Being of fickle mind, here are five of the best albums released in 2010 I only got into after I made this list. These records could easily slot into this post, and might even have been worthy of a top ten placing. Regardless, in no particular order:
- Quietly, Undramatically
- The Blackest Curse
3. Pantha du Prince
- Black Noise
- The Tenant
Anyway, here's the original list:Top 25 Albums:
- Messy, Isn't It?
I was pretty surprised when I came to the realisation that this was my favourite album of 2010, but the more I think about it, the more convinced I am. Dangers succeed where so many hardcore bands fail; sure the album has nineteen tracks, but despite almost every track clocking in between one and two-and-a-half minutes, the songs are catchy and memorable without sacrificing any of their speed, intensity or power. Of course, there's still a few relatively straight forward punk songs (Tarantula Type, Goliath) but on songs like Under the Affluence, they show a level of maturity and actual song-craft that most bands can only dream of. Yeah, they're pretentious, but you can practically taste the bile that went into Stay-At-Home Mom's lyrics. Actually, this pretty much applies to every song on this album.
Essential Track: Under the Affluence
2. Trash Talk
- Eyes & Nines
By TT standards, this album is almost progressive, in its mammoth 17 minute length. Explode might be my favourite punk/hardcore song of the year, and songs like Vultures, Trudge and Flesh & Blood are pretty much a gigantic middle finger to any idiot who, inexplicably, claims they've sold out.
Essential Track: Explode
Yes, they stopped doing fourty second spazz outs, and they got so much more enjoyable because of it. I'd say there's four truly great songs on this album, and I'm holding out some hope that they haven't totally broken up, seeing as they were so vague about it.
Essential Track: Our Queens (One is Many, Many Are One)
4. Black Breath
- Heavy Breathing
Pretty much a flawless combination of heavy as fuck crusty-death metal and driving hardcore. Unholy Virgin and I Am Beyond are absolutely CRUSHING, whereas Wewhocannotbenamed and Virus offer tasty, punked up riffing. Almost everything on this album hits a sweet spot, for me. I spent quite a while thinking this would be my album of the year.
ET: I Am Beyond
- Public Strain
I didn't like this band, initially; but something prompted me to listen to the song Eyesore, and from then on I was pretty much sold. This album is beautiful in a quirky way, and on songs like Narrow With the Hall and Venice Lockjaw, the vocal melodies actually make me shiver.
6. Colour Revolt
- The Cradle
I fail to understand the lukewarm reception to this album. Seems to me like a lot of people automatically assumed it'd suck, seeing as all but one of the members left in between this and Plunder. How can anyone deny the greatness of She Don't Talk or the title track? 8 Years is clearly the standout track, though, both subtle and bitter. mewithoutYou worship or not, this is a great album regardless. It's difficult for me to listen to just one or two tracks from this album, every track is fantastic.
ET: 8 Years
- Spiral Shadow
Pretty much the first thing that came to mind after listening to this album was 'Static Tensions was better'. I might actually be wrong; almost every song on this album is superb. There's no Scapegoat, but Forsaken pretty much makes up for that. Also, Don't Look Back is as close to an anthem as a band like this will ever get.
ET: Tired Climb
Surprisingly, the best of the three (!) Neige-related albums on this list. I was completely blown away when I downloaded Pulse/Surreal on a whim. The rest of the album follows suit, I'd say.
9. Les Discrets
- Septembre et Ses Dernières Pensées
Ok, so Neige isn't actually in this band, but with Furzy being the driving force behind it, the association is there. This isn't as BM-tinged as Alcest or Peste Noire or whatever, and I'm really glad for that. I remember checking out their MySpace after reading about their split with Alcest, and being blown away after hearing L' Échappée. Against all expectations, their half of the split destroyed the Alcest contribution, and this album picks up where that release left off.
ET: Sur Les Quais
- Assorted Releases (Tyler, the Creator
, Earl Sweatshirt
, Ace Creator
, Domo Genesis
Who knew rape could be such an effective gimmick? These guys (Tyler and Earl especially) have flows most 'experienced' rappers can only dream of, and the absurdity and gonzo-violence of their lyrics is strangely refreshing, practically every song has quotable content. The fact that they write all the beats themselves is awesome, too. FREE EARL.
Tyler, the Creator - AssMilk
Earl Sweatshirt - Luper
Ace Creator - Bitches Brewin'
Domo Genesis - Rolling Papers
MellowHype - Chordaroy
Hodgy Beats - Round and Round
- A Determinism of Morality
Uuh yeah, they REALLY like Isis, but in the best possible way. Ayil and Blue Day For Croatoa are great, and, I'm sorry, but the clean singing on Release is perfect. This is atmospheric and heavy and all that, but I'm glad they got beyond the 80 BPM mire on their older (still awesome) stuff.
12. The Dillinger Escape Plan
- Option Paralysis
Any DEP release is pretty much guaranteed a spot on any list I make, and OP is no exception. Farewell, Mona Lisa got me foaming at the mouth when it came out, and the album destroys. Sure, they toned down the experimental-ish flavour of Ire Works (the album which made them the world's best band), and there's no return to the CI-style chaos, but they STILL keeps on developing and evolving. I love this band.
ET: Gold Teeth on a Bum
- Écailles de Lune
Probably not as good as Souvenirs..., but this album is gorgeous regardless. Somewhere between black metal and shoegaze, whenever I read about this album, the word 'lush' is inevitably used, for good reason. There's some truly beautiful songs here.
ET: Solar Song
Man this is a fun album. The only reason I bothered to check Kvelertak out was because Ryan McKenney featured on Offernatt (still my favourite song), and I am SO happy I did that. It annoys me when people inexplicably describe them as black metal, the guitar in Ordsmedar Av Rang's chorus is as close as it gets. I don't love this album as much as some people, but this album can almost always get me in a good mood.
15. Das Racist
- Shut Up, Dude/Sit Down, Man Mixtapes
Fuck Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. Now that I've gotten that out the way, it's safe to say there's some awesome tracks on these mixtapes. Yeah, it's hit or miss most of the time, but You Oughta Know, Luv it Mayne and Rapping 2 U are so great that I don't even care. Sometimes I'm not sure if they're being witty or nonsensical but it works either way.
You Oughta Know (Shut Up, Dude)
Rapping 2 U (Sit Down, Man)
- Zeroes QC
Restrained and understated and everything, this album is so subtle you almost take for granted how awesome it is. Armed For Peace is great, Fear is great, PVC is great, and the climax of Arena is mindblowing.
17. The Body
- All the Waters of the Earth Shall Turn to Blood
Wow. When I think of sludge, this definitely isn't the first thing that comes to mind. Waters is both challenging and fascinating, and when I heard they used an actual 18-piece choir on some songs (A Body, Even the Saints Knew...) , I was sure it would suck, but I was sooo wrong. This is ugly, twisted and, ultimately, pretty groundbreaking within its genre.
ET: A Curse
- Unsilent Death
The whole of this album's twenty minutes is practically consumed by negativity, and destroys because of it. The title track, Scum Will Rise and Lies all play like defeatist anthems, complemented by the harsh, raw production. This isn't great morning music. It wears you down after a while, but that seems to be the point of the album.
ET: Unsilent Death
- Monument to Time End
This didn't completely make up for the horror of the new Nachtmystium album, but it comes pretty close. Monument is more than the sum of its parts; my expectations were pretty low at first, but there's some incredible moments on this album. Despite the harshness of the vocals, Red Fields comes across as elegant, almost, measured in its restraint, and the drawn out outro to 8,000 Years is actually amazing. Here's a 'super group' I can totally get behind.
ET: 8,000 Years
20. Early Graves
I'd compare this record to Nails' in that they're both completely nihilistic and pissed off. The main difference lies in the vocals, and where Nails attempt to batter the shit out of their listeners, Graves tend to focus more on their riffs, though I hate to say that this record is 'catchier'. It's kind of hard to deny, though, when the chorus of Give Up or Wraiths hits. The title track lays waste, too. Mahk Daniels RIP.
Let me be honest: I don't like Unquestionable Presence. I think it's overblown, overrated and, despite what people say, extremely self-indulgent. Somehow, a friend of mine convinced me to give Jupiter a chance, and I'm so glad I did. I was almost convinced I'd lost my appetite for technical metal until I heard this. The band has ridiculous chops, obviously, but they've crafted actual SONGS here, rather than thirty minutes of guitar acrobatics. Second to Sun and and Third Person totally rip, though Live, and Live Again is probably my personal highlight.
ET: Live, and Live Again.
- Rohnert Park
A lot less punk than Violence and SNMY, in that the band experiments a little more with their song structures, rather than stuffing the album full of RAGE. That's not to say the album doesn't have its fair share of mouth-foamy moments (The Pathos, Nigh to Life), but it's songs like The Doldrums where they're at their most interesting.
23. Various Artists - This Comp Kills Fascists Vol. 2
Thank you, Scott Hull. TCKF Vol. 1 introduced me to a lot of awesome bands (Magrudergrind, Weekend Nachos, Kill the Client, Maruta...), and while Volume 2 isn't nearly as good, there's a handful of bands I'll definitely hope to see more of, most notablly Strong Intention, Noisear and Owen Hart. However, far and away the best moment on the collection is the solitary Crom track, absolutely killer. I suppose they're Volume 2's Brutal Truth, though, in my opinion, a lot more enjoyable.
- Recycled ExistenceSuperbad
- Pretty Much Always Some of the Time Owen Hart
- You'll See 8 Year Olds in HellStrong Intention
- Holes in the Wall
24. Wild Nothing
I'm not gonna lie, there's some extremely mediocre songs on Gemini (Bored Games, Our Composition Book), but the 'good' songs here completely make up for that. Summer Holiday, Chinatown and The Witching Hour are all rad.
ET: Summer Holiday
- Lawless Darkness
I didn't get into this as much as I thought I would, most likely because I think Sworn to the Dark will stand as their artistic peak, but that doesn't mean this isn't a great album. Reaping Death, of course, is fantastic, as is Death's Cold Dark, though the main reason Lawless Darkness made the list is because of the glory that is Waters of Ain. That song, in all its fourteen minutes, is probably worthy of a place all on its own. The whole track is spectacular, and the solo is as stunning as it is unexpected. Sure, they're hilariously pretentious, but I stopped caring.
ET: Waters of AinTop 5 EPs:
- Songs For Singles
Short, punchy and to the point. Every track is 'sweet' in the full sense of the word. I love the longer tracks here, too. I wouldn't even call Torche metal at this point, they've become so much more.
ET: Out Again
2. Balam Acab
- See Birds
Guy produces everything using samples from the internet, to wonderful effect. Love the atmosphere throughout this.
ET: See Birds (Sun)
3. Pulling Teeth
- Paranoid Delusions, Paradise Illusions
Trash Talk and Ceremony got a lot of attention this year, which must be bitter for this band, because I'd only rank them a little below the aforementioned groups. 'Bloodwolves' was pretty much an obsession for a while, for me.
- Broken Dreams Club
Album was fantastic, and I'd say BDC is a continuation of that, plus a LOT more lovelorn-ness, obviously. Substance is a pretty terrible song, but Alright and Heartbreaker make it more than worth it. I love Carolina too.
5. Trap Them
- Filth Rations 7"
I don't like the re-recording of Digital Dogs With Analogue Collars, but the other three songs on the EP kick so much ass. Heavy and crunchy as hell, I don't think anyone can deny how awesome Dead Fathers... and Carnage Incarnate Are.
ET: Carnage IncarnateAlmost Made the List
In no order, the ten releases that were closest to making it.Hayaino Daisuki
- The Invincible Gate Mind of the Infernal Fire Hell, or Did You Mean Hawaii Daisuki? EPCrystal Castles
- Crystal Castles ( II )Tera Melos
- Patagonian RatsCandy Claws
- Hidden LandsEnslaved
- Axioma Ethica OdiniWavves
- King of the BeachPantha du Prince
- Black NoiseLa Dispute
- Searching For a Pulse/The Worth of the World Split EPEnvy
- RecitationElectric Wizard
- Black MassesAlso Notable
These releases don't really fall into either the album or EP category, but are noteworthy regardless.Pissed Jeans
- Sam Kinison Woman 7"Converge
- On My Shield 7"Star Slinger
- Helicopter (Remix of Deerhunter song)Witch House
: Boring and annoying on the whole, with a few exceptions (oOoOO
, S U R V I V E
, Balam Acab
. V▲GINA WOLF
gets a special mention, only because of the name.)Most Overrated
- All releases
- Scenes From Hell
5. How to Dress Well
- All releasesMost Disappointing
- Addicts: Black Meddle Pt. II
I have absolutely no problem with a band developing, but the problem with this album is that their 'evolution' sounds forced and unnatural, whereas Assassins was a more natural (and mindblowing) progression. Blake Judd is a douche, everyone knows that, but I couldn't care less as long as he continues making awesome music, which he failed to do here. I read something about him saying the album sounded like something girls in Brooklyn would dance to, which is total bullshit. It's the sound of him WANTING to be an artist girls in Brooklyn dance to, and the unfortunate fact is that the guy is so deluded that he actually half-believes it. When they put out No Funeral, I was willing to give it a shot, but I've come to the conclusion that this album is garbage, the product of a band striving to be something it's not. I'm praying Judd will come to his senses on the next one.
2. Lightspeed Champion
- Life is Sweet! Nice to Meet You
3. of Montreal
- False Priest
- Re-Traced EP
5. Kill the Client
- Set For ExtinctionOther Stuff:
I'm sure more significant things happened this year, but this is all I can think of right now.
- RIP Isis
, Lewd Acts
and probably a whole lot more.
- Genghis Tron
, come back please
Scion 'controversy': This is stupid on a whole other level. These so-called 'sellouts' gave away one of the most satisfying grind moments of the year, for FREE and people somehow find a way to bitch about it. Crusher would probably have been on this list, had it come out a little earlier.
- The return of Gospel
. The new song doesn't touch The Moon is a Dead World standards for me, but it's interesting regardless. Looking forward to more new material.