Ricks’ Best of 2010
1. Nevermore – The Obsidian Conspiracy
Nevermore’s last release, THIS GODLESS ENDEAVOUR, was a monster release. It is one of the best in their catalogue and set the bar high when it came to a follow-up. So when THE OBSIDIAN CONSPIRACY was released I had a healthy dose of apprehension. Could Nevermore meet the expectations created by TGE? They not only met those expectations, they exceeded them. TOC took the bands shredding technical elements and infused a much more song-oriented approach to create a disc that shows a new side to the band. Could they have surprised me more? Not in a million years!
2. Crashdiet – Generation Wild
Swedish sleaze/glam heavyweights Crashdiet almost dethroned Nevermore for the #1 spot in my top 20. It is rare for me to be surprised by anything in metal yet Crashdiet did it this year. Little did I know that there was still a band that could capture so well the vibe of 80s glam metal and update it for the new millennium. Crashdiet, along with Crazy Lixx, Reckless Love and a host of other young bands are determined to never let the 80s be forgotten while creating some of the best new music I have heard in quite awhile.
3. Crazy Lixx – New Religion
4. Blind Guardian – At the Edge of Time
5. Avantasia –The Wicked Symphony
6. Thunderstone – Dirt Metal
7. Vanden Plas – Seraphic Clockwork
8. Reckless Love – Reckless Love
9. Ratt – Infestation
10. Kamelot – Poetry for the Poisoned
11. CircleIICircle – The Consequence of Power
12. Machines of Grace – Machines of Grace
13. Firewind – Days of Defiance
14. Heathen – Evolution of Chaos
15. Death Angel – Relentless Retribution
16. Accept – Blood of the Nations
17. Helloween – 7 Sinners
18. Ozzy – Scream
19. Astral Doors – Requiem of Time
20. Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier
Best New Band
This is the year that I realized that there were still amazing bands out there making amazing 80s influenced music without making it a colossal joke. Unfortunately the joke is on the music world to some extent as most of these bands come from Sweden and Finland and most of us here in North America have no idea of their existence. Reckless Love are one of these great bands that released their debut self titled CD this year after being together in one form or another for the last 9 years. The disc is full of fun hard rockin, metal influenced tracks that hearken back to the days when big hair and metal were mainstream in society. This Finnish group takes their music very seriously but adds just the right amount of fun to make this one of the better discs that I have heard this year. I expect great things from them as they are now working on a new CD.
Discovery of 2010
The New Wave of Sleaze. The name does not do this movement justice. There are dozens and dozens of bands out there that are paying homage to the 80s while at the same time putting their own modern spin on that classic sound. The main bands that got me hooked were Crazy Lixx, Mama Kin, Crashdiet and Reckless Love but there are so many good bands that I can’t list them all. If you think that there aren’t bands making good hard rock and metal with that 80s glam twist then check out these bands. Go deeper and you will be amazed at how much good music is out there.
Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier
I wanted to love this release. I mean I really wanted to LOVE this disc. Maiden have been on of my favourite bands since I discovered them in 1983. This disc left me very underwhelmed. I liked it and at the same time past glories left me yearning for more. I know that this isn’t 1986 but a mere good CD isn’t enough from one of the greatest in the genre.
This is it, the last mention of Savatage. Every year I hope they will release a new CD and every year it never happens. With Jon off doing TSO and Pain there doesn’t seem to be any urgency for anything Savatage related. I have given up hope…
The band finally comes together, adds Carlos Cavazo (Quiet Riot) and releases an awesome CD that ranks up there with the best of their career. Then the house of cards falls apart yet again and the band is again of indefinite hiatus. You would think that adults could set aside their silly little squabbles. I guess not.
Biggest Hopes for 2010
1. Riot is set to release a new CD in 2011. It’s about time that the THUNDERSTEEL lineup released some new material!
2. The members of RATT will set aside their differences and release another awesome CD!
The Big 4: Live From Sofia, Bulgaria
This was history in the making. Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax are among the most influential bands in the history of metal. To get them all together for one show was a historic feat in itself and this DVD is the evidence that even in metal old grudges can be laid to rest.
Best EP / MCD
Rhapsody of Fire – The Cold Embrace of Fear
Part symphonic metal, part movie soundtrack yet as a whole very interesting.
Best Local Band
sHeavy. St. John’s, Newfoundland Canada is home to one of the better Stoner/Doom metal bands. sHeavy have been going strong now for the better part of a decade and a half and in 2010 released 2 CDs. There seems to be no stopping the band as they have become more prolific and play more live shows than at any point in their history. Its hard to call sHeavy a “local” band when they have toured Europe and recorded with Mike Butcher (Black Sabbath) but I will always remember seeing them for the first time in a smoky bar and feeling the spirit of Ozzy channeled through a curly velvet clad Steve Hennessey. The epitome of Metalness!