The Top 30 Albums of 2010 (#11-#20)

I think I say the same things every year when I write the introduction to my Best of the Year list…..this year was one of the greatest years for Hard Rock and Heavy Metal! Every year it seems like more and more new albums come out from a wide variety of bands and 2010 was no exception, this was the biggest year for Heavy Metal Addiction as far as promotional review copies go. Usually, I physically buy all my new albums but this year I partnered with more labels, more promotional people and more bands and I received more albums for review than any other year. Honestly, I couldn’t keep up and I came nowhere close to listening to all of them properly. Looking at the piles on my desk, the boxes next to it and the separate iTunes folder I reserve for promo downloads, it’s easy to estimate that I have more new 2010 albums submitted to Heavy Metal Addiction than the last two years combined! Add in all the new releases I bought on my weekly trips to the record stores, and my daily online searches, and it’s fair to estimate that the total number of new releases from 2010 that I have right now at my desk is over 200.

The only criteria I followed for my Top 30 was the same criteria I’ve used for the last few years: 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 2010. Just like previous years, an album that was released in 2009 overseas, but was released in 2010 for the U.S., qualified as a 2010 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 could have continued with a Top 40 list but I got so far behind listening and writing so there are definitely albums I haven’t heard yet or didn’t give proper time to. We’re talking a couple hundred albums though so anything that got missed might end up in an expanded “Albums I Missed in 2010″ post during next year’s awards week. Just like last year, I will be splitting the Top 30 into three posts so it’s easier to read. Be sure to check out the links to the album reviews. So here is Part 2, the Top 30 Albums of 2010 (#11 – #20):

#20

Brainstorm – Memorial Roots (2010): MEMORIAL ROOTS was one of the best surprises of 2010 because I didn’t really get into their last album DOWNBURST (2008). I liked DOWNBURST but it took a lot of listening for me to warm up to it and I was concerned that this album would be the same thing. What made the album more accessible to me was the fact that the songs had more hooks this time around instead of being a straight up Power Metal feast. Brainstorm expands their sound a little on this album instead of following the same old formula by becoming a bit more melodic and they really did a great job. I wanted to spend extra time with this album because I was a little letdown by DOWNBURST to I made sure to give MEMORIAL ROOTS a lot of playing time and it paid off. http://www.brainstorm-web.net/

#19

Wig Wam – Non Stop Rock ‘N Roll (2010): I’m a child of the ’80s and the new Wig Wam record sounds like it came straight from 1986 with it’s big sound, party anthems and slick production. Wig Wam is a Glam band and influenced by all the big ’80s bands like Poison, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, etc. Name a Hard Rock/Glam/Sleaze bands from the mid-’80s and you can definitely hear some influence in the overall Wig Wam sound. That doesn’t mean that the music is generic but it does have a dated feel to it in a good way. I like all the big sounding party anthems and the ballads break things up a little and are a good fit. The only problem I have is that Wig Wam take too long between albums, this one being four years after 2006′s WIG WAMANIA. http://www.wigwam.no/index.html

#18

Kiske-Somerville – s/t (2010): Here’s an album that I was eagerly awaiting and had a hard time acquiring. When I heard that Amanda Somerville and former Helloween singer Michael Kiske were collaborating I had to get a hold of it because both are great vocalists. Michael Kiske goes without saying, listen to the early Helloween records and you know how good he is and I really haven’t explored his post-Helloween career. I know Amanda Somerville from her work with After Forever, Epica, Avantasia and Kamelot but, again, I’ve never explored her actual solo work. It’s a great pairing and both of them singing together on each song is a really great idea. The problem with acquiring the album turned out to be a combination of limited availability at my local record store and high import prices online but I found it in late Fall and I ended up buying the limited edition with a bonus track and two music videos. Definitely an album worth checking out. http://www.amandasomerville.com/ http://www.michaelkiske.net/index_en.php

#17

Griffen – Life: A Way To Die (2010): I found out about Griffen back in 2008 when the band sent in their second demo, LINKED IN ETERNITY (2008), for review. I was so impressed then with Griffen that I put them in my Top 30 of 2008 at #27! I never got to hear Griffen’s first self-titled demo from 2007 and now both are unavailable. The good thing is that LIFE: A WAY TO DIE compiled all nine songs from both demos and added three new songs to create Griffen’s first proper album. Now you may ask what the difference is between Griffen re-releasing their demo material versus a guy like Bret Michaels re-releasing previously released material as a new album…..the answer is that Griffen has never officially released their material. Demos can also be rough takes, although the one Griffen sent me a couple of years ago was so well done. If you want to hear some great Melodic Metal, then check Griffen out. It’s good to see the band signed and I can’t wait to hear what the come up with next. http://www.myspace.com/griffentheband

#16

Black Label Society – Order Of The Black (2010): A lot was riding on the latest Black Label Society album because of the events going on outside the band with Zakk Wylde: getting the ax from Ozzy’s band and then getting very ill with blood clots. I have just about every Black Label release and this was one of the better ones that I’ve heard in a few years. I bought this album right away and gave it a few initial spins and then I put it aside. One of the reasons why I put it down was because I was giving it a ton of time with Ozzfest coming to town two weeks after the album came out…..of course, Black Label didn’t play due to weather and equipment problems so I kind of put the record on the backburner. About a couple months later, I saw the video for ‘Overlord’ on Headbanger’s Ball and I got back into it. Zakk has always been focused on the projects he’s working on whether it be Black Label or stuff with Ozzy but I think leaving Ozzy’s band is probably the best thing for him. ORDER OF THE BLACK sounds more focused, more ferocious and more complete. I definitely enjoyed it a lot more than SHOT TO HELL (2006) and I’m looking forward to a more powerful Black Label in the future. http://www.zakkwylde.com/

#15

White Wizzard – Over The Top (2010): I really like White Wizzard! HIGH SPEED G.T.O. (2009) just made the Albums I Missed in 2009 list and I wasn’t going to let OVER THE TOP be one of those missed albums in 2010. I think one of the reasons why the first album got missed was because I spent a lot of listening time on OVER THE TOP. I grew up with Heavy Metal and White Wizzard definitely carries the flag high for old school Heavy Metal. I like everything about the band: the music, the albums covers, the logo…..this is a band I would have listened to back when I was a kid. I had a few doubts on this initially because of all the upheaval with the band’s lineup, especially at the vocalist slot, because the debut was solid and a massive lineup change can screw up a band’s sound. I think White Wizzard have come back stronger and the future looks bright. If you like old school Metal, check them out…..http://www.myspace.com/whitewizzard

#14

Halford – IV: Made of Metal (2010): With Judas Priest being my second favorite band and Rob Halford being one of my favorite heavy Metal singers, anything Rob releases outside Priest is definitely on my radar. I picked up Halford III – WINTER SONGS (2009) last year and it was a good record, just unexpected and not as Metal as previous Halford efforts. When I read online that Rob was making the fourth Halford album while taking a break from Judas Priest, I was ready for a Metal feast. MADE OF METAL picks up for me where Rob left off with his CRUCIBLE (2002) and where Priest should have maybe gone instead of  NOSTRADAMUS (2008). I got a preview of the title track when I saw the band perform brilliantly at Ozzfest 2010 and I had already heard ‘The Mower’ online so I knew it was going to be another solid Metal album from the Metal God. What makes this album stick out is that it’s more traditional heavy Metal, more Melodic Metal than the first two Halford albums and the songs get you singing along right away. I almost feel bad for not putting this Top 10! http://www.robhalford.com/madeofmetal/

#13

Kamelot – Poetry For The Poisoned (2010): I have been a Kamelot fan since KARMA (2001) and I always expect every new album to beat that album. The last few Kamelot albums have been hit or miss for me but when I read that the band was going for a darker sound on POETRY FOR THE POISONED, I got interested. Then the band announced a local concert about 40 minutes from my house so I was definitely all hyped up for a new Kamelot album. This album definitely has the darker edge to it and it’s still the same Power Metal and Progressive Metal mix that Kamelot has been known for. There’s female background vocals and plenty of orchestration to fill out the overall sound but what I like is when Roy Khan uses a little bit of an aggressive growl here and there, it adds a different element to his excellent vocal style. I keep listening to this album and I keep discovering different sounds everytime and it always sounds fresh. That’s the mark of a really good album, when it makes you keep coming back for more. I might have rated this a little higher if I was able to catch the band in concert, that didn’t happened when they cancelled the entire U.S. tour! http://www.kamelot.com/

#12

Triptykon – Eparistera Daimones (2010): Like I mentioned when I added the new Dimmu Borgir to this year’s countdown, I wanted to open myself up to more extreme forms of Metal and to bands I may have missed in the past. One of those bands was Celtic Frost and it was easy to do both with Tom G. Warrior’s new band Triptykon. I’ll admit that it took a little while to get used to it but I really started to get into it as I kept listening. You’ve got a mix of Black, Death and Thrash with some Doom and the sound it just plain heavy. What drew me in was the guitars on the first song, the 11 minute epic ‘Goetia’. The guitar playing on ‘Goetia’ made me take notice and I kept playing just that tune over and over, it has such an early Black Sabbath influence to it. Anyway, Triptykon led me to more Celtic Frost (I only have 1985′s TO MEGA THERION) and Hellhammer and onto some other extreme bands. I know that ESPARISTERA DAIMONES is going to be high up on a lot of Metal websites’ best of lists this year and I might have ranked it higher if I was more familiar with more of this kind of Metal. Definitely one of the top albums of the year! http://triptykon.net/

#11

Treat – Coup De Grace (2010): I really didn’t think much of the news of Treat’s new album, COUP DE GRACE, because it had been 18 years since the band released a new studio album. I ended up being sent a digital promo of the album for review and I knew as soon as I heard the first song (‘The War is Over’) that this was going to be one of the best Melodic Rock albums of the year. Despite the 18 year hiatus, Treat doesn’t compromise their sound, it’s still a combination of ’80s era AOR, Melodic Rock and Hard Rock. It’s still a huge sound that compares to the better known bands from back in the day like Def Leppard and Bon Jovi but Treat is doing it better than those bands in 2010. The production here is so good and the songs are great, I really had a hard time keeping this out of the Top 10. This is one of the best comebacks of 2010 and one of the best albums, definitely worth picking up if you grew up with that ’80s sound. http://www.treatnews.com/

Ozzfest 2010 at Comcast Center (Mansfield, MA) – 8/24/10

I went to Ozzfest a few weeks ago at the Comcast Center on 8/24…..I’m just getting around to reviewing it now because there really wasn’t much to review. Let me explain…..

I am an Ozzfest veteran, I have been to the 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 shows at the same venue. Each time I was in as soon as the gates opened and I caught as many Metal bands as possible. When the 2003 Ozzfest lineup was announced, I made the concious decision NOT to attend because of the ticket prices vs. what I thought was a poor lineup. Since that missed show, I didn’t attend another Ozzfest until this year. Maybe it was the small run of tour dates (six U.S. shows) or maybe it was because I was going with a group of friends, either way I put down the $100 for a ticket. None of my friends were interested in the smaller bands so the whole point of going was to see Black Label Society, Halford, Motley Crue and Ozzy. I wouldn’t have minded seeing Kataklysm, Skeletonwitch or Kingdom Of Sorrow but they weren’t top priority. So we get to the parking lot and the sky opens up with a steady drizzle that made the tailgate BBQ nice and soggy but I put up the tent and we had a decent feast. The plan was to head in around 4:15pm for the BLS set at 4:30 on the second stage…..we got to the gate about 4:25pm and found out the entire second stage schedule was cancelled due to inclement weather! Now I have been to Ozzfest many times, and I have been to a ton of outdoor shows in rain worse than what was coming down so I was shocked that a full cancellation was in effect. With nothing left to do it was off to the covered pavilion to our seats so we could dry off a little and wait for the main attractions.

Nonpoint & Devildriver

I don’t like either band but, I’ll be honest, I also never really heard their music. Actually, I saw Nonpoint at Ozzfest 2001 and I gave the first song off their new album, MIRACLE (2010), a spin when I got a free promo copy from their label. Like I said, not a fan of either band and both performances didn’t help the cause. All I heard was noise and unintelligible shouting and there was nothing extraordinary about Nonpoint or Devildriver for me. That said, I can tell you both bands had large followings and got a ton of applause, I assume that they get played on local Boston radio station 107.3 WAAF and Providence, RI’s 94.1 WHJY. I don’t listen to current Rock radio so I don’t get the appeal but I will listen to the new Nonpoint and review it at some point before the end of the year and I will grab a Devildriver CD if I find it used at a really low price.

Halford setlist:

Resurrection
Made In Hell
Locked And Loaded
Nailed To The Gun (Fight song)
Golgotha
Crystal
Drop Out
Made Of Metal (new song)
Cyberworld
Heart Of A Lion (Judas Priest song)
Never Satisfied (Judas Priest song)
Saviour

Like I mentioned before, we were there to see the four headliners but I know I was the only Halford fan. I knew going in that the band was going to play mostly from the Halford band catalogue and maybe we would get a Judas Priest song or two. I am a huge fan of Rob’s solo career so I was psyched to get all the RESURRECTION and CRUCIBLE songs but the highlights for me were the lone Fight track, ‘Nailed To The Gun’, and the new song, ‘Made Of Metal’, from Halford’s upcoming new album of the same name. It wouldn’t be a Rob Halford performance if he didn’t touch upon Judas Priest so he pulled out two deep tracks with ‘Heart Of A Lion’ (a song demoed in 1985 for the TURBO album) and ‘Never Satisfied’ from SAD WINGS OF DESTINY (1976). Those two songs were unbelievable! Turns out that this show was on Rob’s birthday so, at the end of the set, the crew brought out a cake and the crowd sang Happy Birthday to Rob Halford…..a cool moment that ended a flawless performance.

Motley Crue setlist:

Kickstart My Heart
Wild Side
Shout At The Devil
Saints Of Los Angeles
Looks That Kill
Live Wire
Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
Same Ol’ Situation
Home Sweet Home
Mutherfucker Of The Year
Helter Skelter (Beatles cover)
Primal Scream
Dr. Feelgood
Girls, Girls, Girls

Of all the headliners, the one band I knew would definitely get the arena rocking was Motley Crue. I’ve seen just about every tour since the GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS tour back in 1988 and they Crue deliver each time. Forget the fact that Vince Neil sings only have the words most of the time, the band has a ton of hits and always plays a deep track or two in their set and the musicianship is usually flawless. The bottom line is that the Crue put on a great show and this one was no exception. The band came out to the high-powered opener ‘Kickstart My Heart’ and put the pedal to the Metal! Look at the setlist…..it’s just hit after hit along with two songs from their last studio album, SAINTS OF LOS ANGELES (2009), and a deep cut from SHOUT AT THE DEVIL (1983) with the Beatles’ tune ‘Helter Skelter’. I’m an old school Crue fan, I was there at the beginning, so I love hearing tracks from the first two recordsso ‘Live Wire’, ‘Looks That Kill’ and ‘Shout At The Devil’ went over huge with me but I would have liked another track or two…..maybe if the set was longer because you can’t cut any of the other hits out! Like I mentioned, Vince Neil still only sings half the words but he sounds better (if that’s possible) and the band was tight and dead on. I would say the performance of the night fell to guitarist Mick Mars…..it’s hard to watch that guy stand up or walk but he played flawlessly! The other three guys may be the faces of Motley Crue but Mick Mars is definitely the backbone. All in all, I’d say this was a solid performance and the band had the crowd looking for more.

Ozzy setlist:

Bark At The Moon
Let Me Hear You Scream
Mr. Crowley
I Don’t Know
Fairies Wear Boots (Black Sabbath cover)
Fire In The Sky
Suicide Solution
Road To Nowhere
Into The Void (Black Sabbath cover)
Shot In the Dark
Rat Salad (Black Sabbath cover)
Iron Man (Black Sabbath cover)
I Don’t Want To Change The World
Crazy Train

Encore:
Mama I’m Coming Home
Paranoid (Black Sabbath cover)

Here’s the thing about Ozzy…..his performances are hit or miss. I’ve seen Ozzy mulitple times on every solo tour since NO MORE TEARS (1991) and he is usually really good, the one exception being the 2001/2002 tour for DOWN TO EARTH. As I mentioned before, I’ve seen Ozzfest from 1998 to 2002 and now this one (that’s 6!) and he has performed solo on four of them, each one hit or miss. The two Ozzfests that I saw with Black Sabbath headlining were really great so is it a case of Ozzy being too comfortable in his own material or that ultimately Black Sabbath is more than just Ozzy? Either way, I was excited to see Ozzy because he finally released a new record that wasn’t a letdown, SCREAM being the best album since 1995′s OZZMOSIS.

First thing I noticed was that Ozzy sounded great…..he opened with the classic ‘Bark At The Moon’ and his vocals were the best I’ve heard since the OZZMOSIS tour. The new band was really powerful, especially new guitarist Gus G. (Firewind, Dream Evil) who added a new edge to the overall sound. Nothing against Zakk Wylde but sometimes a new member can add a new spark. Same thing goes for bassist Blasko, drummer Tommy Clufetos and keyboardist Adam Wakeman…..these guys all had an energy to them that seemed to revive the Prince Of Darkness to put on an inspired show. The Blasko/Clufetos rhythm section is solid, no surprise as they have worked together in Rob Zombie’s band, giving them a modern sound and Adam Wakeman is a solid keyboardist/guitarist much like his father Rick Wakeman of the Progressive Rock band Yes. If I had to pick a standout performance it would definitely be Ozzy because his singing is much improved this time around but Gus G.’s guitar playing was dead on to Randy Rhoads, Jake E. Lee and Zakk Wylde proving that he is a versatile young guitar player.

The setlist was pretty good although a little predictable. All the usual hits were there (‘Bark At The Moon’, ‘I Don’t Know’, ‘Crazy Train’, and ‘Mr. Crowley’) but I was a little surprised by ‘Shot In The Dark’ because usually Ozzy & Sharon dismiss THE ULTIMATE SIN (1986) so much so that it’s the only Ozzy studio album deleted from the available catalog! Ozzy played two deep tracks with ‘Fire In The Sky’ from NO REST FOR THE WICKED (1988) and the excellent ‘Road To Nowhere’ from NO MORE TEARS. As with any Ozzy concert, the setlist had some Black Sabbath songs included…..this time around five but one was a solo section for the rest of the band when they did ‘Rat Salad’ from PARANOID (1970). ‘Fairies Wear Boots’ and ‘Into The Void’ were excellent, so were ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Paranoid’ but I am sick of those two songs after so many years. Bottom line…..one of the best times I’ve seen Ozzy live in a long time!

CD Scavenger Hunt – August 2010 update

The buying never stops! Here’s a list of albums I picked up throughout August…..

Online

Cain’s Alibi – s/t (1996) – $25: I featured this CD in my Wanted column back in July 2009 and one of the band members, Paul Miller, was nice enough to leave a comment on the post. I ended up contacting Paul and he was kind enough to offer me a sealed original copy of the CD for $25 with shipping. That was a great deal! I’ve seen this CD go for over $100 many times since it became out of print years ago and Paul was cool enough to sell me one of his very few extra copies for what is basically an import price. Special thanks to Paul Miller for helping me add this to my collection.

Skullfist – Heavier Than Metal (2010) – $15: I have read a few reviews on HEAVIER THAN METAL and Skullfist sent me a press release email so I figured I would check the band out on their MySpace. I’ll be honest, I really didn’t give the music a ton of listens at the Skullfist MySpace page, I had it on in the background while I was doing something else and I just decided to buy the CD because they were a band I hadn’t heard of before. I paid $15 for a 5 song E.P. and it took about three weeks to get here from Canada.

Ebay
(price includes shipping)

Uncle Sam – Heaven Or Hollywood (1987) – $16: This album from Rochester, NY’s Uncle Sam is usually best known for it’s album cover. If you think the cover to the left is good, then you will like the original where the panties are gone and you see it all! I bought the CD, hence the censored cover art…..the vinyl has the original picture. Both formats of this album are rare and hard to find and I have been on the lookout for both for a number of years. I got this CD on the cheap because the auction ended during work hours for most people and I was able to snipe it in the last 30 seconds. I won this on my birthday, so Happy Birthday to me! The quest for the original vinyl continues.

Bangalore Choir – On Target (1992) -$10: I am one of those collector’s that always picks up those obscure, one-off albums by those obscure, one-off bands from the ’80s/early ’90s on major labels. For some reason Bangalore Choir has eluded capture for years. I used to see this album all the time at some of the old mom & pop record stores I used to hit in the late ’90s/early 2000′s but those places closed and with them went the used copies of ON TARGET. I have been watching Ebay for months since the announcement of this album getting a reissue but I never thought I would find it this cheap! Normally this is a $25+ CD!

Tokyo Blade – s/t (1983/1997 reissue) – $20: I have been collecting German reissue label High Vaultage’s releases since they debuted in 1997 but they are becoming harder and harder to find as the years go by. I also collect NWOBHM bands and Tokyo Blade is one of those bands that I like and am trying to complete their discography. This reissue came out in 1997 and includes the original album plus five bonus tracks that were originally on the MIDNIGHT RENDEZVOUS E.P. (1984). I found this album and won it at a decent price because the seller misspelled Tokyo as “Toyko”.

Eclipse – The Truth And A Little More (2001) – $8: I’ve known about Sweden’s Eclipse since this album debuted in 2001 and I saw it in the import section of my favorite record store. I never got around to buying the CD until I saw this album go for over $100 on another Ebay auction a few months ago. Turns out this CD is out of print and hard to find now so I started searching. Don’t the bidding war and skyrocket prices fool you, this album can be found on Ebay dirt cheap, I got mine for $5 plus $3 shipping and I was the only bidder!

Black Sabbath – Live Evil (1982/2010 Deluxe Edition reissue) – $20: Deluxe Editions from Universal Music are things we have to come to expect in the age of reissues, remasters and cheating the consumer. If you already own the original releases, you are buying these for the expanded packaging and bonus tracks, it’s the fans that don’t own the original record that make out better. I’m a huge fan of Dio-era Sabbath so these Deluxe editions were interesting to me for the sole fact that one of the editions included a bonus disc of the LIVE AT HAMMERSMITH CD that was released in very limited quantities from Rhino Records in 2007. I didn’t order a LIVE AT HAMMERSMITH in 2007 and it’s sold out and hard to find at an affordable price. So why did I buy this LIVE EVIL deluxe edition when LIVE AT HAMMERSMITH isn’t included? Well, I thought it was! The seller listed that a copy of LIVE AT HAMMERSMITH would be included so I jumped on it. Maybe there was a 3rd disc? Maybe this guy is crazy and giving away the rare Rhino CD with LIVE EVIL? I got a CDR copy and it turns out that it’s actually on the MOB RULES Deluxe edition…..at least this is the original LIVE EVIL and not the chopped one I have from Castle Records in 1996.

Predator – Easy Prey (1985) – $10: This is the lone vinyl album that I bought this month, not that I have been buying up a ton of vinyl but I do like picking some up when the album never had a CD release. I have had this Predator album on cassette for years and it’s finally dead, I use it now as an “auto reverse changer” for my car tape deck so I can put my iPod cassette adaptor in. And just look at the album artwork…..classic! Sealed, mint, no cut holes…..worth the $10 and that’s with shipping included.

Stores

Buckcherry – All Night Long (2010) – $10: I’ve been a Buckcherry fan since I first read about them in 1997 in a Rock mag…..now it’s 14 years, 5 studio records and a live album later and I still love this band. Unfortunately, I didn’t get into BLACK BUTTERFLY (2008) until late 2009 so I’m hoping I latch onto ALL NIGHT LONG right away. I was going to pop the extra couple of bucks for the limited edition that includes a second disc of acoustic tracks titled RECKLESS SONS but it was priced the same as the regular edition. Saved $5 at Best Buy.

Black Label Society – Order Of The Black (2010) – $9: There was no doubt that the new Black Label Society record was going to be one of the most anticipated of the year. Just the controversy over his dismissal from Ozzy’s band is enough fuel to fire up the fans to buy this record. I would have bought it anyway, BLS albums are always high quality, high powered Heavy Metal. I also had to have the new BLS because Ozzfest was a week away in Mansfield (review coming soon) and I wanted to hear some new songs live…..unfortunately, the rain caused a full cancellation of the second stage and Black Label’s performance! Sale price couldn’t be beat and I saved $7 off the $16 regular price!

Jorn – Dio (2010) – $18: Whatever I saved buying the new Black Label Society got spent on the Dio tribute album from Jorn Lande! I had a digital promo from the label but I wanted my own REAL copy so I saw it and bought it. There’s no getting around the regular price on some Frontiers Records releases because they are technically European imports and it was a comparable price compared to buying online and paying the extra money on shipping. Click the link for the review.

The next four acquisitions were bought using a $40 gift card that I received for my birthday…..basically they were free so I will give you the prices I would have paid. I had a free $40 and I spent the exact amount including the sales tax!

Axel Rudi Pell – The Crest (2010) – $12: Axel Rudi Pell is one of those artists that always puts out great music but flies under the radar of many fans. It’s hard to believe that this is Pell’s 14th studio album as a solo artist. Add that to live albums and ballad collections, etc. and your talking 21 albums in 21 years! That’s a solid career and I’m not even getting into his time with Steeler…..the man is just consistent and one hell of a guitar player. Add Johnny Gioeli (ex-Hardline)back on the mic and Mike Terrana on drums and you’ve got a solid band. Saved $4.

Lillian Axe – Deep Red Shadows (2010) – $10: I’ve been listening to Lillian Axe since the first album in 1988 but I just haven’t gotten into the last two studio albums – WATERS RISING (2007) and SAD DAY ON PLANET EARTH (2009). For some reason I bought them the day they were released and they just sat in the pile waiting to be spun. I’ve listened to them but definitely not enough. This time around I’m planning on giving this album some regular play. I totally forgot that Lillian Axe had released a new album, I only noticed it when I made it a point to go through the New Release rack a second time…..I always hit the New Release rack first and grab all the new releases for that week  right away. This album came out at the beginning of August and it was still there! Saved $4 off the regular price.

Tarot – Gravity Of Light (2010) – $10: I didn’t plan on buying the new album from Finland’s Tarot until I caught a random song on a podcast a couple of weeks ago. I ended up writing the band name down and forgetting all about them. When I was flipping through the CD racks I happened to remember it and I couldn’t find it. I ended up finding it still in the New Release rack, where it had been since it’s July release! Further research shows this is their 8th studio album so if I like it I’m going to have to go back and check out the rest of the discography. For a new band (to me) I figured that I would take a chance while the CD was onsale rather than pay the full price later, I ending up saving $6.

Gene Simmons Family Jewels (The Complete Season 2) (2007) – $6: Aside from the first few episodes, I have never been a big Family Jewels fan. Maybe it’s because I don’t get the chance to watch primetime TV…..maybe it’s because I know that the show is staged…..maybe it’s because I don’t want to see one of my Rock heroes make a fool out of himself! It wasn’t until this past season that I watched the show religiously on the DVR and it really wasn’t that bad. I decided to start grabbing the previous seasons on DVD so when I saw this sealed for a meager $6 I snagged it. The steal of the month! Saved $14 assuming the regular price is $20.

Total = $161

Total (year) = $1206

Average price (per item) = $10.31

Total CDs (year) = 106

Total DVDs (year) = 3

Total Box Sets (year) = 6

Total LPs (year) = 2