LEYLA FORD’S TOP FIFTEEN, ER, TEN METAL ALBUMS OF 2010
I actually really hate making best of lists. If it’s something stupid or silly like the “Top Five Best Bathrooms” I’ve ever used (in ascending order: Harrods in London, Beyti restaurant in Istanbul, Park Hotel in Japan, any and all bathrooms affiliated with the Oberoi Hotels, and my own back home that I don’t have to share with ANYONE) or “Arnold Schwarzenneger’s Top Seven Roles (again, ascending order: “Conan” in Conan the Barbarian, “Detective John Kimble” in Kindergarten Cop, “John Matrix” in Commando, “Julius Benedict” in Twins, “The Terminator” in The Terminator, “Harry Tasker” in True Lies, and “Prince Hapi the Ottoman Sultan” in Around the World in 80 Days), then I have a blast just thinking them up and recording them for posterity’s sake within the privacy of my own internet blog. But when it’s “serious,” then I get needlessly anxious. It puts all this weird pressure on me to get it right and stresses me out and I don’t like that. Oh, and I procrastinated on this for too long and now I don’t have time to finish it so I have the top ten rather than fifteen albums.
I’ll let the others take care of really analyzing and weighing options in terms of the year’s best. They can pick Daaths and Nachtmystiums until the cows come home, eat the cows, and then argue about the Kylesas and Mastodons until a new herd arrives (I’m also relying on their lists to refresh my memory and make me go, “Ohhh yeaaaah,” because half the things I thought came out this year were from 2009, like Wolf’s Ravenous and Ensiferum’s From Afar. Seriously, where the hell did this year go? Did Gojira’s new album come out last year, too?). My list consists of the albums I had the most fun with. Yeah, there’s probably a vast difference between what’s “best” and what I chose, but I’m writing this, so shut your whore mouth and enjoy. It’s the end of the year, time for merriment not mutiny. Or I don’t care, get as self-righteously outraged as you possibly can. I’ll be out of the country anyway.
10. Ratt, Infestation (Roadrunner)
Nowhere near as good as Reach For the Sky. What? Yeah, that’s my favorite Ratt album. It’s got “Way Cool Jr.,” “I Want A Woman,” and “What’s It Gonna Be,” what else do you want? But considering what the rest of their brethren are doing (Yeah, can’t quite picture, Ratt of Love. Or can I…?), this was a surprisingly good effort from my favorite rodent namesakes. It sounds like classic Ratt; screechy vocals and screechy guitars. “Eat Me Alive” is no “Heads I Win, Tails You Lose,” which is possibly the stupidest duet (it’s with Jon Bon Jovi and, yeah, I love it), but it like clings to my brain. I get quiet moments in my head quite often, which is surprising since I’m such a bright young girl with many an intelligent thing to say, and the new filler music that plays in these moments is this album. It used to be Out of the Cellar. Shoot, that’s back in my head now. Round and round…
9. Accept, Blood of the Nations (Nuclear Blast)
It’s nice to know you don’t need an egotistical midget with the voice of a goblin angel to make music. I’m sure the rest of the band was happy to realize that, too.
8. TesseracT, Concealing Fate EP (Century Media)
This totally counts. Any band I covered this year is pretty much guaranteed on here because, well, why else would I actively seek to cover them? I’m not a big prog fan, but these djentlemen (Hahahaha, I crack me up. Sorry, “djent” such a dumb word.) managed to make music that’s prog-y without being too self-indulgent, which is my biggest problem with the genre. Like, “Ohhh we’re musicians, watch us compose music.” Fuck off. This is experimental and technical, but seeing them live probably helped temper my decision. They have a real presence when they play, and the music was the most enjoyable assault to my ears I’ve had in a while.
7. Powerglove, Saturday Morning Apocalypse (eOne Music)
AAAAHHAHAHAHAHAH. I could just leave it at that — maniacal laughter — but no, I’ll elaborate. This album has amused me so much. I love cartoons. My ring tone is currently the Batman Beyond theme. Which, by the way, is the most metal of all themes. No really, it’s badass. And I usually end up not answering my phone because I’m listening to it. When some of my favorite themes are blown up to such epic proportions, I can’t help but like it. Now let’s get this straight, I’ve never liked Pokemon. I’ve had friends that did. I’ve had cousins, and a little sister who also did. They’ve all tortured me endlessly with it. That damn show has been in my life for so long, and it still infuriates me. Except now, it’s a lot more fun hearing it blasted in a car with my guy friends all singing it. Yep, all know it by heart too. Though, hearing the X-Men and Transformers theme in all their power metal majesty is something to behold. Ah, Powerglove, you make me so happy. Much like four mutant turtles that really liked pizza used to. Except that year I got Donatello as a gift because purple is “a girl’s color.” I didn’t want the guy who did machines; I wanted the party dude (oleeeeeeeey)!
6. Kvelertak, Kvelertak (Indie)
I love it when you can clearly pinpoint a band’s influences within their music. I love it even more so when they can do it while still retaining their own original voice. This sounds like the Hellacopters and Turbonegro met up, decided they’d had enough of partying, and got serious. But only slightly. It’s got a hard punk edge while still being basically rock’n’roll, even with the vocals, and, well, that’s all the things I like in a nutshell. It was a damn hassle trying to get my hands on it here in the States, though. How hard is it, in this day and age, to make something available for worldwide download? MOST OF US DON’T LIVE IN NORWAY. But I didn’t let that color my opinion. Although I’ve been to their hometown of Stavanger. Had some pretty good goat cheese.
5. Enslaved, Axioma Ethica Odini (Nuclear Blast)
There’s nothing anyone can do to tear me away from my Viking metal. Especially when it’s this good. It’s galloping and pounding and everything good about black metal. Bonus points for no corpse paint. Nah, I kid. Corpse paint has its place, but not with my Enslaved dudes. I love how clean the vocals sound, especially on the tracks they harmonized with the more melodic tones, and though people have been saying they’ve been edging into a more psychedelic sound, I actually didn’t hear it at first. It’s a tribute to how seamlessly they blend new sounds and influences to each record. Plus, they literally go, “Raaawwwr,” on the intro to “Waruun.” Yay. One of the best shows I saw this year as well.
4. Danko Jones, Below the Belt (Bad Taste/Aquarius)
If we can have a Skunk Anansie review on the site, I can pick an album that’s not really metal for my list. Especially this one, because it is amazing. I love Danko Jones, it reminds me of being in 8th grade and really into punk but about a thousand times better than the crap I listened to in middle school. (Except The Vandals. They’re always fun.) It’s fast, it’s fun, and this album is so filled with biting vitriol, it’s a trip to listen to. Seriously, someone really screwed over poor Danko, because there’s some pointed venom in most of the songs. “Had Enough,” is currently my favorite off the album. When I really, really love a song, I will listen to it repeatedly, over and over, until it gets to the point where I’d rather rip my ears off than listen to it again. Then I take a break. Go back to it in a year, and it’s still miraculously awesome. I’m still in the listening stage with this one, and we’re reaching the triple digits in terms of plays. However, I do also recommend “I Think Bad Thoughts.” Sing the chorus, out loud, in public places. You’ll get some excellent looks.
I can rip you off, and steal all your cash
Suckerpunch you in the face, stand back and laugh
Leave you stranded as fast as a heart-attack
All day, I think bad thoughts
I can break your heart at the drop of a hat
Stab you in the back, in two minutes flat
Screw your girl in the back of my Cadillac
I think bad thoughts
And we come to the final three. My trifecta of 2010 sleaze metal. Pshh, what the fuck else would I pick for my personal list?
3. Crashdiet, Generation Wild (Universal/Gain)
I avoided Crashdiet for a good long while because, I mean, how different can one sleaze band be from the rest? I felt they got too much hype. I eat my words now. Hardcore fans of theirs will probably blast me, but personally, I prefer their new singer and this album to Rest in Sleaze. This is akin to liking Michael Graves more than Glen Danzig, but guess what? Graves’ has one of my absolute favorite voices in music, and though I’m a long-time Misfits fan, Famous Monsters is one of their best. So get over it. Generation Wild has exactly one song I skip over ,and that’s because it’s a little too slow and whiny for my hard, fast tastes (“Save Her”), but everything else is like a revelation. I’m a sucker for catchy, vaguely pop, machinegun-fire choruses, but you really can’t do better than “Chemical.”
2. Crazy Lixx, New Religion (Frontiers)
I discovered these boys this past summer, and it’s kind of telling that I’m still listening to the album six months later. They’re more glam/hair than the rest of Sweden’s dirty sleaze population, but it’s like all the good parts of ‘80s metal bands (Yes, there are good parts. It’s metal, it’s a genre, and it’s here to stay. I will fight for it ’til the day I die. And I’m as stubborn as a mule, so I warn you, don’t take me on.) mixed up into twelve songs. Yes, they’re a little cheesy — I mean “R-O-C-K IT’S MY MEDICINE” is hardly brain surgery, but I can’t hold that against a band that uses the word “smut” in their lyrics. I love that word! No, I really do. It’s one of my favorite words. “21 ‘Til I Die” and “She’s Mine” are my top two choices from the record.
1. Hardcore Superstar, Split Your Lip (Nuclear Blast)
Oh God. Every time I hear that Hardcore Superstar have a new album coming out, I basically need a change of clothes. They are, without a doubt, my favorite current band. The weird thing is, I always get that feeling of trepidation — how can they possibly top themselves with every new release? But then they do, and I’m astounded, and have a gloriously loud Hardcore Superstar party by myself until my boyfriend tells me to shut up and go to bed. As of writing this, their new release has been out less than a week. But I love them, it’s my list, and you best believe they’re at the fucking top. Hell, when they just had their promo out on the website (before the new website had even launched) I just kept playing that minute fifteen over and over again. It’s sleaze and thrash and hard and so fucking good. It’s the perfect music to either get in a fight to or get laid to. I could write a thesis on how good they are, but just listen to “Moonshine” and “Guestlist,” then work your way back through their discography. Seriously, they just keep getting better. Their website is now English-friendly, too. Ah, I remember those days of staring perplexedly at my screen as Google Translate mauled whatever it was they were trying to tell me. I managed to get a t-shirt, but for all I know, I sold my family to Sweden in return.
Best metal book: Dave Mustaine’s book, Are You Ready to Take the Risk? Okay, you know the Family Guy episode where Bryan writes a self-help book in three hours? This is the title he would’ve passed for being too obvious. Mustaine comes off as a complete asshole (WHAAAT? HOW CAN THIS BE?) and is hilariously pretentious when talking about his kung-fu skills. Yep, you heard me. He is a master (of the flying guillotine). Good times.
Worst metal book: Vince Neil’s Tattoos & Tequila: To Hell and Back with One of Rock’s Most Notorious Frontmen. I picked it up at the bookstore, read the first few pages, and stopped. If I’m supposed to be horrified and titillated by Vince dunking his dick into breakfast burritos to cover up the smell of sex, well, maybe he should try a story I haven’t already read about in The Dirt. In fact, why don’t all of you Crue boys (and everyone else) just take some time to re-read your first tome because, truly, that book is excellent. Heroin Diaries was alright, Tommyland was fucking ridiculous (Oh how very droll, having a conversation with your penis. Go away, Anthony Bozza. Every rock book you collaborate on infuriates me. Like Slash’s book, when your editing acumen had him saying “But I’ll get to that later” every other sentence.) and this is, as said, unreadable. I’d be curious to read a Mick Mars, books but it would probably make me suicida,l because his snippets from The Dirt were damn depressing.
Best metal movie: While we’re on the topic of Motley Crue, the best metal movie this year has to be Hot Tub Time Machine. It both celebrates and mercilessly mocks Motley Crue, exactly the way I do. I can’t stand any of the members (except Mick Mars ,because he’s never done anything to raise my ire and I probably would give his autobiography a quick look (pssst need a ghost writer?)), but I just can’t quit them either. The writers of this movie obviously feel the same way. Plus, enough with the black metal documentaries. Isn’t Lords of Chaos up for a movie adaptation, too? It better come up with some truly spectacular way of showing church burnings and band cannibalism or yawn.