PRINT December 2010

Music: Best of 2010

Masami Akita

1 Maroon at ACB Hall, Tokyo Maroon invited me to see this show, and I was intrigued since I had heard they were a vegan straightedge metalcore band from Germany. Incidentally, it’s hard for me to go to concerts in Japan, because venues are generally not smoke-free, and I can’t stand smoking. I mentioned this to Maroon and they cheerfully made the event nonsmoking. (Thank you!) The show was great as well.

2 Maroon, Order (EMI/ Century Media) I also loved Maroon’s album. It’s metalcore with strong melodic death-metal elements that remind me of bands like At the Gates. But it’s well balanced with breakdowns and brutal sections. Very stylish.

3 The Red Shore, Unconsecrated (Rise) This Australian deathcore band made its American debut with this album from Rise Records, which compiles two of the group’s past albums, Unconsecrated and Lost Verses. (There’s also a bonus live DVD.) It’s hard but lyrical.

4 Trigger the Bloodshed, The Great Depression (Metal Blade) A deathcore band from the UK. Likable with superheavy sound at full blast.

This past year, I’ve only listened to and bought music that would be considered deathcore or metalcore. It’s a great pleasure to find bands I like within these genres.

5 Veil of Maya, [Id] (Sumerian) Imaginatively beautiful melodies, intricate musical development, fast and hard but also airy: a triple-threat masterpiece from this technical deathcore band from Chicago.

6 Chelsea Grin, Desolation of Eden (Artery) I occasionally come across reviews that talk about this Salt Lake City deathcore band’s flaws, but I don’t pay them any mind—this album is assaultive and jam-packed with breakdowns, and I’m not too concerned with minutiae.

7 Son of Aurelius, The Farthest Reaches (Good Fight) Son of Aurelius is a Santa Cruz–based technical deathcore band whose music is full of superspeed blast attacks. Progressive content coupled with structural beauty.

8 Burning the Masses, Offspring of Time (Mediaskare) More technical deathcore, this time from San Diego. I like how this band’s music is reminiscent of classic death metal like Morbid Angel.

9 Wrath and Rapture, Wrath and Rapture (Tragic Hero) This is a progressive symphonic deathcore band from North Carolina that is unusual for using keyboards. The album’s last track is a cover of an At the Gates song.

10 Bring Me the Horizon at Studio Coast, Tokyo Bring Me the Horizon was the second opening act for Welsh heavy-metal band Bullet for My Valentine. The singer, Oliver Sykes, was full of energy: He climbed onto a speaker to get everyone pumped up, but the audience was not particularly responsive—perhaps because a lot of them were there to see Bullet. I felt bad for him, especially because I really enjoyed his band’s performance. The music is very cool and has a heavy, warm sound that’s different from ordinary metalcore.

Masami Akita began making music under the moniker Merzbow in Tokyo in the early 1980s. A twelve-CD box set of his ambient recordings made in the late ’80s and early ’90s, titled Merzbient, was released in November by Soleilmoon.

Translated from Japanese by Chisato Uno.