Best Metal Songs of 2010 (So Far)
UPDATE: See our final list of the best metal songs of 2010.
Here at Noisecreep, we like to stay ahead of the game. While 2010 is a nascent year -- it's only the middle of February, we know -- but we're going to keep track of the year's top songs from here through the end of December. We're going to update the list regularly, so bookmark this page and keep checking back for new moshtastic, headbanging selections. We're going to poll radio programmers, who gauge their listener reactions and act as tastemakers, the Soundscan charts, our readers and other metal bands about what songs get their horns up in 2010.
Without further adieu, here's our first selections of the top songs of 2010.
Dillinger Escape Plan -- 'Farewell, Mona Lisa'
Why this is a top song of 2010: Besides the fact that these maniacal New Jersey noiseniks are the gold standard of spastic math metal and even had the revered Mike Patton do all the vocals on one of their EPs, Dillinger Escape Plan continue to baffle the ear and the brain with complex, completely whacked-out time signatures that live among carnivalesque riffs and Greg Puciato's vocal terror. 'Farewell, Mona Lisa,' from the forthcoming 'Option Paralysis,' is the sonic equivalent of an 18-car pileup on the Garden State Parkway. You can't pull yourself away.
What they're saying: Chuck Loesch, host of 'No Control Radio' on KROX in Austin, plays the song on his weekly show and the phones light up! "Dillinger Escape Plan reinvent their songwriting at every turn, while still capable of integrating the core elements that make them unique," Loesch told Noisecreep. "I, like my audience, have always had trouble warming up to their new material at first, yet 'Farewell, Mona Lisa' has been an instant requesting machine. Dynamic and interesting, new but familiar, DEP has captured the essence of their history and taken their sound to the next logical step, incorporating brutal hooks, beautiful melodies and the song structure for which they are known."
Fozzy -- 'Under Blackened Skies'
Why this is a top song of 2010: Chris Jericho's Fozzy started out as a gimmicky band, but with 'Chasing the Grail,' they've established themselves as contenders, nodding to the classic era of thrash while remaining modern and relevant.
What they're saying: "The power of Rich Ward's main riff coupled with the crispness of the production and Chris Jericho's vocals" is what drew Jim Stearns, host of WHJY/Providence's weekly metal show to this top song of 2010. "Something grabbed me from the start, and I knew that that was the song I wanted to play on my show." Stearns always avoids going with label-chosen/promoted singles in favor of "playing the song that I like and what I imagine my listeners would like. I've enjoyed listening to the progress this band has made over the last few years. I've gotten over the shock that a wrestler could transfer the energy and drive from one passion and transform it successfully into another."
Fear Factory -- 'Fear Campaign'
Why this is a top song of 2010: With guitarist and songwriter Dino Cazares back in the fold and the world moving deeper into the digital age, Fear Factory's cyberiffic metal is as potent as it was a decade ago.
What they're saying: Mike Zara, host of KCAL's 'The Moshpit' in San Bernadino, Calif., answers a lot of phones when he plays this song, because his listeners want to know what it is. "I dig the big breath that Burton [C. Bell] takes at the beginning before it kicks in. I like that the lyrics are all buzz words, and I believe it's the first Fear Factory song ever to have a solo in it, too." Breaths, buzz words and solos are why this is a top song of 2010.
Overkill -- 'The Green and Black'
Why this is a top song of 2010: Nothing gets horns up and heads banging like a thrashtastic anthem that keeps one boot in the 1980s and the other firmly planted in the present. Overkill's 'The Green and Black' certainly 'foots' this bill.
What they're saying: "Overkill bring a much needed blast of metallic energy and urgency to 2010 with the sweaty, riff-charged 'Ironbound.' And with raging tracks like Liquid Metal's fave 'Ironbound' and the band's latest anthem 'The Green and Black,' thrash fans have something to rally around as veterans of the game show everyone, old and new, how it's supposed to be done," exclaimed Sirius/XM Liquid Metal programmer and DJ Jose Mangin about this top song of 2010.
Ratt -- 'Best of Me'
Why this is a top song of 2010: Whatever you think or feel regarding glam metal, which sold records by the Hummer-sized trunkful in the 1980s, there's no denying that the era was marked by catchy songs and blazing riffs and that's exactly what 'Best of Me,' from 'Infestation,' Ratt's first new studio album in over a decade, boasts. You'd have to be a cold, dead fish to not be moved by the infectious melody in this song. Seriously, it's catchier than an STD from a shady lady. And it feels as good as that thing you'd to get that not-so-fun ailment!
What they're saying: "A new Ratt album? Really? After all of these years ? It's about freakin time," said Scott Lynch, host of 'Metal Mania,' the Friday night metal show on New Jersey's WDHA. "Ratt has always been one of my favorite bands to come out of the LA scene. With the release of the first single, it sounds like they picked up right where they left off. A great guitar riff and a chorus that you just can't help but sing along to. It's fun, kick-ass rock 'n' roll as only Ratt can do it. Since the addition of 'Best of Me' to the playlist at WDHA, the phones have been nothing but positive for it. Just in time for the summer, roll down the window and crank it up."
High on Fire -- 'Frost Hammer'
Why this is a top song of 2010: It'll put hair on your chest. It's that muscular and manly. The song, from High on Fire's 'Snakes of the Divine,' roars like a caged lion... that's about to be freed. It's like a more metallic version of Motorhead. High on Fire and 'Frost Hammer' are bad ass and this is outlaw metal, anchored by Matt Pike's savage, whiskey-marinated vocals.
What they're saying: "How can just three guys make so much sonic mayhem?" That question was posed by JRRBLL, a legend in his own right, as he has been hosting "Sound and Fury," a metal radio show in central New York state for 25 years! He started "pounding" the song on March 14 "to hurry-up Spring and I'll be Damned if it didn't work! Shortly after, all snow and ice disappeared and the world turned green again as life began anew and Goddess smiled." We told you the song was powerful enough to put hair on your chest. Apparently, it's potent enough to make the seasons change, too. It's that damn good.
Iron Maiden -- 'The Alchemist'
Why it's a top song of 2010: Iron Maiden are synonymous with heavy metal. As long as they keep releasing relevant music, metalheads will still care. Iron Maiden may have named their album 'The Final Frontier,' but the band still has plenty of gas in the tank.
What they're saying: Mike Z of KCAL's The Moshpit in Southern California said it best: "Who knew Iron Maiden could still write a three-minute song that kicks so much ass?" We couldn't agree more.
Soulfly -- 'Rise of the Fallen'
Why it's a top song of 2010: Max Cavalera is known for his collaborations through the years; he has worked with everyone from Sean Lennon to Fred Durst. On 'Rise of the Fallen' from 'Omen,' Dillinger Escape Plan's Greg Puciato ups the songs ante with his schizophrenic snarl. It's the fastest, heaviest and downright gnarliest song Soulfly has done in years.
What they're saying: SiriusXM's 24/7 Liquid Metal channel is playing the song in heavy rotation. 'Nuff said.
In This Moment -- 'The Gun Show'
Why it's a top song of 2010: In This Moment's Maria Brink can go throat to throat with any male brawler at any time. 'The Gun Show,' from the band's 'A Star Crossed Wasteland,' shows off the band's chops, but not before caking them with a thick layer of guitar sludge and an unexpected, noodly Southern riff. It's a chunky metal monster and even at her most shrill moments, Brink never overpowers or is overpowered by the bottom-heavy guitars.
What they're saying: This is another song gaining maximum exposure and spins on SiriusXM's tastemaking Liquid Metal channel.
Avenged Sevenfold -- 'Nightmare'
Why it's a top song of 2010: A7X have bounced backed from the tragic death of drummer Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan, and they recruited Dream Theater dynamo Mike Portnoy to sit behind the kit and he does justice to Sullivan's memory. The title song from their new album is vintage A7X: classic metal riffs with modern metal swagger. Yeah, it's your f---ing nightmare.
What they're saying: The band's fans responded to 'Nightmare' by making it the number one album in American it's first week in stores, a huge accomplishment for a little band from Orange County that could ... and did.
Disturbed -- 'Another Way to Die'
Why it's a top song of 2010: Through their 10-year career, radio rocker Disturbed have demonstrated a knack for writing songs as catchy as they are crushing. They never sacrifice one to achieve the other and make no mistake; that is incredibly difficult to do.
What they're saying: Frontman David Draiman told Noisecreep that the song addresses a provocative issue: the environment. Guitarist Dan Donegan also explained to Noisecreep that tackling a new issue for them, such as global warming, helped them stay fresh and not retreading familiar turf. The results speak for themselves. It's a juggernaut.
Norma Jean -- 'Anthem of the Angry Brides'
Why it's a top song of 2010: You only need to listen to Cory Brandan bark "you are not getting under my skin" to get the red out. Seriously, the vehemence and vitriol with which he spews that lyrical sentiment over and over again will cleanse you of all the rage you have in your body. It'll make you want to play with a basket of kittens after. We suspect massive mosh pit carnage when the band plays 'Anthem of the Angry Brides,' from 'Meridional,' live.
What they're saying: When we premiered the cover art at Noisecreep, fan responses were often of the "F--- yeah" and "I was blown away" sort.