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:
In conjunction with the release of the highly anticipated new album “Cartesian Dreams” in Europe on September 18th, HOUSE OF LORDS announced the following tour dates:
31.10.2009 – FRA, Rockalies Festival – Saint Martin de Fontenay (Caen)
01.11.2009 – GBR, The Cavern – Liverpool
04.11.2009 – GBR, JB’s – Dudley
05.11.2009 – GBR, Yardbirds, Grimsby
06.11.2009 – GBR, The Corporation – Sheffield
07.11.2009 – GER, Obermarchtal – Kreuz
08.11.2009 – GER, Munich – Garage
11.11.2009 – GER, Hamburg – Ballroom
12.11.2009 – ITA, Trofarello – Il Peocio
13.11.2009 – ITA, Ronchi Dei Legionari – Rock Club
14.11.2009 – ITA, Mozzate, Motorockas
15.11.2009 – ITA, Festival – Soundtrack Arcene Bergamo
18.11.2009 – GER, Frankfurt, Sinkasten
20.11.2009 – NED, Weert, De Bosuil
21.11.2009 – UK. Ossett, Wrestling
22.11.2009 – UK, Rock Of Ages, Swansea
24.11.2009 – UK, Barnstaple, The Underground
25. 11.2009 – BEL, Antwerp, Derots
26. 11.2009 – GER, Lubeck, Riders Cafe
27. 11.2009 – GER, Live Club Wendlingen (Stuttgart)
28.11.2009 – CZ – Zlin, Masters of Rock
29.11.2009 – SWI – Pratteln, Z7
02.12.2009 – SWE, Stockholm, Harry B. James
04.12.2009 – SWE, Sala, Rockland
05.12.2009 – SWE, Trollhättan, Backstage
07.12.2009 – USA, Uncasville, CT, Mohegan Sun Casino
Is the sequel ever as good as the original? For House of Lords the answer is a resounding YES! After a “What the Hell Were They Thinking” moment that was the release of 2000’s “the Power & the Myth” James Christian said enough is enough, and with the blessing of founder Gregg Giuffria, put together a new lineup consisting of Jimi Bell (Guitars), BJ Zampa (Drums), and Chris McCarvill (Bass) and a return to the melodic sound House of Lords were known for. With the release of two very solid albums “World Upside Down” and “Come To My Kingdom” House of Lords were back at the forefront of the Melodic Rock world, but the release of the lineup’s third album “Cartesian Dreams” puts the band way ahead of the competition. If I could only use one word to describe the sound of “Cartesian Dreams” it would be heavy, by far the heaviest HoL album to date but still retaining HoL’s trademark melody and sound. James Christian’s voice still sounds fantastic and the band as a whole are tight and in sync with one another.
“Cartesian Dreams” starts out with a bang with the title track, and immediately gives us a taste of what we are in for with this release. Heavy, thumping, with nice keyboard fills and some outstanding background vocals Bell has an excellent solo but it is BJ Zampa that outshines everyone on this track with his drumming. “Born To Be Your Baby” follows up with a great sing a long chorus that will get stuck in your head and not let go. One of the catchiest tracks on the album that has single written all over it. “Desert Rain” is next in line and much like “Cartesian Dreams” is a heavy thumping song about the Iraq War, with the whole band sounding fantastic. On the American version “Sweet September” is the closest song you could call a ballad on this album and it is a great one with some nice background vocals and James Christian sounds amazing on this song. “Bangin'” is a great dirty rocker, which would make a great lead off single, a classic HoL song. At first listen you think “A Simple Plan” is a slow mid tempo number, but once Bell’s guitar kicks in, that changes your thinking completely, while it does stay in the mid tempo range it is anything but slow. Once again the band sounds outstanding on this song especially Bell and McCarvill.
The rest of “Cartesian Dreams” is filled with more heavy melodic rockers like “Saved By Rock”, “Repo Man” and the outstanding “Joanna” another song with single written all over it. If you get the European version look out for the song “the Train” a slow mid tempo song with some great lyrics and background vocals. Fans of HoL and Melodic Rock in general are going to find “Cartesian Dreams” to not only be the best release of HoL’s new Lineup but one of the best of the band’s entire career. Definitely a must have album.
Rating: Out of 10
01. Cartesian Dreams
02. Born To Be Your Baby
03. Desert Rain
04. Sweet September
06. A Simple Plan
07. Never Look Back
08. The Bigger They Come
09. Repo Man
10. Saved By Rock
12. The Train (Bonus Track)
House of Lords are:
James Christian – vocals
Jimi Bell – guitars
BJ Zampa – drums
Chris McCarvill – bass
Frontiers Records proudly announces the release of the brand new HOUSE OF LORDS album entitled “Cartesian Dreams” on September 18th in Europe and October 13th in the USA.
Following the 2008’s release of “Come to My Kingdom”, a record equally hailed by critics and fans as one of the highlights of the season, HOUSE OF LORDS carved another masterpiece that sets in stone the legacy of one of the most productive and impressive bands of the scene. “This new CD was truly a labour of love” says singer James Christian. “I was so fortunate to be able to work once again with my writing partner and friend Mark Baker. The last time Mark and I worked together was to write and record “Demons Down”. We have a great chemistry when it comes to writing songs. Jimi Bell once again gave us smoking tracks and Tommy Denander also put his contribution on a few great tracks”.
The songs written for the new cd offer many different flavours. “The band as usual always strives to stay true to its sound but this time around we expanded our horizons a bit without compromising the trademark sound that so many people expect from us”, continues James “ We don’t want to keep making the same record over and over, so this time around you will hear a few things you did not hear on the previous CD’s”.
House of Lords debuted in 1989 with the release of the self-titled album, a record which is still regarded as one of the best Arena Rock releases of the 80’s. The colossal sound, the soaring vocals of James Christian and instrumental capabilities of the band (which featured ex Angel and Giuffria Gregg Giuffria, along with such luminaries as Lanny Cordola, Chuck Wright and Ken Mary), reminiscent of such frontrunners as Whitesnake, Deep Purple and Van Halen, immediately brought the band to the attention of the media and fans.
With their sophomore release entitled “Sahara”, House of Lords gained considerable chart success with their cover version of Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home”. After a tour with Nelson in 1991, the group disbanded, eventually coming back with a new lineup (only featuring original members Giuffria and Christian) in 1992 with “Demon’s Down“. With the change of the musical climate, House of Lords went into hibernation, until the original lineup came back together in 2000, releasing of the controversial “Power and the Myth” an album which featured a sound leaning more towards Progressive Hard Rock with 70’s rock influences.
After a short European tour, singer James Christian decided to go back to the trademark Arena Rock sound of House Of Lords, putting together a new line-up with the blessing of founding member Gregg Giuffria, who opted out right before the release of “Power and the Myth”. New members Jimi Bell on guitars, B.J. Zampa on drums and Chris McCarvill on bass supplied a true powerhouse sound to the fifth studio album “World Upside Down”, a record which caused a real stir in the Hard Rock and Melodic Rock scene and was followed up by the equally impressive “Come to My Kingdom”.
The new album “Cartesian Dreams” includes the following songs:
“Cartesian Dreams” is a natural progression for a band that has such a long history and is just what you would expect and even more: superb hooks, majestic atmospheres that bring back the memories of the debut album, monumental guitar riffs and a production to die for. “The one common thread with the band is that we are always on the same page in terms of what want our records to sound like” concludes James. House Of Lords continues to grow with every record and everything in “Cartesian Dreams” shines from the first second to the last!
House of Lords will appear live in Europe with the following dates already finalized and many more in the works.
September 24, Hamburg (GER), Headbanger’s Ballroom
September 25, Obermarchtal (GER), GemeindeHalle
September 30, Verviers (BEL), Spirit of ’66
October 3, Pratteln (CH), Z7
October 5, Vienna (AUT), Gasometer
October 8, Munich (GER), Garage Deluxe
October 16, Bologna (ITA), Estragon
October 17, Cermenate (ITA), Motorockas
October 31, Rockalies (FRA), Normandy