Posts Tagged ‘Ozzy Osbourne’

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  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.

It’s been a long time since I posted anything here at Heavy Metal Addiction…..a real long time! Sorry to all my loyal readers but I just haven’t had the time or the inspiration to write about anything Hard Rock or Heavy Metal but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been buying my fair share of music! Seeing that we are at the end of the year, I figured it was about time I posted something and why not be a full update of everything I’ve bought since August? Enjoy and please leave some comments…..

(WARNING — This is going to be a long post!)

———————————————————————————————————————————————-

August update

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Rainbow – Difficult To Cure (1981/1999 remaster) – $8
Fozzy – Sin & Bones (2012) - $13
Loudness – Eye To Dawn (2012) – $13
In This Moment – Blood (2012) – $10
Jackyl – Best In Show (2012 Best Buy Deluxe Edition) – $10
MSG – The Michael Schenker Story Live (1997/2001 re-release) – $0
Loverboy – Rock N Roll Revival (2012) – $0
Baroness – Red Album (2007) – $0
House Of Lords – Sahara (1990) – $0
Marshall Law – Power Games (1992) – $0
Headcat – Walk The Walk…Talk The Talk (2011) – $0
Exciter – Unveiling The Wicked (1986) – $0
Enuff Z’nuff – Welcome To Blue Island (2003) – $0
Zyklon – Aeon (2003) – $0
Ozzy Osbourne – Black Rain (Tour Edition) (2007) - $0
707 – The Bridge (2004) – $0
707 – Anthology (2009) – $0
Starz – Brightest Starz (2000) – $0
Petra – Still Means War (2002) – $0
Rob Zombie – The Sinister Urge (2001) – $0
Sentenced – The Cold White Light (2002) – $0
Frameshift – An Absence Of Empathy (2005) – $0
KISS – Destroyer Resurrected (2012) – $13
Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run (1975) – $0
Helix – Breaking Loose (1979) – $26.50 used
Mass – Voices In The Night (1989) – $9 used
Tokyo Blade – Camp 334 E.P. (2012) – $3 (iTunes download)

Where to begin? Obviously August was a good month! One thing that happens evey August is that my birthday rolls around and I get a lot of gift cards to Newbury Comics, my favorite record store, so that will account for all the CDs with zeros for amounts. Let’s analyze these purchases…..

I bought the new albums by Fozzy, Loudness, In This Moment, and KISS on the day of release and on sale…..I had to have the new Destroyer Resurrected the moment the doors to Newbury Comics opened because my KISS collection isn’t complete without the latest new album! The Bruce Springsteen disc was a gift from my best friend’s son who loves Springsteen and is trying to turn me on to his music. I like myself some Bruce, mostly the stuff I hear on classic rock radio, but this is the album I would pick to start getting into The Boss if I were buying it myself. The Helix and Mass CDs were auctions I won on ebay from the same seller, both are original pressings and the Helix album is especially rare and it’s been on my radar for a long time. The last album listed is a digital only E.P. by NWOBHM legends Tokyo Blade that I got from iTunes. I have NEVER bought anything from iTunes because I believe in physical media but there are no plans to release this on any other format so I had to bite the bullet and spend the $3. On to the freebies…..

Birthday = gift cards. I decided to head up to a different Newbury Comics, this time Norwood, MA, to see if there were any bargains to be had. Now this is the BIG Newbury Comics so they have excellent selection when I make the 45 minute trip a few times a year and right off the bat I found a used copy of Baroness – Red Album (2007) for what would have been $10 ($14 for the regular priced one that was there. Among the other highlights from this shopping trip, the Michael Schenker Group live double disc rerelease that would have been $14, the new Loverboy album that would have been $13 on sale ($20 regular price!), and a tour edition copy of Ozzy’s Black Rain used that has all the bonus material for all the different versions of the original album for a mere $6 used price. Of course I padded the collection with used CDs that ranged in price from $2 to $8 but they were all free for me.

September update

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Lynyrd Skynyrd – Last of a Dyin’ Breed (2012 Deluxe Edition) – $10
Judas Priest – Screaming For Vengeance 30th Anniversary Edition (2012) – $14
The Darkness – Hot Cakes (2012) – $16
Cloudscape – New Era (2012) – $15
ZZ Top – La Futura (2012) – $0
Steve Harris – British Lion (2012) – $13
Bullet – Full Pull (2012) – $13
Dokken – Broken Bones (2012) – $0

As September hits we have back to school for the kids, house preperations for winter, the beginning of football season and fantasy football and starting to think of the holidays…..that means money is at a premium and CDs have to wait. I was able to pick up some new releases in my two trips to the record store in September and I caught a great sale at the end of the month – Buy 2 get 1 Free on all regular and sale priced CDs.

On my 1st trip of the month, I had to have the deluxe edition of the new Lynyrd Skynyrd CD to get the 4 bonus tracks and was lucky to grab the last sale priced copy they had for $10 which saved me $7. Take a listen to the Skynyrd records with Johnny Van Zant on vocals, they are all excellent and rival the classic 70s era of Skynyrd with his late brother Ronnie fronting the band. Of course the legend of Skynyrd back in the day overshadows everything newer but the quality is definitely there. The other major purchase was the 30th Anniversary Edition of the classic Screaming For Vengeance from Metal legends Judas Priest. I love all the bonuses on these special anniversary releases and it makes it worth it to re-buy the album, this time around the big deal was the included DVD of Priest’s performance at the US Festival in 1983 but the live tracks and the bonus studio track ‘Prisoner Of Your Eyes’ add to the value. You can’t beat $14 for a CD/DVD combo and I still saved $3 buying it on sale.

The 2nd trip of the month was towards the end but that’s where I caught the special sale and picked up a bunch of new releases I was waiting on. My strategy is to always group the CDs by price from high to low so when I get to the register I get some of the higher priced CDs free. I had been waiting on Hot Cakes from The Darkness and missed the sale price so I had to pay the full $16 regular price and the new Cloudscape was the same deal at $15 regular price but I put them together with the new ZZ Top to get that one free and saved $14 right off the bat! The $14 was the sale price for ZZ Top but regular price was $17 so I really saved $17 in the long run. My second grouping was the new Steve Harris solo album ($13 sale/$17 regular) + the new Bullet ($13 sale/$17 regular) with the new Dokken ($12 sale/$18 regular) for free and saved more money. You have to love those Frontiers Records albums that are $17+ regular price, I would have choked if I had to pay that much for the new Dokken! At least I got it on a double sale!

October update

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

KISS – Monster (2012) – $12
KISS – Monster (2012) – $15 (Wal-Mart exclusive limted edition zine-pak)
Arch Enemy – Stigmata (1998) – $4 used
Allen-Lande – The Revenge (2007) – $8 used
Dream Evil – Evilized (2003) – $8 used
Rob Rock – Garden Of Chaos (2007) – $8 used
Motorhead – March Or Die (1992) – $4 used
Cloudscape – Crimson Skies (2006) – $4 used
Kotipelto – Serenity (2007) – $4 used
Dragonforce – The Power Within (2012) – $13
Motorhead – The World Is Ours Vol.2 (2 CD/DVD/Blu) (2012) - $18
Ten – Heresy And Creed (2012) – $12
Sister Sin – Now And Forever (2012) – $12
Night Ranger – 24 Strings & A Drummer (CD/DVD) (2012) - $10
The Sword – Apocryphon (2012 Deluxe Edition) – $12
Praying Mantis – Time Tells No Lies (1980/2011 remaster) – $13.50 (Ebay)

September was a slow CD buying month but October’s prospects improved and there were a few new releases that were must haves. Starting the month of right was the new KISS album…..Monster. I was out front banging on the door fo the record store so I could get this album as soon as the store opened, got it on sale for $12 and saved $4 off the regular price. Of course, KISS is my favorite band and they can’t do anything simple so I ran over to Wal-Mart right after to buy the limited edition zinepak exclusive to Wal-Mart.

My second CD hunt was at the Newbury Comics in Warwick, RI (about 20 mins from home) when the family and I were out for the day and they allowed me to go and search. Actually, they dropped me off and went to the Target down the road! Nothing is better when you walk into a record store and you start to find a lot of cheap CDs that you’ve been looking for…..obviously, I hit the store after someone dumped part of their collection because I’d never seen these CDs at this location before. Right away I found a copy of the latest Dragonforce record, The Power Within (2012), still on sale for $13 while the other two copies with it were regular price at $19. Then I started through the Metal section in alphabetical order and I found the Allen-Lande, Cloudscape and Dream Evil all used and immeadiately crossed them off my want list. I only had $60 in disposable CD income so I had to make wise purchases and I already had $33 worth of discs in my hand so I had to ignore some more higher priced used gems but I did make my way over to a sale table towards the front of the store. Score! Arch Enemy for $4 used, Motorhead for $4 used and Kotipelto for $4 used and Rob Rock for $8 used…..the Motorhead – March Or Die was a missing album in my collection and both the Kotipelto and Rob Rock CDs replaced very plain promotional CDs I received from the record label years earlier. I spent $53 on this trip so i was pretty psyched to come under budget just a little.

The last trip of the month also included an Ebay auction I actually won while I was in the record store! New releases everywhere during the last week of the month: the new Motorhead, Ten, Sister Sin, Night Ranger and The Sword were all high priority buys and the Ebay auction was the Praying Mantis reissue from Rock Candy Records. I saved $35 off the regular prices of the new releases by buying them on sale the day of release with the biggest savings coming from the Motorhead – The World Is Ours Vol.2 release at $12 off. I also saved $6 on the Ten CD and $8 on the Night Ranger (both imports from Frontiers Records), $3 on the new Sister Sin and another $6 on the limited edition of the new CD from The Sword.

November update

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Mob Rules – Cannibal Nation (2012) – $14
Aerosmith – Music From Another Dimension (Deluxe Edition) (2012) – $20
Kamelot – Silverthorn (Deluxe Edition) (2012) – $0
Geoff Tate – Kings & Thieves (2012) – $13
Twisted Sister – A Twisted Xmas Live In Las Vegas (2012) – $0
Butcher Babies – Butcher Babies E.P. (2012) – $5 (from Butcher Babies merchandise website)

Another slow month with the holidays looming…..I only made one trip to the record store but I made it count when they had a “Buy 2 get 1 Free” sale on all CDs. Of course they ring the CDs from highest to lowest so I paid for the limited edition version of the new Aerosmith record and the new One Direction limited edition new album (I have a daughter that loves that boy band!) for $20 each and I got the new Kamelot – Silverthorn limited edition for free. I forget what the regular price on the One Direction CD was but that wouldn’t count here but the regular on the Aerosmith was a crazy $29 and the new Kamelot was on sale for $18 but the regular price would have been $22. My second bundle at this sale was the new Mob Rules album for $14 and the new Geoff Tate solo album for $13, both on sale, and I got the new Twisted Sister live Xmas album from Las Vegas for free. The Twisted Sister CD was on sale for $12 with a regular price of $16 and both the Mob Rules and Geoff tate albums had a regular price of $18. The last purchase I made was the debut E.P. from the Butcher Babies for $5. I had been hearing a lot about the band on various podcasts and I finally decided to pick up the E.P. towards the end of the month.

December update

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

King Kobra – Ready To Strike (1985) – $8
King Kobra – Thrill Of A Lifetime (1986) – $8
U.D.O. – Live In Sofia (2CD/DVD) (2012) – $14
Bloodbound – In The Name Of Metal (2012) – $14
Municipal Waste – Massive Aggressive (2009) - $10 used
Ring Of Fire – The Oracle (2001) - $10 used
Tankard – Beast Of Bourbon (2004) – $0 used
Avian – Ashes And Madness (2009) - $10 used
Overkill – Feel The Fire (1985) – $9 used
Doro – Classic Diamonds (2004) – $0 used
Iced Earth – The Crucible Of Man (Something Wicked Pt.2) (2008) – $8 used
Municipal Waste – Hazardous Mutations (2005) – $8 used
Tristania – Midwinter Tears (CD/DVD) (2005) – $0 used
Grave Digger – 25 To Live (2CD) (2005) – $7 used
Grave Digger – Rheingold (2003) – $7 used
Gwar – Live From Mt. Fuji (2005) – $0 used
Scorpions – Taken By Force (1977) – $6 used
Overlorde – Return Of The Snow Giant (2004) – $6 used
Tristania – Ashes (2005) – $0 used
Straight Line Stitch – When Skies Wash Ashore (2008) – $6 used
Fates Warning – Inside Out (1994) – $4 used
Tristania – World Of Glass (2001) – $0 used

With the Christmas holiday looming, there was no extra money for CD shopping during December but that’s OK because the end of the year is always the slowest time for new releases. I knew there was a shopping spree coming at the end of the year because of all the gift cards I get to Newbury Comics for holiday gifts. This year was no exception, I netted $135 in gift cards so I held out as long as I could after Christmas (3 days!) and I was able to catch a year end used CD sale, Buy 2 Used CDs and Get 1 Free! The strategy for gift cards and a great sale was to get as much music as possible and to get some of those used CDs that I’d been passing over in my travels and, seeing that everything was basically free and nothing coming out of pocket, I spent a long time combing every rack in the Warwick, RI Newbury Comics. I put up all the prices above, including the sale freebies, so you could get an idea of what I would have spent.

I couldn’t pass on the King Kobra CDs because both were recent reissues in album style cardboard sleeves and brand new sealed at awesome cheap prices…..turns out they should have been $17.99 instead of $7.99 but that’s OK with me! I also couldn’t pass up the latest U.D.O. 2CD/DVD live release, Live In Sofia (2012), or the latest release from Bloodbound…..both were still on sale and they weren’t at my normal closer location. Both of these were $18 regular price so I saved $4 on each theoretically. So those are the new CDs, on to the used!

I put everything up by price because that’s how the store separates them and denotes the free ones. I like the fact that they give you a free CD closest to the price of the ones you buy so the Tankard CD should have been $10 used but it was free because the Municipal Waste and Ring Of Fire CDs were the same price. Obviously, I picked up a lot of back catalog from Municipal Waste, Grave Digger and Tristania with the biggest bargains being the two Municipal Waste and two Grave Digger CDs because you never see these albums used and, if you do, they are $12+ used because of the demand for Municipal Waste and Grave Digger is usually imports. Of the $0 CDs, the Tankard shuld have been $10, Tristania and Doro were $8 each, Gwar and another Tristania were $6 each and the last Tristania was $4 used. The final total on this hunt was $135 all paid with gift cards so I paid nothing out of pocket and I saved an additional $42 on the free used CDs!

Final 2012 Totals

Total (year) = $1804

Average Price (per item) = $7.71

Total CDs (year) = 227

Total DVDs (year) = 5

Total Blu-Rays (year) = 1

Total iTunes Downloads (year) = 1

Just a quick analysis…..

Compared to 2011, I bought 85 more items (227 this year and 142 last year) and I spent $659 more than I did the previous year. My DVD total is low because a lot of bands/labels are packaging DVDs or Blu-Rays with live CDs now and I count those as CD packages. Also, 2012 was the first time I bought a Blu-Ray and paid for an iTunes download. I’m not sure what 2013 will hold for CD hunting but I’m hoping that I find more gems, fill a lot of holes in my collection, acquire more and spend less.

Let the hunt continue!

The Heavy Metal train keeps rolling to my 30th Anniversary of being a proud Metalhead (August 16th I turn 40!) and there is always plenty to buy! Lots of new releases, used CD treasure and great sales made of another productive, and expensive, month…..

Newbury Comics North Attleboro and Newbury Comics Warwick

Jorn Lande – Bring Heavy Rock To The Land (2012) – $13
Nile – At The Gate Of Sethu (2012) – $12
Machine Head – Unto The Locust (CD/DVD) (2011) – $15 used
Savage Messiah – Plague Of Conscience (2012) – $0 used

My first trip into the North Attleboro store was to take advantage of the sale price on the new Jorn Lande CD. Knowing it was out on Frontiers Records, it was an easy $20 but the sale price saved me $7. I didn’t have to run out for it because the label sent me the promo download but I always support my favorite artists and Jorn is one of the premier Metal singers out there. My second trip was to pick up the new Ozzy DVD and the new Nile album. When I got there, the two copies of the Speak Of The Devil ’82 DVD were sold out so I opted to take advantage of the “buy 1, get 1 free” sale on used discs…..I grabbed the last Machine Head album, Unto The Locust, and the new Savage Messiah record. The Machine Head cost me $15 used but I got the Savage Messiah free so what could have been $35 at regular price, or $23 used price, only cost the $15…..saved more than half on albums I needed. I snagged the new Nile on the way to the counter…..I never got into Nile back in the late ’90s but I’ve always wanted to pick up their 1998 debut full-length Amongst The Catacombs Of Nephren-Ka. Everytime Nile releases a new record, I get the same urge to buy up some of their CDs so I fired up Spotify this time to stream their back catalog…..real solid Death Metal with Egyptian themes…..and the aren’t Egyptian, they are from South Carolina! Saved $6 buying the day of release and got the deluxe version with the two bonus instrumentals.

Ozzy Osbourne – Speak Of The Devil (Live From Irvine Meadows ’82) DVD (2012) – $13
Icarus Witch – Rise (2012) – $16
HellYeah – Band Of Brothers (2012) – $12
Defender – They Came Over The High Pass (1999) – $2 used
Glenn Tipton – Baptizm Of Fire (1996/2006 reissue) – $3 used
Broken Teeth – Viva La Rock Fantastico (2009) – $4 used
Superjoint Ritual – A Lethal Dose Of American Hatred (2003) – $4 used
Agent Steel – Skeptics Apocalypse (1985/1998 reissue) – $5 used

My trip into the Warwick store in mid-July was to get the new Ozzy DVD because it was out of stock in North Attleboro. While I was there, I picked up the new Icarus Witch and HellYeah albums. Ozzy and HellYeah were on sale so I saved a few bucks but I had to pay full price for the new Icarus Witch…..it was a must buy because they are one of my favorite traditional Heavy Metal bands of the last 6 years and I’ve been following them since their first E.P. While I was there, I decided to grab a few used CDs that were low in price and I had put together in a certain section of the used Metal CD racks…..the Defender CD was nice and cheap for a Power Metal album and I’d been watching it for awhile, same with the Superjoint Ritual album, but I scored a great newer album with the used Broken Teeth CD. The Agent Steel CD was set aside in my hiding spot because I thought I already owned it but I didn’t and I grabbed the Glenn Tipton reissue because I passed on it when it came out in 2006. Baptizm Of Fire wasn’t that great of a record back when it was first released in 1996 but I can’t resist bonus tracks forever!

Luca Turilli’s Rhaposdy – Ascending To Infinity (2012) – $12

Is it Rhapsody, Rhapsody Of Fire or Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody? The whole Rhapsody name change saga is a big pain in the ass: first they were Rhapsody and I got into their Symphonic/Epic Metal, then 10 years into their career they got sued by another band named Rhapsody for copyright issues and they went on as Rhapsody Of Fire to avoid confusion. Now founding guitarist Luca Turilli has left on good terms and formed a new Rhapsody as Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody and Rhapsody Of Fire is continuing on their own path. Did you get all that? All I know is that I like the Metal and I have two band’s to get my fix from. I went to the North Attleboro store quick while running a few errands and I grabbed this because it was the last copy I saw…..they had stocked at least 6 or 7 when it came out and I grabbed the last one with the sale price tag on it to save $6.

Crazy Lixx – Riot Avenue (2012) – $18
Running Wild – Shadowmaker (CD/DVD) (2012) – $18
Baroness – Yellow & Green (Deluxe) (2012) – $0
Testament – Dark Roots Of Earth (CD/DVD) (2012) – $16
Gojira – L’enfant Sauvage (2012) – $12
Crucified Barbara – The Midnight Chace – $0

Last day of the month and an awesome sale…..”Buy 2 get 1 Free on new & used CDs”. I got in the man-van (my rockin’ Kia Sedona!) and raced to North Attleboro when Newbury opened. Everytime I buy on one of these sales, the clerks always group like priced items together so I knew I had to pay a few extra dollars on a couple of CDs to get a similar one for free. Like the Jorn Lande album, I already had the digital promo of the new Crazy Lixx album from Frontiers but I wanted the actual CD for my collection and the new Running Wild disc has been on my list ever since Rock ‘n’ Ralf decided not to retire the band. Both of those CDs were regular price at $18 each but I scored the new Baroness double album for free. Yellow & Green just came out and I have the latest issue of Metal Hammer to thank for adding them to their free sampler CD, so I splurged on the deluxe packaged double disc album and saved the full $17 sale price ($22 regular). The new Testament album was the big release of the week so I bought the deluxe version on sale for $16, added the last copy of the new Gojira album that came out a few weeks ago (thanks again Metal Hammer!) and got the new Crucified Barbara CD for free and saved the full $10 sale price ($18 regular). I was going to buy the latest Dragonforce album that I didn’t get earlier in the year but I opted for the cheaper, and less available, option with Crucified Barbara.

Ebay

White Tiger – s/t (1986/1999 reissue) – $16 used
The Rods – Wild Dogs (1982/1997 reissue) – $12 used
Venom – Cast In Stone (1998) – $6 used

I got an Ebay alert for The Rods – Wild Dogs and I decided to finally try and win one of these CDs. I collect the now defunct German reissue label High Vaultage because of the genuine fan enthusiasm they put into each reissue, each one is chock full of bonus tracks, pictures and extensive liner notes. I noticed the same seller had a copy of Mark St. John’s post-KISS band White Tiger up for auction too so I bid and won on that as well. I added in the Venom album when I did some research and found out it was a 2CD set. All total with shipping was$34 for three albums I didn’t own.

Human Cometh

Human Cometh – HC II (2011) – $13

I was going through all my saved emails and I happened upon my email from the band Human Cometh promoting their second album, HC II. I ended up getting a promo download for review but I like to support the bands so, even though the band already sent me the digital download last year, I decided to go and ourchase the actual CD from the band’s website. Can’t beat any CD that has free shipping so I paid with Paypal and it was a done deal. Unfortunately, the CD hasn’t arrived in the mail yet but I checked and it’s on it’s way!

Total = $222

Total (year) = $1393

Average Price (per item) = $8.99

Total CDs (year) = 149

Total DVDs (year) = 5

Total Blu-Rays (year) = 1

I’m late again posting the CD Scavenger Hunt updates! If you’re reading this, I’m actually writing this in mid-April but I’m back dating it for the end of February. It’s not that I don’t want to share my hunting, but I just can’t seem to get motivatd to write. Just a quick note: I’m taking out the savings totals because they are irrelevant considering I buy everything either on sale or used…..when I feel the need to express my keen bargain hunting savings strategies, I will mention it in the summary. I did a lot of shopping again so here’s the treasures for February 2012…..

Newbury Comics

Van Halen – A Different Kind Of Truth (2012)- $14
Metallica – Beyond Magnetic E.P. (2012) – $6
Lillian Axe – XI: The Days Before Tomorrow (2012) – $10
Treat – Coup De Grace (2010) – $6 used
Sunstorm – Emotional Fire (2012) – $16
UFO – Seven Deadly (2012) – $10
Scorpions – Live In 3D: Get Your Sting & Blackout Blu-Ray (2012) – $20
Queen – Days Of Our Lives DVD (2012) – $12

I made three separate shopping trips to my local Newbury Comics in February for all the new releases at sale prices. Tops on my want list this month were the new Van Halen album (which I sprung for the special edition with the bonus DVD) and the new UFO album, SEVEN DEADLY, that came in a digipak with two bonus tracks. I also bought the new Lillian Axe album, the Queen documentary DVD and my first ever Blu-Ray Disc with the Scorpions – Live In 3D…..all on sale. I grabbed the Metallica E.P. because it was a cheap six bucks and I’m hoping it helps me recover from LULU and I found a used copy of Treat’s COUP DE GRACE album from 2010 for another six bucks. Unfortunately I had to bite the bullet and pay the full import price for the new Sunstorm record but being able to hear the smoothest voice in Hard Rock, Joe Lynn Turner, is worth the price paid.

Wal-Mart

Jon Bon Jovi – Blaze Of Glory: Young Guns II Soundtrack (1990) – $5
Ozzy Osbourne – Live At Budokan (2002) - $5

I hate shopping at Wal-Mart! Nothing is worse than being in a Wal-Mart on a rainy day at 2pm when it’s crowded! Wal-Mart is one of the true evils of U.S. retail but I’m not going to get into all that right now. I was with the family and we had to go into Wal-Mart for some reason (I can’t remember why!) but I found the silver lining to the worst shopping experience — the CD bins! Now Wal-Mart has no selection as far as CDs & DVDs go, they basically cater to the new releases and greatest hits in order to get “Mr. & Mrs. John Q. Public” to make an impulse buy. In front of the “music dept”, were two large round plastic bins and they were filled with CDs so I went bin diving and came up with two CDs I didn’t own: the Jon Bon Jovi solo album for the Young Guns II movie and Ozzy’s live album from the Budokan in Japan. Both were brand new, both were $5!

Think Tank Media

Lana Lane – El Dorado Hotel (2012) – $15
Lana Lane – Curious Goods Special Edition (2002) – $5

Think Tank Media is the record label and distributor of all the Lana Lane albums…..it’s run by her husband Erik Norlander who plays on her albums and is in the band Rocket Scientists. I read about the new Lana Lane album, EL DORADO HOTEL, so I surfed over to the website and found a sale! A ton of back catalog titles from Lana Lane, Erik Norlander solo amd Rocket Scientists were all priced around $5! Unfortunately, I have almost all the Lana Lane albums but I was able to grab the new album for a reasonable $15 and the double CD special edition of Lana’s 1996 album CURIOUS GOODS. The special edition includes the original CURIOUS GOODS album from 1996 (that’s way out of print!) with the cover of Steely Dan’s ‘Do It Again’ on the first disc and the 2002 reissue of CURIOUS GOODS (also out of print!) that replaces the Steely Dan cover with a cover of the classic James Bond theme ‘You Only Live Twice’.

Ebay

Zebra – s/t (1983) – $11 used
Mass – Sea Of Black (2010) – $4
Sister – Hated (2011) – $6
Vollmer – When Pigs Fly (1999) – $5 used
Helix – White Lace & Black Leather (1981) – $5 used

Ebay had some great bargains this month! I finally found the first Zebra album and finished off my Zebra collection…..’Tell Me What You Want’ is a great old tune! I got both the Mass and Sister albums from the same seller but different auctions. Both CDs were sealed and brand new and I got them for peanuts, the seller was kind enough to combine shipping and send them together so both discs and shipping totalled $10! I finally get to hear what Sister sounds like because I couldn’t bring myself to pay the $15 at the record store and I was able to replace the CDR of SEA OF BLACK that I made from the promotional download I was sent before Mass released the album. I also got closer to completing my Helix collection by winning an auction that included mainman Brian Vollmer’s solo album from 1999 and Helix’s second album WHITE LACE & BLACK LEATHER (rare to find on CD!). Both CDs were used but in mint condition and the total price of $10 for both CDs included shipping costs.

Total = $155

Total (year) = $411

Average Price (per item) = $8.75

Total CDs (year) = 47

Total DVDs (year) = 2

Total Blu-Rays (year) = 1

Tale of the Tape
Ipod 120
8370 songs (725 albums)

I usually work a double shift Saturday night into Sunday morning so good Metal music is a must on the overnight. I usually listen to a lot of new albums but I have to start the overnight (the 2nd part of my long shift) with some familiar tracks to get the blood pumping. Here’s the first 20 songs (band-song-album-year):

  1. Dio – ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Children’ – Sacred Heart (1985)
  2. Dio – ‘I Could Have Been A Dreamer’ – Dream Evil (1987)
  3. Ozzy Osbourne – ‘I Just Want You’ – Ozzmosis (1995)
  4. Great White – ‘Rock Me’ – Once Bitten (1987)
  5. Guns ‘N Roses – ‘Anything Goes’ – Appetite For Destruction (1987)
  6. Van Halen – ‘I’ll Wait’ – 1984 (1984)
  7. Def Leppard – ‘Armageddon It’ – Hysteria (1987)
  8. Whitesnake – ‘Fool For Your Loving’ – Ready An’ Willing (1980)
  9. Scheepers – ‘Cyberfreak’ – Scheepers (2011)
  10. Quiet Riot – The Wild And The Young’ – QR III (1986)
  11. Scorpions – ‘The Zoo’ – Animal Magnetism (1980)
  12. Firewind – ‘The Ark Of Lies’ – Days Of Defiance (2010)
  13. Helix – ‘Best Mistake I Never Made’ – Vagabond Bones (2009)
  14. Accept – ‘Flash Rockin’ Man’ – Restless & Wild (1982)
  15. Metallica – ‘Holier Than Thou’ – The Black Album (1991)
  16. Cinderella – ‘Winds Of Change’ – Heartbreak Station (1990)
  17. Crazy Lixx – ‘Road To Babylon’ – New Religion (2010)
  18. Yngwie Malmsteen – ‘Death Dealer’ – Perpetual Flame (2008)
  19. Diamond Head – ‘It’s Electric’ – Lightning To The Nations (1980)
  20. Primal Fear – ‘Black Sun’ – Black Sun (2002)

Bonus Track: AC/DC – ‘War Machine’ – Black Ice (2008)

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 it is, my Top 30 Albums of 2010 (#21 – #30):

#30

Van Canto – Tribe Of Force (2010): A Capella Power Metal…..that’s the best way to describe the Van Canto sound. I was skeptical when I first heard about Van Canto but after a few listens to the first single, ‘Lost Forever’, I got more interested. What drew me in was the uniqueness of the project but that also made the album a little hard to take after multiple listens. I’m adding TRIBE OF FORCE to the countdown because of the uniqueness of the idea and the fact that the band pulls it off extremely well. The only instrument used was the drums, everything else is vocal instrumentation. You have to admit, it takes a lot of talent to pull something like that off! Not having proper guitars and bass may take some getting used to for some fans but Van Canto is definitely more than a novelty band. http://www.vancanto.de

#29

Human Cometh – Evolution (2010): Human Cometh has to be one of the biggest surprises for me this year. I’m not sure how I found out about the band, either I found them through other Metal websites or the band contacted me about their debut album EVOLUTION. It doesn’t matter because I found them and the album is an excellent blend of different styles including Hard Rock, Melodic Rock, Power Metal and Progressive Metal. Every song on EVOLUTION is well written with solid musicianship and it’s hard to believe that this is a new band. One of the things I thought was cool about Human Cometh was that they offered this album as a FREE download to anyone interested and, if they wanted, fans could send a donation to the band via Paypal. It’s all about getting the music out there and Human Cometh have done just that. From what I understand, there is a proper CD pressing available so head over to their website to preview the music and support the band by purchasing a CD. http://www.humancometh.com

#28

Ozzy Osbourne – Scream (2010): After re-reading the review I wrote on SCREAM back in July, I noticed that it may be a little too influenced by the previous two subpar albums. I sat down and gave this album a fresh listen and it’s actually pretty good. When you start to compare it to Ozzy’s last two records it sounds like a solid comeback for the Prince Of Darkness. I’m always skeptical of anything Ozzy does because of that stupid TV show that made him look like an idiot and his puppetmaster wife Sharon but I have to give Ozzy credit for trying to stay relevant in an ever-changing Metal climate. SCREAM isn’t the Ozzy of old, it isn’t the Ozzy of the ’90s, but it’s definitely the Ozzy for the new millenium. Dropping Zakk Wylde and replacing him with Gus G. added some fuel to the fire and seeing Ozzy live this past summer proved that he is back in a big way. SCREAM was a grower and it turned out to be a solid record. http://www.ozzy.com

#27

Raven – Walk Through Fire (2010): WALK THROUGH FIRE is one of those albums that got a worldwide release in 2009 except for North America. Metal Blade Records stepped to the plate and distributed the album here in the U.S. and I finally got to here the new raven at a decent price! Nothing is better than hearing new music from one of my old favorites, especially from the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM). Raven was one of those bands I picked up on from the Metal magazines in the ’80s and I have slowly acquired a lot of their back catalogue. This new album sounds like the Raven of old, like the Raven that made WIPED-OUT (1982) and ALL FOR ONE (1983). A ton of high powered energy here and John Gallagher sounds like he hasn’t aged at all. This an album well worth waiting for, I just hope the next one isn’t another nine years in the making! http://www.ravenlunatics.com/

#26

Dimmu Borgir – Abrahadabra (2010): Two of my goals for 2010 was to open myself up to more extreme styles of Metal and bands that I have always wanted to check out but never get around to. Dimmu Borgir fit both goals perfectly, I have been wanting to check out more Black Metal and Dimmu Borgir has been one of those bands that I have wanted to check out for a long time. I’m very new to the whole Black Metal scene, I’ve read a ton about it and I’ve heard some songs but it’s safe to say that my personal collection and listening habits don’t include a lot of it. Dimmu seemed to be the most popular Black metal band so grabbing this new album was a perfect opportunity. I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed this album, it had a lot of different sounds and orchestration and the vocals weren’t completely unintelligible. ABRAHADABRA has the same effect that Immortal’s ALL SHALL FALL (2009) had on me last year, it’s opened up a new appreciation for Black Metal and now I’m starting in explore Dimmu’s previous records and check out other Black Metal bands. http://www.dimmu-borgir.com/

#25

Heavenly – Carpe Diem (2010): It’s kind of funny following Black Metal’s biggest band with a band name Heavenly. CARPE DIEM is another one of those albums that got a release everywhere but the U.S. in 2009, we finally got the proper release from AFM Records in early 2010. I’m a big Power Metal fan but I had never heard any songs from Heavenly’s previous four records so they were a totally new band for me. I have to admit, the reason why I got so interested in this album is the album cover, it’s so old school and so ’80s that it’s great. Seriously, album cover of the year! The music is well done with plenty of soaring vocals, orchestration and powerful guitars and I was completely surprised by the overt Queen influence on a few songs. Heavenly is a perfect example of a band that makes music I like but has fallen below my radar, CARPE DIEM has me searching out the band’s previous albums. http://www.heavenly.fr/

#24

Overkill – Ironbound (2010): When you get into discussions about Thrash Metal, the first four bands people bring up are the big four of Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax. As you move along, you get the second tier of Thrash bands like Testament, Exodus and Overkill. I don’t know if it’s because Overkill was an East Coast band and the focus always went to the San Francisco Bay area scene back in the day but Overkill always seems to get forgotten. The band has been going strong for 26 years and they have released great album after great album the whole time. IRONBOUND continues the tradition and it’s one hell of an old school Thrash album following the same formula Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth and D.D. Verni have been using their entire career: high powered, in your face Thrash. There’s no frills here just straightforward power and that’s why IRONBOUND is one of the best Metal albums of 2010. http://wreckingcrew.com/Ironbound/

#23

Bruce Kulick – BK3 (2010): KISS is my favorite band so anytime a former member releases a solo project I run to the record store! Bruce Kulick was one of the biggest reasons KISS remained a vital entity from the mid-’80s through the mid-’90s…..his playing was always great and he added that sense of stability at the lead guitarist position that the band needed since Ace Frehley left. I never really got around to buying Bruce’s two previous solo albums but I did follow him post-KISS with Union so I knew a little of what to expect. What I didn’t expect was a high quality and very personal Hard Rock album and that’s a statement made without all the KISS fandom attached. The songwriting is great as is Bruce guitar work but the surprise is how well Bruce sings because he only ever got one song to sing in KISS (‘I Walk Alone from 1997′s CARNIVAL OF SOULS). Another great surprise is how well the collaborations went with other musicians singing like Gene Simmons, Nick Simmons, Tobias Sammet, John Corabi and Doug Fieger from The Knack…..these are some of the best songs on the album. Maybe Bruce could teach Slash how it’s done? http://www.kulick.net/

#22

Mob Rules – Radical Peace (2010): I’ve been a Mob Rules fan since 1999′s SAVAGE LAND but I missed out on the band’s last album ETHNOLUTION A.D. (2006). When I read that Mob Rules was releasing a new record, I jumped at it as soon as it came out but the problem was that it didn’t get released until 2010 in the U.S. but everywhere else got it in late 2009. This is another one of those albums from AFM Records in Germany…..I don’t know if it’s a distribution thing or what but I wish these album would come out at the same time in all territories. RADICAL PEACE is a mix of Power and Progressive Metal and it has a HUGE sound, it kind of reminds me of one of my favorite records from 2008, Cloudscape’s GLOBAL DRAMA. All the songs on this album are really good but the standout is the 18+ minute long ‘The Oswald File’, a song that is the second part of ETHNOLUTION A.D. and is broken up into six chapters. Definitely an epic! http://www.mobrules.de/

#21

Sister Sin – Sounds Of The Underground (2010): I had Sister Sin on the list of bands to check out but once I saw them open up for the Michael Schenker Group in July, I ended up putting both their albums at the top of the listening pile. Sister Sin plays a traditional style of Heavy Metal and I was blown away by how much energy and power they had live. Lead singer Liv has a great Metal voice that reminds me of Doro Pesch and she kicks a ton of ass on stage. Sister Sin’s overall sound reminds me of Doro, Warlock and also Judas Priest, the aggressiveness gives it that early ’80s Metal sound. I like the fact that the music is guitar oriented and aggressive, the only other band I can remember in recent years that kicked this much ass doing female-fronted Traditional Metal is Benedictum. Sister Sin is definitely a band to check out and watch in the future. http://www.sistersin.com/

My favorite time of year is here again…..Halloween!

It’s a tradition here at Heavy Metal Addiction to have a Halloween Top 10 and this year is no exception. This all started with the 2007 Heavy Metal Halloween Top 10, then I skipped 2008 but the overwhelming emails came to do a new one so last year I did the 2009 Heavy Metal Halloween Top 10. I have been through my collection again and I tried not to repeat the same songs again except for a couple that will always be in the Top 10. I always search out a new pumpkin picture to post at the top and, since we lost Ronnie James Dio to stomach cancer earier in the year, I thought this pumpkin I found on Facebook was a fitting tribute.

So here it is, in no particular order (except the #1 spot), the 2010 Heavy Metal Halloween Top 10…..

  1. Black Sabbath – ‘Black Sabbath’
  2. Alice Cooper – ‘I Love The Dead’
  3. King Diamond – ‘Trick or Treat’
  4. Type O Negative – ‘Black No. 1′
  5. Iron Maiden – ‘The Number Of The Beast’
  6. Judas Priest – ‘A Touch Of Evil’
  7. Ozzy Osbourne – ‘Diary Of A Madman’
  8. Dio – ‘Master Of The Moon’
  9. Alice Cooper – ‘Go To Hell’
  10. Black Sabbath – ‘After All (The Dead)’

Bonus Track: Moonspell – ‘At Tragic Heights’

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!

OK, so what was a month of purchases has taken me extra time to post because I’m lazy! So here is Part 2 of this installment of CD Scavenger Hunt, the first part will be the post before this one! All of these CDs come from my local record store, Newbury Comics, except for the last CD that came from Best Buy.

Newbury Comics

Ozzy Osbourne – Scream (2010) - $9: This was a definite purchase because I have been an Ozzy fan since the first album and this was either going to be a solid record or a complete train wreck! After the TV show and the last 2 studio albums, I’ve had no faith in Ozzy but my loyalty keeps me coming back over and over. I was going to pick this up at Best Buy because it was featured for $8 but I decided that my loyalty lies with the independent store so I paid the extra buck at Newbury Comics, regular price at both stores was $15 so I saved $6. I installed SCREAM as my July 2010 Album Of The Month so click the link above to read the review.

Halford – Live In Anaheim (2010) – $12: I don’t miss a new Halford release and this double disc live set was on my list since the Metal God announced it months ago. This live album is a 2 disc set that is billed as an “original soundtrack”, that’s because the live DVD of this show is coming in August. I was a little disappointed that the DVD set wasn’t released at the same time but I will take the 19 song live show plus the 4 live bonus tracks from Japan. Regular price was $20 so I saved $8 buying it the day of release!

Sister Sin – True Sound Of The Underground (2010) – $10: I’ve been keeping an eye on Sister Sin since 2008 when they released their first record SWITCHBLADE SERENADE but I never got around to buying that album. When it first came out, I wasn’t sure because they were a new band that I hadn’t heard about. By the time I checked them out, I missed the sale price and couldn’t find the record in the stores! I’ve heard a few songs and read a lot of good reviews on the band so I didn’t want to make the same mistake twice. Regular price was $14, saved $4.

Primal Fear – Live In The USA/16.6 All Over The World (2010 Special Edition) – $0: As you all know, I’m a huge Power Metal fan and a huge Primal Fear fan so this new live CD & DVD set was a must have. I knew that this was going to be a high priced purchase because all the online stores listed this set between $25 – $40 plus shipping and the Newbury Comics website listed the $25 regular price. Of course there was always the option of buying each separately but what is the sense of that? It becomes MORE expensive! I got to the store and found a sale sticker for $20, I will save $5 any way I can, especially when it’s for a great package! Here’s the kicker, I had a $20 gift card from Father’s Day that my daughters gave me so this actually cost me nothing! Saved $20.

Vince Neil – Tattoos & Tequila (2010) – $10: When I heard Vince Neil was releasing a new solo album, I was all for it because I am a big fan of both EXPOSED (1993) & CARVED IN STONE (1995)…..I had no idea that this was mostly a covers album. I actually waited to buy this because I was on the fence about all the covers and there are 2 versions of the album: the 11 song U.S. release and the 12 song European that includes a cover of ZZ Top’s ‘Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers’. The price difference between the 2 versions was $5 and I wasn’t dropping the extra five bucks for another cover song so I settled for the U.S. pressing. Good thing I didn’t miss the sale price because I would have been pissed to pay the regular price of $15….saved $5.

Dokken – Greatest Hits (2010) – $13: Watch out if you go to pick up this latest greatest hits collection from Dokken because there’s more than meets the eye here. The first 10 songs are re-recorded classics featuring the current Dokken lineup of Don Dokken, Mick Brown, Jon Levin and Sean McNabb followed by two brand new songs – ‘Almost Over’ and ‘Magic Man’. There was no sticker on the front indicating the contents of the album and the Deadline/Cleopatra label has a habit of recycling a lot of previously released material. I wasn’t sure what I had in my hands so I called home and had my daughter look it up on the Net (I don’t have a smartphone!). Once I knew that these were different versions with 2 new songs, I snatched it up. I’ve been a Dokken fan since BREAKING THE CHAINS (1983) so I always support the band. Honestly, there’s not much difference between this album and Vince Neil’s because Dokken is essentially covering themselves but at least it’s their own material. Saved $3.

Sabaton – Coat Of Arms (2010) – $10: When I saw that Sabaton was releasing a new album, I checked my collection to see if I owned any of the band’s albums. It turns out that I own a couple of them so I gave them a quick listen and decided that I would pick up COAT OF ARMS the day it came out at the sale price. It’s Power Metal and I’m a fan of the genre so there had to be something worth checking out on this album. Regular price was $16 so I saved $6 and there were two bonus instrumentals included so it’s a 12 song disc instead of 10 songs. This was a reach for me, and I still haven’t listened to it, so I have my fingers crossed.

Rhapsody Of Fire – The Frozen Tears Of Angels (2010) – $10: Unlike Sabaton, I knew what I was buying when I picked up the new Rhapsody Of Fire. I have been a fan since the Power Metal resurgence in 1997 when the band was known simply as Rhapsody and they released LEGENDARY TALES. I have almost every Rhapsody album (I’m missing 2006′s TRIUMPH OR AGONY) so I figured I’d grab this at the sale price (saved $6) and I was pleasantly surprised to see the 2 bonus tracks from the European digipak release included on the U.S. pressing. By the way, I hate the new name! I know that there was some legal issues with another band named Rhapsody but the “Of Fire” part really doesn’t fit.

Witchery – Witchkrieg (2010) – $10: Here’s another album that I was on the fence about picking up even though I own a few Witchery albums. Maybe it was the switch in vocalists, maybe it was that it’s been four years since DON’T FEAR THE REAPER (2006) but I was going to pass on it. I got to the register with this set of purchases and I asked my Metal friend at the counter if he had heard it. We got to talking, he recommended it, he hasn’t steered me wrong before so I went back and grabbed a copy. Saved $6.

Y&T – Facemelter (2010) – $18: I had meaning to buy the new Y&T for a few weeks but the import prices with shipping were out of control and my local Newbury Comics hadn’t stocked it yet. I bought this on my last vacation 4th of July week at the Newbury Comics in Norwood, MA (the chain’s superstore). My wife, the kids and I got in the car for a drive and we happened to pass by the superstore (I planned it that way!) so we stopped on the way back. I had to pay full price at the store but that was still better than the online prices that were around $20 – $25 plus shipping. I’ve been looking forward to this album because I’ve been a Y&T fan since I heard ‘Don’t Stop Runnin’ on the radio back in 1984.

Anthrax – Fistful Of Metal (1984) – $10 used: Nothing pisses me off more than not being able to find a CD for years. I have had a cassette of this album for two decades and I have never been able to replace it! I’ve had the chance a few times but that was close to 10 years ago just before my favorite mom & pop record store closed it’s doors. I have had FISTFUL OF METAL on my short list of wanted CDs and neither Ebay or record stores have been able to turn up a copy. I once found a copy at a pawn shop for $5 but it had the biggest scratch on the CD so I passed, even that CD was found 5 years ago! This is the original Megaforce CD pressing in perfect condition so I didn’t mind spending a couple extra bucks for a used CD. I estimate that this would be a regular price of $15 so I assume I saved $5. I bought this with the new Y&T in Norwood, MA.

Best Buy

Bret Michaels – Custom Built (2010) – $8: I have no idea why I bought this because, even though I like Poison, Bret’s solo career has been a waste of money. Bret’s last album, ROCK MY WORLD (2008), was one of my Worst Albums of 2008 and I vowed not to get sucked in again by an album advertised as a new album but it’s really recycled material from previous records. Maybe it was the Best Buy exclusive sale price? Maybe it was like with the new Ozzy record? I was curious to hear if there is anything good or if it’s a train wreck. Things aren’t looking good when Miley Cyrus (yes, Hannah Montana!) is featured on the thrid track on the record. I’ll review this eventually but I’m not in any hurry…..at least I saved $7 because this was going to be $15 regular price after the initial promotion.

Total = $120

Total (year) = $933

Average price (per item) = $10.03

Total CDs (year) = 85

Total DVDs (year) = 2

Total Box Sets (year) = 5

Total LPs (year) = 1

Ozzy Osbourne – Scream (2010, Sony/Epic Records)

  1. Let It Die
  2. Let Me Hear You Scream
  3. Soul Sucker
  4. Life Won’t Wait
  5. Diggin’ Me Down
  6. Crucify
  7. Fearless
  8. Time
  9. I Want More
  10. Latimer’s Mercy
  11. I Love You All

Band Lineup:
Ozzy Osbourne – Vocals
Gus G. – Guitars
Blasko – Bass
Tommy Clufetos – Drums
Adam Wakeman – Keyboards

Produced by: Ozzy Osbourne & Kevin Churko

Total Time = 49:08

Ozzy Osbourne
Ozzy Osbourne MySpace page
Ozzfest

I’m going to be extremely honest here…..I wasn’t really excited about a new Ozzy album. His last two studio albums, DOWN TO EARTH (2001) and BLACK RAIN (2007), left a lot to be desired with their modern Metal/Black Label Society sound and I didn’t like them at all. Then you have the controversy of Ozzy & Sharon Osbourne letting Zakk Wylde go, ending a 22-year musical partnership, and bringing in new guitarist Gus G. (Firewind, Dream Evil, Nightrage). Nothing against Gus G. because he’s a solid guitar player, and I’m a fan of his, but the Ozzy/Zakk Wylde era is just as revered as the Ozzy/Randy Rhoads era. Even if the last few Ozzy records were more like Black Label Society records, it’s Zakk Wylde! Then there’s the constant blitz that is the Ozzy Osbourne brand whether it’s on television, public appearances, promotional gimmicks or product branding…..it’s total overkill! Sharon Osbourne has taken a page right out of the Gene Simmons playbook and has made Ozzy a household brand name just like KISS! I wasn’t impressed with Ozzy showing up at a Dodger game to lead the crowd to the longest & loudest scream record…..it was about promoting SCREAM and wouldn’t have been done otherwise even though it did happen during the Dodgers’ third annual “ThinkCure! Weekend” for cancer. Needless to say, the “Prince of Darkness” is not the same ominous, crazy Metal musician I remember him being when I was growing up in the ’80s and my desire to hear new music from him is at an all-time low. I picked up SCREAM because I had hope…..

Opening song ‘Let It Die’ sounds like a holdover from the BLACK RAIN sessions with it’s very thick modern sound and processed vocals. One of my biggest complaints about the last couple of Ozzy records were the effects put on his voice and here they are again! Just let the man sing…..if he can. This song is a slow dirge that picks up around the chorus with guitar lines that sound like Zakk Wylde’s. Gus G. wasn’t around in time to add to the songwriting on the album so he’s basically playing what he’s told to on all the songs, the only time I hear him stretch out is on the solos. The solo section on ‘Let It Die’ is a pace-changing instrumental and it helps the song not be a total loss for me. ‘Let Me Hear You Scream’ is the lead single and video from the album and it’s a song that sounds most like old school Ozzy. This is going to be a monster track in concert with its pounding rhythm and it’s obvious “crowd participation” style. Seeing that both Blasko and Clufetos were in Rob Zombie’s band, you can hear the Industrial beats driving the song along a very Wylde main riff. The song takes off for me with the catchy lyrics and the solos/runs Gus G. puts on top of that main riff, definitely one of the better songs on the record.

The original title for the album was going to be “Soul Sucka”, the Ozzy camp even announced the new title on Ozzy’s website, but fan outrage over the Hip-Hop styled title made them change it quickly to SCREAM. The song ‘Soul Sucker’ is another sludge-fest that gives off more of an Industrial/Nu-Metal sound with effects again on Ozzy’s vocals. The song actually sounds like a cross between Black Sabbath and Black Label especially at the solo/instrumental break, the best part of the song that actually saves it. If they had just followed that instead of the processed and repetitive “soul sucker” lyrical dirge. Moving into more familiar territory, Ozzy and company create the best sounding ballad he’s done in years with ‘Life Won’t Wait’. It has a clean sound, Ozzy sounds in good voice and the guitar is really good. It has a retro sound to it and could easily fit on NO MORE TEARS (1991) or OZZMOSIS (1995) and it sounds unlike the rest of the album so far because it’s not as distorted and down-tuned. You’d be hard pressed to distinguish Gus G. from Zakk Wylde because he plays exactly like him, hopefully Gus can stretch out a little on tour. The acoustic opening to ‘Diggin’ Me Down’ caught my attention immeadiately and I had a Randy Rhoads flashback, that is definitely something I could hear coming off the first two Ozzy records. After the intro, the song kicks into a heavy Sabbath groove with a touch of older Metallica in there too. The main riffs sound too much like Zakk Wylde but there is a huge drum sound and Ozzy’s voice really cuts through with the lyrics challenging Jesus. I like the song because it’s very heavy and sounds more akin to the Ozzy records from 1988-1995, again fitting on any of the first three albums with Zakk Wylde.

‘Crucify’ is an obvious title for an Ozzy tune and the similarities to ‘Diggin’ Me Down’ are also obvious, I would almost call this a continuation of ‘Diggin Me Down’. ‘Crucify’ isn’t as heavy as ‘Diggin’ Me Down’ and there are some cleaner guitar parts that you can idenitfy as not too Wylde so the song isn’t a total loss. ‘Fearless’ returns to a heavier uptempo sound with a thick sounding rhythm section and some good guitar fills but the chorus leaves a lot to be desired and I get this “I’ve heard this before feeling”. It definitely sounds like an unfinished idea and screams filler. Ballad #2 is ‘Time’, a song very similar to ‘Life Won’t Wait’ in that it has the best old school Ozzy sound and that the “Prince of Darkness” really has a good touch when it comes to the softer side of Metal. Gus G. gets a good solo section in the song and there is a Beatles influence that makes this very melodic (Ozzy is a huge Beatles fan) so I would definitely consider this another of my favorites. ‘I Want It More’ goes for the slower Metal groove of Black Label but the chorus is melodic enough to save the song from being a complete dirge copy. The main riff is heavy as hell and the solo section is great with the keyboards really fleshing out the sound and adding a distinct layer but the chorus really sets the song apart from the music and gives it an originality. ‘Latimer’s Mercy’ is an ominous song that sounds a little like ‘Soul Sucker’ in some parts and like late ’90searly 2000s Alice Cooper in others. The song doesn’t work for me even with it’s buzzsaw main riff and thick backline, there’s something missing. Same thing goes for the last song ‘I Love You All’, there’s something missing…..like most of the song! ‘I Love You All’ is basically one minute long and consists of ballad style music and Ozzy singing to the fans that he thanks us for standing by him through the years and that he loves us all. Definite throwaway track and a waste of time, if you’re going to have eleven songs on an album at least make them eleven FULL songs!

Bottom Line:
SCREAM is a tough album for me because I am battling my loyalties to the Ozzy Osbourne I grew up with from 1980-1995 against the new millenium Ozzy that is trying to keep up with the bands playing with him on Ozzfest. On one hand, I really want to like the album because it’s Ozzy. On the other, I’m waiting to be disappointed because that’s exactly what Ozzy has done with his last two studio albums. I have given this new album a lot of playing time since it came out a couple of weeks ago and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s definitely better than both DOWN TO EARTH and BLACK RAIN. If we throw out ‘I Love You All’ and go with the ten full songs, I would say that I really like six of them and two of those are the ballads. SCREAM is a heavy album with enough modern Metal, Black Sabbath styled riffs and the trademark  Ozzy sound to satisfy a lot of fans, I think Ozzy has finally found that elusive mix of being current while trying to retain his classic sound. SCREAM isn’t going to rank up there with BLIZZARD OF OZZ (1980) or DIARY OF A MADMAN (1981) but it has enough of the classic Ozzy to make me forget about the last two studio albums. This isn’t the best Ozzy record but I can hear this growing on me the more I listen to it. What I am looking forward to is the live performance at Ozzfest with Gus G. on stage, I’d like to hear if he gets to stretch out of the Zakk Wylde mold he was forced to fill on the record and, hopefully, the next album will feature more of Gus’ original Euro-Metal playing. SCREAM isn’t a full comeback but it’s a start.

Favorite Songs:
‘Let Me Hear You Scream’, ‘Life Won’t Wait’, ‘Diggin’ Me Down’, ‘Time’, ‘I Want It More’

KISS pumpkin

(Read the 2010 Heavy Metal Halloween Top 10)

My favorite time of year is here again…..Halloween!

A couple of years ago, I did the 2007 Heavy Metal Halloween Top 10. What I was trying to do was pick out some songs that were creepy, spooky and fit into the Halloween mood. Of course I left out a few obvious ones for my own personal picks. Last year I forgot to do one and I got a ton of email to do one for Halloween 2009 so I went through my collection again. I tried not to repeat any songs from the 2007 list, with one obvious exception, so here’s this year’s list (in no particular order except #1)…..

  1. Black Sabbath – ‘Black Sabbath’
  2. Helloween – ‘Halloween’
  3. King Diamond – ‘Halloween’
  4. Alice Cooper – ‘Killer’
  5. Ozzy Osbourne – ‘Mr. Crowley’
  6. Fastway – ‘Trick Or Treat’
  7. W.A.S.P. – ‘Scream Until You Like It’
  8. Helloween – ‘Escalation 666′
  9. King Diamond – ‘Voodoo’
  10. Iron Maiden – ’22 Acacia Avenue’

Bonus Track: Alice Cooper – ‘Keepin’ Halloween Alive’ (new song for Halloween 2009)

Day off Saturday…..here’s what was burning up the stereo and the iPod today…..

KISS – Sonic Boom (2009): I can’t get enough of the new KISS record! I wanted to live with it a couple of weeks before I reviewed it because I didn’t want the fanboy in me to overpower the truth. After repeated listens, it’s a solid record…..better than PSYCHO CIRCUS (1998).

Ace Frehley – Anomaly (2009): This one gets lumped in with the new KISS because Ace is part of the KISS extended family. I wanted to give this a ton of play before I reviewed it, also so I could compare it to the SONIC BOOM. Great comeback for Ace!

Anvil – This Is Thirteen (2009 reissue): I’ve had the album since late 2007 or early 2008 when I ordered it through the band’s website…..I loved it then and I love it now. I picked up the reissue for the bonus track, the never recorded, ‘Thumb Hang’. See the movie, buy the record.

Firehouse – s/t (1990): I saw the video for ‘Don’t Treat Me Bad’ on VH-1 Classic and I pulled the CD out for a fresh listen. I used to love this album back in the day! I remember no one else really got into the band until all the chicks heard ‘Love Of A Lifetime’…..everyone ended up buying it. The good news is that it’s track #11 so you can hit the <skip> button and finish the record. Check out the video, this is the first version, there’s another with a woman throwing all of Bill Leverty’s stuff out a window.

Ozzy Osbourne – Down To Earth (2001): I pulled this album out because my best friend is an Ozzy freak and we were discussing the merits of Ozzy’s last four solo albums. Obviously NO MORE TEARS (1991) and OZZMOSIS (1995) are great records, and I thought BLACK RAIN (2007) sucked, but this album is forgotten. I remember seeing the tour stop in Worcester, MA and the show wasn’t Ozzy’s best…..after a few listens, neither is the album. I like it better than BLACK RAIN.

Bon Jovi – 7800° Fahrenheit (1985): OK, I realize Bon Jovi isn’t as Metal, or even Hard Rock, as some of the other bands I usually listen to but 7800° FAHRENHEIT is a solid record. This is before Bon Jovi broke the bank so I like this & the debut a lot better. Everyone forgets ‘In And Out Of Love’ and ‘Tokyo Road’, two great songs the band should play live.

David Lee Roth – A Little Ain’t Enough (1991): I am huge Diamond Dave fan and I have bought every Diamond Dave solo album when it’s come out so I picked this up back in 1991 and I still love it today. The title track is just pure Dave. Too bad he fell out of the limelight quickly after this album, he was a great performer. He still has 3 more solo albums after this though but his was his last good one.

Thunder – Backstreet Symphony (1990): Thunder were one of those bands that came out just as my senior year in high school was ending and we all jumped on the bandwagon at the parking lot parties. ‘Dirty Love’ got a ton of airplay back in the day on local radio and on MTV, there were 2 versions of the video. I always listen to mid-90s Thunder when I got back into the band but it’s cool to re-live the debut.