Welcome to the new millennium in the Year-a-Month project. I'm not sure how many more years this will continue, but I promise that it won't make it to 2100. No new bands this month, but it's a pretty busy month anyway.
Iron Maiden: Brave New World - Bruce Dickinson is back on this album, which makes Iron Maiden sound a little more like it should. Unfortunately, that's the only part of this album that really made me happy. I can't put my finger on it, but it just seemed uninspired and mechanical.
Pantera: Reinventing the Steel - The final album from Pantera before their break-up. Throughout their short time together (after the conversion from glam to metal), every album reached new heights of guitar rage. A few more years, and they would easily have topped my list; as it is, I'm going to miss them terribly among the revenue-guided garbage that characterized the early 2000s. Thanks for going out with a great album, guys. RIP, Dimebag.
Dio: Magica - Dio carries on the metal torch in Magica. It's got everything I like, so I suppose I should give him a little more respect, but it's hard to take him seriously when he's so cute and cuddly. The guy is like 5'2" and 100 pounds soaking wet. Apparently this is a concept album, but I didn't notice until I read about it on Wikipedia.
Overkill: Bloodletting - A little roster upheaval on this album, with the switching out of the lead guitarist. That's about all that is interesting with this album, though. It's pretty standard thrash metal, and sounds a lot like their other discs. Not bad, just not different.
Deftones: White Pony - This album is moodier than their last, and harder to get into. Nothing new from them until 2003, at which point I'll take a look at the Wikipedia write-up and decide if I want to continue with these guys.
Black Label Society: Stronger Than Death - The second effort from Zakk Wylde and his band Black Label Society is every bit as good as the first. It's amazing how much different these guys sound from Ozzy Osbourne, despite Wylde starting out as Ozzy's lead guitarist. The heavy guitar interspersed with mini-solos gets my head banging.
Motörhead: We Are Motörhead - These guys just never quit. Already they are dominating my MP3 random playlist. Sometimes, listing to MP3s in the car, I notice that it gets stuck in a Motörhead trap, playing Motörhead on every 3 songs out of 5 until I eventually get fed up and start skipping over them. This might be because of the vast number of albums in this band's discography. Between 1977 and 2013, Lemmy and the boys have recorded no fewer than 21 studio albums, averaging one every 1.7 years. That's an amazing record, especially considering they have probably had fewer than 21 sober days in that 37-year time span.