It's the end of another year, best-of and top 10 lists abound! You know you know best (certainly better than that bozo), and as far as you're concerned every opinion, save your own, is little more than noxious proof of the existence of the jerk from whence it came.

What's with all the animosity anyway? 'Tis the season of Yule, mes amis, that enmity isn't very 'It's A Wonderful Life'-y at all. Sure, most people have sub-horrific taste, we'll give you that, but even the most boneheaded of Terrans have the right to disseminate their opinions, regardless of how painfully inferior they are to yours.

Take me for example, as a representative for boneheads worldwide: I voted William Shatner as Most Vital Artist of 2004 for his album 'Has Been.' As much as I genuinely loved (and still dearly love) 'Has Been,' I confess half the fun of casting my vote was to rub a few feathers the wrong way, and delight in the thought of causing some eyes to roll, just as my eyes roll as I read lists of picks of all the safe bets, media darlings and predictable favorites I expect to read, year after year.

Until Beelzebub or Cliff Burton himself come to command Ronnie James Dio to annually bestow upon us the 10 best metal albums of the year etched in two concrete slabs, have your salt cellar ready when perusing year-end lists. No one really knows what the hell they're talking about. Except me, of course, when I tell you William Shatner is one of the most vital artists of the decade. Everything else is open for debate, discussion and derision.

And since you asked, here are my favorite albums of 2009 – not necessarily the best, rather the ones that grabbed my attention and piqued my interest after just one listen, demanding I become more familiar with them. In no particular order -- after the top four:

-- 'Supporting Caste'

Megadeth -- 'Endgame'

Voivod -- 'Infini'

Heaven & Hell -- 'The Devil You Know'

NOFX -- 'Coaster'

Vader -- 'Necropolis'

Behemoth -- 'Evangelion'

Outbreak -- 'Outbreak'

Napalm Death -- 'Time Waits for No Slave'

W.A.S.P. -- 'Babylon'

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