Best Music Of 2010: PP

author PP date 08/12/10

Last year, our retrospective article on everything music anno 2009 focused on a combination of two styles: a collection of each staff member's favorite five albums of the year, and an insanely long genre-by-genre walkthrough of everything and anything of importance that took place during the year, including the mention of every significant release we could think of. It was a great read - I've just re-read it myself - with a lot of interesting ancedotes and points of view of the music industry at large, but in all honesty only the fewest could endure reading through all of it. After all, we're talking about a wall of text longer than my 10,000 word university dissertation, 36 single-spaced pages according to Microsoft word. It's unrealistic to assume that even when given enough time, not even the most avid fan of music would suffer through a text that long. That's why we've decided to go with an entirely different approach this year, dividing the article over several weeks and several writers instead. Each writer has been given a task to come up with a feature-length, unique article of their choosing, the only restriction being it must contain a "top/favorite" list of albums from 2010, and that it should fit underneath the umbrella term "Best music in 2010". Of course, we'll come up with a wrap-up article in the end, but this is a great way for you readers to gain an overview of what we thought were the best things in muisc in the past twelve months.

Here's where the individual part of my - PP's, the editor-in-chief or 'boss' of the magazine - article begins. I've probably listened and gone through more albums than anyone else in the staff this year, in literally all genres, be it grindcore, pop punk, indie rock, alternative rock or scene music. If there's one thing I've learned over the years, it's that there is great music to be found in every single genre. You just have to comb through a shitload of crap before you'll find the gems. Below, just a few short sentences away, you'll have my picks as the best albums from 2010. The list is of course a biased opinion, but these are the albums from 2010 that I'll take with me to future years to come. Albums, that given three or four years distance, I'll still be listening to and thinking out loud "damn that's some fan-fucking-tastic stuff right there", especially all of those in the top10-15 of my list below. If someone comes up to me and asks: "so can you recommend me some great albums from this year?", I wouldn't hesitate to pick any of the albums below to recommend - regardless of genre. Because when it comes to great music, the genre is completely irrelevant. A passionate fan of music will detect if something is good, even if it is disconnected from one's own personal preferences. And so I came up with the following records - 31 to be precise - that I'd recommend every soul reading this magazine to check out. If you're feeling lazy, go for the top 10 first, and once you've realized how great each of these records are, I've no doubt you'll be exploring further down the list. Do remember, however, to give each record a chance - with great albums it sometimes takes time before they unfold to the listener.

Best Music of 2010 - Petteri Pertola (PP)'s picks

1. Comeback Kid - Symptoms + Cures

Comeback Kid have not only released their career best album to date, but they've also released the best hardcore album of the last five years. This record is as intense as they come, the ferocity of the bone-crushing hardcore songs is undeniable, and the melodic hardcore pieces are astonishing displays of melody meets breakneck tempo and aggressive gang-shouts. You'll likely never find a hardcore song as catchy as "G.M Vincent & I" that maintains the style's original fury and honesty fully and uncompromisingly. It's a monumental song that is my candidate for the best song of 2010, and it's only one of many on an album that only has, without exaggeration, amazing and mind-blowingly good hardcore and melodic hardcore songs. If there's one album you'll check out from 2010 based on my recommendation, make for god's sake sure it's this one.

2. Motion City Soundtrack - My Dinosaur Life

I called it out already in January, Motion City Soundtrack's fourth album "My Dinosaur Life" was going to end up on countless top 3 lists this year, and not without reason. Like the Comeback Kid effort above, this album is also the best one these guys have written yet. It's a more mature record, but simultaneously it's their most light-hearted and most accessible. Best part about it is that despite containing an ultra pop-explosion on every track, the band has kept their feet firmly on the ground, producing a tight, convincing, and stupendously catchy record that's filled with so many hit singles they might as well not release anything but singles from this record for the next three or four years or so. You have the monster catchy "Pulp Fiction", the quintessential MCS synth-pop track "I Disappear" with beautiful clean vocals (the best Pierre has delivered yet), and a ton of other tracks that spell the word fresh and original at every turn and corner. A must have album for any pop punk fan.

3. Norma Jean - Meridional

Dark and atmospheric, but yet painful and emotionally charged, "Meridional" has all the same qualities as the band's unquestionable masterpiece "Redeemer". Their previous record "Anti-Mother" was good, but lacked the same sort of tormented clean scream as Cory delivered on "Redeemer" and that has returned here to its fullest extent, forming a devastating, but strangely melodic metalcore soundscape that underlines just how unique and original Norma Jean are as a band for the time being. Can you name another band that sounds like this - and sounds this good at the same time? I didn't think so. If you're yet to hop on the Norma Jean bandwagon, this is an exceptional starting point, a melancholic, painstakingly delivered metalcore album that's working part time in the 'art' department.

4. Caleb Lionheart - Climbing Up The Mountain, Just For The View EP

From out of nowhere, a tiny band called Caleb Lionheart blew my mind with some of the most frantic, technically superior, insanely catchy pop punk you'll come across. They occasionally attempt to break speed records in pop punk, but do so with technical riffs, complex leads that ridicule the notion that punk bands can't actually play their instruments. Not just that, but these guys are masters at writing, I tell you, unforgettable choruses that are sung with uncontested passion. "Make Believe" is another candidate for the song of the year, but "Coney Island" comes pretty damn close. Had there been 10 tracks like this instead of just four, an EP's worth, we'd have the best pop punk album of the decade in our hands. For now, the best pop punk EP in four, maybe five years.

5. Fear Factory - Mechanize

The densest unit in metal reunited with original songwriter Dino Cazares, and wrote their best album since the 90s classics. This is a crushing, punishing industrial metal record that has a mechanical production feel on purpose, so the triggered drums and the ear-splitting screams give maximum damage to the listener. But the key aspect that makes "Mechanize" so fantastic is songs like "Final Exit", "Powerslave", and "Industrial Discipline", where the band borrows just enough from clean nu-metal choruses to create something irresistibly catchy and heavy at the same time. If you've always hated industrial metal, you're not alone, but "Mechanize" is the one album from the genre you should listen to from the last four or five years. It's simply the best of its kind in a long, long time, and will appeal far outside of its genre affiliation. Metal fans, do NOT miss this record.

6. Crime In Stereo - I Was Trying To Describe You To Someone

A punk record that appeals to the emotionally wrought scenesters, the art rock kids who adore Brand New, and beyond? You have to hear it to believe it. Crime In Stereo have been at it for years writing albums like this, but "I Was Trying To Describe You To Someone" is a masterpiece. It's one of those albums that you'll start listening to and think it's bland, until at about listen five or six, you'll start realizing just why this album is so fantastic, and from there onwards it just keeps getting better and better. It's a grower album if there ever was one, an unpolished diamond that emits some of the rawest, purest emotion you'll have heard on a studio album to date. A monumental album, that will be remembered for years to come.

7. Carach Angren - Death Came Through A Phantom Ship

I've never been a fan of concept albums, they just take so much effort to get properly into. But Carach Angren make it so wonderfully easy on their brilliantly executed symphonic black metal album "Death Came Through A Phantom Ship", a tantalizing concept album about the legend of the Flying Dutchman, a phantom ship that, according to legend, causes certain doom to any vessel upon sighting. The concept is one of the most grabbing I've ever experienced, putting it right up there with Boys Night Out's "Trainwreck". It's a story told from multiple perspectives, surrounded by dramatic instrumentation and theatrical effects all around that make Dimmu Borgir and co sound like amateurs in the genre. The story reads like a Dickens horror story, and the instrumentation follows suit all the way. Absolutely brilliant.

8. The Hold Steady - Heaven Is Whenever

Speaking of story tellers, none are better than Craig Finn in his role as the drunken, experienced sailor vocalist in The Hold Steady. The removal of Franz Nicolay's brilliant keyboards takes a toll on the band at first, but like all great albums, given enough time "Heaven Is Whenever" will grow on you immensely. That this isn't on par with the best The Hold Steady albums but still makes it this high on my list speaks volumes of just how good this band is, as shown on tracks like "The Weekenders", "Rock Problems" and "Hurricane J". One of my favorite lines of recent times is found on this record: "she said the theme of this party was the industrial age....and you came in dressed like a train wreck". Finn's lyrical style is story telling, and he's one of the best at it that I know. Combined with some classic instrumentation, "Heaven Is Whenever" is one of those albums you'll stumble on again in ten years and notice a flourishing stream of nostalgic moments of when you were lying back with your eyes closed, simply listening to the greatness found within once you learned to appreciate its unique quirk.

9. Wormrot - Abuse

Some say grindcore is nothing but senseless noise, but Wormrot's "Abuse" challenges that notion in a similar way as Brutal Truth did with "Evolution Through Revolution". It's a brutal, insanely fast, and notoriously chaotic album, but yet there's melody and structure within the mess. Order in the midst of the chaos, if you will. Contrast, polyrhythms, unnatural drumming are just some of the qualities found within this album. Strangely enough, the breath of fresh air in grindcore had to come, out of all places, the culturally strict and at times abusive, Singapore. If you're looking to get into grindcore, this is the album to buy.

10. HIM - Screamworks: Love In Theory And Practice

A lot of you will roll your eyes over this selection. Most people have an opinion on HIM because of their symbolism and imagery (the heartagram) or because of the way their vocalist Ville Valo is idolized by many, admittedly female, youngsters. Truth be told, I was the last one to expect a brilliant album from this bunch, but yet their new album is easily their best, and by many accounts the best 'love rock' album in recent memory. By love rock I mean love songs like those Bon Jovi writes - kinda cheesy topic-wise, but filled with beautiful bed-of-roses type romanticism that should make even the most macho of men feel slightly emotional. Not just that, but somehow HIM have crafted some insanely catchy, darkened rock songs that'll stick for a long time. Fact is, if it wasn't for so many other exceptional albums being released this year (2010 was a GREAT year for music), I would've placed this much higher (last year, for instance). Try and forget all your preconceptions and prejudices about this band, however difficult that may be, and give it a try. You won't be disappointed, I guarantee that much.

11. The Chariot - Long Live

People have called "Long Live" the quintessential sound of the new generation, a chaotic expression of passion for music through destructive, devastating math-core inspired feedback, discordance, dissonance, and at times, obliterating noise. Known for their reckless live performances that endanger instruments, limbs, and even lives I would imagine, "Long Live" is The Chariot's possibly most accomplished record to date. The chaos, the feeling, the rage, the fury, it's all packed within these tracks. This is the kind of album that influences an entire genre's worth of young kids to pick up instruments and create something truly unique and original.

12. Frank And Earnest - Old Francis EP

Another act that caught me completely by surprise. If there was one record I would herald as depicting honesty and feeling within songwriting this year, it would be this one. Drawing more than just a couple of parallels to Attack In Black's masterpiece "Marriage" from a few years ago, Frank And Earnest bring medium-tempo, singer-songwriter influenced melodic punk rock to a whole new level here. Through some brilliant lyricism in the vein of Craig Finn of The Hold Steady, this band describes their stories vividly, and performs the songs drenched in passion and melody.

13. Deftones - Diamond Eyes

Murky, echoing arenas in mind, Deftones writes another masterpiece that combines the early, uncompromising screaming of their early albums with the spacious, big soundscapes of their later albums to come up with their best album in a while. They are a unique band with next to no comparable acts sounding alike, and they show their skill to fullest extent here. Chino Moreno is an amazing vocalist, we all knew that, but here his howling performance is magnificent even for his standards.

14. Taproot - Plead The Fifth

Taproot are one of the most consistent bands around. Likewise, Taproot are also one of the most underrated bands of our time. Their brand of alternative rock/metal may have some hints and references to the hard rock/nu-metal movement of 10 years ago, but they've managed to stay relevant, and have released yet another solid piece here with infectious choruses and crunchy riffs. Only "Welcome" and "Gift" are better than this one by these guys, definitely their best in a long time.

15. Circa Survive - Blue Sky Noise

It should come as no surprise that Anthony Green & co are ranked highly on my list as well. Though a little inconsistent overall, there are enough incredible songs here to warrant it a placing this high. This album is Green's masterpiece, some of the vocal performances here are out of this world, impossible for 99.9% of all vocalists out there. If there's one distinctly "scene" album to get this year, it'll be this one. It's not their best, but when it comes to Circa Survive, it doesn't have to be to beat 90% of albums out there.

16. Bad Religion - The Dissent Of Man

"The Dissent Of Man" sees Bad Religion do what they do best: sound like Bad Religion, a badass old school punk rock band that has never sacrificed any of its principles for quick success, they've simply believed in their lyrical and musical output the whole time. This record, for once, sees the band deviate slightly from their age-old formula and try some new things, including some curious vocal harmonies that we haven't heard from Greg in the past. But most of all, like I wrote in the review, "The Dissent Of Man" sees Bad Religion stick to their formula that beats the competition about once every two or three years or so.

17. Alkaline Trio - This Addiction

Alkaline Trio are on the right track again, and "This Addiction" is a good example why. They've toned down the gothic, gloomy sound significantly, returning back to the joyous sound contrasting the dark lyricism so well. Exactly what made them big in the first place. The result is songs like "This Addiction" and "Dead On The Floor", both Alkaline Trio at their best, and as such, melodic punk at its very best. There may not be any "Stupid Kid"s on this album, but "Piss And Vinegar" comes pretty close.

18. The Hextalls - Get Smashed

Another line that I'll take with me from 2010 to the foreseeable future is one by The Hextalls that opens an album's worth of fun, exhilarating beer-infused pop punk: "who wants to get drunk and smash bumper cars?", sung so enthusiastically that you get the picture the vocalist really is planning to do so in real life. "Get Smashed", like the title suggests, isn't too serious, in fact it's the opposite. It's full of light-hearted pop punk songs about video games, ice hockey and other "unserious" topics. Comes highly recommended to the no-frills pop punk fans.

19. The 20Belows - For Better Days

The guys looked and looked but couldn't find a bigger record deal. It's a shame, because "For Better Days" by The 20Belows is without a doubt the best pop punk/punk rock album released in Denmark to date. I can't think of another album as good as theirs - plus it's a strong competitor internationally as well. On this album, Ulrik & co were able to finally combine their old school punk influences with more modern, melodic pop punk hooks and catchy, sing-alongable choruses. The title track is the ultimate live-sing along track, as we've come to witness all year long. Make sure you own it if you're from Denmark.

20. The Dopamines - Expect The Worst

Here's another no-frills, easy-going, easily accessible pop punk/punk rock album that charmed hearts all over the States and a few here in Denmark too, when the band played a feel-good, intense basement show at Lades earlier this year. Drenched in melody, high tempo, and simplistic harmonies, this record shouldn't be good on paper, but it's just fantastic in every way when you hear it. It's one of those party-starting, mood-setting albums that always will uplift your mindset no matter what's bothering you. Like the band says themselves "we are a punk band from Cinnicati, Ohio. We don't have cool hair cuts". Damn straight, that sort of attitude is what makes The Dopamines a band to watch in the next few years.

21. Stone Temple Pilots - Stone Temple Pilots

Re-union albums are almost never good, but Stone Temple Pilots are an exception. Their self-titled debut album demonstrates alternative rock/grunge rock like the last decade didn't even take place. It rocks just like it did during the 90s, and dare I say it, even more so in many places. Scott Weiland hasn't sounded this good in ages, and his melodic, scratchy croon has been sorely missed, and the return the form is not just acceptable - it is superb. If the 90s ever appealed to you, make sure you get a nostalgic reminder of just how good music was back then, when Justin Biebers and Lady Gagas didn't exist and this type of stuff was on the radio everywhere. What happened?

22. Authority Zero - Stories Of Survival

No new Rise Against album this year. How are you meant to satisfy your thirst for more sweeping guitar melodies and soaring vocal harmonies delivered in the vein of Bad Religion? Solution: get the new Authority Zero album, that sounds almost identical to the newer, cleaner Rise Against sound. Usually clones sound bad, but Authority Zero have written some memorable and instantly catchy songs that deserve the attention of a much bigger fanbase than they have right now. Great, melodic hardcore/punk rock record.

23. Alter Bridge - AB III

Pure guitar and rock/alternative albums are disappearing from the map as the subgenres and derivative genres are triumphing in the mainstream media. Where are bands like Foo Fighters and so forth these days? Here's one of the few remaining alternative rock bands that returns the might of technically challenging guitars from classic rock into the alternative rock format. It's strange that it's members of Creed, of all bands, who are spearheading the modern 'rock' sound, but there's no denying that "AB III" is an excellent album in the genre, and a must have from the (small) list of albums in this style this year.

24. Against Me! - White Crosses

Against Me! may have sold out in every possible way and are a shadow of their first three albums, but that doesn't prevent their new, clean-cut, million-dollar production from sounding good in its own right. While it took some time to get used to "New Wave", by now we've accepted Against Me! is not going back to a screaming, passionate eruption of punk rock power that they were in the past, so it's okay to sing along and dance to songs like "I Was A Teenage Anarchist", "White Crosses" or "Suffocation", all highlights on a solid, and surprisingly long-lasting radio-friendly mainstream pop punk album.

25. Dolarhyde - Dolarhyde

Dolarhyde may be as obvious of a Lifetime clone as they come, sharing every bit of their melodic hardcore, explosive punk rock sound in common with the legends on their self-titled debut album. But why fix what isn't broken? Lifetime fuckin' rules, and when you have a band who can emulate their sound so successfully, and inject it with, if possible, even more catchy choruses than in the original version, well who the fuck cares if they sound alike. Dolarhyde is a high-energy, up-tempo, bright melodic hardcore release that beats most of the competition in the genre this year. An absolute MUST have for any Lifetime fan.

26. The Flatliners - Cavalcade

To most ears, Midwestern-influenced, melodic punk rock is an easy listening experience, as it's extremely difficult if not impossible to not appreciate how instantly catchy it is despite being essentially a very raw and honest form of modern punk rock. That is, as long as you rate memorable songs and big sing along moments high on your list of music you are likely to enjoy. The Flatliners delivers exactly this on "Cavalcade". It's not particularly original given it's Lawrence Arms undertones, but it doesn't need to be, as long as the songs are this solid.

27. Leatherface - The Stormy Petrel

Not since hearing Jawbreaker's groundbreaking albums for the first time have I fallen in love with a vocalist as quickly as with Leatherface. They come from the same era, having released their seminal record "Mush" all the way back in 1991, but have never quite received the same infamy and appreciation, and wrongly so. "The Stormy Petrel" describes a band who've been writing music for two decades now, they know exactly what they're doing, and they rely solely on subtlety and hidden passion to deliver their message. They share a whole lot in common with the introspective approach taken by Crime In Stereo and the soaring melodies of Hot Water Music, so why they are so grossly underrated is a mystery to me. Great album that probably should've deserved a grade higher than it did.

28. Hole - Nobody's Daughter

My one weakness is 90s rock when it's done right. Much like the Stone Temple Pilots release mentioned higher above on this list, Courtney Love has reunited Hole (with herself mostly, I might add), and rocks like it's 1995 again. This is textbook angst-filled, post-grunge / alternative rock from that era, but it is played so convincingly it should leave most critics quiet. After all, she was around when the whole rock star era took place, and "Nobody's Daughter" is one of the last bastions of that style still standing strong. Easy-listening, sure, but just listen to the raw emotion in her voice and her pissed off girl power anger when she screams her lungs off on a couple of songs. Impressive stuff from a girl everyone had written off.

29. Hate - Erebos

Death metal isn't an easy genre to get into, what with its tendency to despise anything melodic, instead trusting in the power of the brutalized serpentine riff, growls and double-pedal blast-beat hell to overwhelm the listener. But what Hate have done here is impressive, they've written extreme/death metal riffs, but jam-packed them with melody and insane technical-detail. It's seldom for a non death metal fan to be so blown away by a release as this one, but Hate are just light years ahead of the large majority of bands I've heard in the genre during the last twelve months. Their riffs are some of the most awesome I've come across.

30. Punchline - Delightfully Pleased

Punchline's vocalist carries just enough angst in his voice to sound great rather than annoying or whiny. That's easily their biggest strength, and a talent they utilize to its fullest on the newest album. "Seventy" is the third candidate I've mentioned in this article as the candidate of the song of 2010, it's simply irresistible in its vocal harmony and light pop punk riff departments. Definitely from the more emo-end of pop punk, Punchline don't let that hinder them but instead draw from it as a source of energy and melody. Comes recommended to anyone missing Armor for Sleep.

31. Sick Of It All - Based On A True Story

"Death To Tyrants" is one of my favorite hardcore albums of all time, so any album Sick Of It All was going to release next was inevitably going to disappoint me in one way or another. When the new record was finally released after a four-year wait, it sounded raw and more furious in comparison, lacking the cleaner studio production of its more metallic predecessor. That may have put me off at the time of the review, but now, thinking back, "Based On A True Story" is one hell of a New York Hardcore album. It stays true to its origins, and contains some mighty songs for live performances as we witnessed at Roskilde Festival this year. Another must-own hardcore album by the guys that seem to only have records labeled as such.

Of course, I'm missing some (probably) great albums on this list, but hey, I'm not willing to compromise on albums I haven't listened to properly yet. I'd imagine bands like Rinoa and Kvelertak would be rather high up on my list, I just haven't had the chance (time) to check them out yet aside from a few songs. So bear that in mind.

Best of Danish Music 2010

So whilst the above 31 records constitute as the very best music released in 2010 - a very tough contest this year I might add - there are a whole bunch of Danish bands I want to extend some credit to. This won't be in the form of a ranked list, given our close relationship with many of the bands, but I figured I should give a few shout outs to bands I thought released some pretty awesome records this year. Provided some of these acts keep developing at the pace that they are at the moment, I don't see why they couldn't potentially make an appearance on a future list like the one above, just like The 20Belows did at a very respectable #19 placing above some huge bands. Without further ado, make sure you check these Danish bands out, in no particular order:

Stars Burn Stripes - Buy Now, Pay Later EP

Stars Burn Stripes, Denmark's answer for high-intensity melodic hardcore, released a pretty awesome EP this year that hasn't left my stereo since then. It's a massive improvement from their early recordings, and their first material that's ready for a release Europe-wide instead of just Denmark. "Straight To My Head" and "Rot Away" have infectious choruses, tempo-changes and sick riffs/bass-lines to awe the listener. If you haven't heard this record yet, and you're a Dane, it's about time to check out what the underground is doing, as it's healthier than ever.

Lights In Reverse - With All The Ends Before Beginnings EP

From the screamo/post-hardcore side of things, few releases impressed me this year more than Lights In Reverse's awesome sophomore EP. A huge improvement from their somewhat amateurish debut, it beat much of the international competition in my opinion through its sublime blend of clear-cut screamed vocals, smart injections of melody into the guitars, and a great clean/harsh contrast overall. There are some genuinely superb songs on offer here, to the extent that I'd be ready to shell out this EP internationally as well, knowing it would catch traction in at least the UK and the US. Gwen Stacy fans look this way.

The New Low - Fall Empire

If there's one thing The New Low accomplished with "Fall Empire" above all, it's to convince me that sometimes, however rarely that might be, the dreaded 'Danish metal' production can be a good influence on a band's sound. Without the live-sounding, echoing soundscape, these hardcore songs wouldn't sound as intense and ferocious as they do in every way. Moreover, a song like "Decimate" borrows just enough from the melodic prog-hardcore of Misery Signals to appeal outside of the monotone hardcore kids as well, demonstrating that there's a lot more potential to be discovered in this band. All in all, a very good debut album.

Stream City - Hello Gravity EP

Usually, Danish bands sound like derivatives of other bands. Not Stream City. They've tapped onto something very unique, something never-before-heard material on their progressive folk punk EP that relies as much on violins as it does on technical guitars. Relentless speed, but a clear sense for great melodies, this is one of the most impressive outfits to have developed within this nation's borders for a while. Lets hope they can keep up a similar quality on their future releases, and we'll no doubt see international interest starting to surge as well.

Kill The Rooster - Red Tube EP

Kill The Rooster started the year out at the bottom of most bills, occupying the opening slot of many three band nights. Kill The Rooster finished the year as headliners at most of the shows they used to open, simply because their new EP is just that good. Dark, but melodic alternative rock with punk undertones is the name of the game - it might take a few listens to grow on you but once it kicks in, the shit hits the fan. Excellent stuff from another band that has improved visibly (and audibly) this year.

Mighty Midgets - Raising Ruins For The Future

And the most intense Danish band of the year award goes to...*drumroll*...Mighty Midgets and their debut album "Raising Ruins For The Future". They play breakneck speed melodic hardcore that has exactly two speeds: fast, and insanely fast. But yet there's an abundance of melody in their sound, raising it above so many other similar bands who focus entirely on sounding brutal and aggressive, thus losing the opportunity for a much wider potential fanbase. This record has been extremely well received in mags around the world, so be sure to check it out if you're into the genre.

Psy:Code - Delusion

Crushing, punishing Danish metal that borrows from the dense soundscapes of Fear Factory and the pop-metal psychedelia of Raunchy to craft a sound that's both mad-catchy and brutal at the same time. Another example of the 'Danish metal' production gone right, thanks to Jacob Hansen's magical touch in expanding the soundscape nicely to allow for those melodic, semi-clean croons on the background that create the hauntingly beautiful contrast between the harsh and the soft. Good stuff.

Silence Of September - Sleep Of Reason

Silence Of September have been criticized by many, but the truth is that their distribution deal with Warner Music was blown completely out of proportion as the band are still not much bigger than the rest of the underground scene, and they work just as hard - if not harder - than most other bands in the scene. Sure, their melancholic rock sound draws a lot of its inspiration from the nu-metal and hard rock movement from 10 years ago, but you'll have to be deaf to not appreciate the great melodies found in songs like "Make A Scene", "I Have A Dream" and many others on the record. The record is a great starting point for the band, so put your prejudices aside and check these guys out.

Black City - Black City

I'm always skeptical when major labels come running, shoving a band down our collective throats by any means necessary while promising them to be the next great thing in music. After all, 90% of the time when that happens the band doesn't own songs strong enough to market them solely on those alone. But rock'n'rollers Black City, however, are an exception. Their brand of radio-friendly, anthemic rock'n'roll is as enjoyable as it comes, with superb chorus melodies and great leads ensuring this band a special place in my heart from the first time I heard them. They're already big within the country, and deservedly so.

Furthermore, I'd like to extend a special mention to A Road To Damascus, who are a superb pop rock/pop punk hybrid based on what I've heard in live environments and on MySpace. I haven't had the chance to hear their record yet, but I'm sure it's good based on my experiences. Do check it out.

And now, feel free to flame, comment, praise, or agree with me in the comments below.

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