Top 10 Metal Songs of 2010

I’m far from your typical metalhead.  In fact, people are often shocked to learn that I used to be in a grindcore band.  But I feel like heavy metal is as close to a popular representation of the fusion between raw, emotional energy and classical music form as we can find.  Plus, have you ever just screamed?  As loud and as viscerally as you can for longer than a few seconds… it feels great.

Here are what I consider to be the 10 best metal songs that were released in 2010.  (Notice, this isn’t an album list.  It would be way different.)

10. East of the Wall – The Ladder

These math-metal wizards fuse jazz guitar with incessently challenging and brutal riffs.  One wonders how any of them would have time to bang their heads while staying focused on the panopoly of notes they have to hit- but I’m sure they make the time.

9. Red Sparowes – In Illusions of Order

Members of Isis, Neurosis, and other sludge-y outfits take a step back (and probably a bonghit as well) to produce sprawling instrumental music almost as epic as their song titles.

8. Deftones – Risk

Deftones have the amazing ability to produce consistently quality music that is as friendly to the radio as it is to the fans that have loved every thing they’ve done over the past 15 years.

7. Envy – Rain Clouds Running in a Holy Night

This is Envy’s worst album ever- and it’s still completely amazing, if that tells you anything.

6. Fear Factory – Mechanize

The trailblazers of techno-metal are still doing what they do well, playing blisteringly fast and brutal metal, sprinkled with chorus vocals that may as well be sung by Gary Nunan.

5. Khoma – Inquisition

Hailing from metal’s current stronghold, Umeå, Sweden, Khoma is a three-man powerhouse partially composed of one of heavy music’s current juggernauts, Cult of Luna.  Their more somber and emotional approach to metal is emphasized in this track.

4. Kylesa – Don’t Look Back

Savannah-based neighbors with fellow swamp-metal acts, Baroness and Tusk, Kylesa’s 2010 release “Spiral Shadows” was a critical smash-hit.drummers.     There is no reason they shouldn’t be bursting as many ear drums as the latter two bands and this album proved it.  (Plus, this song smacks of The Pixies!)

3. Mouth of the Architect – In Your Eyes

Mouth of the Architect is set to inherit America’s crown as the pre-eminent too-pretty-to-be-sludge-core crown from Isis.  Their 2010 EP, The Violence Beneath, is closed by this amazing cover of Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes.”  It’s what John Cusack would have played if he was trying to get laid by Julie Christmas.

2. Rosetta – A Determinism of Morality

I don’t know how these guys do it.  On paper, it shouldn’t work.  Waves upon waves of over-distorted and over-delayed guitars drown out wholly indiscernable vocals, over and over, until it’s twelve minutes later and the song is getting ready to end.  And they do it 8-to-12 times per album.  Somehow they make it engaging and overwhelmingly musical every time.  They also have the super-human ability to drag out a climax so long it would make Sting look like a chump. (That was a tantra joke, btw.)

1. Bring Me the Horizon – Crucify Me

I have serious reservations on making this my number one metal song of the year.  On the one hand, Bring Me the Horizon is a bunch of young and hansome metal scenesters that seem like they’re trying way too hard.  Fronted by a purported fashion designer, these Brits have a lot of things working against them, including guest vocals from Canada’s most lyrically clichéd chanteuse since Celine Dion, Lights.  On the other hand, however, their 2010 effort “There Is a Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen It, There Is a Heaven, Let’s Keep It a Secret” is without respite.  The entire album has the alchemy about it that helps you overlook their superficial misgivings.  Throat-scraping, hardcore vocals mesh with thick guitar riffs that ring of Tommy Iomi as much as they do any scene-core band.  Dark, gorey vocals and highly intellectual song-structure belie these guys’ young age.  What appears to be a superficially weak offering is made honest upon listening.  They aren’t doing anything original, but they are assembling the works of their predecessors exquisitely well.

If commercially-viable metal is in the hands of the youth, I feel okay entrusting it to these guys.

(also, the lead singer pissed on a girl that refused his sexual advances in an alley after a gig.  Chauvinistic as that may be, it’s still metal.)

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