Ladies and gentleman, the TOP 5 METAL ALBUMS OF 2010 according to the contributing writers of Hellbound.ca…
5. KYLESA – Spiral Shadow
(Season Of Mist)
With its razor-sharp hooks, wild card “Don’t Look Back” threw a lot of people for a loop this year. But the real magic of Spiral Shadow is Kylesa continuing to improve upon what they do best: Ever-evolving their songwriting by juxtaposing the band’s love of/influence from swirly psych-rock with hammer-and-tongs, earthy sludge bombast. From the opening good-trip-gone-bad-gone-good-again of “Tired Climb”, through the claustrophobic resignation of “Drop Out”, right up to the closing, pensive, almost-as-hooky-as-DLB recline of “Dust”, Spiral Shadow is an immense rollercoaster through the band’s collective psyche, and shows them once again setting the bar higher than they had for 2009’s Static Tensions; again, as with the last album, I’m rapt with anticipation to see where they’ll possibly take it next.
4. ANATHEMA – We’re Here Because We’re Here
I prefer not to listen to individual tracks from a record – especially by one of my favourite bands – before I have the full album in hand. We’re Here Because We’re Here was many years in the making, so it was listen in pieces as they slowly emerged or musically starve. Hearing the whole for the first time, I found its complex beauty unfolding, not as a revelation, but as the voice of a well-loved friend. Its layered complexity ebbs and swells like a tide, not with the harsh weight of metal but with a rising intensity that demonstrates Anathema’s mastery of extremes. I can still hear the band that was (though more Eternity than Serenades) but as a faint whisper amidst a richly textured ocean of sound.
3. TRIPTYKON – Eparistera Daimones
Celtic Frost reunited and toured then quickly broke up, leaving the loyal with just a tantalizing taste of one of metal’s greatest bands. Frontman Tom Warrior kept good on his word to continue the musical journey he rekindled when Frost reformed in 2001. Triptykon’s first album Eparistera Daimones is in every way a peer of Fischer’s career highlights, including Morbid Tales and To Mega Therion. It’s part therapy session, part diatribe against former band members and all the morbid we expect from Warrior. After a career of disappointments and struggles this was Warrior’s year: a powerful new book; a successful tour, an EP and one of the best albums of the year and his storied career. “Goetia” and “Abyss Within My Soul,” sound just as powerful live as classics like “Procreation Of The Wicked.” Eparistera Daimones is likely to outlast even Celtic Frost’s swan song Monotheist.
Justin M. Norton
2. ENSLAVED – Axioma Ethica Odini
With a captivating live performance fresh in mind, I can’t help but consider Enslaved‘s new opus, Axioma Ethica Odini another success in the near flawless catalogue that the band continues to add to at an incredible pace (especially considering the type of progressive/psychadelic/black metal that they produce). The sounds are familiar, as they continue in the same path they’ve been venturing since Below The Lights, but still remain fresh and unpredictable. Their songwriting continues to grow, winding delicate interludes around thundering riffs underneath combinations of vicious growls and soothing clean vocals. The constantly evolving Enslaved have created yet another winner, and once again prove that they are masters of their craft.
1. AGALLOCH – Marrow Of The Spirit
The decision to name Agalloch’s Marrow of the Spirit as top album of the year was an easy decision to make. It’s a record that offers sonic layers and subtle reprises that reveal themselves more each the album is played. This depth means that it even lends itself to communal listening experiences with multiple pairs of ears. Like the rest of the band’s catalogue, it is both melancholic and spiteful. However, elements such as John Haughm‘s stressed vocals push the band further than we’ve heard in the past, adding to the sense of urgency that the album offers. Far from simple nostalgia, Marrow of the Spirit melds the contemporary world of metal music with an invitation to make a connection with the flow of the environment around you.
Come back next week for the following:
a) Individual Top 10 Lists
b) Event Of The Year
c) Music DVD Of The Year
d) Top 10 Canadian Metal Albums of 2010
e) Individual Canadian Metal Albums Lists
f) Hellbound Horror flicks of the year
g) Top 10 Most Read Hellbound.ca features of 2010
h) Hellbound.ca’s pictures of the year
See you then!