I left off any bands I happened to see but didn’t really enjoy, and five of the bands listed I saw at Gods of Metal in Italy, but that still leaves 23 sets from quality mid- to big-name metal bands. And 14 were from Europe.
Opeth: Exceeded my expectations (Milwaukee Metalfest)
Anathema: Amazing emotional performance, exceed my expectations by about 10 times. (Metalfest)
Dark Tranquillity: Highlight of the Gods of Metal fest, Stanne just rules.
Iron Maiden: Their show in Chicago wasn’t nearly as cool as their one in Italy, but it’s Maiden, so both shows still rank near the top of the list.
Arch Enemy: 2 shows in one weekend, blew headliners Nevermore away both times.
Immortal: Great stage presence from three guys, and I’m pretty sure guitarist Abbath is really Jon Schaffer in corpsepaint.
Mayhem: Blood, corpsepaint, and black metal. Plus, they can play! (Metalfest)
Demons & Wizards: Hansi and Jon in Italy, yeah that’s fun.
In Flames: Their music might be a bit stagnant, but it’s still fun to hear at a show.
Moonspell: What a good-looking band.
The Kovenant: Cool show, not enough of a crowd there though, and not enough songs.
Sentenced: One band I would have rather seen on a small stage rather than at Gods of Metal
Maudlin of the Well: Ten people on stage, it must be good!
Shadows Fall: Good live band, I should probably get their CD.
Children of Bodom: Like In Flames, not the most exciting music on disc, but it’s good for banging your head to.
Amorphis: Cool stuff, maybe a little too laid back though.
Dream Theater: would have enjoyed it more if I wasn’t so far back in the crowd.
Nevermore: Always decent, never mind-blowing. Think I’ve seen them too many times.
Rain Fell Within: hooray for skinny chicks!
Garden of Shadows: hooray for guitar-playing chicks!
Edguy: The only Euro-power-metal band I’ve ever seen.
Queensryche: just seemed soulless.
Ok, I think I got ’em all. If I’m able to see this many good bands next year, I’ll be quite happy.