Album of 2013

In an effort to get back into writing about things after a hiatus, I said that I was going to write an Album of the Year post for the first time in five years or so. My first real blog post in 18 months and an excuse to finally utilise the WordPress pages that I have on my web space that currently sit as pieces of nostalgia for me to look through.

In previous years, I have often written a long first entry where I summarise my opinions on every album I deem worthy of listing, before posting a few days later my top 10 or so records. I know how long-winded this was (with the benefit of hindsight) so I have changed the format for this entry. I will countdown my top 10, but outside of my #1 pick this year, I don’t really have a set order, so I am going to post my nine favourites in alphabetical order, with my favourite album at the very bottom. In between, I’ll cover the albums that just missed the cut, the albums I wasn’t really fond of, and the records I am most looking forward to hearing in 2014. Advance warning: if you are expecting me to pick from one genre exclusively, you will be disappointed. A lot of fantastic stuff was released this year from artists across my musical palette and I will attempt to give as many of them credit as possible.

One thing does remain from previous years – my criteria. Must be released in the 2013 calendar year. No reissues. No remixes. No live albums. No compilations.

Continue reading Album of 2013

Farewell, Matt Laporte

Matt LaPorte
Matt LaPorte performing at the ProgPowerUKII festival in 2007

Only just read about the death of Matt LaPorte. Absolutely terrible news.

Matt was the guitar player in two of my favourite bands: Circle II Circle for their first record and he was on all of Jon Oliva’s Pain’s works.

This photo was taken when I saw JOP at ProgPowerUK II in 2007. One of my favourite gigs ever, as I have mentioned before. I actually got to meet Jon Oliva (holy shit moment of my life), Kevin Rothney and Matt LaPorte. Matt loved my “Musicians for Groupies” t-shirt and I asked “You guys got any surprises in the set tonight?” to which he replied “Yeah, we’re playing like 80% of Streets.” I think I struggled to pick my jaw up from the floor until they played the set.

As a guitarist, he has few equals. Along with Chris Caffery, they are the guys who can best emulate what Criss Oliva could do with his guitar. A superb musician, he also recorded with ex-Crimson Glory vocalist Midnight and he plays on a beautiful duet between Midnight and the aforementioned Mr. J. Oliva.

So incredibly sad. Thoughts go out to his family and friends. Poor Jon. He’s lost so many people close to him through the years.

“Now a star to light the night
And all you left behind
Has truly touched my life
My friend to you I say goodbye”

— “O to G”, Jon Oliva’s Pain

Album of 2008 – Results

Well my humanoids, not that all that many of you matter for my music taste, here it is. My top 10 albums of 2008. This was one hell of a lot harder to rank than others, and whilst my top decisions were almost givens, the in-betweens were very difficult to order. As usual, there were a number of albums I forgot to rank, having seen other polls, so apologies to Amon Amarth in particular who I looked over, but, I’m happy with my choices.

Getting this done means you ham and eggers can finally get a “proper” ranting/monologue blog coming up shortly. Continue reading Album of 2008 – Results

Album of 2008 – Preview

2008 will hence forth be known as Two Thousand And Great. What a year. Wales won a Grand Slam, the Red Wings got the Stanley Cup back, Man United made it three European Cups. Barack Obama won the US Presidential Election. All of these were truly earth shattering events. Oh, and the third greatest lie ever told actually became truth – Chinese Democracy finally arrived.

As usual, my first post is an overview of my feelings of loads of different albums in general before I post my top 10. This is a longer list than I first anticipated doing, because instead of just being pigeonholed as a metalhead, I thought I’d do some albums you might not have expected me to listen to. As per my usual rules, this list does not include live albums or greatest hits/essential collections released this year, the album simply had to be full of new original material and released in the 2008 calendar year. This also means that re-released and or re-mixed material doesn’t count (e.g. Exodus’s latest album).

I’m sure as you go through this, I sound like a hypocrite, saying some bands should experiment, and others should go back to a previous style or something. But that is, of course, a matter of opinion. Some bands conjure up certain sounds, images and thoughts to me and I think they should stick to them…it’s that kinda thing. So please don’t kill me =]

Continue reading Album of 2008 – Preview

Album of 2007 – Results

Last year, Mastodon’s Blood Mountain got a shit load of write-ins at the last minute in my poll, but it still didn’t make my top ten. This year, I’ve apparently over-looked Machine Head’s Aesthetics of Hate but I have listened briefly to it and it does sound like Machine Head, uninspiring. Still better than most of their earlier material besides “Imperium” which is just jaw-droppingly brilliant.

Anyway, this was MUCH tougher to figure out than last year’s list. 2007, as I said in my opening spiegel, was a brilliant year for rock/metal/punk with so much good coming out of it. 2008 looks promising with a few new albums due. Who knows, maybe Metallica’s new album might be out…Halford can wax lyrical about Nostradamus and the third famous lie can be laid to rest: “Honey I love you”, “the cheque’s in the mail” and “Chinese Democracy will be out this year”.

ANYWAY…here’s my top 10 albums of 2007.

Continue reading Album of 2007 – Results