Posted by: Rites of Patches | January 3, 2010

10 Best Albums of 2009

2009 will be remembered for many things, most of them negative. For now at least, 2009 will be remembered as one of those blank years of an unpopular war, another year of economic troubles, and the year that a bunch of people we’ve never met from movies died and everyone cared for some inexplicable reason. Now to be fair, there are plenty of reasons, but I won’t continue to damage my faith in humanity by thinking about it any deeper.

However, I will remember 2009 as the year that rock and metal got back to kicking ass. If you read my review from last year, you know that I thought that 2008’s rock music was sorely lacking. In retrospect, I’m a genius because I was dead on. I messed up on a few albums to be sure – it was damn near criminal to leave Trivium’s Shogun off my list when In This Moment occupied the number two spot. However, 2008 was only a shadow of the twenty must-have albums of 2007.

In 2009, rock and metal got back on track. So, it with great pleasure and an overinflated sense of self that I present to you the 10 Best Rock and Metal Albums of 2009.

12. FlyleafMemento Mori

Yes, there are twelve albums on this top ten list. I suppose I could have cut a couple albums from the list, but I also could have not cared. Guess which one I chose. This is as solid an album as came out this year. It’s more a streamlining of the sound on their self-titled debut than a revolution, but that’s what a sophomore effort is all about. And this one does not disappoint.

11. Collective SoulCollective Soul (Rabbit)

I’ll admit that I wrote Collective Soul off after their awful Afterwards album, but they bounced back with their best album since 2000’s Blender. Ed Roland proves that he is still one of the better vocalists in rock. This is just a flat-out fun album to which to listen. And that’s what a good Collective Soul album is all about.

10. …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of DeadThe Century of Self

These guys (Ed Note: I don’t feel like typing there entire name, even though at this point it would have just been shorter to write their name instead of this stream of consciousness explanation) are on my short list of bands that I love that I can’t really figure out why I love them. It’s artsy. It’s indie. It’s pretentious as hell. But you can’t question their musical talent or that fact that Century of Self is an incredible album.

9. DredgThe Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion

I fell in love with these guys when I saw them live last year. This album’s not a barnburner or particularly technically complex, but it delivers. The songs are catchy and presented against one of the most unique backdrops I’ve heard from a band. Although this album is more straight-forward than Catch Without Arms, it still has the incredibly thick sonic textures that have become Dredg’s trademark.

8. MegadethEndgame

I may have become a prog snob, but I can still appreciate a great metal album when I hear one. This album is not art. It’s a sonic size twelve boot in the ass. And it’s great. Chris Broderick proved to be a fantastic choice to take over as guitarist alongside the eternally snarling Dave Mustaine.

7. Killswitch EngageKillswitch Engage

I don’t know why KsE decided they needed a second self-titled album, especially when this one isn’t much of a musical reinvention by any stretch of the imagination. That said, KsE still delivers incredible music, fantastic lyrics, and another dose of the most soulful vocals in music today. That said, I’d like a little more evolution in the next album.


6. Dream TheaterBlack Clouds & Silver Linings

I think I beat this dead horse pretty badly right after the album came out. I’ll let you read it below. The album is prog-metal perfection and a return to form for Dream Theater. My only complaint lies with the lyrics. I listen to Hurt, Killswitch Engage, and Redemption. You’re not cutting it lyrically anymore, boys.


5. 3Revisions

might be the most radical departure on this list from any band’s previous album. Their last two albums were progressive, flamenco-influenced rock. This album slides back to their earlier material, which was much more jazz-infused. The reasoning should be obvious since several of the songs are “revisions” of tracks on their first couple albums. On the whole, Revisions is a smooth and infectious album.

4. Anubis GateThe Detached

This album is about as good as progressive power metal gets. I haven’t had a lot of interest in fantasy lyrics since I got off of my Dio kick six years ago, but great music never goes out of style. Every song leads directly into the next and there’s really no song you can skip. “A Lifetime to Share” also bears the distinction of being the only song with any auto-tuning that I don’t despise.


3. HurtGoodbye to the Machine

I’ve said about all there is to say about this album. J. Loren Wince pours every bit of himself into every song, and once again, the results are another masterpiece. Do yourself a favor and get this album.


2. RedemptionSnowfall on Judgment Day

This is easily my favorite album of the year. Just like their last two albums, Snowfall is complex and technically brilliant. “Walls” is a perfect slice of progressive metal. However, the best part about Redemption is the lyrics. I still haven’t found out who writes the lyrics, but they are perfect. Some people might find the phrasing or vocabulary too complex, but I’ve never heard lyrics as intelligent and moving. And they are perfectly complimented by the music. Every song on the album is brilliant, beautiful, and tragic.

1. RiversideAnno Domino High Definition

This is not my favorite album of the year. I’ve been listening to Snowfall on Judgment Day pretty much nonstop for the last month and Goodbye to the Machine has a handful of songs that skip past my ears and go directly to my soul. However, this is the best album of the year. Five songs, all of them seamlessly blending into each other in an album that contains all the best pieces of every progressive sub-genre out there. There is no skippable song on this album. The scary part is that the exact same thing is true for all three of their previous albums. Riverside might be the best band out there right now.

Dishonorable Mention:

Between the Buried and MeThe Great Misdirect: This is probably an album I will regret placing here a year from now. It’s a better album than many on this list, but I was expecting a heck of a lot more from this album after the musical triumph of Colors.

Breaking BenjaminDear Agony: Has more hits than misses, but it’s still Phobia II. Evolve or die, guys. I’m giving you one more album. I love you. Don’t mess this up.

Alice in ChainsBlack Gives Way to Blue: A solid outing. Not worthy of inclusion, but worthy of mention.

Heaven and HellThe Devil You Know: Thanks for the effort guys, but I’ll stick to the album Heaven and Hell.

As usual, I’m always interested in anything I missed. I’m more interested in hearing how amazing I am, but telling me how much I suck is an acceptable substitute.


  1. […] my objectivity and have allowed for some criminally good albums to slip out of the top ten. Last year, I had Between the Buried and Me’s The Great Misdirect at 13 or 14 when it clearly deserved 4 or […]

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