2004 in retrospect!

Kimmo: 2004 was a rather average year. Looking back at my own reviews and other albums, there wasn't a single album that was even close to getting the full points. And frankly, a couple of the "nines" I gave were handed out a little too easily.

When it comes to AOR, I guess all those Fabrizio V. Zee Grossi-guided projects were the "thing" of 2004. He and Frontiers had a nice winning streak with them, but it seems that it might be over, since the latest project (Tommy Funderburk) was a bit bland. Well, it might be just a bump in the road.

A personal triumph for me was to see my friends' Human Temple CD released. It took a while to be completed, but it turned out great. Let's see if they can get a new one out next year and take the world by storm!

A kind of a letdown were the comeback albums: Europe, Dokken, Zero Nine, House Of Lords...all quite disappointing. Only the good ol' Scorpions succeeded with the decent "Unbreakable", and of course the Stage Dolls, who released their strongest album to date. Still, it was nice to see some of these bands returning to the scene. I finally got to see both Europe and Scorpions live last year, and on stage they didn't disappoint!

Nightwish went on to become a big international success with "Once". I wasn't totally won over by the album but again, the band was very good live and brought a major production to Turku. I also must mention W.A.S.P., another eighties' legend who stormed these shores in May - a decent show too! The 80'ies nostalgia doesn't seem to go away anytime soon, as both Judas Priest and Mötley Crüe are about to return...

What about 2005? Last year I hoped for more success for the smaller labels, and good, successful albums from the "veterans" like Bon Jovi, Van Halen, Def Leppard...It didn't exactly go as I hoped, but maybe this year!


Another year has come and gone and I believe that metal actually made a small comeback in 2004. The new Annihilator CD really surprised me as Waters must have done some of his best work ever here. Heck, even Exodus and Motörhead did some fine albums this year. Nothing from the mighty Judas Priest though and I seriously hope that 2005 will bring us a new, traditional, great, Priest album, instead of those horrible ones with Ripper Owens. Speaking of Ripper, the material of the new Iced Earth album suited him so much better.

It was otherwise a fine prog-year with Evergrey (metal) and Marillion (rock) at the top of my list. I definiteley prefer the Fish years instead of the Hog, but Marbles is a great album nontheless. I even got some pomp up there (Magnum) and two CD's with the might Glenn Hughes as lead vocalist. Not that many superb "pure" AOR albums this year, but we got some excellent classic rock/melodic hardrock ones instead. Check out that TMG album for starters.

Disappointments? Well, how about that new Europe CD, Aerosmith, House Of Lords, The Sign, Tesla, etc. Not my cup of tea I'm afraid. I must however say that 2004 was over all a slightly better year than 2003. At least if you enjoy all the genres from Thrash, Power & Heavy Metal, to Prog, Classic, and Melodic/AOR. It was otherwise a quite awful ending of the year with that horrible tsunami thing in Asia. 150.000 dead at least... and it even seems to be the worst Swedish disaster for almost 200 years. We haven't been at war since back then and now we have many tourists dead and/or missing. It can't be compared with the complete disaster for the people down there though. They need all the help they can get.

2005 kicks off in a great metal spirit style the new Masterplan and Firewind. That Shy album is quite excellent too. Let's hope for another year with lots of good and even better music.

The other personal charts of the team!


The Best Rockers:

1. Human Temple - On A Night Like This
2. Stage Dolls - Get A Life
3. Last Autumn's Dream - Again And Again
4. James Christian - Leave Well Enough Alone
5. Nightwish - Wish I Had An Angel
6. From The Inside - Suddenly
7. Europe - Start From The Dark
8. Bowling For Soup - 1985
9. Kilpi - Sielut Iskee Tulta
10. Jaded Heart - Healer

A few other favourites
(in no particular order)

Pride Of Lions - Parallel Lines
Deacon Street - Radio
Glen Burtnik - Roses
Final Frontier - Runaway
Lordi - My Heaven Is Your Hell
London Calling - American Dream
Spin Gallery - Standing Tall
Stan Bush - Shine
Seventh Key - It Should Have Been You
Over The Edge - Forest From The Trees
Wicked Sensation - Shining Light
Last Autumn's Dream - Talk To Me
James Christian - Know You In The Dark
TNT - Lonely Nights
Alyson Avenue - When Dreams Fall Apart
Over The Edge - Turn Away
Grand Illusion - When You Were Mine
Stan Bush - Say It Ain't Love
Scorpions - Deep And Dark
From The Inside - Fight For Love
Final Frontier - Lost Inside A Dream
Frontline - This Lie
James Christian - Circle Of Tears
Jeff Scott Soto - High Time
Seventh Key - Always From The Heart
Shadows Fade - Sooner Or Later
Stan Bush - Falling
Wicked Sensation - Your Beat Inside My Head
Shadows Fade - Sooner Or Later
Richard Marx - Colder

Ballads Top 5

1. Stage Dolls - Someone Like You
2. Jeff Scott Soto - If This Is The End
3. Deacon Street - Before I Loved Just You
4. Stan Bush - What You Mean Tonight
5. James Christian - Hold Back The Night

LIVE! Top 5

1. Europe - Rockperry, Vaasa
2. Nightwish - Caribia, Turku
3. Whitesnake - Elysee Arena, Turku
4. Scorpions - Miljoonarock, Tuuri
5. WASP - Caribia, Turku


1. Dream Evil - In The Book Of Heavy Metal OK, it's a bit corny and over-the-top... but heck, it doesn't get much catchier or more metal than this. Simply put a marvelous heavy metal anthem song in the year of 2004!!!

2. Seventh Key - Always From The Heart
Marvelous hook and a real AOR rocker. They also had the best ballad of the year in my opinion. Too bad the entire album wasn't exactly as good in the end.

3. Shiva - Completely Strangers
4. Silent Force - Noone Lives Forever
5. Evergrey - In The Wake Of The Weary
6. TMG - Oh Japan (Our Time Is Now)
7. Jorn - Out To Every Nation
8. Annihilator - All For You
9. Marillion - Don't Hurt Yourself
10.Wicked Sensation - Back To My Bed
11.Pride Of Lions - Parallel Lines
12.Magnum - We All Run
13.Grand Illusion - Pull Me Down/When You Were Mine
14.Stan Bush - Have You Ever Believed
15.Iommi - Don't You Tell Me
16.M.ill.ion - Backdoor Queen
17.Voodoo Hill/Glenn Hughes - Nothing Stays The Same
18.Nightwish - Wish I Had An Angel
19.Heavenly - Lust For Life
20.Primal Fear - Metal Is Forever
21.Stage Dolls - Running Back To You/Get A Life
22.Glen Burtnik - Roses
23.From The Inside - Always
24.Brides Of Destruction - Shut The Fuck Up
25.James Christian - Know You In The Dark
26.Iced Earth - Hold At All Costs
27.Angra - Waiting Silence
28.Grip Inc - Prophecy
29.Shadows Fade - Sooner Or Later
30.Dio - Master Of The Moon


1. Seventh Key - It Should Have Been You
2. M.ill.ion - Forbidden Fruit
3. TMG - Two Of A Kind
4. Evergrey - Waking Up Blind
5. Pride Of Lions - What Kind Of Fool
6. From The Inside - Is Anybody Watching Me
7. Scorpions - Through My Eyes
8. Iommi - It Falls Through Me
9. Jeff Scott Soto - If This Is The End
10.James Christian - Love Looked Into My Life
11.Annihilator - The One
12.Voodoo Hill/Glenn Hughes - 16 Guns
13.TNT - Perfectly
14.Grand Illusion - Heaven Or Hell
15.W.A.S.P. - What I'll Ever Find
16.Magnum - The Blue And The Grey
17.Pink Cream 69 - That Was Yesterday
18.The Quireboys - Sweet As The Rain
19.Dokken - Care For You
20.Stan Bush - When I Dream
21.Stage Dolls - Someone Like You
22.Within Temptation - Memories
23.Nightwish - Creek Mary's Blood/Higher Than Hope
24.Iced Earth - Hollow Man
25.Angra - No Pain For The Dead


From the Inside - Stop (Martin Stenmarck)
Nighwish - Where Were You Last Night (Ankie Bagger)
Children Of Bodom - Bed Of Nails (Alice Cooper)
Children Of Bodom - She Is Beautiful (Andrew W.K.)
Pink Cream 69 - My Sharona (The Knack)

Instrumental Song Of The Year:

Annihilator - Sound Of Horror


Best Songs 2004:

1. Lydia - Final Frontier
2. Lonely Nights - TNT
3. It's The Fear - Within Temptation
4. Wish I Had An Angel - Nightwish
5. The Invisible Man - Marillion
6. Day Five: Voices - Ayreon
7. Changes - Deacon Street Project
8. In The Wake Of The Weary - Evergrey
9. Day Eleven: Love - Ayreon
10. The Lioness - Xandria

Best Ballads 2004:

1. Perfectly - TNT
2. Faith Restored - Evergrey
3. Pale - Within Temptation

Best Live Album 2004:

Sleepy Buildings - The Gathering

Best Live Performances 2004:

1. TNT
2. Europe
3. Marillion
4. Judas Priest
5. The Gathering
6. Evergrey
7. Lacuna Coil
8. Epica
9. In Flames
10. After Forever

Revelation Act 2004:



Top 5 DVDs:

1. Dream Theater - Live at Budokan
2. IQ - IQ20 20th Anniversary show
3. Marillion - Live Marbles
4. Threshold - Critical Energy
5. Glass Hammer - Lex live

Best concert 2004:
1. Rush (Oberhausen,London) - lonely at the top


Best of Rockers:

1. Primal Fear - Metal Is Forever (Nuclear Blast)
They've captured the Judas Priest-rage perfectly with proper energy level and the chorus sinks in immediately. The national anthem for metalheads.

2. Dragonforce - Soldiers Of The Wasteland (Noise)
Dragonforce gave power metal a new meaning with killer speed and the melody drifts alongside in harmony. Another song that sinks in deep.

3. Within Temptation - Stand My Ground (BMG)
If you've heard Evanescence this has the same feeling to their songs. A rocker that still has a sensitive side to it. "The Silent Force " is the best album from WT to come out and the orchestra made it complete.

4. Thunderstone - Until We Touch The Burning Sun (Nuclear Blast)
An intriguing start for the song that keeps its grip till the end. Thunderstone made a heavier album than their first and with that kept their place in being one of the finest metal bands ever hailing from Finland. Hopefully with their third album coming out soon they'll keep their position.

5. Sonata Arctica - Don't Say A Word (Nuclear Blast)
As always, even when Sonata is heavy, they back up the songs with perfect lyrics. And as seen in Helsinki a while ago, this song does what it's meant to do; make everyone go crazy.

6. Nightwish - Planet Hell (Spinefarm)
7. Angra - Spread Your Fire (SPV)
8. Sonata Arctica - My Selene (Nuclear Blast)
9. Nocturnal Rites - Avalon (Century Media)
10. Edguy - Holy Water (Nuclear Blast)
11. Within Temptation - Angels (BMG)
12. Dream Evil - The Book Of Heavy Metal (Century Media)
13. Edguy - The Piper Never Dies (Nuclear Blast)
14. Twilightning - Into Treason (Spinefarm)
15. Silent Voices - On The Wings Of Rage (Low Frequency)
16. Twilightning - Diamonds Of Mankind (Spinefarm)
17. Kotipelto - Reasons (Century Media)
18. Kotipelto - Take Me Away (Century Media)
19. Evil Masquerade - Oh Harlequin (Frontiers)
20. Dream Evil - Only For The Night (Century Media)
21. Threshold - Pressure (InsideOut)

Top twenty ballads

1. Within Temptation - Memories (BMG)
The overall spiritual mood combined with the celtic influences, Sharon den Adel's angelic voice and melancholic lyrics which I myself could've written make this the third ballad ever that has made an enormous impact on me, so much so that it's really hard to listen to it.

2. Within Temptation - Pale (BMG)
Continuing with the same theme and again lyrics reflecting my thoughts.

3. Nightwish - Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan (Spinefarm)
Nightwish is about huge emotions and this is one of their deepest and artistical songs. I'm not really into finnish lyrics, but this turned out to be brilliant.

4. Within Temptation - The Swan Song (BMG)
Touches me personally with the swan-reference. The lyrical idea combined with the airy mood works out great.

5. Nightwish - Higher Than Hope (Spinefarm)
6. Within Temptation - Somewhere (BMG)
7. Edguy - Forever (Nuclear Blast)
8. Alan Lennon - Night Skies (Guitar Nine)
9. Dragonforce - Dawn Over A New World (Noise)
10. TNT - Perfectly (MTM)
11. Rhapsody - Guardiani Del Destino (SPV)
12. Thunderstone - Sea Of Sorrow (Nuclear Blast)
13. Cans - Forever Ends (Noise)
14. Sonata Arctica - Shamandalie (Nuclear Blast)
15. Shylock - Late Night Show (MTM)
16. Axel Rudi Pell - Forever Angel (SPV)
17. Lunatica - Fable Of Dreams (Frontiers)
18. Human Temple - Forever (MTM)
19. Frontline - Like You Do (Aor Heaven)
20. Negative - About My Sorrow (GBFam)

(Mind-blowing tracks)

1. Nightwish - Ghost Love Score (Spinefarm)
This doesn't really belong into rockers or ballads as it's got different elements, but it's definately the track of the year. Amazing combination of classical and metal music. A true goosebumper.

2. Nightwish - Creek Mary's Blood (Spinefarm)
Another fine work from the band and the use of real Indian gives credibility to the songs message and the final touch.


1. Edguy - Life And Times Of A Bonus Track (Nuclear Blast)
You either love or hate bonus tracks, the same goes with bands who have to do them and Edguy made a funny song about it. Gotta love it.

2. Children Of Bodom - She Is Beautiful (Spinefarm)
The murder-metallers made a powerful cover-version of the Andrew W.K. song in deathster style. The original version is already good, but a heavy version of such subject makes a funny schizoid impression to it.

3. Various Artists - Raskasta Joulua (T2 Productions)
A metalheads Christmas album with various finnish artists. Some arrangements came out great, while with some the original is still better. The man behind this project is Erkka Korhonen (Urban Tale).