Hello my dear readers and welcome to the PiercingMetal “Best Of 2014” List. Once again it’s that time of the year where sites such as this sit back and opine and honor that which we felt was the cream of the crop across a number of different categories. Now before I get too far ahead of myself I need to stress that this years list is not as expansive as I would have liked it to be and that is not because there were only a few things which rocked my world but more based on the assembly time of such a feature thanks to the demands of the still ongoing redevelopment of the PiercingMetal.com website. That process is moving steadily along to its completion but it has sidelined a lot of the free time as well so what I did for this year was quickly mentalize the things that I found myself referring to again and again over the course of the year to get you something. Make sure you start thinking of your own favorites for the year because I am going to ask you something at the close of this narrative. Here we go with the favorites.
The Best Music of 2014:
There really was a lot of standout Metal released this past year and this crosses all genre quantifications for Metal from Black to Death to Power to Melodic to Thrash. Whew. Recently a friend asked me just how many different titles the Metal scene had since he felt it was hard to keep up with at this point. I chuckled, pretended to count a number and simply said “a lot”. If you are smiling you must agree.
Sanctuary “The Year The Sun Died” (Century Media Records): While we wait, wonder and watch for some new Nevermore, Warrell Dane and company have delivered a resounding return by Sanctuary and I cannot wait to see this stuff delivered live on the stage when they get to touring.
Behemoth “The Satanist” (Metal Blade Records): Crushing, powerful, blasphemous. Just what the world expected by the mighty Behemoth. Their sound is an aural assault on your senses and shall make you question beliefs long ingrained to your psyche. Make it be so. Own this music.
Insomnium “Shadows Of A Dying Sun” (Century Media Records): Clearly some serious melody and darkness being put out there and IMHO this is a Finnish band that more fans need to pay a little attention to. Fortunately the band is returning to our neck of the woods for a short run with Dark Tranquillity. Continue reading PiercingMetal.com’s “Best Of 2014” List→
At this point in time do I really need to say that I see a lot of concerts during the course of the year? I hope not because this one of the key factors that makes up my daily life as founder of the PiercingMetal brand. That said ?I wanted to once again use the Official Blog for the site to highlight a number of the shows that I attended during 2013 that I felt were the absolute best experiences. They’re not really in order of impact or importance but there are a few at the top that did hit me the hardest. Here we go.
1. Metallica @ The Apollo Theater: Thrashing like a maniac in Harlem? Yeah that happened. Classic set and free beer for the whole show. No complaints here.
2. Kamelot @ Stage 48: Returning to the headlining stage with Delain as support and Eklipse. This was a righteous show for sure. My belief in this band was reinforced yet again. I was not surprised in this.
3. Eddie Trunk 30th Anniversary Bash: Another one that I was super fortunate to participate in because an all-star jam with members of KISS, Overkill, Twisted Sister, Accept, Anthrax, Stryper, Guns n Roses and so many more is just impossible to qualify as being “an okay time”. This was insanity.
4. Trans-Siberian Orchestra @ Prudential Center: The final go round for the “Lost Christmas Eve” tour premise. Always a bombastic spectacle that needs seeing for believing.
Looking back on 2012 as a concert going year I had to say that there were a lot of cool highlights for me. Sure I was compiling my “Year End Best Of” to cover all the different things that I’ve examined over the year but with the blog growing faster and faster and more contests happening on it for the crushing shows that hit our town, I decided to keep showcasing a number of the concerts that I saw during the course of the year. Bear in mind that these are my very favorite ones out of the whole bunch. I really had a great time seeing a number of shows but these stood out. Here we go.
1. KISS @ Live On Letterman: I don’t think that I need to go into how cool it is to see a band like KISS in the Ed Sullivan Theatre. The place holds 500 or so people and KISS sells out places that hold thousands more. See why I felt this was special. So yeah.
2. Nightwish and Kamelot @ Beacon Theatre: Nightwish and Kamelot both hold very special places to me as a music scribe and having them paired up for a tour was extraordinary.
3. Trans-Siberian Orchestra @ Prudential Center: This show was the debut of the new “Lost Christmas Eve” themed tour.
4. Roger Waters @ Yankee Stadium: My second time at Yankee Stadium for a massive concert and with Roger playing “The Wall” from front to back I stood awestruck.
5. KISS & Motley Crue @ PNC Bank Arts Center: This was a kickass pairing and the guys in The Treatment were pretty damned good as well.
6. Lamb Of God @ Roseland Ballroom: Metal laid waste to NYC this night.
7. Paganfest @ Gramercy Theatre: Turisas headlined this one and brought along Alestorm, Arkona and Huntress.
8. Sabaton @ Gramercy Theatre: This band is climbing the pole of popularity. Local support
9. Rhapsody Of Fire @ Gramercy Theatre: There was so much drama with the RoF division leading up to this show but you would never notice with the levels of kick ass Power Metal that was happening on the stage.
Even though I generally hammer out the concerts I liked the most in my year end overview, I figured that it was high time to start using the blog to feature this kind of angle. So what I did was start with the view of sharing my top 10 concerts that I attended in 2011. Then I wrote down fifteen, then twenty and then begged my brain to stop letting the coffee push me towards thirty concerts and end with twenty three. Of course since I saw about “80” shows this past year there were a lot more that I liked but these were probably my very favorite.
1. Kamelot @ Gramercy Theatre: The band returned to the headline stage with Fabio of Rhapsody Of Fire, would he be the new voice of the band? I hope so since he ruled.
2. Trans-Siberian Orchestra @ Prudential Center: This year’s tour was apparently to be the last of the presentations of “Christmas Eve and Other Stories” for awhile and wow how could that not be a thing to see. As always this group pulls out the stops and leaves me impressed and exhausted.
3. Volbeat @ Irving Plaza: These guys are just climbing the ladder of success.
4. Stryper @ B.B. King Blues Club: There is nothing like a little bit of a yellow and black attack in this Times Square venue.
As I’ve previously noted, we’ve always aimed to deliver a year end “Best Of” list and with the end of the decade just having happened, it’s time to continue our thoughts about what was the “Best Of The Decade” from 2000-2009 – I’ve already doled out the Music and Video picks and now it’s time to get into the live concerts that we found the most enjoyable over the past ten years.
I was not really planning on doing a decade spanning concert “best of” but many of the readers of the site had sent me emails after the list posted inquiring about those events which I thought were the biggest highlights to me. Based on the interest, I figured that it was better to append the article to also feature this information of be stuck answering emails over and over. I’ve been fortunate as a writer and photographer to get to enjoy a large number of shows and I hope that you enjoy the list I came up with.
Van Halen @ Madison Square Garden (Warner Music Group): The Brothers Van Halen reunited with David Lee Roth made this one of the highlights of my decade. Yes Michael Anthony was no longer a part of the band but I could live with that since it gave me back Dave. The hits were non-stop at the show and I think I watched it five feet above the floor where my seat was. Everyone in NYC was dancing the night away that’s for sure.
Iron Maiden @ Madison Square Garden (EMI Music): This show was for the “Brave New World” CD that many loved for bringing back Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith into the fold. I loved it for its amazing level of energy and how it showed just how good Maiden was and the fact that it had Rob Halford as the opener and Queensryche. OK I admit that I didn’t feel the Ryche were all that good that night and were rather slow after the Halford set. It was fantastic seeing Rob’s then new band in action of course as he was still years away from rejoining Judas Priest.
The Gathering @ The Knitting Factory (The End Records): I was a casual fan of The Gathering and my buddies who went to the show with me were much more into them, but seeing them in this smaller space was fantastic. Very moody and atmospheric stuff and done well in the live sense. Anneke sang like a siren and one of the openers was an unknown group called Unexpect. I’ve been a supporter of theirs since that night and feel that this appearance gave me a heads up on a terrific band many years before the rest of the folks would catch on.
HIM @ The Bowery Ballroom (Universal Music): While working at one of the investment banks from hell I scanned a video for HIM which was “Join Me In Death” and I was hooked and did my best to find a couple of the bands albums. Their first show on US soil in NYC would be at The Bowery Ballroom and the two nights were close to sold out. We caught the first show I believe but its been awhile and in any case it was amazing to see HIM in such an intimate room. Going forward we would watch the band play larger places each time and having all of the shows sell out well in advance.
Kamelot @ B.B. King Blues Club (SPV Records): I am referring to the first time that I ever caught Kamelot performing at B.B. King Blues Club and not one of the other four times. I was very new to the band and how they did things but it was a smoking show and one that made many fans for the guys who would rally to their cause in the future. They continue to impress the masses and we love them for it.
Ozzfest 2004 @ Jones Beach Ampitheater (Epic Records): This particular Ozzfest was one that would find a reunited Black Sabbath once again and Judas Priest who were now back in action with Rob Halford on vocals. The show also featured Slayer and the mighty Dimmu Borgir which brought the heaviness and the darkness into play. A dramatic night that had a thunderstorm looming over our heads and definitely making the atmosphere electric. My companion and I arrived during the Superjoint Ritual set and honestly hated the way they sounded. We were fine in picking up the musical night from the Dimmu set and onward.
Nightwish @ L’Amour’s (Century Media Records): Back when this show took place I had been listening to Nightwish casually but steadily and while I expected no one to be in the club it was jam packed like the old days. Turns out they had a lot more support over here than I realized. I commented about the show on the Bravewords site and ended up with the words posted online. This led me to receive an email asking for more information about the show and I gladly complied to those folks over at the Metal Circus. I’ve been writing concert and product reviews ever since.
Ozzfest 2007 @ PNC Bank Arts Center (Epic Records): The free Ozzfest was very appealing to me as a fan of Metal and as a growing in scope music journalist because of the bands that it presented to the audience. Ozzy would headline of course but opening up for him would be Lamb Of God, Static X, Lordi and Behemoth along with up and comers like In This Moment and Chthonic. It would be perhaps the heaviest of this festival yet when it came down to it and those who wisely got their early enough never forgot the show. Continue reading PiercingMetal’s “Best Of Decade”: 2000-2009: The Concerts→