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Album Review: Iced Earth – Plagues of Babylon


Iced-Earth-Plagues-Of-Babylon-300x300I have to admit that Iced Earth never really did much for me until Stu Block entered the band and recorded vocals on Dystopia.  I can’t remember how it came to be that I heard it, but when I did I liked it so much that it made my end-of-year list for 2011.  Perhaps I am biased because I like Into Eternity, Stu’s previous band from the great white north of Canada.  If that’s the case, so be it.  Needless to say, based on the weight of Dystopia, I have been looking forward to their sophomore effort featuring Block at the helm – The Plagues of Babylon.  As a career, this is Iced Earth’s eleventh studio album.

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Song of the Week – Plagues of Babylon


You know, I never really liked Iced Earth until Stu Block joined the band.  I am sure that is going to make some people squirm a bit, but it’s true.  I thoroughly enjoyed Dystopia and if I remember correctly, it made my Top 15 the year it was released.  Their new album, Plagues of Babylon, is set for release 6 Jan 2014 in Europe and 7 Jan in the U.S.  This self-titled song has been out for a few weeks and gives us a decent sample of what is to come.  It does sound a bit like Iron Maiden half way through the song which is not surprising.  Dark City off of Dystopia had a similar vibe.  Based on this one song, looks like Iced Earth may very well be on heavy rotation in my music library in 2014.  Iced Earth is on tour now in Europe until December and will resume another (headlining) European tour until late Feb 2014.  Enjoy!

EP Review: Brutai – Brutai


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This should come with a warning-sticker that says “highly addictive music”.

A good friend of mine has been saying lots of positive things about the five tracks on this EP, and after a couple of spins I have to say he’s right. This is an impressive collection of groovy songs with a progressive and modern sound, which should appeal to fans of classic heavy metal just as much as it will to people that prefer newer styles. It’s slightly reminiscent of both Symphony X and Iced Earth, with heavy, hard-hitting music and melodic singing, but Brutai also mixes in elements of metalcore and progressive death metal, which gives a nice edgy feel to their songs.

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Mik’s Top 100 Favourite Albums of All Time #66-70


Top100A while ago, at the same time as Matt and Reggie, I posted my Top 100 All Time Favourite (Metal) Albums over at the forum The History of Metal on FB. It took a good amount of time and effort to put it together, but it was so much fun! My taste in metal is always changing, so the list will not always look the same. In fact, it’s already a bit different than it was when I first put it together and posted it on the forum almost a year ago.

I tried to limit myself to three albums per band to make the list a little more diverse and interesting. I don’t really consider the ‘test of time’-factor when selecting what albums that will go on my list, instead I measure it by how strongly the album has affected me emotionally and how much/often it has helped me through both good and bad phases in my life. That’s why you can find quite a few newer releases among my favourites too.

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#70 Nightwish – Dark Passion Play

I was sad to see Anette Olzon leave Nightwish, she was the reason I started to really like this band and their music. Anette and Marco (bass player/vocals) really complement each other so well. The folk music influences makes this album more interesting than their previous ones and it doesn’t have a single bad song on it. Fortunately I had the chance to see them live with Anette after this album was just released and it was a really great show.

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Song of the Week – Dystopia


I am not exactly sure why I have been on an Iced Earth kick lately, but their new album, Dystopia, has been getting regular airplay in my car.  I have to say I have never been that much of a fan of the band before their latest album, but I do like Block’s former band Into Eternity.  So, when I found out he moved bands, I gave Iced Earth another shot and I dug it.  It even made it to #11 on my Top 15 of 2011.  A year later, it’s still going strong.  Here is your Song of the Week.  Enjoy!

Monday Metal Madness – Revolving Doors


Contrary to what I have been reading on several websites and facebook groups; looks like 61% the voters here at A Metal State of Mind want to see a Pantera reunion with Zakk Wylde on guitar.  Though, no one could really replace Dimebag, Zakk would certainly do the job justice.  As far as I am concerned, I would be a ticket holder for such an event.   Thank you for voting and joining us on our Monday Metal Madness polls.

This week, I am going with a trivia-based poll.  Over the years, doing research for reviews and other articles revealed that some bands (more than I imagined) had quite a revolving door of band members.  The bands listed in this poll have all had no less than 13 “former” band members.  The numbers I used for this poll does NOT include the current band members.  Also, I used the internet for my research and we all know the World Wide Web is not always accurate.

Here is your challenge:  Without doing any research, which of the following bands had the most “former” members?

Also, since I came up with this trivia poll, I will obviously not be voting on my own poll.  Enjoy, and if you want to comment with your thoughts about revolving band members let’s chat about it in the comments box.

Video(s) of the Week – The Devil You Know & Anthem


This week’s first video is a collage of a year in the life of Anthrax.  It is my personal favorite song on Worship Music, The Devil You Know.  There is some pretty cool footage of Anthrax at Yankee Stadium at the Big Four along with back stage clips with fans, etc…  Not a revolutionary video as far as videos go, but pretty good clips of the band.

The second video is this double video presentation, is Iced Earth’s Anthem.  It is very similar in style of The Devil You Know, so I thought I would bring both of them to you this week. Although not entirely creative, at least you get to check out Stu Block’s stage presence in the band.  The fans seem to be enjoying it.

Reggie’s (Plantera7’s) Top 15 Albums of 2011


To me, 2011 was a great year for metal. September, in particular, was a busy month and full of quality releases. The following list is my personal Top 15 for the year with a brief explanation for each. I hope you had a great 2011. I look forward to another year of concerts, awesome metal albums, and more importantly chatting with you about everything metal!

If you are surpised to see that a particular band you like didn’t make my list, it might just be that I didn’t get a chance to listen to that album, such as Moonsorrow for example.  I just never got it, but I see it on many blogger’s lists.  I wish I had all the time in the world to sample new stuff, but taking into consideration where I am now compared to about 4 years ago…my horizons have been seriously broadened and I owe that to fellow bloggers (especially Matt) and readers who post about the bands they like.  Thank you for tuning in this year.  We look forward to a new and exciting 2012 in metal!

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iTouch Report – November 2011


It’s that time of the month to see what has been burning through your preferred music player. I am not surprised at what I am looking at on my iTouch. Most of these albums were played while working in my office and others selected during workout time; it’s an eclectic mix. I have also been using my workout time to work on a new “Workout Tunes” theme in the coming weeks. Starting from the #10 album down to #1, this is what has been played the most. Computer equipment never lies.

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Themed Thursday – The Ties That Bind


This week, I am going to explore relationships within heavy metal.  This is about how metal bands are basically tied together like a long list of cousins; some you know and some you don’t.  Each metal band, in its own right, is not very far removed the metal band down the street.  Starting with one of my Top-10 favorite bands, Machine Head, we’ll see how interconnected the metal world is.  Ever heard of 6-degrees to Kevin Bacon?  This is where this Themed Thursday is going.

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