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: Frank Godla
10. Mose Giganticus – Gift Horse
"A one man synth punk band" may sound like a joke to some, but I assure you there is nothing funny about the talented song writings of Matt Garfield. Between his unique vocal style, excellent relationship between harmony and groove, and some of the most clever use of a keyboards I've heard in years, this was an easy pick for my top 10. Gift Horse is such a fun record that really lends itself to any mood you may be in. Whether you're angry, happy, horny, or constipated this record has what you need!
9. Enemy of the Sun – Caedium
I am admittedly a big fan of Waldemar Sorychta and his extremely unique style of song writing since I was a young teen. I'm also a HUGE fan of his work as a producer and all that he has done for the metal community for the past 20 years. This however, does not let him off easy and I'd be the first to tell you there were a handful of questionable LPs released in previous years. So when I received Caedium I was a bit skeptical, but pleasantly shocked to find that I in fact love this record! Enemy of the Sun definitely falls in the unorthodox pile of metal, and can even be described as "Avant-garde" at times. This may not be your cup of tea (nor is it mine usually), but I recommend giving this LP a devoted listen, you may be surprised to find it'll quickly grow on you in a way you've never expected.
8. Levi/Werstler – Avalanche of Worms
"WHAT. THE. FUCK!?" Was my immediate response upon hearing Avalanche of Worms in the back seat of Eyal Levi's smoke filled rental car. The only way I can properly describe this record is – equal opportunity instrumental shredding. There isn't a single musician on this fucking record that isn't "bringing it" all at the same time. It's pretty rare for an instrumental record to hold people's attention all the way through, especially one that clocks in over 41 minutes, but there is just so much going on it may take more than a few listens to fully digest.
7. Daath – Daath
Eyal Levi and Emil Werstler on my list twice!? I know what your thinking, and it's not because we bro down with these dudes whenever possible. It's because I give credit where credit is due, and Daath is a band that has that "it" factor I find missing from a lot of metal today. Daath is also one of those bands I can't help but to simply call "Metal" with no other adjective, tag line, expression, or derogatory term attached to it. Yet, at the same time these guys are anything but generic and have a unique sound of their own. How many bands can you say that about these days?
6. Veil of Maya – [id]
Let's be honest here, the "Summerian-core" trend has caught on in a big way over the past few years, and in a sea of over saturation I've yet to hear another band come close to what these guys do. As far as I'm concerned they are the bar of their peers, and deserve every bit of attention they receive. They understand the importance of excellent song writing and structure while wielding their insane brand of technical know how in all the right places, resulting in one of the best records I've heard of it's kind. I've been a big fan of their work for a few years now, and I'm glad to see there is no sign of watering down what they do best. Oh yeah, these dudes are super cool and down to earth too, that's always a plus.
5. Keep of Kalessin – Reptilian
What a tremendous record! Their sound is just so massive and triumphant and runs the gamut from pulverizing black metal to euro style ballad thrash in a matter of verses. On paper (or blog) this probably sounds completely absurd, but meet the band that makes it all work! If you're unfamiliar with these guys, they are the Norwegian winners of the 2010 Eurovision awards which I found completely mind blowing unto itself. Unlike bullshit Grammy award nominations for the hard rock category, Keep of Kalessin were chosen to represent Norway in the award ceremony to compete against European pop stars and made Eurovision history. Imagine Cannibal Corpse beating Beyonce for the LP of the year award, it's just something you would truly never see in the U.S. Check it out!
4. Ihsahn – After
It's no secret I'm a big fan of Ihsahn's work past and present, but he's really outdone himself this time. At the very beginning of 2010 the track "A Grave Inversed" entered the world of metal and turned it upside down with it's experimental saxophone solos mixed into the harsh undertones of his 8 string metal madness. Within weeks of Ihsahn's latest release, I began to see saxophone craze in metal like it was the new breakdown despite other bands trying the same thing in the past. Coincidence? Perhaps, but Ihsahn has always been an innovator of style, and a man who loves to move boundaries of what's accepted in metal. Proving once again you don't have to be the first to do something, you just have to be the best.
3. Intronaut – Valley of Smoke
FUCK YESSSS!!! This is just a tremendous record in many ways, and it's certainly too dense to soak in with a single listen. Incredible chops, great compositions, groovy parts are just a few words to describe what you can expect from this LP. I haven't enjoyed an Intronaut release this much since their earlier works, namely Null and Void, which were always 2 personal favorites of mine. Maybe they were just smoking the right strand while writing this one, but this record is the cats pajamas!
2. Iron Thrones – The Wretched Sun
Early in 2010 I not only had the opportunity to make 4 great new friends, but I had the privilege to watch one of my favorite records of the entire year be made from scratch. The irony of this situation is that I had no idea what the LP would ultimately sound like at the time. Attending their studio sessions for close to a month meant I could pick out my favorite riffs and drum fills, but I really couldn't see the scope of what this thing would become. The first time I heard it was the day after I was handed a disc of the recordings being mixed and mastered, I was driving on a road trip through the mountains and figured I'd give it a spin. It has never left my car stereo since.
1. Cloudkicker – Beacons
C'mon, if you've read/watched my blog and interview with sole member Ben Sharp, then my fanboy nature for this record is well documented. Cloudkicker took me by storm this year with not one, but 2 releases, and judging by the amount of emails, questions and comments I've received in response to the piece, I figure I'm probably not alone on this one.
Wovenhand – The Threshing Floor
Sheesh, take a step back cuz your stepping on muh dick! I know Wovenhand isn't the least bit metal, and I'm probably one of the only metal heads I know that listens to 99.9% metal all of the time, even when it's inappropriate. I just can't help my self though, I am a nut for anything David Eugene Edwards ever since Chrigel of Eluveitie recommended it to me. I don't agree with Edwards' faith or his lyrics what so ever, but this guy is the epitome of the word "artist" when it comes to being a singer/songwriter. Maybe Native American Folk Rock isn't not your thing, but they put out a killer record this year. Deal with it!
Also: After The Burial, Zombi, Periphery, Sigh, Agalloch, Fear Factory, Nachtmystium, Kvelertak, Soilwork, Overkill, Kalmah, Eluveitie, Solution .45, Misery Index, Fuck The Facts
I'd like to draw your attention to 2 things in particular. First this is 2010, there are more releases today than ever in the history of the music business. From the labels ran out of grandma's basement, to the DIY Tunecore band, to the big boys with world wide distro and $80K in marketing bucks, it all results in over saturation of metal music in general. While this is both a good and bad thing for obvious reasons it makes lists like this one exceptionally hard for people like me. I wish I can tell you I've listened to all 12,000 metal releases this year, but I can really only admit to trying on a couple hundred, and even that is much more than most bloggers get through in a single year. If you think about it, that means there is so much untapped talent out there waiting to be discovered and put on a list of your own. The point I'm trying to make is, don't take these lists too seriously. Discovering your favorite band or LP is a beautiful thing we've all felt before and share in common year after year. Be daring, take a chance, go out there and give something a shot, not because we said so, but because you owe it to yourself to fall in love with new music all over again.
Second, I'd like to draw your attention to the fact my 2 favorite LPs of 2010 come from unsigned artists. It wasn't intentional by any means, but it certainly makes me think about the boundaries or walls that people put between "signed or unsigned bands" That shit doesn't fucking matter, great music is great music no matter what contract you have or lack there of. So for 2011 I'd like to see a lot more people dig into some underground bands, and make the effort to support the music you enjoy no matter what their deal is. The support you show, may mean the difference of that next amazing record being written or not, so do your part because whether you know it or not, this effects you too.