Torche, Dillinger Escape Plan, Norma Jean and Kysela Take Top Honours in Exclaim!'s Top Metal Albums of 2010

Torche, Dillinger Escape Plan, Norma Jean and Kysela Take Top Honours in Exclaim!'s Top Metal Albums of 2010
Even the members of Torche know that their place atop Exclaim!'s 2010 metal heap will draw the ire of genre purists. "I'm sure this is gonna piss off a bunch of metalheads and create a wave of hate all over the Internet and what not," drummer Rick Smith says in response to the band taking the No. 1 spot on our Aggressive Tendencies best-of list.

Songs for Singles, the Torche's first proper outing following the critical and creative breakthrough that was 2008's Meanderthal, culls together eight songs from a possible 12 that the band had been working on for the intended follow-up. Unhappy with most of the material, they trimmed the fat and released Songs, which is now streaming for your enjoyment here all week on

Torche are certainly not a band geared for bangers alone; by incorporating the melodic drive of classic rock legends like Thin Lizzy, they've slowly moved themselves further and further away from the pure sludge and doom of vocalist and guitarist Steve Brooks's former outfit, the underrated but fan-championed Floor. But as Smith says, "I'm always surprised when people really like our music. Not because I think it's bad at all, but from an insider's perspective, you never notice the kind of attention the records are getting on a grand scale until magazines and people give feedback."

The rest of the albums on this year's Aggressive Tendencies list vacillate between similarly accessible(-ish) crossover barn-burners like High on Fire's Snakes for the Divine and Norma Jean's Merdonial, and alienating agro-madness like Dangers' Messy, Isn't It? and Arson Anthem's Insecurity Notoriety.

There are also veterans still making challenging, relevant tunes, like the Melvins (The Bride Screamed Murder) and Dillinger Escape Plan (Option Paralysis), while Bison B.C. found their footing long enough to release their first truly defining recording, Dark Ages.

Head here to view Exclaim!'s entire Year in Review coverage. Torche's Songs for Singles will be streaming on until December 27.

Stay tuned for these future full-album streams on

Laurie Anderson Homeland December 28 to January 3
Shad T.S.O.L. January 4 to January 10
White Lung It's the Evil January 11 to January 17
Caribou Swim January 18 to January 24