6. Behemoth, 'The Satanist'
So you've won a hard-fought battle against life-threatening leukemia and are writing your triumphant first album since. With what words do you open the record? If you're Nergal, frontman of Polish blackened death-metal veterans Behemoth, the choice is clear: "I saw the virgin's cunt spawning forth the snake." Behemoth have never been ones for subtlety, and The Satanist is their brashest, boldest declaration yet. A corpse-paint-slathered embarrassment of unholy riches, the album overfloweth with doomy riffs, hyperspeed blasts, exultant horns, choirs and eerie spoken-word exhortations as if Nergal, having nearly died, attempted to work every musical idea he'd ever had into the record's 44 minutes. The sound of one of extreme metal's best bands at its most extreme. B.G.