Even though 2010 has been a great year in music, I found it much harder to write this list than in 2009. Reason? I simply spent more time working backwards than jumping on new records. So as well this list, I’ll post up my favourite albums of 2010 regardless of release date. My top 10 albums of 2010 is exactly that, my list.
I couldn’t give a pan-fried otter’s bollock whether you agree or not or whether Blackjazz, Sufjan Stevens or Iron Maiden should have been on the list or not. I have a life, I can’t be listening to every fucking album in the universe. So if it was good and not on the list, I probably haven’t got round to checking it yet. Leave a comment and tell me what I missed. Unless it’s something shit of course, then keep it to yourself you filthy bugger.
OK, so it’s not as good as predecessor Journal for Plague Lovers nor the best moments from Holy Bible or Generation Terrorists but it was certainly good enough to send me on a 200-track binge of MSP without a break.
It’s the lighter, poppier sound of the Manics rather than the scalding abrasion of their best work but that’s fine. It’s Not War (Just the End of Love) is an absolute earworm and other fine moments include Hazleton Avenue and a Billion Balconies Facing The Sun.
Favourite track: It’s Not War (Just the End of Love)
To be honest, this is here partly on the merits of Assassins, which I love. However, it’s a cracking album in its own right and one that certainly opened the doors to black metal for me. Which is ironic given that its probably one of the least black metal black metal releases ever.
Blake Judd indulges his post-punk and dance tendencies while retaining the harsh vocals and black hole guitar vortex that have characterised the band to date. I prefer Assassins but this is growing on me.
Favourite track: Every Last Drop – which also features a fully mentalist video.
The connection to Alcest initially drew me in (they were former bandmates in Amesoeurs and still collaborate live) and the sound is certainly similar, blending black metal elements with shoegaze, drone and ambient.
It’s a melancholic record and while not one to throw on at a party, is perfect for more sombre moments.
Not really a favourite track sort of record. Dark atmospheres for fans of Agalloch who don’t mind a bit of Cocteau Twins with their tremolo picking then.
Another French entry and a worthy follow-up to Souvenir d’un Autre Monde. The black metal influences remain fairly minimal but are a little stronger on this follow up to Neige’s stunning debut. When those guitars do squall though and the strangled screams emerge, they are a perfect counterpoint to the swirling shoegaze elements.
I’m in awe of Neige, who has amassed an amazing body of work in a very short space of time while remaining very grounded and humble as opposed to a blathering cock-knocker like some people I can think of.
I also get a thrill out of how this reminds me of Siamese Dream in a roundabout way, which was a key record for me in opening the doors of perception as to what guitars are capable of.
A very different outing from the Austin quartet to their first two records. Gone are the mystical and fantasy-based lyrics, gone too is the prime Sabbath worship.
Instead, we are treated to galloping thrash and a space opera. The stoner metal (whatever that really means as High on Fire get the same tag and they are NOTHING like The Sword despite what gibbering baboon critics might say) influence fortunately remains, especially in the vocals.
While this is certainly retro, it’s not mindless 80s Bay Area revivalism. The end result is a promising return to form after the underwhelming Gods of the Earth but still short of the doom metal perfection of debut Age of Winters. Also, anyone who calls this “hipster metal” is a twat.
Favourite track: Tres Brujas (check out the fun desert rock style video).
The countdown continues very soon with entries 5 through to 1. I bet you can’t wait, you little devil, you.
Update: the wait is over!