Jimmy DeGrasso – Alice Cooper, Hail!, F5, ex- Megadeth, Y&T, Suicidal Tendencies

January 20th, 2010
by Marko Syrjala
Jimmy DeGrasso

JIMMY DeGRASSO

INTERVIEW AND LIVE PICTURES  BY MARKO SYRJÄLÄ

TRANSCRIPTION BY PETTERI LIMNELL, EVILG AND RICK 

American born drummer Jimmy DeGrasso is probably best known for his work with Megadeth, but he’s also been involved with many other interesting bands and projects during his long career.  In mid 80′s, after moving from Pennsylvania to Los Angeles, Jimmy first did studio sessions with the “Prince of Darkness” himself, Ozzy Osbourne, before getting his first permanent job from Californian rockers Y & T in 1986. After many successful years with them, Jimmy decided to leave Y & T in 1990 and in the subsequent years he toured with such names as Lita Ford and Alice in Chains before joining the thrash/punk/hardcore crossover  group Suicidal Tendencies in 2004. Unfortunately, the band broke up soon later and next Jimmy joined Alice Cooper’s touring band. He’s been working with Alice on and off since then. In 1998 he joined Megadeth and stayed with them until the band (temporarily) disbanded in 2002. Today Jimmy is a highly sought after session and touring drummer.  He’s also a full time member of all-star band “HAIL!” along with his former Megadeth bandmate David Ellefsson, Sepultura guitarist Andreas Kisser, and vocalist Tim “Ripper” Owens. Jimmy has also another band with Ellefsson called F5 and they released the album THE RECKONING in 2008.  In  December (2009) Jimmy came to Finland with Alice Cooper and then I had a chance to sit down with him and discuss his past, present and near future plans. READ ON!

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Toxic Holocaust / Axegressor : Nosturi Helsinki

January 18th, 2010
by Arto Lehtinen

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The 26th of November

Nosturi Helsinki Finland

The success of Toxic Holocaust fronted by Joel Grind has increased massively during the recent  years. Especially the younger generation of thrash metal have found Toxic Holocaust nothing but a killer thrashing combo as a plenty of young looking kids with old school t-shirts and pants attended the gig at Nosturi. Seeing the young generation thrashing and moshing is definitely a good sign for the whole metal genre. Before Toxic Holocaust unleashed a metallic maelstrom the domestic thrashers Axegressor hit the stage to command the kids to go berserk.

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Rob Bolger – A Film Maker of “Behind the Suit and Tie” documentary

January 18th, 2010
by Luxi Lahtinen
behindtie.jpg

ROB BOLGER:

DOCUMENTARY MAKER OF "BEHIND THE SUIT AND TIE"

Interview by Luxi Lahtinen


"About BEHIND THE SUIT AND TIE documentary: A documentary that takes you into the hearts and souls of the real people who rule today’s heavy metal recording industry, put together by Robert Bolger Jr.

Unlike most music documentaries BEHIND THE SUIT AND TIE will spend more time with the people behind the labels rather than the more musician-focused approach of most music documentaries. BEHIND THE SUIT AND TIE will also showcase the truth of how the music industry is being affected by the downward spiral of hard CD sales and how established, new and up and coming artists must learn to adjust to these changing times with today’s major transition".

Rob Bolger talks more about this ambitious project of his in this interview, so be sure to read everything he has to say about making this documentary to understand a little bit better about the hard times that the record industry is facing these days when downloading music from the internet for free has become a true pain in the ass for the whole music business.


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VoiVod – Live In Montreal, Canada – December 12, 2009 Club Soda

January 16th, 2010
by EvilG

VoiVod – Live In Montreal, Canada

December 12, 2009 Club Soda

Live Review and pics by Geneviève Hamel

VoiVod live in Montreal

10 years! That’s what it took to Voïvod to play a headlining concert again in their adoptive hometown of Montreal! That’s quite long but it’s not that unusual in this case, the new momentum achieved by the return of long-departed singer “Snake” to the fold at the beginning of this decade was stopped by the premature death of founding member and riff-master “Piggy” in 2005.

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Bruce Kulick

January 12th, 2010
by Robert Williams

BK3Cover.jpg

Interview with Bruce Kulick

Conducted by Robert Williams

Long considered by his peers to be one of today’s most in demand axemen, former KISS lead guitarist Bruce Kulick is set to offer up his third solo outing in the form of the upcoming "BK3" album. An all star cast of contributing musicians make guest appearances on BK3 and help to make this record Bruce’s most eclectic work to date. Speaking with Bruce recently; the talented guitarist took the time to talk BK3 and reflect on his long running career; from playing lead guitar in Meatloaf on the "Bat Out of Hell" tour, to recording and touring the world with KISS, and everything in between that will lead you as a listener to his latest work.


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Best of 2009 – Robert

January 6th, 2010
by EvilG

Top 20

1. Candlemass – Death Magic Doom

candlemass.jpg

Wow. Did Candlemass ever throw down the gauntlet on this disc. "The Bleeding Baroness" being worth the price of admission alone, every song on here is a masterpiece. Robert Lowe proving once more to be the perfect match for Candlemass after the departure of Messiah Marcolin. Tracks like "Hammer of Doom" and "My Funeral Dreams" only further establish Candlemass’ reign as the current kings of doom metal.

2. Kreator – Hordes of Chaos

kreator.jpg

Mille and company continue to forge ahead releasing kick ass, no nonsense thrash epics one after another starting with 2001′s "Violent Revolution" staying the course for 2005′s "Enemy of God" and most recently with "Hordes of Chaos" a record that features a back to basics approach in the production department with only guitar solo’s and vocals getting the overdub treatment. Musically "Hordes of Chaos" combines the best elements of it’s two predecessors from the last decade culminating in just the right amounts of aggression and melody that make a great Kreator record.

3. Slayer – World Painted Blood

4. Saxon – Into The Labyrinth

5. Ace Frehley – Anomaly

6. Primal Fear – 16.6 (Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead)

7. Heaven and Hell – The Devil You Know

8. Marduk – Wormwood

9. Ancient Cross – Ancient Cross

10. Evile – Infected Nations

11. Cannibal Corpse – Evisceration Plague

12. Anvil – This Is Thirteen

13. The Gates of Slumber – Hymns of Blood and Thunder

14. Sacred Steel – Carnage Victory

15. KISS – Sonic Boom

16. Cauldron – Chained To The Night

17. Gama Bomb – Tales From The Grave In Space

18. Hammerfall – No Sacrifice, No Victory

19. Megadeth – Endgame

20. Steel Panther – Feel The Steel

BEST NEW BAND

White Wizzard / Vektor / Rituals Of The Oak – It’s great to hear some young bands keeping the classic sound of metal alive well into the new millenium. In an age where it’s become fashionable to jump on the Viking or Folk bandwagons or add some variety of core influence to an already pre-existing modern sounding metal platform, it’s both refreshing and satisfying to know that there are still some bands who aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel but are simply trying to make the best sounding wheel possible.

BEST DVD

Manowar – Hell On Earth V

You can always count on the Kings of Metal to give you the most bang for your buck; and they did just that when they issued the fifth installment of their Hell On Earth DVD series, bringing us up to speed on the band’s conquests for the past four years. With live footage taken from various concerts in at least five or six different countries, festival appearances like Gloves of Metal, Thunder In The Sky and of course the Magic Circle Fest; this DVD is as epic as you are likely to find from 2009 or anytime soon.

TOP FIVE CONCERTS OF 2009

Alice Cooper (NAMM Private Party) – Anaheim, California – January 2009

Steel Panther – SXSW Showcase – Austin, Texas – March 2009

Destruction – San Antonio, Texas – May 2009

Uli Jon Roth w/ Mark Boals – Santa Ana, California – June 2009

Judas Priest – San Antonio, Texas – July 2009

GREATEST HOPES FOR 2010

The prospect of new studio albums from some of my all time favorite heavy metal bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Manowar and the reformed Angel Witch. It should be another twelve months of anticipation and sonic devastation. I wish you all a heavy new year!

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Best of 2009 – Rick

January 6th, 2010
by EvilG

Top 20

1. Bloodbound – Tabula Rasa  

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With the return of Urban Breed, Bloodbound have finally moved up into the heavyweight category. Fresh from his departure from Tad Morose, Urban Breed and Bloodbound released NOSFERATU in 2005. It was a bit of a letdown and Urban left the band for the follow-up BOOK OF THE DEAD. Now with him firmly back in the fold Bloodbound have created one of the strongest releases of the year. Urban Breed is at his best and his vocal melodies take what is an excellent disc and make it amazing!

 

 

2. Primal Fear – 16.6 (Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead) 

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Primal Fear has been one of my favourite bands since its inception. The band’s music is powerful and Ralf Scheepers is arguably one of the best vocalists in all of metal. That being said I have drifted away from the band for the last few CDs. There have been a few amazing moments on those discs but they seemed to me to a be a bit of the “same old same old”. Nothing wrong with that but they just did not do it for me.  Not so with 16.6 (Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead). From the first listen, I felt that the band had recaptured the magic. Here was Primal Fear at their best and back on top of the metal heap!

 

3. Steel Panther – Feel the Steel



4. Alex Beyrodt’s Voodoo Circle – Voodoo Circle



5. Megadeth – Endgame



6. Brainstorm – Memorial Roots



7. Lamb of God – Wrath



8. Alice in Chains – Black Gives Way to Blue



9. Stratovarius – Polaris



10. Heaven and Hell – The Devil You Know



11. Dream Theater – Black Clouds and Silver Linings



12. Lions Share – Darkest Hours



13. Redemption – Snowfall on Judgment Day



14. Evile – Infected Nations



15. Sirenia – The 13th Floor



16. Slayer –World Painted Blood



17. W.A.S.P. – Babylon



18. Shadows Fall – Retribution



19. Manimal – The Darkest Room



20. Tyr – By the Light of the Northern Star 

 

 

Best New Band

Steel Panther

All hail the panther. I know that these guys are a comedy act but their CD FEEL THE STEEL hasn’t left rotation in my player in months. The tunes are infectious and funny as hell but they have staying power. The band has been around in many incarnations but this is the first release under the Steel Panther moniker. It remains to be seen whether they can follow-up on their current success but FEEL THE STEEL might just be the surprise disc of the year. 

Discovery of 2009

Evile

How did I miss these guys. Having released their first CD ENTER THE GRAVE in 2007, the band somehow flew under my radar until a friend who was spinning their newest CD INFECTED NATIONS non-stop turned me onto them. I fell in love with the band’s retro thrash and reeled with the metal world when their bass player Mike Alexander died in October while on tour in Sweden. I just hope that the band survives this episode and comes back stronger than ever in 2010.

Biggest Disappointments

Queensryche – American Soldier

Where to start? I was hoping that OPERATION MINDCRIME 2 had marked a turning point for the band. I guess I was wrong. Queensryche had been lost in the wilderness for years churning out bland mediocre albums that were relegating the band to the Spinal Tap “Where Are They Now” file. OPERATION MINDCRIME 2 showed some small signs that the band could still step up to the plate and make some good music. I guess I was wrong. AMERICAN SOLDIER has a good premise but Queensryche are long past having any relevance to anyone and tugging at the heartstrings will not save them now. 

Savatage

Yet again, I am disappointed with no Savatage CD. Time to get over it I guess. 

Biggest Hopes for 2010

Riot

The classic Thundersteel lineup has reunited and is supposedly working on new material for a mid 2010 release. Riot is one of my favourite bands and I am looking forward to seeing what that groundbreaking lineup can do 20 years later.

Iron Maiden

Maiden is supposed to have a new disc ready at some point in 2010. I am looking forward to hearing what the band has up its sleeve. Their focus has changed and the songwriting has been spotty as of late but I still have hopes that they have some great songs left in them. There will never be another POWERSLAVE or NUMBER OF THE BEAST but I do not think the creative pot has run dry yet. 

Best DVD

Iron Maiden – Flight 666

It is Maiden. They put out some of the best metal DVDs period. What else needs to be said? 

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BEST OF 2009

January 5th, 2010
by EvilG

Best of 2009

As always, some restrictions are placed on our lists. The top albums are for releases from 2009 that are full albums (no EP’s or demos). They also have to be new studio albums for 2009, not re-recordings, re-releases, cover songs, or live material. For best new band, the restriction is that the band’s debut full-length album (not including demos or EP’s) has to be a 2008 release. Below the list are links to each staff members personal best of lists which besides the top album contains such things as best new band, best DVD, disappointments of 2009, greatest hopes for 2010, and a new section for discovery of 2009.



The Top 20  Heavy Metal Albums of 2009

(click the album cover to read our review)

1. Heaven & Hell – THE DEVIL YOU KNOW

Heaven & Hell

An album seventeen years in the making, THE DEVIL YOU KNOW kick-started the working relationship between Messrs. Dio, Iommi, Butler and Appice that many thought would never have recovered.  Not only did it recover but it gave all involved a chance to revisit the ultra-heavy sounds that made Black Sabbath Mk. II a viable recording entity on HEAVEN AND HELL, MOB RULES and DEHUMANIZER.  With age comes wisdom, as past differences have been settled—or at least set aside—paving the way for Tony Iommi’s bone-jarring riffs and the god-like vocals of Ronnie James Dio to form the unholy collaboration an entire generation has waited for on tracks like “Bible Black” and “Eating The Cannibals”.

2. Candlemass – DEATH MAGIC DOOM  

Candlemass - DEATH MAGIC DOOM

The masters of doom metal bring down the hammer with another crushing slab of bottom-heavy tunes.  KING OF THE GREY ISLANDS confirmed Robert Lowe was the right man to replace Messiah Marcolin but DEATH MAGIC DOOM was written for Lowe’s powerful voice and the result finds Candlemass rightfully keeping its spot atop the throne.

3. Megadeth – ENDGAME 

Megadeth - ENDGAME

Megadave and co. still have the fire and easily manage to capture the attention of the metal world. With ENDGAME the band explodes back with arguably their best album since RUST IN PEACE. Although not a full-on thrash metal album, there is slightly more thrash than there’s been in a while (This Day We Fight!) and of course the lead playing of both Dave and new guitarist Chris Broderick (ex-Jag Panzer) take things to a level of playing that is so awesome and tight that it could be called arrogant! The sound of the album is also fantastic, unlike the other of the big 4 who cracked into our top 10! Megadave has mentioned retirement in some recent news items, let’s hope it’s still many years away if this is the level of intensity and song-writing we can expect from Megadeth.

4. Slayer – WORLD PAINTED BLOOD

Slayer - WORLD PAINTED BLOOD

Even though this is one of Slayer’s worst sounding albums (the main problem being the ridiculous guitar sound) , the sub-par sound cannot detract from the awesomeness of the songs! A big part of the album’s strength is the diversity of the album’s material which is akin to such classics as SOUTH OF HEAVEN or SEASONS IN THE ABYSS.  Since Araya has been questioning how long they can maintain this level of intensity, we hope that they still have the energy and anger to continue for a while longer!

5. Dream Theater – BLACK CLOUDS & SILVER LININGS 

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Stretching the limits of their own progressive metal style, Dream Theater jams and noodles its way through six songs in 75 minutes on BLACK CLOUDS & SILVER LININGS.  Darker than previous efforts, the record comes off a high-and-low period—the success of the band’s Progressive Nation tour and the death of drummer Mike Portnoy’s father—allowing Dream Theater a unique creative palette through which to weave its lyrical and musical tapestries.

6.  Primal Fear – 16.6 (Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead)

PRIMAL FEAR - 16.6 (Before the Devil Knows Youre Dead)

Primal Fear continue on a path of creating some of the finest, purest heavy metal out there. While people seem to spend more time online talking about the band’s obvious Judas Priest influence, what they many won’t acknowledge is that this band who are now in their prime, are releasing an album better than anything that their mentors have done in 20 years! The diversity on 16.6 is again a big part of the reason why it’s such a great album. With nods to their speedy near thrash-like NUCLEAR FIRE material to the more experimental and melodic moments of SEVEN SEALS, 16.6 is something fans of unabashed heavy metal will love.

7. Steel Panther – FEEL THE STEEL  

Steel Panther - FEEL THE STEEL

For those who never listened to popular metal in the 80′s (or went back to listen to much of it) you may not get all the in-jokes in the actual SOUND of this glam-METAL masterpiece. Most riffs play homage to bands like Van Halen, Extreme, Bon Jovi, Scorpions, Poison, Whitesnake, Motley Crue, etc. The other side of the band, their vulgar sense of humor, speaks to a much wider audience. So even if you haven’t listened to metal in 20 years, or only had a passing interest in glam/hair metal of the 80′s, the levels of raunchiness you might recall from the excesses of the 80′s glamsters is amplified one hundred fold by the Steel Panther comedians making this a win in both humor and in the music departments.

8.  Alice In Chains – BLACK GIVES WAY TO BLUE

alice in chains

An album that many thought would never see the light of day following the death of singer Layne Staley.  BLACK GIVES WAY TO BLUE proved the naysayers wrong by combining the vocal harmonies of Jerry Cantrell with new vocalist William DuVall and crafting a truly modern-sounding Alice In Chains record fourteen years after the band’s last studio effort.

9. Amorphis – SKYFORGER

Amorphis

Tomi Joutsen is now three albums into his stint fronting the Finnish veterans but since joining the band, Amorphis has delivered some of its best material to date.  On SKYFORGER, the trend continues with lush melodies, vibrant riffs and Joutsen’s versatile death and clean vocal dynamic helping to convey the traditional folk tale-based lyrics the band is famous for.

10. Stratovarius – POLARIS

Stratovarius

In 2009, Stratovarius returned with a new album, new logo, and a new line-up…without band leader Timo Tolkki. In the past few years, Stratovarius primarily became fodder for the popular metal tabloids with former band mastermind and guitarist Timo Tolkki’s public mental breakdown. The big question mark left was not so much if Tolkki would continue to write good music, but what would happen to Stratovarius without his driving influence? With the launch of POLARIS, and it’s placement in our top 10 list, any doubts are laid to rest.

 

Number 11 to 20

11. Cain’s Offering – Gather the Faithful

Cains Offering
12. W.A.S.P. – Babylon WASP
13. Kreator – Hordes Of Chaos Kreator
14. Dark Moor – Autumnal Dark Moor
 15. KISS – Sonic Boom KISS
16. Asphyx – Death…The Brutal Way Asphyx
17. Lamb of God – Wrath Lamb of God
18. Týr – By The Light of the Northern Star TYR
19. Sacrifice – The Ones I Condemn

sacrifice
20. Absu – ST absu

 Individual Staff Lists For 2009

Includes: top 20, best new band, best DVD, discovery of 2009, greatest hopes for 2010, and disappointments of 2009.

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Best of 2010 – Aaron Yurkiewicz

January 5th, 2010
by EvilG

Top 20

1. Black Country Communion – BLACK COUNTRY

There’s a reason why Glenn Hughes was one of Ronnie James Dio’s favorite singers – the guy is amazing. I knew from the first spin of this album that 2010 wasn’t going to get any better.  Heavy, bluesy, emotive, and original, I’ll still be listening to BLACK COUNTRY well into 2011.

2. Cough – RITUAL ABUSE

There were some great doom albums in 2010, but RITUAL ABUSE was above and beyond the best.  Gut wrenchingly heavy, Cough accomplished more in five tracks than some bands do their entire careers.

3. Ghost – OPUS EPONYMOUS

4. Intronaut – VALLEY OF SMOKE

5. High on Fire – SNAKES FOR THE DIVINE

6. Triptykon –EPARISTERA DAIMONES

7. Misery Index – HEIRS TO THIEVERY

8. Broughton’s Rules – BOUNTY HUNTER 1853

9. Kingcrow – PHLEGETHON

10. Sigh – SCENES FROM HELL

11. Danzig – DETH RED SABAOTH

12. Electric Wizard – BLACK MASSES

13. Mortiis – PERFECTLY DEFECT

14. Kylesa – SPIRAL SHADOW

15. Flotsam & Jetsam – THE COLD

16. Monster Magnet – MASTERMIND

17. Zoroaster – MATADOR

18. Cathedral – THE GUESSING GAME

19. Annihilator – ANNIHILATOR

20. Armored Saint – LA RAZA

Best New Band: Ghost

Ghost reminds me of why I fell in love with metal in the first place.  These spooky Swedes get it; I hope the rest of the world catches on.

Best Metal DVD/Blu-Ray:

Fuck the Facts – DISGORGE MEXICO – The DVD


The live portion of the DVD puts other concert films to shame, and the art house film attached to it disturbs you in the way that extreme music is supposed to.  Fuck the Facts are the definition of DIY; you need to know this band.

Discovery of 2010:

That the underground is indeed alive and well.  A lot of the bigger releases of this year left me feeling rather “meh,” but the sheer volume of indie/self released material that I heard in 2010 more than made up for it.  Some of it was certainly better than others, but you can’t ignore the kind of passion and motivation that only metal inspires.  Proof positive that metal does indeed rule.

Best Concert Attended: CYNIC

Getting to see Cynic perform FOCUS in its entirety easily makes this my favorite show of 2010.  Getting to see them perform the majority of TRACED IN AIR at the end of the FOCUS set easily makes this one of my top 5 shows of all time.  Getting to see Paul Masvidal reprimand a douchebag frat boy in an Affliction t-shirt in front of the entire audience?  Priceless.

Biggest Album Disappointments:

Atheist – JUPITER


I really, really, REALLY wanted to like this album.  Is it terrible, no, but if the name on the cover wasn’t associated with albums like PIECE OF TIME or UNQUESTIONABLE PRESENCE, would anyone care?  Sometimes it’s better to leave the past in the past…

Greatest Hopes for 2011:

1) The return of CROWBAR!!!!  February 2nd can’t happen fast enough.

2) New albums from Obscura, Pestilence, and Origin will get the taste of JUPITER out of my mouth.

3) The possibility of a new Saint Vitus album.  Please guys, make this happen.

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Best of 2009 – Theis

January 5th, 2010
by EvilG

Top 20

1. Cain’s Offering – Gather The Faithful

cains offering.jpg

Cain’s Offering delivers an astonishing performance as they push and push you through their album filled with power metal! Spearheaded by Stratovarius singer Timo Kotipelto, who sounds incredibly fantastic, they manage to give you pleasure in every aspect of “Gather The Faithful”.

2. Sirenia – The 13th Floor

One of the best quality albums of this year 2009. Sirenia has proved capable of creating yet another diverse and impressive musical album where allure is a key word along with its more darker elements and melodious composition.

3. Skyfire – Esoteric

4. Luna Mortis – The Absence

5. Epica – Design Your Universe

6. Delain – April Rain

7. This Ending – Dead Harvest

8. Deathstars – Night Electric Night

9. Crimfall – As The Path Unfolds

10. Iron Fire – To The Grave

11. Tyr – By The Light of the Northern Star

12. Månegarm – Nattväsen

13. Lunatica – New Shores

14. Eluveitie – Evocation 1 – The Arcane Dominion

15. Dark Moor – Autumnal

16. Grave Digger – Ballads Of A Hangman

17. Stratovarius – Polaris

18. Alestorm – Black Sails At Midnight

19. Katatonia – Night Is The New Day

20. Candlemass – Death Magic Doom

Best New Band

Cain’s Offering

Disappointments of 2009

Sonata Arctica – The Days of Grays

I am still in love with all of Sonata Arctica’s albums up until Unia which did not reach the same overall level of musical enjoyment as its predecessors. It was not a bad album, not at all but it was not great either. I had high hopes for The Days of Grays that disappeared as soon as I put my ears on the line for it. Featuring even more advanced compositions than Unia and cool creativeness it is not catchy and ultimately fails at thrilling me.

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Best of 2009 – Marko

January 5th, 2010
by EvilG

Top 20 Albums of 2009

1. KISS: Sonic Boom

After eleven years of waiting we finally got new KISS album. SONIC BOOM is a great combination of 70′s and 80′s KISS and will please fans of both era’s. The whole band, especially Gene Simmons is,

are really good mood here and this album beats out PSYCHCO CIRCUS any day. The best tracks include Simmons’ "Nobodys’s Perferct", Stanley’s "Modern Day Delilah", "Stand" where Paul and Gene

share vocals and Eric Singer’s "All For the Glory"-

 

2. WASP: Babylon

3. Ace Frehley : Anomaly

4. Heaven and Hell: The Devil You Know

5. Saxon: Into The Labyrinth

6. Alice In Chains: Black Gives Way To The Blue

7. Slayer: World Painted Blood

8. Dream Theater: Black Clouds and Silver Linings

9- Megadeth: Endgame

10. Stratovarius: Polaris

11. Hardcore Superstore: Beg For It

12. UDO: Dominator

13. Paradise Lost: Faith Divideds Us, Death Unites Us

14. Amorphis: Skyforger

15. Europe: Last Look At Eden

16. Lynch Mob: Smoke and Mirrors

17. JORN: Spirit Black

18. Impellitteri: Wicked Maiden

19. Stryper: Murder By Pride

20. UFO: The Visitor

 

Overall, in new releases wise, this year was a way weaker than some previous years. It was actually hard to even remember twenty albums from year 2009…

 

 

DVD of the Year

HANOI ROCKS: Buried Alive

 

Best New Band

Steel Panther


Disappointments of the Year

 

New albums of Tim Owens, UFO and Queensryche:

Queensryche, it’s been fifteen years since thier last decent release (PROMISED LAND). Maybe I should give up for them, finally? With UFO it’s almost the same thing. The last truly great album WALK ON WATER was released 1995 but there’s still always have been some good material on each album since then. Tim Owens’s album is also a huge disappoinment. He’s one my favorite metal singers but after hearing this lazy and boring album I no longer wonder why he wasn’t allowed to do too much writing with his past bands …  Too much expectations here ?

 

Lita Ford

In brief, "Wicked Wonderland" is a horrible, childish and dull album. In addition to that, her performance at Swedenrock was something indescribably weak, one of the worst shows I’ve ever witnessed there. She should have stayed on her Tropic Island with Jim and boys instead of trying still to play "Metal Queen" … because she’s FAR from it nowadays…

 

 

Breakup of Hanoi Rocks: and new adventures of Andy McCoy.

I’m still very disappointed that Hanoi Rocks did break up. Fortunately I was lucky enough to see their last show ever in May. What’s even more disappointing is Andy McCoy and his new (already disbanded) band  REAL MCCOY. his band managed to do only three shows before the second guitarist Chris Shiflett (FOO FIGHTERS) decided to jump off the sinking boat and as a result the whole band broke up. Andy seemed to be in really bad shape both physically and musically… Hope he finds way to get himself on shape soon, otherwise his career is completely done.

 

Album sales.

It’s both sad and confusing to notice low sales figures of many top albums in 2009. New KISS album selling only something like 300 000 in U.S? Heaven and Hell sold only tens of thousands albums while their older albums sold platinium in 80′s.. What’s wrong with buyers today or is it just about Internet downloading? I don’t know…

 

Biggest hopes for 2010

 

New studio albums from Anthrax, Ratt, Krokus, Y&T and Alice Cooper.

I was really waiting for WORSHIP MUSIC with Dan’s vocals but with John it will be even better for sure! New RATT album is something unbelievable, something that was never going to happen and the same goes with Y&T. Krokus has never released bad albums and this one with classic line-up will not disappoint, I hope… Alice Cooper is another artist who never let’s you down. His current THEATRE OF DEATH -tour proved that the man is still in top form, can’t wait another album from him.

 

KISS "Sonic Boom over Europe" tour.

Something to wait for…. The stageshow looks fantastic, hopefully they will do some changes in setlist though.. Still haven’t decided how many shows I will check out this time …

 

Michael Monroe band.

Since Hanoi Rocks demise Michale has been writing new material with Ginger and other well known musicians. His new band will include Sam Yaffa (ex- Hanoi Rocks, New York Dolls) the rest of the members will be announced in late spring. This is going to be a really interesting band and for sure way better than the McCoy fiasko.

 

Swedenrock 2010 and Sonisphere festivals.

Both festivals will have AMAZING line ups this year. Swedenrock gives us chance to see interesting smaller bands like: Raven, Danzig, Y&T and Anvil whereas Sonispere has all the biggest names like: Iron Maiden, Mötley Crue, Heaven and Hell, Alice Cooper, Slayer, the Cult, Anthrax etc…. Haven’t seen such a strong line-up anywhere since the glory years of Donington festival in late 80′s.

Best events/concerts of 2009

Ace Frehley: ANOMALY -European -tour

Alice Cooper: THEATRE OF DEATH -tour

Swedenrock Festival 2009

Hanoi Rocks: FAREWELL shows in club Tavastia

Michael Schenker Group: European tour 2009

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Scar Symmetry – Drummer Henrik Ohlsson

January 5th, 2010
by EvilG

Interview with Drummer Henrik Ohlsson

by Alan Gilkeson

 henrikdrumming.jpg

In September of 2008, Scar Symmetry released a statement announcing they had parted ways with their vocalist due to creative and touring conflicts. Losing a singer is probably the toughest challenge for any band. Often the group’s image is wrapped up in the personality of it’s front man. However, Scar Symmetry rightly believed that no one person was bigger than their band… so they found two new singers, allowing them to do live what their former vocalist could not handle, all of the vocal parts without losing his voice. With Lars Palmqvist and Roberth Karlsson sharing front man duties, Scar Symmetry appear poised to take their brand of melodic Death Metal to the masses. Their latest opus, DARK MATTER DIMENSIONS has already spawned two popular videos and sees the band touring the globe. Drummer Henrik Ohlsson was kind enough to answer some questions for us at Metal Rules.

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Ensiferum Live at The Gramercy, NYC 12/5/2009

January 4th, 2010
by EvilG
EnsiferumLogo.png

Ensiferum Live at The Gramercy, NYC 12/5/2009

Review by Alan Gilkeson


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Best of 2009 – Luxi

January 4th, 2010
by EvilG

1. Sacrifice – THE ONES I CONDEMN

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If we are strictly talking about one of the true comebacks of the last decade, limiting this talking to speed/thrash metal genre only, then I have personally valued the Canadian thrash legends, Sacrifice´s comeback most. Rob Urbinati, one of the original members of Sacifice, was mentioning in a few occasions before the recording process for their comeback album had even started, that they will make their return worth the wait by going back to the same feel they had on the FORWARD TO TERMINATION album – trying to re-capture the same vibe and sound they had on that album, more than 20 years ago. And they did exactly that. Therefore THE ONES I CONDEMN – to put it simple, Sacrifice´s amazing, balls-nailing comeback album, rightfully earned its 1st place on my personal ´Top 20 Albums´ list in 2009. Thrash metal hasn´t tasted THIS good for a long time…

2. Candlemass – DEATH MAGIC DOOM

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Leif Edling and the rest of his troops in Candlemass, are fuckin´ genious. I don´t know how on earth this Swedish grand master of doom, manages to surprise us every time from one album after another album, but they have yet again done it with their latest album, DEATH MAGIC DOOM. Could one album possibly be more powerful, genious and strong song structure-wise than DEATH MAGIC DOOM – not forgetting either Robert Lowe´s monstrously emotional-charged vocal approach on this record. This album truly is about death, magic and doom. What a fantastic release from the Candlemass camp once again.

  1. Dream Theater – BLACK CLOUDS & SILVER LININGS

  2. Survivors Zero – CMXCIX

  3. Heaven and Hell – THE DEVIL YOU KNOW

  4. Amorphis – SKYFORGER

  5. Lie in Ruins – SWALLOWED BY THE VOID

  6. Hellwitch – OMNIPOTENT CONVOCATION

  7. Absu – S/T

  8. Winterwolf – CYCLE OF THE WINTERWOLF

  9. Redemption – SNOWFALL ON JUDGEMENT DAY

  10. Artllery – WHEN DEATH COMES

  11. Paradox – RIOT SQUAD

  12. Slugathor – ECHOES FROM BENEATH

  13. Hirax – EL ROSTO DE LA MUERTE

  14. Deströyer 666 – DEFIANCE

  15. Dark Funeral – ANGELUS EXURO PRO ETERNUS

  16. Count Raven – MAMMONS WAR

  17. Tenet – SOVEREIGN

  18. Tribulation – THE HORROR

Best New Band

Survivors Zero

Just a fuckin´ brilliant debut album from these highly technical and modern sounding Finnish deathsters – kind of like a crossbreed of technical wizardry of Arch Enemy, sheer heaviness of Entombed and riff-tastic moments of Testament. You need to hear the album in order to believe my shameless praising about it. I bet you won´t regret it afterwards.

Best DVD

Iron Maiden – THE FLIGHT 666: THE ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

If you consider yourself at least a little bit a Maiden fan, then this is a somewhat mandatory DVD for you. ´nuff said, I guess.

Biggest Disappointment

Slayer – WORLD PAINTED BLOOD

No matter how big Slayer fan I have always been – almost like a true fanboy for over 2 decades, but the band´s latest album left me quite disappointed in the end. Slayer´s previous album CHRIST ILLUSION was a step to the right direction from Slayer, so I did have every reason to expect a bit more from Slayer than I eventually got on WORLD PAINTED BLOOD. Sure thing, it´s got some good Slayer songs on it, but whenever I play that album, I am always having hard times to get used to that ´modern´ approach some of their songs have got in them – not to talk about the weak guitar tune that also tends to ruin a big part of enjoyment on this record. And who the fuck´s idea was it to let Greg Fidelman to produce the album anyway?

Discovery of 2009

Forced to Kill

Having always been a big sucker for old school thrash metal, I was truly blown away by this young Finnish thrash act Forced to Kill´s debut 4-track demo titled SPEEDING DEATH VELOCITY that simply reeks of those well-spiced old school thrash metal times of mid ´80s. The SPEEDING DEATH VELOCITY demo was all about early Slayer, early Sacrifice and early Dark Angel albums – and it would be a screaming crime if this highly energetic and furious Finnish thrash act was left completely unnoticed among other suckers of strongly ´80s tinged thrash metal in 2010. These guys deserve a record contract, absolutely!

Greatest Hopes for 2010

  1. Great hopes for Heathen´s comeback album EVOLUTION OF CHAOS

  2. New album from Atheist is tickling my mind already…

  3. Hearing some new songs from the underground death metal legends Sadistic Intent.

  4. New songs from the legendary Possessed make me curious…

  5. Debut full-length album from After Death (as everyone of us knows already, that´s Mike Browning´s latest incarnation of evil; the guy who used to play drums and sing in Morbid Angel´s ABOMINATIONS OF DESOLATION album, released a couple of albums with his Nocturnus – and have played together with the guys of underground death metal heroes such as Incubus (FL), Acheron, etc.)

  6. Getting finally to hear a new album from Infernäl Mäjesty SYSTEMATICAL EXTERMINATION, so let´s hope it will eventually come out in 2010.

  7. The line-up at Jalometalli festival in 2010 will most likely be somewhat incredible again, just like in the previous 2-3 years… ;o)

  8. Jumalation´s THE CHURCH OF ISAAC album… about time!

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Best of 2009 – Lord of the Wasteland

January 4th, 2010
by EvilG

TOP 20 CDs


1. The Devin Townsend Project – ADDICTED!

Dev can really do no wrong in this writer’s eyes, so the real challenge this year was deciding which of his two albums released in 2009 would top the other.  KI was stellar (and made it to #3 on my list) but landing Anneke van Giersbergen (ex-The Gathering) to handle the female vocals on ADDICTED! was really what earned this record the pole position.  Townsend’s sonic palette coupled with van Giersbergen’s stunning vocals crafted a remarkable second chapter to The Devin Townsend Project’s four-part opus that is sure to complete one of the finest collections of music put to disc this decade.

2. Lamb Of God – WRATH

Possibly a tad “mainstream” for some, Lamb of God delivered its magnum opus with WRATH.  The band stepped up considerably in its songwriting, musicianship and ferocity while maintaining a savvy ear for melodic hooks.  The added spotlight and press attention garnered after nailing direct support on the Metallica tour will only raise the bar for what we can expect from Lamb of God on its next record, too.


3. The Devin Townsend Project – KI

4. Heaven & Hell – THE DEVIL YOU KNOW

5. Goatwhore – CARVING OUT THE EYES OF GOD

6. The Red Chord – FED THROUGH THE TEETH MACHINE

7. Megadeth – ENDGAME

8. Cannibal Corpse – EVISCERATION PLAGUE

9. Between The Buried And Me – THE GREAT MISDIRECT

10. Kreator – HORDES OF CHAOS

11. Baroness – BLUE RECORD

12. God Dethroned – PASSIONDALE

13. God Forbid – EARTHSBLOOD

14. Suffocation – BLOOD OATH

15. Marduk – WORMWOOD

16. Candlemass – DEATH MAGIC DOOM

17. Daath – THE CONCEALERS

18. Slayer – WORLD PAINTED BLOOD

19. Immortal – ALL SHALL FAIL

20. DevilDriver – PRAY FOR VILLAINS

BEST NEW BAND

Ex-Deo

The ancient Roman-themed side-project of Kataklysm frontman, Mauricio Iacono, combined groove-based death metal with film clips and a few big-name guest stars to rise above the rest of the baby bands this year.  ROMULUS stands up to repeated listens and is a stronger outing than the last few Kataklysm records have been, too, so hopefully Ex Deo isn’t just a one-off thing.  

BEST DVD

As I Lay Dying – THIS IS WHO WE ARE

While many people will likely give this spot to Anvil just on principle (and duly receive an honourable mention from me), As I Lay Dying put together the best overall package with THIS IS WHO WE ARE.  Spread over three discs including an all-encompassing documentary, the band’s entire collection of videos and a ton of live clips spanning As I Lay Dying’s earliest performances to Wacken Open Air, Metal Blade continues to provide its marquee acts with top-quality DVD releases that raise the industry bar.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS OF 2009

1.  No time…!!

A new career and a big move to another city put a serious damper on my Metal Rules input in the latter half of 2009.  This caused me to miss out on a TON of live shows and left me little time to devote to writing CD reviews or listening to new music.

2. Killswitch Engage – KILLSWITCH ENGAGE

Not horrible but pales in comparison to the band`s three previous releases.

3. Mastodon – CRACK THE SKYE

A few bright moments cannot dilute the fact that this is a pretentious and unenjoyable record.

4. Hammerfall – NO SACRIFICE, NO VICTORY

The power metal formula that Hammerfall has been following is beginning to wear a little thin after seven records.

5. VoiVod – INFINI

The band has now released two albums using Piggy`s leftover guitar riffs.  KATORZ was okay but INFINI definitely shows signs of a band struggling for direction after Piggy`s death.

GREATEST HOPES FOR 2009

1. King Diamond/Mercyful Fate Live DVDs

When I interviewed King four years ago, these were just in the planning stages, so it has been a long, long wait filled with technical issues but it sounds like they will finally see the light of day in 2010.

2. Pig Destroyer – TBA

Topping TERRIFYER and PHANTOM LIMB will not be easy but anytime Pig Destroyer has a new record coming down the pipe, you know it will be buzz-worthy.

3. Orphaned Land – THE NEVER ENDING WAY OF ORWARRIOR

Grand in scope and painstakingly arranged, the latest release from Israel`s Orphaned Land is six years in the making and sure to be just as majestic as the band`s last conceptual epic, MABOOL, with Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree, Opeth) producing.

4. Fear Factory – MECHANIZE

Dino and Burton have patched up their differences and replaced Raymond Herrera and Christian Olde Wolbers with Gene Hoglan and Byron Stroud, respectively.  The early release of one track—“Powershift“—sounds like the logical follow-up to DEMANUFACTURE and OBSOLETE, so let`s hope the rest of MECHANIZE holds up just as well.


5. Ihsahn – AFTER

Since disbanding Emperor in 2001, Ihsahn has kept metal fans intrigued through a pair of solo releases.  On AFTER, his third due in 2010, Ihsahn will undoubtedly mix things up once again to create his own unique—and unclassifiable—style of metal.

6. Triptykon – EPARISTERA DAIMONES

Tom Gabriel Fischer`s return to music after Celtic Frost`s unfortunate implosion last year.  Fischer claims the songs are similar in style to MONOTHEIST but heavier.  Let`s hope so because we don`t want another Apollyon Sun on our hands.

7. Guns `n Roses Tour

If Axl can hold it together, the Calgary date on January 16th could be this city`s concert event of the year.

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