mk’s 2010 Metal Top 10

Alright a few suprises and a bit of variety in this years list. Make sure you take a look at dishonourables – they’re HUGE…..and sad unfortunately.

10. An Autumn for the Crippled Children – Lost

Wow, what a debut!!! This is indeed a atmospheric, sonic journey through the depths of deep, deep sea of doom-tinged black-metal. On repeated listens I just keep finding new layers, all handled by three guys.

9. Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier

Am not entirely sure if it’s the fact this particular album has had promotion to the point you could but not pick it up for a few listens, or the actual fact that I might just like this album. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not a huge Iron Maiden fan – I missed all the classic 80’s recordings at the time and thus the early 90’s period is the recordings I am most familiar with, but beside that, the past 4 or 5 albums haven’t interested me the slightest. The Final Frontier however is a different story. Probably more a case that the particular guitar riffs loaded up for this record have attracted my attention more than anything else. All else is generally stock, including Bruce’s vox of course. But messers Murray, Gers and Smith put some tasty treats on the table for this release.

8. Ozzy – Scream

After the debarcle that was the genre definition for Black Rain, I’m more than comfortable not putting Scream in the ‘Non-Metal’ category. Whether it’s Gus G himself or Ozzy, there is a more aggressive edge to this release than the last. Another brilliant collection of songs which still has me with an annoying itch behind my ear questioning just how much writing is going into these songs from Ozzy, but eh, I’ll ignore it as much as possible and just get down to continued enjoyment of this release.

7. Soulfly – Omen

This is 11 tracks of pure fucking relentlesness!! Rizzo and Max work their axes like I have never heard before on a Soulfly release. With Igor providing the cornerstone, lets just close our eyes for a moment and pretend Rizzo is wearing a Kisser mask (and who cares about Pablo – he was tuned down anyway according to Max). Truly Max has a confusing main course on the dinner table for us at the moment to consume – Cavalera Conspirecy touching on the rawness of early Sep, Soulfly doing a darn good impersonation underneath the carrots and then there is of course desert to come into the future – a Nailbomb ‘like’ collaboration……..I canna take any more captn’!! But I sure as hell can’t give up the addiction anytime soon.

6. Kingdom of Sorrow – Behind the Blackest Tears

Well this is clearly stating the obvious, but this is what you get when you join Hatebreed and Crowbar masterminds together in the same room. The opening track for example is entrenched with the Crowbar sludge formula with a hint of Hatebreed sharpness in places, and then Jasta singing in typical rage over the top, for me makes for a good mix. There are some tracks where Kurt sings only, and you could be forgiven for thinking you were actually listening to the new Crowbar album. Still this is a musical marriage I wouldn’t have expected, but I have given it plenty of spins. Crowbar newbie out in 2011 trendsetters!!!!

5. Black Label Society – Order of the Black

Ease up on the ivory Zacky and bring back that trademark ‘TWANG’!!! Something a little different going on here when compared to previous releases. The album certainly has that Zac sound to it, but just not raising the hair on the back of the neck as much as The Blessed Hellride for example. To be fair, there are three killer tracks to open the album before we peeter off into a ‘album-closer-type’ track. Two more killer tracks then keys. Another two tracks, then keys again. He can write a damn good ballad it must be said. I guess I just prefer less of this. Still I’m a Zac groupie and he can’t really do any wrong, so he’s in the Top10

4. Burzum – Belus

This has indeed been the most anticipated release for the past decade, now that Guns and Roses rubbish is out the way. The Counts’ two efforts while in jail can only be described as working with what you have – a keyboard and a computer. Nothing more to be said. Out of jail and with all the tools of the trade at hand, this was expected to be a monuments return. And indeed it has been!! The first track after the intro is a killer and quickly affirms him adding his stamp on the traditional black metal footprints. ……Nedstigning has a surprisingly upbeat chorus, but the guitar undertone holding the track together is just mean. The mostly instrumental Morgenroede is very repetitive but mesmerising at the same time. Only disappointment is after this we have another 9 minute instrumental, repetitive also. Would have preferred some vox. But regardless this is a brilliant return!! Oh and I can’t but not mention as is always the case – track titles being in Norwegian – makes it tough to remember them let alone pronounce them!

3. Cardiac Arrest – Haven for the Insane

Holy fuck this is fast and brutal!! I typically have something like this pulling the skin off my face each year and this year it’s Cardiac Arrest!!!! Short! Ultra Fast! and Brutal!! The intro to “Rage On…..Fuck Off” is truly unique (“One, Two. One Two Fuck You”)

2. Armored Saint – La Raza

Holy crap, I think I just saw a pig fly past. I clearly recall summing up my impression of Mr Bush’s intrusion into the Anthrax camp all those years ago as ‘pigs will fly before I’ll say he can sing as good as Joey!!’ Well water goes under bridges (and over in some places these days) and wounds collected while stubbing your toe heal. All is good in the world – John is out, Joey is back, which empowers me with the ability to judge this latest release from Armored Saint without bias.
The guy can sing and he and Joey, the Vera kind, make a damn good song-writing partnership. The catchy chorus’ and and simple but effective guitar licks ooze from the sides of this release like a toasted sandwich overloaded with cheese. Has been a hell of a long time between drinks for these guys – 10 years. Lets hope the gap is smaller for the next one.

1. Flotsam and Jetsam – The Cold

Whoa yeah, Eric AK is one angry dude on this one. Head straight to the title track for a prime example. This is by far the best performance from him in a while. Musically they have mixed up the tempo a little more than on their most recent release (2005’s Dreams of Death) and the two go together very well. After being a huge fan of their early stuff I thought they had lost their way mid 90’s onwards. Dreams was a stepping stone in their return to greatness and The Cold has just upped that a further notch. Here’s hoping lineup changes are over with and these guys continue to write good songs.

Honourables

Triptykon – Eparistera Daimones

The Celtic Frost rulebook hasn’t been thrown out the window just yet. The epic opener Goetia would sit more than comfortably among the Monotheist pack. I have to say though, after this initial excitement, the rest has taken a while to sink in. The first track is 15% of the album though (20% if we ignore the 20 min closer). Is that enough to warrant Top10 selection? As much as I want it to, I’m afraid the need to pose the above question is answer alone. 🙂 Alas I really had this at the top of my list at the sart of the year, so I guess I owe an explanation:
First two tracks are brilliant
Track 3 takes a good 4 mins to get going before I hear what I expect/want
No idea of the purpose of the 1:44 track 4 sound. Intermission perhaps
Track 5 sees the pace build up and I guess this is where I’m a little a-taken back. I love that drone he had through Monotheist that this is out of kilter. He also has a guest vocalist I suspect, but can’t find any proof – perhaps it’ him laying vox over himself?? Anyway, the vox is slightly annoying.
Track 6 – yes, expectations are restored somewhat
Track 7 – in addition to the first track a stand-out for sure.
Track 8 – hmmmmm
Track 9 – very moody and a worthy track to include. Possibly a good closer.

So all up possibly not the best argument – like a lot of releases there will be ups and downs. It may be a case of expectations here. I was expecting the most brilliant release from Tom and ended up with this, which is by no means a failure.

1349 – Demonoir

Strangely enough I seemed to have listened to this album the most out of all my Top10 entries. This is simply because 1349 are a band I’ve been trying to ‘get’ for a little while now. With there being strong links between 1349 and Tommy G, there must be something to like about their music. I was a fan of Hellfire from 2005, but their 2009 effort (Revelations of the Black Flame) put me offside. Demonoir seems to be a return to the Hellfire like sound. Fast-beats and crusty production. Some very cool instrumental bits through the songs. The ‘Tunnel of Set’ musical interludes I guess designed to allow the listener to catch their breath are my only real gripe here. Dare I say however, this rates higher than Triptykon for me? I probably need to give Triptykon the same attention I have given 1349. Time will tell. Oh the Morbid Angel and Exodus covers rock!!

Lair of the Minatour – Evil Power

Evil Power does a good job of fitting an hour of slab of abrasive metal into approx 30 mins!! If you can remember back to the days when the school-yard bully chocked your mouth full of sand and made you chew, then you’ll get a sense of the taste this release leaves in your mouth after a listen. It proves that 2008’s release was merely a hiccup after the killer release that was The Ultimate Destroyer in 2006. These guys are at the top of their mark on Evil Power.

Nachtmystium – Addicts Black Meddle Pt II

This is a very brave release in my opinion. There is some sounds on here that you wouldn’t normally associate with a Black Metal sound. Very modernised musically and quite varying through each track. It didn’t make my top 10 as it wasn’t what I was looking for after Part 1, but is worthy of a mention and certainly a band to keep an eye out for in the future.

Pensees Nocturnus – Grotesque

With all the hailing going on, there’s certainly something grotesque going on in the studio when Pensees Nocturnus knocked this one out. There are a few bands with the name Pensees included in their title and I’ve been quite disinterested in the avante guard-like soundscape rubbish. The first track had me heading towards the same feeling before opening up a coffin a bitteness, hopelessness and desperation that continues on for most of the remainder of the album. Quite a surprise really for me, it rates a special mention.

Immolation – Majesty and Decay

Looking back, a straight-up, in-your-face death metal release always nudges close or into my Top10. This year it appears Immolation get the tick. What sets this apart from other DM releases I’ve listened to this year? ‘Simple’ riff/timing changes into the mix.

Deathspell Omega – Paracletus

I’m sure I’ve said this before, but these guys are always around the mark for me with each release. It’s a guitar sound that weaves it’s way through each track is quite unique. Not to the point of repetitiveness, just well placed and a constant reminder of who you are listening to really. They’ve once again put 10 individual tracks together, however in a single listen give you the impression you are listening to a single track. There are a couple of times on this release that you notice the move from one track to the next, but it mostly flows really well. Hope we continue to hear more from these guys.

Dis-Honourables

Darkthrone – Circle the Wagons

This is a big decision for me to make. The guys so real it’s unreal have tipped the cheesiness over the edge I’m afraid. Things were travelling along OK until the title track. From this point onwards the decent is rapid, almost to the point of repetition. Perhaps it’s time to take ‘some’ time off from writing and recording – the one album per year has run it’s course sadly.

Korn – III Remember Who You Are

Insipid!!! Just completely uninspiring and dull. The cover says ‘Korn return to their blistering roots’. Now it could be said that this is an element of a mix of sounds – certainly not as structured as recent releases, but lets make one thing clear – this aint no Blind or Twist, that’s for sure. Extremely far from it. I’m really bummed by this and Darkthrone – two releases I was sure to have in my Top10 before the start of the year.

One thought on “mk’s 2010 Metal Top 10

  1. TheBigBlack

    Nice to finally see some Burzum in your 10, although they should be about 3 places higher. Oh, and also nice to see you have realised it’s about time Korn hang up their 12 string downtuned guitars… And by the way – THEY Aren’t METAL!

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