Finally!! A fantastic week of releases. There have been some okay weeks, but this one has the most so far that I am interested in this year. So, I am not going to ramble on and on…my choices are highlighted in Blue. Let me know what you are interested in hearing or anything I might have missed. Happy Friday!!
Whitesnake – Slide It In (35th Anniversary Ultimate Special Edition) – (Rhino Records): Whitesnake has a knack for delivering fantastic box sets, if you don’t believe me just check out the Unzipped and ’87 Box Sets I have reviewed. This one seems even better. 6 Cds including the US & UK releases remastered, live shows and demos/remixes and whatever else they throw in. Oh, and you get a DVD full of videos and interviews…No Brainer!! Ordered and will be at the house when I arrive home from work
Tesla – Shock – (Universal Music): Tesla has been going strong since the 80’s and this one brings us a little twist. Producing the album is none other than Phil Collen from Def Leppard. Teslas has opened for Lep many, many times and a bond has been formed. Can’t wait to hear what Phil pulled out of the guys…I am sure it will be fantastic.
2017 has been a fabulous year in music, but mostly for all the Anniversary Editions of some of my favorite albums from Def Leppard, Whitesnake and Stone Temple Pilots. However, there were some stellar Rock albums this year as well.
This list will be my favorite “Rock” albums of the year. All other types of music will be for a later post. I am going to leave this one to my favorite genre. It is a broad genre, but these are the albums that I consider to be ROCK!!
Also note, these are MY FAVORITES!! These are not the most popular or trendy albums. These are the albums that I connected with during the year and kept coming back to again and again. And without further adieu, here are the Top Rock Albums of 2017:
My #1 Album of the Year:
Jonny Lang – ‘Signs’: This album is straight-up Blues Rock and was one of two albums I can’t stop listening to this year. With songs like “Make It Move” and “Wisdom” how could I vote for any other album as #1. If that isn’t enough, Jonny’s guitar playing is sensational and his vocals are filled with so much emotion you are attached to these songs. Here is what I said in my review…He has brought a rawness back to his music that brings a more authentic blues sound and brings a lot of emotion. There is no reason you should skip out on listening to this album. (Click at the top to see the review).
‘Heavy Fire’ is Black Star Riders third album in just 4 years and they keep getting better. For those that don’t know Black Star Riders, the band is really made up of the current members of Thin Lizzy. They wanted to release some new songs, but they didn’t want to release them as Thin Lizzy so they created Black Star Riders.
I think I understand why they did it. If you think about it, was anyone looking to hear new music from Thin Lizzy…No, probably not. This was actually a brilliant move as it caused a lot of buzz around the original release and here they are 4 years later getting better and better.
The band members are as follows:
Ricky Warwick – vocals
Scott Gorham – lead guitar
Damon Johnson – lead guitar
Robbie Crane – bass
Jimmy DeGrasso – drums
The album is a guitar heavy, hard rock release and you wouldn’t expect anything less when you have two lead guitarists. The opening track and title track, “Heavy Fire”, comes screaming in with the guitars and a nice heavy sound. Ricky sounds fantastic and they deliver a shot that resonates throughout the album.
The first single, “When the Night Comes In”, keeps up with the opening track and now you are completely invested in this album. I love guitar rock and they bring it even more on this song. “Dancing With the Wrong Girl” is a little more pop sound, but that doesn’t take away from anything, but actually adds to its charm. Jimmy’s drums on this one are perfect. They aren’t over powering and just enough that set perfectly in the song.
The heaviest and baddest song on the album is “Who Rides the Tiger”. The song is a full on attack of your senses and even the lyrics are a blast. They guitar solo was amazing and I don’t think I will ever tire of this duo of Scott & Damon. This is probably my favorite song they have ever done.
“Cold War Love” is next up, but this is one song that I could never connect with. It is a nice slow ballad, but I wasn’t feeling it. Hopefully you can connect with it and enjoy it. Luckily, the next song was their current single, “Testify or Say Goodbye”. The song picks the tempo back up and gives us more of the what you love from this album. The classic rock sound, the vocals and all around musicianship make it another standout on the album.
“Thinking About You Could Get Me Killed” gives us a little more darker sound and is a nice change of pace for the album without losing the flow of the album. “True Blue Kid” is another song that misses the mark for me. I can’t pinpoint what it is about the song, but I found myself skipping it which is never a good sign.
“Ticket to Rise” brings me back to the enjoyment with another solid guitar heavy song with a great solo. Keep it coming and I won’t tire of it. “Letting Go of Me” is the only song on the album not co-written by Damon Johnson and yet it is still a great song. This one was a fun song with a faster tempo.
The final track, “Fade”, is considered a bonus track but it is too good and fits nicely with the overall album. It doesn’t have the bonus track feel. It is a slower song and actually kept my interest. I usually like albums to end with a bang, but this worked for me nonetheless. A nice way to end the album.
“Heavy Fire” – Keeper
“When The Night Comes In” – Keeper
“Dancing With the Wrong Girl” – Keeper
“Who Rides the Tiger” – Keeper
“Cold War Love” – Delete
“Testify or Say Goodbye” – Keeper
“Thinking About You Could Get Me Killed” – Keeper
“True Blue Kid” – Delete
“Ticket to Rise” – Keeper
“Letting Go of Me” – Keeper
“Fade” – Keeper
9 keeper out 11 songs – 82%(4.1 out 5 stars). The Black Star Riders are killing it on this album. I always talk about how rock today seems to be missing the guitar rock sound and these guys are not missing anything. The guitars are outstanding and take me back to when guitars were king. Nobody wanted to be a DJ, they wanted to play guitar. For that alone this album is worth it, but it has so much more to offer. Go grab a copy and get ready to have your ears blasted with what rock should sound like.