SLEAZE ROXX’S TOP TEN ALBUMS OF 2007:
This is the third year that I’ve compiled a list of my favorite CDs, and so far this has been the hardest one to do. There was so much great music in 2007 that narrowing the list down to just ten was almost impossible. I thought about expanding to 20 albums, and even adding some honorable mentions, but finally decided to keep things as they were – simple and too the point.
2007 was an eventful year for hard rock fans, with the return of many hair metal musicians and the loss of several others. It seems like every band that ever dreamed of making it big during metal’s 80s reign has decided to return to recapture some of their former magic. However you can’t overlook the endless stream of new groups rising from the ashes, of which the majority seem to hail from Sweden. If exceptional CDs by Great White and Adrenaline Factor failed to make the grade, then you know just how great 2007 was for hard rock fans!
Also be sure to check out the Top 20 CDs of 2007 as voted on by the Readers of Sleaze Roxx.
No one captured the spirit of hard rock as well as Airbourne did this year. Hailing from Australia it only seems fair that they could take AC/DC‘s signature sound to the next level, expanding on their three-chord guitar approach to unleash a perfect collection of sleaze rock. It isn’t often that a CD will contain zero filler, but Runnin’ Wild is one of those rare gems. Capitol Records promptly signed the band, only to drop them shortly after, proving once again that the major labels are fucked in the head. Currently you can only find this album in the import section, but a worldwide release is slated for late January, and only a fool wouldn’t add it to their collection.
A full length from Crazy Lixx was probably the most anticipated release of the year for me. Their singles were short bursts of perfection, so I was curious to see if they could deliver the same excitement over an entire album. At first I was slightly disappointed by the slick production given to Loud Minority by Guru Chris Laney, but that was quickly forgiven thanks to the flawless music contained within. No band was able to capture the essence of the hair band 80s as well as Crazy Lixx, it was like a step back into time. And as good as Crashdiet is, for my money Crazy Lixx is the top of the food-chain in the crowded Swedish rock scene.
3. GYPSY PISTOLEROS – Wild, Beautiful, Damned!
CD Review – Band Website
If you’ve been a consistent reader of this website you will know that originality doesn’t mean much to me – I’ll always choose rehashed greatness over half-assed newness. Gypsy Pistoleros is an exception to that rule. I wasn’t sure what to think when I first spun this mixture of sleaze and flamenco, but I instantly knew that the band was onto something amazing. You know an album is great when you hang off every word despite not understanding what half the lyrics mean! Wild, Beautiful, Damned was so good that it is already getting re-issued under a new title with extra tracks, look for that release in late January.
American Dog could be the hardest working band in rock today, and also the least politically correct. You may have thought that a band who sang constantly about drinking and more drinking could only take their music so far, but Hard blew that idea sky high. I hate to say that the band has matured because they haven’t strayed very far from their roots, but what they have done is refined their sound into a well oiled machine. American Dog still spits venom and the word ‘compromise’ would be considered an insult to them, but what makes this their best release to date is the evolution of Steve Theado‘s guitar work. A new summer release is on the drawing board, and unless the guys lose their minds, chances are you’ll see them return to this list next year.
Love him or hate him, Blackie Lawless has rarely disappointed me. Over the last few years W.A.S.P. has stuck to a formula that never fails to satisfy. The albums may become interchangeable, and the sex/shock factor has been lowered since the group first burst onto the scene, but Blackie hasn’t relented. Whereas the outrageousness of the act was once as important as the music itself, the band now uses concepts and current events to make the listener think (or piss them off, depending on their views). This time W.A.S.P. have focused their hatred on politicians, as there always has to be someone to fuel their disdain – Blackie wouldn’t have it any other way.
I’ve always been indifferent towards Tigertailz, enjoying some of their music yet never really considering them a favorite. Thrill Pistol did a lot to change that, as the band displayed a sinister side to their music that I had never noticed before. The death of bassist Pepsi Tate had nothing to do with Tigertailz doing so well in my eyes this year, the merits of the music speak for themselves as Thrill Pistol took many twists and turns and was downright eerie at times. The guys also included a second disc of unreleased material to this release, giving the fans that little bit extra. Pepsi should be proud to have departed on such a high note.
7. SLASH PUPPET – No Strings Attached
CD Review – Band Website
Someone from Canada’s Slash Puppet must have pissed off the ‘Rock Gods’ because, as this CD shows, there is no way they shouldn’t have become household names when they first burst upon the scene in the late 80s. This collection of recordings from early in their career shows that Slash Puppet should have rivaled or even exceeded bands such as Ratt. I only wish that the band had more gems tucked away somewhere, so we could all enjoy more of Mif‘s picture-perfect rock vocals. Slash Puppet is more proof that talent isn’t the only factor in turning a band into a success, because if it was these guys would have ruled the charts.
I’ll admit that I am ignorant when it comes to Hanoi Rocks as I’ve always preferred Michael Monroe‘s solo offerings. But Street Poetry is incredible, and is making me wonder if I should delve further into the Hanoi Rocks catalogue. No one could accuse these Finnish legends of simply going through the motions on Street Poetry – far from it. Maybe it was the addition of The Electric Boys‘ Coney Bloom that gave these grizzled veterans the boost they needed? They rock and roll, offer up some unexpected twists and turns and show the younger bands what real music is all about.
9. DIRTY PENNY – Take It Sleezy
CD Review – Band Website
Since I’ve started this website it seems that the United States has always lagged behind the Europeans when it comes to great new sleaze bands. Sure there have been some cool bands from America, but the number pales in comparison to what was being churned out in the early 90s. California’s Dirty Penny aims to change that, capturing the sleazy sound and style that used to be common place on the Sunset Strip. The vocals may be a bit inaccessible for some listeners, but they fit the music perfectly as producer Johnny Lima leaves the band with just the right amount of rawness. Could Dirty Penny help revive hard rock in America? I hope so.
10. THE SCREAMIN’ LORDS – Long Live Me
CD Review – Band Website
The Screamin’ Lords come second to only Crazy Lixx when it comes to capturing the sound of the 80s metal/hard rock heyday. And helping this new band capture that sound are vocalists Kelly Keeling (Baton Rouge) and Robin McAuley (MSG), two veterans from that time frame. It is great to see a hungry new band squeeze out the best from some long forgotten veterans. Last year McAuley helped the Demon Angels to manage that feat, and this year he does it again with The Screamin’ Lords.