Top 20 albums of 2012 (10-1)

 10The Vaccines
 Come of AgeVaccinesComeOfAge

Ok, ok I know it’s a pop rock record, but I do think it deserves to be in the top 10, as it genuinely is a very good album.  Teenage Icon, No Hope & I Always Knew are particularly impressive, and although the album goes a tad stale in the middle, it redeems itself in the end.  Well worth a purchase even for the hardened classic rock fan.

Best Song – Teenage Icon

9 Lucero
 Women & Work
LUCERO Women & Work

Trying to put Lucero into a “genre” is providing near on impossible, but according to various sources they are Alternative Country, Country Rock, Blues, Southern Rock and, bizarrely, Cowpunk, whatever that means.  To be perfectly honest, I don’t care as it is s cracking album, so much so that I intend to purchase their first 5 albums at some point.  Why have I not heard of these guys before?

Best Song – Women & Work


8 ZZ Top
zz_top_la_futura_
 La Futura

When the bearded rockers announced they were releasing a new album, I was thrilled.  Sadly, I was left a little deflated by La Futura.  Not sure why exactly, perhaps I expected too much.  Anyway, a poor ZZ Top album is still better than most bands best albums, so it still makes the top ten.

Best Song – Have a Little Mercy

7 Europeeurope bag of bones
 Bag of Bones

Europe?  Yes, Europe.  No, they haven’t only sung one song, and this high energy rock ‘n’ roll album proves that they have still got what it takes to compete with the big boys.  Trust me, you will find it extremely hard not to like Bag of Bones.

Best Song – Riches to Rags


6 Cory Branancory branan mutt

 Mutt

Cory Branan is probably a name that you have not heard of so far in your life.  You will.  2013 is going to be a huge year for Cory, and Mutt will be the springboard for a highly successful career.  Stunning, stunning debut album.  Irish folk rock at it’s very best.

Best Song – Hold Me Down 


5 The Rolling Stonesrolling stones grrr
 Grrr!

Maybe slightly unfair that Grrr! makes the best album list of 2012 as it is pretty much a greatest hits compilation.  I don’t care.  It’s the Rolling Stones.  Plus Doom and Gloom is awesome.  So there…

Best Song – Brown Sugar

4 Rival Sons
 Head Downrival-sons-head-down

Saw these guys live when they toured with Black Stone Cherry last year, and they blew me away.  They could be the next Led Zeppelin they are seriously that good!  Head Down is not as good as Pressure and Time, which, incidentally, was the best album of 2011, but still a classic rock masterpiece.  This is as close you will get to reliving the 70’s rock scene.

Best Song – Manifest Destiny (Pt. 1)


3 Kiss kiss monster
 Monster

Kiss are back with a bang – easily the best album they have released since Crazy Nights and a timely return to form.

Best Song – Hell and Hallelujah 
2 Foxy Shazam
Foxy Shazam - Church of Rock & Roll
 Church of Rock & Roll

If you have read my recent review on this album, you will already know that Foxy Shazam could be my new favourite band.  This album is like to other – unique, classy, great riffs, sensational vocals, melodic, emotional and genius.  If you are looking for something just a little different then I urge you to buy Church of Rock & Roll.

Best Song – (It’s) Too Late baby
1 Lynyrd SkynrydLast_Of_A_Dyin'_Breed_Lynyrd_Skynyrd
 Last of a Dyin’ Breed 

Well, it’s been a fantastic year for rock, and nothing epitomised this more than the return of Lynyrd Skynryd.  One of the best albums they have released, probably only Pronounced can actually top this.  Every track offers something completely different to the last.  The ballads are simply stunning and when they want to rock, boy do they just!  One of the best albums I have bought in the last few years, and re-affirmed my love affair with the greatest southern rock band of all time.

Best Song – Last of a Dyin’ Breed

Album review : Foxy Shazam, Church of Rock & Roll

Credit has to go to Classic Rock magazine for putting me in touch with this band.  I’ll be honest, I had never heard of them before I listened to Welcome to the Church of Rock & Roll  on one of their free cd’s.  I am now addicted.  Granted, when I first listened to this album, I wasn’t sure – it is very unique and an album that you have to “get into” so to speak.  But once you get past that initial barrier it is truly a joy to behold.

What was that?  This is their 4th album?  Let’s get the wallet out…..

Foxy Shazam - Church of Rock & Roll1.  Welcome to the Church of Rock & Roll
What a way to start an album!  mesmerizing, unique, high-pitched rock and roll.  This could be the church of rock and roll – an absolute classic!  9/10

2.  I Like It
This track should be called “I Love It”.  Genuinely don’t know why, I have never heard anything like it before – it’s a grower but slowly becoming my favourite.  8/10

3.  Holy Touch
The tracks keep coming with this uniquely brilliant.  Eric Sean Nally’s vocals are breathtaking on this track.  8/10

4.  Last Chance At Love
A hint of Queen, and a more pop-rock ensemble from the Ohio band, still solid tho.  7/10

5.  Forever Together
Simply bizarre, but uniquely brilliant.  8/10

6.  (It’s) Too Late Baby
Best song on the album, and that takes some doing.  The emotion in this track takes your breath away.  9/10

7.  I Wanna be Yours
A hint of slow-punk, electronic and once again Queen.  Trying to explain this album is proving tricky.  7/10

8.  Wasted Feelings
Hmmmm, Jimmy Somerfield anyone?  Very 80’s feel, but hugely entertaining and catchy.  7/10

9.  The Temple
Starts off dirty, even slightly Sabbath-esque and turns into Muse.  Not sure about this one?!?  5/10

10.  The Streets
Thought this album was going to fizzle out and come to a disappointing end.  Oh no……  7/10

11.  Freedom
A delightful, mellow ending to a terrific album.  8/10

Top 20 albums of 2012 (20-11)

Well, I am back and I am going to start the new year looking back at the best the rock world had to offer in 2012.  2012 was a massive year for the world of rock – there were comebacks galore from the likes of Rush, Europe, ZZ Top & Kiss.  Legends of rock Aerosmith, Rolling Stones & Lynryd Skynryd all released albums plus a first live album in 20 years from AC/DC!  And let’s not forget some up and coming new bands on the scene – Rival Sons are going to huge with the release of their 3rd album, Foxy Shazam have come from nowhere plus The Jim Jones Revue & Tame Impala are setting a few headlines at the moment.  Rock music has a bright future!

Anyway, here is the top 20…

20

 Tame Impala
 Lonerism

Aussie rockers Tame Impala have won numerous awards for their last 2 albums, but this is the first released in the UK.  A psychedelic journey into pop rock, for those who are a fan of the original groove rocker, Glenn Hughes, and his first band, Trapeze with a hint of John Lennon randomly.  Very pleasing without rocking your world.

Best Song – Elephant

19 The Darkness
 Hot Cakes

The Darkness are back with a new look and a better sound, JH looks so much better and must have been in a tattoo studio ever since Permission to Land was launched.  Anyway, much better than the pop-esque debut album, far more rock and roll than The Darkness should be.  Koodos.

Best Song – Nothin’s Gonna Stop Us

18 The Gaslight Anthem
 Hand Written

Going on tour with Bruce Springsteen has not gone to the head of New Jerseys finest.  Their 4th album is not quite up to the quality of their 2010 epic, American Slang, but they still deliver some catchy rock pop which will make them a hit with classic rock lovers as well as Snow Patrol fans.

Best Song – Mullholland Drive

17 Van Halen
 A Different Kind of Truth

I like VH, and I was eagerly anticipating the return of Dave Lee Roth and an album that I was hoping to be the highest of quality.  It’s not.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a decent rock album.  Was I expecting more?  Oh yes.  Still worth a listen, tho..

Best Song – Blood and Fire

16 Black Country Communion
 Afterglow

The supergroup had a lot to live up to with their 3rd album, Afterglow, after the glowing (no pun intended) references of their first two albums, but they have succeeded by going back the the groove train of the 70’s.  Messers Hughes, Bonamassa, Bonham & Sherinan prove they still “have it” in abundance.  This could be a prized possession, as there won’t be another album – they will be splitting very soon.

Best Song – Midnight Sun 

15 Jack Whitejack white
 Blunderbuss

Quite possibly Jack Whites finest work.  Whether that be The White Stripes, The Raconteurs or solo, this is by far the best.  A real treat on the ears and a must have for any genuine rock fan.  Just a shame that so many other fine albums were released this year.

Best Song – Love Interruption

14 Muse
 The 2nd Law

The Queen love affair is taken to a new level, and a reminder of the fateful Jazz album that they released.  That bombed – will The 2nd Law?  Absolutely not.  It’s a wonderful album.

Best Song – Supremacy

13 The Jim Jones Revue the-jim-jones-revue-the-savage-heart
 The Savage Heart

New-age, kick-ass blues hard rock with a twist of punk at it’s finest.  The boys from Camden Town will make the big time with their 3rd studio album, The Savage Heart.  Yet to hear the first two albums, but will be purchasing soon….thanks to Classic Rock magazine for this tip 🙂

Best Song – Where Da Money Go

12 Heart12-12-Discs-Heart-Fanatic
Fanatic

A welcome return for 80’s pop-rockers Heart.  They haven’t lost their looks or their voices if this is anything to go by.  In fact, they have gone even harder in their old age.  The opening few tracks are first class, and while it tails off towards then end there is no denying that we all missed them.

Best Song – Fanatic

11 Aerosmithaerosmith-music-from-another-dimension
 Music From Another Dimension

It has been said that there are too many ballads in this album, and I tend to agree.  Don’t get me wrong, previous ballads such as Amazing, Crazy and that one from Armageddon that no-one admits to like but secretly love it are some of the Boston rockers finest work, and all in all, MFAD is a top, top album.  Just one comment – more rock and roll please guys!

Best Song – Oh Yeah

The top 20 rock albums of 2011…19 Michael Monroe

Sensory Overdrive by Michael Monroe

19.  Sensory Overdrive by Michael Monroe

Released in March of this year, Sensory Overdrive is a spell-binding album by legendary former Hanoi Rocks singer, Michael Monroe and his band that consist of Ginger, Sami Yaffa, Karl Rockfist and Steve Conte.  Sensory Overdrive is his first studio album since 2003 dour Whatcha Want and boy is it worth the wait.

Performances at Download cemented Monroe as a rock god, and the album even won “Album of the Year” award at the 2011 Classic Rock magazine awards.

Album Highlights
Modern Day Pleaser will definitely be one for the live gigs, while 78 and Bombs Away have sublime riffs.  Buy this album from Play.com now

The top 20 rock albums of 2011…

Seeing as we are in 2012, I thought I would review the top 20 rock albums of 2011.  It has been a fantastic year for rock with a whole host of new rock bands, comebacks and reunions and classic rock legends.

Kicking off the top 2o, are 80’s prog rockers Dream Theatre with their 11th album, A Dramatic Turn of Events.

20.  A Dramatic Turn of Events by Dream Theatre

After losing drummer Mike Portney, the search was on for a new stickman, and they found Mike Mangini.  Things couldn’t be better in the Dream Theatre camp, the latest album is a corker, and one of the most anticipated albums of the year.

Album highlights have to be On the Backs of Angels and  Lost Not Forgotten.

Album review – Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by Black Stone Cherry

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

It’s not often you come across an album that you know you are going to love and listen to over and over agin, is it?  Well, I have found one.  Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea  by the sublime Black Stone Cherry is, quite simply, a stunning album.  From the opening track, the dark, rustic tone of White Trash Millionaire  to the final track Die For You, it just doesn’t get tired.  I have listened to it at least 12-15 times already, and it keeps getting better and better.  Even the tracks I didn’t like at the beginning seem to be turning into some of the best songs.  Now that for me is a sign of a star record in the making!  “Record”?  How old am I..??

Anyway the track listing:

1.  White Trash Millionaire – the sole reason I bought the album in the first place.  Stunning opening with some deep and meaningful lyrics.  Lead singer, Chris Robertson’s vocals are epic and the riffs equally so.  This is a true rock anthem.  9/10.

2.  Killing Floor – Very dark, mysterious, underground feel.  Excellent track if you are in a bad mood so you can growl as you sing (or is that just me?).  7/10.

3.  In My Blood – Stunning song.  Excellent vocals and equally good riff, it’s a song that lifts you up after Killing Floor.  8/10.

4.  Such a Shame – Dirty, dirty riff.  Sounds a bet metal but don’t let that put you off, it’s a belter!  8/10.

5.  Won’t Let Go – A much slower track, but it seems whatever genre of song (does that make sense?) it seems to work.  8/10.

6.  Blame it on the Boom Boom – Single from the album, and as close to a pop-rock song as you will find here.  Utterly addictive mind.  9/10.

7.  Like I Roll – It says it all when one of the poorer tracks still manages to get a hefty seven.  7/10.

8.  Can’t You See – The standard isn’t really dropping yet, another great track.  7/10.

9.  Let Me See You Shake – A mixture of rock ‘n’ roll, blues and country in this belter of a track.  8/10.

10. Stay – Beautiful song with actually meaningful lyrics.  Wouldn’t have thought that would you?  9/10.

11. Change – There is no letting up.  Another decent track.  7/10.

12. All I’m Dreaming Of – Another slower song and another excellent rock track.  Wow – this album rocks!  8/10.

Bonus tracks:

13. Staring at the Mirror – hmmmmm, unsure of this but still a half decent track, seems to be sloping off a bit, but then again these are bonus tracks.  6/10.

14. Fade Away –  Maybe not.  Love Fade Away.  8/10.

15. Die For You – Disappointing end to a fantastic album.  Can’t complain really tho, it’s not often you get 15 tracks of this calibre.  5/10.

At the end of the day, this is a truly superb album, and I would highly recommend this to anyone who likes rock, rock ‘n’ roll, blues, country, hard rock or metal.  It’s not often you listen to the first few songs of an album and know you are going to love the band, not just the album.  That is all I will say.  Buy it.  Now.  Plus they are doing a UK tour with Rival Sons.  Should be epic…

Too many great albums, so little time…

Habits by Neon Trees - recently purchased

I have recently purchased a number of rock albums which I plan to review in the next few weeks.  There are so many great rock bands at the moment.  BCC, Avenged Sevenfold, Bonafide, Million $ Reload to name a few, many classic rock bands still going strong – AC/DC, Thin Lizzy and Deep Purple.  Plus many bands making comebacks like Def Leppard, Mr Big and Warrant.

But, the most fascinating aspect of the rock industry at the moment is the emergence of a number of great bands who are re-inventing the wheel.

So, I have purchased Habits by Neon Trees, We Stitch These Wounds by the Black Veil Brides, The Heart of Everything by Within Temptation, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by Black Stone Cherry and American Slang by The Gaslight Anthem, which I do plan to review – so keep checking back!

It’s going to be a fun few weeks, I can’t wait….

Album review : Fill your head with Rock by Bonafide

Fill your head with rock by Bonafide

A big thanks to Classic Rock magazine once again for putting me in contact with rock band Bonafide, and their little gem of an album Fill your head with Rock.

As you probably now, CR give away a free CD with every issue of their mag, and every time I find a little pearler or two which make me go out and purchase their album.  On this occasion it was the title track to Bonafide’s album which was released on the 28 January this year.

1.  Fill your head with Rock – I might be out on a limb here, but I suspect their influences include AC/DC, as the opening track has a very distinct feeling of For those about to rock (we salute you).  Not that’s a bad thing.  Most certainly not.  Fill your head is a very, very good track and a track that certainly takes you back to the glory days of the 70’s.  It’s a thunderous start to an album.  9/10.

2.  No doubt about it – Great drums, great rift, great vocals.  Crumbs he sounds like Brian Johnson.  Backing vocals kick in – very DC.  Great song, but seems to be lacking a big chorus.  7/10.

3.  Kick me out – Now we are talking, this is proper rock and roll.  Pontus Snibb’s vocal range is really excelled here.  Just found out they are swedish.  8/10.

4.  I don’t need a doctor – Again, if you like rock ‘n’ roll, there is nothing to dislike here.  The riffs are dirty, the lyrics are intriguing and I believe they have a hidden meaning?  Very clever.  7/10.

5.  Can’t explain – Now anyone that is planning to cover a classic song by The Who needs to be careful.  This could have gone horribly wrong, but it’s not too bad actually.  Granted it’s not a patch on the original and it’s very similar to it, but it’s not too bad.  6/10.

6.  Nice boys (don’t play rock ‘n’ roll) – Back to form with the final track – a great finale to an all-in-all very good rock and roll album.  8/10

Now if you are missing a bit of 70’s rock then I suggest you go out and give this album a go.  They are a bon-a-fide rock group.  Check out their website – http://www.bonafiderocks.com/index2.html

Top 250 rock albums : The winner

Back in Black by AC/DC

So, what is the greatest rock album of all time?  Well, do you know what the 2nd biggest worldwide selling album of all time is?  Only 2nd to Michael Jackson’s Thriller?  No?  Then I will tell you.  This might come as a surprise to you…..are you ready…?

Back in Black by AC/DC.

It’s not a surprise to me, as Back in Black is THE best album that has ever been released.  Every song has something that sets it apart from it’s predecessors.  As soon as the bells kick in on the opening track Hells Bells you know it’s gonna be a cracker.  The title track Back in Black, Shoot to Thrill, Let me put my love into you and What do you do for money, honey?  are classics in their own right, however, it’s Givin’ the Dog a Bone and the ingenious You Shook Me All Night Long that turn Back in Black from a contender into the world champion.

AC/DC

I see Back in Back as a tribute, of sorts, to the late, great Bon Scott who tragically died before the making of this album, and you can tell in some of the lyrics especially Back in Black and Givin’ the Dog a Bone that this would right up Scott’s street.  Now, his replacement Brian Johnson will never quite live up to the former Aussie front man, but he is a more than capable replacement and his very first album with DC is by far his best vocals.

All in all, a quite magnificent album and a well worthy winner of the title ‘greatest rock album of all time’.  Respect.

Top 250 rock albums : Number 2 – Led Zeppelin IV

Led Zeppelin IV by Led Zeppelin

2.  Led Zeppelin IV – Led Zeppelin

I’m sure not many of you will argue (actually, you probably will) that Led Zep IV is their best album to date, yes?  Well it is.  End of.  The album is pure genius.

It is probably one of the most talked about albums also.  Not only because of the music, but the name of the album!  Is it called IV, the fourth album, four symbols or the Four Symbols logo ?  With Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Bonham and Jon-Paul Jones all coming up with a symbol of their own.

IV is the 3rd best-selling album in the US ever, and has sold over 32 million worldwide.  Wow!  Every single rock album chart will have IV near the top of the pile, and I am no different.

Black Dog kicks off the album in ferocious style, with the speed not letting up with the enigmatic Rock and Roll (one of the greatest rock and roll songs ever written).  Fellow classics When the Levee Breaks, The Battle of Evermore and of course Stairway to Heaven confirms Led Zep IV as one of the greatest, just missing out on the top spot…..