Favorite Noise of 2019

Top 10 Albums

10. Patience– Mannequin Pussy

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9. Fear Inoculum– Tool

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8. The Valley– Whitechapel

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7. Macro– Jinjer

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6. Sociopathic Concstructs– Abnormality

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5. Gidim– Rings of Saturn

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4. Love Exchange Failure– White Ward

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3. Vile Nilotic Rites– Nile

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2. Humanicide– Death Angel

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1. The Battle of Yaldabaoth– Infant Annihilator

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Best Live Performance: Slayer

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For the third and last time, I will be giving SLAYER the best live performance of the year. Metal lost one of their titans for good in December. Some of my best memories will be seeing the legendary thrashers dominate the stage. The second cycle of the final tour was better than the previous year. Playing personal favorites such as Temptation and Gemini was bitter sweet! It’s a shame the younger generations won’t get to experience something as beautiful as a SLAYER show. I will give credit to other bands I saw kill it live this year including Korn, Whitesnake, The Smashing Pumpkins, and Dying Fetus.

Best EP: Desolation– Portals

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I had the honor of booking these guys twice in 2019. Both shows were a success. I am proud to call them friends. This release was nasty to say the least. One review hit the nail on the head explaining this isn’t some boring breakdown deathcore band. Portals rights heavy riffs and grooves that are sex to the ears. These guys continue working hard on stage and in the studio. A full length release is in the works and I can only imagine the brutalness in the making. If you haven’t checked these guys out, YouTube them NOW!

Best Local Release: Low Life– Freely Spoken

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This was a tough call. So many good local releases this year. Some of my favorites include Featherweight, Olathia, In Malum, Goosed, Dynamo Love, Big Ugly, Curse Them, and Trephine. So how does the Kent rapper pull the best local release? For the record, I am very picky with rap. So if I like you, you’re at least half way decent. I think the main reason Freely Spoken pulls off the best local release of the year is watching his journey to get to this point. Every artist has a story, and his is interesting one to say the list. Honestly, I don’t even know half of it. This kid works his ass off day in and day out to give the people something to talk about. Not only has he made an impact on local rap but hardcore and metal as well. He has a loyal following that would do anything he asked and shows their support at every show. In 2019, he played multiple shows outside of Ohio including a few in California. His name is out there.

The album itself has good production, great lyrics, and includes an Albert Fish reference (my favorite serial killer). It pumps you up and it hits you on a personal level. This “low life” is just one of us trying to make it somewhere with his art. Keep it up Feely! GREAT start!

 

Top 10 Songs:

10. “Cold”- Korn

9. “The Signal Fire”- Killswitch Engage featuring Howard Jones

8. “Anguish”- Featherweight

7. “Ravensflight”- Amon Amarth

6. “Old News/New Fire”- Lo-Pan

5. “Maiden Mother Crone”- Bask

4. “Welcome Home”- Hellyeah

3. “Broken Halo”- Baroness

2. “Plaguebearer”- Infant Annihilator

1. “Curb Stomp”- Abnormality

Top 10 Most Anticipated for 2020:

10. Grajo

These Spain doom metallers are one of my underground favorites. Last August, they released a video of them tracking demos for the next album. It was just a minute long clip but it kept my ears craving for more. Looking forward to the new release.

9. Divitius

The year 2019 came and went without anything new from the djent rising stars from Portland, Oregon. On December 30th, the band announced their new EP, “Primordial” would be released on April 17th. New song “Memento Mori” available on all streaming platforms, and it is fantastic to say the least.

8. Anthrax

The thrash legends are hinting at their heaviest album yet. Their last two since the return of Joey Belladona have been some of their best releases of their 30 year career. Let’s see if they live up to the hype. At this rate, I think they will.

7. Testament

These thrash legends have hinted at a diverse album with a little something of everything in the mix. Some fans may get nervous about those comments, but come on!! It’s freaking Testament for crying out loud!!! You can throw out an doubt! New album will drop on April 3rd.

6. Code Orange

Pittsburgh hardcore kids had been hinting about new music in December. On January 10th, the band announced the album and title track, “Underneath”. The song was one of their more interesting releases, but I don’t define a whole album by one song. Anxious to hear the rest. “Underneath” will be released on March 10th.

5. Meshuggah

Word got out around September that they were in the studio. I really hope it’s true. The past few albums have been stellar and I hope it continues to get better. The only change I would recommend to them is more trips to North America on the next tour cycle.

4. Lamb of God

Now that they’re done touring with Slayer, they can focus on their next release. Band members have hinted at a late 2020 release for over a year now. A video recently surfaced of the band’s new drummer in the studio. Looks promising. I’m ready for some new Lamb of God!!!

3. Megadeth

The legendary Megadeth took a break for most of 2020 while Dave Mustaine was busy kicking cancer’s ass. Now the focus is on touring and finishing the new album. Both Mustaine and Ellefson have been talking up this record. The world needs new Megadeth!!

2. Gojira

If you read my Best Noise of 2018 last year you may remember I had Gojira as number 1 most anticipated for 2019. In the notes I mentioned that if Tool did indeed release an album, they would be number 1 and Gojira would be number 2 in my book. Well hell froze over and Tool put out their album after thirteen years. Gojira, however, did not release anything new. They instead toured with Slipknot and other big names, which is fantastic for their sake. New Gojira is over due. They said there would be a smaller release gap between albums and it’s looking like the same amount of time. I’m getting antsy.

1. Iron Maiden

The producer of their last release, “Book of Souls”, posted on his twitter page he just finished recording an album for a very loud and famous band from August to November. This sparked rumors that Iron Maiden had secretly been in the studio. If that’s the case, and I believe it is, we could have a treat coming in 2020. I don’t know how many albums these guys have left in them, but I’ll take as much Maiden music as I can get. “Book of Souls” was a grade A release and I hope they build a good follow up. I know many fans are on the fence about their albums the past 10 even 20 years, but this is still one of the best bands in the history of music. Anything they write is worth hearing out. HAIL MAIDEN!!!

Reasoning Behind Heavy Metal being the Fastest Growing Genre in the World

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According to the Alternative Press, New York based digital music distribution, Tunecore, has released the 2018 streaming and download numbers. They revealed that heavy metal was the fastest growing genre in world with a whopping 154 percent increase! Metal fans can rejoice and head bang! As exciting as it is for a metal fan like me to see such a report, one has to wonder why all of a sudden in 2018 and 19 are we seeing a spike in metal streaming?! I have a few ideas.

Heavy metal is the superior genre!

It’s about damn time!!! I have preached the name of metal for several years and the people are FINALLY listening! No other genre is worthy!!! SSLLLLAAAYYYEEERRRR!!!!!

Okay, I’m just being bias. Here are some REAL reasons for why metal is rocking the streaming platforms.

The world sucks and we need something to pick us up.

It’s no secret, we live in dark, cruel world. Turn on the news it makes you think things get worse and worse everyday. Here in the States, people are working an unholy amount of hours and are still broke. Anxiety and depression plague society. The government sucks, not that it has ever been great in our lifetime. People seem to get more arrogant and foolish everyday. With all that being said, in some places it’s even worse.

So what takes the edge off when we face our everyday obstacles? Heavy music with the message we need to hear. There’s something about blasting your favorite tracks or albums that just makes everything better. Music has always been that way. But what makes metal standout from the other genres is the connection between the musicians and fans. The music created helps remind the fans that people have faced or are facing similar daily struggles in your life, and that you will always be bigger than your problems. You won’t get that message from pop hits on the radio. Metal speaks out against the world’s poor standards and traditions. It helps put us in the mindset to keep pressing forward.

Younger generation is tired of being told what to do.

To be clear, I ‘m not talking about teenage rebellion. Stick it to the old people, man!!!! No, hear me out on this. My generation was shown more advertising and product placement than any generation in history. The generation after mine will be shown even more. In some ways it is not a bad thing, but in other ways American corporations have used advertising to brainwash and manipulate youth to help gain profit.

According to the media platforms they’re exposed to, in order to be accepted you have to think a certain way, buy certain products, and create an image that is fitting for the peers around you. Basically, you do all this to try to be accepted by a world that doesn’t care about you anyway, and now they have your money which is all they ever wanted. On top of that you’re really not thinking for yourself. In that case are you really you?

I have reason to believe that the majority of the streamers are from ages 13 to 37, since they grew up with the technology. Imagine if you will, a junior high student that has been surrounded by all this commercialism and peer pressure, and they’re looking for an escape from it all. Honestly, depending on the type of person they are there are many different options they may approach to fill their need. But would I be too crazy to suggest that many of these teenagers may have stumbled upon some brutal music that changed their world? A type of music that was against the ways of the world and telling their listener to be themselves. There is a chance that the digital age has helped us introduce heavy metal to the younger generation. If so, that’s a huge win.

 

People craving REAL music.

I’m not saying anything outside metal is not real music. But let’s be honest, how much real musicianship and effort is being put into the popular music these days? Let’s reflect back to 1990’s rap and pop music. If you play some songs from that era and listen carefully you can point out all the instrumentation that is going on in the tracks. You can hear guitar, bass, saxophone, drums, some had drum machines, tambourines, ect. Were there quality lyrics? Rarely, but mostly lazy and shitty. I can at least admit that the producers at that time were trying to keep it interesting for the fans.

I can’t pin point the exact time, but somewhere in the late 2000’s some big wigs in the music industry figured out the music didn’t need to be that complicated to sell. A new wave of rap and pop artists came out, and their writers wrote less lyrics and producers had the same beat placed on every track. You say I’m over exaggerating and getting older, but I literally can’t tell the difference between one hit and the next! It’s literally same drum beat! And auto tune for the lazy kids that can’t sing!

At some point, people started getting bored hearing that water down bullshit on the radio. So with their streaming subscription they researched something else. Now that something else could be blues, jazz, latin, or maybe even polka. But no doubt in my mind there were some individuals that found the mystic tales of Iron Maiden fascinating. Maybe they heard the shredding progressions of Animals as Leaders as cool new discovery. There are many possibilities here. Bottom line, people like music and the direction that popular music is going is completely trash. Not sorry. That only entertains drunks on the dance floor. As long as people are looking, metal will find its way in some lucky fans heart.

 

Terrestrial radio is rotting.

Back in the day, radio was the way you find new music. People tuned in everyday to hear their favorite disc jockeys play their favorite tunes, listen to interviews, and even get some comedy during the time slot. It was a simpler time. Then one day it went down hill. The United States government recognized in the 1990’s that the population was much larger than the baby boomer generation. Not only that, many of them enjoyed rebellious rock ‘n roll. They would listen to bands such as Rage Against the Machine that warned them about corruption in congress. The government feared for an uprising and they knew how powerful music is, so they took action. Terrestrial radio started pushing pretty, pink bubblegum pop music down on the ears of their listeners. It was encouraged to the youth at the time that this was the cool and acceptable music. Call me conspiracy theorists if you want, but I encourage you to look it up. Music radio shows started loosing quality. It was the same hits over and over again. There were rock stations, but if they didn’t sell out to another format then they were stuck in the classic era.

Today, many stations are switching to just talk shows because it’s what keeps the listeners tuned in. CBS and iHeart Radio have both filed for bankruptcy. Your car radio is just not the place to find music anymore. A nice podcast or internet station can fill that void. I found this MHIORadio.com that plays heavy metal. You should probably check it out.

For those that don’t want to take the time looking for online radio or podcasts, I believe they start using streaming services to fill the void. They can listen to any song or album that they wish at the palm of their hand or on the office computer. There might not be a goofy disc jockey but you have more music and it’s uncensored!

Streaming services are opening doors for artists.

If you are old enough to remember, discovering new music took more money and effort than it does today. Outside the radio, if you wanted to find new bands to listen to you read the monthly metal magazines, you bought albums at the record store that you were willing to take a chance on (mostly for their album art), some of your peers made recommendations, or you saw the band perform on stage with other bands you enjoy. If you were a new band, you had to bust your ass to get any kind of attention from your local scene.

Thanks to social media and streaming services, finding new music is easier than it’s ever been. New bands can interact more with the public for their shows and music. Yes, the whole streaming royalties are complete bullshit, but to have it available anywhere in the world is a plus. I do believe the sudden rise in heavy metal streaming has something to do with band discovery. Metal fans are always looking for new music. When they’re bored they can crack open a beer and research new bands to check out. When they do find something that meets their satisfaction, they share it on social media for fellow headbangers to also enjoy. In the end, YOU CAN’T KILL THE METAL!

Seth Lipocky has a heavy metal internet radio show on Sunday nights called Sunday Bloody Sunday. It airs from 8 to 11 PM EST on MHIORadio.com.

Metalhead Underground Report 1

Since Black Sabbath took the stage in the early 1970’s, heavy metal has reigned as the most superior genre of music. Yes, I am being extremely biased. But since Black Sabbath’s first show, a lot has changed in the world of metal. The music has progressed and evolved into many different styles. No other genre of music has as many subgenres as metal does. Its diversity makes it such a unique form of music. You could sit around 20 metalheads and discuss their favorite bands. No matter how different their opinions would be and the disagreements they might have, they still appreciate the love for metal music. That’s the beauty of it!

Here we are in 2018, and metal is in an odd time. The music industry has changed drastically since Black Sabbath and KISS were rising stars in the music world. Bands and artists of all different kinds of music are finding it hard to live off their art. They will slave away hours in the studio and months on the road and may not see enough funds in end to pay the bills. It is normal these days for a performing artist to have full-time job on the side just to keep their head above water. Sad.

But the love, the passion, the drive, and the hard work keep the music alive.

Aside from the industry, metal is slowly turning to the new generation. Black Sabbath is done touring for good. Rush abruptly retired. Slayer will be retired for good soon. The older bands are slowly diminishing. A new era is taking form. Bands such as The Black Dahlia Murder and Whitechapel are standing out in the underground. No love from terrestrial radio and national television, but can still fill venues without any issues. Bands such as Animals as Leaders and Between the Buried and Me have taken progressive metal to new heights. On a rare occasion, you will see a band make a big splash in the national media. A prime example is when Pittsburgh’s Code Orange was nominated at the last grammy awards. Even though they didn’t win, the fact they were nominated after their sophomore album and had an unusual, incredible year was enough to hype up their nomination.

There is plenty to get excited about in this era of heavy metal. Now comes a question many metalheads may ask: Where do I find new bands? In a world where social media is used daily by most people, finding new music has become easier than ever. I would say for starters to start with your local scene. However, I recognize not everyone has a great local metal scene. Living in Northeast Ohio, we have enough metal bands to fill the rest of the state. We’re pretty spoiled if you ask me. But if you don’t have a solid local scene, don’t stop there. Branch out regionally. Use the internet look up bands with similar genre and sound of other bands you like. The music will only stay alive through support.

Being a heavy metal disc jockey, I do a lot of band research. I know of many bands who, in my opinion, should be getting the spotlight. So if you’re looking for something new that you could potentially get into, I hope this helps. The Metalhead Underground Report will be a short list of newer bands that I hope gain new fans. Here are a few names you should look into:

Once Human

For Fans of: Machine Head, Arch Enemy, and At The Gates

I think some old school Machine Head fans always wondered what happened to original guitarist Logan Mader. Well to make a long story short, he put together a melodic death metal monster by the name of Once Human. What made them stand out to me was the melodic guitar riffs and Lauren Hart’s vocals. Hart’s vocals, clean and heavy, are just phenomenal. It’s hard to find a singer that can provide both vocal styles to a high level like she does. I found this band from a Facebook ad on my newsfeed. YouTubed their music and I was sold. Their sophomore album Evolution was hands down one of my favorites from 2017. I will be honest though, I wasn’t huge with their debut album The Life I Remember. Hart seemed to be trying a raspy vocal style that was much different. Instrumentally it was given an old school melodic death metal feel to it, like 90’s At The Gates or Dark Tranquility. I did like the lyrics and the influence behind the album, but I just couldn’t get myself to appreciate it as much as Evolution. I personally believe they found their sound with their second release. I highly recommend checking Evolution out. As of December 2017, they’re making their third album.

Abnormality

For fans of: Cannibal Corpse, Dying Fetus, and Suffocation

I am sitting by myself on a work break one day and I am just on YouTube checking out new music. I came across this band called Abnormality. I knew they were coming to the area soon with Soulfly, so I clicked on the link out of curiosity. That was a smart decision. The music kicks in and I see this chick start screaming like George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher. No exaggeration. She sounds very similar to Corpsegrinder. Then I heard the groove with aggressive, heavy riffs. My metal soul was filled with joy!!! I found a new death metal band to obsess over!! I didn’t catch them on the Soulfly tour but I did see them when they opened for Napalm Death. They didn’t disappoint. I eventually picked up their album Mechanisms of Omniscience, which was their first under Metal Blade Records. What I found most interesting about it was the meaning behind their songs. They have such a brutal sound but their lyrics had nothing to do with death, murder, torture, or any of those stereotypical death metal subjects. They seemed to be more about life and some of the current events going on in our world. Reminded me of much of the material Chuck Shuldiner wrote for Death. If you are looking for some good groovy, headbanging material, Abnormality maybe up your alley.

Grajo

For fans of: Anything psychedelic and doom metal

I spent some of July 2017 searching for new bands on the other side of the world so I could play them on my radio show. I came across Grajo from Spain and instantly became a fan. What caught my attention was their trippy doom sound. I’ve heard plenty of doom metal in my short time here on Earth, but no one like Grajo. Loud drums, psychedelic lead guitar tone (plenty of delay), and sludgy rythm guitar to round out their doom sound. The vocalist’s style reminds me of old school folk hippies from the 60’s and 70’s. She has excellent pitch and uses it well. What grabbed me the most about the band was the vocal patterns used with the rest of the music. Just brillant! Every song different and unique from the next. They’re real professionals. If you are interested, check out their self titled album and Slowgod II. Those were their most recent releases. I think you’ll like what you hear.

DVSR

For fans of: Body Count, Volumes, and Rage Against the Machine

Most metalheads will shudder if you bring up rap metal. The don’t like the idea of mixing the two together and believe they should stay separate. The way I see it, some styles of metal were made because of different influences and cultures. Who am I to tell someone they have to stick to a certain guideline? Music has no boundaries. If it sounds metal, the attitude is metal, and the lyrics are metal, then its metal. I went on a djent binge about a year or so ago, and that’s when I discovered DVSR. A djent, rap metal power house from Australia. The rapper has an old school style similar to the OG legends from the 90’s. Lyrically he writes about politics, personal stories, and encouraging fans to find the strength within themselves to better themselves. They dropped their new EP, Therapy, November 2017 which is their only release since their self-titled, debut album. DVSR is just getting started but has a very bright future ahead of them. It won’t be too much longer until they get some serious recognition.

Divitius

For fans of: After the Burial, Arch Enemy, and Periphery

About early summer 2017, Circle Pit’s Facebook page had a new artist of the week. I’m always up to hear something new, so I checked it out. I ended up finding one of my new favorite bands that day. I heard one song and I was hooked! Divitius is a djent power house that reigns from Portland, Oregon. Musically their debut album, The Arcadian Parrellel, was like a metal acid trip in space. Every song phenomenal. Heavy rythm guitar riffs along with trippy, melodic leads. Vocalist has Angela Gossow style heavy vocals and a killer set of cleans as well. The energy and uniqueness of this band is off the charts. I’ve honestly debated flying to Oregon just to see them perform. That’s how much I appreciate these guys.

Duel

For fans of: anything stoner doom metal

One Tuesday night this past summer, I went down to Canton to see Doomstress from Texas. Along with Doomstress was a killer insturmental doom band from Cleveland called Sparrowmilk, and this other band from Texas called Duel. I knew nothing about Duel. After the show, I wanted to know everything about them. It was good thing they headlined because they stole the show! Pure old school stoner doom metal. Gritty, dirty, bluesy, and loud as fuck! If you like heavy music that jams hard, do yourself a favor and check them out. They got two studio albums and one live album out right now.

Local Spotlight

With these underground reports I will be having a short local spotlight at the end of each one. This is to help promote the talent in the area. Here are a handful of bands from the Northeast Ohio area you should check out:

A Sense of Purpose

I won’t forget the first time I saw these guys. It was about mid-January and I was hit up by a friend to see this show at a pizza shop in Kent. Place was packed and fire marshall was on vacation, so there was no one to kick people out when it was over capacity. So you have this crowded pizza shop hosting pop punk and metal bands. There was moshing, tossing, alcohol consuming, alcohol spilling, crowd surfing, and total choas. No fights. No issues. A Sense of Purpose headlined that show and blew the roof off the place!!! Extremely talented and musically very technical. Always on top of their game. If you dig any of the new age metalcore/djent coming out, definitely give them a shot. They just put out their new EP, Mend, this past September. They have also opened for After the Burial, Emmure, Veil of Maya, and The Acacia Strain within the past year.

Stillborn Prodigy

Stillborn Prodigy reigns from Canton. The first time I saw these guys was on a show I actually booked and promoted. The lineup was already premade before I booked the date. It was actually a killer lineup. Stillborn turned more heads though than anyone on the bill. I had played them on my radio show before so I was aware of their sound. But their live show was something special. The groove and heavy riffage got the crowd going. It actually got to the point where a few people and I started simultaneously stomping. Their sound just gave you that urge to stomp and headbang. Similar to what Obituary does to their fans. They got a good mix of hardcore and metal in their sound. They dropped their debut album, Coconut Sex Dumpster (pictured above), about a year ago. New material on the way. If you check it out, listen to “Pocket Fulla Fuck You”. That’s my favorite off the album. New band with a bright future.

Army of Athens

The first time I saw Army of Athens was almost 2 years ago. It was February and a friend hit me up to check out one of the many local shows in the area. Ohio is pretty much dead in February so it’s always a great time to check out some local talent. AoA had a show not too far from where we lived so we decided to spend our Saturday night watching them. About only 7 people were there, so I was glad we went to give them a little more support. Long story short, these guys get on stage and tear it up! Very heavy, melodic, and they had some sick breakdowns. Not your stereotypical breakdowns though. I would say faster and more aggressive than your standard breakdown. I’ve seen them about 4 times total and they stay consistent. You get a good show from them everytime.

Paper Thin

These guys are literally my favorite band in the area. The first time I saw them I honestly didn’t know what I was getting into. But after their set, I fell in love. Paper Thin is a unique talent that you can’t find anywhere else. They’re a progressive rock band from Akron. They got a style that stands out amongst everyone else. The members are metalheads so there are some metal elements to their sound. They dropped their first album, Thrice Born, this past June. As of right now, they don’t have it available on any streaming formats with the exception of one song. You would have to look them up and message them if you want the album. I personally thought the album was one bad ass acid trip. Every song had a different energy than the other. I once had a drunk guy in the bathroom tell me he thought the singer sounded like Chris Cornell. The singer is a swell guy, but only Chris Cornell can be Chris Cornell. But it was a hell of a compliment. I could go on and on about these guys. Bottom line, these guys are the shit and you should check them out.

Seth Lipocky is a heavy metal dj for mhioradio.com. His show Sunday Bloody Sunday is on every Sunday from 8 to 11 pm EST. Follow the Sunday Bloody Sunday page on Facebook for updates.

My Favorite Noise of 2017

Top 10 Albums

 

10. The Arcadian Parallel-Divitius

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Key songs: “Serpent Skin”, “Deja Vu”, and “Lucid”

 

9. Halfway Human– Within The Ruins

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Key songs: “Shape-Shifter”, “Beautiful Agony”, and “Objective Reality”

 

8. The Saga Continues– Wu Tang Clan

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Key Songs: “Fast and Furious”, “Lessons Learn’d”, and “Steetlife”

 

7. Dear Desolation– Thy Art Is Murder

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Key Songs: “Slaves Beyond Death”, “Dear Desolation”, and “Into Chaos We Climb”

 

6. Red Before Black– Cannibal Corpse

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Key Songs: “Only One Will Die”, “Code of the Slashers”, and “Scavenger Consuming Death”

 

5. Evolution– Once Human

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Key Songs: “Gravity”, “Dark Matter”, and “Killers for the Cure”

 

4. Emperor of Sand– Mastodon

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Key Songs: “Show Yourself”, “Precious Stones”, and “Jaguar God”

 

3. The Sin and The Sentence– Trivium

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Key Songs: “The Sin and The Sentence”, “Betrayer”, and “The Wretchedness Inside”

 

2. As We Die– Doyle

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Key Songs: “God of Flies”, “Run For Your Life”, and “King of the Undead”

 

1. Forever– Code Orange

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Key Songs: “Forever”, “Kill The Creator”, “The Mud”, and “The New Reality”

 

Top 10 Songs:

  1. “Slaves Beyond Death”- Thy Art is Murder
  2. “Forever”- Code Orange
  3. “The Sin and The Sentence”- Trivium
  4. “We Know Where You Fucking Live”-Marilyn Manson
  5. “Final Breathe”- A Killer’s Confession
  6. “All Love is Lost”- Body Count featuring Max Cavalera
  7. “Fixated on Devastation”- Dying Fetus
  8. “The Ocean Galaktik”- Galakticon
  9. “Show Yourself”- Mastodon
  10. “Run”-Foo Fighters

 

Best New Band: Divitius

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For pleasure and my radio show, I discover new bands all the time. What a moment it was when Circle Pit posted this random djent/prog band from Portland, Oregon. After hearing their single, I continued to YouTube to hear more. I eventually bought the album and was blow away with their heavy melodic style. Their singer brought her A game with her Angela Gossow like growls mixed with her superior clean vocals. Whoever mixed  and mastered her vocals did a stellar job. One of the most interesting vocal recordings I’ve ever heard. This band isn’t very well known so please check them out! For fans of Arch Enemy, Periphery, Jinjer, and Fallujah.

 

Biggest Surprise Album: Hikari from Oceans Ate Alaska

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Oceans Ate Alaska is still a relatively new band. Over the summer they dropped their first album with their new singer and it took fans by surprise. The random time signatures, aggressive breakdowns, and unique Japanese theme gave listeners an album to remember. It will be interesting to see what direction they go after this release. I know some fans had mixed feelings. This is the band’s second record and I think fans were lukewarm with them already having a new singer. I personally dig his style of heavy and clean vocals. Hopefully they give it another listen. I thought it was worth picking up.

 

Best Comeback: Brendan Small

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About two years ago, Adult Swim slammed the door shut on hit television show, Metalocalypse. Questions left unanswered! Fans crying out for more! No matter how we look at it, the mighty guitar lord, Brendan Small, had to find a way to move forward. He went back to his solo project, Galaktikon. This time, he added vocals as if it was one of his Dethklok albums. It is trippy, it shreds, and has some of his best riffs. I don’t talk enough about album art, but hot damn the cover for this album is metal as fuck! It may not be Dethklok but fans should look into it. Check out the song “The Ocean Galaktik”.

 

Best EP: Cold Dark Place from Mastodon

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If Emperor of Sand wasn’t enough. Mastodon surprise fans with an announcement of an EP release for the fall and it did not disappoint. The four songs included in the EP were four of their best songs of the year between the two releases. I hope Mastodon doesn’t take forever to release new material after 2017, but I appreciate them spoiling us.

 

Best Local EP: Remnants from Van Evera

This was a tough one. A ton of bands in the Northeast Ohio scene released EPs as opposed to a full LP. However, I felt Akron’s Van Evera really stood out among the others. Not only was it well produced (which is not a guarantee with an unsigned, local band), but they were straight forward with their sound. That may sound strange for me to point that out, but too many times new bands will have different types of music directions on a four song EP. Some also get to repetitive. But not Van Evera. They made it clear they have a unique heavy sound and they are ready to give Akron metal a great name! Their biggest moment this year was making an impression on Myke Terry from Volumes. He gave them a big shout out on stage when they opened for him in Kent, Ohio. Make sure to look into Van Evera.

 

Best Local LP: Doppleganger– Sunless Sky

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If you haven’t noticed, I listen to a lot of different kinds of metal. If you are someone who still prefers the classic power metal bands, good news! I have a band you need to look into! Cleveland’s Sunless Sky brings a good mix of power and thrash metal. The lyrics remind me of something written by Iron Maiden or Helloween. Instrumentally, you can hear the Metallica and Slayer influence. The album starts with a banger in “Starfall”. For you 1980’s metal freaks you need to check out the catchy track “Lake of the Lost Souls”. The other track that really caught my attention was “Heroin”. In Northeast Ohio, we got a bad heroin epidemic. It’s not uncommon to hear a local metal band have an anti-heroin song. However, I really dig the approach Sunless Sky took with this song. Doppelganger is a prime example of how talented the underground music scene is in Cleveland. I highly recommend every metal head checks this album out.

 

Best Live Performance: Chimaira

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In 2017, I saw the most concerts I have ever seen in a span of a year. From some of my favorite national acts to some of my favorite local acts. The list includes Periphery, Korn, Animals as Leaders, and Megadeth. Some bands I had the pleasure of seeing twice this year which include Carnifex, Oceano, Whitechapel, Rings of Saturn, Volumes, and No Zodiac. Then I saw rising stars, A Killer’s Confession, four times. So picking one show wasn’t going to be easy. I will be honest with you, before I attended Chimaira Christmas 15, I had my dude Gary Clark Jr. winning performance of the year. However, Chimaira gave a performance they probably won’t give again. They reunited for one show and gave the fans a setlist for the ages. It was a very special event for every Chimaira fan that came up and witnessed them dominating the stage. I would give my left nut to have them do another one. Chimaira is the definition of Cleveland heavy metal.

 

Best News of the Year: Chimaira comes back for Chimaira Christmas 15

Read the previous post again. I almost cried when it was announced. How could I not name it the best news of the year?!

 

Rock Heaven: Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington, Malcom Young, Chuck Mosley, Chuck Berry, and More.

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The year 2017 will not be forgotten in the year of rock ‘n roll. It was a devastating year. The five men I mention in the headline are just the tip of the ice berg. Some of them were old and lived a full life. But a few of them will leave fans forever wondering if something could have been done to prevent their death. Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington’s suicides left fans, family, and friends in complete shock. Still to this day, it seems unbelievable. Gone. But never forgotten. I may not understand completely what someone is going through but if I had any advice for them: You can get through anything, hurting yourself also hurts others, and DON’T TOUCH HARD DRUGS!!!!! Thank you all for the memories. You will forever be loved.

 

Top 10 Most Anticipated of 2018

1. Tool- IT IS HAPPENING THIS TIME!!! The writing is on the wall!!! We will have a new Tool album in 2018!

2. Judas Priest- The metal legends will be putting out their second album without K.K. Downing. Redeemer of Souls was a solid release and it will be interesting how they follow it. Will it be their last one?!

3. Machine Head- The California mettallers will release Catharsis on January 26th. Their last 2 albums won my album of the year the year they were released. Machine Head is one of the few metal bands, in my opinion, who consistently puts out legendary status albums. January 26th will be like a mini Christmas for me.

4. Alice in Chains- Chains will be releasing their follow up to The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here in 2018. Many fans still have mix feelings towards that last album. But when you remember what they did with Black Gives Way to Blue, you can’t help but get a little bit excited. It will be interesting where William DuVall era Alice in Chains goes from here.

5. Killswitch Engage- Their last release, Incarnate, was not what I was expecting to follow the monster that was Disarm the Decent. However, I will never say no to new Killswitch Engage. They played with different ideas last time, I think they will go heavier this time around.

6. Gojira- BOLD PREDICTION, we will see a new Gojira album this year. The band has made the comment that it won’t take them six years to put out another album. They just finished a huge tour cycle. Don’t be surprised for a nice treat near the end of 2018.

7. Lamb of God- The band just announced they have a huge tour announcement soon. My gut says a new album is involved as well. They took the fall off. It just makes sense. The next chapter in the Lamb of God legacy will begin this year.

8. Clutch- Name a terrible Clutch album. Go ahead. I’ll wait. Don’t waste your time. These guys should change their name to Consistent. When Clutch puts out a new album you’ll get more than your moneys worth. Another great rock album will hit the shelves soon.

9. Stone Temple Pilots- STP was the first rock band I ever got into. That being said, I wasn’t a big fan of the other members trying to use the name after Scott’s death. However, after hearing Jeff Gutt and the new single, I’m sold on the idea. It’s not too much different from what AC/DC and Alice in Chains did after their singers’ deaths. Gutt does a fantastic job! They’ve tried to replace Weiland twice before, but they hit the nail on the head with this one.

10. A Perfect Circle- Yes, we will get a new A Perfect Circle and Tool album in the same year. I know, Maynard James Keenan will not want to make new music for us for about a decade. Unless its Pucifer. He seems to always be down to make music with them. Thank you, Maynard.

 

Most Anticipated Local (Northeast Ohio) releases for 2018

1. Paper Thin- A lot of people may not know these guys. They don’t sell out venues, yet. They don’t have any music online, yet. But both these things will happen soon. Paper Thin is some of the best progressive rock I’ve ever heard in my life. Akron has spawned a new creation and their debut album is almost done. If you are a fan of anything trippy, progressive, and with Chris Cornell type vocals, this is the band for you.

2. Kitchen Knife Conspiracy- The stompcore legends are at it again. Prepare to hear new music soon. The kind of music that you will want to play at your grandma’s birthday party, your daughter’s wedding reception, and your supervisor’s retirement party. Actually . .  . . . . don’t do that. I’ll like you forever, but they will hate you. But when the new KKC comes out, get ready to party.

3. Big Ugly- An ugly metal child has been rocking around all of 2017, and in December they dropped their first EP. But that wasn’t enough for them! Big Ugly will plan on making and releasing new music at some point in 2018. The first EP will get passed around like a new sorority girl until the new jams are made.

4. My Lifes Burden- These guys have been around for a while. Started off more as a hard rock band. But with an almost completely different lineup, they are going more of a metal direction. They are currently making some of the best music they have ever made. Should be a fun disc.

5. My secret project- HAHAHAHA!!! Maybe if life would let me make music once and a while. Whatever! Its not about me, this is about the other guys.

6. Fallen Empire- The band consist of a few names that have been around the scene for a while. The debut tracks have gotten a lot of attention. It should be exciting to see how 2018 pans out for them.

7. Sterilizing the Deceased- One of the most talented metal acts in Northeast Ohio will be dropping new tunes in the near future. These guys can bring it on the stage and the studio. If you like snarling gutteral vocals, break downs, and down right nasty deathcore, this band is for you!

Best Noise of 2016

Top 10 Albums of 2016

 

10. Magma-Gojira

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Key Songs: “Silvera”, “Stranded”, and “Low Lands”

 

9. Dystopia-Megadeth

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Key Songs: “The Threat is Real”, “Dystopia”, and “Poisonous Shadows”

 

8. Mechanisms of Omniscience– Abnormality

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Key Songs: “Swarm”, “Mechanisms of Omniscience”, and “Assimilation”

 

7. Dreamless-Fallujah

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Key Songs: “Adrenaline”, “Abandon”, and “Scar Queen”

 

6. Brotherhood of the Snake– Testament

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Key Songs: “Brotherhood of the Snake”, “The Pale King”, and “Seven Seals”

 

5. The Serenity of Suffering– Korn

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Key Songs: “Rotting in Vain”, “A Different World” (features Corey Taylor), and “Everything Falls Apart”

 

4. Trust No One– DevilDriver

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Key Songs: “My Night Sky”, “Daybreak”, and “Retribution”

 

3. The Madness of Many– Animals As Leaders

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Key Songs: “Arithmophobia”, “Inner Assassins”, and “The Brain Dance”

 

2. The Violent Sleep of Reason– Meshuggah

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Key Songs: “Born in Dissonance”, “Violent Sleep of Reason”, “Our Rage Won’t Die”, and “MonstroCity”

 

1. Hardwired . . . To Self-Destruct– Metallica

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Key Songs: “Hardwired”, “Moth into Flame”, “Atlas, Rise!”, and “Spit out the Bone”

 

Top 10 Songs of 2016

10. “The Surgeon”-Dead By Wednesday (featuring Rob Roy and Marc Rizzo)

9. “The Getaway”-Red Hot Chili Peppers

8. “Strength of the Mind”-Killswitch Engage

7. “Sorceress”-Opeth

6. “Culling”-Lamb of God

5. “Bring Me Home”-Whitechapel

4. “Stranded”-Gojira

3. “Everything You Love Will Someday Die”- Cage9

2. “Spit Out the Bone”-Metallica

1. “Limerent Death”-Dillinger Escape Plan

 

Best Surprise Album of 2016

Trust No One- DevilDriver

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I had a handful of choices with this category, but in the end, DevilDriver made more sense. A band that is killer live and always puts out a heavy album. However, many fans were not sold on the last release, Winter Kills. I personally didn’t mind it, but fans wondered if the band was losing their touch. The announcement of the addition of former Chimaira and current Solus Deus drummer, Austin D’Amond, was huge for the band. Once I heard that, I knew DevilDriver was going to groove harder than ever before. I encouraged fans via social media to keep the faith in this band. I knew something special was coming. Dez returned from the Coal Chamber reunion and wrote some of his best lyrics. Trust No one brings the aggression that old school DevilDriver provided and then some. In my opinion, this is their best album. No fillers! Every track just in your face metal! I was surprised with a lot of albums this year, including Metallica. When I bought this disc, I expected a good album. I bought a fantastic album that day. The future is bright for DevilDriver!

 

Best Comeback

Despised Icon

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This year was not really the year of many comebacks. Despised Icon was the only one that really stuck out to me. The band released their first album since 2009 on July 22nd. They participated on half the Suicide Silence and Whitechapel fall tour. I attended the Cleveland date of that tour, and enjoyed every moment of it. Lineup was stacked! Despised Icon pumped up the crowd and put on a great show. It will be exciting to see what else the Canadian metallers have in store for the future.

 

Best New Band

Doll Skin

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In 2015, it was announced that Megadeth bassist David Ellefson launched his own record label. Doll Skin was the first band signed to EMP Records at the time of the announcement. Fast forwarding to 2016, I got a small part with that label. Nothing special, just helping to spread the bands’ name and material in my area. I started researching and getting familiar with the bands on the label. Doll Skin was one of the few bands that didn’t get their start until 2016. I remember sitting in my car, listening to their debut album, and being beyond impressed. This wasn’t a wanna be pop band trying to get on the Disney channel. These ladies play rock and fuck’in roll!!! Their sound was old school like the hard rock we enjoyed in the 1970’s and parts of the 90’s. I encourage everyone to check them out. The did a few tours throughout 2016 and some dates with Otep. The Arizona rockers are already making their sophomore album as we speak. Ellefson hit a homerun signing this band.

 

Best Live Band of 2016

Opeth

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While many will say that 2016 has been a horrific year for many reasons, there is one reason I will never forget this crazy year. It was the most concerts I’ve been to in my life. I saw some great local, small venue, and pavilion shows. I saw bands such as Black Dahlia Murder, Mushroomhead, Rob Zombie, Saint Asonia, and Carnifex more than once. Slayer, Korn, Napalm Death, Lamb of God, Disturbed, and Alice in Chains just to name a few more. I finally had to sit down and ask myself, “Which one really stuck out the most?”. When the dust settled, there was one. Opeth started their fall tour in my hometown of Akron, Ohio. It was one of those live performances where you fall more in love with the band. I always enjoyed Opeth, but since that show they’re now one of my all time favorites. It wasn’t just a performance. It was an experience. It made it  better having The Sword open the show. That duo should tour together more often. Metal heads and rockers, I highly recommend that you go to an Opeth show. Not many bands work as hard as they do. Opeth will give you more than your moneys worth.

 

Best Song Live 2016

Nutshell-Alice in Chains

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I had the privilege to see some of my favorite songs live this year. There was only one song out of the thousands I saw live that  I recorded in its entirety on my phone. When I saw William Duvall pick up his acoustic guitar during the Alice in Chains concert, I quickly pressed record. Nutshell is song that I have adored for many years. This might be the song that really connected Layne Staley with the fans more than any track Chains had. Easily the most hard hitting song I’ve heard live. A mini emotional roller coaster for me. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. It was something I’ve wanted to witness for a long time. It was like Layne was in the room with us. I appreciate what this new era of Alice in Chains has done, but they can’t write songs like Layne could. Not at least like this one.

 

Rock Heaven 2016

David Bowie, Glenn Frey, and Nick Menza

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The end of 2015 left fans some serious hurt after the deaths of Scott Weiland and Lemmy Kilmister. It didn’t get any better kicking off 2016. The legendary David Bowie left us ten days into the new year and Eagles’ Glenn Frey followed a week later. Tragedy struck in May when former Megadeth drummer Nick Menza had a massive heart attack on stage with his new band. Menza was better known for his contribution to Megadeth classics Rust in Peace and Countdown to Extinction Glenn Frey’s guitar skills were a huge influence on some of the rock acts we have received over the past 30 years. David Bowie opened our eyes to worlds beyond this one and pushed the idea that anything was possible. Three unique artists that are gone but never forgotten. Make them a jack and coke up there, Lemmy!

 

Best Album Remasters

Terra Incognita-Gojira and Ember to Inferno-Trivium

Remasters is something I never mention in my year reviews, but this is different. We had great remasters come out by bands such as Black Sabbath, Soundgarden, and Pantera this year. But you could also find the regular versions of those albums almost anywhere. Terra Incognita and Ember to Inferno you could not. There were limited copies of the two albums still out there, and the average online price around $100. Yeah, some people know metal heads will spend some serious money to get collectible items. Those sellers worst nightmare happened when both Gojira and Trivium re-released their debut albums. Not only did they remaster the tracks, but gave fans their money’s worth with bonus material. Gojira had some killer live tracks on their release and Trivium gave fans 13 extra songs, including original recordings of a few tracks from Acendancys. Both bands spoiled their fans.

 

Top 10 Most Anticipated Albums of 2017

10. Body Count

Ice T is at it again! A killer album is already made and ready for an early 2017 release. It has come out that Body Count will spend most of the new year touring with Megadeth. The Manslaughter album left the fans wanting more. Prepare for more pissed off lyrics and heavy riffs! Body Count motherfucker!

9. Queens of the Stoneage

In a year with plenty of death and doom, we could have used a new Queens of the Stoneage album for 2016. Well it didn’t happen, but Josh Homme assured that it was on the way. The last album, …Like Clockwork, won my best album of 2013. That being said, I’m eager to hear what the follow up will sound like.

8. High on Fire

Good news everyone! We don’t have to wait 3 years for a new High on Fire album! Matt Pike announced in November that a new album is already made and ready to be released in 2017. High on Fire continues to be one of the most consistent bands in the metal scene. Every release is fantastic in its own way.

7. Clutch

Name one bad Clutch album right now. I’ll wait . . .. . . . don’t waste your time because there isn’t one! Clutch is preparing to release another great balls to the wall rock album for 2017. Whenever its ready, they can have my money.

6. HIM

The love metallers have been planning something special for a while now, and its believed that 2017 is the year it happens. The band has been quiet for quite sometime and has done very few shows the past year. I would be surprised if we didn’t hear anything new from them soon.

5. Trivium

Silence in the Snow was being recorded between the band’s last couple albums believe it or not. They gave the fans something different than what they’ve done in the past. Now the band is moving forward with a new drummer . . . again. It will be interesting which direction they go from here.

4. Marilyn Manson

Manson will release Say10 on Valentines Day this year. He promised an aggressive album this time around. The one song clip that was released sounding like something off of Antichrist Superstar. Yeah, stating the obvious, I’m excited.

3. Soundgarden

Soundgarden will their first album since King Animal from 2012. The band has big plans for 2017. A lot of tour dates are being announced to help support the new album. Soundgarden is back for the long haul! Make sure you catch these guys in 2017. With Chris Cornell’s solo work, Pearl Jam, and possible Audioslave reunion, you may not get a chance to see them again for a while after 2017 or 18.

2. System of a Down

You read that right. No speculation, they actually confirmed they’re in the studio and showed photo prove. Its been almost 10 years but the wait is over! New System of Down album and tour are in the cards for 2017. That being said you better WAKE UP! GET YOUR MONEY AND PAY UP!

1. Tool

Its happening. All you Tool fans laugh hysterically every year when someone brings it up. But 2017 is the year of the Tool. The band’s lawsuit, which kept them from making the new record, is over. They have a ton of material already ready. Maynard even hinted at new A Perfect Circle, but that has yet to be made official. Seriously. What would you do if you got new Tool AND A Perfect Circle in the same year? We’ll see. But the drought will be over in 2017. Prepare for new Tool.

My Favorite Noise of 2014

TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2014

Honorable Mentions: Crosses, Black Label Society, Kyng, I Declare War, Steel Panther, Devil You Know, Whitechapel, The Black Keys, Mushroomhead, Crowbar, Body Count, Arch Enemy, Fozzy, War of Ages, Micheal Jackson, Darkest Hour, Godsmack, Ace Frehley, Wolvenwar, Hellyeah, Overkill, In Flames, Cannibal Corpse, Demon Hunter, Amaranthe, Cavalera Conspiracy, Foo Fighters, and The Smashing Pumpkins

10. Once More ‘Round the Sun– Mastodon

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Key Songs: “The Motherload”, “High Road”, and “Ember City”

9. Pale Communion– Opeth

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Key Songs: “Elysian Woes”, “River”, and “Voice of Treason”

8. .5: The Gray Chapter– Slipknot

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Key Songs: “Sarcastrophe”, “Custer”, and “The Negative One”

7. The Endless River– Pink Floyd

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Key Songs: The whole album would make a killer movie soundtrack. I’m not going to pick a select few here. Mostly insturmental.

6. Distant Satellites– Anathema

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Key Songs: “The Lost Song, Pt.1”, “The Lost Song, Pt.2”, and “Distant Satellites”

5. The Joy of Motion– Animals as Leaders

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Key Songs: “Ka$cade”, “Another Year”, and “Tooth and Claw”

4. Redeemer of Souls– Judas Priest

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Key Songs: “Redeemer of Souls”, “Halls of Valhalla”, and “Hell & Back”

3. Watchers of Rule– Unearth

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Key Songs: “Guards of Contagion”, “Trail of Fire”, and “Birth of a Legion”

2. Killer Be Killed– Killer Be Killed

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Key Songs: “Wings of Feather and Wax”, “Face Down”, and “Forbidden Fire”

1. Bloodstone & Diamonds– Machine Head

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Key Songs: “Now We Die”, “Killers & Kings”, “Ghosts Will Haunt My Bones”, and “Damage Inside”

OTHER AWARDS

BEST NEW BAND: Killer Be Killed

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The super group (consisting of members from Soulfly, Mastodon, Dillinger Escape Plane, and Mars Volta) made an underground masterpiece. I like the use of three vocalists and how different the album was overall. A good mix of hard rock and metal sound. Not too heavy but still rockin. Unfortunately, this band won’t be consistently putting out new material or even touring due to other commitments. Hell, they won’t have their first show till next year. Nothing wrong with a good side project.

Other nominees: Crosses, Devil You Know, and Wovenwar

BEST COMEBACK: Judas Priest

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Parts of this record sounded exactly like 70’s Priest. Very old school attitude album for the Metal God and his men. Without Downing in the band and Halford’s voice not what it once was, it still turned out to be a great album. It was expected to conclude the Priest saga, but Halford has said since the album’s release he is ready to do a few more.

Other nominees: Body Count, Slipknot, and Pink Floyd

BIGGEST SURPRISE: Unearth

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Always liked everything Unearth put out, but they stepped up their game big time with this one. Watchers of Rule was a very heavy, in your face type album. Some of their best solos since Oncoming Storm, and there is a case to be made that this could be their best album yet. I expected good and they gave their fans fantastic.

Other nominees: War of Ages and The Smashing Pumpkins

BEST EP: TIE! Down and Solus Deus

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Down released part two of their four EP series. With Windstein leaving the band to concentrate on Crowbar, I expected a slightly different sound from them. It’s honestly not too different but Down still brought it. This EP was some of their most sludgy, doom sounding music. It will be interesting what Phil and the guys decide to do for the third one

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I’m not too picky with ranking EPs. Since I only bought two this year I decided to split it between Down and this new band I really dig called Solus Deus. For readers that don’t know, this is a band influenced by death metal and western style, 90’s hip-hop. The band includes former members of Bleed the Sky, Chimaira, Evanecence, and Living Sacrafice. This was also their second EP in the past few years. Heavy band with a bounce to their sound. Good for headbanging and headbopping.

BEST SPECIAL ALBUM: Sevendust

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I don’t normally have this category at the end of the year but had to add it just for this album. This was Sevendust first acoustic album and it is acoustic done right. Time Travelers & Bonfires was all covers of their older material. Fans raised money to make this album happen, and it did not disappoint. It really shows how underrated the musicianship of Sevendust really is, and with Lajon’s voice its worth every penny.

LIFE TIME ACHIEVEMENT: Motley Crue

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The Los Angeles rockers are in the process of closing the book on their careers for good. After all the drugs, sex, and rock ‘n roll, Motley Crue finally had enough. I saw them back in 2012 with KISS. It still stands as the best show I’ve ever seen. One of the few groups of men I can see dress like women and play with bigger balls than most of the so called bands these days. I wish all four them the best of luck moving forward.

LOCAL LEGENDS: Chimaira

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I understand not everyone reading this is from northeast Ohio, but I had to show my home area metallers some love. Back in September, almost the whole band all of sudden quit. With the announcement the band would call it quits, it became a very dark day for their fans. For me, it felt like someone took part of my soul and ripped it out. It hurt. But what is more important is that their music will live forever. Destroying and dominating the Chimaira way. There are rumors they are reforming. Whether that’s true or not, I’m a fan for life. Chimaira: 1998 to Eternal.

BEST LIVE BAND: Gojira

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This award I give to only bands I’ve seen the past year. I did see KISS again, but decided to give it to the progressive crazy bastards from France. Not only was the show heavy and the band sounded great as a whole, it grooved more than any band I’ve ever seen. Very fun concert and was a steal for the price.

Other nominees: KISS, Def Leppard, HIM, and Breaking Benjamin

MOST ANTICIPATED FOR 2015
(Note: This is my personal list and rankings for albums coming out in 2015. This is just to make readers aware of what is expected to come out. This is just a summary of what I have down so far for next year. Some of these artists may not release a new album till 2016 or beyond that.)

44. Metallica- I do like Metallica, don’t get me wrong. But its hard to take them seriously right now. I really hope the best for their potential release next year. Till then I have them last in my rankings.

43. Five Finger Death Punch- Very possible they drop a new album this coming year. As a fan, I wasn’t very impressed with the two albums they put out in 2013. A lot of fillers and it sounds like they lost some of their touch. Always will hear them out though.

42. 36 Crazyfists- They disappeared for a few years and put out one of their best songs ever. It sounds like they really took their time putting together the new album. Fans will be happy to have them back in action.

41. Def Leppard- Saw them open for KISS back in September. Fun show. They haven’t had a new album in almost seven years. It will be interesting what they bring to the table.

40. Dark Tranquility- Construct was very different from what they’ve done in the past. These guys don’t disappoint so I’m excited to see which direction they’ll take.

39. Disturbed- You read the name right. I’m more speculating than anything else. If not next year, I think it will be 2016 for sure we’ll hear something new from Disturbed. They stressed its just a hiatus and its been four years since it began.

38. Red Fang- Loved the last album. Very doom like with an early Black Sabbath sound. I’m really pulling for another one this year.

37. Trivium- Not one hundred percent sure they’ll have a new release this year, but they have been dropping hints they’re at least thinking about it. Last one seemed to help them gain some new fans. We’ll see if Draimain comes back to produce.

36. Hatebreed- I know they have plenty of tour dates for early to the middle of the year. We’ll wait and see if they want to put out something late in the year.

35. Solus Deus- I heard some rumblings of the thug metallers putting out their first full length album. Hope so.

34. Art of Dying- Good band with an 1980’s hard rock style. I was afraid they were done for good but a new album will drop in the next few months. I have seen them a few times and they show nothing but love for the fans at their shows.

33. Halestorm- Better live than in the studio. Lzzy Hale and her crew have some tricks up their sleeve. Last album gave rock a good name.

32. Fear Factory- They just finished celebrating the anniversary of Demanufacture. Will see if they took some of that old school Fear Factory attitude to the studio with them.

31. Mudvayne- This should be the year Mudvayne returns. Gray talked about a few years ago. I hope that time off results in a monster record.

30. Bullet For My Valentine- Last album was very different. However, the new song for the next album, “Raising Hell”, was heavy as . . . well, hell! Hopefully they go back to their roots like they said they would.

29. Korn- Head’s return was a good thing. They are planning on a heavier album with less electronic instrumentation. Sounds like the old Korn I learned to love.

28. Phil Anselmo- This could be Phil Anselmo and the Illegals or Down. Either way, I’m expecting something heavy from the former Pantera singer.

27. Love & Death- Brian “Head” Welch other band is in the process of making the follow up to their 2013 debut. “Chemicals” became one of the most famous songs on the radio charts in 2012. How many rock and metal bands can say they accomplish that these days? Not the biggest accomplishment I know, but Head and his band deserve the recognition.

26. Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts- After being fired from the Stone Temple Pilots, Scott Weiland had a rough year in 2014. Wait a minute, he didn’t! It was the opposite. Unlike Scott Stapp, Weiland sobered up, did some small tours, and spent plenty of time in the studio. I think the new album will destroy anything STP decides to put out in the future.

25. Children of Bodom- Glad to see these guys still rolling after Alexhi’s health scare. Limit yourself Alexhi, your fans love you!

24. Dream Theater- Since Mike Mangini joined the band, they have been on fire. The past two albums have been some of their best work. I can’t see them stopping any time soon.

23. Dethklok- The last season of Metalocalypse is in production. Usually a new season means a new album will follow. Brendon Small can do it all. It’s just too bad I don’t get to see the real Dethklok experience. You know? I would love to see fans kill each other for a metal album.

22. Breaking Benjamin- I was there when they officially returned. Ben looks healthy and the band was nothing short of lights out. I hope all that time off helped them put together a masterpiece.

21. HIM- Saw them last March. Excellent show. Past two albums have been more rockin than their early stuff. Hope it continues.

20. The Smashing Pumpkins- Billy Corgan took it up a notch with Monuments to an Elegy. Look forward to the second album he put together over the summer.

19. Gary Clark Jr.- COM’ON NOW GARY! This guy has only one album so far. ONE! Time to give your fans something new, Gary.

18. High on Fire- This trio can really bring it. I became a fan after I heard their last album.

17. Van Halen- Part of me is saying this is a for sure thing. Part of me says don’t ever say that about Van Halen. A Different Kind of Truth was a very underappreciated album. Aside for the absence of Michael Anthony’s backing vocals, it showed Van Halen was alive and well.

16. Motorhead- I swear, you can not bring Lemmy down. After a few serious health issues, the badass is ready to hit the studio. He literally lives off of rock ‘n roll.

15. Red Hot Chili Peppers- Many interviews with the band members state the new stuff is very funky and the unnamed producer is pushing them to use their talents in ways they never have used them before. Sounds like fans are in for a treat.

14. Slayer- I’m going to miss Hanneman not being on the album, but he would want me to buy it. Gary Holt is a hell of a person and guitar player. This could be the last album for the legendary thrashers.

13. Meshuggah- They just celebrated their 25th anniversary. Let us hope they have enough juice in the tank for twenty five more.

12. Anthrax- Last album could be ranked in their top three. Joey back in the band has really back that old school Anthrax attitude and sound.

11. Testament- One of the few consistent bands out there. Stellar live and age can’t slow them down. Chuck Billy has compared what they have recorded so far to The Gathering.

10. Tool- Every year they’re in my top five. This year I won’t get my hopes up. They did finally reveal the conflict that is preventing the album from coming out. However, they have been working hard in the studio and that’s progress every fan likes to hear.

9. Gojira- They have been putting together ideas on the road and have come up with Pantera like riffs. Oh, and its Gojira. Enough said.

8. Deftones- For me personally, this is the most underrated band on the planet. The question is, will we see one or two albums from them this year? After Chi’s death they said Ehros would eventually be released. Either way they can have my money.

7. Marilyn Manson- The first album that I will buy for 2015. January 16 is the day the Anti-Christ Superstar will release his new album. Two jams have already been streaming online and I love both of them.

6. Megadeth- Despite losing two members, the band is still around. Rumors of Nick Menza, Marty Friedman, Jeff Loomis, and Dave Lombardo continue to spread. I trust Dave makes the best moves necessary.

5. Alice in Chains- Love Chains but thought The Devil Put Dinosaurs on the Earth was just okay. I’m hoping that was just a small change of pace and they can go back to classic Chains style.

4. Killswitch Engage- I have to put the band that got me into metal in the top five. Jesse’s return was a success. I’m interested to hear the song they put together for the Game of Thrones mixtape. Long live KsE!

3. Lamb of God- After all the hell they went through a few years ago, Randy can now release that anger in the studio. Fans have waited long enough.

2. Iron Maiden- The band said they wanted two more albums before they call it quits. They did limited touring last year and had a lot of down time. Since, they have been very quiet. I think we are in for a big announcement this year.

1. Black Sabbath- Last year and even early this year, if you asked me what will be my most anticipated album for 2015 would be, I would have said Iron Maiden. With the announcement Sabbath would do one more album and call it quits, I made the switch. I loved 13, and I think they can top it. The metal community owes Sabbath everything. I hope to see them on that final tour.