Well it’s rapidly approaching the end of 2013 and time for my top releases of the year. While there were so many fantastic records from both new and established artists, there are a few that just burrowed into my brain and I couldn’t shake them. There are 16 that I am going to mention here and they are in no particular order as they are all incredible in my book. To those bands who aren’t listed here, relax I have another post planned to address you.
When you have a CD from a band that has members like Vinny Appice, Rex Brown, Mark Zavon, and Dewey Bragg you know your’re in for a treat. This CD kicks ass on so many levels. The music of KDH sounds familiar and distinctly unique, giving you a feeling that this band has been around for years but yet remaining fresh. Do NOT miss out on this CD, here’s a taste:
My boys in Scattered Hamlet deliver on their full length release and then some. Remember when music made you feel something? Skeleton Dixie gets right in and touches your musical soul. Throughout the years these guys have become family to me and I have the great fortune of being mentioned in this CD as well. You WILL love it! Get some:
When Billy Sheehan, Mike Portnoy, and Richie Kotzen get together you know you’re gonna get something great. There was a lot of buzz around this project and when it came to fruition it delivered in spades. Great straight up rock n’ roll, there needs to me more records like this one. Check it:
Tom Keifer has always been one of my favorite vocalists. The gritty soulfulness of his voice is iconic. It has been quite a while since we have had new music from Tom and it has been worth the wait. Bluesy with a razors edge is what you find on this record. Take a listen:
I find it funny that I have included Stryper on this list. I’ll admit that I was not really the biggest Stryper fan back in the day, I have found a new respect for them in this record. They have a tenacity that will not quit. Strong in their beliefs, and strong in their musical passion is what landed them here. (On a side note, I recently interviewed Michael Sweet and have one coming up with Oz Fox). Here’s the title track:
Black Water Rising has been honing this record for a few years, and it shows. These guys have been in my ears for a few years now and I finally got to see them live and hear some of these songs live. BWR brings powerful rock n’ roll and here is some for ya :
Adrian Galysh is one of hidden talents that the world has yet to discover. I received this CD for review and was completely amazed by it, and I believe you will be too. listen to this CD and hear a mans passion transferred to his music.
Korn has welcomed Head back into its fold and released one of their best CDs to date. I believe that their life experiences has caused this band to grow and mature and that growth is reflected in The Paradigm shift. “Never Never” has become one of my favorite tracks. Check out the video and see why:
Death Alley Motor Cult is one of those bands that you want to hang out with but you remember what your mom said to you about the company you keep. Their music is like that too, when you listen to it you feel dirty, dangerous, and cool, very very cool. The Outlaw Chronicles needs to be played at 11 and in a conspicuous place so you can “enlighten” those in need of a visceral experience.
Sometimes I catch grief for listening to A7X, but this band gives me hope for newer music. upon the heels of suffering the loss of their founding drummer “The Rev” they have come back with strong music that has shaken up the pop laden music charts. Hail To The King pays homage to the bands that inspired these guys. Hail To The King:
Clutch is one of those bands that will always remain just under the radar. Earth Rocker is a great album that unfortunately many people will not get to hear. Clutch is a band that gets ignored by the mainstream and yet I think they are happy with that. Great band, great show, great record. Do yourself a favor and listen to Earth Rocker and then dig into the music of Clutch. Here’s “Crucial Velocity”:
Adrenaline Mob put out this CD of covers that is just incredibly awesome. They cover Van Halen’s “Romeo Delight” with the power and aggression that I think it deserved from the beginning. I usually do not put cover albums on my list, but this one has a place. Check this out:
Last Patrol takes you on a psychedelic journey into the mind of Dave Wyndorf. Monster Magnet is back on their game with their latest release. Just caught these guys on tour in support of Last Patrol and the songs kick ass live!
Mindcage came out of left field and socked me in the head with this one. Our Own Devices creates a magical world with their powerful music. I have said that is transports you away from the mundane and I stand by that statement. Here you go:
Those of you who know me knew this one would end up on here. Zakk and co. have always and will always be one of my favorites. Unblackened gives new life to some of the most iconic BLS tracks. While the members may change, Black Label Society will remain STRONGER THAN DEATH.
Of all of the great and wonderful 2013 releases on my list, this is most magical for me. Having considered Tracii Guns one of my favorite guitarists for years and years I was supremely stoked when I caught wind of this project. When I finally had it in my hands it was all that I expected and then some. Trippy , ethereal and full of passion, and soul the music found on here is the kind we grew up listening to. Thank you Tracii!
The opinions reflected herein are mine and mine alone.
As we all have heard by now our favorite “Evil Twin” has decided to part ways with Black Label Society. While we are all saddened to hear this news we should also celebrate Nick and his time in the band. It has always been my belief that Black Label Society is bigger than its members. We have seen members come and go and yet BLS remains strong. SDMF is our credo and we should always try to live to it. I applaud Zakk for giving musicians such as Phil Ondich, Steve Gibb, Craig Nunemacher, Mike Inez, Robert Trujillo, James LoMenzo, Will Hunt, Mike Froedge, Johnny Kelly, Jeff Fabb their time with BLS.
We will get through this change as we always have. Nick will be ok and we will get new music to know and love from him and his future projects.
Best wishes Nick We love you Beyond Forever.
STRENGTH DETERMINATION MERCILESS FOREVER – is it in you?
I keep fighting to bring you pertinent interviews with musicians trying to keep kicking your ass with new music. From time to time people step up to help these interviews happen. The Garcia family (Ish, Lacey, and Matt “The Cat”) put me in touch with Paul Byrne who set this interview up. Thank you guys for stepping up and making this interview with John “JD” DeServio!
How many times have you heard “This band sold out” or “That band went mainstream”? I have heard this about several bands throughout the years. Let;s take a look at several bands that have “changed direction” , or have stayed the same and if that has worked for them.
QUEEN 1971 – 1991 the Freddie Mercury years
Queen remains one of my favorite bands of all times. The band was constantly evolving and changing throughout their career. They explored many styles of music during their recording career. They were never afraid to branch out and explore their creativity. Here are two songs that show their diversity. The world lost a beautiful soul when Freddie Mercury passed away in 1991, we will forever miss and love you Freddie, thank you for your music. Queen pulled off, to great success, changing directions.
“Keep Yourself Alive” from QUEEN – 1973
“These Are The Days Of Our Lives” from INNUENDO – 1991
MEGADETH1983 to present
Megadeth is a band who has stayed true to their original vision. Their style of speed/thrash metal has pretty much been a constant throughout their career. While some will say it has hurt their career, their fans remain loyal, and their record sales constant. I say cheers to Dave and crew (though they have changed over the years) keep it going! Staying true to their direction has worked for Megadeth.
“Peace Sells” from Peace Sells…but Who’s Buying? – 1986
“Whose Life (Is It Anyways?)” from Th1rt3en – 2011
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS 1983 to present
This band has always been in a special place in my heart. Never afraid to be who they are, always giving their all to their fans. Their members and styles have changed throughout the years but they have always managed to pull it off. Playing what they want to and disregarding the critics their music reflects the colorful personalities that infuse this band. Many people have tried to pigeonhole this band to a certain genre, to no avail. I call them a Rock N’ Roll band PERIOD. Thank you RHCP, you have given my soul much joy. Keep growing and evolving and stay true to your passions.
“True Men Don’t Kill Coyotes” from TheRed Hot Chili Peppers – 1984
“The Adventures Of Rain Dance Maggie” – from I’m With You – 2011
METALLICA – 1981 to present
Ahhh Metallica, the source of great contention amongst metal heads. Some say they sold out with the “Black” album, some say they didn’t. I think they have made some questionable choices in the past years, but they remain strong as one of the driving forces in metal music. As part of being human we are constantly changing and growing (well, some of us do) as the events surrounding us dictate. The guys in Metallica are not immune. Growing older, gaining families, becoming financially stable HAS to affect them, and their music. I, for one, appreciate that fact and despite their making some music that does not always appeal to me I stand by this band and remain a fan. R.I.P. Cliff Burton, miss you!
“No Remorse” from Kill ‘Em All – 1983
“All Nightmare Long” from Death Magnetic – 2008
GUNS N’ ROSES 1985 to present???
GNR WHAT HAPPENED?!?!?!? They were poised to take over the world and instead they burned it down. The energy of the the five original members was the perfect combination. Then the backup singers, the keyboard players, the horn section, etc… etc… sigh. I know this band has been the topic of great controversy, and probably will remain so for a long, long time. I will always remain in love with early GNR and the music they made and I am grateful for that, post original five, not so much. I personally believe the direction that the band took killed them (this is my humble opinion). Oh well we have our memories…. if we could only find our way back to the jungle.
“Welcome To The Jungle” from Appetite For Destruction – 1987
“This I Love” from Chinese Democracy – 2008
BLACK LABEL SOCIETY 1998 to present
Ahhh BLS, now here’s a band that I totally get. Members have come and gone and yet this band gets stronger and stronger. Great music year after year, record after record and a loyal fan base that unifies together as one big BLS family. Zakk Wylde never shies away from playing whatever he wants, piano based ballads, acoustic songs, full out electric, it matters not to Zakk. With BLS it never grows stagnant and you will never be bored! GI/FD!!!
“Born To Lose” from Sonic Brew – 1999
“Overlord” from Order Of The Black – 2010
These are just my opinions on bands that have (or have not) changed direction, please feel free to comment or message me with your ideas or thoughts and I will post them here.
FURYON is a new band from the UK who like nothing more than to challenge expectations. Raised on a diet of heavy metal, prog, and classic rock, FURYON mix all these components for a truly unique and contemporary sound. I stumbled upon this band and have been enthralled ever since.
I got to meet Erik from Gypsyhawk when he was filling in for mutual friends Scattered Hamlet. He is a great guy and Gypsyhawk is a great band. These guys are a straight up Rocking band and not afraid to tell it to you. Hell yes to bringing back the big sound. Catch these guys if they come ANYWHERE near you!
This world class guitarist is also a friend of mine. Ostrander can hold his own with the best of the best. His shredding and playing style a stellar. His greatness in playing is the complete opposite to his mild mannered quiet demeanor. Do yourself a favor and check out this axeman extraordinaire!
Again thank you internet, one of my internet friends turned me on to this band. REVERENCE features members from: Tokyo Blade and Savatage, Crimson Glory, Jack Starr’s Burning Starr. Power metal to the extreme these veteran performers have come to show the world how it’s done.
Mushroomhead drummer Steve “Skinny” Felton and vocalist Waylon Reavis have teamed with Chimaira bassist Jim LaMarca and Tommy Church to form the band Tenafly Viper. The band has recorded fifteen tracks which have been submitted to Megaforce Records. My friends in Scattered Hamlet pointed this band out to me. Love the vibe and sound and I think you will too!
SPEED X is the new band featuring ex-Queensryche guitarist Mike Stone on guitar, Black Label Society guitarist Nick Catanese, Doubledrive drummer Mike Froedge and former Doubledrive bassist Joshua Sattler, and the latest addition Jason Fowler on vocals. As a BLS fan I was glad to see this side project from Zakk’s “Evil Twin” . I can listen to this over and over. I think you should too.
I interviewed these guys on our radio showBleach Bangs Radio. Fun guys with a Rock N’ Roll mission. Good old school hard rock here and you WILL like it another GREAT band on the rise and you heard them right here on the Hellion’s Blog! Definitely check these guys out when they hit your town!
Another side project band from BLS bassist John J.D. DeServio. Together with Joe Taylor (Lead Guitar), Gregg Locascio (Vox, Guitar),Bob Pantella (Drums), and Troy Cromwell (Keys) This band has elements of Rock, Metal, and Funk. Great to see J.D. step up and put out a great side project CD as this.
There you have it! Ten more for your ears, I’ll keep ’em coming!!