We asked all of the contributing writers here at Hellbound.ca to submit their Top 10 albums of 2010, which we then compiled into a master list, assigning points to all their choices (10 points for #1, down to 1 point for #10). After tabulating the results, we have created Hellbound.ca’s Top 20 Albums of 2010. For part three of our continuing series, here is albums #10 through 6…
#10. BLIND GUARDIAN – At The Edge Of Time
Blind Guardian have consistently outdone themselves with each release, and may very well have hit a pinnacle with At The Edge of Time. The songs have a perfect balance of fist-pumping riffs, sing-along choruses and quiet interludes. The band has never sounded better and the attention to detail in both the songs and the album as a whole is staggering. There is no way you can listen to At The Edge of Time and not find yourself on your feet raising your fist (or more likely, your flagon of mead). This is non-pretentious, non-ridiculous power metal, and an absolute masterpiece.
#9. APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE – Last Sunrise
Last Sunrise is a challenging album. It’s not something that will come to you first listen. It, like many of the best albums released by clear singing, true doom bands (think Solitude Aeturnus, Candlemass, Isole) is an album that needs a few solid run throughs (preferably by headphones) to fully let it sink in. That may have as much to do with the lyrical content as it does with the music itself. The lyrics aren’t written in story form, they are far more ambiguous than that although most do tend to seem to be written to someone instead of at someone. Another thing that needs to be mentioned about Last Sunrise is the variation in its instrumentation. Unlike most doom bands, AoS shows some distinct differences in what they are willing to put into their music. The variation is the payoff; it is what makes the album so enticing to revisit over and over again.
#8. ACCEPT – Blood Of The Nations
What a pleasant surprise, and great story. For all intents, Accept was done, last album was 1996 and not terribly well received. So when guitarist Wolf Hoffmann and bassist Peter Baltes started jamming in early 2009, they needed a vocalist, and “Hey, I know a guy”, led to former TT Quick singer Mark Tornillo joining the fold. The resultant jams, writing and eventual recording have produced the most complete Accept album ever. Almost a full half year before the official album release, the lead single “Teutonic Terror” was unleashed via an online campaign resulting in the video topping the My Space Global Metal Charts and #5 overall. This writer maintains that “Teutonic Terror” is the finest metal track in almost 10 years (second only to Immortal’s “Sons Of Northern Darkness”) . From start to finish, every track crushes, with “Rollin Thunder”, “The Abyss” and the title track all of anthemic quality. Produced by Andy Sneap, there is nothing lacking on this, the comeback of the year.
#7. ALCEST – Écailles de Lune
Alcest evoke images and atmosphere so vividly that the results are more akin to synaethesia than imagination. Every riff, every trembling chord conjures images of violet light, the moment just before darkness sets in when every leaf seems to glow. This album embodies twilight. There is a marvelous inbetweenity to it, a perfect comfort occupying liminal space, teasing the but never settling. Écailles de Lune has an incredible tenderness that is also eerie and powerful. It is a sweet, magical, troubling, bioluminescent album.
#6. NACHTMYSTIUM – Addicts: Black Meddle Pt. II
With Addicts: Black Meddle Pt. II, Nachtmystium ventures further from the rigid realms of black metal with a caustic hybrid of industrial, synth-pop, post-punk, and psychedelia liberally enhanced by the scratchy howl of guitarist/front man Blake Judd. From the looped dance-hall synth of the beautiful “No Funeral” to the atmospheric undertones of “Every Last Drop”, each songs drips with themes of addiction and pain. Though metalheads may decry the marked departure between Instinct: Decay and the jazz stylings of Assassins: Black Meddle Pt. I to June’s release, the band’s disregard for genre conventions is what makes their music so mesmerizingly enticing.
Make sure to come back on Friday for the final part of the Top 20, which will cover albums #5 through to 1. See you then!