The top albums list for 2008 has been modified enough. I have narrowed my choices to these:
Total Brutal by Austrian Death Machine - Still is epic as fuck, and will remain so. Guaranteed a spot on the list.
Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder by Cradle of Filth - Easily the most evil release from Cradle of Filth in their entire career. Is the music different? Yes. But the whole package is just pure evil.
The Premonition by Firewind - The best power metal album of the year, hands down. Gus G. is practically untouchable as a guitarist.
Iconoclast (Part 1: The Final Resistance) by Heaven Shall Burn - The very definition of German excellence. Heaven Shall Burn are now the best German metal band out, PERIOD.
For the Revolution by Kalmah - The best album to come out of Finland this year. Guaranteed a spot of the list.
Kolossus by Keep of Kalessin - One of the best genre-bending albums released in recent memory. Black metal and power metal combine to form the most intense wall of sound you'll ever hear.
Stormchaser by Light This City - The perfect swansong for a band that died before its time, complete with guest appearances that wow even the most ardent metal purists.
Architect of Lies by Mercenary - At the pinnacle of their career, Mercenary released this masterpiece. The sound that this band achieves is 100% unique, and they've perfected it now.
N by Norther - I forgot how catchy and intense this album was until it came back up on my iPod recently. I've fallen in love with it all over again.
Watershed by Opeth - Without doubt, there is no band that is as good at songwriting as Opeth. This is guaranteed a spot on the list.
Holographic Universe by Scar Symmetry - My #1 predicted pick for Album of the Year even before it came out. It did not disappoint. Guaranteed the top spot on the list.
Love and Other Disasters by Sonic Syndicate - This band has one of the widest ranges of appeal that I've ever seen, and they've mastered their sound quite nicely.
The March by Unearth - This album blows me away every time I listen to it, because I can hear every element of Unearth's sound represented beautifully. Guaranteed a spot on the list.
The American Dream by Walls of Jericho - The best hardcore release of recent memory. How is Candace Kucsulain able to scream so ridiculously well, and yet is also able to sing like an angel?
The Cancer Empire by Zonaria - There is no other release this year that has a better balance of melody and brutality than this album. If melody and brutality were blocks that you could weigh, this album would be at perfect equilibrium on the scale.
I have two months to finalize my choices and put them in order. Wish me luck.