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09.17.17 Willie's 2017 So Far 07.13.17 Willie Turns 10
10.06.16 3 Quarters -- What's Missing? 11.29.15 Willie's Final 2015
11.26.13 Top 50 Of 2013 11.09.11 Top 50 Of 2011
07.09.11 Willie Turns 4 02.21.11 Willie's Essentials
01.21.11 Users' Best Of The Decade12.13.10 2010 - Finalized
09.09.10 Underrated Albums 07.09.10 Willie Turns 3
06.15.10 Willie's 90 For The 90s06.08.10 Willie's Decade List
01.18.10 Willie's Guide To Industrial07.10.09 Willie Turns 2

2010 - Finalized

I've spent the last four weeks listening to every 2010 album that I own as well as checking out a bunch of 2010 recs and this is my finalized list. rMost won't agree with it, but the only criteria I used was how much do I enjoy listening to it? I don't care about how similar it sounds to something else or how groundbreaking it was or wasn't or anything else. Just 'how much do I like listening to it?'

This one took a lot of time to finally click. At first I thought it sounded exactly like the Gnostic album, except with a different vocalist. That wasn't a bad thing, but I expected more finesse from an Atheist album. Eventually everything started clicking, though, and the chaotic riffs and percussion started to sound more and more cohesive. After I was able to wrap my head around the actual structures, I was able to start really enjoying the music and I even noticed that they someone made a technical death metal album that even managed to be really fucking catchy (if given enough time). That was around the time that this became my number 1 of 2010.
2The Birthday Massacre
Pins And Needles

This was always a lock for my top 10, but it slowly moved all the way to number 2. The band my have stripped the remaining strange atmospheres away and Chibi's vocals lack the edge that was sometimes employed on the first two albums, but this still ends up being excellent. The band know how to mix the industrial, metal and pop into a collection of songs that are catchy and slick. It doesn't hurt, either, that Chibi is an excellent vocalist.
We're Here Because We're Here

This started out as my number one album of the year. It seemed like an easy choice considering the fact that this is Anathema's best and most developed album of their career. They've finally found their own sound that doesn't rip off Radiohead or Pink Floyd anymore. The melodies are excellent, the songs are beautiful and the addition of the full time female vocalist rounds out the band's sound perfectly. The album doesn't age well, though. After countless listens it becomes apparent that the last part of the album is a bit of a let down. I think it begins with the Porcupine Tree copy song, and goes a little down hill from there. It's still a great album, though.
If This Is The End

This is a little known band from Alaska. They play a very emotional style of alt. rock that has a bit of the screaming vocals of emo/screamo as well as some well-used piano. The vocals of Stephanie Plate are raw and passionate. The songs all have a very epic feel even though none of them pass the five-minute mark. In my opinion, it's one of the unknown gems that more people should have checked out this year. We're still streaming songs from the album here: http://sputnikmusic.com/blog/?p=796
Small Lights In The Dark

This album was definitely a surprise. They used to be a very poppy trip hop band, but they eventually moved to a more generic pop rock sound. That sound has gone away on this album and has been replaced with a very somber feel that just barely avoids just being a depressing mope-fest. Jael is an excellent vocalist and her lyrics are honest and well done.
6Flotsam and Jetsam
The Cold

Flotsam and Jetsam seemed like they were on the verge of breaking into the mainstream but instead they slipped into a pattern of releasing third-rate thrash when they went back to Metal Blade. This album changes all of that and is the best thing they've done since the nineties. It's heavy thrash with a modern groove. People will definitely noticed a Nevermore influence in the music, but longtime fans will realize that these guys were doing this long before Nevermore. This is another one we've got streaming on the site: http://sputnikmusic.com/blog/?p=3968
Norron Livskunst

Solefald are another band that started out really strong and eventually started to slip. The difference is that these guys play avant garde black metal that takes in multiple outside influences in order to create something that's a bit quirky and warped. This album gets them back to what they always did best, but playing a tongue-in-cheek brand of black metal that's a bit strange but never overextend itself.
8Mar de Grises
Streams Inwards

Doom/post-metal with an abundance of post rock influence (and maybe a bit of prog too). On this album the band traded in their bleak wall-of-sound approach for something that worked in a lot more subtle influences and stressed melody over heaviness. They also were a lot quicker to reach their climactic parts and they made the mellower parts a lot more interesting.
9Amia Venera Landscape
The Long Procession

My god. Imagine "Define the Great Line" era Underoath mixed with Isis, but with a bit of math metal and a tendancy to get heavier and more atmospheric than either of those bands. The riffs are crushing and chaotic, the drummer is a beast on the kit, and the growled/screamed vocals are pummling. Even when they move into a more melodic moment or switch to clean singing, the sheer intensity doesn't let up at all. In between all of this dissonance is moments of electronic ambience that serves as excellent transitional pieces between each chaotic episode.
Axioma Ethica Odini

In my opinion, this is the first Enslaved album that is worth a damn. They've been trying to get this formula down for like four or five albums and it has always been barely above average at best. This time they've finally made the songs interesting and memorable. The production is warmer and the vocals finally pull the songs in new directions instead of feeling a bit tacked on. The growls are still a bit weak, but the excellent black metal/rock mix makes it a moot point.
11Pure Reason Revolution
Hammer & Anvil

The third album by Pure Reason Revolution seemed to upset a lot of people (or at least make them feel let down), but I don't know why. They've maintained the proggy electronic direction of the last album, but have also made things a bit darker. The songs might not be as instant, but they're certainly better.
12In Mourning

These guys used to sound like Opeth apparently (I don't know, I listened to their debut once or twice and didn't like it). Now they're an excellent doom/melodic death metal band with a penchent for writing hooky riffs that are also really catchy.
13Fear Factory

It was good to get Dino back in this band, and it definitely doesn't hurt to grab Gene on drums. This album was a great return to the industrial metal that these guys pretty much put on the radar. This album dropped all the filler and grabs at the mainstream and went back to what the band alway did best... pummling machine-guns riffs locked in to rapid-fire double bass. Burton finally sounds like he wants to be in the band too, pulling off a very viceral performance.
14System Divide
The Conscious Sedation

Some people hate these guys because they took their female vocalist from doom/death band Distort. Anyway, this is excellent no-brains metalcore/deathcore with male screams and female clean singing. It's similar to The Agonist except everything actually works and this girl can actually sing.
15Sick of it All
Based on a True Story

Two excellent hardcore albums in a row from these guys. If I wasn't so nostaligic about "Just Look Around" I might actually call this one the best of their career. No-frills, bare bones, aggressive as fuck hardcore.
16Linkin Park
A Thousand Suns

Oh no he didn't! Yes, I did because this is an excellent album. The beats are all well done and I love their new electronics-dominated direction. The samples are great, the vocals help keep things catchy and fun, and the album is very diverse. Despite what people might think, this album was definitely a risk for them and in my opinion it paid off. Possibly the best of their career.
17Killing Joke
Absolute Dissent

I hadn't dealt with Killing Joke since "Democracy" and it looks like I came back at the right time. This, to me, is like a collection of everything that Killing Joke has ever been. The grittiness of their initial self-titled album, the huge hooks of "thousand suns" and the industrial edge of Pandemonium.
The Medication Generation

This was a pretty good year for industrial and this album was arguably near the top. Rhythmic and pounding beats, distorted/processed vocals and sharp,heavy riffs. Everything an industrial album should be.
19Senses Fail
The Fire

What a fucking surprise. This is the album that their intial EP hinted at them making. It's catchy, heavy, and doesn't try to push for the radio hits. The guitar work is really damn good and compliments the vocals perfectly... and the screams have some balls again!
At Night We Live

I never thought I'd hear anything from this band again, but I was wrong. At first I was kind of disappointed at their more upbeat direction, but you can't expect them to make any Pt 2 of their previous albums. After the initial adjustment I actually found myself coming back to this more than I used to do with their older albums. Think of the Deftones but with a better vocalist (or at least more conventional).

I'm a fan of "Define the Great Line", but thought that its follow-up left a bit to be desired. This still isn't as good as "Define the Great Line" but it's an excellent album in its own right.
22Deathspell Omega

I've never heard their older albums, but I know that this is excellent black metal with enough going on to keep it from sounding like a typical BM album. The slower parts, in particular, are really what makes this album.
23At The Soundawn

A post rock/post metal hybrid with a bit more emphasis on post rock (except with vocals).
24Rabbit Junk
Project Nonagon

Could this have been a The Shizit album? Yes, but who cares when the end result is so good. Pounding digital hardcore with black metal influences, soundtrack influences, reggae.... the list goes on. Good shit.
25Eyes Set To Kill
Broken Frames

Eyes set to kill had kind of startted to slump, but this brought them right back to where they needed to go. It was an excellent idea to drop their original male vocalist and make Alexia expand her vocal range as well. Hopefully they can follow this up with the excellent album they've always hinted at.
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