BravePicks 2021 - The Scribes Speak! Nick Balazs
January 11, 2022, a week ago
BravePicks 2021 - The Scribes Speak!
Top 20 of 2021
1) TRIBULATION – Where The Gloom Becomes Sound (Metal Blade)
2) CROSS VEIN – Life Of Veins (Independent)
3) HOODED MENACE – The Tritonus Bell (Season Of Mist)
4) PORTRAIT – At One With None (Metal Blade)
5) GALNERYUS – Union Gives Strength (Warner Music Japan)
6) NORTHTALE – Eternal Flame (Nuclear Blast)
7) EPICA – Omega (Nuclear Blast)
8) HAUNT – Beautiful Distraction (Church Recordings)
9) HELLOWEEN – Helloween (Nuclear Blast)
10) POUNDER – Breaking The World (Shadow Kingdom)
11) UNTO OTHERS – Strength (Roadrunner)
12) AEPHANEMER – A Dream Of Wilderness (Napalm)
13) SILVER TALON – Decadence And Decay (M-Theory)
14) BEWITCHER – Cursed Be Thy Kingdom (Century Media)
15) VULTURE – Dealin’ Death (Metal Blade)
16) WARRIOR PATH – The Mad King (Symmetric)
17) 1914 – Where Fear And Weapons Meet (Napalm)
18) HEADLESS – Square One (M-Theory)
19) SKYWINGS – How Beautiful (Studio Medras)
20) UNTAMED LAND – Like Creatures Seeking Their Own Forms (Napalm)
Top 5 Brave Embarrassments
LUCIFER – Lucifer IV (Century Media)
I’m a huge supporter of this band so it pains me to have this one here, but Lucifer IV just didn’t click with me. It feels like they’re going through the motions and is huge letdown after the greatness of Lucifer III.
YNGWIE MALMSTEEN – Parabellum (Music Theories)
The guitar master really needs to find a strong vocalist to work with – his singing voice doesn’t cut it and some of his instrumentals need trimming.
KK’S PRIEST – Sermons Of The Sinner (EX1 Records)
First off – great to hear KK and the Ripper working together again, but the record is dragged down with the drab and cliché “Raise Your Fists”, “Brothers Of The Road”, and “Metal Through And Through”. Give me more like the title track and “Sacerdote y diablo” and we got something cooking.
RUNNING WILD – Blood On Blood (Steamhammer)
Once filled with greatness, it is unfortunate Rolf’s last RW album worth anything is from 20 years ago.
DEEP PURPLE – Turning To Crime (earMUSIC)
An interesting idea at this stage of the game, but some of the song selections missed the mark and wears thin quickly.
Thoughts On 2021
A tragic year as we once again bid farewell to a host of greats like Children Of Bodom’s Alexi Laiho, Cinderella’s Jeff LaBar, Trouble / The Skull’s Eric Wagner, drummer Joey Jordison, and others.
There were many fantastic releases – Tribulation righted some wrongs from 2018’s Down Below and delivered the masterful Where The Gloom Becomes Sound. The #2 record on my list – Cross Vein’s Life Of Veins wowed me. A Japanese power metal band – they are so full of energy and lively music that stays interesting throughout. I repeatedly listened to this record throughout the year. While Helloween stole all the headlines (rightfully so), NorthTale’s Eternal Flame was an overall better experience and I hope more and more listeners take notice of them.
It was nice finally getting back to a concert in a completely normal setting with no hoops to jump through to attend when seeing Unleash The Archers at The Odeon in Cleveland. I almost forgot what it was like, but it felt great to see the pure joy on musicians and fans alike and watching attendees go wild wild.
What/Who Needs To Stop in 2022
Highlighting musicians’ opinions on COVID and vaccines. It’s tiring, divisive, really unbecoming, and has brought out the worst in people.
Metal Predictions For 2022
Curious to hear how the new Megadeth will turn out after Dave Mustaine going through cancer and the ousting of Dave Ellefson.
Bands will continue to do livestreams and it will become a norm for acts to do while on downtime and as a way to continue producing content for fans. Tours will keep being pushed back and the cassette comeback that’s taken off in the past couple of years will continue to expand.
Check out our BravePicks 2021 countdown where Flotsam And Jetsam took the top spot here.