Best of 2014 – JP
1. Gamma Ray-Empire Of The Undead (EarMusic)
A raging return to form after the (mildly) disappointing TO THE METAL This one has it all; epics, fast songs, catchy songs, stellar performances and a faster, darker heavier direction than the past several years. The new drummer adds new fire to the band as well. Superb!
2. Riot-Unleash The Fire
Best Live Album
Yngwie J. Malmsteen- Spellbound-Live In Tampa (King)
Recorded on the final night of the North American leg of his 2013 Spellbound World Tour, this 2 CD, 30-song, career-spanning set sees the maestro at the height of his god-like powers.
Sodom-Sacred Warparth (SPV)
Not too many amazing EP’s this year but this teaser for next years album is pretty cool.
Best Remake album
Manowar-Kings Of Metal. (Magic Circle)
This amazing 25th Anniversary re-recording really bring to life the iconic album. Fantastic packaging! Two discs, with nine bonus tracks, two full booklets with essays, liner notes and more, all housed in a box. Superb.
Best Covers album
Various Artists-The Keepers Of Jericho-A Tribute To Helloween Parts I & II. (End Of The Light)
Even though this is a 2 CD reissue of the classic set originally available on Arise Records 12 years ago, it is still better than the few covers albums that came out this year. Runner up: Great White-Saturday Night Special.
Heavy Metal Movies by Mike McPadden Beardo (Bazillion Points)
A fantastic film guide of all things Metal.
Metal Down Under. This three hour history of Australian Heavy Metal was excellent.
I saw almost 75 bands this year so this one was hard to decide. Sonata Arctica w. Delain and Xandria
Best local band
Kobra And The Lotus. (Titan)
Calgary’s biggest and most successful Metal band. www.kobraandthelotus.com
Best new band
Crosswind-Vicious Dominion. (No Remorse) This Greek Power Metal band lived up to the promise of their two incredible demos.
A perfect blend of Icon, Scorpions, Fifth Angel and heavy Dokken.
Predictions for 2015
W.A.S.P.’s Blackie Lawless decides to release the mountain of archived footage (and the long-lost Japanese only video collection) in a cool, historical 3+ DVD set. Blackie also finishes his autobiography he has been rumored to have working on for years. (Carried over from 2010, again).
Matos just rejoined Viper. Can Viper make good Power Metal record again like they did in the 80’s? (Carried over from 2013).
New WA.S.P. album. It’s been six long years since Babylon. Can Blackie come roaring back? We hope so! (carried over from 2012).
Most Anticipated Albums
1. Serious Black-As Daylight Breaks Featuring past or present members of Blind Guardian, Dreamscape, Edenbridge, Helloween, Masterplan, Savage Circus, Tad Morose, Visions Of Atlantis and more.
2. Level 10-Chapter One. Featuring past or present members of Annihilator, Helloween, Masterplan, Primal Fear, Silent Force, Sinner, Symphony X, Voodoo Circle and more.
3. Marius Danielson-The Legend Of Valley Doom featuring past or present members of Almah, Angra, Dark Moor, Dragonland, Fairyland, Falconer, Iced Earth, Iron Mask, Judas Priest, Manowar, Metalium, Savatage, Stratovarius, Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force, Zandelle and more.
4. Blackwelder- Featuring past or present members of Primal Fear, Gamma Ray, Angra, Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force and more
5. New Cain’s Offering-Featuring past or present members of Sonata Arctica, Stratovarius, Dio, Paul Di’anno, Yngwie Malmsteen and more.
6. New W.A.S.P. It has been six years since BABYLON the longest stretch between W.A.S.P. albums.
7. New Yngwie J. Malmsteen.