It’s been a big year for new music and we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to picking the best of the best from 2010.

But out of the 500-plus records we’ve reviewed during the past 12 months the cream of the crop have risen to the top.

There are some notable absentees bound to raise eyebrows and some shock inclusions guaranteed to do the same.

But the variety of rock and metal out there shines through with everything from hair metal to thrash and folk metal to classic rock featuring in this year’s Top 20.

Our critics had their say earlier this week but get ready for the definitive round-up of 2010’s best new releases.

And feel free to hit us back with your views on the final cut – good or bad!

1 Black Country Communion – Black Country

On the surface this super group always appeared more superior than most. If veteran vocalist and bass guru Glenn Hughes, rising blues rock star Joe Bonamassa, king of the keys Derek Sherinian and the vastly experienced Jason Bonham made for a pretty formidable foursome on paper then on CD they far exceeded expectations. And all underpinned by a typically slick Kevin Shirley production job. Magical stuff.

This sensational debut saw Bonamassa, in particular, break new ground. Bursting free from the modern blues style favoured by mentor Shirley, the young American proved himself as a heavy rock riffmeister supreme and the decision to divide vocal duties between the guitar hero and Hughes proved inspired.

If you don’t own this album – or if you do and you don’t love it – then you’re clearly coming at classic rock from the wrong angle. For everyone else this is a glorious throwback to 70s cool given a sparkling modern sheen.

2 NelsonLightning Strikes Twice

3 FinntrollNifelvind

4 The Gaslight AnthemAmerican Slang

5 Bullet For My ValentineFever

6 Vega Kiss Of Life

7 Wig Wam Non Stop Rock N Roll

8 Terry BrockDiamond Blue

9 Dimmu BorgirAbrahadabra

10 Philip SayceInnerevolution

11 The Glitterati Are You One Of Us?

12 Mayday ParadeAnywhere But Here

13 Black Label SocietyOrder Of The Black

14 Voodoo Six Fluke?

15 Prime SuspectPrime Suspect

16 The Shadow TheoryBehind The Black Veil

17 Slash R&Fn’R

18 Death AngelRelentless Retribution

19 Giant Promise Land

20 AcceptBlood Of The Nations