Best of 2011 – Carlos

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Best of 2011 – Carlos M. Llanas

2011 has seen some great album releases.  Both from old bands, and new.  It was a strong year for metal, and we can only hope that next year is even better.  All year long, I sit and compare my favorite albums, and making a list of your those albums can be quite difficult.  I had a tough time making my top 5 list.  Many hours of re-listening, comparing, and most importantly, seeing if you can enjoy some beers with the album =) here is the list of my top 20 albums.  I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it.

1. Riot – Immortal Soul


Immortal Soul is my album of the year.  It is a masterpiece from start to finish.  From the moment I first heard tunes like "Riot","Wings are for Angels" and "Whiskey Man"  I knew that this album was going to be one of my top 3 of the year…well…it made #1.  This release is an echoe from the "Thundersteel" album released back in ’88 and even has the same line-up.  The return of Tony Moore really made a huge difference , and the guitar wizardry of Mark Reale of course.  The mixture of Tony’s soaring vocals and Mark’s amazing guitar skill makes this album a must own for fans of the "Privilege of Power" and "Thundersteel" era Riot.  You know an album is good when you get goosebumps every time you listen to it.

2.  Deceased – Surreal Overdose

(Check out the review for June 2011)

This was a very close call and Deceased could have easily been #1.  "Surreal Overdose" is fantastic.  The songs are fast, creepy, and full of energy.  The return of King Fowley on the drums for this album gave it a really old school Deceased sound and feel.  Tunes like "Kindred Assembly" and "Cloned (Day of the Robot)" are nothing shy of incredible.  I almost destroyed my whole house when I first heard this release.  If you like "Blue Prints for Madness" or "Fearless Undead Machines" then pick this bad mother fucker up.  Any fan of Deceased is sure to enjoy this well made album.

3.  Twisted Tower Dire – Make it Dark (Check out Robert Williams review for May 2011)

4.  Arch Matheos – Sympathetic Resonance

5.  Entrench – Innevitable Decay (Check out my 2011 review)

6.  Anvil – Juggernaut of Justice

7.  T.I.R. – Heavy Metal (Check out my 2011 review)

9.  Widow – Life’s Blood (Check out my 2011 review)

10. Saxon – Call to Arms

11. U.D.O. – Rev Raptor

12. Evil United – Evil United

13. The Rods – Vengeance

14. Battlerage – True Metal Victory

15. Rhapsody of Fire – From Chaos to Eternity

16. Pegan’s Mind – Heavenly Ecstasy

17. Pentagram – Last Rites

18. Stormwarrior – Heathen Warrior

19. Tyr – The End of Thrym

20. Evile – Five Serpent’s Teeth

Best New Band:  T.I.R

These guys have been around since the 80’s, but their debut album did not release till 2011.  T.I.R is one of the best bands I’ve heard in a long time.  They are as old school as it gets.  Most of the songs were writen in the 80’s so they give off a very legit and classic sound.  If you like old traditional heavy metal, then it would be wise to pick up their album "Heavy metal".  I hope I get to see these guys live sometime.  I just hope I don’t have to fly to Italy to do it =)

Best Metal Reissue

Death Strike-Fuckin’ Death

Best DVD/Blue-Ray

Grave Digger-The Clans are Still Marching

This DVD was very enjoyable!  Their live sound is fantastic, and their stage presence is great. I have never seen the Digger live before, but this release really made me feel as if I were there.  The setlist was great and the crowd reaction was really good too.

Chris Boltendahl-Vocals

Stefan Arnold-Drums

Jens Becker-Bass

H.P. Katzenburg-Keyboards

Axel "Ironfinger" Ritt-Guitars

Fans of Grave Digger do yourself a favor and pick this up.  If you like their new album and sound you will not be dissapointed.

Best Metal Discovery of 2011

Heavy Chainzz-Hypermatic Hellraisers

This band only released a demo in the 80’s, but it fucking RULES.  My brother Andy came to me one day and said "You have to check this out", and I was immediately surprised on how good it sounded. The track "Fighting with Satan" was also on the Satan’s Revenge compilation.  If you have not done so please youtube Heavy Chainzz-Fighting with Satan and be prepared to get your ear vaginas pounded.

Best Stadium Concert

Judas Priest w/ Thin Lizzy at the AT&T center in San Antonio, Texas.  The night of October 12th, 2011 was the date of the show.  I remember being anxious all day and waiting to take off from Austin to San Antonio.  Upon arriving me and my brother Andy proceeded to slam beers in the parking lot.  When we entered the venue…Priest was about to go on…we waited in anticipation and then we heard "Rapid Fire" start…my heart melted and my beer was raised high.  The setlist was incredible.  They played songs I’ve never seen live before like "The Sentinal" and "Nightcrawler", and is by far the best stadium concert of 2011.

Best club/theater Concert

Deceased during the "Goregrowlers Ball" festival on November 19th, 2011.  This was one of the coolest shows I’ve seen.  Deceased just obliterated the stage and the whole band was bursting with energy.  King was as crazy as ever, but atleast he didn’t launch me off the stage to crowd surf.  He usually does it every year lol!  I just wish they had a longer set, but time was running short.  Needless to say, It was just an incredible night.

Best Festival

South Texas Rockfest in San Antonio, Texas on October 7th-8th with Saxon, Dio Desciples, and UFO.  This festival was really fucking good.  Me and my brothers Robert Williams and Andy Gonzales took the trip to San Antonio to do some interviews for and ended up having the time of our lives.  Saxon destroyed with a long set of nothing but classics, and of course, Dio Desciples was incredible too.  To hear some of the songs created by the late great Ronnie James Dio is always an amazing journey.   Brother Williams even got a picture with Wendy Dio!  You better believe we ended up backstage drinking beers.

Best Local Band

Witches Mark is hands down the best band in town. Hailing from Austin, Texas, they keep it true with their style and ability to create catchy and memorable songs. I can’t wait for some live shows!!! The band is also home to our very own Robert Williams.  If you have not checked out their first album "A Grim Apparition" I suggest you order yourself a copy; It is metal to the bone.  The mixture of Doom, Power, and hints of Black Metal make this album a must own.  Also, keep an eye for their new album set to release very soon!

Dissapointments of 2011

As we all know, not every year is going to be full of amazing releases or expect everything to sound like you wanted. Here are my disappointments for 2011.

Alice Cooper-"Welcome 2 My Nightmare"

I was very disappointed with the path and choices that Alice Cooper made on his release "Welcome 2 My Nightmare".  Did you seriously think Ke$ha would be a great choice to work with for a Metal/Hard Rock album?  Why in the hell did you use Auto-Tune?  Come on Cooper you let me down! Instead of trying to appeal to a new audience, just stay true to yourself

Queensryche-"Dedicated to Chaos"

This was another disappointment to me this year.  I was really expecting some thing great from this album.  When I first heard that they will be releasing a new record I was excited and even thought about how I wish it sounded like "Operation Mindcrime", but I was dead wrong.  It sounds nothing like it. In fact, it sounds awful.  I don’t know what they were tryng to do, but I was very dissapointed in it as a whole.  Robert Williams put it in the best way possible; "It sounds like it belongs on a tampon commercial."

Hopes for 2012

Judas Priest – I saw Judas Priest kick ass all over the stage in 2011.  As good as Richie Faulkner was, I would have loved to have seen K.K. Downing on stage again for the last time.  I hope that in 2011 K.K. returns to Priest and does one last tour.  I know it will probably never happen, but I can sure hope it does.

Core – I hope everything "Core" dies out.  Metal is like an apple…the "Core" belongs in the trash.

Releases – With the way 2011 looked, alot of great bands released some killer albums.  I hope that these bands continue their path of metal glory and don’t end up on my "Dissapointments for 2012" section next year.

Interviews –  In 2012, I hope to kick the interiews and reviews into high gear.  I want to interview the best, and see the best concerts.


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