i'm gonna write about albums that ruled this year, because i feel like looking back and appreciating a span of time is a worthwhile practice, but i'm not ranking. i'm going to try to write more than i did last year, as i feel sometimes i shortchanged the albums in questions with pithy descriptions.
we're also going to try to focus on some albums i feel didn't make as much of an impact as they could have.(though, i love 'the stage names' so much that i'm probably going to make an effort at communicating that to you folks at some point. also, see: the hold steady, the gaslight anthem, etc.)
i'll be honest, power metal got dealt a huge blow in recent times with the advent of guitar-wankery wizards "Dragonforce", and a huge influx of posers.(i mean, not that i demand you wear gauntlets and play d&d, but no fucking trucker hats, assholes. keep your threadless tees away from my nerd metal.) luckily, for the true believers, there is pharaoh.
fronted by that guy from control denied(you know, chuck schuldiner's other band? anyway, he was the vocalist there, and his name is tim aymar), pharaoh plays some heavily-NWOBHM-influenced power metal, and they play it straight. there is no winking at the camera, no half-nods during sixminute dueling guitar solos, just reminders that everyone liked iron maiden because they fucking ruled, not because they were great to play in 'guitar hero'. tim's vocals are passionate without sacrificing technique, and matt johnsen's guitar work is epic without coming off as masturbatory. it's also worth noting that there isn't a single song that drags. even the slower "buried at sea" is more of a march than a real ballad. it's an album of anthems, for the jean-jacket set.
fuck the thrash revival, this is where it's at.