Top 5 for 2010.5

As is customary with pedantic wankers such as Crushtor, here is his Top 5 for the half-way point of the year 2010.

I have a theory that may or may not hold water. It's to do with the last two Ayreon records: 01001100 (or whatever it was called) and The Human Equation. All the artists on "Binary" seem to release records in that same year - Blind Guardian, Pain of Salvation and Jorn Lande. The Human Equation had Devin Townsend, Dream Theater and Opeth release albums in the same year. Then again, Katatonia released their record last year...so no, it's a shitty theory.

Anyhow, this year hasn't been to bad for metal - we've seen some major releases from some fairly big players - Dark Tranquillity, Orphaned Land and Nevermore - and there's still a lot more to come - Soilwork reunited with Peter Wichers, Helloween and Blind Guardian still to drop their new offerings; all of which are highly anticipated - especially the new Iron Maiden record, The Final Frontier. Hopefully Bruce's insistence that the pre-release "teaser" of El Dorado was a rough, "shitty" mix not indicative of the final product holds true, because that track was pretty...lame.

Nevertheless, here's the list! Lets see how much it changes come year's end.

5. High on Fire - Snakes for the Divine

I was genuinely impressed when I saw power trio High on Fire open for Lamb of God last year and resolved to buy their newest record when it was released. The stoner inspired trance like heavy-as-fuck riffs stand apart from most of their doom/stoner metal contemporaries - they have a real explosive quality to them which wills you to stand up, bang your head and shout along.

4. Orphaned Land - The Neverending Way of ORwarriOR

How exactly does one even attempt to equal the masterpiece that was Mabool? Well, you just pour as much heart and soul into it and hope for the best. Like master sculptors carving to pinpoint intricacy, the cornucopia of metal, jazz and middle-eastern melodies and harmonies that permeate this disc elicit the gamut of emotion from joy to pain to bitter sorrow. A true experience.

3. The Ocean - Heliocentric

Hailing from Germany, this progressive "megaband" of over 10 or so members have taken cues from progressive hardcore band Between the Buried and Me and the offbeat Cult of Luna to explore the great beyond by creating a highly literate and forward-thinking metal record that's both pleasing and boundary pushing.

2. Dark Tranquillity - We Are the Void

Yes, we all know that DT are my favoritest band ever, but We are the Void seems to discard the trappings of Character and Fiction entirely, especially in the sickly and morose Arkhangelsk, a buzzsaw like, balls-to-the-wall belter I am the Void and the genuinely oblique The Grandest Accusation. This has been the record with the greatest number of individual songwriting triumphs since Damage Done.

1. Grand Magus - Hammer of the North

Grand Magus, where have you been all my life? A doom metal band that plays classic riffs as if they were Lemmy or Iommi themselves? That's ridiculous. But no. These guys have the chops. The inspiring choruses. The meat, the potatoes, they got it all. All you can imagine is leather-clad, long-haired dudes with whiskey-soaked breath thundering out gravelly tunes that both rock and shake and pierce you with an ironic sense of dread. If this was the soundtrack to the apocalypse, it would still be one huge party.