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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 — http://allmetalresource.com/

Bring Back Glam — http://bringbackglam.squarespace.com/

Hair Metal Mansion — http://hairbangersradio.ning.com/

Hard Rock Hideout — http://hardrockhideout.com/

Hard Rock Nights — http://hardrocknights.wordpress.com/

Heavy Metal Addiction —  http://heavymetaladdiction.com

Heavy Metal Time Machine — http://metalmark.blogspot.com/

Imagine Echoes — http://www.imagineechoes.com/

Layla’s Classic Rock — http://laylasclassicrock.blogspot.com/

The Metal Minute — http://rayvanhornjr.blogspot.com/

Metal Odyssey — http://metalodyssey.wordpress.com/

The Ripple Effect — http://www.ripplemusic.blogspot.com/

 

DESDEMON – The Awakening

DesDemon – The Awakening (2010, self-released)

1. “Acquiescence of Illusion” … 5:53
2. “A Soul in Exile” … 6:44
3. “Iago” … 8:23
4. “The Burning Martyr” … 4:41
5. “In the Absence of Light” … 11:40

Band:
Mistress Tina – Lead Vocals
Lord Metadox – Guitar
Ron “Pelagius” Porcelli – Bass
Dan Rhodus – Drums
Nicholas Gati – Keyboards

Additional Musicians:
Nicholas Main Henriksen – Keyboards

Hailing from NYC, DesDemon are a female-fronted band with a sound that the group’s press release describes as “blackened symphonic metal”. Certainly, DesDemon fits into the symphonic metal category but they also throw in bits of power metal, traditional metal and thrash metal. They are a band that seems to be on the come up because while I don’t listen to much symphonic metal I know enough to know that playing on bills with bands like Nightwish, Symphony X, Kamelot, Epica and Dragonforce is pretty cool. In addition to playing symphonic metal, the band itself is a concept “based upon a dark and twisted tale of a woman’s fall from grace, and her evolution to a darker side of life”.

The Awakening EP is the band’s debut and it’s a pretty good. It’s a very atmospheric affair the succeeds conjuring up that sense of darkness that the band’s concept is rooted in. Mistress Tina has a voice built for this type of music (while not going over board like she’s in an actual opera as some bands will do) and I really enjoyed the guitar work of Lord Metadox. When it comes to symphonic metal, I think keyboards often tend to get in the way of the rest of the song, but I’m happy to report that on this album it adds to and enhances the rest of the band & music instead of weakening them.

Though I honestly like all of these songs, my favorite track is “The Burning Martyr” which is more power metal than symphonic but the haunting “Iago” is another front runner but I’m not a fan of the growling she does later in the song. “In the Absence of Light” is an EPIC near 12 minute song that is really cool too and it features enough twists and turns that it doesn’t overstay its welcome.

The Awakening is a good debut showing from DesDemon, I hope a full studio album is not far behind because I’d be interested in hearing it.

Highlights: “Iago”, “The Burning Martyr”, “In the Absence of Light”

www.desdemon.com
www.myspace.com/desdemon

Coming soon…

First and foremost I would like to announce that come Monday I will be posting up an interview with none other than producer Tom Werman. Nothing major, just a little Q&A he was kind enough to take time of out his day for. Very cool of him to do so.

Moving onto reviews, there’s a new number of recent releases I hope to be posting my thoughts on in the coming days:

The Awakening by DesDemon

Coup De Grace by Treat

The self-titled album by Jet Black Kiss

The Beautiful Sounds of Revenge by Lo-Pro

New Generation by Auras

And hopefully Ironbound by Overkill

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