Another year gone and another year of divided opinions. In a way they year is most noted for the release of 3 very long awaited (some more than others!) albums from 3 of the best know names in rock and metal. First we had Metallica with the album Death Magnetic, with opinion typically divided prior to release due to fan disappointment with St Anger - we were being promised something that was a return to Metallica's roots, did we get it? Well, we'll come back to that in a minute. Next up was AC/DC, who were getting on the best part of a decade since their last album. Finally, the real surprise of the lot, was Guns 'N' Roses with Chinese Democracy. At the end of the October we were all informed that the latest in a long line of pencilled in release dates (24th Nov) would now actually be the real release date of the album that's been nearly 15 years in the making. That is a long time coming and a lot of expectation to meet.
So, just what did stand out this year? Well after much discussion on our views on the year, for us Metallica were the best of the year - Death Magnetic is a distinct jump back to what made Metallica great; epic scale songs, extended instrumental sections and good old head banging music. It's different to the 'classic' Metallica albums, but it's a more modern sound and definitely brings them back to the fore. Coming in second place was Slipknot's 'All Hope Is Gone', marking a more musical effort from them that has gone down well with the team. Third are Trivium, who had previous made 2nd on the list with the great (in our opinion) The Crusade album, for us Shogun is good but doesn't reach levels that The Crusade managed for us; while Soulfly, in fourth place, has scored a distinct improvement over their previous album. AC/DC take 5th place with Black Ice, followed by Cradle of Filth, Therion and The Offspring. Guns 'N' Roses makes it in at 9th place - a tricky decision, while a good album it just doesn't deliver what we'd been expecting after all this time but with a release so late in the year this may need more time to be fully appreciated. Closing out the list with a joint tenth place are Viking Skull with 'Doom, Gloom, Heartache and Whiskey' and Ansur with 'Warring Factions'.
The full count down is as follows:
1. Metallica - Death Magnetic
2. Slipknot - All Hope Is Gone
3. Trivium - Shogun
4. SoulFly - Conquer
5. AC/DC - Black Ice
6. Cradle Of Filth - Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder
7. Therion - Live Gothic
8. The Offspring - Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace
9. Guns N Roses - Chinese Democracy
10= Viking Skull - Doom Gloom Heartache and Whiskey
10= Ansur - Warring Factions
However, it has to be noted that we've been left a bit underwhelmed this year. While there have been some good albums, there has not been anything this year that has stood out to the team as a truly great album. Metallica are certainly close, reaching top spot with decisive total score but overall we feel that 2008 has not been the greatest year for metal music releases. On the other side, the year was by no means bad and now we will look forward to what 2009 will bring us.
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