As you will soon see as the lone active metal reviewer on Popdose my tastes end up being nowhere near the other writers, so representation in an overall “best of” list is usually slim to none. I do however, put the metal horns down on occasion to check out what the pop world has to offer. The pop albums in my top 10 were extremely easy to pick, my metal ones not so much. 2010 was a great year for metal in my humble opinion but the six listed below are the cream of the crop.
10. Karma To Burn, Appalachian Incantation (Napalm)
This was the first record in nine years for this (mostly) instrumental stoner rock trio and is simply a wonderful record to light one up to.
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9. Accept, Blood of the Nations (Nuclear Blast)
Another comeback record here but the difference is that I never expected this one to be so great. After 27 long years guitarist Herman Frank rejoined the band, although singer Udo Dirkschneider chose not to participate. The end result of their 12th album and first in 14 years is a blistering fist-pumping anthemic ride through heavy metal the way it should be played.
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8. Filter, The Trouble with Angels (Rocket Science)
Filter’s 5th record was clearly made by a very angry and depressed Richard Patrick as the lyrics are dark and biting but it’s the music that stands out again on The Trouble with Angels. Patrick seemed to be reacting to the critics of their previous record which was “too soft.” So he came out and made a hard rock record that rivals the Amalgamut in terms of sheer power.
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7. Prince, 20Ten (NPG)
I’m not sure what paid critics heard on 20Ten that I didn’t (it hasn’t gotten very good reviews) and I know that as my favorite artist I may be a little biased, but I’m under no illusion that everything the purple one touches is gold. However, 20Ten is a throwback record with smooth ballads and a ton of ridiculously good old-school funk. It’s his best album in many, many years without question.
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6. Motorhead, The World Is Yours (Motorhead Music)
As a metalhead, when Motorhead releases an album it almost has to be in your top 10 list. If you don’t take points off for the fact that every disc for the last 20 years has sounded exactly the same and you like any one of them, then you pretty much like them all. The World Is Yours is killer, typical sounding Motorhead with a twist or turn on occasion.
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5. Impaled Nazarene, Road to the Octagon (Osmose)
A lot of people used to look at these guys as a joke band. I’m not talking about the “Weird Al” Yankovic of metal, but with songs about goats and humorous chaos on some of their earlier works, a lot of folks didn’t take these guys very seriously. But this is 13 tracks in 33 minutes of some of the catchiest and innovative black metal around and since the songs are short and fast you get a ton of energy coming from this album.
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4. The Body, All the Waters of the Earth Turn To Blood (At A Loss)
The Body play a haunting brand of metal that lulls you into a sense of security and then scares the shit out of you when you least expect it. Just two guys create pummeling sludge metal with melody and atmosphere that makes this release both beautiful and unnerving at the same time.
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3. Flo Rida, Only One Flo (Part 1) (Atlantic)
Which one of these things is not like the other… okay, so I have a soft spot for catchy pop and hip-hop. Those times when I need to stop listening to the angry metal music, I turn to pop music that’s not far from this. And you can call this hip-hop all you want but Only One Flo is an urban dance record and it’s seriously catchy. Songs featuring David Guetta, Akon, Kevin Rudolph and Ludacris are certainly going to give Flo Rida some huge hits as we wait for part 2 next year.
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2. Robyn, Body Talk (Parts 1, 2 and 3) (Konichiwa/Interscope)
This is something that I would have never in a million years expected to even like let alone have at #2 on my list. I hadn’t heard anything from Robyn since the 90’s but as everyone started talking about Body Talk, Part 1 back in June I decided to see what all the hype was about. Whether it’s the full album or either of the first two parts Robyn has created a masterful electropop record that you know she’s not fucking around with starting off the album with a song like “Don’t Fucking Tell Me What To Do.” If you don’t bust out the robot to this then you’re dead.
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1. Christian Mistress, Agony & Opium (20 Buck Spin)
Agony & Opium is only a 5-song EP but my God this blows me away every time I listen to it. Christian Mistress create this incredible modern and yet vintage at the same time rock ‘n roll mixed with moments of thrash metal. Not only would they sound great in a small venue today, but they could have been opening up for Heart in 1979 as well. The final song on the album — “Omega Stone” — is my favorite song of the year, starting off a pretty ballad before taking a thrash riff straight out of the Ride the Lightning playbook. They’ll be releasing a full length album in 2011 and I’m already saving it a spot in my best of list for next year.
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