With Christmas now out of the way and Chanukah pretty close to ending as well our minds gets focused on the plans for the coming new year. We seem to always strive to change something in ourselves or do things a little differently from before when a new year begins and this got me to thinking a little bit. I wondered aloud about what the New Years Metal Resolutions for 2012 might be for some of the talented people that I have been fortunate enough to meet or communicate with in my role as founder of the PiercingMetal.com website. With that in mind I put the question out there and asked them to complete the sentence “My New Year’s Metal Resolution for 2012 Is….”
The first few responses are below and I’ll be adding a new post each day as 2011 counts down toward its close. I hope you enjoy them.
Carmine Appice (legendary drummer of Cactus, Vanilla Fudge, King Kobra, Blue Murder (whew…): My New Year’s Musical Resolution for 2012 Is to play with an even wider variety of artists and musicians.
Zak Stevens (lead vocals for Circle II Circle): My New Year’s Metal Resolution is to bring my music to as many fans in the world as possible this year. This is one of those “be careful what you asked for” years….Even though the task is daunting, it’s time to bring things to a new level in 2012! Horns up and pierce the world with metal!!
Since starting up the website we have tried our best to maintain an annual list of what we felt was the most stand out of music releases, videos and live concert events. It’s generally a daunting task since being a reviewer of these wide scoping mediums you really have to keep it maintained as the year progresses along. This year the task would be much more involved and intense because it was also the end of the decade and closed out on a very amazing number of years in the Metal realm. Initially I had added the previous ten years views at the end of the “Best Of 2009” thoughts but realized that this was better presented as a standalone piece. That would allow me to keep it as something special of its own and allow for easier digestion and research into the picks. Having been to a lot of shows and listened to a lot of music that was submitted in addition to that which was purchased I did my best at giving a tip of the hat to some of the things that we could recall as being of significant importance on the Metal and Hard Rock scene over the last ten years. I’m going to break this up into two parts and start with the music and videos. I hope you enjoy it.
PiercingMetal.com’s Top 10 CD Releases Of The Decade: 2000-2009:
Are you kidding me? You actually expect me to define only ten releases for an entire decade when the last five years of my life have been spent reviewing music…..do you people realize just how many albums that comes out to when you add it all up? OK, so even though I am closing in on 1000 actual CD reviews for the website, I will give a quick nod to ten of the albums that I found very appealing to my Metal and Hard Rock ears. You know what, since this is a big occasion and only happens once every ten years I will give you even more than CD preferences and add to the mix some of the DVD’s that I found to be noteworthy and make this whole thing a little more worth reading. Please understand that we did NOT offer up a top to bottom ranking on this list and just wanted you to be aware of some of our favorite releases from the decade that spanned from 2000-2009. Enjoy.
Kamelot “Ghost Opera” (SPV Records): The mighty Kamelot followed up their astounding “Black Halo” CD with this album and while they had already snared me with that release, this one signed the paperwork in blood.
KISS “Alive” Boxed Set (Universal Music): You’re probably screaming at me for including a CD boxed set that compiles all three existing KISS “Alive” recordings and offers up a long missing fourth one and if you are too bad about you. I found these albums inspirational, well at least the first two, and to find all of it put in one handy place with a superb booklet I could find no fault in this and it truly was one of my favorite items over the past ten years.
The 69 Eyes “Devils” (EMI Music): For me this ranks as one of the Decade’s best because it was an album that opened the band up to an entirely new fan base since it was the first of the bands catalog to be available in this part of the world. It would be followed by the full back catalogue but without this one they still might have been a best kept musical secret from Finland. My own first go at the band came via “Blessed Be” and the track “Brandon Lee”, so while a few years late to the party still a fan since that time.
Unexpect “In A Flesh Aquarium” (The End Records): This band defies description more than it does not and shows just how much room there is in modern Metal music. Take Progressive, Black Metal, Jazz and blend it up for this tasty musical cocktail. Diversity thy name is Unexpect.
Metallica “Death Magnetic” (Warner Music Group): Love it or not based on the “production” that some experts are lambasting, this was the album that showed us all that Metallica could still kick our ass with a Metal album. Now Rock and Roll Hall of Famers and MTV Icons, they chose to no longer take the role for granted and pummeled us.
Nightwish “Wishmaster” (Century Media Records): This 2001 release would be the album for the band that would somehow spark my own interest in reviewing albums and concerts so how could it not be on my list of best of the decade.
Porcupine Tree “Fear Of A Blank Planet” (Atlantic Records): Really just an incredible album and one that broke a lot of new fans for the work. Congratulations Mr. Wilson.
These album overviews were originally written for Metal Edge Magazine when I was a contributor to their “Hear Us Out” CD reviews section back in 2006-2007. With the magazine wrapping up publication a few months ago, I decided to add them to the context of our PiercingMetal presentation. I felt that by doing this I would not only be raising the horns in remembrance of the magazine but would also be able to showcase just how different writing for a major publication was when it all came down to it. Since “Hear Us Out” notations were usually “100” words in length, these posts will feature several reviews each until we run out of them. The freelance writing tenure at Metal Edge Magazine was discussed on THIS LINK so please check that out when done. Here are the reviews, so “Hear Us Out”.
Trail Of Tears: “Existentia” (Napalm Records)
Dark Gothic Metal takes the brooding, morose textures of the conventional Gothic style and adds levels of drama and power that is more akin to Black or Power Metal. Sweeping and thunderous at every turn the effects come to life due to the three lead singers that the band possesses. They duel throughout the recording using dark, clean and operatic vocals to cover the spectrum while the musicians combine intense riffs that are chock full of power. TOT serves the need for those seeking intense music with dynamic vocals; as result Existentia remains exciting with each and every listen.
Tristania: “Illumination” (SPV Records)
Norway’s Tristania moves deeper into the Gothic with their latest release by serving fans a quasi-Evanescence feel but with a lot more depth and dramatics than that outfit provides. Brooding and dark, the textures both chill and warm the blood as Vibeke Stene provides siren melody and operatic styles to the sullen and deep words of her male counterpart Osten. “Destination Departure” & “Mercyside” are its most captivating tracks and will surely enthrall you after moments of hearing them. It’s new ground for the band as they wisely blend Doom into their signature sound as well. The dark never looked as bright before now. Continue reading Revisiting “Metal Edge” Magazine: The CD Reviews – Part 11→
Artist: Sigh Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY) Opener: Unexpect, Ecliptic Date: 9/16/2008 Label: The End Records
It would seem that September was going to be a month of music that I would not soon forget because when it came down to the hectic schedule, it looked like before it would end that I would find myself attending approximately ten shows that each found some interesting openers being a part of the fun. We were only two weeks into the month and I was hitting another show at my home away from home B.B. King Blues Club and the original setup was for a co-headlining tour of Japan’s Black Metal artisans Sigh and Zimmer’s Hole, the latter band being what remained after Devon Townsend departed from Strapping Young Lad. Sadly, some issues with Visas would prohibit the Zimmer’s guys from performing and that moved the third band up one rung on the performance ladder. Here is how the night went down for those who might have missed it. Continue reading Sigh @ B.B. King Blues Club (9/16/2008)→
This was actually my second show of the Metal Year 2008 and it was rather special since it would not only be Trail Of Tears first time in NYC at this venue, but it was also the chance to see the openers Unexpect, The Agonist and Echoes Of Eternity once again. I had attended shows that they played out before and really dug what they were all about so it would be a nice bonus. Scroll past the logo below to be brought to our article as we’ve commentary and photos from all acts provided for your enjoyment.
Artist: Trail Of Tears Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY) Opener: The Agonist, Echoes Of Eternity, Unexpect Date: 1/20/2008 Label: Napalm Records
It was a brutally cold evening in January when Norway’s Gothic Symphonic Metal sensation Trail Of Tears decided to pay New York City a visit and while the month would generally be chilly around this time of year, we had been experiencing unseasonable warmth in the city until this very day. The wind and chilling temperatures made outside travel unbearable and it was clear to many that the band had brought some of the frigid Norse winds with them for tonight’s trip. The show this evening would be a part of the bands very first journey to this part of the world and “Existentia” is their latest slab of music that comes to us care of Napalm Records. The show would find the band supported by Unexpect, The Agonist, and Echoes Of Eternity so anyone who had seen or heard these bands in the recent past knew right away that it was going to kick a lot of ass from start to finish. From the look of the promotion for the show, it seemed as though Unexpect would start things off once again and be the first band up at a very early point. It also appeared that Echoes Of Eternity would be the direct support for Trail Of Tears as their drummer’s kit was set up as the main kit for TOT to use as well, yet when I arrived I found out that The Agonist would go right before Trail and Echoes would instead follow Unexpect. The downside would be discovered early as the first band would have to go on be at 6:30pm based on the venue hosting an event right after this one. Suddenly the mental tape player in my head started to spin up “Oh Canada” and I knew that this meant Uexpect would be making their way to the stage. The crowd had not really gathered in the venue yet and was rather sparse so as much as I was excited to see this group perform I had hoped for any delay to offer more people the chance to make their way inside. Continue reading Trail Of Tears @ B.B. King Blues Club (1/20/2008)→