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Metal Excess Awards 2012

Despite 2012 being a year where a number of major classic rock acts reappeared with new albums (KISS, Van Halen, Aerosmith), I was slightly disappointed with the rock scene overall. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that I’ve listened to less music in 2012 than I have compared to the previous 5 years or so. Whether it’s because I’m getting too old or getting too busy, I didn’t sit down and listen to or write about as much music as I have since I started this blog a few years back. I haven’t been paying attention to the world of hard rock & heavy metal as I should have. Forgive me. Maybe I can make up for it in 2013.
Anyway, here’s my contribution to the millions of “Best of 2012” lists that are already all over the internet!
Best Albums of 2012
As I said, 2012 didn’t seem like an incredibly bright year for rock releases but that doesn’t mean I’m knocking some of the cream of the crop. Rick Springfield (of all people!) delivered a classic album that I just had to give the #1 spot based on how much I played it. My Darkest Days had yet another incredibly strong release. Other than Hess at #7, the rest of the top 10 is made up of veteran artists who know how to get the job done.
1.Rick Springfield – Songs for the End of the World
2. My Darkest Days – Sick and Twisted Affair
3. KISS – Monster
4. Van Halen – A Different Kind of Truth
5. Aerosmith – Songs from Another Dimension!
6. Adler – Back From The Dead
7. Mollo/Martin – The Third Cage
8. Hess – Living In Yesterday
9. Slash – Apocalyptic Love
10. Dokken – Broken Bones
11. Great White – Elation
12. Richie Sambora – Aftermath of the Lowdown
13. Jorn – Bring Heavy Rock to the Land
14. Jack Blades – Rock ‘N’ Roll Ride
15. Trixter – New Audio Machine
16. Lita Ford – Living Like a Runaway
17. Crazy Lixx – Riot Avenue
18. Hinder – Welcome to the Freak Show
19. Million Dollar Reload – A Sinner’s Saint
20. The Morning After – Legacy
21. Heart – Fanatic
22. Accept – Stalingrad
23. Papa Roach – The Connection
23. Zerokings – Kings of Self Destruction
24. Primal Fear – Unbreakable
25. Fozzy – Sin and Bones

Missed Them in 2012…

These are releases from 2012 that I’ve heard some songs from but I haven’t listened to the entire album yet. I wouldn’t have felt right trying to place them on the list without having heard the complete album. Look for reviews of these albums soon.

* Danko Jones – Rock and Roll is Black and Blue
* Black Country Communion – Afterglow
* L.A. Guns – Hollywood Forever (from what I’ve heard, this probably would’ve made my Top 10)
* Jettblack – Raining Rock
* The Last Vegas – Bad Decisions
* Ian Gillan & Tony Iommi: WhoCares
* Overkill – The Electric Age
* T & N – Slave to the Empire
* Lynch Mob – Sound Mountain Session EP

Best EP/Compilation/Cover/Singles

The “everything else” category.

1. Richard Marx – Christmas Spirit
2. Dio – The Very Beast of Dio, Vol. 2
3. Rod Stewart – Merry Christmas, Baby
4. John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John – This Christmas
5. TSO – Dreams of Fireflies (On a Christmas Night) EP
6. Dee Snider – Dee Does Broadway
7. Buckcherry – “Gluttony” [single]
8. Motley Crue – “Sex” [single]
9. Wildstreet – “Easy Does It” [single]

Most Anticipated in 2013

Judas Priest:   Slated for sometime in 2013, this is easily the most anticipated album for me. I’m looking forward to and hoping Priest will deliver a classic sounding metal album and forget about overblown concept records. It’s just a shame KK Downing isn’t along for the ride but I think having some young blood in Priest might actually help push them to be heavier, harder and faster. The same thing happened when Scott Travis joined the band. I’d still love to see Downing come back at some point though. Why not have six members of Judas Priest?

Buckcherry – Confessions (Feb. 19): The lead single “Gluttony” has already been released and I’m really enjoying it. These guys do not disappoint.

My Darkest Days (fall): These guys have released two of my favorite albums from the last few years and are already writing for a follow up to last year’s Sick and Twisted Affair with a new studio album in the fall. I’m hoping the recent departure of guitarist Sal Costa wouldn’t delay the release.

Avenged Sevenfold: No timetable for a new album other than 2013. The band is supposedly going to begin recording this month.

Motley Crue: Another “sometime in 2013″ release. The question is — LP or EP? Vince Neil has mentioned it will be an EP and that’s more in line with what Tommy Lee has stated he’d like for the band to release from now on. Nikki Sixx has been referring to the next Crue release as an “album”, so I guess we’ll see. The single they released in the summer (“Sex”) was decent and seems to fit in with the modern rock turn Crue has taken since 2005.

Black Sabbath: Originally meant for 2012, all kinds of legal issues and drama have slowed this one down. Pretty stupid if they don’t end up pulling Bill Ward in but I’m interested just because I’m a fan of Iommi & Butler. In fact, bring back Ward and get rid of Ozzy and I’d feel even better about this reunion album. My preference is still for Iommi & Butler to form a new band with either Tony Martin (long shot), Jorn Lande, Ian Gillan or Glenn Hughes.

Megadeth: I dunno… Megadeth is one of my all-time favorite bands so I’m always interested but with each release I’m finding less and less to like. Yes, they are getting heavier and faster. Perhaps they are the heaviest and fastest they’ve ever been but Dave seems to be forsaking melody to do it. Seems like he’d rather go off on political rants and conspiracy theories than write memorable songs.

AC/DC: One of those bands that myself & radio have played out to the point where I’m kinda numb to them. But, Black Ice was far better than I ever imagined it could be so I’m definitely interested in new music. This past spring Malcolm Young said a new album would be out in a “year or two”. Here’s hoping it’ll be released in 2013.

Tom Keifer (spring) – I’m a big fan of Cinderella. People have been asking for a new Cinderella album for over 10 years now. I’m not sure why Tom would decide to a solo release instead but I’m not going to complain.

Deep Purple: Ian Gillan said they were planning a new release. Hopefully they follow through!

Anthrax: I think it was Joey Belladonna who stated in interview this past summer than they wanted to release something new in 2013.

Hardcore Superstar – C’mon Take On Me (March 1)

Black Veil Brides – Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones (January 8): I surprisingly enjoyed their last album. Looking forward to hearing whether they’ve kept the same sound or going even more glam/power metal than before.

Crashdiet – The Savage Playground (late January)

Bon Jovi – What About Now (March 26): I’m not a fan of the lead single, “Because We Can”. I actually haven’t been a fan of the last few albums either but I was optimistic because I liked all four new songs they released with the deluxe version of their latest greatest hits compilation. I can’t help but get excited when a new Bon Jovi album is coming out but I would not be surprised if this album was only good for a ballad or two.

Papa Roach – The Connection [Review]

Papa Roach – The Connection
(2012, Eleven Seven Music)

1. “Engage”
2. “Still Swingin'”
3. “Where Did the Angels Go?”
4. “Silence is the Enemy”
5. “Before I Die”
6. “Wish You Never Met Me”
7. “Give Me Back My Life”
8. “Breathe You In”
9. “Leader of the Broken Hearts”
10. “Not That Beautiful”
11. “Walking Dead”
12. “Won’t Let Up”
13. “As Far as I Remember”

Jacoby Shaddix – Vocals
Jerry Horton – Guitar
Tobin Esperance – Bass
Tony Palermo – Drums

Producer: James Michael & John Feldmann

When Papa Roach crashed onto the scene with their nu-metal bandwagon Infest album, who would’ve thought they’d still be around 12 years later releasing new music? The Connection is the band’s 7th studio album and I have to admit Papa Roach have had quite a respectful career with hit singles, gold & platinum albums and energetic live shows.

The Connection is an appropriate album because even though the band has gone through changes in sound and style over the years (heck, the last album was called Metamorphosis) on this release they attempt to bring it all together. At various times, the band’s brand of rock has been alternative metal, nu metal, electronic rock, rock/pop, rap metal and even ’80s melodic hard rock. Papa Roach isn’t going for a cohesive sound on this album and I mean that in a good way. The band is bringing everything they’ve brought to the table in the past.

“Still Swingin'” is a perfect anthemic example of what Papa Roach has sounded like over the last few releases while “Where Did the Angels Go?” brings back the band’s nu metal/rap influences. “Before I Die” is pure radio ready infectious rock/pop ballad that will probably be released as a single.

Of course, some of the lyrics are overly dramatic and emo and just look at some of the song titles: “Before I Die”, “Wish You Never Met Me”, “Leader of the Broken Hearts”, etc. It’s like a gloomy 15 year old came up with this stuff. But for the most part, Papa Roach knows how to write a catchy melody and chorus.

I think this album compares favorably to the band’s previous efforts. There’s a bit of everything for everyone.

Highlights: “Still Swingin'”, “Where Did the Angels Go?”, “Silence Is The Enemy”, “Before I Die”, “Wish You Never Met Me”, “Walking Dead”

Buy the album at

I’ve got rock ‘n’ roll pneumonia!

Today’s a good day!

I ordered my Judas Priest/Whitesnake tickets for the July 15th show at the DTE Energy Center in Clarkston, MI, and… I got my tickets in the mail for the Def Leppard/Poison/Cheap Trick concert on July 24th at the very same venue!

In a paycheck or two, I’ll probably pick up the tickets for the August Nickelback/Papa Roach/Hinder/Saving Abel show, also at DTE.


Buckcherry/Avenged Sevenfold/Papa Roach/Saving Abel (02/21/09, Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek, Michigan)

This past Saturday night I had the pleasure of getting to see a good ol’ rock ‘n’ roll show in Battle Creek. We (my fiancee and I) left here (Lansing) at about 4PM, even though the show didn’t start until 6:30, just to make sure we know where we were going and find our seats… which turned out to be general admission.

After a long wait in a sloooow moving line just to get into the actual arena, I was surprised by how small and kinda of old it was. Holds about 8,500 people and the show was reported to be a sell-out. Of course, the woman had to stop off and get her Papa Roach shirt. Papa Roach being the whole reason we went to this show. My original concert pick was Motley Crue/Hinder/Theory of a Deadman/The Last Vegas, which took place earlier in the month in Grand Rapids. It would’ve been our 3rd time seeing the Crue, but instead she talked me into seeing seeing Buckcherry and Papa Roach for a 2nd time (3rd for her when it comes to Papa Roach).

So anyway, it was a fun show. Here’s the breakdown:

Saving Abel

I don’t know much about this band. Despite my girl owning the CD, I’ve never got around to listening to it, though I was very familiar with “Addicted” from radio and my girl’s ring tone. Everyone was very fired up as soon as they lights went down and they heard the band start to play, but I get the feeling most people were just happy to finally hear music and didn’t so much about Saving Abel in particular. I guess they’re kind of a Nickelback “post grunge” rock band. Not really my thing. I pretty much just wanted them to play “Addicted” then get the heck off the stage.

I had more fun watching one of the guitarists, who was really into the whole show and going all out with mannerisms while playing like he was some heavy metal guitar player. Not knocking it, I thought it was fun.

Not exactly sure of the setlist, since I’m not familiar with their album, but I found this list online and it sounds right:

“In God’s Eyes”
“New Tattoo”
“Drowning (Face Down)”
“18 Days”
“Beautiful You”

Papa Roach

The crowd favorite of the whole show was, by far, Papa Roach. Kinda makes me wonder how they get such low billing when touring with other bands (they were 3rd on the bill for Crue Fest too). Jacoby Shaddix’s energy is off the charts, just like it was at Crue Fest in Clarkston, MI. He ran into the crowd to sing “Lifeline”, pretty cool stuff. I see the band keeps going in a poppier direction with “Lifeline”. Not a fan of the other new song, “Hollywood Whore”. Just seems cliche at this point to bash brainless celebrity bimbos like Britney and Paris.


“Between Angels & Insects”
“…to Be Loved”
“Getting Away with Murder”
“Time Is Running Out”
“Hollywood Whore”
“Last Resort”

Avenged Sevenfold

Judging by reaction, A7X were the 2nd biggest band of the night. I think Avenged Sevenfold and Buckcherry are alternating on who is closing the shows. I’ve been missing the boat on Avenged Sevenfold, despite owning City of Evil. I bought 2007’s self-titled release in preparation for this show and it’s a good thing I did, they covered six songs from that album. I loved it. I was really hoping they would play “A Little Piece of Heaven”, which is my favorite song from their last album. I’m hearing they do it as an encore when they close the shows.

It was amazing to hear & see the band play. Great musicians and Synyster Gates has quickly become one of my favorite guitarists.


“Critical Acclaim”
“Beast and the Harlot”
“Dear God”
Synyster Gates solo
“Bat Country”
“Unholy Confessions”
“Almost Easy”


I really enjoy this band because they’re keeping the 80s sleaze factor intact and they delivered a career best (and one of my favorite albums from 2008) with Black Butterfly, but unfortunately, I think they turn off a lot of the “modern” metal/rock fans for the very reason that they are “old school” in sound. Most of the crowd seemed way more into Papa Roach & Avenged Sevenfold in terms of reaction and t-shirts being worn. Plus, I think by this point, there had been so much screaming, yelling and moshing (!!!) going on, the crowd was getting drained.

Still, it’s a blast watching guitarist Keith Nelson (who was dressed like a cross between Bruce Springsteen and Brian Johnson) and singer Josh Todd work the stage. Todd’s movements bring to mind Axl Rose, Steven Tyler, and Mick Jagger.

Unfortunately, we actually had to cut out early from their set (at least we got to beat all of the traffic, though we had to drive an hour back home through a terrible snowstorm), but we were able to see most of it.

The set list, obviously, I’m not totally sure of but I know they played the songs, even if I can’t remember the order:

“Tired of You”
“Broken Glass”
“Next 2 You”
“Rescue Me”
“Too Drunk…”
“Lit Up”
“Talk to Me”

I’m sure they finished up with “Sorry” and “Crazy Bitch”.

Overall, this was a great show. Saving Abel was the only downer. I just don’t think they fit in with these other bands. Papa Roach had tons of energy that the crowd matched, Avenged Sevenfold put on an excellent live show and are great musicians and Buckcherry brought the sleaze, attitude & swagger. What more could you ask for?

CRUE FEST – 07/15/08

Crue Fest featuring Motley Crue, Buckcherry, Papa Roach, SIXX:A.M., Trapt (07/15/08, DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston, Michigan)

Yesterday’s show was a blast. If you’ve never been to DTE, it’s a pavilion that seats 15,000 and some odd change (about 8,000 of that are lawn seats) out in a nice quiet place called Clarkston, Michigan. Despite Detroit being miles away, no music acts ever play Clarkston when they’re at DTE, they play Detroit. It’s more prestigious sounding that way. A pretty nice & clean outdoor place, with tons of shops inside the gates to blow your money on heavily overpriced beer, margarita, snow cones, merchandise, mini-fans, and pizza. Just like Disney World!

Read the rest of this entry

On With the Show

Tomorrow’s the big day! I’ll be outta here around noon and be making my way to Detroit Rock City to see Crue Fest! Wish me luck and pray I don’t get killed/mugged in our nation’s most crime-infested city!

MOTLEY CRUE – Saints of Los Angeles






Motley Crue – Saints of Los Angeles [Best Buy Exclusive DVD Limited Edition] (2008, Motley Records)

Track Listing:
1. “L.A.M.F.” … 1:21
2. “Face Down in the Dirt” … 3:44
3. “What’s It Gonna Take” … 3:45
4. “Down at the Whisky” … 3:50
5. “Saints of Los Angeles” … 3:40
6. “MF of the Year” … 3:55
7. “The Animal in Me” … 4:16
8. “Welcome to the Machine” … 3:00
9. “Just Another Psycho” … 3:36
10. “Chicks=Trouble” … 3:13
11. “This Ain’t a Love Song” … 3:25
12. “White Trash Circus” … 2:51
13. “Goin’ out Swingin'” … 3:27

Best Buy Exclusive Bonus DVD
1. “Saints of Los Angeles” Music Video
2. Crue Fest Press Conference
3. “Kickstart My Heart” live performance
4. “Saints of Los Angeles” live performance

Vince Neil – Vocals
Mick Mars – Guitar
Nikki Sixx – Bass
Tommy Lee – Drums

Additional Musicians:
Josh Todd – Gang Vocals
Jacoby Shaddix – Gang Vocals
Chris Taylor Brown – Gang Vocals
James Michael – Backing/Gang Vocals, Keyboards
Marty Frederikson – Backing Vocals
Melissa Harding – Backing Vocals

Produced by: James Michael
Co-Produced by: Nikki Sixx & DJ Ashba

When Motley said they were working on NEW material, I was ecstatic. I loved the new stuff, “Sick Love Song” and “If I Die Tomorrow”, they added onto the Red, White & Crue compilation. I thought they were a perfect mix of the classic Motley sound and modern hard rock, even if some Motley fans didn’t care for’em. I remember seeing them on the Carnival of Sin tour and the crowd just sitting on their hands when they played those songs. So, I was thinking we’d get an album full of sick love songs, but Motley has gone back to their roots with this album and is delivering good old-fashioned Motley hard rock.

Even in anticipation, I was kinda worried, because their last studio album, 2000’s New Tattoo fell flat with me. But SOLA definitely has bite and definitely sounds like Motley, despite the fact that Nikki’s side project, SIXX:AM, was pretty much the creative force behind it (James Michael & DJ Ashba produced and had a hand in writing every song alongside Nikki). Veteran rock songwriter/producer Marti Frederikson had a heavy hand in the songwriting as well, and Mick did also, to a lesser extent. At least, they didn’t bring Bob Rock back. He neutered Metallica for a decade and nearly did the same with Motley in 1994!

Anyway, song samples posted on a few weeks back didn’t give me much hope, but I don’t know what I  was thinking at the time, because the album rocks and is one of 2008’s best releases. “Saint of Los Angeles” is my favorite track and is classic Motley without any modern influences. It also features “gang vocals” from Crue Fest-mates James Michael (SIXX:AM) Josh Todd (Buckcherry), Jacoby Shaddix (Papa Roach) and Chris Taylor Brown (Trapt). On the flipside, “The Animal in Me” screams modern rock radio to me, but is very good, and should be their next single. Nikki’s always had a good ear for writing catchy modern hard rock songs (listen to Saliva’s “Rest In Pieces” and tell me I’m lying!).

I picked up the Best Buy limited edition, but the only difference is there’s a bonus DVD, but it’s pretty cool. There’s a music video for “SOLA”, their Crue Fest press conference in full and two songs they performed live at the press conference. Plus, photo stills of the band and a bunchload of excerpts from their band autobiography, “The Dirt”.

Highlights: “What’s It Gonna Take”, “Down at the Whisky”, “Saints of Los Angeles”, “MF of the Year”, “The Animal in Me”, “This Ain’t a Love Song”, “Goin’ out Swingin'”.

The Killing Road

Everyone have their tickets? The tours are starting to kick off and I’m getting pumped for it. I live fairly close to Detroit and Chicago, so a lot of acts are coming my way.

As it stands right now, I’ll be hitting up Crue Fest on July 15th in Detroit and I CANNOT wait. Motley absolutely killed (With no opening act!) when I saw them in Pensacola, Florida, back on the Carnival of Sin tour and I know they’ll do the same here. I can only imagine it’ll be that much better having four other bands (Buckcherry, Papa Roach, Sixx:A.M., Trapt) playing with them.

Then on top of that, I’ll be getting my tickets to the August 18th ‘Metal Masters’ show (Priest, Heaven and Hell, Motorhead, Testament) in Detroit.

There’s also a Poison/Sebastian Bach/Dokken show on August 8th in Sterling Heights, but I don’t know if my budget will allow for it, but I’d love to go.

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