Saturday, December 31, 2011

Best of 2011: Top 10

As I look back over 2011′s releases, I realize that maybe it wasn’t quite as good a year in the metal world as I thought. For the past few years, I’ve had as many as a couple dozen candidates for this list, and it’s been difficult to winnow them down to 10. This year, the records that were good were really good, but after that things start to drop off pretty quickly.

10. Three Thirteen, Full Tilt: I love surprises from independent artists, and Three Thirteen delivered a great little retro hard rock package this year. I was drawn in by the physical product, which had a little more thought put into it than the average CD these days, and the fun, hell-raising rock songs on the record held me. The record is a tip of the hat to the classic acts the band grew up on, with a heavy late-1970s, early-1980s rock feel. There are no sappy ballads or thinking-man’s songs here. It’s a party from start to finish. It’s the perfect record for popping the t-tops out of your Trans-Am and heading out on the highway.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Best of 2011: Honorable mentions

I continue my glance back at 2011 today with some records that I enjoyed, but weren't quite good enough to make my top 10 list, a few records that I didn't quite get enough time with because of a hectic work schedule late in the year, and my favorite EP.

I'll start with the records that I haven't had enough time with to form an opinion on. As you might have noticed, I didn't do a lot of writing in November and December because I had a little too much going. I got all of these records during that time, and they've been a little shortchanged in the listening. Any of them, with time, could elevate into the Top 10.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Best of 2011: The year's disappointments

A few of my most highly anticipated releases of this year turned out to be duds, so I'll start my look back at this year with the records that didn't pan out.

White Wizzard, Flying Tigers: This retro-metal act’s 2010 album Over the Top topped my best of list for that year. It was a fun, energetic and campy throwback to the days of my youth. After some turmoil in the band, White Wizzard comes out with a follow-up which shows a lot of musical growth. That’s admirable. Unfortunately, most of the big hooks and unadulterated fun of Over the Top are missing on Flying Tigers. It’s not bad, but it’s also not memorable.