Heavy Metal Addiction 2010 Awards Week

2010 is almost over so that means it’s time for my year end awards! It’s been another awesome year for Hard Rock and Heavy metal and I have listened to more new albums, discovered more new bands and watched more new DVDs than any other year in Heavy Metal Addiction’s almost five year history! I have had more albums submitted for review this year than any other year as digital promos have taken over as the easiest way to get the word out as quickly as possible and I have done my part as a consumer and purchased plenty of new and old albums & DVDs from record stores, Ebay, online vendors and direct from bands and labels.

With all this music it’s been every hard to keep up so this has been the worst year for posting but I have made a serious push in November and December to listen to as many CDs, and watch as many DVDs, as possible to prepare for my year end lists. I have piles on my desk and boxes right next it chock full of CDs and DVDs released in 2010, as well as, albums I missed in 2009 so there’s a lot to write about and I will try and catch up on as many 2010 reviews as I can in early 2011. I have been re-listening to as many 2010 albums that I can so I can post my best and worst of 2010 lists, last year I did a Top 40 Best Of but this year I will pair it back down to a Top 30 again. I will post those picks along with my top 5 DVD picks, albums I missed in 2009 that could have made my best of 2009 list, and the last CD Scavenger Hunt of 2010…..a new feature will be The Top Miscellaneous Releases of 2010 and that will include any live albums, greatest hits packages, reissues, etc. that were released and need to be mentioned. I’ve got my sights set on 2011 and I expect and even bigger year in Hard Rock and Heavy Metal as I keep checking out new releases and catching up on things I missed from 2010!

Here is the schedule for the 2010 Awards Week:

Friday 12/24The final CD Scavenger Hunt of 2010

Saturday 12/25Albums I Missed in 2009

Sunday 12/26The Best Miscellaneous Releases of 2010

Monday 12/27The Top 5 DVDs of 2010

Tuesday 12/28The 5 Worst Albums of 2010

Wednesday 12/29The Top 30 Albums of 2010 (#21-#30)

Thursday 12/30The Top 30 Albums of 2010 (#11-#20)

Friday 12/31The Top 30 Albums of 2010 (#1-#10)

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For the last few years, a bunch of us bloggers/writers out there have linked our year end lists together and 2010 continues the tradition. The best thing about these lists is that there is always room for debate and there are always many albums some of us may have missed during the year. Please check out the websites below for more best of/worst of 2010 lists by some excellent writers with a serious passion for music. Some of the websites published their lists earlier in the month, some later and some as a month long daily post so check out the websites’ December 2010 archives for everyone’s picks. There may also be some lists that extend into January 2011 so bookmark these excellent websites and check them out daily for superb Hard Rock and Heavy Metal coverage.

All Metal Resourcehttp://allmetalresource.com/ 

Bring Back Glamhttp://bringbackglam.squarespace.com/

Hair Metal Mansionhttp://hairbangersradio.ning.com/

Hard Rock Hideouthttp://hardrockhideout.com/

Hard Rock Nightshttp://hardrocknights.com

Heavy Metal Addictionhttp://heavymetaladdiction.com/

Heavy Metal Time Machinehttp://metalmark.blogspot.com/

Imagine Echoeshttp://www.imagineechoes.com/

Layla’s Classic Rockhttp://laylasclassicrock.blogspot.com/

Metal Excesshttp://metalexcess.com/

The Metal Minutehttp://rayvanhornjr.blogspot.com/

Metal Odysseyhttp://metalodyssey.wordpress.com/

The Ripple Effecthttp://www.ripplemusic.blogspot.com/

Extreme – Take Us Alive: Boston 2009 (2010) CD & DVD

Extreme – Take Us Alive: Boston 2009 (2010, Frontiers Records)

  1. Decadence Dance
  2. Comfortably Dumb
  3. Rest In Peace
  4. It (‘s A Monster)
  5. Star
  6. Tell Me Something I Don’t Know
  7. Medley: Kid Ego, Little Girls, Teacher’s Pet, Play With Me
  8. Midnight Express
  9. More Than Words
  10. Ghost
  11. Cupid’s Dead
  12. Take Us Alive
  13. Flight Of The Wounded Bumblebee
  14. Get The Funk Out
  15. Am I Ever Gonna Change
  16. Hole Hearted

DVD Bonus Material: Videos for ‘King Of The Ladies’, ‘Interface’, ‘Run’, & ‘Ghost’ from SAUDADES DE ROCK (2008)

Band Lineup:
Nuno Bettencourt – Lead Guitar, Piano, Vocals
Gary Cherone – Lead Vocals
Pat Badger – Bass & Vocals
Kevin Figueiredo – Drums

Producers: Extreme & Devin DeHaven (DVD)

Country: USA

Total Time (DVD) = approx 2 hours (includes concert & bonus videos)
Total Time (CDs) = approx 1 hour 40 minutes

Extreme
Extreme MySpace page
Frontiers Records

Recorded live on August 8, 2009, TAKE US ALIVE is a live album and DVD that showcases Extreme playing in front of a sold out hometown crowd at the House Of Blues in Boston, MA. I was able to catch Extreme live a couple of years before in Boston at another venue while they were touring in support of their reunion but I was unable to catch this show last year. Now I’m kicking myself because, as the DVD shows, it was a solid energetic concert full of hits and new songs from their latest album SAUDADES DE ROCK (2008). What we have here is two separate releases a DVD and a 2 CD live album…..not sure why this can’t be packaged together as a special set but this seems to be the trend for most of the live CD and DVD releases this year.

DVD:
The DVD version of TAKE US ALIVE captures Extreme live on stage in front of a sold out Boston crowd. The DVD contains the full 16 song concert and has a bonus section that includes four music videos made for songs from the band’s latest studio album, SAUDADES DE ROCK (2008). As far as the setlist goes, you get all the big hits like ‘Decadence Dance’, ‘Rest In Peace’, ‘Get The Funk Out’, ‘More Than Words’ and ‘Hole Hearted’ alongside new songs like ‘Star’, ‘Ghost’, ‘Comfortably Dumb’ and ‘Take Us Alive’ and they all work well together. Extreme have always been excellent musicians and that always translated into their songwriting and performances and this DVD really showcases how well the band plays and interacts on stage. I’ve been a fan of the band since their first album, only saw the band live once back in 2006, so I was really analyzing how the band played live. First off, drummer Kevin Figueiredo, who played on SAUDADES DE ROCK (2008), plays solidly throughout the show and fits seemlessly into the band. Back in 2006, the reunion show in Boston had original drummer Paul Geary on the kit, as well as, a guest appearance by Mike Mangini who ended up replacing Geary. For some reason, I was looking for one of these guys on the drums but Figueiredo is excellent. Turns out that Paul Geary is one of the band’s managers now! The energy of the band is powerful…..Gary Cherone prowls the stage with serious presence and superb vocals, Nuno Bettencourt is every bit the guitar god he has been made out to be and Pat Badger is the solid rock that keeps it all together. Honestly, I couldn’t believe the energy Cherone has on stage, this guy is pushing 50 and in excellent shape but he moves and sings like he was back in his 20s. Nuno’s guitar work is awesome, giving me a fresh appreciation for the man’s skills, and he really shines both on the electric and acoustic, touring with Pop superstar Rihanna hasn’t dulled his Hard Rock skills at all. I guess what I took most out of this DVD was how much fun an Extreme show is and how many solid songs these guys have. We all know the hits and they are the highlights of the show but the newer songs off the latest record are great too. Best one of the four is ‘Star’ because it sounds like classic Extreme and features their signature harmonies but ‘Ghost’ was also solid live. The highlight for me was the medley of songs from the first Extreme record released in 1989: ‘Kid Ego’, ‘Little Girls’, Teacher’s Pet’ and ‘Play With Me’…..that debut record is still my favorite and it brings back a ton of memories, good to see the band still play stuff from it. There’s no bonus material listed on the packaging but I found some on the DVD menu…..four videos from the SAUDADES DE ROCK album, best of the bunch being ‘King Of The Ladies’. It’s great that the band included these here because you’ll never see them on MTV or VH-1 Classic. The booklet is sparse, just pictures of the band members with the credits on the inside panel of the DVD digipak.

CD:
As far as the double CD live album goes, well, it’s basically the same thing as the DVD just without the visuals and the bonus videos obviously. The booklet is sparse also but the band pictures are different and the credits are in the booklet and not on the digipak. I like having the live album for the car, iPod and stereo and the concert holds up well in an audio-only format.

Bottom Line:
TAKE US ALIVE is a solid live release both on DVD and CD. I’ve been an Extreme fan since their first album back in 1989 and I’m surprised that they don’t already have a live album out there. TAKE US ALIVE is worth checking out because Extreme has a ton of great songs and the performance is great but it’s also a great way to experience some of their new material. For me, a must have release…..a little short on extras, although the videos were a nice surprise, but the concert speaks for itself.