Thursday, December 21, 2006

#1 - The Prisoner - Iron Maiden - The Number of the Beast

This song literally has it all. It embodies everything that is great about Iron Maiden. Plus the Clive Burr drum intro caps it.

#2 - Orgasmatron - Motorhead - Orgasmatron

Motorhead, sounding extra evil is more than I can bear. This song blows me away every time.

#3 - Scared - Dangerous Toys - Dangerous Toys

I can never hear this one too much or too loud. Just a really really great song. Many will dismiss it as hair metal but this song is great. The rest of the album is OK too.

#4 - Burn the Sun - Ark - Burn the Sun

Why why why did Ark have to split up after this album. Both Ark albums are great, but this one is better. This song has it all, plus it is all sci-fi and stuff.

#5 - Phantom of the Opera (Live) - Iron Maiden - BBC Archives

This version comes from their Reading Festival appearence in 1982. The intro referring to "Aggressive Harris" is the icing on the cake. A kick ass version of a kick ass song.

#6 - Bleak - Opeth - Blackwater Park

If you will ever accept death metal vocals, this will be the song that hooks you. Sometimes I listen to this song and marvel at how good this band can be. I am very disappointed it was not on the Lamentations DVD.

#7 - The Coffin Ships - Primordial - The Gathering Wilderness

If you claim not to like this song, I will bet you have never heard it.

#8 - Six Strings to Cover Fear - Subterranean Masquerade - Suspended Animation Dreams

Can't wait for the follow up to this album. Tomer Pink is working on it, but he is taking his time.

If you have not heard this album, do yourself a favor and get it. It is the best album of the century so far.

#9 - Metropolis, Pt. 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper - Dream Theater - Images and Words

What a great song, what a great album. Some songs are so hard to describe, and this is one of them. If you have not heard this one in a while, put it on, and you will be speechless.

#10 - Fear of the Dark (Live) - Iron Maiden - Death on the Road

I could have picked almost any of the myriad of official live versions of this song, but I picked this one because Adrian is on it. I never realized how much I loved this song until I went to a Maiden show where they did not play it (Early Days Tour). Anyway it is a great song, and live it is explosive. The crowd reaction to it this past tour was overwhelming (though maybe for the wrong reasons!!)

#11 - Victim of Changes (Live) - Unleashed in the East - Judas Priest

The best song from the best live album ever. Once when asked what his favorite Priest track is, Glenn Tipton responded, "Victim of Changes, that's what its all about". I must agree.

#12 - Dante's Inferno (Live) - Iced Earth - Alive in Athens

Before the Ted McGinley of heavy metal, aka Ripper Owens, joined Iced Earth, they were a legitimate band, instead of the punch line they have become. Of course Jon Schaeffer is to blame as well, but I digress.

Anyway, there was no better metal band in the 1990's than Iced Earth. Who else can boast 5 strong studio albums that decade (maybe Running Wild or Motorhead)? Anyway, Iced Earth's shining moment is their epic Dante's Inferno, from their brilliant 3 CD live set Alive in Athens, which may be my favorite live album of all time, save Unleashed in the East.

#13 - Condition Red - Iron Savior - Condition Red

The title cut of the brilliant 2002 release.

#14 - Opium - Moonspell - Irreligious

Por isso eu tomo opio, ?um rem?io. Sou um convalescente do momento. Moro no r? do ch? do pensamento E ver passar a vida faz-me t?io

#15 - The Number of the Beast - Iron Maiden - The Number of the Beast

This was in VH-1's list at number 7. Perhaps it is overplayed live, but the original studio version is awesome.

#16 - Send Me a Sign - Gamma Ray - Powerplant

This is a fast paced song, full of energy. It is a good one to do the "Craig ride cymbal in the car bit" to.

#17 - See the Light Shining - Saxon - Wheels of Steel

This song was dedicated to Motorhead's Fase Eddie Clarke, though I am not sure why. Funny, I never really liked it when I was a kid. I guess it was buried on Side 2, and Side 1 was where the "hits" were, so I never got into it. Anyway, now I am older and wiser, and I can fully appreciate this awesome song.

#18 - Drifter - Iron Maiden - Killers

A lot of Iron Maiden fans do not like this song. I would surmise, most of them are the younger breed. Drifter is a CLASSIC Maiden song. Adrian's solo at the end is awesome, as is Murray's solw solo in the middle. Pounding drums and bass line seal the deal. Great tune.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

#19 - Supernaut - Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath Volume 4

One of my greatest concert moments was Sabbath playing this in 83. One of my worst was when I saw Sabbath a few years ago. Iommi played the opening riff to Supernaut and then went into "Paranoid"


#20 - Disposable Heroes - Metallica - Master of Puppets

Is this really the same band that recorded St. Anger?

#21 - Titans of Our Time - Iron Savior - Condition Red

This album kicks so much ass. I love how this song starts the album, no intro, no mood setting, just an explosive riff. The whole album is just so killer.

#22 - Learning to Live - Dream Theater - Images and Words

What a cool song. I remember seeing them play this at the Stone Pony, and it completely rocked. I especially like the piano piece in the middle, and the bonus fade out riff.

#23 - Neon Knights - Black Sabbath - Heaven and Hell

Fast song? Slow song? Fast song!

#24 - Wreath - Opeth - Deliverance

Why has Opeth never played this live?

#25 - Killed by Death - Motorhead - No Remorse

If you squeeze my lizard....'nuff said.

#26 - Midnight Mover - Accept - Metal Heart

Great song. Great guitar solo. Horrible video.

#27 - Suite Sister Mary - Queensryche - Operation: Mindcrime

The centerpiece of the greatest concept album of all time. Love the female vocals, she sounds so tortured, whoever she is, she did a great job. Good stuff.

#28 - Fire Woman - The Cult - Sonic Temple

This song just explodes. It is so rockin'. It is one of those songs that you can just crank up and listen to at any volume.

#29 - Paschendale - Iron Maiden - Dance of Death

It is hard to put into words how great this track is. My only regret with Maiden's recnt tour was that Paschendale was not included. What a brilliant track. This song features, the greatest minute in music history. From 4:53 to 5:52, you will be immersed in such greatness, you will think the universe has exploded.

#30 - Let the Hammer Fall - Hammerfall - Legacy of Kings

In the top 30 now. This song is what Power Metal should be.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

#31 - Fairies Wear Boots - Black Sabbath - Paranoid

Jack the Stripper rocks!

#32 - Green Manalishi (Live) - Judas Priest - Unleashed in the East

The live version. Slays the studio version. Halford!

#33 - Bark at the Moon - Ozzy Osbourne - Bark at the Moon

Jake E. Lee was the second best thing to ever happen to Ozzy.

#34 - Sixth Form Girls - Saxon - Strong Arm of the Law

Probably a surprise choice, as this track is very overlooked since it is on such a great record.

#35 - Karhunkynsi - Moonsorrow - Verisäkeet

From one of the best albums of 2005, Verisäkeet, Moonsorrow's Karhunkynsi builds for 8 minutes, and explodes for the last 6. This whole album is great, and to me Karhunkynsi is the high point of the album, though most feel that Jotunheim is the better track. Both are great.

This album wins my award for best non English vocal album of all time. Per Moonsorrow's official web page, the bloodverses are in Finnish, so it shall be. These guys have balls.

#36 - In The Shadow Of Our Pale Companion - Agalloch - The Mantle

The second entry from the awesome second album from Agalloch, The Mantle. Such a great album, so atmospheric, dark and brooding. Perfect album to put on if you are ever home alone in the dead of a blizzard, preferably with the fireplace roaring.

#37 - Dancing on Your Grave - Motorhead - Another Perfect Day

I don't understand why this album gets slagged so much. I loved the sound of this record, and it's a shame it is the only one with Robbo, though Orgasmatron was great too, basically proving that Lemmy is infallible. Anyway, Dancing on Your Grave is just one of those songs that sounds so great, especially when you turn up the volume. Just awesome!

Monday, December 18, 2006

#38 - The Drapery Falls - Opeth - Blackwater Park

This is a really cool song, I actually really started liking it when I watched the Lamentations DVD. Great band.

#39 - Creeping Death - Metallica - Ride the Lightning

Killing first born bunions, with my big fat onions.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

#40 - The Tower - Bruce Dickinson - The Chemical Wedding

One reviewer said of this song, that it sounds more like Iron Maiden than Iron Maiden, and I agree. I think it was this album, and perhaps this song in particular, because of its sound, that made Rod Smallwood realize that Dickinson was back to making Maiden-ish type music, and therefore that a reunion made sense.

#41 - Too High to Get it Right - Accept - Metal Heart

A great track, from one of the top 10 greatest records of all time. This is the rare album, from a band, who in my mind, is somewhat marginal, where it is great from start to finish.

#42 - Star Crossed - Arcturus - The Sham Mirrors

The piano intro is what makes this song. The whole thing is great, in fact the whole album is great, but this one song does stand out as particularly good.

Friday, December 15, 2006

#43 - Hallowed be thy Name - Iron Maiden - The Number of the Beast

Many fans place this as their number 1 Maiden track. Perhaps I am a little tired of it, and that is why is has a relative poor showing on my list. In any case it is a brilliant song, from the greatest record of all time.

To me it has lost its lustre live, first, Nicko never really got it right, and now Jan plays Adrian's solo, so it is different. I also used to enjoy how Dave and H would go up to the risers at the end of this song and through the solos, it was very cool, and now that does not happen.

#44 - Diary of a Madman - Ozzy Osbourne - Diary of a Madman

Another title track. This song seemed autobiographical to me when I was a kid, with all that teen angst and stuff. It is amazing looking back on it how music was such a big part of my life in those days. I also remeber this song was used as an intro on the Diary of a Madman tour, shame it was never played live with Rhoads.

#45 - Peace Sells - Megadeth - Peace Sells...But Who's Buying?

Another title track. Great song, great album. One of three songs in my top 100 that are in VH1's Top 40.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

#46 - Stained Class - Judas Priest - Stained Class

A lot of title tracks lately. Anyway, Stained Class represents my favorite era of Judas Priest (aka the Les Binks era). Why Dave Holland, a grossly incompetent child molester drummer, was chosen to replace Binks is unknown. What is known is that Sin After Sin (I know Simon Phillips was the drummer, but he's good too) through Unleashed in the East is the best Priest era. Stained Class, the album, and in particular the song, is a prime example of the greatness that was Judas Priest, right before the era of the hot leather dude and Chester the drummer.

As a side note, I recall seeing Halford open for Maiden in 2000, and when Halford played this song, it was the highlight of his set.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

#47 - Power and the Glory - Saxon - Power and the Glory

This is the first album I ever bought when I was an established fan of a band. I recall picking this up as soon as it came out and was blown away by this song. Many fans say this was the begining of the end for Saxon, but I think it is a really good record, and the song in particular is a boon.

#48 - No Voices in the Sky - Motorhead - 1916

The 1990's were not a good time for metal in general, but Motorhead definitely carried their share of the load. 1916 was a really good record, and this song is great. When Motorhead is on, they may have the best vibe in all of metal.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

#49 - The Mob Rules - Black Sabbath - Mob Rules

The first two albums of the post Ozzy era, are among the best Sabbath has ever done, if not the best. It is easy to see why the two camps (Ozzy and Sabbath) were at war during that era, becuase they were both making arguably the best music of their respective careers.

In any case, The Mob Rules, especially when preceeded by its intro, E5I50, is one of the coolest songs ever, from a truly great record.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

#51 - I Will Kill You/You Will Die - Slough Feg - Atavism

Formely known as The Lord Wierd Slough Feg, the 2005 album Atavism is Slough Feg's finest moment. The previous albums are all good, but on Atavism, all the pieces came together for the Northern Californians. I am anxiously looking forward to their follow up, hopefully in 2007.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

#52 - Black Wings of Death - Running Wild - Pile of Skulls

Rockin' Rolf. Running Wild is one of the founding fathers of German Power Metal. They are very consistent, and for my money, are in the top 10 bands of the 1990's. They recorded their first album in 1984, but IMO they did not really hit their stride until 1989 or so. They released four real good albums between 1991 and 1995, Pile of Skulls being my oersonal favorite. Black Wings of Death is Running Wild at their best. Great band.

Friday, December 08, 2006

#53 - Under a Glass Moon - Dream Theater - Images and Words

Dream Theater's Images and Words is one of my all time favorite records. All eight songs are great and they all work very well together. Under a Glass Moon is one of those. Every time I listen to this album, I wonder why Dream Theater was never able to duplicate the greatness of this record.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

#54 - Gypsy - Mercyful Fate - Don't Break the Oath

I remember hearing this song over the PA at The Ritz in New York in between acts at the Bruce Dickinson/Kings of the Sun show back in the summer of 1990. I always liked the song, but this event brought it up a notch. It is a real cool song.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

#55 - The Shining - Black Sabbath - Eternal Idol

Easily the best of the Tony Martin era. Eternal Idol is not the best album with Martin, but this song is terrific. I wish I could have seen Sabbath with Tony Martin, because they had some really good songs with him.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

#56 - Hate Me! - Children of Bodom - Follow the Reaper

This song wins the award for the one I most wish existed when I was in high school.

Monday, December 04, 2006

#57 - Tears of the Mandrake - Edguy - Mandrake

Back to back German Power Metal. Edguy is a bit more tongue in cheek than most metal bands I like. They do not take themselves too seriously, and many of their songs suck quite frankly. Anyway, many of their songs kick serious ass too, so while they will never have the best album of any given year, they still have many great moments. Tears of the Mandrake is one such moment.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

#58 - Valley of the Kings - Gamma Ray - Somewhere Out in Space

I remember discovering Gamma Ray quite late in the game; in fact it was not until after the release of Powerplant. Anyway, The first three Gamma Ray records are adequate, but Land of the Free marked the beginning of a new era. Valley of the Kings is a really cool Gamma Ray track, and it is the highlight of Somewhere Out in Space, which is a very good album.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

#59 - The Magician - Bruce Dickinson - Accident of Birth

I think if I were to review my top 100 list, Adrian Smith has to be the most represented musician on the list. That is no accident (pardon the pun). The Magician is a real cool song on a super album. It is no surprise to me that Bruce's solo career got better when Adrian hung his hat with the band. Accident of Birth is chock full of good songs, with top notch riffs, melodies and solos. The Macigian for me the best of a very good bunch.

This is also a sentimental/personal favorite as well.

Friday, December 01, 2006

#60 - Seemingly Endless Time - Death Angel - Act III

I recently re-discovered this album when doing my yearly top 10 lists. What an awesome tune. It is too bad this band kind of fell apart as they had great potential.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

#61 - Dreams in the Dark - Badlands - Badlands

Jake E. Lee and Ray Gillen were great together. I remember seeing Badlands open for Great White and Tesla, and they were clearly the best band on the bill. I also had the pleasure of seeing Lee with Ozzy a couple of times. He is such a good player, especially compared to that hack that Ozzy now has playing guitar.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

#62 - New Horizons - Michael Kiske - Instant Clarity

Any song that has both Kai Hansen AND Adrian Smith on the guitar is bound to be great. Add Kiske's awesome vocals, and you have one kick ass number. The rest of the album is pretty good too, but this particular track featuring both Smith and Hansen is awesome.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

#63 - The Horn (Live) - Praying Mantis - Captured Alive in Tokyo City

OK - another fanboi alert, this time Clive Burr. I had to include at least one post Iron Maiden Clive Burr track, and this one absolutely deserves inclusion. It is a brilliant instrumental (this way you don't have to deal with any of the crappy Mantis singers of the era - yes Bernie Shaw BLOWS!).

Anyway, The Horn is a short, fast paced instrumental, with a great drum line. It was written during the Clive Burr's Escape era, and I guess since Clive was guesting in Mantis for this tour, they decided to do it live, and it was a great idea.

I still do not understand how some former members of Mantis slag Clive's drumming. I understand there were ego problems with him years ago, but please, there is no denying he is a superior drummer to Potts and Bisland, and for Dave Potts to imply that Rod Smallwood was willing to sack Clive to bring in Potts is ludicrous. If you do not believe me, ask Bernie Torme, Adrian Smith or Bruce Dickinson or any other RESPECTED musician that has played in a band with Clive. Or, you could just listen to The Horn.

Monday, November 27, 2006

#64 - Badlands - Metal Church - Blessing in Disguise

As a whole I liked the first album better than this one, but this particular song is awesome, and is the best Metal Church song by a wide margin.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

#65 - I Don't Know (Live) - Ozzy Osbourne - Over the Mountain (Single)

I Don't Know was the B-Side of the Over the Mountain single (Flying High Again single in the USA). This version is better than the studio version, as it is a bit faster and heavier, and Rhoads sounds great. I can't help but think that there is an entire concert of Ozzy's first UK tour available, but Sharon won't release it because she may be contractually obligated to share the royalties with Kerslake, Daisley and Rhoads' mother.

Friday, November 24, 2006

#66 - Reign of Fire - Armored Saint - Symbol of Salvation

Great album, real cool song, not much else to say.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

#67 - Powerslave - Iron Maiden - Powerslave

What a song, what an album, and obviously, what a band. Not much to say other than this song has it all. Harmonies, solos, and the ever so awesome Dave Murray slow solo. I am looking forward to Maiden's next tour to see them bring this awesome song back.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

#68 - Absolution of the Soul - Into Eternity - Dead or Dreaming

Into Eternity, the Canadian kings of progressive death metal, have many cool songs. Their latest album just came out and I've heard it once, and I really like it. I will pick it up next time O hit the CD shop. Dead or Dreaming is their second album, and it is probably their best. So far.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

#69 - Modern Day Cowboy - Tesla - Mechanical Resonance

Some may say this is not metal. Perhaps. In any case it makes the list. This is one of those songs, that you may forget about. Tesla's career was a downward spiral, with each album getting more soft and commercial, but this gem from their debut is awesome.

In the early nineties, Spacebeagle and I tried to put a band together, and unfortunately, the results were disastrous, but one good thing that came out of it was that I found a new appreciation for this song, which I learned to play on guitar (of course I have forgotten it in the fifteen years since I learned it) .

Monday, November 20, 2006

Sunday, November 19, 2006

#71 - Fast as a Shark - Accept - Restless & Wild

The original thrash song. All others copied this. Heidi-heido - 'nuff said

Saturday, November 18, 2006

#72 - Pale Fire - Fates Warning - Inside Out

Many FW fans dismiss this record, but I think it is one of their best, if not their best.

Friday, November 17, 2006

#73 - Lit By The Light Of Morning - Sculptured - The Spear Of The Lily Is Aureoled

It looks like Sculptured may have been put on the back burner since many of the Sculptured guys are in Agalloch. Agalloch is a great band, but I would love to hear more Sculptured stuff as well. Both Sculptured albums are great, but I suppose Lit by the Light of Morning stands out slightly more that the great Washing My Hands Of It, which is on Apollo Ends.

Great band.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

#74 - Hand of Doom - Black Sabbath - Paranoid

The MOST overlooked song in metal history.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

#75 - Never Say Die - Iron Savior - Dark Assault

This was the last Iron Savior album to feature Kai Hansen, and it was a great album. I would have never predicted that the best was yet to come for Piet and the gang.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

#76 - Ace of Spades - Motörhead - Ace of Spades

Who would win a fight between Lemmy and God? Trick question, Lemmy is God.

Friday, November 10, 2006

#77 - False News Travels Fast - Sonata Arctica - Silence

I am not really a fan of Sonata Arctica, but this song is very cool.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

#78 - The Sentinel - Judas Priest - Defenders of the Faith

I like the constant changing of solos on this song. This always had a nice dark atmosphere, that set it apart from other Priest tunes. Really a great track on a great record.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

#79 - Princess of the Night - Saxon - Denim and Leather

Saxon - the kings of transportation metal.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

#80 - You Can't Kill Rock N Roll - Ozzy Osbourne - Diray of a Madman

If Ozzy were at all lucid today, he would wake up and dedicate this one to his wife. Amazing how prophetic he was with these lyrics, as she has turned a legend into a luaghing stock. She is the Yoko of metal.

Monday, November 06, 2006

#81 - Rock N Roll Preacher - Subterranean Masquerade - Suspended Animation Dreams

This albums kills, it absolutely kills. It may be the album of the century so far.

Friday, November 03, 2006

#82 - Sanctuary - Iron Maiden - Beast Over Hammersmith

There are many good live versions of this song. The B-Side of Running Free single from the Live After Death sessions is good, as is the version on the Japanese import Live Plus One. However, this version is from The Beast on the Road tour and that featured what is in my mind, the best Iron Maiden line up of Dickinson, Murray, Smith, Harris, Burr. As such, this version gets the nod.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

#85 - Rain - Psycho Motel - Welcome to the World (1997)

OK, I am guitly of being an Adrian Smith fan. Is Rain really that great a track? Well to me it is, remember back in 1997, there was not much for Iron Maiden fans to celebrate. The X Factor was a decent album and so was Dickinson's Skunkworks, but both were two years old already. The second Psycho Motel album, Welcome to the World, was the best thing Maiden related "since Seventh Son" (If I had a dime for every time I read that I'd be wealthy, but I digress).

Rain is a short fast rocker, with a good melody, solo, and a killer riff, especially in that part after the solo. A recommended album for Adrian Smith fans.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

#86 - I am the Wooden Doors - Agalloch - The Mantle (2002)

For those not familiar with Washington state's Agalloch, they are an American rock band. Sub-genres are hard to apply, though I have heard black metal, folk metal, avant-garde, post rock and a couple of others.

For me The Mantle is a masterpiece and the above track is just one of several stand out numbers. This track in particular is great how it blends the black metal style vocals, but has an acoustic guitar over the whole piece; even the guitar solo is acoustic. This is one of my favorite albums of all time.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

#87 - Life in Still Water - Fates Warning - Parallels (1991)

Parallels may not the best Fates Warning album, but this track is their finest in my opinion. It manages to perfectly bridge Fates Warning's metal side and prog side, and as such achieves the closest to perfection they can possibly achieve.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

#88 - Breaking the Silence - Queensryche - Operation: Mindcrime (1988)

Operation Mindcrime is one of my favorite albums of all time, and the best concept album of all time. But it is still a collection of songs, and they are all good songs at that. I am sure if I expanded this list to 500 or so, there would be about 7 or 8 from this album.

Anyway, Breaking the Silence is toward the end of the album, and it reflects some of the pent up anger and hostility in the character. The riffs and solos are great. I was always amazed how this album and this song in particular was able to be so metal and so prog at the same time.

Great stuff

Monday, August 28, 2006

#89 - Crazy Nights - Tygers of Pan Tang - Crazy Nights (1981)

I first heard this a long time ago. Probably 1984 or so, from a borrowed record from a friend of a friend. I really liked it and eventually found the record on import, as this NWOBHM outfit probably did not have great distribution in the USA. The band featured John Sykes on guitar, and the riffs here are great. Unfortunately, this was Sykes' second and last album with The Tygers and they soon faded away into obscurity. This album and the one before it are two great NWOBHM releases and are among the finest albums of the movement.

The song highlighted here is the title track from Crazy Nights and while to me it stands out in the crowd, it is only one of many great tracks as there are no real stinkers present on any of the two 1981 Tygers albums.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

#90 - Who's Watching You - Vain - No Respect (1989)

Glam has never been a sub genre I ever liked. However, this album, and this track in particular are quite good. Granted the lyrics are horrible, and one read of the lyric sheet will have any self respecting metal fan reaching for their copy of Powerslave. Given that though, the playing on this record is really good. I guess Vain was more in the model of Ratt, where the guitar player was skilled, and sort of gave the band a small amount of musical credibility.

Of course, this came out at the end of glam's popularity, and thus Vain is a mere footnote in the book of 80's metal, but if you see this one in the used section or cut out bin, pick it up.

Friday, August 18, 2006

#91 - Anguish and Fear - Yngwie Malmsteen - Marching Out (1985)

This song is probably the best song on a damn good album. This album and Anguish and Fear in particular get a boost from a great association. In college, I was in a fraternity, and while we were not your stereotypical preppy frat boys, we still had parties and the main focus of the parties was to get girls.

To that end, one of the bedrooms in the house was treated as a de facto "dance club", where one of the brothers would play dance music and the like. However, at the end of the evening, after most of the girls left, some metal CD's found their way into the sound system. On one particular evening, Marching Out hit the stereo, and that will forever stick out in my mind.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

#92 - Don't Hold Back - Riot - Fire Down Under (1981)

I first heard this song on the Pam Merli metal show on WYSP in Philadelphia back in the ealy 1980's. I would tape the shows on my boom box and listen to the tapes over and over again. This one track always stood out among all the other "underground" (ie Raven, TT Quick, etc.) stuff at the time.

While the album art is horrible, this is a really good album, with Don't Hold Back as my personal favorie on the album. Unfortunately, 1981 was the high water mark for Riot. Guy Speranza was replaced b Rhett Forrester, and while the latter is a decent vocalist, the band were never the same, as fame and fortune continued to elude them.

Monday, August 14, 2006

#93 - Fighting the World - Manowar - Fighting the World (1987)

Stripes on a tiger don't wash away, Manowar's made of steel not clay.

That is one of my favorite line from any song. This track is a metal anthem, and I usually do not like metal anthems. This song is the exception. Manowar is an easy target, and they are very laughable at times, but this is one of the greatest tunes of all time. Extremely infectious and it really does get you waving the proverbial metal flag when you listen to it.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


My wife had our third son earlier this week, so I am out of commission for a couple of days. All are well, but with the two older boys under my sole control, things are busy!

Monday, August 07, 2006

#94 - Holy Wars (The Punishment Due) - Megadeth - Rust in Peace (1990)

This is quite a good album, with a few great tracks on it, but the first song is my favorite. I particularly enjoy the accoustic guitar after the chorus. Good stuff.

Friday, August 04, 2006

#95 - Stranger in a Strange Land - Iron Maiden - Somewhere in Time (1986)

This is the first of many Iron Maiden songs on the list. Stranger in a Strange Land is featured here for the playing of Adrian Smith. There are no accolades or superlatives that I can bestow upon the playing, writing and performing of Mr. Smith that are enough. This guy has it all, and this song is one example of many.

Somewhere in Time is a great record. On Powerslave, you first understood that Adrian was the better player between he and Dave Murray, but on Somewhere in Time, it was obvious, especially when you considered song writing. I am not slamming Murray; I think he's great as The Thin Line Between Love and Hate almost made this list, purely for Davey's playing. It's just that Adrian is better, and this song is an early example of that.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

#96 - Worlds Are Comin' Through - Brainstorm - Liquid Monster (2005)

Liquid Monster, the new album from Brainstorm…OK, seriously. German metal outfit Brainstorm has a history of churning out competent but not brilliant Euro Metal. Not really speedy, but not as geigh as Power Metal, I guess you'd call it traditional metal. Whatever the sub-genre, Brainstorm does have an interesting little niche in the metal world, and hopefully this album was a stepping-stone toward a more consistent release. This is the first track on the album, and it shows the potential these guys have. It is the standout track here for sure. As the album progresses, it looses steam and eventually becomes quite dull and ordinary, but this track is awesome, and hopefully a sign of things to come.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

#97 - Iron Tusk - Mastodon - Leviathan (2004)

Iron Tusk falls in the center of Mastodon's highly acclaimed Leviathan. This album crosses the sub genres and delivers a complex heavy album, worthy of its praise. The song Iron Tusk in particular is my personal favorite here. The drumming is sick, the guitars are wailing and the pace is furious.

I saw Mastodon in the summer of 2005 opening for Maiden, but really did not see much of their show due to circumstances beyond my control; plus the venue had crappy sound, so it would have been tough to enjoy the show. I do recall this tune in the set, as it does stand out. A recommended album for fans of extreme metal.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

#98 - Conquistador - Saxon - Metalhead (2000)

Since 1984, Saxon has not really done much. Their albums (and there have been plenty of them) have ranged from dreadful (Destiny) to competent. And while I certainly enjoy these more recent albums, none of them are really that great. None of them stand out as brilliant. However, this one song seems to rise above the crowd. It has a nice acoustic intro, followed by great riffing. Even Biff has that "old sound" to his voice; and without the slick modern day production, Conquistador would be right at home on Wheels of Steel or Strong Arm of the Law.

It is really one of Saxon's finest moments, from any era.

Monday, July 31, 2006

#99 - Satan's Fall - Mercyful Fate - Melissa (1983)

From Mercyful Fate's debut album, this is the centerpiece of that classic album. Clocking in over eleven minutes, Satan's Fall is powerful and epic. Mercyful Fate is one of those bands who peaked early, with their first and second albums being their best. Satan's Fall is only one of many great tunes on these two albums; but for me it is one of their best.

When I first heard this album, and this track in particular, I was blown away at the intensity of it, I could not believe how dark this whole album was, and I was in awe of the mood of the whole thing. I am unsure if you can call it black metal, because it sounds nothing like today's black metal, but I call it a great metal song, from a great metal album.

Friday, July 28, 2006

# 100 - Doctor Doctor - U.F.O. - Phenomenon (1974)

OK - a couple of points. I decided to do one hundred, because I couldn't cut it to forty and include everything I wanted to, so it is a top hundred.

Second - the list is only metal (i.e. no Rush).

So, I have broken the rules already since this song is not really metal, and the list is only metal. But, this song is here not really for itself anyway. Like many great songs, its greatness is partially due to an association with something else.

Any Iron Maiden fan reading this understands.

Picture the scene; you are in a crowded concert venue waiting for Iron Maiden to hit the stage. There is the usual milling about, you hear some music through the house PA, the air may even be a little smoky. Then suddenly you hear the eerie guitar intro to Doctor Doctor, and you realize you are only moments away from the main event.

I always get chills whenever I hear this song, and even though it's greatness if due to an association with another band, the song itself is still awesome, and a perfect begining to this list.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Top 40 - T-Bone Style (cue Casey Casem cursing sound byte)

VH1 recently did a show counting down the top 40 metal songs of all time, their list is below:

40-Breaking the Law -Judas Priest
39-I'm Eighteen - Alice Cooper
38-Balls to the Wall -Accept
37-Smoke on the Water -Deep Purple
36-Wait and Bleed -Slipknot
35-Metal Health -Quiet Riot
34-Paranoid -Black Sabbath
33-High 'N' Dry (Saturday Night) -Def Leppard
32-Thunder Kiss '65 -White Zombie
31-Rock You Like a Hurricane -Scorpions
30-Epic -Faith No More
29-Caught in a Mosh -Anthrax
28-The Beautiful People -Marilyn Manson
27-Run to the Hills -Iron Maiden
26-Refuse/Resist -Sepultura
25-Cowboys From Hell -Pantera
24-Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap -AC/DC
23-Freak on a Leash -Korn
22-Enter Sandman -Metallica
21-Paradise City -Guns N' Roses
20-I Wanna Rock -Twisted Sister
19-Man in the Box -Alice in Chains
18-Slave to the Grind -Skid Row
17-Live Wire [Kick A** '91 Remix] [Mix] -Mötley Crüe
16-Walk -Pantera
15-Bulls on Parade -Rage Against the Machine
14-Toxicity -System of a Down
13-Rainbow in the Dark -Dio
12-Bring the Noise -Anthrax
11-Peace Sells -Megadeth
10-Ace of Spades -Motörhead
9-Crazy Train -Ozzy Osbourne
8-Raining Blood -Slayer
7-The Number of the Beast -Iron Maiden
6-Detroit Rock City -Kiss
5-You've Got Another Thing Comin' -Judas Priest
4-Back in Black -AC/DC
3-Master of Puppets -Metallica
2-Welcome to the Jungle -Guns N' Roses
1-Iron Man -Black Sabbath

While this list is not a total insult to us tr00 metal fans, there are some on this list that are just plain silly. Appetite for Destruction is a really good record, but it is not metal. Anyway, to right their wrong in my own warped little universe, I have decided that I am going to do my own countdown of the top 40 metal songs of all time. While the VH1 list has some good tunes in there, only one song in their illustrious top 40 will be on my top 40 (hint: it is NOT Bring the Noize).

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Gay Nineties (Not that there's anything wrong with that)

(and I mean gay like the kids say gay)

The top tens are temporarily dead. I tried doing a top 10 for 1992, but there were so many bad albums that I lost interest. I mean Dream Theater's Images and Words is one of the greatest albums of all time, and would far and away be the number one album of that year. Also, there were a couple of other good albums that year like Running Wild's Pile of Skulls Alice in Chains' Dirt. Maiden's Fear of the Dark has some bright spots and Sabbath's Dehumanizer was listenable.

Outside of that I really can think of one good album from 1992. What would be number 6? Triumph of Steel by Manowar? No thanks. I'll pass.

Anyway, I plan to pick up the top tens again, but I will certainly skip 1992 and probably 1993 as well.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Primordial - The Coffin Ships

Every once in a while, a song comes along that is so awesome that you feel your head is going to explode. Primordial's song "The Coffin Ships" from their album The Gathering Wilderness is one of the best songs I have ever heard. It is dark and epic and it has so much feeling to it, words cannot do it justice.

The song is about the Irish emigration during the famines of the 19th century. I recommend this to anyone reading this blog. This may be the song of the decade.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Paul Di'anno - Please Go Away

Paul Di'Anno has just released another retread of Maiden songs. This guy got booted from Maiden 25 friggin' years ago, and he has done absolutely nothing since, so he is re-recording the only decent songs he has ever been involved with. The CD, entitled "Paul DiAnno - The Classics", is subtitled "The Maiden Years". This guy is the biggest friggin' tool.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

1991 - Look at the Wazool

For me, 1991 was a strange year in hard rock/metal. 1991 saw a few really good/great albums, and a bunch of marginal releases. Of course, as the years progress, there are more and more metal/hard rock albums to choose from, so compiling a list becomes more difficult. For the 1991 albums, I begged, borrowed and stole almost 30 albums, and many of them were crap (Old Lady Drivers for example). However, most of them were marginal, not really bad, but uninteresting (i.e. Anacrusis and Coroner).

In any case, I have compiled my personal top ten for the year. Many reading this will disagree saying I left out album X or Y, and of course, most people will say that the one glaring omission was done out of a personal distaste for a particular drummer of Danish origin. To that, I say horse-hockey. The record in question is average hard rock/metal by numbers.

10. Dark Angel – Time Does Not Heal

For me this is Dark Angel’s crowning achievement. I would have to say this is a seriously underrated album. When people speak of Dark Angel, the first two records seem to get all the praise, which does not make sense to me, as this one is far better, especially lyrically. Also, as advertised, there are plenty of riffs to sink you teeth into.

9. Blind Guardian – Tales From Twilight World

Speed metal, power metal, whatever you want to call it, this is a good album. Much better than the first two, this disc moves along with great flow and pace. It never gets boring, and while it doesn’t stay with you like the great albums do, it is always good to hear after not hearing it for a while.

8. Rush – Roll the Bones

This is a strange record. While hailed by Geddy & Co as one of their finest moments, I disagree. There are some great tunes on here, but let’s face it, there are some real clunkers too. The great songs are the ones you know, Dreamline, Where’s My Thing? and the title song, but tracks like Ghost of a Chance, Heresy and The Big Wheel are forgettable numbers, and while I can listen to them, I would imagine only only the most devoted Rush fans like these.

7. Metal Church – The Human Factor

This is an underrated album, from an underrated band. The band has become more political, but it’s not really in your face. The music is still Metal Church and while there is no “Badlands” on this record, the whole thing is interesting and the music is still heavy.

6. Motörhead – 1916

Their first studio album in four years, and Motörhead never missed a beat. 1916 is lighter hearted than earlier releases, and while it is undeniably Motörhead, it is still somehow different. No Voices in the Sky and I’m So Bad are among Motörhead’s best tracks ever, and the rest of the albums is a great listen. Highly recommended for tailgates at any metal show, 1916 is a very enjoyable album.

5. Running Wild – Blazon Stone

Running Wild is kind of like AC/DC in that they never change their sound, and while I can see a reasonable criticism for this, Running Wild gets a pass. Why? Because I like their sound. Running Wild are unapologetic for their speed/power pirate formula because it works. Running Wild’s riffs are just so damn good; you can help but like this album.

4. Pearl Jam – Ten

Just because a record sells billions of copies does not mean it is good. However, the masses got it right with this one. Pearl Jam’s first album is so simple, it is brilliant. I think they found the right combination of hard rock and angst on this album. There is such groove and feel to these songs, it seems to have been executed with great passion, and that is what I love about this record.

3. Fates Warning – Parallels

Fates Warning was trying to be more accessible here, but by 1991, no one was interested in 80’s metal with a proggy touch to it. Perhaps if 1989’s Perfect Symmetry were as good as Parallels, Fates Warning would have achieved Queensryche success. However, with the country now mesmerized by Kurt Cobain’s flannel shirt, Parallels would be mostly ignored and forgotten. It’s a shame too because it is a great album, with rich vocals and guitars everywhere. A forgotten gem.

2. Iced Earth – Night of the Stormrider

Iced Earth used to be such a good band, and I don’t understand why more people do not like this album. Sure Greely isn’t the best singer, but this album is so well written. The riffs are huge, and the story is captivating without an element of cheese so prevalent in metal concept albums. This is an example of an album that once you put it on; you have to listen to the whole thing, because it is so captivating and memorable. Iced Earth’s best effort for sure.

1. Armored Saint – Symbol of Salvation

Where do I begin? I can’t begin to explain how great I think this album is, and the frustrating part is, I cannot explain why. Let’s face it, Armored Saint isn’t exactly known for the great songwriting, or brilliant musical chops. Maybe it is the ghost of Dave Prichard that haunts this record, but there is some intangible that makes all these songs great, whether it is the “commercial” Last Train Home, or the blistering Hanging Judge or the thought provoking Tainted Past, it is just a great album start to finish.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Lande Takes Off - Again

So Jorn Lande has quit Masterplan after two albums. Let me pretend to be shocked. This guy has been in more bands than Ted McGinley’s been in bad sitcoms. Anyway, like he deserted Ark, he deserted Masterplan. I don’t think Masterplan will go under like Ark did. The rumor is that Tony Martin may be the new Masterplan singer. That actually would be pretty cool, I like Martin’s vocals with Sabbath, and I like Masterplan's music, so Lande’s departure may not be as catastrophic as Ark’s demise.

Also, I must admit, the little I have heard from Lande’s new solo album is pretty good, so perhaps this move will benefit everyone; but I must ask, where is Tore Ostby.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

1990 - Dance With the Dead in My Dreams

In 1990, the metal world was beginning the fight for its life, though it did not know it yet. The Bay Area metal scene was dominating metal at this time as many of these bands were in their primes. The difference in the 1990 top ten with the 1989 is staggering, with 1990 containing much heavier albums and 1990 had a more metal feel to it.

The grunge scene was born, and not being a big fan of the genre, no grunge albums made the top ten in 1990, though there will be some in future years I am sure.

10. Elixir – Lethal Potion

Choosing number 10 here was tough, as to me this album is clearly inferior to the top 9. I could have chosen any of several slightly above average albums to fill this spot, including Alice in Chains’ debut, No Prayer for the Dying, Spiritual Healing, The Eye, or even Cowboys from Hell , but being the Clive Burr fan boy that I am, I chose Elixir. Sue me.

9. Queensryche – Empire

I wanted to leave this album off on general principle, but I could not do it with a clear conscience. Despite the prosaic Silent Lucidity, Empire is quite a good album. Forgotten gems like Resistance and Anybody Listening? make this album what it is, while the most well known songs are probably the worst songs here, with the exception of the brilliant Jet City Woman.

8. Testament – Souls of Black

By 1990, everyone and their brother from San Francisco/Oakland were in a thrash band. Most of them were boring and non descript, and until this album (OK Practice isn’t bad either) Testament was in the middle of that pack of mediocrity. Souls of Black however, had a slightly different sound. A bit more polished, and slick, Souls of Black was the high point of Testament’s not so illustrious career.

7. Megadeth – Rust in Peace

Many say this is Megadeth’s finest moment, and maybe they are right, though I am somewhat partial to Peace Sells. Anyway, 1990’s Rust in Peace is a very good album, that features some great playing by the band, and some really well written songs that blend together very nicely. The final three tracks are what make the album, Tornado of Souls, Dawn Patrol and Rust in Peace.

6. Iced Earth – Iced Earth

Released in Europe in 1990, and in the USA in 1991, I have decided to include this with 1990. Iced Earth was at one time, a metal band that fell between the traditional Iron Maiden sound, and the Florida extreme metal scene. When the Night Falls alone would make this a cool album, but the entire album is full of good guitar work, and the vocals are sufficient.

5. Gamma Ray – Heading for Tomorrow

Perhaps the best thing to happen to Power Metal was Kai Hansen’s departure from Helloween. Heading for Tomorrow is not the best Gamma Ray album, but it is quite good. It is the transition between Helloween and Gamma Ray. Hansen’s playing is great, and Scheepers' vocals are real good too. The songs are diverse and the flow of the album is also very nice. To me, the title track is a bit of an earful, but it is still a very good album.

4. Bathory – Hammerheart

I am not a Bathory fan, but I really like this album. Quorthon’s vocals are bad, even for Black Metal, and usually Bathory’s production is even worse that the pitiful Black Metal norm. Here, the production is at the perfect level to give this album the perfect sound. The songs here are great, and the atmosphere is what makes this album so appealing. The whole is truly greater than the sum of its parts, and I prefer to put this disc on when I have enough time for the whole thing. Hailed as the birth of Viking Metal, Hammerheart is my favorite Bathory album, and really an essential disc in any extreme metal collection.

3. Judas Priest – Painkiller

Can an album be Number 3 on the list and still be way overrated? Yes. Painkiller is a very good album, no question. But many feel it is the best Judas Priest record. That is nonsense. What we have here is an album with great riffs, solos and melody lines. Musically it may be considered a great album. However, these may be the worst set of Judas Priest lyrics ever written. Any album that uses the term “Devil Dogs” has silly lyrics. Anyway, Tipton and Downing are brilliant here, and new drummer Scott Travis keeps thing moving along at a nice pace.

2. Death Angel – Act III

A bit of a surprise pick here, as anyone who has read these posts knows, I am not a fan of generic bay area thrash. However, after listening to this gem a couple of times I realized that this album is far from generic. This album is vastly different from the thrash by numbers mediocrity that was on DA’s first two albums. This album has it all, great guitar riffs and solos, interesting bass and drum parts and good vocals. Highly recommended.

1. Slayer – Seasons in the Abyss

By far, this is the best Slayer album ever. Here they combined everything that had worked on previous releases, and mixed them all together to come up with a brilliant album. The sound is rich and the riffs are chunky, while the songs move along at a great pace. Slick production is the icing on the cake. A great album for sure, and it is my choice for best of 1990.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

1989 - The Dogs Lay at Your Feet

This may have been the most difficult Top 10 I have ever assembled. The reason is that NONE of these albums are really that great, with perhaps only the top album achieving greatness. They are all good, but none of them are close to perfect, and they all have their weak spots.

In fact, it was tough to exclude the following six albums because they were all worthy of the top 10, but fell a bit short. So, the runners up are:

Helstar – Nosferatu
Fates Warning – Perfect Symmetry
A.S.A.P. – Silver and Gold
Cloven Hoof – A Sultan’s Ransom
Annihilator – Alice in Hell
Enuff Z’ Nuff – Enuff Z’ Nuff

All really good albums, but not quite there, so now on to the top 10:

10. Blue Murder – Blue Murder

More of a hard rock than metal album, John Sykes solo band’s first album is quite good. Of course, there is a Whitesnake feel to it, but since John wrote all the music on the multi platinum self titled album, it’s all good in my book. Valley of the Kings is a great track, and the other songs are good too, but Sykes’ playing is what keeps this record interesting.

9. Watchtower – Control and Resistance

This album is frustrating. Watchtower was capable of making such a better album than this. However, it is still a real good album, and while a step down from Energetic Disassembly, it is good enough to crack the 1989 top 10.

8. Tora Tora – Surprise Attack

1989 was the peak of hair metal. By the end of 1990, the Seattle scene will have all but ruined the career of hair bands. However, by 1989, so real talented musicians were in hair bands, and the song quality was way above the pioneers of the sub genre. So bands like Vain, Enuff Z’ Nuff and Fifth Angel were releasing good quality records, but little did they know their genre was doomed. Any way, this album was the best of the bunch.

7. King Diamond – Conspiracy

Many people believe this record is just as good as its predecessors, but I disagree. Maybe it’s that horrible record cover. Anyway, for me, this is where King’s dominance is over, and his releases decline to mediocrity. Still, Conspiracy is a good album, and worthy of the top 10.

6. Metal Church – Blessing in Disguise

Badlands is probably the track of the year, and the rest of the album is really good too. As I have said before, it is my opinion that Metal Church is the most underrated band for the 1980’s California Thrash scene. They are so much better that Vio-lence, Testament, Exodus and all that other generic thrash.

5. Running Wild – Death or Glory

This was Running Wild’s peak period. Death or Glory has a perfect sound. Some of the songs fall flat, but the majority of them are terrific Euro speed metal, done by the genre’s inventors.

4. Dream Theater – When Dream and Day Unite

The first album from the now legendary New York prog outfit is one of my favorite DT records. While Charlie’s voice is not that great, the band’s playing was very tight, and I think they have lost focus over the years. The album manages to be very progressive, while still being heavy. DT would go on to make a couple albums far superior to this one, but still, despite poor production and less that average vocals, this is a very good album.

3. Rush – Presto

Fanboy? – maybe. While not the greatest Rush record of all time, Presto still has some quality tracks on it like The Pass, Superconductor and the title song. Most of the album is somewhat generic mid-term Rush, but let’s face it, generic mid-term Rush is still pretty damn good.

2. Savatage – Gutter Ballet

Like most of the albums on this list, Gutter Ballet has some great moments, and at other times it falls flat. Criss Oliva’s songwriting and guitar playing here is what makes this album so good. A bit more progressive that their previous albums, but not corny like the albums that would come after, Gutter Ballet is the high water mark for Savatage.

1. The Cult – Sonic Temple

Every so often, an album comes from left field to completely blow me away, and while Sonic Temple is not without its flaws, it is easily the top album of 1989. Ian Astbury’s vocals are brilliantly incorporated into the music, and the additional heaviness compared to their previous albums makes this a hard rock album worthy of inclusion here.

Monday, February 20, 2006

In 1985 Plutonium is Available at Every Corner Drug Store

So we got this new copier in the office, and the thing is a behemoth. It takes up half the mail room, and apparatnly it can split an atom. However, sometimes I only need 1 copy.

When I make one copy on this thing I feel like Doc Brown making an ice cube in 1885.....

Friday, February 17, 2006

Quote of the Day

Spring training started this week, so I thought I would post an appropriate quote.

"Baseball is like church. Many attend, few understand."- Leo Durocher

Thursday, February 09, 2006

I Wish I Had Listened to Splint McCollough

Here is an excert from my youth. The scene appears as follows.

I am about 12 years old, watching The Odd Couple, my mom is cooking dinner.

Felix: So I've proved I can handle myself

Oscar: No, it shows that 20 years ago you beat up a bunch of skinny CPA's....

Me: Mom, What's a CPA?

Mom: Certified Public Accountant. It means blah blah blah........

It sounded boring then, so why did I not listen?

Monday, February 06, 2006


I think I am going to hold off on my top 10's for a while. I plan to come back to them, but other interests will be consuming my most limited resource (free time). In any case, I hope to continue posting interesting ideas and thoughts that may pop up in my mind from time to time, without being too serious.

Recently, two of the three maudlin of the Well albums were re-issued (Leaving Your Body Map and Bath). I really dig these CD's, interesting and different stuff for sure.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

1988 - I Remember Now

1988 was a good year in metal. I found it difficult to narrow down the top 10 as I had about 5 other choices that really could have come in as high as number 8, as there really was not too much difference between number 8 and number 15 or so.

10. Death - Leprosy

This album is not well perceived by many fans of Chuck Schuldiner, probably because the backing band is average at best, but I think it is a good album, and far better that the debut. Death would mature over the years, and the music would become more technically proficient, but there is a place for Leprosy among the best albums of 1988. It is shockingly brutal for the time and well executed.

9. Pantera - Power Metal

OK - stop laughing. This is my favorite Pantera album. Really - please stop laughing. This is actually Pantera's fourth album, and the last before the famous Cowboys From Hell. This is the first album to feature vocalist Phil Anselmo. Lyrically, this album is bad, but the music is so damn good that I can overlook the ridiculous lyrics. Darrell Abbot's riffage is top notch and personally, I wish Pantera had kept this sound instead of the pseudo-thrash genre they helped develop.

8. Metallica - …And Justice For All

This was the first step down of a legendary decline that would get worse with each release. Metallica's borderline album is still good, and there are some brilliant moments here. Poor mixing and below average production produce a sound that can be annoying at times, and sometimes you wonder if there is a bassist. But, as a whole the songs are quite good, and the guitar playing is Hammet and Hetfield's finest of their career.

7. Fates Warning - No Exit

A new singer and a new style are the obvious things about this album. No Exit is far more progressive than earlier efforts, but still very heavy. As much as I like John Arch, Ray Adler is the voice for Fates Warning, and he was good from the start. An ambitious album for sure and they hit the mark for the most part. Parts of the opus, The Ivory Gate of Dreams are not executed that well, and I sometimes lose interest in the song, but overall this is a good album.

6. Running Wild - Port Royal

I really like this band, and this is one of my favorite Running Wild albums. It took a while, but the band seems very comfortable and confident in their sound and style here, and the result is a melodic speed/power metal album of the finest quality. The songs are all good, great riffs and melodies, etc. Plus, I love the whole Pirate thing.

5. Helstar - A Distant Thunder

This is Helstar's best album to date; perhaps their best ever. The guitars sound perfect, and the singing is great. This album has all the right sounds, riffs, hooks, solos, melodies, etc. The sound to me could be described as power metal, with a dash of progressive thrown in, and it works. It is a very good album for sure.

4. Iron Maiden - Seventh Son of a Seventh Son

"Bloody Americans, they just don't get us," Steve Harris said of this album, as it did not reach the commercial success of Somewhere in Time. Actually, I think this album did miss the mark a little bit, and is a step down from Maiden's earlier works. The title track is overlong and does not hold my interest like other Maiden epics, plus this album contains Quest For Fire Part II aka The Prophecy. All in all though, this is a very good album, tracks like Infinite Drams and The Evil Than Men Do are great songs and really save the album.

3. King Diamond - "Them"

Another one of King's horror stories, and again he hits the mark. As usual, Andy LaRocque is in fine form, as the guitars sound great. I think this is a step down for King as Abigail was better, but only in that the cheese factor is a bit more prevalent here. Sometimes "Them" borders on silly and over dramatic (i.e. "Grandamaaaaaaaaaaaaa"). Despite that one criticism, "Them" is a very good album, and like all of King's early solo work, a treat to listen to from start to finish.

2. Helloween - Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II

For me, this is the best Helloween album. The riffage is huge; Kiske singing is better than in Part I, and the songs are more interesting as well. There are some classic power metal tracks here like I Want Out and Eagle Fly Free. Dr. Stein is also a great track. The epic title track is not as good as the epic Halloween from part I, but it is still a good track. I think if Hansen had participated a little more in the songwriting, this could have been one of the top 5 metal albums of all time.

1. Queensryche - Operation: Mindcrime

Wow. Brilliant. It is so hard for me to write a paragraph about this album. It is so well done, it is cinematic. Usually, a concept album is far better as a whole and the songs alone don't stand up too well as stand alone tracks. Here, the songs are so good, that they stand up very well by themselves, but when you put them all together it comprises one of the best albums ever recorded. I can't say enough glowing things about this album; it is a masterpiece.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

1987 - A Memo to a Higher Office

1987 was a good year for music, many good albums came out, and even a few great non-metal albums like Springsteen's Tunnel of Love (my personal favorite Springsteen record) and Pink Floyd's comeback album, A Momentary Lapse of Reason.

Additionally, there were many hard rock albums that came out in 1987 that were good, but to me, not better than the ten albums presented below. These include Def Leppard's Hysteria, Areosmith's Permanent Vacation and the gazillion selling Appetite for Destruction by Guns 'N Roses.

So, the top 10 is.....

10. Celtic Frost - Into the Pandemonium

I like strange stuff, and this album is strange. I still prefer To Mega Therion, but I really like this album a lot more now than I used to, in fact I like it more with every listen. Celtic Frost does some weird stuff here, and for me it works most of the time, Mexican Radio being an exception. There is something for everyone here, a lot of different sounds to be sure. Not for every taste, but I like it.

9. Motörhead - Rock 'N' Roll

Certainly not Motörhead's finest moment, and you can see the ideas starting to dry up a bit, but still Rock ''N' Roll is another solid effort from Lemmy's crew. The first four tracks are great, but the albums fades a bit and the balance of the tracks are less memorable. All in all, the album is a good one, and really a good listen start to finish, including The Blessing.

8. Sanctuary - Refuge Denied

This is the debut from Sanctuary, and the better of their two albums in my book. I am not sure how much Dave Mustaine contributed to this album, but it seems as if he added something to the mix. The riffs and solos on this album keep coming from beginning to end and the songs are well crafted. A good debut for sure, and one of those few albums from an American metal band that you can listen to from start to finish without some cheesy ballad to ruin it.

7. Dio - Dream Evil

Dream Evil is a good album. The metal community seems to dislike this album, and I realize it is not to the level of his first two, but it is still quite good. A slight improvement over Sacred Heart in my opinion, as there is not as much cheese, and the "commercial" song on this album, I Could Have Been a Dreamer, is actually good as opposed to the two commercial efforts on Sacred Heart. There are plenty of riffs here, despite the departure of Vivian Campbell, and the solos are just as good too.

6. Savatage - Hall of the Mountain King

Finally, the pieces started to come together for Savatage. Criss Oliva's riffs, licks and solos are top notch, and really all the music on this album is great, almost brilliant. Unfortunately, Jon Oliva's raspy vocals and over dramatic intonation keeps this album from achieving the level of greatness that it could have with a better singer.

5. Anthrax - Among the Living

This is a fun album. I really don't take Anthrax too seriously, as they are more of a joke than a serious band. This album's tracks include the ridiculous Caught in a Mosh, N.F.L. and Indians (we're dissin' them!!!). However, it all works quite well, and the album, while dated, is a memorable one.

4. Running Wild - Under Jolly Roger

Until this album, Running Wild was another generic European band singing about the devil, hell and the like; however, with Under Jolly Roger, Running Wild made the shift that would define their career. Pirates!! Ironically, this theme really works for this band, and the songs are quite good.

3. Helloween - Keeper of the Seven Keys, Part I

Here is where we separate the good from the great. Helloween's first album with the "classic" line up that included Michael Kiske and Kai Hansen is a non stop feast of German speed metal of the finest vintage. Not at all dated, 19 years later this album still sounds great.

2. King Diamond - Abigail

One of King's finest solo moments, Abigail is the first of King's epic storylines. Normally, I don't like concept albums, but King is the master, and this story of Abigail is fantastic. There are so many great tracks here, A Mansion in Darkness, Abigail and Black Horsemen are my personal favorites, and this album is best listened to as a whole, for the whole is even greater than the sum of its marvelous parts. Lyrically, musically (kudos to Denner and LaRoque) and conceptually, this album truly rocks.

1. Rush - Hold Your Fire

This is not metal; in fact it's barely hard rock. I don't care, it is still great. For me, this is the album where all of the experimentation with electronics and keyboards on the last two albums was perfected. Lyrically, this is one of Peart's finest. Gems like Mission, Tai Shan, Second Nature and Prime Mover all long forgotten by all but the tr00est Rush fans are sonic masterpieces. Underrated and overlooked, Hold Your Fire is Rush's finest of the post Moving Pictures era.