Five things in metal that I am thankful for in 2011
I have been making these lists in November for the last four or five years. So in no real order here are the top five things in metal that I am thankful for this year.
King Kobra-So many bands put reunion albums these days the number of bands have not reformed are probably in a minority. In many cases it turns out to be a lame attempt to cash in. King Kobra reformed with 4/5 of their early line-up with veteran vocalist Paul Shortino coming in Marcie (Mark) Free who is involved with Unruly Child's reunion. Most of these have been in several bands over the years so I was afraid this might just be another quickly released generic album. I was wrong because this solid AOR/hard rock coming from some experienced musicians who spent time really working out a solid album. I am thankful for King Kobra for proving that a reunion album can be good.
Iron Claw-This is kind of a bittersweet pick since vocalist Gordon Brown recently left this band and they are once again looking for a singer. However that doesn't take away from the fact that they released their first album since the 70's this year and it was a killer. They had a real handle on taking the vibe of the 70's but keeping it fresh. The results was a solid album of heavy groove powered rock. I am thankful for them because they showed that an older band come back and still be relevant.
Southern Lord records-Not always my favorite label in the world. However this year they had like 4-5 albums that I will consider for my top 25 albums of the year list that I'll post next month. At least two of those are likely to make my top ten. I will not name them now because that would spoil my list. I'll just add that having that many quality releases make me thankful for this label and they certainly deserve a spot on the list.
Michael Schenker-I frequently pick a guitarist for this list. This year it's Michael Schenker. Nothing make me madder at a guitarist than if they just showboat and through themselves into complete self-indulgent wankery. Schenker has the skills to showoff, but on his latest album he contributes to making the songs strong rather than focusing just on himself. I am thankful for Michael Schenker for demonstrating how to use his skill for the good of the album rather than just showing off.
Alice Cooper-We should almost always be thankful for Alice Cooper. However this year it's even more evident. So Alice was going to do a sequel album and bring in a bunch of guest stars. Normally those two things spell disaster in recent years. Instead it turned out to be his best album in a long time and he has some good albums in the last decade or so. The writing is strong, the guests perform well and Alice sounds comfortable. So I am thankful for Alice Cooper for proving that sequel albums can be good and that having a bunch of guest stars can help.
There you go.