Monday, December 14, 2009

A Look Back on 2009 Releases


I can't believe it's been almost a year since I did this type of thing for 2008. There were some good releases but overall the enjoyment factor wasn't there like last year. Before I get started I wanted to make a few notes. I realize I'll probably omit some releases but typically this list is going to include bands I listen to and enjoy or that I think is really relevant. It's all subjective but in case I get someone asking why I didn't include for example God Forbids latest it's simple, I didn't listen to it and didn't care too. Alright, onto my list in alphabetical order.

Alice in Chains: Black Gives Way to Blue. What can I say, fantastic return by Jerry Cantrell and company. This could very well be my pick for album of the year just on the merits that it could have sucked after such a long lay off but instead blew most other releases out of the water instead. Check it out even if you weren't a AIC fan in their heyday.

Arch Enemy:The Root of All Evil. This sucked. Angela Gossow's vocal redo of early Arch Enemy tracks was garbage. If the next studio album has her vocals sounding as torn up as they do on this I'll be passing on them forever. Plus I hate the "Let's disrespect the former vocalist" trend, regardless if it's valid or not.

DevilDriver:Pray for Villains. Solid release from these guys. Some people are saying that it hasn't deviated much from the last 2 albums.I think thats partially true only because there weren't any songs that really stood out for me like in previous releases.

Dream Theater:Black Clouds and Silver Linings. These guys never disappoint for me. This album was pretty good if not quite as progressive as previous releases.

Epica:Design Your Universe. Hands down my favorite release by them so far. They went from a heavy metal flavored soundtrack band to a truly progressive symphonic band here. No one in the states is going to really give this a chance but if your horizons are expanded, check this shizz out.

Five Finger Death Punch:War is the Answer. It's got hooks and is catchy but the lyrics are more of the same MMA theme song bullshit that seems to be popular in the States these days.

Guilt Machine: On This Perfect Day. This is Arjen Lucassen's project after Ayreon. It features a single vocalist and took some getting used to at first, but if you're in the mood for progressive rock with reminders of Freddy Mercury style vocals, check it out.

Heaven and Hell:The Devil You Know. First release from Dio era Sabbath since Dehumanizer.Pretty much what was expected, heavy slow tempo doomy stuff. I thought it was a bit on the boring side, sadly. I really wanted to like this more. Get better soon Ronnie.

Katatonia:Night is the New Day. I never got around to doing a real time review on this but in a nutshell it's excellant. It's more consistent then previous releases but the same depressive ambience is there, even if there really isn't a reach out and grab ya track on it like "July". Get this album.

Leaves Eyes:Njord. Pretty good if not one of my favorites by them. There were spots where they were definatly trying to hit the mainstream.

Mastodon:Crack the Skye. I've tried to get into these guys for all the hype they get.Just can't do it but they get my respect for at least helping to get a broader appeal to metal music.

Megadeth:Endgame. I like this a bit better then when I first listened to it but I still think its very uneven in alot of parts. Way too much on the soloing instead concentrating on memorable riffs and some of the lyrics by Mustaine standards were cheesy as hell. Dave Mustaine likes this better then I did.

Psychostick:Sandwich. More metal/punk/comedy wackiness from these guys. Kind of like a heavy version of Wierd Al's Food album without the parodys.

Queensryche:American Soldier. Heard a few tracks and yawned. Nice concept but without Degarmo this band just flounders.

Rammstein:Liebe Ist Für Alle Da. More German stuff that I don't understand. Made a controversial video with real porn that made a tiny impact on the consciousness of the world. It was an ok album.

Scar Symmetry:Dark Matter Dimensions. First album with the two new vocalist replacing Christian "I have ADD" Alvestam. It was better then I thought it was going to be but far from my favorite. Both clean and grunt vocals were a bit bland for me.

Sirenia:The 13th Floor. Goth Metal with the upteenth singer for this band. This time though it's a solid release.

Skeletonwitch:Breathing the Fire. This band continues to kick major ass. Not much of a departure from the first album but yeah, it's blackened thrashy goodness nonetheless.

Slayer:World Painted Blood. I was a bit harsh on my review on this. I actually liked it better then my words made it seem. This cd in my mind was their best of the decade mostly because these guys tried to at least add some variety to the tracks. Kerry King liked this better then Endgame.

Susperia:Attitude. Athera had to have heart bypass surgery but came back in time to tour for this release. More solid thrash in the vein of Testament. The lyrics weren't quite as up to snuff but still deserves more exposure then they get.

W.A.S.P.:Babylon A.D. It's always hit or miss with me on these guys. This time its a miss. Did not meet my expectations based on the concept it was presented with.

Honorable mentions: Kiss came out with Sonic Boom. I've never been a huge fan except for a few albums throughout their career. Didn't care to hear this much. Saxon came out with Into the Labyrinth. They got better over time from their early days but it wasn't enough for me to garner listening to this album. Both of these albums seemed to be for hardcore fans only.

So there are the albums of 2009 that I payed attention to. Again with the exception of Epica,Katatonia,and AIC most of the releases were pretty formulaic but these three really stood out for me.

In 2010 my most anticipated releases are from Overkill(criminally underrated),Kamelot(Ignore the goofy name, this band is really good and American for the most part),Dimmu Borgir(hopefully a return to DCA), and finally a new Nevermore cd. Hopefully with the rise in metals popularity this new release will finally open the doors for Warrel Dane and crew.

Peace out until 2010 peoples. Stay safe and have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


Wedding_Skulls said...

Great list! I agree with you on most of those, although I really did love The Devil You Know. That Alice in Chains album really surprised me - I thought it was for sure going to be shit, but, it really wasn't.

I thought the new Isis, Ensiferum and Marduk really stood out this year, too. But each to their own.

cable_zombie said...

ahhh says a lot that the only one from that list i've actually listened to is endgame! still meaning to check out guilt machine tho, i'm a big fan of lucasson's other works.

totally looking forward to what dimmu have to offer next year, fingers crossed for that.

great list tho, need to check out some of those for sure.

Randy said...

I should be putting up my best of 2009 list here soon too, seeing as New year's Eve is Thursday!

I agree with most of what you say on here too, especially the Megadeth stuff. I still think The System Has Failed nailed the combo of good songwriting and solos whereas the newer stuff has been a bit weaker.