2010 – A Year in Metal

2010 Has been a pretty good year for Metal. Of course we lost a few icons, like Ronnie James Dio and Peter Steele, and a few good bands, like Xasthur and Zyklon, but also the return of several great bands: Nightfall, Empyrium, Abruptum and Arcturus!

You can find a rundown of my favorite metal albums of the year after the break…The list is in alphabetical order, since it’s nearly impossible to rank any of these great albums above the others. If I missed any great albums, let me know in the comments!

Abigor – Time Is The Sulphur in the Veins of the Saint

2 Tracks, close to 20 minutes each, of aggressive, complex Black Metal in the vein of their last album ‘Fractal Possession’. This is what I hope Emperor would have sounded like if they hadn’t disbanded.

Alcest – Écailles de Lune

Follow up of the amazing ‘Souvenirs d’un autre monde‘. A bit more ‘metal’ than the last one, but still an emotional trip to main-man Neige’s dream-world.

Cephalic Carnage – Misled by Certainty

Not as strong as their last album ‘Xenosapien’, but still very entertaining. The only Grindcore-band I really enjoy.

Daylight Misery – Depressive Icons

Impressive debut album by this Greek Dark Metal band. Takes me back to the early nineties when this style was just developing! Guest appearances by Sakis (Rotting Christ) and Efthimis (Nightfall) are great, but the album would have been great without them too.

Enslaved – Axioma Ethica Odini

Great new album, but I feel Enslaved can do better than this. The drums and vocals are a bit more aggressive than on the last album, but, ironically, the ‘progressive’ elements in the music are stagnating a bit.

Limbonic Art – Phantasmagoria

Limbonic Art is now a one-man band after Morfeus left for Mayhem and that might be the reason this album is a lot more simple and stripped-down, mixing the older symphonic style with the later, rawer ‘cosmic’ sound. It lacks some of the genius of the albums Daemon and Morfeus made together, but still a great album with enough unique Limbonic Art moments.

Nightfall – Astron Black and the Thirty Tyrants

Efthimis Karadimas returns with a new line-up to bring us a new instant-classic Nightfall album. The album contains hints of most of their older work but certainly builds on that and adds new dimensions to the Nightfall-sound.

Rotting Christ – Aealo

Awesome progression of the style of their last few albums. The weird female vocals take some getting used to, but the album sounds very ‘focused’ (as Sakis explains in the interview included on the (highly recommended) bonus-DVD.

Solefald – Norrøn Livskunst

Not their strongest release and still one of the years best albums. It sounds more like a collection of songs instead of a complete album from start to finish. Every song contains some element from previous albums but there are also new elements, like the weird female vocals, which are a bit over the top even for Solefald standards. Will probably take some more time to fully grok this album.

Twilight  – Monument To Time End Unexpected

Second album from the US Black Metal ‘super-group’. It sounds a bit less raw than the first, but still has that massive wall-of-sound. With Malefic (Xasthur) out of the band I’m guessing Wrest (Leviathan) has even more influence, as this album’s sound is closer to Leviathan than the previous.

Winterfylleth – The Mercian Sphere

Black/Pagan Metal, a bit in the style of Negura Bunget, Fen and a lot of Viking bands, but distinctly British sounding.

Some albums that could have been in this list but that I didn’t get to hear (very well) yet:

  • Atheist – Jupiter
  • God Dethroned – Under The Sign Of The Iron Cross
  • Agalloch – Marrow of the Spirit
  • Death – Live In Japan
  • Deathspell Omega – Paracletus
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5 Responses to “2010 – A Year in Metal”

  1. Arcturus and Abruptum? Very interesting indeed. Worthy of notice is the new Drudkh album by the way, where some fine new elements are incoorporated in their already working formula. Just a suggestion.

  2. Yeah, the last Drudkh was pretty good, but I didn’t get to listen to it enough, that time was taken up by Alcest and Winterfylleth.

    This is what Wiki has to say on the Arcturus reunion:

    Hellhammer has recently confirmed that an Arcturus reunion is inevitable, and that Garm has shown interest in participating. Furthermore, ICS Vortex has mentioned he plans to resurrect “a band or three” in a blog he posted shortly after being removed from Dimmu Borgir. Vortex has also stated on his myspace page that he was told by an alien that regarding an Arcturus reunion, 2011 is a lucky number.

    ICS Vortex confirmed an Arcturus reunion show at ProgPower USA 2011 Festival. In addition, Vortex also said “Beloved freaks! ProgPower USA 2011 will host the first Arcturus concert in 5 years. This is our first performance in the United States, and since we`re all retarded, probably the last.”

  3. Well that makes sense! Good to hear that a band reunites that didn’t outlive its own ideas but has plenty to offer.

  4. I wonder who will be the vocalist on the next album and/or tour, Garm or ICS Vortex.

    The best solution would be both of course!

  5. Exactly, La Masquerade Infernale proves that combination is more than excellent.

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