Hello again, and welcome back to the continuing “Best Of” 2009 lists. This is chapter two of my favorite albums for the year since I had so many. Don’t worry, I loved a lot of concerts, books and videos but those will have to get their own chapter as well. With this installment I have also featured those releases which were older albums that found a re-issue. I’ve never minded reviewing back catalog here on the website and as we head towards out fifth year in 2010 can only see that process continuing. Okay let’s take a look at the picks.
The Best Albums Of 2009 Continued:
Immortal “All Shall Fall” (Nuclear Blast Records): The Dark Gods of the frozen wastelands are back and shall take no prisoners. Welcome back gentleman, we’ve been waiting for this one for awhile.
Nile “Those Whom The Gods Detest” (Nuclear Blast Records): This angry little title only briefs you on the massive sound delivered by Nile on their latest. Could this be the bands magnum opus, one might think so after hearing it a couple of times. That’s good for the genre all around.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra “Night Castle” (Lava Records): It’s finally here and offers fans of the Symphonic Hard Rock orchestra a lot of cool treats. There are some covers and remakes on this one for the old Savatage crowd and a lot of new instrumentals and lyrical pieces that both amaze and inspire. Nice work.
The Smithereens “Tommy” (E1 Entertainment): Classic rockers re-do most of the amazing Rock Opera by The Who. Their renditions were solid and worthy of praise. Cool.
The Gathering “The West Pole” (Season Of Mist Records): Another band with some history and yet another new lead singer. Did it work out, well, yes it did indeed.
Chimaira “The Infection” (Ferret Music): Brutal, powerful and very, very heavy. This bands name breathes Metal and the music on this release is the proof in the pudding.
Them Crooked Vultures “Them Crooked Vultures” (Interscope Records): Another super group but this one features John Paul Jones…….JOHN PAUL JONES!!!!! Awesome stuffs.
Shadow’s Fall “Retribution” (Shadows Fall Records): Solid effort from these original leaders in the Nu-Metal field.
The Last Vegas “Whatever Gets You Off” (Eleven Seven Music): Really enjoyed the Trash/Sleaze Rock of these winners of the Guitar Player contest. I sense good and big things a coming for these boys.
White Wizzard “High Speed GTO” (Earache Records): Kicking it Old School never sounded so good.
Guilt Machine “On This Perfect Day” (Red Distribution): This was the new project for Arjen Lucassen’s (Ayreon) and what a superb difference it brought to the table. Not what people were expecting him to do or sound like.
Rob Halford “Winter Songs” (Metal God Entertainment): I originally chuckled at the premise of a Halford Christmas CD but then again Twisted Sister’s worked out like gangbusters and I soon learned that the Metal God could give us some solid holiday jams.
REO Speedwagon “Not So Silent Night” ( ): While on the topic of holiday albums I had to say that the REO Speedwagon effort was also commendable. A lot more straight forward than the others who came out before it, but that’s ok sometimes. Good stuff to be found on this one.
Blackguard “Profugis Mortis” (Sumerian Records): I was told to listen to this band and I did and loved it. Very energetic and very powerful. Also deliver this vibe in the live sense, perhaps they are one of the newest rising stars for the Pagan Metal genre.
Ensiferum “From Afar” (Candlelight Records): Sharpen your swords and prepare your shield for it is time to ride into glorious battle with Ensiferum at your side. I could not think of a better defense.
Lillian Axe “Sad Day On Planet Earth” (Blistering Records): A solid piece of Melodic Hard Rock on this one. Plenty of hooks and catchy stuff. Now seems to be the best time to pay a little more attention to this band.
November’s Doom “Into Night’s Requiem Eternal” (The End Records): Crushing Doom pure and simple. Very well done and something all fans of the genre will appreciate.
W.A.S.P. “Babylon” (Demolition Records): Back for the attack, Metal Nastiness care of Blackie Lawless & Company.
Isis “Wavering Radiant” (Ipecac Recordings): One of those bands that need a couple of listens before it hits you and this is a great addition to the bands body of work.
Chthonic “The Mirror Of Retribution” (Spinefarm Records): Socio-Politically relevant, the band Chthonic presents their countries legends and history into crushing Black Metal. Nicely done on track after track so a winner from beginning to end for me.
Slayer “World Painted Blood” (American Records): Slayer showed good form on “Christ Illusion” a couple of years ago but many felt it was not what they wanted the band to deliver. Thankfully in 2009 they gave us “WPB” which was outstanding and much closer to the mark that we had held them to. A quick-paced album at just about 35 minutes but still was the equation of “uncompromising brutality * (ferocity/resolve) = Slayer. Students of the genre do well to study this one.
The Best CD Re-Issues of 2009:
A lot of cool releases got the once over this year and came out on special edition or deluxe versions that offered up a lot of cool extras. Here are some of the ones that we enjoyed the most.
Various Artists “The Woodstock Experience” (Epic Legacy): Celebrating 40 Years since the Woodstock Festival, this music year of 2009 had a lot of goings on relating to the concert and the artists that brought it to life four decades ago. Five special edition recordings were released for Santana, Jefferson Airplane, Johnny Winter, Sly Stone and Janis Joplin. The albums released where the artists release from the time of Woodstock’s event and the bands complete performance from the Festival. That was super cool and they came in beautiful packages to boot. If you are a classic rock fan then you need to investigate these right away.
Whitesnake “Slide It In” (Universal Music): The 25th Anniversary release of this album was a great re-issue and also touched a spot in my Metal heart as the first time I enjoyed Whitesnake. They also re-issued “Slip Of The Tongue” but that was never a favorite of mine.
Twisted Sister “Stay Hungry” (Rhino Entertainment): Celebrating the 25th anniversary of an album that was a juggernaut in its time and propelled Metal music onto the regular airwaves a lot more. A full second CD of bonus tracks, demo versions and other fun stuff are included in this “must have” edition. Are you an SMF? I know you are and so am I.
King Diamond “Voodoo”, “The Spider’s Lullabye”, “House Of God”, “Graveyard” (Metal Blade Records): Metal Blade Records re-presented their earliest King Diamond releases which were given the once over by longtime guitarist Andy LaRoque. They sound great but I did not enjoy the need to go online for the additional content.
Motorhead “Ace Of Spades”, “Bomber”, “Overkill” & More (Universal Music): Universal Music re-released the not too long ago remastered Motorhead classics and now more people can get their hands on them. Subtle differences in the packaging but none of the contents make them worthy of the price.
Def Leppard “Pyromania” (Universal Music): Although I used my friends copy as my judge and am still needing one of my own I was super juiced to have this album finally get a remastering. It remains one of my very favorite pieces of vinyl for those who remember that stuff. Oh wait, it’s trendy again so you folks know what I am talking about.
Pearl Jam “Ten” Deluxe Edition (Epic Legacy): An amazing treatment for one of the most important albums ever if you asked me. Bonus tracks, a live DVD and more accompanied this must have version of the classic recording.
Blackfield “Live In NYC” (Kscope Records): I’m not sure if this is actually a re-issue, but since it’s the excellent concert film now with a bonus audio CD perhaps it is. Either way something that should be looked into.
Anthrax “Among The Living” (Universal Music): While not my own preferred favorite in the Anthrax catalog this release sure did the band justice. Its remaster offers up some extra tunes and a bonus DVD of their concert film “Oedivnekufesin” which has been long, long out of print.
Halford “Resurrection” & “Live Insurrection” (Metal God Entertainment): The Metal God delivers his first two Halford band releases by remastering the debut and then doing the same with the live album that supported its tour. Expanded art and some bonus tracks. Killer.
The Beatles “Stereo Boxed Set” & “Mono Boxed Set” (Capitol Records): Buy the boxed set or buy some or all of these individually but make sure you add some Beatles to your music collections if you have not yet done so already. Their sound was one of the most influential of all times and modern Rock would not exist without all of their input.
That brings me to the end of our “Best Of” albums list, I hope you found some that made you a little curious and heading to whatever place you buy albums from. Trust me on these selections as they were awesome. I’m going to serve up the Concerts and Events that I found to be the best for 2009. Please stay tuned and remember that we are trying to post regularly on the Social Networks of Twitter and Facebook which are linked below. We’d love for you to join in on the fun and follow these accounts.