Albums I Missed in 2008

There are so many albums released every year that it’s almost impossible to keep up. Usually I spend the first two months of the new year acquiring all the albums I didn’t buy the previous year before all the new releases start to flood the market. 2008 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 2008, the reason is simple: I was lazy! As many of you collectors know, if you acquire a lot of albums then they tend to pile up, my pile kept growing! The more the pile grows, the more albums that get pushed to the bottom. The following list of albums are CDs that were in a pile on my desk waiting to be listened to but I never got around to giving them a proper spin until the new year. Some of these records might have cracked my Top 30 Albums of 2008 or at least extended it to a Top 20 or 25.

1977 – Rock ‘N Roll (2008): The missing KISS album! 1977 is a tribute/original band that draws their major influences from…..KISS! The songs all sound like vintage KISS circa the mid-1970s but there is a touch of originality with good songwriting and a fresh performance. As I wrote in the album review: “The real KISS hasn’t done anything new since 1998’s PSYCHO CIRCUS so I’m calling this album the next best thing, it just sounds like KISS!” I received this CD straight from the band in late December 2008 and I started listening in January.

Brother Firetribe – Heart Full Of Fire (2008): I have been wanting to check out Brother Firetribe since 2006 when their debut record, FALSE METAL, was getting great reviews across the Internet. I actually bought the album when it came out in June 2008 but it got lost in the pile on my desk. Aside from a quick initial listen, I didn’t even give this album a second thought until this January. That was a big mistake because Brother Firetribe’s AOR/Melodic Rock is top notch with songs full of hooks and melody.

Buckcherry – Black Butterfly (2008): I have been a Buckcherry since I received a promo copy of their debut album back in early 1999, that debut album is still one of my favorites. I bought TIME BOMB (2001) and 15 (2006) when they were released, the latter before ‘Sorry’ and ‘Crazy Bitch’ became hit singles. BLACK BUTTERFLY was a day of release purchase (September 2008) too but I couldn’t get pass the novelty song ‘Too Drunk’. I’m all for a gimmick but I felt Buckcherry was always a solid Hard Rock band so they didn’t need to resort to a song like ‘Too Drunk’ to get people interested. You already had ‘Lit Up’, ‘Porno Star’ and ‘Crazy Bitch’ from previous albums so I thought it was too formulaic. I should have paid attention because I listened to the album a lot in 2009 and the album was even better after I saw the band open for KISS.

Extreme – Saudades de Rock (2008): Always been a big Extreme fan dating back to their self-titled debut back in 1989 so I was looking forward to a new album when it was announced in 2006 after the band’s reunion tour. I bought this back at the end of August 2008 and I still hadn’t taken the shrinkwrap off the CD through October! I gave it a quick listen, liked the updated sound and put the album in my growing pile. I actually forgot I had the CD until I started digging around making my “Best of” and “Worst of” lists last December. I should have kept this album out because it’s really good, no surprise it made a lot of “best of” lists last year.

Grand Magus – Iron Will (2008): talk about missing an album! I blew it with Grand Magus’ IRON WILL record! I read great reviews from June 2008 through December 2008 but I never got around to picking up the album. Then I saw IRON WILL on most of the year end lists online and in print…..I knew I missed it. I picked up IRON WILL back in early February at the local record store and have enjoyed it all year long.

Yngwie Malmsteen – Perpetual Flame (2008): I’ve been buying Yngwie albums since Yngwie was in Steeler so I’ve been a fan for a long time. The problem is I hadn’t been excited about an Yngwie album in over a decade, the last one I looked forward to and really enjoyed was FACING THE ANIMAL (1997). Then I read that Yngwie had enlisted Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens for lead vocal duties…..now it was a whole different ball game! Ripper is a great singer and he has given life to the likes of Judas Priest and Iced Earth when their distinctive singers left the band. The best thing about this album, aside from Ripper on the mic, was that Yngwie played within the songs and not totally over the top. And there were actual songs with good lyrics and melody, not just guitar noodling. Had it since it came out in October 2008 but it remained in the pile until early 2009.

Rose Tattoo – Blood Brothers (Special Tour Edition) (2008): Of all the albums I missed out on in 2008, this was my favorite! BLOOD BROTHERS was originally released in 2007 but I received a promo copy of the special edition in the summer of 2008. Same tracklisting as the original release but with different artwork, packaging and a bonus live DVD of the band’s appearance at Wacken 2006. Always compared to their fellow Aussie countrymen AC/DC, Rose Tattoo has maintained their classic barroom boogie Rock style through the years…..this easily beats out AC/DC’s BLACK ICE on sheer power and force. Is it possible for another band to do AC/DC better than AC/DC? Rose Tattoo are a band not too many people know but they are top notch, BLOOD BROTHERS would have easily cracked my Top 15 in 2008 and ranked higher than BLACK ICE.

Talon – Fallen Angels (2008): I had the Talon debut from 2002 and loved it. When I read about a new Talon album to be released in early 2008, I wrote it down and forgot about it. When all the year end lists came out last December, I made sure to put this at the top of my Want List. I never got around to buying FALLEN ANGELS until the end of November when I went on an Ebay shopping spree and got it for a really great price. I’m not sure why I kept procrastinating on picking this album up because it’s an excellent melodic Hard Rock album that would have easily been all over my daily playlists had I bought it when it originally came out in 2008.

Tesla – Forever More (2008): I saw Tesla open for Def Leppard on 10/12/1987 on the HYSTERIA tour in Providence, RI…..I was 15 years old. Tesla was the hot new band with the hot new single ‘Modern Day Cowboy’ that they opened with. From then on I was a Tesla fan. I didn’t buy FOREVER MORE until a week after it came out in October 2008 and I didn’t even play it, aside from the initial spin, until early 2009. Like the Extreme & Yngwie CDs, it got lost in the growing pile! I couldn’t help but notice this album ranking near the top of many “best of” lists last year so I knew I missed out on a good record.

Venom – Hell (2008): Not a lot of people like Venom…..not a lot of people really know anything about Venom! I grew up with the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) so venom has been burned into my brain sonce 1982! I had no idea that Venom was releasing a new album in 2008 and I read all the Metal news daily so I was surprised to find this as a new release the same day in October 2008 that I bought the Tesla and Yngwie CDs. This had actually come out earlier in August but I completely missed it! A lot of people may not like the crazed and distorted sound Venom prides themselves on but I thought it was a real heavy record.

CD Scavenger Hunt – Catching up already in 2009!

Here we go….. we are only one month into 2009 and I have been picking up some good CDs every week online, in stores and from Ebay. So here’s what I’ve bought so far this year…..

Record Store

Saxon – Into The Labyrinth (2009) – $11.88: I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of the album back in December but I had to go out and buy the proper CD because Saxon is one of my favorite bands. Unfortunately the local shop only had the regular version and not the limited edition with the bonus DVD. I’ll get that one eventually…..

Grand Magus – Iron Will (2008) – $15: I saw this album on a ton of year end best of lists so I put it on my want list. I hit the record store to get the new saxon and I found this CD in the section reserved for picks from the staff.

Grave Digger – Ballads Of A Hangman (2009) – $11.88: I had to get this album after I was shut out from picking up the PRAY E.P. that was released two weeks earlier. I’ve been a Grave Digger fan since around ’85 and I always like their new albums. The version I bought was the limited edition digipak that includes a bonus cover of Thin Lizzy’s ‘Jailbreak’.

Iron Fire – To The Grave (2009) – $11.88: The new Iron Fire was released the same day as the new Grave Digger (both bands are on Napalm Records) and the were both on sale for $11.88. Just like BALLADS OF A HANGMAN, TO THE GRAVE came in a limited edition digipak with a bonus track…..’Blacksmith Of Thunder’.

Alestorm – Leviathan E.P. (2009) – $7: I have wanted to check out Alestorm for a long time but I never got around to buying CAPTAIN MORGAN’S Revenge (2008) last year. I figured spending 7 bucks on the E.P. would be a good introduction.

Edguy – Tinnitus Sanctus (2009) – $10: Tobias Sammet is a very busy guy with new albums from Avantasia and Edguy in one year. Technically, this record was released in December 2008 everywhere but North America and there is a limited edition 2CD set that includes a live show and videos. Unfortunately the record shop only had the regular edition but you can’t beat a $10 sale price!

Twisted Sister – Under the Blade (1982/1999 reissue) – $10: I thought I had this in my collection already but I was wrong. My 10 yr. old daughter, who is obsessed with Twisted Sister, pointed out the missing album to me a couple of weeks ago so that put UNDER THE BLADE at the top of the want list. Talk about pressure…..my kid wouldn’t stop talking about it and how I needed to buy it. I was looking through a markdown/sale bin just before checking out and I found it. I went home and loaded it into my daughter’s iPod before she got home from school.

Ebay/Online

Eden’s Curse – Seven Deadly Sins E.P. (2008) and The Second Coming (2008) – $20: I have wanted to give Eden’s Curse a try ever since Melodicrock.com listed the band’s self-titled debut in their Top 5 albums of 2007. The same website is offering special deals for visitors through an Artist Of The Week feature so I was able to get both albums for $20, a great deal! Now I need to pick up that first album!

Bittersweet – Loaded Up (1988-1992) – $13: One night last week I was searching local bands from Rhode Island (my home state) and stumbled upon Bittersweet. Taking a closer look, I noticed they were signed to Retrospect Records and an official CD of 20 songs from ’88-’92 was released recently. I checked out their MySpace page to hear samples and everything sounded really good so I went to the Retrospect website and Ebay and I won the album for $10 ($3 shipping)…..I saved $5 off the CD price by purchasing on Ebay and the seller is really the guy that runs Retrospect Records. I can’t wait to hear this album.

Loudness – Metal Mad (2008) – $18.55: I featured this album in my WANTED! column back in September 2008 and I have been on the lookout for this album for a full year. METAL MAD was released in Japan back in late February 2008 and it never got a distribution deal for North America, prices were around $35 average (shipping included) to get an import copy from Japan. Starting price on this one was $5 and I put in a high bid of $20. The seller is located in New Jersey, about an 8 hour drive from Rhode Island, so the mail should only take a few days. I won the CD for $15.55 and the shipping was $3…..a steal!