5. Between the Buried and Me - The Parallax II: The Future Sequence
The Parallax II is a follow up full length album to Between the Buried and Me's EP from 2011 entitled The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues. The EP itself was really fucking good, but being only part of the whole concept, it was lacking. Parallax II followed it up excellently. It's prog metal at its best. The pool of influence that BTBAM drew from is impressive, and it's a fantastically technical album.
4. High on Fire - De Vermis Mysteriis
Goddamn. Not only is this my favorite High on Fire album to date, it's also about the Cthulhu Mythos, which is fucking fantastic. De Vermis Mysteriis is one heavy, sludgy album, illustrating Matt Pike's masterage of guitar riffage. I had the added bonus of seeing High on Fire preform some of this live a few months ago, which made it all the better. Despite what I see as an increase in overall sludginess, De Vermis Mysteriis still has all the classic elements of the High on Fire winning formula: pounding drum beats and completely shredding guitar riffs.
3. Gaza - No Absolutes in Human Suffering
My body and my mind were not ready for what I was listening to. I've been a Gaza fan for a few years, not too long, so I grabbed this album at my local record store because I had extra money and I was already there picking up another album from this list. It took me a few weeks to listen to, but I'm very glad I took the time so I could properly listen to it. It is one of the most bleak and misanthropic albums I have ever listened to, and incredibly powerful because of that fact. It's heavy as shit, too, sludge drawing on elements of grind, math, and other metal subgenres. Just, completely fucking heavy.
2. Pig Destroyer - Book Burner
Pig Destroyer is hands down my favorite Grindcore band. Now, I realize that doesn't say a hell of a lot, as I find a lot of grindcore tedious and too similar, but Pig Destroyer does it great. So when I initially heard that Book Burner was coming out as their first release since 2007's phenomenal Phantom Limb, I was excited. And rightly so. Book Burner is every bit as deep and unwaveringly complex as their previous releases, illustrating the talent level of an incredibly talented band (Scott Hull is one of the best guitarists in metal, so I say). It's wicked sharp, and it can cut deep into the bone of any listener. Now, I loved the album, but I do have to say that I enjoyed the EP Blind, Dead, and Bleeding more than anything else, because it was Pig Destroyer covering classic hardcore songs. It was definitely worth the extra money to get the deluxe version just for that.
1. Converge - All We Love We Leave Behind
No contest at number one on this list, and a heavy, heavy contender for my favorite album of the year. I don't even feel like I can adequately do justice to it. Converge is sacred, in my mind, and this is just another canonical text is their bible. All We Love We Leave Behind is more on the melodic side than other Converge albums, but it is by no means tame or predictable; the guitars still shriek and growl, the drums still throw a manic beat, and the bass still pounds incessantly, but most of Jacob Bannon's vocals are a little softer. A little. It's fantastic, and a fantastic addition to their already amazing discography.