Album of the Year: Enslaved - Riitiir
Enslaved are a band which can be greatly praised both for their unerringly solid output over the years, and their progression. The last couple of albums the band has released have been meeting with particular praise, and it's very understandable why. Enslaved manage to produce a truly unique blend of black-metal with progressive elements and great multitudes of styles, all united under a feel of consistency which tends to characterise their albums. Riitiir is no exception, and takes the vast, incredibly thoughtful, and deeply beautiful sound to a different level, once again. While no two Enslaved albums sound like one another, they all somehow manage to sound like Enslaved, and Riitiir sounds like one of the best yet. Very worthy winners indeed.
Underground Lord: Ketzer - Endzeit Metropolis
Ketzer are probably one of the most aggressive, tight and razor-sharp black-thrash bands to emerge in quite some time. While many bands in the genre embrace fuzzy, traditionaylblack-metal sounds, Ketzer release a well-produced and extremely well played onslaught which captures every dark and piercing note with extreme lucidity. It's always good to see a band doing something which sounds unique, and I can safely say that there isn't anything out there yet which is quite the same as the twisting, turning labyrinth of black-thrash which the band create. Ketzer really embody the kind of band I had in mind when I decided to create the "Underground Lord" as a separate category, and I can certainly say that they too, fully deserve to have won.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote and make their opinions on the matter heard! I'll resume reviewing albums in the coming days.