Here it is, my installment of my personal favorite power metal albums of 2010, along with a few words about each. This will not be all-inclusive, nor the same as anyone else's list. However, I like to consider myself a fair judge of the genre and reasonably well-qualified to compile a list.
#15 Masterplan- Time to Be King
I wanted to enjoy this album more than I did. I haven't been thoroughly hooked on Masterplan since Aeronautics though, so it wasn't really a disappointment. Pretty solid offering.
#14 Golden Resurrection- Glory to My King
Probably my favorite thing that Christian Liljegren has ever done, this is a neo-classical gem that also features some great guitar work by Tommy Johansson of ReinXeed.
#13 Excalion- High Time
This one was a little bit of a blow to me. I really love Waterlines, and I was hoping that this would be a continuation of that style rather than a movement towards a more pop metal/AOR influenced album. All the same, this is still pretty darn enjoyable.
#12 Galneryus- Resurrection
One of Galneryus's best efforts to date, I think that this band is starting to finally get the recogniton that they deserve. I'm all for more Japanese power metal, and these are one of the leaders of the pack.
#11 Versailles- Jubilee
This album happened so early in 2010 that it gets forgotten about. However, this is a fantastic and theatrical release by a fine Japanese symphonic power metal band. Versailles are definitely are going places after this release.
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#10 Secret Sphere- Archetype
This is the year that I really started getting into Secret Sphere (at last), and I found their new album to be pretty exciting, even if I prefer Sweet Blood Theory by a small margin.
#9 Elvenking- Red Silent Tides
Thank all that is good and metal, Elvenking has FINALLY returned with a quality metal release. It's not as stunning as the epic Heathenreel, but this is great, and a first-rate comeback from a quality band that's really not been on top of its game recently.
#8 Delirion- Lotus
This was a very pleasant surprise, and one of the best of the year. My first exposure to Delirion was this, their second full length. It's a melodic and moderately symphonic masterpiece, suffering mostly from the accents of the singers.
#7 Blind Guardian- At the Edge of Time
I feel that At the Edge of Time is a step back into familiar territory for Blind Guardian, as their most similar to A Night at the Opera. The strange and experimental new direction from A Twist in the Myth is gone, and we've got a more classic vibe that's pretty symphonic.
#6 ReinXeed- Majestic
This album was thrilling. It's light and somewhat fluffy, like an affectionate kitten. An affectionate kitten that can SHRED and put together some incredibly sweeping vocal melody lines! If you haven't heard ReinXeed, you owe it to yourself to take a look at this as well as the band's back catalog.
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Here they are, the real contenders. I want to say once again that this list represents purely my personal preference, though that is based upon a number of important factors. I also want to mention one last time that there are some very worthy albums that DIDN'T make the list for one reason or another (don't have a copy, haven't spent much time with it yet) that will be featured on a list of honorable mentions!
That said, here are the most mind-blowing, enchanting, incredible power metal releases of 2010:
#5 Instanzia- Ghosts
This album was a complete and incredible surprise. Irresistably catchy, great musicianship, good cover art, everything. This is only their debut, and this is a capable young band. It makes me shiver to think what they might be capable of next.
#4 Angra- Aqua
This is weird. I knew Angra's new release would be good, and I knew it had to end up somewhere on the high end of this list. It's just that this album is not what I expected. It's not entirely even power metal, but it is sublime all the same!
#3 Orden Ogan- Easton Hope
Proof again that it is sometimes the greatest surprises that wind up being the best things that we hear. I knew about Orden Ogan, but Easton Hope proved to me and everyone else that they write high-energy, exceptional material, and that they're here to stay.
#2 Ancient Bards- The Alliance of the Kings
Absolutely breathtaking, this is hand-down the best female-fronted metal I've heard this year, and some of the very best symphonic power metal that I've ever heard. This is another debut that has set the bar remarkably high for both themselves and their contemporaries.
#1 Pathfinder- Beyond the Space, Beyond the Time
Can one ever have enough symphonic power metal? Weary metal-heads may respond yes, but Poland's own Pathfinder have single-handedly (and self-releasedly?) silenced them. This is tremendously bombastic and shamelessly cheesy metal of the very highest caliber.
Well, there you have it. I'll have a list of honorable mentions up in the next couple of days, and Oakenson will be posting his top list as well! Note that his list will consist of a number of genres, and not just power metal, as he is more comfortable in judging a wider range of metal than myself.