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The Staff's Top Picks of 2010

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*** Please CLICK HERE to vote for YOUR favorite album of the year !***

(Click on each writer's name below to go directly to his list.)

Peter Pardo
Michael Popke
Duncan Glenday
Murat Batmaz
Ryan Sparks
Butch Jones
Elias Granillo
Scott Ward
Jon Neudorf
Scott Jessup
Alex Torres
Denis Brunelle
Steven Reid
Dean Pedley
Mark 'Tosh' Davies
Jordan Blum
Daniel Rego
Gert Hulshof
Jeff B
John O'Boyle
Simon Bray
Mark Johnson

Summarized List Of The Top 50 CDs, From All Of The SoT Staff



Peter Pardo

Top 100 of 2010

1. Enslaved: Axioma Ethica Odini...hands down, the most amazing album this year. Black metal meets progressive rock, and the end result is Enslaved's masterpiece!
2. Masterplan: Time To Be King...a very close second. Power metal album of the year. Jorn Lande is back!
3. Black Country Communion: Black Country Communion...a supergroup for the ages! Impressive 70's styled hard rock with a touch of blues.
4. Orphaned Land: The Never Ending Way of ORWarriOR...ethnic progressive metal, with a touch of death metal thrown on top. KILLER!
5. Frogg Café: Bateless Edge...are there no limits to what these guys can do? I think not!
6. Decrepit Birth: Polarity...crushing technical death metal. Their best yet!
7. Vanden Plas: The Seraphic Clockwork...One of the best progressive metal bands around release another stunner!
8. Spock's Beard: X...Best release of the post-Morse era!
9. Helmet of Gnats: High Street...jazz/prog/fusion doesn't get any better than this!
10. Ihsahn: After...once again the former Emperor frontman proves what a virtuoso he is!
11. Star One: Victims of the Modern Age...bombastic, proggy, & heavy!
12. Nevermore: The Obsydian Conspiracy...Another stellar release from Nevermore
13. Dimmu Borgir: Abrahadabra...Might be too theatrical and orchestral for some, but I like the symphonic & over the top nature of it all.
14. Myrath: Desert Call...This band was a new discovery for me this year, but I like their brand of ethnic & symphonic progressive metal
15. Borknagar: Universal...It's been a few years, but well worth the wait.
16. Iron Maiden: The Final Frontier...the cagey old veterans return with another platter of intelligent & adventurous heavy metal.
17. Kamelot: Poetry For the Poisoned...Not sure what's going on with Kahn these days, but they still managed to release another winner here.
18. Glass Hammer: If...The band from Tennessee return to bombastic prog on this super, Yes flavored stunner!
19. Atheist: Jupiter...technical extreme metal pioneers return with a solid reunion album!
20. Brainstorm: Memorial Roots...One of the most underrated power/prog metal bands come up with another winner!
21. Mob Rules: Radical Peace...Never much listened to these guys, but after this killer concept release, I'll be keeping my eyes on them for sure!
22. Fozzy: Chasing the Grail...some of the best hooks in metal. Chris Jericho proves there's more to him than the WWE!
23. Spiritual Beggars: Return to Zero...Enter Apollo, who is now splitting time between this band and Firewind. This might be my favorite release from Mike Amott's alter-ego to Arch Enemy.
24. Circle II Circle: Consequence of Power...a wonderful metal album from Mr. Stevens & Co!
25. Fear Factory: Mechanize...easily the best FF album in years. New line-up, more brutal, more memorable, more Fear Factory!
26. Charred Walls of the Damned: s/t...metal supergroup of the year. Richard Christy, Tim "Ripper" Owens-magic!
27. Firewind: Days of Defiance...another killer power metal platter from Gus G and Co!
28. Barren Earth: Curse of the Red River...death metal, psychedelia, prog rock-great stuff!
29. Erik Norlander: The Galactic Collective...the keyboard wizard returns with another jaw dropping release!
30. Immolation: Majesty and Decay...no slowing down for these New York death metal legends!
31. Triptykon: Eparistera Daimones...Tom G and his new band pummel on their debut
32. Haken: Aquarius...heavy modern prog gem, and a band that's going to really go places
33. Jon Oliva's Pain: Festival...former Savatage frontman continues to keep the spirit alive
34. James LaBrie: Static Impulse...excellent solo release from Dream Theater vocalist.
35. Creation's End: A New Beginning...another metal supergroup that chalked up a winner this year
36. Ralph Towner/Paolo Fresu: Chiaroscuro...jazz release of the year. Towner is a 12 string guitar legend!
37. Martriden: Encounter the Monolith...US progressive black/death upstarts once again wow with another killer release
38. Annotations of an Autopsy: The Reign of Darkness...surprise deathcore release of the year for me. Brutally heavy!
39. Elysium Theory: Modern Alchemy...upstate New York proggers arrive!
40. Dark Tranquility: We Are the Void...not as good as some of their past gems, but still a solid release for the Swedish melodic death metal legends.
41. Melechesh: The Epigenesis...Lovin' this latest platter from the Israeli black metal horde!
42. Eloy: Visionary...legendary German prog rock band returns with a solid effort
43. Blind Guardian: at the End of Time...symphonic power metal doesn't get much better than this!
44. The Pineapple Thief: Someone Here is Missing...a very fine modern prog album, that many mainstream folks would love
45. Rhapsody of Fire: The Frozen Tears of Angels...I had sort of given up on these guys, but this one is red hot and a welcome return
46. Black Label Society: The Order of the Black...another band I had given up on. Zakk has seemingly given up the booze and returned with his best album in years!
47. Yngwie Malmsteen: Relentless...Yngwie & Tim 'Ripper' Owens once again give us a winner
48. Unitopia: artificial...awesome modern prog with a 70's flair
49. Exodus: Exhibit B: The Human Condition...no stopping these thrash legends
50. Univers Zero: Clivages...another collection of chilling dark prog from these mainstays
51. Keneally/Minnemann: Evidence of Humanity...the musicianship on display here is stunning
52. ReVamp: ReVamp...yes, there is life After Forever
53. Overkill: Ironbound...another 80's thrash band that just keeps getting better
54. Intronaut: Valley of Smoke...psychedelic progressive metal-a must hear!
55. The Ocean: Anthropocentric...moody, dark, psychedelic, proggy, heavy-get it!
56. Cradle of Filth: Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa...another solid platter of gothic & symphonic black metal
57. Gary Husband: Dirty & Beautiful, Volume 1...70's fusion fans need to hear this!
58. BangTower: Casting Shadows...another hot fusion release. Percy Jones baby!!
59. Gamma Ray: To the Metal...very solid power metal album from Kai Hansen & crew
60. Canvas Solaris: Irradiance...one of the most consistent prog/fusion bands out there
61. Pain of Salvation: Road Salt One...these guys keep changing & morphing. This one easily surpasses their previous effort.
62. Jones/McGill/DeCarlo: s/t...once again, Percy Jones baby!
63. Freedom Call: Legend of the Shadowking...upbeat power metal to lift your mood!
64. Braindrill: Quantum Catastrophe...technical death metal studs do it again!
65. Angra: Aqua...easily their best in years!
66. Accept: Blood of the Nations...Udo who? If you loved early 80's metal, you need to hear this one!
67. Cathedral: The Guessing Game...the masters of psychedelic doom
68. Mars Hollow: Mars Hollow...highly enjoyable modern prog outing
69. District 97: Hybrid Child...if there is a prog album that would spark interest in the mainstream, this is certainly a great choice
70. Pathfinder: Beyond the space, Beyond the Time...wonderful symphonic power metal concept album
71. Emberstorm: Memories of Time...enjoyable & memorable power/prog metal
72. Roswell Six: Terra Incognita: A Line in the Sand...heavier than the debut, but still bombastic concept material with killer vocals
73. Aeon: Path of Fire...one of the best technical death metal bands around.
74. Dark Funeral: Angelus Exuro Pro Eternus...No slowing down these black metal legends
75. FramePictures: Remember It...excellent new progressive metal. A band to watch out for!
76. Bachman & Turner: Bachman & Turner...if you loved BTO, this is as close as you are going to get. Outstanding!
77. Votum: Metafiction...Porcupine Tree & Katatonia fans need to check this one out
78. Garaj Mahal: More Mr. Nice Guy...US fusion band comes up with a winner yet again
79. The Dillinger Escape Plan: Option Paralysis...not as drop dead impressive as past releases, but still quite good
80. Ov Hell: The Underworld Regime...you have to wonder if this is only going to be a one-off, but it's still damn good black metal from this supergroup
81. Molly Hatchet: Justice...purists may scoff at the fact that there is only one original member here, but the band still kicks ass and this is one hell of a Southern Rock album
82. Watain: Lawless Darkness...violent, brutal black metal-what more could you want!
83. Keep of Kalessin: Reptilian...these guys are really sculpting their style into a more accessible form of black metal. I like it!
84. The Rebel Wheel: We Are in the Time of Evil Clocks...avant-garde, heavy prog with a touch of jazz. Sounds like a more modern King Crimson!
85. Terje Rypdal: Crime Scene...longtime ECM jazz guitarist comes up with another killer release
86. North Atlantic Oscillation: Grappling Hooks...this one came out of left field. Great poppy prog!
87. Symphorce: Unrestricted...so far, my favorite release from these power metal veterans
88. Solution 45: For Aeons Past...there is life after Scar Symmetry!
89. Abigail Williams: In the Absence of Light...superior US symphonic black metal
90. Nik Bartsch's Ronin: Llyria...stunning jazz from the folks at ECM
91. Aisles: In Sudden Walks...wonderful romantic prog
92. Divinity: The Singularity...Canadian technical death/prog metal upstarts return with another solid release
93. Glyder: Yesterday Today and Tomorrow...Irish hard rockers impress
94. Charles Lloyd Quartet: Mirror...gorgeous jazz album
95. Michael Formanek: The Rub and Spare Change...stunning melodies and daring improvisations. Another winner from the ECM stable
96. Anat Fort Trio: And If...get swept away by this gorgeous jazz release
97. Eric Johnson: Up Close...guitar virtuoso does it again
98. Forbidden: Omega Wave...another killer release from an 80's thrash veteran
99. Manticora: Safe...thunderous power/progressive metal
100. Robin Trower: The Playful Heart...blues-rock guitar legend shows the youngsters how it's done

Best Live Albums of 2010

Dio: At Donnington UK-Live 1983 & 1987
The Derek Trucks Band: Roadsongs
Heaven and Hell: Neon Nights
Johnny Winter And: Live at the Fillmore East
Michael Schenker Group: Rockpalast
Soft Machine: NDR Jazz Workshop
Michael Schenker Group: 30th Anniversary Concert-Live in Tokyo
Rory Gallagher: The Beat Club Sessions
Meshuggah: Alive
While Heaven Wept: Triumph: Tragedy: Transcendence-Live at Hammer of Doom Festival
Joe Satriani: Live in Paris: I Just Wanna Rock
Motian/Potter/Moran: Lost in a Dream
Neurosis: Live at Roadburn 2007
Dickie Betts & Great Southern: Rockpalast
Paul Butterfield Band: Rockpalast
UFO: Rockpalast
Spirit: Rockpalast
Fair Warning: Talking Ain't Enough-Live in Tokyo
Soft Machine Legacy: Live Adventures


Michael Popke

Best of 2010

1. Atlantean Kodex: The Golden Bough
2. Wuthering Heights: Salt
3. Frogg Café: Bateless Edge
4. Spock's Beard: X
5. Creation's End: A New Beginning
6. Glass Hammer: If
7. Aeon Zen: The Face of the Unknown
8. Mob Rules: Radical Peace
9. Aspera: Ripples
10. Eloy: Visionary
11. Erik Norlander: The Galactic Collective
12. Vanden Plas: The Seraphic Clockwork
13. District 97: Hybrid Child
14. The Intersphere: Interspheres<>Atmospheres
15. Agents of Mercy: Dramarama
16. Star One: Victims of the Modern Age
17. Orphaned Land: The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR
18. Slash: Slash
19. Mystery: One Among the Living
20. Blind Guardian: At the Edge of Time

Top 5 Non-Prog/Metal Albums

BoDeans: Mr. Sad Clown
Railroad Earth: Railroad Earth
Unruly Child: Worlds Collide
Walter Trout: Common Ground
Rocket Club: American Serenade

Top 10 Reissues/Live Releases

1. Bruce Springsteen: Darkness on the Edge of Town (Limited Edition Deluxe Collection)
2. Frost*: The Philadelphia Experiment
3. Queensryche: Empire (20th Anniversary Edition)
4. Touchstone: Live in the USA: East Coast West Coast
5. RPWL: The Gentle Art of Music
6. Camel: Rainbow's End-An Anthology 1973-1985
7. Caravan: The World Is Yours-The Anthology 1968-1973
8. Univers Zero: Heresie

Top 5 DVDs

1. Transatlantic: Whirld Tour 2010-Live From Shepherd's Bush Empire
2. Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage
3. King's X: Live Love in London
4. Opeth: In Live Concert at the Royal Albert Hall
5. The 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Concerts


Duncan Glenday

Top 25 of 2010

1. From. Uz: Seventh Story

2. Ephemeral Sun: Harvest Aorta

3. Ihsahn: After

4. Orphaned Land: Never Ending Way Of The OrwarriOR

5. Borknagar: Universal

6. Therion: Sitra Ahra

7. Anathema: We're Here Because We're Here

8. District 97: Hybrid Child

9. Agalloch: Marrow of the Spirit

10. Mars Hollow: Mars Hollow

11. Erik Norlander: The Galactic Collective

12. Spock's Beard: X

13. Unitopia: Artificial

14. Pain Of Salvation: Road Salt One

15. Dimmu Borgir: Abrahadabra

16. Haken: Aquarius

17. Big Big Train: Far Skies Deep Time

18. Roswell Six: Terra Incognita - A Line In the Sand

19. Manning: Charlestown

20. The Pineapple Thief: Someone Here is Missing

21. The Rebel Wheel: We Are in the Time of Evil Clocks

22. Frogg Café: Bateless Edge

23. Jon Oliva's Pain: Festival

24. Star One: Victims of the Modern Age

25. Eloy: Visionary





Murat Batmaz

Top 20 of 2010

1. Agalloch: Marrow of the Spirit
2. Kingcrow: Phlegethon
3. Vanden Plas: The Seraphic Clockwork
4. Julien Damotte: Trapped
5. Star One: Victims of the Modern Age
6. Ihsahn: After
7. Mekong Delta: Wanderer on the Edge of Time
8. Fracture: Simple Chaos
9. Creation's End: A New Beginning
10. Enslaved: Axioma Ethica Odini
11. Orphaned Land: The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR
12. When Day Descends: When Day Descends
13. Anathema: We're Here Because We're Here
14. Nevermore: The Obsidian Conspiracy
15. Tarot: Gravity of Light
16. Seventh Wonder: The Great Escape
17. Avantasia: The Wicked Symphony
18. Mindsplit: Charmed Human Art of Significance
19. Aspera: Ripples
20. Immolation: Majesty and Decay


Ryan Sparks

Best of 2010 Top 25

1. Glass: Spectrum Principle
2. Agalloch - Marrow Of The Spirit
3. Vespero: By The Waters Of Tomorrow
4. Ephemeral Sun: Harvest Aorta
5. Orphaned Land - The Never Ending Way Of Orwarrior
6. Salem: Playing God And Other Short Stories
7. American Dog: Mean
8. Sendelica: Streamedlica She Sighed As She Hit Rewind On The Dream Mangler Remote
9. T-Bo: Connected
10. Julie Slick: Julie Slick
11. Hasan Abdur Razzaq & Adam Smith: Dedications
12. Steve Tibbetts: Natural Causes
13. Ketil Bjornstad: Remembrance
14. Ihsahn - After
15. Insomnium: Across The Dark
16. Wizards: When Walls Exhale
17. Psi Corps: All Roads Lead To Amber Parts I & II
18. Pineapple Thief: Someone Here Is Missing
19. Triptykon - Eparistera Daimones
20. Adam Smith: Evening Storms
21. Rejuvenation Trio: Rejuvenation Voyage
22. Morild: Time To Rest
23. The Re-Stoned: Revealed Gravitation
24. Tim Motzer & Markus Reuter: Descending
25. Broken Teeth: Viva La Rock Fantastico


Butch Jones

Top 20 of 2010

1. Periphery: S/T - The BEST new band I have heard in YEARS! They just crush and their drummer, Matt Halpern is a monster! THIS what 7 stringed guitars should sound like! Unbelievable.
2. Accept: Blood of the Nations - THIS is what an old school Metal band that starts over SHOULD sound like....THEMSELVES!! From the 1st notes from Wolf Hoffmann and Co., Accept explode and announce that they are back, BIG time. Mark Tornillo kick ass in every way possible. WHAT a return for the Metal world!
3. Meshuggah: Alive - It's Meshuggah live, need I say more?! Didn't think so!!
4. Fear Factory: Mechanize - What happens when Burton C. Bell & Dino Cazares kiss & make up? They get back on track and make ANOTHER killer FF record. It doesn't hurt to recruit the drum legend, Gene Hoglan either!
5. Overkill: Ironbound - The ONLY Old school Thrash band that has NEVER disappointed! Blitz & the Wrecking Crew just kill on this latest record.
6. Weapon Head: Surgical Smile - I love these guys! Part Hard Rock, Part Metal, Part Indie Power Pop...all awesome!
7. Proghma-C-Bar: do Travel - Another WOW band. Who knew that the Polish had been hiding these guys? Check out their Bjork cover of Army of Me & tell me it doesn't rule!!
8. Soilwork: The Panic Broadcast - Back on track with a great Swedish Metal record. One of the real pioneers of the Swedish Metal movement of the past 10 years
9. John Norum: Play Yard Blues - One of my all time favorite pickers. Norum slows it down and takes a step backwards into the Blues. Another nice cover of a Thin Lizzy song. Can never go wrong with anything Lizzy.
10. Black Label Society: Order of the Black - Zakk Wylde delivers his strongest effort to date. Full of some of the best riffing since his 1st Ozzy record. And new drummer Will Hunt crushes, too!
11. Richie Kotzen: Peace Sign - The BEST singer/songwriter that no one has heard. Forget about his shred guitar legend status and LISTEN to that ungodly voice and his songcrafting. Such a shame that he continues to go unheard. Part R&B, Part Guitar god = a song styling, bad ass mofo.
12. Black Water Rising: S/T - Great Hard Rock band with an attitude, catchy songs and GROOVE. If you liked Dark New Day and Sevendust, you will eat these guys up.
13. Nevermore: The Obsidian Conspiracy - Dane, Loomis and company release my favorite Nevermore record so far. A little more straight ahead and more focused. Awesome
14. Solution .45: For Aeons Past - Damn, what a great record! Some wicked grooving going on here. Great clean vocals with deathy shouts underneath and awesome guitar playing, too.
15. Narnia: Course of a Generation (Reissue) - More Melodic Swedish goodness. What a pleasant surprise.
16. FEN: Trails Out of Gloom - Dark, depressing and awesome.
17. Ihsahn: After - I didn't expect to love a solo record from a leader of a Black Metal band, but holy shit, do I! What a talented guy.
18. Fozzy: Chasing the Grail - The Duke aka Rich Ward! One of the most underrated Metal guitar players with the GREATEST tone! No one writes a groove or riff like him. Chris Jericho sounds better on each & every record.
19. Deftones: Diamond Eyes - To the point, powerful and gritty. It's been a while since these guys were firing on all cylinders.
20. Mnemic: Sons of the System - Another great release from these guys. More powerful grooving within.


Elias Granillo

Top Ten Releases Of 2010

1. Djam Karet: The Heavy Soul Sessions
2. Norlander, Erik: Galactic Collective
3. Tie: 3 Monks: Neogothic Progressive Toccatas / Umberto: Prophecy Of The Black Widow
4. Daft Punk: Tron Legacy: Original Soundtrack
5. Rea, Dennis: Views From Chicheng Precipice
6. Kulju, Dave: Notes In The Margin
7. Tangerine Dream: Dream Mixes V
8. Kneebody: You Can Have Your Moment
9. Gerard: Ring Of Eternity
10. Visual Cliff: Collective Spirit


Scott Ward

Best of 2010 List

This list could have easily been doubled. There is such a wealth of fantastic releases this year.

1. Mindwarp Chamber: Supernova - Progressive metal at it's finest. This is the must have disc of the year.
2. Mindgames: MMX - Irresistible progressive symphonic masterpiece.
3. Agalloch: Marrow of the Spirit - Melodic dark metal masterpiece.
4. Anima Mundi: The Way - A band that is going to set the progressive world on fire.
5. Unwritten Pages: Pt. 1. Noah - Monster debut with 2 disc concept album.
6. Iron Maiden: The Final Frontier - Veteran rockers show how it's done!
7. In Vain: Mantra - One of the very best of the year!
8. David Minasian: Random Acts of Beauty - The title says it all.
9. Circle II Circle: Consequence Of Power - Another brilliant offering from Zak Stevens and company!
10. Glass Hammer: If - Progressive music as it should be, beautiful.
11. Avantasia: The Wicked Symphony - Tobias Sammet does it again!
12. Avantasia: Angel Of Babylon - See above!
13. Paul Oakley: Out Of The Ashes - Amazing instrumental guitarist!
14. Hookah The Fuzz: Hookah The Fuzz - Mesmerizing blend of metal, jazz, symphonic, thrash and about every other genre known to man!
15. Dawn of Silence: Wicked Saint or Righteous Sinner - A killer power metal band for fans of Avantasia etc. .
16. Barren Earth: Curse of the Red River - Easily one of the most powerful metal albums of this year.
17. Jon Oliva's Pain: Festival - One of the greatest songwriters of our time continues to astound.
18. Emberstorm: Memories Of Time - From left field comes this new Swedish power metal powerhouse.
19. Aeon Zen: The Face of the Unknown - Last year's artist of the year is back again with a terrific progressive metal release.
20. Voodoo Johnson: 10,000 Horses - This is how heavy metal should sound. Dynamite rock and roll with their first full release.
21. Sully Erna: Avalon - A surprise from the Godsmack frontman.
22. Blind Guardian: At The Edge Of Time - Another great release from one of the best there is.
23. In This Moment: A Star-Crossed Wasteland - The best female fronted metal band on the planet does it again.
24. Avenged Sevenfold: Nightmare - Their best offering ever and a habit forming album.
25. Disturbed: Asylum - Picking up where they left off last time.
26. Revenent Dead: Two Evils - Massive metal from Birmingham, England.
27. Masterplan: Time To Be King - Jorn and Company give us a treat!
28. Allen/Lande: The Showdown - Two terrific vocalists, one package!
29. Crematory: Infinity - Melodic death metal masters.
30. Spock's Beard: X - They give us another great album.
31. Black Label Society: Order Of The Black - Their strongest release yet.
32. Murderdolls: Women and Children Last - Great campy metal. Love it!
33. Charred Walls of the Damned: Charred Walls of the Damned - A must have metal album.
34. Heaven Grey: Falling Mist - A gothic metal masterpiece.
35. Keep of Kalessan: Reptilian - These guys just keep getting better.
36. Manticora: Safe - This one is a Safe bet! Great Swedish metal.
37. Enslaved: Axioma Ethica Odini - Epic album pure and simple.
38. Godsmack: The Oracle - Heavy metal with a vengeance!
39. Gravedigger: The Clans Will Rise Again - A brilliant folk metal album.
40. Rob Zombie: Hellbilly Deluxe 2 - Like a B grade horror movie.
41. Shattered Hope: absence - A captivating doom metal disc.
42. Gamma Ray: To The Metal - Fist pumping metal anthems abound!
43. Rhapsody of Fire: Frozen Tears Of Angels - A tasty power metal treat!
44. Cradle of Filth: Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa - A cool, dark concept work.
45. Votum: Metafiction - A dark full bodied prog metal treat.
46. Heaven Grey: Falling Mist - Brooding, gothic masterpiece.
47. Buddy Guy: Living Proof - Blues guitar legend struts his stuff!
48. Vanden Plas: The Seraphic Clockwork - Majestic power metal treat.
49. Orphaned Land: The Never Ending Way of ORWarriOR - Magical blend of metal and the Holy Land.
50. Star One: Victims of the Modern Age - Arjen Lucassen's newest masterpiece.
51. Dimmu Borgir: Abrahadabra - A melodic death metal must have.
52. Kamelot: Poetry For The Poisoned - Roy Khan and Company does it again.
53. Ihsahn: After - Another huge album from the ex-Emperor frontman.
54. Throes of Dawn: The Great Fleet of Echoes - Atmospheric, dark brooding metal.
55. Equalibrium: Rekreatur - Exquisite fork metal with dynamite orchestration.
56. Areknames: In Case of Loss - Terrific prog with a jazzy feel.
57. Rage: Strings To A Web - 25 years and still a powerhouse!
58. Volbeat: Beyond Hell Above Heaven - Americana metal. Rockametalbilly!
59. James LaBrie: Static Impulse - I like this one more with each play.
60. Pertness: From The Beginning To The End - Power Metal to the max!
61. AnsoticcA: Rise - Female fronted gothic metal, what a terrific debut!
62. Seventh Wonder: The Great Escape - Magnificent progressive album.
63. Marcos De Ros: Pecas de Bravura - Guitar virtuoso very aptly titled album.
64. Sky Architect: Excavations of the Mind - New retro prog rockers.
65. Cancerbats: Bears, Mayors,Scraps & Bones - Hardcore punk face melter!
66. Iron Fate: Cast in Iron - Vocalist Denis Brosowski has a set of pipes!!
67. Gallows End: Nemesis Divine - Old school heavy metal...Yes!!
68. Halcyon Way: Building The Tower - New singer, new attitude, new metal must have disc!
69. Kivimetsan Druidi: Betrayal, Justice, Revenge - Folk metal fun!
70. Giant: Promise Land - The return of hair metal. Just good old fashion fun.
71. Heljareyga: Heljareyga - Power/folk metal debut that is impressive.
72. The Howling Void: Shadows Over The Cosmos -Chilling funeral doom metal.
73. Instanzia: Ghosts - Canadian power metalers who rock.
74. Kerion: The Origins - Female fronted French power metal.
75. Klone: Black Days - Many metal genres blended to make a massive album!
76. Kylesa: Spiral Shadow - Sludgy, psychedelic and hypnotic.
77. Helloween: 7 Sinners - They are back with a vengeance!
78. Innerwish: No Turning Back - Greek melodic power metal.
79. Sinbreed: When Worlds Collide - Hard to resist power metal.
80. Six Magics: Behind The Sorrow - Female fronted symphonic metal.
81. Solid Vision: Sacrifice - Prog metal goodness. This is a keeper!!
82. Viathyn: The Peregrine Way - Canadian progressive metal. Very good!
83. The Sword: Warp Riders - Heavy metal sci-fi concept disc.
84. Sunrise: Trust Your Soul - Ukrainian power metal treat.
85. Dark Tranquility: We Are The Void - Anything but tranquil!
86. Negura Bunget: Virstele Pamintului - Folk/black metal mixture that works!
87. Signum Regis: The Eyes of Power - Heavy metal history lesson!
88. Icewind: Again Came The Storm - Melodic power metal. Tasty!
89. Monster Magnet: Mastermind - Heavy metal as it should be played.
90. The Showdown: Blood in the Gears - Southern testosterone filled metal.
91. Firewind: Days of Defiance - Powerful Gus G at his day job!
92. Accept: Blood Of The Nations - Take the thrashing you are about to receive.
93. Myrath: Desert Call - Terrific Middle East metal. Rock the oasis!
94. Carach Angren: Death Came Through A Phantom Ship - Symphonic death metal that is magnificent.
95. Anubis: Waking The Dead - They just keep getting better and better!
96. Jerry Jennings: Shortcut To The Center - Instrumental guitarist extraordinaire.
97. Something Beautiful: Songs About Angels - Terrific concept album.
98. Mutiny Within: Mutiny Within - Watch out for these guys. They are good.
99. George Lynch: Orchestral Mayhem - He is a guitar God! Magnificent album.


Jon Neudorf

Best of 2010

2010 was another strong year for music. As usual, there were many albums I did not have the pleasure of hearing including new releases by District 97, Frogg Café, Glass Hammer, Anathema, Helmet of Gnats, Demians, Haken and many others too numerous to mention. That said, here are my favourite albums this year:

1. Spock's Beard: X
2. From.uz: Seventh Story (My favourite album of 2010. Simply outstanding!)
3. Persephone's Dream: Pan: An Urban Pastoral (The band outdid themselves this time. Their best release to date and one of the year's finest efforts.)
4. Orphaned Land: The Never Ending Way Of ORwarriOR (Progressive metal does not get any better than this.)
5. The Pineapple Thief: Someone Here Is Missing
6. Psychedelic Ensemble, The: The Myth Of Dying (Top notch progressive rock and a joy to listen to.)
7. Tea Club, The: Rabbit (One of modern prog's finest bands and an excellent sophomore effort.)
8. Hackett, Steve: Out Of the Tunnel's Mouth (I love this disc, definitely one of his best.)
9. Norlander, Erik: The Galactic Collective (This should be prerequisite listening for all keyboard players. Norlander revisits some of his best songs and makes them even better.)
10. Rebel Wheel: We are in the Time of Evil Clocks (This is one wild ride of adventurous progressive rock. It still surprises after repeated listens.)
11. Carptree: Nymf (A fine follow up to Insekt and another lovely display of moody progressive rock.)
12. Majestic: Arrival (If you like epic songs, you will love Arrival. Hamel's finest work.)
13. Manzanera, Phil: The Music 1972 to 2008 (One of the best compilation albums I have had the pleasure of hearing.)
14. Dianoya: Obscurity Divine (This Polish band completely blew me away with their unique brand of edgy progressive rock.)
15. Roswell Six: Terra Incognita: A Line In the Sand (The second part of the trilogy takes the band into heavier territory. Another great listen.)
16. Sky Architect: Excavations Of the Mind (An excellent album filled to the brim with epic style progressive rock.)
17. Relocator: Relocator (One of the best metal/fusion albums released this year.)
18. K2: Black Garden (A powerful album of inspired progressive rock.)
19. Keneally, Mike/Marco Minnemann: Evidence Of Humanity (Improvisation never sounded so good.)
20. Modest Midget: The Great Prophecy of a Small Man (The band's unique style of quirky progressive rock is like a breath of breath air.)
21. IO Earth: IO Earth (Another fantastic debut album. Yes it is pompous, but it is oh so intoxicating.)
22. Proximal Distance: Proximal Distance (If you are a fan of Pink Floyd you will want this album.)
23. BangTower: Casting Shadows (Heavy fusion and first class musicianship makes this an outstanding debut album.)
24. Delusion Squared: Delusion Squared (Modern progressive rock from France with a flair for technical virtuosity and great melodies.)
25. Panic Room: Satellite (The band does a great job combining different styles and incorporating some great melodies along the way.)
26. KOI: In Tomorrow Hid Yesterday (Another fine progressive rock band from Sweden. Should we expect anything less?)
27. Watson, Dean: Unsettled (One of the best instrumental albums of the year.)
28. Chris: Making Sense (The very talented drummer of Sky Architect has made a tasty album of symphonic rock and pop.)
29. t: Anti-Matter Gravity (Delicious melodic prog and one of the nicest surprises of 2010.)
30. Rausch: Rausch (Poppy prog at its finest and excellent piano throughout.)
31. Picchio dal Pozzo: A_Live (A fine album of avant prog focusing on dreamy atmospherics and beautiful melodies. )
32. All Over Everywhere: Inner Firmaments Decay (Lush and melodic folky prog shrouded in a veil of melancholy.)
33. American Hollow: Whisper Campaign (A richly varied release and a fine debut album.)
34. Kulju, Dave: Notes In the Margin (Fans of David Gilmour should take notice.)
35. Soul Enema: Thin Ice Crawling (Excellent symphonic progressive rock from Israel.)
36. Solstice: Spirit (A more introspective take on classic style prog.)
37. Cleveland, Barry: Hologramatron (Excellent progressive rock with an experimental edge.)
38. WolfSpring: WolfSpring (A modern approach to prog with a nod to past greats. Love the vocals.)
39. Wishing Tree, The: Ostara (A mellower Rothery and the beautiful voice of Hannah Stobart.)



Scott Jessup

Best of 2010

It's best of time once again and there has been so much enjoyable music during the past year, so instead of rating the lot I just narrowed it down to my top twenty.

1. Myrath: Desert Call
2. Orphaned Land: Never Ending Way Of The OrwarriOR
3. Heavenly: Carpe Diem
4. Dimmu Borgir: Abrahadabra
5. Therion: Sitra Atra
6. Vanden Plas: The Seraphic Clockwork
7. Helstar: Glory Of Chaos
8. Star One: Victims Of The Modern Age
9. Helloween: 7 Sinners
10. Heathen: The Evolution Of Chaos
11. Overkill: Ironbound
12. Magic Kingdom: Symphony of War
13. Rhapsody Of Fire: The Frozen Tears Of Angels
14. James Labrie: Static Impulse
15. Avantasia: Angel Of Babylon and The Wicked Symphony - box set
16. Nevermore: The Obsidian Conspiracy
17. Dark Moor: Ancestral Romance18. Accept - Blood Of Nations
19. Kamelot: Poetry For The Poisoned
20. Mob Rules: Radical Peace

Other bands/acts that have releases which deserve mention include Angra, Wuthering Heights, Soulfly, Seventh Wonder, Labyrinth, Haken, Blind Guardian, Firewind, Sodom, Death Angel, Immolation, Elvenking, Rage, Sabaton, Tarja, Exodus, Iron Maiden, Voices Of Extreme, Freedom Call and Gamma Ray. Albums that fell short came from Annihilator, Ozzy Ozbourne and Disturbed.


Alex Torres

Best CDs of 2010

1. Spock's Beard: X
2. Manning: Charlestown
3. Crippled Black Phoenix: I, Vigilante
4. Believe: World Is Round
5. La Maschera di Cera: Petali di Fuoco
6. David Minasian: Random Acts of Beauty
7. Mars Hollow: Mars Hollow
8. Unitopia: Artificial
9. Midlake: The Courage of Others
10. Karnataka: The Gathering Light
11. Anathema: We're Here Because We're Here
12. The Pineapple Thief: Someone Here is Missing
13. Panic Room: Satellite
14. Richard Thompson: Dream Attic
15. Michael Gill: Blues for Lazarus
16. Rufus Wainwright: Songs for Lulu
17. Kyshera: Paradygm
18. Rausch: Rausch
19. Godsticks: Spiral Vendetta
20. The Reasoning: Adverse Camber


Denis Brunelle

Top CDs of 2010

Here is my list of those releases I found highly interesting this year. The toughest part was actually to put them in order, since many of them are just great albums.

1. Emkog: Label Sampler
2. Various Artists: Whom the Moon a Night Song Sings
3. Nechochwen: Azimuths to the Other World
4. October Falls: A Collapse of Faith
5. Sauce Boss: Hot N' Heavy
6. Shining: VI Klagopsalmer
7. Svart: Förlorad
8. Nŕttsol: Stemming
9. Spectral Lore: II
10. Celestia: Archaenae Perfectii
11. Sig:Ar:Tyr: God Saga
12. Lantlôs: Neon
13. Semen Datura: Einsamkeit


Steven Reid

2010 Top Thirty CDs

1. Star One: Victims Of The Modern Age
2. Vanden Plas: The Seraphic Clockwork
3. Orphaned Land: The Never Ending Way Of ORwarriOR
4. Black Bonzo: The Guillotine Drama
5. The Pineapple Thief: Someone Here Is Missing
6. Aynsley Lister: Equilibrium
7. Jackdaw 4: The Eternal Struggle For Justice
8. Lucifer Was: The Crown Of Creation
9. Phenomena: Blind Faith
10. Joe Satriani: Black Swans And Wormhole Wizards
11. Frogg Cafe: Bateless Edge
12. Voodoo Six: Fluke?
13. K2: Black Garden
14. Myrath: Desert Call
15. From. Uz: Seventh Story
16. Glyder: Yesterday, Today And Tomorrow
17. FM: Metropolis
18. A Forest Of Stars: A Thief's Opportunity
19. The Union: The Union
20. Bangalore Choir: Cadence
21. Accept: Blood Of The Nations
22. Brian Howe: Circus Bar
23. Peter Frampton: Thank You Mr Churchill
24. Kamelot: Poetry For The Poisoned
25. Haken: Aquarius
26. Exhibit A: Make Mine A Lobster
27. Terje Rypdal: Crime Scene
28. Tryptikon: Eparistera Diamones
29. The Reasoning: Adverse Camber
30. Skin: Breaking The Silence

Reissues

1. Bruce Springsteen: Darkness On The Edge Of Town
2. Wildhearts: Earth Vs. The Wildhearts
3. The Ladder: The Ladder
4. Jackdaw 4: Retrospecatcles
5. Wildhearts: Fishing For Luckies
6. Porcupine Tree: Recordings
7. Guardian: First Watch
8. Black Sabbath: Seventh Star
9. Robin George: Dangerous Music
10. I.E.M.: Box Set

Live/Compilations

1. Kings X: Live Love London
2. Ginger: 10
3. RPWL: The Gentle Art Of Music
4. The Pineapple Thief: 3000 Days
5. Uriah Heep: Celebration
6. Jeff Scott Soto: One Night In Madrid
7. Tesla: Alive In Europe! 2009
8. Legend: Playing With Fire - Live 1992
9. Porcupine Tree: Atlanta
10. British Lions: Live At The Old Waldorf, San Francisco 1978

Gigs

1. Firefest 2010
2. It Bites/Aynsley Lister
3. Fish (The Fish-Heads - Acoustic Show)
4. Kiss
5. Joe Satriani
6. Winger
7. FM
8. A-ha
9. Blaze Bayley
10. Danny Vaughn


Dean Pedley

Top 20 CDs of 2010

1. Black Country Communion: Black Country Communion
2. Bruce Springsteen: The Promise
3. Steve Lukather: All's Well That Ends Well
4. Sinocence: Scar Obscura
5. Fury UK: A Way Of Life
6. Iron Maiden: The Final Frontier
7. Anathema: We're Here Because We're Here
8. The Scorpions: Sting In The Tail
9. Allen/Lande: The Showdown
10. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers: Mojo
11. Meat Loaf: Hang Cool Teddy Bear
12. Avenged Sevenfold Nightmare
13. White Wizard: Over The Top
14. Fozzy: Chasing The Grail
15. The Reasoning: Adverse Camber
16. Serpentine: A Touch Of Heaven
17. H.E.A.T.: Freedom Rock
18. Vanden Plas: Seraphic Clockwork
19. Taking Dawn: Time To Burn
20. John Mellencamp: No Better Than This

Top 10 Gigs of 2010

1. KISS - Sonic Boom Over Europe, Birmingham
2. Cheap Trick - Wolverhampton
3. Foreigner @ High Voltage Festival - London
4. Heaven and Hell @ High Voltage Festival - London
5. Big Elf - Wolverhampton
6. Guns N Roses - Birmingham
7. Pendragon - Bilston
8. Crowded House - Birmingham
9. UFO - Leamington Spa
10. Magnum @ High Voltage Festival - London


Mark 'Tosh' Davies

Once again 2010 has lived up to all expectations and what a fantastic time to appreciate guitar driven music. Well after alot of thought and deliberation here we go with my top albums of 2010...

Top CDs of 2010

1. Audrey Horne: Audrey Horne (Excellent album and excellent live band, the coming together of many black metal band members to produce the best album of 2010 with killer chorus' throughout. I've just played it to death)
2. Slash: Slash (Almost top but missed it by a g-string! The ultimate summer album and an amazing choice of vocalists that suit every song chosen for them perfectly, and Slash just rips the fret board apart)
3. Alterbridge: AB III (Every album by these guys just gets better and AB III is no exception, simply stunning)
4. James Labrie: Static Impulse (If Dream Theater never made another album this guy will never suffer, heavy as you like and his voice is in top form)
5. Grand Magus: Hammer Of The North (Injected full of Sabbath riding skidoos through the forest,I love it because it sounds so heavy at extreme volume)
6. Black Country Communion: Black Country Communion (The term 'super group' is often used but this really is the ultimate definition)
7. Stone Sour: Audio Secrecy (A little more commercial doesn't mean more lightweight, well crafted songs and Corey Fucking Taylor, the end)
8. Dio: Donington Live '83 - '87 (Not always a fan of live albums but this one is just perfect, this is why Ronnie was loved so much he gave his all to his live performance and this captures it perfectly)
9. Black Label Society: Order Of The Black (When you think Zakks knocked down he comes back with the album of his career 'Overlord' just rips your face off)
10. Baptized In Blood: Baptized In Blood (New signings to Roadrunner with an album that steams along at 100mph, heavy metal is back...and they have Blood in their name)

Another fantastic year for live gigs has seen me cover the length and breadth of the U.K and this year saw me travel to 3 festivals in 3 country's in 3 weeks and also a few in the U.S, here is my very difficult top 10 gigs/performances of 2010.

Top Live Gigs of 2010

1. Heaven & Hell (High Voltage Festival Victoria Park London. Glenn Hughes and Jorn Lande made a grown man cry and I'm not afraid to admit it)
2. Devin Townsend (Cheyenne Saloon Las Vegas. Mad musical genius blows me away with an amazing performance)
3. Down (High Voltage Festival Victoria Park London. Phill and the boys bring the deep south to London and tear it up)
4. A Perfect Circle (The Pearl @ The Palms Las Vegas. Two nights and two full albums,is this the end? I hope not judging from these perfect performances)
5. Amorphis (Bloodstock Festival Derby England. First time for me and what a show was well worth the wait)
6. Y&T (Download Festival Derby England. Classic rock stalwarts show the youngsters how to put on a gig, shame it was a little short)
7.I shan (Hellfest Festival Clisson France. Amazing, simply amazing)
8. Slash (Graspop Metal Meeting Dessel Belgium. A masterstroke having Myles Kennedy on vocals and Slash just oozed 'Rock Star' from every pours in his body)
9. Audrey Horne ( High Voltage Festival Victoria Park London. What a performance!! Had me singing along and moshing like the Bastard son of Lemmy)
10. Rammstein (Sonisphere Festival Knebworth England. Fire, Fire and more Fire, the last time England saw this much fire from the Germans in England was in 1941!!!)
 
Well there we have it let's hope 2011 brings us more of the same and the much awaited Van Halen appearance in the U.K.
Here's to 2011.....


Jordan Blum

Best CDs of 2010

1. Anathema: We're Here Because We're Here
2. Lo-Fi Resistance: A Deep Breath
3. Ben Folds: Lonely Avenue
4. Emanuel & the Fear: Listen
5. The Pineapple Thief: Someone Here is Missing
6. Star One: Victims of the Modern Age
7. Spock's Beard: X
8. Lunatic Soul: Lunatic Soul II
9. Conqueror: Madame Zelle
10. Agalloch: Marrow of the Spirit
11. California Guitar Trio: Andromeda
12. Coheed & Cambria: Year of the Black Rainbow
13. District 97- Hybrid Child
14. Empty Tremor: Iridium
15. Engineers: In Praise of More
16. The Galactic Cowboy Orchestra: Lookin' For A Little Strange
17. Karnivool: Sound Awake
18. Lehto & Wright: Children's Songs
19. Little Beirut: Fear of Heaven
20. Matt Stevens: Ghost
21. Nichelodeon: Il Gioco Del Silenzio
22. North Atlantic Oscillation: Grapping Hooks
23. Orphaned Land: The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR
24. Urihani: Music For The Planet
25. Vanden Plas: The Seraphic Clockwork
26. The Cloverseeds: The Opening
27. All Over Everywhere: Inner Firmaments Decay

Songs

1. "Thin Air" - Anathema
2. "Claire's Ninth" - Ben Folds
3. "Hello New Star!" - Lo-Fi Resistance
4. "Dreaming Light" - Anathema
5. "Angels Walk Among Us/Presence" - Anathema
6. "Guatemala" - Emanuel and the Fear
7. "The State We're In" - The Pineapple Thief
8. "Barely Breathing" - The Pineapple Thief
9. "Pearl of the Stars" - Coheed & Cambria
10. "Someone Here Is Missing" - The Pineapple Thief
11. "Suspended in Whiteness" - Lunatic Soul
12. "Last Light" - Little Beirut
13. "Jaws of Heaven" - Spock's Beard
14. "Digital Rain" - Star One
15. "Black Lake Nidstĺng" - Agalloch


Daniel Rego

Top Ten Releases of 2010

1. Deathspell Omega: Paracletus. A twisting, churning monolith of bizarre and technical black metal, Paracletus remains one of the most intriguing and captivating metal releases I've heard this year. Simply put, this is an album that will possibly outlive the novelty of every other entry on this list, purely on account of its sheer originality and riveting vigour. The album's single, 'Devouring Famine', might be among the most fundamentally disturbing pieces of music ever released. Simultaneously ugly and beautiful.

2. Periphery: Periphery. Undoubtedly the most anticipated metal release of 2010, the Periphery debut bursts with an energy and ferocity that is surprising, considering how long it's been in the making. Misha 'Bulb' Mansoor proves his worth as one of the pioneers of the progressive djent style, and a fresh yet competent supporting team comes together in perfect synergy to produce an album that has already set the template for innumerable bands to come. A defining statement for modern metal.

3. Ihsahn: After. The legendary Ihsahn's third solo effort brings several new elements to Vegard Sverre Tveitan's already eclectic palette, culminating in the most mature and accomplished addition to his expansive oeuvre. Dark, pensive and melancholic, with decidedly wistful undertones courtesy Jorgen Munkeby's slick saxophone performance, After is the perfect end to Ihsahn's planned trilogy of albums, a summation of a veteran's collective musical sensibilities, coupled with a robust and full-bodied production job to bolster a near-perfect work.

4. John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension: To The One. Brimming with a rare sort of chemistry between four highly skilled instrumentalists, To The One sees McLaughlin at his recent best, backed by a rhythm section featuring Etienne M'Bappe, Mark Mondesir and the legendary Gary Husband. Explosively spirited and driving, To The One echoes McLaughlin's open admiration of his primary influence John Coltrane, while staying true to his reputation of continually reinventing himself with every release.

5. Demians: Mute. It's hard to believe this gem is the work of one man performing all instruments. Nicolas Chapel's voice is effortless and evocative, with an endearing French accent, exuding the sort of class and finesse that's an unfortunate rarity in current alternative rock. Ably handling guitar, bass, keyboard and percussion duties, Chapel's uncanny songwriting abilities and ethereal vocals elevate this album far above the herd.

6. Cloudkicker: Beacons. The third solo album in this list, and Cloudkicker's second release of the year, Beacons bears the distinction of being 2010's most singularly beautiful metal album, with lulling melodies and post-rock ambience punctuating a highly rhythmic modern progressive metal soundscape. Produced entirely by Ben Sharp himself, Beacons navigates smoothly through a smorgasbord of moods and feels with unrivalled ease, and Sharp's guitar playing perfectly walks the very thin line between graceful atmospherics and fretboard wizardry, to form a refreshingly balanced and human musical statement.

7. Soilwork: The Panic Broadcast. After encountering mass disapproval from their fan base with 2007's Sworn To A Great Divide, Soilwork got their act together with The Panic Broadcast. Peter Wichers' return to the band shows just how irreplaceable and integral he is to the band's chemistry, breathing life into a band that was leaning towards sounding tired and uninspired. Newcomer Sylvain Coudret adds a welcome dash of contemporary shred pizzazz to the classic Gothenburg sound, while vocalist Bjorn 'Speed' Strid turns in a career-best performance. The Panic Broadcast showcases a band at the peak of its maturity, with winning formula and a set of musicians to execute it with nothing left to be desired.

8. Radiance: The Burning Sun. An ambitious meld of heavily syncopated, polymetric riffing in the vein of Swedish innovators Meshuggah, and classic progressive metal, The Burning Sun puts a fresh spin on the somewhat overused djent sound, infusing it with operatic vocals. The brainchild of Necrophagist guitarist Sami Raatikainen, Radiance presents a new ideal of modern metal, as complex, cerebral and daringly experimental, with production values that rival some of the biggest names in the business. A fantastically accomplished debut.


9. Triptykon: Eparistera Daimones. Thomas Gabriel Fischer is a living legend, after helming the seminal Celtic Frost and pioneering an entire sub-genre of metal. After the rather unexpected demise of Celtic Frost, Fischer announced his new outfit Triptykon, and with a young team backing him, unleashed Eparistera Daimones. Vicious, seething and defiant, the Triptykon debut is a triumph of charisma and authority over excess. Let's face it; no one can belch an 'Ugh' into a microphone as terrifyingly as Fischer.

10. Immolation: Majesty And Decay. Death metal veterans Immolation show no signs of petering out with their eighth studio album. Majesty And Decay is an exercise in pummelling, percussive savagery, tempered with the signature agonising dissonance that put Immolation at the top of the New York scene as far back as 1991. Ross Dolan's thunderous voice is at its menacing best, and Robert Vigna's riffing is as potent as ever. A welcome return to form.


Gert Hulshof

Top CDs of 2010

1. Myrath: Desert Call - Never ever thought Algerians could make music like this
2. Orphaned Land: The Never Ending Way Of OrwarriOR
3. Division By Zero: Independent Harmony
4. Scorpions: Sting The Tail - because they say it is their epitaph
5. Dianoya: Obscure Infinty - Wonderful Polish music better than a lot of other polish bands
6. Dante: Saturnine - The first was good, their second even better.
7. Echoes: Nature existence
8. Edenbridge - Sollitaire
9. Avenged Sevenfold: Nightmare - With DT drummer Mike, in the meantime no longer with either DT or Avenged...
10. Demians: Mute
11. Glass Hammer: If
12. Kingfisher Sky: Skin Of The Earth
13. The Reasoning: Adverse Camber
14. Molly Hatchet: Justice - Will they get justified after all this time
15. Dead Letter Circus: This Is the warning
16. Pure Reason Revolution: Hammer And Anvil
17. Shadow Theory: Behind The Black Veil
18. Seventh Wonder: The Great Escape
19. Spiritual Beggars: Return To Forever
20. James Labrie: Static Impulse
21. Ark: Wild Untamed Imaginings
22. Disperse: Journey Through The Hidden Gardens
23. Kiske & Sommerville: Kiske & Sommerville
24. My Favorite Scar: My Favorite Scar
25. Prophecy: Illusion Of Time
26. Star One: Victim Of the Modern Age
27. Widespread Panic: Dirty Side Down
28. Chris: Making Sense
29. Mindsplit: Charmed Human Art of Signifigance
30. VandenPlas: Seraphic Clockwork
31. Mystery: One Among The living
32. Mastermind: Insomnia
33. Mastercastle: Last Desire
34. Day Six: The Grand Design
35. Crystal Palace: Reset
36. Oceansize: Self Preserved While Bodies Float Up
37. Sky Architect: Excavations Of The Mind
38. Hookah The Fuzz: Hookah The Fuzz
39. Quandary: Ready To Fail
40. Hemina: As We Know It
41. Pain Of Salvation: Road Salt One

Not Too Heavy List

1. Gazpacho: Missa Atropis - Dreaming of .... So good
2. Agents Of Mercy: Dramarama
3. Guy Manning: Charlestown - Our English story teller, no one does it better
4. King Crow: Phlegethon
5. Persephone's Dream: Pan An Urban Pastoral
6. Haken: Aquarius - A gigantic debut album - seldom heard them better
7. The Enid: The Journey - This is how to mix classic with modern music, Robert Godfrey and the lads make it happen.
8. Big Big Train: Far Skies Deep Time
9. Pineapple Thief: Someone Here Is Missing
10. District 97: Hybrid Child - from X-factor to highclass music

(The-Top-10-Plus list is not in any particular order)

Angelfire: Angelfire - The inimitable Steve Morse, nobody does it better
Heart: Red Velvet Car - Still going strong the lovely Ann and Nancy Wilson
TinyFish: The Big Red Spark
Mostly Autumn: Go Well Diamond Heart
Aries: Double Reign - Italian prog
Brother Ape: A Rare Moment Of Insight
David Minasian: Random Acts Of Beauty
French TV: I Forgive You For All My Unhappiness
Frogg Café: Bateless Edge
Jelonek: Jelonek
K2: Black Garden
Koi: In Tomorrow Hid Yesterday
Lalle Larson: Weaveworld
Mandibulb: Praxis
PBII: Plastic Soup
Yogi Lang: No Decoder - without RPWL ... sounds great
SBB: Blue Trance - Old polish rockers still going strong
Sunchild: The Wrap
Divine Baze Orchestra: Dead But Dreaming
Unitopia: Artificial - From down under they bring great epics and neo prog
Anathema: We're Here Because We're Here
T: Anti Matter Poetry
Resistor: Rise
From.Uz: Seventh Story
Carptree: Nymf
Delusion Squared: Delusion Squared
Morild: Time To rest
Windmill: To Be Continued...
Colin Masson: Mad Monk And The Mountain

Top instrumental albums

1. Dean Watson: Unsettled - How to make a solo album, really solo
2. Relocator: Relocator - German rockers with a fantastic debut CD, instrumental
3. Fusonic: Desert Dreams
4. Lebowski: Cinematic
5. Frames: Mosaik
6. Crack The Sky: Machines
7. Alkenion: Another Time
8. Joe Satriani: Black Holes and Wormhole Wizzards - the instrumental guitar-master
9. God is An Astronaut: Age Of The Fifth Sun - instrumental but then different


Jeff B

Top 30 Albums of 2010

This has been a terrific year for progressive rock and metal - I've discovered some truly amazing music in 2010. As I write this Top 30 list, a few high-profile releases (such as Blind Guardian, Kamelot, and Asia) would've made my list for sure, but I haven't had the opportunity of hearing them yet. There's just so much great music and so little time! I had a tough time deciding on a few neck-and-neck situations in terms of ranking, but I think this is a pretty consistent list that represents my favorite studio releases of this past year.

1. Shaolin Death Squad: Five Deadly Venoms - An unexpected masterpiece; one of the best albums of the past decade for sure.
2. Haken: Aquarius - A breathtaking and original progressive rock/metal debut.
3. Empty Tremor: Iridium - An overlooked gem of prog metal; one of the best I've heard in a long time.
4. Pain of Salvation: Road Salt One - Another amazing effort from PoS; these guys just keep reinventing themselves!
5. Tinyfish: The Big Red Spark - This prog rock concept release captivated me from beginning to end; nothing short of spectacular!
6. Enslaved: Axioma Ethica Odini - Another winner from these Norwegian black metal legends.
7. Demonic Resurrection: The Return to Darkness - Quite possibly the best Indian metal release ever.
8. Spock's Beard: X - The best post-Morse era album from the Beard for sure!
9. Iron Maiden: The Final Frontier - Another great album from Maiden; these guys just keep delivering!
10. System Divide: The Conscious Sedation - A heavy, beautiful, and all-around breathtaking death metal release.
11. Persephone's Dream: Pan - An Urban Pastoral - The unique concept album is sure to appeal to any fan of classic symphonic prog.
12. Demiurg: Slakthus Gamleby - This Swedish death metal supergroup is one of the best ever!
13. Avenged Sevenfold: Nightmare - Much better than one might think at first glance...
14. Darkwater: Where Stories End - Progressive power metal at its finest!
15. Star One: Victims of the Modern Age - Arjen Lucassen & co. just keep delivering amazing albums!
16. Vanden Plas: The Seraphic Clockwork - Another solid effort by these German prog metal legends.
17. Guillotine: The Cynic - India has an extreme metal scene to keep your eye on, and Guillotine is great proof of this! An all-around amazing release!
18. The Shadow Theory: Behind the Black Veil - This impressive supergroup never disappoints.
19. Downspirit: Point of Origin - The seamless blend of blues and power metal makes for a highly enjoyable experience.
20. Sebastian Persini: Lost City - Instrumental album of the year 2010 - Persini is an musical mastermind!
21. Albatross: Dinner Is You - This King Diamond-esque EP is another winner in the Indian metal scene.
22. Dawn of Ashes: Genocide Chapters - This dark, evil, and nightmarish symphonic black metal album is bound to keep you sleeping with the lights on at night.
23. Dean Watson: Unsettled - This is the best jazz rock album I've heard in 2010; Dean Watson has created an amazing work of art here.
24. Powerworld: Human Parasite - An enjoyable and impressive power metal album.
25. Atheist: Jupiter - The technical death metal pioneers are back and in full-force!
26. Frogg Café: Bateless Edge - These guys are simply one of the best U.S. jazz/prog rock bands on the scene right now!
27. 7Days: Into Forever - This is everything about progressive power metal gone right!
28. Life Line Project: Distorted Memories - A highly successful modern symphonic prog album with breathtaking keyboard wizardry.
29. Cephalic Carnage: Misled by Certainty - This shows a bit of a change in Cephalic Carnage's crazy deathgrind sound, but is every bit as good as their previous acclaimed masterpieces.
30. Aborym: Psychogrotesque - Few albums can create as dark an atmosphere as this one here; turn the volume up and the lights off!


John O'Boyle

Best CDs of 2010

1. Manning: Charlestown
2. Agents of Mercy: Dramarama
3. Alisa Coral: All Roads Lead To Amber
4. Alisa Coral The Shadow Creatures
5. The Divine Baze Orchestra: Dead But Dreaming
6. Strangeways: Perfect World
7. Unruly Child: When Worlds Collide
8. Rodrigo San Martin: There's No Way Out
9. Barbara Rubin: Under The Ice
10. Loreweaver: Imperative Auditions
11. Vespero: By The Waters Of Tomorrow
12. Diamanda Galas: You're My Thrill
13. The Swans: My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Stars
14. Sweet Apple: Love & Desperation
15. Phish: At The Roxy
16. Black Country Communion: Black Country Communion
17. Frost*: The Philadelphia Experiment
18. Glass Hammer: If
19. Coheed & Cambria: Year Of The Rainbow
20. Pain Of Salvation: Road Salt One
21. The Grand Astoria: II
22. James Labrie: Static Impulse
23. Gazpacho: Miss Atropis
24. Star FK Radium: Blue Siberia
25. The Re Stoned: Revealed Gravitation
26. Grinderman: 2
27. Abigail Williams: In The Absence Of Light
28. Circle Of Animals: Destroy The Light



Simon Bray

2010 has been, at best, a difficult, at worst awful year for me, most because my mother passed away during it. This has, understandingly, I hope led to music not being the be-all-and-end-all kind of thing that it usually is in my life. Consequently, there are many albums that ordinarily I would have killed for being unpurchased let alone listened to (Stsr One suffering in particular in that respect.) Therefore the following may not be as well considered as I'd have liked and may even be a bit happier than usual but that's what I needed this year.

Top 20 CDs of 2010

1. Freedom Call: Legend of the Shadowking - Insanely happy music. If there's a more fun song than Merlin, I'd kill to hear it. Brilliant live act as well.
2. Therion: Sitra Ahra - Reliably excellent.
3. Manowar: Battle Hymns MMXI - Still fabulous.
4. Firewind: Days of Defiance - Not quite as good as The Premonition but highly satisfactory
5. Bruce Springsteen: The Promise - Springsteen's rejects dwarf most artists' best.
6. Molly Hatchet: Justice - Not really Molly Hatchet but sounding much better than for quite a while.
7. Cradle of Filth: Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa - I'm in the minority in thinking that the Filth have actually got better with age.
8. Blackmore's Night: Autumn Sky - Possibly not quite as good as Secret Voyage but still uniformly excellent expecially the cover of Celluloid Heroes.
9. James LaBrie: Static Impulse - I know some can't get past the extreme vocals but it's good to hear Jimmy on some short songs for once.
10. Avantasia: Angel of Babylon / Avantasia: The Wicked Symphony - both a million times better than the last Edguy albm.
11. Helloween: 7 Sinners - Continuing a late period renaissance for the band.
12. The Reasoning: Adverse Camber - Excellent British prog 1
13. Panic Room: Satellite - Excellent British prog 2
14. Meat Loaf: Hang Cool Teddy Bear - Much better than expected. He should pack it in as a live performer though.
15. FM: Metropolis - Superbly melodic comeback, so much better than their last records before the split.
16. Sabaton: Coat of Arms - Powerful and melodic.
17. Hellyeah: Stampede - Better Man is one of my favourite sings of the year.
18. Peter Frampton: Thank You Mr. Churchill - Class.
19. Equilibrium: Rekreatur - Folk Metal heaven.
20. Tarja: What Lies Beneath - The odd duff track but also featuring the incredible (genius or not?) cover of Still of the Night.

Best Live Gigs

HammerFall/ Dream Evil
Anvil/ Girlschool
Freedom Call
Sabaton/ Alestorm


Mark Johnson


Best CDs of 2010 - Year End Report

1. Edenbridge: Solitaire - The best new find of 2010! Best female vocalist I have heard in a very long time. I just cannot take this one off the CD player. The player is now full of their catalog. Soft and hard mixed perfectly. Best new band of 2010. When it came down to rating, I have listened to this album and their catalog more than any other band this year. Really looking forward to what is next for this band.

2. Anima Mundi: The Way - Wow another great find this year! Like hearing Yes for the first time again. This is what I wanted in a Yes - influenced band. Not a copy, but an original with a similar sound and grounding. Can't wait to hear their next one. It sounds like it will be another epic.

3. Unitopia: Artificial - This is a fantastic album full of inspiration, innovation and light. This band had an excellent 2010 with a celebrated European tour. They have opened the door to stardom and next year will be another big one. Looking forward to more new music from them next year.

4. Kingcrow: Phlegethon - What a year of discovery it has been. I think my new favorite location for music is Italy, with all the friends and bands I have met this year. This band is another of those great bands that can mix hard and soft so well. This album will rock me well into 2011. Looking forward to the next turn on their journey. With the press they're getting this year the story has just begun for this band.

5. The Watch: Planet Earth - Finally took a chance and bought one of their albums this year after hearing and reading so much about them over the years. I am so glad I did too. This is an excellent representation of what early Genesis was trying to achieve and a possible point in the direction of where they may have gone if they had stayed together. A fall favorite. Looking forward to their new album in January 2011.

6. Majestic: Ataraxia - Four of my top six best albums of the year are new bands I found this year, confirming this great year of discovery. This was a great surprise to find near the end of the year. I have two of their back catalog and I have now witnessed the kind of consistency that makes me look forward to their next.

7. Black Crowes: Croweology - If this was all new material it would have had a run for the top. Still one of my favorite blues/rock albums of the year, but it is mostly from the back catalog. Some of the songs do take on a whole new life with this album. Their concert was easily concert of the year. A great way to go out on top…if it really is the end…

8. Black Country Communion: Debut - The debut blues/rock album of the year with some tough competition. Talking with Glenn and finding out most of this album was recorded live in one take was enough to lock up a place in the top ten. Song of Yesterday is just incredible. If they write more of those kinds of songs there will be no reason for them not to be at the top of the hill next year.

9. No Sound: sol29 - Remix - What an excellent revision on this album. Sounds perfect for an album I already enjoyed. Right up there with Unitopia for CD package of the year. The DVD is wonderful.

10. The Black Keys: Brothers - This was a summer favorite. It echoed loud all over the Olympic Peninsula!

11. Steve Hackett: Out of the Tunnel's Mouth - Steve's best in years and the additional tracks on the extended mix lift this high.

12. Karnataka: The Guiding Light - Still one of my favorites of the year. Excellent work. With the band re-organized I am really looking forward to their next.

13. Kaipa: In the Wake of Evolution - The feeling of spring has carried over throughout the year.

14. Ed Kowalczyk: Alive - I feel allot more alive after hearing this album. One of the most inspirational albums of the year.

15. Ruby Hill: New Breed - What a year it has already been for these guys. You should see how far these guys have come in a year.

16. Star One: Victims of the Modern Age - Arjen does it again. The movies he chose are great but the hard edge of this album makes the music some of the best he's produced.

17. Pure Reason Revolution: Hammer and the Anvil - Excellent work. Glad to see this band back in form. One of my favorite English bands.

18. Pineapple Thief: Someone Here Is Missing - I knew this would be good. Most of their albums are, but this one is so complete. Nothing's missing. However, there is allot of tough competition at the top.

19. Gracious Few: Debut - Excellent debut.

20. Steve Miller: Bingo - Again, this is all re-makes of older songs. But Steve and his guests fill these songs full of life again.

21. Fijieri: Endless - Tim and Stefano make this just incredible!

22. Stefano Panunzi: a Rose - Receiving this with Fijieri was such a wonderful surprise!

23. Tangents: One Light Year - In a year full of surprises this one made spring great.

24. Dirty Sweet: American Spiritual - Great find of the first quarter. Looking forward to the next album. With the Crowes callin' it quits this may be the band to fill the void in the future.

25. Tom Petty: Mojo - Excellent work. Glad to see Tom and the boys back.

26. Joe Bonamassa: Black Rock - Definitely going to rank high on new artists of the year for me.

27. Karnivool: Sound Awake - Another real surprise that still gets allot of play.

28. Salem Hill: Pennies in the Karma Jar - An excellent introduction to this band.

29. Mondo Drag: New Rituals - Another great surprise.

30. Alex Carpani: Waterline - Memories of the best of 70s prog!

31. Loreweaver: Imperviae Auditiones - What a wonderful surprise!

32. Barbara Rubin: Under the Ice - Beautiful music.

33. Echo Us: Tomorrow Will Tell the Story - Ethan does it again. Excellent thinking music.

34. Syngularity: More to Say - More great music from Pascal.

35.Agents of Mercy: Dramarama - Finally picked up this and the debut. Great music bringing back the sounds of prog from the past.

36. Sade: Soldier of Love - The couple's album of the year!

37. Midlake: The Courage of Others - Great for a good cold fall/winter day.

38. Tamaryn: The Waves - Another great female vocal with good synth music.

39. Tron: Movie Soundtrack - Excellent synth work and one of the best soundtracks I have head in a while. I usually don't listen to movie soundtracks that often, but this one is so good.

40. No Man: Wild Opera - Another great remix and package.

41. Frozen Ocean: Debut - Excellent acoustic music with a message. Looking forward to more from them next year.

42. Fistful of Mercy: As I Call You Down - Excellent debut for this new side project.

43. The Mission: Dum - Dum Bullet - Great revisions on the back catalog and an introduction to what might be the next step.

44. Robert Plant: Band of Joy - Good, but not enough new material or hard rockers.

45. Rick Miller: Dreamtigers - Looking to purchase more of the back catalog.

46. Glass Hammer: If - Great music, but too similar to Yes.

47. Gazpacho: Missa Atropos - Good music but the competition was much tougher this year than in 2008.

48. Demians: Mute - Good album.

49. The Armada: WOMadelaide - Great live album. Still hoping to get the studio album someday on iTunes.

50. Eric Norlander: The Galactic Collective - Excellent synth and a cool intergalactic symphony.


SUMMARIZED LIST OF THE TOP 50 CDS, FROM ALL OF THE SoT STAFF

1. Orphaned Land: Never Ending Way Of The OrwarriOR
2. Star One: Victims of the Modern Age
3. The Pineapple Thief: Someone Here is Missing
4. Vanden Plas: Seraphic Clockwork
5. Spock's Beard: X
6. Ihsahn: After
7. Anathema: We're Here Because We're Here
8. Black Country Communion: Black Country Communion
9. Frogg Café: Bateless Edge
10. Erik Norlander: The Galactic Collective
11. Agalloch: Marrow of the Spirit
12. Iron Maiden: The Final Frontier
13. Glass Hammer: If
14. Avantasia: Angel Of Babylon / The Wicked Symphony (Box set)
15. Haken: Aquarious
16. James LaBrie: Static Impulse
17. Unitopia: Artificial
18. Agents of Mercy: Dramarama
19. Myrath: Desert Call
20. The Reasoning: Adverse Camber
21. Manning: Charlestown
22. District 97: Hybrid Child
23. From. Uz: Seventh Story
24. Enslaved: Axioma Ethica Odini
25. Nevermore: The Obsidian Conspiracy
26. Pain Of Salvation: Road Salt One
27. Avenged Sevenfold: Nightmare
28. Dimmu Borgir: Abrahadabra
29. Triptykon: Eparistera Daimones
30. Black Label Society: Order Of The Black
31. Kamelot: Poetry For The Poisoned
32. Therion: Sitra Ahra
33. Kingcrow: Phlegethon
34. Persephone's Dream: Pan - An Urban Pastoral
35. Creation's End: A New Beginning
36. David Minasian: Random Acts of Beauty
37. Dean Watson: Unsettled
38. Mob Rules: Radical Peace
39. Panic Room: Satellite
40. Fozzy: Chasing The Grail
41. Immolation: Majesty And Decay
42. K2: Black Garden
43. Overkill: Ironbound
44. Gazpacho: Missa Atropos
45. Jon Oliva's Pain: Festival
46. Eloy: Visionary
47. Accept: Blood Of The Nations
48. Blind Guardian: At The Edge Of Time
49. Mars Hollow: Mars Hollow
50. Demians: Mute




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