It’s December, which means that everyone’s starting to look back at the year that was, even though we’re not quite through it yet. Over the next several weeks, Metal Insider will be bringing you our picks for the best albums of the year, as well as those from some of the artists that made some of it. Below is who made Metal Insider contributor Zach Shaw’s list. Want to hear what he’s writing about? Check out the Spotify playlist at the end of the chart. And hey, you can also follow us on Spotify.


TIE for 10) Death Angel, The Evil Divide (Nuclear Blast), and Amon Amarth, Jomsviking (Metal Blade)



The Evil Divide shows that Death Angel is still one of the most underrated thrash bands of all time. Meanwhile, there’s just something so enjoyable about Viking metal, as Amon Amarth once again proves with Jomsviking.

Track Picks: “The Moth” and “First Kill”


Vektor-Terminal_Redux9) Vektor, Terminal Redux (Earache)

I cannot believe it’s taken me so long to discover the brilliance of this Arizona outfit. To simply put it, Terminal Redux is such an outstanding blend of old-school thrash and vigorous progression.

Track Pick: “Pillars Of Sand”



giraffe-tongue-orchestra8) Giraffe Tongue Orchestra, Broken Lines (Party Smasher Inc./Cooking Vinyl)

This supergroup has been years in the making, and without a doubt Broken Lines was worth the wait. The fact that this album combines elements from the bands its members are originally from (including Alice In Chains, Mastodon, The Dillinger Escape Plan and even a little of Mars Volta) while still sounding so fresh and unique says a lot. The true all-star of this project though is William DuVall, who powerful voice adds even more soul to this vibrant hard rocking album.

Track Pick: “Back To The Light”