Sleaze Roxx Writers’ Top Five Albums of 2017
Welcome to the third ever edition of the Sleaze Roxx Writers’ Top Five Albums of the Year!
Music wise, 2017 was an exceptional year as there were so many great releases. From an internal standpoint, it was a challenging year for Sleaze Roxx until Ed DeGagne came to the rescue. Back in June 2015 when Sleaze Roxx founder and editor Skid agreed for me to take over the site and continue the Sleaze Roxx legacy, a new website needed to be created given that the old Sleaze Roxx website ran via html coding that was getting to be archaic and which was way over my head. The man who initially created the new Sleaze Roxx website did an amazing job (in my eyes) and was able to pretty much put whatever ideas I had into fruition. Unfortunately, the new website designer wasn’t able to continue and frankly whomever I retained to assist for the next 1.5 years weren’t up to the task. Eventually, the website started crashing in the early parts of the year before I asked long-time Sleaze Roxx reader and new writer Ed DeGagne for help. Ed did much more than that coming up with the necessary changes and solutions to get the Sleaze Roxx website back on track for which I am very grateful for. Thank you Ed!
Writing wise, 2017 was an exceptional year for Sleaze Roxx as well. Sleaze Roxx has been blessed with many high quality contributors in the last couple of years and 2017 was no exception. I can honestly say that many of the Sleaze Roxx writers write much better than I ever will and it is truly a pleasure to read and post their reviews, interviews, etc. I am also grateful for professional photographers such as Christopher Carroll, Joe Schaeffer and Jake Warkel allowing Sleaze Roxx to use their photos whenever I want with no questions asked.
Just like the last two years, you may have noticed that some Sleaze Roxx writers 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 2017. Accordingly, you have the top five albums from the most prolific Sleaze Roxx writers in 2017 who chose to contribute to the article below. I should also add that there are a handful of Sleaze Roxx contributors that are completely behind the scenes and although they are not part of the Sleaze Roxx Writers’ Top Five Albums of 2017, I am also very grateful for their contributions and they (should) know who they are!
This time around, I asked each Sleaze Roxx writer featured below to provide their top five albums for 2017, a little blurb about their number one choice, their favorite 2017 contribution to Sleaze Roxx and their favorite concert of the year. Quite a few ended up commenting on all of their five choices for top albums of the year and rather than not include the extra commentary like years past, I decided to include it this time around. Accordingly, the Sleaze Roxx Writers’ Top Five Albums of 2017 is longer than ever before.
In terms of my favorite contribution for 2017, I am going to go with my interview with former Quiet Riot, Bobby Blotzer‘s Ratt and Westfield Massacre lead vocalist Seann Nicols. After reading one interview after another from Quiet Riot drummer Frankie Banali putting Nicols down after the latter was let go from the band, I wanted to get Nicols‘ side of the story. When I first approached Nicols, he agreed to do an interview before putting it off for some time. This sometimes occurs with interviews, and when that happens, the interview usually never ends up taking place but to Nicols‘ credit, the singer stayed true to his word and eventually did do the interview. I really enjoyed Nicols‘ professionalism throughout. With respect to my favorite concert of the year, I have to go with Dirkschneider‘s tour stop at The Mod Club in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on January 10, 2017. The headline for my concert review was “Have I already seen the concert of the year?” As it turns out, I had!
Don’t forget to check out the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2017 if you have not already done so!
Without further ado, here is the Sleaze Roxx Writers’ Top Five Albums of 2017!
Christopher Carroll’s Top Five Albums of 2017:
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2016
Number one choice: Janet Gardner‘s self-titled debut solo album. I can sum this record up with two words: “Holy Shit!” Yes, we all know Janet has a great voice but even as a fan, I didn’t expect this — a record that is layered with textured guitar sounds, experimental vocals and emotional melody lines. Janet said she stretched when she was singing these songs, pulling in sounds and styles she’s never used all the while doing what felt right to her and we are so glad she did! Some of the vocals on here I didn’t even realize were hers until I found out she sang 100% of the vocals on the album. Justin James did an amazing job creating a real sound for each song. These two wrote every song together and that synergy made these songs amazing! Listening to these songs is like riding a roller coaster. They quickly lock you into a mood and then, the chaos begins! They take you through impassioned twists and exciting turns, then drop you instantly just to pick you up again. Truly enjoyable!
Number two choice: L.A. Guns‘ The Missing Peace. This record marks one of the most anticipated ‘returns’ in decades! This is the iconic band that drove us hard through the ’80s! When Phil Lewis and Tracii Guns reunited in L.A. Guns, they picked up the torch and ran with it! These guys each have such a distinctive sound that marry so well together. It shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone that the record would be thoroughly enjoyable! Each song has a completely different feel to it but they all have that memorable ‘L.A. Guns’ thread winding throughout them. These guys are at the top of their game! I am looking forward to everything L.A. Guns has to offer this year!
Number three choice: Steel Panther‘s Lower The Bar. Some write them off as a ‘joke’ band and most of those people aren’t aware that Satchel is a GIT graduate and Michael has a PhD in English Literature. These guys write music that sticks in your head. It’s infectious! They write music in the style they love — ‘hairband’ — better than anyone else and they do it effortlessly. Each of their records has been progressively better than the last and I listen to this one anytime I want to get into a great mood!
Number four choice: Madam X‘s Monstrocity. This was the surprise of the year for me! I had heard Madam X back when they were out originally but they didn’t stick with me but this, although the same original members, sounds like a completely different band and the songwriting is top notch! They have much to offer! I can’t wait to see them live for the first time.
Number five choice: Pretty Boy Floyd‘s Public Enemies. After decades, one of the bands that epitomized the ‘Hair Band’ and ‘Glam Rock’ monikers finally re-emerged with a super fun record that reminds us of exactly why we loved them. Steve Summers still shows off his trademark, identifiable, snarky vocals that I love hearing. Nobody sounds like him! The music sounds cool too! Kristy Majors didn’t miss a thing! Some cool, playful guitar sound on this record!
Favorite 2017 contribution: This year, it was my interview with Janet Gardner and Justin James. In addition to being talented, this couple is fun to interview. They made it so easy. We just sat there and had a great conversation and when one little door opened, things would just blossom and they would expand on them naturally. I felt like they really gave me a genuine inside look at themselves. I learned a lot about them in that interview and I hope the readers did as well.
Concert of the year: It has to be The Dead Daisies! These guys entertained the crowd and they are all great musicians so the show was flawless. This year, they even put out the best sounding live CD I’ve ever heard!
Deke’s Top Five Albums of 2017:
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2016
Number one choice: Stephen Pearcy‘s Smash album is the best album in that field as Stephen stepped up and hit one out of the park. What he does is write good ol’ fashioned sleaze ball street rock. No one comes close…. or that I listen to that is [laughs].
Favorite 2017 contribution: Retro CD review of Mötley Crüe‘s Generation Swine — If they would have shaved off four to five songs, it would have been a pretty decent release. Give Nikki Sixx credit for trying to change it up but the masses just did not care. It’s a shame though as “Afraid” and “Black Beauty” are classic tracks.
Concert of the year: Iron Maiden and Ghost at the Xcel Energy Center in Saint-Paul, Minnesota, USA on June 16, 2017! Maiden are a machine who you know will deliver the goods while Ghost are a band that won me over once I seen them but beforehand, I didn’t understand the whole anti Pope spiel!
Ed DeGagne’s Top Five Albums of 2017:
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2017
Number one choice: I have been a diehard L.A. Guns fan since their debut in the ’80s. I’ve been able to see them many times in the clubs, on the strip as well as on the east coast. The reunion of Phil and Tracii, as well as the great songs these two are capable of, created a fantastic album that in my opinion stands up to their first two stellar albums.
Number two choice: Babylon A.D.‘s Revelation Highway. To be honest, my #1 and #2 could have easily been swapped. Every single song on this album is good!
Number three choice: Every Mother’s Nightmare‘s Grind. This was a very surprising album for me. I wasn’t necessarily a huge EMN fan during their days of glory, but I have to admit, this current release is so good that I have gone back to revisit their past releases. Again, like my #1 and #2, every song on this album is good.
Number four choice: Kickin Valentina‘s Imaginary Creatures. Kick ass “new” band, fantastic live and a sophomore endeavor that is even better than their debut album which in and of itself was a stellar release.
Number five choice: Crazy Lixx‘s Ruff Justice. There is no doubt that Crazy Lixx are carrying the sleaze/glam torch into the future. Every Crazy Lixx release just seems to get better and better and this one and in my opinion, Ruff Justice is their best release to date.
Favorite 2017 Contribution: Confess‘ Haunters, because it was my first review.
Concert of the year: Sleazy Slimy Sunday 2 at the Cancun Cantina in Hanover, Maryland, USA. It was a great ending to the M3 Rock Festival weekend. The line-up was absolutely killer and the atmosphere was off the hook.
Eduardo’s Top Five Albums of 2017:
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2015
Number one choice: Mr. Big‘s Defying Gravity. In my opinion, it’s by far the best hard rock album of 2017. A lot has been said about its production. Many don’t like the toned down bass heavy style that was chosen but for me, it gives the music the proper sound. Performances throughout are excellent and even though the album doesn’t turn the rocking world upside down, it shows what’s possible when great musicians work on songs as a team. Excellent songwriting meets passion — that’s what this album is. An example for all other classic hard rock bands out there. Damn, the song “1992” alone makes this a worthy album, except, of course, all of the other ten songs are equally outstanding.
John Stoney Cannon’s Top Five Albums of 2017:
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2017
Number one choice: It’s really not hard to see why the L.A. Guns‘ “return album” The Missing Peace topped my list. In addition to the reunion of mainstays Tracii Guns and Phil Lewis, The Missing Peace is just chock full of everything fans loved about the band in the 1988 and 1989 when they released their self-titled debut and monster follow-up Cocked & Loaded while at the same time bringing an updated freshness to the mix. The band sounds more lively than in years past and each tune is a rock anthem waiting to be blasted from a concert stage.
Favorite 2017 contribution: Man, it’s hard to choose one! As you can tell, I usually get glassy eyed and emotional with most of the records I review because I get totally lost in memories [laughs] but I looked through a few of the retro reviews I did and while they all were very personal, I think reviewing KISS‘ Alive II was the most intense. I actually took my original vinyl album out that I bought with my allowance as a kid and put it on the turntable, then spread the album, contents and all, over my dining room table and while writing was just amazed how often I stopped to pick up and look at the album (and inserts) that I have looked at a million times over the years. Yeah, I have a newer copy but there’s just something about the magic and energy of an “artifact” you have been connected to for around 40 years! That and the memories it brought up of my Dad taking me to rock concerts and going to see KISS in the ’70s for my first concert experience… man, just writing THIS is giving me goosebumps.
I think for most people in love with music, no matter the style, there remains a magic to cherish AND miss bad. And when you have that much love for something, it tends to snowball once the memories start. By the time I finished writing this review, I had taken in memories of other albums by great bands like Angel [White Hot], Bowie [The Rise And Fall of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars], Crüe… and now in looking back on the review itself, I can’t help but smile at the flood of musical memories I poured into that piece that I share with others who have their own similar rock and roll memories!
Concert of the year: As far as concerts, my favorite this year was more than likely the Def Leppard, Poison and Tesla package tour for its complete night of feel good music or Wednesday 13 for the crazy antics and catchy tunes.
Mark Hovarth’s Top Five Albums of 2017:
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2012
Number one choice: Black Aces‘ Anywhere But Here. Just the feel of AC/DC roots done so well with the shouting capabilities of lead singer Tyler Kinder does it for me every time.
Number two choice: The Wild!‘s Wild At Heart. The sheer energy that The Wild! bring to the rock scene today coupled with their original sounding hard rock and country mix is most enjoyable. This really should blow up far beyond what they have achieved so far.
Number three choice: Greta Van Fleet‘s From The Fires. Normally, I wouldn’t be as excited about a band that sounds like another Led Zep clone but I’m excited because the media has actually caught on with this band. They’re shaking the music scene and are the polar opposite to the current vapid pop that dominates today. Greta Van Fleet might actually make a huge dent in the modern music scene in the next few years and that is certainly something to be excited about since the major labels have nearly killed rock bands from their rosters.
Number four choice: Dextress‘ Dextress: This is meat and potatoes hard rock that gives me goose bumps. The melodies combined with hooky guitar riffs and screamer vocals is all I could ever want. Well done.
Number five choice: Steel Panther‘s Lower The Bar. Ridiculous sleaze lyrics aside, these guys can write excellent songs and capture the feel to those songs while playing them live. Steel Panther are a professional act who are a satire of the ’80s, and it works all too well.
Concert of the year: I did not attend many concerts in 2017 but the one that stands out is Steel Panther‘s stop in Toronto in December 2017. Steel Panther‘s concerts are predictably good, you know you’re going to be entertained to the max every time.
Metal Mike’s Top Five Albums of 2017:
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2016
Number one choice: I managed to crack the Sleaze Roxx head office line-up early in 2016, and was presented with so much good music that year, it was difficult to come up with a “top five.” In 2017, my exposure has been somewhat limited by my “day job” and sadly, I haven’t been as involved. But, that said, I have listened to a whole bunch of stuff. I have limited my top five albums of 2017 to newer bands I have reviewed, that have achieved the sound we all want, rather than the old school returning to form. My number one choice is Mammoth Mammoth‘s Mount The Mountain album. This is a great album that I’ve hung onto since its April release. In my review, I stated “Mammoth Mammoth are offering a fantastic album with Mount The Mountain. It is full of solid sleazy rock tracks and never lets up. Something I would recommend to anyone who is a fan of straight forward biker rock or dirt-core. Check it out!” I stand by those comments.
Number two choice: Razzmatazz‘s Diggin For Gold. These guys are fantastic, and I had some great conversations with them. Gotta love Messenger. This album is like AC/DC meets Deep Purple, and I love it. They have it all together, as a classic band. Production, musicianship, songwriting — it’s all there. Very much worth the effort to listen.
Number three choice: Kickin Valentina‘s Imaginary Creatures. Just like Junkyard Drive, Kickin Valentina have encapsulated the old sleaze scene while interpreting the sound for a new generation. Imaginary Creatures works hard to imagine the Gunners, and hits hard with songs like “Devil’s Hand” or “Eat ‘N Run.” I predicted this would land in my top five back in August, and here it is.
Number four choice: Electric Guitars‘ Rock N Roll Radio. Between “False Flag Operation”, “Rock N Roll Radio”, and “Stay Under the Radar”, this record has stayed in my head for months, since my review in February. It’s the second offering from the band and a logical next entry from last year’s String Fever. This is one of those records that when I hit shuffle, I’m glad when Electric Guitars show up.
Number five choice: Junkyard Drive‘s Sin & Tonic. Wow! This is pure sleaze in a modern context. I thoroughly enjoyed this record for what it was — straight forward rock and roll. What I said in my January review still stands: “Sin & Tonic certainly stacks up to 2016 favourites Tango Down, The Treatment, or Shiraz Lane. This will come in as a real contender for top 20 lists this year.”
Favorite 2017 contribution: CD review of Pride Of Lions‘ Fearless. That album was so bad that it was hard to control my vitriol. As noted in my review, there were so many great albums being released by that record company that it’s almost like they needed a dud to make the rest look good. The album cover has a ballerina dancing on a lion with an angel’s wings. Need I say more?
Ruben Mosqueda’s Top Five Albums of 2017:
Country: The Pacific Northwest, USA
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2008
Number one choice: Ronnie Montrose‘s 10×10. Most of the time, records that are issued posthumously are a mixed bag at best. Kudos to the Ronnie Montrose estate and bassist Ricky Phillips for seeing this project through and doing it right. There’s a lot of guests on this one. The songs are there and the chemistry is electrifying. 10×10 is the best kept secret of 2017.
Number two choice: Night Flight Orchestra‘s Amber Galactic. The members of Night Flight Orchestra are known for stuff on the heavier side. With Night Flight Orchestra, they produce classic rock with a progressive edge. The songs are catchy and memorable.
Number three choice: Void Vater‘s Dehumanized. If you’re into contemporary rock, then Void Vater should please your palate. Imagine if The Foo Fighters weren’t so obnoxious with better riffs and a heavier dose of melody.
Number four choice: Junkyard‘s High Water. I don’t know who coined the term ‘cow punk’ but Junkyard might fit the billing. Over the years, I’ve seen more common ground between Social Distortion and Junkyard than let’s say Junkyard and Dangerous Toys. The new album continues down the path that merges the group’s classic rock, punk and country influences.
Number five choice: Circus Of Power‘s Four. It’s been 25 years since Circus Of Power issued new music. In a perfect world, this album would be a hit. On a first listen, the first half of the record will hook you instantly. After several more, you’ll grow to adore the bottom half of the album. All in all, a solid effort by an underground act that didn’t get its due the first time around.
Favorite 2017 contribution: As far as interviews for Sleaze Roxx in 2017, I have to say that Ron Keel, Alan Niven and Tom Keifer are neck and neck for the top slot. All three were a joy to conduct, informative and candid, which is refreshing. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Sleaze Roxx in 2018. It’s going to be killer.
Concert of the year: There’s many shows that stood out in 2017, many on the heavier side and that probably wouldn’t be appropriate to mention here. Zakk Sabbath’s sold-out show at The Hawthorne Theater in Portland, Oregon, USA was a highlight.
Steven of Metal Headz Media’s Top Five Albums of 2017:
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2015
Number one choice: Sons Of Apollo‘s Psychotic Symphony. This year was tough picking a top five list. I had to leave out arists like Sweet & Lynch, Kickin Valentina, Stephen Pearcy, L.A. Cobra, Wraith and many more. The reason none of those, or the rest of my top five did not make my number one, was I pretty much knew what to expect from them. They all put out solid albums but I had no idea what to expect from Sons Of Apollo. Once I saw the first couple videos for “Coming Home” and “Lost In Oblivion”, I was hooked. Since Mike Portnoy had previously worked wth Derek Sherinian and Billy Sheehan, I knew there would be an awesome connection there and Jeff Scott Soto could sing the phone book and make it sound great. I was mostly impressed with Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal adapting his guitar style to this progressive metal album. This album is filled with great hooks and awesome music composition that one would expect in a progressive metal album. Finally, this is the only album that I love every song from start to finish and listen to a couple times a week.
Concert of the year: Grand Rocktember V at Grand Casino Hinkley tops out my favorite concert for my third year in a row with Iron Maiden/Ghost a close second. Grand Casino always puts together a great line-up for this two day concert and it has a great outdoor amphitheater. Tailgating before and between bands is a great experience. From the parking lot, you can see one of the big screens and the sound is great, just in case you don’t quite finish your drink before the next band starts. Day one was headlined by a bucket list band for me — Extreme. They played a great set consisting of songs from their first three albums. Along with them, Jackyl, Slaughter, Firehouse and Paradise Kitty rounded out a solid first night. The second was topped off by Styx, along with my favorite band of all time, Queensrÿche. Skid Row, Warrant, Great White, Scrap Metal, Faster Pussycat and The Iron Maidens kept the sold out crowd satisfied and we all left with anticipation for the Grand Rocktember VI line-up announcement.
Terry Martinson’s Top Five Albums of 2017:
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2007
01. I The Fire – Disable The Ego
02. Wild Freedom – Set The Night On Fire
03. Ferrett – In Through The Out Door
04. Vitne – Jupiter
05. Exarsis – New War Order
Number one choice: 2017 was a slow year for me. I took some “me time” and stepped back from pursuing a lot of new music. As anyone knows, I have a preference for the deep independents as they need the nods the most. That said, I give you a truly bad ass guitar driven hard rock band from New York city — I The Fire and their independently released debut long play Disable The Ego. The entire album is completely saturated with guitar driven anthemic hard rock, a circus of licks and tricks, for fans of Hell Yeah, Breaking Benjamin, Pop Evil, Five Finger Death Punch, Poppa Roach, etc… The band is as tight as a snare drum and Joe Salvatore has a stunning voice that is as clean and harmonic as it is powerful. His songwriting and guitar prowess is certainly worthy as well! Favorites as of today are “Keeping Secrets”, “Reckless”, “Stomp You Out” and the lead off “Bridges” but nothing herein is getting skipped I guarantee.
Number two choice: Wild Freedom‘s Set The Night On Fire. Why? Wild Freedom are the essence of what is great in the music we appreciate. They are young, talented and have crafted a near perfect independent sleaze/hard rock album. If Spread Eagle get your trousers tight, than these lads from Barcelona will burst a seam or two for you!
Number three choice: Ferrett‘s In Through The Out Door ~ A sleazy good time New York city band that combines your favorite elements of Wild Dogs and Steel Panther! Sexy, sleazy and not for the faint of heart or those with no flair for the irreverent.
Number four choice: Vitne‘s Jupiter. If you are not familiar with Vitne‘s pedigree, you’re missing a real talent. Joseph has fronted Seks, Hart and as of late Vitne. All bands blend his visionary song crafting methos and continue to showcase his pairing with Julian Angel, a duo already hearkened to as this millennium’s Idol/Stevenson.
Number five choice: Exarsis‘ New War Order. Brazilian thrash at its finest. These cats have been at it for a bit and New War Order don’t stray from their chosen prolific path — thrash or be trashed. New War Order will please those of us that like two heaping helpings of Nuclear Assault, Anthrax (Fistful Of Metal only please), Overkill, Exodus and/or Mercyful Fate.
Tyson Briden’s Top Five Albums of 2017:
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2016
Number one choice: 2017 — wow what an amazing year for releases! Picking my number one this year was somewhat difficult. The other four albums that follow behind, were all staples in my CD player this year. In the end though, the Warrant release prevailed. The reason being that no matter if I strayed from listening to it for a while, I would always come back to it at some point. It would be then that I would once again stick to my decision that this would be my number one for the year. I feel that this album throughout is so solid. So much that I own it both on CD and vinyl. The same actually applies for my number two, Babylon A.D.‘s Revelation Highway as well. If I am being honest, the Babylon A.D. album was a very close second, but in the end, Warrant beat it out. I am very proud of the work Warrant did on this album. They didn’t try and sound like the Warrant of old, but a new entity of the band. Robert Mason stands on his own as not the new singer of Warrant, but the voice of Warrant in the 2000s. We are all familiar with Jani Lane. His legacy remains intact. With that said, I think Lane would be proud of this album and happy the guys chose to carry on. My favorite tracks on Louder Harder Faster are “Only Broken Heart”, “Music Man” and “Faded”.
Number two choice: Babylon A.D.’s Revelation Highway as I mentioned was difficult to make number two, but at the end of the day, Warrant wins. That doesn’t take anything away from this diverse collection of songs. When I interviewed singer Derek Davis this past fall, he mentioned that they tried to put material on this album that didn’t have the same tempo or beat. That is quite obvious on Revelation Highway. To be honest, I think they left the best songs for the end of the album. Not that the songs on side one (if you own the album) are bad, they are great as well, but as the album moves along, it continues to get better. My favorite tracks on this fine piece of work are “Saturday Night”, “Rags To Riches” and “Don’t Tell Me Tonight” which are all on side two. Derek Davis also mentioned to me that there is still enough great material left over for the next album. If it’s anything like this album, then I look forward to the next one.
Number three choice: Inglorious’ second album, simply titled II, was another staple constantly played in in my car. I find Inglorious to be one of the best new bands that I have heard in a very long time. I see great things happening for this band in the future. I can’t help but take notice of singer Nathan James. What an extremely talented vocalist! In 2017, I also had the chance to interview the man. He was such a pleasure to talk to. Of course, James lives in England and I am in Canada, so finding the right time to conduct a phone interview was a challenge, but in the end, we made it happen. I actually booked time off from my regular job to come home and speak with James. It was well worth it. In terms of Inglorious‘ album, it is a collection of ’70s sounding Deep Purple meets Whitesnake type sounding compositions. I think that is a pretty heavy comparison considering both bands mentioned are legends in their own right. In our interview, James mentioned Inglorious are already looking to album number three. Can’t wait for that one! My favorite tracks on II are “Read All About It”, “High Class Woman” and “I Don’t Need Your Loving.”
Number four choice: Crazy Lixx have done it again. Another solid piece of ’80s sounding perfection. Studio album number five may actually be my favorite of the band so far. If you were to ask my good friend Ernie Weatherbee, this would be his number one of the year. Hey, if the other three hadn’t come along, this may have been my number one too. That’s not to discredit Danny Rexon and the boys. This album is so good from start to finish. It took me a few listens before I actually got into this one, but once I did, it was constantly in my disc player. The cool thing about this album is that three of the albums tracks are featured in the Friday The 13th video game. When speaking with Rexon this past summer, he made light of the fact that he actually sat down and listened to tracks by hard rock artists that had contributed songs to movies like Friday The 13th and Nightmare On Elm St. It really shows too because there are times when you can hear a Vinnie Vincent Invasion or Alice Cooper influence within. My favorite tracks on Ruff Justice are “Walk The Wire”, “Hunter Of The Heart” and “XIII.”
Number five choice: I can’t believe Harem Scarem‘s United album is only at number five. With so many solid albums this past year, this is where Harem Scarem’s United falls into place. I have to say that this is my favorite piece of work that this band has done since 1993’s Mood Swings album. That says a lot, considering how fantastic that album truly is. Of course, Harem Scarem’s two main guys Harry Hess and Pete Lesperance have outdone themselves on United. Lesperance’s playing is so fluent and different from any other guitarist out there today. He truly shines on United. As for Hess, his vocals sound just as good as they did back in 1993. The great thing about Harem Scarem is the background vocals. Every guy in the band can sing their ass off. What you hear on this album is duplicated live. Having seen them twice in 2017, I can back up that statement. Both shows were outstanding. They played quite a bit of material from United. The great thing was that a lot of those in attendance knew the words to the new material. Of course, Jeff Scott Soto makes a nice guest appearance on the song “Bite The Bullet” which really adds a nice depth. My favorite tracks on United are “No Regrets”, “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow” and “Gravity.”
Favorite contribution of 2017: It wasn’t hard to choose this one. When it came to reviewing this album, Warrant made it very easy to write. The songs stand on their own. As I recall, this was a very long winded review [note from Sleaze Roxx editor Olivier — “and the most viewed Sleaze Roxx CD review for 2017″]. At the time of writing, I really couldn’t help myself. When it was all said and done, after it was posted on the site, I received a very nice, honest message from Warrant drummer Steven Sweet. That would be the start of a relationship that still stands today. For those who have never met Steven, I will say this about the man. He is one of the coolest, funniest and intelligent musicians I have ever come to know. It was because of this review that I built a relationship with someone who I truly respect and will continue to support for years to come. Thank you Steven Sweet for making 2017 unforgettable.
Concert of the year: Yes, you guessed it, yet again Warrant with opener Firehouse. Steven Sweet took very good care of my wife and I. He provided tickets and backstage passes. The tickets, well, they were second row center stage. As for going backstage, not only did we meet Steven for the first time, but Robert Mason as well. What really added the cherry on top was the fact that just before Warrant started the song “Dusty’s Revenge”, Mason actually mentioned me from the stage making a good joke where everybody who was around us was staring directly our way. You could see the looks on their faces, wondering who I was. Why was Mason mentioning this guy? As I recollect this night, I think of how special it truly was. Twenty five years ago when I was a young rocker listening to Warrant constantly, never would I have imagined in a million years that I would come to know Steven Sweet and call him a friend. Sometimes, I have to pinch myself, bringing myself back to reality about the way my life has turned out. If it wasn’t for Sleaze Roxx, this may not have ever happened. For that, I am very grateful. I am a fan first, writer second. I think that’s what makes this job so enjoyable and gratifying.
Will “Lee” Bones’ Top Five Albums of 2017:
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2015
Number one choice: Vain‘s Rolling With The Punches is probably my all time fave for the whole year. I’ve been a fan of Davy Vain and crew since day one. Obviously, No Respect set the standard and everything afterwards has been great as well. Yeah, some of them are a bit lower on the totem pole, but always on every album, there has been three to five amazing songs that keep me coming back to those various albums. With the prior album Enough Rope climbing on my more frequent listening rotation and giving me such a good feeling for the band as a whole, this album just reaffirms that greatness. This album should have been released after All Those Strangers. It just has that same rocking feel but with a more (mature?) moodier feel to the songs. Simply a great album and a must buy for Vain fans.
Number two choice: Madam X‘s Monstrocity. Another band whose first album is on my all time greats. We Reserve The Right, to this day, is on my playlist. Yeah, its a “juvenile” record in our more “mature” listening standards but man, those songs take me back, they are still catchy as hell and still fun to play loud. So, when I heard the band was back with all original members — not just one or somebody that played with them for six months and decided to take the name and bring “the band” back with hired guns — I was extremely curious and a tad apprehensive. Could they recapture the magic? Would they still have the chops? For the most part, yes, they still got it. The songs have a more mature feel, but time and age can do that, but I feel they have put forth a logical successor to that amazing first album.
Number three choice: Greta Van Fleet‘s From The Fires. This album was partially a mix bag of emotions for me. Obviously, I love and I’m astounded with the predominantly Led Zeppelin sound/influence, but on the other side of the coin, I get this little nagging feeling on the back of mind that “Is this band a corporate creation?” I say this because there are more than just a few too many elements in the songs that are takeaways from Led Zeppelin in their own songs. I get wondering a bit too much was somebody dictating this to the band members and not just letting them be themselves. Despite all this, I still like what I’m hearing and also to just what they are creating in this day and age. It’s almost a lost art in a sense. Needless to say, I await and look forward to future albums from the band.
Number four choice: Sisters Doll‘s All Dolled Up. About the closest I can get to the glam sound and look of yesteryear. Here I am, a die hard old school glam fanatic that is just dying and looking desperately for the next Tigertailz (who by the way they have a lot in common with sound wise) Swingin Thing or Heart Throb Mob. I know, I know, that was a different time. It’s like trying to bring back the glory days of Ancient Egypt, it’s just not going to happen. Still I hope, that some young Pepsi Tate, CC DeVille or Vince Neil will create what I’m longing for. There are glimmers out there and this band is one of them.
Number five choice: Lynch Mob‘s The Brotherhood. It seems to be a bit of theme for me here on this list, but again this album brings me back to Lynch Mob’s first two albums. Again, those albums are on my frequent listening playlist and after some potholes in the road and some “what the fuck” moments, it seems Mr. Lynch has caught a glimmer of the feel of the old days. Maybe the (mini) Dokken reunion sort of sparked a reassessment of the sound of Lynch Mob. A good step in the right direction to these ears, and hoping for more in this style in the future.
Wrestlingepicenter.com‘s Top Five Albums of 2017:
Year started with Sleaze Roxx: 2017
Number one choice: L.A. Guns‘ The Missing Peace. Although I sided with Steve Riley, this album proves that Tracii [Guns] and Phil [Lewis] together can deliver a modern sounding album that still sounds like L.A. Guns. There are a few duds that do nothing for me on this record. But, songs like “Don’t Bring A Knife To A Gun Fight” and “The Devil Made Me Do It” remind me why I love heavy metal in the first place.
Number two choice: Warrant‘s Louder Harder Faster. Great material but the production actually makes the sound a little too heavy. In some ways, it works. “New Rebellion” is among the best song of 2017 for this genre and perhaps even is the best song of the year for my money. “Music Man” is up there too. But, songs like “Perfect” leave your ears hurting and I blame the production. It misses the mark at times. But, the overall content is fabulous.
Number three choice: Crazy Lixx‘s Ruff Justice. It’s a good album but not as good as their last album — the self-titled masterpiece Crazy Lixx. It’s still has a slick production with well written songs but the content was a tad less punchy than prior efforts.
Number four choice: Quiet Riot‘s Road Rage. If an album has great material but bad production, it fails to reach higher on my list.
Number five choice: Halfway There is Mark Slaughter‘s return to form. Whereas his last effort was somewhat experimental, and some stuff worked and others did not, this was Mark a little closer to the Slaughter sound. Ironically on Halfway There, some stuff worked and others did not as well.