3. KISS – Monster
4. Van Halen – A Different Kind of Truth
5. Aerosmith – Songs from Another Dimension!
6. Adler – Back From The Dead
7. Mollo/Martin – The Third Cage
8. Hess – Living In Yesterday
9. Slash – Apocalyptic Love
10. Dokken – Broken Bones
11. Great White – Elation
12. Richie Sambora – Aftermath of the Lowdown
13. Jorn – Bring Heavy Rock to the Land
17. Crazy Lixx – Riot Avenue
18. Hinder – Welcome to the Freak Show
19. Million Dollar Reload – A Sinner’s Saint
20. The Morning After – Legacy
21. Heart – Fanatic
22. Accept – Stalingrad
Missed Them in 2012…
These are releases from 2012 that I’ve heard some songs from but I haven’t listened to the entire album yet. I wouldn’t have felt right trying to place them on the list without having heard the complete album. Look for reviews of these albums soon.
* Danko Jones – Rock and Roll is Black and Blue
* Black Country Communion – Afterglow
* L.A. Guns – Hollywood Forever (from what I’ve heard, this probably would’ve made my Top 10)
* Jettblack – Raining Rock
* The Last Vegas – Bad Decisions
* Ian Gillan & Tony Iommi: WhoCares
* Overkill – The Electric Age
* T & N – Slave to the Empire
* Lynch Mob – Sound Mountain Session EP
The “everything else” category.
1. Richard Marx – Christmas Spirit
2. Dio – The Very Beast of Dio, Vol. 2
3. Rod Stewart – Merry Christmas, Baby
4. John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John – This Christmas
5. TSO – Dreams of Fireflies (On a Christmas Night) EP
6. Dee Snider – Dee Does Broadway
7. Buckcherry – “Gluttony” [single]
8. Motley Crue – “Sex” [single]
9. Wildstreet – “Easy Does It” [single]
Most Anticipated in 2013
Judas Priest: Slated for sometime in 2013, this is easily the most anticipated album for me. I’m looking forward to and hoping Priest will deliver a classic sounding metal album and forget about overblown concept records. It’s just a shame KK Downing isn’t along for the ride but I think having some young blood in Priest might actually help push them to be heavier, harder and faster. The same thing happened when Scott Travis joined the band. I’d still love to see Downing come back at some point though. Why not have six members of Judas Priest?
Buckcherry – Confessions (Feb. 19): The lead single “Gluttony” has already been released and I’m really enjoying it. These guys do not disappoint.
My Darkest Days (fall): These guys have released two of my favorite albums from the last few years and are already writing for a follow up to last year’s Sick and Twisted Affair with a new studio album in the fall. I’m hoping the recent departure of guitarist Sal Costa wouldn’t delay the release.
Avenged Sevenfold: No timetable for a new album other than 2013. The band is supposedly going to begin recording this month.
Motley Crue: Another “sometime in 2013″ release. The question is — LP or EP? Vince Neil has mentioned it will be an EP and that’s more in line with what Tommy Lee has stated he’d like for the band to release from now on. Nikki Sixx has been referring to the next Crue release as an “album”, so I guess we’ll see. The single they released in the summer (“Sex”) was decent and seems to fit in with the modern rock turn Crue has taken since 2005.
Black Sabbath: Originally meant for 2012, all kinds of legal issues and drama have slowed this one down. Pretty stupid if they don’t end up pulling Bill Ward in but I’m interested just because I’m a fan of Iommi & Butler. In fact, bring back Ward and get rid of Ozzy and I’d feel even better about this reunion album. My preference is still for Iommi & Butler to form a new band with either Tony Martin (long shot), Jorn Lande, Ian Gillan or Glenn Hughes.
Megadeth: I dunno… Megadeth is one of my all-time favorite bands so I’m always interested but with each release I’m finding less and less to like. Yes, they are getting heavier and faster. Perhaps they are the heaviest and fastest they’ve ever been but Dave seems to be forsaking melody to do it. Seems like he’d rather go off on political rants and conspiracy theories than write memorable songs.
AC/DC: One of those bands that myself & radio have played out to the point where I’m kinda numb to them. But, Black Ice was far better than I ever imagined it could be so I’m definitely interested in new music. This past spring Malcolm Young said a new album would be out in a “year or two”. Here’s hoping it’ll be released in 2013.
Tom Keifer (spring) – I’m a big fan of Cinderella. People have been asking for a new Cinderella album for over 10 years now. I’m not sure why Tom would decide to a solo release instead but I’m not going to complain.
Deep Purple: Ian Gillan said they were planning a new release. Hopefully they follow through!
Anthrax: I think it was Joey Belladonna who stated in interview this past summer than they wanted to release something new in 2013.
Hardcore Superstar – C’mon Take On Me (March 1)
Black Veil Brides – Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones (January 8): I surprisingly enjoyed their last album. Looking forward to hearing whether they’ve kept the same sound or going even more glam/power metal than before.
Crashdiet – The Savage Playground (late January)
Bon Jovi – What About Now (March 26): I’m not a fan of the lead single, “Because We Can”. I actually haven’t been a fan of the last few albums either but I was optimistic because I liked all four new songs they released with the deluxe version of their latest greatest hits compilation. I can’t help but get excited when a new Bon Jovi album is coming out but I would not be surprised if this album was only good for a ballad or two.
Posted in Year End Awards
Tags: 2012, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Avenged Sevenfold, Black Sabbath, Bon Jovi, Buckcherry, Classic Metal, Classic Rock, Deep Purple, Dio, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Hinder, Judas Priest, KISS, Megadeth, Melodic Rock, Metal, Motley Crue, Music, My Darkest Days, Papa Roach, Richard Marx, Rick Springfield, Rock, Rod Stewart, Slash, Van Halen
2012 is shaping up to be another spectacular year for rock music. This is a year that is going to see releases from KISS, Judas Priest, Aerosmith, Van Halen and Black Sabbath. WHAT YEAR IS THIS ?!?
In no particular order, here’s what I’m definitely picking up in 2o12:
Accept – Stalingrad (April)
Accept really blew me away with Blood of the Nations. The band has proven there is life without Udo. In fact, I think many people would prefer the current line-up over the classic Accept roster at this point.
Crazy Lixx - Riot Avenue (April)
These solid modern glam-metallers are currently in the studio working on their 3rd album.
KISS - Monster (Spring)
Obviously, this is the album I’m looking forward to most. Sonic Boom was a triumphant return to the studio for these guys, now that the wheels are well-oiled, I think Monster has potential to be even better.
Sunstorm – Emotional Fire (February)
I missed out on the last Sunstorm despite good reviews. In the past year I’ve come to appreciate AOR/melodic rock more so I think I’m going to try out this Joe Lynn Turner-fronted side project when it’s released.
No date yet set by these sleaze rockers but they are supposedly in the writing process now. I’m guessing sometime in the Fall.
Black Sabbath (Fall/Winter)
Another highly anticipated album for me because I’m really curious what it’s going to sound like. I’m not a big Ozzy fan, either as a solo artist or in Sabbath. I’d much rather see Iommi w/ Geezer go on to new projects (Iommi needs to give Tony Martin another call) but I still will be pre-ordering this one. My expectations aren’t all that high though given who is singing. I feel like he and Sharon are going to bring everyone else down to his mediocre level. Still, it’s exciting to know that new Iommi riffs and solos are coming.
So much prima donna drama in this camp over the last 5 years or so but hopefully that’s gone long enough to give us a new album. Granted, I don’t really expect much from these guys in terms of, well… anything anymore. They’re kind of a joke at this point but with the legendary Jack Douglas back on as producer, I have no doubts that he’ll drag something out of them that’s better than the last studio album (2001′s Just Push Play).
Van Halen (February 7)
Geez, it was starting to look like the new Chinese Democracy, wasn’t it? No album title has been released yet but a release date has been and the first single will be released on January 10. Van Halen is another band that has become a joke over the years (despite the last tour getting rave reviews) but I have a good feeling about this album. The first album with Roth since 1984 and 1984! Rumored titles have been The Future and 2012 but I don’t think either will turn out to be true. Maybe IV though..?
The band hasn’t definitely said a new album is coming in 2012 but they’ve been working on new material for a while now and seem to be looking at 2012 for releasing it. It’s a different songwriting dynamic now though. Instead of Halford/Downing/Tipton, it’s just Halford/Tipton. By all accounts, new guitarist Richie Faulkner is carrying his weight in a live setting so I think the album is going to turn out quite good. I do think it’s time the band delivers a straight ahead metal album though. Angel of Retribution and Nostradamus were good but not excellent. The band really hasn’t given the world that kick-ass classic metal album that they should’ve already done since Halford has come back. They really need a Painkiller, Hell Bent for Leather or British Steel at this point and keep it simple.
Primal Fear - Unbreakable (late January)
I have heard this album. It’s good. Plan on reviewing it soon.
Mollo/Martin - The Third Cage (late January)
See above. It’s great to have a new album out with Tony Martin on vocals.
Maybe wishful thinking on my part but they were working on new material this past summer so hopefully something new will appear by next summer.
The Last Vegas - The Other Side
No date announced yet but they recently released the free digital Other Side E.P. so I’d imagine we’ll have the new album by the spring.
His first solo album was one of the best records from the last few years and this time, Myles Kennedy is singing all the songs. Everything is written, all that’s left to do is record the songs so I’m guessing spring for this one as well.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Romanov: What Kings Must Whisper
The second non-holiday from TSO, it was actually planned to be their first album way back in 1994 but they held on it while trying to get a Broadway musical out of it first. Night Castle was dark and cool while still keeping that trademark blend of metal, rock and classical music, I expect more of the same here.
With a deal in place with Frontiers Records for the new album, I’m expecting something special despite never being a huge Dokken fan. Lightning Strikes Again was good enough for me to be interested in a follow-up. The plan, as of this past November, was to have recording completed by February.
This album was actually delayed from this past year in favor of recording and releasing the excellent The Covering album of cover songs. According to Michael Sweet, two albums are in the works: the first will be an album of re-recordings (Why? Can we stop this trend, please?) followed by an album of all-new material written in the same heavy, edgy vein as “God” from The Covering.
M-Pire of Evil
M-Pire of Evil is the renamed Primevil which itself was the reunited late ’80s/early ’90s line-up of Venom that featured Tony “Demolition Man” Dolan on vocals/bass . I’m not well-versed on the comings and goings of the Venom roster but the “classic” line-up is split into two different bands right now. Conrad “Cronos” Lant is leading Venom with a few newer guys while the other two “classic” members (Jeff “Mantas” Dunn & Anthony “Abaddon” Bray) have hooked up again with Dolan for M-Pire of Evil.
They released an EP this past summer called The Creatures of the Black, which was pretty good and I liked the Prime Evil album (the only Venom release I’ve heard from this line-up) so I’m looking forward to a full length album. I couldn’t find anything resembling a release date but going by the band’s Facebook page, it should be soon because they’ve been teasing releasing the album cover.
Tooth And Nail (March)
The band that features 3/4 of the classic Dokken line-up. How does “Wild” Mick Brown still retain a position in Dokken while joining Tooth And Nail? Given Don Dokken’s reputation, you’d think he’d have been fired from Dokken by now. I mean, this band was named after a Dokken album and they’ve gloated over the fact that Don Dokken isn’t in the group (bassist Jeff Pilson will handle vocals). What’s weird is that on the band’s Facebook page, they list current Whitesnake drummer Brian Tichy as a member as well… I guess he’s there for the live shows in case Brown has to go off and play in Dokken?
I’m probably forgetting a few more albums but oh well!
Posted in Uncategorized
Tags: Accept, Aerosmith, AOR, Black Sabbath, Buckcherry, Classic Metal, Classic Rock, Classical Music, Crashdiet, Crazy Lixx, Dario Mollo, Dokken, Don Dokken, George Lynch, Glam Metal, Glam Rock, Hair Metal, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Joe Lynn Turner, Judas Priest, KISS, M-Pire of Evil, Melodic Hard Rock, Melodic Rock, Metal, Mollo/Martin, Music, NWOBHM, Pop Metal, Power Metal, Primal Fear, Progressive Metal, Progressive Rock, Rock, Slash, Sleaze Metal, Sleaze Rock, Stryper, Sunstorm, Tony Martin, Tooth And Nail, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, TSO, Van Halen
The world of metal was rocked (no pun intended) on Wednesday, April 20, 2011 when Judas Priest issued this statement:
It is with regret that Judas Priest announce that K.K. DOWNING has formally retired from the band and will therefore not be joining them on their forthcoming EPITAPH Tour.
The band respect his decision and naturally all wish him well.
There’s a more fleshed-out (and rather upbeat & casual) press release linked with that statement that basically states the band plans to continue on with the Epitaph world tour (for those that don’t know, it is being hyped as the band’s final major world tour) and also still has plans to record and release a new album next year. Oh yeah, and the replacement is 31-year-old Richie Faulkner from England. I had never heard of him before but his most noticeable credit is playing in Lauren Harris’ (the daughter of Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris) band.
The whole thing with Priest has been weird for a while. First, there was the vague announcement that they were retiring and that the 2011 Epitaph tour would be their farewell tour. Weeks later, they backtracked and said “No, this is just our last MAJOR world tour and we’re still going to make new music”.
Which is fine. I think most people realize these guys are 60-ish and deserve the break from the rigors of the road. They are legends and deserve to sit back and relax for the rest of their lives if that’s what they want.
But who exactly in the band wants that? Here is the press release issued by K.K. on April 21, 2011:
It is with much regret that I will not be with you this summer. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your concerns about my health. Please rest assured that I am O.K.
There has been an ongoing breakdown in working relationship between myself, elements of the band, and the band’s management for some time.
Therefore I have decided to step down rather than to tour with negative sentiments as I feel that this would be a deception to you, our cherished fans.
However I would urge you to please support the Priest as I have no doubt that it will be a show not to be missed.
All my love and respect,
For a while, it seemed like K.K. was the only one issuing updates on the Epitaph/recording plans, so you would think he was all for it. Perhaps Downing, and Downing alone, was the one pushing for a slower pace for Priest? Obviously, when K.K. mentions the band’s management there are some money factors at play. I’m guessing management (and perhaps the rest of Priest) have decided they want to continue full-steam ahead while K.K. is still wanting to operate at a slower pace. I think at some point all members were on board with some type of reduced schedule but money talks so it appears some members are more willing to keep up the pace than others. Perhaps this is similar situation to what Dream Theater recently went through.
Not that either side is wrong. No matter who wants to continue, who wants a reduced schedule or who wants it to all just be done — no one is really wrong. All of those options have their positive and negatives and while we certainly don’t know the full story (yet), I don’t begrudge Downing, Halford, Tipton or Hill for their choices in this matter.
I will continue to support Priest. Will it be the same band? Of course not. It’s going to be a different beast (especially when it comes to the new album) but I am not going to write them off. Who is to say the music still can’t be good? Priest isn’t just going to bring in any ol’ guy. The fact that they announced K.K.’s “retirement” from Priest and Richie’s joining in the same press release just means this is NOT something out of the blue and I know Richie had to have been carefully picked by Rob & Glenn. So in that regards, I think in a live setting the band will do just fine.
What I’m actually quite anxious to see is how the new album will turn out. The Halford/Tipton/Downing songwriting team has been responsible for some all-metal classics. Are we down to Halford/Tipton? Is Faulkner a hired gun like drummer Scott Travis or will Rob & Glenn let Richie flex some creative muscles? It will be very interesting either way and I hope K.K. will not wash his hands of music at this point. I would love to hear what he would offer up on a solo album.
Certainly, any way you slice it, this is very sad news. I’m hoping even if they have decided they cannot be business partners that the guys are still going to remain friends. You’d think even if Downing and the band had a difference of opinion on the future they could at least work through this final major tour but apparently not.
My feeling is that at some point Downing will be back. My fear is that it will be too late to really make a difference. These guys are not getting any younger and at this point in their lives they should be cherishing every moment they can have together as a band. For a veteran band, losing such a vital member this late in the game this can really set them back a ways. At least I was able to see the group in 2009.
Thank you, K.K., for all the decades of great music. I wish you the best.
Stryper – The Covering (2011, Big3 Records)
1. “Set Me Free” … 3:45
2. “Blackout” … 3:58
3. “Heaven and Hell” … 6:11
4. “Lights Out” … 3:44
5. “Carry On Wayward Son” … 5:16
6. “Highway Star” … 5:45
7. “Shout It Out Loud” … 3:15
8. “Over the Mountain” … 4:21
9. “The Trooper” … 3:53
10. “Breaking the Law” … 3:02
11. “On Fire” … 3:08
12. “Immigrant Song” … 2:18
13. “God” … 4:55
Michael Sweet – Lead Vocals, Guitar, Backing Vocals
Oz Fox – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Timothy Gaines – Bass, Backing Vocals
Robert Sweet – Drums
Charles Foley – Keyboards, Organ, Piano
Producer: Michael Sweet
And Stryper continues their trend for having AWFUL album covers. =P
Luckily, the album art is not a good indicator of the music itself because this is seriously one great album of covers! When I first heard it was going to be a cover album, I kind of rolled my eyes. That’s usually a sign that a band is slowing down and/or giving up on new material but then they started releasing all these samples and they sounded amazing. I guess the band has caught some flack from their Christian fanbase for having the gall to cover secular music and evil bands such as Judas Priest, Black Sabbath and KISS but whatever. Get over yourselves! Christian acts don’t need to be singing about God & Jesus in every single song. Just because you want to cover Van Halen and Scorpions it doesn’t mean you’ve turned your back on the Lord.
Anyway, what a great line-up of bands to cover! In order, they are: Sweet, Scorpions, Black Sabbath, UFO, Kansas, Deep Purple, KISS, Ozzy Osbourne, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Van Halen and Led Zeppelin. The only original song of the bunch is “God” which is a fantastic hard rocker that just doesn’t let up and gives me hope that maybe the band will put out an entirely new and original album later this year.
It was Murder By Pride that pulled me onto the Stryper bandwagon. That was a very good album. Sometimes a veteran act seems to be going through the motions even when they release new material but that wasn’t the case then and even though the band is covering songs here, they still sound energetic and on fire. ”God” gives me hope that maybe the band will put out an entirely new and original album later this year because they are on a roll.
The band stays pretty faithful to the source material only making slight alterations here and there but these are some killer covers. “Blackout” and “Lights Out” are pure fire and it’s interesting to hear Michael Sweet vocals on these songs. I think he’s got a unique singing style and it’s interesting hearing him find some middle ground between his own style and the styles in which these songs were originally sung.
One of the better cover albums I’ve heard. Essential pickup for 2011.
Highlights: “Set Me Free”, “Blackout”, “Lights Out”, “Shout It Out Loud”, “On Fire”, “God”
Halford – Made of Metal (2010, Metal God Records)
1. “Undisputed” … 5:17
2. “Fire and Ice” … 2:52
3. “Made of Metal” … 4:01
4. “Speed of Sound” … 4:32
5. “Like There’s No Tomorrow” … 4:20
6. “Till the Day I Die” … 3:50
7. “We Own the Night” … 3:54
8. “Heartless” … 3:38
9. “Hell Razor” … 3:44
10. “Thunder and Lightning” … 5:28
11. “Twenty Five Years” … 7:01
12. “Matador” … 5:39
13. “I Know We Stand a Chance” … 3:51
14. “The Mower” … 4:40
Rob Halford – Vocals
Roy Z – Guitar
Mike Chlasciak – Guitar
Mike Davis – Bass
Bobby Jarzombek – Drums
Producer: Roy Z
Ah, this is more like it! The Halford band was one of the best bands to come out of the last decade but a reunited Judas Priest put the group on hold for a long time (even though that didn’t stop Rob from remastering and reissuing the band’s three albums previous ad nauseum). A comeback was made last year in the form of the odd, yet enjoyable Winter Songs but now Halford is back with an album that sounds much more like Resurrection than Crucible and that’s okay by me. Crucible was a bit too angry and heavy to me and lacked hooks. Resurrection on the other hand was one of the my favorite albums from the last decade and Made of Metal (sometimes referred to as Halford IV: Made of Metal) is easily one of the top albums of 2010 in the very least.
I was really looking forward to this album but the album’s first single “The Mower” didn’t thrill me (though I didn’t hate it). Luckily, “Made of Metal” was put online, accompanied by a very cheesy NASCAR-inspired CGI video, and gave me much more optimism for this album. By the way, what’s up with the NASCAR stuff? Even in press releases for the album they would mention the unofficial NASCAR connection with the “Made of Metal” video. There’s no licensing deal that I’m aware of but it seems like like maybe Rob was fishing for one.
As I said earlier, the album isn’t as heavy as Crucible, much of it sounds like the commercial metal that you might’ve heard from Priest during the mid-’80s. “Speed Of Sound” and “We Own The Night” have an obvious commercial flair, “Undisputed” is a lyrically cheesy but still very catchy anthem and “Hell Razor” sounds like late ’70s/early ’80s Judas Priest. On the flip side, “The Mower” is an absolutely brutal metal number in which Halford’s vocals get downright nasty.
Then there’s “Till The Die I Day” which is a surprisingly bluesy outlaw of a rocker that reminds me of something Whitesnake would do and “Thunder and Lightning” has a bit of boogie I didn’t expect from Halford either while “Matador” appropriately has a south of the border feel to it. I really like the variety on this album. The album is similar in sound to Priest, Fight and previous Halford efforts while a song like “I Know We Stand A Chance” brings to mind H.I.M. and other similar sounding goth rock bands.
I knew this album had potential to be good but I also thought it could’ve been a train wreck. Luckily Rob and Roy Z have turned in one of the best albums of the year and Rob’s voice shows no signs of slowing down. A lot of reviews have bashed the lyrics but who cares? It’s good MUSIC! Great album.
Highlights: “Fire And Ice”, “Made Of Metal”, “Like There’s No Tomorrow”, “Till The Day I Die”, “We Own The Night”, “Twenty Five Years”, “I Know We Stand A Chance”
Judas Priest – Rocka Rolla (2000, Koch Records)
Original Release: 1974, Gull Records
1. “One for the Road” … 4:35
2. “Rocka Rolla” … 3:03
3. “Winter”/”Deep Freeze”/”Winter Retreat”/”Cheater” … 9:30
4. “Never Satisfied” … 4:50
5. “Run of the Mill” (8:34)
6. “Dying to Meet You” (6:19)
7. “Caviar and Meths” (2:03)
8. “Diamonds and Rust” (3:14)
Rob Halford – Vocals, Harmonica
K.K. Downing – Guitar
Glenn Tipton – Guitar, Synthesizers, Backing Vocals
Ian Hill – Bass
John Hinch – Drums
Producer: Rodger Bain
Very interesting debut album from Judas Priest that is predominantly a blues-based “heavy rock” release (I’ve grown to love that term when talking about ’70s hard rock/metal bands). I’ve read a lot of reviews stating this album is nothing special but I have to disagree. Is it essential Priest? No, I don’t think so but it is still enjoyable ’70s hard rock that at times come across like early Black Sabbath (Rodger Bain produced the first three Sabbath albums after all). Admittedly, it was a bit of a shock listening to this album for the first time because it’s just not what you expect from Priest, it’s just not as fast or heavy as their later stuff, but it has grown on me.
There’s more than enough here to make this worth a listen. “Rocka Rolla” is a great, fun, loose hard rock track, something I can’t imagine Judas Priest doing ever again. “Run of the Mill” is an epic progressive song, just an amazing performance by Rob, and “Dying to Meet You” is an enjoyable doomy track before picking up at the end.
“Rocka Rolla”, “Winter”, “Never Satisfied” and “Caviar and Meths” were all written or co-written by original singer At Atkins before he left the group. This version of “Caviar and Meths” is very much shortened from the original version the band had worked on.
My version of this album features the alternate cover that debuted on the mid-80s pressings of this album. The story goes that Coca-Cola and Priest were none too please with the original bottle cap cover and so reissues of this album got the much more heavy metal-looking cover above. I’ve always liked the original cover, even if it feels out of place for a band such as Judas Priest, and would have preferred to have found that version. Oh well. Priest apparently isn’t happy with the production either, that which I can agree with. Some of the songs have a bit of a hiss to them but it’s not too distracting.
Also, on original pressings of this album, I believe “Winter”, “Deep Freeze”, “Winter Retreat” and “Cheater” all had their own tracks. Not sure why they were thrown together on the same track for this edition. As a bonus track for this reissue, the band’s original recording of Joan Baez’s “Diamonds and Rust” (taken from the Sad Wings of Destiny sessions) included.
For people wanting a Priest recommendation, I wouldn’t name this album first but it’s definitely worth picking up if you’re a hardcore Priest fan and I probably like much more than most people do. It’s different but you can still hear the sound that would fully develop on later albums.
Highlights: “Rocka Rolla”, “Winter”/”Deep Freeze”/”Winter Retreat”/”Cheater”, “Never Satisfied”, “Run of the Mill”, “Diamonds and Rust”
Judas Priest – Sin After Sin [Remastered] (2001, Sony Music/Legacy Recordings)
Original Release: 1977, Columbia Records
1. “Sinner” … 6:45
2. “Diamonds and Rust” … 3:27
3. “Starbreaker” … 4:49
4. “Last Rose of Summer” … 5:38
5. “Let Us Prey/Call For The Priest” … 6:12
6. “Raw Deal” … 6:00
7. “Here Come the Tears” … 4:37
8. “Dissident Aggressor” … 3:06
9. “Race With The Devil” … 3:06
10. “Jawbreaker” (Live) … 4:02
Rob Halford – Vocals
K.K. Downing – Guitar
Glenn Tipton – Guitar, Piano
Ian Hill - Bass
Simon Phillips – Drums
Producer: Roger Glover and Judas Priest
Sin After Sin is Priest’s first major-label album. It is also one of the first Priest albums I had in my collection so I’ve always had a soft spot for it. I remember listening to this one a lot while I was on my own in Virginia attending a community college. Heck, I remember “Last Rose of Summer” playing in my car during that winter while I pulled into a Wendy’s drive-thru. Funny how the most random stuff sticks with you through the years, isn’t it?
By this point, the band was already starting to perfect their sound. “Sinner” and “Starbreaker” (what a cool title) are early Priest classics and I’ve always loved their cover of Joan Baez’s “Diamonds and Rust”. It wasn’t until many years later that I heard the original and I think it’s a pretty awful song. It’s amazing that Priest was able to work their magic with it. They totally made it their own.
The rest of the album is very good featuring Priest straddling the line between the early stages of heavy metal and what we would now call classic rock. The only stinker is “Last Rose of Summer”. Looking back at all the things the band has done since then, it just seems like a really weird song for them to record. They are no strangers to tossing a ballad or two our way even to this day, but this one is a very strange ’70s trippy number. “Here Come the Tears” is much more in line with the standard Priest ballad format but also features some great sorrowful wailing from Halford. I love his performance on this song. Then you’ve got fan favorite and early metal classic “Dissident Aggressor” which is pretty heavy even in this day and age, so I cannot even begin to imagine what this song must have sounded like to virgin ears!
All told, this is a classic release and essential for any fan of Priest and heavy metal in general. The seeds were being sown for the future and this album doesn’t get the recognition it deserves.
Highlights: “Sinner”, “Diamonds and Rust”, “Starbreaker”, “Here Come the Tears”, “Dissident Aggressor”
Judas Priest – Screaming for Vengeance (1982, Columbia Records)
1. “The Hellion” … 0:41
2. “Electric Eye” … 3:39
3. “Riding on the Wind” … 3:07
4. “Bloodstone” … 3:51
5. “(Take These) Chains” … 3:07
6. “Pain and Pleasure” … 4:17
7. “Screaming for Vengeance” … 4:43
8. “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’” … 5:09
9. “Fever” … 5:20
10. “Devil’s Child” … 4:48
Rob Halford – Vocals
K.K. Downing – Guitar
Glenn Tipton – Guitar
Ian Hill – Bass
Dave Holland – Drums
Producer: Tom Allom
This album was a great way to start my Judas Priest obsession. I bought it back in 1998 and I remember going up to Virginia to visit friends during winter break and making one of them play this in his car as we drove around town. Good times!
There were a number of tracks that I instantly fell in love with. The killer 1-2 combo of “The Hellion” and “Electric Eye” is legendary. “(Take These) Chains” I always thought was really good and pretty underrated. Priest is really good at writing haunting ballads. “Bloodstone” I think is another Priest gem. Of course, even years before this album I was familiar with “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’” (freakin’ Burger King feature it in a commercial at one point!).
The album is a great return to classic material after the unimpressive Point of Entry, but it sees the band caught in the middle of transition from ’70s heavy metal act to ’80s commercial metal act. With their next few releases, the band streamlined and glossed up their sound and kept looking for a mainstream hit.
As good as this album is and as popular as it is (going double platinum, Priest’s best-selling album), it jump-started an era of the band that some people do not like. Personally, I love their slick synthesizer-heavy albums of the ’80s.
Highlights: “The Hellion”, “Electric Eye”, “Riding on the Wind”, “Bloodstone”, “(Take These) Chains”, “Screaming for Vengeance”, “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’”
Welcome to 2010!
I’m going to start the year off with yet another list except I won’t be limiting myself to “Top 10″ or “Top 20″ or whatever. I’ll be going chronologically, year by year (I didn’t put the albums in any specific order though) and if I thought it was a really good album, I’ll list it regardless of whether one year has four albums listed and another year only has two.
Looking back, the whole decade was pretty good for this rock/metal fan. The scene suffered greatly during the ’90s, but by 2000, the genre was turning the corner and I think most people had grown tired of depressed drug addicts and angry no-talent white rappers playing rock music. The legends were laying low during the ’90s and the next decade was made up of many comebacks, but that’s not to discount many newer acts who stepped up and played a vital role in rock ‘n’ roll.
Posted in Year End Awards
Tags: 2000s, Alice Cooper, Anthrax, Avenged Sevenfold, Bon Jovi, Brides of Destruction, Butch Walker, Cold, Dio, Dream Evil, Edguy, Guns N' Roses, Halford, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Judas Priest, KISS, L.A. Guns, Lit, Marvelous 3, Megadeth, Metal, Music, Paul Stanley, Puddle of Mudd, Rock, Rock 'N' Roll, Scorpions, Sebastian Bach, Sentenced, Steel Panther, Tesla, The Union Underground
It was pretty tough for me to come up with a top ten for this year. There were so many good releases in 2009, but only a handful of them were special so I changed my mind quite a bit when coming up with this list. 2009 seemed to be the year of the “grower”. Meaning, many albums on this list (and many others that I liked that didn’t make this list), didn’t grab me at first but upon repeated listening, I started to appreciate them.
Overall, 2009 was another good year for rock and metal even if it wasn’t the star-studded affair that 2008 was (Crue, Metallica, AC/DC, GNR, Priest, Def Leppard, Alice Cooper… WOW!). Anyway, most veteran acts with new releases continued to deliver and newer acts stepped up to release quality music as well.