BravePicks 2021 - The Scribes Speak! James Garvin
January 13, 2022, a week ago
BravePicks 2021 - The Scribes Speak!
Top 20 of 2021
1) FLOTSAM AND JETSAM - Blood In The Water (AFM)
2) SMITH/KOTZEN - Smith/Kotzen (BMG)
3) VULTURE LORD - Desecration Rite (Odium Records)
4) CARCASS - Torn Arteries (Nuclear Blast)
5) NUCLEAR REVENGE - Dawn Of The Primitive Age (Awakening Records)
6) TRIBULATION - Where The Gloom Becomes Sound (Metal Blade)
7) SWEET OBLIVION - Relentless (Frontiers)
8) NEKROMANTHEON - Visions Of Trismegistos (Indie Recordings)
9) DEAD DAISIES - Holy Ground (SPV)
10) KONQUEST - The Night Goes On (Iron Oxide)
11) INCINERATE - Back To Reality (Dead By Dawn)
12) HELLOWEEN - Helloween (Nuclear Blast)
13) DEEP PURPLE - Turning To Crime (earMusic)
14) KK's PRIEST - Sermon Of The Sinner (EX1)
15) INFEX - Burning In Exile (Self Released)
16) DEE SNIDER - Leave A Scar (Napalm)
17) ILLEGAL CORPSE - Riding Another Toxic Wave (Emergency Records)
18) EXODUS - Persona Non Grata (Nuclear Blast)
19) ARTILLERY - X (Metal Blade)
20) ALTERED DEAD - Returned To Life (Memento Mori)
Top Brave Embarrassments
1) TOM MORELLO - The Atlas Underground Fire (Mom Pop Music)
Excessive use of auto tune, dream pop, and too many "guests" make for a schizophrenic release. There is a problem when the downer duo of Bruce Springsteen and Eddie Vedder teaming up to suck the life out of AC/DC's Highway to Hell is the best thing on the record.
2) FEAR FACTORY - Aggression Continuum (Nuclear Blast)
I've always found the combination of screaming vocals with straight vocals to be like fingernails on the chalk board. And there are a lot of active fingernails on chalk boards here. I'm thinking Back to the Future, 'cause all of this sounds very familiar. And not in a good way.
3) ESCAPE THE FATE – Chemical Warfare (Better Noise)
Throw in a dash of industrial, a cup of power pop, a dash of urban, and a smidge of Black Keys, and you have this non-edible mess which will have you praying to the porcelain gods. You better be on chemicals when listening.
4) ANDREW W.K. – God Is Partying (Napalm)
Andrew W.K. channeling his inner Survivor and Bon Jovi. I don’t have a direct connection to the Big Man, but I can assure you God is not listening to this when partying.
5) EVANESCENCE – The Bitter Truth (BMG)
I don’t like my rock music syrupy emotive. This is dripping in syrup. Less drama please.
Thoughts On 2021
Like most, I hoped 2021 would see a return to normal touring, which began slowly, picked up a little - live tours for me this year included headliners Dead Daisies, Slaughter, Sebastian Bach, Municipal Waste, Geoff Tate, Megadeth, and Last in Line - but bands have been slow to hit the road, and unfortunately, we saw booked tours being canceled. On the one hand, I appreciate that perhaps caution is prudent. On the other hand, we all suspected 2021 may be rough. If you schedule 'em, keep 'em. We are starved for live music, and it was like walking in the desert and seeing someone holding a cup of water only to have them pour it out as we held out our hand.
Maiden does not make my list because my local record stores either could not get the vinyl at all, or received a paltry quantity which sold out almost immediately, and could not restock. Online retailers are charging a hefty up-charge. Let's take care of the small retailer please.
I rediscovered Geoff Tate in 2021. He lost me on Dedicated to Chaos, which lived up to its name, and so I ignored his post QR output. Saw him live this year, and he sounded great. Number 7 on my list is the Tate fronted Sweet Oblivion, which I strongly recommend to any Tate pre-Dedicated to Chaos era QR fans. I've read that it is the record which he should have made with QR after Promised Land. I completely agree. Let's hope one of music's greatest vocalists, regardless of genre, stays on that path.
Great to see KK back in 2021. But I think I now know who writes the lyrics in Judas Priest.
We keep losing artists. As metal gets older, so do our heroes. 2021 was not much better than 2020. The hardest hit to me was Mike Howe of Metal Church. Met him after a gig in Dayton, and a humbler and nicer man with a great set of pipes I cannot imagine. So unexpected. I hope he has found peace.
What/Who Needs To Stop in 2022
Jake E. Lee. We all hold him in high esteem. But it seems like every interview I read of him lately he’s digging at someone instead of talking music. We get it. Ozzy's camp screws people over. Yngwie has personality issues. But let's hear about music you are writing. Don't be the bitter pissed off guy forever.
Journalists who continue to ask Sebastian Bach about a reunion with Skid Row, and Sebastian Bach who still answers questions about a reunion. He's asked about the reunion in virtually every interview I read, then goes bonkers about why a couple of members don't want it to happen, about all the money they are leaving on the table, about how he's changed. His reaction to the question pretty much answers the question why they still ain't interested. If you have a recorder in your hand and are in the same room with Sebastian Bach, don’t ask the same stupid question a million other people with recorders have asked before you. And Sebastian, I've seen you a few times, you seem to be doing well solo, you put on a very good show, fans show up and love you, you have a very good band, plus you are very funny and entertaining. If that is your fate, accept it and move on. We could all be so fortunate.
Online concerts. I still receive notices of online/streamed concerts. I get it. You need to make money. But hit the road.
Metal Predictions For 2022
Touring goes into overdrive, if only because bands decide that they need to make a living, and sitting at home doesn't bring the bacon. The Grim Reaper finally gives us a break. We see a new Ozzy record (I won't predict it being better than the last, though I can't imagine that being very difficult to do), but there won't be a tour. Blut Aus Nord's new one, slated for the spring, will be my number one for 2022. The ageless Iron Maiden will again show us why they are the best live band on the planet, bar none. Kerry King has cooled his jets too long, and shows up somewhere with a guitar in his hand.
Check out our BravePicks 2021 countdown where Flotsam And Jetsam took the top spot here.