BravePicks 2016 - The Scribes Speak! Mark Gromen

January 2, 2017, 3 months ago

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BravePicks 2016 - The Scribes Speak! Mark Gromen

BravePicks 2016 - The Scribes Speak!
Mark Gromen

Top 20 of 2016
1) HOLY GRAIL - Times Of Pride And Peril (Prosthetic)
2) RUNNING WILD – Rapid Foray (SPV)
3) DESTRUCTION - Under Attack (Nuclear Blast)
4) PRIMAL FEAR - Rulebreaker (AFM)
5) WIDOW – Carved In Stone (Pure Steel)
6) HAMMERFALL – Built To Last (Napalm)
7) WHEN NOTHING REMAINS- In Memoriam (Solitude Productions)
8) ANGEL SWORD - Rebels Beyond The Pale (Underground Power)
9) PRETTY MAIDS - Kingmaker (Frontiers)
10 METAL CHURCH - XI (Rat Pak)
11) DEATH ANGEL – The Evil Divide (Nuclear Blast)
12) VICIOUS RUMORS – Concussion Protocol (SPV)
13) HELSTAR – Vampiro (EMP Label Group)
14) AMON AMARTH - Jomsviking (Metal Blade)
15) IRON CURTAIN – Guilty As Charged (Pure Steel)
16) THORNBRIDGE - What Will Prevail (Massacre)
17) LUCIFER'S HAMMER – Beyond The Omens (Shadow Kingdom)
18) GRAVEBREAKER – Sacrifice (self financed)
19) IRON SPELL - Electric Conjuring (Empire Records)
20) NOWEN – Peace With Death (self financed)


Top 3 Concerts
ENFORCER – Agora, Cleveland, OH
HOLY GRAIL - Kung Fu Necktie (twice!) , Philadelphia, PA
FATES WARNING (with John Arch!) - ProgPower Atlanta, GA

Top 5 Brave Embarrassments

CHRIS HOLMES - CHP (Mighty Music)
Beyond the autobiographical, sophomoric lyrics (lousy upbringing, women problems and venerating his alcoholic behavior), apart from what could be a W.A.S.P. outtake ('Let It Roar') this is poorly played (oft acoustic) country rock, with painfully atonal/off-key "singing". Ouch!

STEVE GRIMMETT'S GRIM REAPER – Walking In The Shadows (Dissonance Productions)
At least this effort is accurately entitled, not holding a candle to past glories. Not an utter failure, but the thirty year wait for new Grim Reaper material has clearly clouded the eyesight of many a fan (age related macular degeneration?) towards this pedestrian, paint-by-numbers velvet Elvis.

THE WILDHEARTS - Never Outdrunk, Never Outsung: P.H.U.Q. Live (Round Records)
Really tough to not like a live outing from a band you enjoy, but such is the case here.

ABBATH - Abbath (Season Of Mist)
Love the man and most of his prior works, but this solo effort left my kingdom cold.

GRAHAM BONNET BAND – Escape From Alcatrazz: Alive In Japan (Self-issued):
There's a reason no label (not even Asian!) would touch this drunken (?) profane ramblings, forgotten lyrics and off-key warbling.


What/Who Needs To Stop In 2017
Re-mixed, re-mastered reissues that offer nothing new. Every 20 years the technology changes, so purchasing new formats once seemed reasonable (vinyl, 8-track/cassette, CD, mp3/streaming and now, for millennials, back to vinyl) . If you want to give the (dwindling number of) physical product purchasers something new, like a never released live show or some honest to God rarity (not just demos from the sessions, or instrumental versions of said tracks), then OK, but don't keep foisting the same, albeit cleaned up sounds, to milk a few more bucks. Worse yet, the finite dollars are stifling possibilities for newer bands.

Thoughts On 2016
Energy drink sponsored tours might have gone the way of the auk, but they stepped up their game in '16, offering regional one or two day festivals throughout the spring and fall, smart enough not to compete with Europe for bands, during the lucrative summer festival season. Are Twisted Sister truly done? Can't see Dee sitting idle for too long. Sad to see the Metal Hammer UK and Classic Rock magazines go belly up. Speaking of premature deaths, losing far too many musicians, a trend that unfortunately (given the graying demographic) is likely to accelerate in the future.That's why I'm excited about the young blood that's struggling to get recognized, as yet more bygone entities "reunite," in whole or part (Ratt, Nitro, etc.), and further dilute the pot of available money. Make a resolution you might be able to keep: check out one new band a month, in the coming year.

Metal Predictions For 2017
Uncharacteristically, the start of the new year will immediately see a flood of interesting product. On the tail of year-ending imported live sets from Primordial and Nightwish, there will be another, by Accept, as well as studio efforts from Grave Digger, Kreator and Lancer. And that's just in January! February brings OverKill and sometime in 2017, live CD/DVD from Primal Fear, as well as the long anticipated sophomore effort from perpetually touring Night Demon. Still awaiting that live Blind Guardian (recorded on 2015 North American tour), plus Sinner's Tequila Suicide and album number two from Hell Fire. Hard to believe that (as of this writing) Wacken is not sold out and disappointed to hear Heavy Montreal will be “on hiatus” this year. No rest for the wicked, BraveWords will once again be a sponsor of 70000 Tons of Metal, as well as Summer Breeze, in Dinkelsbuhl, Germany. Hope to see you out at a show!

Check out our BravePicks 2016 countdown where Metallica reigned supreme here.

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