It’s that time of the year again. It is time to determine the cream of the crop, the best of the best. It’s time to figure out what were the best hard rock albums for 2010. This year brought some amazing albums to the rock fan. From Buckcherry to Ozzy to the latest from Hinder, it was quite a year. Several exceptional albums were released that will not be mentioned on this list. Alas, it’s a top 10, so only 10 can make the cut. And now without any further blathering, let’s get to the top 10 hard rock albums of 2010.
Sneaking in at number 10 is the latest release from one of the greatest rock bands ever. Iron Maiden put out another solid record this past summer in the form of The Final Frontier. Powerful, progressive, and deep, The Final Frontier shows Maiden evolving even after all this time. Dickinson still has a great voice and the triple guitar attack sounds better than ever. Iron Maiden is still a meaningful band in rock and The Final Frontier shows that this band still has a lot to say.
The sophomore jinx certainly didn’t hit this band. Back with foot stomping, hand clapping, bar room rock, Airbourne released another fantastic CD. With fast rhythm, heavy beats, and a rock and roll attitude, No Guts, No Glory is one of the best in show for 2010. Airbourne delivered more music that is bound to be enjoyed by many a metal head. If you’ve been seeking that hard and heavy AC/DC sound that has your foot stomping the gas, look no further. Airbourne’s No Guts No Glory is where it’s at.
Brand new to the scene, Black Sunshine released their self titled debut in 2010. They are a band that should go far in the industry if they continue making music like this. A modern rock marvel,Black Sunshine is a fantastic debut album that any hard rock fan should own. With themes of rebellion, the desire to rise above, and not wanting to be a wage salve, Black Sunshine sends a message that rock fans can relate to.
The Scorpions released their final studio record this past summer and it’s quite the swan song. Packed with riffs that rock fans have loved over the years, Sting In The Tail is another amazing record from this storied band. Hard rock anthems, meaningful ballads, and guitar driven classics are performed with grace and style. The Scorpions are leaving us with one of the best records they’ve ever recorded. Sting In The Tail has the band going out on top
Formed from the remains of Buckcherry, Black Robot released their eponymous debut with much anticipation. Leaning on blues over metal, Black Robot is a hard rock record that shows the other bands how to make great music. With amazing songs like “Badass”, a magnificent cover of “Cocaine”, and the Black Sabbath-esque “25 Days Of Night”, Black Robot proved their worth. Seeped in a wall of sound that penetrates the eardrums with musical pleasure, this is a record worth adding to your collection. and leaves the fans wanting more.
Another self-titled debut enters the top 10. American Bang’s debut record is another blues filled fun fest. Drawing on their inner Black Crowes, American Bang stunned listeners this year with a quality record. A southern rock sound mixed with a modern flair is what makes American Bang such a memorable disc. If the band continues to churn out strong songs like those on their debut record, they are going to have a long career in rock and roll.
One of the most well known legends of rock released a record this past summer that was so powerful it renewed my faith in both him and heavy metal. Scream is a magnificent album that blends the perfect balance of heavy rock songs, slow ballads, and mid-tempo hits. Scream is shrouded in darkness and power. This is an album where metal fans can feel the power and sing along with their fists in the air. Ozzy released such a strong record that there was no question of should it end up on the best of list, the only question was where. Packed with monster rock songs and outstanding ballads, Scream is a fantastic record from start to finish.
On his first solo album, Slash brought in a plethora of singers to help him craft a record worthy of bearing the guitar god’s name. The right selection was certainly made because Slash is a record that is so grand it’s hard to believe that it took him this long to release a solo album. Spanning all sorts of styles and influences, Slash has something for everybody. It doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of scream along songs, soulful ballads, blues, heavy metal, or modern rock – they’re all on Slash. With great singers such as Ozzy Osbourne, Fergie, Iggy Pop, and Chris Cornell,Slash is one of those rare, must-own albums.
Coming out late in the year and almost missing the party, Hinder had to release a monster record to be considered one of the best for 2010. Well, the band accomplished just that, and challenged strong for the best record of 2010. Alas, they fell just short. All American Nightmare is rock and roll done right. From heavy, foot stomping metal to sweet ballads, Hinder covers it all on All American Nightmare. This is the album that will push this band into the next stratosphere. I expect to hear a lot of Hinder on the radio in 2011 as All American Nightmare gets the attention it deserves.
Hitting me over the head like a baseball bat swung by Albert Pujols, Rock N Roll by Social Code is not only the best hard rock record I heard in 2010, it’s one of the best rock albums I’ve ever listened to. Packed with power, Rock N Roll is an album done right. This is what rock music should sound like. It’s also the way all albums should be crafted – no filler, just great music. Social Code has created a record that is destined for greatness and it’s an album that all hard rock fans should own. Rock N Roll is an absolute masterpiece and the best rock album for 2010.
And there you have it. Ryo Vie’s picks for the greatest hard rock albums released in 2010. I can’t wait to see what 2011 brings.
Have you been seeking out some new rock and roll that kicks you in the gut and makes you stand up and scream, “Hell Yeah!” Well, look no further than California’s Black Sunshine. Their self titled debut album was unleashed back in May, and my only regret is that I didn’t get my hands on this disc sooner. Wrapped in heavy riffs, dark tones, and blasting with rock and roll, Black Sunshine is a fun album to enjoy this summer.
Black Sunshine is fronted by the gritty vocals of lead singer Matt Reardon. His dirty voice (reminiscent of Josey Scott from Saliva) is a perfect match for the music that the rest of the band performs. Having been an extreme skier in a previous life, Reardon knows how to come at his audience hard, fast, and with astonishing results.
The lead single “Once In My Life” is a fantastic track. Opening with a slow, folksy build, the song bursts into hard and heavy about 40 seconds in. “Once In My Life” is a great overview of the “Black Sunshine” sound. Heavy on vocals and guitars, but rooted with a rhythm section that keeps perfect time, “Once In My Life” should be a modern rock radio hit in no time.
Guitarist Charles Lee showcases some of his hard chops throughout the record, most notably on the album’s best song, “Slave.” “Slave” is a masterpiece of music, brilliant in vocals, guitars, bass, and drums. The lyrics hit home hard, as Reardon sings about not wanting to be a slave to the 9 to 5 grind. We need to untie the noose and be set free. Go after what you want in life and don’t conform to what society tells you that you have to be. Nothing is more rock and roll than that. And coming from a guy who had to reinvent himself after a severe skiing accident nearly cost him his life, the message in “Slave” is that much more meaningful.
Want mellow tunes to compliment the heavy rockers? “Black Sunshine” has those too. “Cannonball” slows things down a bit, blending acoustic and electric guitars with soft drums and Reardon’s higher octave vocals. “Cannonball” is the classic, gritty, modern rock ballad done in the style of Hinder or Saliva. The music is slowed down, but still powerful, and the arrangement on this song is high quality. A powerful ballad, it’s almost certain that “Cannonball” will be released as a single sometime in the near future.
“Hell Yeah” is the only song on the album that was somewhat of a disappointment. A solid track overall, Black Sunshine followed the theme of Nickelback’s “Animal” but left the heaviest punches off of this track. The song tells the tale of the narrator having some fun with a girl that “grinds his gears” and telling her father not to wait up for them. Too familiar to Nickelback’s lines of “that’s her Dad outside the car” and “I got both hands on the wheel while she’s got both hands on my gear” but without the wit, “Hell Yeah,” was a bit of a letdown.
Filled with heavy guitars, an outstanding rhythm section, and a lead vocalist that has range and power, Black Sunshine is a fun band to listen to. Their eponymous debut album is loaded with riffs and beats that every hard rocker loves to hear. Bound to be a summer sensation, “Black Sunshine” is an album that should be added to every rock and roll collection. Without question, Black Sunshine is an exceptional group worth your attention. They certainly have my vote for best new band of 2010. Do yourself a favor and check out their hard rocking debut album, available in stores now.
Rating: Out of 10
- Holy Gasoline
- Burn To Shine
- Once In My Life
- Hell Yeah
- Flying Sideways
- Psycho Babble