Best Music Of 2010: AP

author AP date 20/01/11

As a year draws to an end, it has been our tradition to bring you a comprehensive article outlining the important developments in the world of rock music in the past 12 months. This year the format has undergone a major transformation, however, and instead of presenting you with a wall of text exceeding in length that of an average dissertation, each major contributor has been given free hands to formulate their own article with a sole requirement: it should include a list or lists of some sort.

In thinking how best to structure my article, I decided to leave out a thorough walkthrough in what happened over the course of a year, and instead, focus on the definitive highlights from my perspective. It begins with a personal account recalling my most memorable musical moments from the year that passed. After that, rather than trying your patience and wasting your time, the rest of the article forms a countdown of lists beginning with 30 songs worth listening to from 2010; continues through 20 of the best albums albums, 10 of the most memorable shows that I saw, and 5 of the most awesome video premieres; and ends in revealing my album of the year. Finally, the closing remarks offer insight into the things I look forward to in 2011. I hope I can keep you entertained 'til the end.

Memories of a year passed

For me, 2010 in music can be summed up with two words: gigs and festivals. True there were a number of album releases that not only topped my listening habits on Last.fm, made a genuine impact on the global music industry, and set the bar for stuff to come, but for some reason from my perspective the year felt disappointing in terms of new music. Perhaps I’ve simply been oblivious to it, having spent countless hours and sleepless nights writing my dissertation, but it seems that few of the albums that I relentlessly devoured over the year (and believe me, there were lots) made it past the 8 mark, and even fewer into the prestigious 9’s and beyond. That is to say, while there certainly were lots of solid, worthwhile records coming out, missing were the truly extraordinary modern classics that define not just a year, but a decade in music.

On the gigside, however, I took full advantage of my final semester at Southampton University and attended more shows than was sane or healthy. Many an hour was spent horns up guzzling beer at the iconic Joiners venue, or commuting to and from London, watching local and international bands remind me why I write for this publication, and indeed why I spend so much of my time engulfed in the world of music. In Denmark too, we’ve had one of the best gig years in history with one heavyweight after the other showing up on an almost weekly basis. Let’s hope 2010 was just the beginning.

But the most memorable instance of all was the inaugural Copenhell – the first ever open air metal festival to take place on Danish ground. Despite not selling out, the event was a huge success, not least because the organisation behind the festival managed to book (and replace on very short notice) a star-spangled line-up from all corners of the genre, but also because the atmosphere that 4,000 metal heads united were able to muster up for the weekend was unparalleled by any other festival I have attended (except, obviously, Roskilde Festival). Something tells me that Copenhell, having debuted to such fanfare, is here to stay, and has the potential to grow into proportions akin to Metal Town in Sweden.

Finally, who could forget the many nights spent with the Rockfreaks.net gang and hangarounds, rocking out to our favorite music and getting into all sorts of shenanigans like kicking the Parkway Drive guitarist in the face and nearly driving him to suicide at Groezrock, shattering our editor-in-chief’s wrist in the Dillinger Escape Plan moshpit at Copenhell, and drinking ourselves to oblivion with schnapps at the annual Christmas luncheon. Not to mention the week of mayhem and music that is Roskilde Festival. But I shall bore you no longer with my nostalgia, and give you some fuckin’ lists:

Best Music of 2010: AP's Picks

30 Great Songs

30. Stone Sour – Say You’ll Haunt Me

29. Middle Class Rut – Lifelong Dayshift

28. Smoke Or Fire – Monsters Among Us

27. Audrey Horne – Blaze of Ashes

26. Our Last Night – Elephants

25. Greeley Estates – Jealousy Breeds Killing Sprees

24. Miss May I – Relentless Chaos

23. Hawthorne Heights – End of the Underground

22. The Flatliners – Bleed

21. Your Demise – Miles Away

20. The Swellers – Dirt

19. Bad Religion – Pride and the Pallor

18. Since Yesterday – The Aftermath

17. Letlive – Renegade 86’

16. Four Year Strong – Wasting Time (Eternal Summer)

15. Yersinia – Det Vi Gav Till Havet

14. Devil Sold His Soul – Truth Has Come

13. The Dillinger Escape Plan – Farewell, Mona Lisa

12. Norma Jean – Leaderless and Self Enlisted

11. As I Lay Dying – Parallels

10. Periphery – Icarus Lives

9. Rinoa – Sol Winds

8. Bring Me The Horizon – It Never Ends

7. Meleeh – Trauma

6. The Chariot – David de la Hoz

5. Off With Their Heads – Trying to Breathe

4. The Damned Things – We’ve Got a Situation Here

3. Monster Magnet – Bored With Sorcery

2. Kvelertak – Blodtørst

1. Comeback Kid – G.M. Vincent & I

20 Rocking Albums

21. The Swellers – Ups And Downsizing

Before you go on yelling this shit came out two years ago (hence the song title “2009”), indulge yourself in some of the most appetizing melodic punk rock to have existed since Millencolin – who, by the way, are heroes to these guys. And actually, the European release for this infectious melancholy did not come until the second quartile of 2010, so there. They may have toned down the technical riffs since “My Everest” and added focus on a radio rock drive, but if songs like “Dirt”, “Do You Feel Better Yet?” and “Fire Away” don’t have you singing along in no time, chances are you are deaf or simply a cold, miserable bastard.

20. The Flatliners – Cavalcade

“Cavalcade” was one of the latest additions to this list, inspired rather unashamedly by its appearance in the corresponding article by our editor-in-chief, but the dozen spins it received in the final week leading up to the new year more than justified its inclusion here. This raw, unpolished punk rock is as unspoiled as they come, rammed with easily digestible, memorable songs. Some of the year’s biggest choruses on this.

19. The Ghost Inside – Returners

Bringing a significant reduction in breakdowns and chug, “Returners” turned out to be most surprising. Gone is the excessive hardcore puritania and pit-centered songwriting of previous releases; in their place is a rapturous sense of ambition distilled into intense melody and heartfelt urgency. Ignore the remnants of their past scattered here and there on this album, The Ghost Inside have seen the torch borne by Comeback Kid and intend to follow suite.

18. Greeley Estates – No Rain, No Rainbow

Have you ever found yourself slamming the palm of your hand against your forehead multiple times at the phrase “oh my god” explored so rigidly in modern metalcore? Me too. But when Ryan Zimmerman screams it on “No Rain, No Rainbow”, I’m more concerned with looking over my shoulder to make sure he isn’t standing there with a butcher knife and an expression of bloodthirst on his face. Greeley Estates are pioneering a brand of metalcore designed for scares, and the terror looming beneath this release is as haunting as it is dubious.

17. Since Yesterday – The Artificial Truth

Who knew that one of the best metalcore releases this year would arrive from Turkey? Since Yesterday have studied the British and American scene for years and done their homework, outperforming most of their idols on this one. Featuring a wealth of instrumental prowess and lyrical glue, this is metalcore the way it was meant to be played, shaken with a twist of Daron Malakian and hardcore punk vocals.

16. Haste The Day – Attack Of The Wolf King

Once painfully average, Haste the Day did the unexpected – twice: first released this exemplary piece of metalcore and then decided to call it quits amidst financial woes. Shame on all ye who downloaded their music instead of buying it on tour. At least they went out in style and set the bar for future hopefuls in the process, showing that ambition and dedication can take you far into distinction.

15. Bring Me The Horizon – There Is A Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There Is A Heaven, Let’s Keep It A Secret

Battling his personal demons this time around, Oli Sykes has grown up from his urinary days and composed the album no one expected of them. It might lack the immediacy of their masterpiece “Suicide Season”, but where it lacks in instant memorabilia it makes up in a long album title, chamber choir, orchestral instrumentation, numerous guest spots and songs that, to put it simply, rip. Complex song structures and flamboyant guitar antics were never their thing, but once you get used to the brutish approach beneath the grandiose production effects, “There Is a Hell…” contains some of the year’s most memorable moments (see “It Never Ends” and “Fuck”).

14. The Ocean – Heliocentric

Did Loic Rossetti know what he was signing up for when he entered The Ocean as their new vocalist during the recording process of their two-part critique and analysis of the origin of species, religion and celestial bodies? Whether or not he did, his presence is an important influence on “Heliocentric”, which sees the band shifting from its past aggressive tendencies to a lusher, textured soundscape. No longer shadowing Isis and Neurosis, The Ocean discover their own strength at last in grandiose arrangements flushed with strings and piano, blending jarringly beautiful operatic elements and folk tendencies with resilient melodies and repressed hostility. Those on the lookout for music that provokes thought, sink your claws in this.

13. The Chariot – Long Live

Sounding like an afterthought to their explosive live sets, The Chariot deliver their live experience through your speakers through ten brand new tracks of triumphant chaos translating the physical violence and manic passion of a Chariot show to record like no other album in the band’s repertoire. Songs like "The Audience", "The City", "Andy Sundwall" and "The Earth" are so unforgivingly furious; their dynamics so jagged; and Josh Scogin's psychotic inhales and exhales so charged, that one fears KC Wolf will put his bass guitar through your window any minute and dangle from your living room light rig, slamming your chest with a pair of your rib bones like a tom-tom.

12. The Damned Things – Ironiclast

No one knew what to expect from this strange concoction of personalities, but “Ironiclast” delivers, and then some. Imagine the instant, sugary catchiness of Fall Out Boy and the virtuosity of Anthrax meeting the charismatic, blues influenced vocals of Every Time I Die, and then think about this in the context of Thin Lizzy. “Ironiclast” sounds far better than the sum of its parts: its all-star members combine to form a voltron of moderately hard rock with pop sensibilities that’ll drive your roommates to despair when you recall them during your morning shower.

11. Meleeh – To Live And Die Alone

No doubt the barren nature and cold winters of Sweden fueled this piece of traumatic hardcore. “To Live and Die Alone” is a blistering piece of hardcore the way it should be played: intense and bitterly political, but also tender and sore. Meleeh have kept chugging and mosh-mongering at bay and replaced these typical hardcore traits with a devastating atmosphere awash with darkened melody and heart wrenching rhetoric.

10. Off With Their Heads – In Desolation

“In Desolation” is the most quintessentially punk album on this list. It is anthemic, rowdy and raw, relying on brief bursts of drunken lullabies and party starters. Lead by vocals that sound like the result of decades under the influence, you must be clinically depressed if songs like “Drive” and “Trying to Breathe” don’t improve your mood by a significant margin – even if your mood is already awesome.

9. Deftones – Diamond Eyes

Following Chi Cheng's tragic accident, the future of Deftones was at stake. But in sorrow the band found unity, postponed indefinitely the release of what was to be their newest album, "Eros", and went into studio to record their finest album since "White Pony". Heavier than an anvil, "Diamond Eyes" is a powerful return from a dark period ridden with drug abuse and personal struggles. The grit, the hooks, the textures... everything about the album exudes power.

8. Monster Magnet – Mastermind

Imagine the drowsy groove of Alice In Chains meeting the chutzpah of Iggy & The Stooges. Now take the overblown fixation on solos of classic rock bands like Deep Purple, and fire the concoction into orbit on a rusty space rocket. This is what "Mastermind" sounds like: classic metallic stoner space rock of such overstated confidence, quirky attitude and instrumental flamboyance that playing it live requires an explicitly large reservoir of smug condescension (à la something like this).

7. Yersinia – Efter Oss Syndafloden

"Efter Oss Syndafloden" is violent, inventive and filled with unbridled vitriol. It sounds as heavy as a planet exploding, with riffs sharp enough to shatter concrete, and if their fire and brimstone approach doesn't scare off the neon kids hyping Attack Attack! in your face, chances are Mattis Erngren and his band of murderers will do the job in person; just make the phone call. Seriously, the monumentally brutal grind that Yersinia throws at you along with chunks of Erngren's mutilated throat, tempered only by the band's ventures into ominous melodies, provides a bigger adrenaline rush than jumping off a cliff.

6. Norma Jean – Meridional

Lapsing back to the golden sound of “Redeemer”, “Meridional” wipes the slate clean for Norma Jean. Sure it has its share of anthemic choruses to ground the chaos, but the band’s defining characteristic remains their appetite for gratuitous fury. Dizzying time signatures meet massive sing-alongs in an album written to perfection. Norma Jean continue to defy the, ahem, norms and being one of the most innovative metalcore bands around.

5. The Dillinger Escape Plan – Option Paralysis

Rewind a couple of years and The Dillinger Escape Plan’s future was in serious doubt. Battling debt, injuries and opposition from the industry, throwing in the towel seemed inevitable. Then, of course, this glorious slab of unimpeachable excellence lands like an overdose of “fuck you” and reinstates the band as a genuine alternative to absolutely everything.

4. Devil Sold His Soul – Blessed & Cursed

Cooking in the British underground for a while now, Devil Sold His Soul finally released their defining album. Seldom can the word optimism be mentioned in the context of metal, but “Blessed & Cursed” awakens feelings altogether positive and soothing – and that’s in thundering compositions that trudge along at a snailing tempo not unlike doom. Mastering explosive crescendos and screams, this one is an absolute mammoth designed for the demanding, patient listener.

3. Rinoa – An Age Among Them

Sadly the time Rinoa spent with us was the briefest of stints, but what came out of the band’s short lived existence was difficult to capture with words. There is no superlative powerful enough to describe how epic this album is, nor how different its uplifting and cinematic atmospheres are to anything produced by the post metal genre before. “An Age Among Them” is the ultimate catharsis; violent, beautiful and full of emotion, it is one of the most important contemporary albums to come out of the United Kingdom. In simplicity, Rinoa find the most complex of emotions and deliver them with relentless abandon.

2. Comeback Kid – Symptoms + Cures

The sorrow of Comeback Kid fans longing for the Scott Wade days was surely forgotten when Comeback Kid unleashed this monster. Not only is “Symptoms + Cures” the album of their career, it is also one of the best hardcore albums of all time. Intense and emotional, there isn’t one song here that won’t make you go whoa with its astonishing fusion of signature aggression and melodic despair. Next time someone is about to mug you, ask them to wait two minutes while you slam “Do Yourself a Favor” in your headphones, and use the resulting outpour of adrenaline to square up – you’ll be so utterly pissed off that you’ll destroy the thieving bastard.

10 Memorable Shows

10. Warbringer at The Rock, Copenhagen, DK

Having only heard of Warbringer by name, the youthful vibe, relentless energy and varied songs took me by surprise and managed to render the headlining band largely irrelevant. It was rewarding to finally see a thrash metal band not conforming to some strict, unspoken rules; not taking the music too seriously; and giving it 110% on stage instead of static postures and severe expressions.

9. Blink 182 at Trabrennbahn, Hamburg, DE

Seeing Blink 182 live was a dream that stretched back to my teenage years, so when the opportunity presented itself, there was no train ticket too expensive and no forecast rain storm too offputting to constrain my excitement. Though not as humorous as NOFX, Blink 182 found an excellent balance between comedy and delivering the best they got banked by trees lit in red, green and yellow in honour of the band's classic logo. Not the best show by any means, but nonetheless one that satisfied my long-standing curiosity.

8. Riverboat Gamblers at Amager Bio, Copenhagen, DK

Before Sum 41 royally fucked my optimism about actually playing some songs this time, Riverboat Gamblers set the bar high at this year's Eastpak Antidote tour. Lead by a charismatic, meak, formally dressed vocalist reminiscent of Ian Watkins, the band offered song after song of infectious melodies, choral memorabilia and collective showmanship. Based on this show, the Riverboat Gamblers became a serious contender in my (admittedly rather limited) best of punk rock library.

7. Kvelertak at BETA, Copenhagen, DK

My live debut with Kvelertak came with huge expectations. Ones, which the band effortlessly met in the confines of shit island's finest venue. It was a punk show, a black metal show, and a rock show distilled into half an hour of power curated by an even more enraged Erlend Hjelvik than I had imagined. The band thrives on being able to lob their music right in your face, feeding off crowd intensity to fuel their blodtørst, and as such, they are not unlike Converge when it comes to entertaining a frenzied, tight knit audience. If this is what the band can pull off as a supporting act, what are they like when headlining?

6. Halestorm at KB Hallen, Copenhagen, DK

Another band for whom I had no expectations was the female-fronted hard rock band Halestorm, signed as the opening act on the annual Taste of Chaos tour. Despite resting solely on the charisma and vocal range of Lizzy Hale and the beat-it-like-you-mean-it attitude of her brother, drummer Arejay Hale, the show was of undeniable quality. Armed with a small drumkit with very big sticks, the latter had a level of energy and a sense of humor that instantly endeared the audience, while the former's ability to deliver both chilling ballads and raucous rock n' roll tracks with a badass femme fatale attitude eclipsed both of the headlining nu-metal bands also on the bill.

5. Moneen at Joiners, Southampton, UK

Moneen master not only the art of quiet/loud dynamics, but also crafting a show that adheres to it. At times serene and sincere, the band's unexpected bursts of frenzy on stage are timed to perfection, happening in meticulous coordination with explosions of noise scattered in their songs. I remember being impressed with this already in Hamburg, where the band supported Emery, but the miniscule Joiners pushed the band's show to another level, and allowed them to be more intimate and, thanks to a stage not restricted by pillars, go more berserk when they needed to. With this show Moneen earned a place among my alltime favourite live bands.

4. Deaf Havana at Joiners, Southampton, UK

Deaf Havana, too, was a band that caught my attention in Hamburg, supporting Emery. Only back then, their potential was hindered by a lackluster screaming frontman poisoning the band's chemistry. A few months later Deaf Havana appeared on stage without him as a band reborn; more comfortable with each other. And with guitarist/vocalist James Veck-Gilodi now handling lead vocal duties, gone was the subpar screaming; in its place a range of some of the finest clean vocals I have ever heard. The old songs have never sounded better than in their revised, purely melodic format, and with a performance not unlike that of Moneen's, this was a show that imprinted itself in my permanent memory.

3. Death Angel at Amager Bio, Copenhagen, DK

Over time I have learned not to expect much in the way of energy when it comes to bands of a thrash metal disposition. But Death Angel, as part of the Thrashfest 2010 tour headlined by Kreator, reversed my position on this. Not since Warbringer had I witnessed a band sworn to the genre performing with animated conviction and stamina, making this set not only one of the most memorable, but also one of the best, shows I saw during the year. That the band's repertoire also showcased a band that dares to bend and break the fastidious rules of the genre certainly didn't hurt this impression, either.

2. The Psyke Project at Stengade, Copenhagen, DK

Having watched the crowned kings of Danish metal many a time in the past, I had grown accustomed to expecting tight performances by them. But armed with their best setlist so far, featuring two previously unreleased demo songs among others, The Psyke Project were more confrontational, psychotic and violent than ever before at the relaunched venue Stengade. Today a large scar on my shin reminds me of the frenzy that night, courtesy of indisputably the best live band this country has to offer.

1. The Chariot at Joiners, Southampton, UK

When it comes to live performances, it was almost a given that The Chariot would appear somewhere on a list of memorable shows, and probably as number one. But what other band can claim to have hung from the ceiling, ridden on a crowd member's shoulders, wrenched a bass string, thrown a drumkit into the crowd and flung around like a pack of loonies with no relent, in the space of less than one hour? It says something that I took one of my friends, whose genre of preference is classical music/opera, with me, and she watched intently throughout and praised this show to the skies after.

5 Awesome Videos

5. Foxy Shazam - Oh Lord

Foxy Shazam are a pretty strange band, so the incredible campness and overall absurdity of this video should not come as a shock. In it Foxy Shazam have managed to exploit every bit of cliché, corniness and cheese often observed on music videos and turn the whole thing into a sparkling farce. Buth with this all a conscious decision, it's hard not to smile at Schuyler White playing a withering Flugel upside down, the tacky cheerleaders dancing about, or the sexual innuendos of vocalist Eric Nally's demenor:

4. Kvelertak - Mjød

Made with a small budget, this music video for alcohaulin' single "Mjød" distills the very essence of Kvelertak into just under three minutes. It begins like a textbook punk video with a twist: Kvelertak are performing live inside a cage that separates them from a bewildered audience. It continues in this manner for a while before disturbing R-rated sequences of corpses hung from trees and a lone person devouring their viscera begin flashing. Then the live show transforms into voluptuous violence in which crowd members brutally beat and murder each other until Kvelertak, still caged in, are performing to a floorful of dead bodies. A simple but effective amalgamation of everything Kvelertak:

3. Billy Boy in Poison - Contaminated

Most readers are probably not even familiar with BBiP, who have just three self-released EPs in their bag. But as the jesters that they are, it was hardly a surprise that the band's first ever music video would be ripe with signature Danish irony and dark humour. Taking stabs at a genre they openly hold in reverence, the video is a tear-inducingly funny spoof of black metal featuring band members Bjørn Hjorhöy, Alexander Mortensen, Niclas Mortensen, Troels Lehmann and Mikkel Larsen slabbed in corpse paint, interacting with farm animals and performing with nature's own instruments... among other things:

2. The Damned Things - We've Got a Situation Here

Guitars shooting lasers, cartoon strips and cheesy rock n' roll attitude makes this video the perfect companion for this classic hard rock anthem. With the easygoing swagger of this supergroup it was a given their videos would be no different. If exploding old ladies, superheroes and cock jokes tickle your humor, then this is the video for you:

1. The Chariot - David de la Hoz

Allegations of favoritism are inevitable with this Georgian noise tornado featured on every list in this article, but next to all the generic videos of metal bands playing in abandoned warehouses, and of the few that dared to be different, The Chariot's video for "David de la Hoz" deserves the pole position. Truly unique in its storyboard, it reflects the band's recording process and musical versatility in a way that is creative beyond anything else this year. It is essentially a tour through The Chariot's studio during the intense live take of the song "David de la Hoz", featuring the band and all the guest musicians involved simultaneously recording their parts in adjacent rooms of the building, but the most mindblowing part is that the band members race between these rooms mid-song changing instruments and recording various parts of the song in different rooms - with the process never paused! See for yourself:

1 Album of the Year

Kvelertak - Kvelertak

Never before has a Norwegian underground band risen to such stardom so fast as Kvelertak with their eponymous debut album. Simple on the surface, it's the most rock n' roll thing you'll hear all year. It's the brainchild of six average Norwegians going "we like black metal; we like punk rock; and we like rock n' roll. Why not mix it all?" and unwittingly revolutionizing music as we know it. Its lyrics are penned in the band's native tongue, and never has the prospect of learning a foreign language felt so awesome. There's just something immeasurably cool about singing along about Satan, Norse mythology and folklore twisted into rowdy bender anthems, with the round r's and hard consonants of the Norwegian language. And there's something equally irresistible about murderous black metal shrieks laid on top of melodies that would sound relevant on Foo Fighters and Darkthrone records alike. No surprise that with three guitarists' worth of six-string power, this band is as heavy and multifarious as they come - a fact unusually picked up on by the mainstream, too. Kvelertak are nominated for the Nordic Music Prize alongside popular artists like Efterklang, First Aid Kit and Robyn, and why shouldn't they be? This self-titled beast is absolutely the best album released in 2010.

Closing Remarks: The Year to Come

I thought that a fine way to conclude an article chronicling a year in music would be to look at the year to come, and what it brings. As release dates and touring schedules have begun pouring in, I have been able to outline some of the major releases, events and milestones that I personally look forward to in the coming year. In the near future I will post a more comprehensive overview of upcoming music in 2011, but for now the following summary should suffice:

Right off the bat, the big guns: Blink 182, Bright Eyes, Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers and R.E.M are all plotting to dish new records out - and where there is new music, there is touring, which means that within the next year or two we'll be wetting our pants, punishing our bank accounts and defying the exams looming ahead in the nation's largest venues. In the mid tier there's even more to look forward to, with some of my all time favorite bands and scene legends vowing to release new albums. Death Cab For Cutie, Dropkick Murphys, The Gaslight Anthem, Glassjaw, Rise Against, Rival Schools, Saves the Day, Thrice, Thursday and Yellowcard are all hard at work (in some cases in post-production) writing brand new material with a quality guarantee. The smallish bands, popular in some circles but too obscure or extreme for the mainstream, too, are cooking up fresh broth. Amon Amarth, Architects, Bayside, Children of Bodom, Darkest Hour, Defeater, D.R.U.G.S., Emery, Every Time I Die, Protest the Hero, Turisas and many more still to be confirmed are signed to finish and sell their new albums this year.

My gig schedule is already busy as ever, with an average of three gigs per week planned for the next three months, and next to old favorites making returns and comebacks, it is the youngsters, up-and-comers and acclaimed underground icons that I look forward to the most. To mention a few: Kvelertak, The Blue Van, Melechesh, New Discolour, The Joy Formidable, Black City, Puppet Arms, Rival Schools, The Haunted, Cold Night For Alligators, Gaza, Narrows and Kamelot will all disrupt my studying in the coming months.

But above all, 2011 brings the first ever official Rockfreaks.net package trip to Groezrock in Belgium. The equivalent of Warped Tour in Europe, the line-up the bookers there have managed to throw together is nothing short of a punk/rock/hardcore/scene music dream come true. We've been at the festival two years in a row now, and thought we'd go all out this year, rent a double decker bus and transport 40 of our readers over there with us. This will be the punk rock party of the year - on wheels. Look forward to loudspeaker abuse, booming bass all the way, and the who's who of punk and hardcore putting on one awesome show after the other.

Finally, the second ever Copenhell is not to be missed. The festival has already confirmed a heart-wrenching farewell concert by Judas Priest, as well as performances by the blackest of the black, the notorious Mayhem, and Norway's current musical export number one (if you ask me...), Kvelertak. Judging from last year's star-spangled billing, there should be plenty more where that came from, so keep an eye on the festival's Facebook page for updates.

2011, bring it on. AP

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