These are the records that came close, but didn't quite make the cut on my final list. A few of them were in the running right up until the end and could almost be interchangeable with the last few on my final list. These are in no particular order. (The links will take you to my original reviews.)
God Forbid, "Earthsblood." With more progressive leanings, God Forbid is about the only band from the metalcore movement that remains in my playlist.
Lazarus A.D., "The Onslaught." This may be the best band to come out of the neo-thrash movement.
Goatwhore, "Carving Out the Eyes of God." I’ve never been a big fan of my hometown boys, but this record impressed me.
Ensiferum, "From Afar." The best folk metal I heard this year outside of Alestorm.
Lacuna Coil, "Shallow Life." Yeah, it’s incredibly poppy and commercial, but I still liked it.