SLEAZE ROXX’S TOP TEN ALBUMS OF 2010:
Welcome to the sixth edition of the Sleaze Roxx Top 10 list.
Each year it seems hard rock fans are being bombarded with more and more new releases, and 2010 was no exception. Seasoned veterans such as Ratt, Scorpions, Krokus, Y&T, Accept, Buckcherry and Iron Maiden returned to the sounds that made them famous in the first place, while fringe contenders such as Bangalore Choir, Treat, Jackyl, Keel, Broken Teeth, American Dog and Unruly Child upped the ante in an effort to propel themselves to the next level. The Swedish scene continued to churn out new bands at a record pace and the majority of heavy-hitters from there released new albums in 2010 with Crashdiet, Hardcore Superstar, Crazy Lixx, Sister Sin and Chris Laney all fighting for bragging rights. To top everything off, new bands such as King Lizard, Hardbone, Reckless Love, Big Ball, Aesthesia, Sin 4 Sin and countless others stormed upon the crowded hard rock scene in an effort to make a name for themselves.
With so much music coming out these days it is often hard to give CDs time to grow — as soon as one highly anticipated album is released there is another one following closely behind. Because of this it takes an exceptional effort to grab your attention and hold onto it for any length of time. That is what the following 10 CDs did for me, they either caught me completely off-guard or exceeded all my expectations and thus found themselves among the Sleaze Roxx Top 10 of 2010!
Also be sure to check out the Sleaze Roxx Readers’ Choice Top 20, as voted by the readers of Sleaze Roxx.
I’ll be the first to admit that I never jumped on the Crashdiet bandwagon in the past. In my eyes the band’s cult status in the sleaze community often surpassed their actual musical output, mainly due to the untimely death of Dave Lepard. But that was then, and now I can proudly say that I finally see what all the fuss was about. The Swedish band’s first album with new singer Simon Cruz may be their heaviest and most impressive disc to date — if it doesn’t surpass 2005’s Rest In Sleaze it certainly matches it in every possible way.
Essential tracks: Generation Wild, Native Nature, Armageddon
Those of us that remembered Ratt‘s ill-fated 1999 reunion didn’t get too excited when news of another album from the rodent rockers emerged. The expiry date on these Sunset Strip icons had passed years ago and yet they somehow managed to resurrect their career with Infestation, an album that exceeded everyone’s expectations. Why did a reunion that seemed so uninspired a decade ago work so well this year? I have no answer for that, but without doubt Infestation was a spirited return to form and one of the most surprising albums of the year.
Essential tracks: Eat Me Up Alive, A Little Too Much, As Good As It Gets
While scrolling down this Top 10 list you may have noticed a glaring omission — that being Hardcore Superstar. Before you conjure up thoughts of burning me at the stake, let me explain. Hardcore Superstar‘s Split Your Lip was a great album but I felt the second half failed to live up to the flawless first half. Enter Distorted Wonderland, a band that formed while singing background vocals on a previous Hardcore Superstar effort. To my ears Distorted Wonderland not only matched their idols, but surpassed them in the area of consistency on this killer debut.
Essential tracks: In For A Thrill, Never Had Nothing, Tangerine
Longtime readers of Sleaze Roxx will know by now that I prefer attitude and energy to flash and technical ability, and England’s King Lizard have an overabundance of the former. Time may have mellowed infamous swashbucklers such as Guns N’ Roses, but that is where this four-piece fits in — capturing the unbridled debauchery of classic albums from the late ’80s and blending it with the sneering sounds of today. If past superstars had the drive and desire of King Lizard the world of hard rock would be much better off.
Essential tracks: Viva La Decadence, Rain On You, Kan’t Kill Rock N’ Roll
Sex and drugs have always been the backbone to hard rock and no group embraced those qualities to the extreme that Germany’s Hardbone did in 2010. Far too gritty and inaccessible for the mainstream, Hardbone is the type of band that can be found preaching their brand of rock to dedicated crowds in small, dark, filthy bars. With the swagger of AC/DC and the ferocious energy of Airbourne this collection of young degenerates perfectly captured the essence and soul of sleaze metal.
Essential tracks: Booze Blood Blackout, I Sold My Soul For Rock ‘N’ Roll, Walking Talking Sexmachine
Coming from out of nowhere, with little publicity and zero fanfare, is Florida’s Dirty Skirty. Heavily influenced by classics such as Aerosmith and Tesla, Dirty Skirty released an exceptional no-frills rock record that was filled with a mixture of ’70s influenced hard rock and ’80s hair metal. That combination doesn’t make Long Live Rock N’ Roll the most original album you’ll ever hear, but like The Last Vegas last year it results in perfection.
Essential tracks: Ride, Red Light Go, Playin’ With Girls
Music fans that think the current sleaze scene starts and ends in Sweden have to look no further than UK’s Jettblack. With a crystal clear production, memorable hooks, catchy choruses and songs that were completely over-the-top, Jettblack released one of the more memorable CDs of 2010. Despite the band’s influences obviously residing during hair metal’s late ’80s heyday, this quartet take a modern approach on Get Your Hands Dirty — one that results in a fresh new sound with enough ties to the past to keep aging rockers happy.
Essential tracks: Two Hot Girls, When It Comes To Lovin’, Get Your Hands Dirty
It was almost impossible for Airbourne to match the success of their Runnin’ Wild debut. The element of surprise was gone after the popularity of that CD, so rather than try and beat it the Australians simply recreated it. No Guts, No Glory is almost a carbon copy of that hard-driving debut — the guitars are still played at breakneck speed, the rhythm section thumps along with fury and the band’s excessive energy hasn’t lessened in the slightest. An album that seems to get better with each listen, No Guts, No Glory solidifies Airbourne‘s standing atop the hard rock world.
Essential tracks: Blonde Bad And Beautiful, Raise The Flag, Back On The Bottle
I don’t think there is a band out there today that captures the flawlessly produced bombastic and over-the-top sound of the ’80s as well as Sweden’s Crazy Lixx. Harmonies and melodies this strong and unforgettable haven’t been heard since Def Leppard‘s heyday. Finally catching the eye of a major label, and once again employing hard rock’s current production champion Chris Laney, Crazy Lixx were able to follow-up their critically acclaimed Loud Minority album with more of the same — and to a much larger audience.
Essential tracks: 21 ‘Til I Die, Lock Up Your Daughter, Voodoo Woman
Watching your principle songwriter depart may have led a lesser band to lose their focus and split apart, but not Sweden’s Sister Sin. Instead the remaining band members picked up the pieces to put together an album that closely stuck to the blue-print drawn up on 2008’s Switchblade Serenades. Their new platter was as good as, if not better, than anything they had released in the past while front-woman Liv continues to lead the way for females in metal — proving that brawn, talent and sexuality can successfully coexist.
Essential tracks: Sound Of The Underground, Outrage, Beat Em Down