Another year of killer releases from some of the eighties biggest bands and a ton of great new releases from up and coming hard rock/metal bands. There were some great albums released this year, making this one of the hardest years to narrow it down to the top 20.
Check the bottom of the page for our honorable mentions.
#20 - Freedom Call "M.E.T.AL."
Since their 1999 debut Stairway To Fairyland, the act from southern Germany has been synonymous with anthemic melodic metal, driving grooves and atmospheric messages as well as optimistic lyrics. M.E.T.A.L. is one hell of an impressive offering. With familiar characteristics to previous efforts but also tons more to offer. It's a fist in the air, volume on 10 throwback to the glory days of 80's metal.
#19 - A New Revenge "Enemies & Lovers"
Supergroup is a term that has been diluted over time. Throwing a bunch of people from other bands into a new project doesn't automatically make them "super", but their bios will tell you otherwise. It's time to seek revenge and reclaim that word! A New Revenge is the very definition of a supergroup. Featuring Tim 'Ripper' Owens, Keri Kelli, Rudy Sarzo and James Kottak A New Revenge is greater than the sum of its parts, although it's parts are pretty damn mind-blowing! The foursome is an explosive combination with every band member's skillset and battle-tested charisma breaking through the bleak wasteland of current day modern metal. Razor-sharp riffs, thunderous drums and those soaring vocals that come charging in from on high to lay waste to the landscape.
#18 - Wayward Sons "The Truth Ain't What It Used To Be"
The return of former Little Angels singer Toby Jepson with Wayward Sons in 2017 was a great event in the British hard rock music scene. After the overwhelming success of Little Angels, including a number one album, millions of records sold, massive sell-out shows and numerous hit singles, Toby has been busy these past years with movie work, performing with Fastway, Gun, and Dio s Disciples, and producing albums for numerous bands (Saxon, Fastway, The Virginmarys, Toseland, and more). His heart, however, was always in writing and performing and so the concept of Wayward Sons was born a new band, built for playing live. A new direction with Toby's songs taking center stage and the debut album Ghosts Of Yet To Come was greeted with outstanding critical acclaim and earned the band the title of "Best New Band" at the Planet Rock Awards in 2018. Look for the band to continue their relentless breakneck touring in support of The Truth Ain t What It Used To Be, a foot-stomping, fist-raising, rock 'n roll album.
#17 - L.A. Guns "The Devil You Know"
L.A. GUNS are truly one of the great American hard rock bands of the last 30 years. Since the self-titled debut in 1988 to the widely praised 2017 comeback album "The Missing Peace", L.A. GUNS, led by Tracii Guns and Phil Lewis have always delivered solid rock 'n roll to their fans. Hot on the heels of the success of the last record, the band is ready to attack again with the new album, "The Devil You Know". Sonically, this album covers a lot of ground and incorporates influences from Black Sabbath to Led Zeppelin to Kyuss to The Hellacaopters, all while distinctly sounding like L.A. Guns. The band is rejuvenated and is taking no prisoners!
#16 The Defiants "Zokusho"
The Defiants are back with their sophomore album, "Zokusho". Comprised of Paul Laine, Bruno Ravel, and Rob Marcello, The Defiants are three fabulous musicians who, as fans in the know will immediately recognize, all have ties to popular hard rockers, Danger Danger. They are even joined on this album by special guest drummer, Steve West, also of Danger Danger. A BIG melodic rock album with big choruses, hooks, and soaring guitars and vocals.
#15 - Tora Tora "Bastards of Beale"
New studio album from bluesy hard rockers Tora Tora. Features all four original members. In 2017, Memphis rockers Tora Tora were approached by Frontiers Music Srl about recording a proper new studio album and they enthusiastically jumped at the opportunity. The resulting new album, Bastards Of Beale, brings back the magic of the band s blues-rooted hard rock sound that gained them a loyal following upon their debut in the late 80s. Always a far cry from their more polished mainstream peers and more spiritually connected to blue-collar hard rock, the band s return picks up where they left off, while not sounding even the slightest bit dated.
#14 - Pretty Maids "Undress Your Madness" Undress Your Madness is Pretty Maids highly anticipated follow up to 2016's critically and commercially successful release Kingmaker", a record that continued the revitalized path that the band set out upon with the now-classic albums Pandemonium and Motherland." It's always difficult to follow a successful and inspired record, but Undress Your Madness shows Pretty Maids are still in the freshest and most vital phase of their career since the early 90s.
#13 - BlackRain "Dying Breed"
Composed and recorded in Sweden where Swan, the frontman, is permanently settled, this new album called "Dying Breed" is like a response to the way the music world goes. Surrounded by electro music and RnB, struck by the death of many of their idols that made the rock history, asked by people why they still wear this old-fashioned long hair, the four guys more and more felt like a dying breed, "the last of their kind".
"Dying Breed" is a return to the sunset strip glory days when hard rock had attitude and style. If you're a fan of bands like L.A. Guns, Wasp, or Motley Crue then your sure to love BlackRain.
#12 - Michael Monroe "One Man Gang" A genuine rock star since birth, Michael Monroe innately knows exactly how to sing, swagger and walk the most glamorous and colorful of walks. One Man Gang, the former Hanoi Rocks man's brand new offering on Silver Lining Music, is all about the fun of Friday nights, seven days a week, letting your hair down (or up!) for a dirty, dangerous, damn good time, and embracing a total escape into the rock 'n' roll dream. With Monroe's vocals blazing their unique trail across catchy, low-slung guitars and a range of exciting glamorous hooks and melodies, One Man Gang is old-school strut with rudely fresh vigor.
#11 - Morano "Incognito"
"Incognito" from Duane Morano featuring members of Tyketto, Extreme, Firehouse, XYZ, and more! They say that music is the language of the soul, and nothing could be truer for this musician.
An inspirational artist, Duane Morano has earned a reputation as a talented musician, a skillful performer, and easy to work with. From live gigs to studio sessions and more, Duane Morano continues to touch fans around the world with his distinct and enjoyable musical style.
"Incognito" is like stepping into a time machine and reliving the first time you heard some of your favorite bands. The entire album is killer!
#10 - 99 Crimes "99 Crimes"
99 CRIMES is an original power rock trio band based out of Austin Texas featuring Paul Lidel of Dangerous Toys, Dirty Looks and Broken Teeth fame on lead vocals & guitars. Chris Jordan (M!SS CRAZY) is behind the drum kit and Jeff Lynn is on bass guitar and backup vocals. Jeff Lynn is also featured on lead vocals for the song "Avenue". Drawing from their varied experiences, they have forged a unique blend of audio styles and textures reminiscent of the early days of heavy rock. No glossy glam here, just adrenalized vocals, face-melting guitar, and a rhythm section that registers on the richter scale!
#9 - Tesla "Shock"
The legendary American rock band TESLA will release their new studio album, SHOCK. The band has enjoyed international chart, radio, and tour success for nearly 35 years, with global album sales topping 15 million. The album is comprised of 12 new tracks and is produced and co-written by Phil Collen (Def Leppard), and SHOCK is TESLA's eighth studio album.
While some fans balked at the sound of the new album being too reminiscent of Def Leppard, there are plenty of highlights on "Shock". While it may not go down as one of the band's best efforts there's still a lot to love.
#8 - Burning Rain "Face the Music"
Doug Aldrich and Keith St.John are back and have revived Burning Rain for one more ride. The Dead Daisies guitarist just flat out smokes, and vocalist Keith St. John proves once again that he has one of the best voices in all of rock. 'Face the Music' is a blues-driven hard rock record which is truly a tour-de-force. With a renewed lineup featuring the amazing Blas Elias (Slaughter) on drums and bassist Brad Lang (Y&T), the album evokes the sound of the classic 70's hard rock scene, but also stays true to the Burning Rain bluesy hard rock sound.
#7 - Whitesnake "Flesh & Blood"
Joining Coverdale on Flesh & Blood is the powerhouse band comprised of Reb Beach and Joel Hoekstra on guitar, Michael Devin on bass, Tommy Aldridge on drums, and Michele Luppi on keyboards.
Since joining the band four years ago, and just in time for 2015's "The Purple Album", Chicago native Joel Hoekstra has come into his own, not only as a highly impressive axe-slinger, but also as a very accomplished songwriter too, co-writing six of the songs for "Flesh & Blood" with singer David Coverdale.
#6 - Overkill "The Wings of War"
One of North America's thrash pioneers, Overkill, has spent over 3 decades crafting essential metal masterpieces like "Taking Over", "The Years of Decay" and 2017's "The Grinding Wheel".
Overkill comes charging into 2019 with their nineteenth studio record "The Wings of War". Overkill just get better and better with age and no place is this more evident than on "The Wings of War" a full-on metal assault from start to finish.
#5 - Bad Marriage "Bad Marriage"
Boston's Bad Marriage comes out of the gate swinging their hard rock hammer with both fists, laying down their blistering boogie with heavily swung rhythms. Their repertoire digs deep with influences including AC/DC, Guns N' Roses, and Aerosmith. Indulging their collective thirst for tone and over-driven guitars, Bad Marriage pack their material with British blues-infused hard rock riffs and gutsy, soaring melodies. Together with frontman and resident wordsmith Jonny P and his over-the-top, self-aggrandizing lyrics, they've crafted a collection of egotistical hip-shakers including
"Knock 3 More Times", "Miss Outrageous" and "Electric Emerald Eyes".
#4 - Ron Keel Band "Fight Like A Band"
Fight Like A Band contains 11 new original compositions plus a new medley of historic Keel songs.
Ron Keel is back with a great new album and the first under the RKB moniker. For those of you who are fans of Ron's earlier work with bands like Steeler, Keel, Fair Game and Iron Horse you are sure to find something to love on "Fight Like A Band". Possibly Ron's most complete work to date.
#3 - Dirty Honey "Dirty Honey"
I almost didn't include this one on the list being that it's officially an EP (6 songs) it's just so damn good I couldn't help myself. If you're looking for something honest, refreshing with a hint of blues and soul then look no further then Dirty Honey.
Dirty Honey has a bit of a Tora Tora vibe and the six songs included here all hit the mark and leave you wanting more.
If this is the future of rock then we're in some good hands.
#2 - Death Angel "Humanicide"
Ascending from the depths, the almighty DEATH ANGEL return to offer their latest, energy-fueled masterpiece: "Humanicide." A return to the wolves alongside a survivalist pack mentality are what fuel the powerful themes erupting from these fresh metal anthems. In a modern capitalist society where selfishness reigns and communal help and survival are things of the past, Death Angel produces sounds and symbols that point out the truths of attempting to exist safely in the present day.
#1 - Tom Keifer "Rise"
Former Cinderella frontman and powerhouse vocalist, Tom Keifer, ascends to new heights on his second solo album, Rise! In a career full of great music "Rise" just adds to the legacy.
Includes the rocker "The Death Of Me", the uplifting "Rise", the passion of "Waiting on the Demons" and "You Believe in Me" one great song after another.
For me, it was an easy pick for album of the year.
Michael Sweet - Ten
Janet Gardner - Your Place in the Sun
Rage - Wings of Rage
Spread Eagle - Subway to the Stars
Sweet Oblivion featuring Geoff Tate
Queensryche - The Verdict
Beasto Blanco - We Are
Hollywood Vampires - Rise
Backyard Babies - silver and gold
Grim Reaper - At the Gates
Bullet - Live
Airbourne - Boneshaker
Last in line - 2