Posts Tagged ‘3 Inches Of Blood’

2012 is over so that means it’s time for my year end awards! It’s been another awesome year for Hard Rock and Heavy Metal with so many releases on CD, DVD, Vinyl and Digital formats, not just new studio albums but also live records, reissues and special edition releases. I have had more albums submitted for review this year from bands, labels and PR agents 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. The only problem has been finding the time to do through everything!

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 said the same thing at the end of 2010 & 2011 but 2012 was in fact the worst year for posting at Heavy Metal Addiction…..I only managed to post 19 times! I couldn’t even break 20 posts on a blog I started 7 years ago as an extension of my hobby! Pathetic! Obviously sitting in front of a computer writing wasn’t something that interested me again this year.

I did listen to a lot of albums this year but I stayed mainly with albums in my collection even though I have piles on my desk, and in boxes right next it, chock full of CDs and DVDs released in 2011 and 2012. I bought a ton of new releases as they came out and I’ve spent some time listening to them, I just didn’t get around to writing about them. I haven’t completely abandoned this website as I plan to continue it because there’s a lot to write about and I will try and catch up on as many reviews as I can but the reality is that there’s no way to “catch up”. I think it’s best to try and concentrate on 2013 and add in what I can from previous years.

I have been re-listening to as many 2012 albums that I can since November so I can post my year end awards. Usually I break this up into a week’s worth of posts but I decided to take advantage of a couple new WordPress features and do it all as one big article. I’m pairing down my lists a bit to give you the absolute cream of the crop in each category and I’ve also decided to re-define a couple categories. This year the Best DVD category will include DVDs that came with CD releases, because that seems to be the current trend,  and the Worst Album category will get a name change to Most Disappointing Album so I can try and maintain some positive spin…..but if an album makes it into this category, then I thought it sucked! Last is the Miscellaneous Release category, that stays the same but there could be some crossover between this and the Best DVD category with all the multiple CD and DVD or Blu-Ray combo releases coming out. I tried to limit the crossovers but the best package is going to get on both lists.

That’s all I’ve got for changes so I hope you enjoy the 2012 awards, please leave comments and give me your thoughts on what was the best & worst of the past year. I’ve got my sights set on 2013 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 the last couple of years.

The Top 15 Albums of 2012

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  1. Van Halen – A Different Kind Of Truth
  2. UFO – Seven Deadly
  3. 3 Inches Of Blood – Long Live Heavy Metal
  4. KISS – Monster
  5. Accept – Stalingrad
  6. Nightwish – Imaginaerum
  7. The Darkness – Hot Cakes
  8. Kamelot – Silverthorn
  9. Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage
  10. Testament – Dark Roots Of Earth
  11. Rush – Clockwork Angels
  12. Lynyrd Skynyrd – Last Of A Dyin’ Breed
  13. Lita Ford – Living Like A Runaway
  14. L.A. Guns – Hollywood Forever
  15. Lamb Of God – Resolution

There were a ton a great albums in 2012 but only one album can earn the top honor of being the best of the year and that is reserved for A Different Kind Of Truth from the “reunited” Van Halen. By reuniting with David Lee Roth a few years ago, the only thing the Van Halen brothers had to do was release a new album with Diamond Dave on lead vocals. Let’s call it like it truly is: this isn’t a TRUE Van Halen reunion because Michael Anthony is out of the band and replaced by Eddie’s son Wolfgang. The good news is that A Different Kind Of Truth is a great album! Forget the fact that Eddie and Alex went through the Van Halen tape vault for ideas because EVERY band does it…..hasn’t the father of Heavy Metal, Tony Iommi, stated often that he has tapes of riffs for miles? Every band looks for ideas and revisits demos and music they created years before, it’s the updating that counts. This album has that unmistakable classic Diamond Dave/Van Halen sound circa the late ’70s and early ’80s and, even though he’s a bit older, Dave does a great job on the mic. The first single, ‘Tattoo’, wasn’t the best song on the album and might have been better suited to a follow-up single but everything after is classic Van Halen. ‘She’s The Woman’ is a re-worked demo from the ’70s that is clearly the best song on the album for me and it definitely fits that 1984 album era well. ‘China Town’, ‘Blood And Fire’, ‘Stay Frosty’, ‘Big River’…..all new Van Halen classics that sit right up against anything in their back catalog. A Different Kind Of Truth is the true follow-up to 1984, unfortunately 28 years after the fact, and it’s my top album of 2012.

Taking a look at the rest of the Top 5…..UFO released Seven Deadly and earned the 2nd spot with another excellent album of bluesy Hard Rock. UFO has done much wrong since they came back in 1995 and I can’t find a weak track on the album. Phil Mogg’s lyrics are modern poetry and there is no slack in the guitar department because Vinnie Moore has more than a few albums under his belt with the band. Hard to pick a favorite track here but ‘The Last Stone Rider’ is my favorite this week! Had Van Halen not released their new record, UFO would easily be #1. The third best goes to 3 Inches of Blood with Long Live Heavy Metal, probably the best pure and traditional Heavy Metal record of the year. Take one listen to the opener ‘Metal Woman’ or the Judas Priest influenced ‘Leather Lord’ and that’s a great example of not only this record but the band’s career. Of all the Metal albums I heard this year, 3 Inches of Blood got the most rotation on my stereo and iPod. My favorite band KISS comes up a bit short of the top spot but still maintains the #4 album with Monster. When it comes to KISS, I’m extremely critical because they are my favorite band and they have barely released anything since new in 15 years. We got Sonic Boom in 2009 and it took the top spot that year and Monster is just as good but I had a harder time getting into it like I did with Sonic Boom. Maybe it was the anticipation of the previous album, or the travelling circus atmosphere that KISS creates with everything they do, but after repeated listens the album is just as good if not better. Anyone worrying about Dave, Eddie and Alex recycling should give Gene Simmons grief too because it’s obvious he does it but his songs are the better ones on the album. Paul Stanley has great moments too but I worried about his vocal issues going in and Gene hasn’t lost a step vocally. a lot of good songs here: ‘Wall Of Sound’, ‘Back To The Stone Age’, ‘Shout Mercy’ and ‘Eat Your Heart Out’…..here’s hoping they give us another one! Rounding out the Top 5 is Accept’s Stalingrad, the second record to feature new vocalist Mark Tornillo (formerly of TT Quick). The last Accept album with Mark debuting on vocals, Blood Of The Nations, was a superb record and Stalingrad is a great follow-up and it might be more powerful. I think Accept shares the same fate as KISS here, the anticipation for the first new album was so high on my part that a second release suffers just a little. Don’t get me wrong, ‘Hung, Drawn and Quartered’, the title track, and ‘Shadow Soldiers’ are awesome tunes but can anyone explain the meaning behind ‘Flash To Bang Time’?

Rounding out the Top 15…..Nightwish’s Imaginaerum was very close to the Top 5 but came up short because they first 5 albums were so good. I expected nothing from The Darkness but I bought Hot Cakes when it came out and I loved it immeadiately, same thing with Silverthorn from Kamelot despite the change at singer. Gojira was a surprise of the year because I’d never bought an album from them before and L’Enfant Sauvage kicked major ass, so did the new Testament album at #10 and the new Lamb of God at #15, giving the more extreme side of Metal a presence. Rush picked up #11 with Clockwork Angels but I expected a great album so their was no surprise there but Lynyrd Skynyrd surprised with their latest album proving that good music always prevails despite the genre, time or legacy. Lita Ford had a great comeback with Living Like A Runaway, a very introspective Hard Rock record, especially after the debacle of Wicked Wonderland and L.A. Guns proved that they still write great songs and that usually the lead singer’s version of the band will always out do the founding guitarist’s version because the singing voice is the most identifiable thing to most fans.

The 5 Most Disappointing Albums of 2012

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  1. Aerosmith – Music From Another Dimension
  2. Steve Harris – British Lion
  3. Geoff Tate – Kings & Thieves
  4. Slash – Apocalyptic Love
  5. Great White – Elation

Usually I call this “the worst albums” of whatever year it is but I wanted to keep a positive spin on this category because who am I to say an album sucks? I have no musical talent, I don’t write songs or play an instrument. I could change it back next year if a bunch of albums do indeed suck but, for 2012, these are the most disappointing records of the year. I heard the first two singles from the new Aerosmith album and I was hooked right away, especially with ‘Lover A Lot’, but the bulk of Music From Another Dimension sounded formulaic and forced. Too many outside writers, too many ballads, too many predictable songs. Do we need another Diane Warren ballad? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it and the ballad is what gave the band ultra-success from the Pump record straight through Nine Lives. I was really looking forward to a reunited Aerosmith and a bunch of rocking songs but there’s too much filler. Take a page from KISS…..lock the band in the studio and do it mostly yourself.

There was a lot of surprise when it was announced Iron Maiden’s founding bass player, Steve harris, was releasing a solo album that he had been working on for a long time. With Maiden’s hectic schedule, who knew? Apparently Steve did and he enlisted musicians from a band he had been producing called British Lions, to create the British Lion record. It’s supposed to be a throwback album to the days of classic Thin Lizzy and UFO that had a big impact on a young Harris but, aside from the hard Rock style, I didn’t hear much of the influences. Let’s call it like it is: anything Steve Harris does outside of Iron Maiden will always be compared to Iron Maiden. There’s a different style to the music on this album compared to Maiden but I expected the same excellent quality from Steve. The songwriting seems too pedestrian, too simplistic……then again, we are used to epic lyrics on Maiden albums. The band can play well but Steve seems pushed back purposely in the mix (probably due to the Hard Rock style) and the singer has no range…..then again, we are spoiled with Bruce Dickinson in Iron Maiden. There’s no helping the comparisons to Iron Maiden but the quality of the material just lacks on this solo album from Steve Harris.

Rounding out the Top 5 here…..Geoff Tate’s new solo album comes on the heels of his split with the Queensryche camp, who are no strangers to this category! In the back of my mind, I knew this wouldn’t be good but I had hope but Kings And Thieves was just plain boring. Same thing with Apocalyptic Love from Slash. Slash is an iconic guitarist and hopes were high for this album with lead singer Miles Kennedy (Alter Bridge) but it was just boring. remember that Izzy Stradlin and Axl Rose were the creative forces in Guns ‘N Roses, not to say Slash didn’t contribute, but anything he does will always come back to Guns…..and even then, Guns only had two albums of classic material with Appetite For Destruction and if you cherry pick off the Use Your Illusion albums. Last album in this category is Elation from Great White, featuring former XYZ singer Terry Ilous on vocals replacing the fired Jack Russell. I’ve read a lot of mixed reviews on this album but, for me personally, it comes down to the voice and Jack Russell’s fits the bluesy Hard Rock of Great White’s music better than Terry Ilous. It’s by no means a bad album and, considering the vocalist change, it a solid effort. I just couldn’t get into it and I expected a bit more after the last two records, Back To The Rhythm and Rising.

The Top 5 DVDs of 2012

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  1. Scorpions – Live In 3D: Get Your Sting & Blackout
  2. Iron Maiden – En Vivo!
  3. Saxon – Heavy Metal Thunder Live: Eagles Over Wacken 2009
  4. Queen – Days Of Our Lives
  5. Ozzy Osbourne – Speak Of The Devil: Live At Irvine Meadows ’82

This year I decided to included DVDs and/or Blu-rays that came with CD releases or box sets because this seems to be the way bands and labels are adding something extra for fans. My favorite DVD of the year is also the first Blu-ray release I ever bought…..Scorpions – Live In 3D: get Your Sting & Blackout. An excellently produced concert film with plenty of extras, this got the top spot because I saw this tour live over the summer and that put Live In 3D over the top. The Scorpions needed that emotional attachment because iron Maiden delivered another excellent DVD in a long line of excellent DVDs with En Vivo! Does Iron Maiden ever do anything wrong went it comes to video releases? Plenty of awesome concert footage from Santiago, Chile and plenty of documentary film as well the only thing I could complain about is to package the DVD or Blu-ray with the double CD live album for a special package (that’s the next category). The new Saxon DVD is solid and part of the Heavy Metal Thunder Live: Eagles Over Wacken 2009 release, the DVD incorporates the band’s best performances from the Wacken Open Air Festival in Germany for 2004, 2007 and 2009…..that’s 31 songs! and some behind the scenes footage and you’ve got a Saxon fan’s dream DVD, only bettered by the super limited edition box set of this release that included separate DVDs of the full concerts. Had I been able to get one of those, Saxon would own the top spot easily. Rounding out the Top 5 is the Queen documentary, Days of Our Lives, finally getting a proper DVD release and the famous often duplicted, VHS only Ozzy Osbourne concert Speak Of The Devil: Live At Irvine Meadows ’82.

The Top 10 Miscellaneous Releases of 2012

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  1. Saxon – Heavy Metal Thunder Live: Eagles Over Wacken 2009
  2. UFO – The Chrysalis Years (1980 – 1986)
  3. Motorhead – The World Is Ours Vol.2: Anyplace Crazy As Anywhere Else
  4. Motorhead – The world Is Ours Vol.1: Everywhere Further Than Everywhere Else
  5. U.D.O. – Celebrator
  6. Judas Priest – Screaming For Vengeance (30th Anniversary Edition)
  7. KISS – Destroyer Resurrected
  8. U.D.O. – Live In Sofia
  9. Dio – The Very Beast Of Dio Vol.2
  10. Quiet Riot – Live At The US Festival ’83

I never like to put these kind of releases into my top albums category because I like to reserve that for albums of new material but there are always other great new releases aside from new studio albums and 2012 was no exception.

The #1 spot goes to the 2CD/DVD release from Saxon – Heavy Metal Thunder Live: Eagles Over Wacken 2009 because that was my favorite release with the DVD of the best of the band’s last 3 appearances at Wacken Open Air and the double audio CD from Glascow on the Call To Arms Tour in 2011. My only regret is not knowing about the preorder for the limited edition that came with extra DVDs and CDs but it was also a couple hundred bucks. The second slot goes to the second volume of the UFO back catalog on Chrysalis Records from 1980 thru 1986. You get 5 CDs that include the 5 post Michael Schenker albums (No Place To Run, The Wild, The Willing And The Innocent, Mechanix, Making Contact, & Misdemeanor) all with bonus tracks, plus a full BBC In Concert from February 1980 and the live tracks from the Headstone compilation from Hammersmith 1983. I was lucky to have the label send me a copy but to get all this at retail for around $50 is a steal! I already have all the UFO albums on Japanese import with bonus tracks but this is another great compilation for a great band.

The #3 and #4 spots belong to Motorhead with The World is Ours Vols 1 & 2. I couldn’t decide which was better so I put the second volume first because it was fresher in the memory. Both sets have 2CD live sets and a live DVD in great packaging just like the Saxon set. Their label UDR is really putting out great stuff! U.D.O. also gets 2 slots in this Top 10 with the Celebrator two disc compilation of rare tracks and the Live In Sofia 2CD/DVD set. I put Live In Sofia at #8 but it’s a solid live package, AFM Records doing what UDR is doing and, for $14 on sale, it was a no brainer. The Celebrator album is really great because it collects all those hard to find Japanese bonus tracks remixed, some previously unreleased songs and a few songs from various tribute albums. I could have done with out the remix treatment and had the originals but I’m sure that was done to get thru legal label red tape. Its a great compilation of 25 songs on two discs with a great full color booklet. I put the Judas Priest Screaming For Vengeance 30th Anniversary Edition in at #6 more for the DVD from the US Festival ’83 than anything else, same with Quiet Riot at #10…..now that makes three bands that have released live DVDs of their US Festival performances (Triumph did it a few years ago). KISS released Destroyer Resurrected and it made #7, basically it was a 36 year celebration release restoring all the original artwork and having producer Bob Ezrin remix the album. It’s a nice novelty to have especially for the original guitar solo on ‘Sweet Pain’ as a bonus track but I will admit that my KISS fanaticism pushed this higher. Last to mention is The Very Beast of Dio Vol. 2 covering the best of the Dio band’s work from the ’90s up until Ronnie’s death, the track here to have is ‘Electra’ the first completed song from what would have been from the Magica II album that the band was working on when Ronnie James Dio passed away.

3 Releases I Missed In 2011

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  1. Royal Hunt – Future Coming From The Past DVD
  2. Benedictum – Dominion
  3. Skeletonwitch – Forever Abomination

Just a quick note on a couple releases I missed out on in 2011…..the Royal Hunt DVD is a formal worldwide release of the Japan only video release of Live 1996 and, even though it’s all over Youtube, it’s a welcome addition to my collection. Benedictum keeps churning out great albums and their third, Dominion, is awesome as is Forever Abomination from Skeltonwitch, a band I finally got around to checking out in 2012.

Late again! It’s the beginning of July and I’m just posting March’s update and I have April, May and June still to go! Keep an eye out because I’m going to catch up on the CD Scavenger Hunts before I post other things. March was a good month for shopping, lots of new releases and great sale prices so here’s what I bought…..

Newbury Comics

Epica – Requiem For The Indifferent (2012) – $10
Beggars & Thieves – We Are The Brokenhearted (2012) – $14
Fastway – Trick Or Treat (1987) – $7 used
Freedom Call – Land Of The Crimson Dawn (2CD Ltd Ed) (2012) - $12
Adrenaline Mob – Omerta – $13
Alice Cooper – Brutally Live DVD/CD (2003 reissue) – $6
Jack Blades – Rock ‘n’ Roll Ride (2012) – $14
Overkill – Electric Age (2012) – $12
3 Inches Of Blood – Long Live Heavy Metal (2012) – $10
Quiet Riot – Live At The US Festival 1983 (2012) – $10
Iron Maiden – En Vivo! DVD (2012) - $14
Iron Maiden – En Vivo! CD (2012) - $18
KISS – Instant Live (Mansfield, MA - 7/16/2004) – $15 used
Falconer – Sceptre Of Deception (2003) – $3 used
Vivian Campbell – Two Sides Of If… (2005) – $3 used
War & Peace – Light At The End Of The Tunnel (2001) – $3 used
Geezer – Plastic Planet (1995) – $3 used

I made a few trips to Newbury Comics in both North Attleboro, MA (my usual stop) and Warwick, RI in March to grab some new releases and scour the used bins for bargains. The Warwick location used to be my main stop for many years because they were the only location closest to me and they had great selection but the North Attleboro store is closest to my house now so that’s where I stop for new releases on Tuesdays. As you can tell by the list above, I picked up a ton of new releases including the new Iron Maiden CD & DVD, the new Epica, Freedom Call, Overkill, 3 Inches Of Blood, Jack Blades and more. I was able to preview a few of these thanks to the labels sending me a promotional download but I still like the physical product and I picked uome solid records at great prices.

What made the trips to Newbury Comics worth it were the used bargains…..nothing is better than cheap CDs! The Fastway – TRICK OR TREAT CD I thought I owned already but I actually didn’t, I still have a dubbed cassette from back in the day and I own the movie of course! That was a good purchase as was the Alice Cooper – BRUTALLY LIVE DVD/CD reissue for $6. There’s a cut mark on the UPC but that doesn’t bother me…..I passed on this twice (2000 & 2003) but I couldn’t pass up buying it for $6. The KISS Instant Live disc is one I used to own and sold on Ebay years ago when I needed the money. I was at this show back in 2004 and bought the CD there but I ended up trading for every show as the tour went on so I sold this original and a few others I grabbed for a lot of cash. Even though I had a CDR of this show, I wanted the Instant Live disc again and I found it technically as a used disc but it’s brand new to my eyes. The rest of the used CDs basically padded the collection with names I already own but were missing these records.

Best Buy

Rush – Fly By Night (1975) – $5
Rush – 2112 (1976) – $5
Rush – A Farewell To Kings (1977) – $5
Rush – Hemispheres (1978) – $5
Rush – Permanent Waves (1980) – $5

I went to my local Best Buy to look for a CD rack and to check out some Playstation 3 and Wii games and I took my quick walk through the ever-shrinking CD section and I noticed that the section was actually smaller compared to the last time I was there! No big surprise there but what was a surprise was the round plexiglass bins filled with $5 CDs! Most of the CDs are compilations but I did some digging and found almost the entire Rush catalog. I couldn’t remember which ones I owned already so I took a guess and bought just a few. All of these discs were brand new and sealed and all are a part of the Rush remaster series from 1997/1998. Can’t beat $5 a CD for a great band…..I’ll be filling the Ruch collection at Best Buy in the coming months.

Ebay

Crazy Lixx – New Religion (2010) – $11
Autograph – That’s The Stuff (1985) (original blue cover) – $21 used
Laurence Archer – LA (1986) – $23 used

Just a few Ebay buys this month…..the Crazy Lixx disc replaces the promo download I received from the label and was nice & cheap for a brand new CD. I already own THAT’S THE STUFF with the red cover but I always wanted the blue cover, after years of searching I grabbed this one cheap at auction. I also already own LA by Laurence Archer on vinyl (Japanese pressing) but I never play it because it’s rare so I found a couple of copies being sold by a seller I’ve done business with over the years so I grabbed this just under a regular import price. The LA CD is the original European pressing on Music For Nations so it’s not the ultra-rare and highly sought after Japanese pressing but it’s cool to have it finally on CD and in mint condition.

Total = $247

Total (year) = $658

Average Price (per item) = $8.77

Total CDs (year) = 70

Total DVDs (year) = 4

Total Blu-Rays (year) = 1

It never fails…..every year goes by and there are always a ton of albums I end up missing. There are so many new albums released every year that it’s almost impossible to keep up. Usually I spend the first two months of the new year acquiring all the albums I didn’t buy the previous year before all the new releases start to flood the market. 2009 was no exception as I missed more than a few notable Hard Rock and Heavy Metal albums. The following is a list of albums I missed in 2009 that I picked up in 2010…..some of the albums I just didn’t buy until 2010, some I bought but never got around to listening to and some I just forgot about! As many of you collectors know, if you acquire a lot of albums, they tend to pile up, and my pile kept growing! The more the pile grows, the more albums get pushed to the bottom of the pile. With all the submissions coming in and all the albums out there to buy, things can get lost in the shuffle quick. The following list of albums are CDs that were either in a pile on my desk waiting to be listened to but never got around to giving them a proper spin until the new year or albums I picked up in early 2010. Some of these albums might have made my Top 40 Albums of 2009 or at least extended it to a Top 45 or 50!

3 Inches Of Blood – Here Waits Thy Doom (2009): Here’s a case of an album being bought and getting lost in the shuffle! I picked up this new album by 3 Inches Of Blood back between September 2009 and mid-October 2009 for $10. If I’m not msitaken, I picked this album up around the release date because the price I paid reflects what would be the sale price at the record store. I’ve been a fan of 3 Inches Of Blood since their second album FIRE UP THE BLADES (2007) and I’ve gone backward and picked up their previous two releases but I completely ignored HERE WAITS THY DOOM. I know exactly what happened: I bought it, put it in the “BOUGHT” pile and other CDs got put on top of it as my CD hunts continued. I think I may have listened to it once before the year ended! I even forgot about it as this year started and I went back and started to listen to it around the Spring. HERE WAITS THY DOOM is a pretty good record and I kind of wasted time by not getting to it sooner!

Cage – Science Of Annihilation (2009): Here’s another album that I picked up in 2009 but never got around to listening. I’m a big Power Metal fan and Cage has been on my radar since 2003′s DARKER THAN BLACK, I own that album and 2007′s HELL DESTROYER. Back in mid-2009, I was sent a digital download of the album for review purposes so I didn’t plan on picking it up right away. I had the album download link but it didn’t work so I started looking for the CD…..nothing in the record stores and the prices online were way too high so I waited. I ended up picking this album up through an online store that was having a sale about five months after it was released. By then I had deep piles on my desk, SCIENCE OF ANNIHILATION got added in and lost in the shuffle. I did get a the album uploaded to my iPod so I gave it a couple late night spins but not nearly enough for a review or to be eligible for my year end awards.

Charm City Devils – Let’s Rock ‘N’ Roll (2009): I had no intention of buying this album because of all the hype. First, the singer, John Allen, was the drummer in the punk band SR-71. Second, the band signed to Nikki Sixx’s Eleven Seven label. Third, there were all the comparisons saying that the band was a combination of AC/DC and Jet. Now I like AC/DC but I think Jet sucks, I didn’t like SR-71 and most of the bands on Nikki Sixx’s label aren’t for me…..with that stacked against them, there was no buying Charm City Devils’ debut. Then I started reading all these positive reviews and seeing decent sale prices at the record shops…..but I still passed. It wasn’t until early January 2010 that I found this CD used for half price and I finally decided to pick it up. It went in the pile and stayed there because I just couldn’t get over the initial reasons NOT to buy it. I ended up playing this a few times early in 2010 but not revisiting it until August and September. Definitely an AC/DC clone and I can hear the modern similarities to Jet. Overall, not a bad record, I just never gave it a fresh chance.

Epica – Design Your Universe (2009): I bought this album on the same trip as Charm City Devils in January. DESIGN YOUR UNIVERSE came out in mid-October 2009 and I passed on it even with the good sale price. I’m not sure what I was thinking about because I’ve been an Epica fan since 2007′s THE DIVINE CONSPIRACY, going backwards to explore their previous releases. Obviously, Simone Simons has a beautiful voice but a lot of people I’ve spoken with seem to think that’s all Epica is about. Actually, the band’s music is aggressive and orchestrated at the same time and Simons isn’t the only singer because Mark Jansen provides the more aggressive vocals. Definitely Power Metal and the selling point is Simone Simons especially in the seemingly endless sea of female-fronted Metal bands. I ended up grabbing this album early in 2010 and I have been listening to it on and off for the entire year…..had I just picked it up when it was released, it would have easily made the 2009 Top 40.

House Of Lords – Cartesian Dreams (2009): That first shopping trip of 2010 was a good one because this CD by House Of Lords is the third record of five on this list that came from that trip. I was a fan of House Of Lords back in the ’80s because of the Gene Simmons connection and the Giuffria connection but you couldn’t escape the singles ‘I Wanna Be Loved’ and the cover of ‘Can’t Find My Way Home’ on FM radio in 1988 and 1990. I had those first two albums (HOUSE OF LORDS and SAHARA) on cassette back in the day but I lost touch with the band as the ’90s closed in and I missed a whole bunch of albums. I rediscovered the band in 2006 when they released WORLD UPSIDE DOWN  and 2008′s COME TO MY KINGDOM but this new record wasn’t high on my priority list when it came out in October 2009. I ended up buying CARTESIAN DREAMS on the basis of seeing the it end up in a lot of Best of 2009 lists and, well, name recognition. I’ve played it a few times over the course of 2010 and I liked what I heard…..time to revisit the House Of Lords back catalogue!

GWAR – Lust In Space (2009): With all the copycat bands out there like Mushroomhead and Lordi, the originators of taking Shock Rock to the ultimate level is undeniably GWAR. I’ve been listening to GWAR since my last year of high school when SCUMDOGS OF THE UNIVERSE (1990) was released and I’ve been picking up their albums here and there over the years. When the band announce the August 2009 release of LUST IN SPACE, I started to go back and listen to a lot of GWAR and then I picked this album up. Maybe it was too much GWAR at one time or too many new albums to go through but I ended up losing this one to the growing pile. I pulled this album back out when I heard that the band was releasing their new album, BLODDY PIT OF HORROR. Usually there’s a couple of years between GWAR records so getting a new one before I really got into the previous one put me in a bind because I hate missing out on music and I like to listen to bands I’ve followed in order. Seeing that I’m missing more than few GWAR albums, that idea goes out the window, but it’s cool to at least hear the last record before the new one. I enjoyed LUST IN SPACE and I see it easliy bouncing an album out of last year’s Top 40.

W.A.S.P. – Babylon (2009): Here’s the fourth album from the first shopping trip of 2010! I have been a W.A.S.P. fan since the first album and I have picked up, and enjoyed, every W.A.S.P. album through HELLDORADO (1999). Actually, I didn’t like HELLDORADO, it sucked and that album has made me delay buying every new W.A.S.P. record since. I picked up both UNHOLY TERROR (2001) and DYING FOR THE WORLD (2002) years after they were released but they were good records. This is W.A.S.P.’s second time on a list like this because they made the Albums I Missed in 2007 list with DOMINATOR (2007). DOMINATOR made the list because of the bad hangover I had from both NEON GOD albums released in 2004, they were awful and DOMINATOR suffered from that and no proper U.S. distribution until late in the year. BABYLON suffered the same fate but I played it a lot in 2010 and it easily would have made last year’s Top 40.

W.E.T. – self-titled (2009): Jeff Scott Soto is involved? I’m buying! The problem is that the import prices both in store and online were way too much for me so I waited until January of this year. The W.E.T. debut is the fifth album from the first shopping trip of the year and I ended up still paying a high price ($17) but all was good because I had gift cards to burn! Couldn’t go wrong with the value here with the bonus DVD of videos included. Seriously, Jeff Scott Soto could sing the alphabet and I would buy it but add in Robert Sall from Work Of Art and Erik Martensson from Eclipse and you have a solid group of musicians. This debut is an extremely great melodic rock album and I can definitely hear why it made a lot of top album lists for 2009…..if I had bought this right away and given this proper listening time, it would have easily cracked last year’s Top 40.

White Wizzard – High Speed G.T.O. (2009): This is more of an E.P. than a full-length album with only seven songs but it’s a solid seven songs! HIGH SPEED G.T.O. was released in July 2009 but I waited a few months to pick it up. I grew up with the NWOBHM and traditional Heavy Metal so White Wizzard sounded like a band I would get into but it seemed like everyone was giving them high praise. When that happens, I get skeptical. I picked this up, gave it a couple introductory spins and put it in the pile. Big mistake on my part because this ended up being one of my favorite albums of 2009. I revisited this album because White Wizzard’s second release, and first full-length, OVER THE TOP, was released in February and I quickly got attached to it. I would have put this in last year’s Top 40…..or by this point, extended it to a Top 45 or 50! Traditional, old school Heavy Metal is alive and well coming from the U.S. with bands like White Wizzard around.

Winger – Karma (2009): Winger has had a stigma attached to them since the Beavis & Butthead cartoons aired on MTV back in the ’90s but they have released some of their best music in the ’90s and beyond. The first two Winger albums were huge during Hard Rock’s heyday in the ’80s and early ’90s but PULL was released in 1993 and that was a solid album. I didn’t get into Winger’s last album, IV (2006), but it got them back on my radar so, when my friend bought the album and recommended it, I decided to grab it on my last CD Scavenger Hunt of 2009. This album really surprised me because it’s not the ’80s Hard Rock Winger is well-known for, it’s grittier and heavier, but it also retains that ’80s sound. Make sense? KARMA is a pretty good album but I still haven’t given it enough listening time because of the backlog of CDs to listen to but it’s been cool to revisit this album over the last few weeks.

I have a few CD purchases to update from the last month and a few on the way when they arrive in the mail! There are a few Ebay purchases and a big one from Newbury Comics on a great sale!

Ebay

Tokyo Blade – Night Of The Blade (1984/1997 reissue) – $13: Cross another High Vaultage release off the list! I could just kick myself for not buying these High Vaultage reissues 12 years ago when they first came out, back then they were $15-$20 at the import record store. Now they are out of print and harder to find. This reissue has the original album with original vocalist Alan Marsh and includes 8 bonus tracks from three different EPs.

Autograph – Buzz (2003) – $11: Cross another CD off the WANTED list! I have been looking for this Autograph album basically since it came out. I saw it as an import in the record stores for $20 and I always passed on it. Now it’s harder to find and it goes for a higher price on Ebay. I was able to get this CD cheaper because the seller misspelled the album title by one “Z”.

Eden’s Curse – s/t (2007) – $9: Eden’s Curse has been on my radar since this debut album and I actually have their last two albums. Everytime I go to order this album online, it’s out of stock. Everytime I would watch an auction, the price would skyrocket in a bidding war. The seller that I bought this from had a bunch of these up for sale so I was able to pick this up at the $7 starting price with $2 shipping…..a great deal!

Twenty 4 Seven – Destination Everywhere (2002) – $7: Another CD off the want list and another CD that I should have bought years ago. This band features Bobby Blotzer (Ratt), John Corabi (ex-The Scream, ex-Motley Crue, ex-Ratt, ex-Union) and Robert Marcello (ex-Obsession, ex-Iron Horse, current Danger Danger). I read reviews on this disc back when it came out and I always meant to grab it but never did. The online ordering price is usually $15 + shipping but I got this from the same seller as Eden’s Curse for $5 plus $2 shipping…..another great deal!

Talon – Fallen Angels (2008) – $9: I had this on my want list when it came out in 2008 but I never got around to it. I read some good reviews online hailing it as one of the best albums of the year so I bumped it up the list but I never found it in the stores and the online ordering price was always around $20. This is the 3rd CD I bought from the same seller, and just like Eden’s Curse & Twenty 4 Seven, he had a ton of these up for auction at once. The deal was too good to pass up for $7 and the cheap shipping!

Newbury Comics

Bon Jovi – The Circle (2009) – $13: I haven’t picked up a Bon Jovi album on the day of release since CRUSH back in 2000…..even then I hadn’t bought a Bon Jovi album on the day of release since NEW JERSEY in 1988! For some reason I wanted this album. Maybe it was the media blitz the band put out? Maybe it was the various documentaries I watched on cable TV? Maybe it was seeing my wife’s excitement at the tour announcement? For some reason I wanted it…..maybe to believe that Bon Jovi had returned to their old form? I was wrong…..read my review. At least it came with a bonus DVD for value.

Halford – III: Winter Songs (2009) – $13: I will buy anything Rob Halford puts his name on because he is one of my favorite singers and Judas Priest is my second favorite band. It’s the holiday season so why not a holiday record from Halford? I was going to preorder this through the Halford website but I forgot. I was able to pick this up at a decent sale price that ended up being cheaper than buying direct from the Metal God but not by much. Read my review…..it’s the Album Of The Month for November!

Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Night Castle (2009) – $12: I’ve been waiting for the new TSO album for the whole year! They had a free download of one track at the beginning of the year and they delayed the album’s release to coincide with the band’s annual holiday tour. NIGHT CASTLE is a double disc set but it’s not a holiday album, it’s a concept album. TSO is usually known for their holiday music but they have branched out before on BEETHOVEN’S LAST NIGHT in 2000. It’s definitely mandatory listening, especially when one of my favorite singers, Jeff Scott Soto, is involved! Hard to believe it’s been 5 years since their last record.

Slayer – World Painted Blood (2009) – $10: If Slayer releases a new album, you buy it! I waited a week to get this one and I opted to buy the regular version instead of the deluxe with the bonus DVD and packaging…..I ended up saving an additional $10 by picking up the regular version. I haven’t even cracked the cellophane on this one yet because I have so many albums to listen to! I will probably get to listen to it this week.

I was going to Newbury Comics anyway but I ended up getting an email from the store with their new weekly “Flash Sale”…..buy 1 used CD, get 1 free. How can you pass that up? There was a limit to how many you could get (5 used and 5 free) so I searched every used bin they had but I could only come up with 3 discs and 3 free…..that’s what happens with a big collection! The very cool thing about the sale was that they charged you for the most expensive used CD and then they gave you the next most expensive free…..and so on. Usually the protocol is they charge you for the most expensive CDs and give you the cheaper ones free. I ended up saving more than I thought the way they did it this time!

King Diamond – Abigail (1987/2005 reissue) – $14 used: I’m filling the holes in my King Diamond and Mercyful Fate collections and ABIGAIL was on the list. I had my choice: the original pressing single CD for $10 or the deluxe reissue with the bonus tracks and bonus DVD for $14…..I went with the reissue because it was pure value. So I got the ABIGAIL album, 4 bonus tracks, and a DVD with 7 songs from Sweden in ’87 and 3 videos…..a great deal!

Slayer – Reign In Blood (1986) – $11 used (FREE): Saved $11 right off the bat with the sale! A lot of you are wondering how I don’t already have REIGN IN BLOOD in my collection and I admit it’s a MAJOR oversight on my part. I had it on cassette back in the day and I thought I had it on CD already. I’ve been filling the holes in my Slayer collection so when I saw it was missing I bumped it to the top of my list. Not bad getting it for nothing!

3 Inches Of Blood – Advance & Vanquish (2004) – $11 used: I started my 3 Inches Of Blood collection with their second record FIRE UP THE BLADES (2007) and I have picked up their new album and the reissue of their first independent record this year. I have been waiting to get ADVANCE & VANQUISH for a decent price for a long time, it’s usually $16-$18 regular price and I’ve never seen it used. This was the first used CD I found.

Metal Church – The Dark (1986) – $8 used (FREE): Another awesome free CD and that brings my savings up to $19! Of course this is another classic record that you might be wondering how I don’t have it in my collection. This CD replaces a long worn out cassette. The crazy thing about this CD’s price is that there were two other used copies but for higher prices. I went with the cheaper used disc trying to save extra money but the way the sale worked out I got it for nothing.

The Doors – L.A. Woman (1971) – $7 used: I’ve always been a big Doors fan and L.A. WOMAN has been that missing record for years. The singles are all on various greatest hits packages but I needed the actual album to complete the Jim Morrison led discography (I haven’t bothered to seek out the vinyl albums the band released after he died). I wasn’t going to pick this up because it’s always there used but I went through the entire store and it came down to this being one of the only albums I didn’t already own.

Helloween – Keeper Of The Seven Keys (Part 1) (1987/2006 reissue) – $7 used (FREE): I already own KEEPER (Part 1) on CD but I started picking up the expanded reissues back in 2006 when I filled in some holes in the Helloween collection. I’m a sucker for bonus tracks and this expanded reissue has four bonus tracksand deluxe packaging. Normally I find these reissues for $20 in the stores so I couldn’t pass up finding one used in perfect condition and getting it free.

It’s been a long time since I updated what I’ve picked up at the local shops and online so here’s a list of what I’ve bought in the last couple of months…..

Ebay

UFO – No Place To Run (1980/2009 reissue), The Wild, The Willing & The Innocent (1981/2009 reissue), Mechanix (1982/2009 reissue), Making Contact (1983/2009 reissue), Misdemeanor (1985/2009 reissue) – $50: OK, that’s a lot of albums! I already own all the UFO album except for MISDEMEANOR and I had been searching for the 2000 Japanese pressing to complete my set…..it goes for $50+ on Ebay. Same thing with MAKING CONTACT, I own a Japanese copy but not the 2000 import with the bonus tracks. So what is so special about these new reissues? The first thing is that they are remastered, that doesn’t really affect me. The second is the bonus tracks from the 2000 reissues plus more bonus tracks added in. Third, these new reissues are cheaper and easier to get! I ended up buying MISDEMEANOR from one seller and the other four from another. I wasn’t planning on buying so many of these reissues but I ended up getting a good deal from the second seller on CD price and shipping. I ended spending $50 total for 5 CDs, that includes the shipping charges.

CD Inzane

Want to try a good online store? Visit CD Inzane, I use them all the time and they always have what I want at a slightly better price than a couple other stores I use. They also have things in stock, some places advertise titles before the have it in stock and then you have to wait until they get it in. Here’s my last order, $101 total with free shipping…..

U.D.O. - Dominator (2009)U.D.O. – Dominator (2009) – $25: This was my most expensive purchase but I couldn’t wait for the U.S. release. I ended up spending an extra $10 for the European edition with the bonus track ‘Pleasure In The Darkroom’ and the video for ‘Black & White’. Usually Udo Dirkschneider is good about releasing the album bonus tracks on a pre-release E.P. but this time around it didn’t happen. I’m a big U.D.O. fan so I didn’t mind spending the extra money, I already knew what the album sounded like because I was lucky enough to get a digital promo copy from AFM Records, you can read the review here.

cage-science-of-annihilation-2009Cage – Science Of Annihilation (2009) – $11: I have been waiting to pick up the latest Cage album for a while now. Just like the U.D.O. album, I was lucky to receive a digital promo download of the album so I could review it. The problem was that the download didn’t go through and I was left with nothing to review. I was going to pick this up anyway, download or not, because Cage is an excellent U.S. Power Metal band and all of their albums are great.

Jorn Lande - Spirit Black (2009)Jorn Lande – Spirit Black (2009) – $14: The new Jorn Lande album has been on my list for a while but I just never got around to picking it up. I saw one copy at the local record store and they haven’t restocked it since. CD Inzane had a great price for the European import digipak with the bonus track ‘The Sun Goes Down’ so I decided not to wait any longer. I’m not sure if the U.S. version has the bonus track but I know that I paid at least two or three dollars less than I would have in the record store.

FarCryHighGearFarCry – High Gear (2009) – $11: I’m not sure where I heard about FarCry first but all of a sudden most of the websites I frequent were raving about the band and this debut album. Usually solid melodic Hard Rock like this comes from Europe but FarCry is an all American band and they sound similar to bands like Danger Danger, Bon Jovi, Tyketto and Firehouse. So far, one of the best new bands I’ve heard this year!

outloud-cdOutloud – We’ll Rock You To Hell And Back Again! (2009) – $16: Another new band that I’ve had on my list to check out. Outloud has been getting a ton of great reviews and it’s another ’80s styled melodic Hard Rock album Frontiers Records is well known for. I had been watching Ebay and other online vendors but I saved close to $4 + shipping by ordering it through CD Inzane. So far it’s a great record…..you have to love the album cover, it reminds me of some old obscure ’80s record.

Bitchfire2009Bitchfire – s/t (2009) – $10: All I know about Bitchfire is that lead singer Sharyn Peach had been a singer on the Boston, MA rock scene for a number of years. I was researching local bands and I somehow landed on Bitchfire, found a few reviews and decided to give the band a shot. This is an independent release from the band so I was able to track it down at a decent price. I haven’t given it a spin yet but I’m hopeful.

UZI - MadhouseUZI – Madhouse (2009) – $13: UZI is one of those obscure late ’80s/early ’90s Hard Rock bands that came out just when the overblown L.A. scene was starting to unravel. MADHOUSE is a reissue of 10 long lost songs from UZI’s recording sessions close to 20 years ago. I like hearing obscure bands from back in the day and I read a lot of positive reviews so I ordered this one too. I was a sucker for the band name and the album cover, I might have given this a shot if I had found it in the record stores.

Record Stores

Megadeth endgameMegadeth – Endgame (2009) – $12: One of the most highly anticipated albums of the year! I ran out the day ENDGAME was released and pick it up at the great sale price but I still haven’t unwrapped it! That’s the thing with me and Megadeth…..I buy all the band’s albums but I end up getting around to them weeks/months later. I did the same thing with UNITED ABOMINATIONS and felt like an idiot after I finally gave it a listen.

ace-frehley-anomaly-2009Ace Frehley – Anomaly (2009) – $10: Of course I ran out to Best Buy the day ANOMALY came out, I’ve been waiting 6 or 7 years for Ace to finally release this album after so much talk about it when he left KISS again. It’s been 20 years since Ace released TROUBLE WALKIN’ (1989), and his contributions to KISS – PSYCHO CIRCUS (1998) were limited, so it’s cool to hear Ace take flight with an all new record. Pretty cool artwork and packaging on top of a great album.

KISS - Sonic Boom (2009)KISS – Sonic Boom (2009) – $12: If I ran out the day of release for the new Ace Frehley album then you better believe this KISS diehard was at Wal-Mart at 9am after I dropped my kids at school! The first all new KISS studio album in 11 years, Paul Stanley in full control, and a bonus CD and DVD for $12…..that’s a deal! I already have the greatest hits bonus CD because I bought the Japanese import last year. The DVD is a nice preview of the tour but the real reason to buy this is the new songs…..so far I’m really enjoying it.

anvil-this-is-thirteen-2007Anvil – This Is Thirteen (2007/2009 reissue) – $10: I’ve had this album since late 2007 when I bought it directly from the Anvil website. Two years later, the band is re-releasing the album on VH-1 Classic Records due to all the hype and success of the documentary ANVIL: THE STORY OF ANVIL. Why not capitalize on the success and get the latest album distributed to a wider audience? The reissue gets a bonus track, the previously unreleased ‘Thumb Hang’.

3inches_doom3 Inches Of Blood – Here Waits Thy Doom (2009) – $10: 3 Inches Of Blood has become one of my favorite new Metal bands so I’m always on top of their new records. This was another highly anticipated release for me but I haven’t given this a spin yet! I’m not really sure what my problem is, I bought it right away and it’s made it’s way into the famous “pile”. I’m going to have to pull this out and listen this week.

SUNSTORM - house of dreamsSunstorm – House Of Dreams (2009) – $16: The smoothest singer in all of Rock is back with another Sunstorm project…..I will buy anything Joe Lynn Turner sings on. I had the first Sunstorm album when it first came out and it was excellent AOR/melodic Hard Rock so I was expecting much of the same from this new record. Nothing is better than a JLT record, his last solo album was one of my top albums of 2007.

Trouble - Simple Mind ConditionTrouble – Simple Mind Condition (2009) – $15: What did this take, a decade to finally get released? Trouble was one of those bands back in the day that I always thought would be HUGE! Great records like THE SKULL, PSALM 9, and MANIC FRUSTRATION. This album has had so many delays and so the U.S. release date was pushed back so many times. It’s been out in Europe since 2007 but the prices were high and the availability limited. It’s out now and time to enjoy some Trouble.

white-wizzard-high-speed-gtoWhite Wizzard – High Speed GTO (2009) – $9: Another new band that I really don’t know much about except that they are from Los Angeles and they play old school Heavy Metal. I like the band name, the logo and the cover art of the album…..it all screams NWOBHM or early U.S. Metal. It’s a 7 song disc so it’s more of an E.P. that a full length album, the band has another 7 song E.P. from 2008 titled WHITE WIZZARD that I am seeking out.

death - scream bloody goreDeath – Scream Bloody Gore (1987) – $10: My quest for trying out more extremem forms of Metal brought me to Death’s classic debut album, SCREAM BLOODY GORE. I’m determined to try out as many classic and newer Black & Death Metal bands as I can so I decided to go with what is regarded as one of the first proper Death metal albums. I’ve listened to it a few times and it’s really good, I can’t believe that I never got into Death during all these years.

Immortal - All Shall FallImmortal – All Shall Fall (2009) – $10: I’ve read a ton online about how reat Immortal was but I’ve never bothered to listen to a song. Again, I’m not the biggest Black Metal fan but I want to at least check out some of these bands so I know if I’m missing something. I had no idea that Immortal had a new album coming out so I picked it up to check out what they had to offer. Usually I like to buy the first album and work my way up but I couldn’t remember the name of their debut. Spending $10 to try something new is OK in my book.

The Story Of Anvil movie picAnvil – The Story Of Anvil DVD (2009) – $20: I have been waiting for this documentary to come out on DVD all year. Europe and Japan have had it for a few months but now VH-1 Classic Records is properly releasing the movie on DVD with extras. I already saw the movie back in May but I will still give this a full review soon, I can’t wait to watch it again. Good for Anvil, they deserve all their success!

The buying spree continued last week both in-store and on Ebay with some very good bargains and sale prices. I ended up visiting one of the local Circuit City stores that are going out of business and CDs were 40% off but selection was very slim, I ended up supplementing that visit with a stop at Newbury Comics for some new releases……

Circuit City

Black Tide - Light From Above (2008)Black Tide – Light From Above (2008) – $6: I already have this CD but it’s a CDR promo I received for review purposes (I have a digital copy also) so I really wanted the original CD. I really enjoyed the album and it made my Top 30 Albums of 2008 at #29 but I never got around to actually buying it. There were at least 20 copies of this album in the Circuit City racks for $10 but the 40% off really made the sale. The cool thing was that the guy standing next to me in the CD section saw me pick this up and he grabbed one too, he mentioned that he had it on his list to buy also. I ended up recommending a couple other albums to him and I ended up seeing him again later at Newbury Comics!

blackstonecherryfolkloreBlack Stone Cherry – Folklore And Superstition (2008) – $7.80: I never got around to picking up Black Stone Cherry’s sophomore effort despite all the great reviews I read throughout 2008. I really enjoyed the debut but I always found something else to buy when I had this CD in hand. This was another one of the bargains at 40% off that was regularly priced at $13. There were a lot of copies left in the racks so if anyone is in the North Attleboro, MA area, go get one!

Newbury Comics

3-inches-of-blood-battlecry3 Inches Of Blood – Battlecry Under A Winter Sun (2009 reissue) – $9.99: I have become a really big 3 Inches Of Blood fan in the last couple of years and I have spent that time searching for this CD. Unfortunately, the original version on Minion Music is long out of print and the band cut a deal with Sonic Unyon and Caroline Distribution to get their debut re-released in North America. To make the new edition a little special, the band included 4 bonus tracks that were previously unavailable outside Europe. Well worth the sale price and another Cd off the Want List!

avantasia-lost-in-space-part-1-and-2Avantasia – Lost In Space Parts 1 & 2 (2009 reissue) – $11.88: Avantasia has become one of my favorite concept projects and I have been trying to track down both LOST IN SPACE E.P.s at decent prices. The problem has been that most of the prices are extremely high because they were European only releases, even Ebay has been high priced. I had no idea this was coming out and I was psyched when I saw this CD stocked next to 3 Inches Of Blood in the “New Release” section. Avantasia/Edguy mainman Tobias Sammet dropped in a bonus track for this release with an extended version of ‘Lost In Space’.

grave-digger-pray-epGrave Digger – Pray E.P. (2009) – $7: I got shut out two weeks ago when I specifically went to the store to pick this up, there are a few metalheads out there like me that actually show up BEFORE the doors open on a Tuesday. I was a little late that week so I waited for a re-stock and I was able to get the only copy they had last week AND the sale price from the initial release date. It drives me insane when bands release an E.P. before a new album release because there is usually only one exclusive track to the E.P., PRAY has 3 non-album tracks and an extended version of ‘Pray’…..not too bad for 7 bucks.

ted-nugent-cravemanTed Nugent – Craveman (2002) – $4 used: I love the Motor City Madman and I think I’ve seen him more times in concert than any other band except for KISS and maybe Aerosmith. Of course, everytime I’ve seen him it’s been as an opening act for both bands so I think the total is up to 7 or 8. I never picked up CRAVEMAN when it came out and it’s been on the Want List for a long time. There are always those albums that you mena to buy, never do, and then when you want them you need to spend as little as possible. I’ve seen this over the years but always around $15 brand new, finding this used for 4 bucks is a steal!

38-special-rockin-into-the-night.38 Special – Rockin’ Into The Night (1979) – $4 used: I like me some Southern Rock and .38 Special has been a favorite of mine since I heard ‘Hold On Loosely’ (from WILD-EYED SOUTHERN BOYS) back in 1981. I don’t know what it is about .38 Special but I always make sure I look at their section for a couple of the missing albums I need. Never heard any of the tracks except the hit title track but I know the overall .38 Special sound and I’m sure it follows the triple guitar/dual drum kit, country-fried Classic Rock that they are well known for.

Ebay (prices include shipping)

WASP - Dying For The World (2002)W.A.S.P. – Dying For The World (2002) – $5.35: This has been on the WANTED! list for a long time and I have had opportunities to grab this CD but the price was always too high. I don’t know what it is really but I have this thing where if a CD is a few years old then I expect to buy it at a used or discounted price. A lot of people have emailed me to tell me that this album is really good but I think DYING FOR THE WORLD just had a bad slot in between HELLDORADO (1999) and the two NEON GOD albums (2004). The weird thing is I picked up UNHOLY TERROR (2001) and loved it so I think I just could have been in an non-W.A.S.P. phase. This completes my W.A.S.P. collection…..

torch-self-titledTorch – s/t (1983) – $22.50: This one got a little expensive because I got into a bidding war in the last hour. The good news is that the average ending price at auction hovered around $20-$30 in the last couple of months so I really paid a decent price. I remember a few years ago I was trying to grab this one on Ebay and I wouldn’t go over $15 for it and I left it on my Want List. I already have the Torch E.P. (1982) on CD and the only release that eludes me from completing this Swedish Metal band’s discography is their 1984 release ELECTRIKISS.

gammaray_theawesomeGamma Ray - Hell Yeah! The Awesome Foursome – Live In Montreal (2008) – $8: I already had the 2 DVD set so getting the companion double live CD just keeps the gamma ray collection up to date. I really had no intention of even buying this CD but I noticed that my favorite Ebay seller had this up for auction, brand new and starting at $5. I high bid to $10 but no one even challenged my bid and I ended up winning for $5. A 2 CD set for $5? Bargain city!

armed-forces-let-there-be-metalArmed Forces – Let There Be Metal (1984) – $9: I just posted this album in my WANTED column yesterday and I decided to blow the last $10 in my Paypal account on it. It was either this album or ELECTRIKISS and LET THERE BE METAL was the cheaper decision at $5 BUY IT NOW for a near mint vinyl. Another deciding factor was that the seller of this album answered all my questions right away whereas the seller of ELECTRIKISS has ignored my question for about two weeks. I figure that the Torch record will be there next time…..I can finally say that I actually own this album after 25 years of procrastination!

It’s been another solid year for new releases, hundreds of bands released new albums in 2007 and it’s been very hard to keep up. I missed out on many new releases in many different genres because I spend my hard earned money. That money I put aside for my music fix has to be spent wisely and some bands/albums just fall through the cracks. I’ve started to get the attention of some labels and distributors so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to review more new releases in 2008.

Another factor is availability. Today anything can be bought online but the prices can be too high, sometimes it’s better to save a few dollars by holding off on a European or Japanese import and waiting for the U.S. release. In a few of those cases, some albums released around the world in 2007 won’t be released properly in the U.S. until early 2008 (Night Ranger, Airbourne, Primal Fear).

Looking back on 2007, I noticed that some bands got more of my attention than others and I picked up a lot of new releases from 2006 that I had missed. I only expect more of the same as my Want List grows and my musical tastes expand. The only criteria I followed for my Top 15 was that the album had to be a studio album, not a live record, best of, or covers collection. So here it is, my Top 15 Albums of 2007:

#1

Scorpions - Humanity Hour 1 (2007)Scorpions – Humanity Hour 1

The surprise of the year! The Scorpions experimented enough over the last few years but they planted the seeds with 2004′s UNBREAKABLE for a major comeback, not that they ever went away. I admit that I was apprehensive when I found out Pop Rock guru Desmond Child was aboard but the relationship produced a solid Hard Rock album full of melody, emotion, and attitude. This album has remained in my playlist rotation since it’s release and I haven’t tired of it yet, that’s the mark of a great album. I missed the band when they came to Boston this past Fall but their is a rumored tour with Judas Priest in 2008, that will make HUMANITY HOUR 1 even better. Another surprise was the advertised price ($7.99 at Best Buy) and the exclusive bonus track ‘Cold’. A great album AND value!

#2

Joe Lynn Turner - Second Hand Life (2007)Joe Lynn Turner – Second Hand Life

Very close to being my #1 album of 2007. So close in fact that I’ve had to listen to this and the Scorpions more in the last week to make the final decision. All the songs are strong and the music is a pure blend of classic AOR and Melodic Hard Rock. The songwriting is intelligent and emotional and the vocals are the best I’ve heard in 2007, JLT is in fine voice, probably the strongest of his career…..he just sounds so smooth, so effortless in his delivery. There were also a couple of Rainbow influences that gave the album a classic sound without sounding dated. Like the Scorpions album, there was a lot of value: the U.S. release on Friday Music was $12.99 and included an exclusive track (‘Freedom’s Wings’) and all the European and Japanese bonus tracks.

#3

Saxon - The Inner SanctumSaxon – The Inner Sanctum

THE INNER SANCTUM was the album of the year for me until the Scorpions and JLT released their albums. Saxon are one of my favorite bands and they have consistently produced great albums since the late ’90s, this record is no exception. Saxon blends their current approach of blazing fast Power Metal with their NWOBHM roots and creates an album of ten really great songs. Saxon are elder statesmen in the realm of Heavy Metal but they do things better than many of the younger bands. The focus is on the songwriting and then translating it to the live show. Every one of these songs could be played alongside the classics, that’s how strong they are. Add the bonus DVD to the studio album and it turns into a great package, also one of my favorite album covers of the year.

#4

Great White - Back To The Rhythm (2007)Great White – Back To The Rhythm

A successful comeback by a band no one expected to do anything. After all that has happened, did anyone think that Great White would actually make an album? They did and they made a great Blues based Hard Rock record. Getting the classic lineup back together rejuvenated the writing and getting singer Jack Russell sober made all the difference as he put in probably the best vocal performance of his career.

#5

Icarus Witch - Songs For The Lost (2007)Icarus Witch – Songs For The Lost

One of the best new bands out there playing a cross between NWOBHM and Traditional Metal. This is their second album and it doesn’t suffer from the “sophomore jinx”, this is a solid slab of straight up Heavy Metal. I even like the cover of Def Leppard’s ‘Mirror Mirror’! A band worth watching for the future.

#6

Primal Fear - New Religion (2007)Primal Fear – New Religion

Primal Fear just make good Heavy Metal records…..period. NEW RELIGION has a bit more melody and harmony within the power of their Metal assault, making the album more accessible and diverse. Everytime I hear a new Primal Fear record, I always wonder how vocalist Ralf Scheepers lost the Judas Priest gig to Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens. Ralf has grown from being complete Halford clone to being one of the best Metal singers alive. Had to pick this up on import in September, the U.S. release is January 2008.

#7

Airbourne - Runnin’ Wild (2007)Airbourne – Runnin’ Wild

I bought into all the hype and rave reviews and I picked this up very late in the year. I was skeptical because I had heard only two songs and I wondered if AC/DC clones could produce a strong album. Everyone likes AC/DC, and with them out of the picture for now, Airbourne has picked up where Angus & company left off. It’s simple bluesy Hard Rock like AC/DC, Rose Tattoo, and The Angels but with a youthful energy built for party Rock. Had to get this one on import late in the year also because their U.S. distribution starts in January 2008.

#8

3 Inches Of Blood - Fire Up The Blades (2007)3 Inches Of Blood – Fire Up The Blades

A big thanks to a loyal reader, and devout Metalhead, Rene for pushing me to check out this band. Good thing I listened because 3 Inches Of Blood is a great young band that blends many different styles of Metal into their overall sound. Cam Pipes is one of the better Metal vocalists that can incorporate clean/traditional singing with growls. grunts, and groans. Another young band making their mark.

#9

Ted Nugent - Love Grenade (2007)Ted Nugent – Love Grenade

Terrible Ted came roaring from the woods to deliver his best album in years. Continuing with his gonzo attitude and hunter instinct, Ted took his love of the Blues, added his Hard Rock blend and tongue-in-cheek humor, and built the LOVE GRENADE. Jack Blades’ (Night Ranger/Damn Yankees) produces and co-writes here and does a spectacular job at getting the best from the Nuge. One listen to ‘Girl Scout Cookies’ and ‘Funk U’ and you’ll understand.

#10

Kamelot - Ghost Opera (2007)Kamelot – Ghost Opera

Another end of the year addition and it’s a shame I waited so long, it’s a good album. A little more Progressive and Symphonic than their past Power Metal style but still good. Kamelot proves that heavy music can be intricate and diverse while retaining the power…..I really dig the orchestration and strings and the lush backgrounds. Is Roy Khan one of the most underrated singers in Metal or what? Added value to this one is the bonus DVD on the limited edition.

#11

Megadeth - United Abominations (2007)Megadeth – United Abominations

At first, I wasn’t excited or impressed, Megadeth hadn’t regained my trust from 1999′s RISK debacle even though there had been two decent studio releases since. It wasn’t until mid-May when I saw Megadeth open for Heaven & Hell that I stood up and took notice. It’s having classic Megadeth back with Dave Mustaine more focused than ever.

#12

Helloween - Gambling With The Devil (2007)Helloween – Gambling With The Devil

Helloween were kind of put in the same category as Megadeth because I just couldn’t get into their last two albums: RABBIT DON’T COME EASY (2003) & KEEPER OF THE SEVEN KEYS – THE LEGACY (2005). There was too much experimentation and enhancements on those records while the band tried to regain their signature sound and promised fans such. This album was more straight ahead Power Metal that Helloween is known for. Andi Deris puts in a spectacular performance and the band has shown that all the lineup changes of recent years hasn’t disrupted their core.

#13

Iced Earth - Framing Armageddon (Something Wicked Pt.1) (2007)Iced Earth – Framing Armageddon (Something Wicked Pt.1)

Hard to believe that this is only Iced Earth’s third album since 1998′s masterpiece SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES. It’s also hard to believe that after releasing two very spotty concept records, the band would come roaring back to form with another concept album based on the SOMETHING WICKED theme. Unfortunately, recent lineup changes (Owens out, Barlow back in) and some late year additions to my collection have pushed this album down the list, I had it Top 10 easily up until the last couple of weeks.

#14

Endeverafter - Kiss Or Kill (2007)Endeverafter – Kiss Or Kill

Endeverafter came out of nowhere to deliver solid party time Hard Rock. A blend of classic L.A. Hard Rock with today’s edge, I couldn’t find a bad song. I’d like to hear how the do on their next record.

#15

Masterplan - MK II (2007)Masterplan – MK II

I’ve had this CD since early April and I’m still enjoying it. Unfortunately, it ranks a little lower due to my getting used to Mike DiMeo replacing Jorn Lande at the mic and the fact that many top bands released excellent albums later in the year. Really good Power/Progressive Metal here, hopefully the lineup stays stable.

In case my list wasn’t enough, or you simply don’t agree, some other great Music blogs have listed their Top Albums of 2007:

Axeman

Bring Back Glam

Hard Rock Hideout

Heavy Metal Time Machine

Imagine Echoes

Layla’s Classic Rock Faves

The Metal Minute

Raise Your Fists

Rock & Roll And Meandering Nonsense

Rock Of Ages (Dave’s Best of 2007)

Rock Of Ages (Bill’s Best of 2007)

Holy smoke! Where the hell have I been? Normally I’m right on when it comes to the concert scene in the New England area but I had no idea that GWAR was headlining Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel in Providence, RI this coming Friday. The opener is 3 Inches Of Blood! I just got into 3 Inches Of Blood and they are damn good.

Tickets are $20…..I have one Sick Day left at work…..and I haven’t been to a live show since the Summer…..guess where I’m going Friday night!