2010 in music from a certain somebody's point of view (tl;dr)


2 Ene 2011, 16:43

2010 was my 3rd year with Last.fm and although it followed the first two years musically, it was different in other trends. I've listened less music, but more different bands. I've been to two festivals a heaps of lives. Those were very influential as they helped me rediscover some bands I had forsaken, and let me see many of my favourites.
I started learning play electric guitar. I would like to write music one day and in order to do that, I must understand music first. My skills are nowhere near useful level, but this has allowed me to hear what I couldn't hear before when listening.

Simply the bands I enjoyed listening most in 2010

1. Sigh
~1520 plays (1st) / ~7400 minutes (1st) /
Top song: Curse of Izanagi (6:01; 165 plays; 1st)
Top album: Hail Horror Hail (1997)
Comment: I wrote a lenghty article about Sigh earlier. Their music is somewhat unique.
Their form from the beginning of the year wore out, but my fascination did not. Sigh ruled my charts because they simply make awesome music. It's a new approach to black metal for me, and it works.
Their album, Scenes From Hell, was kinda disappointing and their show at Brutal Assault could be better if they had more time (and therefore could add more older songs to the setlist). I got a t-shirt there.
I got to talk to Mirai on two occasions after the show. That gave me some insight on how stuff works there. My Japanese is horrible ;)
I'm definitely happy that a band from such far country can come here :) I hope to see them again.
Finally, a photo: me + Sigh

2. Dimmu Borgir
~1370 plays (2nd) / ~6900 minutes (2nd) /
Top song: Cataclysm Children (05:15; 76 plays; 15th)
Top album: Death Cult Armageddon (2003)
Comment: Dimmu Borgir's music has become heavily orchestrated, but they also have really catchy guitars. I can see why are they so commercially successful. Also, their ex-bassist Vortex has awesome clean vocals.
Their new album was good enough I guess, but not as awesome as Death Cult Armageddon (which I actually own).
The live performance could be better, but it was okay i guess.

3. Therion
~1010 plays (3rd) / ~4700 minutes (3rd) /
Top song: Land of Canaan (10:32; 70 plays; 20th)
Top album: Lemuria (2004)
Comment: Where have you been, Therion? I almost completely stopped listening them because they got... overlistened for me. I've only really listened Lemuria and Gothic Kaballah serious before.
After the band disbanded in 2008, I was sure Christoffer would form the band with a new lineup. And so he did. Somebody like him just can't give up making music.
Therion returned to grace in full power with a new lineup, and new album that was just like the previous ones yet still had great diversity between the songs.
Two male singers, two female singers, occasional growls, piano and flute, orechestral background, guitars, bass, drums... With so many things, they could make a consistent performance. Their live wshow was good and only proved to me that this band is back for me.
I was once again deep in Therion trance. They sweeped my end-year charts and eventually grabbed 3rd place despite being nowhere near top 10 until December.
Welcome back!

The year in my stats started with a stunning series of wins for Sigh. They were leading from the beginning and nobody ever caught up with them. Sigh was also the only consistent band, finishing more than half weeks in top ten.
The other victories were mostly taken by bands that either released new albums or played concerts nearby. It was scattered among so many bands, that everybody's scores (even the top ten's) seemed hilariously weak compared to 2009.
This made ideal ground for changes in the last few months of the year. The top ten was turned upside down as Tarja, Dimmu Borgir, Therion and Tristania released new albums and made live apperances in Prague. All of them were good (maybe with the exception of Dimmu Borgir live, but whatever) and it pushed them forward. Dimmu Borgir had a good year and this threw them in solid second immediately. In the end, they nearly caught Sigh. Therion's progress was fantastic, because I almost completely stopped listening them and with the new album and a good live show, they finished the year with a stunning 5-week winning streak and snatched 3rd place in the yearly charts despite being nowhere near top ten until December.
That was all the drama.

The songs I enjoyed most :)

1. Sigh - Curse of Izanagi
06:01 / 165 plays; 1st
Album: Hail Horror Hail (1997)
Comment: The leading song of the leading band of the year. Curse of Izanagi is exactly what I would except from a Japanese black metal band. There's a part that sounds like a curse... And it IS a curse! Musically, it mixes some heavy metal speed and heaviness, guitar solos and a bit of orchestra.
The song itself is covered in mytery (more at this link). Apparently, the song is so strong taht it actually makes people die and the band itself is afraid of it. Maybe that's why they didn't play it live when I saw them at Brutal Assault festival. Nevertheless, they released a limited edition vinyl available only in Finland featuring a shorter, faster, heavier and more Japanese version of the track.

2. Keep of Kalessin - The Dragontower
04:43 / 134 plays; 2nd
Album: Reptilian (2010)
Comment: What, you say? This song has received a lot of criticism mainly for the band's feeble effect to enter Eurovision with it (which actually wasnt so feeble because they made it to the final qualification round in Norway and got some 300000 votes there). Mainstream my ass. The song is kickass. The chorus is simple and catchy. Multiple voices at the same time - yes. Dramatic pause in the single version is awesome and IMO better than the solo in the album version of the song.

3. Wintersun - Sadness and Hate
10:16 / 96 plays; 5th
Album: Wintersun (2004)
Comment: Not a year passes without an epic 10-minute (or longer) composition ruling my charts. Wintersun is full of emotion. It's very complex, yet beautiful. You can truly feel the sorrow when listening this song.

Honorary mention goes to Draconian - The Cry of Silence and Nightwish - Ghost Love Score, the epic compositions that gained the title in this category. They placed 6th and 13th respectively in my charts this year and keep proving how awesome they are.

I've seen more lives than any previous year, yet there were almost none that would shine among the brightest stars like in 2008.

1. Tristania
~750 plays (9th) / ~4100 minutes (7th) /
19.10.2010 at Rubicon Tour 2010, Exit Chmelnice, Prague
This whole event started as a joke for me. Three female fronted bands, all listenable in my opinion, but none interesting for me, were set to play at my favourite rock club. The ticket was kinda expensive considering my lack of motivation. However, which I checked Tristania's website... I was shocked! Kjetil Nordhus has joined the band! The awesome male singer of my all time favourite Trail of Tears is finally back... and coming to town!
I had a deal with my friend that I should invite her to a "female fronted metal concert". So I asked her as a joke, "Hey, don't you want to treat me to this concert?" She consulted this with a friend and they decided to treat me there o_O MLIA.
I made sure to troll more, wearing white Arch of Hell t-shirt to the show. So I was going to this concert with two girls who paid for my ticket. To a concert of three female fronted bands. Because of a male singer of the main star of the evening.
UnSun were hilarious with Mauser's hair blowing in the wind and Aya being... really hot even irl, but still unable to sing properly. Asrai were boring. But once Tristania entered the stage, I knew something big was going on. The atmosphere was awesome. Tristania changed their lineup almost completely during last two years, and the new people apparently know how to do it. They had so much energy. They managed to build a solid set out of very different songs, out of songs that I mostly did not even remember. In the end, the audience was ecstatic and asking for one more song. The band returned and gave us an actual encore - a song that wasn't on the original playlist. They were delighted and so were us.
All in all, I've learned that a band that I had thought that has died after World of Glass, still has potential to do great music.
Also, I got to talk to Kjetil a bit - about what happened in Trail of Tears, about the past and the future of Tristania and so on. He's a cool guy. Ultimately, a photo: Me + Kjetil

1. Keep of Kalessin - Reptilian
mm:ss /
Top track: The Dragontower (04:43; 134 plays; 2nd)
Comment: Brutal and beutiful, those are the words Keep of Kalessin use to describe their music. And that's pretty much all there is to it. Extreme metal at its best, Keep of Kalessin keep their black metal roots while expanding them usic to another level. Despised by many for being open to new fans, Keep of Kalessin actually do a great job and will help many other bands. If they keep making music like this, it will attract new fans who wil eventually get to listen even the "true" music.
The album flows well, though The Awakening would maybe make a better opener. The Dragontower is a classic kickass song. Of the rest, I would like to highlight Dark As Moonless Night, a very heavy slow black metal ballad.

2. Dimmu Borgir - Abrahadabra
mm:ss /
Top track: Chess With the Abyss (04:08; 71 plays; ~18th) and Dimmu Borgir (05:35; 71 plays; ~18th)
Comment: I was waiting in expectation of what will Dimmu Borgir create without Vortex and his amazing vocal skills. They replaced him with Snow Shaw on the album (meh), but the rest remained the same. Even more orchestra and... The first four songs are all kickass - Born Treacherous and Chess With the Abyss are heavy and keep you in tempo, Gateways gives mainstream listeneres a single song digest and Dimmu Borgir... pretty much sums up all the band is about (both musical-wise and lyric-wise).
You know what? I think Dimmu Borgir is actually anon. They do not forgive and they do not forget.
Also, Shagrath's clean vocals suck. If this message reaches the band, hear me: Get a peoper new vocalist. That will improve your live shows by 200%. Also, Mourning Palace is not a song you should jump to.

3. Trollech - Jasmuz
mm:ss /
Top track: Moudrost kováře (05:13; 30 plays; ~180th)
Comment: There was a ton of albums that I've listened more than this one, but it deserves its place. I haven't really listened Trollech earlier (although they're active for quite a long time). That's why I was so surprised when I heard this album, because it was actually good.
Jasmuz is a concept album - a sad fairy tale about an old blacksmith and an evil prince. The larics are all in Czech and the way they use the language makes you remember how few you know about your own language... Well, if you're Czech. Otheriwse they're gibberish for you ;)
The first song opens with crazy vocals that remind you of Burzum. Growls, screams, screeches and other forms of "vomiting in the mic" are then used throughout the album. Guitars are creative and pretty melodic. All in all, it's nice music. And the production quality is good.

1. Sigh
~1520 plays (1st) / ~7400 minutes (1st) /
It's obvious - wild Sigh appeared to me in late 2009 and rose to fame in early 2010... and pretty much stayed there all year. It's a deserved win.

2. Therion
~1010 plays (3rd) / ~4700 minutes (3rd) /
Therion was silent for more than a year for me, but they made a stunning return. They collected 1000 plays in no time and eventually took a podium spot for the year.

3. Tarja
~490 (17th) / ~2100 minutes (19th) /
Tarja did a great job writing music for her new album. My Winter Storm was dull, so she took initiative and created something delightful. I was surprised how many catchy guitar riffs are on that album. There's even an epic song in the end.
Also, I saw her live twice this year. Tarja's voice is angelic and I think she's still getting better and better. Like this, she can entertain us for decades. Good luck, metal lady!

There were none! I haven't discovered a single awesome metal band this year. Is it because I've heard them all already? It's difficult to look for inspiration in other genres. But still, it's possible somehow.

1. Pendulum
~250 (40th) / ~1700 minutes (~24th) /
It may be commercial, it may be electronic, but it's good music. There are even epic compositions there, such as The Island (split in two halves).
Unexpected? Well, there's an explanation. There's this friend of mine who's a huge fan of Pendulum, but usually listens rock and/or metal music. His favourite band is In Flames. Pendulum made a song together with In Flames on their last release. Knowing this, I was tempted to try before he'd go and spam that thing in my direction. I may dislike In Flames to no extent, but this one song was good enough to convince me to grab the whole album. And I did not regret.

1. Sirenia
5th (2009) -> 36th (2010) /
When went wrong? Well, Sirenia is utterly pop. At least their last two albums. Nine Destinies and a Downfall is actually a good album and has the best singer of all Sirenia's albums, but The 13th Floor is a compelte disaster. Morten did a good thing with his side project, Mortemia, but I am very afraid of what will become of Sirenia's upcoming new album.
Nevertheless, At Sixes and Sevens is still one of the best gothic metal albums of all time for me and that's also the reason why Sirenia hasn't disappeared from the lists completely.

2. Innocens
23rd (2009) -> outside top 100 (2010) /
Innocens is a local band that makes soft but really nice music. They were put to sleep as of 2010 and nobody knows whether they will resurrect. I hope they will, because they're talented musicians, but apparently they cannot manage the other things so well...

3. Eternal Tears of Sorrow
11th (2009) -> 37th (2010) /
EToS's track only proves the decline of my tastes for melodic death metal. Of course, they are more than just that - incorporation symphonic metal elements all they way on their last two albums. They're a good band in my eyes, so it's sad to see them fall. Either a good live or another album similar to Before the Bleeding Sun could maybe initiate their comeback. We'll see...

Pos. - Country - Band - Plays - Time - Normalized position
1. Sigh ~1520 plays / ~7400 minutes (1st)
2. Dimmu Borgir ~1370 plays / ~6900 minutes (2nd)
3. Therion ~1010 plays / ~4700 minutes (3rd)
4= Trail of Tears ~930 plays / ~4300 minutes (5th)
4= Epica ~930 plays / ~4200 minutes (6th)
6. Moonspell ~890 plays / ~4100 minutes (8th)
7. Keep of Kalessin ~820 plays / ~4600 minutes (4th)
8. Kataklysm ~810 plays / ~3700 minutes (9th)
9. Tristania ~750 plays / ~4100 minutes (7th)
10= Sabaton ~730 plays / ~2900 minutes (13th)
10= Nightwish ~730 plays / ~3400 minutes (11th)

Pos. - Country - Band - Song - Plays - Length
1. Sigh - Curse of Izanagi 165 plays (06:01)
2. Keep of Kalessin - The Dragontower 134 plays (04:43)
3. Epica - Cry for the Moon (The Embrace That Smothers, Part IV) 104 plays (06:44)
4. Keep of Kalessin - Dark As Moonless Night 100 plays (05:50)
5. Wintersun - Sadness and Hate 98 plays (10:16)
6= Draconian - The Cry of Silence 95 plays (12:42)
6= Mortemia - The Vile Bringer of Self Destructive Thoughts 95 plays (03:52)
8. Trail of Tears - Crashing Down 94 plays (04:35)
9. Trail of Tears - A Fate Sealed in Red 84 plays (06:26)
10. Sigh - 42 49 83 plays (07:43)

Most plays per week: 212 Sabaton (19.04.2010-25.04.2010)
Most consecutive weeks in top 10: 12 Sigh (02.08.2010-24.10.2010)
Most wins: 6 Therion
Most consecutive wins: 5 Therion (22.11.2010-26.12.2010)
Most top3 finishes: 10 Sigh (4-5-1) and Dimmu Borgir (4-4-2)
Most consecutive top3 finishes: 6 Sigh (04.01.2010-14.02.2010) - actually it was 7 in a row because Sigh also won the last week of 2009
Most top10 finishes: 30 Sigh

Pos. - Country - Band - Plays - Time - Normalized position
1. Trail of Tears ~4260 plays / ~19700 minutes (1st)
2. Nightwish ~4110 plays / ~19300 minutes (2nd)
3. Moonspell ~3950 plays / ~18200 minutes (3rd)
4. Epica ~3250 plays / ~14800 minutes (6th)
5. Sirenia ~2770 plays / ~14100 minutes (7th)
6. Draconian ~2700 plays / ~15700 minutes (5th)
7. Arch Enemy ~2660 plays / ~11300 minutes (11th)
8. Dimmu Borgir ~2650 plays / ~13400 minutes (9th)
9. Satyricon ~2550 plays / ~13700 minutes (8th)
10. Therion ~2260 plays / ~10500 minutes (12th)
( Opeth is 4th in normalized charts with ~16700)

Pos. - Country - Band - Song - Plays - Length
1. Trail of Tears - Crashing Down 343 plays (04:35)
2. Nightwish - Ghost Love Score 338 plays (10:01)
3. Draconian - The Cry of Silence 320 plays (12:42)
4. Trail of Tears - A Fate Sealed in Red 311 plays (06:26)
5. Satyricon - Fuel for Hatred 283 plays (05:58)
6. Epica - Cry for the Moon (The Embrace That Smothers, Part IV) 276 plays (06:44)
7. Moonspell - Moon in Mercury 266 plays (04:49)
8. Arch of Hell - Utopia Treasure 264 plays (04:49)
9. Draconian - Bloodflower 262 plays (05:32)
10. Trail of Tears - BloodRed Trance 257 plays (06:26)

Most plays per week: 225 Satyricon (01.12.2008-07.12.2008)
Most consecutive weeks in top 10: 28 Draconian (08.12.2008-21.06.2009)
Most wins: 10 Moonspell
Most consecutive wins: 5 Epica (05.10.2009-08.11.2009) and Therion (22.11.2010-26.12.2010)
Most top3 finishes: 22 Trail of Tears ( 6-10- 6)
Most consecutive top3 finishes: 7 Epica and Sigh (28.12.2009-14.02.2010)
Most top10 finishes: 84 Trail of Tears

2010 was an exhausting year, and so was writing of this journal. I should go back to work now. There's a pile of programming tasks ahead me. But I have the music that keeps me alive through this.
Now, if you excuse me, I really gotta start pretending that I'm working now. See you again at the end of 2011!


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