TOP TWENTY ALBUMS OF 2010 – READERS’ CHOICE:
For the 5th consecutive year Sleaze Roxx readers voted for their favorite albums of the year. More voters than ever took part in the contest to assemble the 20 best CDs of 2010, 6 of which also found their way onto the Sleaze Roxx Top 10. As with previous years, a first place vote resulted in 5 points for an album, second place received 4 points and so on, resulting in the list you are about to read.
Five lucky winners of this year’s contest received gifts from Eonian Records and Sleaze Roxx. The winners, who were randomly chosen from hundreds of entries, were Abel A. (Colorado City, TX), Edison G. (Eagle Pass, TX), Chris J. (Mount Prospect, IL), Jeff H. (Rochester Hills, MI), Alexandre B. (Arcata, CA), Sam M. (Harvey’s Lake, PA), Darryl W. (Scotia, NY) and Scott S. (Sterling, NY).
Also make sure to check out the Sleaze Roxx Top 10 Of 2010.
Ratt‘s triumphant 2010 return Infestation completely annihilated the competition. Appearing on over 47% of all ballots cast, and accounting for 28% of the first place votes, Ratt got out to an early lead and never looked back. Some could argue that the rodent-rocker’s name recognition was the only reason they landed in first place, and that would be true if Infestation wasn’t such a great return to form. Unlike their 1999 reunion attempt, in 2010 Ratt recaptured the sleazy sound that made them multi-platinum sellers in the ’80s.
For the first time ever the top two albums on the Sleaze Roxx Top 10 matched that of the Reader’s Choice Top 20, just in reverse order — and any other year Crashdiet likely would have secured top spot by garnering close to 10% of the first place votes. New vocalist Simon Cruz obviously captured the hearts of this Swedish foursome’s rabid fan base. Filling the large shoes of the deceased Dave Lepard is by no means an easy task, but Crashdiet may have finally found the frontman to take them over the top.
News that the German metal masters known as the Scorpions would retire after the tour in support of Sting In The Tail sent shockwaves throughout the rock community — however it also propelled what is to be the band’s final studio album to their highest American chart position since 1990’s Crazy World. Maybe listeners wanted to revisit the sounds of the Scorpions one last time before they called it quits, or maybe they realized that Sting In The Tail was an excellent way to bookmark the band’s long and successful career.
Hardcore Superstar find their way onto the Reader’s Choice Top 20 for the third time, and also the second year in a row with a fourth place finish. One of the forefathers of the pulsating Swedish sleaze scene, Hardcore Superstar have not only influenced a whole new generation of wanna-be rock stars but have also been consistently surpassing the majority of their peers. Many people thought Split Your Lip rivaled the band’s best work, and the first half of the album definitely lives up to the billing.
Replacing a singer as unique as Udo Dirkschneider is no easy task — Accept learned that lesson back in 1989. But who says history has to repeat itself? Undaunted by their previous commercial failure at forging ahead without ‘the voice’, the German’s recruited T.T. Quick‘s Mark Tornillo and proved life could go on without the diminutive frontman. Blood Of The Nations found Accept playing heavier than ever, resulting in both a strong metal release and the band’s first North American chart placing in over twenty years.
Years of hard work finally paid off for Crazy Lixx as 2010 found the band land a major label deal and thus access to a much larger audience. Of course Sleaze Roxx readers have always embraced this slick Swedish outfit who reached #3 on the Reader’s Choice Top 20 back in 2007 with Loud Minority. Working once again with production guru Chris Laney, Crazy Lixx recreated the huge harmonies and lush melodies abandoned by Def Leppard eons ago. One of the few albums to also reach the Sleaze Roxx Top 10, New Religion proves that the sky is the limit for Crazy Lixx.
Going from sleaze metal to straight-ahead glam may put an artist at risk of alienating some of their fan base, but in the case of vocalist Olli Herman everything seemed to work out fine. Departing Crashdiet after only one album, 2007’s The Unattractive Revolution, Herman put together this Finnish band and recaptured the looks and sounds of commercial ’80s hair metal. A group that people seemed to either love or hate, Reckless Love were both laughed at and ridiculed while endearing themselves to listeners who long for the return of party-hardy anthems and outrageous attires.
Why would anyone consider working with a lunatic like Axl Rose when they can convince a who’s-who of the music industry to guest on their albums is beyond me. So forget about the original members of Guns N’ Roses reuniting and instead check out Slash‘s latest solo release that featured such varied singers as Alter Bridge‘s Myles Kennedy, Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper, Lemmy Kilmister and The Cult‘s Ian Astbury — not to mention the steamy single/video pairing with sex-kitten Fergie. Slash proved to be a perfect blend of the old, new and previously uncharted.
Attempting to follow-up a debut that was as energizing and successful as Runnin’ Wild can only lead to one thing — failure. Airbourne, like their fellow countrymen AC/DC, aren’t the type of band that would consider altering their sound to remain fresh… which only leaves the band with one option — stick with the winning formula. Airbourne did exactly that on No Guts. No Glory — they stuck to the game plan, continued to play with the energy and conviction that few could ever dream of matching, and in the process released an album that satisfied their growing fanbase.
The consensus seemed to be that Buckcherry lost their footing on 2008’s Black Butterfly. Sure the album was another commercial success, but many felt the band would have to return to their previous form in order to solidify their standing among the hard rock community. All Night Long became that album — one that didn’t contain the explosive moments of their early works, but one that showed a more mature and varied side of the band. People wishing for a rehash of “Crazy Bitch” may have been disappointed, but for those wanting to see Buckcherry expand and grow as a band All Night Long was just what the doctor ordered.
Living up to the legacy that is Iron Maiden is no easy task, yet few heavy metal bands have proven to be as consistent and dependable as the mighty Maiden. A legendary group such as this could comfortably live off their name alone, but Iron Maiden has too much pride to take the easy way out. The Final Frontier found these metal forefathers showing bands half their age how heavy metal should be done, and was not just paint-by-numbers addition to their vast catalogue — but an honest and satisfying affair.
Thirteen years is a long time between studio albums, considering the life-span of current bands is closer to thirteen months, yet that is how long it took for this album to come together. No one could confuse Facemelter as being Y&T‘s best work (their discography is just too impressive and underrated for that) but you also can’t deny that it represents a return to the melodic metal that they have become known for over their long history. The death of bassist Phil Kennemore after the release of Facemelter means that this CD is more than just a great release, but also the end of an era.
The dirty southern boys that introduced the world to the soothing sounds of an idling chainsaw returned in 2010 with another collection of boot-stompin’ hard rock. The album’s title said it all as Jackyl found themselves at ground zero, not just with the explosive sound of this disc but also the flurry of feedback (both good and bad) surrounding their cover of “Just Like A Negro”. However one controversial song couldn’t overshadow the raw intensity and backyard shenanigans of Jesse James Dupree and company.
2010 marked the return of the classic 1982 line-up of Krokus — although considering the band has had uncountable personal changes over the years it would be hard to argue that one is more definitive than any other. You have to admire these Swiss rockers though, despite being slagged by the press for decades they simply stick to their guns and record satisfying album after satisfying album. Hoodoo was no exception — it neither expanded upon the trademark Krokus sound nor tarnished it — it simply became another pleasing album from this underrated band.
Ozzy Osbourne is another of those artists that has a legendary history to live up too, and no matter what he records there will always be someone saying ‘this is no Blizzard Of Ozz!’ Despite coming across as a clueless oaf that is controlled by his bitchy wife, Ozzy has earned his dues and has helped pave the way for heavy metal’s rising stars. While we all realize Scream is no Blizzard Of Ozz, and while some feel the metal madman should retire before he further drags his name through the mud, Ozzy Osbourne has earned the right to do what he wants… when he wants.
One of the few bands to reach both the Sleaze Roxx Top 10 and the Reader’s Choice Top 20, UK’s Jettblack obviously made an impression on those that put in the effort to check them out. Jettblack came roaring onto the scene with the sounds and stylings of ’80s hard rock, yet didn’t pigeon-hole themselves into being strictly a retro rehash. Along with bands such as Taking Dawn, these young upstarts put their own signature twist upon a sound that has been around as long as the musicians themselves and resulted in a killer start to what should be a long and prosperous career.
Despite only releasing one album and then disappearing for 8 years, the combination of Wednesday 13 and Joey Jordison obviously have a very loyal following. The duo’s twisted horror filled visions make the Murderdolls legendary for some and campy for others — all the while continuing the macabre tradition set out by artists such as Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson. Even if we have to wait another eternity for their third release, we will always have Wednesday 13‘s gore infested ideas to hold us over.
Few albums received as much critical acclaim over the course of 2010 as Coup De Grace. The album’s title roughly translates to ‘the blow that kills’, and for Treat and their fans it could easily be referred to the deathblow that conquered all other hard rock rivals. With a long and storied career behind them these Swedish rockers have mostly flown under the radar, but Coup De Grace is the type of album to change all that — perfectly capturing 25 plus years of experience into one commendable album.
Sweden’s Sister Sin represents the final band to reach both the Sleaze Roxx Top 10 and Reader’s Choice Top 20 as well as being the only female fronted group to reach both lists. In a genre dominated by male testosterone, Sister Sin‘s front-woman Liv takes a backseat to no one. Behind her stunning good looks is a singer with enough attitude to field a football team and a voice that proves there is a place for women in the world of heavy metal.
I’ll be honest here… the thought of buying a Hinder album scares me. At the mere mention of this American band’s name I immediately think of “Lips Of An Angel” and begin to cringe. However friends tell me that Hinder have gravitated towards a heavier sound on this album, and judging by Sleaze Roxx voters it may be time for me to give the band a second chance. Not to mention that the commercial failure of this CD (when compared to their previous efforts) should be a good indicator that there is more here than radio-friendly rock.