Goatwhore: Carving Out the Eyes of God
Texas Hippie Coalition: Pride of Texas
Fleshgod Apocalypse: Oracles
Hatebreed: For the Lions
In reverse-chronological order:
Kylesa: Static Tensions
Mantic Ritual: Executioner
Mastodon: Crack the Skye
Volbeat: Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood
Lamb of God: Wrath
The Gaslight Anthem: The ’59 Sound
Sylosis: Conclusion of an Age
The Prodigy: Invaders Must Die
Kings of Leon: Only by the Night
Arise and Ruin: Night Storms Hailfire
The Bakerton Group: El Rojo
Lily Allen: It’s Not Me, It’s You
Devian: God to the Ill-Fated
The only album to get is:
There were 9 albums which earned to round out the top 10 this year:
Unearth: The March
Resurrection: Mistaken for Dead
Mt. Helium: Faces
Krisiun: Southern Storm
Ill Niño: Enigma
Heaven Shall Burn: Iconoclast
Facebreaker: Dead, Rotten and Hungry
Cavalera Conspiracy: Inflikted
The Sword: Gods of the Earth
Slipknot: All Hope is Gone
Scar Symmetry: Holographic Universe
Rise Against: Appeal to Reason
Gojira: The Way of All Flesh
Filter: Anthems for the Damned
Enemy of the Sun: Shadows
Bullet for My Valentine: Scream Aim Fire
Puddle of Mudd: Famous
Death Angel: Killing Season
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes: Have Another Ball
Byzantine: Oblivion Beckons
By far the worst album of the year goes to:
Generation Kill by Evan Wright
The Third (a guy at work) gave me this to read after I mentioned how much ass I thought the HBO miniseries kicked. That’s right: I read the book after I watched the show. My brother would be proud. The book offers more information than is conveyed in the miniseries, but not much. That said, it’s not a waste of time to read it if you’ve already seen it on TV.
The book is somewhat controversial. Some members of the Marine Corps say Wright is lying out of his ass in a sensational manner, yet he contends all that is written is true. As the son of 2 parents with over 20 years military experience each, I have heard a shitload of stories about officers higher up in the chain of command being worthless, and having been promoted out of the way.
The real truth lies somewhere in between. Wright’s book is an attempt to make the alien world of Recon Marines at war as accessible and understandable as possible to his civilian readers. At that task, I say he succeeds. Sure, it’s trite, but this one is a real page-turner.
Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
I love this guy’s TV show. He goes everywhere on earth, eats a ton of weird shit, and usually finds the best food around. He has a passion for food that I will never understand, and he doesn’t give a shit if you care or not. He’s brash. He drinks a lot. He cusses a lot. He smokes a lot. He eats a lot. And he’s a badass chef.
What’s not to like about this guy? Also: He’s a pretty good writer.
He claims he wrote the book for other chefs & cooks, never expecting “civilians” to read it. I call bullshit on that. In parts, it’s heavy on insider wink-nod and industry jargon, yet at the same time presented such that someone who isn’t a kitchen veteran understands through inference or context. Other times, it’s so blatantly pandering to us “reg’lar folk” that we miss the cleverly hidden send-up or inside joke.
It takes a certain kind of passionate weirdo to do what he does (or did). I like weirdos.
A couple of weeks ago, Gregg sent me a link; it was a Volbeat video on YouTube. Upon primary inspection, I was confused.
I immediately recognized this tune as a blatant Johnny Cash rip-off. It was obviously a cover of “Folsom Prison Blues”, but without being a cover; it was a Volbeat original. With the knee-jerk “rip-off” judgment in mind, was this all very weird? Or, was it all completely awesome?
I bought the album to find out.
These guys are from Denmark, and they defy categorization. It’s 50s-style rockabilly metal with vocals that ooze the essences of Elvis and Misfits-era Glenn Danzig singing fucked-up, broken English & Danish lyrics, with thrash speed, groove-metal swagger, hardcore breakdowns, and “3-chords and out” punk… all rolled into one. And the production is outstanding.
Verdict: It’s completely awesome.
This album represents progressive, melodic Swedish death metal, with “death” barely applicable.
This album invents Death Metal Lite with half the calories, half the taste, and half the greasy, unhealthy shit people love.
This album is sometimes brutal.
This album is sometimes catchy.
This album is sometimes too tame.
This album spotlights some really good riffs.
This album features painfully protracted guitar solos.
This album is a bit gotheatrical for my taste at times.
This album is tightly-played and over-produced.
This album is perfect for those who prefer a kinder, gentler metal.
I gave their previous album a 7 out of 10. This review is for the special edition release, which includes 3 bonus tracks.
In an online interview that I read at some point, on some website, somewhere in the ether, lead singer Corey Taylor explains the album title (paraphrased): “All hope is gone… like any hope you [the fans] have of figuring us out is gone.”
Let me help those having trouble: Various songs off previous 3 Slipknot (and 2 Stone Sour) albums, reheated, reshuffled & recorded.
I’m not saying it’s a bad album. It’s as good as you would expect from a collection of dudes my age who come from Iowa. While their technical & musical chops are still evident, they’ve been sapped of the originality that initially drew me in, and made me a fan.
I gave their previous album, “Ghost Reveries”, an 8 out of 10. This review is for the special edition release, which includes 3 additional songs, 2 of which are covers of songs I’ve never heard before. Code word: Roxette. WTF?!
Opeth are: Theatrical death metal. Meandering prog metal. Dangerously close to “experimental”, which isn’t necessarily the best direction for a band. Furious death metal yields to acoustic ballad. Beautiful crooning gives way to explosive, dirty groove death. These unexpected transitions take a while to manifest; most songs are at least 7 minutes long.
It’s all quite operatic. But, it’s an acquired taste… one I’m not sure I fully buy into yet. I was ready to try after “Ghost Reveries”, but not so much anymore.
I gave their previous album, “Dark Ages”, an 8 out of 10. This review is for the digipak which includes 5 additional tracks, 2 of which are live from a show in Poland, and 2 are covers of Marilyn Manson’s “Beautiful People” and Bad Brains’ “Sailin’ On”.
The first song, “Blood Fire War Hate”, features guest vocals by David Vincent. I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that Morbid Angel fucking sucks. But don’t hold it against this release.
The production on this album is superb. Thick black tar blasting breakneck thrash out of your speakers like a fire hose. Artificial harmonics abound, and these guys aren’t afraid of a guitar solo, which seems to have recently fallen out of style.
Cavalera slips a few eclectic elements into the release including a reggae-inspired outro, and a bit that sounds as if it came from Istanbul. Despite their contrast with the gestalt album’s chugging brutality, none of these seems out of place.
There are a couple of weak tunes on this album, but overall it kicks serious ass. One final note: The live version of “Jumpdafuckup/Bring It” is one of the best live tracks I’ve ever heard. It’s fast and thumpy, followed by a slower reggae interlude, and ends in a manner that’d violently eviscerate pop music fans everywhere. It begs to be played on constant repeat at deafening volume.