Best of 2005

Best of 2005

If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that we compile our “best of” lists to derive the top albums of the year. Below is the overall top 30 derived from each staff member’s top 20 of the year. Within each staff members list is their best DVD of 2005, best new band, greatest hopes for 2006, and of course their disappointments for 2005. As always, some restrictions are placed on our lists. The top albums are for North American releases from 2005 that all full albums (no EP’s or demos). They also have to be new studio albums for 2005, not re-recordings, re-releases, 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 2005 release. 2005 was an eventful year for with a whole new look to the site being unleashed, the launch of Metal Rules Radio, and as well as the departure and subsequent gain of some new staff writers. 2005 marked the release of 2 long-awaited reunion albums, both of which are in our top 10. 2005 also saw some unfortunate loses including the untimely death of ex-Metal Church vocalist David Wayne, the loss of ex-Vader drummer Krzysztof “Doc” Raczkowski, and the loss of one of metal’s true innovators – Denis “Piggy” D’Amour of VoiVod. One bright spot for fans of VoiVod is that we’ll have several new VoiVod albums to look forward to that will contain the last recordings Piggy made. Either way, each will be remembered and will live on through their music.

The Top 30 Heavy Metal Albums of 2005

1. Nevermore – This Godless Endeavor
Nevermore takes the title with a total knockout coming way ahead of the pack in scoring. Nevermore continue to Never-bore it’s listeners with the release of THIS GODLESS ENDEAVOR. The band never repeats itself, but maintains a distinct identity amidst a sea of mediocrity. On the band’s previous album, ENEMIES OF REALITY, guitarist Jeff Loomis pushed the envelope with his lead guitar acrobatics to what many thought were the limits. With the addition of second lead guitarist, Steve Smyth, the ante has once again been raised.


2. Judas Priest – Angel of Retribution
Rob Halford’s return to Judas Priest was the inevitable reunion that many hoped for. With ANGEL OF RETRIBUTION the band has eliminated the modern elements that were so prominent on DEMOLITION and have gone back to a much more classic sound. Most Priest fanatics could have done with another 10 releases in the long gap between 1990’s PAINKILLER and this 2005 release, but at least it’s here now. ANGEL OF RETRIBUTION, for the most part, lived up to expectations. While it might not be perfect, it has been embraced.


3. Gamma Ray – Majestic
Following close behind Judas Priest we have a band that has quite the Priest influence, namely Gamma Ray. MAJESTIC continues on in the vein of speedy, and ballsy, power metal. Unlike many other bands who play under what is today called power metal, Gamma Ray has not watered down their aggression nor their song tempos to follow recent trends in the genre. Instead, they lead the pack with yet another glorious album, MAJESTIC.
4. Primal Fear– Seven Seals
SEVEN SEALS is a strong album showing mature song writing with a diversity that was sometimes lacking on Primal Fear’s recent releases. Earlier in 2005, reports from the band announced that there would be some musical experimentation on the new album. Many fans were quite worried but all worry was in vain. The band’s sound is not changed but enhanced, and more importantly, diversified making this one of, if not the, best Primal Fear albums so far!


5. Sentenced – The Funeral Album
By far one of the most influential Finnish bands, the emptiness Sentenced has now left in their wake will be extremely hard to fill. We’ve now reached the end of an era for one of Finland’s finest. At least they went out with a bang! So here we are, our final words on what is the death of an absolutely amazing band. All we have left to offer is a heartfelt THANK YOU to the boys for gracing us with so much suicide over the years. Our hearts may be heavy, but we wish them nothing but the best. We’re sure we’ll be hearing something or other from them soon!


6. Candlemass – S/T
Like Priest, this is another reunion album that has been a long time in the making, and was well worth the wait! The sound of this self titled album is that of a band which hasn’t missed a beat, which is especially impressive given the fact that there hasn’t been a “classic line-up” Candlemass album since 1989’s TALES OF CREATION. Sounding fresh and vital, Candlemass seem to have taken their time with this record, and it shows. While there are subtle links to the past, the album is a confident step forward into the metal world, showing there is much more to Candlemass than mere nostalgia. To hear this classic lineup performing this classic sound in 2005 was just the shot in the arm the metal world needed.


7. Dark Tranquillity – Character
Dark Tranquillity’s latest opus, CHARACTER, sees the band making an unexpected about face and returning to the sound of early classics like GALLERY and THE MIND’S I but bringing along the keyboards of DAMAGE DONE. This works so well it is a wonder they didn’t try it earlier. Dark Tranquillity have truly outdone themselves. Overlapping the “classic” sound with new, progressive ones, they have given fans the best of both worlds. Speed, aggression, melody, intelligent lyrics, stellar musicianship and accessibility are combined on one jaw-dropping album, giving CHARACTER the ability to rank among the all-time favorites of old fans and undoubtedly bring them legions of new ones.


8. Kreator – Enemy of God
Kreator is at it again! The German masters of thrash (and pretty much the flagship of the genre) return with their new offering ENEMY OF GOD. This is one of those albums that will stand out when you first hear a couple of tracks, it’s downright memorable. Kreator remains a well greased, cold, mean, and loud machine and ENEMY OF GOD is sure to keep fans of Kreator more than happy.


9. Darkane – Layers of LiES
Standing heads and shoulders above anything the band has released since the unfuckwith-able RUSTED ANGEL, the newest Darkane platter is one deathly serious, juggernaut of a record. Following up the disappointing-at-times EXPANDING SENSES effort, LAYERS OF LIES is a deeply textured and thought out record. It’s damn near perfect, to tell you the truth.


10. Kamelot – The black Halo
For the past 5 years Kamelot has been no stranger to Metal Rules. Their unwavering path to perfection continues with THE BLACK HALO, the band’s first release for SPV. If you’ve been into the band over the past five or so years, you will no doubt love the new album. Some minor changes are in store, but nothing drastic as the band matures into one of the world’s top notch power/prog/melodic-metal bands.


Number 11 to 20:

12. Opeth – Ghost Reveries
13. Bruce Dickinson – Tyranny Of Souls
14. Helloween – Keeper Of The Seven Keys: The Legacy
15. Hypocrisy – Virus
16. Savage Circus – Dreamland Manor
17. Biomechanical – The Empires Of The Worlds
18. Arch Enemy – Doomsday Machine
19. Brainstorm – Liquid Monster
20. Usurper – Cryptobeast

Number 21 to 30:

21. Iommi – Fused 22. Primordial – The Gathering Wilderness
23. Morgana Lefay – Grand Materia 24. Deceased – As the Weird Travel On
25. Annihilator – Schizo Deluxe 26. Mercenary – 11 Dreams
27. Scar Symmetry – Symmetric In Design 28. Thunderstone – Tools of Destruction
29. Immolation – Harnessing Ruin 30. Countess – Spawn of Steel

Individual Staff Lists For 2005 Includes: top 20, best new band, best DVD, greatest hopes for 2006, and disappointments of 2005.


EvilG Top 20 Albums

1. Gamma Ray – Majestic Kai Hansen is the man! I thought I was going to have a hard time picking my #1 album of the year, that is until I heard MAJESTIC. As always, Gamma Ray continues to show why they are leaders of the power metal genre. While other similar bands have decided to water things down, Gamma Ray keep it heavy, speedy, and as such continues to be right up my alley!!

2. Nevermore – This Godless Endeavor This album is worthy of #1 status, if you aren’t a Gamma Ray freak! THIS GODLESS ENDEAVOR somehow managed to push the envelope of brutality, creativity, shredding, AND melody. Not many come close to balancing these ingredients so perfectly as Nevermore. I wonder where they will take things next.?

3. Primal Fear – Seven Seals 4. Kamelot – The Black Halo 5. Imagika – Devils on Both Sides 6. Sentenced – The Funeral Album 7. Morgana Lefay – Grand Materia 8. Judas Priest – Angel of Retribution 9. HammerFall – Chapter V: Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken 10. sHEAVY – Republic? 11. Helloween – Keeper of the Seven Keys – The Legacy 12. Circle II Circle – The Middle of Nowhere 13. Iommi – Fused 14. Bruce Dickinson – Tyranny of Souls 15. Yngwie Malmsteen – Unleash the Fury 16. Kreator – Enemy of God 17. Exodus – Shovel Headed Killing Machine 18. Demons & Wizards – Touched By the Crimson King 19. Savage Circus – Dreamland Manor 20, Thunderstone – Tools of Destruction

Best New Band

Does Persuader meets Blind Guardian sound good to you? It sure as hell did to me! I had a hard time coming up with a new band for this section and I was almost willing to leave it empty this year. Thank the metal gods for Savage Circus and that I finally heard this album in December.

Best DVD

Edguy – Superheroes Although this DVD was not perfect (it’s too short) it’s the best metal DVD I’ve seen in 2005. With luck, Edguy will one day get to release a double length DVD with lots of live performance around the world filmed over different years, a documentary about the band’s history, and a second DVD containing a load of behind the scenes crazy stuff that Edguy has become famous for in the past couple years.

Runner Up: Mötley Crüe: Carnival of Sins LIVE Although I’m still not happy that the Crue didn’t put out a studio album in 2005, their live performance is still magic.


Albums: 1. Soilwork – Stabbing the Drama The nu-elements on this totally lost me. I’ve loved all the Soilwork albums up to this one. This sounds too much like Linkin Dork or any one of a 100 faceless bands. To let the band slip into this territory is a crime. 2. Arch Enemy – Doomsday Machine This album was decent, but still a disappointment when compared to AE’s previous works. The lead guitar playing was as always, jaw-dropping, but that didn’t save the album this time out. 3. GZR – OHMWORK Iommi’s solo album so ruled while this was so lame. For one of the greatest bassists to stoop to this nu-level is mind-boggling. His other solo albums were not this bad… what happened? Other disappointments: 1. R.I.P. – Denis “Piggy” D’Amour, VoiVod VoiVod were a band that have always been ahead of their time. Piggy was a true innovator and although he’ll be missed, his presence will continue to be felt through his music. 2. No new Savatage album Yeah, we know TSO pays the bills, and we have Caffery solo albums, Jon Oliva’s solo stuff, and even Circle II Circle…but what I’d like to see/hear is Zak and Jon both as the lead vocalists for a reunited Savatage with a new studio album. Leave the TSO stuff for November and December and do Savatage for the rest of the year…please? 3. The pervasiveness of “core” in metal A couple of bands in the metalcore style are ok, but the trend has become the new mallcore and needs to die. Hearing bands adopt this sound who previously had their own identity is also just sad. 4. No new Mötley Crüe album It has been written, that those who tour as a nostalgia/greatest hits act do not have a future. So come now children of the beast, be strong and write some new HEAVY METAL material in the Shout at the Devil vein!!!

Greatest Hopes For 2006

1. New Albums From… New studio albums from IMAGIKA, ANTHRAX, DEATH ANGEL, INTO ETERNITY, JAG PANZER, MOONSPELL. CELTIC FROST, MOTORHEAD, BLIND GUARDIAN, QUEENSRYCHE (can QR properly follow up the best concept album ever made? – Operation Mindcrime).

2. Pipe dreams for 2006 New Savatage album, Slayer releases an album worthy of following up SEASONS IN THE ABYSS (I had these 2 in the list last year damn it!), some real metal bands play in Newfoundland…

Rick Top 20 Albums

1. Nevermore – This Godless Endeavour This CD stands head and shoulders above the rest of the pack from 2005. After stumbling with ENEMIES OF REALITY Dane, Loomis and company roar back with a new guitar player, Steve Smith, and an even more potent blend of aggression and melody. Danes anguished vocals are the perfect counterpoint to Lommis’ and Smith’s organized chaos. Truly a masterpiece.

2. Kamelot – The Black Halo This disc took some time to grow on me and almost didn’t make it into the top 5. No other band does it quite like Kamelot. The vocals of Roy Khan are a breath of fresh air amid a genre of Michael Kiske clones. The best part about this release is that Kamelot has yet to truly reach their peak and that bodes well for the future of one of North America’s greatest bands.

3. Thunderstone – Tools of Destruction 4. CircleIICircle – The Middle of Nowhere 5. Judas Priest – Angel of Retribution 6. Bruce Dickinson – Tyranny of Souls 7. Primal Fear – Seven Seals 8. Sentenced – The Funeral Album 9. Brainstorm – Liquid Monster 10. Savage Circus – Dreamland Manor 11. Sheavy – Republic? 12. Gamma Ray – Majestic 13. Iommi – Fused 14. Demons & Wizards – Touched By the Crimson King 15. Morgana Lefay – Grand Materia 16. Hammerfall – Chapter V 17. Helloween – Keeper of the 7 Keys Part III: The Legacy 18. Rob Rock – Holy Hell 19, Symphorce – Godspeed 20. James LaBrie – Elements of Persuasion

Best New Band

Savage Circus Blind Guardian’s loss is the metal worlds gain. With Blind Guardian’s new direction Thomas Stauch was having trouble getting his compositions to fit with the bands new sound. Instead of seeing his work sit idle he formed a new band with Piet Sielk and members of Persuader and the result is DREAMLAND MANOR, one of the strongest releases of the year.

Best DVD

Evergrey – A NIGHT TO REMEMBER A NIGHT TO REMEMBER is Evergrey’s ALIVE. Well at least it should be. Listening to this band on CD is no match for seeing them live on stage. Tom S. Englund has crafted one of the most interesting DVDs of the year which includes not only a live show but a plethora of interviews, videos and other unique content.


1. Piggy is gone. R.I.P.

2. GZR: OHMWORK Why Geezer even bothered is beyond me…

Greatest Hopes For 2006

1. Queensryche Operation Mindcrime: Part II Hopefully this won’t find its way into my disappointments for 2006. With Ronnie James Dio playing the part of Doctor X, I have high hopes for this CD. I just don’t know if there is a way to do justice to and make a sequel to possibly the greatest concept album of all time.

2. Will Riot Release a new CD? I pray to the metal gods every year for a new Riot Cd so why should I change this year??

Lord of the Wasteland Top 20 Albums

1. Opeth – GHOST REVERIES Many fans doubted the bands’ jump to Roadrunner Records but Opeth hit back at their critics with GHOST REVERIES, their most interesting, varied and eclectic piece of work yet. The ultimate Opeth album.

2. Mercenary – 11 DREAMS Released overseas in late 2004, 11 DREAMS wasn’t released in North America until January 2005, but still packs just as much wallop 11 months later. The accolades heaped upon this album are deserved on every account. Perfection, plain and simple.

3. Communic ~ CONSPIRACY IN MIND 4. Despised Icon ~ THE HEALING PROCESS 5. Beneath The Massacre ~ EVIDENCE OF INEQUITY 6. Nevermore ~ THIS GODLESS ENDEAVOR 7. Judas Priest ~ ANGEL OF RETRIBUTION 8. Soilwork ~ STABBING THE DRAMA 9. Strapping Young Lad ~ ALIEN 10. Rudra ~ BRAHMAVIDYA: PRIMORDIAL I 11. Watch Them Die ~ BASTARD SON 12. Hypocrisy ~ VIRUS 13. Primal Fear ~ SEVEN SEALS 14. Bolt Thrower ~ THOSE ONCE LOYAL 15. Brand New Sin ~ RECIPE FOR DISASTER 16. As I Lay Dying ~ SHADOWS ARE SECURITY 17. Old Man’s Child ~ VERMIN 18. Bruce Dickinson ~ TYRANNY OF SOULS 19. Behemoth ~ DEMIGOD 20. Clutch ~ ROBOT HIVE/EXODUS

Best New Band


Communic Not just another Scandinavian power or death outfit, but a bit of Evergrey-ish dark prog mixed with Nevermore’s vocal style and a megaton of thrash riffs pepper the haunting CONSPIRACY IN MIND. Beneath The Massacre The latest brutal gem from Canada’s heavy metal Mecca of Quebec. Their 5-song debut, EVIDENCE OF INEQUITY, on Galy Records crushes with all the intensity of Neuraxis, Ion Dissonance and classic Cryptopsy wrapped in one tight package.

Best DVD

Union ~ DO YOUR OWN THING LIVE! This band featuring Bruce Kulick (ex-KISS) and John Corabi (ex-Motley Crue/Ratt) got a raw deal a few years ago but seems to be having somewhat of a resurgence in Europe, Japan and Australia. This DVD shows why.

RUNNER-UP: Evergrey ~ A NIGHT TO REMEMBER A 2-DVD set (and separate companion CD) recorded live in Sweden with a string section and choir backing the band. Fans of Evergrey couldn’t ask for anything more; those waiting to check them out will need nothing else.


1. Children of Bodom ~ ARE YOU DEAD YET? This officially marks the end of an era for long-time CoB fans. Mainstream success has found them and the new CD is a real departure even from HATE CREW DEATHROLL’s sound. Watered-down riffs and simplistic songs have drawn lukewarm reviews from the metal media but it seems to be going the opposite direction as mainstream media. Expect big things (including a rumoured spot on Ozzfest) in 2006.

2. Combat Records What was once a mighty underground haven for bands like Possessed, Megadeth, Dark Angel, Death, etc. has risen Phoenix-like from the ashes of the 80s…with garbage, non-metal bands like Horse The Band, Look What I Did and At All Costs. The last time a name has been disgraced this bad, it had ST. ANGER after it.

3. Metalcore What started out a few years ago as a nifty trend with bands like Killswitch Engage and As I Lay Dying mixing Swedish metal riffs and hardcore breakdowns has devolved into a cesspool of half-baked clones that seem to pop up by the dozen each week. Much like hair metal & nu-metal, the market glutting and relentless signing by labels has turned this genre into a joke.

4. Fear Factory ~ TRANSGRESSION Last year’s ARCHETYPE had fans giving Fear Factory a second chance after the abysmal DIGIMORTAL. But TRANSGRESSION, a rushed, mediocre album that came so soon after soured many of those fans once again. One step forward, two steps back.

5. GZR ~ OHMWORK A 60-year old man who founded one of the most influential heavy metal bands of all time has no business churning out tired, D-grade nu-metal.

6. Paths of Possession A side-project of Cannibal Corpse’s George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher was released with little to no fanfare and with good reason. The tracks sound like they were written 8-10 years ago with Fisher’s vocals phoned in over top.

Greatest Hopes For 2006

1. Emperor/Celtic Frost North American Tour Could go either way. Will Black metal ghouls get their scowl on with Goth kids and artsy hipsters or will people have long out-grown or forgotten the avant-garde metal created by Celtic Frost in the mid-to late-80s and both bands’ late period experimentation that isolated a lot of core fans? Early buzz is huge but outside of New York and Los Angeles, what will turnouts be like?

2. New Into Eternity CD The ever-revolving line-up over the past two releases has confused many fans but with a solid framework finally in place and 2005 chock full of exposure on various tour packages, the seed has been planted. It’s up to the band now to deliver.

3. Ozzfest 2006 While hardly perfect, the past two trips across the U.S. have breathed new life into a sagging metal scene. It seems that for the most part, Ozzy & Sharon have realized that North American fans are hungry for “real” metal, so if the trend continues, 2006 will bring another excellent line-up.

4. New Anthrax CD The renewed and invigorated Anthrax remains tight-lipped about recording a new CD with the “classic” line-up but if the energy and fun they had on stage in 2005 is any indication, they will pick up right where PERSISTENCE OF TIME left off in 1991.

5. More Great Shows Coming To Vancouver Call me greedy but after covering over 40 shows for Metal Rules in 2005, I can only hope for more bands to grace our fine city in 2006. Are you listening Testament, Primal Fear and Hypocrisy??

6. Paul Stanley’s solo CD As a long-time KISS fan, Gene Simmons’ ASSHOLE release from 2004 was a disjointed, pompous embarrassment. It’s up to Paul Stanley to give fans what will likely be the closest thing to a new KISS album we will ever see again. Early word is good that it will.

Arto Lehtinen Top 20 Albums

1. Candlemass – S/T The Legendary Swedish doom mongers released one hell of an epicus doomicus metallicus masterpiece in every aspect which stands for the pure and well known Candlemass’ doomworld from the beginning to the end.

2. Arch Enemy – Doomsday Machine The Ammott Bros’ vicious and ripping guitarworks are excellent here, the album contains a plenty of ass kicking songs with the brutal vocalist with angelic voice of Angel Gossow.. Killer stuff )

3. Exodus – Shovel Headed Kill Machine 4. Bolt Thrower : Those Once Loyal 5. Kreator : Enemy Of God 6. Dark Funeral : Attero Totus Sanctus 7. TurboNegro : Party Animal 8. Usurper : Cryptobeast 9. Obituary : Frozen In Time 10. Immolation : Harnessing Ruin 11. Nile : Annihilation Of The Wicked 12. Crucified Barbara : In Distortion We Trust 13. Falkenbach : Heralding – The Fireblade 14. Desaster : AngelWhore 15. Napalm Death : The Code Is Red…Long Live The Code 16. Soulfly : The Dark Ages 17. Gamma Ray : Majestic 18. Icarus Witch : Rose On White Lance 19. Judas Priest : Angel Of Retribution 20. Deceased : As The Weird Travel On

Best New Band

Crucified Barbara This absolutely is Crucified Barbara as these four Swede ladies know how to rock loud and hard !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Runner up: Icarus Witch – old school heavy metal seems to live in the States.


1. Nuclear Assault’s comeback album was…not that good

2. A lot of b-class power metal albums came out

3. The Rammstein album “Rosen Rot” didn’t top their previous outputs.

4. Death of the VOIVOD guitarist Piggy – This is not fair!

5. Death of the former Metal Church vocalist.

Greatest Hopes For 2006

1. Old School Metal Records will become as big as Nuclear Blast, Metal Blade…

2. New Testament and Morbid Angel albums!

Marko Syrjala Top 20 Albums

1. Alice Cooper – Dirty Diamonds

2. Helloween – Keeper Of The Sseven Keys: The Legacy

3. Judas Priest: Angel Of Retribution 4. Black Label Society: Mafia 5. Annihilator: Schizo Deluxe 6. U.D.O: Mission X 7. L.A Guns: Tales from the Strip 8. Sentenced: The Funeral Album 9. Bruce Dickinson: Tyranny Of Souls 10. Iommi: Fused 11. Gamma Ray: Majesty 12. Paradise Lost: s/t 13. Kreator: Enemy of God 14. Joe Lynn Turner: The Usual Suspects 15. Children Of Bodom: Are You Dead Yet ! 16. Exodus: Shoved Headed Kill Machine 17. Glenn Hughes: Soul Mover 18. Stratovarius: s/t 19. TNT: Far From the Sun 20. Deep Purple: Rapture of the Deep

Best New Band

BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE I don’t usually follow new bands too much and I would like to say Eddie Ojeda… but because he might not fit into the “new” band category, it would say BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE

Best DVD

KISS: Rock the Nations

Runner up: Mötley Crüe: Carnival of Sins LIVE


1. Yngwie Malmsteen: Unleash the Fury I don’t know if there is anything positive to say about this album? Cover art is horrible, songs are weak, production is lacking, and even Doogie’s usually brilliant vocals sound tired and uninspired. A huge disappointment!

2. Brides Of Destruction: Runaway Brides This one is musically even worse but it does have better cover art than Yngwie’s album. This albums sounds like a collection of amateur band demo tracks which are recorded with poor cassette recorder or something like that!? Because I really liked Brides debut album so this one is a huge disappointment. Nikki Sixx and Ginger (The Wildhearts, Silver Ginger 5) have helped Tracii to write this album but it’s still musically one of his weakest albums to date. Also, what the hell has happened to London’s voice? It sounds horrible! Good luck in the future Tracii and by the way, your old band mates won this year 6-0…

3. Masterplan: Aeronautics Well this one is a way better than my other two disappointments, but it’s simply not good enough when you remember how good the first album is.

Greatest Hopes For 2006

1. Paul Stanley’s LONG awaited solo album… …which should finally be released!!

2. Possible 2006 re–unions Helloween with Michael Kiske and Kai Hansen, Sepultura with Max Cavalera and who knows what else??

3. New albums from: Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Quiet Riot, Glenn Hughes, Michael Schenker, Krokus and Skid Row. Sounds very promising at this point?

4. Festivals: Swedenrock, Bang Your Head, Tuska, Gods of Metal and other European metal festivals. It’s only getting better all the time!!

Waspman Top 20 Albums

1. Nevermore – This Godless Endeavor I’m not quite sure how the hell they did it, but over a decade into their career, Nevermore managed to create their most vicious and exciting album yet. Simply, THIS GODLESS ENDEAVOUR is a work of metallic genius, topping even Nevermore’s own excellent catalogue. How could anyone else stand a chance? One of my easiest choices for album of the year. 2. Primordial – The Gathering Wilderness Lost track of these guys for a while, but glad I’m back on board, ‘cause THE GATHERING WILDERNESS is a hypnotic ride that is not to be missed. Really, Primordial are in a league of their own, a band without peer. That fact alone speaks volumes about how damn good this album is. 3. Dark Tranquillity – Character 4. Gamma Ray – Majestic 5. Helloween – Keeper of the Seven Keys (The Legacy) 6. Usurper – Cryptobeast 7. Fireball Ministry – Their Rock Is Not Our Rock 8. Iommi – Fused 9. Starbreaker – Starbreaker 10. Biomechanical – The Empires of the World 11. Exodus – Shovel Headed Kill Machine 12. High On Fire – Blessed Black Wings 13. Judas Priest – Angel of Retribution 14. Labyrinth – Freeman 15. Annihilator – Schizo Deluxe 16. Damn 13 – Black Heart, Northern Soul 17. Brainstorm – Liquid Monster 18. Moonlight Agony – Echoes of a Nightmare 19. Supervillain – Earthquake Machine 20. As I Lay Dying – Shadows Are Security

Best New Band

Damn 13 – Black Heart, Northern Soul Yeah sure, frontman Adam Sewell has been through the rock ‘n roll ringer, but Damn 13 is a new band dammit! Don’t know what it is, but these Canadians sure know how to tap into a pure, fuzzy vibe that is painfully authentic. Fact is, BLACK HEART, NORTHERN SOUL is one of the most stirring albums released this year, new band or not.


1. Demons & Wizards – Touched By The Crimson King There were a lot of disappointments this year, but for me, none more so than the blindingly average second effort from Schaffer and Kursch. How the hell two great metal minds like that could come up with something so second rate boggles the mind. Sure, there are a couple of great songs on here, but overall, this album is easily shelved after about two listens. 2. Dream Theater – Octavarium With this yawn-inducing effort, Dream Theater has finally come down off of the high they’d been riding since 1999. Lighter and far less interesting than usual, OCTAVARIUM is a merely average effort from the band, and with a group this talented, average is just not good enough.

Greatest Hopes For 2006

1. New Megiddo album It feels like forever since THE ATAVISM OF EVIL, so will 2006 bring about a new Armageddon-riding blot? Let’s hope so. 2. Glue-Sniffing Dream: A worthy Slayer album. Yeah, I know, it probably won’t happen, but I can dream, right? 3. Dragonforce – INHUMAN RAMPAGE January 9th is just around the corner, and I can’t wait!

Luxi Lahtinen Top 20 Albums

1. Deceased – As the Weird Travel On 2. Domination Black – Fearbringer 3. Ritual Carnage – I, Infidel 4. Immolation – Harnessing Ruin 5. Centurions Ghost – A Sign of Things to Come 6. Candlemass – Candlemass 7. Moonsorrow – Verisäkeet 8. Usurper – Cryptobeast 9. Nevermore – The Godless Endeavor 10. Annihilator – Schizo Deluxe 11. Avenger of Blood – Complete Annihilation 12. Naglfar – Pariah 13. Necrophagia – Harvest Ritual Volume 1 14. Bruce Dickinson – Tyranny of Souls 15. Isole – Forevermore 16. Kreator – Enemy of God 17. Judas Priest – Angel of Retribution 18. Machine Men – Elegies 19. Bolt Thrower – Once Those Loyal 20. Exodus – Shovel Headed Kill Machine

Best New Band

Domination Black Just wait ´til you hear these Finns´ debut album Fearbringer and you’ll know exactly why I chose them as the best new band for 2005. Horror-oozing, thrashy Heavy Metal reigns supreme!!!


1. Children of Bodom – ARE YOU DEAD YET? A review by `MetalChick´ in pretty much summed it up for me: “The kings of melodic power Death Metal have succumbed to their worldwide fame. They’re following in the footsteps of bands like In Flames and Soilwork; going down the toilet, to be frank”. I have no need to add anything else to this…

Greatest Hopes For 2006

1. Heathen Definitely a new album from the mighty Heathen!!! Their excellent 4-song demo already raised my expectation towards it pretty damn high, I can tell… 2. Jumalation A debut album from the Finnish old school thrashers Jumalation will definitely be on the top of my ´must-get´ -list. The mighty slogan “Thrash-´til-death” should describe this particular release in question more than enough… ;=) 3. Also, new albums from… Onslaught, Holy Terror, Demigod and at least from Maiden (?) will definitely be something to look forward to… 4. A reunion of Forbidden… …would of course be totally cool, too, but I guess that won´t be happening ever again… :=/

Madman Top 20 Albums

1. Morgana Lefay -Grand Materia Quite probably the best comeback EVER! The band updated and changed while keeping that thrashing power metal sound in tact. I don’t think I’ve heard the band sound better.

2. Slough Feg – Atavism Talk about a great track record. Slough Feg never disappoints.

3. Nevermore – This Godless Endeavor 4. Manilla Road – Gates of Fire 5. Toxic Holocaust – Hell on Earth 6. Deceased – As the Weird Travel On 7. Countess – Spawn of Steel 8. Kamelot – The Black Halo 9. Usurper – Cryptobeast 10. Dantesco – De La Mano De La Muerte 11. Hammerwhore – Hammerwhore 12. Gamma Ray – Majestic 13. Grand Magus – Wolf’s Return 14. HavocHate – Cycle of Pain 15. October 31 – No Survivors 16. Centinex – World Declension 17. Scar Symmetry – Symmetric in Design 18. Judas Priest – Angel of Retribution 19. Immolation – Harnessing Ruin 20. Impaled – Death After Life

Best New Band

Dantesco Came out of nowhere and upped the ante for epic doom metal.

Best DVD

Judas Priest Rising in the East

No fancy extras, no behind the scenes footage, just a great concert from the metal gods. Rob and the boys still have the energy and power to produce one of the most spectacular live experiences one can have.


1. Kreator – Enemy of God I absolutely cannot see why they see fit to rehash the lesser material from Violent Revolution, not to mention that people praise this album like its one of the better releases of the year.

2. Candlemass – Candlemass Rather lacklustre comeback. I was hoping for so much more. It’s missing that old mood and feel of early Candlemass.

3. Overkill – ReliXIV The first real stinker from Overkill, even the best songs here are rather mediocre. Maybe time has finally caught up with the band?

Greatest Hopes For 2006

1. Rage – New Album If the studio reports are anything to go by, this could be the album of the year and possibly the best album Rage has released with its current lineup.

2. Into Eternity – New Album Probably the best band out of Canada right now and with so many shows last year that had such energy and intensity, I can only imagine what this new lineup can achieve.

3. To discover… …as many new and interesting bands as I have in this past year and that maybe 2006 can keep up the great string of releases that started in 2005… with new releases from many of my favourite bands (Kataklysm, Rage, Into Eternity etc.) I can see next year being a great one.

Anders Sandvall Top 20 Albums

1. Hardcore Superstar – S/T

2. D.A.D. – Scare Yourself

3. Primal Fear – Seven Seals 4. Soilwork – Stabbing The Drama 5. Darkane – Layers Of Lies 6. Starbreaker – S/t 7. Destruction – Inventor Of Evil 8. Candlemass – S/t 9. Zan Clan – We Are Zan Clan Who The Fuck Are You?? 10. Soul Sirkus – World Play 11. Face Down – The Will To Power 12. Bruce Dickinson – Tyranny Of Souls 13. Hypocrisy – Virus 14. Arch Enemy – Doomsday Machine 15. Brazen Abbot – My Resurrection 16. The Project Hate – Armageddon March Eternal 17. Kreator – Enemy Of God 18. Evil Masquerade – Theatrical Madness 19. Tony Martin – Scream 20. Dragonlord – Black Wings Of Destiny

Best New Band

Crucified Barbara In Distortion We Trust New Swedish all female act that plays glam/sleaze hard rock that both the rock’n’roll fans as well as more mainstream audiences can appreciate.

Best DVD

In Flames: Used and Abused…In Live We Trust

Runner-up: Evergrey – A Night To Remember


1. Allen/Lande – The Battle Even not the two monster singers couldn’t take the poor album higher.

2. Masterplan – Aeronautics Compared to the more or less masterpiece debut, this album fell flat to the ground.

3. Alien – Dark Eyes This reunion feels old and tired. Maybe Jim and Tony should have done something else besides reunite Alien. I strongly doubt that even the older fans are going to like this.

4. Danzig’s live show at Mejeriet in Lund This was a disappointment on all levels with only 150 people in a venue for 1000.

5. Meeting Max Cavalera… …only to find out that he refuses to sign the older Sepultura albums. his reason for not signing was that he’s not a part of the band. Has he forgotten that he was one of the founding members? I think he should be proud of what Sepultura has achieved.

Greatest Hopes For 2006

1. Maybe a reunion tour for Biohazard… …with the original line-up?

2. Sweden’s continuing production of… …great metal acts in all genres…and that Sweden keeps on dominating the metal scene throughout the world.

3. Iron Maiden Releasing a new studio album and hitting the road once again.

4. Glam/sleaze… …will keep on rising and the power metal genres fall.

5. Hardcore Superstar and Debase Get the acknowledgment they so strongly deserve.

Brat Top 20 Albums

1. Machine Men – Elegies

2. Vanishing Point – Embrace the Silence

3. Savage Circus – Dreamland Manor 4. Sentenced – The Funeral Album 5. Sha(a)man – Reason 6. Aquaria – Luxaeterna 7. Apocalyptica – Apocalyptica 8. Black Majesty – Silent Company 9. Dreamtale – Difference 10. Thunderstone – Tool of the Devil 11. Nevermore – This Godless Endeavour 12. Warmen – Accept the Fact 13. Kiuas – The Spirit of Ukko 14. Yngwie Malmsteen – Unleash the Fury 15. Gamma Ray – Majestic 16. Cloudscape – Cloudscape 17. Pathogen – Bloodline 18. Children of Bodom – Are You Dead Yet? 19. Dead Soul Tribe – The Dead World 20. Vision Divine – The Perfect Machine

Best New Band

Pathogen (Perth, Australia) This band blew away the crowds during their national support slot during the Children of Bodom tour in Australia.

Runner-up: Kiuas (Finland) Although not witnessed live yet, their debut album has lots of promise.

Best DVD

Edguy – Superheroes

This DVD captured the true nature of Edguy.

Runner-up: Twisted Sister – Live at Wacken


Stratovarius – S/T

Greatest Hopes For 2006

Nope so much a hope, but I’m really exited about what’s ahead for Nightwish.

Jacobo Top 20 Albums

1. Primordial – The Gathering Wilderness

2. Behemoth – Demigod

3) Rapture – Silent Stage 4) Slumber – Fallout 5) Amon Amarth – Fate of Norns 6) Kreator – Enemy of God 7) Mors Principium Est – The Unborn 8) Detonation – Portals of Uphobia 9) Dark Tranquillity – Character 10) Draconian – Arcane Rain Fell 11) Neaera – The Rising Tide of Oblivion 12) Opeth – Ghost Reveries 13) Evereve – Tried and Failed 14) Hypocrisy – Virus 15) Swallow the Sun – The Morning Never Came 16) Paradise Lost – Paradise Lost 17) Epoch of the Unlight – The Continumm Process 18) Judas Priest – Angel of Retribution 19) Mercenary – 11 Dreams 20) Arch Enemy – Doomsday Machine

Best New Band

Slumber Without a doubt Slumber. Their debut Fallout is a beautiful Doom/Goth/Death Metal masterpiece that will have you slicing your wrist in no time. Killer and emotive stuff!!!

Best DVD

It may sound weird, but I am not a fan of Metal DVD´s. Hopefully next year the Lords of Chaos movie will be my first ever Metal DVD. Let’s see.


1. Dream Theater – Octavarium 2. Extol – The Blueprint Dives 3. Sentenced – The Funeral Album 4. Metalcore

Greatest Hopes For 2006

1. That my second child is a boy (I don’t like knowing the sex beforehand) and eventually the greatest headbanger ever!!!

2. That Machine Head release a new CD in 2006. They are back on the track and can´t wait to hear their new offering.

3. I also hope that Sepultura re-unite with Max Cavalera and leave all their childish issues behind. I want to feel a kick ass tribal Metal punch in the face and this would be the only way to get my fix!!!

4. I want to see Metalcore dissapear forever. It is nothing but a bad and cheap rehash of Melodeath.

5. And last but not least, I want a new Disilussion CD. These guys are the promise of what’s to come in Metal!!!


Metal George Top 20 Albums

1. Darkane – Layers of Lies

2. Lordi – The Monster Show

3. Scar Symmetry-Symmetric in Design 4. Witchcraft-Firewood 5. Widow-On Fire 6. Reverend Bizarre-Crush the Insects 7. Ulver-Blood Inside 8. H.I.M.-“Dark Light” 9. Audrey Horne-No Hay Banda 10. Kiuas-The Spirit of Ukko 11. Masterplan-Aeronautics 12. Helloween-Keeper of the Seven Keys-The Legacy 13. Hypocrisy-Virus 14. Cathedral-The Garden of Unearthly Delights 15. Spiritual Beggars-Demons 16. Exodus-Shovel Headed Kill Machine 17. Axis of Perdition-Deleted Scenes From the Transition Hospital 18. Craft-Fuck the Universe 19. Akercocke-Words That Go Unspoken, Deeds That Go Undone 20. Charon-Songs For the Sinners

Best New Band

Scar Symmetry Classy, Melodic Death Metal untainted by silly New Wave haircuts and too-tight T-Shirts, yay!!

Best DVD

Evergrey – A Night to Remember


1. Opeth – Ghost Reveries A band whose time has passed, unfortunately.

2. Behemoth – Demigod Somewhere, Karl Sanders is counting his royalty checks…

3. Terror 2000 – Terror For Sale By far the most embarrassing piece of metal released this year. Inane vocals/lyrics courtesy of Speed Strid, and a cacophonic wind-tunnel of forgettable riffs made this album my frisbee bitch for about 4 months.

4. Various other follow-ups… …which, while not terrible, fell WAY below the benchmark (Impaled, The Duskfall, Destruction…I’m looking in your direction…)

5. Metalcore still exists.

Greatest Hopes For 2006

1. Less Metalcore bands wearing girls clothing. 2. Cheaper gig prices. 3. Cheaper gas prices to GET to the gigs. 4. Better line-ups at gigs (see Number One) 5. More quality releases than this year.

Swissman Top 20 Albums

1. Candlemass – Candlemass

2. Darkane – Layers of Life

3. Dew Scented – Issue 6 4. Exodus – Shovel Headed Kill Machine 5. Arch Enemy – Doomsday Machine 6. Holy Moses – Strength, Will and Passion 7. Reckless Tide – Repent or Seal you Fate 8. Children of Bodom – Are you Dead yet? 9. Vile – The New Age of Chaos 10. Dragonlord – Black Wings of Destiny 11. Face Down – Will to Power 12. Nevermore – This Godless Endeavor


1. Judas Priest – Angel of Retribution 2. No Death Angel Album 🙁

Greatest Hopes For 2006

– Celtic Frost world domination * Anger As Art becomes a household name * Jumalation devastating thrash attack * Candlemass US tour * Accept US tour * Coroner reunion * Poltergeist reunion * Messiah reunion just one more time. 🙂 * Death Angel album

Gabriel C. Zolman Top 20 Albums

1. Fields of the Nephilim – Mourning Sun

2. Biomechanical – The Empires of the Worlds

3. Blood Ritual – The Black Grimoire 4. Brainstorm – Liquid Monster 5. Crotchduster – Big Fat Box of Shit 6. Darkest Hour – Undoing Ruin 7. Dark Tranquillity – Character 8. Ewigkeit – Conspiritus 9. Ingurgitating Obliveon – Voyage Toward Abhorrence 10. Judas Priest – Angel of Retribution 11. Mercenery – 11 Dreams 12. Naglfar – Pariah 13. Nevermore – this Godless Endeavor 14. Nile – Annihilation of the Wicked 15. November’s Doom – the Pale Haunt Departure 16. Opeth – Ghost Reveries 17. Paradise Lost – S/t 18. Sangre – En Memoria 19. Sentenced – The Funeral Album 20. To/die/for – iv

Best New Band


Best DVD

NECROPHAGIA – Nightmare Scenarios

Disappointments AKA: DUDE, YOU SUCK:

1. Fear Factory – Archetype About half of this was decent…and then I saw it live—and they ruined even that.

2. Six Feet Under – 13 Hating this band is almost a sport, at this point. An easy one.

3. HIM – Dark Light As happy as I am to see them bringing Goth back to the mainstream…this is soooo not hetero.

4. Utuk Xul – Goat Of Black Possession This has the honor being the worst album I think I’ve ever heard. Think of the magnitude of that.

5. Extol – The Blueprint Dives Score one for Ol’ Splitfoot! Sorry Jesus; but hey—you still have Eva O. and Saviour Machine!

Greatest Hopes For 2006

1. DOWN III 2. MINISTRY – Rio Grande Blood 3. MZ. EVA O. & HER GUNS. 4. The new CELTIC FROST. 5. GHOUL becoming the next ACCUSED. 6. SPLATTERHOUSE defeating ABORTED in a cage match. etc….

Duke Top 20 Albums

1. Grand Magus – Wolf’s Return 2. Nevermore – This Godless Endeavor 3. Cathedral – The Garden of Unearthly Delights 4. Slough Feg – Atavism 5. Countess – Spawn of Steel 6. Stonegard – Arrows 7. Judas Priest – Angel of Retribution 8. Thyrfing – Farsotstider 9. Cryptopsy – Once Was Not 10. Hypocrisy – Virus 11. Candlemass – S/T 12. Spiritual Beggars – Demons 13. Primal Fear – Seven Seals 14. Grave Digger – the Last Supper 15. Strapping Young Lad – Alien 16. Bruce Dickinson – Tyranny of Souls 17. Savage Circus – Dreamland Manor 18. Kreator – Enemy of God 19. Meshuggah – Catch 33

Best New Band

Stonegard (Norway)

Best DVD

Judas Priest – Rising in the East

(Runner-up: Manowar – Hell on Earth IV)


1. Iommi – Fused 2. Stratovarius – S/T 3. Obituary – Frozen in Time 4. Exodus – Shovel Headed Kill Machine

Greatest Hopes For 2006

1. Savatage finally recording something – but I´m not holding my breath. 2. New Blind Guardian.

Shaq Top 20 Albums

1. Nevermore – This Godless Endeavour

2. Kamelot – The Black Halo

3) Opeth – Ghost Reveries 4) Circus Maximus – The 1st Chapter 5) Biomechanical – Empires of the Worlds 6) Dark Tranquility – Character 7) Savage Circus – Dreamland Manor 8) Epica – Consign to Oblivion 9) Hypocrisy – Virus 10) Sentenced – The Funeral Album 11) Primal Fear – Seven Seals 12) Scar Symmetry – Symmetric in Design 13) Brainstorm – Liquid Monster 14) Masterplan – Aeronautics 15) Kreator – Enemy of God 16) Rob Rock – Holy Hell 17) Gamma Ray – Majestic 18) Dragonlord – Black Wings of Destiny 19) Circle II Circle – The Middle of Nowhere 20) Strapping Young Lad – Alien

Best New Band

Circus Maximus

Best DVD

Evergrey – A Night to Remember


1) Children of Bodom – Are You Dead Yet? 2) Arch Enemy – Doomsday Machine 3) Overkill – ReliXIV 4) Soilwork – Stabbing the Drama 5) Stratovarius – S/T

Greatest Hopes For 2006

1) Queensryche – Operation Mindcrime:2 2) Blind Guardian 3) Symphony X



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