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Looking Forward to in 2011…

2011 has a quite a challenge in front of it. 2010 was filled with TONS of great albums. If 2011 can pull off even half of what last year did, it’ll still be a great year. This isn’t some complete list, there may be more projects in the works that I’ve forgotten about or don’t know about yet… but that doesn’t mean I’m not looking forward to them! This is just a list of stuff off the top of my head…

Wildstreet – II …Faster …Louder EP (January 25th)
One of my favorite albums of 2009 was Wildstreet’s debut. I would love a full album but if an EP is all I can get, I’ll gladly take it. Will be available for download at iTunes & Amazon on January 25th with physical copies to be available for purchase shortly after. I’ll have a review up for it sometime next week.

Stryper – The Covering (February)
Originally scheduled for the end of 2010, it was pushed back supposedly in order to increase awareness for the album. Even though it’s an album of covers, they’ve picked some good songs and the samples sound great.

Whitesnake – Forevermore (March)
Sure to be another highlight of the year for me. Good to Be Bad is one of my favorite Whitesnake albums and Coverdale has basically said Forevermore will be more of the same because he thinks they found the right balance of all eras of Whitesnake with that record. I couldn’t agree more.

Sixx A.M. This Is Gonna Hurt (April)
I’m a huge Nikki Sixx fan. I’ve loved all the new Crue material since Red, White & Crue and the first Sixx A.M. album was pretty good. James Michael is also a fantastic vocalist and is a great songwriter/producer. This one should be a winner.

Alice CooperWelcome 2 My Nightmare (AKA – Welcome to My Nightmare II)
2010 looked to be a lock for new Alice. He was already in the middle of writing the album but then hooked up with Bob Ezrin again and they decided to do a Welcome to My Nightmare sequel. The album Alice had originally planned was called The Night Shift and here are his own words on that project, taken from the Toronto Sun newspaper back in April:

“Ten songs are written already. It’s going to be called The Night Shift. The concept is, it’s a really dark radio show where I’m the disc jockey, and every song I play will be by a different fictitious band. At some point, you’ll realize this disc jockey is a little bit more than that. And I’m sure there will be some kind of a twist ending.”

I’m not sure if The Night Shift and Welcome 2 My Nightmare (the rumored title) are two totally separate projects or if Alice & Bob have decided to absorb the ideas from Night Shift into Welcome 2.

Saxon
My first Saxon album was Into the Labyrinth and I liked it a lot. Supposedly a new one should be coming this year…

Megadeth (Spring?)
New Megadeth is always a highlight for me, I was disappointed by Endgame but I think the band is gonna go out on a high note with their last album on Roadrunner. I think the band goes into the studio to record in February, so I’m guessing Spring 2011 is the release.

KISS (Summer?)
Easily the most anticipated release of the year for me. Sonic Boom was great and I was very happy to hear both Gene & Paul state in various interviews that a new album would be arriving on 2011. They wouldn’t do it if they couldn’t make money off of it (which had been a concern for years) so I guess Sonic Boom was very profitable for them. I know another tour is gonna start up in the summer so I’m guessing the release will be happening around then.

Riot (Spring)
So happy to hear that Riot is back to work on a new album. I just got into them a little over a year ago but quickly snatched up most of their albums. I haven’t heard a bad Riot album yet and this particular album reunites the Thundersteel line-up.

Skull Fist
They put out a great little EP in 2010, a full album should be even better.

Adler’s Appetite

A few songs from the forthcoming album can now be bought on iTunes and Amazon and they sound really good. I’ve had a good feeling about this album for a long time. It’s exactly what I was expecting — fun rock ‘n’ roll that stays true to Steven’s GNR roots and classic rock-influences.

AnvilJuggernaut of Justice (Spring)
Anvil is always good for some solid heavy metal. It’s a shame it’s taken them this long to release it though.

Quiet Riot
So there’s a new singer and Frankie Banali has been given the blessing of the DuBrow family to continue on with QR. If it’s good enough for Kevin’s mom then it’s good enough for me! Mark Huff sounds pretty close to DuBrow and I know they’ve been re-recording some QR classics but I’m hoping there’s going to be some new material too.

Still Waiting For… (albums originally scheduled for 2010)

AnthraxWorship Music
Originally planned for 2009! The band has gone through three different singers since then and went back to tweaking the album with Belladonna on vocals.

Peter Criss
At the end of 2009, Peter said he’d have an rock album coming out in Spring 2010 but I haven’t heard anything since. Maybe he’ll do what Ace did and release his solo album about the same time KISS releases their new album.

The Top 10 Albums of 2009

It was pretty tough for me to come up with a top ten for this year. There were so many good releases in 2009, but only a handful of them were special so I changed my mind quite a bit when coming up with this list. 2009 seemed to be the year of the “grower”. Meaning, many albums on this list (and many others that I liked that didn’t make this list), didn’t grab me at first but upon repeated listening, I started to appreciate them.

Overall, 2009 was another good year for rock and metal even if it wasn’t the star-studded affair that 2008 was (Crue, Metallica, AC/DC, GNR, Priest, Def Leppard, Alice Cooper… WOW!). Anyway, most veteran acts with new releases continued to deliver and newer acts stepped up to release quality music as well.

Read the rest of this entry

SAXON – Into the Labyrinth

Saxon – Into the Labyrinth (2009, SPV/Steamhammer Records)

1. “Battalions of Steel” … 6:34
2.”Live to Rock” … 5:30
3. “Demon Sweeney Todd” … 3:51
4. “The Letter” … 0:42
5. “Valley of the Kings” … 5:03
6. “Slow Lane Blues” … 4:08
7. “Crime of Passion” … 4:04
8. “Premonition in D Minor” … 0:40
9. “Voice” … 4:35
10. “Protect Yourselves” … 3:56
11. “Hellcat” – 3:54
12. “Come Rock of Ages (The Circle is Complete)” … 3:52
13. “Coming Home” (Bottleneck Version) … 3:12

Band:
Biff Byford – Vocals
Paul Quinn – Guitar
Doug Scarratt – Guitar
Nibbs Carter – Bass
Nigel Glockler – Drums

Additional Musicians:
Matthias Ulmer – Keyboards

Produced by: Charlie Bauerfeind

One of 2009’s strongest releases is now in my possession! I’ve been aware of Saxon for a long time, and I’ve been tempted so many times over the years to pick up one of their albums, but they always seemed so expensive either online or in stores, that I never got around to it.

I kept hearing so many positives things about this album, I put it on my list of “wants” earlier this year and finally got around to buying it a month ago or so and it’s blowing me away. This is a classic NWOBHM release… in 2009!

Biff Byford’s vocals are great and the band delivers some great old school metal on songs like “Battalions of Steel” and “Valley of the Kings”, but they also try their hand at blues rock and succeed at that as well with “Coming Home”. “Voice” is my favorite song on the album though, I can’t get it out of my head.

I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on Saxon!

Highlights: “Battalions of Steel”, “Live to Rock”, “”Valley of the King”, “Crime of Passion”, Voice”, “Come Rock of Ages (The Circle is Complete)”, “Coming Home” (Bottleneck Version)

www.saxon747.com
www.myspace.com/planetsaxon

Recent purchases

Man, I’ve been on a roll lately with buying music. And I’m not talkin’ iTunes. Nossir! I’m talking about that silver shiny disc that comes in a square plastic case with a little booklet that contains lyrics and artwork and band pics.

I don’t know, I just don’t get the rush of “HEY! NEW MUSIC!” when I think of downloading an album (even if they are usually a few bucks cheaper on iTunes) as compared to going out and finding a physical copy. I’m only 27, you’d think I would be embracing the iTunes era like all the other teens and 20 somethings, but I’m not.

Granted, I mostly have to use the internet to do my CD shopping anyway because Best Buy, Walmart, Target and FYE aren’t really cutting it when it comes to the music *I* want to hear…

Here’s what I’ve ordered in the last few days:

Thin Lizzy – Bad Reputation
Thin Lizzy – Jailbreak
Mercyful Fate – Melissa/In the Beginning
Saxon – Into the Labyrinth
The Last Vegas – Whatever Gets You Off
Tim “Ripper” Owens – Play My Game
Charm City Devils – Let’s Rock-N-Roll
Freakshow – s/t
Wildstreet – s/t

I should be getting the Lizzy & MF albums by Friday or Saturday and the rest should appear by the end of next week. Obviously, reviews will be coming once I feel I’ve gotten a good enough handle on the albums and man, is that list of “albums to review” still gigantic! I’ve got plenty of material even if I don’t receive/buy any new albums for the rest of the year.

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