Albums I Missed In 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CD Scavenger Hunt – First trip of 2010

I waited until I couldn’t wait any longer…..I finally went out and spent the $90 in gift cards to the local record store that I received for Xmas. Do you know how hard it is to actually NOT go out and spend them right away? Usually, my gift cards are spent within a couple of days but I decided to wait, get my want list together and let the stores’ inventories re-stock.

Being a lifelong Rhode Island native means that any trip longer than 20 mins is a “day out”. There are two local Newbury Comics stores near my house: the one 5 mins up the road in North Attleboro, MA and the one 20 mins away in Warwick, RI. Like I said, for most Rhode Islanders, a 20 minute drive I way too long so I made sure that there were errands to run in that area and my wife and kids came along for the “day out”. I decided to go to the store in Warwick because I know the inventory well in North Attleboro and the Warwick store always seems to have those extra special releases that I’m looking for.

Newbury Comics

W.E.T. – s/t (2009) – $17: Finally! After weeks of waiting and trying desperately to order online, I finally acquired the debut from W.E.T.! I had tried four times to order it from a certain online retailer but the order kept getting cancelled due to the CD selling out. I went straight to the ‘W’ section and found this right away for the same price that was online. I saw this make a bunch of year end lists and MelodicRock.com gave this a perfect 100 score on their review so this was a very important album to pick up. Add in the Jeff Scott Soto factor and it was a must buy!

W.A.S.P. – Babylon (2009) – $16: Another 2009 release that I missed out on because it was out of stock everytime I ordered it online. BABYLON and W.E.T. were always in the same order that kept getting cancelled by my favorite online rock shop. I saw this record make a lot of Top 10 lists at the end of the year and it was definitely a must have. I’ve been a W.A.S.P. fan since the first record, actually before that when I acquired the ‘Animal’ single as an import, and I always look forward to a new W.A.S.P. record. Price wasn’t bad here, only a dollar more from the store I kept trying to order from and $5 less than NEH Records.

House Of Lords – Cartesian Dreams (2009) – $16: I completely missed this album in 2009, I didn’t even realize House Of Lords was releasing a new album! I go back to 1988 & 1990 with the band’s debut and SAHARA but I haven’t really kept up with the band until the last couple of albums. I was impressed with what I heard on WORLD UPSIDE DOWN (2006) and COME TO MY KINGDOM (2008) and this also made a lot of year end lists.

The Last Vegas – Whatever Gets You Off (2009) – $10: Taking a chance on a band that i have never heard before but seems to be on the rise. When I read all the Best of 2009 lists, this CD ended up being on quite a few, and it has been highly recommended to me by more than a few people. Sleaze Glam here so it’s music I like but I hope the band is not the usual L.A. Guns/Guns ‘N Roses/Faster Pussycat clone. This was the last CD I found and the price was right for taking a chance.

Steel Panther – Feel The Steel (2009) – $12: Danger Kitty…..Metal Shop…..Metal Skool…..now it’s Steel Panther! I didn’t bother buying this when it came out because the import price was way too high but I saw this finally got a U.S. release and the price today was more than half than the import. I know there are a few different pressing of this, my copy only has 11 songs…..I’ve seen a 12 song pressing and a 14 track issue.

Epica – Design Your Universe (2009) – $12: Wanted to buy it and should have bought it when it was released but for some reason I passed. I like epica a lot so I’m not sure why I passed on this before but, when I saw the sale sticker still on it, I couldn’t pass it up this time around. The CD rang up regular price ($16) when they scanned it at the register but that old sale tag saved me $4. It always pays to get the sale price…..even if your weeks after the sale!

Charm City Devils – Let’s Rock ‘N Roll (2009) – $7 used: I had $90 in gift cards and I had two CDs in my hand: Saga – The Human Condition (2009) and this one. Both CDs were used and both were $7…..making my overall total $90. I have the Saga album already, I received a promo from the label but it’s not an official pressing and I like the real CD with the booklet and packaging, etc…..but I passed. I found this copy of LET’S ROCK ‘N ROLL and it was the only used one in a bunch of regularly priced copies at $15 each. I couldn’t pass up the price and the new music and I’ve passed on this album so many times that I figured it was finally time to grab it.

Total = $90 (- $90 gift cards) = $0

Total (year) = $0

Total CDs (year) = 7