Shawn Jam Hill’s Top 20 of 2010
1. The Acacia Strain, Wormwood (Prosthetic)
Ridiculously downtuned miasma of heaviosity as delivered by metal’s most misanthropic crew. Vincent Bennet’s tortured vox are worth the price of admission. Goes great with sadness.
2. Black Tusk, Taste The Sin (Relapse)
Killer jams channeling the meat and potato metal of Motorhead and sludging it up just ever so slightly. Goes great with a 12 pack of PBR.
3. High On Fire, Snakes For The Divine (E1)
Matt Pike’s scorched earth guitar tone is ratcheted up past 11 on this dizzying platter where speed metal (Snakes For The Divine) and crusty doom (Bastard Samurai) cohabitate quite nicely. Goes great with a coupla Magick Stixx.
4. Kingdom Of Sorrow, Behind The Blackest Tears (Relapse)
Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta and Crowbar/Down’s Kirk Windstein get their Southern fried classic rock groove on for this soulful slab of anthemic jams, stadium-ready for bangers the world over to hoist lighters and plastic cups of beer on high. Goes great with booze.
5. Comeback Kid, Symptoms + Cures (Distort/Victory)
Winnipeg’s hardcore heroes come into their own with a seriously catchy platter channeling NYHC like it’s 1989. Goes great with pogo-ing.
6. Parkway Drive, Deep Blue (Epitaph)
These Aussies deliver bowel-loosening breakdowns and a killer guitar tone with their heavy take on metalcore. Try not to bang your head. Goes great with flip flops.
7. The Absence, Enemy Unbound (Metal Blade)
These Floridians worship at the feet of At The Gates but their take on European styled power metal jams are cemented with kick-ass vox and dueling leads that go on way past the horizon. Goes great with a studded gauntlet and some invisible oranges.
8. As I Lay Dying, The Powerless Rise (Metal Blade)
Tim Lambesis and crue lay down yet another slab of catchy ass-kickery that pummels as equally as it soothes this metalhead’s desire for a big piece of awesome, though the clean vox can be a stretch. Goes great with a Bible reading.
9. Carnifex, Hell Chose Me (Victory)
Dense as a day old bagel, these San Diego devil worshippers will strip the chrome off yer tailpipe with their punishing brand of metallic excellence. Goes great with an exorcism of two.
10. Kylesa, Spiral Shadow (Season Of Mist)
A grand homage to all things ‘90s (think phaser pedals, dueling he/she vox and a very good approximation of Billy Corgan’s tone circa Siamese Dream) mashed up against a sludgy wall of noise. Goes great with Moroccan Blonde.
11. Terror, Keepers Of The Faith (Century Media)
Scott Vogel and his loyal henchman dish out a mosh-inducing frenzy of sick riffs and pissed-off reality jams. Goes great with basketball jerseys and tear-away shorts.
12. Impending Doom, There Will Be Violence (Facedown)
A stuttering banger of a record brimming with bass drops and atmospheric shred as they pledge allegiance to J.C. and the Man Upstairs. Goes great with tonic water and the host.
13. Kill The Client, Set For Extinction (Relapse)
Balls-out Texas grindcore blared at an inhuman volume while vokiller Champ Morgan spews vitriol faster than BP can wreck an entire ecosystem. Goes great with Chomsky and a fifth of Jack Daniels.
14. Legend, Valediction (Rise)
Pledging allegiance to the riff, these bruisers knuckle dust your brainpan into wispy threads of unconsciousness through big bad six-string attack and a stomping mid tempo mosh. Goes great with a Chelsea grin.
15. Oceano, Contagion (Earache)
These deathcore merchants have weathered an (unfounded) attack on their credibility since their previous platter, Depths, went viral. This is big burly metal of the highest order so back the funk up. Goes great with hammer smashed faces.
16. Bison BC, Dark Ages (Metal Blade)
These Vancouverites are either really flipping high on Mother Earth or way smarter than their hairy as hell brand of metal gives them credit for. Goes great with wayyyy too many cold ones.
17. After The Burial, In Dreams (Sumerian)
Dropping bombs with their 8 string (!) guitars blazing like molten lava, these young dudes harness the technicality of Lamb Of God and stuff it mile-high with crushing breaks, alternate reality fret board wizardry and vokills vacillating between the maw of hell and a heartfelt croon. Goes great with extreme guitar tunings.
18. Misery Index, Heirs To Thievery (Relapse)
Jason Netherton’s voluminous hatred for society and the politics that bind us all together in a big democratic ball of shiite provided never-ending fodder for ruminations on the ills of governance. That the blast beats and crazy solos shred hard is a sweet add-on indeed. Goes great with socio-political screeds.
19. MyChildren, MyBride, Lost Boy (Solid State)
More uncompromising heaviosity from Alabama’s top tier purveyors of Christian metalcore, these young dudes reap heaps of volume from their gear while frontman Matthew Hasting’s enigmatic delivery seals the deal. Goes great with chips n’ pop.
20. The Chariot, Long Live (Good Fight)
Artsy iconoclast Josh Scrogin leads his band of merry men through the looking glass and back while effortlessly touching on emo, punk rawk, metal and hardcore. A very unique band. Goes great with more Magick Stixx.
Best New Band
Black Breath diverge from Converge then meet up with Lemmy and Philthy Animal for way too many pints. Heavy Breathing (Southern Lord) remains an instant classique.
Discovery of 2010
Savannah Ga. lifers Black Tusk put the death back in death n’ roll as their amphetamine fuelled joyride never slows down. I hope they are allowed to cross the border and come to Canaduh in 2011!
Best Concert 2010
I saw Despised Icon play their final jam in Ottawa on October 14, 2010. It was a poignant display of an incredible band bowing out on top of their game; seeing them 7+ times just wasn’t enough. The fact that we brought our beautiful little man home from the hospital that day (and his mom let me go to the metal show!!) made the whole day one I will never forget! Levi Hill was only 4 days old for Chris sakes!!
Album Disappointment 2010
Bring Me The Horizon
I love Britain’s Bring Me The Horizon. They shred like their pants are on fire, have many sweet breakdown laden jams that peel paint and frontman Oli Sykes really has star appeal. Then they put out 2010’s There Is A Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There Is A Heaven, Let’s Keep It A Secret. Employing strings, soaring electro-tinged female vox and exceptionally weak songwriting makes this bloated slab of insipid emo garbage the worst fifteen bucks I spent all year. I will never go see BMtH ever again.
Heaven & Hell: Neon Nights
Absolutely commanding the stage at Wacken, Iommi, Dio, Butler and Appice rage through such ball-burners as Children Of The Sea to a rapturous European audience. Ronnie James Dio was never filmed live again for his untimely demise came but 11 months later. R.I.P. the tallest Elf that ever walked among us.
Greatest Hope 2011
Well, I thought Philly’s A Life Once Lost would have dropped their much anticipated bomber by now but, label-less and adrift, Robert Meadows and his kin are behind the 8 ball to produce some truly spectacular Messhugah 7/8 worship. They will not fail for they are one of the truly great bands of the last decade, hands down. Soooo Heavvvvy!!