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Old 01-02-2011, 06:04 AM
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Treghet's Favorite Albums of 2010

Well, it is about time I got around to posting my list. This topic will just be for my favorite albums this year; I’m not going to do “Most Memorable Concerts” list or “Best Artwork” list for a couple reasons; one, I am too lazy to do that and two, even if I wasn’t too lazy, I still don’t care enough to do that. That may make it sound like I’m not very enthusiastic about music, but I assure you that is not the case. I attended some spectacular concerts this year – and saw some terrible bands too – but I would rather keep it simple and stick to albums, so I don’t bore you too much.

I would like to point out that the following list is only my most enjoyed albums, not the most technical and insane albums of the year. It’s more personal for me to share the albums I was impressed by on an emotional level instead of albums I thought were impressive, but didn’t truly enjoy. So, with that said, onward to the list!

20.
Artist: Defeated Sanity
Album: Chapters of Repugnance
Label: Willowtip Records
Genre: Technical Brutal Death Metal



I can’t say I am a true fan of brutal death metal, although there are a handful of bands in the genre I enjoy; most of the artists just don’t catch my attention enough to make me want to listen to them more than a couple times, but upon hearing a new track from this album earlier in the year my attention was not just caught, it was clenched tightly in the fist of Defeated Sanity. Before 2010 I wouldn’t have cared if you told me there was an impressive brutal death metal band hailing from Germany. I tended to write off the entire genre as Devourment clones – which a lot of it is, unfortunately – but it should not be judged solely on that fact. Discovering this album helped me to realize I need to be open minded to every band, no matter what preconceived ideas I may have about them or their style of music. Defeated Sanity does have the signature “slams” the genre is known for, but they are enveloped in a continuous stream of winding technicality. The extremely incoherent, guttural vocals slide right along with the grotesque music, forming a sewer of death metal flowing into your ear canals. With constant changes of pace and great musicianship, this album will have you headbanging from the second it breathes life into your speakers to the very end.


19.
Artist: Krieg
Album: The Isolationist
Label: Candlelight Records
Genre: Black Metal



The American black metal beast, known as Krieg, has been silent for four years and now returns with an album that rivals The Black House in its evil, yet depressive manner. Although carrying a very modern production, The Isolationist has an unbelievably dark, desolate sound, bringing on similar emotions that the works of Xasthur might give off. With simplistic riffs and drum patterns, the album still manages to stand out among the hordes of black metal albums, since every song is noticeably different. In this album I have found that sometimes the least complex music is the most interesting and emotional.


18.
Artist: As I Lay Dying
Album: The Powerless Rise
Label: Metal Blade Records
Genre: Metalcore



Before hearing this album I couldn’t have cared less about As I Lay Dying, but my friend strongly recommended I give it a chance, even though I found their earlier work unimpressive. My friend and I don’t agree very often on ideas of what good music is, but this was one of those times that I was happy I listened to him. The band has really stepped it up since their last album in 2007. While it is obvious that they are still a metalcore band, this album is much more intense and face paced. There’s plenty of solos and melodies to be discovered throughout the duration of the CD, with plenty of memorable songs. Hearing a band transform over the years from a mediocre group to such a driving force gives me hope for the generation of young bands we have in surplus all around America.


17.
Artist: Kylesa
Album: Spiral Shadow
Label: Season of Mist Records
Genre: Sludge Metal



I read a lot of negative reviews about this album since its release (only a few said it was decent), but I feel it deserves more credit than that. I only discovered Kylesa this year and I can hear their change in direction from the last release, but as a standalone record, Spiral Shadow is still quite impressive. While the band delves into a more mellowed out sound, there are still plenty of great surprises held within the tracks. The instrumental passages will bring you into a trance-like state and then snap back with heavy, distorted riffs. The overall atmosphere of the album is different from any other sludge CD I have heard, and it pulls you in like the undercurrent not far off a shoreline. With each listen I am taken a bit further out into a sea of soothing melodies, not wanting to return to sand at the beachfront.


16.
Artist: Okkultokrati
Album: No Light For Mass
Label: Fysisk Format
Genre: Black Metal / Hardcore



With new generations of bands coming out of Norway, some have chosen to take influences from their 90s predecessors. Okkultokrati seamlessly melds hardcore and black metal together for their first album, No Light For Mass, giving it the anger and emotions of hardcore with the darkness and demonic sounds of black metal. Most of the songs are short, resembling a typical hardcore album, but are rich in black metal influence. The most notable influence are the vocals, which are much like the hoarse screams of Nocturno Culto from Darkthrone. With a new twist on black metal, Okkultokrati is sure to become a favorite in the underground scene.
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Old 01-02-2011, 04:16 PM
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15.
Artist: Hail of Bullets
Album: On Divine Winds
Label: Metal Blade Records
Genre: Death Metal



Vocalist Martin van Drunen has been in multiple successful bands over the years, Hail of Bullets being the most recent. Hail of Bullets is unique in a sense that they add plenty of melody to their songs, while retaining a classic death metal feel. Martin van Drunen’s growls utter the sounds of soldiers dying in Pacific; there is no voice more perfectly matched for the theme of this album. The album is very simple, yet each song is perfect in its structure and hits you harder than a kamikaze pilot. There isn’t a dull moment throughout the nearly fifty minutes the album endures, and the closing song, “To Bear the Unbearable”, closes the CD in a remarkably well, reminding us of the destructive and sorrowful ending to the war for the Japanese.


14.
Artist: Trash Talk
Album: Eyes & Nines
Label: Trash Talk Collective
Genre: Hardcore



One of the current bands to take the West Coast hardcore scene by a stronghold is Trash Talk. They have played numerous times at the venue down the street from my house, but I have yet to see them. However, hearing about them from my friends made me curious, so I checked them out. Eyes & Nines is the bands second album, and it is pretty straightforward hardcore. With explosive songs and passionate lyrics, Trash Talk prove themselves once again.


13.
Artist: Finntroll
Album: Nifelvind
Label: Century Media Records
Genre: Folk Metal



Finntroll is often criticized for their cheesiness, but that is one of the things I love about them. So much of metal is focused on being serious that there’s no room for fun. When I’m in the mood for some entertaining metal, I get my prescribed dosage of Finntroll. Although they have changed over the years, now favoring a more epic and sometimes orchestral sound, they still make great music, and Nifelvind is no exception. Some of the tracks are focused on the metal aspects of their style, while others, like “Under Bergets Rot” utilize their humppa folk influences. Every time I blast this album, images of trolls feeding on Christians appear in my head, and I believe that’s just what Finntroll had in mind for their fans.


12.
Artist: Red Sparowes
Album: The Fear Is Excruciating, But Therein Lies the Answer
Label: Sargent House
Genre: Post-Rock



This year I wanted to explore different genres, and one that I found myself deeply interested in was post-rock. Thanks to a couple members on here (you probably know who you are), I got into this band. Since then I have been hooked into their long instrumental soundscapes. There’s no real way to explain how they make me feel, but it is sheer beauty. Each song tells a story, but a story of your own; Perhaps a memory will come to you, or a string of ideas. The musicianship in this band is beyond incredible and I honestly feel bad that I am ranking it here at twelve, but there were other albums I spent more time listening to.


11.
Artist: Watain
Album: Lawless Darkness
Label: Season of Mist Records
Genre: Black Metal



Not many black metal bands can compare to the uncompromisingly Satanic nature of Watain. The evilness of their music and lyrical content interests me, but I can’t quite put a finger on why. It may simply be that sometimes the darker side of things peak my interest, just as some people enjoy slasher movies, despite their stupidity. Watain really go over the top with their Satanic beliefs, but it’s no joke. They’re not a gimmick, as vocalist Erik Danielsson said in an interview. Lawless Darkness showcases the band in their own light, defining their own sound in today’s black metal scene. Every song stands out on this album, which is hard to find in a black metal record. As another plus, the lyrics are quite interesting in a poetic sense; there is deep thought put into each song and the meaning it is to portray. Listening to this album takes you into the realms of Satan and tells you his stories, and despite the modern production, it gives the perfect mood to satisfy any “trve and kvlt” basement black metal warrior.
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Old 01-02-2011, 05:17 PM
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I really think there will come a day when Red Sparowes clicks for me it just hasn't happened yet. I think I have to totally clear my mind and listen to it start to finish to truly appreciate it.
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Old 01-02-2011, 05:22 PM
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Originally Posted by treghet View Post
19.
Artist: Krieg
Album: The Isolationist
Label: Candlelight Records
Genre: Black Metal



The American black metal beast, known as Krieg, has been silent for four years and now returns with an album that rivals The Black House in its evil, yet depressive manner. Although carrying a very modern production, The Isolationist has an unbelievably dark, desolate sound, bringing on similar emotions that the works of Xasthur might give off. With simplistic riffs and drum patterns, the album still manages to stand out among the hordes of black metal albums, since every song is noticeably different. In this album I have found that sometimes the least complex music is the most interesting and emotional.

check out the drummer's other band, Woe. My #1 album of the year.
(check my thread.)
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Old 01-02-2011, 09:32 PM
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Thanks, I'll definitely check them out.
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Old 01-09-2011, 03:17 AM
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Finally got around to finishing up my list, so here are the top ten albums.

10.
Artist: Deftones
Album: Diamond Eyes
Label: Reprise Records
Genre: Alternative Metal



The same friend that recommended I listen to As I Lay Dying's new album told me to listen to Diamond Eyes. I had tried to get into Deftones before, but failed every time. One my first listen I didn't really like Diamond Eyes, but it grew on me. Some songs are uncompromisingly heavy, while others are very calm and smooth. Chino Moreno pulls off both the harsh and clean vocals perfectly, and helps to emphasis certain aspects of their music, such as the "beautiful yet violent imagery" in "Rocket Skates" according to Chino himself. Many fans and critics will agree this is some of their best material yet, or at least since White Pony. With so many beautiful and energetic songs packed into one album, Diamond Eyes will take you outside your mind and into a fantasy-like world full of positive imagery, reflecting on the recent tragedy the band has suffered and triumphed through.


9.
Artist: Rotting Christ
Album: Aealo
Label: Season of Mist Records
Genre: Melodic Black Metal / Folk Metal



Over the years Rotting Christ has evolved and integrated a number of genres into their music. Most recently they have decided to implement traditional Greek folk music. The last album showed hints of folk elements and Aealo has steered much more in that direction; the outcome is like nothing else currently out there. I admit that at first I did not like the album much, because it was so different, but after listening to it a few times over the months I began to understand what they had created. There are still melodic sections in the songs and of course the black metal vocal style is still prominent, but it all melds together with the folk influences. I’ve become much more appreciative of this album since I first listened to it and I now see it as an important piece in the band’s history. Since their inception, Rotting Christ has managed to keep it interesting by consistently changing things up and Aealo supports that in every way.


8.
Artist: Röyksopp
Album: Senior
Label: Astralwerks
Genre: Downtempo / Ambient



A little more than a year after their last album, Röyksopp is back with another. On their website, Svein and Torbjørn mentioned this album would be much different than their last, which had great emphasis on their pop influences. Senior was to focus on the ambient, chillout style of their first album, but with an even more stripped down and introverted feel to it; they achieved just that. The album received mixed responses from their fan base, with most of the negative comments coming from those who only enjoyed their pop style. Senior takes you on a journey through Norway, where we visit the lives of people and see their desolation and despair. For me the album is not just music, it’s an experience in itself.


7.
Artist: Arsis
Album: Starve for the Devil
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Genre: Melodic Death Metal



This year Arsis has made a great comeback with their release, Starve for the Devil. I felt that We Are the Nightmare was incredibly mediocre, so I was happily surprised when I listened to this album. I admit, it cannot touch their early work, but this is still a magnificent CD. This album feels more focused on writing songs rather than solos. There is more substance to be found here, instead of just mind blowing guitar wankery. It seems that James Malone has learned to restrain himself, yet still write catchy melodies and solos that will pull in the listener. This is exactly what I was looking for. While I do enjoy music with a plethora of technicality sometimes, I would much rather listen to something that flows together seamlessly.


6.
Artist: Atheist
Album: Jupiter
Label: Season of Mist Records
Genre: Technical Death Metal



It seemed like a lot of people had their expectations set too high for this album, but I was still impressed by it to a great extent. Atheist had been absent from the metal scene for quite some time, so I expected them to release something that would have a modern twist to their old style. That is exactly what they did with Jupiter. I figure most people were expecting Unquestionable Presence part II, hence their disappointment. Jupiter is heavier and has much more straightforward songs. While there is still a great level of technicality in each song, they do not focus so much on sporadic changes. Kelly also tries some interesting vocal melodies – some work quite well, others not as much. I do love this album, but there is one thing that bothers me about it: the production. It lacks depth and the drums dominate the mix. The bass is noticeable, but not nearly as much as it should be for an Atheist album. Despite my gripes, the album takes this slot because the spectacular songs are more than enough to overshadow the mediocre production.
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Old 01-09-2011, 03:20 AM
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5.
Artist: Enslaved
Album: Axioma Ethica Odini
Label: Indie Recordings
Genre: Progressive Black Metal



In recent years Enslaved has been pioneering a different sound for black metal and have now perfected it. I was taken by surprise with this album, as I did not expect it to knock me out of my chair. Every song on this album is beautiful, and in a sense, majestic. With their last release, Vertebrae, I felt they were heading in a good direction, but hadn’t culminated their new sound yet. There were some great songs, but also some weaker ones on that album. With Axioma Ethica Odini they have smoothed out all of the rough spots, giving us pure artistry. When listening intently you can pick out the progressive rock influences, which aren’t as obvious as on the previous record. Just like a good book, I feel like a notice something more every time I listen to this album.


4.
Artist: God Is an Astronaut
Album: Age of the Fifth Sun
Label: Revive Records
Genre: Post-Rock



As I mentioned, one of the genres I found myself very interested in this year was post-rock. This was actually the first post-rock band I got into, and I was in love immediately. The ambiance of this album is so soothing for the mind that it will erase all of the stresses of your day for the duration it persists. Some of the songs are very simplistic in their nature, but they do not drag on in any way. They progress up until the climax where they blossom into an elegant abstraction of realities.

3.
Artist: Intronaut
Album: Valley of Smoke
Label: Century Media
Genre: Progressive Metal / Post-Metal



Intronaut is another band that was new to my collection in 2010. Before listening to Valley of Smoke I checked out their previous record and was fairly impressed, but the new album left me in awe. It took a few listens to completely wrap my head around it, but Valley of Smoke has left a lasting impression on me and became one of my most loved CDs of the year. The album further develops the distinct sound the band had designed on Prehistoricisms, focusing much more on euphonious riffs and progressions, but still keeping the bands notable elements. Each song has a slightly different feel and emotion to it, but all are heavenly to the ear. With an incredibly prominent – but not excessively – bass guitar and interesting drum patterns, sometimes integrating Latin and African rhythms, Intronaut has created a new sound for progressive metal, establishing themselves and redefining the limits of the genre.


2.
Artist: Alcest
Album: Écailles de Lune
Label: Prophecy Productions
Genre: Shoegaze / Post-Metal / Black Metal



I have come to find that sometimes the most beautiful music is almost the most depressing. Neige of Alcest has given us an incredible spectacle here, combining multiple genres flawlessly into one album. The musicianship here astonishes me. Although the songs may not be overwhelmingly complex, they are constructed with calculated precision. The music itself moves me beyond words. With each listen I feel reminiscent of my childhood, longing to return to a past where I still viewed life in a fairytale, blind to the hate and corruption of mankind. This is the soundtrack to my memories, taking me backward through my life like a roll of film. No other album has made me feel quite this way; the nostalgia it produces staggers me, leaving me paralyzed; it overflows me with emotions, so many that I can’t even understand them all.


1.
Artist: Kvelertak
Album: Kvelertak
Label: Indie Recordings
Genre: Hardcore / Black Metal / Rock



It is not often that I become so obsessed with a band that I listen to them for nearly a week, but that is what happened to me when I heard this album. Although this album is very straightforward and simplistic, it is revolutionary in the Norwegian music scene. Prior to this album I had heard nothing remotely like this. Kvelertak created a sound that shamelessly blends in their country’s well-known cult music, black metal, with hardcore punk and some rock influences. The transitions from hardcore to black metal are distinguishable, as they don’t simply borrow elements from each genre, instead they almost switch genres within a song. In text this may seem like it would sound awkward and careless, but it is done with heed, bringing about an intriguing aura. One of my favorite aspects of the album is that the lyrics are all in Norwegian. Even in the Norwegian black metal scene it is not often that bands write in their native language, so it is very appealing to me when one of them does. Furthermore, Kvelertak genuinely fun music. When blasting this album it’s hard not to feel like cracking open a beer or just going out and enjoying yourself.
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Old 01-09-2011, 08:58 AM
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athought I don't even know 1 band of your list, I found you very interessting to read dude, I might try that Alcest album, you caught my curiosity about it. Why is the title in french ? Do they sing in french ?

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Old 01-09-2011, 10:50 AM
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athought I don't even know 1 band of your list, I found you very interessting to read dude, I might try that Alcest album, you caught my curiosity about it. Why is the title in french ? Do they sing in french ?

Cheers !
PowerMaiden
They are from France.

Alcest is my favorite discovery of last year. Post Rock mixed with Black Metal. It's the perfect combination. I also highly reccommend their previous album, Souvenirs d'un Autre Monde. There are zero Black Metal screams, although it does contain some Black Metal elements. But it is 41 minutes of the most beautiful Metal I've ever heard.
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Old 01-09-2011, 11:03 AM
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athought I don't even know 1 band of your list, I found you very interessting to read dude, I might try that Alcest album, you caught my curiosity about it. Why is the title in french ? Do they sing in french ?

Cheers !
PowerMaiden
Thanks a bunch! It's definitely worth looking into. All of the lyrics are in French. And like MPF said, the first album is great too. No one sounds quite like them.
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