As the year is comes to a close, we will be taking you through the Best of 2010. Over the next couple of days, expect top 10 album lists from most of our writers, as well as the top stories & videos of the year. Don't forget, you can still submit your Top 10 album list to be included in the overall Top Albums As Decided by the Metal Injection Junkies list.
By Atanamar Sunyata
10. Deathspell Omega – Paracletus
Although I find Deathspell Omega's music to be fascinating and cerebral, the question for me has always been how much I actually enjoy it. Paracletus affirmatively answers that question for my ears, combining absurd riffs, astral arpeggiations and corkscrew rhythms to create an aesthetically entertaining experience. This is an album to sit and marvel at while your mind tries to untangle its intricacies. Deathspell Omega have risen above their own obfuscation to craft an album of memorable songs.
Triumvirate is a treatise on movement, with riffs and rhythm that provide propulsion to your ears and body. The album blasts across the soundscape with an ominous and satisfying resonance. Black Anvil give black metal some muscle and show no mercy in beating the genre into submission. The band made good on the promise of their debut album, conjoining songwriting skill with groove, power and wanton speed. I'm still enjoying the hell out of Triumvirate.
8. Slough Feg – The Animal Spirits
Mike Scalzi will consume you with fireballs from his eyes and bolts of lightning from his arse. The man understands that songwriting and riffs form the heart of the metal beast, and The Animal Spirits delivers both in style. As always, Slough Feg craft traditional metal that bangs your head and begs you to sing along. I very nearly killed myself several times while blasting this album in the shower. For an extra challenge, give it a spin in your car; I promise you'll drive better while headbanging and throwing a claw out the window.
7. Weapon – From the Devil's Tomb
This dark horse of an album blasted out of nowhere at the end of the year to win over my blackened heart. The Devil's Tomb is a vile hymn in worship of the mighty riff. Evoking thoughts of Possessed, Kreator, Morbid Angel and especially Dissection, Weapon have crafted an incredible metal monument. Solos are deployed in liberal homage to the Dark Lord, reminding us of bygone glory. Vicious, varied and voracious, The Devil's Tomb is an album you won't want to miss.
6. Agalloch – Marrow of the Spirit
Marrow of the Spirit is an album whose dulcet charms I cognitively resisted, but whose masterful execution I could not deny. Filled with alluring melodies, saporous structures and shattering crescendos, Marrow of the Spirit will needle into your consciousness and ultimately expand it. Vast dimensional spaces are bridged by proggy passages whose effulgence I can't resist. Despite my doubts, the album leaves no saccharine aftertaste. I suspect that Marrow of the Spirit will resound in my ears for years to come.
Astonishingly unique and neck-snappingly catchy, The Tenant drops a megaton of riffage on the constraints of black metal and shatters them convincingly. Vocals are drenched in eviscerating anguish, driving these diverse tracks into transcendent realms. The Tenant romps, thrashes and rages, all the while focusing on righteous riffs and solid songwriting.
Immolation simply outclass a great portion of the death metal world in my ears. Majesty and Decay roils and rolls like a frigate's deck in a pitched sea battle. Riffs and rhythm unleash rippling broadsides against hapless enemies, no match for the speed and precision of this seasoned crew. The superlative drumming drives this ship though the water like a gale force wind, leaving only carnage in its wake. Majesty and Decay is a re-affirmation of Immolation's enduring legacy. Along the way it managed to renew my faith in the power of death metal.
Dualitas is a ridiculous sonic experience. The album is full of battering beats and amphoric tones that resonate in my ears and in my memory. Strange bits of the album's sludgy blackness constantly appear in my consciousness, as if the album's begging to be blasted. There's a deep melancholy seared into these doomed melodies, and the careful composition and songwriting bear that out. Dualitas will leave you shattered but enlightened.
This album is a riffing and rhythmic wonder, imbued with an oscillating martial gait. The soundtrack to my year's caffeination, Mounds of Ash caused countless beats to be hammered out on any available surface. The album is somber but driving, bleak but brilliant. Dissonant melodies swirl in mutant meter, and their appeal didn't attenuate one bit with time. Castevet have laid down a formula for greatness, and I hope they make good on its promise.
Cause of innumerable absurd sing-alongs, Circle the Wagons is without a doubt the album I listened to and enjoyed the most this year. Playing on the prototypes of all we hold dear in metal, Darkthrone remind us that this shit is supposed to be fun. Fenriz and Ted accompanied me on many a task that required fortitude, perseverance and strength. We mowed the lawn together, battled midtown tourists together, washed dishes together, lifted weights together and even cleaned the toilet together. Let me ask you one thing, “Does it smell like a bowl of fruit?”