Nov 122010

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Today’s guest post comes to us from Dan, who apparently is now called The Artist Formerly Known As Dan. Dan is an American temporarily transplanted to Adelaide, Australia. He has a list for you.]

So, I realize it’s cliche to make one of these lists (and maybe a bit premature?), but they’re usually useful for several reasons.  Firstly, it allows me to shamelessly plug the bands I like and push my agenda on you.  Secondly, it allows you to post lists of the records I forgot and tell me why my first list was wrong.  I can then subsequently go back to the records I may have forgotten or never owned in the first place.  Everyone should theoretically win here, since there is always music overlooked or forgotten about throughout the year.  So, let’s begin.

10. The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza – Danza III: The Series of Unfortunate Events

Technical, but so brutal.  A perfect recommendation for someone who listens to too much vanilla-breakdown deathcore (and, for some of you, “too much” implies listening to any deathcore at all).  I highly recommend seeing them in concert; they bring tons of energy.  Yippie-Kay-Yay-Motherfucker.

(more after the jump . . .)

9. Arsis – Starve for the Devil

Hands up if you forgot about this one.  I got a copy back when I saw them on tour with Exodus and Arch Enemy in February and loved it.  Nick Cordle has seamlessly integrated with James Malone and it shows in the guitar work on the album.  The video for “Forced to Rock” is also hilarious.

8. Cloudkicker – Beacons

This guy is awesome.  He doesn’t need a label because he can already do everything he needs to by himself.  And he’s beyond talented.  A must-have if you are into instrumental djent.  Islander wrote a better review (with audio sample) here.

7. As I Lay Dying – The Powerless Rise

Ok, I might get some flak for this one, but hear me out (or…read the rest of this paragraph, whichever makes more sense).  These guys wrote a legitimately well-sorted metalcore record and I’m not afraid to say that I thought this was one of the best albums of 2010. The guitars sound big and the drums give it a rock solid backbone.  But what really makes this album for me is Tim Lambesis.  His vocals have definitely gotten stronger as they’ve put out more records and I would argue that The Powerless Rise is his best performance. [NCS reviewed the album here.]

They also put on a sick live show with tons of energy – a definite winning combination.  If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s an uninspired stage performance, but these guys are phenomenal live.  Try to put aside any qualms you might have with them being Christian or their obvious At-The-Gates influence and just enjoy the sweet sounds:

As I Lay Dying: Beyond Our Suffering

6. The Ocean – Anthropocentric

Ok, even though I haven’t heard the whole album (comes out November 9th), I had to include this band on the list.  They are admittedly one of my all time favorite bands, but the song featured below and this song tell me the whole album will be great.  Additionally, they were recently robbed of all their merch sales while on tour in Europe and they really need financial help right now.  Even if you don’t like them, it’s a shitty thing to get robbed of over $8200.

5. Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier

It’s no The Number of the Beast, but that’s like complaining about free pizza or refusing to eat a steak that costs less than $50.  Sometimes, it’s unfair that their absolute masterpieces are behind them because we’ll inevitably always compare them to their glory days.  But this is new Maiden, and hey, the album is pretty damn catchy.

4. Veil of Maya – [id]

Sumeriancore at its finest.  These guys are truly great artists, and put on a really good live show.  Can’t recommend them enough.  Also, their guitarist samples himself during the live show and loops it so he can then play the other parts – if you want to talk about musical skill, Marc Okubo has it in spades.

3. Daath – Daath

These guys just keep writing quality metal albums.  Last year they released The Concealers, which was sick, and their self-titled release this year does not disappoint.  The drumming is tight and the guitars are incredible.  If you dig them, you should check out the instrumental album the guitarists released, Avalanche of Worms.  Anyway, Daath are friggin’ great and I’m not sure what else to say, other than listen:

2. The Crown – Doomsday King

If you don’t know who The Crown is, go check them out immediately.  No, I’m not going to question your metal fanhood, but this is one of those bands you should definitely know about.  So go listen now.  They are everything that is right with metal today.  Simultaneously, you can read a far better and more in-depth NCS review by Andy Synn at this location.

1. Kvelertak – Kvelertak

You: “Aw man, what the fuck, The Artist Formerly Known as Dan, your number one album isn’t even a metal record!”

Me: “I don’t care, this album fucking rocks.”

Seriously, if you like rock music at all, you’ll like this.  The music is infectiously good, even if I can’t understand the Norwegian singer (who definitely shows some black metal influence in his singing).  The songs are all just so fun.  The music is also exceptionally good for listening to while driving fast.  I challenge you to listen to this music and not enjoy it.

Honorable Mention:

Deftones – Diamond Eyes
After the Burial – In Dreams (comes out November 23rd, so I haven’t heard more than one song, but I’m betting it will be good).
White Wizzard – Over the Top
Conducting From the Grave – Revenants
Iron Thrones – The Wretched Sun
Trap Them – untitled as of yet, and I’m not sure if it’ll actually be out by the end of 2010, but I know it’s going to rip shit apart.

And there it is.  Yes, having an honorable mention column is a cop-out.  Please discuss.


  1. Kvelertak is Metal to me. It’s tasty, very tasty. Obviously you have missed a lot of bands in your list or in your honorable mentions, but it’s not like anybody can possibly know all the bands in the world now, right?

    What needs to be at least mentioned too:
    – Superbia’s latest (I’m about to review that on DMB soon)
    – Kenòs – X-torsion
    – Decrepit Birth – Polarity
    – Demonic Resurrection – The Return to Darkness
    – Deliver Us From Evil – Behold a Pale Horse (which is from 2008, but it still one of the best albums I discovered this year)
    – And lastly, accepting that I might be covered in shit by some for this, Soilwork – The Panic Broadcast

    • Yes, it is true, I made this list with only what little resources I had. I was hoping someone would jump in to tell me what I had missed. Decrepit Birth had a great release this year and I totally should have mentioned them (among MANY others). Also, I do not shit upon you for Soilwork.

  2. I Love Cloudkicker and Chimp Spanner, looking for some other great djent (bye the way WTF does that mean?). Good list, would’ve swithched Deftones and Iron Maiden though.

    • Oh and I wouldve included Devildriver’s The Fury of Our Maker’s Hand. Don’t know if that record is a metal titan or anything, but it’s just so fucking strong and smart!!!

      • I like that record, but I think it came out in 2005, so it isn’t eligible for my list. However, I thought The Last Kind Words was their best work to date (2007). Pray for Villains (2009) was disappointing so I have high hopes for their next record.

        If you’re looking for other quality djent, check out Bulb (Misha Mansoor of Periphery), Tre Watson, and Keith Merrow. In terms of the djent name itself, I think it is onomatopoeia for the sound of the guitar (ie, heavily palm-muted and syncopated, off-kilter staccato riffs).

        • Wow, that explanation of djent makes perfect sense, and I love that name now! I forgot to mention that my favorite two albums f this year so far are Impending Doom’s There Will Be Violence and TAS’s Worwood, but the one I listen to most often is Malevolence from I Declare War.

          • You probably know we’ve been I Declare War supporters at NCS for a long time. This has been such a breakout year for them, and it’s been cool to watch it happen. I also liked There Will Be Violence and Wormwood. Bravo to you for standing up or deathcore!

            • I also often find myself defending the much maligned “deathcore” (and to be fair it does have a higher percentage of derivative shit than most genres) from ill-informed, reactionary criticism – there are a lot of good bands and albums which have come from the genre>

              However I struggle to see any deathcore band/album as a candidate for the end of year “Best Of>>>” lists, mainly because there is (usually) very little ambition or artistry involved. Now granted, when done righ it’s badass and crushing and immensely enjoyable, but is it really good enough to be considered “best”? I find the inherent limitations in the genre to in many ways disqualify such albums from my consideration because… well, they are what they are.

              This does however raise a further point (and it’s one i’ll be addressing in my end of year list – stay tuned), the thought that – at least for me – the “Best” albums of the year are often not my “Favourite” albums of the year. Hence I’ll be producing a larger article of a sort of “Year In Review”-type, comparing the good, the bad and the ugly, and pointedly addressing the fact that MY top 10 of the year is a personal choice (as this article has clearly demonstrated) whilst my CRITICAL top 10 is perhaps more objective (the sort of albums I think are clearly artisitically superior in both form and execution, rather than the albums which I have listened to most).

              Thanks for reading!

              • You put your finger on the very distinction that swam around my small head as I was looking back over the year’s albums I’ve heard and trying to create a list in response to this post. I took the easy way out by listing many (though certainly not all) of the albums I really enjoyed hearing this year. Which wouldn’t be a “critical top 10” list. I can listen to something, have a blast doing it, and at the same time realize that it’s not a creative home run. I had that reaction to most of the deathcore I’ve heard this year. I doubt I would put any of it on a “Best of the Year” list of metal — but I still like it. As for actually creating a “critical top 10” list, that would be really hard work for me. Which by definition means I won’t be doing it. But i would sure like to read yours!

                • I’m waiting to finalise it after hearing God Dethroned (bound to be awesome), Deathspell Omega (also predicted to be ace) and The Wretched End (an unknown quantity, although with good pedigree!).

                  I can tell you now though that my initial “Favourite/Best Album Of The Year” contender still remains undefeated.

                  To be honest 2010 has been a royally crappy year for me, but the music has been phenomenal. Very happy with 2010 in music.

                  • I’m definitely excited about God Dethroned and Deathspell Omega. I started listening to The Wretched End before I left on vacation and have a little teaser post about it scheduled to appear next week — very promising.

  3. No complaints here! Seems well rounded and completely respectable. It has definitely been a good year for metal.

  4. Veil Of Maya sounds decent, but I can’t get past the shitty vocals.

  5. Agreed on the new Iron Maiden. Can’t stand when people talk shit about this band. There is no excuse. Decrepit Birth’s new one is pretty great. And while the new Agalloch isn’t out yet, I’m sure it will be brilliant as always. Kudos on having the balls to give props to As I Lay Dying. I can’t say I agree with you, but I appreciate your honesty.

  6. Great list Dan! I like it not only because I agree with lots of your choices but also because it’s such a varied collection of music — it shows (a) that this really has been a good year for metal, and (b) that metal is an incredibly diverse and vibrant genre of music. But above all else, kudos for putting Kvelertak on here. I’d never made the time to listen to their music, and now that I’ve heard that one song you picked, I’m soooold! Awesome stuff.

    • And c) it shows you’re an open minded/non-prejudiced Metalhead, which is the breed we need more of!

    • Thanks man, glad you like Kvelertak. I have been playing them since I heard about them this summer. Any suggestions? Also, Niek, totally agree with you.

  7. Kvelertak is pretty decent, but for stoner rock I preferred the new Barn Burner album, which is fucking phenomenal.

  8. This post has forced me to review what I listened to this year and think about which ones I would add to your list (which is pretty damned good as it is) — though we’ll be way past “Top 10”. But as you noted, there are some releases yet to come before the year ends (or ones that have only recently appeared and I haven’t yet heard them) that would have to be considered before deciding on a true year-end best-of list. In addition to Agalloch and After the Burial, I would add God Dethroned, Melechesh, Necronaut, Atheist, and Wretched.

  9. I’m thinking that Son of Aurelius’ debut album The Farthest Reaches may have been overlooked here 😉

  10. I don’t do “Best of the Year” lists for NCS because, frankly, I’m too fucking lazy and it’s too damned confusing. I like too many albums, and I don’t know how to rank them. I like lots of the albums that were on Dan’s list and that others have added in the comments above. In addition to all those, and reflecting my own demented tastes, of course, I would name the following as full-length albums which haven’t been mentioned yet that I’ve especially enjoyed hearing this year:

    Ares Kingdom: Incendiary
    Canopy: Menhir
    Enthroned: Pentagrammaton
    Goat the Head: Doppelgangers
    Grave: Burial Ground
    Heaven Shall Burn: Invictus
    Hour of Penance: Paradogma
    Howl: Full of Hell
    Incarnia: Proclamation
    Kalmah: 12 Gauge
    Kataklysm: Heaven’s Venom
    Keep of Kalessin: Reptilian
    Lair of the Minotaur: Evil Power
    Living Sacrifice: The Infinite Order
    Martriden: Encounter the Monolith
    Miseration: The Mirroring Shadow
    Odem Arcarum: Outrageous Reverie . . .
    Pristina: The Drought (Ov Salt and Sorrow)
    Rotting Christ: Aealo
    Shining: Blackjazz
    Thulcandra: Fallen Angel’s Dominion
    Valkyrja: Contamination
    Watain: Lawless Darkness

    Dan stood up for As I Lay Dying, Niek stood up for Soilwork, and so in the same vein I’m being honest and adding Norma Jean’s Meridional to the list, too.

  11. 10?ok ill start with the best.

    -AEON,path of fire
    -PATHOLOGY,legacy of the ancients
    -BRAIN DRILL,quantum catastrophe
    -severe torture,slaughtered
    -cenotaph,putrescent infectious rabidity
    -and hell followed with,proprioception
    -houwitzer,bestial atrocity
    -trigger the bloodshed,masochist

    • Damn, there are some good ones on that list which should have been on mine too — Aeon, Pathology, Brain Drill, Fleshwrought, And Hell Followed With, Trigger the Bloodshed. I haven’t heard the others . . .yet. And Nekrogoblikon would have been on my list too . . . except that new album we reviewed still isn’t officially released . . . yet.

  12. So, we’re starting on our respective best of lists now? Hmm, I’ll have to get back to that.

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