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The Metal Excess Awards: 2010 Edition

I’m really surprised by how many albums I enjoyed this year. I have a pitiful memory so I had to go back through my blog to remind myself what came out this year but I was floored when my Top 10 list was changed to a Top 20 list, then to a Top 30 list! I knocked it back down to a Top 25 list to make it seem a tiny bit more exclusive.

If you haven’t checked out any of these 25 albums, I wholeheartedly recommend you do so. 2010 was an amazing year for rock & metal, much MUCH better than 2009. I don’t see how 2011 can compete!

I’ll keep it short and sweet with my awards. As always, check the links for full reviews.

Best Albums of 2010

1. Avenged Sevenfold – Nightmare
2. Buckcherry – All Night Long
3. Scorpions – Sting in the Tail
4. Halford – Made of Metal
5. Slash – s/t
6. Black Country Communion – s/t
7. Avantasia – Angel of Babylon
8. Avantasia – The Wicked Symphony
9. Accept – Blood of the Nations
10. Hinder – All American Nightmare
11. Jettblack – Get Your Hands Dirty
12. Reckless Love – s/t
13. Bad City – Welcome to the Wasteland
14. Stone Temple Pilots – s/t
15. Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier
16. Krokus – Hoodoo
17. Helloween – 7 Sinners
18. Sister Sin – True Sound of the Underground
19. My Darkest Days – s/t
20. Stereoside – s/t
21. Y&T – Facemelter
22. Danko Jones – Below The Belt
23. Grave Digger – The Clans Will Rise Again
24. Jon Oliva’s Pain – Festival
25. Ratt – Infestation

Top Cover Albums

Seems like every year a few established artists like to cover a few *other* established artists, not to mention all those various tribute albums that small labels will slap together. Well, here’s my official ranking of the three cover albums I bothered to listen to this year. Luckily, all three albums were good fun and I think they all deserve another mention.

1. Jorn – Dio
2. Vince Neil – Tattoos & Tequila
3. Joe Elliott’s Down ‘N’ Outz – My ReGeneration Vol. 1

Top Live Albums

Again, I don’t buy a lot of live albums, but here’s how I rank what I listened to this year.

1. Dio – Dio at Donington UK: Live 1983 & 1987
2. Heaven & Hell – Neon Nights: 30 Years of Heaven & Hell – Live In Europe
3. Megadeth – Rust In Peace Live
4. The Michael Schenker Group – The 30th Anniversary Concert: Live in Tokyo

Top EPs

1. Razorwyre – Coming Out
2. Skull Fist – Heavier Than Metal
3. DesDemon – The Awakening

Most Disappointing Albums

1. Ratt – Infestation
The album was good, don’t get me wrong. It landed at #25 on my Best Of list for Dio’s sake! But… most of the songs had trouble living up to the promise of “Eat Me Up Alive” and “Best Of Me”.

2. Armored Saint – La Raza
A bland album from a band that has done so much better. They seemed to be going through the motions (to which John Bush has basically admitted in regards to himself). Symbol of Salvation this ain’t.

3. White Wizzard – Over The Top
The High Speed GTO EP garnered this group a lot of hype and buzz. We all fell for it, I know reviews for this album have been positive and it’s not bad but I expected more. Hopefully a second album will get these guys where they need to be.

4. Raven – Walk Through Fire
The terrible cover art should’ve tipped me off that this album was nothing special.

 

Check out these other sites for even more lists and year-end awards:

All Metal Resource — http://allmetalresource.com/

Bring Back Glam — http://bringbackglam.squarespace.com/

Hair Metal Mansion — http://hairbangersradio.ning.com/

Hard Rock Hideout — http://hardrockhideout.com/

Hard Rock Nights — http://hardrocknights.wordpress.com/

Heavy Metal Addiction —  http://heavymetaladdiction.com

Heavy Metal Time Machine — http://metalmark.blogspot.com/

Imagine Echoes — http://www.imagineechoes.com/

Layla’s Classic Rock — http://laylasclassicrock.blogspot.com/

The Metal Minute — http://rayvanhornjr.blogspot.com/

Metal Odyssey — http://metalodyssey.wordpress.com/

The Ripple Effect — http://www.ripplemusic.blogspot.com/

 

Grave Digger – The Clans Will Rise Again

Grave Digger – The Clans Will Rise Again (2010, Napalm Records)

1. “Days Of Revenge” … 1:58
2. “Paid In Blood” … 3:58
3. “Hammer Of The Scots” … 4:02
4. “Highland Farewell” … 4:08
5. “The Clans Will Rise Again” … 5:01
6. “Rebels” … 4:41
7. “Valley Of Tears” … 4:09
8. “Execution” … 4:46
9. “Whom The Gods Love Die Young” … 6:12
10. “Spider” … 3:19
11. “The Piper McLeod” … 0:49
12. “Coming Home” … 4:23
13. “When Rain Turns To Blood” … 6:14
Bonus Track
14. “Watch Me Die” …3:55

Band:
Chris Boltendahl – Vocals
Axel Ritt – Guitar
Jens Becker – Bass
Stefan Arnold – Drums
HP Katzenberg – Keyboards

Additional Musicians:
Florian Bohm – Bagpipes

Producer: Chris Boltendahl

Another year, another Grave Digger release! This one is supposed to be a sequel to 1996’s Tunes of War. This album came out at the right time for me. After listening to last year’s Ballads Of A Hangman just recently, I was in the mood to try out some more Grave Digger. If there was one problem I had with Ballads it’s that the songs often blended together, they were too similar to my ears. Luckily that’s not the case with The Clans Will Rise Again. I think the use of bagpipes really helps gives this album and the songs their own flavor and identity but it’s not like they’re all over the place but they help spice things up. The entire album just seems more aggressive and melodic while featuring more tempo changes than Ballads.

Ballads took me a long time and many tries before I finally got into it and enjoyed it but Clans I’ve instantly liked. Just some ferocious power metal to be found all throughout. Boltendahl really comes through with some powerful and harsh vocals doing a great job but his rough voice is almost comical on some of the slower moments like when “When Rain Turns To Blood” starts off.

Not really sure how you go about getting the “bonus track”. I thought it was exclusive to the digipak version but my copy came in a standard jewel case and I still have the song.

The Clans Will Rise Again is another good album that cements my status as a fan of Grave Digger and encourages me to check out more of their albums…

Highlights: “Hammer Of The Scots”, “Highland Farewell”, “The Clans Will Rise Again”, “Rebels”, “Valley Of Tears”, “When Rain Turns To Blood”

http://www.grave-digger-clan.com/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Official-GRAVE-DIGGER-Fan-Site/256056408537
http://www.myspace.com/gravediggerclan

Grave Digger – Ballads Of A Hangman

Grave Digger – Ballads Of A Hangman [Limited Edition Digipack] (2009, Napalm Records)

1. “The Gallows Pole” … 0:48
2. “Ballad of a Hangman” … 4:45
3. “Hell of Disillusion” … 3:56
4. “Sorrow of the Dead” … 3:25
5. “Grave Of The Addicted” … 3:34
6. “Lonely the Innocence Dies” … 5:46
7. “Into the War” … 3:32
8. “The Shadow of Your Soul” … 4:15
9. “Funeral for a Fallen Angel” … 4:31
10. “Stormrider” … 3:17
11. “Pray” … 3:36
Bonus Track
12. “Jailbreak” … 4:04

Band:
Chris Boltendahl – Lead Vocals, Backing vocals
Manni Schmidt – Guitar, Backing vocals
Thilo Hermann – Guitars, Backing vocals
Jens Becker – Bass
Stefan Arnold – Drums
H.P. Katzenburg – Keyboards

Additional Musicians:
Victoria Freeman – Lead Vocals (“Lonely The Innocence Dies”)

Producer: Grave Digger & the Resetti Brothers

Wanting to expand my horizons metallic horizons, I picked up this album in early 2010 after reading so many positive reviews for it. I’ve been familiar with the band in name only for many, many years but I guess whatever samples I would listen to online never grabbed me enough to pick up any previous albums.

To be honest, I’ve spun this disc every now and again throughout the year and I’ve never been able to get into it. Not sure why because when I listened to it again recently I really enjoyed it. It’s not a great album or anything but when I’ve got 7 of the 12 songs pegged as “highlights”, I guess I would have to say it is very good.

“Lonely The Innocence Dies” is a great moody ballad. “Stormrider” sounds like Judas Priest worship… Not that I’m complaining! I can easily hear Halford singing a song like that. “Pray” is a very commercial effort and more melodic affair, which caught me off guard. It almost sounds like something Ratt would do, it’s got that ’80s sleaze pop-metal kinda vibe to it. “Jailbreak” is a bonus track that comes only with the digipack version is, of course, a cover of the Thin Lizzy song. The band does a good job giving it a power metal makeover.

So FINALLY after owning this album for nearly a year, I sit down, give it a few listens and I like it. Makes me want to go back and check out the band’s ’80s material.

Highlights: “Grave Of The Addicted”, “Lonely The Innocence Dies”, “The Shadow of Your Soul”, “Funeral For A Fallen Angel”, “Stormrider”, “Pray”, “Jailbreak”

http://www.grave-digger-clan.com//
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Official-GRAVE-DIGGER-Fan-Site/256056408537
http://www.myspace.com/gravediggerclan

Albums I Missed in 2009

As in 2008, there were a number of albums released this year that I didn’t get around buying. Money may come from trees but it surely doesn’t grow on them! Some of these albums I’ve been aware of for awhile, others I just recently found out about. Oh well, here’s some 2009 releases I plan on picking up sometime in the near future…

3 Inches of Blood – Here Waits Thy Doom: They finally got rid of their “screamo” vocalist so now it’s all down to Cam Pipes’ shrill pipes. I’ve never had a problem with the music, just the second vocalist. I’ll probably get this one pretty soon because what I’m hearing online is great.

House of Lords – Cartesian Dreams: I had been waffling on this one for quite some time, then I thought I had finally decided to not buy it due to some wimpy songs I heard but I’ve read some more reviews, previewed some more songs and now I desperately want it! I’m no stranger to House of Lords, but I’ve never bought an album by them.

Bulletboys – 10c Billionaire: I’ve actually ordered this album TWICE this year (once from Amazon and once from CD Universe) and both times the order was delayed without notice and in the case of CD Universe they went as far as to delete the listing! I’ve heard cheers and I’ve heard jeers for this album, but I like the two or three songs I’ve heard. I don’t expect to be blown away, but I suspect it’ll be decent. I guess I’ll have to order directly from Chavis Records though.

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