Over the last year or two, I’ve bought numerous albums from bands that I had ignored (at least all their new stuff) for a decade or so. And in many cases I have been very pleasantly surprised. Downright thrilled by a few of them. Here’s a quick selection of aging rockers who rock.
Iron Maiden: Wow! Just wow. Brave New World (2000) showed a return to form with some great tracks, Dance of Death (2003) was okay, and then A Matter of Life and Death (2006) blew me away. I’d easily put that last one in a top 5 list of best Maiden albums ever.
Dream Theater: They never really slowed down, but I didn’t know it, because I wasn’t buying their albums. They pretty much all rock, with Systematic Chaos (2007) being no exception.
Rush: Some of the best stuff ever on their latest. When Snakes and Arrows (2007) opened with “Pariah dogs and wandering madmen/Barking at strangers and speaking in tongues” to a heavy hitting sound, I was floored. I need to go back and pick up Vapor Trails (2002).
King’s X: Ogre Tones (2005) is glorious, full bore King’s X, with the diverse sound of the early albums that includes both Doug and Ty on lead vocals, but with much of the more hard-driving sound that was developed on Dogman.
Savatage: Probably need a separate entry on them, as their music is all over the map. But it used to rock, and it still does.
Megadeth: I only have a few tracks from The System Has Failed (2004), and I have not heard United Abominations (2007), but what little I have heard makes me glad Dave Mustaine recovered from his radial neuropathy.
Here’s a couple bands that didn’t make the list even though I have their newer stuff and still listen to them.
Dio: Killing the Dragon (2002) and Master of the Moon (2004) are okay, but don’t compare to Dream Evil (1987) and some of his other earlier work (not to mention Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules from his Black Sabbath days).
Queensryche: I like many of their more recent albums, but I just don’t think they stand up to Operation: Mindcrime (1988) and Empire (1990).
I’ve probably missed some good ones. What other established metal bands survived the grunge movement and have put out a great album recently?