Wow, pretty great year...up until Lemmy died. Amorphis and Cattle Decapitation released utterly addictive albums, the Vanden Plas release might be their best yet (Goddammit, more people need to listen to them), and Bell Witch dropped a nuclear bomb on the doom crowd, setting a new bar for that whole sub-genre. I saw King Diamond live, shamefully for the first time, but the hands-down best show I witnessed was the aforementioned Bell Witch...who oozed through a flawless set at Oakland Metro Operahouse. I made some cool discoveries in Chapel of Disease, Cretus, and Slugdge, and even Slayer released a good record. My only list regret is that I couldn't quite fit the Children of Bodom album in there somewhere - I think it's really solid; oh well, call it an honorable mention.
As ever, my list is all opinion with no facts, but a couple weeks after putting it together I still feel good about my choice of order. Good fucking year. - Jay