This week at Hard Rock Hideout we give you not one, but three Top 10 lists for 2009. We will post one each day this week, as well as our top 10 of the decade later this week. Ryo Vie joined HRH’s merry team of rockers this year, and has reviewed some fantastic music for us. Today I give you Ryo’s Top 10 of 2009.
So here we are – at the close of another year. Rob has graciously asked me to put together my top 10 releases for 2009 and I was more than happy to comply. The rock and roll fan got a TON of great music released this year, from Bon Jovi to Winger to Lynch Mob, it was a great year to be into hard rock. However, not everything can make the list (that’s why it’s a top 10) and since this is HARD ROCK HIDEOUT, I kept this list to my ten favorite hard rock records of 2009. If you’d like to see my list of general favorites for 2009, feel free to visit my blog at http://rockandrollguru.blogspot.com
Now without further adieu, here are Ryo Vie’s Top 10 hard rock albums for 2009 !
#10: House of Lords – Cartesian Dreams
Considering that I left this band for dead years ago, I had no expectations whatsoever when House of Lords released Cartesian Dreams. Perhaps that’s why I had an unbiased mind when I first spun this disc. After one play, I was hooked. Holy hell what an exceptional offering this band turned out. Slick with their euro-metal sound, House of Lords came back in a big way this year. I’m hoping that they team up with other hair metal acts to tour, or at least show up at the major festivals. To hear songs like Bangin’ live would be excellent!
#9: Flyleaf – Memento Mori
A sophomore effort that was worth the wait is the best way to describe Flyleaf’s Memento Mori. They were able to overcome the dreaded sophomore jinx by releasing an incredible record that showcases the talent of lead vocalist Lacey Mosley. As I mentioned in my recent review, she sings with emotion that sweeps through the listener, pulls them in, and doesn’t let go. It is her pure energy that makes Memento Mori such an excellent record. Combined with the talents of her other band members, 2010 should be a huge year for this band. As it is, 2009 landed them at number 9 on my list of best rock albums of the year.
#8: Winger – Karma
Winger surprised everyone this year, including their most die-hard fans, by releasing an incredible rock and roll record. Although Kip Winger sounds like David Coverdale on some songs, Karma is a beautiful disc immersed in a thick grunge sound that gives the record power. The ballads are incredible, and the heavier tracks are quality rock songs that will have you shaking your ass (if you’re into that sort of thing). Karma is an absolutely incredible record that any rock and roll fan should own.
#7: U2 – No Line On The Horizon
Shocked. That’s how I was when I listened to No Line On The Horizon. I was skeptical of the new U2 disc. How could they possibly release another great disc after All That You Can’t Leave Behind and How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb? Well, somehow, they made it happen again. Another near perfect album came out this year from the Irish rockers beloved the world over. With incredible songs like the title track, Breathe, and Moment Of Surrender U2 continues to dazzle and show us just why they are one of the greatest rock bands in existence.
#6: Chickenfoot – Chickenfoot
Rock supergroups can be hit or miss especially when there are high expectations. (Case in point: Them Crooked Vultures – awful miss). Fortunately for rock fans (and Van Halen fans) Chickenfoot was a huge hit. Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony have been working together for years, so there was no doubting their chemistry, but when you add in two other super players (guitarist Joe Satriani and drummer Chad Smith) it’s a wild card. These four pulled it off. Satriani showcases some of his best guitar work ever, and Sammy sounds as happy as when he first joined Van Halen. Chickenfoot wins the award for feel good record of the year, and they land in my top 10 for 2009.
#5: Bon Jovi – The Circle
The bad boys from Jersey have grown into the gentle men from New Jersey, but even after all these years they still know how to rock! The Circle delivers the goods in every way imaginable and is more than you’d expect from a Bon Jovi album. Straying away from the country tinged themes of their previous album (Lost Highway), Bon Jovi returns to the rock and roll with this year’s release. Gearing up for a 2010 tour, I can’t wait to hear The Circle live. In the meantime, I’ll be playing this record on a constant loop.
#4: HURT – Goodbye to the Machine
Stunned. That’s a good word to use that describes how I felt after the first few times I listened to this record. I had no expectations going into my review, and after a few listens to Goodbye To The Machine, I was smitten. This record is simply amazing! A heavy, grunge type rock, Hurt delivers exceptional songs backed by intense rhythm, strong lyrics, and a highly talented lead singer. Goodbye To The Machine was probably the best surprise I heard all year, and I’m proud to add it to my top 10.
#3: Pearl Jam – Backspacer
In September, Pearl Jam released their long awaited album Backspacer to the delight of many fans (cousin Ryo included). It had been a long time since their last record (2006’s Pearl Jam) and the new songs were something that fans were crying to get their ears on. Well, the wait was worth it and the time between records paid off. Pearl Jam delivered another fantastic record, and while not quite as good as their self titled previous effort, Backspacer is certainly a worthy disc. A well crafted, well thought, beautifully arranged work of art.
#2: Lynch Mob – Smoke And Mirrors
I’ll be honest, when I heard that this album was coming out featuring original vocalist Oni Logan, I didn’t have much hope for greatness. Don’t get me wrong, I was excited and I wanted the album to do well and sound incredible. However, I’m a realist, and with Logan being MIA for so long, and George being out of the spotlight, I wasn’t sure if they still had that magical chemistry. Am I ever so glad that they erased any doubt that I had. Smoke And Mirrors is a metal classic!
#1: KISS – Sonic Boom
Those who know me will scream bias for picking KISS as my number 1 hard rock record of 2009, but that is not why they are being chosen. Yes, Kiss is my favorite band, but Sonic Boom is a worthy contender for record of the year. Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley went into the studio with Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer and put together one incredible album. Sonic Boom is so much more than a great Kiss record – it’s a great record. If you played it and had no idea what band it was, you’d still like it. It’s their best work in decades, it’s a strong rock record, and it is the best release of 2009.
For more great top lists for 2009, please check out the following websites:
After a long layoff following their debut album in 2005, Flyleaf is back with 14 rocking tunes in the form of their latest disc, Memento Mori. The power and energy with which lead vocalist Lacey Mosley sings is what makes this album so attractive. As she sings, we feel her pain, victory, and anguish, listening to her spill out all of her pent up emotion into the microphone. Mosley has a rare talent not seen in many vocalists; it’s the talent to capture your imagination with her power.
While the music from the rest of the band can sometimes be dismissed as cookie cutter that we’ve heard before, if you take a second listen, the depth of the music is obvious. The guitars, drums, and bass are all in sync with Mosley’s vocals, feeding off the emotion she provides. On notable tracks like Missing and This Close, we can not only hear the message in the music, we can feel it.
Memento Mori opens with the powerful “Beautiful Bride”. While it is a strong opener, it is far from the best music being offered on this disc. “Beautiful Bride” kicks in with the sound of drums knocking down your speakers and the grunge guitar riff filling your ears. This is a grand entrance for Flyleaf that makes the listener pay attention and prepare for what’s to come.
“Missing”, one of the best songs on Memento Mori, is a beautiful masterpiece that showcases Mosley’s vocal ability. Her voice is sweet and stylistic as the guitars surround her in a cocoon of blissful music. A sing along song that’s meant to be played at high volume during the summer while cruising the highway, “Missing’ shows what Flyleaf can be…an amazing band that could rule the airwaves.
“This Close” continues the standard of excellence set by its predecessor. This is another song that captures all of the raw power of an artful performer. With lyrics about not feeling alive, but being closer than ever before, “This Close” is a song about becoming who you were meant to be. It’s a triumphant anthem of blossoming into all you were meant to be, pushing yourself to the limits and overcoming all challenges laid out before you.
“Set Apart This Dream” is another incredible track that sets Flyleaf apart from the competition. A semi power ballad, Set Apart This Dream is a memorable tune that gets stuck in your head and doesn’t leave. You’ll be hitting the repeat button a couple of times when this song is through, because it’s meant to be played over and over again. With simple guitar riffs filling the background, the song builds during the verse before exploding into an excellent chanting chorus delivered with strength.
With solid music, poetic lyrics, and a powerful singer, Memento Mori is a worthy addition to your music collection. It was a long time coming, but Flyleaf’s sophomore effort will not be suffering from the dreaded jinx that has tortured many a band. Memento Mori is a solid record that pushes the limits of what a band can do when put up against the challenge of delivering a hit record.
Rating: Out of 10
- Beautiful Bride
- This Close
- The Kind
- In The Dark
- Set Apart This Dream
- Swept Away
- Tiny Heart
- Melting (Interlude)
Lacey Mosley – Lead Vocals
Sameer Bhattacharya – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Jared Hartmann – Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
Pat Seals – Bass
James Culpepper – Drums