Posts Tagged ‘Behemoth’

2009 was another great year for new Hard Rock and Heavy Metal albums and I was lucky to have heard a great many of them. There were hundreds of new albums released by hundreds of bands over a wide range of Metal genres, it was very hard to keep up especially when I’m spending my hard-earned cash! Unfortunately, I can’t buy every new album so there are more than a few that I have missed. I am still very lucky to have many labels, PR firms, and bands sending in their CDs for review, to all of them I would like to extend a very grateful THANK YOU! Without these promotions I would have never heard some great releases and discovered some new bands. I have totalled up the CDs and there were 125 albums up for this year’s honors!

The only criteria I followed for my Top 40 was that the album had to be a studio album, not a live record, best of, or covers collection AND the album had to be released in 2009. In the beginning of the year I decided that an album that was released in 2008, but was released in 2009 for the U.S., qualified as a 2009 album…..basically I went by the date on the back of the CD! There are plenty of albums that got late U.S. releases and there may be a few in this countdown. 

The ranking of the Top 40 is based solely on my enjoyment of the album and not some scientific formula. Bottom Line: I had to like it! There were so many releases this year that I more than doubled the list this year so I will be splitting it into three posts. Be sure to check out the links to the album reviews. So here it is, my Top 40 Albums of 2009 (#26 – #40):

#40

Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Night Castle (2009): I have been waiting five years for a new TSO album and they announced the release of NIGHT CASTLE back in December 2008! Nothing like waiting a full year but the wait was worth it. A double album full of TSO expert Rock orchestra with enough guest vocalists (Jeff Scott Soto sings) to make it interesting. I prefer TSO’s holiday albums but NIGHT CASTLE fits in great.

#39

Immortal – All Shall Fall (2009): I’ve always read a ton of great reviews and articles about Immortal but Black Metal has never really been my genre of choice. I picked up ALL SHALL FALL to try the band out and I ended up really getting into it! What impressed me most was that it wasn’t stereotypical Black Metal but there were melodic layers to the overall sound using orchestration and some great guitarwork. I’ve started to backtrack and explore the rest of the Immortal back catalog as a result.

#38

Grave Digger – Ballads Of A Hangman (2009): Old school Power Metal at it’s best, Grave Digger has been doing it longer than most and they always seem to put out a solid album. I got this early in the year and it turned out to be a standout album for most of the year…..being a Grave Digger fan for a long time, I enjoyed it. Unfortunately there were better Power Metal albums that came out this year and I kept moving this one lower, a result of good competition.

#37

Nashville Pussy – From Hell To Texas (2009): Nashville Pussy is one of those bands I started to follow with their debut album and forgot about, subsequently missing out on a few records. I love this Southern-fried, hard drinking, sex crazed Hard Rock, it’s a cross between Motorhead, Ted Nugent and AC/DC mixed with Black Oak Arkansas & Lynyrd Skynyrd. I didn’t really expect much from this album and it turned out to be a great one, especially for the car! ‘Drunk Driving Man’ is one of my favorite songs of the year.

#36

Great White – Rising (2009): Despite my living in Rhode Island and the whole Station Nightclub Fire, Great White is still one of my favorite bands. In 2007 they released one of the biggest surprises with BACK TO THE RHYTHM so I expected another Hard Rock classic. RISING is acoustic based and slower than it’s predecessor but it’s still a solid record that reminded me of the acoustic SAIL AWAY (1994). This album grew on me over the course of 2009 but I’m still a little disappointed that it didn’t have more of the Blues Hard Rock the band is known for.

#35

Tragik – Outlaw (2009): Good to have a local Rhode Island band in this year’s countdown! Led by local AOR/Melodic Rock artist Phil Vincent, Tragik’s second album was a solid Hard Rock record with plenty of guitar and a great overall tone. Tragik follows the footsteps of ’80s AOR/Melodic Hard Rock bands like Journey, Bon Jovi and Night Ranger but there was a more modern sound. Good solid melodies and plenty of hooks to go along with the great guitar sound made this an album I enjoyed all year.

#34

Alestorm – Black Sails At Midnight (2009): I know a lot of people don’t get into the whole Pirate Metal concept but I’m definitely a sucker for a good gimmick and I really got into Alestorm this year. This album has some good songs but the one thing that pushed this album above a lot of others was that it was fun. I bought into all the whole concept and imagery of and the Pirate Power Metal is definitely different…..I really like all those traditional pirate styled instruments mixed in. Added bonus was the DVD from Wacken 2008 included inthe limited edition.

#33

Behemoth – Evangelion (2009): Kind of like Immortal, I knew nothing about Behemoth except for what I had read online. After I saw the ‘Ov Fire And The Void’ video, I had the obsession with checking out the band. Just like Immortal, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed EVANGELION because Black Metal isn’t usually my thing but what struck me was just how brutal the music sounds. The guitars, bass and drums are just so fast and heavy that you have to take notice. EVANGELION helped me start to open my Black Metal horizons and I went from trying to understand Behemoth to enjoying Behemoth.

#32

Edguy – Tinnitus Sanctis (2009): This latest album from Edguy was originally released in late 2008 but it didn’t receive a proper U.S. release until January from Nuclear Blast so I’m going with what the back of the CD says and it’s a 2009 album. I’ve been an Edguy fan since basically the beginning so their Power Metal style is what i like best but the band has gone for more of a Hard Rock style here. I had a hard time getting into this album at first because I kept comparing it to the old Edguy sound, once I got past that I started to enjoy the album a lot more. Turns out I played TINNITUS SANCTUS more as the year progressed and I kept coming back to it.

#31

Saga – The Human Condition (2009): Saga has been churning out melodic Progressive Rock for 38 years and I have been keeping up with the band on and off since 1982. One of the things that helped define the overall Saga sound through the years was the superb vocals from founding member Michael Sadler…..but he left the band in 2007 after a 36 year tenure. Enter ex-Final Frontier vocalist Rob Morrati and he puts on a performance that makes you forget that Sadler just vacated the mic. This was one of the greatest comebacks of the year!

#30

Dream Theater – Black Clouds & Silver Linings (2009): When Dream Theater releases an album I always know that it’s going to be a good one, then band just releases good albums every single time. Six songs spanning 75+ minutes and that’s just Disc 1! I always have to listen closely to Dream theater records because there are so many layers of sound and this one was no exception, what really stood out was that there was a song that clocked in just under 6 minutes (‘Wither’)! Add the 2 bonus discs and this turned out to be a great package to listen to.

#29

Queensryche – American Soldier (2009): My review is long and it may not reflect the fact that I really enjoyed AMERICAN SOLDIER, the first Queensryche album I’ve enjoyed since 1997. The first thing I needed to do was accept the fact that old ’80s Queensryche is gone and that the band has gone into more Progressive and Epic musical directions. The overall sound is full and layered but it’s the subject matter that really made the album, what is more relevant in today’s society than how soldiers cope with war? Some of the record was repetitive lyrically but the album just flowed every time I listened to it. I bought this when it first came out and I waited until late October to finally unwrap it, I think I would appreciate it more if I had listened to it all along. ‘At 30,00 Ft.’ is one of my favorite songs of the year.

#28

Megadeth – Endgame (2009): Like I said in my review, I haven’t fully recovered from 1999′s RISK debacle. UNITED ABOMINATIONS (2007) started me back on the Megadeth bandwagon and ENDGAME follows closely to cement the band back into my good graces. ENDGAME isn’t a pure Thrash record but it’s heavy, I think it’s more traditional Heavy Metal with some Thrash moments. It’s clear that Dave Mustaine and company have a solid direction and a desire to re-conquer the Metal world.

#27

Hammerfall – No Sacrifice, No Victory (2009): If it wasn’t for me discovering Hammerfall in 1997 then I wouldn’t be the big Power Metal fan I am today. They basically single-handedly revived the Power Metal scene with it’s traditional style and soaring vocals. The problem with the last few albums is that they all just sounded the same and Hammerfall started to become a footnote in the now overly crowded Power Metal world. This album reminds me of the first three Hammerfall albums and it’s the first one since 2000 that I’ve really enjoyed. I had this ranked higher but, as 2009 progressed, there were better albums in the same genre. That said, this is still a solid album full of great powerful songs and Joacim Cans sound better than ever but I’m still not sure what the band was thinking with a cover of The Knack’s ‘My Sharona’!

#26

Stratovarius – Polaris (2009): Remember what I said about better Power Metal albums? POLARIS is one of the big reasons why both Grave Digger and Hammerfall fell a little in this year’s best of list. I really didn’t expect much from Startovarius…..I had actually forgotten all about the band because it has been four years since the bands last album. Add a lot of new members, especially replacing guitarist Timo Tolkki, and this was a recipe for disaster. I got this album when it came out and left it in the pile, I just started listening to it a couple months ago and I missed out on some serious music. Had I started listening to this record when I got it, I probably would rank it higher because it hasn’t left my daily playlist. Another great comeback this year!

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Please check out The Top 40 Albums of 2009 (#1-#10) and The Top 40 Albums of 2009 (#11-#25) for the rest of this year’s countdown.

behemoth-evangelion

Behemoth – Evangelion (2009, Metal Blade)

  1. Daimonos
  2. Shemhamforash
  3. Ov Fire And The Void
  4. Transmigrating Beyond Realms Ov Amenti
  5. He Who Breeds Pestilence
  6. The Seed Ov I
  7. Alas, Lord Is Upon Me
  8. Defiling Morality Ov Black God
  9. Lucifer

Band Lineup:
Adam “Nergal” Darski – Vocals, Guitars
Zbigniew Robert “Inferno” Prominski – Drums, Percussion
Tomasz “Orion” Wróblewski – Bass
Patryk Dominik “Seth” Sztyber – Session Guitars

Producers: Nergal & Behemoth

Country: Poland

Total Time = 42:00

Behemoth
Behemoth MySpace page
Metal Blade Records

One of my goals for 2009 was to open up my ears to more extreme forms of Metal and one album I decided I would buy when it came out was this new Behemoth record, EVANGELION. I have to plead ignorance here because I’m not a big follower of the Death Metal and Black Metal scenes and I had never heard a song from Behemoth. I knew who the band was, I knew what kind of music they played, but I had never bothered to check them out. I ended up getting a press release from Metal Blade Records about the banning of Behemoth’s video for ‘Ov Fire And The Void’ on different TV channels and internet sites…..that peaked my interest and I searched it out online.

So what does EVANGELION sound like? Well I expected just a ton of noise and “cookie monster” vocals but the overall sound is much more than that. The guitars are absolutely brutal, buzzing riffs and solos everywhere, the double bass drums pulsate and the bass is as brutal as the guitars. Nergal’s vocals are guttural growls that are barely understandable (I needed the lyric sheet to follow along) but they are powerful in their delivery and intensity. What sets this album apart, what sets each song apart, is the use of different instrumentation and orchestration to lend a slightly melodic side to the evil sound Behemoth creates. Sometimes I have a hard time differentiating each song because they do sound a lot alike but I think that’s because I haven’t really experienced much Black/Death Metal before. The opening song ‘Daimonos’ had this epic feel to it and I got sucked in to a good headbang. Same thing with ‘Shemhamforash’ and the previously mentioned ‘Ov Fire And The Void’, once I gave the album repeated listens I started to recognize the individuality of each track. The most intriguing song on EVANGELION is the last one, ‘Lucifer’. Talk about an evil sound! I may not know much about this style of Metal but when you hear something that evil, that epic, you know it’s good. ‘Lucifer’ has plenty of straight up brutal blackened death but the melodic orchestration and effects make this track almost otherworldly.

Bottom Line:
Like I said before, I don’t know much about Black or Death Metal but I’m trying different bands, different albums, and I’m hearing a lot that I like. Having never heard a Behemoth song before this I have to say I’m impressed, not just with the music but with myself that I got into it so much. Of all the new releases I’ve picked up this year, EVANGELION is one of the albums I’ve played the most. At first I was just trying to understand Behemoth, now I’m enjoying Behemoth. I will be checking out some of their earlier releases.

Favorite Songs:
‘Daimonos’, ‘Ov Fire And The Void’, ‘Transmigrating Beyond Realms Ov Amenti’, ‘Lucifer’

Another update on what I’ve been able to pick up on Ebay and the record store in the last month or so. I really haven’t bought that much lately but I have a MAJOR want list going so I can concentrate on picking up certain releases.

Sea Hags debut album (1989)Sea Hags – s/t (1989) – $13: Another one of those albums I thought I had on CD but really had on cassette. I’ve kept an eye on Ebay for this one because I wanted the original pressing from 1989 and not the new reissue from Rock Candy Records (although I hear it’s a great reissue, Rock Candy puts out great product). I got lucky on this auction because there were three other Sea Hags auction ending around the same time and the supply outweighed the demand.

wild-boyz-unleashedWild Boyz – Unleashed! (1991) – $32: I finally got my hands on this rare Hard Rock indie after years of watching it on Ebay. UNLEASHED! used to go for hundreds of dollars in the late ’90s/early 2000s but the price has come down considerably over the last few years. Usually the CD runs between $50 – $75 at auction so I was psyched to get this at $29 with $3 shipping. This also replaces the cassette copy I bought a couple years ago for $4 at a local record store.

johnny lima - livin out loud (2009)Johnny Lima – Livin’ Out Loud (2009) – $13: I have read a ton of good reviews on this album so I decided to get off my ass and pick it up! A lot of the online shops I usually order from were carrying this between $15 – $17 plus shipping so I Googled and found it a CD Baby.com for $12.99 plus shipping. That still wasn’t good enough so I went to Johnny Lima’s website and ordered it for $9.99 + $3 shipping AND he personally autographed the insert for me! Now that’s a cool thing! I’ve played this non-stop since I got it in the mail…..within 2 days of ordering, great service! I’ll be buying up the rest of Johnny’s CDs thru his website soon.

Anvil - Hard 'N' Heavy (1981)Anvil – Hard ‘N’ Heavy (1981) – $13: I walked into my favorite local record store a couple weeks ago with my Anvil tour shirt on and one of the guys behind the register asked me if I had heard this album. I told him I had it on cassette from back in the day (I’m old!) but I would take that brand new CD copy he had in front of him! Not a bad price for the CD, especially when it’s a Canadian import and the online stores are charging close to $20!

forged2_bigAnvil – Forged In Fire (1983) – $13: Seeing that I was buying HARD ‘N’ HEAVY I figured I might as well replace the cassette copy of FORGED IN FIRE as well! Again, $13 in the local store but close to $20 online for this Canadian import. Who knew that a Canadian import would be as expensive as a European? Just goes to show you that the Anvil resurgence is loud and proud! I would have grabbed METAL ON METAL (1982) too but that one had been bought earlier that morning.

behemoth-evangelionBehemoth – Evangelion (2009) – $9.99: When I picked up the two Anvil CDs, the real reason i was in the record store was to pick up the new Behemoth album. I didn’t want to miss out on the sale price for the limited edition that included a bonus DVD. Now I’m not the biggest Behemoth fan but one thing I promised myself was that I was going to check out more extreme genres of Metal, specifically Black Metal. I caught the video for ‘Ov Fire And the Void’ online and I thought the music was cool so I decided to pick this up.

gwar-lust_coverGwar – Lust In Space (2009) – $9.99: nothing beats a new Gwar record, especially when you get it the day it comes out for a sale price! Gwar have been one of those cult bands I’ve followed since high school. Back around 1988-1990 when I was a junior & senior, Gwar had released their first two records and were on MTV, we all dug the image and the tunes. LUST IN SPACE is my first new Gwar album since 1999′s WE KILL EVERYTHING, I’ve missed a few in between that I’m going to have to pick up soon.

Ravage - The End Of Tomorrow (2009)Ravage – The End Of Tomorrow (2009) – $9.99: You gotta love the $9.99 sale prices on the new Metal Blade releases! Ravage are from the Boston area so they are a local band for me. The band has been around since the late ’90s releasing demos and E.P.s most of the time, although they have 5 self-released live albums! This is their second proper full-length album, the first one being SPECTRAL RIDER (2005). Check them out!

Swedish Death Metal bookSwedish Death Metal (by Daniel Ekeroth) (2009) – $35: I have been eye-balling this book for a couple months now but the price tag has always discouraged the purchase. My birthday was 8/16 and I received a nice $40 gift card to the local record store so I made it a point to get over there and buy the book. Guess what happened? The copy I had been watching for months had sold! I ended up having the store order one and I had to wait another week. I’ve been reading this for the last week and it’s going to take me a while because Death Metal isn’t my usual thing and I am constantly stopping mid-page, running to the computer and Googling the bands so I can get some music samples…..the Want List is growing!