3. Circle, 'Terminal'
Calling Finnish cult heroes Circle "prolific" would be a humorous understatement (they've released more than 30 albums since forming in 1991), and calling the septet "eclectic" would likewise fall short of the mark. Their first release for Southern Lord veers from chugging krautrock grooves to Stooges-style bulldozer riffing to spacey Pink Floyd interludes to Seventies prog-metal excess to Queen-ly pomp-pop without any warning. However it's all fluid and organic – and especially impressive when the multi-layered assault of the band's three guitarists kicks in gloriously on "Rakkautta Al Dente," "Sick Child" and the title track. These guys are very much on their own trip, but it's an addictive thrill to have a seat on their spacecraft. D.E.