Finalized 12.10.10 Omitted from the final list
11.22.10 Top 20 Explained 09.09.10 Underrated Albums
07.09.10 Willie Turns 306.15.10 Willie's 90 For The 90s
06.08.10 Willie's Decade List01.18.10 Willie's Guide To Industrial
07.10.09 Willie Turns 208.20.08 100 Reviews

Willie's Top 50 Of 2011

So, this is my finalized list for the year unless anybody has some last minute rec's (or something is released in the next few weeks).
1Arch / Matheos
Sympathetic Resonance


Definitely one of my more anticipated releases and it didn't end up failing to impress. This all-star line-up features current and ex-members of Fates Warning including their original vocalist, John Arch. The music, though, is unlike anything they've ever done previously. It's proggy, chaotic, and heavy without ever sounding like your typical progressive metal circle jerk. Also, John Arch hasn't lost a step vocally speaking, and their new drummer makes Dream Theater's new drummer look like the boring, uninspired player he really might be.
2The Jezabels
Prisoner


It's hard to describe this album without gushing. To me, it has elements of early Killing Joke and The Cure wrapped in an alternative container. Their vocalist, is awesome and she has a pretty unique style. The music, too, is cool because almost every song seems to build towards a crescendo that brings all the different elements together in one dense finale.
3Florence and the Machine
Ceremonials


I had never heard this band before (as far as I know), so this was definitely a surprise. Powerful female vocals, electronics and pop mix together to create a pretty compelling style.
4Believer
Transhuman


Believer have been doing the technical thrash thing (on and off) since the late eighties and they've always managed to progress their sound with each album, but they've never really experimented with their vocals -- on this album they do both. They've dropped a lot of their thrash influence for a more ridgid progressive metal approach that sounds lonely and dispondent. The vocals are also much more accessible than they've ever been in the past. Definitely a defining album for the band.
5Sarah Fimm
Near Infinite Possibility


Sarah has been making music for a few years, and it has all been building towards this. It takes the emotional atmospherics of her trip-hop origins and pushes the indie/alt. rock leanings of the last few releases into a whole new territory for her. This is the sound of Sarah's most complete release, featuring a full band that rounds out her songs very nicely.
6Eisley
The Valley


Eisley are one of the best bands to listen to when you just want to relax. Their safe, non-abrasive style of harmonzied indie pop is hard to match and it will catch you off guard with its infectious melodies and crooning vocals courtesy of the DuPree sisters.
7Vanessa Carlton
Rabbits on the Run


Vanessa Carlton has finally grown up.She has traded the cutesy pop of her previous albums for a more personal, band-oriented direction. Kind of reminds me of a Slightly melancholy version of Eisley, but with her own style attached.
8NeraNature
Foresting Wounds


Most people have probably never heard of the black metal band Darzamat, and you're not missing anything. The female vocalist and guitarist for this band are also in Darzamat, but you'd never know. This is no-frills prog metal in the vein of mid-era Queensryche or Fates Warning, and it is awesome. Nera's vocals are clear and powerful and the backing music straddles the line between heavy and accessible, while playing around with subtle prog influences. The whole thing combines to create an atmopsheric, emotional and very catchy release that should be checked out.
9Insomnium
One for Sorrow


With most of the big name melodic death metal bands abandoning the genre or just getting boring, Insomnium is probably one of the premeire melodic death metal bands these days. Although they've never been known for stepping outside of their comfort zone, they've finally done enough with this release to make it entertaining and their level of songwriting and melody creation has been stepped up considerably.
10Funeral For a Friend
Welcome Home Armageddon


FFaF have finally got their balls back! This is a pretty good cross between "Casually Dressed" and "Hours", but with much more of an aggressive edge than either of those albums. This is probably my favorite FFaF album to date.
11Necro Facility
Wintermute


What would happen if a band took the dark industrial sounds of Skinny Puppy at their peak and mixed them with the sound of Depeche Mode in their heyday? This album. Dark electronics and harsh vocals blend with electro melodies and catchy choruses (featuring some very capable clean singing).
12Within Temptation
The Unforgiving


Within Temptation have been accused of being an Evanescence clone, and that's not entirely inaccurate. The thing is that this album blows the new Evanescence album out of the water and it does so without being a complete rip-off. Fans of their over-the-top symphonic style will be upset to learn that the band have finally throttled that shit back, but the result is one of the band's most compelling releases.
13Arkan
Salam


This band is kind of a one-trick pony, but it's a pretty good trick. They mix death metal music and vocals with a prominent middle eastern influence that also includes some pretty cool female vocals. Like I said, they know one trick and they just perform variations of it on each song, but it's a pretty cool trick.
14Medeia
Abandon All


This is raw, brutal, semi-technical death metal with a few strange WTF? moments scattered throughout.
15 Primordial
Redemption at the Puritans Hand


This is the first Primordial album that I've liked since "Storm Before Calm". It's still basically the same unique take on folky black metal-ish music that the band have always done, but the songs are stronger and there are some pretty cool moments on here (especially the one-two punch of the first two tracks).
16Left Spine Down
Caution


Take the surf punk of The Offspring's "Ignition" and mix it with a bit of an electro-industrial undercurrent and you end up with this album. It's kind of a fun, mindless take on the mix with a few interesting extra's such as the subtle Brand New influence in a few places.
17Nervecell
Psychogenocide


This is another semi-technical death metal band, but with a twist. Instead of taking their technical influences from bands like Obscura, they seem to come straight from Nevermore's best stuff. It's a cool twist and kind of makes the album.
18Redemption
This Mortal Coil


Redemption are probably one of the better progressive metal bands, because they manage to do what Dream Theater cannot -- showcase their talents, maintain a constant metal vibe (well, that went away with Mike Portnoy), but still put the songs first. They feature Fates Warning's current vocalist, Ray Alder and come back with an album that is darker, grittier and heavier than anything they've done previously.
19Russian Circles
Empros


This was a late addition to my list, but it has stuck with me since I first listened to it. To me it sounds like instrumental post metal with just enough of a melodic post rock influence to keep it memorable from beginning to end, while occasionally bludgioning you over the head.
20Natalie Walker
Spark


Natalie Walker began here career as the vocalist for Trip Hop band Daughter Darling, but they only released one album before she left. Her first solo album was basically trip-hop too, but her second one was much more poppy. Thank fully this one moves a little closer to trip hop while still maintaining the poppy undercurrent.
21Fair to Midland
Arrows and Anchors


Fair to Miland's previous album was one of my favorites, but they seemed to lose something on this release. Don't get me wrong, their quirky mash-up of prog and alt. rock is still really good when they're on, but the increased emphasis on heaviness seems to have caused them to lose the ability to deliver unique, yet catchy melodies that could stick with you for days.With that being said, still a very solid release.
22Wolves in the Throne Room
Celestial Lineage


One of the only black metal bands that are still releasing albums that I enjoy. I don't know if there's too much difference between this and previous releases, but it's definitely another solid slab of atmopsheric black metal.
23Ariel Abshire
Still So New


She has a very endearing voice that I can't get enough of. The music is a nice blend of country, folk, pop and just a hint of indie pop.
24Maybeshewill
I Was Here for a Moment, Then I was Gone


I've always appreciated the post rock bands that could deliver a full listening experience without resorting to long drawn-out songs, and this is one of those bands that can. It doesn't hurt that their music is very melodic, but also more energetic than your average post rock band. It keeps your attention from beginning to end.
25Acylum
Karzinom


This is dark, disturbing industrial. The best way to describe this is that it's like being trapped in the mind of a serial killer. From the jarring samples of people screaming in pain, to spoken word sections discussing random fucked up topics -- it's here. it's not as dense and opppressive as their previous album, but it is still guaranteed to make the average person very uncomfortable.
26Last Winter
The Heart and the Broken Compass


Imagine Hoobastank (back when they were decent) with a bit of "Hours"-era Funeral For a Friend and you've got this album. Very good alt. metal with the occasional cool musical flourish, and it's pretty damn catchy.
27Before the Rain
Frail


Solid funeral doom with excellent melodies, harsh growls and even some decent clean singing in places. Kind of reminds me Mourning Beloveth's "A Disease for the Ages" album.
28Meniscus
War of Currents


It's good post rock with songs that don't ever get too long or lull you to sleep long before the crescendo pops up. Kind of a gritty release that stays a bit heavier than a lot of what I've heard.
29Deadlock
Bizarro World


A lot of their longtime fans hate this album, but I'm not a longtime fan. This is basically mainstream female fronted metal (Lacuna Coil-ish) with a metalcore edge that includes the growled vocals. The vocals are all really good and the choruses are totally infectious.
30Rise Against
Endgame


Rise Against return to their roots just enough to make this another excellent punk album in their discography.
31The Devin Townsend Project
Ghost


This is easily the most mellow thing that Devin Townsend has ever done. It's like he took the chill, lush sections of Terria and expanded them into an entire album, and how can that be bad? The answer is that it's not.
32While Heaven Wept
Fear of Infinity


These guys just keep getting better and better. They're a traditional style doom band similar to Candlemass or Solitude Aeturnus, but with songs that always seem to be very catchy. This particular album ups the ante by taking on a bit of a black metal influence in places.
33 Draconian
A Rose for the Apocolypse


Great doom band featuring growled male vocals and sung female vocals.It's not as instant as the previous releases, but it also seems to have more replay value because of it.
34*Shels
Plains of the Purple Buffalo


Post rock with a orchestral infuence and a harsh edge due to the 'vocals'. Good stuff.
35Dream Theater
A Dramatic Turn of Events


The band return to the prog style that made Images & Words and Awake so good, but forget to get a drummer that isn't boring as fuck. Still good, but missing that cool percussive element.
36Amorphis
The Beginning of Times


Their new vocalist seemed to re-energize them and cause them to embrace a bit of the metal/death influences of their past, but three albums in they kind of sounded bored again. This is a step back in the right direction with the folk influenced, prog metal style that made a lot of their best albums what they were. Not nearly as two-dimensional as the previous release.
37Septic Flesh
The Great Mass


Yeah, orchestral death metal might sound like the worst thing since Korn and dubstep, but this is pretty damn good. The cool thing is that the orchestral influences don't override the heaviness or the riffy goodness.
38Hope For the Dying
Dissimulation


Very bombastic technical metalcore with growls, clean singing and a fuck-ton of keyboards. It can border on cheesy from time to time, but it never crosses that line (very often).
39In the Nursery
Blind Sound


Modern classical pieces that also make use of an abundance of percussive elements and gothy clean singing.
40Samael
Lux Mundi


Samael drop the huge industrial influence and go back to the sound that made "Passage" a classic. It's rhythmic black metal with an industrial infuence that has been throttled back compared to the last few releases.
41Blink-182
Neighborhoods


Boo hoo. It sounds like this and doesn't sound like that and they're old now, and is it still cool to enjoy this? Who cares? It's blink meets AvA and +44, and those are all good bands.
42Anthrax
Worship Music


Anthrax get Joey back and release a great modern metal album, with more than a hint of the band's peak sound. Too bad they can't keep up the excellence of the first few tracks for the whole album.
43States
Room to Run


Australia's answer to Eisley? I don't know, but they sound pretty damn close except that these guys (and girl) are a bit more diverse and upbeat.
44Red
Until We Have Faces


Everyone's most favorite Linkin Park-influenced band tries to get heavier and loses some of the solid songwriting in the process. Still good, but lacking a but in the music and choruses compared to before.
45Universum
Mortuus Machina


Melodic death metal or metalcore? Don't know, maybe a bit of both. To me, this album sounds like what Still Remains could have done with their second album if they had stuck with the direction of their debut. Catchy, melodic, keyboard augmented metalcore...
46Angelspit
Hello My Name Is


This electro/industrial band has always been someone I thought that I should like, but never have. That changed with this album because they finally delivered some strong, memorable beats and they augmented the electro-punk, sloganistic vocals with some decent melodies and music that doesn't feel like an afterthought.
47New Found Glory
Radiosurgery


Standard pop punk can't be on a top albums list? Yeah, fuck you too.
48Skinny Puppy
Handover


Come see the softer side of Skinny Puppy. Seriously, they've dropped a majority of the dissonance for chill tracks that are heavy on the ambience and electronic melodies. It's a grower for sure (like five or six listens, at least) but eventually it should stick and things will start to stand out.
49In Flames
Sounds of a Playground Fading


In Flames will never go back to their melodic death metal roots, but at least they're finally getting better with this modern metal direction that they keep chipping away at. The vocal are still questionable at times, but mostly they're good and the music is really good.
50The Human Abstract
Digital Veil


More technical metalcore, but with a strange vibe running through it. Every time I scroll past it in iTunes I ignore it, but everytime I hear a song randomly and then throw on the whole album, it's awesome.
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