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Best Of Decade 2000-2009 - 2010 gdazegod



ARTICLE: Best Of Decade 2000-2009 (gdazegod)


Background
Well folks here it is. A ten year summary of some of my picks of the just completed decade. The Noughties was a much better decade than the previous ten, which was racked by grunge, indie releases, and modern rock. Technology helped our sub-genres no end, with quality releases able to hit the market unrestrained by prohibitive studio costs and questionable record label ethics. Sure, technology proved to be a double edged sword, with piracy now rampant across the Internet. The classic rock circuit is still alive and well, as evidenced by what's going on among the top-tier bands of the circuit (Journey, Styx, REO, Foreigner etc), so we are reassured that AOR is still alive and kicking, despite what the evil overlords of the music media industry are telling us.

So here are my top 10 selections of the decade. Some of them you may agree with, others less so, but that's what having an opinion is all about.


The Albums


#10 - Pride Of Lions - 2003 Pride Of Lions
Talk about Survivor reborn again under a different name! Let's be honest, though Jim Peterirk's former band mates returned with a 2006 release called 'Reach', it really was dog tucker. Pride Of Lions released three albums in the decade, all are great, but for me, this one sneaks in as the better of the three. And as for rookie talent of the decade? Well, surely we can't go past Toby Hitchcock. What a voice!


#9 - Marcello Vestry - 2008 Marcello Vestry
Well we all know what a talent Rob Marcello is. Now also plying his trade with Danger Danger, I feel he is much less restrained when out on his own with his own material, as evidenced by this cracker of an album. The other star of the show is singer Frank Vestry. His stocks are on the rise too, after 2009's Last Temptation re-release of 'Better Late Than Never'. Some great songs here, I feel it's a better album than Danger Danger's 'Resolve'. I did give it a 10 after all!


#8 - Brian McDonald Project - 2003 Voyage
A symphonic rock corker! Where Kansas meets Chicago, with a dose of Def Leppard chucked in, though not as obvious as Brian's previous album 'Wind It Up' from 2000, which was also unlucky not to make the list.


#7 - Grand Illusion - 2002 View From The Top
Much like the Myland release, Grand Illusion features an OTT vocalist in Peter Sundell. His warbling might take a bit of getting used to, but the songs on this release are pretty good. It's another regular played disc, and that for me, is a sign of a quality album. Tracks like 'I Refuse', 'Battle For Your Heart' and the exquisite ballad 'Between Dark And Dawn' sum it all up really. Great to see them back in 2010, looking forward to their new one..


#6 - Seventh Key - 2004 The Raging Fire
Damn, there was no way that this would miss the Best Of List for the decade. Some monster songs here ('Sun Will Rise', 'Sin City' etc). It's no small coincidence that Billy Greer and Mike Slamer are feeding the raging fire on this CD.


#5 - Slamer - 2006 Nowhere Land
Well Mike Slamer just happens to be one of my favourite guitarists, and coupled with Terry Brock (Strangeways, and now Giant), this was bound to be great. It was, though in a slightly different context. No throw away songs here, quite deep, near progressive in places. Tracks such as 'Jaded', 'Not In Love' and the immense 'Come To Me' are incredible.


#4 - Saracen - 2006 Vox In Excelso
Great subject matter (The Knights Templar, and the royal bloodline of Christ). It could be the musical soundtrack of 'The Da Vinci Code', but it's much more than that. Spoken word references aside, this is probably Saracen's best ever release.. full, pompous, heavy, majestic, like Magnum in places.


#3 - Xinema - 2002 Different Ways
An understated release, but one that I go back to often, just to listen to some mellow crossover prog/AOR. Godlike guitarist Sven Larsson (also with Street Talk) dazzles with some stunning guitarwork, and when combined with some lush arrangements, it's a winner for me.


#2 - Myland - 2008 No Mans Land
Who would've thought these Milan based melodic rockers would release an immense slab of AOR as this? Sure, the vocals of Guido Priori (who is no longer with the band) might take a bit of getting used to, but dig a bit deeper and there are some incredible songs here. Big guitars, fat keyboards and harmonies everywhere.

And the winner is (by a country mile for me at least..)


#1 - Pagans Mind - 2002 Celestial Entrance
A mind boggling album from Norway's finest prog metallers. Super melodic, heavy, technical musicianship, and a fascinating theme based on egyptology, cosmic mysticism, and science fact/fiction. Still a regular attendee at the GDAZE altar, and though the band released a couple of other CD's later in the decade, it is this Fredrik Nordstrom produced and engineered masterpiece that still wins out.


In Summary
How about some honorable mentions? Yep, there are a few.

Both 101 South albums from 2000 and 2002 are worth a big tick. Though by decades end, Roger Scott Craig had gone some way to destroying any goodwill there was between fans and the band. A shame.

I'd also mention 2002's Mecca album. We did review it originally, but got a bit of flack from Joe Vana who didn't like our review (Lee Bradfield). Still a good CD, pity Joe was such an asshat about it.

Both Brother Firetribe albums are worthy of a big tick too.

Kharma - Wonderland (2000), Seventh Wonder - Waiting In The Wings (2006), H.E.A.T - S/t (2008), all good CD's.

What about some write offs?
Well there's Silent Rage's '4 Letter Words', Freddy Curci's Zion disaster, Survivor's 'Reach', Def Leppard's outrageously bad 'X'. these were some of the lowlights off the top of my head.

Well, the Noughties are out of the way, let's get on with the next ten years!


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Comments
#1 | gdazegod on January 31 2010 05:13:00
Fellow writers, feel free to send in your Best Of Decade lists.
#2 | Eric on January 31 2010 14:31:49
One of these is on mine as well...
#3 | jefflynnefan on February 01 2010 04:08:23
Okay George, I just went and bought a copy of "Celestial Entrance"! Do you like Opeth?
#4 | gdazegod on February 01 2010 04:13:05
Opeth? No. lol@!
#5 | george_the_jack on February 01 2010 12:45:39
Got myself logged in with the IPOD yesterday and I must have deleted my prior post by mistake...Sh@@! Well,3-4 of Geprge's picks are mine too. As for Opeth, is the hottest name in the metal music industry todays.Can't figure out the reason tho..
#6 | roadrunner158 on February 02 2010 12:16:39
I have all the CDs from #10 to #5, but none of your top-ranked CDs...I obviously missed something Smile I will check these CDs out asap. Anyway, keep up the good work!
#7 | swazi on February 02 2010 20:42:18
Out of the 10 CD's I own 8 and I love them all! I am missing the Xinema and the Pagans Mind, which I will check out pronto. Thanks a million for the great tips! Smile
#8 | swazi on February 11 2010 15:01:24
What actually happened to the Mecca review, George ? I was just looking for it and couldn't find it. Did JV force you to take it off ?
#9 | gdazegod on February 11 2010 23:04:40
No, I actually took off. It was quite some time ago.. 2002. Unfortunately I don't have the review anymore, it got lost in a site upgrade a few years back, along with a handful of others as I've since found out.. (along with a Twelfth Night review and interview that Lee Aspin did).
#10 | gdazegod on January 21 2015 10:17:10
Yep, I reckon I'm still bang-on with my selections here. Xinema, Myland, Pagans Mind and most of the others all get a regular airing.
 
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