BravePicks 2018 - The Scribes Speak! Mark Gromen
January 5, 2019, a year ago
BravePicks 2018 - The Scribes Speak!
Top 20 of 2018
1) BULLET - Dust To Gold (SPV)
2) VOJD - The Outer Ocean (High Roller)
3) JUDAS PRIEST - Firepower (Sony)
4) UNLEASHED - The Hunt For The White Christ (Napalm)
5) BRAINSTORM - Midnight Ghost (AFM)
6) LUCIFER'S HAMMER - Time Is Death (Stormspell)
7) NECROPHOBIC - The Mark Of The Necrogram (Century Media)
8) POWERWOLF - The Sacrament Of Sin (Napalm)
9) DORO - Forever Warriors (Nuclear Blast)
10) LITTLE CAESAR - Eight (Golden Robot)
11) FLIGHT - A Leap Through Matter (High Roller)
12) IMMORTAL - Northern Chaos Gods (Nuclear Blast)
13) GRAHAM BONNET BAND - Meanwhile, Back In The Garage (Frontiers)
14) IMPELLETTERI - The Nature Of The Beast (Frontiers)
15) BEHEMOTH – I Loved You At Your Darkest (Metal Blade/Nuclear Blast)
16) THE SKULL - The Endless Road Turns Dark (Tee Pee)
17) HATCHET - Dying To Exist (Combat)
18) LOUDNESS - Rise To Glory (earMUSIC)
19) VOODOO CIRCLE - Raised On Rock (AFM)
20) THERION - Beloved Antichrist (Nuclear Blast)
Top 3 Concerts
JUDAS PRIEST with Glen Tipton! - Prudential Center, Newark, NJ
POWERWOLF - Bang Your Head, Balingen, Germany
NECROPHOBIC on 70000 Tons Of Metal
Top 5 Brave Embarrassments
VICTORIUS - Dinosaur Warfare: Legend Of The Power Saurus (Massacre)
As if the goofiness of Twilight Force, Gloryhammer and the like weren't bad enough, comes German power metallers writing songs about Jurassic creatures, with Star Wars weaponry, saving Earth from an alien invasion. Reportedly only Part 1. Can hardly wait!
THOBBE ENGLUND - The Draining Of Vergelmer (Metalville)
Ex-Sabaton guitarist left the band for this? Whoever is providing career guidance (including taking on vocals) should be fired, ASAP. Only things drained were talent, patience and the local cesspool, which apparently went right into this record's grooves!
PURSER DEVERILL – Square One (Mighty Music)
Reportedly 30 years in the making, this off- on again collaboration between former Tygers Of Pan Tang guitarist/vocalist is so saccharine it makes “Love Potion #9” sound like underground black metal! Hope Deverill extorted the label, making them release this in order to also get the stellar live Hellbound/Spellbound '81. Would explain a lot: barely rock, certainly not metal. Avoid.
KISSIN' DYNAMITE - Ecstasy (Sony/Metal Blade)
Once fun loving German glam, now can't stick with definitive style for successive albums. After poking fingers in the eyes of their generation, opted for polish and third rate Bon Jovi on their major label distro deal. Guess Metal Blade smells another Goo Goo Dolls crossover.
DON AIREY - One Of A Kind (earMUSIC)
Solo effort by Rainbow/Ozzy keyboardist? Rarely rock, let alone hard rock/metal, preferring ballads/show tune. Glad it's just one of a kind!
Thoughts On 2018
Finally, a resurgence of traditional metal, on American shores! Led, in no small part by the constant touring of Night Demon (stellar live album this year), nice to see labels taking a shot with upstarts like of Sacred Leather, Blade Killer, Silver Talon, Widow, Lady Beast, Sylent Storm, Haunt, Pounder, etc.
While not on social media, do have an occasion to visit band sites and become appalled by the stupidity masquerading as fandom. Sure everyone is (supposedly) entitled to their opinion (a sentiment quickly proving to be verboten on the Internet), but the sanctimonious attitudes exhibited, under the guise of anonymity, is astounding. Take, for instance, just one example (bands interchangeable): the ridiculous “No KK Downing/Glenn Tipton = No Judas Priest” mentality, posted on the band's official page. Really? Have you listened to Firepower? It's easily their best album since Painkiller, if not Defenders Of The Faith and who knows how much longer they'll be able to continue. Why not enjoy?
What/Who Needs To Stop In 2019
Reunions. For every Accept, where the legacy is enhanced by new material, there's 10 other coattail riders. Sure, everyone loves hearing the hits once again, but as more bands call it quits (and sadly, many more musicians die off), there's no thoughts to the future. Labels and promoters, seeking quick profits (during increasingly difficult financial times) preferring to book a “name,” perhaps with just one original (often inconsequential) member, rather than a killer, up and coming band.
With the recent (or impending loss) of headliners like Slayer, Motörhead, Ozzy/Black Sabbath, Twisted Sister, Manowar, Kiss, Aerosmith(?) AC/DC(?) the future of the hard rock/metal genre is at a crossroads. Where are the big stadium entities that can take out (support and groom) the next generation of bands? English speaking concerns keep trying to foist the likes of Avenged Sevenfold, Slipknot, Bullet For My Valentine, Disturbed, Asking Alexandria or Trivium, which have failed to take root overseas as legitimate replacements, while North American has been slow to embrace established European mega-stars like Nightwish, Sabaton, Amon Amarth, all still relegated to club tours over here. While some are concerned about staying power, only Ghost has ascended to the needed stature, on both sides of the Atlantic.
A similar dire situation exists for those that still care about sales, be it physical product or downloads. For every retread that issues something new (old concerts you can probably find on YouTube, demos of known songs, etc) the public's limited cash dictates a choice between old timers and a fledgling act who truly NEED the money/exposure. With fewer stages to play, the lifeblood of today's groups (merchandise sales) is curtailed and with reduced opportunity (due to oversaturation, thanks, in part, to resurrected outfits) far too many quality bands will die in their infancy, withering on an unwatered vine.
Do yourself and the metal community a favor: buy one less six pack a month and invest that money in attending a club show for a band you've never seen before or purchase a CD/download by the same. We'll all be the better for it! If you need some guidance, check out some of the names above and re-visit BraveWords.com throughout the year to learn about others.
Metal Predictions For 2019
In the hard rock/traditional metal vein, Spain, already an important stop for touring bands (and lately, massive multi-day events, like Rock Fest Barcelona) will continue to unearth new, English-vocal acts, ready for the world stage.
On a personal level, increased participation in the contnuously expanding realm of overseas festival. Yes, will continue to support those attended in the past, including a 20th consecutive visit to Bang Your Head!!!, as well as perennial calendar penciled dates for 70000 Tons, Heavy Montréal, Summer Breeze and Knockout. Currently weighing option for Tons Of Rock (Norway) and Chania Rock (Crete). Stay tuned!
Check out our BravePicks 2018 countdown where Behemoth took the top spot here.