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Top 15 Metal Albums of 2016

In what appears to be my standard fashion, my “top of year” lists seem to always come out later in the following year.  I ask myself why?  It’s just hard to narrow down the best of the best and not be biased towards any other lists.  Each year is getting tougher and tougher to make these lists as more and more bands are breaking through and simply making good music.  Sometimes it’s easy to tell the great stuff upon the first couple of listens.  Sometimes it takes a dozen listens and going back after a month or two of not listening to a specific album at all.  I found myself doing that in many cases last year.  This list is in no particular order.  If it is on my top 15, it was great, at least in this listeners opinion.  I base my choices on feeling – does the music give me that indescribable feeling when I hear it.  I can’t describe it, but it takes me away to that special place where nothing is real and everything is possible…

The Top 15 Metal Albums of 2016

  • Vektor – Terminal Redux
  • Sumac – What One Becomes
  • Cobalt – Slow Forever
  • Neurosis – Fires Within Fires
  • Amon Amarth – Jomsviking
  • Death Angel – The Evil Divide
  • Revocation – Great is our Sin
  • Exmortus – Ride Forth
  • Gojira – Magma
  • Anciients – Voice of the Void
  • Hammers of Misfortune – Dead Revolution
  • Astronoid – Air
  • Inter Arma – Paradise Gallows
  • Metallica – Hardwired…To Self Destruct
  • Anthrax – For All Kings

As with any lists there will be honorable mentions.  This year there is two that desearve recognition.

  • Megadeth – Dystopia
  • Opeth – Sorceress

Quite honestly Megadeth really could have been in the top 15 as I listened to that album.  A lot.  Opeth was one of the albums that initially I was like ‘blah” and then went back again and again.  Took a month off and went back.  It’s started to grow on me.  I like old Opeth best but I appreciate what they are doing now as the music is great, just not used to the completely growl-less Opeth that I was raised on.

2017 has really started off strong and many good albums are already out there and tons of great more to come.  The challenge is finding the time to listen.

Ending this on a different note, although we haven’t brought back the Audible Extacy podcast completely back, we have decided to do some live music talk every once in a while.  It’s a conversation about all types of music and you’re invited to check it out and hear what three old friends like to discuss and argue about.

Audible Extacy Livecast Channel

Thanks for stopping by.

J

Featured post

Cover Song Saturday: Hammerfall – Detroit Rock City and Youth Gone Wild

Not as strong or powerful as the original, but I still like the sound of it. Good cover from an amazing bad.

Again, not as powerful as the original, but it is still a damn good cover.

Top 3 (for me personally) Gene Simmons Songs!

I’ve enjoyed KISS through the years, but it wasn’t until recently that I really discovered them (I even don’t mind The Elder, don’t tell anyone). Anyway, I started thinking about what might just be my three favorite Gene Simmons songs (I tend to lean more to his songs than the others in the band for some reason). So, without further delay here they are.

1. I Love it Loud

I’ve been into this song for a very long time. This was one of those songs I loved before I even really got to know KISS. Just mean, loud, and aggressive.

2. God of Thunder

This song is just so Metal, so dark, so bloody, and I love every inch of it.

3. War Machine

I have recently discovered this one and I can’t stop singing it or listening to it. Amazing powerful song.

Off now to listen to Creatures of the Night, which has two of these songs on it. Guess I might have to invest in that one at sometime. So, favorite Gene song?

 

What Lead You To AC/DC?

That is thought on my mind this Sunday afternoon…What lead you to AC/DC?  My first taste is vivid in my mind. I remember being very young and on travel with my mom and brother.   After checking into the hotel, my mom took us down to the local department store, maybe it was called “Hecks”, I can’t remember for sure.  Standing in the record department of Hecks, I come across the AC/DC section.  At that time I was not a fan of AC/DC but had heard a song or two, but I was very unfamiliar with their music.  My actual age would have been close to 10 or 11.   I had already began my journey into metal with my recent jump into Iron Maiden with The Number of the Beast.  So it had to be the summer of 1983, as it’s my best guess.  Now my mom had given me $10 to buy basically whatever I want.  I chose music while my brother is searching toys.  As I browse the few selections of AC/DC, there are two titles that are standing out, based on their covers alone…If You Want Blood… and Let There Be Rock.  Now it was a dilemma.  Do I want the one with guy who has a guitar stabbed into his gut or the one with the entire band on the cover?  Looking at the song titles, both cassettes appear to have a lot of similar songs.  Having no idea that If You Want Blood is a live album, I go for it, based on the “bloody” cover.  My first impression was disappointment.  I suppose the Iron Maiden was much heavier and different and I thought that AC/DC would be similar.  Maybe it was because it was a live album.  I did give it multiple listens over the week of vacation and when I got home I basically put it in the cassette in the case of probably 20 other cassettes at the time, just to gather dust.  Fast forward three years and I’m staying at my grandparents house in Jackson, KY.  Their neighbor has two kids, a boy about my age and a girl a couple of years younger.  Greg, the boy, and I became fast friends.  Little did I know he was already an AC/DC fan.  This would have been the summer of 1986 and Greg was rocking Who Made Who and Blow Up Your Video right off the bat.  What a great couple of weeks.  I learned the history of Bon Scott and Brian Johnson.  I also got to listen to the entire discography up until that point in time.  I realized during those two weeks, I had made a mistake when I had the choice three years earlier.  I should have gotten Let There Be Rock.  That album is a pure rocker, start to finish and is probably my favorite album to this day.  I still listen to it on occasion and enjoy every minute of it.  I owe my old friend Greg a ton of thanks for making me take the time to enjoy those classic albums.  He turned me into an AC/DC fan in the summer of 1986.  A memory I cherish so many years later.  Also a grim reminder that I’m getting old.

ACDC-LetThereBeRock

Until next time…Let There Be Rock

J

Cover Song Saturday: Kenny Chesney – “Christmas in Dixie”

This is one of my favorite Christmas songs – reminds me of my childhood.

Merry Christmas!

Cover Song Saturday: Jimmy Buffett – “I’ll be Home for Christmas”

The song is sung from the point of view of a soldier stationed overseas during World War II, writing a letter to his family. In the message, he tells the family he will be coming home and to prepare the holiday for him, and requests snow, mistletoe, and presents on the tree. The song ends on a melancholy note, with the soldier saying, “I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams”. Kim Gannon claimed on at least one occasion that he was not thinking of the soldiers when he wrote the lyrics but of all people who are unable to be home for Christmas. When he pitched the song to people in the music business, they turned it down because the final line was too sad for all those separated from their loved ones in the military. When playing golf with Bing Crosby, however, Gannon sang the song for Crosby, who decided to record it. The flip side of the original recording (Decca 18570B) was “Danny Boy” Source: I’ll Be Home for Christmas – Wikipedia

Gojira – Live Show Review from the Orange Peel 9/24/2016

Let’s talk about something incredible.  Let’s talk about something epic.  Let’s talk about one of the best metal bands in the world.  Let’s talk Gojira.

Last night, September 24, 2016, I had the pleasure, along with over 1,000 of my closest friends, to see the Tesseract/Gojira show at the Orange Peel in Asheville, NC.  Keep in mind this is place is basically a bar/club.  This place was packed, sold out, wall to wall, metal fans and I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday night out of the house.

First up, opening band Tesseract.  Tesseract came on at 8:00pm sharp and played until 8:45ish.  They sounded great to me, as although I was familiar with their music, I have never really gave it much of a shot.  My companions for the night were die-hard Tesseract fans and on the ride home they told me they were a little disappointed with the song selection.  I hated to hear that as I thought Tesseract put on a great show and the crowd seemed to enjoy.  I wish I could have provide a set list of what was played but my unfamiliarity with them isn’t helping and regardless, I thought they were pretty good for an opening act.  On to the main event…

After about a 25-30 minute break to allow for stage setup to get squared away, the lights dimmed down at 9:15pm and literally 10 seconds into the opening song, Only Pain, the entire place went into a frenzy.  Everyone in this place was either moshing or bouncing.  It was a spectacle to see.  If you have ever seen a video from a metal show during Donnington, or the Download Festival you should be able to picture what this audience was doing, in a bar.  Clearly Gojira came to destroy the Orange Peel.  Full disclosure, I am and have been, a fan of Gojira since the From Sirius To Mars album.  Back then I was late to the game of Gojira but have been a supporter of this great French Quartet since then. I will admit that hearing Gojira on an album and seeing Gojira in person is two different monsters.  Their albums are fantastic, their live show is incredible.  It is almost like they actually sound heavier live, if that is possible.

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The setlist as it unfolded through the evening:

  1. Only Pain
  2. The Heaviest Matter of the Universe
  3. Silvera
  4. Stranded
  5. Flying Whales
  6. The Cell
  7. Backbone
  8. Remembrance
  9. Terra Inc.
  10. Explosia
  11. Drum Solo (basically a 5-7 minute break for the rest of the band, Mario Duplantier doing what he does best)
  12. The Shooting Star
  13. Toxic Garbage Island
  14. Pray (After this song the band left the stage briefly, long enough for a crowd chant)
  15. Clone
  16. Oroborus (After this song the band left for a little while longer, chant continued and they returned to finish what they started)
  17. Vacuity

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The band finished playing just shy of 11pm.  At the conclusion of the show, the crowd was clearly satisfied.  I can honestly say that Gojira are a spectacle to behold.  They came, we saw, they destroyed.  End of story.  If you are a fan of metal this is a MUST SEE show.  My only hopes are that they return to do it all over again.

Until next time…\m/…Keep it Heavy!!!

Cover Song Saturday: Epica – Imperial March

It has been a while since I posted something for Cover Song Saturday, but this was such a cool version of this song that I thought I had to share it. Will Cover Song Saturday return? Will it crawl out from the blogging ooze to be reborn? Not sure, but I hope you enjoy this one this week. Love this cover version combining two of my favorite things – Star Wars and Metal.

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OLD VERSION 

NEW VERSION

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So, use the force and tell me which one you prefer? I like both of them, but you will never go wrong with the original. It is classic and timeless. It will transcend the ages.

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Something just for fun.

Cover Song Saturday: Mumford and Sons and Elvis Costello – The Ghost of Tom Joad

Thanks mypiratechambers.wordpress.com for the inspiration for this post.

Original

Cover

I will always go with the original of this song – just smooth and thought-provoking with that acoustic sound and Bruce’s voice. His voice alone makes the original heads and tails above the cover. It just sounds so mournful, so full of despair, so full of hopelessness. With that said, the cover version is great to listen to. It does capture the spirit of the original, but it just doesn’t punch you in the gut like that version.

So, original or cover?

I also like this version of it a lot. Killer guitar work and Tom’s voice sounds great singing these lyrics.

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