So begins my roundup of the best of 2008. By and large the year was one of the best in recent memory. Comebacks were the order with some outstanding records released by Metallica, Motley Crue, Alice Cooper and Extreme. Even Axl Rose (no, I won't call it Guns 'n' Roses) finally got his "Chinese Democracy" record on the shelves.
But there were some disappointments, too. Here are the most notable for me:
Judas Priest, "Nostradamus": This overbearing and pretentious two-disc concept record was absolutely awful. While there are a few really good songs scattered throughout, it's hard to slog through the rest of it to get to them. A lot of people say that the record grew on them with more listens. That didn't happen for me. If anything, I like it less.
Iced Earth, "The Crucible of Man": In complete honesty, my objection to this record has less to do with the music contained on it and more to do with my disappointment at the departure of Tim Owens and the return of Matt Barlow. The record itself has some decent songs, but leaves me a bit cold. It also seems that Barlow is doing his best here to look and sound like Owens. Why not just keep the guy?
Into Eternity, "The Incurable Tragedy": Having loved Into Eternity's last three records, this was one of my most anticipated releases of the year. A very personal concept record, this one is dark and morose. That's not always bad, but it's draining here. The real turn-off, though, are the schizophrenic vocals. One of the most intriguing things about the band in the past were the melodic clean vocals mixed with the death growls. Here, they're all over the place and it makes it difficult to listen.
Up next: 2008's honorable mentions