Well here we are again mere weeks after the end of another year. It’s the time of year when everybody and their brother compiles a list of the best and the worst of just about everything. I’ve always enjoyed these sorts of lists and this year I thought I’d try my hand at it as well. So as the title implies, the following albums were my absolute favorite releases of 2010.

I know you are waiting with baited breath to see who I crowned No 1, but let me first tell you how I went about deciding on the records that populate my 2010 list. The criteria I used for compiling this list is quite simple. Of course the discs had to be released in the 2010 calendar year; other than that the real test was how long they spent in either my car stereo or MP3 player. As many of you know, I receive a ton of discs on a regular basis and most don’t make that most coveted spot; the player in my vehicle. The following 10 did however, so without further ado, here is what I believe to be the best albums of 2010.

10. Messengers – Anthems
the Skinny: This album was released late in the year and really knocked my socks off. In all probability I would have placed these guys higher on the list if the record hadn’t been so freaking short. Clocking in at a mere 19 minutes, I barely had time to really get my head banging before the record was finished. In all honesty though, Anthems is a serious thrash metal statement from a band I’m eager to hear more from in the coming year.
links: MySpace | Facebook

09. For Today – Breaker
the Skinny: Breaker is the 3rd, and what I feel, best release from the metalcore band For Today. These guys have matured in leaps and bounds since their first disc; Ekklesia was released just a few years ago. Breaker is a heavy, powerful kick in the gut that has had me coming back for more punishing since its release on August 31st.
links: MySpace | Facebook

08. The Showdown – Blood In The Gears
the Skinny: Blood In The Gears was released on August 24th and it immediately caught my attention. The powerful metal riffs combined with a healthy dose of southern rock really make this an interesting and enjoyable listen. Top to bottom this is a fantastic release from a band that just keeps getting better and better.
links: MySpace | Facebook

07. Sully Erna – Avalon
the Skinny: Avalon is the side project of renowned Godsmack frontman Sully Erna. This record is not what I would have expected from Erna, but nonetheless finds its way to the middle of my list. The terrific songwriting is highlighted by an almost world music sort of soundtrack. This is definitely not a rock album, but is absolutely worth checking out. I can listen to this disc over and over again and still find different nuances I hadn’t noticed before. Whether it’s a flute or an exotic almost tribal drumbeat, surprises abound. Every time I listen to it (which is quite frequently) I find myself fully immersed and fully engaged in the textures and the multi-dimensional tunes. If you have not checked this one out yet; you might want to give it a listen.
links: MySpace | Facebook

06. Pierce The Veil – Selfish Machines
the Skinny: When Selfish Machines made its way across my desk I was totally unfamiliar with Peirce The Veil and had no idea what to expect. I was completely blown away by what I heard. The songs can be heavy at times, but it’s the song structure and the vocal delivery that really grabbed my attention; and held it since the record’s June 21st release date. Vocalist Vic Fuentes has a delivery that’s powerful, passionate and most of all totally original. I have listened to this disc so much in the past few months and never once have I found myself tiring of it; I really dig it. Everything about this disc appeals to me; the production is fantastic, the songs are well written and I would say even adventurous and as previously mentioned, the vocals are phenomenal.
links: MySpace | Facebook

05. Sevendust – Cold Day Memory
the Skinny: Sevendust is probably one of my all time favorite bands and I was really stoked to get some new material from them in 2010. As a long time fan, Cold Day Memory did not let me down in the least. I absolutely dig every song on this record, beginning to end. This CD is a bit more melodic than some of their previous releases, such as Alpha and Next, but it still definitely rocks. Not only does it make it in at #5 on my list, but I’d also say that besides Next I feel that this is one of my favorite releases from the band.
links: MySpace | Facebook

04. Sister Sin – True Sound Of The Underground
the Skinny: True Sound Of The Underground was the surprise of the year for me. This is old school metal the way it was meant to be played. I was immediately reminded of classics such as Judas Priest and Saxxon. The twist here is that sister Sin is a female fronted band. Liv’s vocals rival just about anyone else in the metal world. The production on this record is stellar a probably one of the reasons it made it this high up on my list. It’s big, it’s glossy and it commands attention!
links: MySpace | Facebook

03. Corpus Christi – Feast Of Crows
the Skinny: Feast Crows is a phenomenal album. I’ve been a fan of the band from the beginning and it was with great pleasure that I popped this into my player – I’d been anticipating it for a while. I must tell you, I wasn’t disappointed in the least. All of the dark, aggressive elements are present and accounted for here. Corpus Christi has really stepped things up on this disc and honestly, this has been cranking in all of my audio devices repeatedly for months and it still continues to blow my doors off.
links: MySpace | Facebook

02. Slayer – World Painted Blood
the Skinny: The legendary masters of thrash metal have done it again. After more than two decades in the business they still consistently crank out relevant, cutting edge metal. In the early 80’s they were influential in defining the thrash metal genre and now in 2010 they hit hard with World Painted Blood. I can’t say much else about this record except it is classic Slayer and it has even earned them another Grammy Nomination for Best Metal Performance 2010. Enough said.
links: MySpace | Facebook

01. Norma Jean – Meridonal
the Skinny: The Grammy nominated Metalcore masters Norma Jean have been dishing out some of the loudest heaviest music in the genre. Norma Jean bring their brand of heaviness right from the beginning and set the bar so high I didn’t think they would be able follow all the way through. Man was I wrong. Norma Jean have a sound all their own; a unique blending of mostly slower, down tuned, at times dissonant guitar work combined with powerful and passionate screaming vocals. The intensity of their sound is unbelievable and is what I feel sets them apart from the rest of the bands in this genre. I’ve listened to Meridonal more times than any other record this year. I really really dig this disc!
links: MySpace | Facebook

So there you have it. What I consider to be the 10 best releases of the year. If you haven’t checked these discs out yet, you owe it to yourself to at least give them a spin or a play via the bands’ MySpace or whatever. You might even find yourself turned onto a band you’d not yet heard of. Have a great 2011 everyone… it should be full of more amazing releases!

Check out the song: “Deathbed Atheist”