It seems like every year I put together a top list at Hard Rock Hideout, it becomes a harder task. In 2009, there was a crazy amount of excellent releases, and choosing the best ten was a daunting task to say the least. It was too hard to pick ten, so of course, I had to add some additional releases to my top list. The following releases are my top of 2009. All of these are worth picking up, and I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase any of these a second time. Check them out and see what you think!
#13 Shake City – S/T
Eonian Records has released quite a few undiscovered gems in 2009. Their best release of 2009 is easily Shake City. Shake City features the original singer of Warrant, Adam Shore. I don’t know why Adam left Warrant, but the fates should have been kinder to his band Shake City. If this CD would have been released twenty years ago, this disc could have easily gone platinum. It is better than many of the hair metal releases of the late 80’s. It is a crime that this band didn’t get the mainstream success of their peers. If you are a hair metal fan, you need to find this CD now. You wont be disappointed.
#12 Papa Roach – Metamorphosis
Papa Roach started introducing songs from Metamorphosis into their live sets in 2008, and as a result, I was familiar with several of the tunes by the time this CD was released. In my opinion, this is the strongest Papa Roach CD to date, with several hit worthy tunes. A worthy pick up for the modern rock fans out there.
#11 Cheap Trick – The Latest
I must admit that I have never been the biggest Cheap Trick fan over the years, but I can not deny how good their latest CD, The Latest is. While this may not be the most rocking CD of 2009, it does have some fun rockers, and is quality music all the way through. Robin Zander still sounds great after all of these years. This is a must own CD for Cheap Trick fans, all others ought to give it a shot.
#10 Chickenfoot – S/T
This is another CD that I didn’t really know what to expect. Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony have been playing together in Van Halen for years, but how would this new band work out with Joe Satriani and Chad Smith? Satriani’s playing on this CD is great, and when he does cut loose, he doesn’t over shadow the rest of the band. Overall, Chickenfoot is a supergroup that could have some legs. I hope these guys stick around for a few more releases. Van Halen’s other half still delivers.
#9 The Answer – Everyday Demons
The Answer’s debut CD Rise was one of my favorites of 2007. I had high expectations for their U.S. Debut, Everyday Demons. Luckily, it did not disappoint me in the least. Everyday Demons is powered by Zeppelin influenced rockers “Demon Eyes”, “On and On” “Walkin’ Mat”. The band couldn’t have asked for a bigger tour to be on in 2009. Opening up for AC/DC has gained them a ton of new fans. I can’t wait to see what the band has in store for us next. The only thing I didn’t like about Everyday Demons was cover art.
#8 Steel Panther – Feel the Steel
Steel Panther could be the greatest hair metal parody band of all time. Feel the Steel is packed full of tongue in cheek lyrics that many folks may find offensive. You can’t deny the stellar musicianship of these California rockers. I had the opportunity to see the band play at M3 earlier this year, and they did not disappoint. When is the U.S. Club tour guys?
#7 Charm City Devils – Let’s Rock N’ Roll
Who would have thought that drummer John Allen would front a new kick ass rock and roll band in 2009? I didn’t at all. I have been rockin’ with CCD’s debut CD since its release. This is quality hard rock all the way through. In case you missed it, Charm City Devils had a pretty big year with their opening slot on the 2009 Cruefest. I am still hopeful that they will do a club tour, (and break out some Child Play tunes in their set).
#6 KISS – Sonic Boom
Sonic Boom is the first KISS CD in a long time that I have been able to listen to, all the way through without skipping a song. While I don’t consider this CD their best, it is definitely in their top ten, if not top five CD’s of all time. I didn’t expect this CD to be much. Sonic Boom was one of 2009’s biggest surprises.
#5 Coldspell – Infinite Stargaze
When I first heard the demo tracks from Coldspell in 2008, I about crapped myself. I couldn’t wait to hear Coldspell’s debut CD. I have played this CD over and over again in 2009, and will continue to do so for years to come. This is melodic rock at its finest.
#4 Winger – Karma
Holy Crap?! I get the feeling that Kip Winger and Reb Beach were pissed off when they wrote this record. This is easily the heaviest Winger album to date. Reb Beach unleashes his fury on his six strings, and Karma shines as a result. The songs aren’t all heavy, but they are all top quality. I am hopeful that Kip and company will tour for this album in 2010. Great Stuff, and worthy to be in anyone’s collection.
#3 Black Robot – S/T
Black Robot – I had no expectations when I first heard Black Robot’s self titled effort. I figured any band with former Buckcherry members would probably rock, but I had no idea that I would enjoy this CD as much as I have. “Cocaine” is easily the best cover song I have heard in 2009. Black Robot
gets the nod for best new band of 2009. If you missed this CD when it was released earlier this year, you will have to wait to grab this in 2010. The original pressing is out of print, but Black Robot will be re-releasing this CD next year with bonus tracks !!
#2 Paul Gilbert & Freddie Nelson – United States
United States has been my feelgood CD of 2009. Paul Gilbert’s guitar work is quite impressive, and Freddie Nelson’s mimicry of Freddie Mercury is pretty incredible. Once I started playing this, I couldn’t stop. Absolutely fantastic music!
#1 The Last Vegas – Whatever Gets You Off
The Last Vegas has been rocking hard since 2003, but their 2009 CD, Whatever Gets You Off is easily their breakthrough release. It didn’t hurt that they had a little help from Nikki Sixx, and DJ Ashba who produced this disc. I still don’t understand why this band didn’t get the nod for Cruefest last summer. They seemed tailor made for that festival but the promoters didn’t ask for my advice. Whatever Gets You Off is crazy good. Apologize might be the biggest power ballad of this decade (no I am not kidding). This is another great party CD, and easily my favorite of 2009.
For more great top lists for 2009, please check out the following websites:
All Metal Resource — http://allmetalresource.com/
Bring Back Glam — http://bringbackglam.squarespace.com/
Hair Metal Mansion — http://hairbangersradio.ning.com/
Heavy Metal Addiction — http://heavymetaladdiction.com/
Heavy Metal Time Machine — http://metalmark.blogspot.com/
Imagine Echoes — http://www.imagineechoes.com/
Layla’s Classic Rock — http://laylasclassicrock.blogspot.com/
Metal Excess — http://metalexcess.com/
The Metal Minute — http://rayvanhornjr.blogspot.com/ (Ray posted his list on 12/4)
Metal Odyssey — http://metalodyssey.wordpress.com/
Rock Of Ages — http://rockofages.wordpress.com/
The Ripple Effect — http://www.ripplemusic.blogspot.com/
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:
Check out KISS new video, Modern Day Delilah below. You can pick up their new CD, Sonic Boom here.
KISS Shirts, Makeup, Wigs, KISS Spuds and Other Kollectibles Coming to Entertainment and Halloween Aisles
KISS fans ready for the new SONIC BOOM CD/DVD release Oct. 6 can own a piece of KISStory when Walmart stores unveil “KISS Korners” in Electronics departments and Halloween aisles in October. Stores will offer in special areas KISS T-shirts, wigs, makeup, limited edition KISS M&M candies, and even KISS Mr. Potato Head spuds of all four band members through Halloween.
For Detroit City Rockers and beyond, the exclusive KISS CD/DVD package, SONIC BOOM, and KISS kollectibles will be available in all Walmart stores nationwide. Select items, including the MP3 digital album, will be available at Walmart.com. CLICK HERE TO PRE-ORDER KISS’ SONIC BOOM for $12.
“To complement this highly-anticipated music release, we are excited to bring a unique store experience with KISS merchandise at an unbeatable value for fans of all ages,” said Greg Hall, vice president of Media Services, Walmart U.S. “It has been both fun and an honor to work with the band and celebrate with fans the new music release and album tour.”
Items will arrive upon the Oct. 6 release and include:
— KISS SONIC BOOM CD/DVD package
— KISS T-shirts– Four select KISS Mr. Potato Head kollectibles (The Demon, The Spaceman, The Catman and The Starchild)
— KISS fleece blanket
— KISS M&M candies (7 oz. bags – Limited Edition) — KISS catalog CDs such as Dress to Kill, Destroyer, Love Gun and Very Best of KISS
— KISS makeup kits, masks and wigs (2200 select Walmart stores)
“The Hottest Band In The Land” Kiss is back with their first new studio album in 11 years. After two very disappointing albums in the late nineties, “Carnival of Souls” and “Psycho Circus”, a lot of fans were left thinking the band was through; with studio albums anyways. But seriously folks, did you really think Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley would let Kiss go out with a huge stinking thud?? I think not! “Sonic Boom” is everything the Kiss Army has been clamoring for years to hear, which is a step back to the sound of such Kiss classics “Destroyer” and “Rock and Roll Over” and the guys do not disappoint in the lest bit.
Admittedly I was not crazy about the album’s lead off “Modern Day Delilah” at first listen or even the second go around, but after a few listens it has started growing on me, which in my opinion is the best way to go. Paul Stanley sounds great, he can still seduce your mom out of her panties and she wouldn’t have a clue it was happening until it was too late. One thing I had forgotten over the years is that Gene Simmons can actually play bass and play it pretty damn good; here he lays down some nice thumping bass lines. After years on the sidelines Tommy Thayer finally gets a little of the spot light to shine on him and he makes the most of it showing the world he is a disciple of Ace Frehley, without stepping all over Ace’s legacy. On “Russian Roulette” Gene takes over the vocals and as usual it is a slow dirty innuendo laden song that Gene sings to perfection, while also laying down more heavy thumping bass lines, classic sing a long chorus, one of the early surprises on the album. “Never Enough” screams single and rightly so as it is one of the best songs Kiss has recorded in years. They could throw this song into the live show and it would fit right in without missing a beat, definitely a new Kiss classic. “Yes I Know (Nobody’s Perfect)” sounds like it could’ve been taken from the “Destroyer” or “Love Gun” recording sessions, great 70’s feel to it, this may actually be the best Gene Simmons song I’ve heard. “Stand” is yet another anthem with a late 80’s/early 90’s feel to it. Not the best song on the album but still better than 90% of the songs bands are releasing today. All I really need to say about “Hot & Cold” is COW-BELL COW-BELL COW-BELL!!! Honestly Gene has really surprised me with how good his vocals sound on this album.
Of Course, I couldn’t get through this review without mentioning Eric Singer and while his drumming is phenomenal throughout the album it is when he steps up to the mike on “All For The Glory” that he really shines, the sound reminds me of “Creatures of the Night” or maybe “Lick It Up”. “Danger Us” and “I’m An Animal” borrow some influence from Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin respectively, but Paul and Gene borrow with style. “When Lightning Strikes” marks the return of the COW-BELL and if you hear a little Black N’ Blue in the song then it should not surprise you that Tommy Thayer has stepped up to the mike and absolutely knocks this song out of the park!! “When Lightning Strikes” goes with “Never Enough” as my two favorite songs off “Sonic Boom”. The album wraps up with “Say Yeah” and with that I can say yeah to quite a few things about “Sonic Boom”. Yeah “Sonic Boom” is a kick ass ride from beginning to end. Yeah Tommy Thayer finally gets some of the attention he has earned and deserved over the years. Yeah “Sonic Boom” is the best Kiss album in years. Yeah it is possible “Sonic Boom” is Kiss’s best album since the mid 70’s. Yeah it definitely deserves a spot alongside “Destroyer”, “Rock and Roll Over”, and “Love Gun” as a Kiss classic, because that is simply what it is.
Rating: Out of 10
- Modern Day Delilah
- Russian Roulette
- Never Enough
- Yes I Know (Nobody’s Perfect)
- Hot And Cold
- All For The Glory
- Danger Us
- I’m An Animal
- When Lightning Strikes
- Say Yeah!
Paul Stanley – Vocals, Rhythm guitar
Gene Simmons – Vocals, Bass guitar
Eric Singer – Vocals, Drums
Tommy Thayer – Vocals, Lead Guitar
KISS and Walmart announced today that SONIC BOOM—the bands highly anticipated CD, and its first new material in 11 years—will be sold in the U.S. and Canada exclusively at Walmart and Sams Club retail locations beginning October 6. SONIC BOOM, produced by the bands Paul Stanley in Los Angeles, is the centerpiece of a three-disc set that also features a completely re-recorded greatest hits CD as well as a live DVD shot in Argentina during the bands recent, record-breaking KISS ALIVE 35 South American tour. The CD set will retail for $12, with pre-orders starting in September on Walmart.com.
KISS’ Gene Simmons says, “SONIC BOOM” may be the best new record we’ve done since Destroyer! It is Rock And Roll Over meets Love Gun. The worlds biggest retailer had better get ready for the hottest band in the world and hire more cashiers before October 6th!
Stanley continues, “Through all of the albums that are considered our classics, we tried to always find ways to give our fans extras that went beyond just the music. Besides our making the best KISS album in decades, Walmart has made it possible for us to include a bonus CD with 15 of our most famous songs and an additional live DVD, shot during our recent concert in Buenos Aires. So in every sense, SONIC BOOM is the ultimate return to classic KISS form. You wanted the best, you got the best!”
In celebration of the albums release, KISS announced today a special KISS ALIVE 35 show at Detroit Rock City’s legendary concert venue, Cobo Arena, on September 25. This historic structure, which is slated for closure, has hosted KISS concerts on numerous occasions, not the least of which was the series of shows that were recorded to become the KISS ALIVE! album. Tracks made famous on KISS ALIVE!—including “Rock and Roll All Nite”, “Deuce”, “Black Diamond”, and “Hotter Than Hell”—are well represented on the greatest hits disc included with SONIC BOOM. The Detroit show, which will live another 35 years in KISStory, features opening act Buckcherry and goes on sale to the public at 5 pm EDT on August 21 at Ticketmaster.com.
Walmart, one of Americas largest music retailers, is finalizing its exciting plans now for its in-store and online destinations for KISS fans surrounding the launch of the new album and tour, and will host various KISS products in addition to their music in its stores this fall. More details on Walmart KISS activity, announcements regarding album pre-sales, sweepstakes and KISS appearances will be shared shortly.