Coming on the heels of the announcement of their sophomore album, KXM has released the video for the debut single “Scatterbrain.” The video, directed by previous KXM director Jamie Brown, features the band performing live in the desert. The video can be seen here: https://youtu.be/UvTnzne69Ts and is the first song from the upcoming release of the same name. The new album is scheduled for release on March 17th via Rat Pak Records. Fans who pre-order the album digitally via iTunes (http://smarturl.it/kxmsbitunes) will receive “Scatterbrain” as an instant download. The album is also available via Amazon (http://smarturl.it/kxmsbamazon).
Scatterbrain is currently available for pre-order via the Rat Pak Records website in various bundles including signed CD’s and t-shirts. All fans who pre-order the album through the Rat Pak website will be entered to win a one-of-a-kind custom guitar as well as other prizes. The pre-order is available at RatPakRecords.com/KXM. KXM is comprised of dUg Pinnick of King’s X on vocals/bass, George Lynch of Lynch Mob/Dokken on guitars and Ray Luzier, of Korn on drums. Scatterbrain features 13 brand new tracks and was recorded at the Steakhouse studio in North Hollywood California. The album was produced by Chris “The Wizard” Collier (Flotsam & Jetsam/Prong/Last In Line) who also produced the band’s 2014 debut.
From the infectious riff of the album opener “Scatterbrain” to the outro of “Angel,” KXM have created something truly special and musically diverse. Songs like “Breakout,” “Calypso,” and “True Deceivers” are sonically different from each other taking the listener on a musical journey. Scatterbrain is thematically a darker record than the debut. The album builds upon the developed KXM rock sound but this time includes some different dynamics drawing inspiration from prog, ska, punk and metal. Through it all, it remains undeniably KXM.
KXM formed in early 2013 when dUg, George and Ray spoke about trying to jam together. At the time it wasn’t clear what would come from those jams. The only thing that was clear was that these 3 musicians, at the top of their game, wanted to play together. The self-titled debut, KXM, was released on March 11, 2014 and debuted at #31 on the Billboard 200. The band takes its name from the combination of the member’s other projects: K from Korn, X from King’s X and M from Lynch Mob. In a world that constantly searches for new and unique music, KXM delivers all the power and punch that one would expect from these high level players.
1. AVANTASIA “Ghostlights” 2. AXEL RUDI PELL “Game of Sins” 3. ELDERBLOOD “Messiah” 4. EVERGREY “The Storm Within” 5. FORTERESSE “Thèmes pour la rébellion” 6. GRAVELAND “1050 Years of Pagan Cult” 7. HAMMERFALL “Built to Last” 8. RHAPSODY OF FIRE “Into the Legend” 9. SIRENIA “Dim Days of Dolor” 10. SONATA ARCTICA “The Ninth Hour”
On February 24th, Armored Saint is releasing their new live album, Carpe Noctum. Having toured with Metallica, Whitesnake, Alice Cooper, The Scorpions, and many other artists since their inception in the early 80s, Armored Saint has always been a highly regarded live act – not only in their hometown of Los Angeles, but also around the world. The only official release to capture this, however, is 1989’s live album,Saints Will Conquer – until now, with Carpe Noctum, which was recorded at the band’s 2015 Wacken festival set, as well as their headlining show in Aschaffenburg, Germany.
For a preview of Carpe Noctum, a live video of “March of the Saint” from the Aschaffenburg show, filmed by Oliver “Bomber” Barth, can be viewed at: metalblade.com/armoredsaint – where Carpe Noctum can also be pre-ordered in various formats. Purchase your exclusive shirt, vinyl, and more now!
To view Armored Saint‘s PledgeMusic campaign – where every “pledge”/purchase receives a digital download of Carpe Noctum, plus behind-the-scenes content (including footage from Wacken 2015, plus 2016’s Ozzfest and Queensryche appearances, and more!) – please visit: pledgemusic.com/armoredsaint
In regards to the PledgeMusic campaign, Armored Saint comments: “Why PledgeMusic? Our fans have been extremely supportive over the years. We want to share the process of realizing this project with you by giving you the chance to be a part of it, from start to finish. How does it work? You place your orders here and when the album is released, you will get your items in the mail. But throughout the process, you will have access to the regular updates that we will post on this page.”
Carpe Noctum track-listing
1. Win Hands Down (Live)
2. March of the Saint (Live)
3. Stricken by Fate (Live)
4. Last Train Home (Live)
5. Mess (Live)
6. Aftermath (Live)
7. Left Hook from Right Field (Live)
8. Reign of Fire (Live)
Armored Saint will return to Ireland and the UK this March (appearing in some cities for the first time!), before playing select USA dates in May. Joey Vera (bass) comments: “We’re really looking forward to playing these select UK shows in March. We’ve never played in Dublin, Manchester, Birmingham or Wales, so we’re super excited to play in these places – as well as in Belfast, which we’d played only once before. We get a lot of requests from our UK fan base and since we were offered the headline spot at Hammerfest, we decided to hit some of these other UK cities. So, here we go!”
Armored Saint tour dates
Mar. 20 – Voodoo – Dublin, Ireland
Mar. 21 – The Limelight – Belfast, Ireland
Mar. 23 – HammerFest – Gwynedd, N. Wales, UK
Mar. 24 – The Rebellion – Manchester, UK
Mar. 25 – O2 Academy 3 – Birmingham, UK
May 18 – Route 20 Outhouse – Sturtevent, WI
May 19 – Q and Z Expo Center – Ringle, WI
May 20 – Reggie’s Rock Club – Chicago, IL
Norwegian symphonic black metal giants, DIMMU BORGIR, finally emerge from the depths of darkness, to mark 2017 as the year of their monumental return.
On April 14th, they will finally release their highly-anticipated DVD Forces Of The Northern Night, containing two of the band’s live rituals: Their legendary show in Oslo, showing DIMMU BORGIR on stage with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra and a bombastic choir, as well as the entire performance at Wacken Open Air 2012 with almost 100 musicians on stage. Both concerts present a spectacular sound scenario of raging black metal in front of an epic orchestral landscape and the band’s unique visuals.
This authentic combination of the beauty and the beast has long seemed like a natural evolution for fans, but much time, arrangements and commitment were necessary to put this gigantic production into reality and fill the stage with 90 minutes of mind blowing sets per night. The shows guide the fans through classics from the band’s discography – from the majestic finisher “Mourning Palace” to the stomping manifesto “Puritania” and the haunting “Gateways”… Norway’s DIMMU BORGIR know how to leave nothing behind but pure ashes.
“For us, this is the pinnacle of our career so far. As a band, we’ve always used a lot of symphonic elements in our music. But we haven’t been able to use a real orchestra live. We’ve had to use samples, synthesizers and so on, so this was a huge, awesome experience for us!”, states front man Shagrath.
On April 14th, both concert plus a bonus documentary feature will be available in many different formats that will soon be revealed.
And beware… this is not the only gem that the year 2017 holds for DIMMU BORGIR.
Michael Podrybau is best remembered as the vocalist for the Pacific Northwest based traditional heavy metal band Glacier. A recent resurgence of renewed interest in the band’s seminal self-titled EP lead to a deluxe reissue campaign on both CD & Vinyl spearheaded by Cult Metal Classics Records. Original axeman Sam T. Easley sadly passed away in 2016 laying to rest any hopes of a Glacier reunion but Michael Podrybau has since put together a proper Glacier tribute band with the aptly named Devil In Disguise. Michael shares his recollections of his time in Glacier as well as what to expect from Devil In Disguise in this special chat. Enjoy and pick up your copy of the Glacier reissue when you’re done reading!
You don’t need to be a die-hard ’80s metal fan to know that the fruits of an artistic alliance between Danger Danger singer Ted Poley and guitarist/producer Steve Brown of TRIXTER is going to make melodic rock fans rejoice! The two musicians from New Jersey have recently created TOKYO MOTOR FIST and the new band is ready to unleash on the world their self-titled debut album on February 24, 2017 via Frontiers Music Srl.
The band’s self-titled debut can be pre-ordered here: http://radi.al/TokyoMotorFist and at the links below. Digital pre-orders come with instant downloads of “Love Me Insane” and “Shameless”.
Indeed, Tokyo Motor Fist is exactly what you would expect: catchy and uplifting hard rock, the way is should be! You want big – we mean, BIG – hooks? You got ’em. What about major guitar riffs? Of course there’s plenty of those. Killer rhythm section? Well, with Greg Smith (Ted Nugent , Rainbow , Alice Cooper ) and Chuck Burgi (Rainbow, Blue Oyster Cult , Joe Lynn Turner ) you simply can’t go wrong!
Ted and Steve have been friends for a long time. They were playing the same club circuit with their respective bands, Danger Danger and Trixter, when both bands were starting their careers. Over the years, they’ve had a great personal relationship and the idea of doing a record together has been in the cards for many years. Now, thanks to Frontiers this concept has become a reality.
“To say that I’m excited for the world to hear Tokyo Motor Fist would be an understatement,” says Steve Brown. “Working on this project with my Rock and Roll Brothers Ted Poley, Greg Smith & Chuck Burgi was a total blast….We had fun and it shows in the performances and in the music! As a songwriter I couldn’t be happier with the way the songs came together. Fans of TRIXTER, DANGER DANGER, Def Leppard , Bon Jovi and Cheap Trick will get the best of all those worlds.”
Ted Poley adds: “Working with guys of this caliber was amazing. I was excited to collaborate with my long time friend Steve Brown, who is not only a really great songwriter and guitarist but also an insanely cool producer! The band sounds great and very high energy. The vocals of Steve and I along with his SHREDDING guitar, combined with the World Class rhythm Powerhouse section of Greg Smith and Chuck Burgi is amazing, what a cool band – the sound is HUGE. But it’s the songs that drew me into making this album in the beginning and the record is full of catchy songs with massive choruses and great melodies and sounds BIG BIG BIG! I am beyond THRILLED with the final result and I hope you will be too.”
Beefy and energetic, “Tokyo Motor Fist” is sure to please not only Ted Poley, Danger Danger, and Trixter’s fans, but all fans of melodic hard rock. Don’t miss this superb release!
Tokyo Motor Fist Track Listing:
1. Pickin’ Up The Pieces
2. Love Me Insane
5. Black And Blue
6. You’re My Revolution
7. Don’t Let Me Go
8. Put Me To Shame
9. Done To Me
10. Get You Off My Mind
11. Fallin’ Apart
Tokyo Motor Fist
Ted Poley – Vocals
Steve Brown – Guitars, Vocals
Greg Smith – Bass guitar
Chuck Burgi – drums
Frontiers Music Srl is pleased to announce the release of “Saint Of The Lost Souls”,the tenth studio album from House Of Lords. The album, which is the follow up to their highly successful “Indestructible”, will be released March 24th.
Recorded and produced by the band’s singer and mastermind James Christian, this collection of songs has an incredible flow of up-tempo and mid-tempo rockers mixed with power ballads, which lean a bit more toward keyboards this time around, but without compromising the band’s trademark sound which is based around Jimi Bell’s guitar.
“Saint Of The Lost Souls” is already one of the years most anticipated melodic rock releases and will not disappoint fans of the band or genre. James Christian’s well crafted and smooth vocals bring the band’s craft to new heights. Guitarist Jimi Bell is on fire and the melodic riffs throughout the album will leave you breathless. A new addition on bass is Chris Tristram, who is no stranger to the rock community. His solid performance adds another dimension to the sound and BJ Zampa brings a solid and powerful rhythm foundation to House of Lords.
House of Lords debuted in 1989 with the release of their self-titled album, a record which is still regarded as one of the best arena rock releases of the 80’s. The colossal sound, the soaring vocals of James Christian and instrumental capabilities of the band (which featured ex-Angel and Giuffria keyboardist, Gregg Giuffria, along with luminaries Lanny Cordola, Chuck Wright and Ken Mary), were reminiscent of such frontrunners as Whitesnake, Deep Purple and Van Halen and immediately brought the band to the attention of the music media and fans.
With their sophomore release, “Sahara”, House of Lords had considerable radio and video chart success with their cover of Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home”. After a tour with Nelson in 1991, the group disbanded, eventually coming back together with a new lineup (featuring original members Giuffria and Christian) in 1992 with “Demon’s Down”. With the change in musical climate at the time, House of Lords went into hibernation until the original lineup came back together in 2000, releasing the controversial “Power and the Myth”, an album which featured a sound leaning more towards progressive hard rock with 70’s rock influences. After a short European tour, singer James Christian decided to go back to the trademark arena rock sound of House Of Lords, putting together a new line-up with the blessing of founding member Gregg Giuffria, who opted out right before the release of “Power and the Myth”. New members Jimi Bell on guitars and B.J. Zampa on drums supplied a true powerhouse sound to the fifth studio album, “World Upside Down”, a record which caused a real stir in the hard rock and melodic rock scenes. That album was followed up by the equally impressive “Come to My Kingdom” in 2008, “Cartesian Dreams” in 2009, “Big Money” in 2011, and “Precious Metal” in 2014.
The band has toured relentlessly in Europe and the States in support of their releases and have now become a true staple of the hard rock scene on both continents. House Of Lords stands for superb hooks and majestic atmospheres that bring back the memories of their stellar debut album, monumental guitar riffs and a production to die for. All these ingredients you will find on “Saint Of The Lost Souls” which shines from the first second to the last!
“Saint Of The Lost Souls” Track Listing:
2. Oceans Divide
3. Hit the Wall
4. Saint of the Lost Souls
5. The Sun Will Never Set Again
6. New Day Breakin’
7. Reign of Fire
9. Art of Letting Go
10. Grains of Sand
11.The Other Option
Death metal veterans MORBID ANGEL will embark on their first U.S. tour of 2017 in May. Support on the trek will come from SUFFOCATION, REVOCATION and WITHERED.
The tour will commence on May 23 in Orlando Florida at the Beachum and continue around the country until June 27, in New Orleans at the House Of Blues.
Commented MORBID ANGEL: “We are excited to get back out on tour with longtime friends and death metal brothers SUFFOCATION as main support. We have also added the technical thrash metalers REVOCATION and newcomers WITHERED to what will promise to be a great night. The tour will also mark the unveiling of the new lineup of MORBID ANGEL, featuring Scott Fuller (ANNIHILATED, ERRORGEIST) on drums, and Dan Vadim Von (guitarist/frontman of the American death metal band VADIMVON) on second guitar.”
Said Dan: “It is an honor to stand among my brothers Trey, Steve and Scott in the one and only MORBID ANGEL.”
Added Scott: “I’m beyond thrilled and excited to have claimed the drum throne with my brothers in the mighty MORBID ANGEL! We are chipping away right now on the new album at Mana Recording with our great friend Erik Rutan! Stay Tuned!”
Stated Steve: “I am stoked to get out and do some badass shows. This will be a devastating tour and I am looking forward to watching every band.”
Commented Trey: “We are excited to bring back lots of cool songs that haven’t been in the live sets for a long while. Do you suffer the same sickness???”
May 23 – Orlando, FL – The Beacham
May 24 – Tampa, FL – The Orpheum
May 25 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade
May 27 – Baltimore, MD – Maryland Deathfest
May 28 – Boston, MA – Brighton
May 29 – New York NY – The Gramercy Theater
May 31 – Pittsburgh, PA – Small’s
Jun. 01 – Cleveland, OH – House of Blues
Jun. 02 – Detroit, MI – The Crofoot
Jun. 03 – Chicago, IL – The Metro
Jun. 04 – Minneapolis, MN – Cabooze
Jun. 06 – Fayetteville, AR – George’s Majestic
Jun. 07 – Lawrence, KS – Grenada
Jun. 08 – Denver CO – Bluebird
Jun. 10 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Complex
Jun. 12 – Seattle, WA – Studio Seven
Jun. 13 – Portland, OR – Dame’s
Jun. 15 – San Francisco, CA – The Social Hall
Jun. 16 – Los Angeles, CA – The Regent
Jun. 17 – Pomona, CA – Glasshouse
Jun. 18 – San Diego, CA – House of Blues
Jun. 20 – Phoenix, AZ – Marquee
Jun. 21 – Albuquerque, NM – Sunshine
Jun. 23 – Dallas, TX – House of Blues
Jun. 24 – Austin, TX – Grizzly Hall
Jun. 25 – Houston, TX – House of Blues
Jun. 27 – New Orleans, LA – House of Blues
MORBID ANGEL is recording its new album at Mana Recording in St. Petersburg, Florida with producer — and former MORBID ANGEL guitarist — Erik Rutan for a mid-2017 release via UDR Music.
1. Metallica – Hardwired… to Self-Destruct
That was a great comeback by one of the biggest metal bands in the world. Simple as that.
2. Anthrax – For All Kings
Anthrax is not one of my favorite bands, BUT their last effort grabbed me and rocked me out!
3. Rotting Christ – Rituals
Greece’s most famous black metal band, Rotting Christ’s almost 30 years after their establishment, they managed to release an album that will be remembered as an instant classic!
4. Gojira – Magma 5. Opeth – Sorceress 6. Testament – Brotherhood of the Snake 7. Meshuggah – The Violent Sleep of Reason 8. Marauder – Bullethead 9. Universe 217 – Change 10. Vader – The Empire 11. Crowbar – The Serpent Only Lies 12. Avantasia – Ghostlights 13. Artillery – Penalty by Perception 14. Vektor – Terminal Redux 15. Diamond Head – Diamond Head 16. Suicidal Angels – Division of Blood 17. Sodom – Decision Day 18. Evergrey – The Storm Within 19. Wardrum – Awakening 20. Epica – The Holographic Principle
Ronnie James Dio, Lemmy Kilmister, Randy Rhoads, Ross The Boss Friedman, Frankie Banali Among 2017 Hall of Heavy Metal History Inductees
METAL BLADE RECORDS, SCORPIONS, AND THE RAINBOW JUST NOMINATED TO THE HALL OF HEAVY METAL HISTORY
Anaheim, CA, (January 7, 2017) – Metal Blade Records (Celebrating their 35th Anniversary), Scorpions, and the Rainbow Bar and Grill have just joined the list of Metal Royalty who have been nominated for induction into the 2017 Hall of Heavy Metal History. The All-Star Induction Ceremony will take place on Wednesday, January 18, 2017 at the Anaheim Expo Center, Anaheim CA. Television and Radio Legend Eddie Trunk will host the event.
Performing at the Ceremony will be Dio Disciples featuring “Craig Goldy,” “Simon Wright” “Scott Warren,” “Bjorn Englen,” “Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens,” and “Joe Retta.” Ross “The Boss” (band), will also be performing, which features Iconic guitarist “Ross ‘The Boss’ Friedman,” “Rhino (Formerly of Manowar),” vocalist “Marc Lopes,” and “Mike LePond” (Symphony X and Mike LePond’s Silent Assassins). Surprise artists will also take part in the event. Supporting bands include Budderside, and LA rockers Diamond Lane.
Randy Rhoads, “Ozzy Osbourne,” (With the Rhoads family members accepting the Induction)
“The induction of Ronnie into the Annual Hall of Heavy Metal History is indeed an honor and I know Ronnie would have been very proud,” says Wendy Dio. “On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Ronnie James Dio Stand up and Shout Cancer Fund, we thank you for your support and donation. Every penny will go to cancer research and education, to hopefully one day find a cure for this horrible disease that takes the lives of so many of our loved ones.”
“We are totally honored to be inducted into such a great organization,” says Metal Blade Records founder Brian Slagel. “I am awestruck at the names that stand beside us, and so thankful for everyone who has helped us along the way. Huge thanks to all at the Hall of Heavy Metal History for this great honor.”
“Our family is so deeply honored to have Randy inducted into The Hall of Heavy Metal History,” says Kathy and Kelle Rhoads.” To think that after all these years since he has passed, he is STILL remembered and respected is totally awesome. His passion for music continues to inspire so many. It was always about the “Music” for him. He would be speechless about this award, and so would our Mom!!”
SEAX hail from Worcester, Massachusettes and are quickly making a name for themselves as one of the most exciting forces in Speed Metal today. With the release of their third full length album “Speed Metal Mania” the quintet deliver unrelenting, headbanging, fist-pumping steel in the same glorious vein as such eighties titans as Exciter, Razor or Whiplash. Do yourself a favor and check out SEAX today! Pick up their new album “Speed Metal Mania” and enjoy our chat with SEAX vocalist Carmine Blades below!
1. Cult of Luna and Julie Christmas – Mariner (Indie Recordings)
Innovative Swedish heavyweights Cult of Luna countered the departure of founding guitarist Erik Olofsson with the addition – at least for Mariner, their eighth album – of Brooklyn-based ex-Made Out Of Babies frontwoman Julie Christmas, whose vocals add a whole new dimension to the band’s otherworldly post-metal. Mariner’s steam-punky journey – part old nautical yarn, part sci-fi adventure – unfolds over five ever-more-epic tracks that eschew standard structure in favor of a series of movements that make for a compelling narrative thread and cinematic scale. Despite its often droning, potentially suffocating sound, Mariner’s 55 minutes rarely drag, a testament to the band’s considerable skill at creating mood and drama and working with dynamics to craft something that not only holds your attention but is often downright mesmerizing. Christmas certainly helps in that regard, as her voice – from its gentle lilt to its shrill screech – provides the contrast to the ursine roar of guitarists Johannes Persson and Fredrik Kihlberg. Mariner is a virtually flawless, endlessly fascinating work – a grand experiment that pays off big time again and again.
Myrkur – Mausoleum
Recorded live at the Emanuel Vigeland Mausoleum in Oslo, Norway, Mausoleum, features bare bones, acoustic renditions of seven songs from Danish black metal provocateur Myrkur’s 2015 debut album M and eponymous 2014 EP, one new song and a stunning cover of Bathory’s “Song to Hall Up High.” Myrkur, aka Amalie Bruun, performs the material accompanied only by ex-Ulver guitarist Håvard Jorgensen, a piano and the occasional gentle harmonies of the Norwegian Girls Choir. In this setting, and with this “unplugged” folk-like approach, Myrkur’s music is utterly captivating, even magical. Bruun’s crystalline, haunting vocals, a frequent presence on her electrified work – though often contrasted by equally feral caterwauling when things go full black metal – are given free rein to shine here given the minimalist musical backing. And shine they do. Delicate and disarming, yet always somewhat melancholy – especially on the spellbinding “Song to Hall Up High” – her voice sends chills as it echoes through the cave-like setting.
Abbath – Abbath
Season of Mist
Depending on who you believe, ex-Immortal frontman Abbath was either too drunk for his bandmates to continue with him or his bandmates were too damn lazy for him to continue with them. Either way, Abbath ventured out on his own in 2015 with his eponymous and rather amorphous new band – ex-Gorgoroth bassist King Ov Hell being the lone other constant – and in late January unleashed his self-titled debut that is arguably the best album Immortal never made. Indeed, his bandmates have accused Abbath of pinching material Immortal started working on before the split and retooling it for his own album. Nevertheless, Abbath’s debut is vicious, hooky and fiendishly inspired mainstream black metal at its finest. And as Abbath has been touring his ass off since announcing his new endeavor, he’s made an indelible stamp while his former bandmates are only just now getting things rolling again. So he may have had a point.
Gojira – Magma
Katatonia – The Fall of Hearts
Anthrax – For All Kings
Ihsahn – Arktis
First Fragment – Dasein
Unique Leader Records
Vredehammer – Violator
Fates Warning – Theories of Flight
Inside Out Music
Revocation – Great Is Our Sin
Metal Blade Records
Rebaelliun – The Hell’s Decrees
Meshuggah – The Violent Sleep Of Reason
Nuclear Blast Records
The Dillinger Escape Plan – Disassociation
Gadget – The Great Destroyer
Hyperion – Seraphical Euphony
Black Lion Productions
Veilburner – The Obscene Rite
Anaal Nathrakh – The Whole Of The Law
Metal Blade Records
Ulcerate – Shrines Of Paralysis
Oracles – Miserycorde
Best Live Album: Myrkur – Mausoleum
Best EP: Agoraphobic Nosebleed – Arc
Best Concert: Gojira/TesseracT, The Fillmore, Silver Spring, Md., Sept. 21.
Best new band: Abbath and Oracles, both of whom deserve an asterisk, as Abbath had a long history with Immortal before their messy split and Oracles is essentially System Divide with new female vocalist Sanna Salou – after that band split when frontman Sven de Caluwe (also of Aborted) and co-vocalist Miri Milman divorced. But from the ashes, two great “new” bands emerged.
Best Discovery: Furia – Polish “nekrofolk” that is way better than their hokey self-description makes them sound. The band’s new EP, Guido, and full-length Księżyc milczy luty, issued but a month apart last fall, offer some occasionaly disorienting, always unique “nekro” black metal that is actually flavored more by post-metal and jazz than folk.
Major events in the metal world: A new Metallica album that was actually pretty darn good, especially the first disc. “The end” of Black Sabbath.
Predictions for 2017: A Big 4 tour, coming to a football stadium near you this summer.
Sabaton’s historical war metal machine just keeps on grinding forward. Bigger shows, bigger tours, more fans; these guys keep working hard. I know a lot of critics were down on this album but discerning ears will find Sabaton attempting to stretch their song writing skills. Besides which, this is my list and I love this band. This is, by far, the album I’ve played the most this year.
2. Nordic Union – Nordic Union
Take the song writing talents of Eclipse’s Erik Martensson and add in the powerful vocals of Pretty Maids’ Ronnie Atkins and you have a potential recipe for hard rock heaven. Sure enough, their first collaboration under the name Nordic Union delivered in spades with a flawless record of powerful music. This was one was this close to being my #1 of the year.
3. Pretty Maids – Kingmaker
Speaking of Ronnie Atkins, here he is again with his main gig, Pretty Maids. KINGMAKER is arguably the heaviest, angriest, record of their career and Atkins’ vocals are the highlight. Just great music here.
4. Brainstorm – Scary Creatures
I’m guessing a lot of people will have forgotten this album on their year-end lists as it was released way back in January of the year, but I am not one of them. Brainstorm roared back into my ears after a lengthy absence and impressed the heck out of me with superbly-written power metal.
5. Megadeth – Dystopia
Angry Mustaine redeemed himself in fans’ eyes with this thrashing return to form, probably his best effort in nearly a decade. Hopefully Kiko Loureiro finds time to continue in both Megadeth and Angra.
6. Almanac – Tsar
Another album that surprised me this year, Victor Smolski’s first post-Rage effort is a thunderous, symphonic power metal record that impressed me.
7. Final Chapter – Legions of the Sun
Dormant for over ten years, these speed merchant Italians knocked me on my butt this year with what is probably the most energetic power metal album of the year, outdoing their better-known forebears.
8. Amon Amarth – Jomsviking
Ten albums into their career, and Amon Amarth continue to stake their claim as the biggest melodic death metal band in the world. JOMSVIKING is another winner in a catalogue full of great albums.
9. Primal Fear – Rulebreaker
Not only did Primal Fear deliver my favorite live performance this year, they also provided yet another slab of killer Teutonic metal. Long live!
10. Avantasia – Ghostlights
Tobi and his vagabond band of minstrels knocked out what could be their heaviest album in a bulging discography, showing that spectacular song writing is still alive and well.
Both Nordic Union and Almanac could have easily taken this spot, but I though I’d highlight a truly NEW band that released their debut album this year. Shredding, crunchy power metal with ballsy vocals and sci-fi lyrics, this album kicks ass.
Martin Popoff – Metal Heart: Aiming High With Accept
Canadian metal scholar Popoff always delivers the goods with his books, and no band deserves the attention more. AIMING HIGH WITH ACCEPT leaves no stone unturned in the band’s career, right up into the BLIND RAGE album. An enjoyable, informative read.
Heavy, nature-focused folk metal from Russia, INFERNO is four blissful songs that you won’t soon forget.
Sabaton – Heroes On Tour
Yeah, they are going to the live well a little too often now, but hey, when you have possibly the best live show in metal, keep at it.
Disappointments of the Year:
It’s now a massive cliché that 2016 was a terrible year for celebrity deaths (it was), but here are just some of the metal musicians we lost this year. R.I.P. to all:
Jimmy Bain (Rainbow, Dio)
Greg Lake (ELP, Trans-Siberian Orchestra)
Keith Emerson (ELP, Ayreon)
Sandy Pearlman (manager/producer of Blue Oyster Cult, Black Sabbath and many others)
Mike Taylor (Quartz)
Aleah (Swallow the Sun, Amorphis)
Stuart Rose (Pentagram)
Herve “Marquis” (ADX)
Norman Killeen (Threat Signal)
AC/DC and their shoddy treatment of Brian Johnson and his hearing problems. You would have hoped for more respect shown for a guy who’s been your singer for 30+ years.
Leaves Eyes’ split with Liv Kristine…enough with the drama. Sad for everyone involved.
Operation: Mindcrime – Resurrection Just…ugh.
Greatest Hopes for 2017:
W.A.S.P. Retrospective / Historical Set: As JP and I have said in the past, Blackie needs to get off his duff and put out the definitive historical W.A.S.P. set. This band’s history is as interesting (and sordid) as they come and it would be a fascinating listen/viewing.
I’m also looking forward to new releases from the likes of: Accept, King Diamond, Primal Fear, Iced Earth, Stephen Pearcy, and many more. Also, I can’t wait to FINALLY see Hammerfall live, and have a third go-round with the mighty Sabaton on stage.
– With all respect to the previous Anthrax album WORSHIP MUSIC this one blows it away 100%! FOR ALL KINGS is everything you could ever want from the band. Great song writing, strong melodies and excellent vocals from Joey Belladonna. FOR ALL KINGS is the bands most versatile album to date and also one of their best best albums to date.
2. Megadeth: Dystopia
In brief, DYSTOPIA brings Megadeth back in form. After somewhat disappointing and messy SUPER COLIDER and several line-up changes the band is back where it belongs. DYSTOPIA is full of excellent guitar playing and killer riffs. This album stands right next to the bands classic albums like RUST IN PEACE and YOUTHANAUSEA.
3. Avantasia: Ghostligts
GHOSTLIGHTS is another masterpiece from Tobias Sammet. The album might be little bit more straight forward and even more commercial than its predecessors but it’s still a high quality stuff from the beginning to the end.
4. Metal Church: XI
The comeback album of the year! I’m sure that the return of Mike Howe was something that no one expected to happen, ever. Luckily it did and as a result we now received one of the best metal albums released in year 2016.
5. The Dead Daisies: Make Some Noise
MAKE SOME NOISE continues where the previous album REVOLUTION left off last year. John Corabi sounds fantastic and the bands latest addition Doug Aldrich brings in fresh energy and new elements to the song writing.
6. Testament: Brotherhood of the Snake
7. Glenn Hughes: Resonate
8. Denner/Sherman: Masters of Evil
9. Zakk Wylde: Book of Shadows II
10. Graham Bonnet: The Book
11. Dream Theater: The Astonishing
12. Airbourne: Straight To Hell
13. Sixx A.M: Prayers For The Damned vol 1
14. Blackthorne: Don’t Kill The Thrill
15. Kee Marcello: Scaling Up
16. Last In Line: Heavy Crown
17. Death Angel: The Evil Divide
18. Magnum: Sacred Blood Divine Lies
19. Suicidal Tendencies: World Gone Mad
20. Rage: The Devil Strikes Back Again
Phil Campbells’s and the Bastards Sons / ST
With this EP Phil proves what he can still create killer songs and riffs even without Lemmy. Check it out !
BEST COVER ALBUM
Ace Frehley: The Originals vol 1.
Nothing spectacular but the Spaceman does a great job there. Especially Thin Lizzy’s “Emerald” and super cool version KISS’s “Rock n Roll Hell” make this album worth to check for everyone who loves good rock’n roll.
KISS – Rocks Las Vegas
Excellent DVD release from KISS. What makes this different to any other KISS DVD release is that this one was filmed in such an intimate atmosphere in Las Vegas residency. A great set list with amazing show, as always.
MOTLEY CRUE – The End Motley Crue finished its long career with dignity and this DVD is a brilliant memory from the very last show they did on New Years eve of 2015.
RICHIE BLACKMORE’s RAINBOW – Memories in rock
Although the band line-up and performance is not as great as hoped it’s still “the man in black”, finally performing all the hits he created during the last four decades. Hopefully there’s more to come and perhaps with updated line-up then?
BEST BOOKS 2016
SEBASTIAN BACH – 18 and Life. – A good read for any hard rock / metal head.
BEST CONCERTS 2016
KISS Kruise VI, KISS indoor show I’ve seen about 100 KISS shows and this one was one of the best ever. It was just mind-blowing to hear such rarely / never played gems as “Radioactive”, “Wouldn’t You Like To Know Me”, “Rock n roll Hell” and “Keep Me Comin'”
MICHAEL SCHENKER, Swedenrock 2016 Michael Schenker played amazing show with the classic MSG rhythm section and with 3 different vocalists in Swedenrock. Graham Bonnet, Gary Barden and Robin McAuley are legends and they all were great. The set set was pure gold. There was some real magic in the air that night.
QUEEN, Sweden Rock 2016
I know, Queen is not metal and Freddie Mercury is not there anymore, but still the Queen show was easily one of the best things that I saw live in 2016. Let the music do the talking could be the right term to use here.
BIGGEST HOPES FOR 2017
There are many interesting albums from “old school” bands coming out in 2017. Accept, Alice Cooper, Deep Purple, Saxon etc. – Many great shows/tours are already booked up: Aerosmith’s Farevell tour, KISS’s European tour, Guns ‘n Roses and more. It’s going to be a good concert year for sure.
There’s going to another run of great festivals in Europe. Sweden Rock, Bang Your Head, Hellfest, Wacken. Metal is alive and well in Europe!!
DISAPPOINTMENTS OF THE YEAR:
Brian Johnson’s exit from AC/DC. This one should have handled better although Axl did a great job.
The number of dead rock stars in 2016… David Bowie, Nick Menza, Jimmy Bain, Rick Parfitt…
The state of music industry. Album sales etc… It’s really bad and it’s getting worse all the time. The last person in the house can turn off the lights.. 🙁
DEE SNIDER : We Are The Ones
This album was one of the biggest disappointments of the year. Who could have believed that legendary Dee Snider is someday going to release such bland and useless album as WE ARE THE ONES. The best part of this album is the cover art which looks cool. Snider’s voice is still as good as ever and a piano version of Twisted Sister classic “We’re Not Gonna Take It” sounds good. BUT… there are nine other tracks on the album. None of the songs are great. There are two ok tracks (“So What” and the title track), 3 listenable tracks but the rest is something what should have been left unreleased. When a man in his 60’s is trying to change his musical style and image and create something completely new it rarely works. Snider makes no exception here. Musically, Snider is now completely lost. Most of the songs are boring and average pop songs with nothing inside. Those are like empty shells. It’s really sad if this album is going to remain Snider’s last album release. A legend deserves a better ending if you ask me.