mk’s 2009 Metal Top 10

10. The Seven Gates – Angel of Suffering

This was a late entry into my list (OK, OK, I’m late in general with my list, but this was the last of the crop). Can’t really pin-point what it is about this one – it’s certainly nothing special but I think it’s just the guitar tuning and tempo of Angel that has me interested in every track – the direction and tempo wavers in parts through the songs, giving you something new to appreciate.  Certainly not in the 10 just because there was nothing else. It just hits the right spots for me – not bad for a debut release from these French guys.

9. The Burning – Reawakening

A late entry into my Top10, this release by a relative unknown. A Danish band with their second LP.  A take on modern DM sound, minus the brutality and frenetic pace. Again, just catchy enough to have me wanting to re-listen time again.  The sound is a little Static-X in parts but with a Millie from Kreator type Vox.

8. Austere – To lay Like Old Ashes

I’m in two minds right off the bat for this one. After a small intro, ‘To Fade With the Dusk’ swings the doors of your coffin open and begs you to enter. Depressingly brilliant!  The harrowing vocals work really well here. This continues for the next few tracks before we are treated to a 20-minute last track which is essentially an instrumental involving the same chords as heard in previous tracks, played on and on and on to a completely boring an annoying ending.  I would have almost preferred a 30-minute, 5-track album.

7. 16 – Bridges to Burn

Down-tuned guitars, a mid tempo pace and howling vocals all work together quite well.  Being a fan of such bands as Weedeater, this type of sound tickles the right spots for me. Catchy as FUCK!!

6. My Dying Bride – For Lies I Sire

I was really hoping for a suitable follow-up to the masterpiece ‘A Line Of Deathless Kings’ from 2006 (which made my number 1 in Metal).  News of a return of violin made me nervous, but I needn’t worry.  It’s insignificant and is far outweighed by the gut-wrenching guitar sound, pulling you limb by limb into their misery-ness. Stainthorp’s vocals are brilliantly vacant and moody. 

5. Heaps of Dead – Deceased, Dismembered, And Left To Decay

Damn this is great!!  Only clocking in around the 30 minute mark, it’s perfect for a DM album.  But those put off purely by DM don’t shy away – timing changes a-plenty  along with the odd thrash moments here and there.  The scream vocal has been used nicely and isn’t overbearing.  Last track isn’t necessary but you can forgive them that.

4. Ruins – Front The Final Foes

Have given this a stack of listens now and love it.  Took me a while though – while I instantly loved the first couple of tracks, I did find myself losing interest a little further on.  In contrast to when I saw them live and was instantly hooked on the set they played. Anyway buy it!!

3. Warbringer – Waking Into Nightmares

It can be a hard task separating the shit from the new wave of Thrash Metal shovel these days. But these guys are screaming to be rescued and I’m more than happy to give them a hand.  This is really well executed in my mind.  They’ve avoided the high end speed and ferocity of the likes of Municipal Waste and kept things pretty simple.  Mid paced with well executed solos thrown in. The vocals remind me of the now ex lead singer of Rumplestiltskin Grinder.  A pleasant surprise.

2. Mortification – The Evil Addiction Destroying Machine

Right from the title track for Track 1 I’m hooked.   The production is slightly neutered, the playing as tight as can be and the grhowling (cross be growl and howl) vocals spot on.  Was a fan of their return in 2004 (Brain Cleaner).  Sorry that I missed Erasing the Goblin, but glad they are continuing on their new direction and still releasing quality, dirt under the fingernails, Thrash!!

1. Heaven and Hell – Heaven and Hell

Ahh not getting my list together until much later in 2010 is in some way going to impact on my list.  Before we go too far here. I love this album – listened to it once and went straight out and bought it.  There is some absolutely classic Dio/Sabbath cuts in here – from the unnerving build up in Bible Black to the up-tempo Double the Pain – this album have just about got everything. And how about Ronnie’s voice?  You listen to the likes of Ozzy and Dickenson lurching into the microphone still in their 50’s/60’s and you can notably hear the deterioration.  Not so Dio – sounds as crisp and as clear as ‘Mob Rules’ effort t for example all those years ago.

So to the point at hand – Mortifications effort was/is a breath of fresh air in my much loved, slightly stale thrash cupboard, but Dio’s passing makes Heaven and Hell an extra special release now.  It takes the number 1 spot.

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