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  #51  
Old 12-28-2010, 05:48 AM
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14. Hellish Crossfire - Bloodrust Scythe

Jay recommended this album to me not too long after it came out, and usually I would have discarded it and told him that it was okay at best . However, that was not the case. Bloodrust Scythe is a blackened thrash album that contains all of the best elements of Possessed and early-Death while keeping the sound undeniably thrash based. Like a few thrash bands are doing these days, they put some nods to Accept, Priest and other early metal bands in the solos and riffs. They do a great job with some twin lead solos throughout the album, too. ...Of Slaying Grounds reminds me of Mutilation from Scream Bloody Gore smashed with Killing is my Business. Pretty simply, this is a band that combines some killer black thrash with a really in your face attitude that I like in an album. No discretion about it at all, Hellish Crossfire came to thrash and chew bubblegum. Bloodrust Scythe is where they run out of bubblegum.
Damnit, I needed this one done this year.
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13/10 The Skull
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  #52  
Old 12-28-2010, 11:22 AM
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Damnit, I needed this one done this year.
...you didn't get this from me? I could've swore I reviewed/sent it.
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  #53  
Old 12-28-2010, 02:12 PM
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Nice reviews man, even if some of them aren't my style of music, I really enjoy reading your writing. Its very thoughtful and well put together. You can tell that you are very passionate about music.
Thanks a ton man.
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  #54  
Old 12-28-2010, 04:45 PM
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I have to say, this has been one of the most incredible years of my life not only in music but in general. But, I'm here to talk about music. So many great shows, so many great bands. Trying to sum up the 100 or so bands I saw this year is tough.

HMs: Heathen, Revocation, Baroness and Between the Buried and Me



10. Exodus @ Slim's
with Heathen, Anvil Chorus and Passive Agressive

I walked into Slim's knowing what Exodus were like, considering that I had seen them only a few months ago when they were around with Arch Enemy. They had just released an album that fell far short of my expectations, but I couldn't pass up an opportunity to see a thrash great. I stood right in front of Lee Altus all show, and he had a really dominating stage presence. I think Rob tends to act like a total prick on stage, but he let the persona drop a little bit for the intimate club show and seemed a lot more friendly. Throughout the night I accumulated three Exodus picks, a setlist and a whole ton of awesome memories.



9. Nile @ Slim's
with Immolation, Krisiun and Dreaming Dead

I was in love with Nile the first time I heard them. They just spoke to me through the soothing buzzsaw guitar tone and beautifully executed death growls. When I heard they'd be touring with a bitchin lineup like this, I was psyched. I had a blast during Krisiun and Immolation, but Nile just were on a different level. Hearing great tunes like Black Seeds of Vengeance and Lashed to the Slave Stick live were among my favorite memories in 2010. This could have been the best death metal show I'll go to in a long time.



8. Deströyer 666 @ DNA Lounge
with Enthroned, Pathology and Necrite

What do you expect from a band led by a man named KK Warslut? In a live setting, Deströyer 666 just oozes energy and in my setting, displayed professionalism to go with their satanism. Apparently they could hear very little on the stage and the sound people at DNA weren't helping, but they played along without a hitch. Their setlist was long as fuck for a supporting band and it contained all of the songs I was hoping for. Yelling along to Black City -- Black Fire and Satanic Speed Metal was absolutely incredible. They sounded fantastic, and sounded sharp. I'm excited as hell to see them at MDF.


(couldn't find any live photos...)

7. Cormorant @ Thee Parkside
with Suidakra and Ashkira

This should surprise no one. It's no secret that Cormorant are one of my favorite active metal bands, and I was super pumped to see them live. It was a cold March day and I went to Thee Parkside on a whim. Let me just say that the tone that Cormorant achieve live is really incredible, and sounds thicker and more dense than on the record, making the doomier parts of their songs sound heavy as hell. I couldn't escape the feeling of fulfillment having seen these guys play parts of their awesome record, Metazoa live, and see a few new songs be played from the new album. Arthur's voice sounded excellent for the first half of the set, but by the end, it wasn't sounding too good. But they had gotten to the new songs, which were instrumentals, so he could take a break. A really fantastic live act who I will see again sometime.



6. Blind Guardian @ Regency Ballroom
with Holy Grail and Seven Kingdoms

Since I had no interest in them coming into 2010, it surprises me to have Blind Guardian this high. However, the charm of their live show is just too much to keep out of a top ten list. Hearing a bunch of new tunes was fantastic, but all of the oldies were really nice to hear also. I wasn't that into their discography coming into the show, but their live setlist gave me a great couple of albums for me to check out. If they had just been your run of the mill live act, I couldn't have gotten into them the way they did. It's a good thing they hinted they'll be back sooner rather than later, because I'll certainly be in attendance.



5. Hypocrisy @ DNA Lounge
with Scar Symmetry, Hate, Blackguard and Swashbuckle

This was the day that Dio died. Walking into DNA that day was like walking into a wake. Everybody was talking about the times they saw Dio play and how awesome he was. It's a shame the first four bands were so forgettable, with possible exception to Hate. However, Hypocrisy came on stage and played an absolutely incredible set. Right before Fire in the Sky, Peter talked about Dio for a bit and dedicated the show to him. I'm 100% certain that this show would have been one of the best that I had been to if Dio hadn't died, but the fact that he did magnified the experience a great deal. An emotional day, but a fantastic one at that.



4. Giant Squid @ The Professional
with Diseptikons, Rat Damage and The Walking Dead

This show was your regular metal show at a car window tinting shop. A good hundred people all there to see Diseptikons play a killer set, but not me. I was there to see Giant Squid play an even better set. That's precisely what happened. They played the same set that I saw back in July, but they added Sutter's Fort, which was a great addition. The inside atmosphere made the show ten times better, and although Giant Squid weren't happy with their sound, they sounded pretty damn good. Seeing it live once before did not prepare me for the absolute bulldozer that is Neonate live though. This was one show that I forgot earplugs at and it wrecked me. I got a flat tire on the way home and was stranded for an hour or so, but it was so worth it. This was a weird night but one to remember.



3. Sleep @ Regency Ballroom
with Thrones

They reunited. They rocked. That's pretty much it. I questioned their ability to play two back to back shows at the Regency, but they did it, and apparently they sold very well. Their live tone was fucking incredible, and all of their songs were heavy as shit. Hearing a solid half of Dopesmoker live was really incredible, and I hope I get the opportunity to hear it again at some point. I was really bummed I didn't get there in time to get a tour shirt, because they were fucking awesome. Sleep put on one of the best shows I have ever seen, and I hope they come back to do it again sometime.



2. Agalloch @ Great American Music Hall
with Allerseelen and Dispirit

Agalloch very well could be making my favorite music right now. They experiment well and keep the aesthetic of their music intact throughout their discography. But their live show is something else. As the crowd's collective nerves were bundling, Haughm placed wooden stumps at the front of the stage, placed a candleholder like thing on top of them, and placed incense in them, decorating the perimeter with deers hoofs and horns, etc. Then, they played. They deliver their material drenched in emotion, something that I haven't seen executed before. It's scary to think that this is a band still evolving into a live act, because they looked like they have been perfecting it for decades. Phenomenal to say the least.



1. Iron Maiden @ Sleep Train Pavilion at Concord
with Dream Theater

While Agalloch might have been the greatest spectacle I've seen at a live show, I had more fun at this one. That's what metal shows are all about right? Because of that, Iron Maiden get the number one spot. I just can't explain the impatience and butterflies waiting on the rail after Dream Theater. I can't explain watching Bruce Dickinson sing my favorite reunion tunes only two yards away from me. I can't explain the life fulfilling happiness that overcame me during Number of the Beast. I just can't. I left the venue in a daze, soaked in sweat, and as happy as I'll ever be.

I'll finish up my top 10 write ups and then we'll be done with this sucker, I think...
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  #55  
Old 12-30-2010, 12:55 PM
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10. Celestia - Archanae Perfectii

Maybe it's the Latin lyrics, maybe it's the cool sounding production, maybe it's neither of those things. I really like this album. These guys make some really great mid tempo black metal, and almost all of its value lies in really well performed vocals and the riffs. Although the latter become slightly repetitive by the end of the album, they really create a sort of zen the whole way through. Archanae Perfectii hosts some of your changeup speed acoustic and clean sections that a lot of black metal is asking for these days, too. Although the album is only a half an hour, the album as a whole feels very complete and well thought out. A lot of bands would have become conceited and demanded that the album be a full hour, but Celestia did the right thing in keeping it short. A fantastic album.


9. Iron Maiden - The Final Frontier

I have to say, for an album that I thought was stellar, the reception to this album amongst fans was weird to me. I think a solid sixty percent liked the album while another thirty absolutely loathed it, with the remaining ten percent somewhere in between. There were no fans who made the claim that this album was Maiden's best effort, unlike A Matter of Life and Death, but there were quite a few who made it sound as if it was their worst. Regardless, I couldn't get enough of The Final Frontier for the longest time. I think Bruce put together a very fine vocal performance at this stage in his career, and Adrian and Steve are writing just as well as before. I think The Talisman is one of my favorite reunion tunes, and it's awesome that a band can do this so late in their career. However, with that said, the straining sound on Mother of Mercy and a few other tracks are starting to define Maiden's later career. I think the album had its low points (The Alchemist) and its high points (Starblind and The Talisman), but the high points rival some of the high points of the reunion era. In the context of the late stage of their career, Iron Maiden outdid themselves with The Final Frontier.


8. Cloudkicker - Beacons

Just when I think I have a truly unique artist on my list, Cloudkicker took the blogosphere by storm. With Beacons, Cloudkicker (aka Ben Sharp) proved that he has a great pool of artistic influences and an even greater pool of talent to draw from. He starts the album off softly, coaxing the listener into a calmed state, but then explodes into a really speedy math metal riff on the next track. Sharp does a fantastic job of creating a state of ambiance while keeping his post-rock and shoegaze influences on his sleeve. I think it's a little bit tough to imagine a really huge sense of Explosions in the Sky influence with the heaviest Meshuggah influence in the same album, but Beacons succeeds immensely. The three track stretch of "Here, wait a minute! Damn it!" to "Oh, god." is potentially the greatest three song stretch of 2010, and all three songs are metal as fuck. The inspiration behind the album is the last minutes of black box recordings on airplanes. All of the titles are among the last words spoken on the recordings. For me, it brings new meaning to the titles, especially "Amy, I love you." On Beacons, Cloudkicker really pulled a bunny out of the hat, and although it's a little bit of a stretch to call the whole album metal, it has to be one of the best albums of the year.


7. Blind Guardian - At the Edge of Time

If you had told me that the new Blind Guardian album would have placed higher on my year end list than Iron Maiden, I probably would have pinched myself to make sure I wasn't in some weird nightmare. However, that is what happened. I'm 100% new to Blind Guardian, and I wasn't exactly sure what their albums would sound like. It's hard to believe that this is an effort from a band so old, considering how most bands drink all of their creative juice on their first few records, but At the Edge of Time is just so imaginative. Their use of the full orchestra throughout the album pushes the power of the music up twenty notches, and makes songs like Sacred Worlds seem extremely immense. People gave the song "Curse My Name" a little bit of grief, but I think it keeps the album going on a high note. Hansi's vocal melodies throughout the song keep it catchy, and although it might not be up to par with the rest of Blind Guardian's ballads, I think it plays an important role on the album. The massive emotion and power of Tanelorn and Wheel of Time are the high points of the album, and will make any newcomer immediately interested in checking out the rest of their discography. Trust me, I know.


6. Martriden - Encounter the Monolith

I tried to submit a review of this to Metal-Archives, and it got refused. Upon reading it again, I realized that it's really hard to review this album. I don't know how to explain to someone how cool all of the connections to Kubrick's 2001 A Space Odyssey are, but I did my best to explain how awesome the album is. The production on this album is dynamite, something that totally made me realize that albums like Death Magnetic have no excuse to sound as bad as they do. Here are an independent band from Montana and they put almost every other metal act to shame in the studio. Beyond the production, the album is a thick slab of blackened death metal. The guitar sound on Encounter the Monolith is colossal and the drums are equally as massive, the vocals raw and relentless, the bass sound...present for once. All of the riffs are chunky as hell, and they even use some symphonic elements to drive some parts home. I know this review might not be helpful in a describing why this album is great way, but really, this is the bees' knees. I have nightmares that this band won't be signed by 2012.
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  #56  
Old 12-30-2010, 01:14 PM
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Natrlhi Natrlhi is offline
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4. Giant Squid @ The Professional
with Diseptikons, Rat Damage and The Walking Dead

This show was your regular metal show at a car window tinting shop. A good hundred people all there to see Diseptikons play a killer set, but not me. I was there to see Giant Squid play an even better set. That's precisely what happened. They played the same set that I saw back in July, but they added Sutter's Fort, which was a great addition. The inside atmosphere made the show ten times better, and although Giant Squid weren't happy with their sound, they sounded pretty damn good. Seeing it live once before did not prepare me for the absolute bulldozer that is Neonate live though. This was one show that I forgot earplugs at and it wrecked me. I got a flat tire on the way home and was stranded for an hour or so, but it was so worth it. This was a weird night but one to remember.
That photo is actually from the show that I saw in Chicago a few years back...small world, huh? In fact, from where the photographer was standing, I almost thought it was a photo that I took which had been posted on the net somehow, but then I remembered I am horribly bad at posting show photos online, so it couldn't possibly be one of mine (sounds like a good idea for a New Year's resolution, maybe).

When I get back home, I'll try to remember to post some photos from that show on Facebook if I have time. I have one or two that are almost carbon copies of the one you posted above.

...and re-fuck you you for getting to see / hear "Sutter's Fort" live, you bastard.
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  #57  
Old 12-30-2010, 01:39 PM
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Props for putting Cloudkicker over Maiden. I didn't think anyone even knew about them or could find their music or that they even put an actual physical cd out.

In 2009 they would have been a lock for my Top 10 but this year I just don't see them getting there. Maybe I have to listen to Ihsahn and other bands who have been entrenched since July and reassess if they belong.
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  #58  
Old 01-01-2011, 05:27 PM
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5. Barren Earth - Curse of the Red River

I have to say that in general, I think supergroups are a bad idea. Sure, you get bands like Bloodbath every now and then, but more often than not, they just take members away from better groups. I think Barren Earth proved their worth with Curse of the Red River. They did not reinvent the wheel or anything, but they made a pretty fucking cool melodeath record. Some of my favorite music writers are in Moonsorrow and Amorphis, so hearing them write an album that is really cool. Mikko, of Swallow the Sun fame, offers his unorthodox vocals to an album that already sounds stellar, but they put the album together at some points. There are some absolutely killer Insomnium and Swallow the Sun influenced riffs being put together here, and I'm really excited to see what they can put out in the future. This album just oozes a fulfilling feeling that I don't really get from any other album.


4. Triptykon - Eparistera Daimones

Every once in a while, there is an album that pushes your definition of what metal can be. Eparistera Daimones made me re-imagine what heaviness means to me. I didn't know that there was a certain combination of tone and tuning that could get this heavy. But on the first listen to Goetia, I knew I had something special. Triptykon represents more than a reinvention of Celtic Frost, it represents the first time that Tom G Warrior has full autonomy on the writing of the music. Sure, this probably isn't all him, but the gig is all centered around him, and there is a really special result. It was sort of a bummer when Celtic Frost broke up just after releasing one of the most punishing albums that I've ever heard in Monotheist, and it was awesome to hear that Warrior would be coming back with an evolution of its sound. Rejoice! Celtic Frost is back...in a way, and making music just as killer as before.


3. Watain - Lawless Darkness

At the risk of sounding condescending, I'd like to say that I've listened to a ton of black metal in my relatively short time as a metal listener. Lawless Darkness however is one of the first times that I've ever listened to a black metal album and feel infected. Erik Danielsson's vocal performance is nothing short of a virus that over time runs through your whole body and the music as a whole acts as a drug, forcing you to go back for more. There are few moments in black metal as awesome as the chorus of Reaping Death, with both an awesome chantable part with some really evil lyrical content. Lawless Darkness is an album chock full of riffs that stray from your traditional black metal sound, but also contains tons of nods to Bathory and Immortal. While it's an album just barely eclipsed by Casus Luciferi, Lawless Darkness sits at Casus Luciferi's right hand. I fully expected at the beginning of November that I would be writing about this album and concluding it with it being my album of the year, but, unfortunately, that's not what happened.


2. Alcest - Écailles De Lune

This is as hit or miss album as any in the metal world. When Brad first recommended it to me in April, I thought it was average at best, believing it to stray from any structure the album had throughout, and getting a little bit full of itself with all of the shoegaze influence. However, as my non-metal tastes evolved to shoegaze and post-rock, Écailles De Lune's true value shined. It quickly became apparent to me that Niege is all about atmosphere, and he does a damn good job of creating it. Something about the french makes the lyrics sound particularly cool. Niege reminds you that this album has a foundation in black metal on Percées de Lumière, when he performs some shrieks that for some reason remind me of early In The Woods. On that song, there's also the most killer section somewhere around the middle that barrages the listener with a fantasy-based atmosphere and a great riff that continues to the end. A lot of black metal took a direction similar to Alcest and Wolves in the Throne Room in that they wanted to create atmospheric black metal with a ton of shoegaze or post-rock influences, and with Écailles De Lune, Alcest demonstrated that they are the true innovators of the genre.


1. Agalloch - Marrow of the Spirit

Natrlhi just today made the statement that his album of the year is the album that closest resembles perfection, and then went about talking how Snakes for the Divine is complete on a track by track basis. The latter part, is where I disagree. I believe that an album of the year must have the flow, consistency, mood, originality and substance throughout of a perfect album. It is the sum of the parts, not the parts that make an album perfect. I hate to disappoint you, Brad, but no album in 2010 came as close to fulfilling all of those prerequisites as Marrow of the Spirit. There was no album that came close to the level of ambiance and emotion that I sensed in the newest album from Agalloch. Jackie Perez Gratz offers the most incredible intro of 2010, performing a cello melody that flows as perfectly as the river in the background of the track. Haughm experimented with his vocal ability, resulting in a Transith-esque sound, the vocalist for the aforementioned In the Woods, on Black Lake Nidstang. There is a ton of Mantle-esque melodies and sounds in here that will make the old fans gush at a return to the roots, but there is a ton of experimentation and new frontier being forged here by the Portland dark metallers. By releasing Marrow of the Spirit, Agalloch have proved that they are the band to beat when it comes to making music, not just metal.
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  #59  
Old 01-01-2011, 08:32 PM
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Very solid top 5.
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  #60  
Old 01-01-2011, 09:04 PM
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I'm a big fan of 2 and 3.

And 1 and 4 are this year's two biggest "Damn, why didn't that click?" albums for me. So all in all, I'm a big fan of your list. I think it's pretty safe to say that among regular posters on here your tastes most closely resemble mine. So, obviously, you're the closest person on here to me to being right.
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