30. Big Business - Mind the Drift: Big Business usually ranks higher than this but 2009 was such a great year. Mind the Drift takes me on a nautical journey every time I hear it. This is almost as close to chill out music as I get. Album highlight: “Cold Lunch” (Bonus track version)
29. Asphyx - Death…The Brutal Way: There is just something about Martin Van Drunen’s voice that makes anything he screams over that much better. Not that this wouldn’t be incredible anyway. Militaristic buzz saw riffing behind the tortured screams of the dying makes Death…The Brutal Way the only way I would want it. Album highlight: Van Drunen's vocal onslaught.
28. Obituary - Darkest Day: Who cares if Obituary is part of the “old guard” of death metal these days? They still destroy eardrums better than most. I just love their classic death metal sound. Circle headbang factor is a 10. Album highlight: “Lost“
27. Nile - I: This is my first experience with Nile and it was a good one. They are able to meld eastern themes and instruments into the brootal without it sounding fake or contrived. First impressions are important. Good show, Nile. Good show. Album highlight: “Kafir!” (mostly for “There is no god!”)
26. Dying Fetus - Descend Into Depravity: Also a first time for me. (My death metal history needs some work) I usually shy away from lots of technicality but not here. It doesn’t take away from the songs the way some other bands do. The bass playing is incredible. Album highlight: "Conceived into Enslavement"
25. Napalm Death - Time Waits For No Slave: What’s not to love? These grind progenitors never fail to impress. I was listening to this in the car with the kids and my daughter says “Daddy, this sounds like you”. If only I were as good as Barney Greenway. Album highlight: "Downbeat Clique"
24. Pestilence - Resurrection Macabre: Yup, another first. If you haven’t guessed by now I’m all over the old school death metal this year. I found myself going back to this one a lot. I don’t really know why but I don’t care why either. Album highlight: “Resurrection Macabre”
23. Doomriders - Darkess Come Alive: There's really a meld of genres here but what really holds it together is the groove. Some people would call it stoner rock but it's better than most of bands that claim that name. Isn't there a guy from Converge in Doomriders? Album highlight: "Come Alive"
22. Shrinebuilder - Shrinebuilder: Shrinebuilder puts the super in supergroups. Members of Neurosis, Sleep/Om, Melvins AND Wino?! Oh yeah. The best part is, they live up to what you would expect. Every member's contribution connects to make the whole something huge. Best supergroup since Down. Album highlight: "Pyramid on the Moon"
21. Agoraphobic Nosebleed - Agorapocalypse: Not a huge fan of Pig Destroyer but definitely a fan of ANb. Maybe I should go back and rediscover PD. Agorapocalypse offers barely controlled chaos and severe vocal aggression.When they aren't at warp speed, they sure can bring the heavy. Album highlight: "Druggernaut Jug Fuck" if only for the name.