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DethMaiden
11-25-2010, 10:24 PM
Alright folks - I'll just be doing a top ten albums and top ten live performances this year. Look for the live performances list on New Year's Eve after I see Clutch again, but I figure since I know what my album list is gonna look like, I'd just slave over it tonight.

So without further ado, here's my honorable mention albums, in alphabetical order only. (The next post in this thread will have my top ten.)

http://www.gloriousnoise.com/images/arcade-fire-suburbs.jpg
Arcade Fire, The Suburbs (Merge) – Okay, I'll be the first to admit I'm not very interested in so-called "indie rock" anymore, and this is the only album I heard this year that could earn that genre tag. But God, if it all sounded this good, I might still give a shit. The third long-player from Quebec's favorite suburbanites is lyrically Rush's "Subdivisions" expanded to record length and musically somewhere around the crossroads of Guided By Voices, Depeche Mode, The Cure, and Blondie. It's tender and emotional when it needs to be and synth-driven and upbeat when the songs demand it. It's probably the worst of Arcade Fire's three records, but don't be fooled: The Suburbs is still a gem.
Key Track: "Sprawl II: Mountains Beyond Mountains"

http://www.coldspring.co.uk/mailorderpic/c/coffinwormwhenallbecame.jpg
Coffinworm, When All Became None (Profound Lore) – Black metal is a pretty grim, ugly genre in the first place, but fusing it with NOLA-styled sludge makes a toxic cocktail that only the foulest of palates should attempt to taste. If you're feeling up to it, though, the six songs on Indianapolis natives Coffinworm's debut are about as good as that sound gets. The riffs are thick, disgusting and, most importantly, heavy as hell, and the screamed-from-a-skyscraper vocals and some incredibly well-chosen samples complete the ungodly package.
Key Track: "Start Saving For Your Funeral"

http://file.blog-ocha-metal.diskunion.net/DAWNBRINGER.jpg
Dawnbringer, Nucleus (Profound Lore) – It's hard to believe that this Pennsylvania band used to make poorly-produced Swedish death metal worship, but that's thankfully all in the past on their first disc as a traditional heavy metal outfit owing its key debts to the likes of St. Vitus and Thin Lizzy. There's solos, leads, and soaring choruses in every damn one of these songs, and while it'll probably take another record before some of the fretboard wizardry gets reined in enough not to feel gimmicky, Nucleus is an incredible start by a band that I expect will put out some of the best metal of the next decade.
Key Track: "Swing Hard"

http://thenewreview.net/wp-content/themes/TNR%20Revised%20Grid/js/timthumb.php?src=/wp-content/uploads/albums/howl-cover.jpg&h=100&w=100&zc=1
Howl, Full of Hell (Relapse) – Sometimes there's an album that doesn't quite have everything in place but it's just so fucking good at one particular thing that you can't stop listening to it. That's Full of Hell and riffs. The vocals aren't great, the songwriting leaves a lot to be desired, and the production is stale, but goddamn, these Rhode Islanders wrote approximately 100 of the best riffs of the year. There's not a whole hell of a lot else to say about this one, just turn it on and bang your goddamn head.
Key Track: "The Scorpion's Last Sting"

http://www.sweetslyrics.com/poze/thumb/American%20VI.jpg
Johnny Cash, American VI: Ain't No Grave (American) – If five previous American albums didn't exist, this one would be a top ten record, no doubt. Unfortunately for Johnny Cash (or really, for Rick Rubin, since everything but the voice is his on the album), those albums do exist, and some of the emotional resonance of the sixth installment is lost as a result. Still, when Cash is on, he's on, and a few of these tracks are just as tear-jerking as "Hurt" was the first time we heard it.
Key Track: "I Corinthians 15:55"

http://a1.phobos.apple.com/us/r1000/026/Music/30/07/7d/mzi.qzgohskk.100x100-75.jpg
Kvelertak, Kvelertak (Indie) – Here's a candidate for the most fun album of the year: I don't know what any of these Norwegians' lyrics mean and I still sing them at the top of my lungs when I'm listening to their album at full blast. This LP has been most usually called a fusion of punk and black metal, but I get more of a "D-beat with Baroness parts" vibe from it – no surprise, then, that John Dyer Baizley bestows upon it another masterpiece of an album cover. Great, great disc.
Key Track: "Fossegrim"

http://thehut.pantherssl.com/productimg/5/100/cd/17/6763217.jpg
Overkill, Ironbound (Nuclear Blast) – This album would have fought for my #1 spot back in 2004 or so, I'm sure of it. Today, I've just too heard too much metal to be quite as impressed by solid execution of tried-and-true formulas. Ironbound is still pretty badass, though, and in spite of a few dud tracks ("The Head and Heart" is sooooo bad), it's probably my favorite thrash album by an old guard band to come out in the last ten years. 2004 me is shitting his pants to some of these riffs, dude.
Key Track: "Ironbound"

http://www.willowtip.com/images/2384/100x100.aspx
Nevermore, The Obsidian Conspiracy (Century Media) – 2005's This Godless Endeavor was one of my favorite metal albums of the last decade, so the fact that the new Nevermore disc didn't completely blow my brain out of my skull makes it technically a disappointment, but it's still a great record. They've swapped out the technical, jagged songs of their last record for a more polished, melodic approach, but as long as Warrel Dane is howling and Jeff Loomis is shredding, Nevermore is Nevermore, and this is another instant semi-classic.
Key Track: "And the Maiden Spoke"

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61F9RuTdu1L._SL500_SS100_.jpg
Off With Their Heads, In Desolation (Epitaph) – I feel like I'm being a little bit unfair making this an honorable mention album instead of a top ten album, because before I saw Off With Their Heads live, this was one of my favorite records of the year. Their brief, flaccid performance that night made me unable to revisit In Desolation with much excitement, even though it is some of the best, leanest punk rock I've ever heard. Fair or not, that gig, paired with the fact that their previous LP, From the Bottom, is better, keeps this album down.
Key Track: "Clear the Air"

http://www.piccadillyrecords.com/imgrec/slt-73075.jpg
Sailors With Wax Wings, Sailors With Wax Wings (Angel Oven) – This is a psychedelic, minimalist post-rock album made by the dude from Pyramids (who used to collaborate with Romance of Young Tigers), with guest vocal appearances from My Dying Bride's Aaron Stainthorpe and Katatonia's Jonas Renkse, and all of the song titles are lines from Stephen Crane's poetry. Need I fucking say more?
Key Track: "There Came a Drooping Maid With Violets"

MPF
11-25-2010, 10:44 PM
I've only heard 4 of these albums. *Overkill, Howl, Nevermore, Kvelertak* But it's a good list.

DethMaiden
11-25-2010, 11:51 PM
http://www.metalkingdom.net/album/img/d2/31951.jpg
10. Landmine Marathon, Sovereign Descent (Prosthetic)
I really liked this album when it came out, but didn't honestly think much about it for a few months leading up to the Skeletonwitch/Landmine Marathon show I saw last weekend. It's been documented how face-ruling their set was that night, and when I revisited Sovereign Descent, I remembered why I thought it was so awesome in the first place, and came to like it more than I ever did in March when it came out. This one's a fucking monstrous slab of Symphonies of Sickness-inspired deathgrind, filled to the brim with crushing riffs, subtle-but-phenomenal guitar melodies, and, of course, skin-searing vocals courtesy of one Grace Perry.
Key Tracks: "Exist," "Shadows Fed to Tyrants," "Chained By the Same Fate"

http://www.thesirenssound.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/The-Ocean-Heliocentric.jpg
9. The Ocean, Heliocentric (Metal Blade)
Unfortunately, this is probably the only album by The Ocean that I will ever truly love – it shows their mellower, more melodic, progressive side, which I think they're infinitely better at than their heavier material – but I'm very glad it exists. It's like Isis-meets-Tool-meets-saxophone-and-cello, and it's awe-inspiring at every turn. It's a pretty ambitious disc that tries to sell an unbelievable amount of German-accented crooning and classical instrumentation to a metal fanbase, but all of its experiments are blistering successes. Here's hoping they release something else like this at some point.
Key Tracks: "The Origin of Species," "The Origin of God," "Firmament"

http://www.metalkingdom.net/album/img/d40/30239.jpg
8. Slough Feg, The Animal Spirits (Profound Lore)
They're still underground, true, but Slough Feg are stalwarts of heavy metal at this point. Everybody's heard of them, and everybody who likes them expects each album to become a minor classic in the scene. Their Profound Lore debut is no exception; Mike Scalzi has cranked out yet another batch of brilliant traditional metal tunes, this time reverting to a rawer, more stripped-down production, presentation and songwriting approach than his past several Slough Feg discs. I was a fan of the overblown nature of songs like "Tiger! Tiger!" and "Ape Uprising," but his newfound primitivity suits the material well, and it's nothing shy of excellent.
Key Tracks: "Ask the Casket," "Heavyworlder," "Tactical Air-War"

http://www.longislandpress.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/35sonic-300x297.jpg
7. Man's Gin, Smiling Dogs (Profound Lore)
Cobalt's Gin was my favorite album of 2009, and their multi-instrumentalist Erik Wunder is the man responsible for my seventh-favorite album of 2010. Smiling Dogs has been called a tribute to Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska – the cover art suggests as much – but I kind of see it as the folk/Americana version of Gin. A lot of the lyrics and atmosphere are similar to that album, they're just adapted to a dark folk context instead of black metal. Whatever this album is, though, it works, and it's one of the most addicting listens of the year.
Key Tracks: "Nuclear Ambition Part 1," "Nuclear Ambition Part 2," "Free"

http://www.zmemusic.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/the_final_frontier_cover.jpg
6. Iron Maiden, The Final Frontier (Universal)
It wouldn't be a top anything list from me if Iron Maiden wasn't on it, so it shouldn't come as any shock to see this record place this highly. Hell, #6 is probably lower than I would have expected a Maiden album to fall. Describing the sound of this disc would be like retelling the plot of Star Wars, so I'll spare you. Needless to say, it's an Iron Maiden album, and it rules.
Key Tracks: "Starblind," "Isle of Avalon," "Coming Home"

http://www.angrymetalguy.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/SOM-203-Watain-Lawless-Darkness-300x300.jpg
5. Watain, Lawless Darkness (Season of Mist)
I can't think of many bands who are more serious about their image than Watain; I'm still not entirely sure whether they've convinced themselves that they're in bondage with the dark arts or if all that animal sacrifice is just for show. For being so extremely extreme on stage, their actual music is shockingly worldly – this is a tr00 black metal album, yes, but it incorporates influences from just about every subgenre, perhaps most notably NWOBHM in some of those enormous guitar harmonies and unlikely scream-along choruses. Lawless Darkness is a great album because of those influences, not despite them.
Key Tracks: "Reaping Death," "Waters of Ain," "Malfeitor"

http://www.angrymetalguy.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Blind_Guardian_-_At_The_Edge_Of_Time_artwork-300x300.jpg
4. Blind Guardian, At the Edge of Time (Nuclear Blast)
Can't say I really saw this coming when I surveyed the year's release calendar back in January. I don't really care very much about power metal, and I certainly didn't think a power metal band would crack my top ten in 2010. I had forgotten that Blind Guardian are the eternal exception to the rule, a power metal band that embraces the swords-and-sorcery imagery, the bombastic production, the minstrelsy acoustic guitar bits, the uber-melodic and omnipresent solos and leads, the billion-tracked vocals...and still totally fucking rules. At the Edge of Time may be my favorite BG disc, and every single song is great. Classic, classic shit.
Key Tracks: "Sacred Worlds," "Valkyries," "Wheel of Time"

http://mediaboom.org/uploads/posts/2010-11/1288948341_aa612.jpg
3. Atheist, Jupiter (Season of Mist)
The mere fact that you see this album sitting at #3 after a seventeen-year recess from recording says that Atheist lived up to their very high expectations, right? They managed to take the prog-death-defining sound they forged on Piece of Time and Unquestionable Presence, fused it with some of the more out-there jazzy bits from Elements and a healthy dose of current-gen Between the Buried and Me influence to make the most memorable technical death metal album I've heard since The Sound of Perseverance.
Key Tracks: "Live and Live Again," "Second to Sun," "Faux King Christ"

http://www.angrymetalguy.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Alcest_-_%C3%89cailles_De_Lune_artwork-300x300.jpg
2. Alcest, Écailles de Lune (Prophecy)
This was probably my most anticipated album of 2010, and an Iron Maiden album came out in 2010. That's how good 2007's Souvenirs d'un Autre Monde was, and how much hearing "Perceés de Lumiere" after it leaked as a part of a split with labelmates Les Discrets convinced me that hearing Lune would be a life-affirming moment. It basically was – the album's only crime is being too short. I could listen to this shit for two hours if Neige let me.
Key Tracks: "Écailles de Lune - Part 1," "Écailles de Lune - Part 2," "Perceés de Lumiere"

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_pv6jmsy6wAc/TNqt9hJFCTI/AAAAAAAABPw/OjVDMwSvpmg/s320/ludicra1.jpg
1. Ludicra, The Tenant (Profound Lore)
Well, here it is. My favorite album of 2010. It was an underdog since I had never actually heard of Ludicra until this started getting good reviews earlier this year, but after countless spins, I'm completely satisfied with giving it the gold. Every song has no less than three parts – a chromatic riff, a harmonized solo, a gut-punching lyric – that absolutely makes you stop what you're doing and pay the album your full attention. I also believe, as several reviewers have before me, that this album is a perfect snapshot of the recession we're living through. I'll let the chorus to the title track sum this album up for you: "For all within your rooms/Your narrow rented tombs/Within your walls of want/The frame in which you haunt/Inside your restless storm/The paint is cracked and worn/Four walls, bubbled and pocked/Marked with shame, a bolted lock/A facade hides your worn-out pride/A shoddy view of others just like you/A window rattles you with what you hide." If you're not moved by that, somehow, then you might not like this album.
Key Tracks: "Clean White Void," "The Tenant, "Stagnant Pond"

idrinkwine732
11-25-2010, 11:56 PM
the most memorable technical death metal album I've heard since The Sound of Perseverance.

I have to say, that is quite the statement.

DethMaiden
11-26-2010, 07:39 AM
I have to say, that is quite the statement.

It helps that I basically hate all of the cool kid tech death bands nowadays. ;)

Wizzbang11
11-26-2010, 09:27 AM
I agree with one of those haha.
Though to be honest I've heard maybe half of them at most.

ravenheart
11-26-2010, 09:54 AM
Slough Feg needs doing... it's only just coming out over here this month...

idrinkwine732
11-26-2010, 10:51 AM
It helps that I basically hate all of the cool kid tech death bands nowadays. ;)

In general, I do as well, but there are at least three or four that I think merit consideration for that title.

All 10 albums are in my top 40 or so, and all of them are great.

illuminatus917
11-26-2010, 10:19 PM
In general, I do as well, but there are at least three or four that I think merit consideration for that title.


One has to be A Celebration of Guilt by Arsis.
Obscura by Gorguts also comes to mind.

By the cool kid tech death bands are you talking about bands like Opeth or bands like Necrophagist?

DethMaiden
11-26-2010, 10:21 PM
By the cool kid tech death bands are you talking about bands like Opeth or bands like Necrophagist?

Necrophagist, The Faceless, Obscura, Brain Drill, weedlyweedlywoo.

idrinkwine732
11-26-2010, 11:14 PM
Obscura

:finger2:

illuminatus917
11-26-2010, 11:47 PM
Not that Opeth's really technical death metal; it's a common misconception. I've seen albums like Blackwater Park labeled tech death when it's really plain ol' death or prog, thus I thought this might be the type of stuff you were referring to. To be honest I've seen the same shit with Dream Theater, which would be accurate except for the "death" part.

Obscura's good stuff, I mean, I consider them a damn good tech death band. I always lumped them in with bands like Cynic and Cryptopsy and the like, and Atheist and Death a notch above those. Cliche I know, but Focus and None So Vile are good albums. Decapitated's first album was really good to, but it's been a while since I listened to it. I consider Decapitated to be on the same level as, per say, Spawn of Possession (don't really know why, I just group bands together like this). Jupiter was a fine album, but it hasn't gone without competition for the past 17 years. But tech death is a genre I've always had a harder time defining, so I might be a bit out of my element here. If you consider Meshuggah tech death, which could be argued and counter argued, they're high up there on my list.

But yeah, A Celebration of Guilt and Obscura (album) I'd say are better than Jupiter.

DethMaiden
11-26-2010, 11:55 PM
Not that Opeth's really technical death metal; it's a common misconception. I've seen albums like Blackwater Park labeled tech death when it's really plain ol' death or prog, thus I thought this might be the type of stuff you were referring to. To be honest I've seen the same shit with Dream Theater, which would be accurate except for the "death" part.

Obscura's good stuff, I mean, I consider them a damn good tech death band. I always lumped them in with bands like Cynic and Cryptopsy and the like, and Atheist and Death a notch above those. Cliche I know, but Focus and None So Vile are good albums. Decapitated's first album was really good to, but it's been a while since I listened to it. I consider Decapitated to be on the same level as, per say, Spawn of Possession (don't really know why, I just group bands together like this). Jupiter was a fine album, but it hasn't gone without competition for the past 17 years. But tech death is a genre I've always had a harder time defining, so I might be a bit out of my element here. If you consider Meshuggah tech death, which could be argued and counter argued, they're high up there on my list.

But yeah, A Celebration of Guilt and Obscura (album) I'd say are better than Jupiter.

Fair enough. I mean, tech death isn't really my thing. Symbolic and The Sound of Perseverance, early Cynic, and Atheist is the extent to which I care about it. I hear other stuff and more often than not just shrug. I get it, I just don't care for it unless there's some fucking songs, and more often than not it seems to me that there aren't.

Div
11-27-2010, 01:40 PM
no agalloch, really?

DethMaiden
11-27-2010, 01:41 PM
no agalloch, really?

Someone's gonna shoot me because I love Opeth but...Agalloch's transitions suck. :snivel:

idrinkwine732
11-27-2010, 01:48 PM
Someone's gonna shoot me because I love Opeth but...Agalloch's transitions suck. :snivel:

:wtf:

Them transitions from Black Lake until To Drown are fantastic.

DethMaiden
11-27-2010, 01:52 PM
I dunno, I just feel like every time they go from a long, ambient, acoustic, pretty part to a black metal part they just say "ALRIGHT NOW WE'RE GONNA PLAY BLACK METAL" and go right into it, and it's jarring every damn time. Now, that being said, all their individual parts are very good, and I think I could get into them more with more time, but so far, their greatness hasn't quite revealed itself.

idrinkwine732
11-27-2010, 01:54 PM
I dunno, I just feel like every time they go from a long, ambient, acoustic, pretty part to a black metal part they just say "ALRIGHT NOW WE'RE GONNA PLAY BLACK METAL" and go right into it, and it's jarring every damn time. Now, that being said, all their individual parts are very good, and I think I could get into them more with more time, but so far, their greatness hasn't quite revealed itself.

I will give you this.

The transition between They Escaped the Weight of Darkness to Into the Painted Grey sucks a lot.

Still my favorite album of the year though :finger:

Div
11-27-2010, 01:59 PM
I dunno, I just feel like every time they go from a long, ambient, acoustic, pretty part to a black metal part they just say "ALRIGHT NOW WE'RE GONNA PLAY BLACK METAL" and go right into it, and it's jarring every damn time. Now, that being said, all their individual parts are very good, and I think I could get into them more with more time, but so far, their greatness hasn't quite revealed itself.

Fair enough, but im calling it now... ur gonna wish it was on ur list sometime next year :wink:


(ill fix that smilie later, im on my phone and dont remember the code)

Natrlhi
11-29-2010, 10:58 AM
Arcade Fire, The Suburbs
Coffinworm, When All Became None
Dawnbringer, Nucleus
Howl, Full of Hell
Johnny Cash, American VI: Ain't No Grave
Kvelertak, Kvelertak
Overkill, Ironbound
Nevermore, The Obsidian Conspiracy
Off With Their Heads, In Desolation
Sailors With Wax Wings, Sailors With Wax Wings
Some good stuff on there. I liked the Arcade Fire album well enough, I guess, but I really didn't listen to it that much. I just obtained a copy of the Coffinworm album (based on your recommendation, basically), and I'm liking what I'm hearing so far. I love the fuck out of that Howl album. Holy shit. I listen to that when I work out, and I swear to sweet Satan it makes me fucking stronger. :D I also love, love, love that Kvelertak album. Great stuff - party music for sure. I listened to some snippets from Sailors with Wax Wings, and I like it pretty well. I can't find the shit anywhere, though - but I'mma keep trying, I think. It seems worth the trouble.

Natrlhi
11-29-2010, 11:08 AM
10. Landmine Marathon, Sovereign Descent
9. The Ocean, Heliocentric
8. Slough Feg, The Animal Spirits
7. Man's Gin, Smiling Dogs
6. Iron Maiden, The Final Frontier
5. Watain, Lawless Darkness
4. Blind Guardian, At the Edge of Time
3. Atheist, Jupiter
2. Alcest, Écailles de Lune
1. Ludicra, The Tenant
Pretty solid top ten, if you ask me. Mine will be pretty different, I think, but I like most of these well enough. Landmine Marathon is great - it keeps getting better with every listen. Heliocentric is incredible - and to think I actually didn't like it at all, at first. I think the vocals surprised me in a negative way, but then they grew on me and now I love it. Man's Gin is a true gem. Very addicting sounds right there. I've listened to the new Watain, and it's pretty decent. I've no complaints with it. Same with Atheist, although I definitely don't like it enough to put in in "my five", but that's just me. Finally, that Ludicra album is fucking tits...no doubt. I'm curious to see where it falls on my finalized list - there was actually a plethora of awesome shit this year, despite the weak start (for the longest time, Arsis and High on Fire were the only albums I really liked).

I don't know why I can't seem to get into Alcest, although I admit I haven't tried that hard. Agalloch, same way. I might try again soon - many folks whose opinions I respect have big love for them. Anyway, nice list overall. Lots of stuff on there that I don't expect to see on many other lists, so you go boy. :fist: :D

zgodt
11-29-2010, 07:32 PM
Cool. You've got me interested in some things -- Kvelertak, The Ocean, Man's Gin, and Ludicra in particular. I'll check them out. Maybe the Alcest and Howl, too.

My listening has been far from comprehensive this year, but I haven't heard much that holds a candle to The Suburbs. It's much more restrained than their previous two albums, which disappointed me at first (and still does a bit), but so much of it is still so fucking good.

The best new release on my list would be He Who Travels Far by Hanggai, and I haven't even heard the whole thing yet -- just their myspace clips -- and it isn't available in the U.S. But what the Pogues did for Irish folk, Hanggai does for traditional Mongolian music. Mongolian folk punk. With Tuvan throat singing. Checkem out: http://www.myspace.com/hanggaiband

The new Iron Maiden just doesn't do it for me at all. Their weakest non-90s album, as far as I'm concerned.

ADD
11-30-2010, 03:33 PM
http://www.metalkingdom.net/album/img/d40/30239.jpg
8. Slough Feg, The Animal Spirits (Profound Lore)



http://www.zmemusic.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/the_final_frontier_cover.jpg
6. Iron Maiden, The Final Frontier (Universal)





:confused:

PowerMaiden
11-30-2010, 10:08 PM
6. Iron Maiden, The Final Frontier (Universal)
.
Key Tracks: "Starblind," "Isle of Avalon," "Coming Home"




100 % agree on your key tracks, those 3 make me go apeshit


Cheers !
PowerMaiden

DethMaiden
12-31-2010, 11:00 AM
Top 10 Live Performances of 2010

1. Landmine Marathon (Toledo, 11/20)
Frontwoman Grace Perry may have eclipsed Neil Fallon and Rob Zombie as my favorite live performer, although I may be biased as I was on the receiving end of most of her good-natured violence.
Highlights: "Exist," "Bile Towers," "Chained by the Same Fate"
2. Alcest (Chicago, 4/24)
I still can't believe I saw this band. Neige is one of my biggest musical heroes and he made the first half of 2010 livable through his latest Alcest album and this stunning set.
Highlights: "Souvenirs d'un Autre Monde," "Écailles de Lune - Part 1," "Elevation"
3. Clutch (Cincinnati, 12/30)
In preparation for their annual New Year's extravaganza, my favorite live act of all time gave what may have been their best performance I've seen in six gigs, pulling out all the stops and fan favorites for a full house in one of my favorite venues.
Highlights: "(Notes from the Trial of) La Curandera," "Spacegrass," "The Dragonfly"
4. Iron Maiden (Cleveland, 7/15)
It was insanely ballsy for Maiden to march out a mostly Reunion Era setlist after 2006's AMOLAD debacle, but give them credit: all of those songs were exciting and fresh to this fan(boy) who had only previously seen them twice on the Somewhere Back in Time tour.
Highlights: "These Colours Don't Run," "Wrathchild," "Blood Brothers"
5. Clutch (Toledo, 6/6)
On a mini-tour attached to their Bonnaroo performance, Clutch marched out their first ever acoustic encore, which was a fascinating and, yes, ballsy move on their part. It wasn't always brilliant, but when brilliant moments shined through, it was more evidence to me that Clutch is probably the most creatively vital band on the planet. The non-acoustic portions of the set, of course, rocked.
Highlights: "The Soapmakers," "Electric Worry," "The Regulator"
6. Coheed and Cambria (Columbus, 8/27)
Relatively small outdoor summer concerts are some of the most fun things on Earth, and Coheed delivered one of the most fun nights of my life in August. The band was just totally on, and their crazy fans were probably the best audience I was a part of this year. I also crowd surfed for the first time in my life, so there's that.
Highlights: "In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3," "Three Evils (Embodied in Love and Shadow)," "No World for Tomorrow"
7. Slayer (Fort Wayne, 10/14)
I finally got the chance to check one of my few remaining legendary acts off the need-to-see list this year, and they absolutely did not disappoint. They ripped through the Seasons in the Abyss record and a few other "hits" and made even the least enjoyable of those songs rip in a live setting.
Highlights: "War Ensemble," "Skeletons of Society," "Angel of Death"
8. Kylesa (Cincinnati, 12/30)
I wasn't a Kylesa fan until last night. I thought their music on record was just okay, and that the two-drummers-and-chick-singer thing was fairly gimmicky. Boy, was I wrong. Amazing set.
Highlights: Not dead sure on the titles of most of their stuff yet, but "Scapegoat" ruled - much, much better than it is on record, at least in my opinion.
9. Tegan and Sara (St. Louis, 4/2)
Fuck you, T&S is one of the best indie/pop-rock acts of all time. It isn't hipster; Pitchfork types can't stand them. Anyhow, they played for an incredibly long time at a very cool venue and I just had a generally great time at the show. Second time seeing them and I can guarantee a third.
Highlights: "Where Does the Good Go?," "Hell," "Call It Off"
10. Blind Guardian (Chicago, 11/29)
This is almost an honorary spot, because Blind Guardian have their problems as a live act. Hansi doesn't work the stage very well, and he doesn't even attempt some of the higher notes, and the mix was fairly off at times, but hey, I've been waiting to see BG since 2003, and they did a few of my favorite songs ever. When you're in the moment you're not analyzing the performance, and I had a ton of fun even if there's things I would have improved.
Highlights: "Nightfall," "A Voice in the Dark," "And Then There Was Silence"

Leviathan
01-11-2011, 07:13 PM
Ludicra grew on me so much this past week it would have definitely made my top ten if i made my list this week rather then last.