BravePicks 2017 - The Scribes Speak! Nick Balazs

January 13, 2018, a year ago

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BravePicks 2017 - The Scribes Speak! Nick Balazs

BravePicks 2017 - The Scribes Speak!
Nick Balazs

Top 20 of 2017
1) PORTRAIT – Burn The World (Metal Blade)
2) CRAZY LIXX – Ruff Justice (Frontiers)
3) AYREON – The Source (Mascot)
4) VAMPIRE – With Primeval Force (Century Media)
5) ONE DESIRE – One Desire (Frontiers)
6) PALANTIR – Lost Between Dimensions (Soulspell)
7) BLOODY HEELS – Through Mystery (Independent)
8) ELVENKING – Secrets Of The Magick Grimoire (AFM)
9) RAM – Rod (Metal Blade)
10) POWER TRIP – Nightmare Logic (Southern Lord)
11) L.A. GUNS – The Missing Peace (Frontiers)
12) LANCER – Mastery (Nuclear Blast)
13) ALESTORM – No Grave But The Sea (Napalm)
14) GRAVE DIGGER – Healed By Metal (Napalm)
15) OVERKILL – The Grinding Wheel (Nuclear Blast)
16) SANTA CRUZ – Bad Blood Rising (M-Theory Audio)
17) LUX PERPETUA – The Curse Of The Iron King (Underground Symphony)
18) POWER QUEST – Sixth Dimension (Inner Wound)
19) ICED EARTH – Incorruptible (Century Media)
20) WINTERSUN – The Forest Seasons (Nuclear Blast)

Top 3 Concerts
STEEL PANTHER – Cleveland, OH – House Of Blues
SABATON, LEAVES’ EYES, BATTLE BEAST – Cleveland, OH – Agora Theatre
EPICA, LACUNA COIL, INSOMNIUM – Cleveland, OH – Agora Theatre

Top 5 Brave Embarrassments 
ENSIFERUM – Two Paths (Metal Blade)
Losing their way; Two Paths feels phoned in. Where are those magic melodies the band is known for creating?

STEEL PANTHER – Lower The Bar (Open E)
The bar was indeed lowered; I love the Panther, but the songs just don’t deliver on this one.

ACCEPT – Rise Of Chaos (Nuclear Blast)
Been on a roll since the Blood Of The Nations rebirth, but maybe they’re too comfortable now. Nothing really memorable on this one; could be time to change things up a bit.

STRIKER – Striker (Record Breaking)
Striking hot a year after the outstanding Stand In The Fire comes a cold release of a lot of filler material. Terribly disappointing. 

RHAPSODY OF FIRE – Legendary Years (AFM)
Was it really necessary to re-record classics with the new singer? No, of course not. Flush this one!

What/Who Needs To Stop In 2018
What seems to becoming a trend is the banishment of cell phones at concerts. This needs to halt before it becomes a common thing. Some of these acts need to get over themselves regarding the use of phones and using the lame excuse of distracting the performance or whatever. So because a couple people are constantly on their device that means all concert goers need to give up their phones? I don’t think so.

Thoughts On 2017
December is becoming a crappy month; seems like a major death is happening every year and it sucks. I find the propping up of certain acts a little…interesting, like publications are desperate for the next big thing. This year it has been Power Trip and Code Orange. Now Power Trip is onto something with their aggressive approach to thrash marked by outstanding riffs, but Code Orange is basically a sophisticated form of metalcore so I don’t get that one. It wasn’t long ago that bands like Shadows Fall and As I Lay Dying were propped up now look what happened to them. The best metal right now and probably since the beginning of the decade is coming out of Sweden. A lot of inspired acts like Tribulation, Enforcer, Vampire, RAM, Portrait, and others are releasing some of the best material metal has to offer.

Portrait’s Burn The World was an easy choice as top album. Incredible heavy metal in the vein of Mercyful Fate/King Diamond and “Martyrs” is one of the best five metal songs released since the dawn of the millennium. Yeah, I’ll go that far.

On the other end of the spectrum, there some outstanding acts in the new generation of glam metal. Crazy Lixx’s Ruff Justice is a perfect throwback to 1987, with a Friday the 13th motif that garnered them well-deserved attention and the best newcomers are the remarkable AOR sounds of One Desire while Latvia’s Bloody Heels has a refreshing take on glam/AOR on their Through Mystery debut. Santa Cruz keeps taking most of the headlines and seem to make the most waves in North America and Bad Blood Rising proves they are for real. If you love bands like Ratt, Poison, Dokken, the Crüe, and so on; these are bands I strongly recommend to check out.

Metal Predictions For 2018

- Tribulation’s Down Below record will again be a contender for album of the year.
- KISS announce a long (real) farewell tour towards the end of the year.
- Tony Iommi teams up again with Glenn Hughes for an album.

Check out the thoughts of our other scribes:

Mark Gromen
Greg Pratt
Carl Begai
Aaron Small
Rich Catino
Alitzia Tyminski

Check out our BravePicks 2017 countdown where Overkill took the top spot here.

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