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Best of 2007

Best of 2007

Another year has passed us by with several of metal's stalwarts releasing strong albums. Not as many new 2007 bands emerged that made much of an impression on us judging by the absence of "best new band" from a few of our staff's individual lists. More than one of us on staff were puzzled by what came out as our #1 album considering some of us had the album listed as a disappointment of 2007! Within each staff members list is their best DVD of the year, best new band, greatest hopes for the coaming year, and of course disappointments for the year that was.

As always, some restrictions are placed on our lists. The top albums are for releases from 2007 that all full albums (no EP's or demos). They also have to be new studio albums for 2007, 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 2007 release.


The Top 20  Heavy Metal Albums of 2007
(click the album cover to read our review)

1. Nightwish - Dark passion Play

The album that a few of us had as a disappointment, and none of us had as our number one, managed to easily take the overall #1 spot. It was in eight of our staff's top 20, and of those eight, six of them have it in their top 10! Despite taking on a new lead vocalist, that sounds nothing like their former, it seems that most approve of the change.

2. Dream Theater - Systematic Chaos

Dream Theater has aptly titled their new CD SYSTEMATIC CHAOS. Love them or hate them there is no denying the technical prowess of the band and this again shines through. The song selections on the disc range from straight ahead metal to laid back and atmospheric which has led some fans to regard the disc as lacking direction. Agree with the statement, or see the “chaos” as diversity, there is no denying that SYSTEMATIC CHAOS left enough of an impression on staff to hit the number 2 spot on our year-end countdown.

3. King Diamond - Give Me Your Soul...Please

GIVE ME YOUR SOUL…PLEASE is definitely one of the better albums from King Diamond's recent releases. If you have ever been a fan of King, you will love this album immediately. This album offers more of the same great heavy metal that has helped make King Diamond the metal icon he is today.

4. Amorphis - Silent Waters

Tackling a Finnish folk tale on SILENT WATERS, Amorphis continues to defy the odds.  The softening of their sound on 2003’s FAR FROM THE SUN saw many fans jump ship but 2006’s ECLIPSE—along with new vocalist Tomi Joutsen—saw a welcome return to form.  Skilfully mixing a blend of seemingly mismatched musical styles alongside melody, aggression, clean vocals and death metal growling, SILENT WATERS is an exercise in opposites but as a whole, the veteran Finns make it work so well.

5. Behemoth - The Apostasy

Behemoth just signed new deals with Metal Blade & Nuclear Blast but THE APOSTASY sees Behemoth leave Century Media Records with a bang.  Relaxing on the vocal manipulation of DEMIGOD but turning up the intensity to 11, choirs, horns and a guest spot from Nevermore’s Warrel Dane show the Polish Metal Kings are not afraid to experiment while retaining the epic scope of their brutal death metal.

6. Gamma Ray - Land of the Free pt II

Kai Hansen and company have released a less dark sounding album this time around, more along the lines of the bands critically acclaimed LAND OF THE FREE album from 1997. Dark sounding, or happy, this band never disappoints continually offering aggressive, speedy, and melodic power metal anthems.

7. Megadeth - United Abominations

Love it, hate it, or feel indifferent about it… UNITED ABOMINATIONS is the #7 release on our best of for 2007. After his heralded return with THE SYSTEM HAS FAILED Dave Mustaine has assembled a new unit, including the Drover brothers of Eidolon fame, and released what is arguably the best post RISK Megadeth release. Dave’s snarling political statements take center stage while his signature guitar sound leaves an indelible impression that makes UNITED ABOMINATIONS a welcome addition to the Megadeth catalogue.

8. Helloween - Gambling with the Devil

One of power metal's longest running and most respected bands, Helloween, come in at #8 with their newest album GAMBLING WITH THE DEVIL. With the recent 2-CD KEEPER Pt.3 album and double live DVD set, the band has been doing a great job in keeping the attention of their fans. How much one likes their new output, will be no gamble, it depends entirely on your opinion is of Helloween's recent discography. If you are a fan of Andi-era of Helloween, you will love this due to the perfect mix of their recent outputs. It's always great to hear an originator of a musical genre still firing on all cylinders and Helloween still have plenty to offer!

9. Iced Earth - Framing Armageddon – Something Wicked pt I

Here's another album that has divided metal fans' opinions. With the firing of Tim 'Ripper' Owens, many seem ready to accept the awesomeness of Iced Earth back into their black hearts. Some will of course miss Ripper's input and consider the sudden re-hiring of vocalist Matt Barlow as a sell out to what fans wanted... who knows?! This will no doubt be debated and rambled on about by internet forum junkies for many months to come. With either vocalist behind the mic, the band has been accepted by the majority of Metal-Rules.com's staff with their #9 placement in this year's list.

10. Symphony X - Paradise Lost

After an absence of 4 years Symphony X blasted back on the metal scene with, what some fans have argued, is the best CD of their career.  PARADISE LOST re-establishes Symphony X as the premier power/prog outfit in metal and puts a particularly high emphasis on the power aspect of the band. Overall, the disc is the darkest sounding that the group has ever created. After 4 years where the band members released numerous solo and collaboration albums, it is great to see that they Symphony X still have the hunger to create a masterpiece of progressive metal.
 

Number 11 to 20

11. Dark Tranquillity - Fiction
12. Kamelot - Ghost Opera
13. Primal Fear - New Religion
14. Machine Head – The Blackening
15. Primordial - To the Nameless Dead
16. Symphorce - Become Death
17. Arch Enemy - Rise Of The Tyrant
18. Candlemass – King of the Grey Islands
19. Onslaught - Killing Peace
20. Saxon – The Inner Sanctum

Individual Staff Lists For 2007
Includes: top 20, best new band, best DVD, greatest hopes for 2008, and disappointments of 2007.

EvilG
Top 20 Albums

1. Symphorce - BECOME DEATH
This album came as a surprise for me. I've always really liked this band, but they never hit me as hard as they did until this album dropped. This album has it all: the brutality of CD opener "Darkness Fills The Sky" to the rich melodic tones of "Inside The Cast and "No Final Words To Say". The dynamics and vocals of Andy B. Franck kept this CD in my player for months after it's release giving me many hours of listening pleasure thus making it's selection as my best album of 2007 fairly easy.

2. Gamma Ray - LAND OF THE FREE PT II
What Gamma Ray at #2? I know, you'd think this would be a shoe in as my #1 and it almost was. I love the fact that this band retains the heaviness and speed of power metal and haven't wussed out with slow shite, lullaby's, and over use of orchestration. Kai Hansen is a god!

3. King Diamond - Give Me Your Soul...Please
4. Helloween – Gambling with the Devil
5. Primal Fear – New Religion
6. After Forever - After Forever
7. Megadeth - United Abominations
8. Iron Savior - Megatropolis
9. sHEAVY – The Machine that Won the War
10. Iced Earth – Framing Armageddon – Something Wicked pt I
11. Saxon – The Inner Sanctum
12. Annihilator - Metal
13. Machine Head – The Blackening
14. W.A.S.P. – Dominator
15. Kamelot - Ghost Opera
16. Cage - Hell Destroyer
17. Arch Enemy – Rise of the Tyrant
18. Triosphere - Onwards
19. Sonata Arctica – Unia
20. Lord – Ascendence


Best New Band

Magnus Rising
Not a lot of new bands gripped me this year. If it wasn't for seeing Magnus Rising live for their CD release show on Dec.29th this category would of been left blank. Now Vancouver based, this still unsigned Newfoundland band hits hard with the groove metal on their debut COUNTING THE NUMBERS.


Best DVD

Heaven & Hell
Not the best DVD ever, but the best of 2007 by far! Dio continually proves that he still has it. I just hope they record and release a new CD in 2008 that has a lot of songs like "Die Young", "Neon Knights", "Heaven & Hell", etc.!


Disappointments

1. Nightwish – Dark Passion Play &
     Tarja - My Winter Storm

I am combining there two into one listing. Out of one GREAT band we now have 2 disappointments. Nightwish's new vocalist is a fine singer, but she is nothing like Tarja and as such that magical component that set Nightwish apart from other bands is gone. Tarja still has a beautiful voice but her new CD has at most one or 2 good songs...the rest being boring lullaby's with not a double kick, metal riff, or hardly even a guitar solo to be found. It's so un-metal it just makes me sad to listen to.


2. SIXX:AM - Heroin Diaries Soundtrack
This is definitely not heavy metal. In fact, this is barely hard rock! This sounds more like Nickleback than anything Motley. What a letdown. I figured Nikki would add his golden touch to this like he did on the first Brides of Destruction CD. The Heroin Diaries book however is a great read!


3. Down - III: Over the Under
The Phil that sang songs like “Stone The Crow” or even “Cemetery Gates” seems to have vanished. His clear, high, melodic, vocals. are a distant memory. Down's first album was one of the better albums of the 90's but since that excellent album they've not recaptured the magic.


4. Ride The Sky - New Protection
This is not a bad album but based on the caliber of those who make up this band, I expected something that would be a little more groundbreaking...not a Nocturnal Rites knock off.


Greatest Hopes For 2008

1. New Judas Priest
Hurry up already!

1. GAMMA RAY / HELLOWEEN North American Tour
If this comes to Canada I will have to go!

3. I'd like to hear new albums from:
Testament, Forbidden(?), Death Angel, Slayer, Imagika, Persuader(?), Jag Panzer(no news from them in month?), a new Heaven & Hell album!

...and as posted here in 2007...
4. Savatage (I continue to dream)
I've listed this one for this section for a number of 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!

5. Motley Crue (dreaming on for another year)
Fuck off with the reunion tour, best of's and live shit...get in the god damn studio and record some new METAL material like SHOUT AT THE DEVIL

Rick
Top 20 Albums

1. Astral Doors – New Revelation
Having only “discovered” this band in time for last years top 20 I was blown away by their back catalogue and wondered how they could go so unnoticed.  NEW REVELATION hopefully will change all that. The band have outdone themselves with their new opus that cements Nils Patrik Johansson’s place as one of the best vocalists in metal today along with the bands ability to write songs that are instantly recognizable metal anthems. Bands like this don’t along everyday.
 

2. Symphorce – Become Death
Symphorce is criminally underrated in today’s metal world. Symphorce has created the perfect blend of melody, power and aggression and bottled it under the name BEYOND DEATH. Andy B. Franck’s instantly recognizable vocals leave an indelible mark on the music of Symphorce as they create modern metal that should appeal to older and newer fans alike. Become Death is only the beginning of a long life for Symphorce.
 
3. Kamelot - Ghost Opera
4. Pagans Mind – Gods Equation
5. Gamma Ray – Land of the Free II
6. Dream Theater - Systematic Chaos
7. Helloween – Gambling with the Devil
8. King Diamond - Give Me Your Soul...Please
9. Symphony X - Paradise Lost
10. Primal Fear – New Religion
11. Iced Earth – Framing Armageddon (Something Wicked Part 1)
12. Shadows Fall – Threads of Life
13. Machine Head – The Blackening
14. Sebastian Bach - Angel Down
15. sHEAVY – The Machine that Won the War
16. Candlemass – King of the Grey Islands
17. Arch Enemy – Rise of the Tyrant
18. Nightwish – Dark Passion Play
19. WASP – Dominator
20. Saxon – The Inner Sanctum 


Best New Band

Magnus Rising
Newfoundland, Canada band Magnus Rising released their first full length entitled COUNTING THE NUMBERS and it sees the boys ready to take the next step to the big time. Having relocated to Vancouver they are ready to take North America by storm and COUNTING THE NUMBERS is the perfect tool to help them achieve their goals.


Best DVD

Heaven & Hell
This is how a DVD should be made. Take one amazing performance from a legendary band, put it on a DVD and just let the music do the talking. It is hard to believe that Dio, Iommi, Butler and Appice were ever apart. They sound as if they have just walked out of a time machine from the year 1981. There has been nothing else released this year that can even come close to the powerful performance that Heaven and Hell put off at the Radio City Music Hall.


Disappointments

1. SIXX:AM - Heroin Diaries Soundtrack.
For the soundtrack to a book that chronicles the darkest periods in Nikki Sixx’s life, I expected the music to be hard edged, dark and bitter. The tunes are more lifeless than anything. It is too bad because the book is so good.
 
2. Masterplan - MK II
The loss of Jorn Lande looked to be the end of Masterplan but the band carried on with Riot vocalist Mike Dimeo. He would seem to be a pretty good fit but somehow he just doesn’t gel with the band and though the CD is decent it just doesn’t go anywhere.
 
3. Guns n Roses fail yet AGAIN to release Chinese Democracy.
Axl Rose really needs to be enlightened to the fact that he just needs to let the album be released and let it either be a hit or let it crash and burn. Maybe then he can move onto the next CD and focus his energy on the music instead of who the trendiest plastic surgeons are.
 
4. Kamelot & Nightwish
There are 2 discs that made my top 20 that I was disappointed in. Kamelot for starters. Amazing disc but the speed was lacking. One or 2 faster songs could have vaulted the CD to #1 for the year. Nightwish for two. Again a very solid disc but after Tarja there isn’t anywhere else to go. Annette is a good vocalist but the dynamic that came with having Tarja’s operatic voice is missing. And to me much of the uniqueness of the band has been lost. 


Greatest Hopes For 2008

1. Matt Barlow back in Iced Earth
The return of Matt Barlow is one of the most unexpected stories of 2007. The fact that John Schaffer listened to the fans and even thought about bringing Matt back is a huge surprise that gives me hope that Iced Earth can break themselves out of the rut in which they find themselves. Schaffer with Barlow has created some great music. It only remains to be seen if he still has it in him to reinvent Iced Earth.
 
2. Airbourne
This band from Australia just smokes and is finally getting a huge push in Europe and North America. For a bunch of young guys they certainly have captured that magic that could make them international stars.
 
3. Savatage
It would not be a complete hopes list if one of the writers did not include the hope that Savatage would come together and record a CD in 2008. I guess it will be me this year dreaming of a new Savatage disc. Doubtful but stranger things have happened.

 

Lord of the
Wasteland

Top 20 Albums

1. Machine Head ~ THE BLACKENING
Far-reaching in its scope, heavy to the tits and exploring a broader side of the band’s songwriting prowess, THE BLACKENING is truly Machine Head’s REIGN IN BLOOD, MASTER OF PUPPETS and SGT. PEPPER all rolled into one.


2. Candlemass ~ KING OF THE GREY ISLANDS
Messiah Marcolin is, was and always will be the definitive Candlemass vocalist, however landing Robert Lowe from Solitude Aeturnus was a major coup for the band.  KING OF THE GREY ISLANDS retains all the doom-y goodness of TALES OF CREATION, ANCIENT DREAMS and CANDLEMASS but Lowe’s amazing vocals add just the right touch of atmosphere and melody.

3. Down ~ III: OVER THE UNDER
4. Type O Negative ~ DEAD AGAIN
5. Primordial ~ TO THE NAMELESS DEAD
6. Pig Destroyer ~ PHANTOM LIMB
7. Neurosis ~ GIVEN TO THE RISING
8. 3 Inches of Blood ~ FIRE UP THE BLADES
9.  DevilDriver ~ THE LAST KIND WORDS
10. Saxon ~ THE INNER SANCTUM
11. Arch Enemy ~ RISE OF THE TYRANT
12. Dark Tranquillity ~ FICTION
13. Amorphis ~ SILENT WATERS
14. Behemoth ~ THE APOSTASY
15. Therion ~ GOTHIC KABBALAH
16. Divine Heresy ~ BLEED THE FIFTH
17. Chimaira ~ RESURRECTION
18. Threshold ~ DEAD RECKONING
19. The Black Dahlia Murder ~ NOCTURNAL
20. Scorpions ~ HUMANITY - HOUR 1


Best New Band

Divine Heresy
The field was pretty bare as far as new bands that really struck a chord with me this year.  While far from innovative or ground-breaking, former Fear Factory axe-slinger, Dino Cazares, returns with Divine Heresy and delivers a crushing, modern American metal album in BLEED THE FIFTH. 
 
Runner-Up: Evile


Best DVD

KISSOLOGY VOLUME 2 – 1978-1991
While the first volume is untouchable, VOLUME 2 covers the band’s lean years through the late seventies and early eighties but also features a stunning gig from 1990 that encompasses twenty years of KISS classics.


Disappointments

1. Ozzfest 2007
There is a saying: “You get what you pay for.”  Free admission to Ozzfest 2007 was proof of that statement.
 
2. KISS Playing Whistler
Announced just a couple weeks before the actual show date with little fanfare but within a week of tickets going on sale, the promoter cancelled citing “logistical problems.”  Would have been a cool show up on the mountain, plus a nice weekend away was yanked out from under us.
 
3. Iced Earth ~ FRAMING ARMAGEDDON - SOMETHING WICKED PART 1
Too many interludes, half-baked riffs and a general “blah” feeling.  Considering the legacy that comes with the “Something Wicked” concept, a major letdown no matter how you look at it.
 
4. Megadeth ~ UNITED ABOMINATIONS
Not that UNITED ABOMINATIONS was bad by any means, but people saying this is Megadeth’s best album since RUST IN PEACE need to clean their ears.  Nothing remotely memorable and even THE SYSTEM HAS FAILED walks all over this.
 
5. Hellyeah ~ HELLYEAH
If the best Vinnie Paul can do these days is align himself with a bunch of nu-metal nitwits cranking out lowest-common-denominator southern rock, I think Dimebag is spinning in his grave.


Greatest Hopes For 2008

1. Judas Priest ~ NOSTRADAMUS
As if this won’t be on everyone’s list!  After interviewing Rob Halford, my excitement for new Judas Priest material has grown even more.
 
2. Metallica’s New CD
While no one should expect MASTER OF PUPPETS PART 2, at the very least, Metallica must wash the bad taste that was ST. ANGER out of everyone’s mouth and become a REAL metal band once again!
 
3. Ace Frehley’s New CD
It’s been 19 years since “The Space Ace” laid down some new solo material but that is supposed to change in 2008.  Early buzz is good…but a lot has changed since 1989.
 
4. Testament ~ THE FORMATION OF DAMNATION
It’s been nine years since THE GATHERING and with the new Testament album reaching CHINESE DEMOCRACY levels, let’s hope Chuck & The Gang can finally come through with this beast!
 
5. Matt Barlow’s Return To Iced Earth
Ripper Owens seemed to be plagued with “Gary Cherone Syndrome,” in that no one could accept another vocalist for Iced Earth besides Matt Barlow.  The surprise announcement by Jon Schaffer that Owens is out and Barlow is back in is certainly one of the biggest stories of the year and provides a whole new level of excitement for the second instalment of the “Something Wicked” story.
 
6. The Thrash “Revival”
Let’s hope that thrash doesn’t become like metalcore with every dipshit who can play guitar forming a band to try to outdo BONDED BY BLOOD and KILL ‘EM ALL.
 

Luxi
Lahtinen
Top 20 Albums

1. Demigod - LET CHAOS PREVAIL
Demigod have existed ´on/off´ for over 17 years, released 3 great albums and still going strong even if all the original band members have already left the band.

On the band´s latest album, LET CHAOS PREVAIL, Demigod have traveled even more far way from their original Death Metal roots of the SLUMBER -era, and sailed the Demigod -ship towards more musically tricky and challenging waters than ever before, in which they prove in a fine way that since Obliveon´s NEMESIS album, LET CHAOS PREVAIL is an amazing proof of a perfect marriage between some of the catchiest and most twisted thrash riffs, dark melodies that really pierce through everyone´s mind and very strong death grunts type of vocalism that make them still sound heavy and mean the same way like they did some 15 years ago. 

No other record managed to get as much spinnings in my home stereo in 2008 as Demigod´s LET CHAOS PREVAIL did. An amazingly pleasing record from pretty darn amazing pioneers of the Finnish metal scene, Demigod.    

2. Candlemass - KING OF THE GREY ISLANDS
And who said Candlemass couldn´t be Candlenmass without Messiah Marcolin´s distinctive voice? Robert Lowe from the Texas doomsters Solitude Aeturnus filled up Messiah´s huge boots incredible well and did what undoubtedly every Candlemass -fan expected from him to do (and probably even more): His unbelievable vocals hit effortlessly to the targets on KING OF THE GREY ISLANDS, and together with Leif Edling´s always so genius song writing skills, a perfect match in the Candlemass´ doom camp was relatively easily to be predicted to happen. 

KING OF THE GREY ISLANDS is not only a great Candlemass record, but I consider it personally as one of the best Candlemass albums on their whole roster.

03. Destructor - FOREVER IN LEATHER
04. Reverend Bizarre - III: SO LONG SUCKERS
05. Shatter Messiah - GOD BURNS LIKE FLESH
06. Nightwish - DARK PASSION PLAY
07. Desaster - SATAN´S SOLDIERS SYNDICATE
08. Dimmu Borgir - IN SORTE DIABOLI
09. Amorphis - SILENT WATERS
10. Sotajumala – TELOITUS
11. Iced Earth - FRAMING ARMAGEDDON
12. Against the Plagues - THE ARCHITECTURE OF OPPRESSION
13. Moonsorrow - V: HÄVITETTY
14. Devilish Impressions - DIABOLICANOS - ACT III: ARMAGEDDON
15. Watain - SWORN TO THE DARK
16. Onslaught - KILLING PEACE
17. Savage Messiah – SPITTING VENOM
18. Exodus - THE ATROCITY EXHIBITION... EXHIBIT A
19. Necrodeath – DRACULEA
20. Dekapitator - STORM BEFORE THE CALM 


Best New Band

Savage Messiah
“Savage Messiah cleverly combine sort of Testament-Exodus tinged old school thrash, mixing it with pure heavy metal - and as a result of this, it´s simply impossible to resist what they do on SPITTING VENOM. They really have a good touch in everything they do, and they are surely not making any compromises to please the masses, but are doing this for themselves only. Most of time Savage Messiah keep their energy level relatively up, determinedly churning out very riff-laden and heavy thrash metal that rolls over listeners effortlessly and very easily indeed, and which eventually makes them simply beg for more”. (READ MORE HERE


Best DVD

Insanity - MORBID HOME VIDEO

This is one hell of great and really interesting footage from this Frisco deathrashers Insanity, featuring 15 live songs shots from 4 different gigs (I guess it needs to be mentioned that one of these shows has been shot in Oakland, CA in ´93 when they played a show together with Possessed) - and two promotional videos, "Fire Death Fate (done with the original line-up in ´85)" and "Morbid Lust (containg both studio & live footage from ´93). From many different angles, one of those things that makes this whole DVD a very special for the Insanity -fans, is to see Bud Mills in action behind his drum battery who died by Esophageal cancer (stage 4) on November 11th 2007. Watching Insanity onstage on this DVD, and playing some of their most legendary tunes for the audience ("Blood for Blood", "Ultimate Death", "Fire Death Fate", etc.), also makes me to see them in a sort of different light, knowing that another legend has fallen again. Nonetheless, this is such a cult underground death/thrash band that everyone should obtain this DVD to really understand how great these guys are (were?). Picking up this particular DVD in question out from countless of metal DVDs that got released in 2007 as the ´Best Metal DVD of 2007´, was kinda easy for me after all, to tell you the truth. 


Disappointments

1. No new album from Heathen. How many years should we still wait for one from them? I´m giving up...
 
2. No new album from Judas Priest. Now where´s that concept album about Nostradamus from them? Seems like they have decided to re-write Nostradamus´ collections of prophecies all over again...


Greatest Hopes For 2008

1. Iron Maiden on “Somewhere back in Time World Tour 2008” – Helsinki Olympic Stadium, Finland on July 18th 2008
 
2. To see both Possessed and Sadistic Intent playing in Finland at some festival during summer 2008?
 
3. Carcass´ reunion show at Tuska 2008
 
4. A new Judas Priest album based on the life of Nostradamus
 
5. New album from Testament, titled “The Formation of Damnation”

 

Marko
Syrjala
Top 20 Albums

1. Megadeth : United Abominations

2. The Cult: Born Into This

3. Nightwish: Dark Passion Play
4. Saxon: The Inner Sanctrum
5. Hardcore Superstar: Dreamin' in the Casket
6. Scorpions: Humanity Hour 1
7. U.D.O: Mastercutor
8. WASP: Dominator
9. Sebastian Bach: Angel Down
10. Lizzy Borden: Appointment With Death
11. Hanoi Rocks: Street Poetry
12. Sixx A.M : Heroine Diaries
13. Primal Fear: New Religion
14. Helloween: Gambling With The Devil
15. Joe Lynn Turner: Second Hand Life
16. Dream Theater: Systematic Chaos
17. Ozzy Osbourne: Black Rain
18. Great White: Back To The Rhythm
19. Arch Enemy: Rise Of The Tyrants
20. Ted Nugent: Love Grenade


Best New Band

Again...none.


Best DVD

KISSOLOGY DVD SERIES
Runner-up: HEAVEN & HELL: Live at Radio City Hall


Disappointments

1. The death of Kevin DuBrow. I used to be a huge fan of Quiet Riot.

2. Lot's of really disappointing albums from my favourite bands - Manowar, Gamma Ray, King Diamond, Ted Nugent and especially Annihilator. :(

3. Tarja Turunen, need no words here!!

4. Tuska Festival 2007 line up... WTF?  


Greatest Hopes For 2008

1. New studio albums from Testament, Alice Cooper, Whitesnake, Judas Priest and Anthrax.

2. KISS European tour, would it finally happen this year?

3. Swedenrock Festival 2008, perhaps there will be the best line up ever?

4. Led Zeppelin world tour?

5. Ace Frehley, back in the groove

Arto
Lehtinen
Top 20 Albums

1. Dream Theater: Systematic Chaos 
Systematic Chaos contains several great songs and melodies reminding me slightly of their great albums of the mid 90’s. Systematic Chaos is definitely great piece of heavy progressive metal indeed.
 
2. Amorphis : Silent Waters 
After the vocal change and great Eclipse, Silent Waters continues the same impressing and recognizable Amorphis style. The band has carried out the good old formula of what they had in the past like on Elegy etc.
 
3.Necros Christos : Triune Impurity Rites
4.Onslaught : The Killing Peace
5.Watain - Sworn To The Dark
6.Turisas - THE VARANGIAN WAY
7.Immolation - Shadows in the Light
8.Rotting Christ - Theogonia
9.Necrodeath - DRACULEA
10.Municipal Waste - The Art of Partying
11.King Diamond - Give Me Your Soul...Please
12.Behemoth : Apostasy
13.Ministry : The Last Sucker
14.Agent Steel - ALIENIGMA
15.Machine Head : The Blacking
16.Candlemass : King Of The Grey Island
17.Trouble-"Simple Mind Condition"
18.Exodus : The Atrocity Exhibition
19.Legion Of The Damned : Sons Of The Jackal
20.Gorefest - Rise to Ruin


Best New Band

Necros Christos - Triune Impurity Rites 
The German Death metal outfit have gained the ultimate respectful reputation as having put out a punch of other releases. Triune Impurity Rites being the first full length album is an excellent slap of old school death metal in the ancient ways, no blast beat or other gimmicks. Just pure blasphemic death metal at its finest…


Best DVD

Heaven And Hell - Live From Radio City Music Hall
When Dio, Butletr Iommi and Appice joined their forces together and gave the Heaven And Hell for the name. the classic and legendary four piece was born. The DVD features all the classic Sabbath tunes from the Dio era suchas Mob Rules, Heaven And Hell… Dio is above God….


Disappointments

1. The tragedy that happened in the Decapitated camp.

2. King Diamond was forced to cancel all the touring commitments.

3. Ministry quitting. 


Greatest Hopes For 2008

1. Morbid Angel : new album finally ?? As Heretic came out in 2003

2. Testament : new album finally ? It would be about time indeed
Mercyful Fate comeback(just wishful thinking)

3. New album by Death Angel

4. The official and real Sarcofago reunion with Antichrist

5. IRON MAIDEN Mania 2008 spreads like wildfire
 

Waspman
Top 20 Albums

1. Dark Tranquillity – Fiction
Sure, it’s formula, but when you use that formula to crush all competition year after year, it’s A-OK in my book! Besides which, “Inside the Particle Storm” is the song of the year as well.

2. Therion – Gothic Kabbalah
Therion subscribe to the “go big or go home” theory of life. Well, they’ve gone bigger than ever before, resulting in an ensorcelling album of magnitude and power.

3. Primordial – To the Nameless Dead
4. Behemoth – The Apostasy
5. Nile – Ithyphallic
6. Within Temptation – The Heart of Everything
7. Dream Theater – Systematic Chaos
8. Ministry – The Last Sucker
9. Iced Earth – Framing Armageddon
10. Nightwish – Dark Passion Play
11. Mors Principium Est – Liberation = Termination
12. Hanoi Rocks – Street Poetry
13. Megadeth – United Abominations
14. Amorphis – Silent Waters
15. Symphony X – Paradise Lost
16. Magnum – Princess Alice and the Broken Arrow
17. Kamelot – Ghost Opera
18. Helloween – Gambling with the Devil
19. Candlemass – King of the Grey Islands
20. Impious – Holy Murder Masquerade 


Best New Band

It’s pretty sad, but I’ve got nothing here this year. Given our restrictions (has to be a full-length release), I can’t honestly say that a single debut album struck me as noteworthy this year. Pfft. Better luck in 2008, I guess.


Best DVD

Much like best new band – I’ve got nothing here. No DVD impressed me this year – they all pale in comparison to Wrath of the Norsemen anyway! 


Disappointments

1)      Manowar – Gods of War
By far, this was the biggest let down of 2007. What an overblown crock of shit. We waited five years for five good metal songs and a bunch of operatic nonsense? Nice average there guys.

2)      Dimmu Borgir – In Sorte Diaboli
I’ve always been a defender of Dimmu Borgir, but perhaps no longer. I applaud them for getting back to a more stripped down, heavier approach, but apparently after all the time spent in a symphonic wonderland the boys forgot how to write quality metal.

3)      Tarja Turunen – My Winter Storm
The big heavyweight battle we all were watching this year turned out to be a 1st round K.O, as Nightwish easily clobbered Ms. Turunen. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: good song writing always wins the war, and Nightwish has that in spades over their former vocalist. Even a very good personal performance from Tarja can’t save this snore fest.

4)      Soilwork – Sworn to a Great Divide
Keep diving guys, deeper and deeper into the pathetic mainstream hell you’re so intent on. As if we’re ever going to see Soilwork at the top of the charts. That steelbath suicide idea you guys had way back when sounds like a better recommendation for your career with each passing year.

5)      Ozzy Osbourne – Black Rain
Sorry Oz, you may not want to stop, but your fans sure as hell want you to. Your legacy is beyond tarnished – just retire already and enjoy your wife’s latest public embarrassment.


Greatest Hopes For 2008

1. New f’n Judas Priest – finish it up already!
2. Iced Earth – I’m dying to hear the completion of the Something Wicked story, with Matt f’n Barlow!
3. Heaven and Hell release a new album – drool!

 

Hanntu
Top 20 Albums

1. Behemoth – THE APOSTASY
The blinding assault from Poland is the essential album of 2007. Every second of THE APOSTASY spits fury, but this is not impotent, self-pitying fury. No, this is the majestic fury of the entity we normally call God; imperious and unmerciful, Behemoth crush everything in its path with the subtlety of a tank in a rose garden. As an album, THE APOSTASY has more than enough to keep the listener’s attention; all the instrumentation is top notch, the song writing is strong and powerful. “Ascend at my command!” say the Behemoth.
 
2. Primordial – TO THE NAMELESS DEAD
Something completely different then, but no less powerful. The atmosphere of TO THE NAMELESS DEAD is pretty much indescribable, but it’s the juxtaposition of despair and hope, depression and uplifting, power and strength, beauty amid sorrow that gives this album its intangible quality. Primordial have crossed into the borders of doom with this release, while retaining their unique take on their black metal roots, making this one of the must-have albums of the year, in a year of many must-haves.
 
3. King Diamond – GIVE ME YOUR SOUL…PLEASE
4. Exodus – THE ATROCITY EXHIBITION…EXHIBIT A
5. Vital Remains – ICONS OF EVIL
6. Nile - ITHYPHALLIC
7. Gamma Ray – LAND OF THE FREE PT II
8. Amorphis – SILENT WATERS
9. Marduk – ROM 5:12
10. Onslaught – KILLING PEACE
11. Symphony X – PARADISE LOST
12. Sigh – HANGMAN’S HYMN
13. Entombed – SERPENT SAINTS
14. Dublin Death Patrol – DDP 4 LIFE
15. Overkill - IMMORTALIS
16. Desaster – 666: SATAN’S SOLDIER’S SYNDICATE
17. Grave Digger – LIBERTY OR DEATH
18. Nightwish – DARK PASSION PLAY
19. Megadeth – UNITED ABOMINATIONS
20. Municipal Waste – THE ART OF PARTYING


Best New Band

Dublin Death Patrol

Well, they’re not exactly newcomers, although technically they are a new band. The bunch of veterans from Dublin, California led by thrash legends Steve “Zetro” Souza and Chuck Billy and backed up by many other luminaries of the Californian thrash scene have released a quite enjoyable album and done a number of shows in Europe and in the US. I had the pleasure of being at one of those shows, and it was amazing to see both Chuck and Steve in the flesh on the same stage, belting out some awesome tunes and rocking out.


Best DVD

Vader – AND BLOOD WAS SHED IN WARSAW

Having seen Vader live twice in London, I can only testify to the might of this band as a live entity. Vader remain one of the most honest down-to-earth bands, touring incessantly in support of their albums and never forgetting their fans. The DVD shows this side of Vader, although the crowd in Warsaw seems a little tame compared to my experiences in London at least, but the band itself is as tight, consistent and well-rehearsed as I remember. There’s not many extra goodies on this DVD, but there’s a long interview with guitarist and frontman Peter Wiwczarek that I find immensely insightful.


Disappointments

1. Iced Earth – FRAMING ARMAGEDDON.
Tired riffing and uninspired songwriting, here’s hoping that Matt Barlow brings something fresh to the band.
 
2. Ozzy Osbourne – BLACK RAIN
He’s lost it. Some may say he never had it. I beg to differ. However he needs to retire to save his legacy from being completely destroyed.
 
3. Helloween – GAMBLING WITH THE DEVIL
It’s not a bad record at all, it’s just…not as good as I thought it should or could have been. Gamma Ray’s album made it to my top 20, Helloween, meh. Which is a real pity, I love this band to bits.


Greatest Hopes For 2008

1. New albums by Wintersun, Morbid Angel, Avantasia, Metallica (with great trepidation, and the attitude of “It’s probably gonna suck badly, so don’t get your hopes up too high”), Iced Earth (of course!), Kreator, Cannibal Corpse, Deicide and Testament.

2. Going to Wacken to watch Children of Bodom, Iron Maiden, Avantasia and the reformed Carcass.
 

Anders
Sandvall

Top 20 Albums

1.  Volbeat – Rock the Rebel/Metal the Devil
The bands second album was my first acquaintance with these Danes and it was love at first listening. Their Elvis/Metal blew me away.
 
2.  Hardcore Superstar – Dreamin In a Casket
This is their greatest album so far, they have taken the sleaze/glam party rock’n’roll to a totally new and higher level.
 
3.  Nation Beyond – The Aftermath Odyssey
4.  Nightwish – Dark Passion Play
5.  Astral Doors – New Revelation
6.  Mustasch – Latest Version of the Truth
7.  Vicious Art – Pick Up This Sick Child
8.  Freevil – Freevil Burning
9.  Anubis Gate – Andromeda Unchained
10. Machine Head – The Blackening
11. Arch Enemy – Rise of the Tyrant
12. Gamma Ray – Land of the Free pt II
13. Iced Earth – Framing Armageddon – Something Wicked pt I
14. Hearse – In Theses Veins
15. Hanoi Rocks – Street Poetry
16. Saxon – The Inner Sanctum
17. Overkill – Immortalis
18. Pain – Psalms of Extinction
19. Nocturnal Rites – The 8th Sin
20. U.D.O – Mastercutor


Best New Band

Freevil - “Freevil Burning”
From the ashes of Denata, Freevil was born and totally blew me away. This is quality thrash/death/heavy metal in a hellish and delightful mix.


Best DVD

Heaven and Hell – Radio City Music Hall Live 
Heaven and Hell stood for the greatest re-union 2007 and I was lucky to see the band live. This DVD is a great for the ones who weren’t able to catch the legends live. And it’s a magical look in the rearview mirror for us that actually were there.
 
Runner-up:
Scorpions – Live at Wacken Open Air 2006
To be honest it was a while since Scorpions delivered something good, this show was a tasty dish delivered to the 60.000 metalheads at WOA. It’s a magical evening with all the great songs we all love.


Disappointments

1. Primal Fear – New Religion
I had high expectations on the new album and to be honest I weren’t glad when I heard what Sinner and CO had come up with. Too many keyboards and instrumental parts made the band loose the native strength that once defined Primal Fear.
 
2. Debase
The metal icons of Malmoe haven’t still done anything useful this year... when will they break their silence?
 
3. Helloween – Gambling with the Devil
A poor album from a fading band, a huge disappointment.

4. Guns and Roses
Still no sign of Chinese Democracy…
 
5. Slayer
The disappointment was huge after their lame show at the Metaltown Festival in Gothenburg this summer. It was a tired band that put on a show, please come back soon and proves me that this show was just a one time accident.
 
6. Entombed – Serpent Saints
The band have established themselves as the founder of death’n’roll and their earlier albums have kicked ass…then came the old school death metal album SERPENT SAINTS. Please guys, decide what kind of music you want to play! 


Greatest Hopes For 2008

1. Nation Beyond – The Aftermath Odyssey
This act delivered one of last years strongest albums and I really hope the band gets the back up they deserve in their quest to conquer the world.
 
2. Iron Maiden – Summer Tour 
Iron Maiden is going out on Summer Tour and I have tickets…enough said!!
 
3. D.A.D.
Now it’s time for the best band in Denmark to record a new album, hopefully are they also going out on tour, I’ll be waiting. 
 
4. Astral Doors  
The band has recently released their brand new masterpiece NEW REVELATION and it must be the bands big breakthrough.
 
5. Debase
The band celebrates 10 year together, dare I hope for a reunion if only for one night?
 
6. Jorn Lande
Finally is a new album on the way from the best singer in Norway and luckily it’s a proper studio album and not a live or a cover album.

Chaosankh
Top 20 Albums

1. Rush – SNAKES AND ARROWS
With such a long wait between the disappointing VAPOR TRAILS and this album, I had a long time to think that there would never be another great Rush album. From the first time I heard the album opener, “Far Cry,” on the radio, though, that fear was proven false. What follows the opening track is a layered, multi-textured journey through an array of styles that traverses their entire history, mixing in a lot of newness, all of which adds up to an album packed from cover-to-cover with distinctive, memorable songs.

2. Kamelot – GHOST OPERA
Most will consider THE BLACK HALO to be the crowning jewel for these guys, but for me, this album’s more direct approach pays large dividends.  There is a great diversity present in the song writing for this album, and ultimately this album shows a band that is really maturing and growing, which is something that is hard for a band to do when they are seemingly already at the top of their game.

3. Threshold – DEAD RECKONING
4. Helloween – GAMBLING WITH THE DEVIL
5. Amorphis – SILENT WATERS
6. Nightwish – DARK PASSION PLAY
7. Gamma Ray – LAND OF THE FREE II
8. King Diamond – GIVE ME YOUR SOUL PLEASE
9. Symphorce – BECOME DEATH
10. Symphony X – PARADISE LOST
11. Paradise Lost – IN REQUIEM
12. Dream Theater – SYSTEMATIC CHAOS
13. Dimmu Borgir – IN SORTE DIABOLI
14. Pink Cream 69 – IN10SITY
15. Sanctity – ROAD TO BLOODSHED
16. Eldritch – BLACKENDAY
17. Overkill – IMMORTALIS
18. Manowar – GODS OF WAR
19. Xystus – SURREAL
20. Dead Soul Tribe – LULLABY FOR THE DEVIL 


Best New Band

Sanctity
I got the chance to check these guys out live this summer, and they deliver an old school thrash-styled show with tons of attitude. Throw on top of that the fact that they were able to put out a contemporary, modern metal record with all the right nods to their old school influences, i.e. early Testament, Metallica, and other eighties thrash bands, and you have a force to be reckoned with in the years ahead.


Best DVD

Kiss – KISSOLOGY VOLUME II 1978-1991
As a child of the eighties myself, I have always had a special fondness for the albums Kiss put out in that glitzy decade. Everyone has seen tons of vintage footage of this band in the glory days of the seventies, but for me it was a real treat to finally get to see footage from the lesser tours that supported HOT IN THE SHADE and CRAZY NIGHTS.


Disappointments

1. Iced Earth – Framing Armageddon
Even Jon Schaffer realized that this thing was a waste of time (although he didn’t say it quite like that). Tim “Ripper” Owens may be a fine vocalist for a Judas Priest cover band, or a knockoff band, but he does not have the distinctive voice necessary to carry an important band to the next level. He doesn’t get all the blame for this clunker, though, as most of the riffs sounded like leftovers, and there was no intensity whatsoever to this disc.

2. Megadeth – United Abominations
I think Dave Mustaine had it right when he said a few years ago that Megadeth was done. Putting the Megadeth name on these trite, rehashed songs is an insult to the metal community.

3. Symphony X in Concert
These guys sounded great, but c’mon an hour and half set length at this point in their career makes it look like they aren’t even trying. Plus they really need to mix up their set list some. All they play are the burners, neglecting the diversity that is really present in their catalogue.

4. Sonata Arctica – Unia
I didn’t mind that they toned down the speed; unfortunately, they also toned down the good songwriting.

5. Circus Maximus – Isolate
2005’s THE FIRST CHAPTER is one of my favorite prog metal discs of the last five years. This new one, though, seems to lack the progressive instrumentation and misses the right amount of heaviness, making it a forgotten album in a year where it was one of my most anticipated releases. 


Greatest Hopes For 2008

1. My biggest hope for 2007 in metal is that Helloween and Gamma Ray will find a way to get their current tour to the states.

2. Matthew Barlow’s return to Iced Earth will lead to an Iced Earth record that will matter again.

3. Judas Priest will finally release their concept album, and, more importantly, it will be better than ANGEL OF RETRIBUTION.

4. Heaven and Hell will make good on their claim that there is new music coming from them.

5. Overall, I hope that the year brings a better batch of meaningful releases as 2007 has seemed like a real down year for quality metal releases. 

Celtic Bob
Top 20 Albums

1. Sixx AM – The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack
Clearly the best release of the year by far. Nikki is a musical genius and is not limited within the confines of the metal genre. He is talented enough to cross borders and write excellent tunes within different genres and this album proves that. An aural experience that breaks new ground.
 
1. Ted Nugent – Love Grenade
Uncle Ted released this over the top, no holds barred disc of gut wrenching guitar rock cranked to 11. The Ted of old is back in fine form and kicking the asses of those around him.
 
3. NAIL - ST
4. Helix – The Power Of Rock And Roll
5. Ozzy – Black Rain
6. Dream Theater - Systematic Chaos
7. W.A.S.P. – Dominator
9. The 69 Eyes - Angels
10. Great White - Back To The Rhythm
11. Circus Diablo
12. U.D.O. – Mastercutor
13. Down - Over the Under
14. sHEAVY – The Machine that Won the War
15. Sebastian Bach - Angel Down
16. Ministry – The Last Sucker
17. Megadeth – United Abominations
18. Scorpions – Humanity Hour 1


Best New Band

NAIL
This Canadian metal band just released their killer debut CD this past fall. A fantastic album with some heavy influences, loud guitar and an amazing female vocalist. It’s nothing you’ve ever heard before. A band to look out for once they hit the road this summer.


Best DVD

Kissology Vol.2
This series is setting the standard to which other bands need to take notice of and follow. Finally, Kiss does it right for the most part. Only thing missing was the Animalized Live show.


Disappointments

Poison, Queensryche and Tesla only release albums of cover songs.
BonJovi release a mediocre album at best. Time for Jon Bon to toss in the towel. HAND was great but this don't come close. 


Greatest Hopes For 2008

1. An end to bands putting out covers albums.

2. Sven Gali to record a new album and do a ‘Real’ cross Canada tour.

3. A Poison studio album of originals and live DVD from a recent tour.

4. Tesla to get Tommy back in the band and record the follow up to INTO THE NOW.

5. The new full lengths from Crash Kelly, Mudmen, decibel, Bobnoxious, The Joys, and Monster Voodoo Machine to hit the store shelves.

 

Shaq
Top 20 Albums

1. Symphony X - Paradise Lost
It's no surprise to me that my favorite release of the year was by Symphony X.  They came back from a long break with their heaviest release to date, and it contains some of their best material to date.

2. Dark Tranquillity - Fiction
Dark Tranquillity is a band that just keeps getting better, and Fiction is no exception.  It picks up right where Character left off and they proved yet again that they are flying the Gothenburg higher than ever before.

3. Circus Maximus - Isolate
4. Raintime - Flies and Lies
5. Darkwater - Calling the Earth to Witness
6. Arch Enemy - Rise of the Tyrant
7. Devin Townsend - Ziltoid the Omnicscient
8. Megadeth - United Abominations
9. Down - III: Over the Under
10. Dream Theater - Systematic Chaos
11. Iced Earth - Framing Armageddon
12. Slough Feg - Hardworlder
13. Amorphis - Silent Waters
14. Epica - The Divine Conspiracy
15. Threshold - Dead Reckoning
16. Pagan's Mind - God's Equation
17. Primal Fear - New Religion
18. Redemption - The Origin of Ruin
19. Machine Head - The Blackening
20. Amoral - Reptile Ride


Best New Band

Darkwater
I had never heard of Darkwater until I won their CD in a raffle and gave it a listen and what I found was one of the best new progressive metal acts I've heard.  They have a great sense of melody, and the album is a great listen from start to finish.  I look forward to seeing what these guys have to offer in the future.


Best DVD

Andromeda - Playing Off The Board

Runner-up:
Heaven & Hell - Live at Radio City Music Hall


Disappointments

1. Kamelot - Ghost Opera
2. Annihilator - Metal
3. Nuclear Blast All Stars


Greatest Hopes For 2008

1. New Opeth album
2. Carcass/At The Gates reunions
3. Matt Barlow's return to Iced Earth

Simon Lukic
Top 20 Albums

1. Vanishing Point - THE FOURTH SEASON
As I said in my August review…“there is really no other band like Vanishing Point”. If you’re searching for a band that is emotive, dramatic and unique then you need look no further. THE FOURTH SEASON has been on constant rotation for months now and I’m still not tired of it.
 
2. Raintime – FLIES & LIES  
Why this album hasn’t received greater attention is a crime as this Italian band has created a near perfect blend of Progressive/Power and Melodic Death Metal. Seek this out!
 
3. Blood Tsunami – Thrash Metal
4. Steel Assassin - War Of The Eight Saints
5. Primal Fear – New Religion
6. Exodus – The Atrocity Exhibition: Exhibit A
7. King Diamond – Give Me Your Soul…Please
8. Onslaught –Killing Peace
9. Behemoth - The Apostasy
10. Dark Tranquillity – Fiction
11. Kamelot – Ghost Opera
12. Destruction - Thrash Anthems
13. Eyes Of Eden – Faith
14. Alchemist – Tripsis
15. Arch Enemy - Rise Of The Tyrant
16. Megadeth – United Abominations
17. Eldritch – Blackenday
18. Annihilator – Metal
19. Symphony X – Paradise Lost
20. Between The Buried And Me – Colors 


Best New Band

Blood Tsunami – THRASH METAL
If the band can keep this up, who knows what the future will bring. Thrash needs a new band to lead the way and Blood Tsunami just might be the one.


Best DVD

Queensryche - MINDCRIME AT THE MOORE
Mindcrime 1 & 2 in its entirety. What more can you ask for?


Disappointments

1. Nightwish – Dark Passion Play
Anette Olzon simply didn’t deliver. Lacking the range and personality of her predecessor, her efforts cast a shadow on DARK PASSION PLAY. Despite my feelings, the albums appears to be a runaway success, so what do I know eh?
 
2. Iced Earth - Framing Armageddon
Repetitive and lacking anything new FRAMING ARMAGEDON proved to be a major disappointment. The news that Matt Barlow is back on board is great but it’s hard not to feel cynical about the move after Jon Schaffer’s public admission that Tim was the perfect voice for Iced Earth. Money talks, Ripper walks!


Greatest Hopes For 2008

1. Death Angel: A new album and a possible tour of Australia supporting Testament and Exodus in May. Let’s hope it comes true!

2. Testament: A new album with Paul Bostaph on drums is great news. Nik Barker is no slouch but a Thrash Metal drummer he is not. Bostaph should elevate the album to new heights.

3. Forbidden: Reunited and ready to roll once again. One of the most underrated bands ever returns to the scene and I hope that they deliver.

4. Coroner: While we’re at it, how about a reunion fellas?

5. Iron Maiden: After 15 long years Maiden finally returns to Australia in February. No further explanation needed. It should be huge!

6. Australian Heavy Metal: With stunning EP’s from Nothing, Demolition and Watchdog Discipline making the rounds, let’s hope the world gets on board and supports the many quality artists from Down Under.

Brat
Top 20 Albums

1. After Forever – After Forever
What a great album after the last 2 were such disappointments. I think this album is filling the Tarja-less Nightwish void.

2. Pink Cream 69 – In10sity
Awesome release for such an under-rated band. This album won me on the first listen. Singer David Readman has been busy releasing his debut solo effort also this year. Both CDs are must haves.

3. Andre Matos – Time To Be Free
4. Mortal Sin – An Absence of Faith
5. Sonata Arctica – Unia
6. Vanishing Point – The Fourth Season
7. Nightwish – Dark Passion Play
8. Epica – The Divine Conspiracy
9. Turisas – The Varangium Way
10. Vision Divine – The 25th Hour
11. Sodom – The Final Sign of Evil
12. Behemoth - The Apostasy
13. Black Majesty – Tomorrowland
14. Tourettes – Treasons Songs
15. Scorpions – Humanity: Hour I
16. Machine Men – Circus of Fools
17. Enfiserum – Victory Songs
18. Ink – Lea…Or Follow
19. Magica – Hereafter
20. Pain – Psalms of Extinction 


Best New Band

Sturm und Drang (Finland)
This band of youngsters reminds me of a metal version of Australia's Silverchair. With the debut release aptly titled "Learning to Rock", it will be interesting to watch them grow and mature musically. I expect big things from this lot. I hope I'm not disappointed. 


Best DVD

I must confess, I've only bought 2 DVDs this year (1 was for a present) as I've been to busy to sit and watch anything–there's not point spending money if it's going to sit on your shelf and collect dust.

Scorpions Live at Wacken
I can now watch the concert that bored me from the comfort of my couch and fast forward through all the wankerage and get to the songs.

Runner up: Winger Live 


Disappointments

1. The "improved" Wacken facilities made null and void by the ridiculous number of people. We're just lucky the forecasted cold and wet weather for the whole weekend held to make life bearable for the 65,000 people who attended.

2. Winger having to play support to Ratt in Australia.


Greatest Hopes For 2008

1. A worthy new Iced Earth release now Matt Barlow is back.

2. Pink Cream '69 live DVD to be released sooner rather than later.

3. The third Avantasia album to rise above the singles I've heard so far to match the epic musical strengths of the first two.



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