Sunday, February 13, 2011

Ray's Top 10 Of 2010 Revealed!

1. RESISTOR - "Rise" - A breathtaking blend of Zappa, Sabbath & Wishbone Ash built on super-original songs and topped with clever lyrics and a rich analog production. This album defines Raysrealm, and Steve Unruh has my undivided attention going forward.

2. ZUUL - "Out Of Time" - As metal as it gets, these guys deliver a tour de force of NWOBHM riffing, gorgeous harmony leads and songs to rival the best of Bible Of The Devil or Colossus. A staggering debut.

3. U.S. CHRISTMAS - "Run Thick In The Night" - Perennial Raysrealm favorites, North Carolina's USX do everything right on what's easily their finest hour so far. Dark, heavy and disturbing psych from the rural U.S.

4. CORSAIR - "Alpha Centauri" - Had this 5-track EP been longer, it would've possibly placed even higher in the list. You mix Sabbath, Thin Lizzy and Hawkwind in outer space and you've got yourself a helluva band. Full-length platter on the way!

5. LA OTRACINA - "Reality Has Got To Die" - Their name apparently has no definition but this Brooklyn bunch has music that means everything: NWOBHM, psychedelic rock & extended jams collide with "2001: A Space Odyssey." Screw reality, then!

6. GHOST - "Opus Eponymous" - From what I can tell online, these cats are either loved or hated. My opinion's well into the former. After all, how do you expect Ray to react to a cross between Mercyful Fate & mid-period BOC that also sports pop hooks?!

7. TAME IMPALA - "Innerspeaker" - I spent a couple weeks including buying an empty digipak for $27 trying to get this album. Full story in my review, but it was worth every penny and second as "Innerspeaker"'s sweet mix of low-fi psych/prog has spun the Realm-o-Matic as much as anything this year.

8. AGAINST NATURE - "Cross Street / Chasing Eagles" - Once again John, Bert & Steve (that lovable Baltimore trio!) has re-invented themselves with a top-shelf set of bluesy hard rock. Mr. Brenner continues to rival Billy Gibbons in 6-string tone usage.

9. SOUL MANIFEST - "White Season" - France has produced some awesome bands over the years, from politico/Bon Scott rockers Trust to prog-killers Eclat. SM throw their hats into the ring with a riveting take on psychedelic hard rock as a jam band.

10. SOUVENIRS YOUNG AMERICA - "The Name Of The Snake" - Tumbleweed dances across the windswept plains and forms a backdrop for what can only be described as dark, heavy Americana. Music that is beautifully foreboding occupies SYA's latest offering.

Readers Poll Results For 2010 Revealed!

1. STONE AXE - "II" - STONE AXE is one of many proud moments in the early life of Ripple Music and not for any small reasons. You listen to these guys and your mind starts throwing names around like early Zep, the mighty Koss's Free and even things further into prog like Procol Harum and your talking serious stuff. Then, when names like Thin Lizzy get rising, you've got the cherry on top. This year, you guys elevated the band's "II" to the top spot in the Raysrealm Reader's Poll and I've gotta say, nicely done!

2. HYPNOS 69 - "Legacy"

3. MOTORPSYCHO - "Heavy Metal Fruit"

4. GHOST - "Opus Eponymous"

5. BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION - "Black Country Communion"

6. SANCTA SANCTORUM - "The Shining Darkness"


8. FORBIDDEN - "Omega Wave"

9. NEVERMORE - "The Obsidian Conspiracy"

10. ARMORED SAINT - "La Raza"