I hate to pick one album to sum up a whole year, but if I have to do it I'm going to say the ARCH/MATHEOS collaboration, 'Sympathetic Resonance'. From the very first notes I heard, I was grinning like an idiot. It just made me so happy to hear John's voice again, and it transported me back to a simpler time when music was fun.
Honourable mention goes to AMARANTHE and their self-titled debut album. Another record that's just a blast to play really loud. I love Metal, but over the years things got heavier and angrier, which didn't always agree with me. It's good to put on some music that makes you feel good once in a while.
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I didn't really make it out to any gigs this year. Three kids, a busy family and limited funds contributed to this. Hopefully, things will start to pick up in 2012... I already have one gig lined up in February!
Some of the best Metal moments included the aforementioned kids. My (almost) twelve-year-old son has started teaching himself songs on the violin. He started with 'Iron Man' and is now working on 'Wasted Years'. My three-and-a-half-year-old daughter knows most of the chorus to 'Two Minutes To Midnight', and my seven-and-a-half-year-old son keeps asking me when he can go see IRON MAIDEN. I'm so proud...
The big trend in Metal this year seemed to be change, what with OPETH abandoning (for the moment at least) their death Metal past in favour of clean vocals and spacious melodies, and CYNIC following a similar path. Who will be next to make a radical change, for better or for worse?
Special thanks to Nando and the staff at MetalTalk.net for getting me back into writing about Metal and being so supportive.