Blistering Wraps Up 2011: Anthrax and Omnium Gatherum Reign Supreme
By: David E. Gehlke & Blistering staff
A sprawling recap of the year this is not, for frankly, we don't have the attention span (or mental capacity) to recount every single thing that happened in metal/hard rock in 2011. Skimming off the top, it's a reassurance that the old guard is still standing, new bands of value are coming up through the ranks, and metal is still very much alive. Not to jinx anything, but it probably won't be going away anytime soon...
Before we commend the 2011 works of Anthrax and Omnium Gatherum, I'd like to thank the Blistering readership for its support and feedback. It's a nice feeling to know that people have an interest in the drivel we spew forth on a near-daily basis, and hopefully we were able to point people in the right direction in terms of what to listen to. We had another productive year, producing (as of December 23) a total of 127 features, and 623 reviews, which gives you an idea of how much music is out there. Of course, we can't tackle everything, but we did our best...usually via the aid of coffee or Mt. Dew.
At any rate, our 2011 staff poll (including Job For a Cowboy’s Jon Rice) ended up in a tie between Anthrax's Worship Music and Omnium Gatherum's New World Shadows. Both are titanic efforts, one from a band regaining its legendary stride (Anthrax), and the other from an emerging Finnish outfit who has long been a favorite amongst the Blistering staff (Omnium Gatherum). Being that we were in a celebratory mood, we snagged Anthrax lead guitarist and Worship Music co-producer Rob Caggiano and Omnium Gatherum mainman/lead guitarist Markus Vanhala for their respective thoughts on producing Blistering’s Album(s) of the Year. Here’s what both had to say:
“All of us in Anthrax are extremely grateful and honored by the overwhelming positive response and praise that Worship Music has been getting since it came out a few months ago,” said Caggiano. “It took us four challenging years to complete the recording and it truly was a long winding road on so many levels. Since we started the sessions for Worship Music back in 2007, we had dark days.....we had bright days and we had some pretty damned confusing days to say the least! Anthrax overcame obstacles that didn't even seem possible to overcome back then. We really put our blood sweat and tears into this one and I think the end result reflects that in every way. To simply say that we're proud of this album after everything we've been through as a band would be a huge understatement and having Blistering.com name Worship Music the Album of the Year is like putting a nice big juicy cherry on top of an already delicious cake...devil's food of course!”
“Busy, hectic and really great times, both for the band and for me!,” adds Vanhala. “Things have been moving forward a lot, and we've been doing the biggest amount of gigs, tours and festivals this year. So far, so good...so cool! We were really, really satisfied for the album that we did it really the way we wanted it, as that's a piece of really honest music, so I’m so happy that media and fans really took the album for their own and praised it widely. Of course for me, making music isn't about getting good reviews and good sales, but when you're honestly happy with your release, then all is a good bonus on top…which is a good reward for the work you've done in this case!"
Point system: #1 spot (10 points) #10 spot: (1 point)
1. Anthrax – Worship Music (Megaforce): 24 points
1. Omnium Gatherum – New World Shadows (Lifeforce): 24 points
3. Ghost Brigade – Until Fear No Longer Defines Us (Season of Mist): 17 points
4. Opeth – Heritage (Roadrunner): 14 points
5. Six-way tie between Black Country Communion, Crimfall, Fair to Midland, Mastodon, The Devil's Blood, and Tom Waits: 10 points
Onward to 2012!