Dan ‘Soft Boy’ Skiba
Greetings from Indianapolis, USA my fellow Metal Maniacs!
As the “silent” partner here at Metal Express Radio, my behind the scenes work mainly involves handling business development, editing, legal issues, and working with my other 2 partners to bring you the best internet-based Metal radio station and Web site on the planet. Occasionally, you might see a concert review, album review, or interview pop up from me … and once in a blue moon SOFT BOY just may be so inclined to pollute the radio waves as a DJ to convey current inspirations! 🙂
Stepping back a bit, I was first turned on to “Hard Rock Music” in the mid-1970s when I purchased Deep Purple Machine Head as my first album. I was immediately enthralled with the powerful guitar sound and pronounced drumbeat, and had to get more! My collection quickly expanded to include as many of heavy rock bands of the time that I could get my hands on, such as Ted Nugent, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath, to name just a few.
The 1980’s were a delightful time for me … finally seeing Heavy Metal bands with musical styles such as The Scorpions, Iron Maiden, Van Halen, and Metallica become not only accepted in the music industry and in the public’s eye, but in position to call the shots.
As the 1980’s rolled into the 1990’s, and the 1990’s into the 2000’s, Heavy Metal has fought hard to survive, but has nonetheless survived. During this time when many jumped off of the bandwagon due to “growing up” or to follow some flippant change in industry popularity, I have never lost my appetite or appreciation for well-crafted Metal music. It is nothing less than a complete honor to work with and for others who thirst for Metal music as I do. I hope you all enjoy what we have to offer here!
ALBUMS ROCKING 2017!!!
- John 5 – Season Of The Witch (Independent) – Perhaps not his strongest or most innovative effort to date, but when it come to instrumental guitar work — or just guitar work in general — there may have never been one better than John 5
- Sammy Berell – Passion Dreams (Dark Force Records) – Some Neo-classical influences from Yngwie to be sure, but a great effort overall and plenty of strong melodies.
- Cellador – Off The Grid (Scarlet Records) – Power Metal — nearly Extreme Power Metal — but falls just short of Dragonforce speed. Still, well written and performed and very enjoyable if you like your Metal to be REALLY fast.
- Suicide Bombers – Suicide Idols (Independent) – If you’re game for Melodic Metal with a touch of Sleaze and Punk, then this release is for you. The band’s 3rd release, and certainly their best
- Sleazy Roxxx – Topless Suicide (City Of Light Records) – Not quite as much Sleaze as Steel Panther, but gets pretty close sometimes. If you can stand the sensuality, then between the sheets you’ll find plenty of catchy tunes and (mostly) good times.
ALBUMS THAT ROCKED 2016:
- Tygers Of Pan Tang – Tygers Of Pan Tang (Mighty Music) – Solid Melodic Metal from a band that’s changed members more often than changing their underwear … catchy and an easy listen.
- Gojira – Magma (Roadrunner Records) – Progressive/Psychedelic Metal with Death Metal undertones that is both mesmerizing and addictive … a unique album if you’re looking for something different.
- Primal Fear – Rulebreaker (Frontiers Records) – Great Traditional Metal by one of the most dedicated-to-the-cause bands out there since the turn of the century … hard to go wrong with a Primal Fear album, and this is no exception.
- Myrath – Legacy (Nightmare Records) – If you ever thought they didn’t ROCK in the Middle East, then Myrath is a band you need to check out … Progressive Metal with a belly-dancer feel to it … very unique.
- ToxicRose – Total Tranquility (City Of Light) – Quasi-Hair Metal that rocks with plenty of catchy lyrics and song structures.
- Iron Savior – Titancraft (AFM Records) – Similar to Primal Fear, Iron Savior continues time after time to knock out quality Metal … unlike Primal Fear, Iron Savior wields a Power Metal sword instead of Traditional.
- Slik Helvetika – Destroyer (Screaming Mimi Records) – A solid blend of Traditional, Glam, and Melodic Metal headed up by Mike Myers and his twisted sense of lyrical humor.
- Giordano Boncompagni – New Shred Generation (Sliptrick Records) – Every year it seems one instrumentalist finds a way to knock it out of the park … and this year it appears to be Boncompagni. Bravo!
- Aunt Mary – New Dawn (Independent) – Eclectic but catchy Progressive Hard Rock from one of the original progressive bands from the ’70s … reunited, and definitely made up for lost time.
- Dario Mollo’s Crossbones – Rock The Cradle (Frontiers Records) – Italian-based guitar virtuoso shows he can indeed write strong melodies again and again … solid Hard Rock/Melodic Metal album from beginning to end.
- Hammerfall – Built To Last – Power/Epic Metal veterans return to their core formula, and it rocks!
- Metallica – Hardwired … To Self-Destruct – Perhaps the best release of the Big 4’s over the past 12 months. Metallica delves a bit into Traditional Metal hybrid, but it’s still Metallica, and there are few better.
- Anthrax – For All Kings – Similar to Metallica, Anthrax softened the Thrash a bit, but again show their veins swell with Metal year-in and year-out.
- Megadeth – Dystopia – Dave Mustaine just seems to grow and develop with each record, even after SO many to his credit … no going through the motions here.
ALBUMS THAT CAUGHT MY ATTENTION in 2014:
- AC/DC – Rock Or Bust (Columbia) – Album Review
- Adamantra – Act 2: Silent Narratives (Power Prog) – Album Review
- Adrenaline Mob – Men Of Honor (Century Media) – Album Review
- Andi Deris & The Bad Bankers – Million Dollar Haircuts On 10 Cent Heads (earMusic) – Album Review
- Astra – Broken Balance (Scarlet Records) – Album Review
- Black Label Society – Catacombs Of The Black Vatican (Mascot Label Group) – Album Review
- Black Stone Cherry – Magic Mountain (Roadrunner Records) – Album Review
- Blood God – Blood Is My Trademark (Massacre Records) – Album Review
- Brainstorm – Firesoul (AFM Records) – Album Review
- Chrome Division – Infernal Rock Eternal (Nuclear Blast) – Album Review
- Cloven Hoof – Resist Or Serve (High Roller Records)
- Confess – Jail (SG Records)
- Daniel Liverani – Fantasia (SG Records)
- Darker Half – Never Surrender (Independent) – Album Review
- Def-Con-One – II (Scarlet Records) – Album Review
- Existance – Steel Alive (Mausoleum Records) – Album Review
- Hellion – To Hellion And Back (HNE/Cherry Red Records) – Album Review
- Iron Savior – Rise Of The Hero (AFM Records) – Album Review
- Judas Priest – Redeemer Of Souls (Epic/Sony) – Album Review
- KenZiner – The Last Horizon (Power Prog) – Album Review
- Laney’s Legion – Laney’s Legion (Perris Records) – Album Review
- Laugh At The Fakes – Dethrone The Crown (Independent) – Album Review
- Lord Vulture – Will To Power (Mausoleum Records) – Album Review
- Lordi – Scare Force One (AFM Records) – Album Review
- Malrun – Two Thrones (ViciSolum Productions) – Album Review
- Marty Friedman – Inferno (Prothetic Records) – Album Review
- Night Mistress – Into The Madness (Power Prog) – Album Review
- Primal Fear – Delivering The Black (Frontiers Records) – Album Review
- Red Dragon Cartel – Red Dragon Cartel (Frontiers Records) – Album Review
- Skull Fist – Chasing The Dream (Noise Art Records) – Album Review
- Soldierfield – Chatharsis (Metalbox Recording) – Album Review
- Vanishing Point – Distant Is The Sun (AFM Records) – Album Review
- Vicious Rumors – Live You To Death 2 – American Punishment (SPV/Steamhammer) – Album Review
- Zephaniah – Stories From The Book Of Metal (Independent) – Album Review
TOP 10 ALBUMS FROM 2013 (in alphabetical order):
-Almah – Unfold (Scarlet Records) – Album Review
-Black Star Riders – All Hell Breaks Loose (Nuclear Blast) – Album Review
-Blackshine – Soul Confusion (Independent) – Album Review
-Mastercastle – On Fire (Lion Music) – Album Review
-Mindmaze – Mask Of Lies (Independent) – Album Review
-Queensryche – Queensryche (Century Media) – Album Review
-Royal Hunt – A Life To Die For (Frontiers) – Album Review
-Stryper – No More Hell To Pay (Frontiers Records) – Album Review
-Taberah – Necromancer (Dust On The Tracks Records) – Album Review
-U.D.O. – Steelhammer (AFM Records) – Album Review
FAVORITES from 2012:
- Adrian Weiss – Big Time (Independent) – Web site
- Lillian Axe – XI: The Days Before Tomorrow (CME Records) – Web site
- M!SS CRAZY – GR!P (Independent) – Web site
- Persian Risk – Once A King (Independent) – Album Review
- Stephan Forte – The Shadows Compendium (Independent) – Web site
- The Sacrificed – III (Roxx Productions) – Web site
- Vengeance – Crystal Eye (Steamhammer/SPV) – Album Review
TOP 10 for 2011 (in descending order):
- 10. Anthrax – Worship Music (Megaforce Records) – Not the Be All, End All album for Anthrax, but a quality Melodic Thrash release nonetheless.
- 9. Transit Poetry – The 5th Element (Independent) – If you like Type O Negative and aren’t turned off by a number of non-Metal twists, then be sure to check this one out.
- 8. Metallica – Beyond Magnetic (Warner Brothers Records) – Leftovers from Death Magnetic, but all 4 tracks could have easily made it on that release.
- 7. Pagan’s Mind – Heavenly Ecstasy (Steamhammer Records) – Not a cutting-edge Prog/Power release like in the past, but still a solid effort by one of the most talented bands around.
- 6. Saxon – Call To Arms (EMI) – Consistent … Solid … Traditional Metal.
- 5. Lance King – A Moment In Chiros (Nightmare Records) – Lance continues his long line of excellence with his first “solo” album … a few production anomalies, but killer nonetheless.
- 4. Tony MacAlpine – Tony MacAlpine (Favored Nations) – His heaviest Instrumental album to date, and plenty of variety to keep your attention.
- 3. Myrath – Tales Of The Sands (Nightmare Records) – Progressive Metal with Middle-Eastern & Oriental influences … an album for the adventurous.
- 2. Alice Cooper – Welcome 2 My Nightmare (Universal Music Enterprises) – Bob Ezrin re-enters the writing/production picture and the pair knock out a very entertaining sequel to the 1975 classic … lots of genre variety and plenty of anecdotes.
- 1. Electric Boys – And Them Boys Done Swang (Supernova Records) – Funk Metal out of Sweden never sounded so good … fans of Red Hot Chili Peppers will love this one.
Honorable Mention from 2011:
- Overdrive – Angelmaker (Lion Music)
- Pegazus – In Metal We Trust (Black Leather Records)
- Riot – Immortal Soul (SPV)
- Sebastian Bach – Kicking & Screaming (Frontiers Records)
- Silverdollar – Morte (Independent)
- Stratovarius – Elysium (Armoury Records)
TOP 10 for 2010 (in descending order):
- 10. Krokus – Hoodoo
- 9. Gamma Ray – To The Metal
- 8. Angra – Aqua
- 7. Innerwish – No Turning Back
- 6. Powerglove – Saturday Morning Apocalypse
- 5. Halford – Halford IV – Made Of Metal
- 4. Scorpions – Sting In The Tail
- 3. Motorhead – The World Is Yours
- 2. Helloween – 7 Sinners
- 1. Rage – Strings To A Web
TOP 10 for 2009 (in descending order):
- 10. Queensryche – American Soldier
- 9. Vision Divine – 9 Degrees West of the Moon
- 8. Tango Down – Damage Control
- 7. Primal Fear – 16.6: Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead
- 6. Lion’s Share – Dark Hours
- 5. Rammstein – Liebe Ist Fur Alle Da
- 4. Slik Helvetika – Hafnium
- 3. Halford – Halford 3: Winter Songs
- 2. Vinnie Moore – To The Core
- 1. Powerman 5000 – Somewhere On The Other Side Of Nowhere …