Saturday, 30 January 2010

Top 30 albums of 2009

Finally I can post my top 30 albums for 2009. After all the other lists in various genres I can fully concentrate on my favourite styles such as power metal and anything which puts melody at the forefront.

30. Saint Deamon - Pandeamonium
Melodic power metal gem. Trust me it's not easy to gain a place in the top 30 and Saint Deamon deserve their place.

29. Coldspell - Infinite Stargaze
A new melodic metal band with great songs and vocals. Typical stuff that I like but when it's done this well who can resist?

28. Hammerfall - No Scarifice, No Victory
A really good album from the Hammers. They know the book of heavy metal from A-Z.

27. Wizard - Thor
A great effort after being in the doldrums a bit. Every time any band sings about Vikings it normally ends up being good. Almost anyway!

26. Free Spirit - Pale Sister of Light
Another new melodic rock band with a great debut. Sumptuous catchy melodic rock with melodies to enjoy over and over again.

25. Dark Moor - Autumnal
Perennial Spanish symphonic power metal stalwarts with many great albums under their belt, deliver yet another highlight. Possibly the best Spanish band in this style ever.

24. Wolf - Ravenous
A very consistent band and Ravenous continues their trad metal legacy in great style.

23. While Heaven Wept - Vast Oceans Lachrymose
Melodic doom power masterpiece. They used to be more doom but now the power metal quotient has been increased which is no bad thing. Epic!

22. Cain's Offering - Gather The Faithful
The real Sonata Arctica disk! And Timo sings much better than he does in his day job.

21. DGM - FrAme
Amazing prog power band with huge production values. The singer from the last album is gone but the new chap is acceptable indeed. Musically as ambitious as it gets.

20. Vindictiv - Ground Zero
The second Vindictiv album is even better than the first. Featuring in the main the amazing vocals of Swedish legend Goran Edman. The music is the usual melodic, neo-classical riff and solo heaven that Swedes deliver with their eyes closed.

19. Crash The System - The Crowning
Another new band which reads like the who's who of Swedish melodic rock and AOR. Once again the vocals of Thomas Vikstrom are amazing on the songs that he sings.

18. Voyager - I am the reVolution
One of the best hybrid bands in modern times, mixing elements of prog/power to perfection. The gentle melodic vocals can often be hypnotic and the patterns weaved by the music are completely enchanting.

17. Cage - Science Of Annihilation
Pure power speed metal from the American kings of heavy power metal. Planet Crusher!!!

16. Redemption - Snowfall on Judgement Day
Epic and melodic prog metal doesn't really get much better than this. Great songs and vocals with top class instrumentation and production.

15. Bloodbound - Tabula Rasa
With Urban back and a whole new sound, Bloodbound took the bull by the horns in this release. Consistently melodic, streamlined and catchy.

14. Candlemass - Death Magic Doom
The kings of doom hit their stride in this release with added power metal elements as well as the usual melodic doom. Great memorable song writing is what wins them many accolades from the metal hordes in the end.

13. Megadeth - Endgame
Well I'm a Mega fanboy so it's a no brainer. Much more intense than United Abominations but perhaps lacking some of the catchier melodies of the predecessor. Still it's Megadeth so it must fucking rule!

12. Jorn - Spirit Black
Usual story from workaholic Jorn. Kick ass heavy as lead melodic rock with Jorn's customary amazing vocals. Can't wait for Masterplan's new disk with Jorn back on the mic where he belongs.

11. Kings Of Modesty - Hell Or Highwater
Yet another new Finnish comes out of the blue with a sparkling melodic metal gem with some progressive tendencies. However it's the melodies that win me over.

10. Fairyland - A Score to a New Beginning
As good as it gets symphonic power metal. The rightful heir to Rhapsody's vacated throne as the kings of the style. We await Rhapsody's return with bated breath though!

9. On The Rise - Dream Zone
AOR killer rises from the depths once again. This is the band's second album after 6-7 years and boy what a great album it is. Perfect marriage between classic Survivor with a modern edge.

8. Praying Mantis - Sanctuary
The oldest band in the list delivers a fantastically fresh and exciting melodic rock album with a brilliant new singer. Great old band and album still rocking hard.

7. Creed - Full Circle
My favourite modern rock album of 2009 by miles. The Alter Bridge guys got back with Scott Stapp and really delivered the goods with huge soaring choruses and full bodied rock. A big surprise and personally speaking, a brilliant record from start to finish.

6. Impellitteri - Wicked Maiden
After waiting an age finally the new Impellitteri album hit the shelves early last year with Rob Rock once again back in tandem with the shredmaster himself. Yngwie who?

5. Leverage - Circus Colossus
You can't go wrong with these guys. Finnish kings of melodic metal deliver a seriously addictive set of songs once again.

4. Danger Danger - Revolve
A huge and colossal come back from Danger Danger with Ted Poley singing better than he ever has. The songs are mainly pure gold with hardly a filler in sight with a few orgasmic efforts. Melodic rock doesn't get too much better than this!

3. W.E.T. - st
Well OK, Danger Danger was good but there were two better melodic rock AOR disk this year and the debut W.E.T. was one of 'em. The trio of members deliver melodic rock anthems that will fill your head and heart with pure melodic joy. Can't wait for the follow up!

2. Place Vendome - Streets of Fire
And the second disk better than Danger Danger in the melodic rock field was of course this gem of an album. With songs like these and Michael Kiske's amazing vocals you just can't go wrong. The good thing is that even though there are many different song writers the standard remains consistently amazing. Let's hope there's a 3rd PV disk pretty soon!

1. Powerwolf - Bible of the Beast
Finally we reach my top disk of the year! Powerwolf are a slightly tongue in cheek type of band with a lupine fixation to say the least, but when your songs are this outrageously, over the top catchy, who friggin cares! The vocals from Attila Dorn are something to be hold with melodies which stick like superglue lending the songs a somewhat operatic symphonic edge. An amazing album and I thought they couldn't top their previous album. I was plain wrong. Bravo for the 'wolf!

Friday, 22 January 2010

First gig of the year!

First post and first gig of the year. Generally things have got off to a poor start in 2010. My computer is still knackered and now the charger has died. I have ordered a new one but unfortunately it's coming from bloody Hong Kong and taking an eternity. If I had any sense I would have waited and ordered from ebay and got it a bit cheaper but I jumped in again and for soem damn reason the company is taking an eternity to send it.

Anyway I had a ticket for Stratovarius and Mystic Prophecy but didn't go as I really really couldn't be arsed that night. It was dead cold as well. Funnily enough the previous Thursday I had a ticket for the Ignominious Incarceration gig and I wouldn't have gone to that either, but thankfully it was cancelled and put back to the 21st which was just last night.

So off I sauntered to that one at the Underworld. A five band bill all in all and plenty of value for the very cheap £7 entrance fee. The bill included 3 bands I hadn't heard of and 2 that I had.

First up was some melodic deathcore band called Into Exile. They were not bad but did not do much for me. The vocals were as usual hardcore barking and not my cuppa but the band had decent riffage with the customary hardcore breakdowns and posturing.

Next up were a typical metalcore band called Reasonable Doubt. I liked them a bit better than the first band but still there wasn't much love from me.

Next up were a four piece band called Snakebite. Again I've never heard of them, but they easily received the best reaction of the night from the 150-200 or so punters who turned up. I must admit I was completely won over by these guys especially the guitarist. That dude is fucking super talented. His riffs and solos were ultra fucking groovy and catchy and seemed almost out of place on a metalcore type band. For Metalcore is what Snakebite are in the end but I must admit that they completely won me over as I said. The frontman was a charismatic crazy loon as well and kept going on about something or other. The sound for their set was amazing as well. Perfect balance and crystal clear between guitars, bass and drums. At the end of their set I quickly went and bought their EP from the merch stand for a fiver. I haven't played it yet but I hope they live up to the live show they gave which was absolutely incendiary.

Next up were UK's number one melodic death band, Denounce. I had bought their cracking debut album last year and didn't want to miss this opportunity of catching them live and boy did they not disappoint! These guys should be huge stars in the melodic death underground believe me. The only thing that spoiled the set was a slightly too loud mix which was previously perfect for Snakebite. It seems they turned it up loads for this. It was still clear but almost jarring. These guys were just super hot, blistering riff after blistering riff they crushed the first few rows and got a super reaction. The only thing they might need to work on is a little more in the way of dynamics, cause songs tended to blur into one another but what a fucking song to have in you arsenal. Hyper aggressive melodic death mastery from Denounce!

Finally at the reasonably late hour of 10.30 Ignominious Incarceration finally took to the stage and they perhaps played to the smallest crowd of the night which was a shame but I guess it was late and the crowd was a bit tired. Anyway these guys were the main reason I was there as I love Of Winter Born their debut album and damn though they only played for half an hour, they did not disappoint me at all. They are just super tight as a band. The vocals are slightly metalcore but I will forgive them this as the frontman is quite engaging with his torturous face pulls. The guitarist with the fucking tattoos is absolutely sick! He nailed the amazing riffs from the debut and they also played a new track which seems to carry on from where OWB left off. Like I said they only played 30 minutes but they ruled. I love their melodic and technical sound and they played it to perfection live. I look forward to their new album. These guys fucking rule!

Overall an enjoyable night for a bargain price. Can't be bad can it!