2014 has come and gone. It’s been another good year for music. Coming up with my favorite ten albums is always a difficult thing to do. There were so many great albums this year, way more than ten. A couple albums I liked an awful lot include believe it or not Winger “Better Days Coming.” I really don’t give a shit what you say either, I really like it. Pretty Reckless broke out with their album “Going to Hell.” Jason along with my brother, wife and kids like this album a whole lot more than I do so it deserves to be mentioned. The album is very eclectic. It’s heavy, it’s bluesy, its sexy it’s definitely worth checking out.
Finally Ace Frehley’s “Spaced Invader” was pretty bad ass. As a fan of bluesy guitar based rock this is a must have. What knocks it off of my top ten is the vocals and the cheese, but I love the album and thought it deserved to be mentioned. Then there were the albums that I didn’t really get a chance to check like the new Judas Priest. So lets get to it. Honorable Mention: Three Years Hollow “The Cracks”
I have to disqualify these guys because I’ve known them since before they were a baby band. We are from the same town, went to the same high school but it was crazy to see them break out with “The Cracks” which was produced by Clint Lowery from Sevendust. If I didn’t personally know these guys I can honestly say the album would have been on my top ten list but since I do they are disqualified but I wanted to share them with you any way.
10: Black Label Society - “The Catacombs of the Black Vatican”
Zakk Wylde has never painted himself into a corner musically. He can play it all. He’s mellow, he’s heavy, he’s a virtuoso on both the guitar and the piano. The guy can do it all. Zakk writes to the mood he’s in. He doesn’t have a vision of what he wants an album to sound like, he just writes to his mood and that defines each album. With “The Catacombs of the Black Vatican” he came up with his most unique album to date. It doesn’t sound like any of the previous albums. It has more of an Alice in Chains vibe to it that I really dig. In the end I like the music Zakk Wylde likes and therefore I like the music he makes.
9: King 810 - “Memoirs of a Murderer”
I was a little late to the King 810 party. I went to the Slipknot/Korn tour where King 810 was opening. I went out and bought the album to get familiar with their music and my first thought was that when this show is over all anybody is going to talk about is King 810 and not Korn and Slipknot. While that wasn’t true because I mean c’mon fucking Slipknot live, or Korn for that matter. But the album is intriguing and it’s probably the most authentic metal album ever made. It’s more authentic than N.W.A. was back in the day. Musically it’s in the Slipknot vein, but the authenticity helps make this band stand above the rest.
8: Steel Panther - “All You Can Eat”
I know these guys are just fucking around, but their songs are fucking amazing. The songs are hilarious, their talent is second to none and they don’t take themselves too seriously. At first it seems like maybe these guys are making fun of the 80s but really they’re just celebrating them. If you don’t like Steel Panther then you’re just a prude who’s missing out.
7: Kyng - “Burn the Serum”
I love Kyng. They may be my favorite newish band right now. Every time I’ve seen them live they’ve blown the headliner off stage. It’s just three guys playing good old fashioned hard rock. It combines literally everything I love about hard rock music. Black Sabbath quality riffs, Chris Cornell meets David Lee Roth vocals. Then the drumming, my god. That may be the best part. I cannot not recommend this band enough. They are the best band out there right now and you should check them out.
6: In This Moment - “Black Widow”
I love when bands figure out who they are and aren’t afraid to be themselves. In This Moment went from on the verge of breaking up to releasing two of the best album in the last ten years. “Blood” was a huge step in the right direction and “Black Widow” is them getting there. There is literally nobody like them out there right now. Maria Brink deserves to be mentioned along with other pop stars like Madonna and Lady Gaga, but she’s doing it in the rock genre. If it’s not metal enough for you then fuck off and don’t listen to it. In This Moment has found its voice with “Black Widow.” Even more than that their live show is second to none.
5: Godsmack - “1000HP”
On “1000HP” Godsmack sounds like a band that fell back in love with itself. On their previous couple of efforts it sort of felt like they were going through the motions. With “1000HP” they sound rejuvenated. I’d put “1000HP” up against any of their previous albums including the first two. Beginning to end it’s just a really great hard rock album. I wish more people would give it a shot.
4: Flying Colors - “Second Nature”
This is probably the best album of the year but for the simple fact that the last two years my favorite album featured Mike Portnoy I’m dropping this to number four. I wish Flying Colors were a full time band. Some how they manage to keep creating top notch music and the going back to their main bands. It’s kind of crazy.
3: Slipknot - 5: “The Gray Chapter”
Would you believe me if I told you that I was never a huge Slipknot fan? I’d never seen them live, didn’t own any of their albums. I wanted to like them I just never made the effort. When I got the chance to cover the Slipknot/Korn show in late 2014 I went out and bought everything they ever did and just fell in love with them and that started with “The Gray Chapter.” This was the album that got me into Slipknot and now and I can’t stop listening to them. It took me nearly 20 years to get there but I got there.
2: Fozzy - “Do You Wanna Start a War”
I’ve listened to this album so much that I started to get sick of it. It wasn’t until I put this list together that I started listening to it again. This album is perfect. It’s the band that is transitioning my kids from pop music to rock music. There’s no such thing as bad music but i really like rock music. So when I’m driving long distances in my car it’s less Katy Perry and more Black Sabbath in the car now and I have Fozzy to thank for that. In all seriousness though this album has something for everybody. It’s got ultra heavy songs, it’s got ballads, it’s got party songs. “Do You Wanna Start a War” is truly a great album and deserves to be where it’s at on my list.
1: Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & the Conspirators - “World on Fire”
Slash is on fire. Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators is the best thing out there right now. I’ve got no interest in a Guns n Roses or Velvet Revolver reunion because neither could compete with the band that Slash has put together. Slash is quickly becoming my favorite guitarist. I love every thing that comes out of his guitar. It speaks to me like no other guitar player but maybe Joe Perry speaks to me. Then you throw Myles Kennedy in there, the best front man of his generation and it’s over. Slash wins.
1: Buckcherry - “Fuck”
Ok so there are two number ones. Buckcherry’s “Fuck” is actually the best collection of songs to come out this year, but it was only an EP. If I were doing a list of the ten best songs to come out this year three or four of them would have been off this EP. These guy’s literally just said, ‘fuck it’ and made a masterpiece all centered around a swear word. It was the most genius thing to come out in 2014. If you disagree, fuck you :).
BYLINE: Bob Zerull is the Managing Editor of Zoiks! Online. He writes pop culture commentary, does interviews with bands, and reviews music and stand-up concerts. He also administers Zoiks! Online's Facebook page. Follow Bob on twitter at bzerull. Email Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org.