Enslaved – Isa Enslaved’s albums always seem a bit impenetrable but every now and then they throw you a catchy bone like the insistent and classy Return to Yggdrasill. Immortal main man Abbath (master of the entertaining and useless instructional guitar video) also turns up to add his excellent croak to the opening track.
Judas Priest – Angel of Retribution I had an unexpected notion to listen to this and half-suspected I’d change my mind a few songs in. How wrong I was! This is a great album and brings together a lot of styles from throughout their career. The most pleasant surprise was how much I enjoyed Loch Ness. I’m not quite sure what a skirl is though… oh wait, apparently it’s the noise bagpipes make. Does Nessie play bagpipes?!
Winterfylleth – The Threnody of Triumph Probably the last new music I’ll buy now until 2013 (having written off Aerosmith’s latest) and a great album to end the year with. British Black Metal with a great pastoral folky feel running through it.
Metallica – Unnamed Feeling (EP) A bumper selection of live tracks circa St. Anger. Some great selections like Hit the Lights and Motorbreath and it’s enjoyable without being totally convincing.
Paradise Lost – Tragic Idol I’m still underwhelmed with this follow up to Faith Divides Us, Death Unites Us but this is growing on me with every listen. I think it might be time for a rethink in the PL camp though. Time for a bit of reinvention.
Van Halen – A Different Kind of Truth Brilliant comeback album from VH and Dave Lee Roth. A rare example of a modern Rock album not having the life produced out of it. A Different Kind of Truth crackles like it’s hot off the press, sounding like they just cranked it out and let it be. Comeback of the year.
David Lee Roth – The Best Enjoyed VH so much I fancied a bit of Roth solo. This compilation is a great place to start if you’re unfamiliar with Dave’s solo stuff. I listen to this when I’m on the move and have most of his albums on vinyl for when I’m at home. I especially rate Big Trouble. It’s one of the most remarkable songs I’ve ever heard and ‘“tonight we’re Rocketeers” said Mouse’!
Fleetwood Mac – Blues Collection Great collection of live Mac. Taken from the Boston recordings that keep surfacing in different releases. This version has my favourite selection and running order. Priest’s take on Mac’s Green Manalishi (with the Two-Pronged Crown) is great but doesn’t summon up even a fraction of the dread that their version does.
V/A – Metal for Muthas Legendary NWOBHM compilation featuring very early Iron Maiden recordings. There are a few other notable bands on here too, namely Angel Witch, Praying Mantis and Samson. It’s clear that Iron Maiden were a cut above the rest from an early stage even if their business acumen wasn’t as well developed. It’s hard to imagine the band, later in their career, agreeing to appear on an album alongside Ethel the Frog and Toad the Wet Sprocket.
SONG OF THE WEEK I can’t describe a song as being “one of the most remarkable I’ve ever heard” and not make that Song of the Week so here is David Lee Roth’s Big Trouble from the excellent compilation The Best and also his classic debut solo record Eat ‘Em and Smile. It’s totally magical and I never get tired of hearing it.
[Dave Lee Roth – Big Trouble]