Sunday, December 26, 2010

Top Records of 2010

These records immeditatley stood out as my favorites over the past twelve months:

- Ash Pool, For He Who Plies the Lash CD/LP (Hospital)
- The Bastard Noise, A Culture of Monsters CD/LP (Deep Six)
- The Bastard Noise/The Endless Blockade, The Red List CD/LP (Deep Six/20 Buck Spin)
- Double Negative, DayDreamNation LP (Sorry State)
- Innumerable Forms, Dark Worship 7” (Hell Massacre)
- Pollution, Smut LP (c6 Recordings)
- Slaughter Strike, At Life’s End 12” (Cyclopean)
- Swans, My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky CD/LP (Young God)
- Unearthly Trance/The Endless Blockade – Split 12" (Chrome Peeler)
- Vegas Martyrs, Vancouver’s Missing Women CS (Hospital)

Also Noteworthy:
- Joshua Norton Cabal, Between Two Fires CS (Swim Harder)
- Rotten Sound, Scum CD+DVD/12” (Relapse)
- Slices, Cruisin’ LP (Iron Lung)
- Society Nurse, Society Nurse 7” (Iron Lung)
- Trap Them, Filth Rations 12”/CD/CS (Southern Lord, Quarantine House)
- Unearthly Trance, V (Relapse)
- Weekend Nachos, Bleed 12” EP (Relapse)

I had been looking forward to hearing some of these albums before their release, some hit me by surprise. Among the latter I"d say the Pollution LP (and their Drugs EP before it) was easily one of the best hardcore releases in recent memory.

Though Unearthly Trance (the NY doom outfit which gave birth to Pollution as a side-project) have been on my radar for a number of years already, I only really got into them after hearing their side of the split with The Endless Blockade and enjoyed their fifth full length pretty immensely, (even if it was on Relapse.) Same with the Weekend Nachos 12", though it was much more of a departure from the bands' usual fare (the band shifted from powerviolence influenced hardcore to Grief worship with more finesse than I could have possibly imagined, especially with a name like theirs.)

This fall I snagged a batch of cassettes for my distro from Hospital Productions, all of which were great, but the Vegas Martyrs cassette blew away what little material I'd previously heard from them and stood out as an immediate favorite among the lot. In a similar fashion the Innumerable Forms 7" (Justin/DFJ from Mind Eraser and pretty much every other band ever) was an unexpected rager. I had enjoyed the Deth Warr (Chris from Mind Eraser/Painkiller) demo when it came out, and expected something similar here (an overt hommage to Terrorizer, Repulsion, and early Napalm Death,) but Dark Worship shows more depth than 99% of the metal bands currently helmed by reformed hardcore kids (a FAR cry better than the shallow/uninspired attempts at metal by Nails, Black Breath, etc.) The I.F. 7" offers three tracks of largely Swedish influenced death in the vein of Crematory, Unleashed, Grave, Autsopsy, and Incantation. In a more directly Dismember and Clanestine-focused manner, Slaughter Strike's At Life's End 12" was also excellent beyond expectation, though I was less surprised (and no less impressed) having known the background of their members. Very much looking forward to hearing new material from both in 2011.

It should also be said that Swans' "comeback" album was worlds better than I thought it would be, and Gira & Co. easily pulled off the #1 spot for the best set I saw this year. Though I'm getting out less and less over the years, I also caught sets that still stand out by Moutheater, Druglord, Cough, Double Negative, and Ocean this year.

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