In 2007 the Writers Guild of America went on strike, utterly buggering up the second series of Heroes and cutting short the annual season of many other shows. Oh, and winning a huge battle for the rights to residual payments or something, I guess.
Anna Nicole Smith, Luciano Pavarotti, Anita Roddick, Colin McRae, Marcel Marceau, Ned Sherrin, Alan Coren, Evel Knievel, John Inman, Mike Reid, Kurt Vonnegut, The First James Bond (Barry Nelson), George Melly and Boris Yeltsin died, Windows Vista was released and Benazir Bhutto was assassinated, but it wasn't all doom and gloom - Apple released the first iPhone and I visited Amsterdam for the first time, and got engaged while I was there.
Also the new Wembley Stadium opened. I went and saw Muse play there, as my (then girlfriend) wife had bought me tickets as a birthday present. It was ace.
Airbourne - Runnin' Wild
Do you like AC/DC, but sometimes find them a bit long in the tooth? Fancy a younger version? Wish their songs were about 25% faster across the board? You want Airbourne, then. Proper carefree reckless rock and roll, this, and authentically Australian to boot. Top track: "Girls In Black"
Alter Bridge - Blackbird
I've mentioned the other-worldly voice of Myles Kennedy before and it's in the context of Alter Bridge that I first became aware of him. If you kind of dig Creed but wish they were a bit heavier and their singer was a bit less whingey and a lot more amazing then Alter Bridge are for you, and this album - their second - is absolutely killer throughout. STOP READING, BUY IT NOW. Top track: "Blackbird"
Coheed and Cambria - Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume Two: No World For Tomorrow
This, the silver medal for "Longest Album Title" in my collection, marks the soundtrack to the chronological end of the "Amory Wars" saga of comic books, as written by Claudio Sanchez. Who is also guitarist and singer of the band. Mental stuff - and fucking great music. Top track: "Feathers"
Underworld - Oblivion With Bells
Underworld took a few years - not just 100 days - off after their previous so-so release A Hundred Days Off and it seems the rest did them good. This is packed with gems. Top track: "Beautiful Burnout"
Vangelis - Blade Runner Trilogy
A bit of a cheat here, what with the original Blade Runner OST being released in 1982 along with the movie. But Vangelis' timeless score was re-released in 2007 to mark the 25th anniversary of the movie and coinciding with the release of The Final Cut, Ridley Scott's last word on the subject. This 3CD release contains an extra CD of score from the film plus a disc called BR25 - new music inspired by the movie and its legacy. Top track: Still the sublime "Blade Runner Blues"
And the winner is...
Turisas - The Varangian Way
"I WAS CONWINCED!"
Yes, another folkish metal winner this year, this time from Finnish battle metallers Turisas with this truly magnificent album. It's a concept journey (of course it is) and tells the story of a group of Vikings (or Varangians, natch) travelling the rivers of medieval Russia (obviously) down to the Byzantine Empire. The sound on this album is really focussed and the songs perfectly executed yet with such an atmosphere that you can almost hear the creak of the oars and feel the wind in the sails.
So wrap up warm and let Warlord Nygård and his crew lead you down those ancient waterways to Holmgard... and beyond!
Top tracks: "To Holmgard and Beyond", "Five Hundred and One", "Miklagard Overture"
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