Well it’s down to the last three weeks of this year already. There has been some great and some not so great music released this year. Since there are no more notable releases until the New Year I can give a rundown of my favorite albums of this year. I couldn’t narrow it down to a top 10 this year because entirely too many good albums came out. I will give honorable mentions to five bands that either put out an on par album to their usual stuff or bands that are trying to reestablish themselves and regain credibility. All of these albums are well worth buying for any metal fan this Christmas as well.
Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier
Sevendust – Cold Day Memory
Intronaut – Valley Of Smoke
Exodus – Exhibit B: The Human Condition
Godsmack – The Oracle
The Top 15:
A solid release from the Swedish melodic death metal masters and definitely a must have for any DT fan. No filler to be found here and they’ve definitely stepped up their game over the past few releases.
This is an awesome mix of symphonic black metal with a little bit of progressive and power metal to it. The only thing that keeps it from being higher on the list is how madly in love I am with the sound of their 2008 release, Kolossus.
This is a very good album but I feel like High On Fire has already set the bar so high for themselves with prior releases this album lacks the repeat button factor all of their other albums have.
A very cool, innovative band from Maryland with loads of talent on display here. This is definitely a cool find for fans of fancy guitar work and heavy music looking for something new.
An in your face extreme industrial metal band from Australia that makes Fear Factory sound like alt rock at times. This is their finest work yet. Expect brutal, neck snapping sounds mixed with still coherent vocals.
A very cool album loaded with guest appearances and about ten different genres from country to rockabilly to death metal all mixed into one.
It’s usually going to happen that every new Motörhead release ends up somewhere in somebody’s year end list. This one is no different I’m happy to say. If you can find it on this side of the pond in time for the holidays you should buy it for the old school metalhead in your life.
This probably won’t be a popular choice since most people won’t even know who this is. If you were a fan of the Finnish band Sentenced anytime after the mid 90’s, this is lead singer Ville Laihiala’s current project. This is his most inspired work compared to the previous three Poisonblack albums and more of a return to form of the emotions conveyed in Sentenced.
This is the best thing Soilwork has done since Natural Born Chaos and I’m sure that every fan will agree with that. This is a headbanging album from start to finish with Bjorn showing off his vocal strengths more here than in any of his prior work. This is definitely the return to form this band so badly needed to stay relevant for a long time to come.
This is a band that keeps outdoing themselves with every release. They’ve come a long way since the addictive ‘Unretrofied’ on Miss Machine being played everywhere to a masterpiece of many different genres on Ire Works. This album can be best described as the rise and the fall of a 41 minute musical seizure turned into a journey.
This is the softest release on my list, but somehow quite possibly the darkest as well. A moody, borderline depressing album that will appeal to fans from a lot of different genres permitting they actually know what good music is and aren’t dead set on one kind of music only. Also, this album has the best Elvis cover song I’ve heard to date.
This album took a few listens to grow on me but turned out to be one of my favorites this year. This album has all of the catchy guitar hooks you’d expect from a Nevermore release combined with Warrel Dane’s signature vocals. The bloated feel of some of their stuff is also notably gone here and the songs are more straight forward which is a step in the right direction. You do need to find the version with their cover of The Doors’ ‘Crystal Ship’ however because it’s a wonderful and unforgettable rendition of an already great song.
The best description for this album is FINALLY! Fear Factory was an essential part of growing up for many metalheads like me that were trying to bridge the time gap from Pantera to Lamb of God. Their stuff just kind of tapered off from bland by the end of Obsolete to ‘what the fuck were you thinking covering U2?’ on Transgression. With the addition of Gene Hoglan on drums and Dino Cazares back in the fold, Burton Bell and company put out one of the hardest hitting releases of 2010 that restored our faith in them. Gene is an absolute beast on drums which lays the groundwork for the entire album and Burton’s pipes are as strong as ever.
When it comes to straight up metal releases in 2010, this is hands down the best one that I picked up. This is 45 minutes of some of the darkest death metal perfectly laced with intricate musicianship that you’ll ever hear. If this album doesn’t move you then you’re probably already dead or else it just killed you. Guitarists Eyal Levi and Emil Werstler take guitar work usually reserved for virtuoso albums like Joe Satriani, Yngwie Malmsteen, or their own Levi/Werstler album (also released in 2010 which is also jaw dropping musically I might add), and incorporate it into technical death metal. The only people who will be disappointed by this under their Christmas tree will be the grindcore kids looking for pig squeals and retarded song titles.
This album deserves to be number one on my list for 2010 based on the catchiness factor to go along with the quality. When I have the urge to put on an album at any time of the day or night no matter what I’m doing, they’ve done something right for sure. If you’re a Deftones fan, you pretty much know exactly what to expect by now, even if Saturday Night Wrist left you scratching your head like it did to me. Everybody who is a fan loved how songs from the first two albums like ‘Bored’ and ‘My Own Summer’ would get stuck in your head, and then how the songwriting on White Pony was hailed by any critic with a music publication. After their self-titled effort being hit or miss and Saturday Night Wrist being a bit whiny and all over the board, they returned with the perfect mix of the catchiness found on the first two albums mixed with the dark style on White Pony that made them a household name. Give a track like ‘CMND/CTRL’ one listen and see if that song doesn’t get permanently latched in your brain if you disagree with this being number 1.
How could I forget a few albums that you should only buy if you don’t love somebody?
Rob Zombie – Hellbilly Deluxe 2 – While a lot of people loved this album because of their undying allegiance to Rob Zombie, all that I could ask myself is what the fuck happened? Either put your heart into making music OR making films, not half assing music to pay for your films.
Linkin Park – A Thousand Suns – Once upon a time they were a semi-respectable name in the rock world. Now they have chosen to align themselves with the Ryan Seacrest demographic of music. Shame.
Stone Sour – Audio Secrecy – I wish they would have left this album a secret, or at least released the songs one at a time as B-sides so that I could have chosen to skip them. If the poppy single ‘Through Glass’ annoyed you, you’ll come to love and miss that song here.
Korn – Korn III – To be fair, I haven’t listened to the entire album in one try because I couldn’t stomach hearing what happened here. Love them or hate them, if you’re between the age of 22 and 30, you had no choice but to grow up to them, so hearing where they’ve regressed to now is just painful.
Disturbed – Asylum – If you raised a douchey frat kid who likes radio rock anthems then this is a good album to buy him. Otherwise let the naïve teenagers keep inflating their sales and spend your hard earned money on one of the twenty awesome albums above.