Well 2010 has got off to a brilliant start as far I'm concerned. Some great albums have been released so early in the year and I hope we've not shot our bolt eary as the saying goes!
Gamma Ray - To The Metal.
Not the best of this bunch but it holds it's own. The "Kiske" song whose title escapes me right now is absolutely brilliant and the album is fairly consistent in my eyes. One song sees Kai doing his best Halford impression again the title is not at hand. Other songs show the usual Maiden worship that kai is well known for. And yes "To The Metal" the song is not representative of the album as a whole but when listened in between the other songs, sounds fine and shows that the album has good variety.
Freedom Call - Legend of the Shadowking
Some of the anthemic choruses here are way over the top catchy. I am not totally won over by the slower moments as I recall. However the album is a genuine highlight over all with great choruses.
Fozzy - Chasing the Grail
Not exactly a power metal record but has more to do with PM than their previous album being far faster and shreddier than All That Remains which I was a massive fan of. My first listen to this whilst good left me thinking it could have more songs like Enemy from the debut. I do however love the 2 songs Watch Me Shine and broken Soul which is my fave song on first play though there are other great tunes too. This will grow on me I'm sure.
Orden Ogan - Easton Hope
Talked a little about it already. I think it's head and shoulders above Vale. I am still not a fan of the singer but I think he's improved a bit since the debut album. The choirs are totally amazing and the Blind Guardian worship seems very evident. Although I have never been able to appreciate the Guardian as much as their legions of fans, I think this album is better than any BG record I've ever heard.
Dream Evil - In The Night
I read some pre-album hype saying this album was better than United. I thought that album was absolutely fantastic but I have to admit these previews are not far wrong. This is easily the heaviest DE album. Niclas sounds the most aggressive he has ever done and sings some seriously addictive melodies with huge gang vocals as well. The songs are huge and the guitar crunch dislodges any loose fillings you've got in your molars!
Versailles - Jubilee
Now this one is maybe not gonna be for everyone but I found this album to be totally over the top amazing. The talent in this band is unbelievable. The music is hyper melodic shred metal with Japanese vocals which is gonna be the problem for most. However I think the singer is fine for this band. The music is so expansive and wide rnaging in scope that leaves me bemused a lot of the time. They even include latin elements in one tune which goes down fantastically well. One of the best symphonic power metal albums ever IMO.
Astral Doors - Requiem of Time
Been in love with this band since the beginning and the love affair shows no sign of ending. In fact it grows stronger with this album. They've changed tack slightly and gone back to the classic heavy rock style and reduced the more power metal elements from the last album. In the end when you have one of the best singers in rock and metal today at the helm it's hard to go wrong and go wrong they jolly well don't! It's hard to even say which are my fave songs but I will list 3. Power and the Glory, St. Peter's Cross and I think my fave song of all the hugely er...anthemic Anthem of the Dark! Unbelievable album really and in time might be their best ever.
Rage - Strings to a Web.
Finally the most amazing album of 2010 so far. This is just absolutely incredible. I can't find a single fault or something about it that I don't like. Everything is perfection as far as I'm concerned. Viktor is pulling out riffs that will leave your jaw nailed to the floor and then some. It seems that he's been practicing loads cause the technical level of the riffs has gone through the roof. This is just blazing guitar with both groove and melody and of course his leads are brilliantly melodic as always. The sound of the album is fantastic too with awesome thick crunch and still warm which makes for a great listening experience. Peavy sounds great and it seems he worked really hard to make the choruses on each song outstandingly memorable. So much so that I can't pick a fave song amongst this bunch at the moment anyway. However I will mention Hunter and prey and The beggar's Last Dime as being two of the best. The symphonic songs are very tastefully done as well. Rage just gets better and better. I loved the last album and I have to say this album already betters it. This might be the best album of Rage's career, it's that good IMO. So a great start in 2010 and let's hope it continues. It's gotta be some album that will knock Rage off it's "fave album of 2010 perch" I can tell you for nothing!(only band that has a chance is the Saba warmachine!)