Albums of 2010: 10-1

It’s time to complete the countdown of DoesItRock.nets favourite albums of 2010…

10) Volbeat – Beyond Hell/Above Heaven

Volbeat are absolutely adept at churning out those huge chorus’s you wished all stadium rock bands could write. They could easily out Jovi the Bon, take the Iron to the Maiden, and shoot down the Foo’s with such a polished set of outstanding soaring rock tracks as collated on Beyond Hell/Above Heaven. If Metallica were born in, started life as a rockabilly band who decided to write an album full of Enter Sandman’s you’ll get close to the latest offering from Volbeat. A stunning set of exuberant heavy metal tunes destined for huge crowds!

9) Danko Jones – Below The Belt

This hardworking, hard rocking trio from Canada have been plying their big guitar fuelled, booze soaked punk leaning, classic rock inspired party for many years now. This is their X release and it is a barnstorming riot of riffs, big dumb rock ‘n’ roll lyrics and glorious melodies. Although they have veered closer to the mainstream before with many tunes being unfound rock radio classics, this is no bad thing for a band who have yet to accept they are damn good at writing them. When they channel their unhinged love for rock and metal into a killer melody, there really isn’t a better band on the planet right now. If you don’t mind big macho lyrics, bigger guitars and huge rock soul, Below The Belt is for you!

8) The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster – Blood & Fire

“The sound of a blues nightmare running wild, waking up the neighbourhood using a Marshall powered megaphone”, is how best to describe 80’s Matchbox B-Line Disasters sound on their latest album. Being away for a while has clearly put fire in their bellies as they come romping straight at the jugular from the very start of Blood & Fire. The pace very rarely relents and their blues rock factory, churns out fuzzed up riffs with Chinese manufacturing efficiency. A blazing album from start to finish!

7) Kvelertak – Kvelertak

Norwegian Black Metal anyone? Given this tagline I was very tentative about listening to this but I’m so glad I did. Sung in their native tongue none of the lyrics make sense, but neither does most metal sung in English! The sound is more akin to Motorhead than Mayhem with the driving speed of hardcore punk with some technically stunning guitars and emphasis on melodic hooks big enough to land Moby Dick. There are so many riffs packed into each song it is a blizzard of high intensity Scandinavian power coming straight through the speakers. Definitely the hardest hitting album on our countdown. So if you fancy getting knocked over by a thrilling lesson in all out rock and roll, check out the blazing Kvelertak.

6) Fang Island – Fang Island

This self titled album from this arty indie band is a work of unrelenting happiness, exquisite harmonies and storming guitars. Fang Island have managed to fuse so many different influences and still come out with a coherent and ecstatic album packed with mainly instrumental works of genius. Their sound is the most eclectic on the countdown by far, which collates such intensity of exuberant melodies and gang vocals that it’s hard not to love. Sure the lack of vocals could be off-putting, but with a heavily effect driven triple guitar attack tutored at the Thin Lizzy school of soloing, it is as good and different an indie rock guitar album you are ever likely to hear!

5) Birds of Tokyo – Birds of Tokyo

Birds of Tokyo are alternative rock heavyweights from Australia who were formed in collaboration with Prog giants Karnivool. Their latest self titled album is their most poppy but also is the most consistent. Loaded with great lyrics and a progressive rock feel to many pop tracks, grandeur and awe is never far away. Vocals are just perfect, never overbearing but soulful and beautiful throughout. It is hard not to enjoy such a sweepingly brilliant album which flows from soaring piano melodies to big rock chords with ease. A superb album from one of Australia’s best bands.

4) Superchunk – Majesty Shredding

Superchunk’s hugely overlooked comeback album after a 9 year hiatus was one of the most fun, playful and enjoyable albums of the year. Despite the bands years, this album still sounds youthful and full of wide eyed adolescent energy. Lyrics on Majesty Shredding are equally as jovial as their bouncable up-tempo tunes which are weighed down by innumerable cracking vocal harmonies, guitars are never overbearing but always fit the mood perfectly. A consistently great record full of many high points, a welcome return from Superchunk.

3) Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

A token entry for an indie-pop album in a rock/metal list, The Suburbs swayed wistfully into contention with it’s fancy lyrics and breezy pace set by the yellow jackets of Modern Man, Rococo, City With No Children, Suburban War, Wasted Hours, while occasionally sprinting off with punk-song Month of May when some of the other songs weren’t looking. In a year they headlined the main stage at Reading and Leeds Festivals, surely they can’t carry on fooling people into thinking they are an indie band anymore and not the full-blown pop monster we know they really are. To be honest, you’ve probably spat your coffee out and are trying to clean up your keyboard after seeing Arcade Fire appear in the same list as Volbeat and Kvelertak, so it’s probably best you just move along and pretend this didn’t happen – MF.

2) Pulled Apart By Horses – Pulled Apart By Horses

A debut album reached #2 on the countdown with this offering from Leeds Alt-Metal saviours PABH. They play loud and hard, fast and tight, shouty and noisy, each element combining to form superb rock and roll. While they have gathered their reputation from their blistering live shows (one of which blew us away at Camden Crawl), their debut LP is almost as intense an experience full of energy and potency from the first spin. Yet despite their raging noise rock, they are surprisingly accessible (I even spotted a track on Radio 1). Vocals have a clean nature to them despite veering into venomous howls on occasion and the barrage of guitars are slow and big enough for the Sabbath fans. The quality here is impeccable and with barely a dud in there this makes PABH our runner-up of 2010.

1) Foxy Shazam – Foxy Shazam

It was a suprise selection at number 1 this year, but put simply Foxy Shazam’s third album is a totally unique and uplifting pop record which swings from glamtastic Darkness-esque guitar genius to queen-like pop magnificence with bundles of catchy melodies, rousing chorus’ and alternative rock eclectic-ness. The strength of the album is in its consistency. It really is packed with great pop tunes which collectively flow like the soundtrack to the greatest party you haven’t been to. Seriously underrated and overlooked, Foxy Shazam’s screwball tunes are always infectious, never dull and  retain the ability to showcase the crazier side of life…one which their explosive live shows exhibits perfectly. I have returned to this time and time again, it hasn’t yet failed to raise the spirits!

Roll on 2011!

Honerable Metions: Voodoo Johnson – 10,000 Days, Wolf Parade – Expo 86, FACT – In The Blink of an Eye,

Click here for the top 25 as a Spotify Paylist >> DoesItRock Albums of 2010

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