1. Amon Amarth – TWILIGHT OF THE THUNDER GOD
To me, Amon Amarth are one of those bands that can do no wrong. The weary accusation of their stagnant sound is trotted out time and again every time they release an album, but this time their fans are proven right. Their songwriting is as strong as ever and the epic melodies from their twin guitars are still present – but the pure catchiness and naked ambition of TWILIGHT OF THE THUNDER GOD makes it my No. 1 of 2008. This is an improvement on the superlative WITH ODEN ON OUR SIDE, and that album takes some beating. Amon Amarth have done it.
2. Jeff Loomis – ZERO ORDER PHASE
It was a close call between Jeff Loomis and Amon Amarth for No. 1, and in the end the Vikings won out. But Jeff’s first solo album shows he can stand strong outside of Nevermore, and fans of the guitar will be delighted with one of the finest shred albums released in recent memory.
3. Decrepit Birth – DIMINISHING BETWEEN WORLDS
4. Cynic – TRACED IN AIR
5. Destruction – D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N.
6. Arghoslent – HORNETS OF THE POGROM
7. Cradle of Filth – GODSPEED ON THE DEVIL’S THUNDER
8. Dismember – DISMEMBER
9. Warrel Dane – PRAISES TO THE WAR MACHINE
10. Eluveitie – SLANIA
11. Phobia – 22 ACTS OF RANDOM VIOLENCE
12. Testament – THE FORMATION OF DAMNATION
13. Alestorm – CAPTAIN MORGAN’S REVENGE
14. Hate Eternal – FIRE AND FLAMES
15. Metallica – DEATH MAGNETIC
16. Order of Ennead – ORDER OF ENNEAD
17. Edguy – TINNITUS SANCTUS
18. Gama Bomb – CITIZEN BRAIN
19. Tyr – LAND
20. Avantasia – THE SCARECROW
Best New Band
Their riproaring album CAPTAIN MORGAN’S REVENGE is a bundle of fun, and their live performance ain’t too shabby either. With a sense of humour and a bottle o’ rum, that is their approach to life, and it works!
Cannibal Corpse – CENTURIES OF TORMENT: THE FIRST 20 YEARS
This DVD is worth buying just for the hours of documentary that tell the story of how Cannibal Corpse came to be, and how they’ve made it so far. Through the Chris Barnes era and to the present Corpsegrinder, we go into a world of Warcraft, Ace Ventura, gun mishaps and loads of death metal. With testimonials by luminaries like Erik Rutan, Ralph Santolla, J-F Dagenais, Maurizio Iacono and many others, this is a must-buy for death metal fans. Oh yeah, and the brutal live performances, of course.
1. Cryptopsy – THE UNSPOKEN KING
2. Iced Earth – THE CRUCIBLE OF MAN
Matt Barlow or no Matt Barlow, it’s pretty apparent that Jon Schaffer has run out of ideas. It’s a tired album with tired riffs. Barlow is its only saving grace.
3. Avantasia at Wacken 2008
I’ve never been so hyped for a show only for it to fall as flat as Avantasia’s at Wacken. Bad sound didn’t help, but the setlist could’ve done with a bit of old school. Amanda Somerville is just plain irritating.
Greatest hopes for 2009
1. Festivals and more festivals!
2. Carcass (perhaps) recording new material…drool…