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Most pleasant CD suprise of 2011?


Geoff
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In a year of quite a few meteoric releases, a lot of the quality releases were expected and anticipated and have thankfully lived up the hope. Others not so much. But what of the CDs you really didn't expect anything from, but were pleasantly surprised by? A couple which I've already touched on throughout the forum are the super Trust Company CD as well as Mitch Malloy's new disc. But one CD I'm going to speak about here is this:

 

Shy - s/t

 

Having been a fan of these guys since I got into melodic rock, I'd consider myself a good fan. I've bought and enjoyed every CD. Going against the grain I probably wouldn't call 'Excess all areas' my favourite Shy disc. I'd probably go way out of left field and say that up until now the most consistent and exciting CD for me was 'Let the hammer fall.' Great collection of vintage tracks. But like I said, they all have their worth. But it could be validly argued that the last three albums they released had followed a pretty standard pattern and despite being good, consistent releases, they were probably getting a little predictable. And just how many more albums with Tony Mills can one man listen to? ;)

 

So it was with little joy and hope that I approached the new CD, but I have been totally blown away. Like I said in my initial comments, I wish it was a 10 track CD without 'Live for me' and 'Union of souls' which are 2 obvious fillers. But the rest is just fantastic. So many good songs, such a fantastic, ballsy new sound. Shy just never sounded as good as they do on this CD. It has gone from a CD I'd have struggled to bother checking out in 2011, to a genuine contender to be in my top 10, maybe even top 5 at the end of the year. I think it's that good.

 

As noted in another post, 'Over you' is possibly going to end up as my favourite song of 2011. Spine chiller from way back and just a real perfect song to me. Discreet verses dropping into a completely unexpected and hook piece of melodic heaven, also know as a chorus. Man I love that song. Also as noted, 'Ran out of time,' 'Breathe' and 'Only the night' are all also pretty much 10/10'ers too. And aside from the 2 fillers I mentioned, I love every other song too. KILLER disc, and well done to the guys.

 

R.I.P Steve Harris. :(

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I don't like the SHY disc quite as much as some others. Sure it's a big surprise, mainly because it sounds nothing whatsoever like any other SHY album. Plus because it sounds more like Goran Edman singing for House of Lords/Guiffria than it does like a British Melodic Rock act. And frankly it's better than the new HOL album. But the mixing is horrible, at any sort of volume you can't make out a word of what the vocalist is singing, and there's clearly too much going on with all the guitar/strings/keyboards for the production to cope with. I also think that "Land of a Thousand Lies" is one of the best tracks of the year and every other track is about 8.5/10 at best. I'm being very picky because it's a very very good disc, well worth getting, but I listen to it back-to-back with WORK OF ART or TOBY HITCHCOCK and it's not as classy or well-written as those discs IMO.

 

My surprise of the year is LOVEX. Assumed from the name it would be some sort of WigWam/Poodles-style glam nonsense, all lipstick and no songs. But it's proper hooky melodic rock with stunning melodies and choruses.

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For me it's the new Destrophy album - came out of the blue, I wasn't expecting anything from this album but I love the new direction they have taken - much more melodic with killer songs and not a filler in sight!

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For me probably Toby Hitchcock - Mercury's Down, judging that Pride of Lions for me are only okay and nothing's special, I think this one will be a forgettable one when it's announced.

 

When later I found out that behind him is Erik Martensson, it's a bit of a relief but I have doubt until i heard the two samples. But even then, still I'm not very sure whether the whole album will be awesome and consistent but after the full album arrives, it cleared the smokes away.

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I don't like the SHY disc quite as much as some others. Sure it's a big surprise, mainly because it sounds nothing whatsoever like any other SHY album. Plus because it sounds more like Goran Edman singing for House of Lords/Guiffria than it does like a British Melodic Rock act. And frankly it's better than the new HOL album. But the mixing is horrible, at any sort of volume you can't make out a word of what the vocalist is singing, and there's clearly too much going on with all the guitar/strings/keyboards for the production to cope with. I also think that "Land of a Thousand Lies" is one of the best tracks of the year and every other track is about 8.5/10 at best. I'm being very picky because it's a very very good disc, well worth getting, but I listen to it back-to-back with WORK OF ART or TOBY HITCHCOCK and it's not as classy or well-written as those discs IMO.

 

My surprise of the year is LOVEX. Assumed from the name it would be some sort of WigWam/Poodles-style glam nonsense, all lipstick and no songs. But it's proper hooky melodic rock with stunning melodies and choruses.

Agreed. The new Shy disc DESTROYS the new HOL disc, effortlessly. I do also agree with you about the mix to a degree, but in saying that I prefer the overall sound to the Hitchcock disc for sure. Man that sounds muddy back to back with any of my faves this year. Luckily it's still got the best songs of the year.

 

Destrophy and Lovex are 2 good calls too. The Hitchcock disc wasn't a surprise to me because as much as POL were utterly dreadful, it was known early on that Martensson was doing everything and it was pretty much a 2nd WET CD with Hitchcock on vocals. :)

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For me probably Toby Hitchcock - Mercury's Down, judging that Pride of Lions for me are only okay and nothing's special, I think this one will be a forgettable one when it's announced.

 

When later I found out that behind him is Erik Martensson, it's a bit of a relief but I have doubt until i heard the two samples. But even then, still I'm not very sure whether the whole album will be awesome and consistent but after the full album arrives, it cleared the smokes away.

 

That album was a given for me - I plugged it from an early stage - just had a feelin that it was gonna be special - as soon as I saw the word 'rocking' linked to TH I was excited!

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For me probably Toby Hitchcock - Mercury's Down, judging that Pride of Lions for me are only okay and nothing's special, I think this one will be a forgettable one when it's announced.

 

When later I found out that behind him is Erik Martensson, it's a bit of a relief but I have doubt until i heard the two samples. But even then, still I'm not very sure whether the whole album will be awesome and consistent but after the full album arrives, it cleared the smokes away.

 

That album was a given for me - I plugged it from an early stage - just had a feelin that it was gonna be special - as soon as I saw the word 'rocking' linked to TH I was excited!

 

so how good is the new FATE ?

 

i'm ready to click pre-order along with the others on Amazon while the price is still low but haven't find any samples yet so still waiting for your opinion :popcorn:

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My big surprise is a band not on cd yet, but have tracks availalbe online for download....

Midnight Eve

http://www.facebook.com/#!/MidniteEve

 

With an abundance of unsigned / unreleased sleaze bands around these days, these guys really stand head and shoulders above the rest of this crop of unknown / unreleased sleaze bands.

 

Big choruses, great songs.... can't wait for them to put something on disc.

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The newest Dream Theater - A Dramatic Turn Of Events was my surprise of the year....excluding new bands I had never heard before this year like (Darkwater or The Magnificent). I'm a DT fan boy, so I often like pretty much everything the band does, however A Dramatic Turn Of Events is easily the bands best release in 12 years, since Scenes From A Memory part II. The album is sitting easily, as of now, in my top 3 for the year.

 

I wasn't expecting much with the departure of Mike Portnoy, but to be honest his departure went unnoticed on the album. They focused more on progressive and melodic sounds rather than metal and bone crushing ones.

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For me probably Toby Hitchcock - Mercury's Down, judging that Pride of Lions for me are only okay and nothing's special, I think this one will be a forgettable one when it's announced.

 

When later I found out that behind him is Erik Martensson, it's a bit of a relief but I have doubt until i heard the two samples. But even then, still I'm not very sure whether the whole album will be awesome and consistent but after the full album arrives, it cleared the smokes away.

 

That album was a given for me - I plugged it from an early stage - just had a feelin that it was gonna be special - as soon as I saw the word 'rocking' linked to TH I was excited!

 

so how good is the new FATE ?

 

i'm ready to click pre-order along with the others on Amazon while the price is still low but haven't find any samples yet so still waiting for your opinion :popcorn:

Yeah, on both of the ones you got the other day - Fate and who was it? But I'm awaiting too. :)

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My big surprise is a band not on cd yet, but have tracks availalbe online for download....

Midnight Eve

http://www.facebook.com/#!/MidniteEve

 

With an abundance of unsigned / unreleased sleaze bands around these days, these guys really stand head and shoulders above the rest of this crop of unknown / unreleased sleaze bands.

 

Big choruses, great songs.... can't wait for them to put something on disc.

Jeebers f*ck, mate, is that sound quality seriously as bad as I'm hearing, or am I missing something? I can see there might be something good under the noise, but that was almost impossible to listen to with that sound quality. :(

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For me probably Toby Hitchcock - Mercury's Down, judging that Pride of Lions for me are only okay and nothing's special, I think this one will be a forgettable one when it's announced.

 

When later I found out that behind him is Erik Martensson, it's a bit of a relief but I have doubt until i heard the two samples. But even then, still I'm not very sure whether the whole album will be awesome and consistent but after the full album arrives, it cleared the smokes away.

 

That album was a given for me - I plugged it from an early stage - just had a feelin that it was gonna be special - as soon as I saw the word 'rocking' linked to TH I was excited!

 

so how good is the new FATE ?

 

i'm ready to click pre-order along with the others on Amazon while the price is still low but haven't find any samples yet so still waiting for your opinion :popcorn:

Yeah, on both of the ones you got the other day - Fate and who was it? But I'm awaiting too. :)

 

Yeah yeah OK, give me a break! lol!

 

Got Fate lined up for a listen on the way home and will report asap.

 

The other one was Alfonzetti - more to follow on that one but sounded pretty good on first spin. A real mix of styles which made for an interesting listen.

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No major surprises as yet, although Lovex, Pendragon, Shy, Sixx: AM, Night Ranger and Within Temptation all surpassed my initial excitement by the bucketload. Fantastic year in general so far.

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For me it's gotta be the new Anthrax (WORSHIP MUSIC) cuz up till the first sneak-peek track made its way to the Net I had no expectations for that record at all. I am quite frankly blown away at how good it turned out to be.

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So far it's Serpentine - Living and Dying in High Definition. Really didn't expect to like it, but it's a great album with 2 or 3 fantastic tunes. I've still got quite a few 2011 releases to listen to, but this one easily exceeded expectations and is top of the (very small) pile so far.

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My big surprise is a band not on cd yet, but have tracks availalbe online for download....

Midnight Eve

http://www.facebook.com/#!/MidniteEve

 

With an abundance of unsigned / unreleased sleaze bands around these days, these guys really stand head and shoulders above the rest of this crop of unknown / unreleased sleaze bands.

 

Big choruses, great songs.... can't wait for them to put something on disc.

Jeebers f*ck, mate, is that sound quality seriously as bad as I'm hearing, or am I missing something? I can see there might be something good under the noise, but that was almost impossible to listen to with that sound quality. :(

 

 

for some demos i thought they were not too bad quality. definitely heard a lot worse.

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My big surprise is a band not on cd yet, but have tracks availalbe online for download....

Midnight Eve

http://www.facebook.com/#!/MidniteEve

 

With an abundance of unsigned / unreleased sleaze bands around these days, these guys really stand head and shoulders above the rest of this crop of unknown / unreleased sleaze bands.

 

Big choruses, great songs.... can't wait for them to put something on disc.

Jeebers f*ck, mate, is that sound quality seriously as bad as I'm hearing, or am I missing something? I can see there might be something good under the noise, but that was almost impossible to listen to with that sound quality. :(

 

 

for some demos i thought they were not too bad quality. definitely heard a lot worse.

Okay, my mistake. The sound card in my laptop at home clearly got f*cked up when I spilled the beer on it because these sound fine here. I downloaded the tracks now, except for the last one that didn't work. Will listen now, but they do sound quite good indeed.

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Keep in mind that none of these are my top album of the year picks but just albums that have surprised me in their excellence.

 

Victory - Don't Talk Science

It's not perfect and it probably won't be in my top ten for the year but damn I didn't see it coming that they'd put out an album at all much less an album that is perfect for fans of the Garcia era of the band.

 

Iced Earth - Dystopia

I didn't think John had this left in him but this is a great metal album and new singer Stu Block fits like a glove. Best IE disc since 'Glorious Burden'.

 

Stratovarious - Elysium

Not an album of the year candidate but again something I didn't expect. With Tolki leaving the band I didn't expect them to get better but that's what they've done on the last two discs with this one being the best of the two.

 

Arch/Matheos - Sympathetic Resonance

Being a old school Fates Warning fanboy as well as worshiping at the altar of John Arch, this disc is incredible. Much more modern prog than old school sound but with six great tracks and John's voice this is a must have for Prog Metal fans.

 

One that will be in my top albums of 2011 is:

 

Vain - Enough Rope

This is a killer release and is a great mix of the early Vain releases. Great stuff.

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My big surprise is a band not on cd yet, but have tracks availalbe online for download....

Midnight Eve

http://www.facebook.com/#!/MidniteEve

 

With an abundance of unsigned / unreleased sleaze bands around these days, these guys really stand head and shoulders above the rest of this crop of unknown / unreleased sleaze bands.

 

Big choruses, great songs.... can't wait for them to put something on disc.

Jeebers f*ck, mate, is that sound quality seriously as bad as I'm hearing, or am I missing something? I can see there might be something good under the noise, but that was almost impossible to listen to with that sound quality. :(

 

 

for some demos i thought they were not too bad quality. definitely heard a lot worse.

Okay, my mistake. The sound card in my laptop at home clearly got f*cked up when I spilled the beer on it because these sound fine here. I downloaded the tracks now, except for the last one that didn't work. Will listen now, but they do sound quite good indeed.

 

i thought you had issues if you thought they were too bad to listen to. Some of that Tongan sand stuck in your ears or something. They're not perfect quality, but for demos, not bad at all. Great songs though IMO.

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MISS BEHAVIOUR - Last Woman Standing was a nice one.

 

Backed !

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MISS BEHAVIOUR - Last Woman Standing was a nice one.

 

Backed !

 

Still well stuck in my top 10 - Brilliant album.

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MISS BEHAVIOUR - Last Woman Standing was a nice one.

 

Backed !

 

Still well stuck in my top 10 - Brilliant album.

Yeah, I'd agree with that one too. Even moreso if I'd heard of the band and their debut before this. But that is one killer disc; came from nowhere.

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MISS BEHAVIOUR - Last Woman Standing was a nice one.

 

Backed !

 

Still well stuck in my top 10 - Brilliant album.

Yeah, I'd agree with that one too. Even moreso if I'd heard of the band and their debut before this. But that is one killer disc; came from nowhere.

 

Yeah great album - may have slipped slightly but still there or there abouts & Emergency is still one of my fav songs this year!!

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For me theres three albums that I thought I would like, but didnt expect to be blown away by. All three ended up being some of the most played albums this year and they only came out at the end of the year.

Steel Panther and Reckless Love are probably the only two that get played as much, but I expected them to be good.

 

Wolfsbane save the world pretty much stunned me because that one was probably my lowest expectations, yet is now my favourite Wolfsbane album.

 

Mitch Malloy II I thought would be good, but amazed me how catchy it was, and like the Wolfsbane album, has bettered all his previous albums for me.

 

Not only was Welcome 2 my nightmare a total surprise to me how good it was, but it also took my top album of the year spot as soon as it was released, and still sits there despite some amazing album releases since then.

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