Last night was the Heavy Metal concert that was held by wrestler Chris Jericho and his band Fozzy. The event was a blast in terms of the Traditional sound that it offered up but now that it was over, it was time to get a little grittier and see what was brewing down at the Scandinavia House. It was there that a seminar on Norwegian Black Metal would be held and its official title was “A Blaze In The Northern Sky: Norwegian Black Metal & The Culture That Spawned It”. The affair would be moderated and in a sense hosted by Patrizia Mazzuoccolo; a music journalist and as I understand a sometimes radio host for this type of material.
Since starting up the website we have tried our best to maintain an annual list of what we felt was the most stand out of music releases, videos and live concert events. It’s generally a daunting task since being a reviewer of these wide scoping mediums you really have to keep it maintained as the year progresses along. This year the task would be much more involved and intense because it was also the end of the decade and closed out on a very amazing number of years in the Metal realm. Initially I had added the previous ten years views at the end of the “Best Of 2009” thoughts but realized that this was better presented as a standalone piece. That would allow me to keep it as something special of its own and allow for easier digestion and research into the picks. Having been to a lot of shows and listened to a lot of music that was submitted in addition to that which was purchased I did my best at giving a tip of the hat to some of the things that we could recall as being of significant importance on the Metal and Hard Rock scene over the last ten years. I’m going to break this up into two parts and start with the music and videos. I hope you enjoy it.
PiercingMetal.com’s Top 10 CD Releases Of The Decade: 2000-2009:
Are you kidding me? You actually expect me to define only ten releases for an entire decade when the last five years of my life have been spent reviewing music…..do you people realize just how many albums that comes out to when you add it all up? OK, so even though I am closing in on 1000 actual CD reviews for the website, I will give a quick nod to ten of the albums that I found very appealing to my Metal and Hard Rock ears. You know what, since this is a big occasion and only happens once every ten years I will give you even more than CD preferences and add to the mix some of the DVD’s that I found to be noteworthy and make this whole thing a little more worth reading. Please understand that we did NOT offer up a top to bottom ranking on this list and just wanted you to be aware of some of our favorite releases from the decade that spanned from 2000-2009. Enjoy.
Kamelot “Ghost Opera” (SPV Records): The mighty Kamelot followed up their astounding “Black Halo” CD with this album and while they had already snared me with that release, this one signed the paperwork in blood.
KISS “Alive” Boxed Set (Universal Music): You’re probably screaming at me for including a CD boxed set that compiles all three existing KISS “Alive” recordings and offers up a long missing fourth one and if you are too bad about you. I found these albums inspirational, well at least the first two, and to find all of it put in one handy place with a superb booklet I could find no fault in this and it truly was one of my favorite items over the past ten years.
The 69 Eyes “Devils” (EMI Music): For me this ranks as one of the Decade’s best because it was an album that opened the band up to an entirely new fan base since it was the first of the bands catalog to be available in this part of the world. It would be followed by the full back catalogue but without this one they still might have been a best kept musical secret from Finland. My own first go at the band came via “Blessed Be” and the track “Brandon Lee”, so while a few years late to the party still a fan since that time.
Unexpect “In A Flesh Aquarium” (The End Records): This band defies description more than it does not and shows just how much room there is in modern Metal music. Take Progressive, Black Metal, Jazz and blend it up for this tasty musical cocktail. Diversity thy name is Unexpect.
Metallica “Death Magnetic” (Warner Music Group): Love it or not based on the “production” that some experts are lambasting, this was the album that showed us all that Metallica could still kick our ass with a Metal album. Now Rock and Roll Hall of Famers and MTV Icons, they chose to no longer take the role for granted and pummeled us.
Nightwish “Wishmaster” (Century Media Records): This 2001 release would be the album for the band that would somehow spark my own interest in reviewing albums and concerts so how could it not be on my list of best of the decade.
Porcupine Tree “Fear Of A Blank Planet” (Atlantic Records): Really just an incredible album and one that broke a lot of new fans for the work. Congratulations Mr. Wilson.
Hello again, we are back with the rest of the years “Best Of” for 2008. In an earlier installment I posted all of the albums that blew me away and now its time to showcase the videos and concerts along with a few other quick items. Please take a look down below and get ready to share your own favorites with us.
The Best DVD’s of 2008:
Various Artists “Roadrunner United” (Roadrunner Records): Filmed concert with Heavy Metal’s finest celebrating the record labels 25th anniversary. Lots of fun stuff here.
Opeth “The Roundhouse Tapes” (Peaceville Records): Filmed during the “Ghost Reveries” tour and a follow up to the CD released last year.
Twisted Sister “Live At The Astoria” (Demolition Records): The SMF’s from NYC remind London and the world about why they are a Metal super power to this very day.
Within Temptation “Black Symphony” (Roadrunner Records): A stunning live concert performance that pairs the Dutch sensations with a full orchestra. This is an amazing show. Audio CD included.
Iron Maiden “Live After Death” (Universal Music): Never before on DVD this classic Iron Maiden show from the “Powerslave” tour, this release was loaded with extras and is listed as required Metal.
Lamb Of God “Walk With Me In Hell” (Epic Records): This documentary took the viewer on a three year trek with the band and was insightful, entertaining and sometimes jarring in its honesty. Great job guys.
Dimmu Borgir “The Invaluable Darkness Tour” (Nuclear Blast Records): The giants of Norwegian Black Metal have their tour captured on DVD for more to enjoy. A great set with a ton of features.
Artist: Peter Beste Location: Steven Kasher Gallery (New York, NY) Event: “True Norwegian Black Metal” Book Debut & Gallery Exhibit Date: 5/9/2008 Publisher: Vice Books
Acclaimed documentary photographer Peter Beste has reason to celebrate for not only has he captured the images of some of Black Metal’s most imposing players, but he is also getting ready to unleash a book that compiles his best work on this subject for all the fans to enjoy. Titled “True Norwegian Black Metal”, the book is loaded with photographs and images that will take you on a journey into the darkest recesses of the Black Metal genre with Peter and the often notorious members of these bands at your side. To say that this tome is massive would be an understatement as this is a HUGE coffee table sized book which is about sixteen or so inches long and almost two inches thick. Some of the bands that we find featured in its pages are Carpathian Forest, Darthrone, Mayhem, Enslaved and perhaps the most threatening of them all – Gorgoroth. Tonight, at the Steven Kasher Gallery in NYC, Beste would be presenting the book as well as some thirty or so photographs that were available for purchase if you had the desire to take a piece of the book home with you. It was an incredibly cool and windy night, with an almost torrential rain coming down that offered only the gallery as safe haven to those Metal travelers who made their way down to the opening tonight. Of course, I am not sure just how safe any haven is when you have the cold visage of Gorgoroth’s Gaahl and King staring right at you. The band members were here in photograph only and I think that this was a good thing since there is probably just a little more intensity to them in real life that we are best left to only imagine via the help of the photos in the book. We find the bands not only in their natural environments on the stage but also during photo shoots in their towns or among nature. There are even some images from the town where the singer Gaahl has lived all of his life that were shot during a film I will speak on a little later. Think of the most remote place you can and these spots will outdo it immediately. It’s really incredible to also see shots from the infamous Gorgoroth show in Krakow, Poland very prominently displayed. The show became an international incident, but will finally see the light of day care of Metal Mind Productions and MVD Entertainment. Continue reading PiercingMetal Attends Peter Beste’s “True Norwegian Black Metal” Book Event→
Artist: Gorgoroth Title: “Under The Sign Of Hell” (remaster) Label: Regain Records Release Date: 10/23/2007 Genre: Black Metal Rating: 3.5/5
Our downward spiral into the depths of Hell with Norway’s Gorgoroth continues on the bands third full-length release and while it’s only a thirty minute trek, the listener clearly gets the blasphemous point at a number of turns without any question. The album comes care of Regain Records and has been remastered at The Cutting Room like the others in this recent offering and as result has a little more sonic clarity than the original release offered you. The music follows the bloody path forged by the group’s previous releases of “Anti Christ” and “Pentagram” and once again finds guitarist Infernus at the helm of perhaps their most mature effort to that date in their career. The original release came to be in 1997 and with it the duties in regards to drums and vocals were different from the previous recording. “Under The Sign Of Hell” finds Pest as the vocalist replacing Hat, but as history would note this would be his only recorded appearance with the band. The casual listener will find the this change indistinguishable as each of these musicians rant and scream in similar fashion as if possessed by the very subject matter that they are singing about. The drums would present us with Grim and he does a great job on the necessary thunder that makes Black Metal music so ferocious in its percussion side. Sadly, the drummer would commit suicide by overdosing on drugs not long after this recording. The material here is cold as the Northern winds and brings you to bleak surroundings that offer you little solace or peace of mind and of the nine songs we get I felt that tracks like “The Rite Of Eternal Invocation” and “Funeral Procession” were among the best examples of this. “Blood Stains The Circle” was also a favorite and there is a touch of Viking Metal in “Brofetens Upenbaring” and through it all you are reminded again and again that Infernus and whomever he has working under the Gorgoroth banner means serious business. Continue reading “Under The Sign Of Hell” (remaster) by Gorgoroth→