Hello again, we are back with the rest of the years “Best Of” for 2008. In an earlier installment I posted all of the albums that blew me away and now its time to showcase the videos and concerts along with a few other quick items. Please take a look down below and get ready to share your own favorites with us.
The Best DVD’s of 2008:
Various Artists “Roadrunner United” (Roadrunner Records): Filmed concert with Heavy Metal’s finest celebrating the record labels 25th anniversary. Lots of fun stuff here.
Opeth “The Roundhouse Tapes” (Peaceville Records): Filmed during the “Ghost Reveries” tour and a follow up to the CD released last year.
Twisted Sister “Live At The Astoria” (Demolition Records): The SMF’s from NYC remind London and the world about why they are a Metal super power to this very day.
Within Temptation “Black Symphony” (Roadrunner Records): A stunning live concert performance that pairs the Dutch sensations with a full orchestra. This is an amazing show. Audio CD included.
Iron Maiden “Live After Death” (Universal Music): Never before on DVD this classic Iron Maiden show from the “Powerslave” tour, this release was loaded with extras and is listed as required Metal.
Lamb Of God “Walk With Me In Hell” (Epic Records): This documentary took the viewer on a three year trek with the band and was insightful, entertaining and sometimes jarring in its honesty. Great job guys.
Dimmu Borgir “The Invaluable Darkness Tour” (Nuclear Blast Records): The giants of Norwegian Black Metal have their tour captured on DVD for more to enjoy. A great set with a ton of features.
Blackmore’s Night “Paris Moon” (SPV Records): A great concert from the Renaissance Rockers. Bonus CD included.
ZZ Top “Live In Texas” (Eagle Vision): There is nothing like the Blues-Rock of ZZ Top to make a day fun. This film captures all of their hits and offers up some cool bonuses. A companion CD is also available for this release
Spock’s Beard “Live” (InsideOut Music): Some found this sterile, but having seen it myself in person I felt it was a perfect depiction of the Beard in today’s scene. Great melodies and a tight production. A companion CD is available as well.
Gorgoroth “Black Mass Krakow” (Metal Mind Productions/MVD Entertainment): Visual villainy at its most notorious. This film finally surfaces and shows why Gorgoroth is one of the most feared of the Black Metal bands today.
Bloodbath “Wacken Carnage” (Peaceville Records): Brutal and uncompromised live set from this Death Metal super group. A CD comes with it.
The Best Concerts of 2008:
“Metal Masters Tour” – Judas Priest, Heaven & Hell, Motorhead & Testament (Sony/Rhino Entertainment/SPV Records/Nuclear Blast Records) at PNC Bank Arts Center: Pairing Judas Priest and H&H together would have made this an amazing show, and adding Motorhead and Testament to the mix just upped the ante. It was a fantastic display of Metal power.
“Paganfest USA” – Ensiferum, Turisas, Tyr & Eluveitie (Candlelight Records/Century Media Records/Napalm Records/Nuclear Blast Records) at B.B. King Blues Club: Luminaries of Viking and Folk Metal all touring under one banner made for an incredible night.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra (Lava Records) at Izod Center: The TSO is a yearly tradition for me, and this year they added Savatage numbers and brought out special guest Steven Tyler. I was on my feat more than in the seat that night. Always impressive and something that finally needs to be on DVD.
Helloween & Gamma Ray (SPV Records) at B.B. King Blues Club: Two bands that are closer knit than most others on the same stage. This was an exhilarating Power Metal ride.
Fish (Chocolate Frog UK) at B.B. King Blues Club: It was great to have Fish touring in an intimate venue and for the NYC show we had 3 as the opener. A great show.
At The Gates at Fillmore NY (Earache Records): Reunions were popular this year and this one presented the legends of the Gothenburg sound. A killer show without question.
Carcass at Nokia Theater (Nuclear Blast Records): Carcass’ endeavors gave the ok to new forms of Metal and their reunion tour was an amazing experience. It also brought Suffocation and 1349 among others along and was to be talked about for weeks after.
Opeth at Nokia Theater (Roadrunner Records): You cannot go wrong with the power of Opeth in concert. They are raising the Metal bar with each and every show. High On Fire and Nachtmystium helped out as support.
Apocalyptica at Nokia Theater (Zomba Music): The four cellists of Metal delivered the goods to a scaled down Nokia Theater where everyone had an amazing time. I love how these guys do their thing and recommend you see them at least once if not more.
Dethklok at Nokia Theater (Williams Street Records): The animated juggernauts in a live concert? Yes it can and was done. An amazing time and lots of fun watching the crowd mosh to a giant movie screen band.
Ace Frehley at Nokia Theater: The Space Ace was back in the New York Groove and not much more needs to be said on that.
Iced Earth at Nokia Theater (SPV Records): Much to the delight of Metal fans, Matt Barlow is back in Iced Earth and all is right in their world. Into Eternity opened up and delivered a crushing set as well.
Symphony X at Nokia Theater (SPV Records): Prog-Metal will never be the same now that they are finally getting their due. They brought Epica and Into Eternity along for the ride and I love both of those bands as well.
Misfits at B.B. King Blues Club: You cannot go wrong on Halloween night at a Misfits show. This was a rocking good time for all.
Trail Of Tears at B.B. King Blues Club (Napalm Records): The ToT had never toured the US before and since they brought Unexpect, The Agonist and Echoes Of Eternity along we made sure to join in. Sadly it was ill attended but those who came loved it, and that’s all that matters.
Twisted Sister at Nokia Theater (Razor and Tie): It’s a Twisted Christmas Charlie Brown!!!! Dee and the boys really made the holidays a hoot and a half with this show that pulled out all the stops and upped their game from the previous year’s Fillmore NY gig. Guest star Lita Ford made this all the more special.
Kamelot and Ed Guy at B.B. King Blues Club (SPV Records & Nuclear Blast Records): The yearly Kamelot show has been a welcome part of my Rock and Roll year as they always deliver. This year they brought EdGuy along and the fun just was upped a bit more.
Sonata Arctica at Nokia Theater (Nuclear Blast Records): Sonata Arctica stepped up their game when Nightwish had to cancel due to illness, and as result this show was a blast of Melodic Metal that showed just how good these guys are at what they do. New fans were made this night without question.
Other shows that needed to be mentioned and also kicked ass included Candlemass, Grave Digger and Iron Savior but sadly these shows had what I considered a pathetic level of attendance as opposed to full rooms and this should not have been the case based on how little these particular groups get to tour around these parts . It’s not a reflection on the bands because they rocked everyone’s socks off but it seemed to be more a case of there being other larger events happening at the same time that forced the Metal legions to choose one over the other. Those who attended were entertained while those who missed out without good reason very simply missed out.
Interesting Reads of 2008:
“Reckless Road” by Marc Canter: This book delivered early photographs of Guns ‘N Roses from their pre-signed days and offered set lists and commentary from the people involved during their climb to the top. A must for Guns historical buffs.
“Heavy Metal Painkillers” by Martin Popoff: Popoff’s book about the history of Judas Priest is very similar to his Black Sabbath one and features a ton of amazing photos and delivers a year by year, album by album synopsis of one of the world’s greatest Metal bands. It even focuses on the Ripper years and Halford’s solo work all the way up until the reunion.
The Worst of It All in 2008:
Ministry “C U La Tour” (13th Planet Records) at Fillmore NY: Yes this was Ministry’s “final” tour but performing behind a chain linked fence in limited light on top of giving the mighty Meshuggah an almost dark stage and 30 minutes to perform made this a major suck fest for me. Legends or not, this show could have ruled and instead made me stare at my watch. Lucky for those parties interested, Meshuggah returns for their own headlining tour next year.
Guns ‘N Roses “Chinese Democracy” (Universal Music): Wow, the wait is over and everything I heard via the streaming version made me say who cares. I couldn’t bear to spend money on it being as under whelmed as I was by this Axl Rose solo effort. Call me when the reunion happens guys.
Motley Crue “Saints Of Los Angeles” (10th Street Entertainment): I expected much more from these guys especially with such incredible releases from their 80’s Metal peers coming out around the same time. Not completely awful but really not impressive either. Luckily this year saw the re-release of a complete remastered catalog for the Crue and that impressed me.
Judas Priest “Nostradamus” (Sony Music): Maybe it’s not fair to line it out as a “worst” release, but it was too epic and hence too ponderous for many listeners. A single disc could have made this a more focused and interesting listen. If they tour this full album they will be playing to empty sections without question. Fans want Priest to rock and not be something meant for the Broadway stage. It was hard to place this here after eventually liking the CD.
Jarboe & Justin Broderick “J2” (The End Records): Sound effects and atmospheric drech was par for the course with this unlistenable piece of “music”. No matter how you sliced it, this was an arduous listen.
KISS “Ikons” & “Playlist Plus” (Universal Music): It almost pains me to list a KISS album as a flop in any sense and this is not as much their fault as it is the fault of Universal for continuing to re-package the same stuff that we have had them issue over and over. Yes the label owns the KISS back catalog, and I love that they gave us remasters a few years ago, but I am sure that unreleased stuff that is under their control is somewhere to be released. Please give us that and no more Greatest Hits packages. We KISS fans will buy it anyway and in today’s economy you are killing us.
“Top 100 Metal Guitarists” by Joel McIver (Jawbone Press): Some might like this one but the book left out far too much for me and I found that my own views were in massive disagreement with the author. You might like it, I didn’t and again it shows that difference of view is what helps keep Metal a vital music.
As you might expect, we had quite a few more to bring to the table in this list, but we felt that we had gone on long enough and these give a reasonable look inside our heads for this year. We loved a lot about what 2008 delivered and had some other issues with things it failed to stand up and shout about, but we will leave those comments to the other reviews as we formulate those ideas into the articles you will continually see loaded onto the site. Remember if you want to read more into the stuff we have lined out here that all of them live on the site somewhere and can be searched for.
Horns up!!! 2009 Here We Come!!!!