Best of 2011 – Celtic Bob
My list this year incorporates both my Metal and Rock picks of this past year. The vast majority of the year was spent re-discovering old bands and albums mainly through reissues and box sets. I look forward to 2012 and getting back on track with much more Metal.
#1. Motörhead – The World Is Yours
My most listened to ‘New’ album this year by far. Another excellent album from Motörhead.
#2. Steel Panther – Balls Out
Their debut a couple years back is one of my personal ‘Most Played’ albums of recent years. The songs never get old. With BALLS OUT we get more of the same.
#3. Anthrax – Worship Music
THE Comeback album of the year hands down. An amazing disc! Their best since PERSISTENCE OF TIME.
#4. Five Finger Death Punch – American Capitalist
Call them Hardcore, Mallcore, Nu-Metal….whatever. The kickoff single “Under and Over It” caught my attention and the album is damn good. It may not be Metal in the traditional sense but it is real music that is heavy with a lot of excellent guitar playing and solid drums and bass.
#5. Before The Damned – Unanimosity
The debut album from my pick for Best New Metal Band of 2011. This album is pure 100% Metal with hints of Pantera, Early Alice In Chains, Soundgarden… A Fantastic album all around that every Metal fan should own.
#6. Sebastian Bach – Kicking & Screaming
This is Sebastian’s best release since SLAVE TO THE GRIND with his old band many years ago. He has never sounded better.
#7. Big Sugar – Revolutions Per Minute
Big Sugar goes down as possibly the loudest rock show I have ever seen in my life. Their sound is amazing and Gordie Johnson has the ultimate rock guitar tone. After disbanding a few years back they got together for a few shows in 2010 and decided to re-form. REVOLUTIONS PER MINUTE is a solid album from start to finish and almost exactly what you’d expect from Big Sugar.
#8. The Alarm – The Sound and The Fury
A band I liked since hearing “68 Guns” back in the early 80’s. Their DECLARATION album was one of the very first tapes I ever purchased. This new album shows that Mike Peters is still an excellent songwriter. It is just too bad that at least some of the classic band aren’t still together but then again, he IS the voice of The Alarm.
#9. Mr. Big – What If…
Another band I liked since they came out but these guys lost me at the time of their third album. Good to see them back together and making some great tunes.
A new Metal band that I was introduced to back in 2010. Their debut was released early 2011 and contains some amazing guitar work. A little progressive in parts but definitely highly recommended.
#11. Warrant – Rockaholic
A guilty pleasure. Yet another band I always loved but lost me in the 90’s. This is one of their better albums. A solid release
#12. Whitesnake – Forevermore
Easily the best album from the Whitesnake camp since the ’87 self titled disc.
Best Metal EP
Helix – Skin In The Game
One of my all-time favorite bands released an EP this past year. Some great tunes on it and proving that there is nothing like the classic line-up. There have been some great players in this band over the years and many have become good personal friends but the classic 80’s line-up just feels right. Hopefully in 2012 we’ll get more great tunes.
Best New Metal Band
Before The Damned
The best new Metal band I heard all year without any doubt and their debut is one of the greatest Metal albums of the year as well. Highly recommended!
Best Metal Blu-Ray
This documentary on Lemmy is well made and extremely informative. It shows different sides to him that the fan never gets to see. The bonus features are excellent and amusing at times.
Deep Purple – Live In Montreux 2011
Superb picture and sound. After 40+ years these guys still have what it takes. Gillan may not be able to hit the notes like he did in the 70’s but these guys put on one hell of an amazing show.
Best Metal Book
Does The Noise In My Head Bother You? – Steven Tyler
Autobiographies seem to be the “in” thing to do lately and Tyler’s is one of the better ones. An easy read that spans his whole life without going into intricate detail.
This Is Gonna Hurt – Nikki Sixx
An interesting and well laid out book of words and photography. A book that makes you use your brain to see things in a different light.
Best Metal Remake album
Black Label Society – The Song Remains Not The Same
Not one for remakes, cover songs or acoustic versions but this one is pne of the better ones to come along. A few nice surprises but nothing mind blowing or out of the ordinary.
Greatest Metal Hopes for 2012
Lacuna Coil – Dark Adrenaline
Their last album, SHALLOW LIFE was my Album of The Year a couple of years ago and it still holds up today as one of my favorite albums.
Kiss – Kissology IV
With a stroke of luck this will be released and contain the Animalized Live concert that was released on VHS back in the day.
The Van Halen Reunion (of sorts) album and tour.
It will be the first new album from the VH camp with Dave on vocals since 1984. It’s just a shame that Michael Anthony is not a part of it. Let us hope it delivers.
Greatest Metal Disappointments
His latest album WELCOME 2 MY NIGHTMARE was a terrible album. It had all the hype to be something magnificent but turned out to be a heaping pile with only one real strong track. He had an amazing live band but failed to use them on the record plus he resorts to using AUTO-TUNE. I won’t even mention the duet with a pop star. A total disaster.
Michael ‘Würzel’ Burston
Not a disappointment of 2011 but a tragic loss. The former Motörhead guitarist passed away this past July. I was fortunate enough to see him live with Motörhead back in ’88 opening for Alice Cooper (fitting isn’t it that both are now in my “Metal Dissapointments of 2011”?) on their ROCK AND ROLL tour.
Another tragic loss was the passing of Jani Lane in an LA motel room this past year. Jani was one of the best vocalists out there in the Hard Rock and Metal community. It is tragic that his demons got the better of him. His voice will be missed.
Best Live Metal Album
Slash – Made In Stoke
Slash just nails it with this release. The best live album to come out in awhile. Excellent all around and from every aspect. Maybe 2012 we’ll see a Blu-Ray release of this?
Best Metal Discovery
I always liked Sabbath BUT apart from their “Hits” I was pretty unfamiliar with their material until this year. All I owned was the double WE SOLD OUR SOUL FOR ROCK AND ROLL but that has since changed and I am glad it did!!