Artist: Various Artists
Written By: Ken Pierce (copyright 2010) for PiercingMetal.com
I don’t think anyone is going to argue about 2009 going by like a train without brakes and yet here we are at the part of the year where I line out that which I thought was the “best” from a number of different mediums. We’ve been doing this list now since the site began offering up reviews of the various CD, DVD, and Book releases along with Concert event happenings and so we continue the process to document how we felt 2009 stood out against the years before it. We’ll keep away from the site self-examination as that will all presented in our 2009 Editorial for those who are interested and instead shall leave it to the products and events that left a lasting mark on our Metal psyche. Fans of the genre and the site should be aware that there might be certain things left out of these sections which you might have expected us to like or have seen on other lists somewhere. Its important to know that if this is the case that does not mean that it was not amazing in our own eyes but means that we were most likely not submitted anything for the purpose of review and based on the submissions we did get, we did not have much time to do so on our own devices. That which did reach the armored halls of PiercingMetal.com Headquarters were put on the consideration pile for the crème de la crème and here is how our list ran this year. It’s a lot to sink your teeth into so take your time.
The Best CD’s of 2009:
Mastodon “Crack The Skye” (Sire Records): Mastodon continually push their own musical envelope and this release finds them more a Progressive Psychedelic Rock outfit than a Metal band and the band’s following didn’t mind a bit based on the incredible music that was to be found on this one.
Epica “The Classical Conspiracy” (Nuclear Blast Records): Their 2nd effort for NB is this incredible concert experience that finds the band presenting mostly film score classics and then their greatest numbers with a full orchestra accompanying them. A wonderful experience and one that will impress the most difficult of fans – my hope is that this comes out on DVD sometime soon.
Heaven And Hell “The Devil You Know” (Rhino Entertainment): The most anticipated release for the first half of the year would be this new “Sabbath” album and it did not disappoint at all. Nice and heavy and loaded from beginning to end with solid Metal memories. Hoping this lineup hangs around a lot longer before pursuing other projects.
KISS “Sonic Boom” (KISS Records): Whether you support the fact that a couple of new faces wear familiar makeup or not, the band released a strong album and offered a great batch of extras with it to boot. The Wal-Mart exclusive nature of it made it a best seller that was actually a lot of fun.
The 69 Eyes “Back In Blood” (The End Records): Thanks to producer Matt Hyde The 69 Eyes were indeed back to raw Goth Hard Rock basics and moving on from the glitz they were steadily approaching. Lots of catchy stuff on this one and let’s hope this direction maintains course.
Steel Panther “Feel The Steel” (Universal Republic): Eighties Metal gets a 2009 Cryogenic Defrosting as this bawdy and outrageous foursome return from hiatus with their long-awaited release. If you like songs about sex, sex and just a little bit of sex then this is the album for you.
Stratovarius “Polaris” (Armoury Records): Kotipelto and Company prove that there is life in the band after Timo Tolki and release a rousing Melodic Power Metal CD with lots of cool hooks and catchy choruses. Add an amazing new guitar god to the mix and we find that no one is irreplaceable.
Baroness “The Blue Album” (Relapse Records): This would be my first go at the band but I liked what I heard enough to add them to the year’s top releases. Hoping to catch them do this stuff live one day soon. Interesting band and I can see where the buzz is coming from.
Dream Theatre “Black Clouds & Silver Linings” (Roadrunner Records): Prog-Metal champions keep us enthralled yet again. Make sure you snare the deluxe edition of this one for its cool additions to the conventional release.
Gwynbleidd “Nostalgia” (Black Currant Music): Well constructed and superbly executed Progressive Death Metal with a melodramatic and almost ethereal feel at times. These Brooklyn natives really delivered the goods on their full length and deserve a top spot. Nice work, and they do this music perfectly live as well. Trust me I would know as I’ve caught them a few times in concert. Are they the saviors of Melodramatic Prog-Death Metal? They very might well be.
Thin Lizzy “Still Dangerous” (Eagle Records): A classic live concert performance from one of the most influential bands in Hard Rock history. Even those guilty of knowing only two or three key tracks will enjoy this one.
Amberian Dawn “Clouds Of Northland Thunder” (Ascendence Records): If you are locked into the whole Symphonic Metal ala Female Fronted Metal bands then here is another worthy contender. Thanks to singer Heidi Parviainen, who does a wonderful job and might be the next Goddess for the genre.
The Black Crowes “Warpaint Live” (Eagle Records): It's not easy to deliver one's entire new album in the live sense and then close out with odd selections but The Black Crowes did it and the whole CD rocks. There is a companion DVD which can be purchased for those interested. Loved the CD, but I say go with the film since that's cooler when it comes down to it.
The Answer “Everyday Demons” (The End Records): Blues Rockers gave us a great full length CD after their impressing EP. If you love stuff that comes with lots of Soul then The Answer is simple.
Secrets Of The Moon “Priveligium” (Prophecy Productions): A lot of interesting stuff was going on with this Black Metal band from Germany and it made their CD a rather unique one. For fans of Black Metal that is willing to defy convention.
Delain “April Rain” (Sensory Records): Proving that Nightwish is not the only power packed female fronted Metal band around. This is great stuff and a must for fans of the genre.
Between The Buried And Me “The Great Misdirect” (Victory Records): Possibly one of the most important Progressive Metal bands of our time, these guys knock it out of the park with their follow up to “Colors”. I should have expected as much.
Lamb Of God “Wrath” (Epic Records): It took me longer to appreciate this one than I found happening with “Sacrament” but once it took it worked exceedingly well. Leaders in the field without question.
Katatonia “Night Is The New Day” (Peaceville Records): We wondered if “The Great Cold Distance” could be properly followed up and “NITND” answers us with a “yes”. Drama, atmosphere and presence are all over this release.
Ace Frehley “Anomaly” (Bronx Born Records): We’ve waited almost as long for Ace’s new CD as we did for Guns ‘N Roses and I’m proud to say that the former Spaceman’s music was well worth it. Lots of great riffs and hooks and song composition. In some sense better than the new KISS depending on whom you ask this question. Without question a must have for its music and outrageous packaging surprise.
Alice In Chains “Black Gives Way To Blue” (Virgin Records): While Layne Staley will be forever missed, the band successfully picks up the pieces and delivers a crushing piece of music that reminds us why they were one of the most important of the bands dealt out during the Grunge Era.
Behemoth “Evangelion” (Metal Blade Records): Does any band do it like Behemoth does? I doubt it, and here is continued proof of their capabilities at destruction.
Kittie “In The Black” (E1 Entertainment): The girls show just how hard they can hit with this follow up to “Funeral For Yesterday” and I was impressed with their efforts on this very much.
Volbeat “Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood” (Megaforce Records): There was just something so different about the way this Belgium band did their Metal that made them so refreshing. A great and fun release.
Leaves Eyes “Njord” (Napalm Records): Always impressive and always a piece of music that takes you away to other lands. I welcomed this release and was proud to admit they had not lost their touch yet even with two new members in place.
Obscura “Cosmogenesis” (Relapse Records): Brutally technical and assaults the synapses with just how musically creative it ends up being. Me likey.
Chickenfoot “Chickenfoot” ( ): A super group where the branding of such a high rank actually applies. Yes, Sammy Hagar, Joe Satriani, Michael Anthony and Chad Smith set out to bring us all some Heavy Rock and they did so with passion. This was better than I ever expected it to be.
Marduk “Wormwood” (Regain Records): Prepare a place at the table for the master has returned and with “Wormwood” Marduk shows just how capable and important a band they are for the genre. No one trick pony here.
Saga “The Human Condition” (InsideOut Music): When your long time singer moves on do you call it a day or begin a new one? Saga proved that they could continue with the solid efforts on this new release. Kudos guys.
Satyricon “The Age Of Nero” (E1 Entertainment): Many felt this sounded like part two of “Now, Diabolical” including me in some areas, but no problem with that as a new vibe hits the Black Metal scene. Clearly Satyr is changing the way this music is perceived.
Machines Of Grace “Machines Of Grace” (Independent Artist): An interesting new band with two former Savatage members who together deliver a not too predictable Metal release.
Pestilence “Resurrection Macabre” (RED Distribution): The first release in 15 years by this band and what a return it was. Unrelenting, uncompromising, and lethal Metal medicine for the ills.
Tim Ripper Owens “Play My Game” (SPV Records): Judas Priest, Iced Earth, Yngwie Malmsteen, Beyond Fear….whew, quite the resume but still Tim has things to sing about and now we get the solo effort. Lots of guests on this piece of Metal coolness.
Immortal “All Shall Fall” (Nuclear Blast Records): The Dark Gods of the frozen wastelands are back and shall take no prisoners. Welcome back gentleman, we’ve been waiting for this one for awhile.
Nile “Those Whom The Gods Detest” (Nuclear Blast Records): This angry little title only briefs you on the massive sound delivered by Nile on their latest. Could this be the bands magnum opus, one might think so after hearing it a couple of times. That’s good for the genre all around.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra “Night Castle” (Lava Records): It’s finally here and offers fans of the Symphonic Hard Rock orchestra a lot of cool treats. There are some covers and remakes on this one for the old Savatage crowd and a lot of new instrumentals and lyrical pieces that both amaze and inspire. Nice work.
The Smithereens “Tommy” (E1 Entertainment): Classic rockers re-do most of the amazing Rock Opera by The Who. Their renditions were solid and worthy of praise. Cool.
The Gathering “The West Pole” (Season Of Mist Records): Another band with some history and yet another new lead singer. Did it work out, well, yes it did indeed.
Chimaira “The Infection” (Ferret Music): Brutal, powerful and very, very heavy. This bands name breathes Metal and the music on this release is the proof in the pudding.
Them Crooked Vultures “Them Crooked Vultures” (Interscope Records): Another super group but this one features John Paul Jones…….JOHN PAUL JONES!!!!! Awesome stuffs.
Shadow’s Fall “Retribution” (Shadows Fall Records): Solid effort from these original leaders in the Nu-Metal field.
The Last Vegas “Whatever Gets You Off” (Eleven Seven Music): Really enjoyed the Trash/Sleaze Rock of these winners of the Guitar Player contest. I sense good and big things a coming for these boys.
White Wizzard “High Speed GTO” (Earache Records): Kicking it Old School never sounded so good.
Guilt Machine “On This Perfect Day” (Red Distribution): This was the new project for Arjen Lucassen’s (Ayreon) and what a superb difference it brought to the table. Not what people were expecting him to do or sound like.
Rob Halford “Winter Songs” (Metal God Entertainment): I originally chuckled at the premise of a Halford Christmas CD but then again Twisted Sister’s worked out like gangbusters and I soon learned that the Metal God could give us some solid holiday jams.
REO Speedwagon “Not So Silent Night” ( ): While on the topic of holiday albums I had to say that the REO Speedwagon effort was also commendable. A lot more straight forward than the others who came out before it, but that’s ok sometimes. Good stuff to be found on this one.
Blackguard “Profugis Mortis” (Sumerian Records): I was told to listen to this band and I did and loved it. Very energetic and very powerful. Also deliver this vibe in the live sense, perhaps they are one of the newest rising stars for the Pagan Metal genre.
Ensiferum “From Afar” (Candlelight Records): Sharpen your swords and prepare your shield for it is time to ride into glorious battle with Ensiferum at your side. I could not think of a better defense.
Lillian Axe “Sad Day On Planet Earth” (Blistering Records): A solid piece of Melodic Hard Rock on this one. Plenty of hooks and catchy stuff. Now seems to be the best time to pay a little more attention to this band.
November’s Doom “Into Night’s Requiem Eternal” (The End Records): Crushing Doom pure and simple. Very well done and something all fans of the genre will appreciate.
W.A.S.P. “Babylon” (Demolition Records): Back for the attack, Metal Nastiness care of Blackie Lawless & Company.
Isis “Wavering Radiant” (Ipecac Recordings): One of those bands that need a couple of listens before it hits you and this is a great addition to the bands body of work.
Chthonic “The Mirror Of Retribution” (Spinefarm Records): Socio-Politically relevant, the band Chthonic presents their countries legends and history into crushing Black Metal. Nicely done on track after track so a winner from beginning to end for me.
Slayer “World Painted Blood” (American Records): Slayer showed good form on “Christ Illusion” a couple of years ago but many felt it was not what they wanted the band to deliver. Thankfully in 2009 they gave us “WPB” which was outstanding and much closer to the mark that we had held them to. A quick-paced album at just about 35 minutes but still was the equation of “uncompromising brutality * (ferocity/resolve) = Slayer. Students of the genre do well to study this one.
The Best CD Re-Issues of 2009:
A lot of cool releases got the once over this year and came out on special edition or deluxe versions that offered up a lot of cool extras. Here are some of the ones that we enjoyed the most.
Various Artists “The Woodstock Experience” (Epic Legacy): Celebrating 40 Years since the Woodstock Festival, this music year of 2009 had a lot of goings on relating to the concert and the artists that brought it to life four decades ago. Five special edition recordings were released for Santana, Jefferson Airplane, Johnny Winter, Sly Stone and Janis Joplin. The albums released where the artists release from the time of Woodstock’s event and the bands complete performance from the Festival. That was super cool and they came in beautiful packages to boot. If you are a classic rock fan then you need to investigate these right away.
Whitesnake “Slide It In” (Universal Music): The 25th Anniversary release of this album was a great re-issue and also touched a spot in my Metal heart as the first time I enjoyed Whitesnake. They also re-issued “Slip Of The Tongue” but that was never a favorite of mine.
Twisted Sister “Stay Hungry” (Rhino Entertainment): Celebrating the 25th anniversary of an album that was a juggernaut in its time and propelled Metal music onto the regular airwaves a lot more. A full second CD of bonus tracks, demo versions and other fun stuff are included in this “must have” edition. Are you an SMF? I know you are and so am I.
King Diamond “Voodoo”, “The Spider’s Lullabye”, “House Of God”, “Graveyard” (Metal Blade Records): Metal Blade Records re-presented their earliest King Diamond releases which were given the once over by longtime guitarist Andy LaRoque. They sound great but I did not enjoy the need to go online for the additional content.
Motorhead “Ace Of Spades”, “Bomber”, “Overkill” & More (Universal Music): Universal Music re-released the not too long ago remastered Motorhead classics and now more people can get their hands on them. Subtle differences in the packaging but none of the contents make them worthy of the price.
Def Leppard “Pyromania” (Universal Music): Although I used my friends copy as my judge and am still needing one of my own I was super juiced to have this album finally get a remastering. It remains one of my very favorite pieces of vinyl for those who remember that stuff. Oh wait, it’s trendy again so you folks know what I am talking about.
Pearl Jam “Ten” Deluxe Edition (Epic Legacy): An amazing treatment for one of the most important albums ever if you asked me. Bonus tracks, a live DVD and more accompanied this must have version of the classic recording.
Blackfield “Live In NYC” (Kscope Records): I’m not sure if this is actually a re-issue, but since it’s the excellent concert film now with a bonus audio CD perhaps it is. Either way something that should be looked into.
Anthrax “Among The Living” (Universal Music): While not my own preferred favorite in the Anthrax catalog this release sure did the band justice. Its remaster offers up some extra tunes and a bonus DVD of their concert film “Oedivnekufesin” which has been long, long out of print.
Halford “Resurrection” & “Live Insurrection” (Metal God Entertainment): The Metal God delivers his first two Halford band releases by remastering the debut and then doing the same with the live album that supported its tour. Expanded art and some bonus tracks. Killer.
The Beatles “Stereo Boxed Set” & “Mono Boxed Set” (Capitol Records): Buy the boxed set or buy some or all of these individually but make sure you add some Beatles to your music collections if you have not yet done so already. Their sound was one of the most influential of all times and modern Rock would not exist without all of their input.
The Best DVD’s of 2009:
DVD releases continued to impress and amaze as not only were new and exciting videos being released but also a number of cool historical archives had finally come to see the light of day. We reviewed quite a bit of them this year and still have a number of them to go but the list below focuses on some of our favorites which we made sure to line out first to be a part of this list.
Iron Maiden “Flight 666” (Universal Music): Maiden’s documentary about their “Somewhere Back In Time” World Tour that discussed how the band flew their own airplane to dozens of countries to deliver the Metal to the faithful believers has to be seen to be believed. Filmed by the famous Sam Dunn of “Headbanger’s Journey” fame.
Anvil: “The Story Of Anvil” (VH1 Classic Records): Anvil finally gets their due and some proper attention based on this fine documentary film by Sasha Gervasi.
Journey “Live In Manila” (Wal-Mart): If you didn’t get enough of Arnel Pineda when Journey delivered us “Generations” then wait till you get a load of him doing his thing in his home country, the Philippines. This show rocks and the crowd was going crazy for their countryman as he led this legendary band into the future.
Rick Wakeman “The Six Wives Of Henry XIII” (Eagle Vision): Former Yes keyboard wizard gets to fulfill a dream performance and we are members of the audience thanks to this special DVD release. A companion CD was also offered and this is a must for the legends fans.
ZZ Top “Double Down Live” (Eagle Vision): This DVD presented not one, but two performances from ZZ Top and while one comes from recently, it is the vintage show from 1980 that is the one to appreciate most. There isn’t a lot of footage of the band that’s been made public, so this was something that many classic rock and blues rock fans can appreciate quite a bit.
Various Artists “The Last Day's Of The Fillmore” (Rhino Entertainment): This film was fascinating for much more than its documenting of the closing days of The Fillmore West concert venue which was run by Bill Graham. I also appreciated its vivid depiction of old school office practices and how far we have come since this particular point in time. Fascinating when one thinks of it.
Renaissance “The Song Of Scheherazade” (MVD Entertainment): It wasn’t much visually based on the date of this archive but the fact that it captures the “key lineup” in this band’s history made it a fantastic part of music history.
Mayhem “Pure Fucking Mayhem” (Prophecy Productions): A really cool documentary that focuses on the beginnings of Mayhem and offers some insight on the bands formation by members of the band who were able to present such information.
Paul McCartney “Good Evening New York City” ( ): Sir Paul returns for the first time to the new Citi Field which was a few hundred yards away from the grounds on which Shea Stadium used to stand. The former Beatle performed an almost three hour set over the course of three nights and this is an amazing concert from beginning to end.
Various Artists “Woodstock: Three Days Of Peace and Music” (Warner Home Video): This iconic film got a remastering and a special edition release with some added performances and a better sound. This was the perfect way to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the historic festival.
The Best Concerts of 2009:
In looking back on it, I would have to say that 2009 was probably the biggest year that I ever had as a music writer and photographer based on not only how many cool concerts there were, but how many I was able to find myself taking part in for your eventual entertainment as readers of the site. I think that I caught something like 95 shows which is a new record for me and probably one that will be very difficult to beat, and yet I have been saying this for three years. Below are some of the events that I felt were the most exciting of them all.
“Paganfest USA – 2”: This time around the tour would feature Korpiklaani, Moonsorrow, Primordial, Blackguard and Swashbuckle and really be an impressive one. What made it exciting for me was the chance to see Korpiklaani, Moonsorrow and Primordial for the most part because none of these bands had ever done a proper tour in the USA. I found Blackguard to be a nice surprise as well.
Judas Priest & Whitesnake (Epic Records/SPV Records): Judas Priest would celebrate their 30th Anniversary of the “British Steel” albums while the Snake would be celebrating two incredible releases of their own. The show featured a solid set from both bands and was a gig that many would talk about for months. According to reports, Priest recorded one of the shows and plans for the video/audio to be released with a special edition of “British Steel”. Whitesnake in turn also released deluxe editions of both “Slide It In” and “Slip Of The Tongue” this year.
Marduk @ The Gramercy Theatre (Candlelight Records): After having missed the Blackenedfest a few months earlier, Marduk was on US Soil to crush the Metal legions. This was an intense show that delivered on all counts and impressed all those fans who had wanted to see them a few months earlier.
Saxon @ B.B. King Blues Club (SPV Records): Saxon had not done a proper US tour in some years and this NYC show would be one of two appearances and be done for a sold out room. The mood and the Metal were intense this evening and proved to many that the Old School glory of traditional Metal had not and will never subside.
Paul McCartney @ Citi Field: I was lucky to catch one of the three performances by Sir Paul McCartney who did a night of wonderful tunes. Lots of Beatles and lots of Wings, which is all classic stuff and still relevant to all fans of good ole Rock & Roll. A DVD/CD would be released of this historic visit.
The 69 Eyes @ Gramercy Theatre (The End Records): The Helsinki Vampires were “Back In Blood” supporting a new album that really delivered the goods and reminded their fans why they remain so special to them. It also featured the talents of Dommin and The Becoming. A very dark night in NYC to say the least.
Mayhem @ The Fillmore NY (Season Of Mist Records): This was called the Blackened Metal Fest and while it depressed some that Marduk was off the tour, the True Mayhem delivered a frightening and powerful set of Black Metal that focused on the bands influential years.
KISS @ Madison Square Garden (KISS Records): Love them or hate them, NYC and Madison Square Garden are nothing less than home for KISS and their show always pulls out all the stops. The rousing good time celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the “Alive” CD and found much of the set focused on that live classic. A lot of other different and more unexpected numbers were in place this time around which made it a great experience. I could have done without Buckcherry as they bored me with their set.
Emilie Autumn @ Highline Ballroom (The End Records): Emilie and her Bloody Crumpets perform a little bit burlesque and a little bit Broadway along with some high flying circus like activity. Hearing her material and enjoying it in this clubs atmosphere made it all work out. I’ll see her again under the proper conditions without question.
Joe Perry Project @ The Fillmore NY (Roman Records): Joe Perry was performing solo with his band but that night Steven Tyler showed up as a surprise to dispel the media rumors about his exciting Aerosmith and I was there to enjoy it. Need I say more? I think not.
Renaissance @ The Concert Hall (Independent Artist): Renaissance had returned to the lovers of Classical meets Art Progressive Rock and singer Annie Haslam reminded us why her voice and melodies were so special once again. The tour was short, but the memories many and I hope they do this again. Inspiring would be an understatement.
Opeth & Enslaved @ The Grand Ballroom (Roadrunner Records/Nuclear Blast Records): Opeth was around once more and this time with Enslaved. The terrific bill was at the very difficult Grand Ballroom part of the Manhattan Center which was a bad move in the eyes of many of their fans. Time-consuming to access and kept many people away, but the show was fantastic. Each band worked well together.
Nightwish @ Nokia Theatre Times Square (Roadrunner Records): As promised Nightwish did return to astound our Symphonic Metal senses and bring the over the top musical show they always deliver. This year they brought Volbeat along who were a fantastic addition to the festivities.
Gwynbleidd @ Ace Of Clubs (Black Currant Music): A rising star performing their entire release in a cool NYC venue made for a great night. “Nostalgia” in full was a great dose of power for those in attendance.
Stryper @ The Fillmore NY (Big 3 Records): Celebrating their 25th Anniversary, Stryper showed the streets of NYC that they have not lost an ounce of that black and gold luster yet.
Metallica @ Madison Square Garden (Warner Music Group): While I was only able to take photos of this show and not report on the full thing, I got to enjoy three tunes and witness a band that was in command of their role and their audience. It was great to see how far Metallica has climbed since I first heard them and the electricity in the air was physical. Maybe next time around the fates will find me being able to remain for the whole gig. We made the best use of our time just the same.
Foreigner @ Nokia Theatre Times Square (Rhino Entertainment): I can definitely attest to it feeling like the first time since it was actually my first time seeing this iconic band in concert. There is a completely new lineup, but the material sounds the same. I have not sung along at a concert this much ever before.
Michael Schenker Group @ Gramercy Theatre (MVD Audio): No one will argue with me when I say that the MSG tours to this part of the world have been fraught with drama and when the mad axe man finally did get himself and company to the Big Apple once again all were hoping for the best and no surprises. Lucky us there were plenty of surprises as the musician delivered one of the best shows he has done here in years. Welcome back Michael, please come again.
Tarja Turunen @ The Fillmore NY (Universal Music): Many Symphonic Metal fans screamed in outrage when Tarja was ousted from Nightwish so one expected a madhouse for her solo appearance in NYC. Sadly this would not be the case and to say many missed the boat on this one would not be enough. We attended of course and found the show wonderful and the singer at her best.
The Good Rats @ B.B. King Blues Club (Uncle Rat Records): The greatest band that many of you have never heard of before. An original lineup show that was loaded with cool Rock tunes. More people should listen to this band if they get the chance.
Soilwork @ Highline Ballroom (Nuclear Blast Records): A great return to the headlining stage was done with Soilwork who brought along label mates Darkane, the Melodic Doom of Swallow The Sun and the odd but solid choice of Warbringer for an exciting show.
Meshuggah @ The Fillmore NY (Nuclear Blast Records): The show was being filmed for a live DVD and featured Cynic as the opener. Great Metal all around and did you expect Meshuggah to compromise the principles otherwise?
The Answer @ Mercury Lounge (The End Records): Seeing a band that had just performed for tens of thousands play in a 100 plus capacity room was amazing. The snow was on the ground and the temperature freezing outside but in the venue it was smoldering hot.
Semi-Precious Weapons @ Highline Ballroom (Razor & Tie Entertainment): My first time ever seeing this band in action and wow I was sold. Classic Rock vibe with electrified fence energy and a front man who is second to none in his presentation.
GWAR @ The Fillmore NY (Metal Blade Records): The monsters were back and most certainly would attack in this nothing less than over the top show. At points I feared for my life and I am sure that GWAR would have it no other way. Yikes was my easiest response after this madness.
Trivium & Chimaira @ The Fillmore NY (Roadrunner Records): Trivium proved to be a band on top of their own game with this one, and Chimaira were an assault force. The show also featured Whitechapel and Dirge Within and everyone who attended got a free download of the Trivium set. Not a bad deal
Dethklok & Mastodon @ Hammerstein Ballroom (Williams Street Entertainment): The world's most infamous animated band had returned and was prepared to destroy their fans with the help of Mastodon and Converge. This was a wild night of cartoon fury.
Satyricon & Chthonic @ The Fillmore NY (E1 Entertainment): Yes it was great to have Satyricon back for the attack as a headliner act but when Chthonic from Taiwan were moved up to direct support the evening took a serious upgrade. I must admit I was as interested in them as I was in Satyr and look forward to more gigs from each of these Metal royals soon.
Steel Panther @ The Canal Room (Universal Republic): The “return” of these Rock Icons on April Fool’s Day in NYC was a hilarious blast. Bawdy Rock ‘N Roll that even found some classic covers being done by the band.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra @ Izod Center (Lava Records): The TSO just gets bigger and bigger each year and is always a highlight of my concert attending itinerary. This year the special guest was Joe Walsh who many remember from The Eagles. Lots of lights, lasers, smoke and fire. I really hope that they film a live DVD soon. It would be a million seller.
When you go to 95 shows you also see a cavalcade of opening acts and we did our best in our concert reports to document something about each of them as well. You can see many of these openers in our Gallery section on the site. So while we had a lot of fun at those shows highlighted above there are also several that merit an honorable mention like EdGuy, Doro Pesch, Vader, and Zebra along with many more. Check out the concert review section on the site to find which ones were your favorites should we have attended something that you were also a part of. We cannot stress the fact enough that the fans need to get out and support their bands because if they don’t, it will be much harder for them to return to rock us again in the future. Save your pennies so you can see something unique that might not come back all that soon. If sacrificing some extra coffee visits or video game stuff is necessary then do it so you can be a part of the action that so many of us are regularly enjoying. If you lack the cash which is always a possibility, try to follow those radio station, or online giveaways that let you take part in it. I know that they are out there but you need to be creative as well. See you at the venues.
Interesting Reads of 2009:
While the luxury of sitting down to a good book was not always an easy thing to do in 2009 based on the machine gun velocity of the concert happenings that we discussed above, there were a number of them which we enjoyed during the year and here are several that we recommend that you look into. Readers please pardon my strong KISS indulgence, but the band is one of my personal favorites and did find a number of tomes dedicated to their history and images. There was much more to read this year but we simply only had time for a choice few. The goal in 2010 is to read more, it helps the brain come out with writing a little bit easier by keeping it working.
“KISS Kompendium” by Various (Harper Collins Books): Finally collected in one place, a number of the comic book appearances of the masked men of Rock & Roll KISS. Since many of these comics are long out of print and that comic stores are not easy to come by its pretty cool to add this massive volume to your library.
“KISS – The Ultimate Fanzine Phenomenon” by Various (Phoenix Books): This astounding bit of journalism scours the world and delivers hundreds upon hundreds of covers of the various KISS fanzines throughout the decades. It’s cool to see just how loyal the bands fans are.
“Vintage KISS Photos” by Marc Scallatino (Self Published): Great images in a large volume taken by numerous photographers and many of them never seen before. Worth the price and something you will take your time looking at. My very first show ever which was a KISS one has some images in here so this book won me over easily.
“Metallica The Club Daze 1982-1984” by Bill Hale (ECW Press ): Wow, talk about cool images and this has them since we are speaking of Metallica during their infancy. Vintage is an understatement and this book presents one of Metal most legendary bands when they were hungrier than a starving shark.
“To Live Is to Die: The Life and Death of Metallica's Cliff Burton” by Joel McIver & Kirk Hammett (Jawbone Press): A honest look at the life and eventual death of one of Metal most important bass players.
“The Illustrated Collector’s Guide To Alice Cooper” by Dale Sherman (Collectors Guide Publishing): If you are an Alice Cooper fanatic, this book is a must have and if you are just one of those people who wants to see all the different collectibles available then feast your eyes on this one.
“The Road To Woodstock” by Michael Lang (Harper Collins Books): Who better to discuss the organization and premise behind the Woodstock Festival of 1969 than one of the key players himself. This comes straight from the mouth and memories of Michael Lang.
The Best Events Of 2009:
Every now and then we learn of a special event of some kind and are permitted to access it for the purposes of journalistic adventuring and the moment we get into place, we have you readers in mind and look to bring you inside the story with us as best as possible. There were a number of cool events that took place and you can read all about them on the website, but here are some of the favorites that we were lucky enough to take part in.
Anthrax performs at the Red Bull Snowscraper Event: Many Metal fans were at the Slipknot show at MSG that night but the hard core believers in the Thrash Metal way braved the absolutely brutal cold of the East River Park to watch Anthrax deliver three songs…….three!!! The snowboarding event ran past schedule and that meant the band would go on late and as result be cut off in the middle of their third song. When I say it was cold, I am speaking that it was below 0 Fahrenheit and I was numb for a day or so afterwards. This would be the only area appearance of the bands then new singer Dan Nelson who was kicked out not long after this show. I was glad to be there to document it even though I risked m health doing so. You’re welcome ?
“Vamp Collection” Launch with Semi-Precious Weapons @ Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Annex: This was a private part to launch Justin Tranter’s new jewelry line but since this cat is all about the Rock and Roll, he delivered a crushing but short set of music with his band Semi Precious Weapons. It took place in the now closed Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Annex in NYC and we were happy to bring a lot of this fun to you with our event coverage.
Ace Frehley & Company welcome The Hard Rock Café to new Yankees Stadium: I’ve never been the biggest sports fans and my friends can tell you this, but when Ace Frehley was announced as helping to open the new Yankee Stadium Hard Rock Café with a performance and guitar smashing then I knew I had to be there. It was an awesome morning to say the least. Scott Ian of Anthrax and Handsome Dick Manitoba were also present for the fun. Play Ball!!!
The 69 Eyes “Back In Blood” CD Listening Party: A listening party for a cool rock band like The 69 Eyes is awesome enough but I was fortunate to be able to wander around the shops of St. Mark’s Place with the guys as they selected new stage gear and etcetera. The new CD rocked as well and hence became a part of my year end best of list.
Woodstock – 40th Anniversary Gala @ Hard Rock Café (Warner Home Video): This was a rare treat and at first we documented all the folks on the green carpet but the musical fates that decree all things allowed us passage inside the soiree that celebrated the 40th Anniversary of the “Woodstock” festival and its documentary film. They showed scenes from the film on the big screen and also had live performances from many folks who were a part of the special day. It was an honor to mingle with such sorts and we hoped our narrative entertained any who happened to read it.
Twisted Sister/Stryper/Collective Soul and More help light the NYSE Holiday Tree: “Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree” would be the reason for gathering down in the cold outside of the NYSE on Broad and Wall Streets in NYC as members of Twisted Sister, Stryper, Collective Soul and the cast of Rock Of Ages all performed for the music loving holiday crowd. The cool event was like walking into a holiday television special and also featured music from Kate Voegele, David Nail and Billy Ray Cyrus. Talk about festive.
The Worst of It All in 2009:
It’s really difficult to sit down and quantify something as “the Worst” of anything because with review being a matter of opinion, there are always going to be those who totally disagree with what I have labeled as such and lambaste me with views of their own. To me that is always welcome as debate about the Metal scene only serves to foster it, and yet it should be made clear that with each and every dozen or so good releases we do come across that which we found painful to listen to, watch or attend in the live sense. Maybe it is more of a level of “disappointment” with it as it compares to something else the artist did as opposed to saying “wow this really sucks” but either way, these items do exist. Below are several items that we felt really let us down over the course of Metal Music Year 2009.
After Forever (Nuclear Blast Records) breaks up: After some fourteen years, the Symphonic Metal band decided to call it a day. Their latest release on Nuclear Blast was excellent and showed future promise but knowing how the industry finds many bands starving so I am guessing that having their entire back catalog held hostage by former label Transmission Records didn’t help matters much. With that label defunct, the owner refused all band attempts at reclaiming the releases and thereby making money from them. This sucked for all of their new and old fans so while we wish the band members a great success in whatever they choose to do going forward we also wish a big PiercingMetal “F**K You !!” to the folks who refused to release their music to them and were likely a core contributor to their disbanding.
To/Die/For breaks up: The Finnish Gothic Metal band decided to call it quits after citing a few years of bad luck in the bands eyes with promoters and just overall shitty individuals who caused their career numerous levels of grief. It’s a shame since the popularity of the genre and a solid tour as a support for a popular act probably could have had them reconsider and found them with a great audience. Of course setting stuff like this up is never easy and probably one of the catalysts for the disbanding. After I wrote all of this down as I was initially preparing this list the word came out that the band would continue along in some fashion. Good luck guys in whatever option you choose to go down just be careful of whom you deal with and when you announce breakups since that stuff spreads like wildfire.
Limp Bizkit Reunites: So do I need to even add anything more on this? I didn’t think so. Please move along folks there is nothing to see here.
No NYC Kamelot Show: Oh the humanity!!! I guess the guys were just too busy in Europe to pay us that usual visit that many of the stateside Melodic Power Metal fans have grown accustomed to. In a sense absence does truly make the heart grow fonder but please guys, don't keep the Big Apple waiting much longer, we always love seeing you do your thing in this territory.
SPV Records Files For Insolvency: When I began PiercingMetal.com SPV Records was one of the earliest supporters of the initiative and remained a strong ally in the realm until the day that the news of their insolvency hit the Internet. The cruel economics of the industry really stung with this one and we shall miss them quite a bit. We also wish all those whom we dealt with at the company the very best for continued success in the ever hectic business we choose to work in.
Attendance Drops at Numerous Shows: As a Photojournalist, I am always told about how lucky I am to gain attendance to any show in the Big Apple because of its being the biggest market for most of the artists who come to visit, and I sure agree that I am and yet, so are the bands that I choose to spend the time writing about. The downside of this year was the clear economics affecting a lot of the shows since many of them would be less than a ¼ full. I’ll not name any particular ones and leave that for your own discovery in the various reviews of shows for the year, but it was clear that either some bands should not have been headliners, or many should have compared notes and done these tours together. Too many shows in sequence and with so little cash to spread around with the mostly young crowds found them picking and choosing a lot more carefully this year. Let’s hope for the best in 2010 because these bands work so hard and deserve a good and supportive crowd at their shows.
Ozzy "fires" Zakk Wylde?: An interview with Classic Rock magazine and Osbourne found the singer discussing how he felt his material was beginning to sound like Black Label Society and how going forward he would be working with a new guitarist. The funny thing was that nobody told Zakk Wylde this, and he was under the impression that work on the new Ozzy material was to commence soon but the rumors were true - Zakk was out and he learned about it via the mass reports online. I've only been a casual BLS fan over the years, and lately Ozzy's stuff has bored me, so I felt that maybe a change was a good idea, but when a musician works with you for almost two decades you owe them a little more respect that to publicly oust him and leave him surprised. Right after this Zakk suffered some health stuff but he was on the mend and rocking by the time 2009 ended and I am sure he will be able to take BLS to new levels for their fans. Ozzy replaced Zakk with Firewind's Gus G. who is a sensational player and very visual in his performance style. I am sure that he will bring some new excitement into Ozzy's material and like the other Firewind fans out there am hoping that he will not turn his back on the band while working with Ozzy. It's just too good a band to see it left to rot like this. Surprising news indeed and was why we included it here in the "Worst" roster.
Metal Edge & Metal Maniacs Magazines Cease Publication: Two of the giant Metal magazines ended their run very early in 2009 and they will be missed. As a writer and photographer I was proud to be a part of both of them for a time with my creative work and as a Metal fan I will miss the way that they presented things to the fans of the genre. As many might remember, Edge focused on the Melodic and “Core” aspects of the scene while the Maniacs camp catered to all of those ravenous fans of the darker, heavier and more extreme avenues in the realm. The news hit many as a surprise but the IT guy in me agrees that print is slowing edging towards extinction and many of the gurus in my field find amazement that its day has not already come. Yet even that side of me feels there is a place for some print to remain relevant. The bummer for the magazines was that there was no final issue or goodbye like we found on television shows which would have been nice to say goodbye. Eventually a website was launched as the “New Metal Maniacs” but with so many other sites already dominating the scene and delivering this stuff on an almost daily basis I felt that this was a pointless move.
So that’s all folks, the year and the decade are over and we are onto 2010 already with a firm resolve to review a lot of albums, and to continue presenting relevant archive as much as possible. We know that there are people who will be left scratching their heads at some of our selections and screaming for blood at either some omissions or some inclusions when this makes the rounds and that is wonderful. A healthy debate makes for some cool Metal discussions. As we move closer and closer to the websites fifth anniversary we would love to hear what some of your own favorite CD, DVD and Concert Events were for the past year and of course for the past decade if you can easily recall them. Have an enjoyable 2010. Make the most of it for yourself and the bands and music that you enjoy.
Horns up!!! 2010 Here We Come!!!!
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