Iron Maiden Uses Piracy To Sell Out Tours

Iron Maiden Iron Maiden may have stumbled onto a goldmine by taking advantage of music piracy. Pairing with analytic company Musicmetric to determine where their music is being pirated from, the band has taken to outlining tour dates in those areas to increase ticket sales. While the U.K. and U.S. markets are predictably high for piracy, there has also been a large spike in South American piracy for the band, particularly in Brazil. As it turns out, a large number of the band’s followers on Twitter are also from that region.

Gregory Mead, CEO and co-founder of Musicmetric explains, “With their constant touring, [the] report suggests Maiden have been rather successful in turning free file-sharing into fee-paying fans. This is clear proof that taking a global approach to live touring can pay off, and that having the data to track where your fan bases lie will become ever more vital.”

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Metal Monday: What If Bruce Dickinson Never Joined Iron Maiden?
Metal Monday: Q&A With Jordan Rudess Of Dream Theater

Metal Monday: Classicism In Metal

Classic is a term used by people in the arts to define the highest standard of works; something that has withstood the test of time, something that has been inserted into the cultural canon. If we’re talking literature, we could use the Iliad or Odyssey as an example, or perhaps something more modern like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. These works undoubtedly shaped their medium since brought into existence. But what about classics in the world of metal specifically? Compared to most art forms, metal is still in its infancy, being somewhere around 40 years old now. Are there really any works that can be universally regarded as groundbreaking and genre-defining?

Starting with the obvious, Black Sabbath‘s early albums have to be considered since they’re widely regarded as the forefathers of metal. What about their contemporaries and bands that came shortly after? Surely Motí¶rhead, Iron Maiden and others deserve consideration. For posterity, let’s just take the landmark works, Overkill and The Number of the Beast respectively. If we include Judas Priest, which of their works should be included? One approach would be the early work, something more landmark for less studied fans, but on the other hand Painkiller is one of the best metal albums of all time and quite a bit more aggressive than the band’s early material, making this a tough decision. The list of bands and albums goes on and on.  (more…)

Metal Monday: What If Bruce Dickinson Never Joined Iron Maiden?

Many years ago in a galaxy known as metal, some stuff happened that would change the course of the genre forever (but you probably knew that already). We’re here to ponder things like what if that never happened in regard to some of metal’s most momentous events and happenings”What might the metal world be like today?

Metal vocalist, professional pilot, author and even part-time actor”Bruce Dickinson is a man of huge talent and even larger personality. Anyone with a serious passion for metal probably already knows that Mr. Dickinson was not the original vocalist for legendary metal band Iron Maiden, but what if Bruce never joined the band at all, and the vocalist remained Paul Di’Anno, who performed on the first two Iron Maiden albums?

Metal Monday: Riff Fest 2011

Over the years, the cornerstone of many great metal songs has been the almighty riff. Think of just about any legendary metal song, and there’s a pretty fair chance it also features a great riff. Slayer’s “Raining Blood”? Check. Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man”? Check. Metallica’s “Enter Sandman”? Check. The list goes on, and on, and on. We here at OurStage believe in the power of the almighty riff. So, to help honor it’s greatness, we’ve found eight killer OurStage metal tracks that riff, and riff hard. Everything from super heavy riffs to blisteringly fast thrash riffs to hyper-technical death metal riffs”we’ve got you covered.

First, we have the straight-forward “Psycho Intentions” by Reign of Fury (above). Riffs fast, riffs hard and melts faces. No more, no less. Well, except the ludicrous guitar shredding and slight acoustic break in the middle, but we’re cool with that. (more…)

Metal Monday: A Look Back At Megadeth's 'Peace Sells…But Who's Buying'

1986 was a good year for metal. A really, really good year. Megadeth‘s Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying was a big part of why ’86 was so great. As you probably already figured out, 2011 marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the album’s release. Now, to commemorate Peace Sells as an absolute classic in the metal world, a new anniversary version of the album has been released“we’re doing our part by giving away a signed flat of the album art. This package isn’t an ordinary album + bonus material disk set, either. With five CD/three LP (three different mastered versions of the album and previously unreleased concert audio), a twenty- page book, assorted photos and reproductions of memorabilia and an especially cool rendition of the album cover, this version makes a pretty fantastic box set.

If you’re a fan of metal and are older than thirteen, there’s a pretty solid chance you’ve heard at least one song from Peace Sells (especially if you played Grand Theft Auto: Vice City). Whether it’s the iconic bass line that opens “Peace Sells” that gets you rocking, the evil opening of “Devils Island” that hooks you in or the litany of blistering solos that keeps you on the edge of your seat”there’s no denying that Peace Sells is a metal record for the ages. It’s stood the test of time, battling with albums like Metallica’s Master of Puppets, Slayer’s Reign In Blood and Iron Maiden’s Somewhere In Time for the top spot in metal for 1986.

Megadeth Signed Art Flat

Peace Sells art flat, signed by Dave Mustaine

To further celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of Peace Sells, OurStage is giving away an art flat of the album art signed by Dave Mustaine himself (cool, right?). How do you win, you ask? Tell us how you first heard Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying and what you thought of it in a comment on this post for a chance to win! If you somehow haven’t heard this album, don’t worry, you’ve got time to check it out and let us know how awesome you thought it was via a comment on this post (you’re totally welcome). You’ve got until 11:59pm on September 4th (EDT) to enter, but if you’re of the crowd that hasn’t checked out Peace Sells, we recommend doing so immediately.

GuacaMusic: Q&A With The Fallen Angels Proyect

There are few Latin American bands as creative and philosophical as The Fallen Angels Proyect. Originally from Ciudad de La Plata in Buenos Aires, Argentina, these guys have been creating magic since 2007. Now, in 2011, it is looking more and more like that magic is turning into a great reality: Last month, they won the Grand Prize on MTV DEMO, a new site in Spanish powered by, and are a few weeks away to releasing their next album.

We had the pleasure of chatting with them about their hopes and dreams. This is what they told us:

OS: How do you define The Fallen Angels Proyect? How would you describe the personality of the band?

TFAP: The Fallen Angels Proyect aims to develop the critical spirit of the public, and create a live-performance experience that is different from what is known today. We differentiate ourselves with the quality of our music and the themes we discuss in our lyrics.

When it comes to our music, The Fallen Angels Proyect seeks to create all kinds of atmospheres. We have pieces that go from the simplest to the most progressive melodies. We don’t like to limit ourselves to one style, but rather we experiment with all kinds of musical forms. We take, for example, elements from classical music, orchestra, choruses and we mix these with post-modern elements such as samplers and sequences.

OS: Tell us a little bit about the history of the band. How did you decide to get together?  

TFAP: The project was born from the idea of telling a fictional story that, at the same time, derives itself from some of the greatest philosophical ideas. Once we built the story, we started to put together some demos that we shared with our public through the Internet.

Luckily, the feedback we got was positive and we decided to take the next step, which was to do a live performance. In 2008, we got to the final stages of a contest organized by Marlboro Music. By that time, a number of radio stations in the US, Australia and Belgium were already playing our demos.

OS: Where does the name Fallen Angels Proyect comes from?

The Fallen Angels Proyect is a phrase that expresses some of the theories of the great philosopher Jean Paul Sartre regarding his concept of the being as expressed in his book L’etre Et Le Neant. (Being and Nothingness).

We think there is no better way to describe the self, you, us, the person who reads, listens, etc., than as a fallen angel who was been abandoned and is completely alone with no divine guides or plans. He is the only one who is responsible of his own destiny.

OS: You are weeks away from releasing your next album. Tell us more about it.

TFAP: Our new disc Tears from the Fallen Angels is a very ambitious album. We believe that each tear tells a story. Sometimes the stories are happy, other times these are sad or talk about sacrifice, anguish and liberation. Each and every one of these tears transforms the self and gives meaning to it.

The album is a double story based on a number of things that happened in real life.  On one hand, we tell the fairy tale of a little girl that, after turning 9 years old, finds herself in situations for which she isn’t prepared. However, among all the darkness there is always hope and she will find it in her imaginary friend, who will be her unconditional ally and also her secret weapon.

And those who love to read between the lines would love to reflect about the philosophical ideas that we propose in our album. The girl references the concept of society, her imaginary friend references the concept of culture, and her father is the institution of faith and her mother the concept of history.

OS: Who is your favorite band?

TFAP: Fallen has been influenced by many of the greatest bands ever, such as Pink Floyd, Dream Theater, Alice Cooper, and Porcupine Tree.

We also get our inspiration from some of the great thinkers such Nietzsche, Sartre, Foucault y Marcuse and classical authors such as Lewis Carroll, Edgar A. Poe and Lovecraft, among others.

OS: If you could play with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?

TFAP: We would play with everyone! Alice Cooper is coming to Argentina in May and so is Iron Maiden. We would play with bands like Dream Theater, and legends like Roger Waters. Sharing the stage with great bands always provides an opportunity to learn new things.

You can read more about The Fallen Angels Proyect on MTV DEMO, and help support them and other great Latin American artists on their way to the top. Stayed tuned and be the first one to discover exciting bands that are changing the face of la música en español. ¡Provecho!

Noms and Snubs: 2011 Grammy Awards

This year was a curious one in GRAMMY world, with some heavy hitters being shut out and some less popular acts finally getting a chance to shine. The ‘Record of the Year’ category is dominated by urban pop, with just one band”CMT Artist of the Year Lady Antebellum (nominated in six categories)”bringing up the rear with their country album Need You Now. Eminem leads the pack with ten nominations for his smash success Recovery, landing on the list for ‘Best Rap Album,’ and Love The Way You Lie, featuring Rihanna, scoring nominations for ‘Record of The Year,’ ‘Song of The Year,’ ‘Best Rap Song’ and ‘Best Rap Collaboration.’

Other hip hop standouts include Cee-Lo’s three nominations for [Forget] You for ‘Record of The Year’ and ˜Song of The Year’ and ˜Best Urban Performance’.  Jay-Z made the list for ˜Best Rap Album’ with Blueprint 3 and again with newlyweds Alicia Keys (with Empire State of Mind up for ˜Best Rap Song’ and Best Rap Collaboration) and Swizz Beatz (with Onto The Next One contending for ˜Best Rap by Duo’ and ˜Best Rap Song’). Keys’ album, Elements of Freedom was shockingly snubbed from all categories, despite its heavy radio play.  Swizz Beats is also nominated for Fancy, his collaboration with Drake, whose debut album,  Thank Me Later earned him a nomination for ˜Best Rap Album,’ while his single Overscored him a bid for ˜Best Solo Rap Performance.’

On the pop front, Katy Perry is the front-runner with four nominations for her album, Teenage DreamKe$ha’s debut,  Animal, failed to garner any attention for the saucy newcomer and Lady Gaga‘s Bad Romance popped up on the shortlist for ˜Best Female Pop Vocal’ but was slighted in the categories of  ˜Song and Record of The Year.’  “Dance In The Dark” earned Gaga a ‘Best Dance Recording’ nom and Telephone, her duet with Beyoncé, earned her a nomination for ˜Best Pop Collaboration.’

B.o.B fared well with his debut album, The Adventures of Bobby Ray, earning him five nominations including ˜Record of The Year’ and ˜Best Rap Album’ while his single, Nothin On You featuring Bruno Mars is making a run for ˜Best Rap Song’,  ˜Best Rap Collaboration’ and ˜ Record of The Year’. B.o.B’s duet with Paramore front-woman, Hayley Williams is also up for ˜Best Pop Collaboration.’ Meanwhile, Mars came in with seven nominations for his work with B.o.B., his single, Just The Way You Are and his work as producer with The Smeezingtons who are up for the ˜Producer of The Year’ title.

˜The ‘Best New Artist’ category seems the most diverse with contender Justin Beiber going head to head with Florence and the Machine, Drake, Mumford & Sons, and Esperanza Spalding (who was curiously excluded for any noms in the Jazz category) for the honor. Usher‘s, Raymond V Raymond will go against Chris Brown’s, Grafitti for ˜Best Contemporary R&B Album.’

This is the year of new beginnings. In addition to  Chris Brown’s nomination, fellow tabloid darlings Lee Ann Rimes and Fantasia, whose troubling private lives made very public headlines, end their year on a happier note with nods for the former in ‘Best Female Country Vocal Performance’ and the latter in ‘Best Female R&B Vocal Performance’ and ‘Best R&B Song’ for “Bittersweet.”

There’s a good chance we’ll see last year’s ‘Best New Artist’ winner Zac Brown Band on stage again this year, this time sans stick puppet”2009 addition Clay Cook was unable to accept the award with the band for their win last year because he did not have a credit on their first album. They’re nominated for ‘Best Country Performance,’ ‘Best Country Song’ and ‘Best Country Album.’ Other country favorites Keith Urban, Toby Keith, Carrie Underwood, Gretchen Wilson, Miranda Lambert, Jewel also received nominations.

No huge surprises found among artists in the rock categories, with multiple nominations for veterans Jeff Beck (‘Best Rock Album,’ ‘Best Rock Performance’ with Joss Stone and ‘Best Rock Instrumental’) and Neil Young (‘Best Rock Song,’ ‘Best Rock Album’ and Best Solo Rock Performance’) while Paul McCartney, Robert Plant, Eric Clapton, John Mayer earning one nom each.  Hard rock and metal showcased no new artist nominations either: Ozzy Osborne, Alice In Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarden, Iron Maiden, Korn, Megadeth, Lamb of God and Slayer.

For the complete list of nominees across all 100 categories, visit

By Cortney Wills with additional reporting by Paula Gould

Cortney Wills is a pop culture journalist born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She has lived in LA, Chicago and NYC and enjoys all things entertainment.

Metal Monday: What Makes It Metal?

In the metal community, the word “brutal” gets thrown around a whole lot these days. From the newest and most brutal breakdown from this deathcore band to the most garbled and brutal lyrics from that death metal band, the word is starting to lose its meaning. Then there’s Adult Swim’s cartoon series Metalocalypse, which really takes the idea of brutal to a hilariously extreme degree. In the first episode a large number of people at Dethklok’s concert were scalded to death by giant vats of coffee”certainly brutal, but mostly just laughable. Here are five things that really examplify essence of metal, and can truly express what brutal means in a serious way.

The Oakland Raiders – First off, before we discuss the aggressive and brutal nature of American football, let’s talk about what a Raider actually is. describes a raider/raids as “a commando, ranger, or the like, specially trained to participate in military raids (a sudden assault or attack, as upon something to be seized or suppressed).” Loosely, this could describe metal musicians and their aural assault on listeners. Beyond what a raider is, the team dresses in all black and silver, as do their fans”again, much like metal musicians. It’s really a perfect match made in hell.

They're looking hungry for your brains.

Zombies – Although zombies are quite popular in mainstream cultures, no one has quite embraced the idea of zombies quite like modern thrash metal. Take the band Lich King, for example, and their album Toxic Zombie Onslaught. The idea and image of zombies are all over the metal scene, used by bands such as Iron Maiden with their mascot Eddie, Municipal Waste‘s album covers, or Death‘s song “Zombie Ritual”.  The list goes on. Metal has unofficially adopted zombies as its mascot. We all know what zombies are, but let me reiterate: it was alive, now it’s dead (sort of). Dead, decaying flesh that wants to eat your brains from your living skull.

Igor Stravisnky’s Rite of Spring – Musically, Rite of Spring was one of the most heavy, erratic, and chaotic pieces of its time and continues to be so today. What really takes this comparison over the top, however, was the situation that arose when the piece was premiered in Paris on May 29, 1913. Due to the nature of the choreography and music, the audience became agitated and as the music escalated so did the audience’s mood”eventually erupting into a full-blown riot in the seats. The riot got so out of hand that the Paris police had to arrive to settle down the audience. Further explanation is likely unnecessary, as your brain has probably already made the comparison of rioting at a concert to a mosh pit” certainly a logical step.

Now THIS is a fire made for grilling animals.

Barbecues – Step one: find a dead animal (more metal if you killed it yourself, even better if it was with your bare hands). Step two: make a fire, the bigger the better. Step three: let the animal carcass roast on that fire for a while. Step four: you eat it, and depending on the meat, you do so with your bare hands. Though grilling animals is a bit more sophisticated than it was in medieval times when vikings roamed northern Europe, the general principle still applies. Dead things, fire, and dead things on fire are all pretty cliché topics for metal at this point, and barbecues certainly fit that bill.

Slaying dragons – If you’ve heard more than three power metal songs in your entire life, there’s a fair chance you’ve heard a song involving the slaying of a dragon or other evil and mystical creature. The idea of a knight in shining armor saving a fair maiden from a dragon is noble and all, but that is not a fair fight, nor would it be very pretty. It’s a fair assumption that the dragon would breathe fire (since that’s what dragons do, breathe fire and capture maidens), and the knight probably only has a sword, armor and a horse; advantage: dragon. Either way, one of these parties is dying, and in a pretty brutal way (scorched to death by fire or mutilated with a big honkin’ sword). Power metal’s not so much for wussies now, is it?

So, the next time you and your friends are hanging out and someone says “Oh man, that was brutal” or “That’s so metal””think for a second. Was it really that metal?

Metal Monday: Q&A With Jordan Rudess Of Dream Theater

Metal is one of those genres that sends only a few bands to towering fame and worldwide notoriety. Dream Theater is one of them. While the band occupies more of the progressive side of the genre, they do so with energy and originality. Two existing members attended Berklee College of Music and one went to Julliard. Needless to say, these guys have chops. The Julliard alum is none other than versatile keyboard player Jordan Rudess. His intricate, tasteful and passionate performances not only add to Dream Theater’s arrangements, but he also pursues his own solo endeavors. He’s a prominate solo keyboard player who has been featured in Keyboard magazine, he’s developed a relationship with numerous tech companies (even designing some gear) and is also a strong advocate of music education. Check out our Q&A with Rudess to hear his take on all of his projects.

OS: You played Summer Sonic this year. How long had it been since you played a major festival and what are you looking forward to most about this one?

JR: We’d never played Summer Sonic. I get the feeling that it’s very different than anything else. We played at a lot of festivals this summer. We did some very big ones with Iron Maiden which were very fun. We played a festival in Ottowa for like 70,000 people. It was ridiculous. We played something in Montreal and Toronto. We had some great big festival shows.

OS: Dream Theater songs are usually quite complex and technical. What is the rehearsal/arrangement  process like?

JR: When Dream Theater gets ready to record an album, we record in a studio where we’re able to set up all of our gear in a comfortable amount of space. It’s usually pretty big because there are a lot of drums and a lot of gear. We just like to be in the room and hash things out all together.We’ll bring in like seeds of ideas. There are three composers in the group: Myself, Petrucci and Portnoy. Together, we just make it happen. A lot of the notes and harmony are things that John and I will throw into the soup. Mike’s talent is in the architectural realm. He’s able to see how all these wild and crazy ideas can go together in an ingenious kind of way. It’s a really cool system.

I’ll throw in an idea, maybe 4 or 8 measures or something, and then we’ll start playing it. Generally it’ll lead to the next idea. Mike will say What if we put this riff behind it and play for another 8 bars while I turn around the rhythm. Rarely does anybody come up with something that’s a full song.

OS: Being such a technically driven band, your songs are a great fit for their Rock Band/Guitar Hero placements. How do you feel about their translation into the games?

JR: I’m not a big game player, but I think it’s really cool that the game thing is what it is in today’s world. First of all, it’s a great avenue for a band like Dream Theater to get out there. When commercial radio has changed so much, we’re looking for new opportunities to get our music heard and enjoyed. From that point of view, it’s really cool. In the old days, you could rely on people buying things just to listen to. Now, they have this way to play along and become the guitarist, drummer or even keyboardist.

It’s not something we think about when writing music at all. Maybe we’re old school, but we just want to make good music. I do think it’s pretty cool though. I know we all enjoy the idea that our songs are being used in those games.

OS:Dream Theater toured with Iron Maiden earlier this year. What was it like being on the road with these guys?

JR: Well it was a really great tour, and great for Dream Theater to be on that tour. Although we’re popular in North America, it’s not our strongest market. This was an opportunity to go and play for really huge crowds. Iron Maiden still sells tons of tickets. In the summer when the touring business was down altogether, Dream Theater did amazingly well with Iron Maiden on the road. Every night was pretty much sold out.

OS: Yeah you guys are definitely a notable metal band too, but a different branch than Iron Maiden. Did you have a similar response?

JR: The response was really great. At times, you wouldn’t even know that it was necessarily an  Iron Maiden crowd. It’s not a typical opening act scenario.  It was cool. I think at times, we just had a lot of fans in the audience, but even if they were mostly Iron Maiden fans, it seemed they really liked Dream Theater. We played some of our most intense music, and were trying to deliver the goods in a small amount of time. So that’s what we did. It went well, and the reaction was strong.

OS: Can you speak a little bit about the MorphWiz app that you developed for iPad and iPhone?

JR: My new app is called MorphWiz. It’s an app for the i-OS- iPhone, iPad, iPod touch. My whole concept in creating it was to try and coordinate the worlds of audio and visual as one. It’s based on the foundation of what I call a vertical grid, kind of like what I do with the continuum. You can play any scale, any amount of octaves on the screen, and each note is represented by a vertical line. So, you can get a lot of expression. For instance, you can start at the bottom of the line with virtually no volume, you can increase the amplitude by moving up the line. In that same way, you can control other parameters as well. Pitch is most often left to right. So you can have this really expressive interface.

The other thing that makes it cool is that it uses a kind of pitch intelligence that I’ve kind of developed over the years (starting by working with Liphol hawkin), which is a pitch-rounding system. Let’s say you have a screen with a couple of different octaves, and you slide your finger on the screen, you get a smooth slide of notes. This system enables you to correct the pitch when you first touch the screen to the right note even if you’re left or right of it. This can even happen once you stop your finger after the slide. This makes some very expressive styles of playing.

People think of the iPad or iPod as  a fun toy, or a cheaper type of instrument. MorphWiz, I feel, is setting the foundation for the future of what we think of as electronic instruments. This whole idea of a touch screen as a means for new types of expression is really

OS: You often release educational DVDs and books. Does these teaching goals stem from your early, classical origins?

JR: Yeah I think that’s definitely part of it. I come from a pretty formal education. I went to Julliard, I was there from the age of 9 until 19. It was a very unusual path. I was going to be a classical pianist. Then when I was 16-17, I started to really discover other choices. The classical thing wasn’t really my interest. I was starting to get into synthesizers, but I didn’t know how to apply my interests other than having fun. At some point I was like Well, this has been an unusual path, so I should let people see where I’m coming from. There’s a bit of responsibility to share, because I wasn’t very guided in my transition from classical to the more synthesizer stuff. There wasn’t like a Berklee program like there is now. I feel like if there’s some way I can share what I learned with other people then I’ll do that.

OS: You have a huge presence in the gear community. Did this just occur naturally from all of your projects, or were these partnerships always important for you to include?

JR: I’m really interested in technology. When I left Julliard and I got involved with the Moog synth, it all started there. Now I’m constantly looking for ways to push the boundaries with music and visuals. Some people were like well why are you playing the iPhone, it can’t possibly be ˜real’. I knew the second I saw the iPhone, there were going to be some really groundbreaking ideas to be fleshed out on the iPhone. I’m interested and I think there are some important things going on in that world. So, it leads me to a lot of gadgets, and things that make sounds.

The Microboards thing is an extension of what’s going on with me. I have a G3 Disc Publisher at home. I can burn like 50 CD’s at a time and they’re all really well-printed. Just like I have a keyboard now that can make any sound you can imagine. I’m working on a concerto now and I’m trying to finish that. The relationship started a long time ago  In this case, we needed a solution when Dream Theater was in the studio to make CD’s for everyone during rehearsal. Recently, I got in touch with Aaron Pratt, and asked what they had to help me get the job done. So that’s when the G3 came into play.

OS: Cool. So you’re working on a concerto right now?

JR: Yeah, in November I’m heading off to Venezuela to premier my new concerto. It’s not done yet, but it will be for keyboard and orchestra. That’s like the main thing on my plate right now. My general plan is to make a piece of substantial length, and it should be interesting.

If you missed the Iron Maiden tour or Dream Theaters’ Japanese dates, stay tuned for Rudess’ keyboard concerto as well as an announcement for some 2011 Dream Theater dates.

Metal Monday: Album of the Year Frontrunners

It’s about halfway through the year, and you know what that means ”we’ve only got 6 months left to get new album of the year candidates. There have been some surprises, both good and bad, so far this year. We saw a return to form by a few bands, and a fall from grace from others. Even so, others have just solidified their dominance on their respective brands of metal. Here are the five best albums at the crucial halfway point of the year:

Rhapsody of Fire the Frozen Tears of AngelsFirst up is Rhapsody of Fire with The Frozen Tears of Angels. Known as a band who always puts out solid symphonic power metal albums, it’s hard to really step your game up beyond “really good” after 7 albums, but somehow Rhapsody of Fire have found a way to do so. In somewhat stereotypical fashion, the album starts off with an ominously-narrated intro track before Luca Turilli’s fingers catch fire and he plays the most furious and blistering guitar riffs I’ve ever heard from Rhapsody of Fire. The rest of the band follow suit, delivering what is easily the band’s best performance since Dawn of Victory.

High on Fire Snakes for the DivineNext is the latest gem from Matt Pike, High on Fire‘s Snakes for the Divine. Though the release is a bit of a change from the band’s last effort, Death is This Communion, the band has delivered yet another solid record in very much their own style. All of the instruments, including Matt Pike’s voice, are as grimy as ever ” but at least now they don’t sound like they were recorded in a garage. The problem about this type of production is that it’s a very acquired, but fitting, taste for the music. The whole album sounds very dense”there isn’t much breathing room between instruments. Snakes for the Divine definitely shows more of Matt Pike’s influence from his days in Sleep, most notably in the slower sludge sections of “Bastard Samurai.”

Overkill Ironbound