1. Candlemass – Death Magic Doom
Wow. Did Candlemass ever throw down the gauntlet on this disc. "The Bleeding Baroness" being worth the price of admission alone, every song on here is a masterpiece. Robert Lowe proving once more to be the perfect match for Candlemass after the departure of Messiah Marcolin. Tracks like "Hammer of Doom" and "My Funeral Dreams" only further establish Candlemass’ reign as the current kings of doom metal.
2. Kreator – Hordes of Chaos
Mille and company continue to forge ahead releasing kick ass, no nonsense thrash epics one after another starting with 2001’s "Violent Revolution" staying the course for 2005’s "Enemy of God" and most recently with "Hordes of Chaos" a record that features a back to basics approach in the production department with only guitar solo’s and vocals getting the overdub treatment. Musically "Hordes of Chaos" combines the best elements of it’s two predecessors from the last decade culminating in just the right amounts of aggression and melody that make a great Kreator record.
3. Slayer – World Painted Blood
4. Saxon – Into The Labyrinth
5. Ace Frehley – Anomaly
6. Primal Fear – 16.6 (Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead)
7. Heaven and Hell – The Devil You Know
8. Marduk – Wormwood
9. Ancient Cross – Ancient Cross
10. Evile – Infected Nations
11. Cannibal Corpse – Evisceration Plague
12. Anvil – This Is Thirteen
13. The Gates of Slumber – Hymns of Blood and Thunder
14. Sacred Steel – Carnage Victory
15. KISS – Sonic Boom
16. Cauldron – Chained To The Night
17. Gama Bomb – Tales From The Grave In Space
18. Hammerfall – No Sacrifice, No Victory
19. Megadeth – Endgame
20. Steel Panther – Feel The Steel
BEST NEW BAND
White Wizzard / Vektor / Rituals Of The Oak – It’s great to hear some young bands keeping the classic sound of metal alive well into the new millenium. In an age where it’s become fashionable to jump on the Viking or Folk bandwagons or add some variety of core influence to an already pre-existing modern sounding metal platform, it’s both refreshing and satisfying to know that there are still some bands who aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel but are simply trying to make the best sounding wheel possible.
Manowar – Hell On Earth V
You can always count on the Kings of Metal to give you the most bang for your buck; and they did just that when they issued the fifth installment of their Hell On Earth DVD series, bringing us up to speed on the band’s conquests for the past four years. With live footage taken from various concerts in at least five or six different countries, festival appearances like Gloves of Metal, Thunder In The Sky and of course the Magic Circle Fest; this DVD is as epic as you are likely to find from 2009 or anytime soon.
TOP FIVE CONCERTS OF 2009
Alice Cooper (NAMM Private Party) – Anaheim, California – January 2009
Steel Panther – SXSW Showcase – Austin, Texas – March 2009
Destruction – San Antonio, Texas – May 2009
Uli Jon Roth w/ Mark Boals – Santa Ana, California – June 2009
Judas Priest – San Antonio, Texas – July 2009
GREATEST HOPES FOR 2010
The prospect of new studio albums from some of my all time favorite heavy metal bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Manowar and the reformed Angel Witch. It should be another twelve months of anticipation and sonic devastation. I wish you all a heavy new year!