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Bring Back Glam! Picks the Best Straight Metal Albums of 2009

As promised, today we’ll look at the top straight metal releases of 2009. Yeah, I can flip from Poison, to Mayhem, to Britney Spears to Alison Krauss to Goatwhore without missing a beat. Don’t hate. These records rule and you should own them – even if you don’t like it particularly heavy, give props for the artistry. Here’s the list of seven because there wasn’t even 10 straight metal albums I liked enough to write about. I think 2008 was better for straight metal, but every other critic is gushing at how great the year has been, so be it. With that, my top seven:

07. Megadeth – Endgame
06. Heaven and Hell –  The Devil You Know
05. Slayer – World Painted Blood
04. Goatwhore – Carving Out the Eyes of God
03. Saxon – Into the Labyrinth
02. Queensryche - American Soldier
01. Alice in Chains – Black Gives Way to Blue

Notice Mastodon isn’t here. I don’t dislike Mastodon. I’ve never met the band, never interviewed them, have nothing against them. I guess I just didn’t like Crack the Skye as much as every other metal writer on the planet. Sometimes it takes some major cojones to break from the pack. It seems like every list I saw also hated the new Queensryche, but not me. I think the Seattle band regrouped with American Soldier and made one of their best albums since Mindcrime. Opinions make the world ‘go round I guess.

What say you?

Tomorrow, a look back at the music of the decade.

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Reader Comments (15)

I applaud limiting the list to only what was great. I think this points out that we are in a lull with timing where a lot came out in 2008 that has carried on in 2009.
I was kind of surprised that things like Shinedown, Tesla, Slipknot, Crue, Disturbed, Linkin Park were actually older than I thought, since they are still being played so much.

Where does Creed fit? Pretty amazing guitar playing my Mark Tremonti once again. Even if you don't like his singers, Mark has always delivered and kept the elusive guitar solo alive and well on record and in person.
December 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenternirVrana
I did love the new Megadeth, and the new Saxon. The new QR was also good. I didn't really get into the Slayer, b/c they sucked so bad live. I don't like AiC. I don't think they are metal, but that's fine. The issue really is, I don't think they are any good. Was this new CD somehow better than all the stuff they wrote before, or just more of the same ?
December 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
I'm really not a fan of any of the cds on ur list but 1, thats just my opinion. But i have to agree that Alice In Chains new album was AMAZING!
December 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMotleyCrue666
Another great cd though that wasn't on either of your lists was Three Days Grace - Life Starts Now.
Amazing album all the way through.
December 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMotleyCrue666
I'm curious as to how you define "straight metal." I haven't listened to the new Alice in Chains because I can't really stand their old material, and didn't like the first single. But I would not consider that metal at all. Hard rock, sure. But not metal.

Same with Queensryche. I wouldn't call them metal.

Megadeth and Heaven & Hell were both awesome albums, and both on my top 10 list for 2009.
December 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJT
I don't define Queensryche or Alice in Chains as metal -- they are pretty much straight ahead rock to me. But that's just a personal opinion. Regardless, there are a few other metal-ish albums that I've really enjoyed from 2009.

Hatebreed - Hatebreed
Five Finger Death Punch - War is the Answer
Gallows - Grey Britain

(Gallows is probably more punk than metal, but it's still really heavy and really frickin' great)
December 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbryon
Jerry Cantrell is definitely a metal guitarist even if the music backing him isn't always
December 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPat
I love Cantrell, I think he is phenomenal. I could never stand Staley's voice, and I don't think the new guy (based on the 1 song I heard) is any better. Cantrell's solo songs are much more to my liking.
December 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJT
Wow! No love for herman frank - Loyal to None? that album is friggin' brilliant! and, if we're gonna talk thrash metal releases, Sacrifice's comeback balbum - The Ones I Condemn chew up slayer's and Megadeth's new albums, spit them out, stomp on them repeatedly then flush them down the toilet of mediocrity.
December 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBob
Seriously? I don't care who you ranked where but you couldn't find more than 7 metal albums in 2009?

The most glaring obvious miss is 'Wrath' by Lamb of God
and then you have:
'Pray for Vilians' - Devildriver
'Liebe ist fur Alle da' - Rammstein
'Evangelion' - Behemoth
'Skyforger' - Amorphis

as well as new albums by lesser known bands like Municipal Waste, Swallow the Sun and Shrinebuilder. And if you're not worried about being not that metal you forgot the new Clutch and the new Them Crooked Vultures.
December 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjustgotwicked
Great list ! But I would put Megadeth at no.2 "Endgame" is the best Megadeth album since Peace Sells.

For me Alice in Chains is metal, it is not conventional metal, but still is more metal than any other genre.
December 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPeter
dont forget about w.a.s.p babylon. If you have not heard it, you need too. It is great!!!!
December 18, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdale schmucker
Kudos to you Allyson for crowning the new Alice In Chains as your #1 metal album of the year. They have always been my favorite band, and no matter how anyone 'categorizes' them, they certainly rock hard.

I approached this new CD with trepidation, as I was a huge fan of Layne Staley, and thought he was irreplacable. Wisely, AIC kept both their trademark harmonies and great guitar licks (both courtesy of Jerry Cantrell) intact on the new disc, and they also found a new singer who not only sounds a bit like Layne, but can also actually SING.

Whether you are a fan of AIC or not, listen to "Black Gives Way to Blue". It certainly blows away a lot of what passes for "rock music" these days...
December 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGator
Alice in chains is grunge not metal, think H&H should be a little higher up though. no anvil, HA!
December 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterShadow
Five of your seven made my Top 40: Megadeth, Slayer, Heaven & Hell, Saxon & Queensryche.

I thought Queensryche made a solid record, a bit mellow but they are a totally different band from back in the early '80s. The Saxon & H&H albums were excellent and made my Top 10.

As far as Mastodon.....they are an acquired taste. I like them and I just started getting into them on their last record. You have to really pay attention to their music because there is a lot going on.

Heavy Metal Addiction
January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRhodeislandrock

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