Albums I Missed in 2007

There are so many 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. 2007 was no exception, I missed more than a few notable Hard Rock and Heavy Metal albums, but I made up for it in 2008. The following is a list of albums I missed in 2007 and picked up at some point in 2008. Some of these records might have cracked my Top 15 Albums of 2007 or at least extended it to a Top 20 or 25.

after-forever-2007After Forever – s/t (2007): I picked up this album January 2nd and it has remained in my playlist pile the entire year. I have always been a fan of female-fronted Gothic/Symphonic Metal bands and bands like The Gathering, Lacuna Coil, and Tristania have made me take a good look around the scene for bands I overlooked. What I like about After Forever is their use of beautiful operatic female vocals courtesy of Floor Jansen mixed with Death Metal growls while keeping everything heavy. This album would have easily made my Top Albums list if I had bought it last year.

anvil-this-is-thirteen-2007Anvil – This Is Thirteen (2007): I’m an old school Metal guy and it doesn’t get more old school than Anvil! Independently released and limited to 1000 copies through their website, Anvil created an album that is straight forward Heavy Metal. The band is like AC/DC in that they don’t stray too far from their original sound. Heavy riffs, solid drumming and gritty vocals…..that’s all that’s needed. Like I said in the review, THIS IS THIRTEEN is one of the most underrated albums of 2007!

Armory - The Dawn Of Enlightenment (2007)Armory – The Dawn Of Enlightenment (2007): I stumbled on Armory when I was looking up local New England Metal bands on MySpace. I heard the songs on their page and I was hooked! The guys in the band were kind enough to submit their album for review and I got one of the best Metal albums of 2007! I can even tell you that it would easily have made the best of list from last year at #7. Traditional/Power Metal blended with Progressive and Thrash Metal…..Armory is a band that has shot to the top of my list for a band to watch.

Gamma Ray - Land Of The Free II (2007)Gamma Ray – Land Of The Free II (2007): LAND OF THE FREE II was released in 2007 in Europe and Japan, we had to wait until January in the U.S. I picked up the European version in January from a CD sale at the local record store the same day the album was officially released here in the States. Is there really any difference? Nothing bothers me more than when a CD gets released eveywhere else and we have to wait a few weeks, or months, for a proper U.S. release. It’s either that or buy the import! It’s an excellent Power Metal record by one of the best in the genre but it seemed to get lost in my playlist with all the new albums coming out.

Helix - The Power Of Rock And Roll (2007)Helix – The Power Of Rock And Roll (2007): This album is a re-release of the GET UP! promotional disc with four more songs added in for good measure. Helix hasn’t changed their sound over the years, they still play the good time party Hard Rock that made them a success in the ’80s. Another album that would have made my Best of 2007 list.

King Diamond - Give Me Your Soul... Please (2007)King Diamond – Give Me Your Soul…Please (2007): Nothing can beat a new King Diamond album and I passed on this one too many times in 2007. Not sure why because it was on my list all year long and I just kept leaving it the racks. I bought this CD the same day I bought the Gamma Ray disc at a really good price and playing this regularly over the last year got me to fill some of the King Diamond/Mercyful Fate holes in my collection.

Lana Lane - Red Planet Boulevard artworkLana Lane – Red Planet Boulevard (2007): I passed on this album in 2007 because I was disappointed with the last few Lana Lane albums. There are so many live records and covers collections you can take before you need real songs and it had been 5 years since 2002′s PROJECT SHANGRI-LA. The conceptual LADY MACBETH was in there somewhere but I couldn’t get into it at all. This album is exactly what I was hoping for from Lana Lane and it’s another release that would have made my Best of 2007 list.

Nightwish - Dark Passion Play (2007)Nightwish – Dark Passion Play (2007): I have never been a big Nightwish fan because of the Opera style vocals of former vocalist Tarja Turunen but I had a couple of their CDs. Nightwish split with Tarja and the news wasn’t taken lightly by many of the band’s fans. When the band announced that former Alyson Avenue vocalist Anette Olzen would replace Tarja, I knew that it was a great move. I liked Alyson Avenue a lot and Olzen’s style is more to my liking. This is another one of those albums that had an international release in 2007 but a U.S. release in 2008. I ended up grabbing the last sale copy of the collector’s edition that included an expanded booklet and a 2nd CD of orchestral versions of the album.

U.D.O. - Mastercutor (2007)U.D.O. – Mastercutor (2007): I missed the release date on MASTERCUTOR and I was trying to hold out until I could find the European limited edition with the bonus tracks. Unfortunately, that search continues but I picked up a U.S. copy used for $7 and it was one of the best purchases all year. I’ve been an Accept/U.D.O. fan all along and I usually pick up anything these bands put out but I missed out on one of the best releases of the 2007.

Wasp - Dominator (2007)W.A.S.P. – Dominator (2007): I passed on DOMINATOR for the same reasons I passed on Lana Lane’s RED PLANET BOULEVARD, I wasn’t thrilled with W.A.S.P.’s last few albums and I wasn’t going to waste my time with an album that wasn’t good enough to get U.S. distribution. It just had to be bad. W.A.S.P. had released two stinkers with the NEON GOD records and I just figured that this one would follow suit. This album blew me away and ended up becoming one of my 2007 favorites, just like the U.D.O. album.

Current Playlist

The CDs are piling up but I’ve been under the weather with allergies and the flu so Music hasn’t been the priority. I have listened to a few CDs lately, mostly stuff that has been in rotation for a few weeks…..

Tank – The Filth Hounds Of Hades: Dogs Of War (1981-2002) box set (2007): This has been an exciting box set for me. I’m a huge New Wave Of British Heavy Metal fan and I only had a few Tank albums to my collection. All six Tank studio records are here, plus two live albums, and a live DVD. This has been taking up much time because I want to review it…..eventually!

After Forever – s/t (2007): I’m still enjoying this album even after close to three months. I enjoy the epic/symphonic/gothic Metal with the clean female vocals and death style male growls. I’m going to have to track down the rest of the band’s catalog.

Night Sun – Mournin’ (1972): I’d better spin this after all the hassle I had with it — hadit, lost it, searched for it, gave up, and then got it in the mail so I never had it to begin with. The mind plays tricks! I will eventually write this one up too.

Iron Maiden – (all Bruce era albums): Just ordered my Maiden tickets for June at the Tweeter Center in Mansfield, MA so I am really on a Maiden kick. Last month, I was spinning a lot of D’ianno & Blaze Bayley albums to mix it up but it’s all about Bruce now. The focus has been on NUMBER OF THE BEAST thru FEAR OF THE DARK but I have also revisited all the current albums too. Up the Irons!

Helix – The Power Of Rock And Roll (2007): I missed this album in 2007 but I bought it at the beginning of 2008. Straight up Hard Rock that would easily have made my Top 15 of 2007 if I bought it in 2007. If I expanded to a Top 20 or 25, this would be in there.

Sebastian Bach – Angel Down (2007): This CD made the 5 Worst Albums of 2007 and I wanted to go back and give a fresh listen. I’m still not digging the down-tuned production and growling vocals but I have found more to like than I did originally. I stand by my ranking though, it’s still a major disappointment.

Journey – Arrival (2000): This was Journey’s comeback record with Steve Augeri (ex-Tall Stories) at the mic and Deen Castronovo (ex-Wild Dogs) on drums. Probably one of the most underrated records of 2000, this is a perfect slab of AOR and sits nicely with all the classic Steve Perry era albums. I saw the tour that summer…..excellent.

Black Tide – Light From Above (2008): Put these guys in with Airbourne and Endeverafter as true leaders of the next wave of good Hard Rock & Metal. I admit that I was surprised at how good this record was coming from a brand new band. Review this week!

Avantasia – The Scarecrow (2008): Tobias Sammet really puts together solid albums for Edguy and Avantasia is a solid side project that has taken a life of it’s own three albums in. There’s a lot to listen to hear but the Alice Cooper track is my favorite so far.

The Bangkok Five – We Love What Kills Us (2008): I got sent a promo CDR of this forthcoming album and I listened to it all day yesterday so I could write a review. It’s only five songs, so it’s more like an E.P. instead of a full-length LP. I listened over and over again but my initial reaction to it hasn’t been good. Not my style but kids that enjoy current popular Rock trends might like it.