Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Noctus' Top 10 Tracks of the Year

Similar in format to my top 10 albums, this one breaks it down a bit more. Welcome to my favourite tracks of the year!

10. Eluvium - Weird Creatures
A wonderfully relaxing and beautiful track. Some quite nice vocals too, despite the vocals on the album as a whole not being too great. They're at their best here, along with the guy's best ambient work. One of his best tracks.

9. Anathema - A Simple Mistake
You may wonder why this is so low down, but the reason Anathema's album was so high was the fact that it had no real dips apart from one song that easy to skip. The album is so consistent that it was so difficult to choose a track to put here.

8. Triptykon - Goetia
Before this I didn't really give much attention to Triptykon, Celtic Frost and the like. I do now, and this is the track that started it. This is black/doom-like metal completely perfected. Decades after Tom G. Warrior started and he's still making amazing music.

7. God Is An Astronaut - Age Of The Fifth Sun
This track surprised me, it tried a different approach to their normal stuff by focusing on an actual lead riff rather than the atmospheric twinkling guitars just in the background whilst the synth does its thing. The riff is great and it gives this track a great atmosphere, plus the double bass pedal ending is one of the best moments in their career.

6. Rosetta - A Determinism of Morality
This one took a while to grow on me but oh boy. This is probably their best track to date. It's the longest on their new album which was very, very condensed compared to their old stuff - and bloody hell, not a second of this is wasted on pretentious and progressive nonsense. The track builds beautifully into a climax that can only be described as immense. Wonderful track.

5. Alcest - Écailles de lune part 1
What can only be described as Alcest's best song to date, the first part of this epic is absolutely spellbinding and easily Neige's most beautiful track to date. It's exactly what Alcest is about, beautiful clean vocals with wonderful shoegazy guitars making some of the most melancholic melodies I've heard in recent times. The track flows beautifully and I only wish the rest of the album kept this standard. I stand by what I've said time and time again. Part 1 and 2 of Écailles de Lune would have made an amazing EP.

4. Ef - Sons of Ghosts
I knew Ef were decent, but this completely changed my opinion. This absolutely transcends their old material, I can't stress enough how fucking gorgeous this song is. Most people lose patience before the end, but near the end is when the vocal delivery comes in, and it's just pure magic. You will get goosebumps, guaranteed. Not only that, but the climax after is perfect - and it couldn't have come at a better time. Give this one patience, you'll be spellbound by what it has to offer.

3. Amia Venera Landscape - Nichólas
Though originally released in 2008 on their EP, their debut album this (which is fantastic) featured this track with a production makeover and a few minor changes. This track is brilliant, diverse and intense. Imagine Altar of Plagues with hints of Rosetta, with math rock and hardcore. That's what you're getting into with Amia Venera Landscape. The songwriting here is top notch and the playing is near perfect, the guitars making some of the best sounds I've heard in a while, with a variation of clean leads and distorted sludgy and powerful rhythm guitars. Not to mention the vocal delivery here is done with such conviction that you can't help but feel every word they sing, particularly at the very end of the song. I've never known such potential.

The following are joint first and second:

1. Agalloch – Black Lake Nidstång
This track is brilliant, and could easily be the highlight of Agalloch's career - perfectly merging everything they've always done best into a 17 minute epic. From the brilliant atmospherics to the almost Sunn O))) like drones, from the hypnotic clean lead guitars near the end to the brilliant, heart wrenching vocals of John Haugm - this track has everything Agalloch is and will be until the end of their career.

1. Altar of Plagues - Atlantic Light
This EP got a lot of hate, saying it's a massive step down from White Tomb. Despite that, it's my favourite EP this year - which made choosing a track from it difficult, because both tracks are fucking fantastic. I think this one had more impact on me though. It's absolutely brilliant, and almost certainly their best song. I've listened to this over 100 times and it still has a massive effect on me, and it's the one track and release I've always gone back to throughout the year since it was released early this year. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to their full length more than ever. I'm ready to be blown away. This is how experimental/post black metal is done.

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