Well, hello. It’s that time again, where I pontificate – good word, huh? – on my favourite records of the year. Hardly anyone reads it, but it makes me feel better. And if one person listens to something and likes it? All good.

I don’t think it’s been a stellar year for music this year, I found myself listening to more and more podcasts and classic, older records than anything else. I wouldn’t say the music scene is stagnant, though. The album does seem to have less importance than it did. Maybe I’m just getting old…

Anyway. On with the list, in CLASSIC reverse order!

7. Hey! Hello! – Hey! Hello!

Hey! Hello!

Hey! Hello!

What started off as an EP grew into it’s own fully fledged album by the time the insanely prolific Ginger Wildheart was done. Essentially a spin off pop-rock project for him and vocalist Victoria Liedtke, Ginger plays guitar, bass and drums on a classic short, sharp, shock record.

Amazing to think this is one of 3 projects he’s turned in this year, including a triple and double album.

6. Casablanca – Apocalyptic Youth

Apocalyptic Youth

Apocalyptic Youth

Raved about this record in a previous post, so to recap… “it’s like Kiss ate Twisted Sister and pooped sheer glam rock heaven…

Hush now, thunder child” and “I’ve found my destination / between love and desperation” – if those lyrics alone right now don’t make throw up the horns, gurn and go “HURRRR!” then you, my friend, have no soul.”

5. Gun – Break The Silence

Break The Silence

Break The Silence

They’re baaaack! After briefly hitting the road with the Popkiller EP and vocalist Toby Jepson, GUN got back to basics by promoting Dante from bass to frontman, and bringing in a second guitarist – and the change has re-energised them. A new record full of bold music, and enough throwbacks for older fans to still latch on to.

It’s a new beginning for GUN, and on this basis of their incendiary live shows recently, they’re back in a big way.

4. The Darkness – Hot Cakes

Hot Cakes

Hot Cakes

Another comeback from the brink, aborted spin off bands, family drama, addictions and obscurity – Gimme a “D” – Gimme an “Arkness!” – yes, you either love them, or loathe them… There’s always room for The Darkness for me. They get it. Music is fun. Enjoy it. Embrace it. Take it so far over the top you can’t see it any more.

This record shows me they have some stamina left yet. An inspired take on “Street Spirit” alone is worth checking out this record for…

3. Halestorm – The Strange Case Of…

The Strange Case Of...

The Strange Case Of…

Absolutely love this record, played it constantly for the best part of a month when I first heard it. Lzzy Hale has a voice from another planet (and it has to be said, is one hot woman as well) and the band compliment her perfectly.

The record has a nice blend of styles too, so it’s not all out pedal to the metal rockers like “I Miss The Misery” and “Mz. Hyde” from start to finish – “In Your Room” and “Break In” are classic rock power ballads. From what I see, they’re a killer live unit too. Definitely on my list to check out.

2. Ginger Wildheart – 555% / 100%

555%

555%

Yup, Ginger Wildheart is the only man in my list to have 2 entries in my list – technically 3, as you only got the full triple set 555% if you pledged – compressed single record version 100% was released commercially after pledgers voted for the tracklist.

And what a choice. Ginger is insanely talented at picking a melody and hammering it to death round a killer riff, this album is full of them from start to finish. It’s impossible to pin down to a single style, and it’s all the better for it. 100% is out there now, but 555% is well worth tracking down

1. Eclipse – Bleed & Scream

Bleed & Scream

Bleed & Scream

An obscure album from a Swedish band of melodic heavy metallers is my number one record of the year? Damn right it is! I LOVE everything on this record. If it was a cassette, I would have worn it out, the amount of times I’ve played this from start to finish.

It’s got killer vocals, amazing riffs, some of the best solo playing of the year, and just chock full of power from start to finish. “Battlegrounds” is one of the best songs I’ve heard in the past 10 years, and the band aren’t afraid to slow it down for the obligatory ballads either. This is hands down, as good as music gets this year. If you like the heavier side of music, then this is a MUST LISTEN record. Get on it!

There you go folks. Hopefully you find something you like in this list.

Have fun, go mad.

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