The Top 5 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2008

Posted: November 22, 2008 by jerkmag in BLARE -- music
Tags: , , , , , , , ,


2008 has been a pretty good year in the world of hard rock and heavy metal.  Since this will be my final actual post for the semester, I can’t take into account the albums that are yet to come out (Chinese Democracy drops tomorrow!).  I will also admit that I haven’t purchased a copy of Mudvayne‘s The New Game, which came out on November 18th.  I have heard their latest single “Do What You Do” though, which is just…okay.  Anyways, read on for my top 5 hard rock/heavy metal albums of 2008…

5) (The) Melvins – Nude With Boots


(The) Melvins followed up their 2007 release (A) Senile Animal with Nude With Boots, another tried and true Melvins release, full of three part vocal harmonies, experimental percussion, and King Buzzo’s unique riffage.  Sample “The Kicking Machine,” “The Smiling Cobra,” and the title track for the best of Nude With Boots.

4) The Sword – Gods of the Earth


Texas’ own The Sword make a thunderous return with their second studio album Gods of the Earth.  After their critically acclaimed debut Age of Winters, the quartet brought their sound to new heights with thrashers like “Fire Lances of the Ancient Hypherzephyrians” and groovers like “Maiden, Mother & Crone,” and “To Take the Black.”

3) ASG – Win Us Over


In a time when music is saturated with the same old chord progressions, North Carolina group ASG (short for the Amplification of Self – Gratification) is helping to bring back the almighty riff.  “Low End Insight” and “The Dull Blade” have undeniable hooks, and “Glow” and “Palm Springs” bring punk intensity with pop sensibility, but don’t forget about more psychedelic numbers like “Right Before Death” and the Fireball Minstry-esque “Ballad of Richard K.”

2) Slipknot – All Hope Is Gone


Say what you will about Slipknot‘s status as the new “Hot Topic” fad, but the band is extremely talented and features one of the best drummers (Joey Jordison) in the game, and perhaps one of the great rock singers of our generation (Corey Taylor).  All Hope Is Gone combines the heaviness of their earlier records with the more melodic style of Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses.  The Iowa 9-piece is extremely versatile – they can get technical on “Gematria (The Killing Name),” write big choruses on “Sulfur” and “Psychosocial,” but aren’t afraid to go acoustic on “Snuff.”

1) Metallica – Death Magnetic


In perhaps one of the most highly anticipated releases of the year in all of music, Metallica has finally delivered after being in what was widely considered to be the shit hole of St. Anger, and further back Reload and Load.  Complex arrangements are back.  Solos are back.  Metallica is back.  Every track on Death Magnetic rips.  The band revisits their heavier past with songs like “That Was Just Your Life” and “My Apocalypse,” but still retain a certain originality that keeps them relevant; however, they aren’t afraid to go back to their Black days with “Cyanide” and “Broken, Beat & Scarred.”  The band’s songwriting really shines on “The End of the Line,” and “Judas Kiss,” but be sure not to skip over their latest single “All Nightmare Long,” ballads “The Day That Never Comes” and “Unforgiven III” or the longest instrumental the band has ever done “Suicide & Redemption.”  


Honorable Mentions (in no particular order):

Testament – The Formation of Damnation

A solid release from one of thrash metal’s finest.

First single – “More Than Meets The Eye

AC/DC – Black Ice

Sure it’s the same, but it’s AC/DC.

First single – “Rock ‘N Roll Train

Motorhead – Motorizer


First single – “Rock Out


Have a good Thanksgiving!

~Bill McMillan

  1. noelle says:

    melvins are cool but as for slipnot and metalica, i’d like to see more hard rock music I haven’t already heard tons about.

  2. I says:

    I presume you haven’t heard the latest from Scar Symmetry or Mercenary. 10X better than Slipnot. You will change your mind should these two outings reach your ears.

  3. jerkmag says:

    I just checked those dudes out…The instrumental stuff was cool but the vocals turned me off…

  4. gearsofrock says:

    Thank goodness, Metallica didn’t blow it with “Death Magnetic.” I almost walked myself into oncoming traffic after the release of “St Anger.” That was not cool of them. “Magnetic” is a great metal record and helped put Hard Music back on the map.

  5. Saajin says:

    I just thought I’d mention the GLARING oversight of the actual best Metal album of ’08-not that you’d know Metal from a hole in the ground (AKA Death Magnetic [ I pity you if you think that’s even music ], but fans and critics [ even most of the stupid critics {AKA ‘Blender} agree that “Watershed” from Swedish Masterminds OPETH is THE Metal album of 0ught eight.
    You’re a tool!

  6. jerkmag says:

    Opeth is cool, but I just didn’t like the album as much as the five that are up here. This isn’t a definitive list, it’s my list for my top hard rock/heavy metal albums of 2008. It’s hard to take people that say Metallica sucks seriously. Give me a break dude. It’s been getting great reviews all over the place and the band continues to sell out places around the world. Let me know when Opeth becomes one of the most influential metal bands in history…

  7. Stoner says:

    I Dont understand it…why does everyone dislike St. Anger?

  8. Beansprout says:

    Because St. Anger sucked. Big time. With the exception of St. Anger the song-full song,not the radio edit, which also sucked.

  9. BobocNicolae says:

    Slipknot are not worthy of nr.2
    And where’s BlackIce.

  10. jerkmag says:

    If not 2, at least the top 5 – that album ripped from start to finish. Black Ice was on honorable mentions – I can’t put an album that is a rehashing of every other AC/DC album in the top 5. I don’t care that they do that cause they’re still fun to listen to, but they’re old news now.

    P.S. Mastodon rules!!!

  11. Mike says:

    your list is horrendous…end of story…Metallica? yah, they used to rule, they still suck no matter how much you want them to be relevant again, sorry…slipknot…are you serious? All Hope is Gone was a good title…All hope that they will ever release another half-decent album is GONE…try these (many of which you have either never heard of or have just lousy tastes…either way I forgive you)…

    Opeth: Watershed
    Esoteric: The Maniacal Veil
    Doom: VS: Dead Words Speak
    Withered: Folie Circulairie
    Ayat : Six Years of Dormant Hatred
    Coldworld: Meloncholie2
    Darkspace: Darkspace III
    Arghoslent: Hornets of the Pogrom
    Necrovation: Breed Deadness Blood
    Daylight Dies: Lost to the Living
    Elite: We Own the Mountains
    Manilla Road: Voyager
    Krisiun: Southern Storm
    Arsis: We are the Nightmare
    Ataraxie: Anhedonie
    Forefather: Steadfast
    Meshuggah: Obzen
    Skepticism: Alloy
    Decrepit Birth: Diminishing Between Worlds
    Amon Amarth: Twilight of the Thunder God
    Bison B.C.: Quiet Earth
    Elder: Elder
    Enslaved: Vertebrae
    Intronaut: Prehistoricisms
    Iron Thrones: Visons of Light
    Nachtmystium: Assassisns: Blask Meddle Pt. 1
    Soilent Green, Warrel Dane, and Sylosis and tons more I don’t have the time to look up…your top five is useless, lame and Irrelavant in the extreme.

  12. Mike says:

    you mention that Metallica must be good since “they’ve been getting good reviews all over the place”…well the problem with that is they are all like you, people who are giving them good reviews ONLY because of wishful thinking…it is the first album from a band everyone used to worship that does not totally suck, so they are giving them great reviews out of past love, not current relevance…if the same material had come from a new band nobody had ever heard of, it would get SHIT reviews, end of story…if you say “not so” you are in complete and total denial. Get over Metallica, and move on for fuck’s sake.

  13. Mike says:

    I think you are a person with good intentions, but that you just don’t realize all the amazing metal out there that is pushing the genre and making stellar new music…I won’t make an annoying list for you, I just ask that you check out all the music on this link made by guys who love metal and listen to all the most obscure and relevant stuff that you might have missed otherwise…please at least check out all this stuff before you make your 2009 list…enjoy…

  14. Liam says:

    Mike, not sure what you’re trying to prove by listing all those bands. It looks like you’re trying to overcompensate for your utter falseness by listing every band you know. You spent 45 minutes writing three responses to a post that was written 9 months ago. Either you’re 13, or you’re a loser. This is not a metal site and this list is not meant to pander to your highfalutin, elitist tastes. It’s a list of heavy music that non-metalheads can appreciate.

    You seem to have pretty good taste in metal, and I like all the stuff you’ve listed that I’ve listened to. But climb back on your high horse, ride home to your mom’s basement, and start popping your zits.

  15. For the record, “We are the Nightmare” is NOT Arsis’ best record by a long shot. Good calls with Decrepit Birth and Amon Amarth though.

    (This post is really old and still getting comments. Cool!)

  16. bmac2799 says:


    Hello. I’m the guy that wrote this post a year ago.

    I’m not going to argue with you about my list. You have your tastes and I have mine.

    And you’re right. There’s no possible way that I could listen to every single hard rock and metal release that comes out in a year.

    And you’re right. You seem to have an endless catalogue of obscure music.

    And you’re right. Your musical taste surpasses every other peon you meet in your daily life.

    And I bet you’re even listening to a band you just discovered while you’re reading this.

    And I bet you just ordered one of their t-shirts online.

    Maybe even from a UK store because they’re so underground that they don’t even sell merchandise in the US.

    So badass.

    And maybe you’re even in a band, which might give you a heightened knowledge of this subject matter.

    But you forget one thing.

    That I don’t really give a shit about you.

  17. bmac2799 says:

    But thank you for your comment about my good intentions.

  18. bmac2799 says:

    Also, Liam for president.

  19. Alex says:

    In terms of metal, anything mainstream has nothing compared to that of the scandinavian underground. Some of the black metal acts coming out of Norway are really pushing some ideas forward. Take Keep of Kalessin for example, they have some very nice little guitar riffs/harmonies going on and occasionally a nice melody. The more traditional black metal acts just downright kick ass in terms of abrasivenss.

  20. bmac2799 says:


    Even crappy bands have “some very nice little guitar riffs,” harmonies, and “occasionally a nice melody.”

  21. thrasher says:

    slipknot is not metal freak

  22. Dillan Daniels says:

    If Slipknot isn’t metal, it’s at least closer to metal than any other genre. Look at the genres under the same “umbrella” of heavy metal–classic rock, hard rock, nu-metal, etc. You could say that Slipknot is nu-metal, but this would be counterintuitive to your argument that Slipknot is “not metal.” Unless you want me to take your comment literally–that Slipknot is not “metal freak.” I am afraid that I do not have an argument for that one.

  23. Luke says:

    Metallica = Most overrated garbage imaginable

  24. Trent says:

    Metallica sucks. Listen to some decent metal like Opeth or Esoteric.

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