EvilG – Best of 2010
There’s been some great new albums and bands this year and I got to see some great concerts. The below lists summarize what I’ve been listening to this year. Hopefully 2011 will have as much awesome metal!!
Top 20 albums
1. Blind Guardian – At The Edge of Time
2010 saw the release of Blind Guardian’s best album since 1999’s NIGHTFALL IN MIDDLE-EARTH. Combining the bands heavier and thrashier moments with the epic and folk elements, they have created an album that appeals to all longtime fans of the band.
2. Gamma Ray – To The Metal
As a major Kai Hansen fan-boy, it’s not easy to put this album at #2…but the album is a slight step down from the majesty of LAND OF THE FREE PART II (2007). However, it does still show that the band are at the top of the power metal genre.
Nevermore – The Obsidian Conspiracy
4. Wuthering Heights – Salt
5. Halford – Made of Metal
6. Sabaton – Coat of Arms
7. Forbidden – Omega Wave
8. Ratt – Infestation
9. Helloween – 7 Sinners
10. Avantasia – The Wicked Symphony / Angel Of Babylon
11. Death Angel – Relentless Retribution
12. Accept – Blood of the Nations
13. Ozzy Osbourne – Scream
14. sHEAVY – Disfigurine
15. Rhapsody of Fire – The Frozen Tears of Angels
16. Firewind – Days of Defiance
17. Fear Factory – Mechanize
18. Kamelot – Poetry for the Poisoned
19. Magic Kingdom – Symphony of War
20. Wizards of Kaos – New World Mistress
Best New Band: WIZARDS OF KAOS
There’s been a number of great new bands emerge with their first full-length album in 2010: Holy Grail, ReVamp, Ancient Bards, Sons of Liberty, Pathfinder, and others I’m no doubt forgetting. However, there is one new band whose hard-rocking metal groove rose above this year (helped no doubt by the number of times I’ve seen them live). That band is Wizards of Kaos and the album is NEW WORLD MISTRESS. Check them out here: myspace.com/wizardsofkaosmusic.
There’s been some great metal released on video this year with the Big 4 and Heaven & Hell and while those two have better packaging and more money behind them (therefore the availability in Blu-ray and the superior video quality), it is Primal Fear’s 16.6 Live Around the World Combo [CD+DVD, Live, Special Edition] package that was the best for me.
I was blessed by the metal gods and was able to see Primal Fear twice on the 16.6 world tour – first in Montreal (REVIEW) and then in May of 2010 in Toronto. Both shows and the bulk of the DVD features the line-up of:
Ralf Scheepers: Vocals
Mat Sinner: Bass
Randy Black: Drums
Henny Wolter: Guitar
Alex Beyrodt: Guitar
(European shows feature guitarist Magnus Karlsson)
I can say with confidence that they have really captured their live essence on this live CD/DVD package. They execute the songs perfectly with Ralf Scheepers showing why he’s one of the best metal singers of all time!
Best EP / MCD
Rhapsody of Fire – The Cold Embrace of Fear
Best Stadium Concert
Ozzy Ozbourne with Halford opening. Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario. Nov. 27th, 2010.
This was one of the best concerts I’ve seen. Ozzy played for over 2.5hrs and didn’t want to leave the stage. He clearly loves the music and his fans. Ozzy’s voice was in top shape all night – amazing for a man whose been through what he’s been through and at 62 is still kicking ass! Having the Halford band as the opener was a perfect pairing. Two legends together on tour…hard to top that one! The Canadian Carnage tour (Megadeth, Slayer, Testament) came close but I have to give it to Ozzy/Halford.
Best Club/Theatre Concert
Primal Fear, The Opera House, Toronto, Ontario. May 24th, 2010.
Primal Fear are at the top of their game and hearing Ralf Scheepers live and hitting all the notes with such power is pure metal magic. What an amazing show…excellent selection of songs and having Pamela Moore share the stage for a few duets with Ralf was a special treat.
Best Metal Book
I Am Ozzy. What a great read…full of laughs and memorable stories! It’s particularly awesome for the early years and the Black Sabbath story. Things are a little sparse for the 80’s and 90’s but that would be my only complaint. This is one of the best metal books I’ve read and it re-energized my infatuation with Black Sabbath.
Runner up: MUSTAINE.
Best local band (St. John’s, NL, Canada): sHEAVY
Hands down this has to go to sHEAVY. Despite their main songwriter/guitarist Dan Moore quitting to start his own band (Wizards of Kaos), sHEAVY released two new studio albums in 2010 and played several live shows. Led by front-man, Steve Hennessy, the band has dominated the local metal scene here since the early to mid 90’s and thankfully there is no end in sight for their reign!
Disappointments of 2010
Symphorce – Unrestricted: I’ve loved this band for a long time and their previous release BECOME DEATH was one of my top picks for 2007. So what’s went wrong with UNRESTRICTED? Is it the diversion of the members to other bands and projects that has made song-writing suffer? Is it the change in record labels? I don’t know what happened, but try as I might, I could not get into their new album and I’m pretty bummed out about it. The songs lack the memorability and hooks and just sounds mediocre.
Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier: I LIKE this album but it’s not what I want from them. I refuse to accept that this is their style now with the boring clean intros and the same ole songs over and over for the past 10 years. I want a return to the straight-forward, hard-hitting, dueling guitar metal of albums like PIECE OF MIND, POWERSLAVE, and NUMBER OF THE BEAST. Anything else will always be somewhat of a letdown.
Vince Neil – Tattoos & Tequila: Despite the strength of the title track, this album is not memorable and is made up of a bunch of cover songs…fail! Skip the album and read his bio by the same name. Reading that was more enjoyable than listening to this. In the bio he basically says how he’d like to have a solo career like Ozzy Osbourne. Well Vince, it’s not gonna happen with an album like this to tour on. Get Steve Stevens back on guitar and get an album of original more metal-sounding material that is more like the first solo album (EXPOSED (1993)) and then just maybe you can have a solo career.
Non-album disappointment: The passing of the voice of metal…Mr. Ronnie James Dio.
Greatest Hopes for 2011
SCHEEPERS: The release Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear) first solo album is fast approaching. I can’t wait to hear it and I expect great things!!!!
JAG PANZER – The Scourge of the Light: It’s hard to believe that it’s been seven long years since the release of the last Jag Panzer studio album (Casting the Stones (2004)). I’m expecting their new one will kick ass and satisfy all their fans.
Daniel "Ethereal Magnanimus" Heiman back in Lost Horizon: It seems clear that the remaining members of Lost Horizon are not going to get a new singer to replace Daniel. Considering that the band released one of the best albums of the past decade (AWAKENING THE WORLD (2001)), it’s a real shame they only did two albums. Even if Daniel won’t rejoin – it would be awesome if he could even return as a paid session musician so we can hear him again over the bands magical metal!
PERSUADER – New album in 2011? Please!
SLAYER – New album in 2011? I know this won’t happen…why can’t they have 2 years between albums? WORLD PAINTED BLOOD was a 2009 release…why not have a new one sometime in 2011?
The Death of CORE!
I wish that the saturation of metalcore bands would come to an end. Sure, there is room for a few of them, but it seems like nearly every band coming out of America is some form of core (metalcore, thrashcore, deathcore, applecore, sludgecore, gravycore, spicecore, fuckoffanddiecore?) Give it a rest already! There is room for more than screamo vocals over half-baked slayer/pantera meets mallcore breakdown riffing. Mehhhhhhh….
The recent announcement that Judas Priest’s next tour will be their last was sad news. I really hope this is not the end for them. I know they are getting up there in age, but after just seeing Halford live, and hearing him pull off solo and Priest material in fine-form I wonder why the end of the band is at hand. I know they want to go out on a high, but if they still have the magic – why not keep the machine rolling? Even if they scaled back and did shorter tours and concentrated on song-writing and releasing new material, that would be enough for me. Sadly, I’ve yet to see Judas Priest live since I live at the end of the earth an no one tours here. However, in 2011, I will have to make it to a Priest concert…it will be bittersweet for sure.
Savatage – How many years have I listed this in this section? Why don’t the guys use their TSO downtime to release a new METAL album with Jon and Zakk on vocals? Wouldn’t that be awesome? It seems like it will never happen, but I’m still hoping it will someday!