Blog Archives

Reggie’s Top 15 Albums of 2013


Black Bomb A, Olympic (Nantes) 17/11/2006Initially, I was going to limit my best of 2013 list to just my top 10.  My reasoning was to make my list as tight as I could only highlighting the very best of what moved me during the year.  After looking back at how many albums I listened to or was exposed to, that number hovered around 270 albums.  So, I decided to expand my list to the same standard as previous years. Despite increasing my list to 15, it still only highlights about 5% of all the albums that graced my ear drums this year.  So, what I present to you for the year 2013 my top 15, plus five more honorable mentions that will be posted in the vicinity of this list.

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Mik’s Top 100 Favourite Albums of All Time #91-95


Top100

A while ago, at the same time as Matt and Reggie, I posted my Top 100 All Time Favourite (Metal) Albums over at the forum The History of Metal on FB. It took a good amount of time and effort to put it together, but it was so much fun! My taste in metal is always changing, so the list will not always look the same. In fact, it’s already a bit different than it was when I first put it together and posted it on the forum seven months ago.

I tried to limit myself to three albums per band to make the list a little more diverse and interesting. I don’t really consider the ‘test of time’-factor when selecting what albums that will go on my list, instead I measure it by how strongly the album has affected me emotionally and how much/often it has helped me through both good and bad phases in my life. That’s why you can find quite a few newer releases among my favourites too. 

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Album Review: Helloween – Straight Out Of Hell


Helloween-Straight-Out-of-HellKeeping with what seems to be a 2-3 year schedule, Helloween has returned with their 14th album of their interesting career.  Straight Out of Hell follows some sort of album title theme relating to or having something to do with sinning, the Devil, or hell…three themes that suit metal well.  I am sure it’s purely coincidental.  Back in the day, I used to be quite the Helloween fan; when few of friends even knew who they were.  I first heard the Keeper albums and was hooked. I think it was my first true dose of Power metal.  Then they released Pink Bubbles my relationship with the music pretty much ended cold turkey except for returning to those Keeper of the Seven Keys albums.  How does Straight out Hell fair so far?

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Song of the Week: Halloween by Helloween


Obvious Song of the Week choice is obvious, but damn is it a great tune.   Helloween’s “Halloween” off of Keeper of the 7 Keys is the perfect song to blast at your home as you watch horror movies and hand out candy to trick-or-treaters.  Enjoy this epic and have a Happy Halloween!!!!

 

P.S.  This is probably an odd place to put this request, but if you could, please send your positive energy over to those that were hit by Superstorm Sandy.  Growing up and spending 26 years of my life on the Jersey Shore before venturing out to explore the world, the effects of the destruction really hit home for me.  As I see pictures of my old haunts and stomping grounds flooded and leveled to the ground and hearing stories of how some of my friends have lost their homes it tears me up.  Fortunately the death toll was minimal as local, state, and national governments handled the situation wonderfully and the people of the communities really reached out to each other and kept a horrible situation as safe as possible.  So, keep the NJ and NY in your thoughts and I’m sure before I know it the great people of the Jersey Shore will have rebuilt my beloved boardwalks and their homes so the next time I go to visit family and friends I’ll get to see the new and improved Jersey Shore (hopefully with less Snooki :P ).  Peace Love and Metal!!!

Reggie’s Top 100 Favorite Albums of All Time #25-21


As we journey down the path to my number 1 favorite album of all time, you will likely see more and more classic metal albums appearing on the list.  Many of these albums have been my favorites for decades while some are relatively new….only came into my life in the last couple of years.  This all-time list is an ongoing effort started by our friends at The History of Metal page on facebook.  Each day we list another album until we get to the end which should take us just up to the end of the year.  Below is my next list of five as we near our way to #1.  Enjoy!

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Theme Thursday – Bands I Want To See Live


Other than listening to metal, one of my other favorite things to do is going to live shows and listen to it at ear-numbing decibel levels.  Being 39 and having a job has given me ample time and decent resources to see shows wherever I have lived at that moment in time.  Location has also been a huge factor.  Growing up near Boston, MA and living in San Antonio, TX, Northern California, and England has made things much easier to catch my favorite bands.  For that, I am very thankful yet, some bands still elude me.  I have managed to catch Megadeth 14 times, Slayer 10 times, and Dream Theater 5 times, plus many others multiple times, but for some reason others have slipped away; some by no fault other than my own.  This list is of bands I have yet to see live and still want to see live very much. If you have seen these bands live and think I shouldn’t go, let me know.

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Themed Thursday: Metal Your Nonmetal Lady Might Like


I want to take this moment to dedicate this theme of the week to my wife who is turns 21 today…for the second time.  Happy Birthday babe! This is a repost of an article I wrote a while back about an experiment to find metal my wife would enjoy.  It’s not to turn her into a metalhead like me, but an experiment to find some common ground.  I like some of her nonmetal music so this was a way for me to find metal that wouldn’t make her feel like she was a lamb in a slaughterhouse.

If you are like me then you married someone who doesn’t listen to metal. It was never a prerequisite for me to marry someone who listened to metal like I do.  To make a long story short, I married a Sting, Billy Joel, Cheryl Crow, Michael Buble fan.  Although I respect these artists, they were not part of my music library.  Early on I knew my wife didn’t like metal and it didn’t matter. There is more to a relationship than musical interests and I could tell that my wife, like me, respected talented musicians. When I told her I liked metal she didn’t make a face or ask “are you satanic?” She might have thought it, but didn’t ask it. I knew she was (and is) open-minded and that was good enough for me.

I tried to introduce her to some metal I thought she might at least like…some artists I thought were more commercially accessible. I started with Dream Theater. Surprisingly that didn’t work out too well.  Although she accompanied me to a 3-hour Dream Theater concert in San Francisco, it was not her cup of tea. Her comment was “really talented dudes, but the songs were too long.” So prog was not her thing. I even tried some Megadeth songs…nope. I took her to see Judas Priest. She actually seemed interested in that show because growing up in the 80’s…who didn’t know Judas Priest?  Anthrax opened and that was a definite bust, but she knew some Judas Priest and thought they put on a good show. I think she enjoyed watching the 40+ year olds in he crowd with mullets and balding heads more than the band. But it was a nice sharing a bit of my musical culture with her. Of course it works both ways. She took me to Matchbox Twenty, a ballet in the front row, and a musical featuring all Billy Joel music. I thought they were very well-done performances. So we shared our interests as couples should do. I still wanted to try to find one band; just one band made of metal that should would like. Not just put up with, but actually like.

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Matt’s(Atleastimhousebroken) Favorite Concerts of 2011


2011 was yet another great year for concerts both in metal and outside the realm.  I feel blessed living in Milan with the vast majority of artists making this Italian metropolis their main Italian stop on their tours and usually that stop is just a couple of metro stops away from my home.  Can’t beat that.  Here are a handful of the concerts I went to this year that really stuck out as awesome shows in no particular order.  Now onward to 2012 and looking forward to more great shows(Dream Theater and Gods of Metal(Black Sabbath and Opeth!!!!!) tickets purchased, so can’t wait!!).  Enjoy and let us know what your favorite concerts this year were!  Peace Love and Metal!!!!

Helloween/Stratovarius:  These two bands made a great show filled with a night of top-notch Power Metal.  Even though he was coming off of a sickness Stratovarius’ Timo Kotipello put on a great vocal performance and the rest of the band was electric, especially their new guitarist who blew me away with his skill and stage presence.  Helloween headlined and proved why they are lauded as the kings of Power Metal.  Their setlist was great mix of new and old with a really cool medley of Keeper of the Seven Keys songs and a great performance of “I Want Out” with lots of crowd interaction.  If either of these bands pass your way check them out, they’re tons of fun.

Rhapsody of Fire:  A couple of weeks after the Helloween/Stratovarius show I was able to catch Italian Fantasy Cheese Power Metal live for the first time and the last time with both Luca Turilli and Alex Staropoli sharing the stage together.  Their live show is as big as their recorded sound and was special that they played a couple of their songs in Italian for the Italian crowd(and the audience all knew the words).  Fabio Leone really stood out as his voice was wonderful that evening nailing the high power metal notes, the deep operatic sounds, and ripping apart the occasional Black Metal rasps(“Reign of Chaos” FTW).

Bon Jovi: Believe it or not I’m a born and bred Jersey boy and I have never been to a Bon Jovi concert before.  Well, since they are my wife’s all time favorite band I got to surprise her with tickets to see them in Udine, Italy.  Boy, does that man know how to put on a great show.  Bon Jovi’s stage presence is unmatched and the energy he puts into the show is immeasurable.  The stage was gigantic with 2 jumbotrons on each side and one jumbo-jumbotron in the center showing live footage and all kinds of video to match the songs.  The crowd was impressive as well as the 40,000 at the sold out soccer arena sung louder than Bon Jovi could through the P.A.  My ears are still ringing from “You Give Love a Bad Name”.  If you ever get a chance to see Bon Jovi live do not turn it down, they are some of the best in the game hands down and put on a top-notch concert and will be worth every penny.

Cake: I went to a couple non-metal shows this year, but it was CA’s Cake that stuck out the most for me.  Coming home from work one evening my neighbors(who have a great band called Selton whom you should check out, especially if you like stuff like The Beatles and surf rock) were heading out to see them and invited me any my wife along, boy am I glad we took them up on the offer.  The venue was outdoors and it was a beautiful evening out and Cake put on such a fun concert playing for over 2 hours with new songs and old ones.  The crowd was in great spirits and everyone was dancing around(even me?!?!).  John McCrea is a great frontman and for as monotone his voice is he has great personality and kept everyone moving and full of smiles.  Cake is also the first and only band I know of that has had a horticulture quiz during a concert with a sapling as a prize, huge win in my book!!

Opeth:  I know I said that I will not number these, but, I’m cheating.  Opeth was hands down the best concert of the year as my first concert experience with them, and they blew me away.  They played a growl free set to match with the mood of Heritage killed it.  Never again will I miss Opeth when they come my way, there is a reason that they are one of the most popular current metal bands out there right now.  Pain of Salvation opened and also put on a great set and I’m looking forward to seeing them when they head out on a headlining tour.  Check out my review of the show if you want ;)

Song of the Week – I Want Out


After being bombarded with new music over the last 6-weeks, I thought I would take a walk down memory lane with this week’s song of the week.  Helloween had been out for a little while before I got my ears on one particular single – I Want Out.  This is the one that did it for me.  It was recorded on the Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II album in 1988 when I was in high school.  So, this qualifies as old school…for me.  For many of you, this is probably before your time all together.  From the time I heard I Want Out , I started to follow the German metal machine and back-purchase their older material.  I am still a fan today and thought I would share with you this song of the week, I Want Out.  This particular video is a live recording with the newer singer; not the one that originally recorded the song back in the day.  This is good quality and he does the song justice.  Enjoy!

Theme Thursday- Metal Songs of Epic Proportions


A nice quick 2-5 minute metal song is a great thing.  The band gets right to the point, does their thing, closes up shop, and then gets right to kicking your ass with another great metal song to keep your blood pumping.  That’s all fine and dandy, but sometimes I want a song that I can really sink my teeth into, to take me on a musical journey, and that’s where the longer songs come into play.  They take their time to build up and when they get going they take you on a ride that can’t be fully realized or appreciated in just a few minutes.  To successfully pull of a long song is no easy feat on the bands part, they need to have the skill to compose a track that will keep the listeners attention for the whole expedition and also make that listener want to come back to experience it again to gain a deeper appreciation for the song.

Here are some metal songs that successfully pull off the long song format and make you want to come back for more(well me at least, but I think many of you out there will enjoy them as much as I do).  I’ll limit myself to not going over 2 songs per band, as some artists are masters at crafting some epic journeys and will start the qualifying time for entry at 10 minutes.  A couple artists have crafted albums that are essentially one long song, so I will only be posting a part of that song(if you get into it you can most likely listen to it in it’s entirety on Youtube, or better yet, purchase the album).  And as always, What are some of your favorite long playing metal songs? Read the rest of this entry