March 2012
Best of 2011

Earlier videos:

1/3 Pagan's Mind
2/3 Leprous
3/3 Korpiklaani
4/3 Love.Might.Kill
5/3 Treadstone
6/3 Machine Head
7/3 Madina Lake
8/3 Absynth Aura
9/3 The Man Eating Tree
10/3 Enbound
11/3 Opeth
12/3 Pain
13/3 Doom Unit
14/3 Grand Illusion
15/3 Electric Boys
16/3 Arch Emeny
17/3 Children of Bodom
18/3 Mystic Prophecy
19/3 Iced Earth
20/3 Red Hot Chili Peppers
21/3 Sirenia
22/3 The Haunted
23/3 Grande Luxe
24/3 Cervello
25/3 Status Quo
26/3 Insomnium
27/3 Yes
28/3 Steve Hackett
29/3 In Flames
30/3 Dream Theater


Read in English

Hallowed looks closely at the most exciting music of 2011

By Caj Källmalm

Amorphis [Finland] - You I Need (The Beginning Of Times)

The band that takes home the title for the best album of 2011 here on Hallowed is Amorphis and their masterpiece from last May: 'The Beginning Of Times'. Since retrieving vocalist Tomi Joutsen for the album 'Eclipse' the band has made music that the gods barely can match and they are more and more taking place at the top of my list of favorite bands and among their three latest albums they have two full point scores and one six out of seven. It's a pure display when Amorphis release and album and 'The Beginning Of Times' is no exception. If fairness, though, all three of the albums that got full points last year are the winners of last years album since it's more or less impossible to determine one as better than the others. However, one album must be the winner and since Amorphis have the best song in the video, as well as their album being released earliest in the year among the three and therefore became the first full point scorers of last year, they got the title. We're yet to see if any album can match these three in 2012, but as we keep searching for albums to recommend, you can always listen to these songs. Here is the winner of 2011 accoring to us - Amorphis and 'The Beginning Of Times'. The best album of 2011!

Dream Theater [USA] - On The Back Of Angels (A Dramatic Turn Of Events)

The greatest progressive hard rock band in the world is Dream Theater, the American band that did their first album without drummer Mike Portnoy on 'A Dramatic Turn Of Events'. Despite this, 'A Dramatic Turn Of Events' was one of only three albums to score full points from Hallowed and we think that this "minimalistic" band of perfectionists has made an album that can be considered as one of their best albums ever. Two other bands succeeded to score full points, In Flames that we could see a video from yesterday and the band that we'll see tomorrow with the album that will be considered as the best album of 2011. Regular readers already know which album this is, but you who don't will have to wait until tomorrow and while you wait we give you one of the best songs you can play while waiting from one of the best albums ever done by one of the best bands there is. Dream Theater are back in form - buy this album, or you'll regret it!

In Flames [Sweden] - Deliver Us (Sounds of A Playground Fading)

The biggest hard rock band from Sweden at the moment is In Flames. And as by a coincident they are also the best hard rock band from Sweden. 'Sounds Of A Playground Fading' was one of only three full point scoring albums from last year and if that isn't enough to convince you of how great it is, here are some numbers: Charted as number one in Germany, second in Sweden, fourth in Finland, sixth in Austria, tenth in Norway and twelfth in both Canada and Switzerland, as well as 27th in the USA. Celebrated all over the world and one of the best selling hard rock albums in the world. I wrote that "'Sounds of a Playground Fading' is nothing but a real opus" ant that it is "as good as this kind of music can be" as well as "I can't come up with a single reason not to love this!". And I still can't. So here's the first single from one of only three albums that Hallowed think every music lover must have that was released last year.

Steve Hackett [Great Britain] - Turn This Island Earth (Beyond The Shrouded Horizon)

Despite this being an unofficial non-video we chose to use it because this album is the fourth best album of last year, according to us at Hallowed, and it would be a real shame not to have a video from an album like that! Steve Hackett has been a professional musician since 1970 when he 20 years old came in to genesis and became a part of their "classic" era during the first half of the 70's. 40 years later he can still do albums that is absolutely top of the line, like this beautiful, grand album called 'Beyond The Shrouded horizon' that we on Hallowed considers being the fourth best album last year, according to this uncategorized list of albums from last years with a decent video. Daniel called this "a masterpiece of an album" and said it's an album that should be in the collection of every fan of progressive rock. So if you don't have it, here's a twelve minute long sample of the album and if you don't buy it after hearing these then you can stop calling yourself a fan of progressive rock.

Yes [Great Britain] - We Can Fly (Fly From Here)

Yes released their debut the same year as Status Quo, that we could see a video from two days ago, which is 1968 and since then they've had plenty of success. However, these last ten years we've missed them plenty as they haven't released albums and vocalist Jon Anderson even left the band which resulted in a hiatus of a few years. But now they're back! And back in the band along with new vocalist Benoît David is good old Geoff Downes, whom we haven't seen in a few years. And this first album in ten years is a really nice piece of candy for us all. Yes is back in form and has even taken back the classic logo and classic type of design on the cover. In my book, they couldn't make it more right even if they tried and not even Jon Anderson could have improved this masterpiece! 'Fly From Here' might just be the best Yes album ever! And if it isn't, then at least this is one of the five best albums of 2011! A real super album!

Insomnium [Finland] - Through The Shadows (One For Sorrow)

Insomnium takes that sixth position The Tangent would have taken if they only had a decent video from 'COMM' but since it hadn't, we see the second best positioned Finnish album here instead. Insomnium has one of the best average scores in the history of Hallowed with all three reviewed album getting top scores. None with full points but always just below. 'One For Sorrow' is probably the best of these great albums, it's an album that can take you from this world in to another - a world without sorrow, pain or suffering. It's an album that can re-evaluate you existance. It's our number six on this list and tomorrow we start the top five countdown… but until then - enjoy one of the best video song of all from these 31 albums in this special.

Status Quo [Great britain] - Two Way Traffic (Quid Pro Quo)

After two debuts in a row, we get something as far away from a debut as possible (probably). For 43 years this band has released albums and the number of albums has become 28 before the probably most unexpected top album of last year - 'Quid Pro Quo'. This is the 29th Status Quo album and it comes from a band that never seems to get tired of doing what they do (and what they do best). In year after year they've released albums in a hasty tempo without long gaps between two albums anywhere in their career. A reliable band that never lacks quality and always gets the best out of that simple music they do. Or rather, it might seem simple but everything done by pros always look simple. And to call these grey haired veterans anything but pros would be an insult. 'Quid Pro Quo' is a well deserved seventh on this list.

Cervello [Sweden] - Cause I Am (Cervello)

From the debut of Cervello we get an official non-video on Cause I Am. This is the second debut album in a row and the debut we put on top of all six debuts last year that made it to this list over last years best albums with a video. However, this isn't just the best debut of last year but also the second best Swedish album on this list, which is a pretty good accomplishment considering that no less than TEN Swedish bands made the list. I used words like "spot on" and "the best debut album I've heard… for at least many, many years" and this is what takes them to eight on this list.

Grande Luxe [Sweden] - Broken (Time Measured In Bitter Chapters)

Only one debuting band has made it higher on this chart so for sure this have to be one of the most interesting newcomings on the market last year. Not only seen to the fact that they released their debut but because the album, debut or not, is very interesting all way through. Daniel called it the debut of 2011 and accused record labels of being idiots for not signing this band already since they have done pretty much everything right on this one. Hallowed also made a ten pages big piece on the band with interesting things you probably didn't know, so remember who told you about them first - this is our ninth best album of 2011 with a decent video.

The Haunted [Sweden] - No Ghost (Unseen)

We still don't have an official video from 'Unseen' but here is a pretty decent live clip. The Haunted got that Grammy nomination I pledged for this album, however they ended up empty handed. However, from this list they walk away as number ten, somewhat helped by The Tangent who didn't have a decent video from their 'COMM' album (which otherwise would have been sixth and hence degraded The Haunted one position), but it's still tenth. Quite tragically I must admit that 'Unseen' was my first real encounter with The Haunted and I sadly realised what I'd missed in all these years I've known about them without giving them a chance. After playing through the entire discography a couple of times after 'Unseen' I still must say that it is the best album of them all and well deserved they have the tenth position on this list over the best albums of 2011 with a decent video.

Sirenia [Norway] - The End Of It All (The Enigma Of Life)

Despite being well granted by both me and Daniel we see Sirenia outside the top ten on this list. However, as you probably already have seen - plenty of other really great albums did as well so it doesn't mean in any way that the Norwegian band with a Spanish vocalist isn't a great album. 'The End Of It All' was one of those really memorable albums of the first quarter of last year and with a full year passing since the release it still stands on a pillar of its own. The best Norwegian album of 2011 on this list, which means they're eleventh!

Red Hot Chili Peppers [USA] - Look Around (I'm With You)

Without doubt, Red Hot Chili Peppers are one of the biggest bands there is today, definitely in the same league as U2, Metallica and Coldplay to mention a few, and with 'I'm With You' they once again shows us why they've become that. The album is somewhat softer and adult friendly than what they've been before but the quality hasn't been compromised anywhere. 'I'm With You' is not far from the top ten on this list but with one of last years best rock albums and definitely the best funk-rock album 2011 they still shows highest quality all the way.

Iced Earth [USA] - Dystopia (Dystopia)

Iced Earth earns one position thanks to Hate Gallery and a missing video from their album 'Viva La Resistance' but it wouldn't have changed Iced Earths position on the top 15 even if they had. Iced Earth has been a steady, trustable band just below the real peak for many years but with 'Dystopia' they take that last step up on the peak. After 25 years Jon Schaffer and his men make the best Iced Earth album ever and it's an album were they have looked back and selected the gold from their song- and discography and then made it a little bit better. That's why they are 13th here where Hallowed goes through the best albums of last year, with a proper video.

Mystic Prophecy [Germany] - Ravenlord (Ravenlord)

Just like yesterday we get a band that has made their seventh album in the mystical prophets from Germany. Here is an official non-video from that album which once again shows a band that triumph their previous albums in both quality and sound. Ten years ago they were laughed at and made fun off, their first three albums were at best mediocre but lately these germans have showed that it pays off to be consistant and stubborn and the quality on the albums has only become better and better all the time. Until they reach 14th on our summary of the best albums 2011. Not bad!

Children Of Bodom [Finland] - Was It Worth It? (Relentless Reckless Forever)

Better than ever? Or perhaps it's as good as always? Well, it's hard to decide when it comes to one of the best Finnish bands there is (all though only third in 2011 according to Hallowed) and this is the seventh album by the Bodom kids that never seems to stop being angry and pissed off! They curse themselves through 40 minutes of obscenities and I tend to lean against the title of the song in the video today - Was It Worth It? To Curse that much for something, that is. Children Of Bodom and their 'Relentless Reckless Forever' is the first band to make top 15 on this list.

Arch Enemy[Sweden] - Yesterday is Dead And Gone (Khaos Legions)

The biggest Swedish band in Japan (or so it seems) does like they always do and delivers an album with highest quality and as a result they are given on our top 20 over the best albums of 2011 with a proper video. There has been plenty of Swedish bands in the top 20s so far and it will be more in the top ten. Arch Enemy is the fifth highest charted Swedish band on this list and bang in the middle of the entire list and what we get is melodic death metal the way Swedes does it. 'Khaos Legions' is the most successful album by Arch Enemy internationally and that gives them the 16th position on this list.

Electric Boys [Sweden] - Angel In An Armoured Suit (And Them Boys Done Swang)

I wasn't expecting much from Electric Boys when I heard they were reforming and I didn't have any hopes on 'And Them Boys Done Swang' but looking back at 2011 I can truthfully say they made one of the most memorable albums of the year. The album twist and turns in all directions and rocks your head around completely! Another Swedish band on the top 20's (there are eight of them) and tomorrow comes the fourth (out of the five albums on top 20 so far). So let's enjoy funk rock metal from number 17 on this list… Electric Boys!

Grand Illusion [Sweden] - Gates Of Fire (Prince Of Paupers)

We really tries to avoid having videos like this one featured in the video special, unofficial non-video songs, but some times you just have to make exceptions. And this is one of them. Grand Illusion is not only a Styx album and a Styx song, but also a band with some roots in Sweden. This song comes from the sixth release, called 'Prince Of Paupers', and that's the 18th best album in this list over the best albums 2011 with videos, despite the fact that the album didn't even have a video. Now if that isn't a well done, tell me what is!

Doom Unit [Finland] - The Cradle And The Grave (The Burden Of Bloom)

For me it wasn't a surprise at all to find some of the best bands of 2011 being Finnish but I hadn't expected Doom Unit to be one of them when we kicked off 2011 and I think I'm not alone to be a bit surprised to find these Finns with an album good enough to take them in to the top 20s. Either way, 'The Burden Of Bloom' is the fourth best album released by a Finnish band according to us at Hallowed and this second album by the Finns is really nice melodic hard rock and if you ask me, this song is one of the better songs featured in this video special.

Pain [Sweden] - Dirty Woman (You Only Live Twice)

With Sweden and Finland dominating this list, it's no surprise that the fourth video in a row comes from this scandinavian duo (which would be five if Crossfade had made a video too) and it won't end here. The next five days will also feature videos from Sweden and Finland only. Peter Tägtgren, the mastermind of Pain, has had a finger in many of these bands and with his own electro-/industrial metal project Pain he is the first band in the top 20's on this list. 'You Only Live Twice' is the seventh album by Pain and we already want Peter to release the eight album.

Opeth [Sweden] - The Devil's Orchard (Heritage)

This is an officially released non-video and here we can hear one of the greatest Swedish bands there is. Helped one position upwards thanks to Crossfade and that they didn't make a video for their 'Secret Love' but they were still one position short of the top 20s and end up at 21st. Last month we had another Opeth song in the video special over Swedish metal and now exactly one month later we get a taste from their 'Heritage' that was released last year. One of the best albums by this Grammy awarded band that now has released ten full-length albums. The Devil's Orchard is the second song on the album.

Enbound [Sweden] - Combined the Souls (And She Says Gold)

Another golden album comes from the Swedish/Greek power metal band Enboud that clearly state that "she says gold". The third best debut last year according to this list and the only complain I had was the total length because otherwise it was a more or less complete album with everything from left to right and from the Mariana trench to Mount Everest. An album that makes at least me believe in power metal again and that the genre still is possible to renew and make interesting. An honorable 22nd on this list witness of how impressed we were!

The Man Eating Tree [Finland] - Armed (Harvest)

It was probably the most difficult grade to decide for me last year, because I was thinking about it for over a month weighting five against six for 'Harvest'. However, I know I made the right decision when I gave them six H's because this is pure gold! An incredibly good album and one of the highs of last year! The second of six bands on this list and a well deserved 23rd position. But if I were to rank the videos in this special, I'd say this song is without doubt top 3, so play this one!

Absynth Aura [Italy] - Zombie (Unbreakable)

The alternative Italian act Absynth Aura made one of the best debut albums last year with their 'Unbreakable'. On that album they do a cover on the classic Cranberries hit Zombie and this is the song we get to know them by in this video special, which is more of a fun pick rather than the choice because it's the best song. It's not a video, but an official non-video clip and if you check out the album you will find ten really nice songs, and then of course this one! Number 24, Absynth Aura.

Madina Lake [USA] - Hey Superstar (World War III)

Today would feature British Shy if only they had made a video from their latest eponymous album, but since they didn't, here we go with the American alternative band Madina Lake and their third full-length album 'World War III'. This is a thematic album and the first to be released after Matthew Leaone recovered after his nasty assault that almost cost him his life. An incredibly strong album by the americans, the fourth highest placed american album on this list is number 25.

Machine Head [USA] - Locust (Unto The Locust)

The seventh album by the American machine Machine Head took them to the top 20s in more than ten charts over the world, where Germany, Austria, Finland and Switzerland all even took them in to the top tens. The most successful album from this band and it might also be the best? Either way, this is our number 26 on this list!

Treadstone [Sweden] - Six Feet Under (A New Day Sun)

The debut album by Swedish Treadstone is called 'A new Day Sun' and I knew already in January that this album would become one of the best debuts of the year. Which it also became. It's the fifth best debut according to this list and the 27th best album where we could find a decent video. A band well worthy your attention now and in the future and if you look carefully you'll se Paris Hilton in this video.

Love.Might.Kill [Germany] - Pretty Little Mess (Brace For Impact)

Started by the drummer in Metalium, German Love.Might.Kill has despite this "handicap" made one of the greatest albums of 2011. This has none of the childishnes of Metalium, instead we've been given a pretty straight hard rock album from beginning to end without anyone or anything completely freaking out anywhere. That has given this band a place on this list over last years best albums, with a video. 28th position to Love.Might.Kill.

Korpiklaani [Finland] - Tequila (Ukon Wacka)

Korpiklaani play on drums made of ice and puts the microphone in a branch, yet this doesn't keep them from our top list of the best albums last year. 'Ukon Wacka' is the seventh album by the Finns and according to me they have never been better. That's the reason why they rightly have earned a spot as number 29 on this top list over last years best albums.

Leprous [Norway] - Restless (Bilateral)

Day two and the countdown continues as we map out the best albums of 2011. The 30th best album of last year came just like the 31:st from Norway, this time through the band Leprous and their album 'Bilateral' - an album that Daniel claimed sounds like eating electrons in a crowded basement room while waiting for a rock band to play rock music (no idea what else kind of music Daniel meant a rock band would play but that's not important right now). I don't know how electron-eating sounds but I don't think Daniel has got it right here, I think Leprous sounds much more better!

Pagan's Mind [Norway] - Intermission (Heavenly Ecstasy)

March gives us the best albums of 2011 and we begin in Norway both today, and tomorrow, with one of the biggest progressive metal bands of today - Pagan's Mind. In 2000 they released their debut and has since released five albums with 'Heavenly Ecstasy' being released last year. My review had some difficulties to figure out wether this would be their best album or just another good one. The album isn't that super smasher we all know they can do and hoped for, but it's still a great album and according to Hallowed Magazine, it's the 31st best album of 2011 (where we could find a video to represent the album).