Metal in Colorado has been blowing up all over these past couple years. From an increase in bands, venues, metal friendly establishments, and so many shows, all the time there’s never a lack of something metal to do in our fair state. Likely you’ve heard of some of these bands since they’ve been getting nation attention but some you might not have, either way this year was a stand out year for Colorado and here’s some of my favorites from it.

1. Weaponizer – Lawless Age
Just fucking solid as fuck black thrash hailing from Denver. Riff after riff of nasty, headbang-able, thrash-tastic power with a black metal flavor thrown in. I’d say it’s more on the thrash side, but that dirty thrash side. Not polished, kind of sleazy. Fucking rad and has received countless plays in my ears.

2. Dreadnought – A Wake in Sacred Waves
One of Denver’s more eclectic “doom” bands, Dreadnought spreads their wings on this album to incorporate elements of black metal, post rock/punk, jazz, and crust to their already stellar psychedelic, cultish doom atmosphere and create a stunning work of musical beauty and creativity. Their last album was already top notch but this one is their crowning achievement so far. Fucking excellent.

3. In the Company of Serpents – Ain-Soph Aur
In the Company of Serpents just crushing it with their dreary, dismal, slow and sludgy, two man doom attack. Additionally they’ve added some more “twangy” and southern sounding elements to the mix, which I think, fit flawlessly.

4. Jag Panzer – The Deviant Chord
Fuck. Yes. This was the power metal album I was fucking waiting for this year. I just knew Jag Panzer would deliver and except for that one album, they usually do. They’re such a well-oiled machine at this point and they’ve perfected their harder-edged old school power metal sound over the years that it’s become a guaranteed sign of quality. Not to mention Harry “The Tyrant” Conklin’s tremendous Dio-snarl like vocals that only get better with time. He’s more subtle on this one and I suspect it’s to differentiate his performances for Satan’s Host (the other amazing Colorado power metal band). Riff city, catchy as fuck, driving, forceful. Fucking Excellent.

5. Sar Isatum – Shurpu
Nice to hear some ferocious and nasty black metal, that’s good, coming out of my home state. Sar Isatum aren’t pumping the breaks here with their symphonic and intense black metal. It’s a bit theatrical, a bit “Dimmu Borgir” if you will, but it’s well composed and structured and a hell of a lot of fun and reminds me of the intensity of Horned Almighty. Awesome.

6. Glacial Tomb – Cognitive Erosion
Fucking nasty mix up of crust, black, doom, grind, and death metal. It’s not as disjointed as all that sounds but it is a bit chaotic, which suits the music.

7. The Flight of Sleipnir – Skadi
I don’t think Flight has a bad album in their catalog and I’ve enjoyed the progression they’ve made throughout the years. If you like their mix of black metal/doom/stoner/psychedelic style then this one is another killer album in that vein. This time they’ve brought back more of the black metal and it veers into post/atmospheric territory which I think really fills out the sound. They never seem patch-worked or forced together with their style mixing and have always struck a good balance between them. This one seems like a perfect melding of them all. Fucking killer.

8. Cellador – Off the Grid
Straight up blistering, uplifting power metal that’s a fucking riff machine. Sure, it has it’s cheesy moments, mostly the Cyndi Lauper cover, but what do you expect from power metal? I’ll tell you what I expect, awesome songs, catchy songs and sheer power. Cellador delivers on all of that.

9. Spectral Voice – Eroded Corridors of Unbeing
 It feels like this is was a long time coming for this band, especially since Blood Incantation, the other band that Spectral Voice members make up mostly, came out to such praise. Spectral Voice is more of a dismal, dark, and brooding doom, death metal outfit that relies on moody fucking weight and the darkest depths of existence. It’s music for being lost in and just being crushed and they’re debut does not disappoint.

10. Bestia Arcana – Holokauston
Twisted, dark, occult-ish, and atmospheric black metal from most of the Nightbringer members. Released the same day as the new Nightbringer after label disputes or some kind of drama. Similar themes and tones I think but maybe more of a death metal influence here with more structure. I think their side projects are starting to eclipse Nightbringer. Speaking of…

10.5 Excommunion – Thronosis
This is the first new album from Excommunion in 15 years. To me, this is the death metal version of Nightbringer. I hate to do that comparison but while they do have a heavy Morbid Angel inspiration, it’s got all the dark and foreboding atmosphere and evil presence that Nightbringer works in. Just in death metal form. Particularly in some of the slower, mid-paced doom-ier moments. There’s enough here to satisfy death metal fans and enough here to keep the band from being another throwback death metal act. And to keep the quality up amongst three bands, that’s something to be commended.