Metal: Year in Review 2010

Page 6

6. Bison BC Dark Ages (Metal Blade)
After the promise showed by their first two full-length releases, Vancouver thrash-and-doom enthusiasts Bison BC really knocked it out of the octagon with Dark Ages. Building on the sludgy power of 2008's Quiet Earth, the songs on Dark Ages are full of cacophonous riffs and powerful solos. But unlike the band's past efforts, the songs here feel fully formed, not relying on one catchy riff to carry an entire song. There's some next-level, clever arrangements going on here, and the clear, low-end heavy production makes this record a powerful 45 minutes of skull-cracking, epic radness.
Sam Sutherland

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Torche? Really? That's an EP....

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torche should not be in the metal year in review. that album blows anyway continuing their epic fall from awesomeness
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Yeah I don't get it either. It kinda looks like people are celebrating the idea more than the music. Hey, look, a metal-band not making metal! Great idea! Let's give it the number one spot on the metal list!
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Enemy Of The Sun
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very weak and unmetal list overall. there are a couple good records listed here but the entire continent of europe was ignored. at the very least i had hoped enslaved or deathspell omega would make an appearance in the bottom five. triptykon had two excellent releases this year as well. it was a great year for black metal and power metal and these genres are entirely absent, possibly due to the low frequency of cop glasses and ironic mustaches.

nameless poseur #3, i think you have got it figured out.
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I've been reading Exclaim for a good 11 years now and enjoy it. I pick it up exclusively for the metal reviews and the occasional metal friendly article that gets published.

Over the past year or so I've noticed (in my opinion) a bit of a decline in the quality of the Metal section. Yes, I understand it is called Aggressive Tendencies and doesn't cater exclusively to Metal but it seems the current writers seem to drifting farther and farther away from articles and reviews about Metal. It really seems to be leaning towards the 'hipster' (for lack of a better term) bands, radio friendly bands on the bigger labels and the popular bands on the fringes of metal, the stoner, sludge, mall-core, crossover, alt.metal, nu-metal, deathcore type stuff. There is very little classic Metal, Black, Thrash, Progressive or Power represented in the magazine anymore.

The Dec issue with this Top 10 really left me scratching my head. Opinion is fine but it needs to be an educated opinion. How are these results compiled? Is it strictly the writers choice or is it based on a compilation of stats from the reporting stations?

I write for a Metal web-zine ( and am co-host of one of the world's longest running Metal radio shows (Megawatt Mayhem) CJSW 90.9 FM. CJSW is reporting station. I try to keep in touch with what is going on in the global metal scene as well as locally.

It just seems to me talking to readers of the web-zine, listeners to the show and people at clubs, that Exclaim is getting increasingly out of touch with Metal in the current age. It seems to be drifting towards any guitar based rock and defining it as 'Metal'. The year end list of 2010 is evidence of that. I mean Torche? Really? Who voted for that? There are bands on that list that really don't qualify as Metal and even they would say the same thing!

I don't want this just to be a 'your list sucks' type of e-mail, but I'm not impressed and curious how it was devised. I feel that perhaps the Year End List could be compiled based on the Earshot Loud Specialty Charts on the back page. That seems to be a little bit more in line. Take those Top 12 Loud picks and there is your Year end list. It seems odd that the Kataklysm is album of the Month but doesn't make the Year End list.

The list would be something like

Iron Maiden
Mares Of Thrace
Cancer Bats
High On Fire

...and so on.

You could tweak the list and drop the non-metal stuff, add albums that have sat on the charts for several months (like Blind Guardian or Rage) and you could have a serviceable Year End List.

Solution? Add an element of exclusivity to the 'Metal' section. Keep it metal and dump the other stuff into the Rock/Pop section. Maybe add a new section having a distinction between the two parts. I understand every fan of every musical genre is going to complain and suggest that 'Band X should not be in that section', but why not have a Metal section? I imagine the people who like Torche (or whoever) probably really don't care about Dragonforce and so on.

The genre is massive. Almost 5000 full-length studio Heavy Metal albums came out this year. That's album 13 albums a day! There is so much material that could be covered and yet Exclaim seems to be passing on that stuff in favour of the trendy, mainstream stuff.

I've always felt the mag has tried to represent the underground, the unsung but lately I'm not so sure.

Anyway, enough ranting, I hope you take my comments in the spirit in which they are intended, as constructive criticism.

Have a great holiday.

Until next issue!

Joshua Wood
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I suppose you believe Iron Maiden isn't metal.
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Unfortunately "Metal" has to have labels for the new masses. The sickening trend, in my opinion, is that music critics have an insatiable need to define a "sound" and "genre" in order to further their ego. I have seen more than a few shows and watched aforementioned critics, reporters, etc, leave within minutes, only to read their review the next day about how the band played, how the crowd was and so on. One last thing, European metal should be ignored just on principle. I do like that you referenced Sacrifice. Got that on Vinyl.
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Hey Mahkwi.

I'm not sure if you are referring to my epic post but since I seem to be the only one who referenced Sacrifice, I'll assume (perhaps incorrectly) that you may have been referring to my post.

I agree with much of what you are saying. Except the Europe part. It's irrelevant where a band is from. So European bands (or bands from Fiji or Chile or Alaska) should not be excluded 'just because' they are from Europe.

That aside, I agree with your thoughts that some people the industry (critics, reporters etc) tend to over-label and worry about genres.
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Yeah, I was referring to your posts. I also had to make sure my profile pic included cop glasses and ironic mustaches. Minus the ironic part. I preferred to call my womb broom Bionic until Weezer fans with tight Levis and mustaches made it lame. Never listened to your show before, although I have been aware of it as I am also a local. I stand by my Euro quip. I guess I may have to listen to your show tonight. Repaets of Ghost Whisperer aren't on yet...
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Which part? I'm super open to criticism.
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Joshua, I'm a longtime metal writer for Exclaim!, and Torche was not anywhere on my year-end list. I had Killing Joke as my #1 and had to argue with the brass that it was indeed metal. You may not agree, and that's okay with me. I don't know exactly how the list is compiled, as I send in my picks dutifully every year and find out that very, very few of my choices coincide with the rest of the staff. I ended up being assigned the Kylesa blurb, which I enjoyed. But I've only heard 4 of the 10 albums on the list this year, and that comes down simply to taste -- plus the fact that I don't get paid for writing album reviews, and I only have so much time to listen to promos.

FYI, The Secret was my #2, if that makes me more "metal." I spend a lot of time putting bands into subgenres, and many would scoff at my picks because they probably not "metal" enough. I can live with that! Ayers

P.S. Mahkwi, I doubt any Weezer fans are reading these posts.
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Agreed, I imagine most of them are debating how dated my Weezer reference was and how out of touch I am with everything. Fair enough. I got out of sorts because the first Exclaim metal review I read had Baroness, The Red Album as number one. So, I bought it. Dammed if it wasn't one of the best albums of the decade. Since then, I loved checking out Exclaims albums of the year. Except for now.
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I totally agree with you, Mahkwi -- I loved that Baroness album. And I love year-end lists because it always hips me to new metal. If I could go back and change mine, I'd put Triptykon near the top -- totally missed out on that one.
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So, year end metal... how about the best band out there, that I had the fortune to have a friend introduce me too. Has nothing to do with lists or anything. I'm so glad they're not trendy yet...
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holy shit torche sucks ass.
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Here's a thought: how about you put some actual metal on your list.

Terrible top 10.
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I hope that wasn't meant for me...I actually tried to listen to some songs off each of those albums and got a period, exclamation point. The HOF was super good.
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Any new metal I should hear?
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@ mahkwi: black cobra - chronomega
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Article Published In Dec 10 Issue