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  #1  
Old 12-10-2014, 08:19 AM
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Spiner's Year-End Review

Spiner's Year-End Review

Each new passing year seems to outdo prior years in terms of both quality and quantity of releases. For this year, I'm well over 100 releases in (haven't kept an official count), but I'm going to cap my list at 30. Before getting to the top 30, I'm going to start with the 5 most disappointing records, and the 10 best performances of the year.

Top 5 Most Disappointing Albums

5. Striker - City of Gold

This one doesn't quite fit with the rest of the list because I actually really like it. The problem is that Armed To The Teeth set the bar incredibly high and this just doesn't come close. It's thrashier than their other releases, which is fine, but it just doesn't manage to be as catchy. The only song that is as good as the old stuff is "Bad Decisions", which is a hilariously awesome AOR-type song.

4. Ranger - Shock Skull

Once again, Ranger proves to be one of the more overrated bands in the metal scene. This EP is ok, but really nothing special. As with on their prior EP, the highlight on this release comes from them ripping off another band (Whiplash's "Power Thrashing Death" in this case). While this EP is largely inoffensive, it's also unexciting.

3. Hessian - Bachelor of Black Arts

This album had the potential to be really interesting, but it ultimately turned out to be boring. The singers are pretty lame, and the music doesn't do anything to rectify that problem.

2. Swallowed - Lunarterial

I'm going to take some heat for this one, but this album really shows what can go wrong when you add doom influence. Though there are some fast parts, the majority of this never-ending release is filled with huge, crushing chords, but ultimately is devoid of any interesting content. Then there is the 25-minute song at the end. It doesn't do anything that the rest of the release hasn't, and is frustrating because the record really just needs to end. Perhaps the biggest shame of it all is that this album has killer artwork.

1. Unisonic - Light of Dawn

The first Unisonic album was great, but this one totally missed the mark. There are a few great songs here ("Exceptional" and "For The Kingdom"), but this album is filled with too many ballads and slow/boring tracks. What makes this album even more disappointing is that the single was an awesome raging power metal track. Granted, I knew not to expect this to sound like Helloween, but it would have been nice if it were in any way similar to the first album. Hopefully the band can rebound after this.
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Old 12-11-2014, 04:37 AM
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Top 10 Live Bands of 2014

It doesn't feel like I saw too many bands this year, and unlike prior years, I didn't see any bands there were clearly above the rest. For that reason I'll group them into 6-10 and 1-5. There's no real order other than that the top 5 were better than the bottom five.
  • Midnight - This is just awesome satanic rock and roll. It translates so well live and is a lot of fun. It would have been nice if they played some stuff from the new album, as that was the only one I was familiar with, but it was still enjoyable either way.
  • Megadeth - I know we complain about their set a lot on here, but it's not that bad. They still play a lot of their best songs, and the performance was solid. Other than the fact that I had to sit down, this show was really awesome. Given the news about Broderick and Drover, I'm even happier I went (although I had seen Megadeth once before with those two).
  • Axxion - These days I find that I enjoy this awesome, charging style of heavy/speed metal more than any other style of music. Axxion epitomize that sound, and are quickly becoming one of the heavyweights in the Toronto scene. Surprisingly, this was my first (and only) time seeing them, but I would go see them again.
  • Razorwire - I saw these guys twice in 2014 and both were excellent. They are the spirit of Metallica circa '83. The recordings don't do the band justice in terms of how great they are live. It's unfortunate because I don't see a tour in the immediate future for them, but if you ever get a chance to see them, do it.
  • Ghost - I had never seen Ghost before this, but they were really cool. Unfortunately the crowd at this kind of show really isn't all that great, but it didn't hurt the performance. Also, the opener sucked for this tour.

#1-5 coming tomorrow!
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Old 12-12-2014, 11:22 AM
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#1 - 5
  • Skull Fist - Skull Fist is awesome, but you already know that. Seeing this band live is everything that metal should be. The band's love of guitar solos and high-pitched vocals make them so enjoyable, and their energy live is even more intense than on the record. The show I saw this year was their CD release show and it was my third time seeing them. A great performance, as always.
  • King Diamond - I don't think anything needs to be said about this one. I'll admit I'm not the biggest KD/MF fan on the board, but this performance definitely gave me more of an appreciation for DBTO. Still working on getting into more of his solo stuff.
  • Satan - I'm always amazed at how energetic some of these older bands are. Satan may be 30 years removed from when they first started, but they're just as enthusiastic now as ever.
  • Destruction - Destruction is one of those bands that's a mixed bag live. When they play their old material, it absolutely rips and few other bands can compete with their show. When the new stuff is played, it's ok, but it's more of a break for your neck so you can get ready for the next old song. This set was heavier on new material than the first time I saw them, but it was still great.
  • Primal Fear - It feels like a special event every time a power metal band comes to town because it does not happen often enough. Primal Fear is a band that I was not very big on when I first heard them, but have grown to love over time. This show was especially great because Ralf Scheepers sounded incredible.
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Old 12-12-2014, 12:41 PM
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Top 30 Albums of 2014

Going to start out doing this a couple albums at a time. From about 30-10, this list is about as old-school as it gets. Prepare yourselves for some awesome metal.

30. Paranorm - The Edge of Existence (Sweden, thrash metal)



This 4 track EP is an awesome exercise in technical thrash metal. Paranorm does things quite a bit different from most thrash bands around these days. In addition to riffs that are complex, the band shows homage to the great Yngwie Malmsteen with their shredding solos. The best song on here is "Second Assault", but I couldn't find it on YouTube. Nevertheless, it would be a great disservice to miss out on this record!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CPRyHbQdQc

29. Midnight Malice - Proving Grounds (Canada, traditional heavy metal)



"Proving Grounds" is the debut full-length from Toronto band Midnight Malice. Though these guys can't quite compare with the giants of the scene, they still offer up 8 incredibly catchy tracks. Most of these songs are pretty standard, but they occasionally go in a slight glam direction. While this is by no means some of the more intelligent music ever made, it rocks quite hard and is a lot of fun.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMRebi6Sa5w

Last edited by Spiner202; 12-12-2014 at 12:49 PM.
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  #5  
Old 12-12-2014, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiner202 View Post
#1 - 5
  • Skull Fist - Skull Fist is awesome, but you already know that. Seeing this band live is everything that metal should be. The band's love of guitar solos and high-pitched vocals make them so enjoyable, and their energy live is even more intense than on the record. The show I saw this year was their CD release show and it was my third time seeing them. A great performance, as always.
  • King Diamond - I don't think anything needs to be said about this one. I'll admit I'm not the biggest KD/MF fan on the board, but this performance definitely gave me more of an appreciation for DBTO. Still working on getting into more of his solo stuff.
  • Satan - I'm always amazed at how energetic some of these older bands are. Satan may be 30 years removed from when they first started, but they're just as enthusiastic now as ever.
  • Destruction - Destruction is one of those bands that's a mixed bag live. When they play their old material, it absolutely rips and few other bands can compete with their show. When the new stuff is played, it's ok, but it's more of a break for your neck so you can get ready for the next old song. This set was heavier on new material than the first time I saw them, but it was still great.
  • Primal Fear - It feels like a special event every time a power metal band comes to town because it does not happen often enough. Primal Fear is a band that I was not very big on when I first heard them, but have grown to love over time. This show was especially great because Ralf Scheepers sounded incredible.
Man, I can not wait to see Skull Fist next month.

King Diamond and Satan would definitely make my top live bands list too. Both were pretty incredible.
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Old 12-13-2014, 04:57 AM
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28. Midnight - No Mercy For Mayhem (USA, speed metal)



Midnight plays a really cool rock 'n roll Venom-worship sound. This album is filled with all sorts of interesting and unique tracks. Even though there is a lot of speed, my favourite track is actually "Woman of Flame", where the band slows it down and lets the lead guitars charge to the front. Ultimately, however, every song on here is pretty devastating. One look at the song titles will instantly bring each chorus to your head, and that's always a great thing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ToZw_6FMRN4

27. Overcharge - Accelerate (Italy, speed metal)



This album comes courtesy of the best new label around: Unspeakable Axe Records, which is a sub-label of Dark Descent. Surprisingly, however, it is one of just two appearances from that label on this list. Overcharge is exactly what they sound like: a combination of Overkill, Motorhead, and Discharge. It's fast, punky rock and roll with some venomous vocal. Solos are both plentiful and in extremely great taste. While the album is a bit simplistic, that is its charm.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLCGUSd1wzU

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Originally Posted by kalfitegrdan View Post
Man, I can not wait to see Skull Fist next month.
You're going to have a great time. Enjoy!
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Old 12-13-2014, 05:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Spiner202 View Post
27. Overcharge - Accelerate (Italy, speed metal)



This album comes courtesy of the best new label around: Unspeakable Axe Records, which is a sub-label of Dark Descent. Surprisingly, however, it is one of just two appearances from that label on this list. Overcharge is exactly what they sound like: a combination of Overkill, Motorhead, and Discharge. It's fast, punky rock and roll with some venomous vocal. Solos are both plentiful and in extremely great taste. While the album is a bit simplistic, that is its charm.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLCGUSd1wzU
The Overkill, Motörhead, and Discharge comparison got me excited so I clicked the link. Immediately I felt let down though. While they might play a style that is reminiscent of those bands in their early years, they lack all of the emotion and energy that was put into those classic albums. The pristine production sucks out all of the aggression that the riffs and vocals try to evoke.
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Old 12-13-2014, 05:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Spiner202 View Post
  • Destruction - Destruction is one of those bands that's a mixed bag live. When they play their old material, it absolutely rips and few other bands can compete with their show. When the new stuff is played, it's ok, but it's more of a break for your neck so you can get ready for the next old song. This set was heavier on new material than the first time I saw them, but it was still great.
I feel the same way about them live. When they play those old songs I can't stop headbanging, but then when they go through the more recent material I can't help but stand there with my arms crossed. Even Schmier has said that the first two albums are his favorites, so I don't get why they wouldn't at least alternate songs from that era more frequently. The Ritual needs to played (in its entirety) one day.
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Old 12-13-2014, 05:47 AM
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Originally Posted by treghet View Post
The Overkill, Motörhead, and Discharge comparison got me excited so I clicked the link. Immediately I felt let down though. While they might play a style that is reminiscent of those bands in their early years, they lack all of the emotion and energy that was put into those classic albums. The pristine production sucks out all of the aggression that the riffs and vocals try to evoke.
That's totally fair. Let's be honest here, not many bands are matching the classics. This is just something trying to play that style, which I do think is not as represented amongst the modern metal scene compared to other styles.

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Originally Posted by treghet View Post
I feel the same way about them live. When they play those old songs I can't stop headbanging, but then when they go through the more recent material I can't help but stand there with my arms crossed. Even Schmier has said that the first two albums are his favorites, so I don't get why they wouldn't at least alternate songs from that era more frequently. The Ritual needs to played (in its entirety) one day.
Haha exactly! The only new song that I can headbang to just as easily is "Nailed To The Cross". Other than that, I just wait for the next song (and I say that as someone who owns all the new Destruction albums and enjoys them).

The tour that they did of North America in 2012 was almost entirely old-school. That was definitely one of the best performances I've ever seen: http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/destru...-5bce7b50.html
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Old 12-13-2014, 06:08 AM
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Haha exactly! The only new song that I can headbang to just as easily is "Nailed To The Cross". Other than that, I just wait for the next song (and I say that as someone who owns all the new Destruction albums and enjoys them).

The tour that they did of North America in 2012 was almost entirely old-school. That was definitely one of the best performances I've ever seen: http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/destru...-5bce7b50.html
Did they really play that entire set? They always put a few extra songs on the setlist that they pick from during the show. I'd be pretty jealous if they did Devil's Soldiers, Antichrist, AND Tormentor at your date. All three of those were cut when they played in Hollywood.
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