Once again, we have all survived another year, and here we are in December. Regular (HA!) readers will know that can mean only one thing… no, not mince pies and Die Hard on the TV… I’m referring to my annual Top 7 Albums Of The Year!
As usual, I’ll answer the “Why pick seven?” question with the “Why not?” answer. There. With the formalities out of the way, we’ll get right into it.
Honourable mentions go to Hey! Hello! (I included them in last year’s list prematurely, although it was released to pledgers before general release, so nyer) – Sammy Hagar’s “Sammy Hagar And Friends” and The Spin Doctors “If The River Was Whiskey”.
So, in reverse order as is the custom…
7: Avenged Sevenfold – Hail To The King
This one I wavered on, as… well, it’s Avenged Sevenfold. And I despise them, usually. This record though? It’s good. It’s damn good. It hasn’t changed my mind on their previous work, and I see little moans from fans complaining that they’ve changed or even sold out… but I dig this album. I tweeted that the unthinkable had happened and I liked an Avenged Sevenfold record… and I stand by that!
6: Afterlife – Omega
You may not have picked up this little gem of an album, as it was released late last month to advance orders, and general release in December. It’s the debut record from Afterlife, a band that are new to the scene in this incarnation, but have been around the block in the past, and so know how to put together a hard hitting sound. The guitars and vocals on this are blistering, ably backed up by some serious bass and drum work. Give it a listen, you won’t regret it – then go see them live and in their element.
5: Clutch – Earth Rocker
Only discovered Clutch this year… where the hell have I been? I absolutely adore this band. Sharp vocals, grooves to kill for and it all sounds like it’s fuelled by hell, fire and moonshine. What’s not to love? This is a fantastic, hard, crisp modern rock record. Packed with hooks and moments that make you tap your feet… but the one slow track on the record also happens to be the best track of the set.
4: Black Star Riders – All Hell Breaks Loose
I’ll admit, I wasn’t sold on the Ricky Warwick fronted Thin Lizzy revival. Something just didn’t sit right with me as an old school Lizzy fan. However, the decision to strike out on their own as a new band, while staying true to the classic Lizzy sound has paid dividends. This is a superb first step along a well travelled road for these guys. Voodoo Hoodoo and Kingdom Of The Lost would fit perfectly into any classic Lizzy setlist, and the rest of the tracks give a new twist on the classic double guitar hooks.
3: The Temperance Movement – The Temperance Movement
It’s been hard to avoid this band if you swim in the classic rock ocean – and for once, the hype is justified (unlike, say, Rival Sons who I just don’t get) by a superb debut album. Every time I’ve seen a live clip, I’ve been impressed and the songwriting is as solid as the performances. I have an urge to check these guys out live, and in the near future, I will. Big things ahead for them, I think.
2: W.E.T. – Rise Up
After Eclipse being my record of last year, the Scandinavian feel continues here with two Eclipse members lending their weight to this superb collection. With the might Jeff Scott Soto powering proceedings along with THAT voice, and a great backline providing the oomph, this is a stunning, stunning record. Excellent production mean that while the sound is born of 70s and 80s classic rock, it’s roots are very much in this century. A fantastic album.
1: The Union – The World Is Yours
If you know me at all, you’ll know I’ve been literally RAVING over this band for years now. This is their third album, and by far the most consistent. There’s something for any fan of expressive, bluesy rock music on this record. From flat out rockers, to slow burning, grooving, building epics, all the way through to some nice light poppy moments.
The title track itself? The greatest James Bond theme never written. Luke, Pete, Dave and Chris have put together a simply incredilbe piece of work here. More than that, they’ve backed it up all over the country with a live set that just gets better every time you see them. Brilliance, utter brilliance.
So there we go. Whether you agree or violently disagree, please check out the bands listed. Support real music!
Until next year… have fun, go mad!