Sleaze Roxx Crew Members’ Top Five Albums of 2019

Sleaze Roxx Crew Members’ Top Five Albums of 2019

Welcome to the fifth edition of the Sleaze Roxx Crew Members’ Top Five Albums of the Year! It used to be called the Sleaze Roxx Writers’ Top Five Albums of whichever year but the reality is that not all of the Sleaze Roxx “writers” contribute via reviews and/or interviews. Accordingly, the term “writers” just did not seem to fit.

Just like in past years, I invited the most prolific Sleaze Roxx contributors to participate. This year sees a record amount of participation with 15 different Sleaze Roxx contributors sharing their picks for the top five records of the year, their favorite contribution to Sleaze Roxx in the past year and their concert of the year. There were a few Sleaze Roxx contributors who chose not to participate for whatever reasons but I want to acknowledge Joe Schaeffer (thank you for the continued use of your killer photos), Chris Clark (who has been behind many of the Sleaze Roxx posters for many years including the one for this thread) and John Lewis (a man I once idolized and now consider a good friend who also contributes retro CD reviews).

I may do the heavy lifting for the Sleaze Roxx website but if it wasn’t for the many Sleaze Roxx contributors, the website would have a lot less content, would be far less interesting and might not even be running at this time. What struck me this year is that a good chunk of the Sleaze Roxx contributors also run their own music (and sometimes other topics such as wrestling and/or photography) sites and/or podcasts. This time around, I have identified what are the Sleaze Roxx contributors’ own sites under “Affiliation” and I encourage you to check them out!

Favorite Concert of 2019: In terms of my own favorite concert in 2019, I saw 47 different live performances (a sharp drop from last year’s 74 live performances) with KISS leading the pack as I got to see them play live three times on their The End of The Road World Tour in 2019. Interestingly enough, there was one concert performance that stood way above the rest for me. You could feel the electricity in the air as the general audience area bunched up considerably just prior to Swedish sleaze rockers Hardcore Superstar’s set on Day One of the inaugural Rocklanta hosted by Brad Lee Entertainment in Atlanta, Georgia, USA on March 29, 2019. Hardcore Superstar seized the occasion, did not disappoint and even exceeded my lofty expectations putting on a set for the ages and setting the bar way too high for any other band to reach that weekend. It was simply one of the most electrifying and exciting live sets that I have ever witnessed.

Favorite Contribution of 2019: There were many highlights but I am going to give the nod to my interview with the king of cool — L.A. Guns’ bassist Kelly Nickels. I had actually contacted Kelly to do an interview in October 2018 before drummer Steve Riley announced about one month and a half later that he was going to be performing at the upcoming M3 Rock Festival in May 2019 with some L.A. Guns alumni. In any case, the interview with Kelly took place about three months after my initial contact and I can’t remember ever laughing so much while doing an interview. Kelly also expertly managed the many loaded questions that I threw at him (you’ll recall that at that time, Phil Lewis and Tracii Guns were making many negative remarks towards Riley, Nickels and their version of L.A. Guns). Nevertheless, Kelly handled all my questions with diplomacy, class and a lot of humour. It was definitely one of the most memorable interviews that I have done so far.

Olivier

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Christopher Carroll’s Top Five Albums of 2019:

Country: USA
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2016
Contributions: Photos, CD Reviews, Concert Reviews
Affiliations: Christopher Carroll ROCK Photography, Your Backstage Pass! (Facebook group)

01. Janet GardnerYour Place In The Sun
02. L.A. GunsThe Devil You Know
03. Babylon ShakesExile To The Velveteen Lounge
04. The End MachineThe End Machine
05. The DefiantsZokusho

Number One Choice: Janet Gardner’s Your Place In The Sun. Janet Gardner’s first solo cd was my top pick last year and her newest CD is definitely my top pick for this year. I hope these two (Janet Gardner and Justin James) never stop writing songs. I’m truly amazed at just how good their songwriting is and the icing on the cake is the incredible production. I still listen to this CD regularly and often end up listening to the first one again after the last song of this one. These two never planned to write songs together but I thank God they did! I don’t know of any other band who is writing songs of this caliber! By FAR, my favorite CD of the year.

Number Two Choice: L.A. Guns’ The Devil You Know. Last year they returned with a vengeance. Who would have thought lightning would strike twice in a row? But this CD is just as good as 2017’s The Missing Peace. It’s filled with sophisticated songs. Songs that were purposely well crafted, not just luck of the draw.

Number Three Choice: Babylon Shakes’ Exile To The Velveteen Lounge. This band single handedly brought back original sleaze rock! This CD includes some of the catchiest songs I’ve heard since the mid ’80s. These guys mix well thought out, poetic lyrics with a groove and an energy that culminates into songs that you want to play over and over and over again.

Number Four Choice: The End Machine’s The End Machine. Come on… George Lynch and Robert Mason together again? How could this be bad? Add Jeff Pilson to the songwriting team and as producer and you’ve gotten exactly what you should have expected. George delivers his trademark tasty riffs which is reason enough to buy the CD.

Number Five Choice: The Defiants’ Zokusho. Danger Danger members, Bruno Ravel and Rob Marcello, along with former Danger Danger singer, Paul Laine have a great band and some energetic, happy and melodic songs. This song is definitely a great find for someone like me who is usually disappointed with new music!

Favorite Concert of 2019: My favorite concert of the year has to be Winger at the MGM Grand. Not only is the lighting beautiful at that venue and the sound perfect, but, I got to work up close with the band members on this show and see just how impressive their level of musicianship is. They don’t just hope a show goes well, they make sure it does.

Janet Gardner‘s “Your Place In The Sun” video:

Janet Gardner “Your Place In The Sun” Official Music Video

Music video for “Your Place In The Sun” off the 2nd Album from Janet Gardner( Former Vixen singer) & Justin James. Please like, subscribe and turn on the not…

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Darren ‘Daz’ Humphries’ Top Five Albums of 2019:

Country: Australia
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2017
Contributions: CD Reviews, Articles
Affiliation: Random Acts of Rock (website)

01. AerodyneDamnation
02. American BombshellTattooed N’ Bruised
03. Sacred ReichAwakening
04. WhitesnakeFlesh And Blood
05. OverkillThe Wings of War

Number One Choice: Aerodyne‘s DamnationI chose Aerodyne’s Damnation as my top pick purely because of the power and intensity of the songs. Just listen to the song “Kick It Down” and wait for the double kick drums to come in to see what I mean. The recording also had a big booming production quality and the songs were chock full of great riffs and frenetic solos. In a way, it reminded me a lot of Judas Priest’s Firepower. Aerodyne only just beat American Bombshell from my top spot though and may have had the unfair advantage of being one of the last reviews I had submitted to Sleaze Roxx prior to this top five. Even though I am a hard rock and glam fan, my real passion lies with thrash and classic heavy metal, thus the inclusion of bands such as Sacred Reich and Overkill, which some readers may not be familiar with. My apologies go out to any of the bands on the Frontiers label that I have yet to get a listen to. Whilst I was able to get a few albums earlier in the year, my understanding is that the distribution deal with Sony Music Australia collapsed. Therefore, I have not had the pleasure of hearing new albums from the likes of Crashdïet, Block Buster, Crazy Lixx or Eclipse.

Favorite contribution of 2019: My personal favorite contribution was when I reviewed Australian band The Poor’s debut album Who Cares for it’s 25th anniversary. Readers left plenty of comments reminiscing about when they first heard the album or saw the band live, which is one of the purposes of a retrospective review. The other purpose is to introduce the band to those readers who may not have even been born yet or were not even aware of the bands existence. Such an example was when Sleaze Roxx head honcho Olivier told me he had never head of The Poor and liked what he heard so much that he went and tracked down a copy of the album.

Concert of the year: We had quite a few international acts tour Australia during 2019 which was great because sometimes we get left out when acts do ‘world’ tours. Whilst Metal Church in August was a dream come true, Dee Snider in February was personally my favorite as it was great to finally see the legend in action — and he did not disappoint. From a local scene perspective, a special mention goes out to Sisters Doll who played their last show of the Black Mirror Tour in Melbourne back in October. The show was phenomenal and put many of the international higher priced acts to shame.

Aerodyne‘s “Kick It Down” video:

AERODYNE – “Kick It Down” (Official Music Video)

AERODYNE – “Kick It Down” (2019) – Official Music Video Taken from the album “Damnation” out October 18th, 2019 Directed, shot and edited by Jim Nedergard – …

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Ed DeGagne’s Top Five Albums of 2019:

Country: USA
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2017
Contributions: IT behind the scenes
Affiliation: Demon Chronicles (website)

01. MadhouseMoney Talks Bullshit Walks
02. Crashdïet – Rust
03. The Defiants – Zokusho
04. American BombshellTattooed N’ Bruised
05. Michael MonroeOne Man Gang

Number One Choice: Madhouse’s Money Talks Bullshit Walks. Huge guitars, blistering drums, and plenty of attitude. Everything about this album SCREAMS sleaze! From the very first song, this album sucks you completely in. Slip this disc in, put the headphones on and crank this one up LOUD! You just might find yourself thinking you’re back in 1989. The entire album rips and defines what sleaze is all about.

Madhouse‘s “Boom Boob Shaker” single:

MADHOUSE – Boom Boob Shaker

taken from the Album “Money talks Bullshit walks” Music written by Mikky Stixx Lyrics written by Freddy Heart, Mikky Stixx, Ben Walker Produced, mixed and mastered by Mikky Stixx at Metal Forge Studio, Vienna https://www.facebook.com/madhousekickass/ https://www.instagram.com/mikkystixx_madhouse https://www.facebook.com/metalforgestudio/ Graphics by Andreas Graf https://www.facebook.com/grafandreascom/ Album Pre-Order Start: September 6, 2019 Album Release: September 27, 2019 (C) +(P) Mars Music Productions, 2019 MMP027/EAN:9008798303847 http://www.marsmusic.at Distributed by Rebeat Digital ► iTunes https://music.apple.com/…/money-talks-bullshit-w…/1476297250 ► Amazon https://www.amazon.de/Money-Talks-Bullshit-Walks-Explicit/…/ ► Google Play https://play.google.com/…/Madhouse_Money_Talks_Bullshit_Wal…

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Greg Troyan of Lipstick Generation’s Top Five Albums of 2019:

Country: USA
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2009
Contributions: Interviews, CD Reviews, Articles
Affiliations: Lipstick Generation (band), The Lipstick Panel (podcast)

01. Frozen II — Soundtrack
02. Bruce Springsteen – Western Stars
03. CrashdïetRust
04. Michael SweetTen
05. AngelRisen

Number One Choice: Frozen II Soundtrack. I almost didn’t even bother sending my list in because of the top two slots. In the same way that I respect Olivier for being honest about his opinion on my second album (spoilers: he didn’t like it), I feel I owe it to the readers of Sleaze Roxx to be honest in my opinions. If I’m being honest about what I think are the best albums of music to come out in 2019, my top two aren’t hard rock or sleaze metal. I have a wide array of musical tastes and I think that Western Stars and the Frozen II Soundtrack are leaps and bounds better than anything else that came out this year and I’m not going to lie and pretend something is my favorite album of the year when it isn’t. I’m also not going to bother to explain why I think those albums are great because readers of this site simply will not care. But, as far as hard rock and metal goes, my number one this year goes to Crashdïet. While there may be some debate online as to the street cred of the band’s new vocalist, I find the material on the album very strong and the best full length hard rock album of 2019.

Favorite contribution of 2019: It’s too difficult for me to choose between my interview with Billy Morris or my interview with Sean Kelly as my favorite Sleaze Roxx contribution of 2019. Billy is a long-time friend and collaborator. He is in many ways my older brother in rock and I have a great deal of respect for his latest album, so diving into the process of its creation was an absolute blast. Sean Kelly, I view as a musical mirror of myself in many ways with us sharing a wide array of influences, and as a long-time fan of Crash Kelly, it was fun to discuss his brand new single. Both were highlights of 2019 for me.

Concert of the year: Rock N Pod 2019. There’s a little bit of bias here, but being completely truthful, Rock N Pod was my highlight concert of the year both as a performer and as an audience member. Opening up for members of Stryper and Megadeth was a dream come true and they demolished the stage. The sheer number of quality players that appeared at Rock N Pod (including members of Vixen, Accept, the Gene Simmons Band and many more) was ridiculous and seeing them in a more loose jam format is a musical treat and easily one of the best concerts I’ve ever attended or performed at.

Crashdïet‘s “Rust” video:

BILLY MORRIS & THE SUNSET STRIP – Party Like The Weekend Never Ends (Official Audio)

HoldinAllTheAces #BillyMorris #TheSunsetStrip Subscribe to be alerted when we add new videos – http://bit.ly/SubscribeHighVolMusic | From the album HOLDIN’ …

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Jeff Onorato’s Top Five Albums of 2019:

Country: USA
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2019
Contributions: CD Reviews, Concert Reviews

01. WhitesnakeFlesh & Blood
02. SlipknotWe Are Not Your Kind
03. Scott StappThe Space Between The Shadows
04. Kane RobertsThe New Normal
05. L.A. GunsThe Devil You Know

Number One Choice: Whitesnake’s Flesh & Blood. Whitesnake has long been a favorite band of mine, and Flesh & Blood more than met my expectations. David Coverdale has that powerful, soulful voice that just soars over the virtuoso guitar work of Reb Beach and Joel Hoekstra. When I first heard that the band was working on a new album, I was eager to hear what they would come up with. And then, the album was delayed significantly while technical issues within the production were addressed. When I finally heard the finished product in May, I was floored. All of the fundamental things that made me a Whitesnake fan in the first place are still there — catchy songs, stellar musicianship and top-notch production qualities. Give this album a listen. The songs will get stuck in your head for days.

Favourite contribution of 2019: My favorite contribution to Sleaze Roxx in 2019 was the coverage of the M3 Rock Festival (see parts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5). It was my first time attending the event, and many of my all-time favorite groups performed. I had a great time seeing all of the bands, and reading another perspective on the show helped me re-live the weekend. Chris Carroll did a phenomenal job photographing all of the bands too.

Concert of the year: Whitesnake at the M3 Rock Festival on May 4, 2019. After a full day of fantastic performances from other bands, Whitesnake headlined Day Two of M3 2019. While most of the bands had a minimal stage production to allow for a quick changeover between bands, Whitesnake had a more elaborate stage show worthy of their status. Each of the members played brilliantly and demonstrated why the band is at the top of the heap. Veteran drummer Tommy Aldridge performed a drum solo that was jaw-dropping. At one point, he actually threw down his sticks and was playing the solo with his bare hands. Their setlist was a mix of crowd-pleasing hits and new songs that were about to be released on Flesh & Blood. Their set was the perfect way to wrap up Day Two.

Whitesnake‘s “Shut Up & Kiss Me” video:

Whitesnake – “Shut Up & Kiss Me” (Official Music Video – Jaguar Edit) #RockAintDead

Subscribe here for more videos – http://radi.al/SubscribeFrontiers | From the album FLESH & BLOOD. Get your copy NOW: http://radi.al/FleshAndBlood | Signed C…

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

John “Stoney” Cannon of Dirty Rock Scars’ Top Five Albums of 2019:

Country: USA
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2017
Contributions: CD Reviews
Affiliation: Lokal Loudness Music

01. AngelRisen
02. Michael MonroeOne Man Gang
03. L.A. GunsThe Devil You Know
04. GyasiAndrogyne
05. Lu Silver String BandRock ‘N’ Roll Is Here To Stay

Number One Choice: Angel’s Risen. After getting to not only experience a childhood dream seeing Punky Meadows and Frank DiMino perform the music of Angel live in 2018 but also pick up new great music from both, the fact that they would together to create a new Angel album was much bigger news to me than the fact they would continue touring under the name Angel. Would I have loved to see other surviving members involved? Sure, but while fan reviews have been mixed, my heart easily was touched by what I hear as “classic Angel for a whole new generation.” I was blessed with a big vinyl copy so for me the experience was very emotional taking me back to the days of physically holding an album, staring at the artwork, and in this case reliving the excitment of eagerly anticipating what would explode out of the center of a gatefold record. Sinful or White Hot it’s not, but in many ways, youthful time travel, it surely is.

Number Two Choice: Michael Monroe’s One Man Gang. The past few years, one of the most consistent rock and rollers on the planet has to be Michael Monroe. Release after release, this ageless wonder seems to effortlessly spit out catchy, easy to latch on to anthems of a fun, nostalgic nature filled with hints of early rock and roll, blues, power pop, and punk. The tracks never sound like the band just sleep-walked through the process and One Man Gang is no less raw, rocking, and just totally kick ass. And despite sticking to what he does best, it never seems to get old! And watching Monroe’s live / promo videos, you almost feel like he’s warming up well to his role as elder rock and roll statesman in a very “til the last breath” Iggy Pop kinda way.

Number Three Choice: L.A. Guns’ The Devil You Know. Another band that in recent years (since singer Phil Lewis and guitarist Tracii Guns reunited) have been on a tear as far as releasing great recorded music. 2017’s The Missing Peace topped not only a lot of Sleaze Roxx contributors’ top five lists but the band’s return to rocking form easily topped the readers’ list for that year and 2018’s Made In Milan was pretty rocking as well. This past year, Phil and Tracii kept firing with not only a killer new album, but maybe the nastiest, hardest L.A. Guns release that still sounds like an L.A. Guns record. Brutal, rocking, sleazy… if not for my direct love for Angel and Hanoi Rocks, L.A. Guns could have easily topped my list again. Not as raw as my 2018 top pick (Hardcore Superstar), but pretty damn slammin’!

Number Four Choice: Gyasi’s Androgyne. Since first stumbling across the Sleaze Roxx site a few years back, one of my favorite things (along with keeping up with my fave old school bands) is finding cool new artists especially if they happen to fit into the odder side of my glam rock heart. Yeah I dig hard rock and some AOR but I have to thank Sleaze Roxx for along the way allowing me the privilege of sneaking in some of glam rocks earlier pioneers that may not always appeal to fans of ’80s and ’90s hard rock despite many of those era artists being influenced by the likes of David Bowie, Mott the Hoople, and more. Gyasi is an artist I discovered courtesy of Sleaze Roxx and I was pleasantly surprised to find this young seventies glam and glitter inspired rocker covered on the site. Not sure if everyone agreed but immediately I thought “kudos to Sleaze Roxx for covering ALL manner of glam rock and roll.” This album just makes me feel young again, makes me think a little, smile, sing, dance. Yeah, all the things Bowie, T-Rex, and Mott did for me back in the seventies and thank goodness someone is doing this (and doing it right) in 2019.

Number Five Choice: Lu Silver String Band’s Rock ‘N’ Roll is Here To Stay. Funny thing here is that I thought I had found out about these Italian rockers on this website but asking about reviewing this recently released album, Olivier said he hadn’t heard of ’em and we all know, if they had been mentioned on Sleaze Roxx, Ollie surely woulda known. Anyway, this band manages to trump what eventually turns me off about Italian bands with the very Steve Marriott-like soulful vocals of frontman Lu Silver. As a singer myself, I generally have a hard time grasping on to the strong accent of Italian rock vocals despite some of the music being pretty awesome. This album is just chock full of rock and roll littered with chunks of blues, soul, even at times lending itself to bands like the Georgia Satellites.

Favorite Contribution of 2019: This was a tough one as I generally write retro reviews (although a few new release reviews coming soon) and I tend to stick to very personal releases making my reviews very emotional for me but after reading (and reliving) a few, I would have to say it would be a toss up between my look back at Pretty Boy Floyd’s Leather Boyz with Electric Toyz and Cheap Trick’s Budokan album because they both just took me back to different spaces in my life. One a youthful place of wonder and the other a young adult place of confusion. Yeah, I had a few this year that took me “there” but those two definitely were the most moving trips back in time when written, and when re-read.

Concert of the Year: Between the day job transporting vets around the southeast US, various songwriting and music journalism gigs, and my own music / band projects / gigs, it’s not often I’m able to make many big rock shows which usually require traveling one to three hours to catch. That being said, after seeing the varied styles of shows mentioned on last year’s writers’ top five, a couple do come to mind including a very emotional evening nostalgically enjoying Jeff Lynne’s ELO in Atlanta back in July and incredible North Carolina Bowie tribute band Stardust To Ashes in Columbia, South Carolina.

Angel‘s “We Were The Wild” lyric video:

ANGEL “We Were The Wild” Lyric Video off of RISEN

Angel We were the Wild- Written by Punky Meadows, Frank Dimino, Danny Farrow www.angelbandofficial.com Order cd-or Vinyl at https://www.amazon.com/Risen-Angel/dp/B07VSJ77JR

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Lance Lumley’s Top Five Albums of 2019:

Country: USA
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2017
Contributions: CD Reviews
Affiliation: Lances Writes (blog including book reviews)

01. CrashdïetRust
02. FaithsedgeBleed For Passion
03. Hollywood VampiresRise
04. Sammy Hagar & The CircleSpace Between
05. WhitesnakeFlesh & Blood

My best picks for 2019 is full of surprises. Surprising not in the case to perhaps some of you readers, but on a personal aspect, because a few of them are bands that I normally don’t like, and others are ones I haven’t heard of until this year. This is also a great thing to discover when it comes to music; when you find something you normally wouldn’t like and then find out you do, or learn about a band you’re not familiar with, so here are my choices for the best of 2019.

Number One Choice: Crashdïet’s Rust. Just like my number two pick, it was this site that got me interested in my number one pick of the year. Crashdïet’s Rust CD was brought to my attention after Olivier’s great review of the CD. With curiosity getting the best of me after the review, I sought out this release, and I loved every track on here. Singer Gabriel Keyes (to me at least) has an early Sebastian Bach style to him, where he can rock out with some anger, but yet during the slower songs, shows another great vocal side to him. The video for “Idiots” is an ode to the movie Decline Of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years, which is enjoyable for us nostalgic fans. The title track is solid rock, along with songs like “In The Maze” and “Girl When” gives the CD my number one pick. I was not familiar with this band before the review from this year, which I am thankful for all the writers that do reviews on here, helping me see CDs that I may have overlooked. This is one CD that does not disappoint from start to finish, and gave me the feeling of having just plain fun listening to it.

Number Two Choice: Faithsedge’s Bleed For Passion. One of the great things about this site is that I am a fan first. I use this site to help me read not only about classic reviews from my fellow reviewers, but it also helps me find out newer bands, or bands that the few music stores in my area don’t carry. Being a Stryper fan, I was interested in this band featuring ex-member Tim Gaines, ex-Dokken guitar player Alex De Rosso, current Mr. Big and ex-Ace Frehley drummer Matt Starr, along with vocalist Giancarlo Floridia. It was the interviews given here (especially Floridia’s comments on the Gaines / Michael Sweet rift) that caught my attention. After searching for the band’s latest release, I was impressed with the melodic style music that is hard to find anymore in my opinion. The CD has a mix between radio friendly songs, with an edge to it that isn’t too soft, yet not too hard for listeners like me who are in the middle. Some of the songs, such as “Sky,” have a style that reminds me of Loverboy’s “Just Getting Started” CD (a great and underrated release) from 2007. The ballad “I Know I Need To Let You Go,” and “Angelic” are a few of my favorites. There is not a bad song on here, and had to make my list.

Number Three Choice: Hollywood Vampires’ Rise. In my opinion, Alice Cooper has been putting out some of his best work since 2003’s The Eyes of Alice Cooper. His Paranormal CD was amazing, although for me Welcome 2 My Nightmare fell a little short of my expectations. However, Alice still has it vocally and is one of top rock artists I have unlimited respect for, on and off stage. I wasn’t a huge fan of the first Hollywood Vampires album, with me unwilling to get really excited over a covers album, but this album hits the spot. Those that may doubt Johnny Depp’s musical abilities need to listen to this album. A throwback to the times when actors could both be successful in acting and music, Depp keeps the tradition alive. His cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes ” will prove his talent if not you are not convinced — and I’m not a Bowie fan — so he proved me wrong. The opener “I Want My Now” rocks out, and the track “Who’s Laughing Now” has a creepy vibe to it. Another gem features Jeff Beck and John Waters on “Welcome To Bushwackers,” with its unique production sound. The Pink Floyd inspired “Mr. Spider” also adds an unique flavor to the album. The Vampires are not just a gimmick band, and this release from Cooper, Depp, and Joe Perry proves it.

Number Four Choice: Sammy Hagar & The Circle’s Space Between. For those that have read my reviews here, or on my blog page,  know how much of a fan I am of Sammy Hagar. My first concert was when he was with Van Halen in ’91, and think he is one of the most underrated singers in rock history. He just doesn’t seem to be mentioned when great vocalists in rock are brought up, except for his die hard fans. I, however, haven’t been a fan of most of Hagar’s work after Ten 13. Sammy doing a concept album also wasn’t something I was going to jump at, but when I heard the final product, I liked it a lot. Hagar’s voice is still there (I always knew that) and Vic Johnson’s guitar playing is wonderful on here. And what can be said about the talents of Michael Anthony that hasn’t been said? Although I was never a fan of Jason Bonham’s drumming, on here, it is solid and doesn’t distract me. This CD is great because you don’t have to listen to every song in order as a whole album to enjoy what’s going on here, unlike some concept albums. “Can’t Hang” sounds like a modern day Hank Williams Jr. song, and songs like “Bottom Line,” “No Worries,” and “Free Man,” are some of the ones I really enjoyed. This CD got a mixed response from some rock fans, but it deserves another listen.

Number Five Choice: Whitesnake’s Flesh & Blood. I have always had a respect for guitarist Reb Beach, from his Winger days to when I saw him tour with Alice Cooper. I also loved his work on Dokken’s Erase The Slate, and while re-listening to that Dokken CD this year to review on this site, I did a search to find out what he is doing now. Never being a major Whitesnake fan (besides a few hits like “Slide It In,” “The Deeper The Love,” and “Fool For Your Loving”), I was skeptical when I saw this CD available to me. The CD is really good and surprised me, not just because Beach is on it, but the songs are great. Tommy Aldridge is still a wonderful drummer, along with Joel Hoekstra’s guitar work shows why he is one of the best. Songs like “Gonna Be Alright,” and the great “Hey You (You Make Me Wanna Rock),” which could been a rock anthem even in the mid 1990s, was entertaining to listen from a band I never really dug. This is an album that should be added to your road trip play list.

Favorite Contribution of 2019: As I mentioned on my picks for best albums, I am a fan of this site first, long before I started doing some retro reviews. My favorite contribution this year is something I wrote posted on May 11, 2019. It was my book review for Paul Stanley’s Backstage Pass. First, being a KISS fan (especially the 1980s stuff), it’s fun to write about a band that I really like. But the reason I chose this isn’t because of my liking or disliking the book so much, but the fact that it was originally posted on my blog page, where I review books, music, films, and professional wrestling. The fact that Sleaze Roxx asked if they could link the review made my day in the fact that for one day, someone wanted to use something I wrote on my own page to share with others on their page. This was a tough year for me personally, and for a brief moment, I was thrilled to be asked if something I put on my page could be shared. Whether or not people agreed with my take on the book or not, I was just thrilled to be asked if it could be shared on another format where many people may not visit my site normally. This was definitely a treat for me.

I want to note all the hard work everyone does on this site, from the contributors to Olivier and crew all year long, and I am thankful there is a place where us writers get to write not only about current rock music, but the classic releases that people like me grew up on. Of course, the readers too — thank you! I am sure not everyone agrees with my reviews, but that’s what makes music so great — it is the variety of likes and dislikes. Have a great New Year!

Crashdïet‘s “Reptile” video:

CRASHDÏET – Reptile (Official Music Video)

No Description

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Metal Mike’s Top Ten Albums of 2019:

Country: Canada
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2016
Contributions: CD Reviews, Concert Reviews, Interviews

01. CrashdïetRust
02. KAATOSlam!
03. HeadstonesPeopleSkills
04. The TreatmentPower Crazy
05. RazzmatazzHallelujah

Number One Choice: Crashdïet’s Rust. From the minute Rust hit the speakers, I was totally focused on this album. To me, Crashdïet are one of those bands that defined Swedish sleaze and rejuvenated the genre during an era desperately in need of updating. It’s good to find the band in fine form once again.

Number Two Choice: KAATO’s Slam! I have always had a thing for this band, and the consistency on their sophomore album can’t be ignored. Slam! is a fun listen, and it helps that it came from some cool guys. Sadly, a few months after the album was released, Kurt and Mikka announced the band is on hiatus for the foreseeable future.

Number Three Choice: Headstones’ PeopleSkills. A record that hits hard on the senses, both musically and lyrically. I can’t point to a specific song but as a whole, PeopleSkills spent a good deal of time as my go-to album this fall.

Number Four Choice: The Treatment’s Power Crazy. Another consistent offering from a popular Sleaze Roxx favourite. Power Crazy built on 2016’s Generation Me and it’s been a solid listen since its release back in March.

Number Five Choice: Razzmatazz’s Hallelujah. There are a ton of bands out there that could have landed this spot, but unfortunately I’m forced to pick just one. I listed Diggin’ For Gold as one of my top five in 2017, and Hallelujah is just as good.

Favourite Contribution of 2019 / Concert of the Year: My favourite Sleaze Roxx contribution of 2019 is also my favourite concert of the year…. Namely seeing Striker and Steel Panther with our esteemed editor Olivier from the VIP section after meeting and interviewing Striker before the show. Typically, I don’t do in-person interviews, and this one landed in my lap suddenly!  I had zero prep time and was strangely nervous as a result. Striker guitarist Chris Segger in particular was really great to interview, and meeting the whole band after the show was a treat. It is always interesting to get to know the people who make music their lives.

Crashdïet‘s “Idiots” video:

Crashdiet – “Idiots” (Official Music Video)

Subscribe here for more videos – http://radi.al/SubscribeFrontiers | From the album RUST. Get your copy NOW: http://radi.al/Rust – Scandinavian Fans: http://…

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Ruben Mosqueda’s Top Five Albums of 2019:

Country: USA
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2008
Contributions: CD Reviews, Concert Reviews, Interviews
Affiliation: KNAC (contributor), Metal Titans (contributor)

01. Sammy Hagar & The CircleSpace Between
02. Black Star RidersAnother State of Grace
03. Tom KeiferRise
04. Sweet Oblivion feat. Geoff TateSweet Oblivion feat. Geoff Tate
05. Down ‘N’ OutzThis Is How We Roll

Number One Choice: Sammy Hagar & The Circle’s Space BetweenIt’s been ages since Hagar released an album that was this consistent top to bottom. In fact, I would say he hasn’t been part of an album this good since the first Montrose album. It’s a concept album, though each song can stand on its own. He repurposes a solo track and borrows from Ronnie Montrose on another. The band is just incredible. If you missed this one in 2019, give it a try, you won’t be disappointed. 

Number Two Choice: Black Star Riders’ Another State of GraceWith the departure of guitarist Damon Johnson who was an intrical part of the relaunch of Thin Lizzy and the formation of Black Star Riders, the first record post Johnson would be very telling. Singer Ricky Warwick and Scott Gorham stepped up in a huge way and delivered the goods with Another State of Grace

Number Three Choice: Tom Keifer’s RiseI liked his first solo record, The Way Life Goes. I love Rise. It’s a band effort and it shows from start to finish. As a side note I caught Keifer’s performances on the Monsters of Rock Cruise this year and quite frankly if Tom’s on vocals and guitar and he’s got a band that is running like a well oiled machine, there’s no need for a Cinderella reunion. 

Number Four Choice: Sweet Oblivion feat. Geoff Tate’s self-titled album. Geoff Tate laid down vocals on this side project. It’s the closest thing that he’s done to Queensrÿche in ages. Hopefully, Tate can work with Sweet Oblivion in the future. If it’s anything like this, it will be outstanding. He’s yet to perform any material off this album live. That would be a treat to witness. 

Number Five Choice: Down ‘N’ Outz’s This Is How We RollJoe Elliot’s previous Down ‘N’ Outz albums were recordings of his favorite Mott The Hoople tunes. On This Is How We Roll, he the band (The Quireboys and Vixen’s Share Ross) continue their Mott The Hoople sound, but this time with original material. They sound like they could have been released in the ’70s. I say Elliot’s vision came to fruition wonderfully. 

Favorite Contribution of 2019: It’s a toss up between the exclusive Sleaze Roxx got with the relaunched Rough Cutt with Chris Hager, David Alford and Steven St. James and the Lies, Deceit and Treachery interview with Mick Sweda which turned into a two part feature (see parts 1 and 2). 

Concert of the Year: There were so many but I would go with Slayer with support acts Primus, Ministry and Phillip Anselmo and The Illegals, which I caught in Spokane, Washington in November 2019. It was a very eclectic line-up. It didn’t hurt that I’m a fan of all the bands performing. It was the last Northwest show Slayer performed at. Who knows if they’ll stay retired? After all, look what happened with Mötley and the demand from a ‘generation’ of fans and the money thrown at them.

Sammy Hagar & The Circle‘s “No Worries” video:

“No Worries” (Space Between, Chapter 7) – Sammy Hagar & The Circle

“No Worries” is Chapter 07 from The Circle’s debut studio album “Space Between” “Space Between”, the debut studio album from Sammy Hagar and The Circle is ou…

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Ryan Witting of Rockin’ You All Night’s Top Five Albums of 2019:

Country: USA
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2018
Contributions: CD Reviews, Concert Reviews
Affiliation: Rockin’ You All Night (podcast)

01. Vinnie MooreSoul Shifter
02. Spread EagleSubway To The Stars
03. Last In LineII
04. Rob HalfordCelestial
05. The Three TremorsThe Three Tremors Solo Versions

Number One Choice: Vinnie Moore’s Soul Shifter. Excerpt from my review — Soul Shifter clocks in at more than 45 minutes, which showcases Vinnie Moore‘s mastery of various styles, genres, and sounds of acoustic and electric guitars. Vinnie Moore is the guitarist, songwriter and producer of Soul Shifter, which is, quite possibly, the best instrumental album of 2019.

Favorite contribution of 2019: Concert review of Dio Returns live at The Plaza Live in Orlando, Florida, USA. Excerpt from my review — It’s not often that people get the feeling that they’re reliving the best experiences of years gone by. It is even rarer to be reliving the past while simultaneously looking at the future. However, on Saturday, June 1, 2019, that is exactly what the heavy metal music fans who were in attendance at The Plaza Live in Orlando did while they were watching the Dio Returns concert.

Concert of the year: Rob Halford at Alice Cooper’s The Rock Teen Center in Phoenix, Arizona, USA on August 23rd. Excerpt from my review — [Alice] Cooper introduced Halford by calling him “The King of Heavy Metal.” Then, Rob Halford took the stage. “The Metal God” (a nickname bestowed upon Halford by his fans in reference to Judas Priest‘s 1980 song “Metal Gods”) opened his five-song setlist with “Living After Midnight” (from Priest‘s 1980 platinum album British Steel). Halford‘s backing band for this event was comprised of local Phoenix, Arizona musicians including drummers Mark Savale and Christian Champion, guitarists Sam Ozzman, Court Stumpf, Chloe Peterson and Kailee “Kreepo” Schoeffalong with bassist Alexis Hernandez. Halford and the band sounded phenomenal as they played a roaring version of Judas Priest‘s 1979 classic, “The Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown)” which was originally recorded by Fleetwood Mac in 1970.

Vinnie Moore‘s Soul Shifter album teaser:

Vinnie Moore – Soul Shifter (Album Teaser)

Soul Shifter

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Steven from Metal Headz Media’s Top Five Albums of 2019:

Country: USA
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2015
Contributions: Concert Reviews
Affiliations: Albright PhotoWorx (photography), Metal Headz Media (Facebook page)

01. QueensrÿcheThe Verdict
02. L.A. GunsThe Devil You Know
03. AlterbridgeWalk The Sky
04. WhitesnakeFlesh & Blood
05. Tygers of Pan TangThe Ritual

Number One Choice: Queensrÿche’s The Verdict. This is the album I hoped would have been the follow up to Empire. It has all the great elements of a great Queensrÿche album. Great guitar riffs, progressive sound, thought provoking lyrics with dynamic vocals to match. For a band that has gone through many changes over the years, it goes to show that the talent didn’t ever come from just one person in the band. The making of this album ran into another roadblock when Scott Rockenfield took leave and hadn’t given a time frame for return. Instead of turning to a studio drummer, singer Todd La Torre stepped up to the plate and did a phenomenal job of filling in and gave the album a Queensrÿche feel. I can only hope we don’t have to wait as long for the follow up to this fantasic album.

Favorite Contribution of 2019: Grand Rocktember is always a treat and this year was no exception. I originally went to this show as a fan since I was not granted a press pass, but I enjoyed myself so much and was able to bring a camera into the show with me and had to share my experience. It was great not having to follow my usual ritual and was not obligated to be there to review every band. I could enjoy the whole two day festival as a fan and partake in every aspect from tailgating and catching up with fellow concert goers to hanging out at the campground and just taking it all in. I hope everyone enjoyed reading my write up as much as I did writing it.

Concert of the Year: This was probably the toughest part to write since I saw so many great shows this year. I went to 16 shows, two festivals and saw 80 bands between them all. Here is a quick run down of my five favoite shows, which all include bands I had seen for the first time. Number Five — Dream Theater played their epic album, Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory and an amazing group of talent that blew me away. Number Four — Billy Idol. All the classic hits rolled into one night and sharing the stage with Steve Stevens on guitar was amazing! Number Three — Skillet, Alter Bridge and Dirty Honey. The latter was a great surprise and made me a fan. Alter Bridge played their music to perfection and Skillet brought a big time stage production to a smaller venue and made a connection with everyone in the venue. Number Two — Chicago. My guilty pleasure band ever since I learned how to play trumpet back in school.  They may not be hard rock, metal or sleaze, but they sound great, put on an awesome show and can play as well if not better than any band on the planet. Number One — Grand Rocktember had 13 bands, four of which I had never seen before. XYZ and Black ‘N Blue have been on my bucket list since the ’80s and both lived up to my expectations. Steven Adler brought along a great group of musicians and got the crowd rockin’ to the Guns N’ Roses classics we all love….. and the vocals of Ariel Kamin sent chills down my spine on “You Could Be Mine.” And if that wasn’t enough, rock n’ roll hall of famer, Pat Benatar along with guitarist and husband, Neil Giraldo, capped off the first night in epic fashion. I also have to mention Night Ranger and my favorite band, Queensrÿche, killed it like they always do! I can’t wait to see what 2020 will bring!

Queensrÿche‘s “Blood of The Levant” video:

QUEENSRYCHE – Blood Of The Levant (Official Video)

QUEENSRYCHE – Blood Of The Levant (Official Video). Order now! https://Queensryche.lnk.to/TheVerdict ‘The Verdict’ out March 1, 2019.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Terry Martinson’s Top Five Albums of 2019:

Country: USA
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2007
Contributions: CD Review

01. VitneAria
02. Fighter VFighter
03. Damage SFPDamage SFP
04. BarbarossastrasseWaiting In The Wings
05. Dirty HoneyDirty Honey EP

Number One Choice: Vitne’s Aria is #1 because Vitne has in the past and especially on this effort cemented himself as the most prolific artist that (unfortunately) no one knows. This release is simply a masterclass in song writing and musical composition. Vitne has always been a well rounded artist but of late, he has entered another phase that is tough to imagine after so many years and persona evolution’s and the constant collaborations with Mr. ’80s himself, Julian Angel, has become a staple and certainly is a pairing like few others. I owe Vitne and the world a proper write up further praising this release (it’s in process, trust me) and I do wish that people will keep (or at least start) to give back to Vitne with some listens, likes and well deserved support.

Concert of the Year: Frank Iero. This was the only concert for me in 2019 (well in a while for that matter) and it was super special as it was my daughter and son’s first concert and they conspired to go by buying tickets for my birthday. I know right? For those not immediately familiar with Frank and his works, he is “most” recognizable as the lead guitarist for My Chemical Romance. However, when they disbanded some years ago, he forged on with a fairly successful solo career. The tunes he creates are done well and are in the alternative hard rock / punk pop vein the kids get all twitchy for. I must admit I was singing along and having a blast so Frank succeeded as did my kids in creating a very memorable night.

Vitne‘s “Encephalon” video:

VITNE – Encephalon (Official Music Video)

VITNE’s brand new single released July 8th, 2019 Website: https://www.vitne.net Bandcamp: https://vitne.bandcamp.com/track/encephalon-3 Spotify: https://open…

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Todd Myers’ Top Five Albums of 2019:

Country: USA
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2019
Contributions: CD Reviews

01. Temple BallsUntamed
02. John Diva & The Rockets of LoveMama Said Rock Is Dead
03. Crashdïet Rust
04. Crazy LixxForever Wild
05. Tom KeiferRise

This past year saw some of rock music’s finest bands release new music. For the better part of the past month, I have been listening to many of these albums over and over trying to narrow them down to a Top Five. After countless listens, my Top Five Albums of 2019 are…

Number One Choice: Temple Balls’ Untamed. I got into this band when they released their debut but always felt they needed a bit more focus and direction. As songs started to get released for the second album, I started to think they just might have done that. When Untamed was released, I was surprised to find such a level of maturity and growth. This album is fantastic! As a long-time fan of the hard rock and sleaze genre, I have always been weary of artists and fans who pigeonhole themselves into yesteryear and come across as dated. I have always been a strong proponent of growth and one thing that I absolutely love about bands such as Temple Balls and Shiraz Lane is that while they are obviously heavily influenced by bands we all know and love, they are still uniquely themselves and have modern elements in their music that keeps things fresh. This album is a fine example of that. There is a uniqueness and freshness found with this band and that ultimately pushed them ahead of some of this years other releases. Favorites on this album include “Kill The Voice” and “Leap of Faith.”

Number Two Choice: John Diva & The Rockets of Love’s Mama Said Rock Is Dead. If you have ever wondered what Steel Panther might sound like if they ditched the potty humor and incessant profanity, I present to you — John Diva & The Rockets of Love! This German band has been making a name for themselves across their native country and the rest of Europe and they hit it out of the park on their debut album! They have the same wink and nod ode to the icons of the genre that Steel Panther has, but the comedy is toned way back. Yes, they have that “Hey, this sounds like a Whitesnake song” thing, but man do they pull it off. The album tapers off a slight bit on the second half and maybe a song (ahem, “Toxic”) could have been cut, but this is a fun fun record and I cannot get enough of it. The musicianship and production are top notch. If you are not smiling and singing along to this album from the get-go, then you need to have your head checked. I can’t wait to see what is next for this band!

Number Three Choice: Crashdïet’s Rust. My other favorite band here! This album was a long time coming. It felt like forever before we finally got a new album from Crashdïet. They took their time and did this right, and they delivered a great record! This is the debut of new lead singer, Gabriel Keyes. He sounds like the perfect mix of Dave Lepard and Simon Cruz. Top to bottom, this album is sick! I absolutely love every track on it! Nobody does sleaze like Crashdïet does and songs like “Idiots” prove just that. This album is rich and full and covers the whole spectrum of what Crashdïet is. It is probably not as good as Generation Wild or Rest In Sleaze, but those are modern classics and have time on their side. Whether or not this album is on par with those will be determined in years to come. It is pretty damn good though.

Number Four Choice: Crazy Lixx’s Forever Wild. Arguably my favorite band in my top five, the latest release from Malmö’s finest is everything fans have come to expect from Crazy Lixx. They have mastered the art of melodic rock and this record has some of the best songs they have ever put out on it. You would be hard pressed to find some better singles this year than “Break Out”, Silent Thunder”, or “Terminal Velocity.” If I am getting nit-picky, there is nothing new here. It is just the same thing we got on their last album (which is very good). I have two problems with this. First, Crazy Lixx are capable of better (see Crazy Lixx’s New Religion) and there seems to be a little too much 1989 cliché. There is a big difference in being influenced by an era. It’s a whole other thing when you try to copy an era. It is weird, but at times I feel like the band might be creeping a little too much into the latter. Either way, this is a great album from a great band. I just think they can top this.

Number Five Choice: Tom Keifer’s Rise. This is really a great album! Tom Keifer does it all and it is all on full display here. From his songwriting to his singing to his guitar playing, his sophomore solo release, not only tops his debut, but would be right up there with the first two or three Cinderella albums. I found myself, rediscovering this lately as I was sorting out my end of year rankings. At times, I felt like this album deserved to be ranked higher, but for whatever reason, it just does not get listened to as much as those above it. For that reason, it lands at number five. Solid from top to bottom, there’s not a bad track on the album. Highlights for me include “The Death of Me”, “Waiting on The Demons”, “Rise” and “You Believe in Me.”

Favorite Contribution of 2019: My fav contribution would be my first one — my review of Santa Cruz’s Katharsis. The reason is simple. As a life long music nerd, record collector, concert goer, and faithful Sleaze Roxx reader, I finally got to cross over from merely reading to now contributing!

Concert of the Year: Def Leppard’s Vegas Residence! I attended the shows on August 31st and September 1st at Planet Hollywood. As a diehard Leppard fan, it was insane hearing deep cuts such as “Billy’s Got A Gun” and “Die Hard The Hunter” live. I can’t wait for the DVD of the residency.

Temple Balls‘ “Distorted Emotions” video:

Temple Balls – Distorted Emotions (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO)

The official music video for Distorted Emotions taken from Temple Balls’ 2nd album ‘Untamed’ Stream it, buy it digitally and on CD.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Tyson Briden’s Top Five Albums of 2019:

Country: Canada
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2016
Contributions: CD Reviews, Concert Reviews, Interviews
Affiliation: Non-Stop Rock Talk with Tyson Briden (podcast)

01. The DefiantsZokusho
02. Roxy BlueRoxy Blue
03. Tora ToraBastards of Beale Street
04. Spread EagleSubway To The Stars
05. Donnie VieBeautiful Things

Number One Choice: The Defiants’ Zokusho. As we get into 2020, I have to say that I am so glad 2019 is in the rearview mirror. For many reasons, 2019 was possibly one of the worst for me on record. I am looking forward to 2020 and the positive changes I will make in my life to get me back to my old positive self. Regardless, of how I feel about life from a personal standpoint, there is one constant that never lets me down and that’s music. I chose The Defiants’ Zokusho as my number one and I will explain why. From the first notes of the “Love Is The Killer”, it became immediately apparent that this album was going to be a stellar gem. I had this album on my phone when I went on vacation in Portugal. It was a two week trip that ended up feeling like an eternity. One morning, I decided to put it on as I ran the streets of Porto. When I went to the hotel gym in Albufiera, I would crank “Allnighter” as I worked out. There was something about this track that really got me moving and at the time, my mood really needed something that helped me deal with my aggression. There were also a few times during that same workout that I was then emotionally drained due to some deep relationship issues, so listening to a track like “Standing On The Edge”, it really pulled me back to being realistic about my feelings and how I would go about fixing them. As the months have passed and I have still been dealing with a certain amount of distress, the track “U X’d My Heart” really drove me through many days of feeling lost and under appreciated. In all, I cannot really find anything bad about this album. Truly, it is a standard for any fan of melodic ’80s hard rock.

Favorite Contribution of 2019: My favorite contribution of 2019 was an interview I did with Tora Tora lead singer Anthony Corder (see parts 1 and 2). This was the beginning of a relationship that has continued throughout the year. What I really found astounding in doing this interview was Corder’s approach and the sheer enthusiasm he still possesses for the music. His positive approach is so remarkable. This is a guy who just enjoys life and what he does. We have kept in touch and let me tell you, as I have gotten to know Corder a little bit better, he really is that way all the time. Just a super great human being. The transposition on this one really took some time, as I had over an hour and forty minutes of tape to go through. In the end, I think it turned out very good and gave the world a great indication of how Tora Tora burst onto the Memphis scene in the late ’80s.

Concert of the Year: For me, Tora Tora at Diesel in Chesterfield, Michigan was a riot. What a fantastic time with my good friend Red Green! I played out the whole journey in my review. It’s those things that really make a review outstanding. It’s not just the show, it’s the whole experience that got you to and from the show. There were highs and lows on this trip. At the end of the day though, Tora Tora came to play and rocked the house.

The Defiants‘ “U X’D My Heart” video:

The Defiants – “U X’D My Heart” (Official Music Video) #RockAintDead

Subscribe here for more videos – http://radi.al/SubscribeFrontiers | From the album ZOKUSHO. Get your copy NOW: http://radi.al/Zokusho THE DEFIANTS are back with their sophomore album, “Zokusho”. Comprised of Paul Laine, Bruno Ravel, and Rob Marcello, The Defiants is three fabulous musicians who, as fans in the know will immediately recognize, all have ties to popular hard rockers, Danger Danger.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Wrestlingepicenter.com’s Top Five Albums of 2019:

Country: USA
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2005
Contributions: CD Reviews, Concert Reviews
Affiliation: Wrestling Epicenter (website)

01. Tom KeiferRise
02. Crazy LixxForever Wild
03. WhitesnakeFlesh & Blood
04. CrashdïetRust
05. TeslaShock

Before I list my top five, I want it to be noted that I hold a closer bond with the classic artists, veterans… Older guys of the genre that made it what it is. But, I don’t give them a pass on bad records. With that said, 2019 has been an up and down year for our genre. Some bands released great albums that have not ventured far from my CD player since I bought them. Yes, I buy tangible compact discs. Others got one or two plays, never grew on me, and went on the shelf to collect dust. And, those dust collectors are by bands I love but they just missed the mark entirely. But, let’s not celebrate the negative. Let’s look at the positive as we head into a year that will feature three hair metal, sleaze rock acts in football and baseball stadiums in 2020 and the potential to revive, to some degree, our genre once again. Wishful thinking? Sure, why not.

Number One Choice: Tom Keifer’s Rise. While everyone now releases an album called Rise for some reason, #Keiferband delivered the best one. In fact, it might be the perfect sleaze rock album in 2019. I’ve seen some say “It is a good album for Tom at this stage of the game.” I hate that remark. In fact, it reminds me of Eddie Trunk reviewing AC/DC’s Rock Or Bust years ago. He said much the same. In reality, his review was a polite way of saying “They’re done but this isn’t a disgrace.” Keifer delivers inspired vocals on a diverse album complete with more rockers than ballads. This album is much more like classic Cinderella than the direction he was heading in with The Way Life Goes a few years back. Songs to look out for on this one are “All Amped Up”, “Untitled”, “The Death of Me” and a great title track though a ballad. All in all, 2019 resulted in some great albums!

Number Two Choice: Crazy Lixx’s Forever Wild. After their last album Ruff Justice fell a little flat compared to their self-titled 2014 release, Forever Wild was a return to home run hitting Crazy Lixx doing what Crazy Lixx does best. With a lot of uplifting lyrics and some incredible guitar and vocal hooks, my favorite band of the 21st century delivered a nearly perfect album. In fact, as I type this, I’m in a Forever Wild t-shirt. So, I kind of like it, you could say! I love the title track “(Never Die) Forever Wild” and “Silent Thunder.”

Number Three Choice: Whitesnake’s Flesh & Blood. Whitesnake returned to the studio for a 2019 album that has really a little bit of all of their best work. It has the raw energy and bombastic guitars of their largely overlooked Good To Be Bad album from 2007 and the blues elements of their original releases before the monster self-titled album most just call 1987. Aside from believing the video for “Shut Up & Kiss Me” was great because the car Tawny Kitaen danced on made an appearance and not a ridiculously hot chick doing splits and falling out of her clothes on top of it — although I don’t think I’d want to see Tawny do that now… Well, I probably would. But, I digress. Aside from that logical error, the album was literally perfect. Songs I love are “Shut Up & Kiss Me”, “Well I Never”, and “Hey You (You Make Me Rock)”. Truthfully a gem from David Coverdale and the boys.

Number Four Choice: Crashdïet’s Rust. I came a little late to the party to Crashdïet joining the revolution with Generation Wild. I’ve gone back and picked up their earlier works. I forget how many singers they’re up to now but they always emerge with a vocalist who is amazing. Rust proves they have done it yet again with powerful songs that really kick you in the teeth. I really love the title track as well as “Filth And Flowers.”

Number Five Choice: Tesla’s Shock. I saw someone call it Jeff Leppard after singer Jeff Keith and that was a perfect description of the album. While it is just too slick for a Tesla album with too many pop elements plugged in by Phil Collen of Def Leppard, the raw power of Frank Hannon’s guitar and Jeff Keith’s voice do shine through at times perhaps never more so than the title track “Shock” which requires the audience to put up with electronic drums to start the song to get to the screaming goodness.

Favorite Contribution of 2019: CD Review of Tom Keifer’s Rise. I enjoyed writing this review because the content spoke to me in a way that made me open up a little whereas I would be more guarded otherwise. There is a debate in the house about what makes music speak to you and if the songs have to be hisorical. For me, the songs I really love connect with you on a personal level. “I know what that guy was feeling when he wrote this!” And, I feel that feeling opened me up to be as real as I’ve ever been in public with that review.

Concert of the Year: Tom Keifer at Marquee Theatre in Tempe, Arizona on August 20, 2019. 2019 was a sad year as BLK Live, the venue that sprang up in 2017 as a venue that brought in a lot of the acts I’d pay to go see, shut down due to multiple reasons — some political, some financial. The political reasons are that people “complained” that the shows were too loud and that many were leaving in a drunken state to drive home through the streets in an unsafe way. I doubt that being the true reason as the shows all finished at or near 11:00 p.m, which, by state law, is before curfew for noise violations in a public place. Therefore, it was not in violation of any noise complaints. I, for one, never had a single drink at the venue but I’m slightly straighter edged than the Pope. I did see a number of people stumble out of the venue a little off their rocker but most had rides or hailed a ride. So, again, I really don’t think the word of the political figures holds water.

What I do think it is all about is the venue was located in Scottsdale which is the rich area of the Phoenix metro area. If a celebrity lives in Arizona, they probably live in Scottsdale. So, instead of a bar and grill with a decent stage set up, that square footage in Scottsdale is probably more valuable to the owner to either sell to build another block of yuppie condos or to build something more upscale. I onlty mention any of this because I didn’t get to a single show after August because none came around. And, none except the big Stadium tour are scheduled to come to the Phoenix area anytime soon. So, losing BLK Live put a major hitch in my concert going. Tom Keifer was supposed to play BLK but ended up changing after the venue shut. The show was perfect. Tom still has the voice which is almost impossible to believe considering the style of which he sings. And, the #Keiferband delivered on all the classic Cinderella tracks with the energy of Cinderella. It remains one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time.

Tom Keifer‘s “The Death of Me” video:

Tom Keifer #keiferband “The Death of Me” (Official Music Video)

Tom Keifer “The Death of Me” http://www.tomkeifer.com/preorder/ https://orcd.co/tomkeiferrise “The Death of Me” from the brand new Tom Keifer #keiferband rel…

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________