WOE OF TYRANTS – CHRIS CATANZARO
Interview by Marko Guevara
- HELLION ANNOUNCE NEW “KARMA’S A BITCH” MINI ALBUM & SINGLE (Sep 29, 2014)
- COGNIZANCE Release Lyric Video Featuring SUFFOCATION's Frank Mullen (Sep 29, 2014)
- HAVOK's David Sanchez (guitar/vocals) suffers arm injury; band forced to cancel select dates on current North American tour (Sep 29, 2014)
- Ensiferum nearing completion on recording new album (Sep 29, 2014)
- TEN - More 'Albion' Album Details Revealed, New Website Online (Sep 29, 2014)
- Interview with POWERWOLF Guitarist Matthew Greywolf (Sep 29, 2014)
- Interview with Ramon Martos (author of the forthcoming book AND JUSTICE FOR ART) (Sep 23, 2014)
- Evil Masquerade - guitar wizard, mastermind/bandleader Henrik Flyman (Sep 20, 2014)
- Airbourne - Interview with Ryan O'Keeffe (DRUMS) (Sep 17, 2014)
- Interview with Mike LePond (Silent Assassins, Symphony X) (Sep 15, 2014)
WOE OF TYRANTS – CHRIS CATANZARO
Interview Conducted By Robert Williams
Videography Courtesy Of Sandra Torres
A band is only as strong as the sum of it’s parts, and such is the case of the Houston, Texas progressive metal group Outworld. Currently on hiatus after some key lineup changes with the departure of longtime keyboard player Bobby Williamson and erstwhile vocalist Carlos Zema who since joined the David Shankle Group only to depart a short time later, the duststorm surrounding Outworld and the tremendous amount of momentum they had going is starting to clear up, and as the dust settles there can be little doubt that the key driving force behind Outworld is/was guitar virtuoso Rusty Cooley.
Rusty had a tremendous 2008, filled with notable endorsements from Dean Guitars and ProTone pedals. A successful two disc instructional DVD set through RockHouse Method and several guest appearances showcasing his masterful guitar acrobatics. With a level head on his shoulders he embraces the upcoming opportunities afforded to him in the future, and stands poised to divide and conquer in 2009.
GYP CASINO ex-Hanoi Rocks, Live Ammo, Road Rats, Rolene
Interview by Marko Syrjälä
Pictures: Marko Syrjälä & Archives
Pictures: Marko Syrjälä & Archives
The Swedish born drummer, Gyp Casino, will forever be best known as a member of the original, and arguably the best, lineup of the legendary Finnish band HANOI ROCKS. He played on the bands first three albums, BANGKOK SHOCKS, SAIGON SHAKES, HANOI ROCKS in 1981, ORIENTAL BEAT and SELF DESTRUCTION BLUES both in 1982. His tenure with the band culminated in getting fired over an on-stage fight with the band leader Andy McCoy [the reason why he isn't credited for his work on SELF DESTRUCTION BLUES despite playing all the drums].
He then went on to play with the Swedish ROAD RATS and later ROLENE, together with future HANOI ROCKS members Conny Bloom and Andy Christell. Later on he got to enjoy great success, both in the charts aswell as live, all over Sweden with PELLE ALMGREN before again joining up with Andy McCoy in his band LIVE AMMO and putting out the BUILDING ON TRADITION album in 1995. He currently runs a business in Stockholm where he was gracious enough to recount some interesting tales from his career with HANOI ROCKS, ANDY MCCOY’S ALIVE AMMO, ROAD RATS, ROLENE, etc.
TONY PORTARO & JOE CANGELOSI – NEW COMING OF THE LEGENDARY WHIPLASH
Interview by Luxi Lahtinen
The true heyday of thrash metal was naturally the 80´s. Many great thrash bands were formed during the 80´s, and also many great thrash albums were released back then that are considered as some of the genre´s most classic and strongest albums even these days. Exodus´ BONDED BY BLOOD, Vio-lence´s ETERNAL NIGHTMARE, Slayer´s REIGN IN BLOOD, Dark Angel´s DARKNESS DESCENDS, Metallica´s RIDE THE LIGHTNING, Testament´s THE LEGACY, Forbidden´s FORBIDDEN EVIL, Anthrax´s AMONG THE LIVING, Kreator´s PLEASURE TO KILL, Destruction´s INFERNAL OVERKILL – and just dozens of other releases from that particular era, were definitely some of those genre-defining albums that many today´s releases often get compared to – and that´s just really understandable when overall thinking what thrash metal is really all about: Violence, rage and aggression.
For some strange reason, Whiplash from Passaic, New Jersey, never seemed to reach the same cult status with their releases as some of their fellow thrashers did in some other thrash bands at that time. Whiplash 1st two albums, POWER AND PAIN and TICKET TO MAYHEM were both some of the most frenzied, rawest, most powerful and unstoppable slaps of intense speed/thrash metal from those days that hardly paled in comparison to any other albums from the same genre, but were still somehow left a couple of steps behind the shadows of many other speed/thrash releases back then. Fair to say, the world isn´t always that justified place for everyone, I guess.
Whiplash´s last studio album, THRASHBACK, was released in 1998 with 3 Tonys (R.I.P. Tony Bono), and I bet many of us already thought we would never see another Whiplash album any more.
But as so many old thrash acts that undoubtedly lived their gloriest days in the´80´s before splitting up, have made their comebacks on the verge of new millenium and released decent albums, it was finally Whiplash´s turn to return back to form and start writing new songs again.
Tony Portaro, Joe Cangelosi (ex-Kreator, ex-Massacre, etc.) and Rick Day (ex-Primal Scream) are currently preparing songs for Whiplash´s 7th full-lenght album, titled UNBORN AGAIN – and before it will hit the stores around the world, let both Tony and Joe tell more about this process, plus the past days of the band a bit as well…
Read the rest of this entry »
Supercharger – headline act
10/1 – 2009
Reviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Guest contributor: Ulrika Henriksson
Pictures by: Anders Sandvall
with ANDRE MATOS and H.E.A.T.
Islington Academy, London
10th January 2009
Review and live pics by HannTu
Can we get a ‘Hell Yeah’ for cheesy 80s rock slash power metal? You bet we can, and when German schlockmeisters Edguy come to town, you KNOW you’re in for a rockin’ good time.
RWAKE are definitely a connoisseur’s choice as far as pounding southern agression goes. Put sludge, hardcore, death’n’roll, and whatever into Baba Yaga’s cauldron and you’re all set for a wild trip. We had a small discussion with CT (vokills) a while ago, a propos their latest album release “Voices Of Omens” @ Relapse records.
Interview by Panos Agoros
Metallica / Lamb of God
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
General Motors Place
Vancouver, BC Canada
***Live Review & All Photos By Lord of The Wasteland
3 Inches of Blood / Bison B.C.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
The Commodore Ballroom
Vancouver, BC Canada
***Live Review & All Photos By Lord of The Wasteland
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
|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
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
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
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
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
|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
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
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
|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
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
Individual Staff Lists For 2008
Includes: top 20, best new band, best DVD, greatest hopes for 2009, and disappointments of 2008.
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”
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?
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.
2. Firewind “Live Premonition”
3. Arch Enemy “Tyrants Of The Rising Sun”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!!!
1. Motley Crue – Saints Of Los Angeles
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
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
ZZ Top – Live From Texas (Blu-Ray)
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:
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
1. Cryptopsy – THE UNSPOKEN KING
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…
1. Testament ~ THE FORMATION OF DAMNATION
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
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
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.
Cannibal Corpse ~ CENTURIES OF TORMENT – THE FIRST 20 YEARS
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.
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.
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.