Sleaze Roxx Writers’ Top Five Albums of 2016

Sleaze Roxx Writers’ Top Five Albums of 2016

Welcome to the second ever edition of the Sleaze Roxx Writers’ Top Five Albums of the Year!

This year just like last year has seen the emergence of a number of new Sleaze Roxx writers from Metal Mike who contributed over 75 CD/DVD reviews in one calendar year, to Deke who has his own blog Superdekes, to Tyson Briden whose knowledge of the hair metal era is second to none. Once again, the Sleaze Roxx website has been bolstered by contributions from long-time contributors such as Ruben Mosqueda (who continues to provide interviews that many “rival” websites end up mentioning), Terry Martinson (who always sees the glass half full), Fat Peter (the one constant mainstay from Europe) and Mark Hovarth (who brought to my attention two bands whose albums finished in the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2016). Sleaze Roxx also received continued contributions from a few writers who jumped on board after the website’s transformation back in 2015. Eduardo continues to push the boundaries of what Sleaze Roxx covers and has his own blog, Will “Lee” Bones continues to keep the glam metal torch alive and the two-headed monster (two writers) that is Metal Headz Media continues to provide many concert reviews and also has a Facebook page.

You may noticed that some Sleaze Roxx contributors are not featured below. The explanation is simple in that I set a minimum contribution threshold for anyone to be featured in the Sleaze Roxx Writers’ Top Five Albums of 2016. Accordingly, you have the top five albums from the most prolific Sleaze Roxx contributors in 2016 who chose to contribute to the article below. 

In terms of my favorite contribution of 2016, there were many highlights from covering the Rock N Skull Festival (Pre-Party, Day One, Day Two, Day Three, Rankings) to doing an in-depth interview with former Badlands bassist Greg Chaisson but I will go with my two part interview (Part One and Part Two) with current Masterplan and former Helloween guitarist Roland Grapow. The reason for that is Grapow has played on three of my favorite albums of all-time — Masterplan‘s self-titled debut album, Helloween‘s Master Of The Rings and Helloween‘s The Dark Ride — and it was a real thrill to have him take me through his entire discography with those two legendary bands.

Don’t forget to check out the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2016 if you have not already done so!

Olivier

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Deke’s Top Five Albums of 2015:

Country: Canada
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2016
Favorite 2016 contribution: Concert review of Monster Truck live in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada on March 5, 2016

01. The CultHidden City
02. MetallicaHardwired…To Self-Destruct
03. Alter BridgeThe Last Hero
04. Monster Truck Sittin’ Heavy
05. ToqueToque

Number one choice: The Cult‘s new record is my numero one as they never make the same album twice. They’re always pushing the musical envelope and still releasing quality product even with record sales down.

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Eduardo’s Top Five Albums of 2015:

Countries: Canada / Mexico
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2015
Favorite 2016 contribution: CD review of Metallica‘s Hardwired…To Self-Destruct

01. EpicaThe Holographic Principle
02. AvantasiaGhostlights
03. RedemptionThe Art Of Loss
04. MessaBelfry
05. OpethSorceress

Number one choice: Epica‘s The Holographic Principle made me bang my head, sing along, and grin more than any other album during 2016. The over the top compositions and throw everything in may not be to everyone’s taste, but I consider making everything work a monumental achievement and the fact that it encompasses so many metal sub-genres is right up my alley. Not to mention that their concert at The Phoenix in Toronto was among the best I attended this year. You can check out Eduardo’s Top 15 Albums of 2016 at his blog site

Favorite 2016 contribution: My favorite 2016 contribution was, no doubt, reviewing Metallica‘s new album, Hardwired…To Self-Destruct. It’s always fun and very challenging to tackle controversial releases from big bands like Metallica (and last year Iron Maiden). I always get nervous/excited and listen to them endlessly in the span of a couple of days knowing that even though they’ll be the most reviewed in different websites, they’ll also be read by many with polarizing opinions. I like that they often lead to people leaving comments. I like the interaction with readers of the Sleaze Roxx community. It feels like discussing music with friends. I want more of that on the website.

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Fat Peter’s Top Five Albums of 2016:

Country: Poland
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2007
Favorite 2016 contribution: Concert review of The Winery Dogs live in Poland

01. Black Stone CherryKentucky 
02. Ted PoleyBeyond The Fade
03. The DefiantsThe Defiants
04. Andy Timmons Theme From A Perfect World
05. MetallicaHardwired…To Self-Destruct

Number one choice: A record which didn’t really took me by surprise, because I heard Black Stone Cherry before and found them a young but a very solid band. However, this one made me their fan, going through the discography. Kentucky combines some really great music moods: southern climate, in-your-face hard rock energy, some sleaze swagger, some country, and even a few soulful vibes. Most importantly, the album sounds strong and authentic and that is always appreciated.

Favorite 2016 contribution: My concert review of The Winery Dogs‘ show in Poland was my favorite as I liked the synergy of the band. I was also aware that they were still not that known at that time and I had the chance to “spread the word.”

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Mark Hovarth’s Top Five Albums of 2016:

Country: Canada
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2012
Favorite 2016 Contribution: CD review of Niterain’s ‘Vendetta.’

01. NiterainVendetta
02. The Black AcesShot In The Dark
03. VolbeatSeal The Deal & Let’s Boogie
04. SkärletSkärlet
05. AirbourneBreakin’ Outta Hell

An honorable mention goes out to Löve Razër and their three-song EP Rock ‘N’ Roll Addiction.

Number one choice: Niterain just have a knack for song writing in a fun up-tempo style. While their style has matured somewhat, the sleaze element and image was retained. I am loving the ’80s LA Sunset Strip influences along with a modern sound. It’s an album that I find myself going back to again and again.

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Dan from Metal Headz Media’s Top Five Albums of 2016:

Country: USA
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2015
Favorite 2016 contribution: Concert review of Warrant, Firehouse and Lita Ford in Minnesota, USA.

01. Michael SweetOne Sided War
02. Avenged SevenfoldThe Stage
03. Black Stone CherryKentucky
04. TestamentBrotherhood Of The Snake
05. Flotsam And JetsamFlotsam and Jetsam

Number one choice: From the moment I heard Michael Sweet‘s solo album One Sided War, I knew it would be hard to beat for the top pick in my list for best album in 2016. This release showcased the talents that we all know Sweet is capable of. He also surrounded himself with some very talented musicians: Joel Hoekstra (Whitesnake) on guitar, Will Hunt (Evanescence) on drums, John O’Boyle on bass and Ethan Brosh on guitar. One Sided War is an album that you can listen to from start to finish and one will listen to it over and over again.

Favorite 2016 contribution: My favorite contribution would be my concert review for Warrant, Lita Ford and Firehouse. It was a great night of music and the first time I got to see Lita Ford live.

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Steven from Metal Headz Media’s Top Five Albums of 2016:

Country: USA
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2015
Favorite 2016 contribution: Concert review of Warrant, Firehouse and Lita Ford in Minnesota, USA.

01. Alter BridgeThe Last Hero
02. Michael SweetOne Sided War
03. Black Stone Cherry Kentucky
04. TestamentBrotherhood Of The Snake
05. HardlineHuman Nature

Number one choice: Alter Bridge‘s The Last Hero is quickly becoming my second favorite album behind the debut from this great band. A lot of people are saying that there are no more great rock and metal bands. Those people need to wake and listen to Alter Bridge. I chose The Last Hero as my album of the year because I love a band that can consistently put out great music and can perform their songs live as good as they sound on their albums. Myles Kennedy once again sounds like one of the great singers in rock and metal today. Along with Kennedy, Mark Tremonti, Brian Marshall, and Scott Phillips continue to come up with great riffs along with lyrics that are fitting in today’s world. My favorite songs are “Show Me A Leader,” “The Other Side,” “Cradle To The Grave” and “Crows On A Wire.”

Favorite 2016 contribution: My favorite contribution of the year has to be my concert review of Bad Company with The Winery Dogs opening for them. This is my most viewed article on Sleaze Roxx. I even had someone call me out on a mistake I made in my review and I owned up to it. I stated there was a certain person playing guitar in Bad Company that night and it turned out to be someone else. I chalked it up as a learning experience and it will help me grow as a writer and reviewer. Both bands that night sounded great, but The Winery Dogs kicked some serious ass and won over a lot of new fans. The highlight of the night for me was running into Mike Portnoy of The Winery Dogs and getting a couple things signed and a picture taken with him.

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Metal Mike’s Top Five Albums of 2016:

Country: Canada
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2016
Favorite 2016 contribution: CD review of Helix‘s Rock It Science

01. NitroVilleCheating The Hangman
02. The Last VegasEat Me
03. SnakebiteSnakebite
04. Dust Bowl JokiesDust Bowl Jokies
05. The TreatmentGeneration Me

Number one choice: I’ve been struggling with this Top Five for awhile. There are so many good albums that came out in 2016, and frankly lots of crap too. The good albums I’ve kept. The great albums have stuck with me. I chose these albums based on my love for pure sleaze rock and the quality of each release. Each of these five ear-wormed their way into my head and have become part of my favourites mix over the past 12 months. 

NitroVille have a great guitar sound and fantastic vocals. Dust Bowl Jokies have toured Europe with The Last Vegas and a bunch of other bands with some amazing sleaze. Snakebite are a bi-polar Skid Row, half of the latter’s self-titled album and half Slave To The Grind…. Great stuff. The Last Vegas because they are wild in concert, whether it be 1,000 fans in London, UK or five people in a crappy venue in Barrie Ontario… They play their hearts out and are just cool guys to hang with. I groove to The Treatment. Great feel and taste for the old school. By the looks of things, people will choose Tango Down, but I’ll take The Treatment first, thank you.

Favorite 2016 contribution: My favourite contribution this year? My talk with a long-time hero and Helix singer Brian Vollmer, which led to my review of Rock It Science, and the follow up article about cross-border Canadian bands.

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Ruben Mosqueda’s Top Five Albums of 2016:

Country: USA
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2008
Favorite 2016 contribution: Interview with The Dead Daisies‘ singer John Corabi

01. Metal ChurchXI
02. MegadethDystopia
03. Death AngelThe Evil Divide
04. MetallicaHardwired…To Self-Destruct
05. TestamentBrotherhood Of the Snake

Number one choice: My top pick for 2016 is Metal Church’s ‘XI.’ It’s a brilliant old school power metal album. I recall upsetting the Rat Pak Records CEO (who promptly vented his displeasure via e-mail) when the band issued its dreadful Generation Nothing in 2013. Looks like Kurdt Vanderhoof agreed. He got Mike Howe back and came up with Metal Church’s best album in decades. 

Favorite 2016 contribution: My favorite contribution in ‘16 was hands down the interview with John Corabi (The Dead Daisies) back in June. Not because it blew up on the internet; but because John was candid and unfiltered. The flipside was that John got bent about a Mötley Crüe [Vince Neil] question. There was no ill will meant but he vowed after our interview not to ever speak about Mötley Crüe (again). That was of course rubbish. In fact, he was on air (on December 5, 2016) on Eddie Trunk’s Trunk Nation show [on Sirius] via phone from Germany fielding Mötley questions! It should be interesting come February ‘17 when he’s plugging his ‘Live MC ‘94′ album. Which as the title states is ‘all Mötley Crüe.’

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Terry Martinson’s Top Five Albums of 2016:

Country: USA
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2007
Favorite 2016 contribution: CD review of SteelRush‘s Through The Night EP

01. Nitroforce 9Heat Of The Downtown
02. King Of BonesDon’t Mess With The King
03. Hell Of A RideBete Noire
04. SteelRushThrough The Night EP
05. Scattered HamletSwamp Rebel Machine

Number one choice: Nitroforce 9 are super cool and insanely underrated and mostly unknown hard rock band from Helsinki. There is never a dull moment on this long play. Tons of hooks, gaggles of tasty guitar work, fun and instantly memorable songs and Eero‘s vocals are as befitting the genre as it is unique. For fans of hard rock alumnis Jackyl, AC/DC, New American Shame, The Pursuit of Happiness, Guns N’ Roses and the like. Look for a proper review in the near future and definitely search these guys out if you like hard rock music full of swagger and style. Certainly the band is well worthy of a good hard look and listen.

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Tyson Briden’s Top Five Albums of 2016:

Country: Canada
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2016
Favorite 2016 contribution: CD review of Mötley Crüe‘s Too Fast For Love (Leathür Records version)

01. Mitch MalloyMaking Noise
02. The DefiantsThe Defiants
03. The Dead DaisiesMake Some Noise
04. Rick SpringfieldRocket Science
05. Michael SweetOne Sided War

Number one choice: Looking at the year retrospectively, there have been some very solid releases. The Defiants was one that I listened to quite a bit. That was until I recently purchased Mitch Malloy’s Making Noise album. I don’t want to take anything away from The Defiants either because I do feel it was a great album. I had anticipated Mitch Malloy’s new release for quite some time and I was not disappointed. My decision to make this as my top album of the year was made easy upon listening to it and feeling the emotion Malloy put forth in every song. All around, this release is great from top to bottom. I find it amazing that Mitch Malloy did everything on this album. All instruments were played by him. The songwriting is all his and the stellar production is him as well. When it came down to it, how can I not make this my number one? This man has put his heart and soul into his work and produced a superior product. I hear so many influences throughout. The comparisons to The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Lenny Kravitz, Bob Seger and Rascal Flatts are quite apparent and those names are iconic in rock and country. I firmly believe that Mitch Malloy’s name should be up there with these iconic names. For me, he is the ultimate artist. My respect level is above and beyond. My hope is that in 2017, Mitch Malloy will get the credit he solely deserves.

Favorite 2016 contribution: As I ponder my last few months writing for Sleaze Roxx, it is hard to decide on what my favorite contribution to Sleaze Roxx was. It has been such a thrill so far. I truly appreciate the artists I have interviewed and I am proud of my album reviews. To be honest, this experience is something that I always dreamed of. This genre, in my eyes is the greatest genre ever in music. It saddens me to think that it will never be duplicated again. It’s like thinking about someone ever breaking Wayne Gretzky’s hockey records. Unthinkable indeed! Now thinking back to what I have put forth so far, I would have to say that my review of the Leathür Records‘ version of Mötley Crüe’s Too Fast For Love was one that is true to my heart and is my favourite of the year. Describing the whole process of my first listen to that album brought back so many memories of my childhood. I cherish the years from 1984 to 1993. For me, that is when music was really at its pinnacle. I look forward to so much more in 2017. I have a few new interviews in the works and of course am looking forward to doing upcoming album releases.

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Will “Bones” Lee’s Top Five Albums of 2016:

Country: USA
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2015
Favorite 2016 contribution: CD review of Tigertailz‘s Blast

01. AirbourneBreakin’ Outta Hell
02. TigertailzBlast
03. Ace FrehleyOrigins Vol. 1
04. Femme FataleOne More For The Road
05. Prophets Of AddictionReunite The Sinners

Number one choice: Airbourne‘s Breakin Outta Hell is just good time, fun rock n’ roll energy. You can not help but crank the volume up every time. Take the groove of AC/DC, the fun catchiness of Van Halen and the smattering of what made the ’80s/’90s rock so endearing to us all and it’s here in one album.

Favorite 2016 contribution: I will go with my CD review of Tigertailz‘s Blast being probably my favorite for this year. This still being said even though I do not find it to be a groundbreaking release and being down on it for certain factors but still, I see that it keeps hope alive for myself, the sound and I think for the most part, Pepsi Tate would be happy with the album.