Sleaze Roxx Readers’ Top 20 Albums of 2022
SLEAZE ROXX READERS’ TOP 20 ALBUMS OF 2022
Welcome to the 17th edition of Sleaze Roxx Readers’ Top 20 Albums!
For the people who enjoy statistics:
• There were 208 different albums that were voted for in 2022, up from 194 in 2021.
• Six of the 10 albums featured on Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2022 appear on the Sleaze Roxx Readers’ Top 20 Albums of 2022, just like in 2021.
• The tough times continue — just like last year and in 2020, two of the 10 albums featured on Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2022 did not even receive one vote for the Sleaze Roxx Readers’ Top 20 Albums of 2022.
• Skid Row simply dominated the Sleaze Roxx readers’ voting in 2022 figuring on an impressive 48% of the votes that were casted. In other words, 48% of the voters included Skid Row‘s album The Gang’s All Here among their Top Five Albums of the Year.
• Skid Row‘s The Gang’s All Here and Crashdïet‘s Automaton are now the two highest album point getters in Sleaze Roxx readers’ history with 1,585 and 1,360 respectively. The previous record was held by Stryper in 2020 with their album Even The Devil Believes garnering 1,160 points.
• Fall from grace? — In years past, a number of bands had albums that were voted among the Sleaze Roxx Readers’ Top 20 Albums of the Year but in 2022, each of these groups’ latest album failed to crack the Top 20.
• Nine years ago, Santa Cruz‘s debut full-length album Screaming For Adrenaline finished at #10 on the Sleaze Roxx Readers’ Top 20 Albums of 2013. In 2015, Santa Cruz‘s self-titled album barely made the cut at #20. In 2017, the Finnish rockers’ album Bad Blood Rising landed at #8 but ever since then, with Katharsis in 2019 and with The Return of The Kings this year, Santa Cruz haven’t been able to crack the Top 20.
• Ten years ago, Halestorm‘s album The Strange Case of… was voted out of the blue to the #9 position of the Sleaze Roxx Readers’ Top 20 Albums of 2012. Halestorm‘s next album Into The Wild Life failed to crack the Sleaze Roxx readers’ Top 20 in 2015 but their subsequent record Vicious landed the #11 position in 2018. Sadly, not only did Halestorm‘s latest album Back From The Dead not crack the Sleaze Roxx readers’ Top 20 in 2022 but it wouldn’t have even made the Top 40.
• John Corabi or Glenn Hughes? Who was the best frontman for The Dead Daisies? If you look at the results on the various Sleaze Roxx Readers’ Top 20 Albums of the Year, Sleaze Roxx readers clearly preferred the albums with Corabi over the ones with Hughes. The Dead Daisies‘ last two albums with Corabi fared way better with the Sleaze Roxx readers (Make Some Noise was voted to #3 in 2016 and Burn It Down landed the #8 spot in 2018) than the records featuring Hughes. Holy Ground barely made the Sleaze Roxx readers’ Top 20 in 2021 and Radiance didn’t even crack the Top 20 in 2022. It seems time for The Dead Daisies to bring back Corabi and especially while Hughes is touring on a solo basis for apparently the next two years. No one is getting any younger here.
• Slash and his solo band (Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators) resonated really well with Sleaze Roxx readers when it came to their first three full-length solo albums. Apocalyptic Love was voted to #3 in 2012. World On Fire landed the $6 spot in 2014. Living The Dream snatched the #4 spot in 2018. With such prior consistent and stellar results, you would think that Slash feat. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators‘ latest album 4 would be one of the Sleaze Roxx readers’ top albums in 2022. Instead, 4 didn’t even make the Sleaze Roxx readers’ Top 20!
• Speaking of Slash, his return to the Guns N’ Roses line-up (along with bassist Duff McKagan) definitely translated into some major concert ticket sales but it seems to have done nothing in terms of the band’s new music output. Given that the Sleaze Roxx readers voted the Slash-less and mediocre Chinese Democracy to #4 on the Sleaze Roxx’s Top 20 Albums of 2008, you would think that a Guns N’ Roses EP (Hard Skool) featuring Axl Rose, Slash and McKagan would do even better. Instead, the EP Hard Skool did not receive one vote — I repeat, did not receive one vote — from the Sleaze Roxx readers. It’s nice to see that the Sleaze Roxx readers can recognize mediocrity even if it comes from one of the biggest hard rock bands in the world.
• Once upon a time (in 2018), Shiraz Lane seemed poised to become the next Hardcore Superstar or Crashdïet. Sleaze Roxx readers had voted their second Frontiers Music Srl release Carnival Days to #6 ahead of such albums as Stryper‘s God Damn Evil, Kissin’ Dynamite‘s Ecstasy and Ghost‘s Prequelle. This year, all three of the latter bands finished well ahead of Shiraz Lane‘s latest self-released album Forgotten Shades of Life, which could not even crack the Sleaze Roxx readers’ Top 20 albums. Have Shiraz Lane been forgotten? Or is their new material simply not as good as the songs off Carnival Days? Or perhaps it’s simply a matter of not having a record label such as Frontiers Music Srl helping promote their latest album? Whatever the case, Shiraz Lane seem to have failed to make a lasting positive impression on Sleaze Roxx readers.
• After dominating the Sleaze Roxx’s Top 20 Albums of 2021 with seven albums (including the top three records) in the Top 20, Italian record label Frontiers Music Srl only had three albums (Stryper‘s The Final Battle at #5, Girish And The Chronicles‘ Hail To The Heroes at #14 and Black Swan‘s Generation Mind which is in a three-way tie for last place) featured on the Sleaze Roxx’s Top 20 Albums of 2022.
• It’s tough to crack the Sleaze Roxx readers’ year end top album list as you apparently needed at least two albums under your belt to crack this year’s edition. The Cruel Intentions and Black Swan made this year’s readers list with their respective sophomore albums and no band was able to make the Top 20 with a debut record.
Without further ado, here is the Sleaze Roxx Readers’ Top 20 Albums of 2022!
1. SKID ROW – The Gang’s All Here – Total points: 1,585
CD Review — Concert Reviews (1, 2) — Band Website
What a difference a new singer makes! Mind you, it’s not just any singer but none other than former H.E.A.T lead vocalist Erik Grönwall who has brought a renewed sense of excitement and some amazing vocal pipes to a band that had been — let’s face it — floundering for some time. It took a long time for Skid Row to find a truly worthy replacement for Sebastian Bach but they finally did it after some now forgettable stints with Johnny Solinger (1999 to 2015), Tony Harnell (2015) and ZP Theart (2016-2022). You can argue all you want but there seems to be little doubt that with 2022’s The Gang’s All Here, Skid Row have released their best studio album since 1991’s Slave To The Grind. While there is no doubt that Grönwall deserves all the credit that he has been receiving in rejuvenating the band, a lot of credit for the actual album should go to producer Nick Raskulinecz who was able to bring out the ’80s rock from Skid Row veterans Rachel Bolan (bass), Dave “Snake” Sabo (guitar) and Scotti Hill (guitar). With The Gang’s All Here figuring on almost 50% of the Sleaze Roxx readers’ ballots, there is simply no denying that Skid Row have come up with their best album of the last three decades. Perhaps the nicest part for Skid Row about having Grönwall as their lead vocalist is that the seemingly constant suggestions from the public and media outlets that Bach be brought back into the band have pretty much grinded to a halt. As Skid Row have implied with their not so subtle album title, the gang is already all here and there is simply no need for Bach t0 be included.
Skid Row‘s “The Gang’s All Here” video:
2. Crashdïet – Automaton – Total points: 1,360
CD Review — Concert Review — Band Website
Any other year, Crashdïet would have easily secured first place with Automaton on the Sleaze Roxx readers’ year end poll. Crashdïet were able to amass the second highest amount of votes in Sleaze Roxx readers’ history for top album of the year. Unfortunately, the highest amount of votes went to Skid Row‘s The Gang’s All Here so Crashdïet‘s Automaton had to be relegated to #2 in 2022. Nevertheless, there is no denying that Crashdïet have come up with one of their best albums of their career with Automaton and it can easily be mentioned in the same breath as their other magnum opus records — Rest In Sleaze (2005) and Generation Wild (2010). Throw in 2019’s Rust and Crashdïet can likely take the mantle for being the band that has released the most amount of truly great albums during the last two decades. It will be interesting to see if Crashdïet can come up with another masterpiece for their next record given that both drummer Eric Young and bassist Peter London are not currently touring with the band due to personal / burnout issues. However, if there is anything that we have learned over the years, it doesn’t matter what obstacles that the Swedish rockers may face (usually having to replace their singer), they always seem to bounce back stronger than ever.
Crashdïet‘s “Together Whatever” video:
3. HARDCORE SUPERSTAR – Abrakadabra – Total points: 745
CD Review — Facebook
With their previous album You Can’t Kill My Rock ‘N’ Roll having been voted to #1 in 2018, I was very curious to see where Hardcore Superstar‘s latest record Abrakadabra would fare on the Sleaze Roxx readers’ year end list and especially since I happen to think that Abrakadabra is the Swedish (now) veteran rockers’ best album since their self-titled “black” record released way back in 2005. As it turns out, the competition was very stiff this year. With 745 points, Hardcore Superstar would have snatched the Sleaze Roxx readers’ top spot in 2021 but in 2022, 745 points was only good enough for third place and Skid Row almost doubled that output with their first place finish. Whatever the case, there is no denying that Hardcore Superstar have come up with another stellar record with such songs as the title track, “Weep When You Die”, the speedy “Catch Me If You Can” and the made to sing along “Forever And A Day.” I for one can’t wait for Hardcore Superstar‘s next album and hope that we don’t have to wait another four years for it to come.
Hardcore Superstar‘s “Forever And A Day” video:
4. THE CRUEL INTENTIONS – Venomous Anonymous – Total points: 675
CD Review — Band Website
I really loved The Cruel Intentions‘ debut album No Sign of Relief but for whatever reason, I just couldn’t get into their sophomore record Venomous Anonymous. That clearly wasn’t the case for Sleaze Roxx readers who voted Venomous Anonymous to the #4 spot despite some very stiff competition in 2022. Funny enough, Venomous Anonymous (what a handful of words it is to say that album title) received slightly more points (675) from the Sleaze Roxx readers in 2022 than No Sign of Relief received in 2018 (652 points) but it fell down one spot to #4. What makes The Cruel Intentions‘ #4 finish so impressive in my eyes is that the Scandinavian rockers achieved this with their sophomore record while all of the remaining bands that made the Top 10 on the Sleaze Roxx Readers’ Top 20 Albums of 2022 have way more years (as a band) and albums under their belt. For instance, Skid Row have been around for 37 years and have released six full-length albums along with four EPs. Crashdïet are on album number six. Abrakadabra is Hardcore Superstar‘s 12th record. The Final Battle is Stryper‘s 14th album. I think you get the picture.
The Cruel Intentions‘ “Kerosene” video:
5. STRYPER – The Final Battle – Total points: 560
CD Review — Band Website
Christian rockers Stryper currently have the record for most albums voted to #1 by Sleaze Roxx readers for the latter’s year end top album list. Stryper achieved the feat not once, but twice, with No More Hell To Pay in 2013 and Even The Devil Believes in 2020. With another stellar studio album under their belt, Stryper had the opportunity to take the readers’ top album for a third time but they fell short with a #5 finish in 2022. There is no doubt that there was some stiff competition this time around and The Final Battle may well have been voted to first place in another year. Whatever the case, Stryper seem to be like a fine wine which only gets better and better with time. In fact, Stryper have not missed a beat and even have stepped it up a notch since Perry Richardson replaced long-time but somewhat “on and off” member Timothy Gaines on bass. Richardson has played on the band’s last two albums and an argument can certainly be made that those last two records are the best two in a row that the band has come up with since Soldiers Under Command (1985) and To Hell With The Devil (1986).
Stryper‘s “Same Old Story” video:
6. KISSIN’ DYNAMITE – Not The End of The Road – Total points: 505
CD Review — Concert Review — Band Website
Never give up. Never ever give up. It can be quite tough for European bands to crack the North American market but German “stadium” rockers Kissin’ Dynamite have been slowly and surely making more and more headway in that regard. I am measuring this increased traction on Kissin’ Dynamite‘s improved standing with Sleaze Roxx followers given that the website’s largest chunk of readers comes from the United States of America and Canada. Kissin’ Dynamite first cracked the Sleaze Roxx readers’ year end top album list with their sixth studio album Ecstasy, which landed at #15 in 2018. Four years later, the German rockers’ seventh studio album Not The End of The Road was voted to #6 on the Sleaze Roxx Readers’ Top 20 Albums of 2022. Is it simply that Kissin’ Dynamite‘s songs have really improved on their last couple of albums? Or is it that the band has been paying its dues for a long time and finally getting more recognition in North America? With Kissin’ Dynamite being able to headline their own tours in many countries in Europe including their native Germany and their albums gaining more traction in North America, one wonders if the German rockers will set their sights on trying to tour in the quirky North American market.
Kissin’ Dynamite‘s “Only The Dead” video:
7. SCORPIONS – Rock Believer – Total points: 495
CD Review — Band Website
It doesn’t really seem to matter what direction that the Scorpions take with their studio albums since Sleaze Roxx readers have been casting enough votes for the German rockers’ last four studio records to finish within the Top 10 Albums of the Year. If anything, the Scorpions are a model of consistency with Humanity Hour 1 landing the #9 spot in 2007, Sting In The Tail at #3 in 2010, Return To Forever at #9 in 2015 and now Rock Believer at #8 in 2022. You’ll have probably noticed that the time gap between Scorpions albums has been increasing over the years. With Rudolf Schenker and Klaus Meine each being 74 years of age, it appears unlikely that the Scorpions will release another studio album if their pattern of taking more and more time between records continues. If Rock Believer turns out to be their last studio album, it is one hell of a finish with a ballad — “When You Know (Where You Come From)” — that rivals the best ones of their career in addition to some solid rockers such as “Gas In The Tank” and “Roots In My Boots”.
Scorpions‘ “When You Know (Where You Come From)” video:
8. GHOST – Impera – Total points: 490
In the world of Sleaze Roxx, Ghost kind of came out of nowhere back in 2018 with their album Prequelle, which ended up getting voted to #13 on the Sleaze Roxx Readers’ Top 20 Albums of 2018. The Swedish group’s popularity continues to mount as their follow up full-length record Impera was voted to #8 despite the band not getting that much exposure or traction on Sleaze Roxx. If anything, Ghost have been able to transcend a number of rock and metal genres, which makes their rise in popularity quite impressive. It’s crazy to think that Ghost mastermind Tobias Forge was at one point part of a very early Crashdïet line-up with now deceased frontman Dave Lepard and well before the release of the group’s sublime debut album Rest In Sleaze. Imagine if Forge had stayed on with Crashdïet, where would that band have ended up creatively and musically? We will never know but there is no doubt that during the last 25 years, some of the most creative and talented musicians have come from the country of Sweden and that list of musicians has to include the one and only Tobias Forge.
Ghost‘s “Call Me Little Sunshine” video:
9. H.E.A.T – Force Majeure – Total points: 405
Imagine losing arguably the best singer in the entire rock world and having to come up with a new record. That was what Swedish rockers H.E.A.T were up against when they lost their wunderkind lead vocalist Erik Grönwall back in late 2020 and only about eight months after the release of their very well received album H.E.A.T II. The entire situation was well mitigated on the H.E.A.T front since the announcement of Grönwall‘s departure coincided with the return of the band’s original lead vocalist Kenny Leckremo. There is no doubt that Leckremo was/is a powerhouse singer in his own right but filling the shoes of the charismatic frontman Grönwall, who was literally an energy bunny in a live setting, was a tough ask. In any case, H.E.A.T came back strong in 2022 with their first album in their last five not to feature Grönwall on lead vocals. The great hooks and melodies were still there and Leckremo did a fine job on the group’s latest album Force Majeure. I do feel that in 2022, the band was somewhat overshadowed by Grönwall, who in a surprise twist, went on to front the one and only Skid Row who happened to deliver their best album in more than three decades, which finished at #1 on the Sleaze Roxx Readers’ Top 20 Albums of 2022.
H.E.A.T‘s “Back To The Rhythm” video:
10. L.A. COBRA – Superstition – Total points: 320
Interview — Band Website
L.A. Cobra took almost five years to release the follow up to their album Shotgun Slinger but apparently, it was worth the wait since their latest record Superstition marks the first time that the South African rockers have made the Sleaze Roxx Readers’ Top 20 Albums of the Year. Once again and despite the over 14,000 km distance between Sweden and South Africa, L.A. Cobra called on the services of Crashdïet guitarist Martin Sweet who handled the production, mixing and mastering of the band’s latest album. One big or perhaps minor change (depending on how you view it) this time around is that L.A. Cobra‘s latest album was released via Crusader Records, which is affiliated to Golden Robot Records. While the Australian label may have helped L.A. Cobra‘s exposure in certain parts of the world, it does not look like it has helped the band when it comes to distribution across North America. In any case, L.A. Cobra keep defying the odds by being seemingly the only semi-well known sleaze rock band out of Africa.
L.A. Cobra‘s “Superstition” video feat. Casper de Vries:
11. DEF LEPPARD – Diamond Star Halos – Total points: 310
CD Review – Band Website
After snatching the #1 spot on the Sleaze Roxx Readers’ Top 20 Albums of 2015 with their self-titled album, UK veteran rockers Def Leppard find themselves much lower in 2022 with their follow up album Diamond Star Halos not even cracking the readers’ Top 10. To be frank, I had previously expected that the most popular ’80s era bands such as Def Leppard, Mötley Crüe, Van Halen and Metallica would snatch the Sleaze Roxx readers’ top album of the year simply because many readers seemed stuck listening to the older bands and had not taken the time to discover newer groups that were releasing better material. How else can you explain Def Leppard‘s self-titled album taking the top spot in 2015 and Metallica‘s Hardwired…To Self-Destruct doing the same in 2016? With all due respect, neither of those albums will ever go down as a “classic” record but for whatever reasons, the Sleaze Roxx readers voted those albums to the top. However, ever since 2017, it seems that the Sleaze Roxx readers have been appreciating the “newer” (or non-’80s era) bands more and more since Hardcore Superstar, Crashdïet and Eclipse were able to respectively snatch the top spots in 2018, 2019 and 2021. Diamond Star Halos will most likely never be considered as one of Def Leppard‘s best albums but the Sleaze Roxx readers still saw fit to vote the UK rockers’ latest studio album as the #11 album of 2022.
Def Leppard‘s “Take What You Want” lyric video:
12. MICHAEL MONROE – I Live Too Fast To Die Young! – Total points: 295
CD Review – Band Website
Another Michael Monroe album and we have another Top 20 finish on the Sleaze Roxx readers’ year end top album list. Former Hanoi Rocks frontman Michael Monroe has been a model of consistency and a Sleaze Roxx readers’ favorite since all of his studio albums have finished among the Sleaze Roxx readers’ top 20 albums since that poll was first started in 2006. Some of Monroe‘s records finish higher than others in any given year — with Sensory Overdrive at #6 in 2011, Horns And Halos at #9 in 2013, Blackout States at #15 in 2015, One Man Gang at #5 in 2019 and his latest album I Live Too Fast To Die Young at #12 in 2022 — but he always seems to deliver some great songs each time out. If there’s one ’80s era rocker that I can see still rocking away 20 years from now, it has to be the 60-year old Monroe who seemingly keeps himself in super shape and is a ball of energy whenever he hits a live stage. The ageless Finnish rocker’s latest album title I Live Too Fast To Die Young! seems more than fitting.
Michael Monroe‘s “Derelict Palace” video:
13. QUEENSRŸCHE – Digital Noise Alliance – Total points: 280
Concert Review (1, 2) – Facebook
It’s obvious that Queensrÿche have a solid fanbase among Sleaze Roxx readers since each year that the Seattle rockers release a new studio album, they place anywhere from the #10 to 15 position on the readers’ year end top album list. It’s crazy to think that it’s been more than a decade now since Todd La Torre replaced Geoff Tate as Queensrÿche‘s frontman. It’s obvious that in terms of new music, Queensrÿche have done a lot better than Tate in the Sleaze Roxx readers’ eyes. Queensrÿche‘s first album with La Torre (their self-titled effort) was voted to #11 in 2013, Condition Hüman landed at #10 in 2015, The Verdict finished at #15 in 2019 and Digital Noise Alliance ended up at #13 in 2022. On the other hand, none of Tate‘s various albums since his split from Queensÿche have come close to making the Sleaze Roxx Readers’ Top 20 Albums of the Year. So while Tate continues to celebrate Queensrÿche‘s past in live settings, his former bandmates Michael Wilton (guitar) and Eddie Jackson (bass) are clearly focused on the present and the future by forging ahead with new music.
Queensrÿche‘s “Behind The Walls” video:
14. GIRISH AND THE CHRONICLES – Hail To The Heroes – Total points: 270
Girish and The Chronicles may be located pretty much on the other side of the world from Sleaze Roxx‘s headquarters but they continue to make an impact on Sleaze Roxx readers. It of course helps that the band has one of the most powerful voices in rock n’ roll with Girish Pradhan fronting the band. The Indian rockers’ debut album with Italian record label Frontiers Music Srl was clearly well received with a #14 finish on the Sleaze Roxx Readers’ Top 20 Albums of 2022. Interestingly enough, that is the exact position that their previous album Rock The Highway ended up in 2020. It is true that the band obtained way more votes this time around with 270 points to earn their #14 finish compared to needing only 200 points for the same spot in 2020. Accordingly, one can only conclude that Girish and The Chronicles‘ popularity with Sleaze Roxx readers continues to improve. Although Hail To The Heroes is a solid album, I think the best is yet to come for the group if its frontman (who will also be part of The End Machine‘s next album and who is also singing on the upcoming record from Joel Hoekstra’s 13) doesn’t wear himself too thin.
Girish and The Chronicles‘ “Hail To The Heroes” video:
15. MEGADETH – The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead! – Total points: 260
You’ve got to give credit to Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine. Back in mid-2021, Mustaine‘s long-time bandmate David Ellefson seemingly stepped onto a landmine when some apparently compromising and private videos between the latter and a young woman were unknowingly shared by a third party to one too many people. Mustaine quickly took a wait and see approach with respect to the leaked videos and what to do about Ellefson before electing to part ways with him. The swift and decisive way that Mustaine dealt with the unwanted controversy served him well because a year later, the talk was about Megadeth‘s stellar new album The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead! rather than the embarrassing leaked videos featuring his former bassist. A lot of musicians could learn a thing or two from Mustaine on how to handle and move on from what could have been a lingering situation. Speaking of Megadeth‘s new album, it definitely feels like a return to form for the “thrash” metal rockers since their past two albums Super Collider (2013) and Dystopia (2016) each failed to make the cut to enter the Sleaze Roxx Readers’ Top 20 Albums of the Year.
Megadeth‘s “The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead!: Chapter III” video:
16. OZZY OSBOURNE – Patient Number 9 – Total points: 205
Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne may be unable to tour these days due to his various physical ailments but his time off from touring seems to have helped him to crank out one studio album after another. After a ten year gap between 2010’s Scream and 2020’s Ordinary Man, Ozzy quickly released another album with Patient Number 9 in 2022. Just like on Ordinary Man, Ozzy has a large amount of “big time” guest appearances on Patient Number 9 with Tony Iommi, Mike McCready (Pearl Jam), Zakk Wylde, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck (R.I.P.) each featuring on various songs. While the 74 year old Ozzy‘s touring days may well be over (how many times as he indicated “No More Tours”?), his voice appears to still be in good shape based on Patient Number 9 and his tweet from last month, where he stated, “This is probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to share with my loyal fans. As you may all know, four years ago, this month, I had a major accident, where I damaged my spine. My one and only purpose during this time has been to get back on stage. My singing voice is fine. However, after three operations, stem cell treatments, endless physical therapy sessions, and most recently groundbreaking Cybernics (HAL) Treatment, my body is still physically weak.”
Ozzy Osbourne‘s “Patient Number 9” video feat. Jeff Beck:
17. THUNDERMOTHER – Black And Gold – Total points: 190
CD Review – Interview – Band Website
Things seemed to be going so well for Thundermother. The Swedish female rockers consisting of lead vocalist Guernica Mancini, guitarist Filippa Nässil, bassist Mona Lindgren and drummer Emlee Johansson had released yet another phenomenal studio album (Black And Gold) in mid-August 2022. The release of Thundermother‘s latest studio album coincided with the start of their very successful North American tour opening for the one and only Scorpions. The tour apparently went so well that Thundermother were invited to open for the Scorpions once again throughout Europe this coming May and June. Although everyone kind of knew that Nässil could be difficult to work with, given that a bunch of her previous Thundermother bandmates left her back in March 2017 forcing her to recruit a new line-up at that time, I don’t think anyone was expecting the shit storm that has kind of tarnished the Black And Gold album. Things seemed to be going so well with Nässil herself showering Mancini, Lindgren and Johansson with praise in an interview with Sleaze Roxx back in May 2022. Nässil stated: “Everyone has a leader personality as you say. I’ve been thinking about it too because it’s pretty obvious [laughs]. It’s just like a competition. You can compare it to a competition of who can do the most work.” In terms of the difference that her latest bandmates had made, the guitarist indicated: “It’s enormous because I did everything back in the day. Now, I’m in the backseat and I don’t have to do anything really if I don’t want to [laughs].” Well, apparently, things weren’t going that well because according to Mancini in early February 2023, Nässil didn’t want her in the band, which led Lindgren and Johansson to quit the group rather than continue on with the guitarist. In essence, all of Nässil‘s bandmates had quit on her for a second time in a six year period! We know that Nässil will be able to keep the Thundermother train going since she has been able to in the past but what a shame to have such a fantastic line-up implode like that after three phenomenal studio albums (the bass position was seemingly kind of revolving door with a new bassist on each of those last three records). But as much as Nässil might be difficult to work with, she has inspired tons of great music. The Thundermother discography speaks for itself and two of her previous bandmates that quit on her in March 2017 have come roaring back with the band Donna Cannone while Mancini, Lindgren and Johansson recently announced that they will be continuing their adventure together as The Gems.
Thundermother‘s “Watch Out” video:
18. (tied) RECKLESS LOVE – Turborider – Total points: 135
Finnish rockers Reckless Love were once shoe-ins to place very highly on any Sleaze Roxx readers’ year end top album list. Reckless Love‘s self-titled debut album was voted to #7 in 2010. Their follow up record Animal Attraction did even better landing the #5 position in 2011, while the next album Spirit finished at #6 in 2013. But then 2016’s InVader saw the Finnish rockers expand their wings with some material closer to Lady Gaga, Hedley or Pet Shop Boys than the glam metal that the group had seemingly mastered on their first three albums. That resulted in a #16 finish in 2016. 2022’s Turborider is more of the same with experimentation and seemingly tons of keyboards / synthesizers. Frankly, I find Reckless Love‘s latest album tough to listen to and it seems that some of the Sleaze Roxx readers feel the same since Turborider was tied for last place on the Sleaze Roxx Readers’ Top 20 Albums of 2022. Nevertheless, Reckless Love continue to be perennial favourites among Sleaze Roxx readers since they, along with Crazy Lixx, Airbourne and Steel Panther, are the only groups to have their first five albums chart on the readers’ year end top album lists.
Reckless Love‘s “Turborider” video:
18. (tied) BLACK SWAN – Generation Mind – Total points: 135
CD Review – Facebook
Has the novelty worn off? The star studded line-up for Black Swan consisting of Robin McAuley (ex-McAuley Schenker Group) on lead vocals, Reb Beach (Whitesnake, Winger, ex-Dokken) on guitar, Jeff Pilson (Foreigner, The End Machine, ex-Dokken) on bass and Matt Starr (Ace Frehley, Mr. Big) on drums released their debut album Shake The World back in 2020 and Sleaze Roxx readers voted that record to #3 that year. This time around, Black Swan‘s sophomore album Generation Mind finds itself tied for last place on the Sleaze Roxx Readers’ Top 20 Albums of 2022 with less than a sixth of the points that it received in 2020. It does feel like there was a way bigger buzz for the group back in 2020. Perhaps it’s the fact that the band members do not play any shows together as Black Swan due to their presumably busy schedules? Perhaps it’s simply because the songs on Generation Mind are not as strong as the ones on Shake The World? Whatever the case, I think this is a disappointing finish for a group that seemed poised with its prior debut record to be a contender for album of the year time and time again.
Black Swan‘s “Eagles Fly” video:
18. (tied) NOTHING MORE – Spirits – Total points: 135
Nothing More? I must confess knowing virtually nothing about Nothing More yet here they are featured in the Sleaze Roxx Readers’ Top 20 Albums of 2022! They barely made the cut but still, this is a band that has never received any coverage whatsoever on Sleaze Roxx until now… As it turns out and funny enough, Nothing More have been around since 2003 and have released a whack of albums since then consisting of Shelter (2004), Save You/Save Me (2007), The Few Not Fleeting (2009), Nothing More (2014), The Stories We Tell Ourselves (2017) and Spirits (2022). Their last three albums were released on a major label (Eleven Seven / Better Noise). What I found interesting about Nothing More, while finding more about them, is that their drummer Jonny Hawkins eventually took over the singing duties after the band’s first five years of existence and he gave up his drummer duties one year later. This seems to have stabilized the band’s line-up since the group had already gone through three singers (which is usually the most important and identifiable position in a band) during its first five years.
Nothing More‘s “Turn It Up Like (Stand In The Fire)” video: