My Favorite Albums of 2010


7. Jan. 2011, 5:22

I have been thinking about undertaking this for a while (as if this was a great undertaking!), and have decided to do so. I know a lot of people try to form "best of" lists for an entire year in any one genre of music, but I consider myself intelligent enough not to undertake such an auspicious task, which is almost an impossibility and generates discussions of evidence-lacking opinions such as "This album is horrible how could you include it blah blah blah..." Not to say that those lists don't help people out or contain nuggets of musical epiphany. Well, I think everyone gets the point. I am making a list of my favorite albums. This list doesn't contain the "best" albums, only the ones that I have enjoyed the most. Not to say that these albums aren't brilliant in their own way, or wouldn't make a "best of" list. Just one more thing: before you rant and rave and declare a Jihad upon my head, keep in mind that all of them are going to be in the metal genre with Christian lyrics...because that's what I listen to. Each album has an explanation with it, why I enjoyed it, highlights, and some pointers to guide you along and perhaps encourage you to listen to it yourself, if you haven't already. Without further ado, I unabashedly offer to you "My Favorite Albums of 2010."

1. Deus Invictus - Staged In Awaiting

A band that has recently come on the scene, Deus Invictus blew me away with just my first listen. I played the tracks up on their myspace over and over again during the course of one day, and then subsequently bought their new release, Staged in Awaiting. Why is Staged in Awaiting my favorite album from the year 2010? Everything about it is amazing. In my opinion, other than Extol and Becoming the Archetype, Deus Invictus in the closest band that I have known that comes close to musical perfection (in the metal world). The album contains everything: technicality, melodic transitions, musical proficiency, brutality, soaring clean vocals, excellent drumming, etc. The tracks are arranged and mixed beautifully and Deus Invictus has an uncanny sense when it comes to developing song structures. Songs like "Ex Nihilio" are straight up brutal, while on "Chords of Orion" the band scales back and focuses more on melody. Epic songs like "The Open Sky" remind me of Seventh Angel's "The Raven Sky" or Antestor's "Thoughts", and "Rotation" has a fascinating outro Extol-style filled with churning guitars and a catchy guitar melody. Then there is the jaw-dropping short, scalding yet genuine track "Rain of God." The lyrics are brilliant. They are thought provoking while at the same time genuflecting upon basic truths that I believe in. To sum it all up, I would describe their sound as powerful, technical, brutal, and melodic. My only complaint is that they don't use piano/keyboards... Check them out for yourself and see if you agree.

2. I Am Alpha and Omega - The Roar And The Whisper

I Am Alpha and Omega has intrigued me from the beginning, and their newest release The Roar and the Whisper is no exception. Post-hardcore isn't always my cup of tea, but The Roar and the Whisper is an album that begs replay after replay. It's catchy, intense, and above all honest. These guys are completely on-the-level, and their sincerity won over my heart from the beginning. Tracks like "The Roar and the Whisper" and "The Bride" are great sing alongs, while "Beaten, Betrayed, Denied" is an excellent concept song that I wish IAAO would have done even more with. The album ends with "Chasing," a genuine praise song featuring only cleans. I must say that this took me by surprise, but the song is so genuine and beautiful that it has become one of my favorites on the album. Mad props to these guys also, as they went through label and printing problems. Even with all that they managed to release an amazing album, filled with hardcore sensibility that will get your blood flowing, clean choruses that will have you singing along, and a sincere faith in what they believe.

3. Demon Hunter - The World Is A Thorn

Demon Hunter is back and stronger than ever. Even with one of the Clark brothers leaving, they have managed in what is in my opinion one of their greatest releases. "The World is a Thorn" gives everything that Demon Hunter has always offered, while at the same time giving more. The epic choruses are still there, accentuated by churning guitars. Songs like "Collapsing" draw the band into new territory, while ballads such as "Driving Nails" bring back memories of old-time favorites like "My Heartstrings Come Undone" and "Thorns." "Shallow Water" is an excellent song all the way around, from the drumming to the chorus. The title track, "The World is a Thorn," is perhaps the heaviest the band has ever produced. What I'm trying to say is that the record has great balance, and isn't too heavy or too light. Another thing that I love about this album is that Demon Hunter's lyrics have vastly improved. Perhaps it's just me, but their lyrics have always been a little veiled in mystery. On The World is a Thorn they are brutally honest, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Demon Hunter overcame adversity and adapted, and they now have a solid fifth release to remind the metal community that they're still here, and don't plan on leaving anytime soon.

4. War Of Ages - Eternal

War of Ages is a band that is good at what they do - and that's producing crazy good metalcore that gets better with every release. Eternal is a combination of blazing fast guitar riffs, sick breakdowns, and melodic choruses. Wait, did you say choruses? That's right, after having experimented a few times with clean singing on Arise and Conquer, they decided to keep it in their repertoire. A crisp, clean production marks this album, and their collaboration with other artists is one of the highlights for me. Both Sonny from P.O.D. and Tim Lambesis from As I Lay Dying do guest vocals on Eternal, and they only make the album better as a whole. Not to say that the guys from WOA couldn't handle it themselves. They have a past record of four albums and a compilation to prove that. Tracks such as "Desire" and "Your Betrayal" are standard WOA material, while "Eternal" takes them into new territory. "Failure" has a great chorus and is an epic song. They close Eternal with an amazing instrumental that some fans would throw out. I would argue that it only showcases WOA' ability as musicians. Overall, this is an amazing release and I hope that WOA finally gets the mainstream credit that they deserve.

5. Living Sacrifice - The Infinite Order

Living Sacrifice has returned after years of watching the metal community feed itself and grow off of their work. Perhaps they came back just to show the new kids on the block that the grandpas of modern Christian metal can still crank out great, bone-crushing music. The Infinite Order is an adventure that doesn't stop until the last chords of a hidden untitled track peter out. The tracks "Rules of Engagement" and "Organized Lie" feature churning guitars and brutal breakdowns that LS has been known for. "God is My Home" brings the band into new territory as they slow down the pace to give it a more sludgy feel. "Apostasy" is a memorable track showcasing LS' great ability to construct a song with different elements. Overall, The Infinite Order is a smashing release filled with everything that LS has ever done and develops new territory at the same time. I have always loved LS' vocals and lyrics, and this album is no exception. Give it a listen whether you're an old LS fan or have never heard of them before!

6. Corpus Christi - A Feast For Crows

Listening to this album, you would never have guessed that the whole band, except for one original member, had changed with this release. A Feast For Crows readily becomes a favorite record. You can sing along, headbang until your neck hurts, or simply focus on the lyrics and be swept away be emotion. Fusing elements of metalcore, hardcore, and even southern rock on the song "Little Miss Letyouknow," A Feast For Crows is easily the band's best release. The catchy song "Monuments" is an immediate favorite, and "Betrayed Redemption" and "Broken Man" are equally attractive songs with great messages. "Invictus" segues into a guitar line that sends shivers down your back, and "(Seeing You Again) For the First Time" is an epic song showcasing the majesty and glory of God. Every metal fan will find something to like about this album, I guarantee it.

7. Mantric - The Descent

Some of the Extol boys are back, but don't make the same mistake that I did. Don't listen to this album comparing it to Extol, or you might disappoint yourself. It's not Extol (though of course the influences are obviously there). The Descent is a progressive metal masterpiece, bluntly put. Everything falls into place brilliantly, and Mantric's superb musicianship shines through everywhere. Tracks like "Tower of Heaven" and "Dark Passenger" reveal amazing guitar playing, while "Spear of Heaven" is a strangely haunting song that grows on you. "Cognitive Cocaine" is exactly what the name suggests, and shows a more relaxed side of the band. "Water Through Fire" is perhaps one of the best songs on The Descent, and combines all the elements of Mantric into a masterpiece. The only downside of this album is that the lyrics are a little strange in places, but I can overlook that with such a great release. Definitely give Mantric a chance, and don't let the term "progressive" throw you off. The Descent is unique, as I'm sure you'll see with just one listen.

8. The Showdown - Blood In The Gears

The Showdown is back at it with their southern-influenced metal style. Combining elements of past albums, they have finally defined their sound as metal with tangible influences of southern rock. The Showdown for the most part keeps the riffs simple but memorable, and their pattern for success seems to work hands down. Tracks like "Heavy Lies the Crown" and "Blood in the Gears" are in your face metal that will get your foot tapping and your blood rising. "Take Me Home" is an awesome ballad that you will find yourself absently singing in the shower. "No Escape" has a great balance of heavy elements and an awesome chorus. Fans of previous albums will no doubt love this, and if you have even a hint of a southern man or woman inside yourself, you will no doubt appreciate what The Showdown has done. Oh, and watch the music video for "The Man Named Hell," I'm sure it will give you a good laugh.

9. As I Lay Dying - The Powerless Rise

As I Lay Dying continues to grow as a band. Heavier than their last release, "The Powerless Rise" is a lexicon for the searching metal band. Countless bands have tried to sound like AILD and have only revealed themselves to be cheap imitations. One of the great improvements on this album is the layout of the songs themselves. AILD has really improved in knowing how to put a record together, and everything seems to flow perfectly. "Beyond Our Suffering" and "The Plague" are amazingly brutal songs. "Upside Down Kingdom" is my favorite song on the album, and reminds me of the epicness of "The Sound of Truth." "The Only Constant is Change" is another favorite, catchy even though the song is all screams. All metal fans will enjoy AILD, who manage to release amazing records one after the other. The Powerless Rise is no exception!

10. Haste the Day - Attack Of The Wolf King

Just because Attack of the Wolf King is last on my list, doesn't mean it isn't every bit as worthy as the others. Haste the Day delivers another powerful album while developing a heavier tone to their music. Tragically, it is the last album that metal legends HTD will grace us with, but their legacy will be around for a long time to come. There are still catchy choruses and awesome breakdowns, the things that HTD fans have come to expect. Tracks like "The Quite, Deadly, Ticking" and "Crush Resistance" are heavy as all get out, while on "White As Snow" the band backs off and gives a great ballad. "Wake Up the Sun" and "The Place Where Most Deny" are instant HTD classics with their great catchy choruses. The lyrics on this album are, in my opinion, the best that HTD has ever produced. The only complaint I have is that things seemed a little more strained on Attack of the Wolf King, but that's probably just because they were working with a new sound. Give this album a listen whether you have been a HTD fan from day one or if this is your first encounter!

Well, that's it - ten of my favorite albums from the year 2010. I hope I didn't bore anyone, but if I did then you probably didn't read this far anyway. Let me know what you think. Am I crazy? Are these some pretty good albums? I'm willing to chat, but keep in mind that I won't reply to comments such as "this sucks" or "get a life." If you need help finding any of this music, just shoot me a message. Happy listening and God Bless!


  • LordsOfTheStorm


    7. Jan. 2011, 21:52
  • BenOnUserstyles

    EPIC list man.

    7. Jan. 2011, 23:54
  • Zet_ATL

    Nice list, I haven't heard Deus Invictus, and Mantric yet, but I'll. Imo the best album of your list is The Powerless Rise, and I think you should check Woe of Tyrants - Threnody, it;s worth it. Perhaps you'll change a bit your favourite albums, who knows. ;)

    8. Jan. 2011, 12:39
  • mrmichel0927

    Thanks for the support guys. I 'll be sure to check out Threnody, Zet_ATL. Thanks for the recommendation!

    8. Jan. 2011, 18:57
  • Bayon3twork

    I was impressed with Meridional by Norma Jean

    11. Jan. 2011, 5:51
  • mrmichel0927

    Haha, @Bayon3twork, Meridional was one of the albums I considered for my list, but in the end I decided that it wasn't consistent enough. There are a few tracks on there I feel that take away from the album as a whole, even though it was a phenomenal release overall.

    11. Jan. 2011, 18:19
  • spikemobile

    thanks for your top 10. check mine. i do have a few of the same entries. i'll definitely have to check Mantric (i did enjoy Extol and Lengsel when they were around) and other ones that i haven't yet.

    19. Jan. 2011, 7:00
  • PSUedonym

    I feel pretty good that I own 3 of your top ten for 2010. Good stuff.

    23. Dez. 2011, 18:47
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