Best of 2009 – Aaron

January 3rd, 2010
by EvilG

Top 20 of 2009

1. Katatonia – NIGHT IS THE NEW DAY

In a year full of stellar releases, having to wait until almost the end of 2009 for this album made it that much more stunning.  One of the few albums from 2009 that was consistently strong from start to finish, NIGHT IS THE NEW DAY is the kind of genre defining album that only Katatonia could make.  It edged out Heaven & Hell for my number 1 spot – that should tell you how good this album is.


2. Heaven & Hell – THE DEVIL YOU KNOW

The fact that this album even happened still blows my mind.  There’s something special that happens when this lineup of Sabbath gets together, and THE DEVIL YOU KNOW is no exception.  Every time I think that I’ve had enough of this album, I give it another spin and it pulls me back in again.  Heavy, powerful, magical – this is what great metal is all about.  Ozzy who?

3. Alice in Chains – BLACK GIVES WAY TO BLUE

4. Obscura – COSMOGENESIS

5. Candlemass – DEATH MAGIC DOOM

6. God Dethroned – PASSIONDALE

7. Dark Moor – AUTUMNAL

8. Suffocation – BLOOD OATH

9. Ex Deo – ROMULUS

10. Kreator – HORDES OF CHAOS

11. Augury – FRAGMENTARY EVIDENCE

12. Cauldron – CHAINED TO THE NITE

13. Wino – PUNCTUATED EQUILIBRIUM

14. Thin Lizzy – STILL DANGEROUS

15. Zoroaster – VOICE OF SATURN

16. Wolves in the Throne Room – BLACK CASCADE

17. Soulfallen – GRAVE NEW WORLD

18. Killswitch Engage – KILLSWITCH ENGAGE

19. Shrinebuilder – SHRINEBUILDER

20. Black Pyramid – BLACK PYRAMID

Best New Band

Cauldron

This Canadian three piece understands that it’s okay for metal to be fun.  Delivering stripped down, 80’s influenced melodic proto-thrash with punchy riffs and catchy lyrics; CHAINED TO THE NITE was one of the best debuts to surface in 2009.  These guys have the potential to be huge.

Best DVD

Iron Maiden – FLIGHT 666

Part documentary, part concert film, FLIGHT 666 gave fans a rare glimpse into what touring with one of metal’s biggest acts is really like.  This film made me fall in love with Maiden all over again.

Biggest Disappointment

Paradise Lost – FAITH DIVIDES US-DEATH UNITES US

This one hurt me the most this year.  Being a die hard PL fan since ’91, I had huge hopes for this album.  Huge hopes that were unceremoniously crushed upon finally hearing the results.  2007’s IN REQUIEM showed that the band could still bring the heavy while maintaining their trademark melody.  FAITH DIVIDES US brought the heavy, but forgot the melody and everything else interesting about Paradise Lost.  Disappointment doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings…

Discovery of 2009

Obscura  

Seeming to have come from out of nowhere, Germany’s Obscura released what was arguably the best death metal album of the year, COSMOGENESIS.  Limited distribution kept the band’s 2006 debut, RETRIBUTION, off the metal community’s radar, but a new deal with Relapse Records fixed that problem.  The band’s sophomore follow up, COSMOGENESIS was a sci-fi influenced, progressive, technical death metal masterpiece that didn’t sacrifice songwriting for the sake of shred.  If you haven’t heard this album yet, what are you waiting for?

Hopes for 2010

1. A full and speedy recovery for Mr. Ronnie James Dio.  MAGICA 2 & 3 are still on the horizon, as is the possibility for new Heaven & Hell material.  There’s too much great music still left in you Ronnie, so get well soon and get back to work.

2. Anthrax and John Bush will quit dancing around and officially kiss and make up.  Festival dates are confirmed in 2010 and supposedly JB is re-recording the vocals on WORSHIP MUSIC, yet still, Bush has not “officially” rejoined the band.  Seriously guys, please make this happen for the fans.

3. The new Pestilence album will be the technical monster that RESURRECTION MACABRE wasn’t.  Obscura and Augury set the bar pretty high in 2009, so Patrick Mameli needs to put up or shut up.

4. We’ll finally see those DVD collections that King Diamond has been promising us since forever.

5. There were some phenomenal tour packages in 2009.  Hopefully in 2010, they won’t forget that the southeastern U.S. exists.

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Best of 2010 – Arto Lehtinen

January 3rd, 2010
by EvilG

Top 20

1. Triptykon – Eparistera Daimones

After the demise of the mighty Celtic Frost, Mr T.G. Warrior went on and formed Triptykon. The band’s debut album Eparistera Daimones presents the pure hate and anger of Mr. Warrior from beginning to end. The songs are massive, heavy, and above all depressive crowning all the Daimones experience.


2. Hail Of Bullets – On Divine Winds

Hail Of Bullets visited the Finnish metal fest Jalometalli Festival up in Oulu. The five piece’s delivery was a bone and crushing experience. It was therefore more than logical to expect more war based death metal from these Dutch warriors. On Divine Winds is another piece of brutal death metal art which will be remembered for years to come.

3. Immolation – Majesty and Decay

The legendary NY death metallers combo have always released outstanding great outputs since the demo days. No compromises, no sell out, no gothic keyboards or other added tricks. Just pure death metal in the old school mindest. Excellent!

4. Overkill – Ironbound

5. Kylesa – Spiral Shadow

6. Atheist – Jupiter

7. Halford – Made of Metal

8. Melechesh – The Epigenesis

9. Watain – Lawless Darkness

10. Forbidden – Omega Wave

11. Accept – Blood of the Nations

12. Danzig – Deth Red Sabaoth

13. Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier

14. Death Angel – Relentless Retribution

15. Rotting Christ – Aealo

16. Hour of Penance – Paradogma

17. Soulfly – Omen

18. Grand Magus – Hammer Of The North

19. Ufomammut – Eve

20. Spiritual Beggars –Return To Zero

Best New Band

Ghost – Opus Eponymous

The Swedish band GHOST came as a huge surprise with their grim and occult image reminding slightly of the mighty Mercyful Fate. Ghost’s occult metal with old heavy metal influences gives real chilling  shivers. Above all, the band’s vocalist’s outlook is quite creepy.

Best Metal DVD/Blu-Ray

Heaven And Hell – Live at Wacken

Does this need any explaination? Well Heaven And Hell was absolutely great when playing in Helsinki in the old ice hall and a week later at Sweden Rock. The Wacken show is basically the same as was seen at Sweden Rock. Ronnie James Dio’s premature move to the end of the rainbow increases the value and respect toward the last Heaven And Hell shows. This is the best concert you could of attended in 2010!

Best Live Show

Carcass at Jalometalli in Oulu. The band sounded tight and clear and above all murderous.

Album disappointments of 2010

1. The latest Iron Maiden output “The Final Frontier” didn’t convince me at all.

2. The newest Ozzy Osbourne Scream. I still prefer the 80’s albums.

Greatest hopes for 2011

Seriously I rather not predict anything as the year 2010 was already a full of setbacks and unwanted pieces of news and major disappointments from the world of heavy metal.



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Best of 2009 – EvilG

January 2nd, 2010
by EvilG

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

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witness a band at the peak of their creativity! Primal Fear can’t be stopped! This is everything I could have hoped for for a Primal Fear album. It has the aggression, the speed, the melody, and even a couple of departures thrown in to mix things up just right. Even though some critics believe that this band has a 50/50 track record, I’ve been a huge fan since the first album and love all their stuff! It seems most of those on the fence are also loving this album too, not that that makes me love or hate this album more however.

2. Týr – By the Light of the Northern Star

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For me this album really came from out of nowhere. I hadn’t really heard them until 2009 and it was by chance. Since I’ve heard this album over and over and over….it’s really left an impression on me. I love the folk-ish mix with the Viking/Power/Thrash styling. It’s probably not right to call this traditional Viking Metal since it’s not the typical growling. The vocals on this are more in the Hetfield gruff vein and they suit the music perfectly. Awesome band, awesome album…check them out if you haven’t already!


3. Megadeth – Endgame

4. Steel Panther – Feel The Steel

5. Slayer – World Painted Blood

6. Stratovarius – Polaris

7. Kreator – Hordes Of Chaos

8. Brainstorm – Memorial Roots

9. Savage Circus – Of Doom and Death

10. Rebellion – Arise: From Ginnungagap To Ragnarok – History of the Vikings, Vol. III

11. Lord – Set In Stone

12. Heaven & Hell – The Devil You Know

13. Vader – Necropolis

14. Austrian Death Machine – Double Brutal

15. Wolf – Ravenous

16. Mob Rules – Radical Peace

17. W.A.S.P. – Babylon

18. Dark Moor – Autumnal

19. Lion’s Share – Dark Hours

20. HammerFall – No Sacrifice, No Victory



BEST NEW BAND

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Steel Panther

Yes they are cheesy, and yes this is blatant glam metal…but on steroids. Everything about them is perfect from their over the top humor to their actual songs which are surprisingly awesome. This is not just a gimmick band, even though the humor aspect is a big draw. If you take away the profanity and humor, the songs are still very well written 80’s metal with some great vocals and guitar work from Russ Parrish (ex-Fight guitarist).

(Although they formed in 2000, and went under names such as Danger Kitty, Metal Shop and Metal Skool, FEEL THE STEEL is the debut full album from them as Steel Panther, which thereby qualifies them for the best new band category as we define it). 


BEST DVD

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Anvil – The Story of Anvil!

A band I’ve always loved finally is getting some well deserved exposure! I just hope that they capitalize off of this and can ride the wave into a sucessful new era. Regardless of the impact of this documentary, this is one of the best metal DVD’s I’ve seen up there with "Metal: A Headbangers Journey". The only thing that would make this better would be a double DVD release with all of Anvil’s videos, and the complete 1983 and 2008 Japanese concerts that provide the bookends to the documentary.

 

Discovery of 2009

tyr.jpg 

Týr

This is a new category to highlight a band that is new to each staffer. Surprisingly, Tyr managed to stay beneath my radar until mid-2009. I found the band bit by word of mouth, not by promotional materials from their label, but by reading a blog about Viking metal. The band’s cover art for "By the Light of the Northern Star" caught my eye with the angry Viking chopping down the Xtian cross. After checking out the song "Hold The Heathen Hammer High", I was sold. Hold the heathen hammer high, with a battle cry!!

Best Concert of 2009

Primal Fear:  Sept. 13 2009, Foufounes Electriques, Montreal, Canada

Just…wow….best live performance I’ve ever witnessed.

DISAPPOINTMENTS of 2009

Tim "Ripper" Owens – PLAY MY GAME

I love Tim’s voice and the line-up of musicians on this on paper seemed to be a perfect matching. However, the album is just plain boring! After a couple listens I figured it was just me because I was so expecting to love this. After about 15 more listens I had to admit, this is just bad song-writing, lifeless, unmemorable, a complete failure. I don’t like to crap over someone who’s other works I admire (especially his stuff with Iced Earth despite popular opinion) but this is easily the biggest musical disappointment of 2009.

Sonata Arctica THE DAYS OF GRAYS

UNIA was a step down for Sonata Arctics but it still had some great songs. DAYS OF GRAYS is again another step downwards with even fewer great material. I know they don’t want to play speed metal all the time with double kicks and dog whistle vocals, but c’mon, they had that sound down and owned it. No need to totally abandon a good thing! Sure, evolve, but you don’t need to become slow and boring to evolve. Get heavier! Get angry! I don’t even like most of the non-riffs on this album as the guitar seems to mainly do chugga-chugga rhythmic crap in the background. I want riffssss..notessss….runs….not chuggachugga crap…c’mon and write something that inspires, not that depresses.

 

Greatest Hopes For 2010

1. Will the mighty Rhapsody of Fire return to their speed and kick ass? I really hope so…

2. Savatage (not some blues/gospel/broadway shit) doing a full on METAL album with Jon and Zakk on vocals. I wished for this forever…is it time to forget about it?

3. The new albums from Nevermore, Imagika, Jag Panzer, Blind Guardian….

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SEBASTIAN BACH: Live at Pakkahuone, Tampere FINLAND 13/12 2009

December 28th, 2009
by Marko Syrjala

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SEBASTIAN BACH

BACH IN THE SADDLE OF EUROPE TOUR 2009

Pakkahuone, TAMPERE

FINLAND

13/12 2009

Former SKID ROW singer Sebastian Bach returned to Finland after 18 months.  Last year Sebastian and his band got so many excellent reviews and overall positive feedback that it wasn’t a big surprise that they wanted to return here as soon as he did. This current BACH IN THE SADDLE IN EUROPE –tour consisted of nine shows and when three out of those nine shows were now in Finland so there must have been such a high expectations here.  Last year Sebastian played Tampere at the SAUNA OPEN AIR festival and so now it was ttime to find out how successful he will be here one his own?

 

REVIEW AND PHOTOS BY MARKO SYRJÄLÄ

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Megadeth / Warbringer / Suicide Silence Live In Kansas City: December 5, 2009

December 27th, 2009
by Lord of the Wasteland

Megadeth / Warbringer / Suicide Silence

The Beaumont Club

Kansas City, USA

December 5, 2009

 

***Review By Jodi Michael; Photos By Sara E. Robbins


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From Hell’s Heart – The Chump 9 of 09 (Dec. 22, 2009)

December 22nd, 2009
by EvilG

From Hell’s Heart: December 2009

"The Chump 9 of 09" 

From Hells Heart...

Yesterday we unleashed what we thought were the top 10 metal news stories of 2009. Now it’s time to unveil what we think are the chumpy stories of 2009. Agree? Disagree? Comments welcome of course!

 

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Hardcore Superstar with Dia Psalma at Psycho Holiday European Tour 2009 at Kb in Malmoe. Sweden

December 22nd, 2009
by Anders Sandvall

 

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Hardcore Superstar – headline act

Psycho Holiday European Tour 2009 – first leg-

Dia Psalma – support act

Kulturbolaget

Malmoe

Sweden

10/12 – 2009

 

Reviewed and live pictures by: Anders Sandvall

 

 

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From Hell’s Heart – Top 10 News Stories of 2009 (Dec. 21, 2009)

December 20th, 2009
by EvilG

From Hell’s Heart: December 2009

"Top 10 News Stories of 2009" 

From Hells Heart...

After reading some (unnamed to protect the guilty…ha!) year end lists of what some thought the biggest news stories of 2009 were, here is another view on the biggest stories in METAL for 2009. Agree or disagree? Comments welcome!

 

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Ace Frehley with 16 Second Stare on Anomaly European Tour 2009 at Kulturbolaget in Malmoe, Sweden

December 15th, 2009
by Anders Sandvall

 

Ace_logo_2.jpg

 

Ace Frehley

Anomaly European Tour 2009

16 Second Stare – support act

Kulturbolaget

Malmoe

Sweden

4/12  -2009

 

Reviewed and live pictures by: Anders Sandvall

 

ace_20.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

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From Hell’s Heart – Remake albums (Dec 2009)

December 14th, 2009
by Aaron Yurkiewicz

From Hell’s Heart: December 2009

"REMAKE ALBUMS" 

From Hells Heart...

In the past few years, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of artists who are going back and re-recording previously released material. From melodic metal artists like Kiss and Victory, to the speedy Dragonforce, to thrashers like Exodus and Sodom, to the heavier end of the spectrum with acts like Dimmu Borgir, this trend is present in every genre. This month we ask why? Is it necessary, mandatory, a cash grab plain ol’ fun… or somewhere in between? Enjoy!

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Jorn Lande with Seven Thorns at Spirit Black European Tour 2009 at The Rock in Copenhagen, Denmark

December 9th, 2009
by Anders Sandvall

 

jorn_logo_2.jpg

 

Jorn Lande

Spirit Black European Tour 2009

Seven Thorns – support act

The Rock

Copenhagen

Denmark

25/11 – 2009

 

Reviewed and live pictures by Anders Sandvall

Guest Contributor: Ulrika Henriksson

 

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DELETE

December 2nd, 2009
by EvilG

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Orphaned Land – Yossi Saaron Sassi

December 2nd, 2009
by Arto Lehtinen

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The Israeli progressive metal combo Orphaned Land will be releasing a brand new opus called "The Never Ending Way Of ORwarriOR". The long waited fourth album gives a massive journey into the Middle Eastern metal with obviously folk music approach involved. The album is based on an interesting concept. Even though it is already some years having passed by since Mabool, the Israeli metallers have returned with a strong and brilliant album. Therefore, it is about time to have an interview with Orphaned Land in Metal-Rules.com and chat with the guitarist Yossi Saaron Sassi about the new album.

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MARDUK – Morgan Steinmeyer HÃ¥kansson

November 30th, 2009
by Robert Williams

 MARDUK Logo.jpg

MARDUK.jpg

 Interview with Morgan Steinmeyer Håkansson

Conducted by Robert Williams

Videography Courtesy of Sandra Torres


For nearly twenty years Sweden’s black metal assault Marduk has been delivering the most blasphemous, venomous and often perverse assault on Christianity with their brand of blastbeat heavy black metal. From the "Fuck Me Jesus" EP to songtitles like "Fistfucking God’s Planet" Jesus Christ Sodomized" and "Christraping Black Metal" long has Marduk been an adversary of the Holy.

Guitarist and founder Morgan Steinmeyer  Håkansson has been the only constant member of the band’s lineup since it’s inception. The "Plague Angel" album marked the start of the most recent lineup with former bassist Magnus "Devo" Andersson returning to the fold alongside new vocalist Mortuus. Since that time the band has been rounded out by drummer Lars Broddesson and continue to stay as active as ever with a whopping eleven studio albums, six EP’s, three live albums, a boxset and three DVD releases to date.

Most recently the band has released Wormwood. A ten song album recorded at bass player Devo’s Endarker studios; and finally returned to the United States for the first comprehensive tour of the States since 2001’s "Black Metal Assault" tour. Originally slated to take part in last summer’s "Blackendfest" as a co-headliner alongside Norway’s Mayhem; some visa delays put the band’s plans on ice.

Finally…Marduk is now back on U.S. soil and prepared to take their unholy funeral march to a town near you. Backed by French black metaller’s Merrimack, the thrash attack of Mantic Ritual and dark psychedelic metal of Nachtmystium; this tour is not to be missed.

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NOCTURNAL FEAR – Rev. Chris Slavehunter

November 28th, 2009
by EvilG

NocturnalFear.Logo.jpg

NOCTURNAL FEAR –  Rev. Chris Slavehunter


Interviewed by Alan Gilkeson

From one of America’s greatest cess pools, the hellish Motor City of Detroit, comes a band so violent and full of rage that the world should be mortified… and the Metal world should be ecstatic. Nocturnal Fear’s fourth album, METAL OF HONOR, influenced by the legendary and super heavy Thrash bands of Germany, is a text book of Heavy Metal at it’s best, rude, nasty, and unforgiving. In this interview founding member and guitarist, the Rev. Chris Slavehunter Ph. D. explains the bands philosophy on Metal, War, why he’s the reverend, and even President Obama.

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