BravePicks 2021 - The Scribes Speak! Aaron Small

January 5, 2022, 10 months ago

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BravePicks 2021 - The Scribes Speak! Aaron Small

BravePicks 2021 - The Scribes Speak!
Aaron Small

Top 20 of 2021
1) DIRTY HONEY – Dirty Honey (Dirt Records)
2) BUCKCHERRY – Hellbound (Round Hill Records)
3) BLACK LABEL SOCIETY – Doom Crew Inc. (eOne)
4) CRADLE OF FILTH – Existence Is Futile (Nuclear Blast)
5) SMITH/KOTZEN – Smith/Kotzen (BMG)
6) MYLES KENNEDY – The Ides Of March (Napalm Records)
7) CANNIBAL CORPSE – Violence Unimagined (Metal Blade)
8) HYPOCRISY – Worship (Nuclear Blast)
9) THE GEORGIA THUNDERBOLTS – Can We Get A Witness (Mascot)
10) THE L.A. MAYBE – Dirty Damn Tricks (Independent)
11) STONE WHISKEY – Rebels Of The Sun (Independent)
12) TREMONTI – Marching In Time (Napalm Records)
13) THE CROWN – Royal Destroyer (Metal Blade)
14) EYEHATEGOD – A History Of Nomadic Behavior (Century Media)
15) LOCK UP – The Dregs Of Hades (Listenable)
16) DAMON JOHNSON & THE GET READY – Battle Lessons (Double Dragon)
17) RICKY WARWICK – When Life Was Hard And Fast (Nuclear Blast)
18) JOHN 5 – Sinner (Big Machine Records)
19) THE LURKING FEAR – Death, Madness, Horror, Decay (Century Media)
20) AT THE GATES – The Nightmare Of Being (Century Media)

Top 5 Brave Embarrassments

DURBIN – The Beast Awakens (Frontiers)
The former American Idol contestant may be living his dream, but for the rest of us it’s a nightmare.

LOVE AND DEATH – Perfectly Preserved (Earache)
Their original material is so lifeless, Brian “Head” Welch of Korn and Jasen Rauch from Breaking Benjamin cover a Justin Bieber song to get noticed.

ESCAPE THE FATE – Chemical Warfare (Better Noise)
Faux hard rock that couldn’t be watered-down any further; bland has been redefined.

GREEN JELLY – Garbage Band Kids (Cleopatra)
Ever been to Yuk Yuk’s without laughing even once? That tedious night was ten times better than this monotonous attempt at comedy metal.

LIMP BIZKIT – Still Sucks (Suretone)
The title says it all.

Thoughts On 2021

Very early on in January, the tragic news that Children Of Bodom frontman Alexi Laiho had passed away in the final days of 2020, came through. As the year progressed, we lost many more beloved musical icons including: Marsha Zazula (co-founder of Megaforce Records), Entombed and Entombed A.D. vocalist Lars-Göran Petrov, Gerri Miller (editor of Metal Edge Magazine), Faster Pussycat drummer Brett Bradshaw, Skid Row singer Johnny Solinger, Cinderella guitarist Jeff LaBar, Metal Church vocalist Mike Howe, Slipknot drummer and Murderdolls guitarist Joey Jordison, Trouble and The Skull singer Eric Wagner, as well as music journalist and author Malcolm Dome, to name but a few; all are greatly missed.

Unexpectedly, Guns N’ Roses released two songs – “Absurd” and “Hard Skool”, the latter of which I absolutely love! This was the first new music to appear since Chinese Democracy in 2008; that being said, both tracks are reworked leftovers. What will Axl, Slash, and Duff come up with during all-new writing sessions? And apparently there will be a 30th anniversary Use Your Illusion box set in 2022. Those archives are overflowing, please unlock the vaults.   

Arch Enemy also released a pair of incredible new songs – “Deceiver, Deceiver” and “House Of Mirrors”. The two videos are rapidly approaching a combined four million views on YouTube.  

2021 was not a good year for bass players as David Ellefson was ousted from Megadeth, Lexxi Foxx parted ways with Steel Panther, Jon Lawhon left Black Stone Cherry, and Michael Devin departed Whitesnake. Thankfully, all four bands soldier on with replacement players.

While touring appeared to return to normal in The States, pandemic-related border restrictions prevented the vast majority of bands from crossing into Canada. I did, however, get to see one show last year – The Wild! on an outdoor stage at the Calgary Stampede in July, and it was orgasmic! Words cannot accurately express the sheer joy experienced on the grass that beautiful, sunny day. Across the Atlantic, Europe was also still feeling the effects of Covid with the Sweden Rock, Hellfest, Download and Wacken Open Air festivals once again being cancelled. Similarly, the 70000 Tons Of Metal Cruise did not sail from Florida to Jamaica. Not even KISS is immune, as they cancelled their residency in Las Vegas. Sad times indeed.

The silver lining throughout it all was each and every one of you who visit BraveWords to read our news, reviews, and exclusive interviews. Thank you, thank you, thank you! 

What/Who Needs To Stop in 2022

The pre-order boondoggle! Loyal fans pre-order a new album on CD and/or vinyl, quite often autographed, sometimes with exclusive extras, months before the actual date of release, directly from the band or label. When street date finally arrives, the dearly devoted who parted with their cash way ahead of time are left empty handed. Meanwhile, those who ordered from Amazon are receiving their package. And if there’s a record store nearby, that album is on the shelf just waiting to be picked up. All too often, the pre-order won’t show up for several weeks; very disheartening.

Metal Predictions For 2022

At the risk of looking like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football, I really hope full-scale, worldwide touring resumes without any restrictions.

As usual, there’s no shortage of great new albums on the way, including titles from: Alter Bridge, Amorphis, Anthrax, Crowbar, George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher, Goatwhore, Halestorm, Hardcore Superstar, The Hellacopters, Machine Head, Megadeth, Prong, Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators, Nita Strauss, Testament, Ugly Kid Joe, and Wednesday 13. And Rob Zombie’s movie adaptation of the popular ‘60s sitcom The Munsters will hit the big screen. Can’t wait to see that flick.

More Scribes Speak:
Mark Gromen

Check out our BravePicks 2021 countdown where Flotsam And Jetsam took the top spot here.



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