THE BEST METAL ALBUMS OF 2010, AS CHOSEN BY METAL MUSICIANS THEMSELVES — PART IV
FEATURING MEMBERS OF ISIS, MUNICIPAL WASTE, ELUVEITIE, WORMROT, LAST CHANCE TO REASON, ZAPPA PLAYS ZAPPA, GOD DETHRONED, OWEN HART, NIGHTFALL, HORSEBACK, AND OCTOBER TIDE
For 2010, we decided to do something special as part of our regular end-of-year festivities here at MetalSucks — namely, ask musicians from across the vast spectrum of the metalsphere (or, in a few cases, the almost-metalsphere) what their favorite albums of the year were. Death metallers, thrash metallers, black metallers, stoners, grinders, and djenters alike graciously contributed lists to MS, and we’ll be running them in groups of ten to eleven musicians at a time twice a day for the rest of the week.
After the jump, check out the fourth group… we hope you enjoy seeing what some of metal’s heaviest hitters were into this year as much as we have!
(And please note that these are musicians and that they, um, have a lot on their minds. So some of ’em named albums that actually came out last year. Please don’t freak out.)
AARON TURNER, HYDRA HEAD RECORDS, EX-ISIS
Good things from 2010 (in no particular order):
Alcest, Écailles De Lune — Not many people can get away with black metal howls and pretty nylon string guitar passages. These guys are good at it though.
Bastard Noise, A Culture of Monsters — Social/political critique, low end pummel, and electronic squiggles all in one place. Masters of their craft.
Aluk Todolo, Finsternis — Determined. Deliberate. Scary. French. Slow. Dark. Yes.
RST, The Sunset Limited — The best driving-at-night-through-the-woods-when-it’s-raining CD I’ve heard all year. RST seems to only pop up every now and again, but it’s always a welcome return.
Krallice, Dimensional Bleedthrough — Shredding with emotion. Epic without being contrived or melodramatic. Most records this punishing are hard to make it through in one sitting. These guys make it a pleasure.
Sun Kill Moon, Admiral Feel Promises — Kozelek does it again, but this time with some flamenco flair. Sounds like a bad idea in theory, but is wonderful in actuality.
Eleh, Location Momentum — Says more with stark simplicity than most artists/bands can say with any amount of ideas/instruments/players/layers. Beauty in restrain and focus.
Horseback, The Invisible Mountain — The songs go on and on, but I think they could still go on a bit more. The second thing on this list to effectively combine black metal and krautrock.
Dead Fader, Corrupt My Examiner — Truly ugly beats. Good ugly. Big, gritty, and forbidding. The world seems to be getting darker. Revel in it or something.
Evan Caminiti, West Winds — I really like Earth and the Dead Man soundtrack and Barn Owl. Slow brooding guitars with beds of droning textures are cool, too. Apparently Evan is a master of combining all these things into one tremendous record. Thank you, Evan.
TONY FORESTA, MUNICIPAL WASTE
1. Low Threat Profile 7″
2. Dopamines, Expect the Worst
3. Tiltwheel, The High Hate Us
4. Torche, Songs for Singles
5. The Fest, Fun Fun Fun, Brainsqueeze and Best Friends Day
6. Toxic Holocaust/Inepsy split 12″
7. Off With Their Heads, In Desolation
8. Antoine Dodson, “The Bed Intruder Song”
9. Ceremony, Rhonert Park
10. Kylesa, Spiral Shadow
ANNA MURPHY, ELUVEITIE
1. Alcest, Écailles De Lune — I just went on MySpace to check what their music is described as, and I wasn’t surprised it just says “other.. Their style is simply unique ,and this is by far their most amazing album to date. When it came out, I couldn’t stop listening to it.
2. As I Lay Dying, The Powerless Rise — This album got rid of my prejudices against metalcore. It completely blew me away. The songwriting is amazing, as is the production. It’s one of those perfect albums. I have no idea how they’re going to top this.
3. God Is An Astronaut, Age Of The Fifth Sun — Age of the Fifth Sun isn’t better or worse than their previous albums, they’re all equally brilliant. So I was neither disappointed nor surprised. Just a great band, that’s all I can say.
4. Deftones, Diamond Eyes — I’ve been listening to this band since I was about 11, I guess they got me into harsh music. I completely lost track of this band during the last few years and was really excited about this new release.
5. Anathema, We’re Here Because We’re Here — To be honest, the lyrics make me cringe. But the fantastically written music can distract me from them quite well, hehe.
6. Massive Attack, Heligoland — Takes some time to get into, but it’s still brilliant. Gotta love Massive Attack, nothing else to add here…
7. Ufomammut, Eve — This album was given to me by a friend, I had never even heard of this band before. Really cool experimental, psychedelic stuff! I’ve listened to them quite a lot since.
8. 36 Crazyfists, Collisions and Castaways — We recently toured with them and I was completely blown away by their live performance, probably one of the best bands I’ve seen in a long time. So when I got home I immediately had to get all their albums off iTunes.
9. Woven Hand, The Threshingfloor — The voice of David Eugene Edwards is not from this world. It took me really long to get why everybody around me loves this band so much, now I don’t get how you can’t.
10. Groombridge, Customers from Hell — An alternative post-rock whatever band (I hate analyzing genres…) from Switzerland. I saw them live with the American band This Will Destroy You and thought they were brilliant. Their CD certainly is too, worth checking out!
1. Rotten Sound, Napalm — Inhuman. Always a fan of bassy, thick pounding tunes from these guys.
2. Phobia, Unrelenting — They just keeps on going faster and faster. We always do love the grind crust coming from Phobia. As long it sounds pissed off, everyone is happy.
3. Magrudergrind, Crusher — All I can say is, this is like their 2009 s/t album with extra dosage of steroids. Not much grooves going on, but still fucking furious.
4. GAF, Cultivate Disdain — Grooves at it’s finest. Nothing monotonous about this album at all. Dance!
5. Aborted, Coronary Reconstuction — Probably their best release ever. There’s more grind influences going on in this one. Massive production, too.
6. Misery Index, Heirs To Thievery — Misery who? Haha kidding. It was already a masterpiece even before the release. I just knew it. I was right all along.
7.Kill the Client, Set for Extinction — Raw to fucking core. If you are into clean pro as fuck production, then jolly well fuckoff. KTC never been angrier in their entire life. You might kill yourself and your own family with a mortar after spinning this bad boy.
8.Defeated Sanity, Chapters of Repugnance — Technical as shit, guttural vocals, insane guitar works, heavy production. too perfect for a brutal death metal album? YES.
9. Rehashed, Code Black –Hey ho let’s go! Makes me wanna skate although I’ve never skated before. If I could, I’d grind the shit out of the railings while blasting this album with headphones on. TRY IT.
10.Trap Them, Filth Rations — This release recieved great amount of spins in my stereo. A fan of their angsty, raw yet heavy production. Song writings/variations are killer in this one.
EVAN SAMMONS, LAST CHANCE TO REASON
While most of my year was spent listening to 80’s era King Crimson and videogame podcasts, I did manage to think of ten metal-ish albums that tickled my fancy in 2010. In no particular order…
Yakuza, Of Seismic Consequence — There’s no other band out there like Yakuza. Of Seismic Consequence is atmospheric, dynamic, complex, and full of textures typically unheard of in metal. Awesome stuff.
Fear Factory, Mechanize — FF’s return to form! Sounds like Demanufacture with modern production and Gene Hoglan on drums — ’nuff said.
Look What I Did, Atlas Drugged — Call it ‘info punk’ if you must, but there’s a lot more to LWID than meets the eye. Minuteman for the Moment was one of my favorite albums of the past ten years and Atlas Drugged should not be missed either.
Deftones, Diamond Eyes — You can’t go too wrong with Deftones. While I didn’t fall as hard for this one as, say, Around the Fur or Saturday Night Wrist, it’s still a great album. Plus it’s fun to hear Steph Carpenter’s love for Meshuggah continue to bleed into the Deftones sound.
Periphery, Periphery — People on the internet seem divided about this band. They shouldn’t be. This album shows an unheard of level of technical prowess and musical maturity for a debut album. A very important release for progressive metal, period.
Atheist, Jupiter — Speaking of important releases… NEW ATHEIST! Holy eff this is great.
Powerglove, Saturday Morning Apocalypse — Powerglove makes good on their promise of destroying your childhood memories with metal renditions of all the videogame and cartoon music you grew up with.
Iron Thrones, The Wretched Sun — This is probably the fourteen-millionth time this has been posted on MetalSucks, but Iron Thrones’ The Wretched Sun rocks. We toured with these guys over the summer and they slayed every night.
The Contortionist, Exoplanet — Syncopated chunky-munky heaviness, mixed with great ambience and melody. These guys have a lot of potential moving forward.
Metroid Metal, Varia Suite — Finally, a full band recording of the internet’s favorite prog-metal Metroid renditions. Much love to Stemage and the boys. Anyone into prog, metal, or Metroid should give this stuff a listen.
PETE GRIFFIN, ZAPPA PLAYS ZAPPA
In sort of order.
1.Enslaved, Axioma Ethica Odini –Just awesome, great songs, perfect production, with a sprinkling of Pink Floyd sonics and Alice in Chains vocal harmonies.
2. Deftones, Diamond Eyes — Never liked them much before, but this album has so many undeniable grooves.
3. The Dillinger Escape Plan, Option Paralysis — Everything you love about DEP, plus pretty piano sections. Great stuff to scare your non-metal friends.
4. Shining, Blackjazz — A glimpse into the future of heavy music, sax freakouts, broken electronics, and batshit crazy arrangements.
5. Norma Jean, Meridional — So what if they’re Christian, this album just rocks hard. Raw production and slick arrangements.
6. Periphery, S/T — Amazing tech-y tunes with a singer that doesn’t sound like anyone else.
7. Intronaut, Valley of Smoke — These guys have really found their voice on this record, the music transitions from brutal to elegant seamlessly.
8. Cynic, Re-Traced — Almost non-metal, it’s really cool to hear Cynic just write some amazing songs without needing to be super technical.
9. Karnivool, Sound Awake — Best live singer I’ve ever seen, this album shows off just how different these guys are from other metal.
10. Coheed and Cambria, Year of the Black Rainbow –They’ve really figured out how to meld their pop side and their prog-metal side. “Here We Are Juggernaut” is simply incredible.
DANNY TUNKER, GOD DETHRONED
1. Immolation, Majesty and Decay — A band I’ve always liked turned into one of my favorite bands of all time this year. This album did it for me. It sounds great, the songs are killer and a lot more compact. They pack a hell of a lot of punch and are, through all the sheer brutality, enormously catchy. Just listen to the title-track!
Favorite songs: “A Token Of Malice,” “Majesty and Decay”
2. Jon Oliva’s Pain, Festival — Being a big Savatage fan, I followed this band quite closely and liked all their other albums. Liked them, but didn’t really love them as much as I’ve loved, say, Gutter Ballet, Edge Of Thorns of The Wake Of Magellan. Imagine my surprise when I routinely listened to this album (hey it’s got Jon Oliva’s name on it) and was blown out of my socks. The songs, the feel, the playing, the singing. To my ears Jon Oliva’s voice hasn’t sounded this great since Streets!
Favorite song: “Afterglow”
3. Misery Index, Heirs To Thievery — Any album by Misery index is worth checking out, and this one doesn’t disappoint. I loved Traitors, and Heirs To Thievery is a very logical and natural follow-up.
Favorite song: “The Illuminaught”
4. Anathema, We’re Here Because We’re Here — Unlike a lot of other metal-fans I loved the fact that Anathema branched out into a lot of “alternative” sounds. For me they have grown naturally, and my favorite Anathema album is A Fine Day To Exit. It still is, but this album has officially become my second favorite Anathema album. Awesome songs, great performances, and very beautiful artwork abound on this release!
Favorite song: Everything
5. Nox, Blood, Bones & Ritual Death — I’ve been a NOX fan for a long time and a new release is always good news for me. This EP is a rollercoaster-ride of a death metal album. All ingredients are in place and NOX has never sounded better. Every song delivers.
6. Enslaved, Axioma Ethica Odini — This band just keeps growing and this album continues that tradition. If you like progressive music in any way, I can fully recommend this release.
Favorite song: “Ethica Odini”
7. Kaipa, In The Wake Of Evolution — I loved their last album, Angling Feelings, and was looking forward to the follow-up. It’s more epic in that it contains longer songs, but it’s still unmistakably Kaipa. Per Nilsson’s playing on this album is out of this world!
Favorite song: “Electric Power Water Notes”
8. Severe Torture, Slaughtered — A brutal slab of Dutch death metal, and quite possibly their best album so far. It’s certainly their best sounding one.
Favorite songs: “Grave Condition,” “Deride Jesus”
9. Allen & Lande, The Showdown — A great melodic rock album. I’ve loved the first two, The Battle and The Revenge, the latter being my absolute favorite, and The Showdown once again delivers! Jorn and Russel sound great together, the songs are great, and so is the playing.
Favorite songs: “Judgement Day,” “Never Again”
10. Deathspell Omega, Paracletus — A great and fitting end to their trilogy.
Favorite Songs: “Wings Of Predation,” “Dearth”
TONY WOLFE, OWEN HART
1. Rotten Sound, Napalm — Rotten Sound’s Napalm Death covers are fucking insane. I couldn’t think of a better present day band to cover Napalm Death and the original Rotten Sound songs on here are fucking brutal as shit.
2. Deathspell Omega, Paracletus — I fucking love this album. Deathspell are one of the few bands today pushing the boundaries of extreme music. Fucking chaotic.
3. In Disgust/P.L.F. split — Both these bands fucking kill on this record, but the In Disgust side is my favorite. Gnarly fucking grind at its nastiest. Fucking insane live, fucking insane on record.
4. Arson Anthem, Insecurity Notoriety — Fuck the NOLA scene for constantly pumping out killer shit. Phil Anselmo and Mike Williams can do no wrong. This album blows the EP away for sure. Raging hardcore shit from NOLA.
5. Ufommamut, Eve — The mixture of weed and this album will melt any mind. I love concept albums in general and the heavy space shit Ufomammut unleashes on this record is perfect for getting fucking ripped to.
6. Magrudergrind, Crusher — Why the fuck is Scion putting out records?? Regardless, Magrudergrind rips and this EP fucking rips. Really wish it wasn’t related to a fucking car company, but it fucking rips.
7. V/A, This Comp Kills Fascists, Vol II. — Minus our two songs (shameless self promotion), this record is an amazing showcase of present metal/grind/powerviolence. Lack of Interest kills, along with Despise You, Noisear, and Hummingbird of Death. Every song on this record is awesome, and i think that’s extremely rare for a comp.
8. Dangers, Messy, Isn’t It? — Dangers are one of the few “hardcore” bands I dig. The lyrics are a fresh air in this stagnant scene. I feel like no band sounds like Dangers and I really appreciate that.
9. Kerasphorus, Cloven Hooves at the Holocaust Dawn — Gnarly black metal. I think this is the only thing Kerasphorus put out before they broke up this year? But it is relentless as fuck.
10. Defeated Sanity, Chapters of Repugnance — Heavy as fuck death metal. Intricate, technical, and grooving. Willowtip has good taste, as always.
EVAN HENSELY, NIGHTFALL
I don’t know if these are necessarily the 10 best albums of 2010, but they are the ones I paid the most attention to!
1. Dimmu Borgir, Abrahadabra – This record kicks ass. I like the more orchestral style as opposed to the previous record, In Sorte Diaboli, and the arrangements and production are top-notch.
2. Overkill, Ironbound – What a great thrash record from a band that has never deviated much from their core. Blitz gives a great performance and the energy never lets down on the whole record.
3. Nevermore, The Obsidian Conspiracy – The Peter Wichers production does really well on this one, giving the songs a sharp, concise feeling. “…And the Maiden Spoke” in particular has some really interesting riffs and solos.
4. Opeth, In Live Concert at the Royal Albert Hall – This has to be one of the best filmed metal performances I have ever seen/heard. They simply knock everything out of the park (pun intended). The set list choices were great and the sound (especially on the DVD) is phenomenal.
5. Arsis, Starve For The Devil – A great release from a band that doesn’t get too much recognition outside the US. Mike Van Dyne is back on the drums and he makes sure things groove a bit more than the last release, We Are The Nightmare. I really like the ‘80s guitar vibe to some of the songs here as well, even though I know they got flak for it.
6. Paul Gilbert, Fuzz Universe – Paul is one of my favorite guitarists and he put together a great mix melodic, dynamic, and fluid arrangements without making them necessarily over-technical. His sense of melody and composition is what sets him apart from a lot of ‘80s shredders.
7. Kalmah, 12 Gauge – This band doesn’t get much attention in the US, which is a shame since they have put out six stellar albums now. I really like this Finnish style of melodic death metal, and Kalmah infuse it with a thrashier side that packs a lot of punch!
8. Iron Maiden, The Final Frontier – A solid record. I saw them on this tour and they are still putting on great shows, especially Bruce.
9. Cradle of Filth, Darkly, Darkly Venus Aversa – I actually just got this two days before writing this list, but it seems pretty good so far! Very heavy.
10. Exodus, Exhibit B: The Human Condition – Good follow-up to Exhibit A. Lots of heavy riffs! Exodus still keeps going strong.
JENKS MILLER, HORSEBACK
1 Locrian, The Crystal World
2 Skullflower, Strange Keys To Untune Gods’ Firmament
3 Francisco López, Machines
4 Darkthrone, Circle the Wagons
5 Oren Ambarchi/Jim O’Rourke/Keiji Haino, Tima Formosa
6. Wolfgang Voigt, Freiland Klaviermusik
7. Profanatica, Disgusting Blasphemies Against God
8. Gate, A Republic of Sadness
9. Harvey Milk, A Small Turn of Human Kindness
10. William Fowler Collins, Enter the Host
FRED NORMAN, OCTOBER TIDE, EX-KATATONIA
A Swarm of the Sun, Zenith — This album is like a movie without a screen to me. Very dark and depressing.
Ghost, Opus Eponymous — Old school and brilliant!
Khoma, A Final Storm — Swedish kings of dynamics.
KENT, En Plats I Solen — Swedish kings of pop.
Amorphis, Magic & Mayhem — Recoveries of finnish friends.
Bo Kaspers Orkester, New Orleans — Swedes moving boundaries and diminishes the world.
Steve Hackett, Out of the Tunnel’s Mouth — The legend with another masterpiece filled with emothions and stunning guitar work.
Moon Safari, Lover’s End — Third album from swedish retro-progers and masters of harmonies.
Interment, Into the crypts of blasphemy — After twenty years they finally release their debut album. Death metal the way it should be!!!
Sun Kil Moon, Admiral Fell Promises — Perfect for lonley nights.