Tales from the Jugular

Staff Year End Awards for 2006!

By: Maximum Metal Staff
Published: Thursday, December 28, 2006
Tales From The Jugular - Staff Year End Awards for 2006!


Top 15 Albums of 2006!
15. MASTERY- "Lethal Legacy"- Unbridled old-school thrash metal with NO vocals. Turn back the clock, folks, it's revival time!! A true headbanger's delight!

14. BLOOD FREAK- "Live Fast, Die Young...And Leave A Flesh-Eating Corpse"- A fun album from one of Razorback's better bands. A ball of energy that doesn't let up until the very end. Grind your skull!

13. PRAXIS- "Sacrifist"- Great avant-garde music from one of the great assemblages of talent ever on one CD. John Zorn, Bill Laswell, Blind Idiot God, Mick Harris and many more contribute to this collaboration.

12. INCANTATION- "Primordial Domination"- This is NOT what music sounds like in Hell. Rather, this is what Hell sounds like when all the music is turned off. Another thick, brutal slab of death metal blasphemy!

11. EDGUY- "Rocket Ride"- One of the most fun bands in the entire metal spectrum. They remind us to take it light and have a great fuckin' time. Metal with a rock n' roll ethos!

10. IMPALED NAZARENE- "Pro Patria Finlandia"- The 'Slut' and his crew give us another dosage of high intensity no frills blackened death metal. Nothing fancy, but nothing trite, no bark, all bite!

9. PEEPING TOM- Perhaps the most sonically accessible project Mike Patton has done. This is music that he says he would like to hear when he turns on FM radio. Don't let all of that fool you though, this album is pretty deep.

8. AMOEBIC DYSENTERY- "Hospice Orgy"- Easily the best grind album of the year. They add a few tricks to go with their high impact grindcore. Also some of the best samples ever. They also have a full sized coloring book available. Be warned!

7. STRAPPING YOUNG LAD- "The New Black"- SYL's best album since "City". 'The New Black' is aurally accessible, yet still full of all the quirks and nuances that made their first two albums incredible. The clincher: Finally a studio version of "Far Beyond Metal"!!!

6. LORDI- "The Arockalypse"- Finally a band brings back the balls to rock! This album is FULL of rock n' roll anthem type material. Europe's answer to GWAR, only better!

5. HANK WILLIAMS III- "Straight To Hell"- The best country album to come out since the 70's. THIS is what a country album should feel and sound like, not that over-produced, watered down pathetic drivel coming out of Nashville these past 20 years. If you are a fan of real country music, you need to check this out.

4. DEVIN TOWNSEND BAND- "Synchestra"- An album that is defined by it's great atmospheric quality and musical artistry. Devin has never been afraid to push experimental boundaries, but unlike some of his other forays, this is not jumbled. It flows very well.

3. DEICIDE- "The Stench Of Redemption"- I had permanently given up on Deicide, but this one came out of left field and kicked my ass. Their best since "Serpents Of The Light"! Ralph Santolla's great guitar soloing adds a new wrinkle to Satan's favorite soldiers.

2. JEFF WALKER UND DIE FLUFFERS- "Welcome To Carcass Cuntry"- Jeff Walker of Carcass fame, and several of his other metal friends take a stab at doing 'metal-ish' covers of old country songs. Many will mistakenly write this off as just a novelty act, but fuck 'em...this is fucking brilliant!!!

1. GHOUL- "Splatterthrash"- Bang your heeeaaaaddddd!!!! Recycled to perfection 80's thrash riffs mix with (later-)Carcass worship to give us the best album of the year. Tales of horror and gore that will inspire even the coldest hearted zombies to raise their fists to the sky. Ghoul has managed to improve with every album, may that trend continue!!!!

Album Of The Year - In Flames - Come Clarity

Top 5
1. In Flames - Come Clarity
2. Edguy - Rocket Ride
3. Winger - IV
4. Motorjesus - Deathrider
5. Iron Maiden - A Matter Of Life And Death

Worst Album - Vanize - Raw
Best Album Cover - Grave Digger - Liberty Or Death
Worst Album Cover - Virgin Steele - Visions Of Eden

Most Disappointing Albums
1. Vanize - Raw
2. Grave Digger - Liberty Or Death
3. Rage - Speak Of The Devil
4. Bang Tango - From The Hip
5. Pretty Maids - Wake Up To The Real World

Best Re-Issue - Trouble - Psalm 9
Best Video - Sepultura - Convicted In Life

Top 10:
Devin Townsend – Synchestra : Devin continues his reign atop the lofty mountain of prog/metal/rock fusion, in ‘Synchestra’ releasing one of his most dynamic, demanding, and emotionally baring albums. And that’s saying a lot.
Ihsahn – The Adversary : I was skeptical of ‘Called By The Fire’ and still skip it as often as not, but ‘The Adversary’ itself is a remarkable (and legitimate) tour-de-force through all of Ihsahn’s many talents.
Enslaved – Ruun : Enslaved are nearly unrecognizable compared to the heavy-handed heathens they once were, but damned if they don’t write music as compelling and subtly infectious as ever.
Anata – The Conductor’s Departure : Not quite up to the standard set by the monumental ‘Under A Stone With No Inscription’, but still shows growth and their signature talent.
Tenhi – Maašet : The best non-metal release of the year, and perhaps also deserving of the most-improved award. Not that ‘Vare’ was that bad, just that ‘Maašet’ is that good.
Communic – Waves of Visual Decay : Sit down Nevermore, your successors have come into their own. Norwegian and brooding, Communic roll out their second straight batch of haymaker heavy metal clinics.
Keep of Kalessin – Armada : The gamble of the year paid off, Keep of Kalessin are the deserving heir to Absu’s vacant throne. Also gets the imaginary ‘fastest riffing’ award.
Pharaoh – The Longest Night : Heavy Metal done right, which is disappointingly rare. Not just fun, but intelligent and memorable for more than its sing-along choruses.
Mercenary – The Hours that Remain : As remarkable in itself as it is for their perseverance without main-man Kral Anderson. Mellowing out is usually a red flag in metal, but not this time.
Belphegor – Pestapokalypse VI : The anvil of the metal hammer this year. Belphegor have always been troopers, but this album shows some serious skill and more than a few subtleties. Time they got their due.

Honorable Mentions:
Blind Guardian – A Twist in the Myth
Grave – As Rapture Comes
Apocalyptic Visions – Doomsday Device
Iron Maiden – A Matter of Life and Death
Mouth of the Architect – The Ties that Blind
Spawn of Possession – Noctambulant
Gojira – From Mars to Sirius
!T.O.O.H.! - Rad a Trest
Cellador – Enter Deception
Plague Bringer – As the Ghosts Collect, the Corpses Rest
Mirrorthrone – Carriers of Dust
Mastodon – Blood Mountain
SunnBoris - Altar
Yyrkoon – Unhealthy Opera
Hammers of Misfortune – The Locust Years

Biggest Disappointments:
Rhapsody of Fire – Triumph or Agony
Witchery – Don’t Fear the Reaper
Queensrˇche – Operation Mindcrime: II
One Man Army and the Undead Quartet - 21st Century Killing Machine
Into Eternity – The Scattering of Ashes
Disillusion – Gloria

Best Re-releases:
Tyr – Eric the Red
Helloween’s discography
Flotsam & Jetsam – Doomsday For The Deceiver
Immolation – Dawn of Possession

Best Splits/EP’s:
Urfaust/Circle of Ouroborous - Auerauege Raa Verduistering
Vader – The Art of War
Splitter - En Sorglig Historia
La Rumeur des Chaines – s/t

Top Surprises:
The Ruins of Beverast – Unlock the Shrine
Torchbearer – Warnaments
Smohalla - Smolensk Combustion
Darsombra – Ecdysis

Should Have Disbanded Instead:
Deicide- The Stench of Redemption
In Flames – Come Clarity
Lamb of God - Sacrament
Striborg – Embittered Darkness/Isle de Morts
Cradle of Filth – Thornography

JONAH HAZE Presents:
The End of 2006 Music AwardsThe Absolute 15 Best of 2006:(listed in no particular order)
Paul Stanley – Live to Win--best work Paul has done to date.
House of Lords – World Upside Down--If James Christian can keep this line up together, he’ll have a top album every year.
Sunstorm – Featuring Joe Lynn Turner--JLT, Dennis Ward, Jim Peterik equals best AOR almost ever.
Desperado – Ace--Dee Snider, Bernie Torme and Clive Burr, pre Widowmaker sessions never released, Best work Dee has ever done.
Iron Maiden – A Matter of Life and Death--better than the last two studio efforts, and they are Maiden so you have to throw them in.
Venom – Metal Black--same thing, its Venom so they get a free pass.
Winger – IV--Kip and Reb and Rod have earned this one through delicately combining new progressive elements with Reb’s ever pleasing shredding.
Tipton, Entwistle & Powell--Edge of the World posthumous release for Cozy and John that Glenn felt necessary to buy back from Atlantic as it was recorded and shelved in 96 in favor of Tipton recording “Baptizm of Fire” for a more youthful audience. This is the record that we should have heard and after all the red tape it was released this year by Rhino, which like Atlantic is a WEA company. Ironic?!
Glenn Hughes – Music for the Divine--Hughes and recent best friend Chad Smith along with longtimer JJ Marsh put together the most cohesive solo record for Glenn’s varied and ambitious solo catalogue.
Black Label Society – Shot to Hell--as proficient as Lemmy, Zaak and his society pour pure pain everytime you turn around.
Nocturnal Rites – Grand Illusion--one of Europe’s leading power metalers serve up a heavier, darker sound each occasion and this is no disappointment.
Motorhead – Kiss of Death--taught Zaak Wylde to never ever ever stop
Krokus – Hellraiser--Marc Storace seems to be the only recognizable person in the Krokus kamp but whoever is pulling the strings knows how to raise hell
Slamer – Nowhere Land--Mike Slamer, longtime British studio and songwriting guitar/producer hero brings AOR veteran vocalist Terry Brock along for a fascinating ride through nowhere land.
Tony O’Hora – Escape Into The Sun--former pipes for Praying Mantis takes his solo flight into the sun. Beautiful melodies and sonic atmospheres fill this light to mid power metal accomplishment from the sole pen of Mr. Magnus Karlsson (Last Tribe, Starbreaker)

Rounding out the Rest of the Best:(in no particular order also)
Giuntini Project – III featuring Tony Martin, Twisted Sister – A Twisted Christmas, Biss – Xtension, Daniel McMaster – Rock Bonham and the Long Road Back, Blackmore’s Night – Winter Carols, Faster Pussycat – The Power and the Glory Hole, Warrant – Born Again, Moonstone Project – Time to Take a Stand, The Quill – In Triumph, The Goo Goo Dolls – Let Love In, Andersen/Laine/Readman – Three, Street Talk – V – feat. Goran Edmun, Empire – The Raven Ride – feat. Tony Martin, Kingdom Come – Aint Crying For The Moon, Demon Angels – Time of Confusion – feat. Robin McAuley, Bang Tango – From The Hip, Shark Island – Gathering of the Faithful, Priestess – Hello Master, Sammy Hagar and the Wabos – Livin’ it Up!, Cheap Trick – Rockford, Akira Kajiyama & Joe Lynn Turner – Fire Without Flame, Big Cock – s/tPhilip Bardowell – In the Cut,

Best of 2006 Reissues:
Desperado - Ace, Jack Russell – For You, Fandango – s/t feat. JLT, Fandango – Last Kiss feat. JLT, Fandango – One Night Stand feat. JLT, Fandango – Cadillac feat. JLT, Ian Gillan – Gillan’s Inn – 2CD career rerecorded retrospective
Worst 2006 Reissue:
Jani Lane – Back Down to One
Best Greatest Hits:
Poison – 20 years of Rock 2CD
Best Live Recording:
Saxon – The Eagle Has Landed III
Best Label for 2006 and has been for a couple of years and continues to dominate: Frontiers Records out of Italy. Check em out at www.frontiers.it
Best Comeback 2006: Winger – IV
House of Lords – World Upside Down
Paul Stanley – Live To Win
Twisted Sister – A Twisted Christmas
Worst Comeback: Queensryche – Operation Mindcrime II
Worst Covers Album: Def Leppard – Yeah!
AND FINALLY THE WORST ALBUM OF 2006 AND WINNERS OF THE OFFICIAL “OFFENDERS OF THE FAITH” AWARD: Queensryche – Operation Mindcrime II--(“They could have been the next Priest or Maiden but the just don’t get it, and this unholy exploitation of a once revolutionary concept only proves that point.”)

1. Sacrament - Lamb of God
2. Come Clarity - In Flames
3. Christ Illusion - Slayer
4. 10000 Days - Tool
5. Dante XXI - Sepultura
6. A Matter of Life and Death - Iron Maiden
7. As Daylight Dies - Killswitch Engage
8. Come Whatever May - Stone Sour
9. Of Vengeance and Violence - Dry Kill Logic
10. Blood Mountain - Mastodon

1. The Crusade - Trivium
2. Educated Horses - Rob Zombie
3. Nothing - Meshuggah
4. Shot to Hell - Black Label Society
5. Kiss of Death - Motorhead

1. A Matter of Life and Death - Iron Maiden/Come Clarity - In Flames

1. The Crusade - Trivium

1. Redneck - Lamb of God

Frank Hill
Album Of The Year - In Flames - Come Clarity

Top 5
1. In Flames - Come Clarity
2. Edguy - Rocket Ride
3. Communic - Waves Of Visual Decay
4. Desperadoz - The Legend And The Truth
5. Motorjesus - Deathrider
6. Bloodbound - Nosferatu
7. Blind Guardian - A Twist in the Myth
8. Mercenary – The Hours that Remain
9. The Quill – In Triumph
10. Strapping Young Lad - The New Black

Best EP:
Mother Misery - For the Crows

Best Indys:
Down Factor - Murder The World
TK-421 - Disengaged
Overloaded - Hellsomething
Psionic - Psionic

Best Collection:
Judas Priest - The Essential Judas Priest

Best Homage - Trivium - Anthem (We Are the Fire)

1.    Elvenking – The Winter Wake – Although this album isn’t as good as their first release, “Heathenreel,” “The Winter Wake” is still pretty fantastic. Damnagoras lets an incredible amount of emotion out when he sings, and the band does a much better job of fusing folk and metal elements than they did on their last album, “Wyrd.” It’s hard to explain how good this album is in such a short space, so look to my review on this very site for more of an elaborate description.
2.    Edguy – Rocket Ride – Although it’s more or less a hard rock album, Rocket Ride is Edguy’s best overall effort since 1999’s “Theater of Salvation.” Tobias Sammet’s voice is as powerful as ever, and silly songs like “Trinidad” just make me happy to be alive. Within their power metal/hard rock niche, Edguy are able to maintain a great level of diversity, pulling off acoustic ballads like “Save Me” and speedy, fun songs like “Catch of the Century” with equal brilliance.
3.    Amorphis – Eclipse – The comeback of the year. New singer Tomi Joutsen is five times the singer that Pasi Koskinen was. In addition, the band strayed away from the horrible path they had taken on “Far From the Sun” (an album which I thoroughly despised) and went back to their roots a bit, fusing death and folk metal elements with progressive rock and metal. Very possibly the best album of their career.
4.    Eluveitie – Spirit – The first full-length from these Swiss folk metallers, “Spirit” is one of the best folk metal albums ever. It contains the perfect mixture of aggressive and traditional elements, with the guitars, violins, and various pipes playing off of each other brilliantly. This is a new band with a very, VERY bright future.
5.    Amon Amarth – With Oden On Our Side – Just like Amorphis, Amon Amarth are another band that’s been around for a while who may have released their best album to date. Instead of the sort of typical, getting-the-job-done Viking death metal heard on “Vs the World” and “Fate of Norns,” two albums that were very good but not very innovative, “With Oden On Our Side” introduces a whole new dimension to Viking death metal. Amon Amarth does a much better job incorporating creative melodies and harmonies into their songs, and the fact that the album flows around a specific concept gives the lyrics great meaning.
6.    Summoning – Oath Bound – It’s no “Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame,” but “Oath Bound” is still an excellent Summoning album in its own right. It’s a little less synth driven than some of their older stuff, focusing more on their black metal roots. However, the songs on “Oath Bound” are no less epic, and no less excellent, than tracks from their previous works.
7.    Agalloch – Ashes Against the Grain – Another great release from the American pagan/doom metallers, “Ashes Against the Grain” was by far the best record to come out in the US in 2006. Agalloch aren’t afraid to push the limits of extreme music with their aggressive yet majestic approach to making metal.
8.    Korpiklaani – Tales Along This Road – Even though it made my top 10 list, this album was a bit of a disappointment. It contains all of the excellent Korpiklaani-ness (because there is no other way to say it) that “Spirit of the Forest” and “Voice of Wilderness” had, but no more. “Tales Along This Road” is basically a synthesis of Korpiklaani’s past two albums, combining the overt folk orientation of the first with the speed and melody of the second. A great album when compared with other things, but not necessarily when compared with older Korpiklaani.
9.    Blind Guardian – A Twist in the Myth – Another excellent comeback from this longtime force of a band. “A Night at the Opera” was, in my opinion, a pretty terrible album, where Guardian overdid every aspect of the music, with poor results. “A Twist in the Myth,” however, does some serious damage. Guardian combine the progressive elements of their last few albums with the classic speed metal sound of their first few for an album that, with the exception of a few songs, is nothing but solid.
10.    Cellador – Enter Deception – Cellador’s existence and success gives me a lot of hope for the current American metal scene, where extreme metal seems to thrive at the expense of traditional and power metal. “Enter Deception” is as good as the majority of the power metal releases coming out of Europe over the past few years. All the pieces are in place for this young band to become huge over the next few years. In addition, they’re a superior, non-wankery filled alternative to DragonForce.

Honorable Mentions (in approximate order):

Destroy Destroy Destroy – Devour the Power
Swashbuckle – Crewed by the Damned
Enslaved – Ruun
Bal-Sagoth – The Chthonic Chronicles
Hammerfall – Threshold
Iron Maiden – A Matter of Life and Death
Unexpect – In a Flesh Aquarium
Tyr – Ragnarok
Arsis – United in Regret
Devin Townsend – Synchestra

Best Live Album – Sonata Arctica – For the Sake of Revenge
Best Re-Release – Tyr – Eric the Red
Biggest Letdown – Angra - Aurora Consurgens

My Top 15 Albums of the Year:
1. Frank Hannon: Guitarz From Marz
2. Faith And Fire: Accelerator
3. UFO: The Monkey Puzzle
4. Riot: Army of One
5. Jorn: The Duke
6. Europe: Secret Society
7. Leverage: Tides
8. Michael Schenker Group: Tales of Rock 'n; Roll
9. Glyder: S/T
10. Circle II Circle: Burden Of Truth
11. Wolf: The Black Flame (dumb name, great Halloween album)
12. Winger: IV
13. Destynation: Rising Up
14. HammerFall: Threshold
15. Iron Maiden: A Matter of Life and Death

Honorable mention (good stuff that arrived too late for consideration in the top 15):
Pretty Maids: Wake Up to the Real World
Vicious Rumours: Warball
Firewind: Allegiance
Vengeance: Back in the Ring
Motorhead: Kiss of Death

Cool Compilations: Primal Fear: Metal is Forever
Nightwish: Highest Hopes

Cool DVD’s: Gary Moore and Friends: One Night in Dublin
Uli Jon Roth- Legends of Rock
Diamond Head- To the Devil his Due
Whitesnake- Live in the Still of the Night

Cool gigs seen:
Robin Trower
Savoy Brown featuring Kim Simmonds

New Arrivals (best new artists/ releases)
1. Faith And Fire: Accelerator
2. Leverage: Tides
3. Glyder: S/T
4. Mike Orlando: Sonic Stomp
5. Destynation: Rising Up

Favorite New Band: Brain Drill
Favorite Cartoon Band: Dethklok
Favorite New Album: Cattle Decapitation "Karma.Bloody.Karma",
Honorable Mentions (New Albums): Tool "10,000 Days", Cannibal Corpse "Kill", The
Haunted “The Dead Eye”
Favorite Live Album: Slipknot “9.0”
Most Disappointing New Album(s): The 6/6/06 Hot Topic Exclusive EP from Slayer, Mushroomhead “Savior Sorrow” (I feel I must explain they are a great band, and it was not a bad album at all. The addition of Waylon has done them well, however this album did just not reach out and throttle me like their previous releases),
Favorite “Special Edition” Release: Opeth, “Ghost Reveries”
Honorable Mention “Special Edition” Release: Deicide, “Stench of Redemption”
Biggest Surprise: Metalocalypse, it’s about damn time that cartoons started kicking ass again.
Biggest No-Surprise: Axl Rose is still a jerk.
Most Pleasant Surprise: Hearing Jack Owen with Deicide.
Best Live Performance (In Portland): GWAR
Favorite Tour(s): Primus, The Unholy Alliance Tour (Slayer, Lamb of God, Children of
Bodom, Mastodon, and Thine Eyes Bleed)
Honorable Mentions (Tours): Cannibal Corpse/Dying Fetus, Machines At War (Fear Factory, Suffocation, Hypocrisy, and Decapitated)
Least Favorite Tour: Black Label Society (Zakk either had too much to drink…. Or not enough…)
Tour I’m Not Going to: Guns and Roses “Chinese Democracy Tour” (After dropping the Eagles of Death Metal, the only reason to go to this show would be to see Axl get in a fight with his band mates/fans/security… And even then I wouldn’t pay for it.)
Favorite Aging Rocker that Rocked in 06: Ronnie James Dio
Honorable Mention (Aging Rocker): Bruce Dickinson, Glenn Danzig
Thanks for trying: Motley Crue

[Other Maximum Metal Columns]

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