Best of 2009 – Hanntu

January 4th, 2010
by Hanntu

Best of 2009

As we here at bid farewell to the last year of the Noughties and get ready to welcome 2010, I take a look back at 365 days of amazing metal from new and old bands; turgid shite from stalwarts and upstarts alike, and stunning stuff from the newly-birthed, the rejuvenated and the reincarnated. I look back on wonderful shows that I saw in the first half of the year when I was in London, and the incredible festival experiences in the summer in France, Slovenia and Austria. We remember the departed troops of metal and pay our respects, but celebrate the bands we’ve just discovered, and the friends, drinking buddies and travelling companions we made at gigs, festivals, online, at the metal store or the pub, through other mutual friends, etc. And always we look forward to the new year as bands retread old but hallowed ground, or push the boundaries of what the genre can and cannot accept. And as I look over and ponder all this, through hours of listening and re-listening to the releases of the year – iTunes tells me I’ve listened to 79 albums in 2009 – agonising and fretting and re-considering, foraging, slashing, paring, re-instating, one thought keeps running through my mind, thank fuck I’m a metalhead!

Click on the titles to read our (my?) review of the album…



Undoubtedly THE death metal release of the year, and this is up against some stiff competition from heavyweight releases from Nile, Behemoth, Obituary, Suffocation, Cannibal Corpse, Pestilence, Dying Fetus; not to mention the slew of tech-death bands like Obscura, Ulcerate, The Faceless, Despised Icon and plenty others. But the sheer quality and consistency of the songwriting, the ferocity of the playing and the vehemence of riffs, vocals, drumming and everything else makes this my top record of 2009. One of the few highly-anticipated records in recent years that not only did not disappoint, but actually exceeded my expectations in almost every way.



I called this a “sonic tour de force” in my review of this album in October, and let me tell you that IN THE CONSTELLATION OF THE BLACK WIDOW ran Vader close for top album of 2009 – only my unabashed Vader fanboyism gave the Poles top spot. Pure twisted grind/black metal madness that never lets up for an instant – and the gruesome snarls, gurgles, roars, shrieks competing with beautiful yet occasional clean vocals that both emanate from Dave Hunt’s throat is the highlight of an outstanding 35 minutes of blasting fury. One of England’s finest and most criminally underrated metal exports.



The lack of bottom end on this record only serves to highlight the sparseness of sonic material that Blut Aus Nord rely on to create one of the richest and most rewarding albums I’ve ever had the pleasure to listen to. The swirling and cavernous nihilistic black metal riffs intersperse with wonderful passages of lead melodic guitar lines to excite conflicting emotions in the hardest and blackest of hearts – truly a dialogue with the stars indeed. An undeniable triumph of French black metal, MEMORIA VETUSTA II is an album that sounds just as fresh on the 50th listen as it did on the first listen.



Suffocating, crushing death metal the old school way. The Dutchmen may have Martin van Drunen as the marquee frontman, but it’s always been the team of Bagchus and Daniels that drove Asphyx forward, backward, up, down and every which way. Daniels may have left already, but their 2009 incarnation is unmistakeably death metal, the brutal way, and what other way is there? Dismember-buzz with Entombed-bottom end takes us all back to Stockholm, 1991, and if Asphyx were to disband (again) tomorrow, they will have left us with one of the most enduring and essential death metal albums ever.



One of the most imaginative albums I’ve heard in a very long while, proving that the Swedish race CAN go beyond cheesy power metal or Gothenburg or Stockholm death. The album tends to lag a little in the latter half, but as I said in my review in November, “if anyone can name me a band that sends extreme voltage through 1940s Big Band jazz and infectiously corrupts 1930s swing music, that electrifies Russian folk dance music and marries it with groovecore Meshuggah guitar lines, that brings funk bass, flamenco, mariachi, oompah, Broadway, doo-wop choir, carny music, slinky Latin rhythms, light opera and Bossa Nova into a harmonious whole, all the while keeping it unmistakably METAL, well, send me an email because I do want to hear about it.” Darkly fantastical music that’s head-bobbing and spine-chilling at the same time.



The mighty Peter Tagtgren makes a much awaited return with Hypocrisy, sadly neglected for the past four years in favour of his other band Pain. A TASTE OF EXTREME DIVINITY gives us long-suffering Hypocrisy fans a taste of extreme melody bound up in his unique vision of melodic death metal a la Hypocrisy v. 2.0. A great continuation to VIRUS and hopefully a sign of great things to come from the Swedish maestro.



The Aussies are a bit of a cult favourite of mine, as I got into their music sometime last year after listening to ‘To The Morning Light’ from their ELEMENT V album over and over again. Maybe their isolation in Western Australia – as my Perth crew never fails to remind me that Perth is the most isolated capital city in the world – gives them their own voice; they are certainly unique in sound, and I AM THE REVOLUTION continues the fine and innovative work they started on ELEMENT V (2003) and UNIVERS (2007).

8. Amorphis ~ SKYFORGER


The constant renewal of the long-running Finnish band should be a source of wonder and inspiration to any musician. Amorphis started their career with the legendary THE KARELIAN ISTHMUS and TALES OF A THOUSAND LAKES in the early 90s, proving that metal can be intellectual yet primal at the same time. SKYFORGER is far removed from their early days of doom-death, but the same epic quality, the same ambition, and the same dedication to strong song-writing shines through unabated and untempered by time.



In fact, “resurrection macabre” could be the slogan for 2009, with so many ‘comeback bands’ – Asphyx, Heaven and Hell, Sacrifice, Absu, Stratovarius, to name a few – and Pestilence make the return from the wilderness to the delight of the fans who fellate CONSUMING IMPULSE and TESTIMONY OF THE ANCIENTS. Together with the frankly unbelievable Tony Choy on four strings and Peter Wildoer (Darkane) behind the kit, Patrick Mameli growls and shreds his way back into death metal’s collective consciousness.

10. Cannibal Corpse ~ EVISCERATION PLAGUE


The Corpse are one of the hardest working and most conscientious bands playing today, and are still highly respected for their unchanging stance on brutal death metal. The New Yorkers don’t seek to reinvent the wheel – they just want to gang fuck its maggoty cunt with rusty nails and push hot acidic death metal sperm into its charred smoking intestines. Yes, EVISCERATION PLAGUE is pure classic Cannibal Corpse.

11. Heaven and Hell ~ THE DEVIL YOU KNOW

heaven and hell.jpg 

I freely admit that THE DEVIL YOU KNOW is on this list based on nostalgia and obviously coloured by the recent tragic news concerning Ronnie James Dio, who I saw tearing up the stage only this June at Hellfest. But even if Dio’s body is susceptible to earthly ills and ailments, His voice is immortal, heavenly. To say Tony Iommi is the master of the monster riff is a woeful example of the inadequacy of mere language. Leaving aside nostalgia and sentimentality, with THE DEVIL YOU KNOW, Heaven and Hell answer many questions surrounding their very existence with a big resounding ‘Fuck Off’.

12. Absu ~ ABSU


Absu is another one of 2009’s successful comeback stories. Their mainman Proscriptor smashed his arm in an accident a couple of years back, so he gave up the guitar (smart move, right?) to take his place on the drum stool in a real “lol wtf?” moment. But the drumming on their self-titled return album is top notch, as is the guitar playing, whoever their guitarists are at the moment – catchiness and rhythmic sensibility is the order of the day. With such a hiatus behind them, any signs of rustiness you might expect is absent, and Absu are ready to take their place atop the USBM pile.

13. Imperial Vengeance ~ AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN


The debut album of this English band, the eccentric duo comprised of Mr Charles Edward-Alexander and Mr David Bryan have come up with an updated take on the symphonic black metal genre – a gloomy, gothic, yet fiery offering that is sure to take the band places in the future.



Unlike fellow countrymen My Dying Bride’s turgid FOR LIES I SIRE this year, Yorkshire’s Paradise Lost deliver a focused yet expansive offering that showcases Nick Holmes fine and emotional voice and Greg Mackintosh’s pounding 7-string dirges. This is true gothic music, “music to be murdered by”.



Thrash done Scandinavian style, Pete Evil and ex-Emperor drummer Faust show us that thrash metal is not the exclusive preserve of the Bay Area, the Canadians, the New Yorkers, the Germans or the Brazilians. Flurrying guitar riffs from Pete Evil and Dor Amazon, shrieky vocals a la Angelripper, solid drumming from Faust – what’s not to like?



Black/thrash metal with a strong Motorhead engine to it, the blasphemy that has arisen from the swamps of “N’orleans”, Louisiana, is not too abashed to mix up various influences that culminates in CARVING OUT THE EYES OF GOD, Goatwhore’s strongest effort to date.

17. Katatonia ~ NIGHT IS THE NEW DAY


The inimitable voice of Jonas Renkse carries you gently through a meandering trip on a wispy cloud…okay that sounded really very gay, but there is an indefinable quality to his voice that, when partnered with the overall output of the rest of Katatonia, creates a magically melancholy effect.



One of the picks of the technical death metal bunch of 2009, and the pride and joy of Willowtip Records, Frenchmen Gorod often have to fight off comparisons with their countrymen Gojira – but PROCESS OF A NEW DECLINE is a funky, loose-limbed, bewilderingly rhythm-heavy slice of technical death metal, and they show that they can stop-start with the best of the best of the genre.

19. Immortal ~ ALL SHALL FALL


Frankly I didn’t expect such a solid album from Abbath and co., so often the butt of many black metal related jokes. Great production, riffs bursting with energy and vitality, and it’s also clear that Abbath has regained a zest and relish for his music.

20. Napalm Death ~ TIME WAITS FOR NO SLAVE


The grindfathers show that they still have it – a fury that is unmarred by the passing of years. And speed to spare as well!

So there you have it: five British bands, three American, three Swedish, two Norwegian, two French, two Dutch, one Finnish, one Australian band, and the lone Pole taking the top spot of 2009.

Best Newcomer

Imperial Vengeance ~ AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN

Even though Charles Edward-Alexander is a relative veteran of the scene (ex-Cradle of Filth), Imperial Vengeance is a stunning example of a band hitting the ground running. Big things will come to them, I predict.

Runners up:

Xerath ~ I

Xerath’s style of Meshuggah-type riffs mixed with symphonic movie-soundtrack elements is an interesting premise, and although their debut album lacked a little maturity in songwriting and execution, there is no reason whatsoever why they should not go on to produce some stellar work in the future.

Fleshgod Apocalypse ~ ORACLES

This Italian death metal band is yet another Willowtip Records prodigy, and counts among its members relative veterans like Cristiano Trionfera from Eyeconoclast and especially Francesco Paolo of the mighty Hour of Penance. While many parallels may be drawn to Hour of Penance, Fleshgod Apocalypse seeks to give a bit more than pure brutality, incorporating classical samples and interludes seamlessly into the blasting fury. Highly recommended death metal.

Best Discovery of 2009

Septic Flesh

This Greek band is my discovery of 2009, and I could kick myself for not finding out about their awesomeness earlier. The perfect mix of the cerebral and visceral, the finest balance of majesty and brutality. The orchestral elements never overshadow the pure death metal riffs; the guitar is always kept in focus, but is backed up flawlessly with classical elements. Utterly fantastic death metal.

Biggest Disappointments


Not a bad album, but not as good as it’s made out to be. A lot of the tracks on EVANGELION sound like the B-sides to THE APOSTASY, and that simply isn’t good enough for a band of Behemoth’s stature. I’m confident that they’ll come roaring back in a couple of years.


When Karl Sanders did his own solo project and released SAURIAN EXORCISMS, it was hoped that he would have exorcised many of his tendencies towards long, drawn-out, ‘atmospheric’ interludes. Unfortunately, the interludes remained, while the riff-writing is not good or inventive enough to hold the interest. Not bad, but not great either.

Swallow the Sun ~ NEW MOON

Not a big fan of their new black metal direction, and the more I listen to NEW MOON, the more it saddens me to say that they don’t look like recapturing the unique atmosphere they had on THE MORNING NEVER CAME. The melancholy is gone. Boo hoo.


Where to start with this utter letdown? Poor sound, terrible riffs, rehashed ideas etc etc. Not ST ANGER levels of shiteness, but certainly not Slayer standard. Please, Jeff, Tom, please, PLEASE don’t let Kerry write any more songs.

Megadeth – ENDGAME

Not a disappointment per se, more of a ‘meh’. Some good songs, some average songs, a couple of plodders, some great guitar-playing, some terrible singing. Par for the course for a Megadeth album, even during their glory years in the mid-80s. On the plus side, Chris Broderick is a fine guitarist, and hopefully he’ll do more writing on future ’Deth albums. If he stays long enough.

Greatest Putrefaction of 2009:

  • The deaths of Mike Alexander of Evile and Miika Tenkula (ex-Sentenced) – RIP forever guys and thanks for the memories. Shannon Hamm (ex-Death, Control Denied) and Athera (Susperia) suffering heart attacks, Ronnie James Dio diagnosed with stomach cancer.
  • The dissolution of Metal Church.
  • Watching Manowar at Hellfest this year. Forty minutes of songs, an hour and a half of posturing, talking shite and “hailing true fucking metal”.
  • No new Morbid Angel or Wintersun.
  • Finally leaving London and all the wicked shows and people there.

Hopes for 2010

Obviously that Ronnie James Dio, Shannon Hamm and Athera recover from their various ailments.

We were promised a new Morbid Angel album for 2009, obviously that never materialised, so here’s hoping that 2010 brings us good news on that front. I think most sane people have given up hope on a new Wintersun album.

New Atheist and Sigh albums.

That I’ll have time to pop down to Perth for the Origin/Decapitated tour of Australia in April.

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Best of 2009 – Celtic Bob

January 3rd, 2010
by EvilG

Top 20

  1.  Lacuna Coil – Shallow Life

      Just got into them thanks to the amazing song “Spellbound”. Heard the album and was hooked. It hasn’t been far from my stereo since I got it.

   2. Mudmen – The High Road

      Bagpipes and Rock n Roll is where it’s at. A new singer joins the Campbell Brothers for their 4th disc, It has taken awhile to warm up to his voice but once you do… A great disc that blends traditional Scottish music with Rock.

   3. Steel Panther – Feel The Steel

   4. My Wicked Twin – Decibel Music

   5. Helix – Vagabond Bones

   6. Mike Hall – Have Guitarz…Will Travel

   7. Bastard Child Death Cult – Year Zero

   8. Neil Young – Fork In The Road

   9. Uncle Cracker – Happy Hour

  10. Grady – Good As Dead

  11. Roxie 77 – Two Sides To Every Story

  12. CKY – Carver City

  13. Winger – Karma

  14. Ace Frehley – Anomaly

  15. D.O.A. – Kings Of Punk, Hockey and Beer

  16. John Mayall – Tough

  17. Saga – The Human Condition

  18. Megadeth – Endgame

  19. 3 Inches of Blood – Here Awaits Thy Doom

  20. Lynyrd Skynyrd – God & Guns


Best DVD

1. Billy Idol – In Super Overdrive Live

A short but excellent concert release that captures Billy’s high energy shows.

2. Iron Maiden: Flight 666


Best New Band

Bastard Child Death Cult

Intense, is the word to describe this band that features ex members of Monster Voodoo Machine, Damn 13, Hell Yeah Fuck Yeah and others.

Runner Up: Crooked X


Hopes For 2010

New album (Products) from Razor and Monster Voodoo Machine.


Disappointment of the Year

Kiss and Slayer’s new CD’s. As great as they are they doesn’t live up to the hype that they initially created.

Discovery of 2009

Razor. They were around for ages but never paid much attention back then. This past year I have gotten into their later stuff (Bob-era).

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Best of 2009 – Brat

January 3rd, 2010
by EvilG


   1. Saint Deamon – Pandeamonium


A consistently strong melodic metal CD with balls. It hasn’t been taken out of my car stacker since I bought it and singing along with the memorable melodies keeps me relaxed in traffic and gets me looks from fellow commuters when I belt out a particular strong or high note behind closed glass. I’ve been a fan of ‘Nobby’ Noberg (Nation, Dionysus) and Ronny Milianowicz (Sinergy, Dionysus, Primal Fear) for a while and I’m pleased to finally put their work in my #1 spot.

   2. SuidAkra – Crogacht


I just love metal with bagpipes!

   3. Winger – Karma

   4. Powerwolf – Bible of the Beast

   5. Crimfall – As The Path Unfolds…

   6. Fairyland – Score To A New Beginning

   7. Jorn – Spirit Black

   8. Dark Moor – Autumnal

   9. Paradise Lost – Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us

  10. Thunderstone – Dirt Metal

  11. Lacuna Coil – Shallow Life

  12. Ensiferum – From Afar

  13. Primal Fear – 16.6 Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead

  14. Sonata Arctica – The Days of Grays

  15. Trick Or Treat – Tin Soldiers

  16. Adagio – Archangels In Black

  17. Holyhell – Holyhell

  18. Alice in Chains – Black Gives Way To Blue

  19. Tyr – By The Light of a Northern Star

  20. Cain’s Offering – Gather The Faithful





1. Pink Cream ’69 – Past and Present


Pink Cream ’69 has been promising fans a live DVD for years so just the fact that it was finally released after so many years of anticipation was enough for it to rank highly this year. I saw them at Das Fest in Karlsruhe, so adding footage from that performance tipped the scales.

2. Promised Land of Heavy Metal


I can’t belive a rock band has surpassed all metal bands this year in the best live show, but I walked away from the world’s most hated rock band, Nickelback, with sore cheeks from smiling so much. Chad Kroeger works a 30,000 seater stadium like a pub. Many frontmen have talked as much during a show, but none as well as Chad – from the funny, to the poignant, to the downright controversial –  I wasn’t bored once. Even managed to sing along to a few songs with the diehard fans.

If you really want a metal show, then it would have to be PAIN at QStock festival in Finland.

An honorable mention goes to finally seeing Sonata Arctica on home turf at Screamfest. Now that’s how every New Year’s Eve celebration should be!


1. A full length release from Floor Jansen’s new band.

2. To get to Norway and Sweden for a festival or two


There were so many disappointing CD releases and all the offenders have been in the business for 20 years plus.

doro2009.jpg I can’t believe I had my worst release for 2009 as early as January.

                          I didn’t think anything else released in 2009 would be as bad as this.

                          I actually felt really bad for Doro – she’s a great performer.

kiss.jpg Too many familiar melodies and riffs in this release.

                          They should have quit when the packed away the makeup the first time.

00-lita_ford-wicked_wonderland-2009-retail_cd-front.jpg So disappointing. Only one good song and having a second male

                          vocalist probably saved it.

wasp.jpg I expect too much from bands that have been around for a long time.

                          I always hope for something different and new and get disappointed

                          when I hear the same old, same old.

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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


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


12. Cauldron – CHAINED TO THE NITE


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


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


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


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)

 primal fear.jpg

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


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


steel panther.jpg

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). 



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



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.


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




Pakkahuone, TAMPERE


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?



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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



Hardcore Superstar – headline act

Psycho Holiday European Tour 2009 – first leg-

Dia Psalma – support act




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 Frehley

Anomaly European Tour 2009

16 Second Stare – support act




4/12  -2009


Reviewed and live pictures by: Anders Sandvall








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

December 14th, 2009
by Aaron Yurkiewicz

From Hell’s Heart: December 2009


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 Lande

Spirit Black European Tour 2009

Seven Thorns – support act

The Rock



25/11 – 2009


Reviewed and live pictures by Anders Sandvall

Guest Contributor: Ulrika Henriksson








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December 2nd, 2009
by EvilG



Select: A B

View the source to see the code.

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