If you have been observing the releases that came upon us during 2008 then you will agree that this was a tremendous year for Metal. We’ve noted in our editorial that it felt like the year of the comeback as much as it delivered new bands that we hope will shine far into the future. The multi-faceted genre that makes up our Metal not only delivered quality music releases but also DVD’s, Books and Concerts that left you sore and with that in mind we are lining out some of the best stuff that we felt was delivered. In this installment I will only be giving the tip of the hat to the best albums for 2008 since I liked a lot of them. Doing it like this lets us all keep a proper focus. Here we go.
The Best Albums Of 2008:
Eluveitie “Slania” (Nuclear Blast Records): Pagan/Folk Metal of resounding proportions. I loved this one and played it quite a bit.
Meshuggah “Obzen” (Nuclear Blast Records) – Reminding us with every groove and spine crushing riff that they are one of the most powerful Metal bands on the planet. If this is news to you, then get with the program.
Journey “Revelation”(Columbia Records): New singer, new album, new versions of classic material & a DVD concert all in one package? Truly this is a standout release from the Rock legends.
Whitesnake “Good To Be Bad” (SPV Records): It’s as if no time had passed by and this CD came out after the juggernaut self-titled album from the eighties. Great work guys.
Def Leppard “Songs From The Sparkle Lounge” (Universal Music): I haven’t liked a Def Leppard album in years and was set on giving them up entirely until this one came out and showed us that they still had it in them.
In This Moment “The Dream” (Century Media Records): I knew I was seeing something special when I first caught them as an opener for Kittie, and this release shows musical and compositional growth from their killer debut that raises the bar. A must have album that offers much for wider scopes of fans. Trust me.
Origin “Antithesis” (Relapse Records): Clearly one of the most powerful Extreme Death Metal records released this year. This is smoldering stuff that moves at break neck speeds.
Keep Of Kalessin “Colossus” (Nuclear Blast Records): A band that has chosen to walk in the path of Dimmu and see what storms they can cause themselves is a worthy addition to the Metal collection. Killer stuff here.
Fish “13th Star” (Chocolate Frog UK): A return to form for the singer who once fronted Marillion. His strongest release in years and a must have.
Black Sabbath “The Rules Of Hell” (Rhino Entertainment): Collecting the four albums that Sabbath recorded with Dio and remastering them after many years of waiting, this was a must have release. Nicely packaged and eventually released individually for those fans who didn’t want the complete set.
Opeth “Watershed” (Roadrunner Records): Master of Progressive Death Metal deliver once again after “Ghost Reveries”. Clearly the new label has cost the band their style. They put out a deluxe edition that gave you some more treats if such things enticed you more.
Into Eternity “The Incurable Tragedy” (Century Media Records): Progressive Metal’s favorite opening act deliver a concept album about the terrible topic of cancer. Its well thought out and based on personal loss that the band experienced. Nice work gentlemen.
Enslaved “Vertabrae” (Nuclear Blast Records): Black Metal meets Progressive for a stunning release from one of the most important bands in the darker genre.
Metallica “Death Magnetic” (Warner Bros): Thank the Metal powers that be, the Thrash Titans have returned to form with a solid record. Much better than the last three releases and once you hear it you will agree.
Scar Symmetry “Holographic Universe” (Nuclear Blast Records): This won me over instantly with ripping guitars and thunderous drums. Double vocals from Christian makes me wonder how this band will do without him.
Cheap Trick “Budokan” (Epic Legacy Recordings): Celebrating the 30th anniversary of “Live At Budokan”, this set presents the full concert, and a DVD video of the show. Cool booklet and poster as well.
Yngwie Malmsteen “The Perpetual Flame” (Rising Force Records): Combine the guitar technique of Yngwie with the vocals of Tim “Ripper” Owens and you have a winner on track after track.
Death Angel “Killing Season” (Nuclear Blast Records): An album that showed us how good old school Thrash can be in today’s Metal scene.
Type-O-Negative “Dead Again” Special Edition (SPV Records): TON was back and now with a live DVD there was more than enough reason to repurchase this one.
Kamelot “Ghost Opera – The Second Coming” (SPV Records): The initial release was a 2007 favorite and now with bonus tracks, expanded artwork and a live CD they deserve a place in my 2008 picks.
Moonspell “Night Eternal” (SPV Records): Once again the Dark Metal legends embrace their sinister beginnings and the result a malevolent ride into the abyss.
Evergrey “Torn” (InsideOut Music): Much better than their previous release and this one shows upward growth in their style.
David Bowie “Live In Santa Monica 72” (Virgin Music): A vintage concert from Bowie’s most influential period in a stunning collectable box. Kick ass.
AC/DC “Black Ice”: Back at what they do best comes an ACDC great. Nothing over the top flashy here just pure Rock & Roll that makes them a favorite.
Night Ranger “Hole In The Sun” (VH1 Classic): Proving they were more than just Hard Rock balladeers, Night Ranger gives us a rocking return.
Ayreon “01011001” (InsideOut Music): Ayreon delivers more of what only Ayreon seems to be able to do with ease. A stunning and chock full of guest stars release without a doubt. Special editions include a DVD with extra goodies.
Tobias Sammet Avantasia “The Scarecrow” (Nuclear Blast Records): The EdGuy front man and master of ceremonies delivers a new masterpiece from his other enterprise and shows us that all the fun he has with the EdGuys hasn’t ruined his ability to be profoundly serious once in awhile.
Tesla “Gold” (Universal Music): A best of anthology yes, but one that really digs deep into the band catalog and makes one wonder why they are not so much bigger.
Equilibrium “Sagas” (Nuclear Blast Records): Symphonic Pagan Folk Metal that is epic.
Within Temptation “Mother Earth” (Roadrunner Records): A re-release of the bands killer CD now available to a wider audience. Not a bad tune on it, and some bonus tracks.
Motorhead “Motorizer” (SPV Records): Much like traditional ACDC, with Motorhead you get what you pay for and this one is a rocking ride with Lemmy and company.
Lizzy Borden “Appointment With Death” (Metal Blade Records): Lizzy Borden took an axe and gave the Metal heads forty whacks, when he saw what he had done he raised the horns and gave them more. This was a great release from the master of disguise.
Testament “The Formation of Damnation” (Nuclear Blast Records): Bay Area Thrashers back in command for a throttling new Metal regime.
Extreme “Saudades del Rock” (Independent): Welcome back guys, we have missed you.
Amon Amarth “Twilight Of The Thunder God” (Metal Blade Records): The Vikings have returned to pillage and destroy anything in their path and their newest is a driving force without question.
Slipknot “All Hope Is Gone” (Roadrunner Records): The masked Metal mayhem returns and this one blends both the chaotic and the melodic into one.
Unearth “The March” (Metal Blade Records): Raising the bar to be followed by Metalcore’s elite, Unearth show there is a lot more in the way of dynamics to be displayed on this one.
Suspyre “As Time Fades” (Sensory Records): A total surprise and stunning sophomore release from these New Jersey natives. Progressive Metal with thought-provoking changes and experimentation. The playing field changes more with bands like this coming forward.
Iced Earth “The Crucible Of Man” (SPV Records): Iced Earth puts Matt Barlow back in place as their singer as the second chapter of Jon Schaffer’s epic tale concludes. It took me a few listens, but this is powerful stuff and delivered as the diehards have wanted it to be.
So there you have our list of what blew the doors off of our Metal psyche this past year. Did you agree with us on any of these? I’ll be back soon with an additional chapter that focuses on the video and concerts that we loved the most along with a couple of other points. Please stay tuned for that and while you wait I encourage you to add what you felt were the best albums of the year in the comments section down below. We always love to hear from our readers on stuff like this. Until next time.