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The Metal Excess Awards: 2010 Edition

I’m really surprised by how many albums I enjoyed this year. I have a pitiful memory so I had to go back through my blog to remind myself what came out this year but I was floored when my Top 10 list was changed to a Top 20 list, then to a Top 30 list! I knocked it back down to a Top 25 list to make it seem a tiny bit more exclusive.

If you haven’t checked out any of these 25 albums, I wholeheartedly recommend you do so. 2010 was an amazing year for rock & metal, much MUCH better than 2009. I don’t see how 2011 can compete!

I’ll keep it short and sweet with my awards. As always, check the links for full reviews.

Best Albums of 2010

1. Avenged Sevenfold – Nightmare
2. Buckcherry – All Night Long
3. Scorpions – Sting in the Tail
4. Halford – Made of Metal
5. Slash – s/t
6. Black Country Communion – s/t
7. Avantasia – Angel of Babylon
8. Avantasia – The Wicked Symphony
9. Accept – Blood of the Nations
10. Hinder – All American Nightmare
11. Jettblack – Get Your Hands Dirty
12. Reckless Love – s/t
13. Bad City – Welcome to the Wasteland
14. Stone Temple Pilots – s/t
15. Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier
16. Krokus – Hoodoo
17. Helloween – 7 Sinners
18. Sister Sin – True Sound of the Underground
19. My Darkest Days – s/t
20. Stereoside – s/t
21. Y&T – Facemelter
22. Danko Jones – Below The Belt
23. Grave Digger – The Clans Will Rise Again
24. Jon Oliva’s Pain – Festival
25. Ratt – Infestation

Top Cover Albums

Seems like every year a few established artists like to cover a few *other* established artists, not to mention all those various tribute albums that small labels will slap together. Well, here’s my official ranking of the three cover albums I bothered to listen to this year. Luckily, all three albums were good fun and I think they all deserve another mention.

1. Jorn – Dio
2. Vince Neil – Tattoos & Tequila
3. Joe Elliott’s Down ‘N’ Outz – My ReGeneration Vol. 1

Top Live Albums

Again, I don’t buy a lot of live albums, but here’s how I rank what I listened to this year.

1. Dio – Dio at Donington UK: Live 1983 & 1987
2. Heaven & Hell – Neon Nights: 30 Years of Heaven & Hell – Live In Europe
3. Megadeth – Rust In Peace Live
4. The Michael Schenker Group – The 30th Anniversary Concert: Live in Tokyo

Top EPs

1. Razorwyre – Coming Out
2. Skull Fist – Heavier Than Metal
3. DesDemon – The Awakening

Most Disappointing Albums

1. Ratt – Infestation
The album was good, don’t get me wrong. It landed at #25 on my Best Of list for Dio’s sake! But… most of the songs had trouble living up to the promise of “Eat Me Up Alive” and “Best Of Me”.

2. Armored Saint – La Raza
A bland album from a band that has done so much better. They seemed to be going through the motions (to which John Bush has basically admitted in regards to himself). Symbol of Salvation this ain’t.

3. White Wizzard – Over The Top
The High Speed GTO EP garnered this group a lot of hype and buzz. We all fell for it, I know reviews for this album have been positive and it’s not bad but I expected more. Hopefully a second album will get these guys where they need to be.

4. Raven – Walk Through Fire
The terrible cover art should’ve tipped me off that this album was nothing special.


Check out these other sites for even more lists and year-end awards:

All Metal Resource —

Bring Back Glam —

Hair Metal Mansion —

Hard Rock Hideout —

Hard Rock Nights —

Heavy Metal Addiction —

Heavy Metal Time Machine —

Imagine Echoes —

Layla’s Classic Rock —

The Metal Minute —

Metal Odyssey —

The Ripple Effect —


DANKO JONES – Below The Belt

Danko Jones – Below The Belt [European Import] (2010, Bad Taste Records)

1. “I Think Bad Thoughts” … 3:31
2. “Active Volcanoes” … 3:35
3. “Tonight Is Fine” … 4:21
4. “Magic Snake” … 3:19
5. “Had Enough” … 3:42
6. “(I Can’t Handle) Moderation” … 3:04
7. “Full Of Regret” … 3:58
8. “The Sore Loser” … 2:59
9. “Like Dynamite” … 3:14
10. “Apology Accepted” … 3:30
11. “I Wanna Break Up With You” … 4:56

Danko Jones – Vocals, Guitar
John Calabrese – Bass
Dan Cornelius – Drums

Producer: Matt DeMatteo

I’ve been curious about Danko Jones for awhile. I’ve heard good things about them (him?) for years and have checked the MySpace page from time to time but never got around to picking an album. A few weeks back I went to their Myspace page again and really got hooked on a number of their songs and decided to give their latest effort a try.

I really enjoy the lyrics to these songs, there’s not many bands whose lyrics I worry about reading anymore (that seems to have been more of a teenage thing for me) but I have been paying attention to the lyrics on this album just because they’re so humorous and witty. There’s a certain swagger to Danko’s vocal delivery and definitely a sense of humor in himself and the lyrics that remind me of a band like Marvelous 3.

As for what this band sounds like — it’s like classic rock, hard rock, modern rock, rock/pop and punk/pop all rolled into one. Even before noticing they cited these influences themselves, it was readily apparent to me that these guys are huge fans of AC/DC and Thin Lizzy. This isn’t retro rock though, this is an updated take on good time rock ‘n’ roll.

“Full Of Regret” really blew me away, strong Thin Lizzy influence on this one. From the collection of songs I’ve heard from this band, it’s easily one of my favorites they’ve done. It is also because of this song I was led back to their MySpace page because it was offered as a free download a few months ago, I can’t remember whether that was through their own website or not though. I think maybe it was on Amazon. So there ya go, I’m proof positive that giving away something free every now and then to music fans can actually turn out to be quite profitable.

All of these songs are high energy affairs. I supposed All Music guide might tag this album as “rowdy”, “raucous” and “guys night out”! If you’re getting ready for a night out on the town of booze, women and possibly a few fist fights — this is the album for you because this album covers all those topics though most of it seems to deal being in or getting out of a bad relationship. Hm, is someone getting their issues out in their songs?

Below The Belt may not be “metal”, but it’s definitely hard rock and one of my favorite releases of 2010 and I plan on picking up some earlier releases now.

My particular copy is a European import but I don’t think it differs from the North American version. The jewel case is a “Super Jewel Box” which is really cool with rounded corners and the case snaps shut and has a button you have to press to open it. Seems a bit sturdier than the standard jewel case too and the CD sits deep in the CD tray. I wish all jewel cases were like these!

Highlights: “I Think Bad Thoughts”, “Tonight Is Fine”, “Had Enough”, “Full Of Regret”, “The Sore Loser”, “Apology Accepted”

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