Sunday, January 02, 2011

Who Decides: 2010 Albums of the Year

2010 was a bit of a down year. There wasn't that much to get excited about, but the albums that are in the top 10 are really good, sum will easily make the albums of the decade list in 8 years...if the blog is still up and running. I managed to review a few of these albums as the year wrapped up, so hopefully I won't have to talk about each album as much as I did in the past.

A couple of honorable mentions to Eluveitie with Everything Remains As It Never Was. It was a return to Slania-type folk/melodic death metal. In fact, they probably threw in more folk than before. If you liked Slania, check this one out. This is probably my favorite song off the album, but it's also the slowest.

And the God of War III EP. This thing had songs by Trivium, Killswitch Engage, Opeth, Dream Theater, and a couple others. The mentioned 4 band songs were awesome. Opeth going back to some 70's progressive feel and DT going instrumental. And what about Trivium? They kept going in the same direction that they started with Shogun. I couldn't include it because it was just an EP. But it is definitely one of the better releases this year.

10. Angelus Apatrida - Clockwork: This is retro thrash. It was between this band and another called Vindication. One sounds like Megadeth the other Testament. I went with the latter. Nothing really special here. It's classic bay area thrash with great solos and some early Testament style vocals. Like I said, solid, but definitely didn't break any new ground.

9. Pendulum - Immersion: Kind of the black sheep of the list. This band falls under the "drum & bass" genre. It's has that techno/trance/rave type feel to it at times. I found out the album from the song Self vs. Self which had In Flames on it.

To be honest it's an In Flames song on another album because the rest of the album sounds nothing like that. But that's ok. It's really not bad. It reminds me of 80's new wave at times in fact. Believe it or not, I have a soft spot for bands like Tears for Fears, Human League and the likes. Hopefully Pendulum will continue to push the lines of drum & bass to include more metal aspects.

8. Charred Walls of the Damned - Charred Walls of the Damned: I talked about their album HERE. Solid classic metal album. This is a must for Iced Earth fans as well, even if you are fans of Matt Barlow era Iced Earth.

7. As I Lay Dying - This Powerless Rise: there is nothing wrong with this album, it's just not close to being as good as their previous album. No surprises here. If you liked their last one, the same thing is going on here too. I can't complain about it.

6. Eye of the Enemy - Weight of Redemption: can't believe I never talked about this album. It is near perfect for a debut. The production is top notch. It's better than some veteran albums. Eye of the Enemy plays what I call modern thrash, think DevilDriver. The riffs are vicious and the drumming is intense. Vocals have that harder edge to them without going total death metal. There is some interesting use of techno elements, but nothing to write home about. It pops up once or twice and it doesn't take anything away from the song. This is a band to keep an eye on (no pun intended). How many bands can write an 8 minute song to close an album and make it feel like a typical 4 minute song? Not many. Just go to the 3:20 mark to hear some killer music.

5. Arcania - Sweet Angel Dust: Another new band. This band could have used the production that Eye of the Enemy had. That is probably the one downfall of this album. I reviewed it HERE.

4. Nevermore - The Obsidian Conspiracy: This was a bit of a disappointment at first because it wasn't close to The Godless Endeavor. Plus the solo albums from Jeff Loomis and Warrell Dane made the expectations really high. Well after I listened to it, I put it away thinking "this sucks", then I revisited it a couple of weeks later and was blown away by it. It reminds me a lot of Dead Heart in a Dead World because it isn't all thrash. It has some moments that are thrash, but others are that sort of mid-tempo memorable songs. Each song has a hook that grabs you right away and doesn't let go.

3. All That Remains - For We Are Many: I didn't get a chance to review this album during the year, but here is a quick summary. Better than Overcome, but not The Fall of Ideals. It's a solid album. They took the hooks of Overcome and tried to bring in a little bit heavier feel to the album, but it didn't get all the way to The Fall of Ideals. Out of their 5 albums, it is probably their 3rd best, behind The Fall of Ideals and their debut.

2. Bullet For My Valentine - Fever: I reviewed it HERE. Did I say Nevermore had hooks, this thing is like a bait shop...that's a horrible joke, but the point is every song is great. This is a band that I truly thought I would never like, now after their last two albums, I am actually looking forward to see what they can do next.

1. Blaze Bayley - Promise and Terror: I reviewed it HERE. Great throw back to classic metal. No death metal vocals, no breakdowns, just classic heavy metal. Great album. Check out that riff at the 2:40 mark.

That's it. I have mentioned it already, but 2011 looks really good. I think it will be one of the better years for music.

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