experimental stuff yet. Unfortunately, this is the last album to feature Carlile,
for he retired to focus on his recovery. He will be missed, but has left a lasting impression with Cold World.
13. Babymetal – Metal Resistance: If you thought three Japanese girls could come together and
form a group that combines J-pop (Japanese pop) and heavy metal is crazy, then Babymetal’s
Metal Resistance is the proof that it is not crazy. This being there sophomore album, it is filled
with tunes that draw tons of different influences like groove metal (“Karate”) and progressive
metal (“Tales of the Destinies”) to name a few. Though it for the most in Japanese, the song “The
One” features the girls singing mostly in English and it was beautiful. What stood out the most
was “No Rain, No Rainbow” because it showcased the range of frontwoman Su-Metal’s voice
and it was in the style of a ‘80s power ballad that reminded me of Journey. Dubbed as Kawaii
metal, Babymetal is a band that belongs in metal. This is why Japan has a huge metal following.
12. Fire From the Gods – Narrative: First time I saw these guys was in Santa Ana, Calif. at the
Observatory. As soon as they played their first note, I was hooked. Their debut album, Narrative,
has an old school nu metal feel to it. Vocalist AJ Channer not only can rap, he can sing with both
melody and aggression. He is like Public Enemy’s Chuck D and Pantera’s Phil Anselmo rolled
into one. The best tracks include “Composition,” “Public Enemy,” and “Pretenders.” The duo
guitar work of Jameson Teat and Drew Walker is magnificent. This is a superb debut album from
a band that makes rap metal cool again.
11. Killswitch Engage – Incarnate: Ever since the return of founding frontman Jesse Leach,
Killswitch Engage has been stampeding through the metal circuit. As soon as their 7th release
Incarnate hit the radio waves, I was in for a treat. This album is loaded with skull-crushing guitar
playing, balls to the wall rhythms, and passionate lyrical content. What is great about Incarnate is
the approach the band took to their songwriting. One song that stood out to me the most was
“Embrace the Journey…Upraised” because it was much slower and more symphonic than
anything they have done before. Killswitch Engage still brings plenty of metalcore fun with “We
Carry On” and “Hate By Design.” The drumming on the song “The Great Deceit” by Justin
Foley is earsplitting. He just tears through the song and lead guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz whips a
riff that is in frenzy. Metalcore is at its finest with this record.
10. Letters From the Fire – Worth the Pain: It is tough for any band to start over with new
people. For Letters From the Fire, retooling the group that has been around a while is what they
needed to do. With some new players and singer Alexa Kabazie, the band came up with Worth
the Pain. What has stood to me the most was Kabazie’s voice. It was so vigorous and powerful.
Founding member and lead guitarist Mike Keller riffs on the record like a pro. From the crunchy
metallic “Given In to Me” to the piano led ballad “At War,” Worth the Pain is chalk full of
rocking tunes that give Letters From the Fire an identity. The chemistry that these guys have is
astounding. Worth the Pain is worth owning.