Iron Mike's Top CD & Photo picks of 2014

February 4, 2015
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Ok, that time of the year when I look back and say to myself "I did all that this year?". Between all the concerts and photography I did, there was the hours and hours of editing at the computer and the music that kept me focused and sane. What a year it was with all the concerts I got to cover for Entercom radio stations: KISW 99.9, The End 107.7, The Wolf 100.7 and Hot 103.7. Add in some travels like to California covering NAMM for KISW and my new gig (Thanks Dave & Larry) working on the Monsters of Rock, Moody Blues, Cruise to the Edge and Celtic Thunder Cruises. Not many can say the Bahamas was like a 2nd home in 2014. 2015/2016 looks even crazier with more cruises to be added & in the works like (you Rockaholics will love this one) the Lewbrewski Cruise! Imagine craft beers mixed with lots of killer bands from around the world. There's no doubt it was a year of experiences most other photographers could only dream of. I plan on not waking up any time soon ha!

My 200 Top/Favorite Music related photos of 2014 w ith local Seattle music soundtrack from The Mothership, The Crying Spell, Mechanism an d Queensryche.
{View/comment on these individual photos in Facebook}



Then there's my Top 30 non-music (most people think I only do music photography) of 2014. This is the stuff that lets my imagination soar. {View/comment on these individual photos in Facebook}

"IRON" MIKE'S TOP 20 FAVORITE ALBUMS OF 2014: Maybe you'll discover some new music here..enjoy!


1) Overkill - White Devil Armory - Mind blowing how Overkill release their best album 30+ years into their thrash metal career. Take note Metallica & Megadeth! Overkill is the best and it's all about still having the passion and heart to do what they do best: balls to the wall power metal thrash that's memorable, singable and plain energetically fresh from start to finish. Just what the doctored ordered. {BUY}

 

2) The Mothership - Bright Side of Dim - Seattle's new hard-rock grunge alternative kings! The Mothership release one of the most diverse sounding and enjoyable rock albums ever released from Seattle! Probably the most favored Seattle release since Second Coming's 1998 release on Capitol Records. {Buy}



3) Behemoth - The Satanist - Probably the most groundbreaking Black Metal album in decades! Music style I don't listen a lot too but Poland's Behemoth show that thinking out of the normal "Death" box you can create dark music that's atmospheric on epic levels within this genre of music. The basics of rock in roll underline this brutal extreme metal style and that'd where 95% of Black Metal bands fail at. It's not who's the heaviest, fastest or most monster (as in cookie) sounding vocals anymore, it's trying new realms of musical & lyrical interest and Behemoth hit a grand slam with "The Satanist".

4) Texas Hippie Coalition - Ride On - Finally a THC album that's produced and sounds amazing! Plain jaw-dropping album that will be stuck in your head and leave your ears with a bad case of OCD. I can't stop listening to or singing "Splinter" and that "Rock Ain't Dead" tune is unreal when that riff jumps out after the Queen-like "We Will Rock You" drum parts. Imagine Pantera meets Lynyrd Skynyrd. Guitarist Cord Pool is off the hook! This 22yo's riffs and structures make my bones shake. One of the best hard rock/metal bands out there! {BUY}

    

5) Triptykon - Melana Chasmata - Ex-Celtic Frost frontman Tom Warrior and his latest doom metal Triptykon band blew me away with this release. The MONSTROUS down tuned sound (especially from bassist & beautiful voiced Vanja Slajh) is the best of any album in 2014. Has that classic full studio sound not heard much in todays digital recording age. Moody, mysterious and plain rocking from Switzerland. I still can't get over Vanja's bass sound throughout this album. She crushes everyone! Every song is like 6-12 minutes and epic on so many levels. Thank you Tom Warrior! {BUY}



6) Judas Priest - Redeemer of Souls - Plain and simply one of the best Judas Priest albums ever. Took me a couple spins, but imagine a Priest album that riffs in style from the very early rock riff days to the current metal manifestations. "Halls of Valhalla" pure Judas Priest classic! Mind boggling Rob Halford can still deliver these vocals at 63 years old! The Metal God for sure!
 



7) Otherwise - Peace At All Costs - Hands down the hard rock album of the year released form the states. Otherwise debut major label album "True Loves Never Dies" was the best selling debut rock album of the year 2012/13 behind the hit "Soldiers" (see video) and "Peace at all Costs" is even stronger and better in many ways. Las Vegas natives Otherwise are definitely one the futures of rock music for the next generation. Great live band too.  

 

8) Skindred - Kill The Power - Imagine a Newport, South Wales band that mixes heavy metal, alternative rock, reggae and punk. Also integrating elements of dancehall, jungle, hardcore, ska, hip hop, dubstep and various other influences into their music with the best live frontman (Benji Webbe) in the biz. There's NEVER a bad Skindred album. One of my favorite and best live bands on the planet. AMAZING album from start to finish that you won't hear musically from any other band around. Skindred rule!



9) The Crying Spell - Spectrums of Light - New Wave rock for the new millennium! Seattle's Mod-Wave-Rockers The Crying Spell deliver a major-label like release like no other from the Northwest! How is this band unsigned? "Crash into the Sun" a total classic and the "The Dead War" and "Shoulder of Giants" are EPIC tracks just not heard in music today...Eric Synder is a guitar God! Former members of Point One and Second Coming! The Crying Spell, winners of the first annual American Family Insurance "Dream Show Seattle" competition, performed to 67,000 during halftime at the Seattle Seahawks regular season finale December 28, 2014. BUY!



10) Ancient Warlocks - Ancient Warlocks - One of the greatest sludgy grunged stoner-rock albums ever from the Northwest, That opening fuzz riff sound of "Into The Night" is unreal!! What a great album!! Soundgarden meets Sabbath on a magic carpet ride through the green leaf fields of Washington State. Ancient Warlocks album is a must!

Best of the rest in 2014:

New Medicine - Breaking The Model {BUY}



Meg Myers - Make a Shadow {BUY}



Mushroomhead - The Righteous & The Butterfly {BUY}



Accept - Blind Rage {BUY}



Righteous Vendetta - Defiance {BUY}



Exodus - Blood In Blood Out {BUY}



Royal Blood - Royal Blood {BUY}



Sister Sin - Black Lotus {BUY}



Billy Idol — Kings & Queens of the Underground {BUY}



Anathema - Distant Satellites {BUY}