Now that we are halfway through twenty-ten, it is time to start piecing together out favorite albums from the year. Each MEBer will give his (or her) top candidate as well as two runner-ups from the last six months.
Son of Aurelius is a metal band in the realm of Black Dahlia Murder and All Shall Perish. Its fast, unrelenting, technical and exciting. Their debut album dropped a bit back on Good Fight Music and I was extremely impressed. For a debut, these guys have really set the bar high. During a first listen you may find yourself dizzied by the pace and frenzy of the instruments, but it eventually materializes into something awesome. Best album I’ve listened to all year, but just by a tad above Whitechapel. This will not be my AOTY, I am positive, because we have so many more awesome albums to look forward to (coughTheContortionistcough)
Runner-ups: Whitechapel – A New Era of Corruption and Circa Survive – Blue Sky Noise
I stick by my previous review: TPR is a metalcore masterpiece. Few albums boast the fantastic songwriting, great technicality and thoughtful lyricism of AILD, all while staying true to their musical roots. This latest release flung the band from among the top metalcore bands to the metalcore band. Every single track packs a punch and deserves attention, while “Parallels” (which boasts an exceptional music video) will contend for song of the year.
Runner-ups: Isles & Glaciers – The Hearts Of Lonely People and LetLive. – Fake History
YOTBR is actually an improvement from its predecessor (a masterpiece in it’s own right). Coheed’s latest release boasted the best drums of any album this year – complicated and interesting, yet tasteful, courtesy of former-Dillinger Escape Plan drummer Chris Pennie. Lyrically, YOTBR gravitates more towards the Amory Wars concept than the band’s previous release, which is a return to form remenescent of their first two albums (going into fanboy mode here). While there are more Amory Wars references here, the album retains a universal feel that makes it easy to connect with emotionally. Finally, the inclusion of the Year of the Black Rainbow novel adds new depth to the mythos and solidifies YOTBR’s position as Album of the Year for me.
Runner-ups: Foxy Shazam – Foxy Shazam, and Circa Survive – Blue Sky Noise
Minus the Bear’s fourth full-length album has easily got to be my favorite release this year. It has everything that made me love MtB to begin with plus more. There’s prog elements, there’s crazy guitar riffs, there’s awesome keyboard lines ,and there’s a heaping helping of funk. The whole album is tied together really well and keeps you interested the whole time. Jake Snider’s lyrics are excellent and his vocals are as good as ever. The whole album has a laid back vibe while still keeping it interesting and matches anything else that the quintet has put out.
Runner-ups: Circa Survive – Blue Sky Noise and Foxy Shazam – Foxy Shazam
Most anticipated up-coming release of 2010: Tera Melos – Patagonian Rats
Musically, 2010 has been a slow year for me. I have found myself travelling back to my musical roots rather than exploring and listening to brand new music. Early 2010 brought with it Walter Schreifels’ first solo album An Open Letter to the Scene, which I stumbled upon thanks to a friend at a record label. Many of us find ourselves listening to serious songs with sad overtones when we are stuck in a rut, this was also the case for me. The album does not scream any particular complexities or artisan-ship, it is simply a happy record. Songs to wake up to, or to take a long summer drive. Like I mentioned on my review, the world would be a better place if we played a few of these songs. There is much more than you can squeeze out of it from just one listen, and with this debut, Walter Schreifels has busted on to a new scene, and it seems like he intends to stay.
Most Anticipated: Alexisonfire – Dogs Blood EP
After putting a lot of thought into what album I see fit for the 2010 release-crown thus far, I’ve decided Whitechapel is the most deserving. They’ve done a great job of showing compositional and instrumental improvement, and have kept everything they’ve always done well in the past as a prevalent part of their music. From clean guitars to brutal breakdowns, everything anyone could ever want can be found within the album. I find the introductions to their songs especially awesome, and will surely be listening to the track “Breeding Violence” for at least the next year.
Runner-ups: Sleeping with Sirens – With Ears to See and Eyes to Hear and Confide – Recover