Best of 2011 – Rick
1. Iced Earth – Dystopia
I have been a huge Iced Earth fan since hearing them back in the late 90s. While I admit that there are some minor bumps in their discography Jon Schaffer keeps the band chugging along with solid release after solid release. With Barlow out, Ripper in, then out, and Barlow back, I kind of had the feeling that after Barlow’s last departure that Jon may be in a bit of trouble. Such is not the case! Stu Block amply fills Mr Barlow’s shoes and brings a rawness and hunger back to the band that hasn’t been there for a long time. This may not be the consensus number 1 for 2011 but for me it’s the disc I spin the most. Thats the real litmus test!
2. Pagan’s Mind – Heavenly Ecstasy
3. Amaranthe – Amaranthe
4. Riot – Immortal Soul
5. Astral Doors – Jerusalem
6. Anthrax – Worship Music
7. Jag Panzer – The Scourge Of The Light
8. Voodoo Circle – Broken Heart Syndrome
9. Edguy – Age Of The Joker
10. Rhapsody Of Fire – The Cold Embrace Of Fear
11. Bloodbound – Unholy Cross
12. Brainstorm – On The Spur Of The Moment
13. Megadeth – Th1rt3en
14. Evergrey – The Glorious Collision
15. Amorphis – The Beginning Of Times
16. Symphony X – Iconoclast
17. Powerwolf – Blood Of The Saints
18. Coldspell- Out from the Cold
19. Within Temptation – The Unforgiving
20. Stargazery – Eye on the Sky
Best Metal EP/MCD
Cathedral – A New Ice Age
Best New Metal Band
This group was a long time in the making. 2005 was the year they started working together but it wasn’t until 2010 that they solidified their lineup and produced their excellent debut EYE ON THE SKY. Mainmen Jari Tiura (vocals) and Pete Ahonen (guitar) have forged a solid sound that takes the best parts of traditional and power metal and adds a melodic sensibility that should see them build on this years successes!
Best Local Metal Band
sHeavy. St. John’s, Newfoundland a Labrador, Canada. If there is one band that continues to roll right along its sHeavy. For those not in the know, sHeavy play a groovy, riff heavy, sabbathy influenced brand of metal with a vocalist (Steve Hennessey) who sounds quite a lot like Ozzy in his early years. sHeavy have over the years moved away from that Sabbath influence to play great straight metal. The local metal scene in St. John’s is getting stronger with bands like Category VI and Wizards of Kaos creating some of the best metal this city has seen in years.
Greatest Metal Hopes for 2012
Black Sabbath Reunion. The Godfathers of metal announced this year that they would reunite and would have a new CD available in 2012. Can Ozzy, Tony, Geezer and Bill really recreate the magic of the past or is this just going to be another let down for the metal community. There will be a tour which will introduce a whole new generation of metalheads to some of the genres creators. Lets hope that they can make a great album as well.
Greatest Metal Disappointments of 2011
- Alice Cooper - Welcome 2 My Nightmare. Whenever Alice plays live, the songs that get the best reception are the classics and his more hard rocking material such as Poison I was hoping this CD would be more in the vein of that song but what we get is an uninspired rockish cd that bores after a few listens. I think you need some new songwriting partners Alice.
- Sirenia – The 13th Floor was an amazing release that had me salivating for The Enigma of life. Unfortunatly it just doesn’t have the powerful songs of the aforementioned CD. Heres hoping the next one will be better.
- Jag Panzer, Cathedral, Symphorce and Nevermore split. 2011 saw the demise of 3 of my favourite bands. Jag Panzer has been putting out quality releases for years. Its a shame to see that level of quality and creativity put to bed. Cathedral have been stumbling a little but still were one of the cornerstones of metals doomy edge of the spectrum. Its a shame to see that disappear. Symphorce was the baby of Andy B. Franck who is one of my favourite vocalists. Symphorce played heavy metal but always had a modern edge that most other bands just couldn’t easily envelope into their music. Its a shame that Symphorce was put to bed but at least Franck can still be heard in Brainstorm. Finally, Nevermore. One of the most unique and creative bands in metal is on hiatus. Warrel expects to be back but admits it won’t beeasy replacing Jeff Loomis. I would have to agree. A sad year indeed.