Ok, so I know its a month early, but I was itchin to get this out….
1. Armored Saint – La Raza (Metal Blade Records). Choice track – “Head On”. I was elated beyond belief when it was announced that The Saint was recording a new album this year. I traveled to L.A to see them and the record is just pure majesty. I can’t say enough about these guys.
2. Overkill – Ironbound (E1 Entertainment). Choice track – “The Goal is Your Soul”. The Thrashterpiece of the year. Talk about a ferocious return to form. Some of the most classic and killer riffs I’ve heard in a long time.
3. High On Fire – Snakes For The Divine (Koch Records). Choice track – “Snakes For the Divine”. In the last few years I’ve seen these guys many times and I enjoyed them more and more each time. 3 dudes that make a sound like a Panzer Division steam rolling over your family and sparing no one.
4. Kingdom Of Sorrow – Behind The Blackest Tears (Relapse Records). Choice track – “Gods Law in the Devils Land ”. Jamey Jasta (Hatebreed) and Kirk Windstein (Crowbar/Down) join forces on this sophomore release to create a pummeling yet incredible groovy combo of hard-core, metal, and Louisiana sludge.
5. Witchery – Witchkreig (Century Media). Choice track – “Devil Rides Out”. The Swedish super-group returned this year with a stunning record and guest appearances by a who’s who in metal guitar players. Kerry King, Gary Holt, Lee Altus, Hank Sherman, and Jim Durkin all lend solos on this fantastic slab of metal. New front man Legion (ex-Marduk), who replaced Toxine, does a great job on the mic.
6. Sasquatch – III (Small Stone Records). Choice track – “Walkin Shoes”. The perfect soundtrack for driving, the strip club, and just hangin with your best buds and killin some brews. The California trio does it again for their 3rd Small Stone release. Tons of soul, fuzz, and fun.
7. Death Angel – Relentless Retribution (Nuclear Blast). Choice track – “Death of the Meek”. The Filipino thrash legends added a blistering offering to a year of great come-back-thrash. Although the first time in their existence, the band now has two white guys in their ranks. Seeing these guys with Chris Riquelme at Numbers was definitely one of the live music highlights of this year.
8. The Sword – Warp Riders (Kemado). Choice track – “Lawless Lands”. What a year for these guys. Our very own Texas boys were hand picked by Metallica to open for them on the Death Magnetic World Tour. 4 Texas youngins bringin back the soul of NWOBHM and sautering it with modern day spirit and fire.
9. Gozu – Locust Season (Small Stone Records). Choice track – “Mr. Riddle”. Pure genius from this Boston foursome. The production sounds like nothing I’ve heard in a while. Extremely fun, groovy, bluesy, and heavy. Awesome vocal harmonies. If you’ve missed Kyuss as much as I have, you will be thanking whatever deity you bow down to for these guys.
10. Red Giant – D ysfunctional Majesty (Small Stone Records). Choice track – “Never Touch the Lens”. More fantastic stuff from the greatest label today. Perfect soundtrack for tearin up the highway with one hand on the steering wheel and headin West. The kind of stuff to rock out to at a killer house party with your crew and some cool/hot girls who actually get it. Makes me proud to have testicles.
1. Accept – Blood Of The Nations (Nuclear Blast). Choice track – “Teutonic Terror”. I was skeptical as to what this would sound like without mainman Udo Dirkschneider, but my worries were for nothing. Mike Tornillo of TT Quick fame mans the mic on this and does an absolutely killer job. I dare say that I think I prefer him to the little German. Chris Smith and I had oodles of fun seeing these guys at HOB.
2. Black River – Black ‘N Roll (Eagle Records). Choice track – “Too Far Away”. A side project consisting of members from Behemoth, Dimmu Borgir, and Vader. However, sounding nothing like the aforementioned bands. A permutation of the Death ‘N Roll sound started by Entombed. This is whiskey soaked rock swagger.
3. Ratt – Infestation (Roadrunner). Choice track – “Eat Me Up Alive”. Another amazing show this year and an incredible come-back album. I was so glad to see these guys and they sounded amazing. Jackie and I scored a free ticket and one for half price. Eat Me Up Alive has got to be the anthem of the summer.
4. Exodus – Exhibit B: The Human Condition (Nuclear Blast). Choice track – “Hammer and Life”. Clocking in at over an hour, this record will bludgeon you with wave after wave of heaviness, hate, and havoc. Was great to see them with the Chris’ and Jackie at Verizon…that was a fun and crazy night. Ha!
5. Unsun – Clinic For Dolls (Eagle Records). Choice track – “Home”. My guilty pleasure for the year. Aya’s voice, face, and body is beautiful and Mauser (ex-Vader) writes some killer tunes. Really catchy, anthemic,and fun. Metal with a very pop sensibility to it.