's favourite releases of 2011: number 1


Which are the best djent releases of 2011?

Yesterday, we announced number 2 in the top 20 releases of 2011. Today, we're announcing who took the 1st place. Most people will already have figured this out by now, so to keep it interesting, we're also announcing the top 10 of freely downloadable releases of 2011. Once again, we want to thank everyone who participated and shared their favourites with us, as well as all the bands who put out some incredible albums and EPs in the past year! top 20 releases of 2011

November 28, 2011 - Century Media Records

Medieval. If I were allowed to choose only one word to describe 'Måsstaden', Vildhjarta's debut full-length release, then it would be this. The utter darkness and despair that this album manages to conjure up, along with moments of shimmering beauty and a sense of timelessness, is truly magical. The direct yet hugely challenging guitar work, hauntingly dissonant and wielding terrifying power, is layered thickly yet somehow gives the illusion of having spades of room in which to work. The ambiences are stunning, and the perfectly distorted vocal duo Daniel Ädel and Vilhelm Bladin give huge weight and direction. The storytelling, through both words and music, to me is on a level with the writing of Shakespeare, Tolkien and the Greek mythological storytellers, whose works clearly influence it greatly. As a musical journey, it is comparable in style and magnitude to a symphony that Mahler, Sibelius or Shostakovich may have written.

Upon listening to this release, you will descend into a narcotic tale of evil intent and impending doom, epitomised throughout in the lyrics and music combined. This album leaves a trail of destruction in its wake, conveyed in brutal manner by the bone-crushing riffery and hellish abuse of melody by the impossible guitar lines, a kind of which I have heard nothing like before: such is the magnitude of the albums production that, when the low notes fall, you physically shudder as their gravity crushes your insignificant mind. One of the central concepts is perpetual impurity and the presence of evil within all things; this goes hand in hand with the other underlying themes, namely religion, apocalypse and the negative effects of globalisation. However, the story within this album is far from clear-cut: reality is very unclear throughout, giving a listener a lot of creative space in which to conjure up his own sequence of events, something all good concept albums, such as Uneven Structure’s 'Februus' and Meshuggah’s 'Catch Thirtythree', create within the plot.

So, is Måsstaden something that will change music for all who encounter it, even sceptics? The words speak for themselves on this: “I defy the curse and then define a new set of rules.” This album will be revered for decades to come. - Zyglrob

Vildhjarta - Måsstaden: a vast progression from 'Omnislash', far and away the heaviest record of 2011 and a twisted yet perfect narrative which captures something of the trials of existence in under an hour. Just fucking listen to it. top 10 free releases of 2011

About a third (33%) of all releases in our database are available for free, which is a considerable increase from last year (about 25%). This is quite an impressive number when you think about it. That's why we also included a list of the 10 best djent releases that are available for free download. You can find the top 10 below - each entry is accompanied by a download link. If there's any of these that you haven't heard yet, do yourself a favour and download them now. It won't cost you anything!

Friend For A Foe and Cloudkicker share the 3rd spot, seeing as they both received the same number of votes.

So there you have it:'s favourite releases and free releases of 2011, as chosen by our users. What do you think about this list? Does it match your expectations? What were your picks? Let us know in the comments!

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6 years 23 weeks ago


@Gnomenclature That reminds me of my reaction. I mean I liked the album and the new direction the band was heading, I caught a show with them in Oslo and that show reinforced my fondness for the album. Then not more than a week ago I said: fuck it why not read the lyrics while listening to the album. And I have done that every day since. What strikes me as ironic is that most people have been complaining about the vocals changing and then I realize that the lyrics are fuckin poetry. evil twisted unbelievably vomit inducing poetry. amazing amazing amazing.

I must say that reading about everyone's reactions to Masstaden is pretty interesting. When the videos for Benblast and Dagger came out I really hated them. Someone mentioned that perhaps they would make more sense in the context of the whole album. I thought to myself: "No matter the context, this sounds like shitty noise." Then the album came out and I gave it a full listen-through. Still wasn't sold, but was a little more impressed by the sheer power of the album. In the midst of this process, I was completely dumbfounded by the fact that everyone seemed to love it. For the longest time I simply didn't get it, and I started to become really turned off by the music.

Then a switch got flipped... I started to hear it completely differently -- I started to hear the narrative amidst the harsh vocals, the songs behind the riffs, the album behind the noise. It was about this time that I read the in-depth review posted a while back. The review helped me form my own conceptualization of the album and suddenly it became one of my favorite pieces of music. Not sure how exactly it happened, but I get it now.

For those that "don't get it yet" I completely understand -- just give it some time and maybe you can come back to it (or not, everyone's different!).

Also, thats for the links to the free stuff. I'm alway on the lookout for great new bands.

I really enjoyed all 5 of the top 5. Any one could have come in at #1 and I'd have been pleased. No use bitching about the rankings, a lot of it is opinion.

weightless-animals as leaders, the discovery-born of osiris, nostalgia-corelia, and one-teserract are much better albums than this one... Just my opinion

and i liked wanzwa and sirens fall silent albums as well, wish they were on the list

Mmm, Masstaden not my favorite release. But its definantly a great album with amazing music. My vote is still for The Discovery by Born of Osiris though. Incredible.

@Benanne just to clear things up, i wanted to note that I'm personally happy with the results although i believe ever forthright could have gotten more votes if they released their album earlier and i believe that the best release here is from textures but its my own personal belief

Even though, TesseracT got hosed, I feel...nothing...would have changed the outcome. Vildhjarta fans are the most passionate fans, outside of Periphery, in this scene! Admittedly, Vildhjarta, during the q&a, got more questions asked. Thall gimmick! Righteous show! Bergstrom, showed he is an awesome guy! Conceded. Next Time!

As for Benanne, this guy is uber cool! Th:uber cool! People voted for their favorites...ours...lost! Not the man's fault! Fair system. Overly fair administration explanation. Who does that...? I could never get my mother to tell me anything other than, because I said so!

Djent Man of the Year-(I'll use site name) Benanne!

I think you're missing the point of the discussion here.

If we wanted the closest approximation to the truth, we'd let everyone rate as many albums they like on a scale of 0% to 100%. That is the ONLY way to get 'the truth'.

However, our objective criteria are different: we wanted a system that would yield interesting and believable results, and most of all, a system that is simple, both for us and for the voters. While your proposed method would satisfy the first two criteria, it fails with respect to the latter. The system we chose satisfies all of them. Since this was already discussed earlier, I don't really understand why you'd make this suggestion now. I don't think you've thought this through.

EDIT: actually, I strongly suspect that what you suggest wouldn't come much closer to the truth than the system we used, anyway; the intuition is that each individual voter would rank his votes roughly in accordance with popularity. I don't think this is an assumption that's all too crazy to make (as I already said earlier, it definitely holds for Måsstaden, and I'm sure it does for most other albums). As a result, borda count would only serve to 'amplify' the differences between the bands, whereas the ranking itself would remain largely unaltered.

it make perfect sense!
sorry for my poor english but the first system will filter the unpopular stuff, but as you stated, its flaw is that if most of people like the first album but would have never placed it their first choice, it means that the outcome will be incorrect. that is why you should use the first system to get the top 5 albums and then have another poll to place them in the correct order. this will surely generate the closest outcome to the truth.

That makes no sense at all Tongue

i have the solution!!
use 2 votes! the second vote will use the borda count! on the top 5 albums

i am surprised i dont see The interbeing in top 20 ,i easily put their album in top 5

i see Smile well anyways, thanks for listening, i find your willingness to respond to individual comments quite admirable, and besides, the free releases list is already beyond awesome, i'm listening to some pretty sick stuff that i migh otherwise had never noticed :3

Your post already demonstrates why we didn't do this: too complicated Tongue We wanted this poll to be as accessible as possible, and that automatically implies that it has to be as simple as possible to participate. Running two separate polls would already make things complicated enough for a lot of people not to bother with voting. Increasing the number of picks has much the same effect.

The free releases list should be interpreted as "a list of the best releases that also happen to be free", and not so much as "a list of the best releases among those that are free". In other words, it is a subset of the full ranking. In theory (i.e. with the optimal voting system I described in my previous comment) these two interpretations are equivalent, but because each voter can only cast a limited number of votes, this is not the case in practice.

The free releases list would definitely have looked a bit different if it were constructed from a separate poll, but this list was not our primary aim - it's just a nice extra, which comes at no extra cost for us or for the voters. So I'm very reluctant to make the voting process more complicated merely to make the free releases list approximate the second interpretation (which, admittedly, is the more natural one) a bit better.

I think the current system is great, however, might i suggest, that you also give the user the ability to choose a given number (say, 3) of free releases (and only free releases), set aside from the 5 main user picks, in a way that you can put 1 free release on both lists, without one affecting the count of the other? For example, under this theoretical system, if i voted for any free releases on my top 5 main picks, the site should automatically add any free release from my main picks to my "top 3 free releases list" so i won't vote for more than 3 free releases in the end, if i have any remaining choices for my free releases list, i just complete my list with any other(s) i choose. I believe, even though i haven't listened to every artist on the top 10 free downloads list (i'm working on that, awesome releases btw), that perhaps many people didn't vote for some free releases simply because they didn't have enough choices, for example, if given the chance, i would have voted for joncofy as an excellent free release, but i had to leave it out, because i thought some paid releases were better...

Shiiit! Some French guy stole my idea in 1770... I've never heard of it, sry. Smile

That is not a solution Tongue The only way to accurately average out everyone's opinion is to have them assign a score between 0% and 100% to each album. Every other approach automatically leads to a loss of information (and thus, in this case, 'unfairness').

The system you are describing is what's typically called "borda count", we used it for the Euroblast festival contest poll. But it also has its flaws, as it only allows for ranking a limited set of candidates, and it does not allow you to express the relative 'strength' of each preference accurately.

All realistic polling systems are inherently flawed, and the reason we chose this one is mainly simplicity. Borda count is still feasible (we used it before), but already a good deal more complicated, both in terms of implementation and 'user experience'. So we went with the simplest option that would yield reasonable results.

A nice side effect of the 'select 5' system we used is also that it makes the vote distribution a bit less flat. On the one hand, the limited number of selections filters out the generally unpopular stuff. On the other hand, the fact that selections cannot be weighted according to preference gives "underground" albums that have a reasonable following a bit of a boost. It makes for a more interesting top 20 overall, at least in theory Smile

Besides, let's not kid ourselves here, the majority of people that voted for Masstaden probably would have ranked it 1st or 2nd, so if anything borda count would have made their victory even more pronounced.

you guys are sounding a teeny bit like pricks, the current system works, the albums are ranked according to how many people liked the albums, i see no problem with that, if the staff implemented a personal ranked list for each user, then analyzed and compared it to every list to get the top 20, it would be one hell of a mess, what if one album is consistently ranked higher than another, but has fewer votes? for example, x album has been placed 3rd in many lists, but album y (which is ranked 4th) has more votes... it's just too complicated and doesn't make sense... if you don't agree with the list results it has nothing to do with the staff, in the end, it's all a democracy, and the people have spoken...

The solution to everyone be satisfied... Laughing out loud Well, maybe that's impossible, but it creates a more precise list. What if the most people chose Masstaden in their top 5, but the 80% of them thought it's just 3rd or 4th..? It can't be 1st then. Smile (ofc it's just a theory)

The solution to what, exactly? Tongue

Nah... I listed Masstaden too in my top 5 (in the 4th place). The solution could be some kind of ranking in each user's 5 choices and combine the results. Then sort albums by popularity (AND personal ranking). Smile

excellent idea, then everybody will be satisfied! Although this post will be approximately 800 times as long, that might be slightly inconvenient.

suggestion for the next year: make a top list for each user

1st place vildhjarta 2nd place uneven structure, the top of the list can't be more thall


yes, there are many brilliant albums but number 1 is disappointing.

Muahhhhhhh! too cold! Hahahahaha! r4gw33d...right on!

The community has spoken! Nonetheless, 2011 year of djent! I totally agree, full albums, full releases! A watershed mark of excellence!

My biggest disappointment is in the 1st place. Something just went wrong...
<- This is Vildhjärta.

look how far we have come!
in comparrison to last year
all albums are more refined, just look at those 8 top albums every one is absolutely perfect full album, whereas last year, although there were released some good albums, they are nothing in comparison to the ones released this year. I'm not even speaking of the big names, look at ever forthright! i cant get enough of this album and its only 8th place!
all the material is more mature and beautifully executed whereas last year theres allot of ep's (good ep's but its still only an ep)
and we are still at the beginning! at this rate i cant imagine what we will be at the end of this year or the next
all the bands are still at the beginning...

sorry for the english

Just lost all faith in the djent scene...

nice, brilliant album, but it's too far to masterpiece, and of course, 1st place. disapointment.



fallujah???? Sad


now now albert, even if you were joking that ballot comment was bloody rude... congrats vildhjarta! hoping for more kick-ass material this 2012 \m/

Even though Bergstrom stuffed the ballot boxes, this was a pretty cool top 2011 list! Amazing, awesome, thallriffic job!!! An even awesome 'free downloadable' list for 2011! Way to stay on top of the game!

Everybody don't forget: The Algorithm, Skyharbor & Means End! 2012 has a lot to offer besides the known names. & anybody got a problem with that...tell 'em to meet me! THALL!!

medieval is right about this album. i can't stop listening to it. i love it so much. it's just so well executed and the heaviness is mixed so well with melodies and clean parts, everyone in this band plays so well off of each other.

Agree with the top free releases, I listen to 7/10 of those included though I think Sees deserved more votes.

Great 2011 list overall!




Well bugger. There, fixed Smile

Aww, you guys forgot to put me in the related bands list Smile

Very pleased with these results! I thoroughly loved Februus and Måsstaden, and they were definitely my top two. The review for Måsstaden is crazy in-depth, too.

Bilo, Cassini, and The enD were my favorites on the free list this year.

Overall, verrrrry good music this year! But next year... Two Periphery albums, a Sees album, and a Meshuggah album. Sounds like the world's ending, imo.

I think the year's best album was Born of Osiris' The Discovery, and Shattered Skies' Reanimation was the second.