Tyr - Valkyaja

CD Scavenger Hunt – January 2014 update

Here we go…..another late post…..another late update on my continuing quest for new additions to my collection…..

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PlanetHelix.com

Metal On Ice
Helix – A Heavy Mental Xmas (2008)
Helix – All I Want For Christmas…is the Leafs to Win The Cup! (7″ vinyl) - $35 bundle

Ebay

W.A.S.P. – Inside The Electric Circus (1986) – $8 used
W.A.S.P. – Live…In The Raw (1987) – $11 used
W.A.S.P. – The Crimson Idol (1989) – $8 used
Rhett Forrester – Gone With The Wind (1984/2001 reissue) – $9 used

Sammy Hagar & Friends (2013) – $7.25
King Kobra – II (2013) – $7.25
Coney Hatch – Four (2013) – $7.25
Little River Band – Cuts Like A Diamond (2013) – $7.25
Nightwish – Oceanborn (1998) – $10 used
MSG – Nightmare: The Acoustic MSG (1992) – $10 used
Great White – s/t (1984) – $5.50 used vinyl
Great White – Out Of The Night E.P. (1983) – $5.50 used vinyl

Amazon

Kill Devil Hill – Revolution Rise (2013) – $12
Tyr – Valkyrja (2013) – $10
Benedictum – Obey (2013) – $15
KISS – Best of Vol. 3 (The Millenium Collection) (2006) – $7

Newbury Comics

MSG – Bridge The Gap (Ltd. Ed.) (2014) – $24
Scorpions – MTV Unplugged: Live In Athens (CD/DVD) (2014) – $12
Iced Earth – Plagues Of Babylon (Dlx. Ed.) (2014) – $16
Nashville Pussy – Up The Dosage (Ltd. Ed.) (2014) – $16
Michael Monroe – Horns & Halos (2013) – $14
Lita Ford – The Bitch Is Back…Live (2013) – $0
Dream Theater – s/t (2013) – $14
Phil Anselmo & The Illegals – Walk Through Exits Only (2013) – $10 used
Trouble – Distortion Field (2013) – $0 used
Circle II Circle – All That Remains E.P. (2005) – $4 used
Andersen/Laine/Readman – Three (2006) – $4 used
Sinner – There Will Be Execution (2003) – $0 used
Royal Hunt – A Life To Die For (2013) – $18
Helker – Somewhere In The Circle (2013) – $10 used
Firewind – Few Against Many (2012) – $0 used

I started off the year with a major bang by scoring a lot of older releases and many 2013 releases that I received digital promos for from the labels. One of my resolutions for 2014 was to acquire more older catalog releases…..albums that have been missing from my collection for a long time.

My first purchase was from PlanetHelix.com, the official website of Brian Vollmer and Helix. The had a holiday bundle that included the Metal On Ice album, the Helix holiday CD and a bonus 7 inch vinyl single of the new Helix holiday song for a cool $35. I bought the deluxe package with the Helix t-shirt and baseball cap for $75.

Ebay was awesome for great buys early this year! I scored original Capitol Records pressing of the three W.A.S.P. albums that are missing from my collection. I’ve always had the entire W.A.S.P. discography be it on cassette back in the ’80s, the original pressing CDs and then the reissues with bonus tracks in the late ’90s. I sold my original pressings of all the W.A.S.P. albums about ten years ago when my wife and I were strapped for cash when our second daughter was born, and I sold them for decent bucks, but I’ve regretted it ever since. It’s been an on again/off again search for these original pressings but I finally decided to acquire them all once I found a seller that had them all up at once. Same thing happened with the Sammy Hagar, King Kobra, Coney Hatch and Little River Band CDs, these were all one lot at a great price from a reputable seller. I had all the digital promos but I wanted the first three albums in my collection, would have passed on the Little River Band if it was alone but it was a great price for the 4 CD lot. The other CDs I grabbed of Ebay were ones I stumbled on when I was searching some of my favorite sellers but my favorites were the two Great White vinyls I won for $5.50 each…..both original pressing in near mint condition.

I had to kill an Amazon gift card that I received for a Xmas present so I picked up some 2013 releases: Kill Devil Hill, Tyr and Benedictum. All were cheaper than actually buying them from the record store and, to round out my gift card, I added the KISS – Millenium Collection 3 compilation for completist purposes.

I did actually go to the record store three times to start the year! I stopped by the North Attleboro, MA Newbury Comics to pick up the new Michael Schenker Group album and I dropped $24 on the limited edition digibook with the bonus track featuring Don Dokken on vocals. I know that’s a lot of money but Michael Schenker is one of those artists that I will spend the extra money on. Luckily, I caught the sale because regular price on that bad boy was $30! While I was in store I added the new Scorpions MTV Unplugged CD/DVD and the new Iced Earth to the MSG album, both were on sale and I saved $5 and $8 respectively. The Scorpions release was cheaper on sale than on Amazon and it’s the CD/DVD version, same with the new Iced Earth which was also a CD/DVD combo.

My second trip out to the stores was to catch a Buy 2 Get 1 Free sale on all CDs. I made it up to the the big Newbury Comics in Norwood, MA (nice vinyl section there!) and scored mostly 2013 releases that I never bothered to pick up. I’ve been a Nashville Pussy fan since their first record so I needed Up The Dosage and I saved $3 buying the deluxe edition (2 bonus tracks) for $16 on sale. I paired it with Michael Monroe’s latest (also on sale for $14, saving $3) to get the Lita Ford live album free (also on sale for $14, regular $17). I paired the latest Dream Theater (also on sale for $14 from $17) with a used copy of the Phil Anselmo CD ($10 used instead of $16 regular) to get the latest Trouble album free $10 used instead of $16 regular). My last bundle was a few older releases that were all $4 used: Circle II Circle + Andersen/Laine/Readman = Sinner for free.

On the way home from Norwood, I hit the North Attleboro store to buy the latest Royal Hunt – A Life To Die For for a high priced $18 regular price, paired with a used $10 copy of the latest Helker album to get Firewind’s Few Against Many free. I already bought the Firewind album once and I uploaded it into my iTunes but I realized that the used copy I bought mid-year in a record store was NOT the jewel case version I thought it was. Upon further review, it was a ripped in half digipak version stuffed into a jewel case and priced as used. Needless to say, that won’t do for my collection, no damaged CDs allowed! When I found this copy used for $8, it was a an easy buy with Royal Hunt and Helker.

Totals

Total (Jan) = $344

Total (year) = $344

Average Price (per item) = $10.12

Total CDs (year) = 31

Total LPs (year) = 3

 

 

The 2012 Heavy Metal Addiction Awards

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.

The Top 30 Albums of 2008 (#1-#15)

2008 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 buy a lot of music but the failing economy took it’s toll on my music budget. I was very lucky to have caught the attention of 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.

The only criteria I followed for my Top 30 was that the album had to be a studio album, not a live record, best of, or covers collection. The ranking of the Top 30 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 doubled the list this year so I will be splitting it into two posts. Be sure to check out the links to the album reviews. So here it is, my Top 30 Albums of 2008 (#1-#15):

#1

Avantasia - The Scarecrow (2008)Avantasia – The Scarecrow

Tobias Sammet (Edguy) has the magic touch this year and his new concept album THE SCARECROW takes the top spot as Album Of The Year. The album is similar to the first two Avantasia albums, METAL OPERA 1 & 2, in that it is full of guest stars (Alice Cooper, Jorn Lande, Rudolf Schenker, Michael Kiske, Eric Singer, and more) performing  this combination of epic Power Metal blended with hard Rock, Classic Rock, Classical and Folk. That’s a lot to take in at once! Every song is very melodic and I found myself easily singing along after a couple of spins. A good album is one that leaves a lasting impression and THE SCARECROW has been part of my weekly playlist since it’s release in January.

#2

Ayreon - 01011001 (2008)Ayreon – 01011001

A close second! Arjen Anthony Lucassen’s Ayreon project is similar to Avantasia with all of the guest stars performing and the epic nature of the music. The difference is that Ayreon’s music is longer, more epic and follows a storyline that started on previous albums. (For a good explanation of the plot, read this album’s Wikipedia page.) This album is almost 2 hours of Progressive Rock & Metal, Power Metal, and Symphonic Metal that is both melodic and heavy…..there is a lot to take in! Even the packaging is complex! There are layers of sound in each song that you sometimes here something different the next time you here it. 01011001 is a little less accessible than THE SCARECROW due to it’s length (2 CDs) and heavy concept but it was a very close second. So close in fact that I almost called a tie!

#3

whitesnakegood_to_be_badWhitesnake – Good To Be Bad

It took 11 years but we finally got a new Whitesnake record and it is a great comeback for David Coverdale. Most of the album retains the Blues Rock that was the basis of the early Whitesnake album while leaning on that big ’80s sound. The songs are full of hooks and great guitar work (Doug Aldrich & Reb Beach) along with that thick Coverdale voice. I had seen the band tour with the Scorpions a couple of years earlier and they were awesome in concert. I knew a new record would have a great sound. It was also good to see this album get a ton of promotion, especially on U.S. television, I didn’t expect to see constant commercials on different channels advertising the CD. In a year full of comebacks (AC/DC, Guns N Roses, Journey), I have to give Whitesnake the best comeback of the year!

#4

Judas Priest - Nostradamus (2008)Judas Priest – Nostradamus

Let the debate begin! Of all the big releases this year from big time bands, no album had more debate then Judas Priest’s double concept album NOSTRADAMUS. I’ve heard all the arguements from “it’s not straight forward Judas Priest” to “it’s too long” to “the concept sucks” to “Iron Maiden could have done it better”…..I think a lot of fans were down on the project due to purely nostalgic reasons. We aren’t going to get the BRITISH STEEL era Judas Priest because they have evolved as musicians and this concept album is what they wanted to do. I’ll admit that Priest isn’t known for their albums being complete epics, they’re more straight forward in their approach, but that doesn’t mean that NOSTRADAMUS is devoid of what makes Priest great. Half the album is instrumental intros that kind of make the album drawn out but the songs do have the Metal that Priest is known for. Rob Halford’s voice sounds better than it has in years and he puts in perhaps the performance of his career. The music is really good if you listen without prejudice and I don’t want to get into that synth guitar arguement because KK Downing & Glenn Tipton have been using them all along. Give NOSTRADAMUS a spin without hoping for 1980 Judas Priest and you will find a great album. This album was tough to get through due to the length (close to 2 hours) but repeated listens have pushed this album from a grower to #4.

#5

Royal Hunt - Collision Course - Paradox II Royal Hunt – Collision Course: Paradox II

This has to be the year of the concept album because the latest offering from Royal Hunt is the 4th concept album in the Top 5! Let’s not even get into the conceptual aspect, the music alone is melodic Power/Progressive Metal with solid musicianship and  great vocal performance from new singer Mark Boals. The last few Royal Hunt albums have been disappointing but COLLISION COURSE proves that the band is still a force. I was surprised at how melodic this album really is because some of the band’s previous efforts were held down by too much keyboard noodling, I think adding Mark Boals to the band adds a fresh influence and creativity.

#6

cover_globaldramaCloudscape – Global Drama

Like the entire Top 5, GLOBAL DRAMA has remained part of my weekly playlist since it’s release. I’ve had the album since late July and I just keep playing it…..that’s the sign of a good record! Cloudscape is a Progressive Metal band but they are very melodic (like Royal Hunt) while retaining their heaviness. The first couple of spins made me think of Kamelot, Balance Of Power and Symphony X…..that’s a good group to be in. Cloudscape was on my list to check out and now they are one of the best newer bands I’ve heard in a long time, I’m currently on the hunt for the band’s previous albums.

#7

msg-in-the-midst-of-beauty-2008Michael Schenker Group – In The Midst Of Beauty

When guitar legend Michael Schenker puts his head down and stays focused, he makes truly great records. There is no denying his talent on guitar but his career has been plagued with different challenges and the subsequent results aren’t always the best musically. IN THE MIDST OF BEAUTY is an almost full reunion of the original MSG: Gary Barden is back on the mic, Don Airey on keys, Simon Phillips on drums and Neil Murray handling bass instead of Mo Foster. That’s as solid a lineup as you’re going to get and I think the strong supporting cast influenced Michael because he created some of the best music of his career, it’s as if you can hear Michael’s happiness in his playing. The album is melodic and heavy with a ton of riffs for the guitar enthusiast but the music is enhanced by that cool Hammond organ Airey commands giving the album a late ’70s/early ’80s sound, almost like classic UFO. If Whitesnake was my comeback of the year then Michael Schenker is a close second.

#8

Journey Revelation (2008) Journey – Revelation

If there ever was a band that described AOR/Melodic Rock then Journey is that band. The last couple of years have been trying for the band with all the rotation at the lead singer slot (Steve Augeri, Jeff Scott Soto) but the band grabbed a virtual unknown, Filipino singer Arnel Pineda, and made an album that is pure classic Journey. Melodic Rock at it’s finest, Journey’s new songs are full of harmonies, good melodies, soaring vocals and really good guitar. Let me add they are also well written and produced too. The band new that another new lead singer would be a gamble but Pineda puts on a great performance that is on par with Steve Perry’s legacy. There was also great value here with a second disc of re-recorded greatest hits and a bonus live DVD…..you can’t beat that for $15! All year long I have been saying that if the music industry wasn’t so screwed up then Journey would have a multi-platinum hit album with REVELATION.

#9

Def Leppard - Songs From The Sparkle Lounge (2008)Def Leppard – Songs From the Sparkle Lounge

I know it’s not fashionable to like Def Leppard because they have “sold out” and downplayed their NWOBHM and Hard Rock roots over the years but they do make very good records. SPARKLE LOUNGE is one of those albums that just has that mix of catchy ’80s Hard Rock and current modern Rock that mainstream radio lives for. The music is full of hooks and melody and the songs are all well done except for one repetitive dud (‘C’mon C’mon’). The Leps know how to make a catchy record and this one had me hooked in and singing along. I like the trademark big sound combined with the ’70s influences and modern updates. Def Leppard takes a lot of criticism but they make good music.

#10

moonspell-night-eternal-2008Moonspell – Night Eternal

I wasn’t expecting much from a new Moonspell album but I was completely surprised by NIGHT ETERNAL and it’s variety of sound. Moonspell plays a blend of Black, Death, Gothic and Power Metals all rolled into one with grand orchestration and both clean and harsh vocals. Get all that? The album is dark and heavy but it’s also very melodic and there are some beautiful orchestrations that enhance the overall sound. As I started re-listening to my 2008 CDs to make this Top 30, NIGHT ETERNAL kept creeping closer and closer to the Top 10. I had the promo for a long time but I ended up buying a proper copy at the local shop for around $13 and the value was really good: a bonus track ‘Age Of Mothers’ and a two alternate versions of ‘Scorpion Flower’ along with a bonus DVD of live Wacken 2007 performances. This kind of music isn’t my usual first choice but I expanded my horizons this year and I rediscovered Moonspell.

#11

benedictum-seasons-of-tragedyBenedictum – Seasons Of Tragedy

I’ve had SEASONS OF TRAGEDY since it’s U.S. release in March and it is one of the best Traditional Metal albums of the year. A lot of Metal fans might be thrown off by having a female frontwoman but I can tell you that Veronica Freeman kicks a whole lot of ass on the mic! Her vocals are extremely powerful to go along with the fast pummelling music that’s behind her. This is Benedictum’s second album and they steer clear of the sophomore jinx with an album heavy on Power Metal and Thrash that I can only describe as an aural assault. One of the best new U.S. Metal bands out there.

#12

Alice Cooper - Along Came A Spider (2008)Alice Cooper – Along Came A Spider

Another concept album making the Top 30? Of course! Especially if it’s an Alice Cooper album! I’m a huge Alice Cooper fan, always have been, and this is one of the best albums he’s released in the last few years. ALONG CAME A SPIDER has a perfect character for Alice to play (a serial killer named Spider) and he adds his own blend of shock, horror and humor to the performance. The one thing that Alice has done successfully with his last few albums is to revisit some of the classic ’70s sounds that made him the king of Shock Rock and he incorporates this sound with enough modern tendencies to make it sound fresh. the concept might not be all that original but Alice plays it perfectly and the songs are all very good with top production.

#13

uriah-heep-wake-the-sleeper-2008Uriah Heep – Wake The Sleeper

I’ll bet a lot of you are scratching your heads. If you don’t know who Uriah Heep is then you are missing out, the band has been around for close to 40 years and their sound is similar to Deep Purple but with a bit more Progressive Rock. WAKE THE SLEEPER is the first Heep album in a decade and I wasn’t really expecting much but these elder statesman have roared back with a heavy melodic album. Mick Box still plays a mean guitar and Phil Lanzon adds his Hammond organ in to fill out the sound but the performance of the album goes to long time singer Bernie Shaw who puts in one of the best vocal performances of the year.

#14

shannon-angel-in-disguiseShannon – Angel In Disguise

ANGEL IN DISGUISE turned out to be one of the surprises of 2008. I had the album in my growing pile for a couple of months before I got to it and I wasted all that listening time because the record is top flight melodic Metal. Usually, there are a couple of duds in the tracklisting but each song is well done and has plenty of melodic hooks and Euro-Metal power to satisfy a wide range of Metal fans. It’s always a great year when you discover new bands, Shannon will be a band I watch closely in 2009.

#15

testament-the-formation-of-damnation-2008Testament – The Formation Of Damnation

2008 was the year of the concept album and the year of the comeback and Testament came back in a big way with this pounding Thrash assault. This is the album that we all wish Metallica had in them, it’s an in your face old school Thrash attack by a band that I consider one of the best in the genre but sometimes overlooked. This album is one heavy record that easily blows away a lot of modern Thrash out in the last couple of years.

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Please check out the Top 30 Albums of 2008 (#16-#30) for the other half of my Top 30 list.

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In case my list wasn’t enough, or you simply don’t agree, some other great Music blogs have listed their Top Albums of 2008:

All Metal Resource
Bring Back Glam
Hair Metal Mansion

Hard Rock Hideout
Heavy Metal Time Machine

Imagine Echoes
Layla’s Classic Rock
Metal Excess

The Metal Minute
The Ripple Effect
Rock And Roll and Meandering Nonsense

Rock Of Ages

Benedictum – Seasons Of Tragedy (2008)

benedictum-seasons-of-tragedy

Benedictum – Seasons Of Tragedy (2008, Locomotive)

  1. Dawn Of Seasons (instrumental)
  2. Shell Shock
  3. Burn It Out
  4. Bare Bones
  5. Within The Solace
  6. Beast In The Field
  7. Legacy
  8. Nobodies Victim
  9. Balls To The Wall
  10. Steel Rain
  11. Seasons Of Tragedy

Benedictum - Seasons Of Tragedy lineup 2008

Band Lineup:
Veronica Freeman – Vocals
Pete Wells – Guitars
Jesse Wright – Bass
Paul Courtois – Drums

Additional Musicians:
*** There are a lot of special guests on this album including Jeff Pilson, George Lynch and Craig Goldy. There are many musicians credited in the liner notes for different instruments on different songs, in some cases just a guitar solo. Please refer to the Benedictum website or the liner notes for the extensive credits.

Producer: Jeff Pilson

Total Time = 59:04

Benedictum official website
Benedictum MySpace page
Locomotive Records

SEASONS OF TRAGEDY is the sophomore effort from California metallers Benedictum and it is a U.S. Power Metal feast! The band’s 2006 debut, UNCREATION, laid the groundwork of blazing Power Metal/Thrash riffs and a pummelling rhythm section combined with the powerful shriek of lead singer Veronica Freeman. This formula solidified Benedictum as a solid force on the U.S. Metal scene and the new album continues the assault.

The opening track is a minute and a half instrumental called ‘Dawn Of Seasons’ that has a very Euro-Metal feel to it but it’s deceiving in it’s calm approach because ‘Shell Shock’ starts out with a drum barrage that signals the Thrashy main riff from Pete Wells. Veronica Freeman is yelling her guts out with a serious power that separates her from her counterparts in bands like Lacuna Coil, Nightwish, and After Forever. There is nothing but pure aggression in Veronica’s vocals. The assault continues with the heavy ‘Burn It Out’, a song full of solid guitar and pounding drums. Freeman’s vocals are still aggressive with a bit of a harmonized backing track around the chorus while Wells duels it out with Grave Digger’s Manni Schmidt for guitar solo supremacy.  Benedictum gives us a small break from the pounding with the groove laden ‘Bare Bones’, a track that is much more melodic than the straight forward approach of the first two songs. ‘Bare Bones’ is still a heavy song but the keyboards from producer Jeff Pilson (ex-Dokken) add that melodic touch that takes the song to another level. The song is still heavy on guitar with the keys enhancing the sound, another ex-Dokken bandmate George Lynch trades off solos with Pete Wells while Freeman lays down her best melodic vocal. Even though she tones down her power for more range, she still sounds very powerful. The unsung part of the song is Jesse Wright’s groove heavy bass line.

The band gave us our break and they come back heavy on ‘Within  The Solace’. The main guitar sounds very Sabbath like but there is that double bass drumming keeping the song fast while maintaining that Doom Metal crunch. Add the keyboards in for the eerie effect and Freeman has enough room to show off a few different styles from soaring high and bottom dwelling lows to snarling growl. ‘Beast In the Field’ sounds like DEFENDERS era Judas Priest (with more effective drumming) and melodic European Metal. The song goes along well with it’s Power Metal surge but the band changes pace at the halfway mark, slowing it down to give Veronica more room to sing rather than shriek. Even though the song is more melodic, it’s still very heavy and sits alongside the first two barnburners very nicely in terms of overall power. ‘Legacy’ would fit into the same framework as ‘Beast In The Field’ with more of an emphasis on melodic parts and keys enhancing the overall power. The pace is pretty much the same as the rest of the songs, as are the solos, so the overall song sounds a bit predictable. The piano sequence that ends the long though me off, I didn’t expect it. Unfortunately, ‘Nobodies Victim’ falls into the “I’ve heard this before” category as ‘Legacy’ did. There is a little more groove to the song than straight out speed but the song does get fuelled by the rhythm section and the vocals. The song slows for the keyboard laden chorus but the power is still there with Freeman’s high screams.

Nothing like a cover song to break the continuity of a solid album of original material but I’m going to go against my personal rules and give Benedictum a pass with their performance of Accept’s ‘Balls to The Wall’. This song fits the band’s heavy style and Veronica gets to stretch out a bit vocally. Former Dokken bandmates Pilson and Lynch guest on this track on bass and guitar and they help do the song proud. The backing vocals sound strikingly similar to the original, giving the song the added power. ‘Steel Rain’ is a slow moody song that is the album’s ballad. Veronica sings in a more melodic voice that follows the Lacuna Coil, Nightwish, and After Forever formulas this time, although not as operatic. The song has a Dio influence to it with the heavy guitar, swirling keyboards, and choral background vocals. I was impressed that the band could change gears and slow it down to ballad form, they can obviously do more than put on a speed showcase. The almost 12 minute title track ends the album in epic fashion with a ton of riffs pushed around through time changes and soaring vocals. Definitely a combination of Power and Progressive Metal without the overbearing keyboards in the same style as a heavier Royal Hunt, After Forever or Kamelot. The song ends the album with a look into what could be the future as Benedictum expands on their style.

Bottom Line:
I’ve had this album since it came out in March and I have been listening to it regularly, Benedictum has become one of my favorite newer bands. SEASONS OF TRAGEDY is an album full of really good fast Metal songs but the album gets better as the band adds different layers to their overall sound. Benedictum strikes hard with their straight forward power delivery but some of the songs start to sound the same toward the middle of the record. If you want to hear some really good U.S. Metal with an aggressive female singer then Benedictum is the band to check out. This is one of my favorite releases of the year.

Favorite Songs: ‘Seasons Of Tragedy’, ‘Steel Rain’, ‘Shell Shock’, ‘Burn It Out’, ‘Within The Solace’, ‘Bare Bones’

Vacation is over! Back to work…..

Well, vacation is over and I’m heading back to work this afternoon. How depressing!

It was a nice quiet 7 days off from work with the family. We went to the shore a couple of times and did a few other things but the main thing was that I got to relax. I did some things around the house and spent time with the kids without being exhausted but the thing I did for myself was catch up on some music.

Here’s a few albums I listened to on vacation, I didn’t keep a list but I pulled out a ton from my collection:

The Who – Tommy (1969): A legendary band, a legendary album. I happened to hear a block of three TOMMY songs on one of the classic rock radio stations so I pulled this out for a few spins.

Billy Joel – The Stranger (1977/2008 deluxe reissue): More Classic Rock! I picked this up last Tuesday when it came out (more on that when I post a Hunt!) and I have been listening ever since. My wife and I went to the Billy Joel concert on July 3rd so I’m still on a bit of a Billy Joel kick.

Judas Priest – Nostradamus (2008): The album that will not go away! I keep listening and finding something new but it’s still a long listen at close to 2 hours over two CDs. I’m trying to get ready for a review but there is so much music, and Priest is my second favorite band, that I want to give the album a lot of time.

Motley Crue – Saints Of Los Angeles (2008): One of the biggest releases of the year and I’m definitely still listening. There’s plenty of good songs here but I’ve had to hit the “skip” button on a few songs.

Avantasia – The Scarecrow (2008): So far, my album of the year. Tobias Sammet has really created a masterpiece project with Avantasia, something that was supposed to be a side project that’s now as big as his main band, Edguy. Best song is the Alice Cooper sung ‘The Toy Master’.

Rogue Male – First Visit (1985) and Animal Man (1986): Both of these are reissues from Metal Mind Productions and I have been giving both CDs some serious time. I haven’t heard FIRST VISIT in about 20 years! Reviews coming…..

TKO – Let It Roll (1979) and In Your Face (1984): These two albums are officially reissued CDs from Tribunal Records with tons of bonus tracks. Another time travel back to my early days because I haven’t heard IN YOUR FACE in over 20 years too! I always meant to pick up the vinyl on Ebay but Tribunal has done a solid job with the reissues. Look for reviews soon…..

Temujin – 1000 Tears (2008): The band was nice enough to pass a copy along for review and I have to admit, I was surprised by the excellent music. I had never heard of Temujin but I know them now! The music is like MANDYLION-era and NIGHTTIME BIRDS-era The Gathering with a little Lacuna Coil in there.

Infernophonic – Spark It Up (2007): Another solid Hard Rock band i missed out on in 2007. Solid album, review soon.

Benedictum – Seasons Of Tragedy (2008): It’s a really good album but I think their frist record, UNCREATION (2006), is better. I’m still enjoying it though.

Gene Simmons – Asshole (2004): I was picking through my KISS related albums and I decided that this deserved it’s annual spin to see if it’s as bad as I remembered. Unfortunately, this is just a bad album with maybe one or two songs I like. This ties with Peter Criss – One For All (2007) as the worst KISS related album ever.

Paul Stanley – Live To Win (2006): I had to pull this out to compare it to Gene’s album…..light years better! I haven’t given this a spin in a while but it’s obvious who the true creative force is behind KISS.

Griffen – Linked In Eternity (2008): Just reviewed this one and I thought it was great. Only a 5 song demo but professionally done and very cool to listen to.

There were so many more albums that I pulled from my collection that I hadn’t heard fro a long time. I started to pull out different albums from Ratt, Dokken, Scorpions, Alice Cooper, Megadeth, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, UFO, ZZ Top, and Bruce Dickinson solo. I listened to a few live albums as well from KISS, Maiden, Priest, UFO, Sabbath, Royal Hunt, Motley Crue, Scorpions, Triumph because I want to do a “live album week” in the next couple of months.

It was a great week of music!

CD Scavenger Hunt – 2 month update!

It’s hard to believe that the last CD Scavenger Hunt was way back at the end of April but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been out on CD safaris! I have been visiting the local shops but money has been tight (for everyone I think!) so I have only been picking up the major releases and a couple of used ones along the way.

I re-read all the Scavenger Hunts from this year over the weekend and I found two glaring omissions:

Benedictum – Seasons Of Tragedy (2008) – $13: I picked this up back in March when it received it’s U.S. release. The album was released everywhere else in late January ’08 but I wasn’t paying import prices for a Rainbow cover that’s the bonus on the European release. I became a fan of the band when I heard UNCREATION (2006) so I agonized over a month & a half wait, LOL!

Anvil – This Is Thirteen (2007) – $20: I picked this up back in March as well thru CD Inzane. The band are selling the album themselves thru their website but at a price of $25 (includes S&H), I found CD Inzane to have the best price with shipping and I was impressed by the quick delivery. My version is the limited edition version that the band is selling as they currently are without a label.

So now we’ve caught up on the really late CDs, lets move on to the rest that I’ve bought since the end of April…..

Sledgehammer Ledge – s/t (1992) – $20: I found out about Sledgehammer Ledge about a year ago when I found this album on CD Baby. I liked the samples so I added it to my wishlist and that was that. A couple of months ago, I decided to update my wishlist at CD Baby and I saw that this CD was out of print so I started checking Ebay. Turns out that this disc was going for $20-$30 at auction so I waited to see if CD Baby would restock. I finally got fed up and used BUY IT NOW to buy the album for $15 plus the $5 for shipping.

Dokken – Lightning Strikes Again (2008) – $13: Another case of the European edition being available before the U.S. release…..I ordered the Euro edition from an online shop I usually frequent but there was a stocking problem so i cancelled my order. With shipping, the total cost was going to be $20 but there was a bonus track called ‘Sunset Superstar’. I decided to wait the extra month and saved the seven dollars but it would have been nice to have had the Euro edition right away.

Brother Firetribe – Heart Full Of Fire (2008) – $10: I’ve been wanting to check out Brother Firetribe since 2006 when I read many positive reviews on their album FALSE METAL. I’ve never heard much fron the band except for a few samples and some songs at their MySpace page but I couldn’t pass up the sale price and I grabbed my copy when I picked up the new Dokken.

White Lion – Return Of The Pride (2008) – $13: I’m a sucker for ’80s Hard Rock bands that were big on MTV and White Lion is no exception. My high school years were filled with songs like ‘When the Children Cry’ and ‘Wait’ so I have a soft spot when it comes to White Lion. I waited to buy this album because I read mixed reviews but I found this a few weeks after it’s initial release with a sale sticker attached! It rang up $17 but the sale sticker got me $4 off! I still haven’t listened to it…..

Royal Hunt – Paradox II: Collision Course (2008) – $10: Another album that has been out in Europe and Japan since late 2007/early 2008 and didn’t get a U.S. release until the end of May! I wish these albums could get released in all the territories around the same time! I couldn’t pass up the sale price and I’ve been a Royal Hunt fan since 1997 so I’m very interested in how new frontman Mark Boals (ex-Yngwie Malmsteen) sounds.

Journey – Revelation (2008) – $11.88: If you’ve read the site before then you know I like me some good ol’ American AOR whether it’s Foreigner, REO Speedwagon, Sammy Hagar, or Journey. I’ve always liked Journey since I was a kid and I have very vivid memories of the radio and TV ads for the Providence tour stop on the FRONTIERS tour with the big emphasis on the band’s name (JOURNEY!!!) and a montage of their hits. Anyway, the new album is a 3 disc set available exclusively thru Wal-Mart with the debut of new singer Arnel Pineda on the new album, a CD of re-recorded hits with Arnel, and a live DVD from Las Vegas 2008. That’s major value for such a low price!

 

 

 

 

Current Playlist

CDs, CDs, CDs…..I’m going to have to post new pictures of my collection because there are piles everywhere. I’m listening to lots of promos from labels and bands in a major push to catch up. Problem is I keep buying CDs! Here’s what’s spinning on the stereo lately…..

Anvil – This Is Thirteen (2007): I always liked Anvil. They may be looked at as Spinal Tap now but they have been a consistent Metal band for over two decades. This is the limited edition pressed by the band themselves as they are without a label at the moment. Only 1000 were pressed.

Benedictum – Uncreation (2006): I wanted to check this band out for a couple of years and I grab this record about two weeks before they released their new album, SEASONS OF TRAGEDY. Solid Metal!

Benedictum – Seasons Of Tragedy (2008): Only gave it the initial spin but I like it. I’ll be playing this a lot this week.

Helloween – Gambling With The Devil (2007): I had to put this down for a while because I was getting Weenie overload! It made the Top 15 Albums of 2007 (#12) but I haven’t reviewed it yet.

Don Dokken – Solitary (2008): Another CD I bought and only gave one spin. I want to get a review out on this in the next week or so.

Dokken – The Very Best Of (1999): I always liked me some Dokken and I’ve been a fan since the beginning. This is the best Dokken compilation out there, and there are many! Favorite track has to be ‘Burning Like A Flame’ right now.

Pharoah – Be Gone (2008): Promo of the upcoming 3rd album. It’s out in Europe at the end of the month on Cruz Del Sur.

W.A.S.P – Dominator (2007): Just popped the shrinkwrap on my Russian pressing (Argh!) of the latest W.A.S.P. record. I haven’t actually spun this one but it’s in the queue. I hope it’s better than the NEON GOD albums…..

Bullet – No Mercy (1983/1997 reissue): Another one I have in the queue but I’ve been after it for a long time. This is the High Vaultage reissue with two bonus demos added to the album.

The Sword – Gods Of The Earth (2008): Just picked this up this past Tuesday and I am listening to it right now!

Michael Schenker – Thank You (1993): Michael Schenker is one of my all-time favorite guitarists and this is the first installment if his THANK YOU albums. Instrumental acoustic guitar that just sounds awesome. Michael may have his problems but he is full of talent. This is one of those albums I listen to when I really need to calm down and relax…..I hate to say it but it puts me to sleep! It’s a good album and yes I have listened to the whole record without falling asleep!

CD Scavenger Hunt – 1/25/08

Two hunts in one week! Life is good!

I had a coupon for 15% off 3 used CDs at Newbury Comics that expired end of this week so I had to use it. There were also a few new releases that had to be bought: new Brainstorm, Pagan’s Mind, and Gamma Ray.

Gamma Ray - Land Of The Free II (2007)Gamma Ray – Land Of The Free II (2007) – $10: Had to pick this up because it’s been out in Europe and Japan for a couple of months already and this was the official U.S. release date. The sale price was a bargain and waiting paid off rather than paying import prices. You can’t see it in this picture of the album cover but mine has circle in the lower right corner that announces it’s a new studio album, the band members, and Gamma-Ray.com. It almost looks like a sticker that is usually on the wrap but it was incorporated on top of the artwork. A small disappointment for the artwork.

Pagan’s Mind - God’s Equation (2007)Pagan’s Mind – God’s Equation (2007) (2 CD set) – $10 used: Another album that was released in Europe late in 2007 but just received it’s U.S. release this month. Originally, I had a brand new copy in my hands for $12.99 sale price but I found it used for $3 less…..another bargain! How can you go wrong getting a 2 CD set for ten bucks? Plus I had the coupon for 15% off!

King Diamond - Give Me Your Soul… Please (2007)King Diamond – Give Me Your Soul… Please (2007) – $10 used: I passed on this when it came out because there were other albums I wanted that weren’t as readily available. I knew I could get this CD easily as there’s always a healthy stock of the King at Newbury Comics. Stumbled upon this mint used copy while I was trolling the bins, easily five bucks less than the regular price. Add the 15% off coupon and it’s another bargain.

Benedictum - Uncreation (2006)Benedictum – Uncreation (2007) – $14: I got shut out of the new Brainstorm album, the store only stocked two copies and they were all sold out. I decided to pick up Benedictum because I have been meaning to check the band out and I wanted to get a feel for the band before their new album’s U.S. release in March (it’s out now in Europe!).

Y&T - Black Tiger (1982)Y&T – Black Tiger (1982, Japanese import) – $15 used: Bargain of the week! Nothing is better than when the record store decides to clean shelves and markdown CDs and put them in the used bins. This CD was SEALED with the OBI strip, everything in perfect new condition. It was labeled “used” just to move it because it had been there for years. I checked the date on the original price tag and the CD had been sitting there 7 years at the standard import price of $29.99. I’ll take it for half off plus my 15% off coupon. A steal!

Total (after coupon & w/tax): $53