This is the ILSUDH2 extreme music year-in-review. This is by no means an extensive list, these are just the albums that made my first full year listening to metal since 1991 a great one! Having said this many times before, I don’t claim to be an expert in metal and can hardly pronounce half the names on this list. That being said (again), it wouldn’t be right to exclude this material from the Class of 2010 posts, since extreme music made up a large portion of my listening experience this year. I have tried to include material from all the subgeneres, but will be the first to admit that this list is very heavy on black metal. Overall black metal has peeked my interest more than death, grind or any other form of extreme music. So without further ado, here’s the Class of 2010’s Children of the Damned…
#10. Exodus – Exhibit B: The Human Condition
Another great album from the bay area thrash band. It would have scored even higher on my list if they would have edited it down to an hour or less.
#9. – Watain – Lawless Darkness
These guys might take themselves too seriously and they might be delusional about being blessed by Satan, but all that aside, this album is sheer violence personified. So if you are in the mood for something fast, loud and evil, Lawless Darkness will fulfill those dark desires and then some.
#8. Enslaved – Axioma Ethica Odini
Unlike some of their peers, Enslaved don’t wear corpsepaint or make-up of any kind. No stage theatrics either. And I doubt they would list church burning as a hobby. These guys look like they could be in a 70’s rock band, but they are recording some of the best black metal out there.
#7. Lantlôs – .neon
They call this post-black metal, which makes sense because it sounds like post-rock but with black metal vocals. A man named Neige represents one half of Lantlôs and he is having a good year, releasing critically acclaimed albums with no less than three bands…one of those albums actually made the #2 slot on this list and this one might have been listed higher if I had more time to immerse myself in it’s dark layers.
#6. Dimmu Borgir – Abrahadabra
Putting the symphony in symphonic black metal, Dimmu isn’t going to win back any old school fans, but if people could hear this album over their cries of ‘sell-out’, I think it would have made a lot more lists this year.
#5. Nachtmystium – Addicts: Black Meddle Pt II
This album has a drug addiction theme and it sounds like it was recorded inside the mind of a junkie on a two week binge. Any album that starts out with ‘nothing hurts more than being born’ is never going to be the feel good album of the year, but if you want to take a journey into the depths of human addiction without shooting up yourself, this is the ticket.
#4. Ludicra – The Tenant
There was a time I thought this album from the San Francisco-based, female-fronted, black metal band would take the #1 spot. Their crusty black metal along the unique sounds that come out of Laurie Sue Shanaman are some of the most addictive this year. After having this album on repeat for 8 months, it still sounds fresh. But alas, the top spot was taken by drummer Aesop Dekker‘s other band…
#3 – Triptykon – Eparistera Daimones
I wasn’t paying attention during the Celtic Frost years, but I’ve gone back and listed to the essential stuff and to my novice ears Eparistera Daimones stands up against Tom‘s best work with his past bands. Watain might be the scariest band on the list, but this is the scariest album. So heavy, so dark; it really does make me feel as if there is an abyss within my soul.
#2. – Alcest – Écailles de Lune
This is a French post-black metal album and I listened to it more than any other extreme release this year. Alcest find the perfect balance between light and dark, good and evil, grotesque and beautiful and I found something new with every listen. It really is too bad about the cover artwork though.
#1. Agalloch – Marrow of the Spirit
It’s almost not fair to list this album as #1 because I have only been listening to it for a few weeks, but no other metal album this year has grabbed and held my attention like this one. Sounding like the soundtrack to a horror movie and coming at a perfect time in the year, this will be my soundtrack to winter.
There were so many other great releases this year that I want to include the 10 albums that nearly made it…broken down by subgenre.
1349 – Demonoir
Immolation – Majesty & Decay (brutal death metal)
Soilwork – The Panic Broadcast (melodic death metal)
High On Fire – Snakes For The Divine
Nevermore – The Obsidian Conspiracy
Heathen – Evolution of Chaos
Kylesa – Spiral Shadow
Charred Walls of the Damned – Charred Walls of the Damned (power metal)
Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier (heavy metal)
Volbeat – Beyond Hell/Above Heaven