Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2018
Welcome to the 14th edition of the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of the Year.
This has been a record shattering year for Sleaze Roxx with the most news articles ever posted (currently 1,808 just edging out the ten year old record of 1,806 in 2008) and the highest amount of total postings in one year. Other notable categories in 2018 for Sleaze Roxx include 140 CD/DVD reviews (fifth highest ever), 61 concert reviews (second highest ever), 58 interviews (tied for third highest ever) and 181 new releases (highest ever)
This year has been an interesting one with seemingly more releases than ever before yet not that many from the bigger ’80s era heavyweights. Being paranoid about missing a “great” release (there’s always one album it seems that I could place in the Top 10 after the list is published every year), I have gone on a bit of a rampage this last month listening to many 2018 albums that I had not gotten to or that were recommended by Sleaze Roxx readers. Accordingly, although an album may not have been reviewed (yet) on Sleaze Roxx, it does not mean that it hasn’t been listened to and considered for the Sleaze Roxx’s Top 10 Albums of 2018.
As usual, I would like to take the time to thank everyone that has contributed to Sleaze Roxx this year with the most prolific ones being Tyson Briden, John Stoney Cannon, Christopher Carroll, Lance Lumley, Metal Mike and Ruben Mosqueda along with IT guru Ed DeGagne. Stay tuned for the upcoming Sleaze Roxx Writers’ Top Five Albums of 2018. In addition, a big thank you goes out to all of the Sleaze Roxx readers that advise from time to time of quality bands that should be covered on Sleaze Roxx. One of the recommended bands even ended up figuring quite high in the top 10 this year. Finally, Sleaze Roxx derives many of its news articles from interviews done by other websites, podcasts and publications, and this year in particular, The Metal Voice and recently Rockin You All Night were the source of great news content! I should also mention Hair Metal Music‘s book Soundtrack of Our Youth: History of Hair Metal Music whose interviews provided a great source for many articles in the last few months.
This year’s list is a little different from years past since I have included a video, or song when no video was available, so that you can check out each band (in case that you don’t already know them) right from the Sleaze Roxx page.
Without further ado, here is the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2018.
p.s.: Don’t forget to cast your vote for the Sleaze Roxx Readers’ Top 20 Albums of 2018.
Within a week of listening to The Lazys‘ Tropical Hazards earlier this year, I had the album pencilled in as Sleaze Roxx‘s top album of the year. The only question was whether a record would come along to knock The Lazys off their pedestal. As it turns out, there were a couple of worthy contenders but The Lazys were never really in trouble (pun intended). Ever since seeing The Lazys blow the roof off Lee’s Palace in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and headliner The Wild! along the way (which is no easy feat) back in April 2018, I have taken great pleasure in discovering the band’s music. As it turns out, The Lazys‘ story is one of perseverance and hard work to finally find “the sound.” If you listen to The Lazys‘ earlier records (mostly EPs) released when they were based in Australia, you’ll notice that the band took quite a while to find that near perfect rock n’ roll sound that is bestowed upon us with Tropical Hazards. Many bands could learn a thing or two from The Lazys who took the time to grow and learn musically, who moved from sunny Australia to Canada (of all places) to open more doors for their music career, and who simply put on a killer live show. All these things took a lot of time and a shitload of their own money but The Lazys are proof that if you work hard enough at your craft, you can eventually release albums that are on par with your heroes. It would be unfair not to mention that a large part of The Lazys‘ growth — musically and songwriting wise — is due to Billy Talent guitarist Ian D’Sa who took the band sort of under his wing and apparently molded them into killer songwriters.
The Lazys‘ “Nothing But Trouble” video:
The Lazys – Nothing But Trouble. From the upcoming album “Tropical Hazards” out February 16th, 2018. Pre-order/Pre-save now! https://TheLazys.lnk.to/TROPICALHAZARDSID Leon Harrison – Lead Vocals Matty Morris – Lead Guitar & Vocals Liam Shearer – Rhythm Guitar & Vocals Glenn Williams – Bass & Vocals Andy Nielsen – Drums Produced by HRD Music Inc.
Just like the The Lazys, Kissin’ Dynamite also have a story of perseverance and patience (but seemingly to a lesser extent) to ultimately come up with an absolutely killer album. The German “stadium” rockers’ sixth studio album Ecstasy is when everything seems to have come together for the band including killer melodies and the right blend between melodic rock with an edge and modern metal. I was literally shocked when I listened to the album the first time. I was wondering how come I hadn’t really noticed these guys before? Although their previous material (check out their live CD/DVD Generation Goodbye – Dynamite Nights released in 2017) is much stronger than The Lazys‘ prior discography (aside from a few select tracks), it wasn’t until Ecstasy that Kissin’ Dynamite seemingly put everything together. There are so many great tracks on Ecstasy and the further along you get in the album, the great tracks just keep popping up. Ecstasy may well be the record where Kissin’ Dynamite take the mantle from H.E.A.T and Eclipse when it comes to delivering quality melodic rock with a real edge.
Kissin’ Dynamite‘s “I’ve Got the Fire” video:
For US and Europe buy here: http://www.metalblade.com/kissindynamite For Germany, Austria and Switzerland buy here: https://kissindynamite.lnk.to/ecstasy Kissin’ Dynamite video “I’ve Got the Fire” from the album “Ecstasy”.
I have to give a big thank you to Sleaze Roxx reader Roger Miranda who recommended Overdrivers to me. One listen to three songs from the French Airbourne rockers and I had purchased their two studio albums. This is the revelation album of the year. Overdrivers play Airbourne type music perhaps even better than Airbourne themselves. However, the group’s lead vocalist Adrien Desquirez‘s vocal delivery is closer to AC/DC great Bon Scott than Airbourne‘s Joel O’Keeffe. Song titles like “The Best Blowjob In History,” “Show Your Boobies” and the title track on She’s On Her Period tell you all you need to know about the level of sophistication that Overdrivers bring to the table. There’s no question that Overdrivers “borrow” quite a bit from Aussie rockers Airbourne from their look, presentation, stage performance and of course, music. That being said, I have no problem having Overdrivers carry the torch for Airbourne while the Aussie rockers continue to lay low after touring behind 2016’s Breakin’ Outta Hell. Unfortunately for Overdrivers, it seems that usually, only one band breaks out with a certain style and as long as they play songs so similar to Airbourne, the Overdrivers may continue to be France’s best kept secret.
Overdrivers‘ “The Best Blowjob In History” song:
First track of the album ” She’s on her period ” from OVERDRIVERS. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Bertrand Charlet at “Le Hangar à Sons”, Proville
After teasing everyone and releasing singles for a couple of years, The Cruel Intentions featuring former Vains of Jenna frontman Lizzy DeVine finally released their debut album No Sign of Relief and what an album it is! Touted by many as the “sleaze rock” album of the year, The Cruel Intentions simply provide a lesson on how to write great sleaze filled tunes. In an interview that I did with DeVine back in October, the singer explained that he thought that people would be more excited about having a new single every six months than an actual record but that he ended up being wrong in that regard. Perhaps the coolest thing about The Cruel Intentions‘ debut album No Sign of Relief is that the band members wrote the songs for themselves rather than to please fans or critics. DeVine advised: “….it goes to show that if you just write and record stuff that you really like yourself without thinking about what people might think of it, it comes out as an honest, “true” record. We didn’t write anything to get good reviews and we didn’t try to write hit songs. We just had fun and wrote something we could be proud of and enjoy drinking a few beers to while listening.” The results speak for themselves.
The Cruel Intentions‘ “Weekend Suffering” video:
Order physical: https://shop.indierecordings.no/collections/the-cruel-intentions Taken from their album “No Sign Of Relief”, out on September 21. Follow The Cruel Intentions: https://www.facebook.com/thecruelintentions/ https://www.instagram.com/thecruelintentionsofficial/
Diemonds‘ fourth studio album dropped with little fanfare and almost out of the blue this summer, and as usual, the Canadian sleaze rockers changed their sound quite a bit. So much so that I have read the gamut with respect to this release from people thinking that it’s the album of the year to people being angry with the definitely poppier sounds on certain tracks. It’s amazing that Diemonds even released a record this year given that there was a lot of infighting between band members and I have no idea who is in the band at this time beside frontwoman Priya Panda. There’s no doubt in my mind that Diemonds could have challenged for the top album of the year if there had been more of the faster tracks such as “Breathe” and “Warrior.” However, that is not the case as sandwiched between those two tracks are a wide array of songs covering many styles from the more modern “Our Song” to the ballad “Miss You” to what could almost be categorized as pop rock with “Waiting For Something.” The three constant on Diemonds are Panda‘s beautiful singing (she has never sounded so good on an album before), the heavier guitars that save the album from getting labelled “melodic rock” and the killer melodies time and time again. The melodies are so good that this is the only album out of the top ten that I can play at least half the songs to my top 40 / hip hop loving daughters without any complaints. Hell, I even got a request from one of my daughters for the song “I See Red” on Boxing Day. Will this be last album for Diemonds? It would be a real shame and I certainly hope not after three stellar releases in a row (2011’s The Bad Pack, 2015’s Never Wanna Die and this year’s Diemonds).
Diemonds‘ “Our Song” video:
OUR SONG taken from DIEMONDS Available online everywhere. Directed by: Skye Sweetnam This project is funded in part by FACTOR, the Government of Canada and Canada’s private radio broadcasters. Ce projet est financé en partie par FACTOR, le gouvernement du Canada et les radiodiffuseurs privés du Canada.
Normally, losing your lead vocalist along with your three other bandmates would prove to be the end for just about any group and the lone remaining band member. However, Thundermother founder and lead guitarist Filippa Nässil is no ordinary woman. The guitarist didn’t let the departure of her four bandmates keep her down. Not only did Nässil replace her former bandmates in record time, Thundermother‘s third and self-titled studio album is the band’s best album to date. New frontwoman Guernica Mancini had some big shoes to fill with Irish singer Clare Cunningham‘s departure but was able to step up and deliver the AC/DC type gritty vocals that Thundermother seem to strive for. While Thundermother may not have gained much traction yet in North America, they seem to be doing quite well in Europe playing on many big festivals and being on quite a few tours with different bands. Thundermother sees the band returning closer to its AC/DC roots along the line of the debut album Rock ‘N’ Roll Disaster rather than the sophomore album Road Fever but with more variety including the ballad “Fire In The Water.”
Thundermother‘s “Revival” video:
ROCK / CLASSIC ROCK High energy, wild riffs and a sturdy groove straight from the 70’s – two and a half years after the critically acclaimed album “Road Fever”, Swedish rock’n’roll band Thundermother returned, and it was a truly amazing come-back. Thundermother’s third album is simply one of the greatest rock records you’ll get to hear this year.
Colorado, USA rockers Straight Six had a busy year in 2018 releasing their self-titled six-song “demo” EP in February and the full-length album Full Circle in October. In addition, the band ended up winning the coveted Heart For Hayden Music Festival‘s Battle of the Bands, which saw the group beat out 30 other Colorado bands in a competition lasting over two months. I know many would be expecting Straight Six‘s debut full-length album Full Circle to be the record to figure in any top ten list but I actually prefer the self-titled EP, which feels rawer and has more of a live feel to it. Although the Straight Six EP isn’t as polished as Full Circle, you can still appreciate what great musicians that bassist Glen Drieth (think Billy Sheehan), guitarist Eric Schaudies (think Eddie Van Halen) and drummer Joey Shapiro (who also plays in XYZ) are. Add the gritty but solid vocals from Jay Quintana and you have a real recipe for success. I acknowledge that one of the best Straight Six songs — “Divided We Stand” — is not on their debut EP and had it been on it, the EP would have likely ranked even higher on this year’s list.
Straight Six‘s “Black & Blue” video:
STRAIGHT SIX “Black & Blue” from their debut album Full Circle. Live video footage from Count’s Vamp’d in Las Vegas on 11-30-2018 http://www.StraightSixRocks.com – http://www.facebook.com/StraightSixRocks
Just like The Lazys, Canadian heavy metal rockers Striker seemingly keep getting better album after album. Play To Win is Striker‘s sixth full-length studio album and sees the band refining its sound even more to take the mantle as the best “melodic” heavy metal band out there. Having started off as mainly a thrash metal band, Striker‘s evolution from one album to the next is interesting to hear. Play To Win sees lead vocalist Dan Cleary establishing himself once and for all as one of the premier heavy metal singers. Man, that guy can sing! Surprisingly, the vocal harmonies are truly outstanding on Play To Win with the closing track “Hands Of Time” as a prime example. I’ve always struggled with melodic rock albums because I can’t stand hearing keyboard sappy numbers but add a little grit or in the case of Striker, some real heavy metal music, you can end up with a killer album. Striker continue to push the boundaries with their sound while injecting more and more melodies, and keeping their songs a lot shorter. By the way, I am kicking myself for having passed on seeing Striker play live in Toronto earlier this year. What a stupid decision that turned out to be but how I was supposed to know that Striker would be coming up with one of my favorite albums of the year?
Striker‘s “Head First” video:
See Striker Live this summer on the “Summer of Shred”. More dates to be announced!
The Priest is finally back! After an “alright” comeback album (2005’s Angels Of Retribution), a dud (2008’s Nostradamus) and a big step in the right direction (2014’s Redeemer Of Souls), Judas Priest finally found their mojo again and came up with an album that could arguably be in their top five studio albums. I actually place Firepower as the sixth best Judas Priest studio album — behind, in no particular order, 1980’s British Steel, 1982’s Screaming For Vengeance, 1984’s Defenders Of The Faith, 1986’s Turbo and 1990’s Painkiller — and that’s quite impressive when you think that the veteran heavy metal band has released 18 studio albums. Firepower could have easily been released after Defenders Of The Faith as Judas Priest somehow were able to channel their writing style back to their classic early ’80s era. Of course, it helps that the band reconnected with producer Tom Allom who produced some of the band’s greatest albums from 1980 to 1988. The production duties were actually shared between Allom and another man who should need little introduction — Andy Sneap — who produced the last four Accept albums along with one of my personal favorites, Masterplan‘s self-titled debut album in 2003. Having Allom and Sneap together for the production duties was apparently the missing ingredient for Judas Priest to get back to their ’80s musical level. There are many great tracks on Firepower including the title song, “Lightning Strikes” and “Flame Thrower.” Had Firepower been a tad shorter with some of the weaker tracks omitted such as “Lone Wolf”, it would have likely finished even higher on the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2018. Nevertheless, the Priest is finally back with a very worthy studio album!
Judas Priest‘s “Lightning Strike” video:
Judas Priest – ‘Lightning Strike’ (Official Video) Pre-order the new album “Firepower” here: http://smarturl.it/Firepower?iqid=YT The album will be released 9th March 2018 and features ‘Lightning Strike’.
I never would have thought in a million years that Ghost would figure in the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of the Year. Yet this is exactly what has happened with Ghost edging out many worthy challengers for the tenth spot on this year’s top albums. Frankly, I previously thought so lowly of Ghost that I made zero effort to go see them open for Iron Maiden the two times that I saw the latter play live in 2016. It was only when Lipstick frontman Greg Troyan inquired in late May of this year whether I’d be open to an album review of Ghost‘s Prequelle on Sleaze Roxx that I really took notice of the band. Prior to that, I thought of Ghost as mainly a Satan worshipping (I’m personally a Christian) modern metal band. It actually took a little convincing from Greg but after listening to the song “Rats”, I figured that Ghost had changed their sound enough to become Sleaze Roxx friendly music. Again, I heard a couple of tracks which were quite good but I didn’t bother listening to the entire album until my friend Mark from Waterloo, Ontario advised me that Prequelle was his favorite album of the year by a long shot. Given that Mark had previously highly recommended The Wild! to me and that band’s two releases GxDxWxB and Wild At Heart ended up both finishing at #2 on Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of the Year respectively in 2015 and 2017, I valued Mark‘s opinion and decided to give Prequelle a couple of listens in the last two weeks or so. Two songs in particular really stand out — “Pro Memoria” and “Witch Image” — and take me back to the early ’70s when bands like Alice Cooper wouldn’t be shy to slow down songs and use killer melodies to come up with mesmerizing masterpieces. Ghost‘s Prequelle is definitely the surprise entry of this year for the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2018 but perhaps I shouldn’t have been that surprised given that Ghost‘s frontman Tobias Forge played lead guitar (as Mary Goore) in an early version of Crashdïet with the now deceased Dave Lepard.
Ghost‘s “Rats” video:
Directed by Roboshobo [MESSAGE FROM THE CLERGY] We wish to inform you Ghost’s new album Prequelle is available now. Purchase a copy online or at a store near you. Target: http://found.ee/GhostPrequelle_Target_FindStore Indie Record Stores: http://found.ee/GhostPrequelle_Indie_FindStore Official Store: http://found.ee/Ghost_Prequelle iTunes: http://found.ee/Ghost_PrequelleiTunes Amazon: http://found.ee/Ghost_PrequelleAmazon Google Play: http://found.ee/Ghost_RatsGooglePlay Stream RATS: Spotify: http://found.ee/Ghost_RatsSpotify Apple Music: http://found.ee/Ghost_RatsApple iTunes: http://found.ee/Ghost_RatsiTunes Amazon: http://found.ee/Ghost_RatsAmazon Google Play: http://found.ee/Ghost_RatsGooglePlay Music video by Ghost performing Rats.