BEST OF 2008

January 6th, 2009
by EvilG

Best of 2008

As always, some restrictions are placed on our lists. The top albums are for releases from 2008 that are full albums (no EP’s or demos). They also have to be new studio albums for 2008, 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 2008, and greatest hopes for 2009.



The Top 20  Heavy Metal Albums of 2008

(click the album cover to read our review)


1. Testament – THE FORMATION OF DAMNATION

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The comeback of the decade? You decide.  For once, the hype and climactic build-up (THE GATHERING came out nine years ago!!) was worth it, as the Bay Area veterans brought enough modern flair to their mid-paced thrash formula to show metalheads that there is still some gas left in the tank.  Chuck Billy’s ferocious roar is as strong as ever and the guitar team of Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson deliver in spades.  A great return and fully deserving of top-tier status.

2. Motörhead – Motorizer

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Motörhead is as dependable as always on MOTORIZER, with the unstoppable Lemmy and co. turning in another excellent platter of metallic might.  Is Motörhead ageless?  Maybe, but one has to wonder just how many more years Lemmy will be croaking and craning his neck across stages.  If MOTORIZER is any indication, he’ll join Keith Richards and cockroaches as the only living things when Armageddon comes.

3. Amon Amarth – TWILIGHT OF THE THUNDER GOD

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Amon Amarth have produced another standout album that can take a rightful place amongst the best in their catalogue. The band, as always, has stayed true to their formula, and true to the type of metal they write. They are able to never deviate from the path they have tread, and yet continue to keep each release sounding fresh and new, rather than rehashed. For those of you looking to explore the band for the first time this album is a fantastic starting point. So grab your drinking horns, fill them with your favorite mead, and raise them high in a salute to another legendary release one of the finest!

4. Avantasia – THE SCARECROW

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In a making of the album segment, Sammet has said he does not want his music to be labeled. He does not want to be pigeonholed into metal or hard rock, but wants to present a variety of musical styles that he enjoys through his work. With THE SCARECROW, he has succeeded greatly in accomplishing this goal, proving once again that he may be one of the most talented and diverse songwriters producing music in the metal (or hard rock) scene right now. Power metal purists may turn their nose up at these more direct, memorable, and highly catchy songs due to the lack of overwhelming speed, but everyone else should grab this release immediately.

5. Metallica – DEATH MAGNETIC

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After the unmentionable angsty hardcore-ish self-indulgent abomination that was ST ANGER (*spit), DEATH MAGNETIC will be lauded as the best of post-1990 Metallica. I’d even rank it above BLACK, although this may be because BLACK followed four great thrash albums, and DEATH MAGNETIC follows…a string of pop-rock, country-rock, covers, symphonic dalliances, and pure crap.This is actually the first Metallica album that we reviewed since we started this zine in 1995…so welcome back to the realm of metal Metallica!

6. Warrel Dane – PRAISES TO THE WAR MACHINE

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As the frontman of Nevermore and Sanctuary, Warrel Dane has been engrossing fans with his soaring vocals and high-pitched wails for over twenty years. Finally, Dane has taken a step outside the group dynamic and recorded his first solo album, PRAISES TO THE WAR MACHINE. With help from Soilwork’s Peter Wichers, as well as Matt Wicklund (ex-Himsa), Dirk Verbeuren (Soilwork, Scarve) and a few guest spots, this is the perfect example of what a solo album should be. A pair of interesting covers are included but ten original, Dane-penned tracks run the gamut from straight-forward, melodic heavy metal to dark, brooding hard rock and even a Gothic-tinged ballad.

7. Iced Earth – THE CRUCIBLE OF MAN

(SOMETHING WICKED PART 2)

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Over the last several years, the metal community has been offered the return of several classic vocalists to the bands that they helped make important. However, the results have been rather mixed. For many metalheads, the return of Matt Barlow to Iced Earth is of similar importance. The question that remained for all, though, is whether or not the anticipation would be worth the wait. Based on the placement of their album in our top 10, it seems most of us here would agree it was.

8. Mötley Crüe – SAINTS OF LOS ANGELES

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In 2008, it may have seemed odd that people were excited about the release of a new Mötley Crüe album. Maybe it’s because this is the first album of new material featuring the original lineup since GENERATION SWINE eleven years ago. Maybe it’s because Nikki Sixx landed himself on the New York Times best-seller list with 2007’s year-in-the-life-of-a-drugged-out-rock-star autobiography, THE HEROIN DIARIES. Or maybe the retro nostalgia factor is still strong enough from the sold-out “Carnival of Sins” and “Route of All Evil” tours that took the band across the globe three years ago. Whatever it is, there been some serious buzz surrounding Mötley Crüe’s new album, SAINTS OF LOS ANGELES and now with 2008 behind us, it seems like enough of our staff bought into the album to place it into our top 10.

9. AC/DC – BLACK ICE

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BLACK ICE is the best album overall that AC/DC has released since 1980’s BACK IN BLACK. Despite clocking in at a rather lengthy 55 minutes (the band’s longest yet), the album never drags and is devoid of any noticeable filler. Some musical experimentation and vocal dynamics (not to mention the slick production—man, this record sounds great cranked up loud!) certainly show the band still has some fire in the furnace even though there is snow on the roof. In a nutshell, BLACK ICE is versatile, fresh and modern but maintains that classic AC/DC vibe. Welcome back, boys.

10. Airbourne – Runnin’ Wild

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From AC/DC to perhaps the band that has best encapsulated their sound ever, we have Airbourne. If you are an AC/DC fan, then this is the album for you. Bursting onto the scene this four-piece heavy rock band takes all the elements and cues from Aussie-land’s greatest export. Their explosive energy and good time party lyrics create one of the most talked about releases in awhile.

 

Number 11 to 20

11. Guns n’ Roses – Chinese Democracy

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12. Cavalera Conspiracy – Inflikted cavalera.jpg
13. Brainstorm – Downburst brainstorm.jpg
14. Opeth – Watershed opeth.jpg
15. Sabaton – The Art Of War sabaton.jpg
16. Eluveitie – Slania eluveitie.jpg
17. Firewind – The Premonition firewind.jpg
18. Whitesnake – Good To Be Bad whitesnake.jpg
19. Into Eternity – The Incurable Tragedy intoeternity.png
20. Cradle Of Filth – Godspeed On The Devil’s Thunder cof.jpg

 Individual Staff Lists For 2008

Includes: top 20, best new band, best DVD, greatest hopes for 2009, and disappointments of 2008.

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Best of 2008 – Anders

January 4th, 2009
by EvilG

Top 20 Albums

1. Volbeat “Guitar Gangster And Cadillac Blood” 

With their third album they prove that they are the strongest Danish act at the moment. Their Elvis-metal has had its big breakthrough this year both in Europe and in USA.

2. Cloudscape “Global Drama”

It can’t get so much better than this. Melodic progressive heavy metal at its best!

3 Gemini Five “Sex Drugs Anarchy”

One of the best sleaze acts in Europe finally released a new album 2008. The band really deserves to get their big break through now, they sure do deserve it!

4. Backyard Babies “S/t”

5. D.A.D “Monster Philosophy”

6. The Haunted “Versus”

7. The Hellacopters “Head Off”

8. Tobias Sammet’s Avantasia “The Scarecrow”

9. Guns ‘n’ Roses “Chinese Democracy”

10. Cavalera Conspiracy “Inflicted”

11. Pain “Cynic Paradise”

12. Randy Pipers Animal “Virus”

13. Motörhead “Motörizer”

14. Destruction “D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N”

15. Firewind “The Premonition”

16. Iced Earth “The Crucible Of Man – Something Wicked Part-2”

17. Revolution Renaissance “New Era”

18. Unleashed “Hammer Battalion”

19. Last Mile “S/t”

20. Dismember “S/t” 



Best New Band

Revolution Renaissance “New Era” – Everyone that had counted out Timo Tolkki, think again. He’s back and he’s better than ever. Despite his personal roller coaster ride has the man managed to create a brilliant album. What can go wrong with Michael Kiske and Tobias Sammet on lead vocals?

Best DVD

1. Volbeat “Live: Sold Out!” – A wonderful double DVD where the first disc shows how strong of a live act the band is. The second disc shows us an close and personal side of the band.

Runners up

2. Firewind “Live Premonition”

3. Arch Enemy “Tyrants Of The Rising Sun”

Disappointments

Judas Priest live at Roskilde Festival 2008 – a tired and sleepy act with a singer that completely lost his voice was a huge disappointment not only for me at this years Roskilde Festival.

Debase – the metal icons of Malmoe did celebrate 10 years 2008, but nothing happened. The band didn’t even do a celebration show.

Mustasch at Wacken Open Air – when you’re used to seeing the guys do great shows, even on a bad day, I can’t but wonder what happened at Wacken Open Air. The band didn’t deliver at all. Did it depend on the large consumption of alcohol?

Metallica –Death Magnetic – The band followed up the release of what possibly can be the worst album in the 21st Century with yet another lame story in DEATH MAGNETIC.

The Hellacopters – One of the finest rock’n’roll acts were put to rest in 2008. The world is gonna be a boring place without The Hellacopters.

Judas Priest – Nostradamus – 70 minutes of boring and un-inspired metal with a singer that has lost his voice. Theme albums, aren’t they extinct? Or at least should be by now.

 

Greatest Hopes for 2009

Nation Beyond – the band released their brilliant new album THE AFTERMATH ODYSSEY 2008, still haven’t the guys appeared live. Let 2009 be the year Nation Beyond goes on a world tour.

Supercharger – The new Danish metal export. This band can go really far, and a combination of great rock’n’roll music and nice band members is the perfect mixture. I’m waiting for their debut album.

Biohazard – despite the long silence did the band reunite and did a hell of a show at KB in Malmoe at the end of 2008. Biohazard sure proved that they are at the head of the game. The promise of a new album and a new tour with the original line-up makes 2009 seem a little brighter at the hardcore front.

Iron Maiden – looking forward to see the world’s greatest band sum up their world tour and heading into the studio sometime this year. A new Maiden album would be a great Christmas gift.

Volbeat – new tour dates are already set which gives you another chance to see Volbeat live in action. If you have missed them, you’re bad. But take the opportunity to see great music live if you can. Volbeat are one of the best live acts in Europe at the moment.

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Best of 2008 – Arto

January 4th, 2009
by EvilG

Top 20



    1.      Cavalera Conspiracy  Inflikted

(When the legendary Cavalera bros reunited after the ten year break, it could be expected something mindblowing and neckbreaking stuff from both Max and Igor. Obviously the long waited and needed Sepultura reunion won?t happen that soon, but however Cavalera Conspiracy?s Inflikted deserves to be the number one on my personal top 20 list)

    2.      Testament  The Formation Of Damnation

(It took 9 years from Testament to unleash the new album. But it has to be remembered that band underwent several line-up changes and the frontman of the band battled and won that evil disease cancer. The Formation Of Damnation stands for the classic Testament album with catchy songs and killer riffs.)

    3.      Amon Amarth  Twilight Of The Thunder God

(The Swedish Viking death metallers have been on my personal favelist for years, but on Twilight Of The Thunder God the Swedes definitely metal guardians of Asgaard on the map to conquer the rest of Valhalla, Horns Up)

4.      Hail Of Bullets – ?Of Frost And War

5.      Grand Magus – Iron Will

6.      Krisiun – Southern Storm

7.      Soulfly – Conquer

8.      Pyramaze – Immortal

9.      Legion Of The Damned – Cult Of The Dead

10.     AC/DC  – Black Ice

11.     Eluveitie – Slania

12.     Origin – Antithesis

13.     Motorhead – Motorizer

14.     Communic – Payment Of Existence

15.     Cradle Of Filth  – Godspeed On The Devil?s Thunder

16.     Kivimetsän Druidi – Shadowheart

17.     Torture Squad – Hellbound

18.     Order Of The Ennead –  S/t

19.     Zimmers Hole – When You Were Shouting At The Devil…We Were In League With Satan

20.     Hollenthon – Opus Magnum

Best New Band

Kivimetsän Druidi  Shadowheart

The Finnish pagan folk bands are highly appreciated all around the world. Kivimetsän Druidi can be added to the Finnish forest metal clan along with Turisas, Finntroll etc.

Best DVD

Global Metal  – Sam Dunn?s previous work ?Headbangers Journey? was nothing, but an utter pleasant follow and watch when the whole history of Heavy Metal was covered from its birth till the present day. The guy?s latest product Global Metal takes a watcher to a worldwide journey to different even exotic places when Metal is still rebellious and even dangerous. Interesting and great work by Samn Dunn, Global Metal has to be watched several times. I am looking forward to seeing documents of Metal from Sam Dunn

Get Thrashed without any doubts deserves big credits for covering the history of Thrash Metal how it started out in Bay Area and spread like a wildfire around the world, to Europe, South America, Australia. This is an essential release for every thrash metal freak.

Disappointments

Pointing out albums as some kind of major disappointment is kind of worthless. Besides it is always disappointing and heartbreaking to see when the long time idol passes away. This year didn?t make any exception as to these fallen metal icons, when for example Munetaka Higuchi, Gus Chambers, Christian "Witchhunter" Dudek, Michelle Meldrum left this world behind.

       

Greatest Hopes For 2009

The new Morbid Angel album NOW – Goddamn !! It would be about time!!!!

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Best of 2008 – Celtic Bob

January 4th, 2009
by EvilG

Top 20

1. Motley Crue – Saints Of Los Angeles

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Finally we get an album of original material from The Crue. This release was long overdue and highly anticipated. This is the best thing they’ve done since FEELGOOD. Let’s hope it’s not that long a wait for the next one.

2. Saints Of The Underground – Love The Sin, Hate The Sinner

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Call it a super group or whatever you want but it was one of my most played disc’s this past year. A fun Hard Rock album that is sure to please your ears.

3. Bobnoxious – Super Scar

An amazing 3rd release from London, Ontario’s Bobnoxious. Not as heavy as Bob’s previous band (Razor) but equally as intense just more fun.

4. Alice Cooper – Along Came A Spider

5. The Creepshow – Run For Your Life

6. Sound and Fury – ST

7. Crash Kelly – One More Heart Attack

8. Night Ranger – Hole In The Sun

9. The Matadors – Sweet Revenge

10. Econoline Crush – Ignite

11. Honeymoon Suite – Clifton Hill

12. Tesla – Forever More

13. Dokken – Lightning Strikes Again

14. AC/DC – Black Ice

15. Motorhead – Motorizer

16. Buckcherry – Black Butterfly

17. Metal Church – This Present Wasteland

18. Brian Wilson – That Lucky Old Sun

19. Def Leppard – Songs From The Sparkle Lounge

20. Metallica – Death Magnetic

Best DVD:

ZZ Top – Live From Texas (Blu-Ray)

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The little ‘ol band from Texas’ first ever live concert DVD/BD. Hands down this was the best concert disc of the year. The sound, performance and picture were all beyond amazing.

Hatebreed’s Live Dominance DVD was a fantastic release that impressed me something fierce. The video captured their high energy show and showcased their material appropriately.

Best New Band:

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Sound And Fury by far was the best new artist I heard this year. At first the album did little for me but after another spin or two I was hooked. An excellent high energy band that kicked ass in ’08.

Hopes for ‘09

New Keel album of original music to coincide with the 25th Anniversary Tour and for a proper remaster and re-issue of their back catalog.

Monster Voodoo Machine to release RISE DEMON RISE

Looking forward to the new releases from Lacuna Coil, My Wicked Twin and Mudmen.

Disappointment

Judas Priest’s Nostradamus; this had all the hype and makings of something amazing and mind-blowing but when it finally came out it failed miserably. There is nothing that really stands out on this double release.

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Best of 2008 – Hanntu

January 4th, 2009
by EvilG

Top 20

1. Amon Amarth – TWILIGHT OF THE THUNDER GOD

To me, Amon Amarth are one of those bands that can do no wrong. The weary accusation of their stagnant sound is trotted out time and again every time they release an album, but this time their fans are proven right. Their songwriting is as strong as ever and the epic melodies from their twin guitars are still present – but the pure catchiness and naked ambition of TWILIGHT OF THE THUNDER GOD makes it my No. 1 of 2008. This is an improvement on the superlative WITH ODEN ON OUR SIDE, and that album takes some beating. Amon Amarth have done it.

2. Jeff Loomis – ZERO ORDER PHASE

It was a close call between Jeff Loomis and Amon Amarth for No. 1, and in the end the Vikings won out. But Jeff’s first solo album shows he can stand strong outside of Nevermore, and fans of the guitar will be delighted with one of the finest shred albums released in recent memory.

3. Decrepit Birth – DIMINISHING BETWEEN WORLDS

4. Cynic – TRACED IN AIR

5. Destruction – D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N.

6. Arghoslent – HORNETS OF THE POGROM

7. Cradle of Filth – GODSPEED ON THE DEVIL’S THUNDER

8. Dismember – DISMEMBER

9. Warrel Dane – PRAISES TO THE WAR MACHINE

10. Eluveitie – SLANIA

11. Phobia – 22 ACTS OF RANDOM VIOLENCE

12. Testament – THE FORMATION OF DAMNATION

13. Alestorm – CAPTAIN MORGAN’S REVENGE

14. Hate Eternal – FIRE AND FLAMES

15. Metallica – DEATH MAGNETIC

16. Order of Ennead – ORDER OF ENNEAD

17. Edguy – TINNITUS SANCTUS

18. Gama Bomb – CITIZEN BRAIN

19. Tyr – LAND

20. Avantasia – THE SCARECROW

 

Best New Band

Alestorm

Their riproaring album CAPTAIN MORGAN’S REVENGE is a bundle of fun, and their live performance ain’t too shabby either. With a sense of humour and a bottle o’ rum, that is their approach to life, and it works!

Best DVD

Cannibal Corpse – CENTURIES OF TORMENT: THE FIRST 20 YEARS

This DVD is worth buying just for the hours of documentary that tell the story of how Cannibal Corpse came to be, and how they’ve made it so far. Through the Chris Barnes era and to the present Corpsegrinder, we go into a world of Warcraft, Ace Ventura, gun mishaps and loads of death metal. With testimonials by luminaries like Erik Rutan, Ralph Santolla, J-F Dagenais, Maurizio Iacono and many others, this is a must-buy for death metal fans. Oh yeah, and the brutal live performances, of course.

Disappointments

1. Cryptopsy – THE UNSPOKEN KING

‘Nuff said.

2. Iced Earth – THE CRUCIBLE OF MAN

Matt Barlow or no Matt Barlow, it’s pretty apparent that Jon Schaffer has run out of ideas. It’s a tired album with tired riffs. Barlow is its only saving grace.

3. Avantasia at Wacken 2008

I’ve never been so hyped for a show only for it to fall as flat as Avantasia’s at Wacken. Bad sound didn’t help, but the setlist could’ve done with a bit of old school. Amanda Somerville is just plain irritating.

Greatest hopes for 2009

1. Festivals and more festivals!

2. Carcass (perhaps) recording new material…drool…

 

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Best of 2008 – Lord of the Wasteland

January 4th, 2009
by EvilG

Top 20 CDs

1. Testament ~ THE FORMATION OF DAMNATION

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Expectations were high after waiting nearly ten years for Testament to finally get around to putting out the follow-up to 1999’s THE GATHERING. The Bay Area thrash veterans certainly didn’t disappoint either, as THE FORMATION OF DAMNATION combines old-school thrash, ripping guitar solos and Chuck Billy’s booming roar with a fresh and modern sound that stands up to the legacy (pardon the pun) and influence that this band has had on heavy metal.

2. Opeth ~ WATERSHED

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Opeth’s track record of groundbreaking and dynamic releases continues with WATERSHED. Mikael Åkerfeldt continues to steer his baby in a progressive rock-driven direction but the band’s long-standing death metal roots are interwoven to create another majestic and unforgettable entry in Opeth’s flawless catalogue.

3. Guns n’ Roses ~ CHINESE DEMOCRACY

4. Airbourne ~ RUNNIN’ WILD

5. Metallica ~ DEATH MAGNETIC

6. In This Moment ~ THE DREAM

7. Keep of Kalessin ~ KOLOSSUS

8. AC/DC ~ BLACK ICE

9. Metal Church ~ THIS PRESENT WASTELAND

10. Black Stone Cherry ~ FOLKLORE AND SUPERSTITION

11. Iced Earth ~ THE CRUCIBLE OF MAN – SOMETHING WICKED PART 2

12. Amon Amarth ~ TWILIGHT OF THE THUNDER GOD

13. Six Feet Under ~ DEATH RITUALS

14. Unearth ~ THE MARCH

15. Warrel Dane ~ PRAISES TO THE WAR MACHINE

16. Misery Signals ~ CONTROLLER

17. Krisiun ~ SOUTHERN STORM

18. Meshuggah ~ OBZEN

19. Hate Eternal ~ FURY AND FLAMES

20. Mötley Crüe ~ SAINTS OF LOS ANGELES

BEST NEW BAND

Amaseffer

cover--Amaseffer--SLAVES.jpg

On Amaseffer’s debut, EXODUS-SLAVES FOR LIFE, the Israeli prog-metal band takes the listener on a musical journey that is chock full of twists and turns that drive the epic concept of the portrayal of Israelites in the Old Testament. With a phenomenal vocal performance by Mats Leven, this, the first entry in a planned trilogy of albums to fulfill the concept, finds the mixture of progressive metal, hard rock, Middle Eastern sounds and world music to challenge Orphaned Land’s throne. Amaseffer is a rare thing these days: unique and refreshing band without a shred of trend-hopping.

BEST DVD

Cannibal Corpse ~ CENTURIES OF TORMENT – THE FIRST 20 YEARS

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The three-hour documentary that makes up the first disc of this three DVD box set is worth the price itself. Absolutely essential for any metal fan, whether seasoned veteran or death metal newbie.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS

1. Judas Priest ~ NOSTRADAMUS

After letting this monstrous production settle in for six months, my opinion has not changed. Not a bad album but certainly a bold artistic venture by the band that divided fans and defied expectations. Just didn’t do it for me at all.

2. Cryptopsy ~ THE UNSPOKEN KING

THE UNSPOKEN KING is sure to be on many writers’ lists of 2008’s biggest misfires. Unfortunately, this was dead in the water even before it was released as fans’ outrage over the band’s new look and use of keyboards and clean vocals sent the online community ablaze. Losing Lord Worm (for the second time) was a big, big blow to Cryptopsy but let’s hope the band takes some of its fans’ utter disdain for this release to heart on its next release.

3. Poisonblack ~ A DEAD HEAVY DAY

Lacking the dark melodies that saw LUST STAINED DESPAIR listed among my Top 20 releases of 2006, A DEAD HEAVY DAY was a disappointing follow-up that didn’t have the same repeated listening appeal.

4. Fear My Thoughts ~ DESOLATION

New singer, new sound, new direction. I want the old singer, old sound and old direction back.

5. Ayreon ~ 01011001

2004’s THE HUMAN EQUATION was a brilliant entry in Arjen Anthony Lucassen’s progressive metal entity but the “who’s who of metal” laundry list of musicians and singers couldn’t rescue this overly long dud from being a tepid entry in Ayreon’s otherwise dependable catalogue.

 

GREATEST HOPES FOR 2009

1. New Heaven and Hell CD

The old dogs blew everyone away over the past 18 months delivering songs that had been all but forgotten by the Ozzy-led Black Sabbath over the past decade. Now, they have to prove that they can hold it together in the studio to create new material that can stand alongside MOB RULES and HEAVEN AND HELL.

2. New KISS CD

Paul Stanley has been quoted as saying the band is planning to return to the studio to record a “classic” KISS album. Opinions are mixed but my curiosity—and outrageous KISS fanboy status—can’t stop me from being giddy as a schoolgirl.

3. New Ace Frehley CD

I went in carefully, unsure of what Ace Frehley circa 2008 would do on stage but, man, he smoked! The long-awaited follow-up to 1989’s TROUBLE WALKIN’ will be high on my list of “must have” albums in 2009.

4. New Slayer CD

CHRIST ILLUSION was a strong and surprising album that proved the godfathers of thrash still had some life left in them. The new song “Psychopathy Red” seems promising, so let’s hope the rest of the record follows suit.

5. New Meliah Rage CD

Original vocalist Mike Munro is back in the fold again, so my money is on a rejuvenated Meliah Rage to release an album more in tune with their roots than the tepid alt-metal that plagued THE DEEP AND DREAMLESS SLEEP.

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Best of 2008 – Luxi

January 4th, 2009
by EvilG
Top 20 Albums:

01. Testament – The Formation of Damnation

testsment.jpg

When I heard THE FORMATION OF DAMNATION for the very first time, I told to one friend of mine via a text message: "This is it – THE ALBUM OF THE YEAR!". Haven´t changed my opinion since that moment on ´til the year reached its end.

Therefore Testament´s new album, THE FORMATION OF DAMNATION, has rightfully earned its place as no. 1. album on my personal list.

02. Judas Priest – Nostradamus

JP - Nostradamus.jpg

Here´s a short excerpt from the review that I wrote as a part of the staff review about Priest´s latest album, NOSTRADAMUS:

"This is also the first time that Judas Priest have incorporated so heavily – and in such a large scale, all these symphonic elements into their songs. In my opinion that´s what you need to do in order to make a powerful and convincing enough concept album about one of the most talked persons of the whole history of mankind, Michel de Nostredame. I think Priest have done lots of justice to their concept album about Nostradamus, building up their sound toward whole new spheres where they have never been that determinedly yet so fully before. Of course, this is what may divide Priest fans to two different categories, but risks are made to be taken. In NOSTRADAMUS´ case, the risks the band has taken have well paid off for them on the album in my opinion – and Rob´s skills as one of the greatest voices in heavy metal, are still unquestionable. His voice also has much more drama than ever before on any other Priest albums. But yeah, to make a long rant short, a great fuckin´ Priest album. Love it more and more, day after day…". 

 

03. Helstar – The King of Hell

Helstar - The King of Hell.jpg 

"THE KING OF HELL is content-wise, a perfect mixture of speed, splendid thrashy riffs, stick-in-your-mind melodies, well-crafted hooks, superb solos, James´ outstandingly great vocalism (man, he´s got such a wide range of vocal styles – from a flawless ´note-to-note´ singing to very high-pitched screams) and everything else that provides a listener with quite an unforgettable journey into the magnificent realm of Helstar´s powerful thrash" (well, got it already)?. 


04. Paradox – Electrify

05. Moshquito – Behind the Mask

06. HeXeN – State of Insurgence

07. Exmortus – In Hatred´s Flame

08. Legion of the Damned – Cult of the Dead

09. Gama Bomb – Citizen Brain

10. Hail of Bullets – … of Frost and War

11. Chaosweaver – Puppetmaster of Pandemonium

12. Warbringer – War Without End

13. Lord Belial – The Black Curse

14. Avenger of Blood – Death Brigade

15. Guillotine – Blood Money

16. Necrovation – Breed Deadness Blood

17. MyndSnare – Conditioned: Human

18. Master – Slaves to Society

19. Nervecell – Preaching Venom

20. Marshall Law – Razorhead

Best New Band

Exmortus - IN HATREDS FLAME.jpg 

Exmortus – IN HATREDS FLAME

Why did I pick up these guys particularly for the best new band in this unholy year of 2008? Well, just do yourself a favor and listen to their debut album IN HATREDS FLAME on Heavy Artillery Records, and you will understand why I did so… ;o)

Best DVD

Tarot - LIVE UNDEAD INDEED.jpg

Tarot – LIVE UNDEAD INDEED

LIVE UNDEAD INDEED is definitely a mandatory purchase for every Tarot fan; a double DVD full of Tarot majesty from the old days up to this very day. If you have just ever heard of a Tarot album, or seen them playing live, there´s just no chance for you to miss this (indeed) brilliant DVD from the true dinosaurs of Finnish heavy metal, Tarot.  ´nuff said, I think”.

Biggest Disappoitments

01. Death Angel – Killing Season (where´s the thrash?)

02. Iced Earth – The Crucible of Man – Something Wicked Pt. 2 (Barlow came back – yes, but it was a real pity that Schaffer sadly forgot to sharpen his songwriting pencil for this effort)

03. Demigod splitting up

04. Some talks and rumors about Slayer stopping slaying and slaughtering both live and on albums for good.

Greatest Hopes for 2009

01. Definitely a new album from Heathen. Would be about the time anyway…

02. New album from Slayer… A song  titled “Psychopathy Red” made a great promise already regarding their next album!

03. Probably a new release from my friends in the legendary L.A. old school death metallers Sadistic Intent? Now that would C-R-U-S-H…!!!   

04. Jalometalli 2009 – This is going to be good…

05. Sauna Open Air Metal Festival 2009 – High hopes on this one, too. There even may be one surprising, special number that may put my feet totally trembling at least… ;o)

06. The resurgence of thrash continues powerfully… 

Greatest Putrefaction of 2008

01. Seeing halfway through Slipknot´s set in Helsinki, Finland on November 7th 2008. What a waste of time from me…

Anyway, massive thanks to Phil Demmel of Machine Head for the After Show pass though. I guess I owe you a pint next time we´ll see again…  

 


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Best of 2008 – Marko

January 4th, 2009
by EvilG

TOP 20 albums for 2008


1. Airbourne: Runnin’ Wild


2. Motörhead: Motörizer

3. Testament: Formation OF Damnation

4. AC/DC: Black Ice

5. Mötley Crue: Saints Of Los Angeles

6. Iced Earth: The Crucible Of Man

7. Whitesnake: Good To Be Bad

8. Alice Cooper: Along Came A Spider

9. Buckcherry: Black Butterfly

10. Avantasia: The Scarecrow

11. Yngwie Malmsteen: Perpetual Flame

12. Dokken: Lightning Strikes Again

13. Tesla: Forever More

14. Judas Priest: Nostradamus

15. Exodus: Let There Be Blood

16. Slipknot: All Hope Is Gone

17. Uriah Heep: Wake The Sleeper

18. Backyard Babies: s/t

19. Guns n Roses: Chinese Democracy

20. Def Leppard: Songs From The Sparkle Lounge

 

DVD of the year

Paul Stanley: One Live KISS

 

Best new band

Airbourne

 

 

Disappoinments of the year

 

Metallica: Death Magnetic:

In brief, Death Magnetic is breathless and dull album. Yes, it’s better than it’s predecessor but there’s not much needed to do that.

 

New albums of Guns’n Roses of Judas Priest:

Although both albums have a few good tracks, those both are still huge disappoinments. Too much expectations here ….

 

Breakup of Hanoi Rocks:

It’s sad when one of your alltime favourite bands decides to quit. Fortunately there are still few show to go before it’s over.

 

Biggest hopes for 2009

 

New studio albums from KISS and Ace Frehley

The other has been on works since early nineties and the other one was never going to be happen at all… This is going to be really interesting year for KISS fans !

 

New albums from Anthrax, Heaven & Hell, Y&T, Slayer, Ozzy, Suicidal Tendencies and more..

Although this year was a great year in release wise there are many interesting and desirable albums coming on next year.

 

Swedenrock 2009

Swedenrock is always great !!! The best festival in the world !!!



Best events/concerts of 2008:

Ace Frehley: U.K -tour

KISS: Alive 35 -tour

Swedenrock Festival 2008

Alice Cooper: Psycho Drama -tour

Whitesnake: Good To Be Bad -tour

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Best of 2008 – Brat

January 4th, 2009
by EvilG

Top 20

1. Whitesnake – Good To Be Bad

Whitesnake is back! Quality music with a great tour to support its release. Mr Coverdale still has it.

2. Sabaton – The Art Of War

I’m still trying for figure out why I haven’t heard of this band before. Seeing them live at Wacken reinforced this release in my favourite releases this year.

3. Scar Symmetry – Holographic

4. Saint Deamon – In Shadows Lost from the Brave

5. Eluviette – Slania

6. Axel Rudi Pell – Tales of the Crown

7. Biomechanical – Cannibalised

8. Sonic Syndicate – Love and Other Disasters

9. Pain – Cynic Paradise

10. Warrel Dane – Praises To The War Machine

11. Leverage – Blind Fire

12. Avantasia – The Scarecrow

13. Hypocrisy – Catch 22

14. Children of Bodom – Blooddrunk

15. Poisonblack – A Dead Heavy Day

16. Edguy – Tinnitus Sanctus

17. Kataklysm – Prevail

18. Almah – Fragile equality

19. Voodoo Circle – Voodoo Circle

20. Amberian Dawn – River of Tuoni

BEST NEW BAND

Saint Deamon

So some of the members are tried and true, but ‘Nobby’ Noberg and Ronny Milianowicz (Dionysus) keep coming up with quality line-ups and music to match.

BEST DVD

1. A Finnish Summer with Turisus

2. Global Metal

GREATEST HOPES FOR 2009

1. Attending a few more obscure intimate European metal festivals.

2. Finally finishing renovations and returning to the local metal scene.

DISAPPOINTMENTS OF 2008

1. Leaving my Wacken tickets on the fridge in Australia.

2. Michele Luppi leaving Vision Divine before I got to see him front the band. Wanting to hear him live was the reason for our trek to RockinField, Italy.

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Best of 2008 – Rick

January 4th, 2009
by EvilG

Top 20 2008

1. Warrel Dane ~ PRAISES TO THE WAR MACHINE

warrel.jpg

Little did I know that Warrell Dane would create my number 1 release for 2008. Upon first listen I wasn’t overly impressed with PRAISES TO THE WAR MACHINE but it just seemed to grow on me. Danes impassioned vocals brought me back again and again to a disc that wound up by far as my favourite of the year and showcased that Dane was comfortable outside of the confines of Nevermore.

2. Testament ~ THE FORMATION OF DAMNATION

testsment.jpg

3. Brainstorm ~ DOWNBURST

4. Revolution Renaissance ~ NEW ERA

5. Jorn ~ LONELY ARE THE BRAVE

6. Tobias Sammet’s Avantasia – THE SCARECROW

7. Firewind – THE PREMONITION

8. Evergrey – TORN

9. Airbourne – RUNNIN WILD

10. Edguy ~ TINNITUS SANCTUS

11. Circle II Circle ~ DELUSIONS OF GRANDEUR

12. Axel Rudi Pell ~ TALES OF THE CROWN

13. Iced Earth ~ THE CRUCIBLE OF MAN – SOMETHING WICKED PART 2

14. AC/DC ~ BLACK ICE

15. Buckcherry ~ BLACK BUTTERFLY

16. Metallica ~ DEATH MAGNETIC

17. Mötley Crüe ~ SAINTS OF LOS ANGELES

18. Motörhead ~ MOTORIZER

19. Metal Church ~ THIS PRESENT WASTELAND

20. Black Stone Cherry ~ FOLKLORE AND SUPERSTITION

Best New Band

Airbourne

airbourne.jpg


I have already received some opposition for even contemplating making Airbourne best new band. You know what? Fuck it. I have been hearing for ages how they are AC/DC clones but there have been tons and tons of bands who have tried to do what AC/DC has done and fallen flat on their face. Sure, the riffs can sometimes be duplicated but often it is the attitude and heart that’s lacking. Airbourne has both in spades.

Best DVD

Nevermore – Year of the Voyager

I have waited for a decent representation of Nevermore to hit DVD and here it is. I received this dvd just before Christmas and its awesome!!

Dissapointments

Guns n’ Roses – Chinese Democracy

Axl should have laid this to rest. What a waste…

Judas Priest – Nostradamus

I just can’t find anything good to say about this. It’s a decent disc I guess but so damn boring..


Biggest hopes for 2009

New Savatage

Its time that the Savatage took some time and put out a new disc. It doesn’t take forever (regardless of what Mr Rose says) to put out a great disc.  I would love to hear Zak and Jon together again.. I can dream.. Can’t I?

 

 

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Best of 2008 – Waspman

January 4th, 2009
by EvilG

Top 20

1) Amon Amarth – Twilight of the Thundergod

2) Opeth – Watershed

3) Sabaton – The Art of War

4) Ironsword – Overlords of Chaos

5) Guns ‘N Roses – Chinese Democracy

6) Into Eternity – The Incurable Tragedy

7) Metallica – Death Magnetic

8) Motorhead – Motorizer

9) King’s X – XV

10) Dragonforce – Ultra Beatdown

11) Testament – Formation of Damnation

12) Zero Down – Good Times at the Gates of Hell

13) Cradle of Filth – Godspeed on the Devil’s Thunder

14) Unearth – The March

15) Kalmah – For the Revolution

16) Bob Catley – Immortal

17) Avantasia – The Scarecrow

18) Pyramaze – Immortal

19) Crom – Vengeance

20) Brainstorm – Downburst



Best New Band

Crom – Vengeance

I’ve been waiting for this since being stunned by 2004’s Fallen Beauty E.P. and I am not disappointed. Vengeance is every bit as powerful as expected and hopefully serves as a wake-up call to the metal world.

Best DVD – N/A



Disappointments of 2008

Zero Hour – Dark Deceiver

Checking in with the band for the first time since 2001’s mighty Towers of Avarice, I was crushed to hear a band more widdly and riffless than ever. This is the stuff that non-fans point to when hacking on prog-metal.

Edguy – Tinnitus Sanctus

Count me among the minority the actually loved Rocket Ride. Call that album a joke if you will but the real joke is this “return to form”. Not bloody likely – this is embarrassing!

Iced Earth – The Crucible of Man

We all thought that bringing back Barlow (yay alliteration!) was going to “fix” Iced Earth. Pfft. Ripper was not the problem – it’s Schaffer’s uninspired writing. After the “woohoo Barlow” reaction wears off, the bland music is all that’s left. They still kick ass live though.

Not having the chance to hear new albums by Helstar, Swallow the Sun, Evergrey, and Pharaoh.

 

Greatest Hopes for 2009

1. New album from Slayer

2. New album from Heaven & Hell

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Best of 2008 – EvilG

January 4th, 2009
by EvilG

1. Testament – THE FORMATION OF DAMNATION

testsment.jpg

I am still shocked at how awesome this thrashterpiece is. Often when my hopes are this high before an album release I end up being disappointed with the end result, but not this time. We did have a LONG wait for this album considering it’s their first since THE GATHERING (1999)! Having original guitarist Alex Skolnick back in the band (he left after 1992’s THE RITUAL) plays a big role as well.

2. Brainstorm – DOWNBURST 

brainstorm


Yeah so I’m an Andy B. Franck fan-boy.  I first became captivated with Symphorce and then Brainstorm. Andy’s voice keeps on getting better as does both bands that he fronts. On DOWNBURST the band stick with their power/thrashy mixture of melodic yet aggressive metal…and it doesn’t get much better than this.


3. Iced Earth – THE CRUCIBLE OF MAN – SOMETHING WICKED PT 2

4. Into Eternity – THE INCURABLE TRAGEDY

5. Metallica – DEATH MAGNETIC

6. Firewind – THE PREMONITION

7. Mötley Crüe – SAINTS OF LOS ANGELES

8. Tobias Sammet’s Avantasia – THE SCARECROW

9. Motörhead – MOtORIZER

10. Cavalera Conspiracy – INFLICTED

11. Chrome Division – BOOZE, BROADS & BEELZEBUB

12. Warrel Dane – PRAISES TO THE WAR MACHINE

13. Metal Church – THIS PRESENT WASTELAND

14. Moonspell – NIGHT ETERNAL

15. Edguy – TINNITUS SANCTUS

16. Circle II Circle – DELUSIONS OF GRANDEUR

17.  Jon Oliva’s Pain – GLOBAL WARNING

18. Judas Priest – NOSTRADAMUS

19. Sabaton – THE ART OF WAR

20. Revolution Renaissance – NEW ERA

BEST NEW BAND

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Revolution Renaissance – NEW ERA

The jury is still out on how much of a “band” this is versus Tolkki’s solo project. I found it hard to pick a best new band this year and hesitated in selecting Revolution Renaissance because the album is about a 3/5 on my scale. I like a lot of the songs and it had plenty of repeat plays but all of the slower ballad orientated songs should have been replaced with songs in the vein of “Speed of Light”…then I would have been satisfied.


BEST DVD

GammaRay-DVD.jpg 

Gamma Ray – Hell Yeah!!! The Awesome Foursome: Live In Montreal

This DVD was talked about and delayed for quite a while and in late 2008 it was finally released.  After seeing Gamma Ray live this past September, at the same venue as this DVD was shot at  (Le Medley, Montreal, Canada) I can say that the DVD does capture the magic and power of a Gamma Ray show. The only thing that would of made this DVD twice as awesome would have been if it was a 4 DVD set featuring both Gamma Ray and Helloween from the Hellish Rock tour. The show closers where both bands took to the stage was hopefully pro-shot and can one day be released! But that aside, this DVD is a must for Gamma Ray / power metal fans. The sound quality is very good but the video is a little sub-par. It’s well above bootleg of course, but with the bar being raised so high with high definition, you can really see the graininess and lack of HD quality that most of us are used to and demand. The DVD bonus materials are fun to watch with a road movie, videos, a live at Wacken segment (has higher quality picture than the main DVD) some Gamma Ray “histoRay”, behind-the-scenes antics, and more.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS of 2008

Judas Priest – NOSTRADAMUS

This one did not grow on my like I hoped it might. After all the build-up and hopes I had for this album it completely failed to deliver the goods. Out of the 2 CDs of material there is ALMOST enough to make one OK album, but so much of the material plods along and I lost interest rather quickly. After the self-titled song was released as a teaser to the album I thought all the material would be as strong….PAINKILLER this ain’t!

Death Angel – Killing Season

Taking another step along the road first trodden with their comeback album THE ART OF DYING (2004) Death Angel continue to move away from what they do best…thrash! I love Motorhead but I do not love Death Angel playing dirty rawk and roll/metal. For me their peak was the modic thrash album ACT III. I’m still waiting for “Act IV”.


GREATEST HOPES FOR 2009

1. Heaven and Hell – Can the reunited Dio Black Sabbath release an album as godly as their new band name, easily the best Dio/Sab album HEAVEN AND HELL? I can’t wait to find out!

2. Slayer – Can they continue with an album similar to the amazing CHRIST ILLUSION?

3. Primal Fear – I expect the German power commandos will continue to kick ass with “Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead” in May 2009!

4. HammerFall – “No Sacrifice, No Victory”, the 7th studio album by HammerFall out February 20, 2009.

5. Rhapsody (of fire) – This band hasn’t put out an album since the piece of shit TRIUMPH OR AGONY in 2006. Here’s hoping that Luca stops being so weird and gets Rhapsody back for some SPEEDY symphonic power metal from the enchanted lands! :)

6. Savatage (I can still continue to dream)

I’ve listed this one for this section for several years to no avail. SAVATAGE, WE MISS YOU! TSO is great and makes you a load of money, but why can’t you take a couple months of the year to record new Savatage material with Jon and Zakk on vocals…what a huge album it could be! I know that Circle II Circle and Jon Oliva’s Pain are both great (they are in my top 20 this year) and Chris Caffery is also quite active with his solo stuff, but combined you all could unleash something quite groundbreaking. 

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RUDY SARZO

January 2nd, 2009
by Robert Williams

Rudy Sarzo.jpg

 

Interview Conducted By Robert Williams

Videography Courtesy Of Sandra Torres 

 

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Canadian filmmaker Justin McConnell (Working Class Rock Star)

January 2nd, 2009
by EvilG

 Working Class Rock Star

Justin McConnell – "Working Class Rock Star"

Interviewed by EvilG

"Working Class Rock Star" is a must see documentary for anyone in a band, anyone who wants to be in a band, or fans interested in what most bands go though. I was given the opportunity to talk to the brains behind this new documentary, Justin McConnell.

 

 

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Apocalyptica / Swallow The Sun – The Astoria, London

December 31st, 2008
by Hanntu

Apocalyptica

with Swallow The Sun

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The Astoria, London

12th December 2008

Live pics by HannTu

Live review by HannTu and Jess

Apocalyptica really love touring in the UK, considering this is their third visit in the space of 12 months. And with the long black-shirted line snaking around the back of the venue, it appears that London at least loves Apocalyptica too. This time, there is more metal cred than ever, with the highly rated Swallow the Sun supporting, more metalheads turned up to the Astoria than they had done at the Forum in March.

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