Best of 2010

 Here is my selection, not in oder (possibly subject to slight change when I remember a good album I’ve forgotten!)…

             1. FREEDOM CALL ‘Legend Of The Shadow King’ SPV/Sony

    Power metal how it should be done. Gloriously OTT.
    2.      GIANT ‘Promise Land’ Frontiers
    First of three albums this year to feature vocalist Terry Brock and although it may not quite meet the band’s classic debut album it certainly deserves the Giant name.
    3.      BRIAN HOWE ‘Circus Bar’ Frontiers
    Former Bad Company singer comes good with a solo album ideal for lovers of melodic hard rock.
    4.      FOREIGNER ‘Can’t Slow Down’ Ear Music/Edel
    Although the US were lucky enough to get this album last year it was well worth waiting for. Not a duff song in sight and good to see the band tapping into their more rockier side.5.      FM ‘Metropolis’ AOR Heaven
    FM are back and with possibly their strongest album of their career. Happily gone  is the plodding blues rock of the Andy Barnett era and instead we get a mix of top notch melodic rockers and blues rockers.6.      BELLOWHEAD ‘Hedonism’ Navigator Records
    A band recommended for those who think they won’t like folk but will be converted by this album. Good mix of ballads and sing-a-longs all backed by their wide musical instrumentation including brass, accordion and some stunning sax.

    7.      ARK ‘ Wild Untamed Imaginings’ ProgRock Records
    Ark comeback with a wonderfully diverse album that encompasses then 80’s neo-prog sound, folk and more modern proggers like Kino.

    8.      NELSON ‘Lightning Strikes Twice’ Frontiers
    Billed as follow-up to their smash hit 1990 album ‘After The Rain’ (they have released albums in-between times but sadly not with much success sales wise). The harmonies and radio friendly tunes are here.

    9.      PHIL CAMPBELL
    Singer/songwriter who recorded most of this album himself, which surprises the listener given how much is going on musically. ‘Vodka Milk’ and ‘ are two of the songs of the year.

    10.     DOWN ‘N’ OUTZ
    Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott hooks-up with some of the Quireboys to produce an album of covers from Mott, Ian Hunter and British Lions. Quite possibly the best things Joe Elliott has sung on since the glory days of Def Leppard. Great songs and great fun.

    11.     AVANTASIA ‘The Wicked Symphony’ Nuclear Blast
    Tobias Sammet gathers together another all star ensemble and this time it is spread over tow albums. Bob Catley and Jorn Lande are amongst the vocal highlights.

    12.     ASIA ‘Omega’ Frontiers
    Easily the best album they have done since reforming.

    13.     MASS ‘Sea Of Black’ Escape Music
    Another 80’s band producing some of the best music of their career. They have turned up the guitars and rock out big time.

    14.     GLYDER ‘Yesterday, Today And Tomorrow’ SPV
    If this is indeed the band’s swansong it is a strong way to finish.

    15.     PRETTY MAIDS ‘Pandemonium’ Frontiers
    They don’t release albums that often but when they do they are essential. This new one is no different and they are one of the few bands who can successfully meld classic metal riffs with their more melodic rock side.

    16.     GRAND ILLUSION ‘Brand New World’ AOR Heaven
    So good to have this band back! The pomp and vocal harmonies are still in place as ‘157th Breakdown’ proves.

    17.     LAST AUTUMN’S DREAM ‘A Touch Of Heaven’  Escape Music

    Amazingly the band’s seventh album in as many years and easily one of their best.

    18.     CHRIS SINGLETON ‘Lady Gasoline’ Indie
    ‘Twisted City’ was a great album and this new one pips it. A delightful pop rock journey from start to finish.

    19.     STAR ONE ‘Victims Of The Modern Age’ Inside Out
    Arjen Lucassen is always a busy man and good to have the second studio album from Star One. More straight ahead metal than Ayreon with a SF background.

    20.     TONY HARNELL & THE MERCURY TRAIN ‘Round Trip’ Frontiers
    Ex-TNT vocalist Tony Harnell revisits some of the TNT classics he recorded plus songs from his
    other bands including Westworld. All are redone in an acoustic setting and the songs take on a whole new slant.

    Re-issues:

    1. JACKDAW4 ‘Retrospectables’ The band’s first two albums and a veritable aural delight for those who like their pop rock with a barbed edge.

    2.      RICK SPRINGFIELD ‘Venus Exploding’ Frontiers
    Quite possibly his best album to date and great to see it get a full release.

    3.      SAVATAGE ‘Still The Orchestra Plays – Greatest Hits Volume 1 & 2’ Ear Music/Edel
    Never tried Savatage before? There is no excuse now with this best of and you can see where the massively popular Trans-Siberian Orchestra got some of their musical ideas from (along with band members!).

    4.      URIAH HEEP ‘On The Rebound: Best Of’ Universal
    Like Motorhead and Saxon there are many ‘best ofs’ littering the market by Uriah Heep but this one is the best for successfully straddling the band’s classic 70’s Byron fronted era, through to the underrated n80’s line-up featuring Pete Goalby on vocals and bang up to date with the Bernie Shaw years.

    5.      JIMI JAMISON & JIM PETRIK ‘Extra Moments’ Melodic Rock Records
    The two Survivor pals present an album of ‘demos’, whose production puts many ‘finished’ albums to shame. Needless to say this is a ‘must have’ for fans of Survivor and it includes the song Jimi Jamison used in his Survivor audition back in the day.

    Gigs:
    FOREIGNER
    They blew Europe of the stage at the ITunes gig. Kelly Hansen is the consummate frontman – like a younger version of Steve Tyler minus the big lips.

    FM
    They are back and sounding on top of their game.

    SAINT JUDE at GUILFEST 2010
    First time I had heard anything by this band – female fronted blues/classic rock. A must see live.

    JUDIE TZUKE
    A name I knew a lot about but not heard much by before. She has lost none of her powerful voice and one of the gigs of a lifetime, never mind the year!

    DAN REED
    An acoustic gig backed by a very talented band including Tommy Denander this gig combined his newer solo material plus some Dan Reed Network classics. His rendition of ‘Rainbow Child’

    DVD:
    I watched a few this year but ELO’s ‘The Early Years’ (Eagle Vision) wins hands down as it shows the band just about to hit the big time. It also features the late Mike Edwards and of course Kelly Groucutt who sadly passed away last year.

    Let downs…

    A fair few albums failed to deliver…Strangeways (tried to appeal to fans of both styles of the band but failed), Allen/Lande (good album but mushc too similar to what had gone before), Y&T (a couple of cracking songs but the rest is pretty average by this band’s high standards).

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