As if 2009 didn't kick my ass enough with a multitude of quality releases (not even counting all of the albums I still need to catch up with), 2010 is already shaping up to be a memorable year with some of my favorite artists coming out with new releases:
The Knife- Tomorrow, in a Year
Alcest- Écailles De Lune
Fear Factory- Mechanize
Negură Bunget - Virstele pamintului
Negură Bunget - Maiestrit (Re-intepretation of the "Maiastru Sfetnic" album)
She & Him- Volume Two
Deftones- Diamond Eyes
Sigh- Scenes From Hell
Nachtmystium- Addicts: Black Meddle Pt. 2
Out of all that's listed here, the new Negură Bunget is by far the most eagerly anticipated album for me. Their previous album, Om, is a work of art, not just in black metal but music in general. It felt like they'd collected and absorbed all the great knowledge of what came before them and delivered an unforgettable slab of perfection. If I was to pick my favorite album of the last decade, Om would surely be it without hesitation. The drastic lineup change (only one member from Om is left) has sparked a great deal of discussion and some think that it would've been impossible to follow Om under previous circumstances, but given the shake-up it'll be an inevitable disappointment, perhaps even disgracing the name of the band completely. I, however, am not about to side with that line of thinking. I think Negură Bunget is simply too good an entity to release anything sub-par. Even if it can't match the mastery of Om, it's still likely that it will be an album of the highest order and craftsmanship. And until I am hear it with my own years, I am sticking to that statement.
Negură Bunget isn't the only high-profile band (at least in the underground anyway) coming out with something new. Enter the legendary Burzum. Varg was released from prison about two years ago and he has already produced his first work in almost 15 years. Reviews seem to be mixed at this point. I've not yet listened to it, but am anxious all the same. My expectations are slightly above low, given his extremely long absence, but I will be listening all the same whenever I finally get my hands on it.
Alcest is probably the second biggest new album for me in 2010. I loved Souvenirs d'un autre monde upon hearing it and it quickly became one of my favorite albums of all time after its release in 2007. At the time, Alcest hooked me with the Le Secret ep, a mixture of black metal and shoegaze, but Neige's debut was something else entirely. I haven't listened to the album for quite some time but with the new album at hand I plan on going back to Souvenirs and reliving those fond memories I have of hearing the album for the first few times. This will be followed by another healthy listen of the split with Les Discrets released late last year, which was good but I still haven't formed a proper opinion of to tell anyone just how good. And by the end of the month, Alcest's sophomore effort, Écailles de Lune, will be entering my ears for the first time and I have my fingers crossed that I will be taken back to Neige's unique world once again and be just as amazed, if not more so.
Since this list is going to be constantly updated, I suggest just going here to see what's being added and taken away: Last.fm Profile