This is not a purely metal list, just records that really stuck out for me in 2011.
1. The Kills - Blood Pressures - Ridiculously sensual, bluesy, diva-esque. This record is exquisite.
2. Pentagram - Last Rites - Groovy doom goodness. Metal in its most classic form.
3. Foo Fighters - Wasting Light - The first Foo album I've ever enjoyed. Undeniable hooks.
4. Mastodon - The Hunter - Far more loose than its predecessor, love hearing their Southern roots come to the forefront.
5. Red Fang - Murder the Mountains - Red Fang's refinement and hook-laden compositions continue to impress.
6. Cave In - White Silence - A perfect balance of their primal and prog sounds. Can't wait for more.
7. Hail!Hornet - Disperse the Curse - This supergroup of Southern-fried crustcore vets is better than your average vanity side project.
8. Revocation - Chaos of Forms - Blistering; riff-tastic with refined production.
9. YOB - Atma - Earthy, rapturous, rumbling doom metal.
10. The Duke Spirit - Bruiser - Clearly I have a thing for sultry sounding female-fronted bands from the UK.
11. Tombs - Path of Totality - Believe the hype.
Pretty Damn Good (in no particular order):
400 Blows - Sickness and Health
Deafheaven - Roads to Judah
This is Hell - Black Mass
Trapped Under Ice - Big Kiss Goodnight
Hank III - Ghost to a Ghost
Evile - Five Serpent's Teeth
Black Tusk - Set the Dial
Skeletonwitch - Forever Abomination
Fuck the Facts - Die Miserable
Brutal Truth - End Time
Touche Amore - Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me
Krallice - Diotima
Trap Them - Darker Handcraft
Black Dahlia Murder - Ritual
Beth Ditto - EP
Bitch is awesome. The Be My Slave & Damnation Alley reissues that Metal Blade put out kicked my ass. Raw & rotten, just the way I like it.
Ridiculous Guilty Pleasures:
Britney Spears - Femme Fatale
Vampires Everywhere! - Kiss the Sun Goodbye
Pitbull - Planet Pit
Landmine Marathon - Gallows
Young Widows - In and Out of Youth and Lightness
Not Into It:
Hammers of Misfortune - 17th Street- Not my steez at all. It sounds like RenFaire music.
Opeth - Heritage - Not into jazz fusion.
Ghost - Opus Eponymous - Not really into Blue Oyster Cult.
Didn't Bother Listening To:
Metallica & Lou Reed - Lulu - Not a single note. Not a single preview.
Anthrax - Worship Music
Haven't Had a Chance to Listen To Yet:
Negative Plane - Stained Glass Revelations
Mournful Congregation - The Book of Kings
Black Keys - El Camino
The Atlas Moth - An Ache for a Distance*
TV on the Radio - Nine Types of Light
Okkervil River - Your Past Life as a Blast
*Blame the NYC earthquake.