Best of 2011 – Erich
Top 20 Albums
1. Iced Earth – DYSTOPIA
This one was a surprise for a couple of reasons. First, with Barlow leaving so soon after rejoining, people were wondering how could this revolving door of singers continue without a drop in quality? Stu Block has clearly had an invigorating effect, and with a return to Century Media after three albums on Steamhammer, credit Century Media and the band for realizing the grass is not always greener on the other side.
2. Reckless Love – ANIMAL ATTRACTION
I have come to appreciate this album more since when I reviewed it at the end of November and would now up it to 4.5 stars instead of 4. It is better than the debut and shows a clear growth in terms of marrying retro glam metal with modern sonic inflections.
3. Steel Panther – BALLS OUT
4. Fullforce – ONE
5. Anthrax – WORSHIP MUSIC
6. Vicious Rumors – RAZORBACK KILLERS
7. Arch/Matheos – SYMPATHETIC RESONANCE
8. Charred Walls Of The Damned – COLD WINDS ON TIMELESS DAYS
9. House Of Lords – BIG MONEY
10. Within Temptation – THE UNFORGIVING
11. Sebastian Bach – KICKING AND SCREAMING
12. Black ‘N Blue – HELL YEAH
13. Textures – DUALISM
14. Samael – LUX MUNDI
15. Artillery – MY BLOOD
16. Anvil – JUGGERNAUT OF JUSTICE
17. Powerwolf – BLOOD OF THE SAINTS
18. Rhapsody of Fire- FROM CHAOS TO INFINITY
19. Lake Of Tears – ILLWILL
20. Communic – THE BOTTOM DEEP
Best New Metal Band
Demolition (Honorable Mention)
Best Metal DVD
GOD BLESS OZZY OSBOURNE
Best Metal Book
THE COLLECTOR’S GUIDE TO HEAVY METAL: VOLUME 4: THE ’00s
Best Metal Concert
Iron Maiden The Final Frontier Tour St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa, Florida
Best Local Metal Band
Artizan – Jacksonville, Florida. Simply an amazing and traditional metal band with progressive tendencies. Florida was once a pioneer in extreme metal. Here is to these guys forming a new renaissance along with Circle II Circle.
Greatest Metal Hopes
New Testament Album in 2012 – THE FORMATION OF DAMNATION was an amazing return to form but it is approaching four long years since that release. Will the band be able to sustain the momentum from TFOD before it is forgotten? My hope is that it is every bit as worthy.
New The Gathering Album in 2012 – WEST POLE was a welcome near return to the sound of The Gathering that got me on board in the first place, MANDYLION. Silje Wergeland proved to be a worthy replacement at vocals, and I would love to hear the new album incorporate heavier elements.
No More Male Death Vocals combined with Female Vocals – This is just crap and everybody is doing it in the Goth/Symphonic Metal genre. Not only do they sound out of place, but it is unoriginal and detracts from the good vocalist, which is usually the woman. If you want to be a death metal band than play death metal, but keep the shitty vocals out of this genre.
New Paradise Lost Album in 2012 – The last couple of albums have been remarkably consistent and doomy. I love that they have returned to the basis of their best albums and hope this one lives up to the standards they have set with the last two.
The Obsessed Reunion Leads To A New Album – Hoping their reunion for the Roadburn Festival leads to the realization that they should be recording new material. Come on!
Greatest Metal Disappointments
KK Downing Leaving Priest – I skipped the tour for this reason. I mean wtf! How can you not finish your last tour as a band for the fans! A truly awful decision.
Queensryche – DEDICATED TO CHAOS – Effectively squelched any flickering embers that OPERATION MINDCRIME II might have ignited. It is clear that this band is never going to release anything but geriatric and limp guitar tones to appease metal god turned whimp, Geoff Tate.
Alice Cooper – WELCOME 2 MY NIGHTMARE – Effective arguments could be made that this could not be anything but a disaster, trying to revisit a well over 30 years dry. Still this was much worse than I think most of us expected, destroying much of the good will Alice had built with metal fans over the last decade.
Spotify – I had hoped Spotify would be the salvation that was promised, and sway me to dump Rhapsody. Instead, Spotify proved to have no interest in metal or retaining metal labels. As a result from Iced Earth to The Gathering, huge gaps are present in their catalog.
Megadeth – THIRTEEN – Not an awful album, just more of the same, with nothing that makes a lasting impression or hints at anything other than cutting albums for paychecks and contract obligations.
Best Metal Discovery
Tie: Wolverine & Fullforce