Hard Rock Hideout’s Stone – Picking the “top ten list” of anything in life is not that easy. Choosing my Top Ten Albums Of 2010 proved to be more daunting than I had initially expected, with there being multiple dozens of excellent albums released this past year, spanning across each sub-genre of Metal, not to mention Hard Rock and Rock as well. I decided this year, to pick out only those ten albums that I can honestly say moved me… as a complete album of songs. I have neverlimited my ears, mind and soul to just Metal, anyone who knows me, understands this. Therefore, finding an album in my “top ten” that is not full-throttle, pedal to the Metal, shouldn’t come across as scandalous.
An album that makes my “top ten” list will move me emotionally, sending signals to my senses that either A: psyches-me-out of my Metal mind or B: makes me feel as though I’ve found a long lost friend, a friend I’ll now have for the rest of my Metal life. Of course quality musicianship, songwriting and overall production comes into play… only those three attributes will fall into place when an album is truly special to me.
Maybe you’ll enjoy, become slightly amused and or confused by my Top Ten Albums Of 2010. Either way, my intent is to showcase and appluad these albums and the bands that created them. Hopefully I peak your interest to buy an album or two from this list. These are the albums that will stand the test of my Metal time on Earth.
KATAKLYSM epitomizes the marriage of melodic and heavy… and succeeds so brilliantly in a Death Metal genre, a genre that has profoundly matured into mandatory importance in my Metal history book, many full moons ago. I’ll say this time and again, when Maurizio Iacono sings, I listen. Jean-Francois Dagenais on guitar is not just impressive, his playing is beyond that. If Death Metal needed “that band” to bridge the gap between the meat & potatoes and the progressive, then KATAKLYSM is that band. “Heaven’s Venom” is more than just another excellent Melodic Death Metal album, it is a collective “sound” and “vibe” that makes me realize that maybe “extreme” should be replaced with “pristine” when describing these ten songs.
On December 2, 2010, I posted a review on Heaven’s Venom, giving more Metal details as to why KATAKLYSM is sitting atop my tier of Metal legendary bands. Clicking the link above will take you there!
The “Classic” Krokus lineup returned in 2010 to bring their Hard Rockin’ brand back… to kick our asses! Metal be thy name, Krokus DID kick my ass with “Hoodoo” and all I can say is: “thank you sirs, may I have more?” A (gasp) fun album is “Hoodoo”, that gives a wink and a smile to the gloriously loud and colorful 80’s decade of Arena Rock and good times thrills. If the songs “Too Hot” and “Hoodoo Woman” doesn’t get your Hard Rock adrenaline flowing, then maybe you should consider living as a hermit in the forests of Maine.
On April 27, 2010, I reviewed Hoodoo and did not hold back my Hard Rockin’ affection for this timeless Hard Rockin’ band. Click on the link above to see it!
Jon Oliva is a man of music. He proves this on “Festival”, by connecting the Rock ‘N’ Roll dots, Jon Oliva has his Classic Rock influences of the Beatles and The Electric Light Orchestra coexisting with the Savatage blood that flows through his ultra-talented veins. Is “Festival” a Heavy Metal album? On the surface it is… only once you really listen to this album a few dozen times, you might very well agree with me that “Festival” is a celebration of Jon Oliva’s musical career. The dark themes and nightmarish lyrics behold a realism that I find stunning, making me hope and pray that Jon Oliva and his band will create a “Festival”… part 2.
On April 15, 2010, my review for “Festival” was posted on Hard Rock Hideout. Click on the link above to read all about it!
What Greg Hampton (founding member, lead guitarist & vocalist) created with his band The New Czars, is one of the finest blends of Rock Music styles my ears have heard in years. “Doomsday Revolution” takes a Modern Hard Rock lead, with Industrial and Funk experimentation weaved within it’s lustrous interior. Greg Hampton might very well be the “missing link” within a generation of Rock vocal legends such as Glenn Hughes, Ian Gillan, David Coverdale and yes… Robert Plant. If that sounds too good to be true, then get yourself a copy of “Doomsday Revolution” and thank Stone for serving you right.
Back on September 8, 2010, I posted a detailed album review for Doomsday Revolution. You can click the link above if you want to read all about it!
“Nightmare” is the fifth studio album from A7X and very well should be anointed as their very best. Powerful, angry and raging is “God Hates Us”, while the album opener “Nightmare” speeds on with it’s relentless up-tempo that makes me feel like I belong in the pit, carrying on like a psyched-out Metalhead from 1989. Seriously, what A7X has accomplished with “Nightmare” is nothing short of a Metal miracle, with having to cope with the loss of Jimmy “The Reverend” Sullivan. I won’t hold back calling this “Nightmare” album the “Back In Black” or “Black Album” of A7X’s catalog.
On November 9, 2010, my review for “Nightmare” was posted on Hard Rock Hideout. Check it out by clicking the link below!
What’s this? A Hard Rock three piece? A Modern Hard Rock three piece? Can these guys play? Who invited them to the party? Stone will tell you right now… KOPEK is a three piece, they are a Hard Rock band and they bought the copyright for the word relevance. By the way, KOPEK will be invited to the party and they are bringing with them a case of Hard Rock whoop ass that will have you begging “them” for more. Guitarist and vocalist Daniel Jordan brings that “it” factor to the Hard Rock table, “it” being his charisma that resonates from each and every song I hear on “White Collar Lies”. Drummer Shane Cooney and bassist Brad Kinsella round out this Hard Rockin’ trio from Dublin, Ireland, making them a band I recommend to every breathing human being on Earth.
On June 28, 2010, I presented to the world, an album review for White Collar Lies. If you want to know more about this KOPEK album that you should really buy, then click the link above… it will serve you right!
This new DANZIG album could have easily been titled: “How Glenn Danzig Got His Groove Back”. “Deth Red Sabaoth” is a return to dark form for Glenn, with each song carrying it’s worthy weight of thump and stump heaviness. Dare I say once again… Old School? These flashbacks to the Heavy Metal glory years never hurt any band and DANZIG churns out the songs that I want to hear on a long, lost, dark nights cruise through the remote countryside. “Black Candy”, Deth Red Moon” and “Ju Ju Bone” are the three songs that stand-out among, well, 11 stand-out songs. Each time I listen to “Deth Red Sabaoth” I realize wholly, that Glenn Danzig is back… and that makes Stone feel very Metal comfy.
On July 22, 2010, my review for “Deth Red Sabaoth” was posted on Hard Rock Hideout. Check it out for yourself by clicking the link above!
An Udo-less Accept is hard to “accept”… unless you listen to “Blood Of The Nations”. Mark Tornillo made me a believer from the first note he bellows on “Beat The Bastards”, while not being an Udo clone, Mark just accomplished what always came natural to him… that’s to sing like an Old School Metal warrior! With a near perfect version of the original Accept lineup grinding out 14 songs, at the culmination of my first listen to this album I wanted MORE! This is an Accept album that solidifies this band’s Heavy Metal importance and existence of both past and present. “Blood Of The Nations” also reminds all of us aging Metalheads, that Old School Heavy Metal dreams really do come true.
On September 14, 2010, I posted a very psyched-out review for this Blood Of The Nations album. Check it out if you like, by clicking the link above!
#2 (Tie) EXODUS – EXHIBIT B: THE HUMAN CONDITION
Why have I made it a “tie” between EXODUS – Exhibit B: The Human Condition and OVERKILL –Ironbound? The answer is simple… Thrash Metal albums, from these two ultra-legends, sounding this damn outstanding, has fortunately collided with an uncanny equality. Choosing between these two albums as which is best, is liking choosing between two iced mugs of Blue Moon Ale. Pick ’em. Founding members Gary Holt (guitar) and Tom Hunting (drums) are the Metal backbone to Exodus being not just pioneers of Thrash Metal, Exodus is one of this genre’s true leaders in 2010. This album is as brutal as any that Exodus has released… and these guys sound tighter than ever!
#2 (Tie) OVERKILL – IRONBOUND
As with Exodus, Overkill are pioneers of the Thrash Metal movement that has seen a resurgence of popularity that reminds me of the 80’s. “Ironbound” is full-blown and in-your-face Thrash Metal that glistens with Old School hunger and never relents with it’s crushing and force driven songs. Founding members Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth (vocals) and D.D. Verni (bass) are living proof that they can create and play Thrash Metal for 30 years and counting, with different lineups, while never losing a touch of relevance. After three decades of albums, Overkill quite possibly made their verybest with “Ironbound.”
On March 8, 2010, I reviewed “Ironbound” on Hard Rock Hideout. Click the header link above read the complete details!
#1 SCORPIONS – STING IN THE TAIL
“Sting In The Tail” radiates every quality that I yearn for in choosing a #1 album: heaviness, hardness, melodic, memorable, emotional and Old School… all wrapped up into one celebratory goodbye after spanning nearly five decades of existence. This album dominated my Metal soul like none other in 2010, even the ballads “The Good Die Young” and “The Best Is Yet To Come” made an instant impact on me… and I never wave the flag for ballads that often. Klaus Meine sounds as incredible as ever on vocals, while this entire band plays with the fire of twenty year olds. “Sting In The Tail” was not a return to the glory days of 80’s Heavy Metal, instead, this album showcases just how electrifying the Scorpions still are after so many decades. The Scorpions go out proving to me, they never lost their edge. There will never be another band like the Scorpions.
Back on April 3, 2010, I posted a detailed album review on Sting In The Tail. Click the large header below, to read about how much I really dig this Scorpions album!
LONG LIVE METAL.
THANK YOU SCORPIONS.
LONG LIVE ROCK ‘N’ ROLL.
OVERKILL – with 15 studio and a few live albums released by Overkill since their 1985 Feel The Fire debut, these Thrash Metal legends originating from New Jersey, have unleashed their newest Metal carnage among the masses… IRONBOUND. Released on February 9, 2010 on E1 Music, Ironbound could very well be Overkill’s finest album to date. Judging from the speed and thrashtastic riffage, leads and solo’s of Dave Linsk and Derek Tailer, frenetic drumming of Ron Lipnicki, empowering bass grooves from DD Verni and of course, the trademark, hardened and vicious vocals of Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth, to walk away from Ironbound feeling Thrash fulfilled is a Metal understatement. The two opening songs – “The Green And Black” and “Ironbound” are how Thrash Metal albums are supposed to begin… like decisive missile strikes and extremely Metal monumental.
“Ironbound” just sounds as if DD and “Blitz” decided to not just remind the world they are Thrash Metal originators and icons, they have also pronounced and engraved their loyalty to a genre they helped create. “The Green And Black” offers such a diverse song structure, with it’s near epic length of over 8 minutes. “Endless War” capitalizes on the combination of lyrical imagery, (a soldiers dread, suffering and anguish of dying) and blazingly brilliant, Thrash musicianship. The sinister acoustic intro to “The Goal Is Your Soul”, only accentuates the impending Thrash heaviness that is to follow. This song’s message can/may be interpreted: reap what you sow by your actions/words and knowing one can lose their soul to damnation and the dark unknown, despite life’s blessings being fulfilled or not. This is Overkill’s reality check… as only they can deliver it.
“The Head And Heart” is emblematic of what Overkill’s Thrash Metal makeup is all about. A dark lined intro that submerges your ears into the Thrash assault of heavy and fast grooves with the punctuated vocals of “Blitz” that come across with hellish and angst ridden conviction. The more times I delve my senses into Ironbound, the more I become convinced of Overkill’s allegiance to the foundation of Thrash Metal. Overkill reaches into their underground roots if you will, which is conveyed by them with dominance in their playing, energy, spirit, sound and feel of Ironbound.
Metal truth be told, this is probably the first Overkill album ever, where I have been highly enticed by deciphering the lyrics! This is not to say Overkill never possessed smart, entertaining or attention grabbing lyrics in their past albums. Ironbound just carries with it, an increased intellectual approach to it’s lyrical messages, in my Metal opinion. DD and “Blitz” seemed to turn it up a notch with their lyrics and song writing and this entire Overkill unit has obviously approached this Ironbound album with a type of new found Thrash epiphany.
Lyrical meanings aside, Ironbound is equal to or more explosive, heavy, fast and mean as any Thrash album in Overkill’s iconic catalog. If Overkill were ever be remembered as Metal martyrs, they would be for the Thrash Metal cause they have valiantly forged, with blue collar blood, sweat and muscle for over 25 years. Overkill carrying and waving the flag of Thrash Metal, spanning across decades, is not something I or countless others can ignore. This Overkill lineup has cast their finest album together, Ironbound is a new Overkill Thrash Metal classic, proving once again, this band has not abandoned the Thrash Metal cause, their fans or themselves.
Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth – Vocals
D.D. Verni – Bass, Backing Vocals
Derek “The Skull” Tailer – Rhythm Guitars, Backing Vocals
Ron Lipnicki – Drums
Dave Linsk – Lead and Rhythm Guitars