What I really liked with the time off though was that I could dig into the writing for real as well as the photography. And since there has been crazy many concerts this year I've gotten a lot of practice. Fun thing is that it's actually harder with really good lights. I'm definitely not used to that. Low lights in small clubs I've gotten a lot of practice on. So getting to shoot Kiss, Deep Purple and Helloween became a challenge even if it shouldn't have been. It took some time before I could get the settings of the camera right. But it sure was fun. I'm still behind with everything though, guess it got much even doing it on (almost) full time...
It definitely have been rewarding, even if some of the things have happened by coincidence. I was exploring my vaults of Black and White negatives, spamming instagram one day when couldn't get the one I wanted to come out right from the edit. The next page in the binder with negatives was In Aeternum, a photosession from WAAAAAAY back, from 1995 or something like that. And it just happened that Sweden Rock Magazine was doing a big report about them. Deadline for the print was the day after I posted my picture. And of course I had to dig a little bit deeper in the vaults to pick up some more of the old photos.
And then, I normally pick some photos to post right after a Concert or Festival. Did the same after Sweden Rock Festival and I picked Lionheart. I really enjoyed the show and of course, both Steve Mann and Rocky Newton from McAuley Schenker Group and Dennis Stratton, the original Iron Man is just damn cool. It was great to see them. And Tristan, who does the layout saw that one and asked for more. Which resulted in 11 photos on the new Lionheart "Second Nature" album. Doesn't get much cooler than that!
Then, that the record is a killer makes it almost hard to believe it actually happened.
I still need to push the photography more though. There has been progress but I still have a bit to go. I need to relax and wait for the perfect moment a little more than I do. I'm still a little bit too trigger happy. Which comes in handy some times but there are annoying misses that I cut the fingers, a toe, the neck of the guitar and so on.
I've been debating with myself during the year with the photos, what to do and so on. Mainly when it comes to sharing. On one hand it feels very strange to not give the band access to the pictures from their show if they want them. On the other, it's a job done (even if the work I put in doesn't pay at all, just the priveliege of get to shoot the band) and it's not strange to pay a photographer for wedding, kids or whatever pictures when you go to a studio.
Which makes it justified to ask for a copy of whatever commercial release the pictures are used for. Which I got from Lionheart and I'm very happy about that. I don't have any ambitions now to make money on the photos as of now so I gladly share it all. Which comes to the next issue, the ones who are trying to make a living out of it... It becomes very tough when some does it for free. But then again, there's really no money in the music business anymore.
Would I sell prints? I don't know... There won't be any volumes of course but that would feel odd to me, to make money out of it, selling posters without the band benefiting from it. So I guess, for a while forward, I'll keep sharing as I've done lately.
All the joy and love I get from music really is fantastic. It's a lot of fun to share the photos and reviews when it's appreciated. All that, all the friendship and nice words is worth a lot.
I also had time to record the next Cult of the Fox album without stress. This was very nice. For "Angelsbane" I had a week which meant one song+ each day, recording about 8-10 hours. For the Void Moon "Deathwatch" I was busy with work as well as cleaning out my parents house up north which made it a must to record every free minute I had. And THAT certainly wasn't fun.
There are, as usual, a lot of good records being released. But the strange thing this year, even if I've been listening to more music that I use to it feels like I've missed a lot of important album, and records by bands who normally are in my top 10. I don't know why it's like this. But one thing I've realized is that I haven't gotten everything I've ordered, much have been cancelled. And MOST orders from the big Swedish dealers like Ginza and CDON have been delayed. Black Country Communion is a very good sample. I wanted it, ordered it in advance and REALLY checked that only had stock items on the order but no... Took another week to get it all and then I didn't have as much time at home. I was supercharged to dig into it the weekend it was released but didn't get it in time for that.
Anyway, here's the list;
01. CLOVEN HOOF
"Who Mourns For The Morning Star"What I love about Cloven Hoof is their very unique sound. They're normally labelled as NWOBHM but it's not just that, there's a touch of Euro as well as US Metal in it. A mix that fits my taste perfect. The addition of George Call and Danny White added to the US Metal vibe. I'm not complaining! This is a collection of fantastic music, traditional yet special and unique. And that they are the absolutely awesome people, all of them doesn't take the grade down.
Favorite track: "Morning Star"
"Justice: Served!"I thought this one was a little messy and too varied at first but the more I listened the more it came together. And even if there are variation in style it is a fantastic and very interesting record as a whole. And when it settled it was very hard to put it down. Fantastic from start to end.
Favorite track: "Reap the Whirlwind"
03. DEEP PURPLE
"Infinite"When Deep Purple just relax and play it turn out the best it can possible be. It feels like they've found a good groove here. The mellow atmosphere suites the band these days perfectly. The nerve Ian Gillan possesses is just fabulous and it feels like a very inspired and creative record.
Favorite track: "The Surprising"
"Still Burning"It's so cool with a band that went from "ok" the first time I heard them to the top of my list of favorite music and all because they absolutely kill it on stage. This record is of course super too but I don't think I would have been waiting for it as eagerly as I did and then left it in the stereo for weeks when I got my copy if it hadn't been for the live-shows.
Favorite track: "We Belong"
No, it's not because I got my pictures in the booklet. It's because it's a mighty fine piece of Melodic Hard Rock. Fantastic tracks and amazing melodies. The first 1-2-3 spins I thought it was going to be a little soft for my taste but with catchy choruslines and a lot of finess it sure came through.
Favorite track: "Time is Watching"
"Voice For The Silent"It was just on the verge to get this one in. I certainly was looking forward to hear it since I really like the band. But with just one week before the list was due it took a hell of a record to make it into the list. It's a smack in the face for sure, a perfect mix of Old School Euro Metal and fantastic melodies.
Favorite track: "The Passion Remained"
"The Omega"I'm kind of surprised myself... But the addition of Emil Kyrk on vocals did the trick and completed the puzzle to a perfect delivery. Dark, Heavy, Melodic, Melancholic. All the things that's a turn-on with a record.
Favorite track: "Totentanz"
08. PAGAN ALTAR
"The Room Of Shadows"It feels a little odd that the album is released so long after Terry's death. But I sure am happy it came out. It really sounds fantastic, the same high quality Pagan Altar always have delivered, both when it comes to creativity, meldodies and structures.
Favorite track: "Dance of the Vampires"
09. OLD SEASON
"Beyond The Black"It doesn't happen very often that I'm completely blown away but one release and the next passes me by unnoticed (from what I can remember now at least). But Old Season's "Volume One" spun frequently and then I couldn't get into the full length album. Curiosity took over when this showed up and I had to check. Glad I did since this is just as good, if not better than the debut EP. Great mix of Doom and traditional Heavy Metal.
Favorite track: "Nevermore"
"Pentateuch"Doom at its best! I love the vibe Forsaken have, there's desperation and sorrow in their expression I really like. They also have the ability to write very striking melodies, both musically and the vocal lines. And then Leo Stivala's voice on top of it all. Fabulous.
Favorite track: "The Dove and the Raven"
And then Peter's Top 10 of 2017;
01. Styx - "The Mission"
02. Pagan Altar - "The Room of Shadows"
03. Cloven Hoof - "Who Mourns for the Morning Star?"
04. Hellwell - "Behind the Demon's Eyes"
05. Blaze Bayley - "Endure and Survive (Infinite Entanglement Part II)"
06. Deep Purple - "Infinite"
07. Grave Digger - "Healed by Metal"
08. Forsaken - "Pentateuch"
09. Jag Panzer - "The Deviant Chord"
10. Sorcerer - "The Crowning of the Fire King"
Then the ones that ended up just outside the top 10. In alphabetical order;
Black Star Riders - "Heavy fire"
Crimson Dawn - "Chronicles of an Undead Hunter"
Hexx - "Wrath of the Reaper"
Mike Tramp - "Maybe Tomorrow"
Night Demon - "Darkness Remains"
Reststance - "Metal Machine"
Space Vacation - "Lost in the Black Divide"
Stillborn - "Nocturnals"
Tanied Lady - "How the Mighty Have Fallen"
Vulvagun - "The Painful Road to Eden"
And then the list I'm most surprised with, the one with records that could have made it into top 10 if I'd listened more to them. On this it's only bands that I hold very high, favorites. And I'm so surprised I haven't taken time to listen to their releases. The list would have looked very different I think if I'd gotten things in when I ordered it and that orders wouldn't have been cancelled... Even by the big dealers.
Also in alphabetical order;
Accept - The Rise of Chaos
Argus - From Fields of Fire
Black Country Communion - BCC IV
Blaze Bayley - Endure and Survive (Infinite Entanglement Part II)
Iced Earth - Incorruptible
Kreator - Gods of Violence
Manilla Road - To Kill a King
Overkill - The Grinding Wheel
Sorcerer - The Crowning of the Fire King
Walpyrgus - Walpyrgus Nights
Special Nomination 1
"Sins of the World"
There is one record more that must be mentioned. I got it in too late to make it in to Top 10 of 2016 which was really annoying. I was looking forward to hear it so much and I certainly wasn't disappointed when I finally got it.
Kick ass US Power Metal with the right edge. It's raw but still catchy and melodic. And Bobby "Leatherlungs" Lucas sure is living up to his nick. And then, it gets even better live!
Favorite track: "Carcosa"
Last year I added another category, older records that I've been listening to alot or that have meant a lot to me during the year. It's very hard to remember what's been spinning the most frequent of course but it still is fun to look back!
Much of this have been around all the live-shows I've gone to. The preparation for them which resulted in a redescovery of an old record, or one finally settled or completely new discoveries.
1. McAuley Schenker Group - "Perfect Timing"
The Michael Schenker Fest thing made me pick this one up, absolutely. But also the Lionheart gig at Sweden Rock Festival where I got reminded once more. I still hold this one as an all time favorite record. It's perfect, great songs, melodies, variation and a record that really have stood solid against time.
2. Lionheart - "Hot Tonight"
Two reasons, their gig at Sweden Rock Festival and the release of their fantastic "Second Nature" which ended up in this years' top 10.
3. The Dead Daisies - "Make Some Noise"
I've always liked this one but it have stopped there. This music works better for me live and I'll be damned they rocked hard at Sweden Rock Festival. One of my favoite shows of it all. After that treatment this kept spinning.
4. Ian Gillan - "Naked Thunder"
All the fantastic Deep Purple live albums I bought lately as well as the new studio release made me take out the Gillan records for a spin as well. Then reading Ian's biography all was on for another round. This sure is great. I had "Toolbox" as a favorite but I'm not so sure anymore now.
5. Joe Lynn Turner - "Holy Man"
I could have listed all he's ever been on here since I've been bulking up and spinning everything over and over. Again mainly because of the shows, both before and after. First to boost and then to keep the memory of them. I still think it's a shame the shows feature rather little from his career outside Rainbow and Deep Purple...
6. Royal Hunt - "A Life to Die For"
It was almost a month towards the end of the year nothing else but Royal Hunt was on the stereo. This since I saw the news about the upcoming "Cast in Stone" album. And once hooked it's hard to stop, but it was great to dig into this all again, go back and re-live old memories. Fantastic band. And again, I could have picked any record for the list but the number of times I hit repeat for "One Minute Left to Live"...
7. White Lion - "Fight to Survive"
Again, because of seeing Mike Tramp live I had to swallow my pride and admit I'm a fan of White Lion, no doubt. This first one though never got stuck back in the days... Never too late to learn I guess. Fantastic songs and the nerve in the music is just right. It feels time-less.
8. Alcatrazz - "No Parole for Rock'n'Roll"
Ok, there's a pattern here... The Graham Bonnet Band show at Rockbåten M/S Harmony brought this on. Since I have to be in the front row to see anything at all, which mean having them straight in my face and with that I need to be able to be supportive for the band. So the studiying of bands and artists back-catalogues have been extensive because of this (goes for High Voltage and other places too). But what a pleasure it is when coming to albums like this one.
9. Trapeze - "Medusa"
Yeah, yeah... Again for a liveshow, the fantastic Glenn Hughes live at Toldkammeret in Helsingör, wow... but this one also opened my eyes for a lot more and broaded my taste a lot. It reminded me of the things I've always been saying that music that is played for real and comes from the heart works, regardless if I like the style or not.
10. Cloven Hoof - "Dominator"
Rediscovery, I don't know. But when I loaded this one in the player to have a bit of a warm-up for Trveheim I was astonished on how good it is. Or, not really... I love it though when playing a record and you feel like you just HAVE to crank up the volume. It's top notch from start to finish.
Of course I asked Peter to do a similar list... The fun thing, it's clear that we're listening to about the same music at home. I of course spend a lot of time at the computer in my office and he in the living room or recording studio. So the new stuff is shared but else it's been a competition of the stereo on what to spin... It's fun and it gives a lot to discuss. Even if I don't have anything listed of what he has, I still enjoy (well, most of it) all too.
1. Jethro Tull - "Songs from the Wood"
2. Fish - "A Feast of Consequences"
3. Jethro Tull - "Thick as A Brick"
4. Sweet - "Level Headed"
5. Queen - "News of the World"
But, if you want the motivation you need to ask Peter...
And... No, the concert list will have to come in the next post. This is way too long already!
NP: Reuben Archer's Personal Sin - "Petrolhead"