Most reunion albums suck, or at the very least, disappoint. Carcass bucked that trend this year with an album that defied the expectations of fans and critics alike. Conceived and recorded in a level of secrecy that probably only Edward Snowden had knowledge of, SURGICAL STEEL could’ve easily been a by-the-numbers nostalgia trip. But nay, Jeff Walker and Bill Steer delivered an album that not only holds up amazingly well alongside classics like HEARTWORK and NECROTICISM, but did so in a way that sounded fresh, inspired, and most importantly, relevant in 2013. Despite an almost 20 year absence from the studio, SURGICAL STEEL reintroduces Carcass to the music scene without skipping a beat. So many exceptional tracks and even more exceptional riffs, SURGICAL STEEL is a flawless record. Can’t wait to hear these tunes live when Carcass hits the road in the Spring.
2. Exhumed – NECROCRACY
Exhumed – NECROCRACY
Exhumed is the Carcass of this generation, and NECROCRACY is their HEARTWORK. Seamlessly bridging the gore metal days of their past with a dose of social consciousness and a casket full of Maiden licks, NECROCRACY is death metal perfection that is second only to the godfathers of gore themselves.
3. SubRosa – MORE CONSTANT THAN THE GODS
SubRosa – MORE CONSTANT THAN THE GODS
In a year full of phenomenal doom records, MORE CONSTANT THAN THE GODS is the most mournful, sorrowful, gut wrenchingly heavy of them all. It’s far from you typical doom metal album, but then again, SubRosa is anything but typical. Combining the heaviest of dirges with a dual pronged violin attack and a siren’s call, this album will make you rethink everything you know about the genre.
4. Windhand – SOMA
This album is so f@#king heavy. Traditional doom at its dreariest; what more do you need?
5. Cathedral – THE LAST SPIRE
These UK doom legends exited the music scene as heavy and unapologetically melancholy as they entered it 20 some years ago. As much as I love this band and as sad as I was to see them go, THE LAST SPIRE is the perfect epitaph for Cathedral.
6. Orchid – THE MOUTHS OF MADNESS
Orchid released a better Black Sabbath album this year than Black Sabbath did themselves. It’s still 1974 on this record, and it’s awesome.
7. Vista Chino – PEACE
Kyuss is dead. Long live Vista Chino!
8. Ghost – INFESTISSUMAM
This album came out at least 8 months ago, and I’m still listening to it, singing along to every track. F@#k the internet, this album is every bit a triumph.
9. Queensrÿche – QUEENSRŸCHE
Once upon a time Queensrÿche was one of my favorite bands, and this album reminded me why. While Geoff Tate continues to milk the nostalgia circuit for all it’s worth, Michael Wilton and crew focused on writing an album that was the equivalent of makeup sex between the band and their fan base. Shaking off the memories of crappy alt rock albums and cabaret shows, QUEENSRŸCHE is a reset for the band and those that still care.
10. Deicide – IN THE MINDS OF EVIL
“Some men just want to watch the world burn.” Men like Glen Benton, that is. Often imitated but never duplicated, IN THE MINDS OF EVIL is Deicide doing what they do best.
11. Intronaut – HABITUAL LEVITATIONS
12. Fates Warning – DARKNESS IN A DIFFERENT LIGHT
13. Watain – THE WILD HUNT
14. Gorguts – COLOURED SANDS
15. Black Sabbath – 13
16. Pestilence – OBSIDEO
17. Philip H. Anselmo & the Illegals – WALK THROUGH EXITS ONLY
18. Nails – ABANDON ALL LIFE
19. Incantation – VANQUISH IN VENGEANCE
20. Shallow Grave – SHALLOW GRAVE
Fuck the Facts – AMER
Fuck the Facts – AMER
These Canadian purveyors of Grindcore continue to impress with each release, but AMER is their most impressive yet. Introducing a degree of melody and technical intricacy to their frenzied blasts of hostility, AMER grabs your attention and then smacks you upside the head with it.
Best Live Album
Testament – Dark Roots of Thrash
Testament – Dark Roots of Thrash
What’s better than a Testament double live album? Not a damn thing, that’s what. Yeah, the band sounds great here, but the setlist is a fan’s wet dream. DARK ROOTS OF THRASH has the mandatory classics from the first two albums, newer material from DARK ROOTS OF EARTH, and a handful of deep cuts thrown in for good measure. But if their performance of “D.N.R.” doesn’t make you want to punch a wall, then you’re just not human.
Black Sabbath – LIVE…GATHERED IN THEIR MASSES
Black Sabbath – LIVE…GATHERED IN THEIR MASSES
Despite my lack of enthusiasm for 13, and despite Ozzy’s lack of awareness as to what song he’s singing at any given moment, there’s still an undeniable magic that happens when Ozzy, Butler, and Iommi get on stage together. Factor in that Tommy Clufetos looks like a younger version of Bill Ward and a decent setlist, and you’ve got yourself a good time.
Honorable Mention: Roomba Cat Dressed Like a Shark
Okay, it’s not “technically” a DVD, but you’ve got to admit that a cat dressed like a shark riding a vacuum cleaner is a metaphor for the kind of rebellion that heavy metal inspires. Ride on, Roomba Cat…Ride On.
Bolt Thrower with Benediction & Jungle Rot (Reggie’s Chicago, IL)
In a sort of death metal pilgrimage, I traveled 1,000 miles to see Bolt Thrower on their 8-date run of the U.S. this year, and I’m totally glad that I did. Hearing the thundering roar of “The IVth Crusade” live was nothing short of a cathartic experience and having fellow UK death metal legends Benediction open the gig was simply icing on the cake.
Discovery of 2013
That the underground death metal scene is indeed alive and well.
While the traditional blood n’ guts scene never really went away, it certainly awoke with a vengeance this year, getting more attention in the press than I can recall in quite some time. There are a lot of great indie labels that are doing a lot of great things right now for the genre, and more and more bands are taking control of their destiny by releasing their wares independently or through vehicles like Bandcamp; it’s a pretty cool time to be a music fan.
Disappointments of 2013
Trouble – THE DISTORTION FIELD If there was one album that I desperately wanted to be successful, it was this one. After six years and a load of lead singer drama, Trouble was due some good fortune, but THE DISTORTION FIELD was sadly a hot, hot mess that not even Kyle Thomas could save. Mediocre songwriting, bad production, and zero promotion combined together to create a perfect storm of disappointment around the album. Here’s hoping that Eric Wagner’s debut with The Skull fares better next year.
R.I.P. Jeff Hanneman – Yep, that happened. And Speaking of Slayer…Seriously, last year it was drummer drama with Black Sabbath, this year it’s Slayer’s turn? C’mon, nothing against Paul Bostaph, but this whole thing is just getting a bit silly now. Slayer will always be a profitable brand and there’s no signs that it’s gonna go away anytime soon, but without Jeff or Dave Lombardo, I don’t know that I’m all that interested.
Hopes for 2014
My First Trip to Maryland Deathfest – I’m looking forward to my crossing a ton of bands off of my “must see live” bucket list this year. Seeing Candlemass, Tryptikon, My Dying Bride, and Nocturnus all in the same weekend? Count me in.
King Diamond – Seems like King Diamond makes my year end list every year in some capacity, so we’re not gonna break tradition now. We’ve recovered from triple bypass surgery, we’ve hit the European festival circuit, NOW GET IN THE STUDIO ALREADY!!!!!
Some Great Tours Being Announced Already: Carcass, Obituary, Death Angel and Nile are just a few names already scheduled to cross the U.S. in 2014, and it’s still only mid-December as I type this. Horns up for a busy 2014 in the pit.
Fates warning has been one of my favorite bands since I started listening to metal. The delay between this album and FWX was 9 long years, many fans including myself wondering if we had heard the band’s last album. DARKNESS IN A DIFFERENT LIGHT is a continuing evolution of the band’s sound, and while it is not as vital or awe inspiring as some past albums, it is still a great album that immediately reflects the return of pivotal past member Frank Aresti.
2. Hardcore Superstar – C’Mon Take On Me
Glam/Sleaze metal’s finest band in my view releases one of the best albums of the year in C’MON TAKE ON ME. The band’s driving rhythms and infectious choruses are grounded in the finest tradition’s of glam metal. Sure, I like bleak and oppressive vistas as well as raging slabs of angry aggression as much as the next metal head, but when I looked for something fun and upbeat I found myself reaching for this album over and over this year.
3. Ghost – Infestissumam
Ghost – Infestissumam
One of the most anticipated metal albums of the year did not fail to disappoint me. Ghost is over the top to be sure, both lyrically and image-wise, but the music and song construction are not the work of clowns by any means. Ghost’s music sinks like hooks into the brain, and while not necessarily the heaviest music on earth, it is a damn fun ride.
4. Reckless Love – Spirit
Reckless Love – Spirit
These Finnish metal lovers barely lost out to Hardcore Superstar for best Glam/Sleaze metal album of the year. SPIRIT is another fun, catchy album that also has some heavy chugs and odes to metal on it as well. There is a comfortable balance of hooks and aggression to satisfy a wide range of fans.
5. Black Sabbath – 13
Black Sabbath – 13
There is already a tome of opinions out there on this album, but here is something I have not seen yet so I will say it. This is no sympathy award, but a album that grew on me. 13 is not the band’s finest album, and in general it plays it pretty safe. However, old age and modern production aside, this is basically the sound of the band in their heyday.
6. Circle II Circle – Seasons Will Fall
Circle II Circle – Seasons Will Fall
Zak Stevens has been one of my favorite singers since the EDGE OF THORNS album with Savatage. SEASONS WILL FALL is vintage Circle II Circle, but closer to the earlier albums than the heavier and more down tuned last few have been. It is a welcome return from a band that remains a consistently melodic and respected institution.
7. Helloween – Straight Out Of Hell
Helloween – Straight Out Of Hell
I sorta lost track of Helloween for many years but I got back on board with STRAIGHT OUT OF HELL. The band aimed for more happy melodies and held back much of the dark material dotting the landscape of the previous two albums. This recalls favorably the glory days of my first discoveries of the Keeper albums, and while that brilliance is not matched here, it does a worthy job of reminding us how important a band Helloween is when they play to their strengths.
8. Crashdïet – The Savage Playground
Crashdïet – The Savage Playground
Crashdiet are a great band that went for a more raw style on this album. The excellent vocal harmonies are still present though, and the album overall is quite respectable. Still, I felt that it was a step back for the band, perhaps to be expected after such a long run of almost perfect albums.
9. Death Angel – The Dream Calls For Blood
Death Angel – The Dream Calls for Blood
The cover art for Death Angel’s last two albums have given an excellent idea as to the content within; heavy, uncompromising, and taut thrash metal. THE DREAM CALLS FOR BLOOD picks up where the previous album left off, Osgueda and Cavestany continuing to release bold and often unconventional music.
10. Oliva – Raise The Curtain
For the Oliva fan, RAISE THE CURTAIN has elements of all the styles Jon has been involved with over his long and storied career. Though this is his first solo album, it is an outstanding one with a perfect balance of the heavy and the melodic.
11. Týr – Valkyrja
12. Artizan – Ancestral Energy
13. Absolon – Darkness Risng: The Tale Of Derek Blackheart
14. Eden’s Curse – Symphony Of Sin
15. Powerwolf – Preachers Of The Night
16. Pretty Maids – Motherland
17. Satan – Life Sentence
18. Queensrÿche – S/T
19. Twins Crew – The Northern Crusade
20. Stryper – No More Hell To Pay
Best New Band
Absolon: DARKNES RISING: THE TALE OF DEREK BLACKHEART
Absolon: DARKNES RISING: THE TALE OF DEREK BLACKHEART
Ken Pike (Guitar/Vocals)
Ed Dumas (Lead Guitar)
Tyler Colick (guitar)
Matthew Tomasone (keyboards)
John Gaffney (bass
Geoff Kirchoff (drums)
Best Live Album
Iced Earth – LIVE IN ANCIENT KOURION
Iced Earth – “Live In Ancient Kourion”
Testament – DARK ROOTS OF THRASH
Testament – Dark Roots of Thrash
Discovery of 2013
Daylight Robbery An excellent UK band, their album was released in 2011 and thus did not qualify for our list. Playing tradition metal with flourishes of melodic hard rock, this is a band that is taking their second shot at the big time, after their first attempt in the early 90s did not work out.
Best Local Band
Absolon Absolon is an Orlando, FL band founded by Ken Pike. Pike was the singer for a glam white metal band band in LA in the 80s called Malachia. Absolon is a great band that leans more power metal and traditional metal with flourishes of Crimson Glory. Keep an ear out for them, they are moving up.
Megadeth – SUPER COLLIDER Probably the worst ‘Deth album since RISK, the opening track is maybe the one truly worthy song, “Kingmaker” being a great start. Unfortunately, the limp wristed title track was the first single and video most fans heard, and ended the album for a good portion of them.
Geoff Tate – Frequency Unknown Not a surprise but certainly a disappointment after all the egotistical drivel Geoff spewed assuring fans how great the new album would be. Please.
Death of Jeff Hanneman A tragic loss for Thrash Metal and one of the greatest riff masters of the genre. R.I.P. Jeff.
Greatest Hopes for 2014
New Savatage Album: The new Oliva album was a very welcome compromise, but I say it every year. We need a new Savatage album.
New Judas Priest Album: With K.K. Downing gone and a new album planned for 2014, let’s hope it is better than NOSTRADAMUS. Black Sabbath proved that advanced age is no longer an excuse for senseless drift.
New Slayer Album: How will the band respond with no Hanneman? The new album will hopefully be a worthy tribute to Jeff and the band returns inspired and molten.
The best album of the year, in my humble-but-educated opinion, is Finntroll’s Blodsvept. It’s quirky, it’s evil, it’s heavy, and it’s musically rich. As you expect with Finntroll, there’s a colorful array of instruments used throughout the entire album, coupled with satisfyingly heavy guitar and bass. And vocalist Mathias “Vreth” Lillmåns keeps it brutal with his excellent growls. Quite a few of the songs are dark, letting Finntroll’s black metal tendencies really shine through, but there are also the more folksy songs that define their trademark sound. Some of my favorite tracks include “Mordminnen”, “Skogsdotter”, “Skӧvlarens Dӧd”, and “När Jättar Marschera”, but the whole album is a gem.
Legions of the North from Månegarm is a brilliant album. When it was first released I pretty much listened to it in its entirety non-stop for a good long while. It’s the kind of album that makes everything feel like an epic adventure when you listen to it. It’s chock-full of noble, folksy riffs, winter-heathen lyrics, and incredibly catchy choruses. What make this album especially spectacular, to me, are the vocals of Erik Grawsiӧ. He can growl like a beast (no pun intended) but also, man can he sing! He’s got a powerful, rock’n’roll voice, with a strong range. My favorite tracks on this masterpiece are: “Sons of War”, “Hordes of Hel”, and “Eternity Awaits”.
Turisas’ aptly-named album Turisas2013 sparked a lot of controversy with fans, from the album art, the title, and the music itself. But guess what? I love it. It’s great. And it’s 100% Turisas. It’s not folk metal, people, it’s something entirely different and it stands by itself in a little, one-band genre that we endearingly call battle metal. This new album brings us more clean vocals than ever from vocalist Mathias “Warlord” Nygård, and they sound fantastic. The lyrics are meaningful and clever, and the music is ever-triumphant. To name a few of my favorite tracks; “We Ride Together”, “Ten More Miles”, and “Piece by Piece”.
In their newest EP, Equilibrium gives a 5-song taste of their past, present, and future music – and it all tastes really good. They re-recorded their song “Der Sturm” for the EP, and it sounds better than ever, and is about as noble as it could possibly be. “Zwergenhammer” is also an older song, that was actually never released, but clearly not because it wasn’t a great song. Then there’s “Waldschrein”, the title track, which is the uplifting sound you expect from Equilibrium. It’s fresh but still heavily retains their style, and is complemented by an instrumental version which is just as good and really showcases Equilibrium’s mastery of melodies and exotic instruments. Man, I love them. The Waldschrein EP is an exciting peek into whatever Equilibrium has cooking for their next album; it’s gonna be good. And how could I forget to mention the cover of the Skyrim theme on the EP, called “Himmelsrand”? Only Equilibrium could take a song so epic already and make it more epic – epic enough to out-epic other epics.
Vikings – History Channel took us all by surprise this year with their first-ever scripted series, Vikings. This show is SO metal. The sense of brutal realism is a breath of fresh air, compared to so many TV shows that sugar-coat everything, and always have the main characters doing “the right thing”. History’s Vikings holds nothing back; they kill Christians, burn villages, kill each other, cheat on each other, sacrifice each other to the gods…the show has it all, plus a strong and visually-appealing cast. (Hello, Rollo!) The show even features Wardruna’s music in an episode, which is just so legit. The whole show is legit. Catch up on it now, in time for the second season!
We waited so long for this. Metalocalypse’s very own Klok Opera, The Doomstar Requiem – an hour-long special that finally answered the burning question of, “what happened to Toki??” While there are a lot of serious moments in the movie, Dethklok’s usual antics are peppered throughout, starting right from the beginning with their song “Partying Around the World”. All your favorite characters are featured, with some great cameos, and hell, George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher does the vocals for the Masked Metal Assassin! What more do you want? An adorable song from Toki? There’s one of those indeed, called “I Believe” which, in fact, I proudly have on my iPod and belt-out along with in my car. The best part of the movie is, though, that it sets Metalocalypse up for a FIFTH SEASON. Ohhh yes.
Turisas “Guards of Glory North American Tour 2013”
Choosing the best concert of the year is like choosing between cute cat-gifs on Tumblr – they’re ALL too amazing to pick just one. When pressed, however, I have decided that the best show I saw, for various reasons, was Turisas on their North American tour earlier this year. This was before they came out with their new album, Turisas2013 (which you’ll notice I chose as one of the best albums of the year…little did I know, when I saw them in March). Why was their show my favorite? First of all, these guys KNOW showmanship, inside-and-out. They go all-out, with their red and black warpaint, and fur and chain-mail accented clothes. Their music is fantastic live, and oh-so sing-along-able. They’re extremely personable to their fans, and frontman Mathias “Warlord” Nygård completely breaks the fourth wall. When I saw them, it was a fairly small crowd compared to what they normally play (Florida, ok?) so there was a casual, intimate feel to the whole show. Mathias talked…a LOT. And it was very entertaining, especially considering he kept a steady flow of alcohol into his body through his entire performance; so naturally he got more and more entertaining. In fact, after a joking request that the audience do so, members of the crowd started bringing Turisas drinks from the bar – which the band gladly received! So, all factors included, Turisas’ show tops my list for the bands I saw this year. At the end of their show, they showed the audience an immense appreciation, and shook the hands of as many fans as they could reach – I personally have never touched so many sweaty Finnish guys in one night! ….hey, get your mind out of the gutter!
This beardy group of guys is a truly unique band in the LA metal scene. The blending of melodic death with pagan undertones gives this California band the sound of quality, European metal. Their music is original and professional, with nothing out of joint, yet their melodies are often delightfully unpredictable. They include clean choruses alongside their predominant, strong growls, and mix evil heaviness with refreshing upbeat sections. And having 6 members in the band allows for a lot of technical goodies and general fun, including call-and-response segments between guitar and keyboard when Sirion performs live. They’re altogether a talented, one-of-a-kind band that stands out in a scene of so many noisy, cookie-cutter bands, so I’m very proud to say that Sirion is LA’s very own.
Finnish band Vorna got their start this year with the release of Ajastaika. They’ve got a symphonic, black metal sound, with a lot of fun folksy elements thrown in. One of their biggest strengths is their vocalist, Vesa Salovaara. His vocals range from deep, growly lows, to throat-ripping highs, and, though used sparingly, great clean vocals as well. Vorna uses a huge array of instruments on their album, and each song seems to feature different sounds, like harps, accordions, tolling bells, organs, flutes, and more.
Vorna also throws in acoustic guitar picking and strumming in truly unique and surprising ways. I’m excited to see how their sound develops in future albums!
Epic, inventive, majestic – Dream Theater have spun the wheel of prog once again and hit upon another winning combination. In an album of concise bites (you could almost say accessible except that Dream Theater don’t hold anyone’s hand) there remains an ambitious multi-part opus that only Dream Theater, with their musical dexterity, could make sense of.
2. Motorhead – Aftershock
MOTÖRHEAD – Aftershock
After Lemmy’s recent healthscares, Aftershock feels even more precious. There’s a powerful hope that it’s not the last Motorhead album because it’s a reminder of how great this band is. It’s classic Motorhead – we don’t want anything ‘new’ – we want the sound that made this band so great, and Aftershock captures that.
3. Black Sabbath – 13
4. Phil H Anselmo & The Illegals – Walk Through Exits Only
5. Voivod – Target Earth
6. Vried – Welcome Farewell
7. Airbourne – Black Dog Barking
8. Venomous Maximus – Beg Upon The Light
9. Victor Griffin’s In-Graved – S/T
10. Protest The Hero – Volition
11. Volbeat – Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies
12. Tombstone Highway – Ruralizer
13. Civil War – The Killer Angels
14. Ghost – Infestissumam
15. Evile – Skull
16. DevilDriver – Winter Kills
17. Red Fang – Whales & Leeches
18. Black Spiders – This Savage Land
Top Rock Albums
1. Clutch – Earth Rocker
What can I say except that Clutch continue to surpass themselves, having outpaced everyone else a long time ago. They manage to do something different with every album, yet it’s always tight, fluid, and Clutch. I don’t think there’s a band doing more to keep rock ‘n’ roll relevant and Earth Rocker is a great example of that.
2. Black Star Riders – All Hell Breaks Loose
Best live album
Devin Townsend – The Retinal Circus
Philip H. Anselmo/Warbeast – War Of The Gargantuas
Best covers album
Anthrax – Anthems
Best Rock DVD
Rush – Clockwork Angels
Best rock concert
Metallica – Through The Never
Major events in metal
All the Slayer sadness – Jeff Hanneman’s tragic death and Dave Lombardo’s exit
Randy Blythe’s acquittal
Joey Jordison departs Slipknot
Lemmy’s health issues reminding us of the vulnerability of our giants
Predictions for 2014
We might see a few more festivals going under in the UK – not the big names (Download, Bloodstock – and hopefully not Sonisphere) – but more of the grassroots festivals, which will be a massive shame.
I hope that the rumours about a new Tool album are founded and we get a tour as well.
I was never expecting to hear a new music from Carcass but I’m gladly wrong here. SURGICAL STEEL presents the hungry and a merciless-sounding band which is in unbelievably tight shape. The album is full of killer songs and Jeff Walker still growls like back in the day.
2. Motorhead: Aftershock
MOTÖRHEAD – Aftershock
Lemmy Kilmister has lately been headlines other but musical reasons but the fact is that AFTERSHOCK is another masterpiece from the legends. Many people do think that if you’ve heard one Motorhead album you’ve then heard them all but that’s not true at all. Although there are all the Motorhead elements needed on the album, AFTERSHOCK is different to its predecessors, definitely. The album is a bit slower and it shows the bands bluesy side which is often forgotten. If you don’t believe, check it out by yourself.
3. Annihilator: Feast
FEAST is Annihilator’s strongest release in years and definitely the best album from the Dave Padden era.
Annihilator – FEAST
4. Stratovarius: Nemesis
Stratovarius have been more or less lost since the breakup with Timo Tolkki. NEMESIS is the third album released without him and now it sounds like the band has finally get over it. NEMESIS is the best album from Stratovarius in over 20 years.
5. Black Sabbath: 13
Talk about album with enormous expectations here… Fu***n Black Sabbath releases new album with Ozzy after 35 years and the results are… very mediocre. The album is full of slow or mid-tempo songs and most of the material is just forgettable. Unfortunately.
6. Avantasia: The Mystery of Time
MYSTERY OF TIME is another strong release from Sammett and co. It’s more straight forward album than its predecessors and goes high in my Avantasia album rank.
7. Pretty Maids: Motherland
MOTHERLAND is a great follow-up for PANDENOMIUM and one of the best hard rock albums released in 2013.
8. Krokus: Dirty Dynamite
Not as good as HOODOO was but still a solid release from the Switzerland’s finest.
9. Queensryche: Queensryche
After 25 years of disappointing releases this was a great effort from Queensryche. It’s going to be interesting to follow where the band goes next from this?
10. Dream Theater: Dream Theater
A decent release from the prog metal kings and better than DRAMATIC TURN OF EVENTS but far from the glory days still.
11. Airbourne: Black Dog Barking
The curse of the third album? Nah, BLACK DOG BARKING is another good, straight head rock album from the Aussies. The new album is not even close of rate of their brilliant debut but it doesn’t lose an inch for the second album.
12. Helloween: Straight Out Of Hell
STRAIGHT OUT OF HELL is solid but a bit neutral release from Helloween. Hopefully there will be more variations and new ideas on the next releases?
13. Saxon: Sacrifice
There’s nothing wrong with new Saxon disc either but it’s just another good album on the bands long list of releases.
14. Death Angel: The Dream Calls for Blood
A positive surprise from these guys. I kind of lost interest after boring KILLING SEASON but this one sounded great.
15. U.D.O: Steelhammer
Sometimes the bands do changes when they have to and sometimes bands do changes when they want to. Don’t know how it was with U.D.O but after recent line-up changes they now released the best U.D.O album in years.
16. Megadeth: Super Collider
This album has been bashed more than anything what Megadeth has ever released. But it’s not that bad album really. There are several decent songs there and as a whole it’s a way better than A WORLD NEED A HERO or RISK.
17. Children of Bodom: Halo of Blood
HALO OF BLOOD is another decent release from the Finns. Nothing spectacular though.
18. Stryper: No More Hell to Pay
Easily the bands best post re-union album. Melodic 80’s hard rock/metal at its best.
A way better release than its reputation but why there are so many unnecessary re-recordings of QR classics on the album?
20. Amorphis: Circle
There’s nothing wrong with this release either but seems that the band is just repeating itself too much nowadays. Time for a change?
BEST ROCK ALBUMS OF 2013
1. Michael Monroe: Horns and Halos
HORNS AND HALOS is a follow-up to Michael’s “successful” comeback album SENSORE OVERDRIVE which was released two years ago. Guitarist and main songwriter Ginger is gone and he’s now been replaced with Swedish Dregen (Backyard Babies). The new album does not quite reach the level of its predecessor but it’s definitely worth to check out because there isn’t too many bands/artists left on this genre who are still capable to release such a great music.
2.Deep Purple: Now What?
NOW WHAT? was a pleasant surprise from the veterans. After a few somewhat disappointing albums, it’s definitely something different from the band. Probably it’s because of legendary producer Bob Ezrin who now worked the first time with Purple.
3.Black Star Riders: All Hell Breaks Loose
I had huge expectations for this and it’s a good album. The problem is that it’s not great, just good…
4.Stone Sour: House of Gold & Bones 2
Stone Sour is one of those bands which I have found later on and I currently own all of their albums. As a whole “HOUSE OF GOLD & BONES 2 is perhaps the strongest album from the band to date.
Buckcherry is always been one of my favorite bands from the late 90’s. It’s great to hear that after a little disappointing ALL NIGHT LONG the band is now back on track.
6. The Winery Dogs: The Winery Dogs
If band called Winery Dogs does not ring any bells for you should still recognize at least some of the following names: Mike Portnoy, Billy Sheenan and Richie Kotzen. The Winery Dogs is “a supergroup” and its self-titled debut is mostly very nice album to listen to.
7. Alice In Chains: The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here
AIC is another band which I started to listen to only a few years ago. BLACK GIVES WAY TO BLUE was an excellent comeback album from the band but this one is not far behind it.
8. Rob Zombie: Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor
It’s not another HELLBILLY DELUXE but better than some other Zombie albums. A kind of “back to roots” release in a good way.
BEST LIVE ALBUM
Scorpions: Live at Athens
In fact this was the only live album I purchased in 2013. Acoustic releases can be sometimes be boring and sound like forcibly made but this one is a pleasant exception here. First of all, the band sounds great, as always. But the main reason to pick up this great album are the songs. There are a lot of songs from the bands entire career included which have never been played live by the Scorpions before.
Skid Row: United World Rebellion: Chapter One
Honestly, I don’t buy too many EP’s but with this one I did exception. Of course, this EP sounds nothing like the first two Skid Row albums but it’s a way better than almost disastrous REVOLUTIONS PER MINUTE a few ago. If nothing else, it definitely gives hope from better future of the band.
BEST COVERS ALBUM
Like with EP’s I don’t usually buy covers albums neither but did have one exception. Anthrax is always been a very successful with cover songs choices and Anthems doesn’t make any exception here. From surprising Boston song “Smomin” ‘till a rough rendition of AC/DC classic “T.N.T” Anthrax does make ‘em all sound like Anthrax itself.
KISS: Nothin’ to Lose: The Making of KISS (1972-1975)
There wasn’t too many great metal/rock books released last year but his one. The book chronicles the crucial formative years of KISS, culminating with the groundbreaking success of their classic 1975 album Alive! The book includes interviews with Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, and Peter Criss, as well as with producers; engineers; management; record company and other related people.
1. JUDAS PRIEST: Epitaph This time there was really tight fight between these so I decided to share victory between the two Nearly two and a half hour DVD includes songs from every Rob Halford era Judas Priest album. Highlights include rarely played “Blood Red Skies” and “Never Satisfied” and of course all mandatory Priest classics. Well filmed and produced DVD from one of the best metal bands ever.
2. NIGHTWISH: Showtime, Storytime Nightwish have gone through numerous changes during the last two years. Especially their latest “Imaginaerum” -tour turned out much differently than they or anybody else could have anticipated. Nevertheless, this DVD is great to watch. New vocalist Floor Jansen gets the job done in style and the band plays as tight as always. The second DVD includes nearly two hour long documentary called “Please Learn the Setlist in 48 Hours” and it’s truly interesting material to watch too.
That Metal Show
Excellent interviews and interesting quests night after night.
There were tons of great shows last year but these three were the most memorable ones.
1. KISS: Kiss Kruise III, Caribbean Finally the band listened its fans and played a set list what truly was a dream come true for many long-term followers. “Almost Human”, “The Oath” and “Anything For My Baby” had never been played live until now and set also included many rarely played classics like “Let Me Know”, “Ladies In Waiting” and “Mainline”. This was easily one of the best performances from the band in ages.
2. KING DIAMOND: Tuska-Festival, Helsinki King Diamond returned to stages last year after a long hiatus. It can’t be denied that King’s amazing performance in Swedenrock was something to remember, it was just perfect but… although King now performed in full daylight this one was even better. Hail the King!
3. ALICE COOPER, Seminole Hard Rock Casino, Ft. Lauderdale
I haven’t seen indoor Cooper show in few years and this was definitely worth to check out. A lot of things had now changed since the last time. A reinvented band, a new stage show and pleasant surprises on the set list. What more you can ask?
BEST NEW BAND
Winery Dogs: Hopefully the band will stay together and we can hear more releases from them in the future. The world needs “supergroups”
MAJOR EVENTS IN METAL WORLD
Deaths: I know I’m repeating myself here but once again there were lot of sad news announced in metal community. A lot of great musicians joined the celestial band last year. Jeff Hanneman, Clive Burr, Trevor Bolder… the list goes on and on.
PREDICTIONS FOR 2014
MORE REUNIONS: There are a few interesting re-unions already on the way. Norwegian hard rock legends TNT is one of those and I can’t wait to see the band with Tony Harnell in charge once again. Also it’s going to be interesting what’s going to happen with KISS after the Hall of Fame ceremony… AND what’s even more interesting is that maybe Vinnie Vincent is finally activating next year…
NEW RELEASES: There are many interesting new albums coming out next year. If everything goes as planned we will have new albums from such names as: Jake E. Lee, Accept, Judas Priest, Anthrax and Ace Frehley. It’s going to be another good year for METAL!
GREAT TOURS AND FESTIVALS: Next year will be really busy. There are again tons of great festivals in Europe on the summer. Swedenrock, Hellfest, Download, Tuska etc etc. Lot of fun indeed. And of course there will be individual tours from many great bands.
Thanks to Tom Hack for setting up the interview.
Thanks to Massacre Records for providing the promo pics.
Madness Of the Night is a Swedish goth/dark wave duo that released their debut album THE ASGARDA in November 2013. Since the duo have a bit of an unusual background I thought it would be nice to learn a bit more about them and their music. I hooked up with Daniel Dante former members of the Swedish gothmetal act Soulgrinder, and here is what he had to say.Read the rest of this entry »
‘Honor’, was released in Brazil by Shinigami Records, and has figured in some lists of the year’s best. The material, which was produced by Henrique Baboom, directly succeeds ‘The Strongest’, released in 2001.
Metal Tank Records signed the Italian Stoner / Rock sensation CIRCLE OF WITCHES. The band will release their upcoming album entitled “Rock the Evil” on February 15, 2014.The first preview from the album has been posted on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCJEEP2wvbk
The Sunset Strip’s hottest export, Steel Panther, is back and ready to unleash their third full-length album, All You Can Eat, on the world. The 12-track masterpiece is slated to hit stands April 1st in the United States on Open E Records via Kobalt Label Services (KLS). The album will be available for pre-order on January 14th at http://www.steelpantherrocks.com. From the opening acoustic riff of album opener “Pussywhipped” to final chord hit in the album closer “She’s On The Rag,” it is clear Steel Panther is back and better than ever. Songs like “Gloryhole,” “Gangbang At The Old Folks Home” and “BVS” all showcase Steel Panther’s incredible musicianship and ability to write memorable and sometimes educational songs. The band, comprised of Michael Starr on vocals, Satchel on guitar, Lexxi Foxx on bass and Stix Zadinia on drums, have made a name for themselves as one of the most entertaining acts out today. The debut single “Party Like Tomorrow Is The End Of The World,” was released in November with a star-studded video directed by Rob Riggle that has been viewed over 660,000 times. The explicit video for the song can be seen at http://smarturl.it/sppartyvd. Longtime Steel Panther producer Jay Ruston produced All You Can Eat.
The track listing for All You Can Eat is:
2. Party Like Tomorrow Is The End Of The World
4. Bukkake Tears
5. Gangbang At The Old Folks Home
6. Ten Strikes You’re Out
7. The Burden Of Being Wonderful
8. F@#king My Heart In The Ass
10. You’re Beautiful When You Don’t Talk
11. If I Was The King
12. She’s On The Rag
VH1 Classic’s centerpiece in original programming “That Metal Show” is returning for its 13h season this week. The acclaimed hard rock/heavy metal talk show, hosted by Eddie Trunk, Don Jamieson and Jim Florentine, kicks off its latest season January 18th at 11:00PM ET/PT. The guests for the debut episode are Avenged Sevenfold vocalist M. Shadows and Black Label Society vocalist/guitarist Zakk Wylde. Filling in as the guest musician for the episode is Five Finger Death Punch guitarist, Jason Hook. The episode will also feature the fan favorite segments “Take It Or Leave It,” “TMS Top 5,” “Rank” and of course, “Stump The Trunk.”
Each week “That Metal Show” will continue to bring their audience the biggest names in hard rock and heavy metal. A slew of guests have already been confirmed for the upcoming episodes including Myles Kennedy and Mark Tremonti of Alter Bridge, Randy Blythe and Chris Adler of Lamb of God, Corey Glover and Vernon Reid of Living Colour and The Winery Dogs. Also confirmed to appear during Season 13 are Mick Mars, Ted Nugent, Ace Frehley, Peter Criss, Joe Satriani, Al Jourgensen, Morgan Rose, Frank Bello and David Ellefson. Other guests are still being confirmed at this time with more to be named at a later date.
Known for having the best musicians in music perform each week on “That Metal Show,” Season 13 will continue the trend with the likes of Night Ranger guitarist Joel Hoekstra, surf guitar maestro Gary Hoey and metal master Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante. Other blazing musical performances by Charred Walls of the Damned drummer Richard Christy and female guitar legend Lita Ford are also confirmed to make the new season the most musically diverse collection of shows in “That Metal Show” history.
This season will mark some monumental changes for the show as it returns to New York City for Season 13. Previously, the show was taped over several days of one week out at Sony Studios in Los Angeles. The new season will be shot at Metropolis Studios on Tuesday nights for broadcast that Saturday. Season 13 will also consist of 12 new episodes making it the longest season in the show’s history. Fans can also catch the complete season 12 and brand new exclusive bonus clips at ThatMetalShow.VH1.com and in the new VH1 app. New episodes of season 13 will launch on the web and in the app every Sunday morning following the show’s on-air premiere.
“That Metal Show” premiered on VH1 Classic in November 2008 and since then has become the only place for all things hard rock/heavy metal on cable television. The show has been visited by some of the biggest names in music including members of Black Sabbath, Aerosmith, Pantera, Anthrax, Kiss, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Pearl Jam, Queensrÿche and Heart to name just a few.
“That Metal Show” is a production of VH1 Classic. Lee Rolontz, Jeff Baumgardner and Keshia Williams serve as executive producers for VH1.
VH1 Classic brings you the best metal, rock, soul and pop from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. The channel features the gods of rock – from Black Sabbath, Metallica and Iron Maiden to Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam and Dire Straits – in marquee concerts and music specials, and of course, tons of classic music videos. Recent big events include National Metal Day (11.11) and Metal Evolution, an 11-part documentary series on the history of metal. When it comes down to it – all music should go to 11.