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  #11  
Old 12-05-2011, 07:56 PM
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I've decided to expand my "Honorable Mentions" list all the way up to a dozen albums, which I've decided to post in two sets of six to keep things manageable. Set 1 will be coming up shortly!
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  #12  
Old 12-05-2011, 08:28 PM
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Honorable Mentions, Part 1:
I heard close to 90 albums this year. Technically these are the albums ranked 26th-37th, in some randomized order. So all of these albums are pretty strong, just not quite strong enough to make the proper list.

01 Anubis Gate - Anubis Gate

Ranking this all the way back on the list kinda depresses me, but the truth is this album just didn't quite "do it" for me like the last two Anubis Gate records, especially 2007's Andromeda Unchained. I don't think it's necessarily the singer change, just something about the songs don't really do it for me as much as they should. Nevertheless, the band still does really shine at times and I really respect these guys for being a pretty damn original and unique sounding band in a sea of derivatives.
Featured Track: "Golden Days" (Official Video)

02 Serpentine - Living and Dying in High Definition

2011 has been a great year for the Melodic Rock / AOR genre, as will be reflected by several selections elsewhere on my list. This was one of those "I'll check it out on a whim" sort of things, and I was quite impressed. Certainly nothing new going on here (is there ever in this genre?), just damn catchy and solid songwriting with some memorable performances and hooks - including vocals from TNT vocalist Tony Mills. Definitely worth the time for fans of Journey and the like.
Featured Track: "Dreamer" (Literally my 3rd or 4th choice, but very, very little of this album is on YouTube)

03 Demon's Eye - The Stranger Within

Demon's Eye began as a Deep Purple tribute band, who have now made their own, original album fronted by iconic hard rock vocalist Doogie White (Rainbow, Yngwie Malmsteen, Rata Blanca, etc). The result is a delightfully "retro" sounding 70's hard rock record, as one would expect from a band who began as a Deep Purple tribute. In the right mood this really does it for me, but ultimately I merely really like it, I don't really love it or anything.
Featured Track: "The Best of Times"

04 Hibria - Blind Ride

This was a bit of a disappointment for me. Hibria holds my pick for one of the greatest debut albums of all-time with 2004's Defying the Rules, and the follow up in 2008, The Skull Collectors was a damn strong record as well. One of the things that always set this band apart was the virtuosic bass work on their stuff, which sadly, since the departure of their original bassist, is now gone. The band has since turned to a slightly heavier, more down-tuned sound. The songs are a bit more concise than on previous efforts as well. Still, if you really love the idea of Power/Speed metal with balls and some great players, Hibria should be on your "to hear" list.
Featured Track: "Beyond Regrets of the Past"

05 Enbound - And She Says Gold

Holy hell - a new power metal band that doesn't suck. Hell, at this point in the game, a power metal album period that doesn't suck is enough to warrant attention from me. Enbound are a great new outfit from Sweden, playing what is best described as traditional, Melodic Power Metal. Hard to say too much beyond that. If this band matures in the right direction from this debut, they may actually have a career ahead of them.
Featured Track: "Combined the Souls" (Official Video)


06 Iron Savior - The Landing


After about four years, Piet Sielck's power metal outfit Iron Savior is back in action with The Landing, which is about as solid of an album as they've ever put out. Iron Savior are honestly just one of those bands who are forever destined to be a "B Circuit" band, and this album does not change that. As I said though, if you like this band and this style (German Power Metal), you can't go wrong, and there's a number of really enjoyable songs. Actually, the record is enjoyable pretty much all the way through.
Featured Track: "Starlight"
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  #13  
Old 12-05-2011, 08:49 PM
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*realizing this is how I should have made my 55-21 albums in my thread*

D'oh!

Some good albums in there though.
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  #14  
Old 12-06-2011, 05:54 AM
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Part two coming up soon!
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  #15  
Old 12-06-2011, 05:56 AM
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Demon's Eye is just an honourable mention? Shame on you, Jeff.

Iron Savior and Enbound aren't even worth a status that high.
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  #16  
Old 12-06-2011, 05:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MPF View Post
I wait for this every year.
Don't encourage him
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  #17  
Old 12-06-2011, 06:26 AM
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Honorable Mentions, Part 2:
Again, I heard around 90 albums this year, so actually do really enjoy all of these albums, they just fall just outside my top 25. These are essentially the albums ranked 26-37th, in some random order.


07 Royal Hunt - Show Me How to Live


The return of "classic" Royal Hunt vocalist DC Cooper had many people buzzing with excitement, myself included. Though I enjoy stuff with their other vocalists a lot, something about DC has always felt "natural" for Royal Hunt. I was a little concerned about how fast this album came about though, fearing it would lack in quality songwriting and memorable songs, and sadly I think I was dead on with that fear. The album is still pretty strong, I don't think Royal Hunt could put out an album I don't like, but considering they released my #3 album of 2008, it's a bit of a let-down.
Featured Track: Honestly, not a single song from this is on YouTube.

08 Mr. Big - What If?

I've never been a huge Mr. Big fan, always more of a casual admirer because of the talent within the band - I've loved some of their songs, but most of the albums on the whole are underwhelming. This comeback album still isn't a perfect 10, but I genuinely feel it may be the best complete record they've ever made, as the grand majority of the tracks are very enjoyable. I'd say there's still a few fillers, but the bottom line is that "Undertow" and "I Won't Get in My Way" are two of my most-played songs of 2011, hands-down.
Featured Track: "I Won't Get in My Way"

09 Myrath - Tales of the Sand


Myrath's 2010 album, "Desert Call" managed to creep up my list all the way to about #15. This band hails from Tunisia and really utilize their musical heritage in their sound - basically sounding like an Arabic Symphony X. At least that was sort of what they did on the previous record. This new album sees the band stripping away the songs a bit, focusing on shorter, more concise songs - which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I do miss a lot of the "epic" feel of the last record, and I think some of the songs here get a bit same-y as the album goes on. Nevertheless, this band is pretty excellent and worth your time if you're looking for something different.
Featured Track: "Time to Grow"

10 The Magnificent - The Magnificent

It's been so long since the last Circus Maximus record that I'll check out anything vocalist Michael Eriksen is singing on. As I mentioned, it's been a great year for the Melodic Rock/AOR genre, and this album is no exception. There's a few absolute gems here, and Erksen's voice works surprisingly well for this sort of stuff. Some great guitar playing as well, but this stuff isn't for everyone I guess.
Featured Track: Again, nothing on YouTube.

11 Doogie White - As Yet Untitled

I've been waiting for this much-talked-about Doogie White solo album for several years now. First off, I want to award major points for the great, tongue-in-cheek title. Also, there's some really outstanding songs to be found here, with some great guest appearances from the likes of Marcus Jidell (Evergrey, ex-Royal Hunt), Pontus Norgren (Hammerfall, The Poodles), and Patti Russo (Meat Loaf, Trans-Siberian Orchestra). Sadly, there's three or so songs on here that I just flat-out don't like, so even though there's a half-dozen gems, it's not enough to propel the album that high up my list.
Featured Track: "Lonely"

12 Voodoo Circle - Broken Heart Syndrome

Voodoo Circle are a bit of a supergroup consisting of Pink Cream 69 vocalist David Readman, Mat Sinner (Sinner, Primal Fear) on bass, and chief songwriter Alex Beyrodt of Silent Force, Sinner, and Primal Fear. The band's first album was a bit of Yngwie Malmsteen worship, but rather enjoyable. This sophomore record sees them mature a lot beyond that, getting into a very 70's-derived hard rock sound - reminiscent of early Whitesnake, Coverdale-era Deep Purple, and bluesy rock of the like. If that sounds appealing to you, definitely check this out.
Featured Track: "Don't Take My Heart Again"
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  #18  
Old 12-06-2011, 11:29 AM
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The response to this isn't giving me a ton of incentive to charge ahead with the actual list.
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  #19  
Old 12-06-2011, 11:57 AM
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The response to this isn't giving me a ton of incentive to charge ahead with the actual list.
I've never heard a single one of those bands

But I'm probably going to check each one of them out over the next few days.

Lots of cool album covers anyway!
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  #20  
Old 12-06-2011, 12:58 PM
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The response to this isn't giving me a ton of incentive to charge ahead with the actual list.
Sorry man, been a rough couple of days. It will either get better or worse very soon today.

Once I know what's up, and if I still have internet, I will respond more. Everything is solid so far.
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