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Friday, December 31, 2010

Top 10 EPs of 2010

Let me make it clear that this list is simply a collection of EPs that I (personally) found to stand above the others this year. If you personally have a different list of EPs that you enjoyed, feel free to comment below. Please take a chance to also check out these groups as well if you haven't already as well.

10) Talanas - Reason & Abstract
A release that showcases a young band that's still finding it's way, normally it's not as different as this. This EP managed to combine the progressive elements of Opeth and Ihsahn with the more brutal and technical aspects of Necrophagist, and pull it off quite well. It seemed that the longer the song, on here, the better the band's sound became, as transitions and playing were more realized and not crammed into short stretches of time.
Highlight: Aorta

9) Terraformer - Terraformer
Instrumental math/post-rock with attitude. I've heard little that sounds as unique as this group does, from this genre anyway. Making use of a very minimal sounding production to bring forth a very natural and angular sound that is always moving.
Highlight: Eva

8) The Advaita Concept - Ontology
Djent, tech metal, progressive metalcore, call it what you want, these guys are still miles ahead of their piers. While this EP is far from perfect, it demonstrates a talent for songwriting and use of melody that really grabbed me from the intro. A lot of djent artists don't sound this good right off the bat, seeing as a lot of them are instrumental, these guys know how to write a catchy song and make it interesting as well.
Highlight: Ontology

7) Triptykon - Shatter
Similar to the full-length album that came before it, this short EP demonstrates a crushing sound that is just heavy and cold. Tom G. Warrior has rarely ever let his fans down, and even though this is, essentially, a short package of B-sides and live tracks, it manages to rise head-and-shoulders above more than a few full-lengths that have come out this year. Nothing this year has been able to top this band's guitar/bass sound yet.
Highlight: Shatter

6) Dopamine - Dopamine
Their last release, but one to really remember. This Chinese trio really knew how to capture shoegaze/dream-pop and meld it with enough black metal to keep it depressing and mournful as well as melodic and captivating. Unlike many of their contemporaries, this EP, and accompanying full-length, were able to keep a song interesting without relying on vocals.
Highlight: Water Edge

5) Grey Waters - Below The Ever Setting Sun
The EP/album that many fans of Austere probably never wanted to hear, the realization of a more rock based sound. Very clean and melodic, recalling elements of Ananthema and Katatonia, the more bleak and dark sounding elements of Austere remain, but are combined with a more "upbeat" sound and clean vocals. These songs are just plain catchy and filled with hooks, something I didn't find in their previous band.
Highlight: Below The Ever Setting Sun

4) worC - When The Day Forms
If you're a fan of djent/tech metal, then you too have experienced the anticipation for this release as I have. Filled with stacatto heavy grooves mixed with clean and ambient guitars to give this album a huge sound. This instrumental release perfectly mixes the sounds of Meshuggah with Devin Townsend.
Highlight: Velacit

3) Ensorcelor - Urarctica Begins
Raw and brutal, yet interesting, more than anything else, entertaining. This three song EP manages to capture so much within it's thirty-six minute time, two songs are over ten minutes. It's crushingly heavy, yet atmospherically dense and dark, it's blackened doom metal, the right way.
Highlight: This Even Doom

2) Look to Windward - Assemble
This one totally blew me away. I wasn't really expecting much from this, and then it just ripped my face off, plenty of influences being shifted around, yet well constructed pieces. The symphonic elements of Dimmu Borgir, the rhythmic tendencies of Meshuggah, the prog side of Dream Theater, the quirkiness of Mr. Bungle, enough to satisfy any fan of progressive music.
Highlight: Danger Eyes

1) TesseracT - Concealing Fate
Melodic, progressive, ambient, unique, and utterly jaw-dropping in it's complete vision. This is an example of modern metal (djent) that's done right, stuttering rhythms, ambient backdrops, and melodic vocals that soar above the music. Even if you're not the biggest fan of modern metal, at least give this one a shot, totally original in their performance while retaining a strong sense of songwriting.
Highlight: Acceptance

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