2010 did not produce as many outstanding motherfucker albums as 2009, but it was still quite a good year for metal.
Atheist-Jupiter -There are hundreds of technical death metal bands out there now because of what thee guys did in the early 90's. They reformed and released a crushing live album last year. This is their first studio since the flakey 1993 album Elements and is an outstanding return to form.
Blind Guardian-At The Edge Of Time-All Blind Guardian Albums are epic and bombastic. All Blind Guardian albums are just a little bit silly. This one features an orchestra for the duration of the album along with some quality riffing and frantic rhythms.
Swans-My Father Will Guide Me By A Rope Up To The Sky-I have Swans albums mainly to bolster my hipster cred, and there are only a few I really like and this is one of them. Sounds kind of like mid-period Nick Cave(whatever the hell that sounds like!) but rougher edged and, of course, the droning.
Soulfly-Omen-This is really a late 80's Sepultura album. I'd like to say that it's a return to form, but classic Soulfly is really about tribalism and world music, while this is just pure thrash metal.
Sigh-Scenes From Hell-Sigh have turned down the avant-gardness and brought back der Swedish-ish metal sound, but proggisms and idiosyncrasies abound. Just good music to be found here.
Nachtmystium-Addicts Black Meddle Part II-Best psychedelic metal album of the year. A Trippy bruiser with a touch of Frence necro drone. Some of the tunes are almost danceable, if you like dancing......with the dead!
The Meads Of Asphodel-The Murder Of Jesus The Jew-Oh Sweet Jesus! The Meads are such an amazing band. Label under blackened prog but really they are a world unto themselves. This album features a 60,000 article written by the band explaining the concept, once again culled from Biblical apocrypha, available on their website.
Ihsahn-After-My favorite album of the year, the one I keep returning to. This one is more death metal flavored, and features the only intelligently composed usage of saxophone on a metal album that I've heard to date(Painkiller could be an exception but I do not even consider them to be a metal band).
Heidevolk-Uit Oude Grond-These Germans have streamlined their folk prog tendencies into a kick ass and quite tuneful metal album. I guess I could be describing an early 80's Scorpion's album, but it's not, really.
Goat Funeral-Bastion Lucifer-This is my vote for best totally obscure pig fuck black metal album. There is no reason why this album should be so good. Nothing fancy, just blood, guts, ravishing grimness, and Lucifer.
Finntroll-Nifelvind-Proggy folksters from....guess where. These guys have been around for a while and never seem to run out of fresh ideas.
Drudkh-Handful Of Stars-Love this band. Love this album. An ambient grim fest, a minimalist nightmare.
Death Angel-Relentless Retribution-Their best album since 1987's The Ultra-Violence. Although it resembles the more melodic Act III than that classic thrasher, this is just as relentlessly heavy.
Darkthrone-Circle The Wagons-These trolls just keep churning out quality, and dare I say tasteful, blackened crust metal. Riff after quality riff with a quirky vibe.
Cephalic Carnage-Misled By Certainty-Though they are in danger of repeating themselves(!), the death metal jazzsters are still all over the place and heavy as fuck.
Burzum-Belus-The Evil One returns with a satisfying and contemplative grim fest as if it will be 1993 until the end of time.
Abigor-Time Is The Sulfur Of The Mind-Two songs, each nearly hitting the 20 minute mark, each one bizarre and obscure and evil.
Defeated Sanity-Best pure death metal album I've heard this year, contains oddles of gut churning gutter bellows and atonal riffing that jumps around like a baboon on PCP.
Fleshgod Apocalypse-An amazing little death metal EP. Brutal yet expansive. Can't wait for another full album.