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Matt’s Top 100 Favorite Albums of All Time: #10-#6


Is it Top 10 time already!?  It’s been fun recounting my favorite albums to you all.  Thanks for reading!  Doing the list was fun and gave me a great excuse, not that I need one, to go back and listen to some amazing records that I haven’t spun in a while.  Here in the Top 10 is where the big dogs come out.  My ‘stranded on a deserted island’ albums per say.  Each one here holds something special for me and some have helped shape me into the man who I am today and some are just really damn great records.  Here’s the first half of my Top 10 Favorite Albums of All Time with the second half including #1 to drop next Monday.  Enjoy and if you have a spare couple of minutes, let me know what your favorite albums all.  Sharing is caring!  Peace Love and Metal!!!!

#10 Fly By Night by Rush

Picture if you will, a young and impressionable lower-middle class American suburb kid at around the age of 7 in the back yard of his neighborhood buddies home digging a big hole because, well, who really questions a kids motives on stuff like that. Then the older brother of the friend comes out back and does what any awesome older brother should do. “Hey, you kids really need some music to dig that hole to” he says as he plugs in his boombox and proceeds to play 3 albums for the youths. Included in that trio of albums are 2 records that would help shape the passions and interests of the visiting child.

The first to make a massive impact is a hard rocking prog rock album called Fly By Night by a Canadian band called Rush. The opener “Anthem” give him such a surge of energy that he attacks that hole at full force and the following tune, “Best I Can” makes him want to make sure that the crater he is making is the best damn crater in the world where people would travel around the world to see his magnificent work.

Tune by tune the sweet music connects with the dirt encrusted kid as he learns life important skills like quality ditch digging and the pleasures of air-drumming. Soon a period of rest comes as sweet sun tea is guzzled by the glassful in the warm sun and the chill sounds of “Rivendell” grace our ears and initiate a lesson on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien (who would also go on to be another favorite of the impressionable child).

Even at such a young age, there are events in one’s life where the memory sticks vividly as it just had happened an hour ago. This was one of those days, especially when the other album, which will be talked about at a later date, was included. And in case you’re curious, the odd man out album was Appetite For Destruction, which the kid thought the music and songs were great, but the singer sounded like a pig getting his nuts stepped on and it kinda killed the album for him.

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Matt’s Top 100 Favorite Albums of All Time: #35-#31


Over on my favorite forum for rambling about metal, The History of Metal (it’s an open Facebook forum, so anyone, meaning you, can join and flap your jaw about metal with a wide variety of metalheads from all over the world), the admin made a challenge to all the members to create their top 100 albums of all time. Loving making lists I’m all on this. Between the ~1500 albums I have there is a lot to filter through and this has turned into quite a daunting, yet fun, challenge. This list will represent where I am with my favorite albums right now, if I were to do this last year or next year, while being similar, I’m sure there would be lots of differences. My only self-imposed limitation on this is I’m confining each band 3 albums in the list to avoid entire, very large, discographies over saturating it. Every 5 days or so I’ll make a post with the next 5 entries into the list. Fellow bloggers, I extend this challenge to you (and be sure to let me know where and when you’ll be posting it, I’d love to read it), and for readers without a blog join up with THOM and post yours there! Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!

#35 BE by Pain of Salvation

Who is God, what is God, where is God, does God know what he is doing, does God believe in himself, what is the meaning of life? These are some questions that PoS explore within their sci-fi concept album BE. Within the record some of the questions and concepts they arise on the subject are some of the most interesting I’ve heard on the subject. While I do not believe in a ‘God’ in the popular sense of the word, delving into the themes and doing some extracurricular research on the album has led to me asking myself some serious questions. And then there’s the music contained within to boot. Even if you’re not concerned with the concept, PoS weaves some of the most touching and most emotional pieces of music they have written throughout their career, ranging from metal to classical piano suites to heart strung ballads. And “Vocari Dei” (the God’s answering machine song) is one of the most powerful and emotional pieces of music that PoS have ever written. This is one album, regardless of preferred musical genre or faith, I recommend everyone listening to.

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Matt’s Top 100 Favorite Albums of All Time: #40-#36


Over on my favorite forum for rambling about metal, The History of Metal (it’s an open Facebook forum, so anyone, meaning you, can join and flap your jaw about metal with a wide variety of metalheads from all over the world), the admin made a challenge to all the members to create their top 100 albums of all time. Loving making lists I’m all on this. Between the ~1500 albums I have there is a lot to filter through and this has turned into quite a daunting, yet fun, challenge. This list will represent where I am with my favorite albums right now, if I were to do this last year or next year, while being similar, I’m sure there would be lots of differences. My only self-imposed limitation on this is I’m confining each band 3 albums in the list to avoid entire, very large, discographies over saturating it. Every 5 days or so I’ll make a post with the next 5 entries into the list. Fellow bloggers, I extend this challenge to you (and be sure to let me know where and when you’ll be posting it, I’d love to read it), and for readers without a blog join up with THOM and post yours there! Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!

#40 Imaginations from the Other Side by Blind Guardian

What more could a metal head nerd ask for? A band that writes top shelf quality metal and sings about things such as fantasy, sci-fi, history, video games, and all other nerdish troupes. When a buddy mentioned that Blind Guardian was Lord of the Rings metal I knew I had to check them out and my introduction to them was by way of the classic Imaginations from the Other Side (which was their most recent album at the time). My teenage nerd brain was melted, not only were there high energy rockers on the album, but the band had been able to write some of the best metal ballads ever (which, at 15 years old, I wasn’t a huge fan of yet). The Arthurian “Past and Future Secret” and “Mordred’s Song” will go down as a pair of my all time favorite songs by the Bards and my neck still hurts from the copious amounts of headbanging done to “I’m Alive”.

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Album Review: Memories of a Time to Come by Blind Guardian


Often with ‘best of’ compilations, fans of the band releasing the set usually have little to no reason to purchase the record.  With stuff like digital media players and their playlist feature, a fan can easily recreate the ‘best of’ album with ease from all the albums they already own.  And while some bands will toss an unreleased song onto the compilation, more often than not, there was a reason that the song was never released, so it’s a throw-away.  When it comes down to it, ‘best of’ albums are good for those just getting into an established band and those who just want to dabble in a certain band but don’t want to make a full monetary and time commitment to listening to the whole catalog a group has to offer.  But sometimes a ‘best of’ collection comes along that is able to appeal to newbies, casuals, and the hardcore fan offering something of quality for all.  Blind Guardian’s Memory of a Time to Come is one of those albums.  And I write this from the perspective of the hardcore Blind Guardian fan that I am.

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Themed Thursday – Metal Meets The Zodiac


I am not one to normally contemplate my astrology reading of the day.  I do find them interesting at times and often accurate, but sometimes these things can be so vague that they apply to almost anyone.  As we know, signs of the Zodiac are represented by symbols, elements, planets, and stones.  Why not metal bands?  If you know your sign, you should know what band applies to you.  This is what my research for this theme of the week is going to do.  No longer will you have to say you are Aries symbolized by the ram.  Now, you can say I am Aries represented by Arch motherfucking Enemy.  Here is my breakdown of what band should represent you and your astrological sign.

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Theme Thursday: Storytellers Pt. I


I like stories.  Most of my favorite things revolve around great narratives; movies, video games, books, etc.  So when a band releases a concept album that revolves around a story of some kind I tend to get all kinds of excited.  Sometimes, more often than not, the stories in music are laid out in an abstract way nudging the listener to delve deeper into the music listening to not just the word that are sung but how the music also works in tandem with the lyrics creating narrative unlike any other entertainment genre.  Here are a few albums that tell a great story.  What’s your take on these albums?  What are some of your favorite narrative driven concept albums?  Enjoy!  Peace Love and Metal!

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Theme Thursday – Fan Videos: Pt. III


Continuing on with Fan Video series here are some more awesome music videos and tributes made by the fans.  A special thanks to all the budding video editors and at home music video directors, your love of the music video has provided me with countless hours of entertainment!  If you know of other great fan videos, let us know, we love watching them!!  Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!

Blind Guardian – War of the Thrones

It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of the Game of Thrones series (along with the books) and Blind Guardian.  When I heard “War of the Thrones” the first time on At the Edge of Time I was quite ecstatic.  Now Youtube user Chaoticgreece has taken the song a step further and combined them into an awesome tribute video to Game of Thrones.  Bravo!

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Themed Thursday – Album Intros


A good intro to a record serves many purposes, but most importantly it is the bands starting point to grab a listener’s attention and set the mood and tone for the rest of the album.  If it is a concept album it sets up the themes and story if there is one, if it’s a straight up brutal album it should be a track to really get the adrenaline running.  And so on and so forth.  Intros come in the form of an instrumental song, spoken word, or just a really strong track to get things started off on the right track.

Here are some of my favorite album intros.  Some may be composed of 2 tracks due to the first part seamlessly transitioning into the second more or less making the 2 part of 1.  Enjoy and let us know what some of your favorite album intros are!  Peace Love and Metal!!!!

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Best Of Albums


Usually when a band puts out a Best Of album, I often pass up on the offer.  Most of the time it’s a selection of their radio hits or the singles that should have been hits and often times really don’t give a good representation of the band as a whole.  And if it’s a band I’m into, chances are I already own everything by the artist already, so what’s the point of wasting money on stuff I already own(unless it has really cool packaging).

That said, one of my all time favorite bands, Blind Guardian, are releasing their Best Of album, Memories of a Time to Come, and I’m quite interested in picking it up.  Not only is it a great selection of songs that really show off their diverse catalog, almost all of the songs are going to be remixed and a handful completely re-recorded.  Of the re-recorded songs is “Valhalla”, a huge hit in the Blind Guardian favorite live songs, but on the album that song just has a weird feel to it(mainly because I don’t care for Kai Hansen of Gamma Ray‘s guest vocals on the track).  So I am actually excited to be able to listen to a great studio version of that song.  They are also including some demos of pre-Blind Guardian years when they were known as Lucifer’s Heritage with the set also, a nice bonus for us long time fans.

So, if you’re a fan of the band this seems to be shaping up to be a great package, and if you’re a newcomer there is some great introductory music on here to(even though nothing will top the full albums, this is a nice taste of whats available).  It will be available in 2 disc and 3 disk editions(I highly recommend the 3 disk, there’s some great stuff on the third disk) and releases January 20, 2012.

Track Listing:

CD 1:

  1. Imaginations from the Other Side (7:11) *
  2. Nightfall (5:34) *
  3. Ride into Obsession (4:46) *
  4. Somewhere Far Beyond (7:32) *
  5. Majesty (7:29) *
  6. Traveler in Time (6:01) *
  7. Follow the Blind (7:11) *
  8. The Last Candle (6:03) *

CD 2:

  1. Sacred Worlds (9:17)
  2. This Will Never End (5:07) *
  3. Valhalla (5:13) **
  4. Bright Eyes (5:15) *
  5. Mirror Mirror (5:09) *
  6. The Bard’s Song (In the Forest) (3:26) *
  7. The Bard’s Song (The Hobbit) (3:41) **
  8. And Then There Was Silence (14:06) **

CD 3: (only available with the deluxe limited edition)

  1. Brian ***
  2. Halloween (The Wizard’s Crown) ***
  3. Lucifer’s Heritage ***
  4. Symphonies of Doom ***
  5. Dead of the Night ***
  6. Majesty
  7. Trial by the Archon
  8. Battalions of Fear
  9. Run for the Night
  10. Lost in the Twilight Hall
  11. Tommyknockers
  12. Ashes to Ashes
  13. Time What is Time
  14. A Past and Future Secret
  15. The Script for My Requiem

*   Remixed 2011
**  Re-recorded 2011
*** Re-worked 2011

Now for the second part of this post.  It seems Blind Guardian have created a Best Of package that looks to satisfy both long time fans as well as newcomers.  I ask you, what are some Best Of collections that you deem worthy of purchasing?

Other good and interesting Best Of collections I liked listening to were Prime Cuts by Suicidal Tendencies where all the songs were given a make over and remixed to show a more funky style of the band, and to be perfectly honest, I prefered a lot of the remixes over the originals.  Same could be said for AmorphisMagic and Mayhem:Tales From the Early Years where they re-recorded their older tracks with the new lineup of the band, and new vocalist Tomi Joutsen adding a new flavor to the songs while keeping the integrity of the original in tact. Dream Theater‘s Greatest Hit(…and 21 other pretty cool songs) was a good one too as it was a great album to pass along to a newcomer and it had a couple different versions of their songs on it for the long time fans.

Blind Guardian Back to Work on that Orchestral Album


A rather lengthy update on Blind Guardian‘s website has brought more light to the long awaited orchestral album that the Bards have been teasing us fans with for what seems like a lifetime.  According to Hansi Kürsch they have enlisted the help of German high fantasy author Markus Heitz to help write the story and help build the concept to the album.  Mr. Heitz has gained acclaim in the realm of fantasy literature with his novel The Dwarves(Die Zwerge in its original language) series.  Personally I have not read anything by him yet, but have seen his novels readily available.  I guess my ignorance of his work will be changing very soon, authors suggested by Blind Guardian have always been good recommendations(if not for the Bards I would have never picked up George R.R. Martin, my now favorite author).

Blind Guardian says that they feel really comfortable working with Markus because he is already very familiar with their music and is as a large of a nerd as the Bards themselves as they both grew up in the fantasy scene reading many similar books and playing the same role playing games in the 80′s and 90′s.  Because of the same shared passionate interests Blind Guardian and Markus have an easy time time exchanging ideas and concepts.

I for one am really excited for this project to finally come to fruition as they have been teasing us with it for many a year now.  Some of my favorite Blind Guardian work was when they worked with a full orchestra(yup, I was one of those people who loved A Night at the Opera) and if there’s one band that can pull of an orchestral fantasy album there is no better band to do it than Blind Guardian(Rhapsody of Fire, maybe).  They are expecting the album to come to fruition some time in 2013, it seems like a lifetime away, but I have a good feeling it will be worth the wait.

Your can read the announcement letter here.