Time to get things really moving here...
2. Yngwie Malmsteen
Yngwie Malmsteen is all things ridiculous as a guitarist. Personally, I love that he is completely self-indulgent and arrogant. He's better than everyone else, and he knows it. What I didn't expect was that he'd be able to play all of his crazy material while running around the stage wildly. While I didn't know all of his songs, I was extremely happy that I bought Odyssey prior to seeing the show as they played some stuff from that and it became one of my favourite records of his. Despite not knowing who the singer was, the keyboardist and bassist that sung were both amazing. Though he charges a steep price ($40), I would not even hesitate to go see him again. He's a masterful showman and guitar player, and all musicians should go see him.
Francophonie Park, Quebec City Summer Festival
This wasn't even a contest. I never thought I'd get to see Avantasia, and though I had to travel for it and miss school (something I do not like doing ever), it was worth it. This was their first show in North America, and it almost didn't happen because Tobias was wildly sick. He didn't sing every song because of this, but that in many ways made it more special. As much as this was about Avantasia for me, it was also about getting to see Michael Kiske, and hearing him do the song "Avantasia" solo was just magical. Everything worked perfectly because the rain held off and they got an impressive sized crowd for the show. I suppose my only complaint is that it wasn't the full 3-hour show, and since tons of people were travelling to see them, it would have been nice to see the whole show. Nevertheless, this was the best concert of 2013, and a top-5 concert of all-time for me.
Up next we move on to talking about albums that came out in 2013. First, we have the 5 most disappointing albums. I will stress that #4 and 5 aren't all that disappointing. I don't love these bands as much as other people do, but I expected a bit more. There just weren't too many disappointing releases for me in 2013 (other than some that still made the top 30).
Most Disappointing Albums of 2013
5. Darkthrone - The Underground Resistance
I'm one of those guys who enjoys Darkthrone's current material more than their black metal stuff. I was expecting this to be the first record of theirs that I really loved as they moved even further into the realm of traditional heavy metal. This was definitely a good album, but I rarely find myself coming back to it.
4. Manilla Road - Mysterium
Has there ever been a Manilla Road release with less hype? These guys seem universally loved, yet nobody talks about this album (despite there being a lot of praise for Hellwell last year). Personally, I found this album to be very boring, and I don't think I've listened to it more than once or twice after my first listen. I suppose that Manilla Road usually takes a while to click, but this one didn't have much, if anything that I remember to be redeeming about it.
3. Warbeast - Destroy
This was the first real major disappointment. "Krush the Enemy" was brilliant. Combining Rigor Mortis and Gammacide was a great idea, but it seems like they can't keep the momentum. This album is just not interesting. None of the songs are as memorable as "Scorched Earth Policy", nor are they more brutal. It's almost like the band released the most generic thing possible given their sound.
2. Enforcer - Death By Fire
Much like the Darkthrone record, this one isn't bad at all; in fact, it's pretty good. The problem is that the band set the bar so high with "Diamonds" that this was almost guaranteed to not live up to it. When I listen to any sort of speed/heavy/power metal, I'm looking for memorability and catchiness first, and aside from "Death Rides This Night", I didn't get much from this record. I've gone back to it numerous times, and while I enjoy it while it's on, I'm left with nothing afterwards. Just this morning I was listening to "High Roller" from "Diamonds", and it still blows me away how awesome it is.
1. Gama Bomb - The Terror Tapes
Has a band ever had such a sizeable drop-off in quality considering their sound is the exact same? I'm referring specifically to the drop between "Citizen Brain" and "Tales From The Grave In Space". The former is one of the all-time great retro thrash records. Every song is a ball of energy, and the band has struggled to pull that off again. Both "Tales From The Grave In Space" and this record have a few memorable songs, but ultimately fall short. The band almost sounds like a cartoon of itself the way the singers voice doesn't change ever.
It's funny because I always associated Gama Bomb and Bonded By Blood as bands that were somehow connected because I got into both of them in 2008 when their albums from that year came out. Gama Bomb seemed more promising initially, but I have yet to be let down by Bonded By Blood, whereas I'm almost at the point of losing interest in Gama Bomb. I will probably end up getting their next record, because I love all things thrash, but they really need to do something to make themselves more interesting quickly.
6/20 - Bolt Thrower, Razor
6/26 - Crimson Shadows (?)