Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2019
Welcome to the 15th edition of the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of the Year.
This has once again been a record shattering year for Sleaze Roxx with the most news articles ever posted (currently 1,876 beating out last year’s record of 1,810) and the highest amount of total postings in one year. Other notable categories in 2019 for Sleaze Roxx include 154 CD/DVD reviews (fifth highest ever), 65 concert reviews (second highest ever), 75 interviews (highest ever) and 182 new releases (highest ever). A large part of this effort is due to the many Sleaze Roxx contributors, and the behind the scenes work from IT guru Ed DeGagne that keeps the Sleaze Roxx website going and improving functionality wise, and frees up my time to focus on content for the website.
It’s funny to hear some people say that there’s hardly any good music getting released these days because I find that there is way more great music than ever before that is easily available if you put a little bit of effort in seeking it out. Sure, hardly any bands are selling a million copies of an album anymore but that doesn’t mean that there are no great albums to discover year after year. Although Sleaze Roxx reviewed over 100 new albums this year (the rest being retro album reviews), it’s only a small fraction of the new releases that were submitted or available to be reviewed over the course of this year. You’ll likely notice that some Sleaze Roxx favourites didn’t make the cut this year including Steel Panther and Airbourne even though each of their four previous albums landed in Sleaze Roxx‘s prior Top Ten album lists. All I can say is that I hope both of those bands will rebound with better efforts next time around!
Just like in previous years, 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 Ten Albums of 2019. This year was particularly tough coming up with the Top 10. The first seven entries weren’t difficult but where to place them took some time and a lot of consideration. The last three spots in the Top 10 were really up for grabs and I even pondered doing a Top 12 at one point. In any case, I went with the three albums that I thought were the most consistent from the first track to the last for the last three spots in the Top 10.
Without further ado, here is the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2019.
p.s.: Don’t forget to cast your vote for the Sleaze Roxx Readers’ Top 20 Albums of 2019.
Swedish rockers Eclipse led by frontman Erik Mårtensson and guitarist Magnus Henriksson have been mainstays on the Sleaze Roxx‘s year-end lists. 2008’s Are You Ready To Rock landed the #5 spot on the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2008. 2015’s Armageddonize should have made the Sleaze Roxx‘s year end list (my bad) but was recognized by the Sleaze Roxx readers as the #5 album for that year. 2017’s Monumentum finished at #7 on the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2017 and #2 on the Sleaze Roxx readers’ year-end list. Accordingly, it is no surprise that eventually, Eclipse would take the #1 spot on a Sleaze Roxx year end list. Rather than reinvent the wheel, Eclipse have delivered in Paradigm, a studio album that seems to highlight the very best that they have offered in the past but all on one album. Some will say that Eclipse played it safe on Paradigm but if delivering top notch catchy songs is “playing it safe”, I will take that anytime over the experimentation that has led many bands astray over the years. Eclipse also have a knack for knowing which songs of theirs are their best ones as arguably the five best tracks on Paradigm consisting of “Viva La Victoria,” “Mary Leigh,” “United,” “The Masquerade” and “Delirious” were released as advanced singles or received the video treatment.
Eclipse‘s “Viva La Victoria” video:
Subscribe To Our Channel: http://radi.al/SubscribeFrontiers | Shop our U.S. & EU webstores: http://radi.al/FrontiersMusic | From the album PARADIGM. Buy or Stream: https://orcd.co/eclipse Available on CD/Vinyl/Limited Edition Color Vinyl/T-Shirt Bundles/Digital Follow Our Spotify Playlists: +Rock Ain’t Dead http://spoti.fi/1rQz5Zm +New Breed http://spoti.fi/1Wnkke9 +AOR Forever https://spoti.fi/2Hvx27K +Frontiers Classics!
Finally! The AC/DC album that we have been waiting for! Actually, it’s not AC/DC but the next best thing with Stripwired and their very Brian Johnson sounding lead vocalist Darren Caperna. The funny part is that Caperna is presumably not shy about sounding like Johnson since the band members in Stripwired also play in the popular and long-standing AC/DC tribute band Back in Black. With all that experience under their belt, it’s actually not that surprising that Stripwired were able to come up with some original songs that sound well, a lot like vintage AC/DC. Caperna and lead guitarist Mike Mroz have been working on some of these songs for a long time as back in 2007, they released a self-titled album which contained six of the 12 songs that made their way onto Another Shot. As the album title clearly indicates, Stripwired wanted another shot so they re-recorded those six songs along with six others but with way better production. The results speak for themselves as Another Shot is really the album that AC/DC should be releasing. Caperna‘s voice is infectious and really takes each song to another level. How good does Caperna‘s vocals sound? Well, Caperna auditioned for none other than AC/DC in 2016 and his four to five song audition turned into a four to five hour marathon. The fact that AC/DC ended up going with Axl Rose is probably a blessing in disguise as that audition became the inspiration for Mroz to start working on songs and it seems doubtful that Another Shot would have ever been released if Caperna had landed the AC/DC gig.
Stripwired‘s “Another Shot” video:
Another Shot (Official Video) Connect with Stripwired: https://www.facebook.com/stripwired https://www.instagram.com/stripwired https://twitter.com/stripwiredtx http://www.stripwired.com Directed by Michael Mroz Produced by Alex Michael Kennedy Music video by Stripwired performing Another Shot. © 2018 Supercel Records
“Boom Boob Shaker!” One listen of that song and I knew that I needed to acquire Madhouse‘s album Money Talks Bullshit Walks. The record did not disappoint and most likely qualifies as the sleaziest and raunchiest album featured on the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2019. I have to say that the Austrian sleaze group is still a bit of an enigma to me as I am not even sure whether the band employs one or two lead vocalists. Whatever the case, Money Talks Bullshit Walks rocks from start to finish, and reminds me a lot of last year’s debut album No Sign of Relief from The Cruel Intentions, which was touted by many as the “sleaze” album of the year. Interestingly, Madhouse released a video for their track “Hard ‘N Heavy” which I actually consider to be one of the weakest tracks — there’s none really but you know what I mean — on the album. Had Madhouse released a video for the title track or “Boom Boob Shaker”, I have a feeling that they would have caught on a little bit faster. In any case, I haven’t read one negative review about Money Talks Bullshit Walks and the reason for that is simple. The album kicks ass and never lets up.
Madhouse‘s “Boom Boob Shaker” song:
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…
W.A.L.K.E.R‘s two main men — frontman Glen Walker and lead guitarist Kelan Hughes — were not even close to being born in the ’80s and in Hughes‘ case, almost not even in the ’90s, but that hasn’t stopped the duo from coming up with arguably the most ’80s sounding album featured on the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2019. The Irish rockers were aiming to release an album with “all killer, no filler” and that’s exactly what they have done with their aptly titled EP Bringing Rock Back. From the vintage Tesla sounding “Dreaming of You” to the riff laden title track to the party anthem “Time To Party”, W.A.L.K.E.R deliver one great song after another on their five-song EP. The great news is that the group was recording its debut full-length album when I interviewed Walker and Hughes a few weeks ago and the new album will consist of brand new songs. As Walker pointed out to me, “We gave you a taste. Now you’re ready for the main course. If you like Bringing Rock Back, our upcoming album will blow you away.” I can’t wait for that to happen!
W.A.L.K.E.R‘s “Time To Party” video:
The official music video for W.A.L.K.E.R – Time To Party.
Finnish rockers Temple Balls remind me of German “stadium” rockers Kissin’ Dynamite last year in that they hit the nail on the head sound wise and were able to successfully manage the fine line between melodic and sleaze rock to come up with one of this year’s best album releases. There is some significant growth between Temple Balls‘ latest offering Untamed and their previous effort Traded Dreams as the Finnish rockers really seem to have found their sound this time around. This is a band on the rise as the group was recently the special guest for Sonata Arctica on a number of tour dates throughout Europe. Temple Balls will be continuing to open for Sonata Arctica during more European tour dates in early 2020 before touring with fellow Finnish rockers Shiraz Lane in February and March 2020. It will be interesting to see what direction that Temple Balls take on their third studio album, which will hopefully come out sooner rather than later. Will the Finnish rockers play relatively safe and stay with their sound on Untamed or will they continue to push the envelope and at the same time risk alienating their current fanbase like so many other “younger” bands have done in the past?
Temple Balls‘ “Distorted Emotions” video:
The official music video for Distorted Emotions taken from Temple Balls’ 2nd album ‘Untamed’ Stream it, buy it digitally and on CD.
Just like last year, one of Sleaze Roxx reader Jherson R. Miranda‘s (he was going by the name Roger Miranda last year) recommendations has made the Sleaze Roxx‘s year end top album list. Last year, Miranda recommended French rockers Overdrivers (whom I had never heard of before) and this time, he mentioned to me a number of bands that I had never heard of including the sensational Norwegian rockers Prospect. If you like vintage Airbourne, the Black Aces and Overdrivers with a singer with a slightly higher pitched voice, odds are that you’ll really enjoy Prospect. As soon as I heard the song “Rock And Shout”, I knew that I needed to purchase the band’s album and it lived up to my lofty expectations by that time. Prospect offer balls to the wall rock n’ roll that is simple and effective. Will Miranda be able to come up with a third band that I am not aware of and whose album will make Sleaze Roxx‘s year end top album list next year? I can’t wait to find out!
Prospect‘s “Rock And Shout” song:
From the album Rock ‘N’ Roll Beats and Electric Guitars Rock And Shout I bought a worn down car And went driving with my guitar I didn’t have a destination But I new that I was going far I’ve been driving all day long I’m getting to low, to low
Studio album number five and singer number four! Amazingly, Crashdïet do not seem to miss a beat when it comes to releasing one solid album after another despite the setbacks that any band would experience with the almost constant change of lead vocalist from one album to the next. Rust sees Crashdïet take a slightly more modern route with their brand of sleaze rock and the results are simply very good. New lead vocalist Gabriel Keyes was given lots of time to get situated and comfortable within the band prior to the release of Rust given that he had already been part of the Swedish group for eight months or so prior to the announcement that he was the band’s new frontman in December 2017. Crashdïet then played a number of concerts while working on the material that eventually morphed into Rust. Crashdïet continue to prove that they can withstand just about any sort of singer adversity and come back strong. One can only hope that Keyes will be in Crashdïet for the long run as it would be interesting to hear whether the group will be able to top Rust with Keyes singing on the next album or whether the band will falter like they did from Generation Wild to The Savage Playground with lead vocalist number three (Simon Cruz).
Crashdïet‘s “Rust” video:
Subscribe here for more videos – http://radi.al/SubscribeFrontiers | From the album RUST.
Although Sleaze Roxx definitely caters to hard rock and heavy metal bands from the ’80s era, you’ll likely have noticed that there are no bands from that era that feature on the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2019. In fact, many of the artists that released an album worthy of Sleaze Roxx‘s Top 10 for 2019 weren’t even born in the ’80s. The one exception is the Red Rocker, Sammy Hagar, who along with his stellar cast (The Circle) consisting of former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony, legendary drummer John Bonham‘s son Jason Bonham, and guitarist Vic Johnson, are proving that age does not matter and you can still put out one of the best albums of your career decades after first starting out in the music business. You’d think that with all of the money that Hagar has made over the years with his many enterprises including his Cabo Wabo Tequila (his 80% share was sold for a cool $80 million), the now 72 year old rocker would be happy sitting on his laurels and reaping the benefits of his Montrose and Van Halen days (not to mention his stellar solo career). Apparently not as Hagar has come up with arguably one of the best albums of his career with Sammy Hagar & The Circle‘s debut concept studio album Space Between. This album fits nicely alongside anything that Hagar released while in Van Halen. While the Red Rocker has released a few dud albums over the last decade, Space Between shows that the 72 year old rocker still has a lot of gas in the tank. Eddie Van Halen must be sitting back at home and wondering “what if” when he sees Hagar still cranking out such amazing albums almost 25 years after Van Halen‘s last studio album (Balance) with the Red Rocker.
Sammy Hagar‘s “Trust Fund Baby” video:
This video for “Trust Fund Baby,” directed by ZZ Satriani (son of Hagar’s longtime collaborator and friend Joe Satriani) is an extreme glimpse into the eighth track “nailing what happens when kids are given too much money – too early in life – and it becomes an affliction.
The Suicide Bombers came close to making the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2017 with their album Suicide Idols. This year, there is simply no denying them a spot at the “big table.” With every Suicide Bombers album release, it seems that the Norwegian sleaze rockers, led by their frontman Chris Damien Doll, get better and better tweaking little things here and there while maintaining their trademark sleazy delivery. Murder Couture is definitely the Suicide Bombers‘ most consistent album from top to bottom and shows that with perseverance and hard work, a group can keep improving from one album to the next. While the Suicide Bombers have always been at the forefront when it comes to their image and overall presentation (check out their great look and awesome album covers), it seems that their music has now caught up to that level as well. With every album release, it seems that the Suicide Bombers also expand their touring reach so one can only hope that one day, they will make their way to North America!
Suicide Bombers‘ “So Bad” video
First single from SUiCiDE BOMBERS fourth album, MURDER COUTURE Directed by: Leon Bell
Every year, there is one group that really surprises me and makes it onto the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2019. As I outlined in my review of Trixy Tang‘s self-titled album, I wasn’t that impressed with what the Michigan, USA rockers had to offer when I heard some of their songs here and there. However, upon listening to their entire album from start to finish, I was impressed by the musicianship, the party like atmosphere a la Van Halen and the catchy songs that made me play the album over and over again. If you would have told me at the beginning of this year that a Trixy Tang release would finish in the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2019, I would have thought that you have lost your marbles. I had to get past the rather cheesy retro ’80s name and the feel good summer single “Sunday Cruisin'” to realize that these guys can really rock. Funny enough, I have really warmed up to the track “Sunday Cruisin'” to the point that it’s now one of my favourites from the band but when I first heard it, I dismissed it pretty quickly. In any case, Trixy Tang‘s self-titled album is definitely worth exploring and who knows, you might end up getting hooked like me on their straightforward, good time feeling, catchy tunes.
Trixy Tang‘s “Fade Away” live video:
Official live music video for the new song “Fade Away”. Filmed at Park Theatre in Holland, MI by White Knuckle Films.