Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Best Of 2013

Tony's Picks
Best Of 2013 Honor Roll Part 3
(In no particular order)
Note: These releases were reviewed in 2013.

Swedish rockers known as Hong Faux have finally released their highly anticipated full length album, 'Crown That Wears The Head'.  The buzzing and swirling guitars that herald this monster of a recording will stop you dead in your tracks and have your undivided attention once you hit play. 

by Michael Schenker' s Temple Of Rock
'Bridge The Gap" shows a re-energized Michael Schenker at the top of his game, dynamic and full of energy surrounded by top notched musicians. Many of the rock bands of today are short on melody or on melodic architecture. Many seem to offer tuneless rhythms with plenty of guitar pyro ornamentation, but with none of the melodic developments, structural layers, or ebb and flows that Michael Schenker achieves.

BY THE REINS by Leogun
Leogun have got all their bases covered and bring a freshness to the genre. 'By The Reins' rocks in a most vintage kind of way. If it's been too long since you've heard a good old-fashioned rock n' roll album, you owe it to yourself to check out this band.

by The Ragged Saints
 'The Sound Of Breaking Free' is an knockout of a release that will be loved by  melodic rock fans, while it will surely be respected by open minded metal fans as well. Fans of Journey, Foreigner and Toto will probably love this too. The Ragged Saints should be in every melodic rock fan's collection.

FOUR by Coney Hatch
2013 release, the Canadian Hard Rock band's first album of new material in over two decades. 'Four' is chalk full of the unique brand of melodic riff-rock that first brought the band to the attention of critics and rock fans all over the world back when they first launched. 

MARY JANE by Dead, White & Blue
'Mary Jane' is the kind of album where you press "Play" and let it ride. Kick-ass, no nonsense, hard rock. In your face. loud and heavy. The way rock should be.

HAIL THE MONSTERS by For The Imperium
'Hail The Monsters' is a brilliant spark of creativity. Initially the sheer scale of the diversity and virtuosity may feel pretentious, but upon numerous repeat listens I've definitely come to believe that there isn't anything cynical at work here. It really rewards repeat listening and every spin will uncover a new little gem you never noticed before.

VIVA! HYSTERIA by Def Leppard
Def Leppard may never achieve the success that was 'Hysteria', as it is not only a great album but also came at just the right moment in time, but they are still deliver the goods. Viva! Hysteria' along with 'Mirror Ball', shows that Def Leppard are still and will always be force to be reckoned with as a live act. 

by Barbe-Q-Barbies
Finland's very own, Barbe-Q-Barbies return with their sophomore release, 'Breaking All The Rules'. I have say, after being thoroughly impressed with their debut, 'All Over You', I was curious on how these rock and roll femme fatales would respond. These ladies responded big time.

MOTHERSHIP by Mothership
Mothership prove that great song writing and attention to detail helps produce the right sound and when combined with precise instrumentation the end result is a sledgehammer of a debut release. Attention all rockers and rollers, Mothership has landed! Mark my words these boys are going to be around for a very long time to come.

LIVE FAST DIE LOUD by Beasto Blanco
'Live Fast Die Loud' is one of the best hard rock albums to come out this year. It's like a "grindhouse horror movie" unique, unpredictable and so good it's scary. Long live Beasto Blanco!

Attention all rockers and rollers! UK based rockers, White Pigeon have arrived and and they are going to ROCK your world! The band's debut release, 'Property Of White Pigeon' is the shot of adrenaline the rock 'n roll world has been waiting for!

I'm often surprised to hear what other Heavy Metal fans seem to value in music. It seems many people are really only seeking something fast, aggressive, lots of yelling etc. If you are someone like that, on a surface level this album will not disappoint. However, if you crave music for its atmospheric intensity, then this album is essential listening. This is Pain Savior.

THE BLACK MOODS by The Black Moods
The Black Moods bring a much needed soul filled energy to the rock music scene that's been missing for some time. 

RED by Mom's Rocket
Mom's Rocket have a great feel to them. This is a band that once you hear their music you just want to get up and move. 'Red' is a fantastic album that we, as a music society need as relief from so much terrible music that is poisoning the air waves today. It is an extremely well-executed album that should please fans of both classic and modern rock.

THE FIRST RECORD by Tracii Guns' League Of Gentlemen
Tracii Guns League Of Gentlemen's 'The First Record' is a very strong, totally captivating slab of old school rock n' roll that is unlikely to disappoint too many fans of the classic rock sound. If you still play your Led Zeppelin, Cream, The Animals and The Who albums on a regular basis, Tracii Guns' League Of Gentlemen is about to become your new favorite band.

The Jokers have the energy that a rock and roll band is supposed to have. They are a rolling good time. Nothing but straight out in your face rock and roll. No angst either phoney or real here. No dark lyrics. No outrageous or evil costumes. No dark music. No grunge here. Not a single rap lyric anywhere. But why should there be? The Jokers are REAL F'KN ROCK & ROLL!

THE KEY by Dave Rude Band
From start to finish this album has real teeth. A great collection of well written and performed songs here but it’s the overall sound that impressed me. Energizing and driving, the Dave Rude Band’s, ‘The Key’ is essential to any fan of rock music. 

'Impermanent Resonance' the latest release from James Labrie is yet another excellent melodic metal album that cements his position as a quality solo artist with style. This is Labrie' s third album. The album itself is a mixture of hard hitting metal and melodic ballads featuring lots of keyboard textures and excellent production topped off with the powerful expressive vocals of James LaBrie.

THE DEAD DAISES by The Dead Daisies
This album gets better and better the more you listen to it. Don't get me wrong, it was great on the first spin. But the more you listen, the more depth you realize is there. The Dead Daisies's self-titled debut has more layers and intricacies to explore than most bands these days. Perhaps it is a testament to their pure professionalism that excels this album past the clutter of everyday music.

NINE LIVES by Von Hertzen Brothers
Although their music embraces so many unique rhythms and abstract scales, there is something special about the Von Hertzen Brothers that makes them approachable and intriguing. If your up for something adventurous that challenges your expectations, give the Von Hertzen Brothers a listen. And if you know any music fans who are sick of commercial music, point them in the Von Hertzen Brother's direction

ON MY WAY TO THE SUN by John Elefante
'On My Way To The Sun' is refreshing and reassuring; powerful and consistent. It is music as it's meant to be; moving, telling stories that stir up your emotions and take you on a journey you'll be wanting to experience over and over again. A true feast for the ears and soul.

FROM THE FLAMES by Screaming Eagles
'From The Flames' is a blistering album of songs, 10 in total,  that never lets up from start to finish. These lads are on a mission to put a smile back on your face and few thousand volts up your holiest of holies. The Screaming Eagles have landed and they are here to stay!

OUT OF THE DARKNESS by Sacred Mother Tongue
'Out Of The Darkness' from start to finish, is just fantastic! Hats off to band for one hell of a job! An absolutely amazing release! Chances are that if you are reading this you already know and enjoy Sacred Mother Tongue.

C'MON TAKE ON ME by Hardcore Superstar
Hardcore Superstar continues on its blaze into rock and roll history. I for one hope, 'C'mon Take On Me' becomes available here in the States, as every fan of Hardcore Superstar must have this one, and everyone else should get to hear it.

Jon Olivia has created a true masterpiece! 'Raise The Curtain' will take your senses to places you didn't see coming and leave you wanting to come back for more.

FORGIVE & REGRET by Beautiful Strangers
Delivering a rock sound full of power and groove with lots of hooks and a great doses of melody that sounds refreshingly original yet classic. So, if you like no-frills hard rock, check out Beautiful Strangers and get your hands on their debut, 'Forgive & Regret' and crank it up for all it's worth.

RISING by Will Wallner & Vivien Vain
What Wallner/Vain have unleashed here with, 'Rising' is a powerhouse of a recording that should be heard and experienced by every rock music enthusiast on the planet.  A new band that doesn't merely claim to rock, Will Wallner & Vivien Vain actually deliver the goods!

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