Best Albums of 2006
by: Pedro Azevedo

Katatonia win their first CoC Album of the Year award in 2006 with _The Great Cold Distance_, followed closely by Drudkh's _Blood in Our Wells_. Agalloch's _Ashes Against the Grain_ closes the top three.


While not the kind of dominating victory that Primodial obtained last year with _The Gathering Wilderness_, Katatonia have nonetheless achieved a remarkable victory -- especially considering their previous album _Viva Emptiness_ had failed to even make CoC's top 10 list in 2003. _The Great Cold Distance_ did receive a considerably higher rating than its predecessor however, which turned out to be most vehemently reflected by its capturing of the 2006 CoC Album of the Year award.

Very prolific and quite accustomed to battling for top spot in CoC Album of the Year lists, Drudkh may have ultimately lost the race this year, but still extended their rather incredible run. They have had an album in each and every one of CoC's four yearly top 10 lists so far: they were sixth in 2003 with _Forgotten Legends_, first in 2004 with _Autumn Aurora_, and second in both 2005 and now 2006 with _The Swan Road_ and _Blood in Our Wells_.

Outside the battle for the top two, Agalloch emerged in third place with _Ashes Against the Grain_ -- their first full-length since the CoC Album of the Year award began in 2003. They successfully held off the challenge of two older, more established bands in the form of Enslaved and Summoning, as well as that of 2003 winners Melechesh -- who this time saw _Emissaries_ having to settle for fifth place ex aequo with Summoning's first album in five years, _Oath Bound_. Contrary to Melechesh, Enslaved showed slight improvement, following up _Isa_'s 2004 solid fifth place with _Ruun_'s fourth place this year despite a less than glowing review.

The remaining albums named in our top ten are all rather distinct releases. In seventh place we find veteran act Celtic Frost's strong return album _Monotheist_; yet in eighth we find an even older band, Killing Joke, and their _Hosannas From the Basements of Hell_. Contrastingly, ninth placed black/death act Goatwhore are only on their third album with _A Haunting Curse_; and they share said position with an entirely different band again, Finland's gloomy acoustic masters Tenhi and their _Maaäet_ -- itself an unlikely presence in a list that might be expected to feature only extreme music.

Just outside the top ten, Suffocation's self-titled effort missed the list by just one point, followed closely by Madder Mortem's _Desiderata_. Napalm Death's _Smear Campaign_ and The Provenance's _Red Flags_ were not too far either.

Looking at the overall list, there's everything from emotional to aggressive, epic, progressive and atmospheric in the span of ten releases. These are CoC's top recommendations for 2006.

CoC Writers' Best Albums of 2006

1. Katatonia - _The Great Cold Distance_
2. Drudkh - _Blood in Our Wells_
3. Agalloch - _Ashes Against the Grain_
4. Enslaved - _Ruun_
5. Melechesh - _Emissaries_
=. Summoning - _Oath Bound_
7. Celtic Frost - _Monotheist_
8. Killing Joke - _Hosannas From the Basements of Hell_
9. Goatwhore - _A Haunting Curse_
=. Tenhi - _Maaäet_

Gino Filicetti's Top 10

1. Drudkh - _Blood in Our Wells_
2. Axis of Advance - _Purify_
3. Carpathian Forest - _Fuck You All!!!!_
4. Napalm Death - _Smear Campaign_
5. Gorgoroth - _Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam_
6. Suffocation - _Suffocation_
7. Enslaved - _Ruun_
8. MZ.412 - _Infernal Affairs_
9. Darkthrone - _The Cult Is Alive_
10. Celtic Frost - _Monotheist_

Pedro Azevedo's Top 10

1. Katatonia - _The Great Cold Distance_
2. Insomnium - _Above the Weeping World_
3. Tenhi - _Maaäet_
4. Madder Mortem - _Desiderata_
5. Agalloch - _Ashes Against the Grain_
6. The Provenance - _Red Flags_
7. Daylight Dies - _Dismantling Devotion_
8. Process of Guilt - _Renounce_
9. Kampfar - _Kvass_
10. Drudkh - _Blood in Our Wells_

Jackie Smit's Top 10

1. Goatwhore - _A Haunting Curse_
2. Lamb of God - _Sacrament_
3. Cannibal Corpse - _Kill_
4. Melechesh - _Emissaries_
5. Deicide - _The Stench of Redemption_
6. Moonspell - _Memorial_
7. Abgott - _Artefact of Madness_
8. Suffocation - _Suffocation_
9. Sick of it All - _Yours Truly_
10. Napalm Death - _Smear Campaign_

Todd DePalma's Top 10

1. Dolorian - _Voidwards_
2. Antaeus - _Blood Libels_
3. Celtic Frost – _Monotheist_
4. Catacombs - _Into the Depths of R'lyeh_
5. Zoat Aon – _The Triplex Bestial_
6. Summoning - _Oath Bound_
7. Stahlwerk 9 - _der tod nagelt die augen zu..._
8. Repugnant - _Epitome of Darkness_
9. Ares Kingdom – _Return to Dust_
10. Arktau Eos – _Mirrorion_

Chris Flaaten's Top 10

1. Madder Mortem - _Desiderata_
2. Katatonia - _The Great Cold Distance_
3. Tenhi - _Maaäet_
4. Funeral - _From These Wounds_
5. The Provenance - _Red Flags_
6. Saturnus - _Veronika Decides to Die_
7. Novembre - _Materia_
8. Daylight Dies - _Dismantling Devotion_
9. Doom:VS - _Aeternus Vale_
10. White Willow - _Signal to Noise_

Aaron McKay's Top 10

1. Goatwhore - _A Haunting Curse_
2. Killing Joke - _Hosannas From the Basements of Hell_
3. Summoning - _Oath Bound_
4. Green Carnation - _The Quiet Offspring_
5. Melechesh - _Emissaries_
6. Agalloch - _Ashes Against the Grain_
7. Burn to Black - _Mach 666_
8. Drudkh - _Blood in Our Wells_
9. Suffocation - _Suffocation_
10. Throwdown - _Vendetta_

Quentin Kalis' Top 10

1. Agalloch - _Ashes Against the Grain_
2. Letum - _Broken_
3. Kampfar - _Kvass_
4. Katatonia - _The Great Cold Distance_
5 Summoning - _Oath Bound_
6. Negura Bunget - _Om_
7. Nortt - _Ligfaerd_
8. nEGAPADRES 3.3 - _Exstrophy of Amphigouris_
9. Anaal Nathrakh - _Eschaton_
10. Drudkh - _Blood in Our Wells_

Nikola Shahpazov's Top 10

1. Katatonia - _The Great Cold Distance_
2. Enslaved - _Ruun_
3. Drudkh - _Blood in Our Wells_
4. Agalloch - _Ashes Against the Grain_
5. Kultur Shock – _We Came to Take Your Jobs Away_
6. Darkthrone – _The Cult Is Alive_
7. Negura Bunget - _Om_
8. Kroda / Velimor – _Molotom duha ta edinstuiu krovi_
9. Summoning - _Oath Bound_
10. Sturmpercht – _Geister im Waldgebirg_

Andreas Marouchos' Top 10

1. Drudkh - _Blood in Our Wells_
2. Celtic Frost - _Monotheist_
3. Isis - _In the Absence of Truth_
4. Cult of Luna - _Somewhere Along the Highway_
5. Anaal Nathrakh - _Eschaton_
6. Agalloch - _Ashes Against the Grain_
7. Peste Noire - _La Sanie des Siècles - Panégyrique de la Dégénerescence_
8. Psycroptic - _Symbols of Failure_
9. Sunn O))) / Boris - _Altar_
10. Antaeus - _Blood Libels_

Kostas Sarampalis' Top 10

1. Head Control System - _Murder Nature_
2. Mercenary - _The Hours That Remain_
3. Killing Joke - _Hosannas From the Basements of Hell_
4. Vanden Plas - _Christ.0_
5. Moonspell - _Memorial_
6. The Gathering - _Home_
7. Tool - _10,000 Days_
8. The Provenance - _Red Flags_
9. Isis - _In the Absence of Truth_
10. Beyond Twilight - _For the Love of Art and the Making_

Yiannis Stefanis' Top 10

1. Kamelot - _One Cold Winter's Night_
2. Katatonia - _The Great Cold Distance_
3. Iron Maiden - _A Matter of Life and Death_
4. My Dying Bride - _A Line of Deathless Kings_
5. Ancient Rites - _Rubicon_
6. Darkthrone - _The Cult Is Alive_
7. Deicide - _The Stench of Redemption_
8. Napalm Death - _Smear Campaign_
9. Sadus - _Out for Blood_
10. Slayer - _Christ Illusion_

Paul Schwarz's Top 10

1. Amon Amarth - _With Oden on Our Side_
2. Melechesh - _Emissaries_
3. The Meads of Asphodel - _Damascus Steel_
4. I - _Between Two Worlds_
5. Enslaved - _Ruun_
6. Killing Joke - _Hosannas From the Basements of Hell_
7. Indesinence - _Noctambulism_
8. Mastodon - _Blood Mountain_
9. Head Control System - _Murder Nature_
10. Celtic Frost - _Monotheist_

James Montague's Top 10

1. Drudkh - _Blood in Our Wells_
2. Suffocation - _Suffocation_
3. Keep of Kalessin - _Armada_
4. Summoning - _Oath Bound_
5. Melechesh - _Emissaries_
6. Negative Plane - _Et In Saecula Saeculorum_
7. Tenhi - _Maaäet_
8. Negura Bunget - _Om_
9. Azarath - _Diabolic Impious Evil_
10. Terrorizer - _Darker Days Ahead_

Jeremy Ulrey's Top 10

1. Enslaved - _Ruun_
2. Intronaut - _Void_
3. Boris - _Pink_
4. Ihsahn - _The Adversary_
5. The Sword - _Age of Winters_
6. Jesu - _Silver EP_
7. Celtic Frost - _Monotheist_
8. Napalm Death - _Smear Campaign_
9. I - _Between Two Worlds_
10. Red Sparowes - _Every Red Heart Shines Toward the Red Sun_

(article submitted 25/1/2007)


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