As good as 2007 was for new releases, 2008 blew it away. At the beginning of the year, I don’t think anyone expected to have new releases by AC/DC, Metallica and Guns N’ Roses all in the same year.
This year Rocknrollcoastie joined the HRH team and I asked him to submit his picks for 2008 as well. This way you get a double dose of the The 15 Albums from Hard Rock Hideout.
The following are Rob Rockitt’s Top Picks for 2008!
15. Guns N’ Roses – Chinese Democracy
What’s this? Have I lost my mind? When Chinese Democracy came out, I expected Hell to Freeze over. Much like many of you, I didn’t expect this album to ever see the light of day, much less in 2008. I didn’t give this album the best review when it was released. After the first couple of listens, I didn’t like it very much. Lets face it, this more like the Axl Rose Project than a true Guns N’ Roses CD. There is no Slash, no Izzy, No Duff. The album has very few sounds that resemble the old band that once cranked out some awesome hard rock.
I didn’t give up on this album and kept it in my playlist. After a couple of weeks of repeat plays, I have warmed up to this disc. Sure it doesn’t sound like the old band, but there is some pretty good music to be found if you give this the proper chance.
14. Thunder – Bang!
When Rocknrollcoastie reviewed this CD earlier this year, I previewed all of the clips, then quickly purchased the CD. I have liked Thunder since their Backstreet Symphony CD, and this disc is on par with that one in my opinion. It is a great sounding bluesy hard rock disc Buy it!
13. Jaded Sun – Gypsy Trip
Ireland’s latest rock act delivers the goods with their excellent debut CD, Gypsy Trip. I have been playing this CD a lot as of late. I think you will be hearing a lot more about these guys in 2009.
12. Black Tide – Light From Above
Somebody must have forgotten to give the young men in Black Tide a calendar. These guys rock like is 1988. You have to love it when a new band can reproduce that classic 80’s metal sound. Light From Above is a great debut for these Florida rockers.
11. Shinedown – The Sound of Madness
I have never been a huge Shinedown fan, but this CD changed my mind. “The Sound of Madness” is the first Shinedown CD that I could listen to all the way through without wanting to skip a track or two. I like all of the songs on this disc. This is a very solid record, and one of 2008’s nice surprises.
10. JORN – Lonely Are the Brave
Jorn Lande has been bringing us great new hard rock every year for several years now. Whether it is a solo CD, or another project he is working on, you can always expect Jorn Lande to be fairly consistent. Lonely Are The Brave is a little darker than most JORN CD’s but is a very good disc. Take one listen to the songs “Night City”, “Shadow People” or the very Black Sabbath with Dio like tune, “Soul of the Wind”, and you are bound to love this disc.
9. Metallica – Death Magnetic
This album has divided fans with its sound, but I thought this was a pretty good disc from Metallica. Sure, this disc doesn’t live up to their classic thrash metal from the 80’s, but at least they gave it their best shot. They should take notes from Testament next time around.
8. Testament – The Formation of Damnation
In my opinion, Testament one upped Metallica for best Thrash album of 2008. Heavy and killer! No thrash metal fan should be without this.
7. Motley Crue – Saints of Los Angeles
With S.O.L.A. Motley Crue turned in their best album since Dr. Feelgood. This one is still in heavy rotation in my play list today.
6. Disturbed – Indestructible
From the opening air raid sirens of Indestructible, you can almost tell immediately that you are about to take in one excellent album. In my opinion, this is Disturbed’s best work ever. The songs on this disc have an excellent heavy groove, that will satisfy the majority of headbangers out there. There are a ton of awesome guitar licks on this disc by Disturbed axeman Dan Donegan. Disturbed even got nominated for a Grammy for their song, “Inside The Fire”. Don’t miss this!
5. Alice Cooper – Along Came A Spider
Alice Cooper is an artist that has always been hit or miss with me. When I first read about the new concept album, “Along Came A Spider”, I rolled my eyes and dismissed this disc as another Alice Cooper album that would not deliver. Boy was I wrong! “Along Came A Spider” is one of the better Alice Cooper releases. The story behind this disc is creepy and cool. Slash plays on a track, and this is probably the only place you will hear Ozzy Osbourne playing a harmonica. Cool stuff!
4. Black Stone Cherry – Folklore and Superstition
Black Stone Cherry has been one of my favorite newer hard rock acts, since 2006 or so. Folklore and Superstition wasn’t quite as heavy as their debut, but is still as solid as ever. “Blind Man”, “Soulcreek”, “Please Come In” and “The Bitter End” are as good as it comes.
3. Whitesnake – Good To Be Bad
David Coverdale nearly pulled an Axl Rose, by making us wait so long for this new disc. While Good To Be Bad isn’t as good as ’84’s “Slide It In”, or the fabled self titled album from 1987, it is a return to the sound that Whitesnake fans love, and easily one of the top discs of 2008. Doug Aldrich could be the best guitarist to take the stage with Coverdale since John Sykes. Don’t believe me? Give this one another listen!
2. AC/DC – Black Ice
I am sure a lot of folks will disagree with me, but I think “Black Ice” is the best new AC/DC CD since “The Razor’s Edge”. Some of the songs on this disc may go down as AC/DC classics.
1. Tesla – Forever More
Tesla is a band that rarely disappoints me. If you have ever seen my Last FM playlist, you know I play the hell out of this band. Tesla’s 2004 CD “Into The Now” was probably my least favorite out of all of Tesla’s releases. With that being said, it made Tesla’s CD Forever More sound that much better. I like every song on this disc, and I never grow tired of listening to it. This is easily one of the best discs that the band has releases to date. For my ears, it was the highlight of 2008!
RocknRoll Coastie’s Top 15 of 2008!
Man! What an amazing year both musically and personally. With releases from bands like Motley Crue, White Lion, Dokken, Alice Cooper, & Whitesnake, just to name a few, it felt more like 1988 than 2008. So much great music came out this year and it showed me more than any other year that hard rock is very much alive and well.
Personally it was a great year because I happened to not only stumble across HardRockHideout, which I happen to think is the best hard rock site on the internet. I harassed Rob Rockitt a few times and of all things he invited me to jump on this train that HardRockHideout has become and come along for the journey. Damn what a wild ride it has been so far not only have I made a good friend, I have been introduced to so much new music it is not even funny and let’s face it, it isn’t everyday a person pisses off a whole country but somehow I managed to do just that by giving a Hungarian band a bad review. As wild and crazy as it has been this year I have the feeling it is only going to get better.
When Rob asked me if I wanted to put together my top 15 albums I thought there is no way because there has been so much great music come out in the past year. Then I was faced with do I go with the popular choices loved by the masses or do I stick to my guns and go with the bands and albums that I loved? I decided to go with the bands and albums that I loved this year, I guess I should warn everyone not to expect a lot of big name bands on my list. NOBODY forced me to choose these albums, I chose them of my own free will so love’em or hate’em here they are:
15. The Wildhearts – Stop Us If You’ve Heard This One Before Vol 1
Yeah I know it is a covers album which has almost become a cliche in itself. But this isn’t your everyday run of the mill covers album with songs from Warren Zevon to the Toadies to Fugazi it is a pretty eclectic choice of songs here. To be honest the Wildhearts are probably one of the few bands that could get me to listen to the 90’s alternative music on here.
14. Theory of a Deadman – Scars & Souvenirs
I pretty much spent most of the summer cranking the third release from this Canadian band. Finally out of the shadow of Nickelback the guys really stepped out on their own with Bad Girlfriend, I Hate My Life, & Little Smirk just to name a few.
13. From The Inside – Visions
The second release from Danny Vaughn’s Journey inspired project. Tons of great music here including Light Years, Making Waves, Listen To Your Heart, and 21st Century.
12. Big Cock – Motherload
Taking sexual innuedos to a new level Robert Mason and the guys 3rd release simply rocks. I wish these guys would take themselves seriously and go on tour I could guarantee they would be one of the best shows out there. If you haven’t heard Breaking My Balls, Bump and Grind, or M.I.L.F. you are missing out.
11. Hinder – Take It To The Limit
I can see most people rolling their eyes at this pick and to be honest when I heard Hinder had a new album coming out I wasn’t expecting much. But the guys put out an album filled with good time party anthems and let’s be honest it is going to be bands like Hinder, Buckcherry, and Nickelback that are going to keep straight up rock in the limelight in the 21st century. Besides what man can resist a video filled with hot Playboy cybergirls??
10. Talon – Fallen Angels
This California band came out of nowhere and completely blew me away. Melodic rock at it’s finest, Chandler Mogel is a monster singer with a great voice and Jim Kee is a phenomenal guitarist. Burn, Baby Jane, What About Me, and Always Be My Baby are all great songs.
9. 7th Heaven – U.S.A-U.K.
This is another band that came from out of nowhere and blew me away. From what I understand these Chicago natives have been around for a while but replaced their former singer with Kevin Semple before recording this album and he is an awesome singer. If you are a fan of “Hysteria” era Def Leppard you have to get this album you would be hard pressed to tell the bands apart if you didn’t know the songs.
8. Marcello/Vestry – Self Titled
Another slab of melodic rock, this time it comes from Danger Danger axeman Rob Marcello and vocalist Frank Vestry, with a little help from Danger Danger’s Bruno Ravel who played bass and produced the record. Great catchy sing along songs like Fireworks, All I Wanna Do Is U, and Gone fill this record. It is exactly what you would expect from members of Danger Danger and I for one am not complaining at all.
7. House of Lords – Come To My Kingdom
After the fiasco that was the Power & the Myth, James Christian started pretty much from scratch with House of Lords and released World Upside Down in 06. In ’08 the band came back even stronger with Come To My Kingdom dare I say the best HoL album to date. James’ voice still sounds great and Jimi Bell, B.J. Zampa, and Matt McKenna have made the band even stronger. I don’t think there is a weak song on this album.
5. Extreme – Saudades de Rock –
One of the first albums I reviewed for HRH. 13 years is a long time to wait between albums but honestly I think it was a good thing for the guys in Extreme. They came back stronger than ever with some strong kick ass songs and the addition of Kevin Figueiredo was an awesome decision. I liked this album when it was released but the more I listened to it the more I loved it.
5. Tesla – Forever More
Four years between new albums also did Tesla a world of good. Forever More is head and shoulders above 04’s Into The Now and like Extreme the addition of guitarist Dave Rude did wonders for the band. I Wanna Live, Just In Case, All of Me, and Pvt Ledbetter are just a few of the stand out tracks on Forever More.
4. There is no number 4 because of a tie for third.
3. The Quireboys – Homewreckers & Heartbreakers (Tie)
One of my all time favorite bands returned in ’08 with a new album their first in 4 years and all I can say is Wow! Homewreckers & Heartbreakers is the best Quireboys album since A Bit of What You Fancy. Bluesy Faces inspired rock at it very best, Spike has never sounded better than he does on this album. Mona Lisa Smiled, I Love This Dirty Town, Louder, and One For The Road are a few of the highlights on this album. In case you didn’t know Spike also released a great solo album titled So Called Friends around the same time definitely worth checking out.
3. Badmouth – S/T (Tie)
If I had a song of the year hands down it would be Rivethead by these Swedish ass kickers. Just that one song makes Badmouth’s debut worth the money but on top of Rivethead this album is filled with straight up rock n roll anthems like Pedal to the Metal, Kick It Up, and Cocaine Girl. Throw in a couple of songs like Last Train and Take Your Toothbrush With You that remind me of one of my favorite bands Backyard Babies you have a can’t miss album.
2. Backyard Babies – S/T
This album was my choice for my number 1 for the longest time but it was dethroned when the band at number 1 now released their new album. But this album from Sweden’s finest has everything a great rock record should great sing a long in your face songs, great solos, a hell of a lot of attitude. Degenerated, Come Undone, Nomadic, Abandon, and Back on the Juice are just a few of the ass kickings you have in store when listening to this album.
1. D-A-D (Disneyland After Dark) – Monster Philosophy
Is it just me or did Scandinavian bands kick a lot of rock n roll ass this year? Another of my all time favorite bands and I know there may be only one person in the states that agrees with me here but hands down Monster Philosophy is the best album of the year. 22 years and 10 studio albums and still most rock fans in America have no clue who D-A-D are. In one word LEGENDS, this album is filled not only with great songs but great vocals from Jesper Binzer and the sounds Jacob “Cobber” Binzer gets from his guitar are unbelievable. I can’t forget Stig Pedersn on bass or drums by Laust Sonne. While there are albums that may have three great songs and the rest of the album are good songs, on Monster Philosophy there are 13 great songs and each one sounds completely different from the others. Maybe some person at an American record company will pull their head out of the sand and sign D-A-D and get their albums released and re-released here in the states but if they don’t I will keep paying the import price because every one of their albums are worth the money.
I hope you enjoyed our top picks for 2008. If you would like to see what other hard rock and metal writers have picked as their top albums of 2008, check out the following links below:
Heavy Metal Addiction — http://hardrockheavymetal.wordpress.com/
Heavy Metal Time Machine — http://metalmark.blogspot.com/
Bring Back Glam — http://bringbackglam.squarespace.com/
Rock And Roll and Meandering Nonsense — http://rnrnonsense.toomanyvoices.com/
All Metal Resource — http://allmetalresource.com/
Imagine Echoes — http://www.imagineechoes.com/
Metal Excess — http://metalexcess.wordpress.com/
The Ripple Effect — http://www.ripplemusic.blogspot.com/
Rock Of Ages — http://rockofages.wordpress.com/
Layla’s Classic Rock — http://laylasclassicrock.blogspot.com/
Hair Metal Mansion — http://hairbangersradio.ning.com/
The Metal Minute — http://rayvanhornjr.blogspot.com/