My top ten are filled in with several artists I already knew and loved coming back for more, along with some excellent new debuts.
I'm certain I'm forgetting some important releases, and also I just like to hear other people's opinions, so you should all comment with your favorites! And if anyone would like to hear an album from my list, leave me a comment and I'll post it.
1. Panopticon - Collapse AND ALSO split w/ Wheels Within Wheels
- more awesome anarchist black metal; both releases are ace, but I find myself listening to the split more than I thought I would
- angry yet thoughtful underground hip-hop; about as good as Audition, which is to say excellent
- hardcore thrash punk from SF; awesome female vocalist
- a big hit among fans of atmospheric black metal; this band certainly deserves the underground attention they are getting
- progressive black metal; with the hype I've seen I imagine this will make a lot of people's lists
- sort of a pop-ier Leftover Crack/Choking Victim; this probably isn't as good as Until We're Dead, but the concert was pretty great
- progressive rock with hardcore and soul influences; they don't play ska anymore, but they're a better band for it
- more blackened crust from one of Sweden's best
- the return of the sludge-doom metal masters; heavy heavy!
- two solid and listenable drone and post-metal releases
- Japanese jazz-fusion
- a nice Canadian one-woman black metal piece with some crust influences
- blackened crust from Canada; this time with an emphasis on the black
- dense, atmospheric black metal from Germany
- indie pop shoegaze; This Love is Fucking Right!
- anarcho-punk; I recommend the earlier albums more though
- weird psychedelic black metal, with an astronaut on the cover!
- quality traditional black metal from Turkey
- more electro-dance-anarcho-punk from southern California
- more atmospheric black metal straight out of the North American forests (Fen was in this position, but I decided this album is better)
a handful of honorable-mentions:
Megadeth - Endgame
Sylvester Anfang II - self-titled
Sun of the Blind - Skullreader
Fen - The Malediction Fields
Sonic Boom Six - City of Thieves
Pensees Nocturnes - Vacuum
Celeste - Misanthrope(s)
Drudkh - Microcosmos
Fall of Efrafa - Inlé
Black Moth Superrainbow - Eating Us
Deafest & Cynd split